Saturday, 19 September, 1829
Many are the necessities of life producing as many and various ideas and attending or producing a multiplicity of feelings. And he who is so insensible that he cannot see any just rules of conduct must approach the nearest to happiness and this must depend on ignorance or indifference. But he who wishes to view things in a proper and rational light must never expect to feel the pleasure of contentment while he sees things in opposition to all propriety unless he be left entirely by himself and free from the causes that disturb the mind or when objects of a different nature so engage his attention that it excludes the disagreeable scene. Yet the feelings of commiseration for those we love almost forbids an abstraction of thought so completely as to remove the unhappiness or if it should, it will be momentary. NO! The man of just feelings wishes to see all happy by seeking the only legitimate cause of true happiness: acting justly to all and viewing the peculiar circumstances that may oppose desire, because a thing perfectly just in some circumstances are quite improper in others. We should, when under the excitement of desire, endeavor to cast aside that detestable veil which it casts over the real nature of these. For instance, you wished inordinately to see a friend and had made calculations to have done so on a certain day, but you found on that day one of your neighbors is in great distress and had depended on you for assistance and combined with this, it was your interest as well as duty to give your aid. Now you should not suffer your desire to see your friend cause you to neglect the requirements of duty to your neighbor. No! Duty alone can ensure real happiness or respectability. We should have a disposition and a determination to do good, not only to ourselves, but to our fellow creatures, instead of that selfishness which seeks mere ideal pleasure. If you wish to enjoy real happiness predicated on the principle of doing good to all and relieving distress whenever found, and you have the ability acting agreeable to the dictates of humanity, arrived at by sober reflection; duty can alone ensure it. And if this be not the governing principle in a family, real happiness cannot there exist.