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pidity rather than of pleasure. There has been a controversy in this matter very narrowly canvassed among them; whether a firm and entire health could be called a pleasure or not? Some have thought that there was no pleasure but that which was excited by some sensible motion in the body. But this opinion has been long ago run down among them, so that now they do almost all agree in this, That health is the greatest of all bodily pleasures; and that, as there is a pain in sickness, which is as opposite in its nature to pleasure, as sickness itself is to health, so they hold that health carries a pleasure along with it. And if any should say that sickness is not really a pain, but that it only carries a pain along with, they look upon that as a fetch of subtility that does not much alter the matter. So they think it is all one, whether it be said, that health is in itself a pleasure, or that it begets a pleasure, as fire gives heat; so it be granted, that all those whose health is entire have a true pleasure in it: and they reason thus. What is the pleasure of eating, but that a man's health which had been weakened, does, with the assistance of food, drive away hunger, and so recruiting itself, recovers its former vigour? And being thus refreshed, it finds a pleasure in that conflict. And if the conflict is pleasure, the victory must yet breed a greater pleasure, except we will fancy that it becomes stupid as soon as it has obtained that which it pursued, and so does neither know nor rejoice in its own welfare. If it is said that health cannot be felt, they absolutely deny that; for what man is in health that does not perceive it when he is awake? Is there any man that is so dull and stupid, as not to acknow
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ledge that he feels a delight in health? And what is delight but another name for pleasure ?
But of all pleasures, they esteem those to be the most valuable that lie in the mind; and the chief of these are those that arise out of true virtue, and the witness of a good conscience. They account health the chief pleasure that belongs to the body; for they think that the pleasure of eating and drinking, and all the other delights of the body, are only so far desirable as they give or maintain health. But they are not pleasant in themselves, otherwise than as they resist those impressions that our natural infirmity is still making upon us; and as a wise man desires rather to avoid diseases than to take physic, and to be freed from pain rather than find ease by remedies, so it were a more desirable state not to need this sort of pleasure, than to be obliged to indulge it. And if any man imagines that there is a real happiness in this pleasure, he must then confess that he would be the happiest of all men, if he were to lead his life in a perpetual hunger, thirst, and itching, and by consequence in perpetual eating, drinking, and scratching himself, which, any one may easily see, would be not only a base but a miserable state of life. These are, indeed, the lowest of pleasures, and the least pure; for we can never relish them but when they are mixed with the contrary pains. The pain of hunger must give us the pleasure of eating; and here the pain outbalances the pleasure; and, as the pain is more vehement, so it lasts much longer; sor, as it is upon us before the pleasure comes, so it does not cease, but with the pleasure that extinguishes it, and that goes off with it; so that they think none of those pleasures are to be valued, but as they
are necessary. Yet they rejoice in them, and with due gratitude acknowledge the tenderness of the great author of nature, who has planted in us appetites, by which those things which are necessary for our preservation are likewise made pleasant to us. For how miserable a thing would life be, if those daily diseases of hunger and thirst were to be carried off by such bitter drugs, as we must use for those diseases that return seldomer upon us! And thus these pleasant, as well as proper gifts of nature, do maintain the strength and the sprightliness of our bodies.
They do also entertain themselves with the other delights that they let in at their eyes, their ears, and their nostrils, as the pleasant relishes and seasonings of life, which nature seems to have marked out peculiarly for man; since no other sort of animals contemplates the figure and beauty of the universe, nor is delighted with smells, but as they distinguish meats by them; nor do they apprehend the concords or discords of sounds; yet in all pleasures whatsoever, they observe this temper, that a lesser joy may not hinder a greater, and that pleasure may never breed pain, which they think does always follow dishonest pleasures.