The Map of Life, Conduct, and Character

By William Edward Hartpole Lecky | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II

MEN continually forget that Happiness is a condition of Mind and not a disposition of circumstances, and one of the most common of errors is that of confusing happiness with the means of happiness, sacrificing the first for the attainment of the second. It is the error of the miser, who begins by seeking money for the enjoyment it procures and ends by making the mere acquisition of money his sole object, pursuing it to the sacrifice of all rational ends and pleasures. Circumstances and Character both contribute to Happiness, but the proportionate attention paid to one or other of these great departments not only varies largely with different individuals, but also with different nations and in different ages. Thus Religion acts mainly in the formation of dispositions, and it is especially in this field that its bearing on human happiness should be judged. It influences, it is true, vastly and variously the external circumstances of life, but its chief power of comforting and supporting lies in its direct and immediate action upon the human soul. The same thing is true of some systems of philosophy of which Stoicism is the most conspicuous. The paradox of the Stoic that good and evil are so entirely from within that to a wise man all external circumstances are indifferent, represents this view of life in its extreme form. Its more moderate form can hardly be better expressed than in the saying of

-7-

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The Map of Life, Conduct, and Character
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Chapter I 1
  • Chapter II 7
  • Chapter III 19
  • Chapter IV 30
  • Chapter V 44
  • Chapter VI 62
  • Chapter VII 76
  • Chapter VIII 88
  • Chapter IX 108
  • Chapter X 136
  • Chapter XI 198
  • Chapter XIII Money 268
  • Chapter XIV Marriage 300
  • Chapter XV Success 316
  • Chapter XVI 328
  • Chapter XVII `The End' 343
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