Of God and His Creatures

In Ethics and Natural Law, p. 91, it is shown why the whole business of temperance is to restrain. There is however an Epicurean temperance, which, taking pleasure to be happiness and the last end of man, at the same time recognises it to be attainable only under limitations, and so economises what it takes to to be the good wine of life, that it may not run out too fast. Temperance is quite intelligible even in the enjoyment of the last end, on the assumption that the last end is attainable only in small amounts, and may be exhausted by greediness. This view allows that the last end is in itself and in the abstract desirable eis apeiron, but only in the abstract; there being limits to its practical attainability. It is a point not to be taken for granted, that happiness, adequate to desire, is attainable at all. The attainability of perfect happiness is a theorem requiring proof; and proof of it is impossible, if the life of the world to come is not to enter into the discussion. See Chap. XLVIII: also Ethics and Natural Law, pp. 13-20. Waiving that discussion, however, the previous arguments, nn. 1, 3, 4, 5, avail to show that bodily pleasures are not the chief ingredient of the limited happiness possible to man on earth.

Of God and His Creatures: 3.27