Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation

Jeremy Bentham

Chapter 2, Footnote #05
God's pleasure

The principle of theology refers every thing to God's pleasure. But what is God's pleasure? God does not, he confessedly does not now, either speak or write to us. How then are we to know what is his pleasure? By observing what is our own pleasure, and pronouncing it to be his. Accordingly, what is called the pleasure of God, is and must necessarily be (revelation apart) neither more nor less than the good pleasure of the person whoever he be, who is pronouncing what he believes, or pretends, to be God's pleasure. How know you it to be God's pleasure that such or such an act should be abstained from? whence come you even to suppose as much? “Because the engaging in it would, I imagine, be prejudicial upon the whole to the happiness of mankind”; says the partisan of the principle of utility: “Because the commission of it is attended with a gross and sensual, or at least with a trifling and transient satisfaction”; says the partizan of the principle of asceticism: “Because I detest the thoughts of it; and I cannot, neither ought I to be called upon to tell why”; says he who proceeds upon the principle of antipathy. In the words of one or other of these must that person necessarily answer (revelation apart) who professes to take for his standard the will of God.

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Ipml, Chapter 2 Of Principles Adverse to that of Utility