Chapter 6.—Why, When All Will to Be Blessed, that is Rather Chosen by Which One Withdraws from Being So.
9. Since, then, a blessed life consists of these two things, and is known to all, and dear to all; what can we think to be the cause why, when they cannot have both, men choose, out of these two, to have all things that they will, rather than to will all things well, even although they do not have them? Is it the depravity itself of the human race, in such wise that, while they are not unaware that neither is he blessed who has not what he wills, nor he who has what he wills wrongly, but he who both has whatsoever good things he wills, and wills no evil ones, yet, when both are not granted of those two things in which the blessed life consists, that is rather chosen by which one is withdrawn the more from a blessed life (since he certainly is further from it who obtains things which he wickedly desired, than he who only does not obtain the things which he desired); whereas the good will ought rather to be chosen, and to be preferred, even if it do not obtain the things which it seeks? For he comes near to being a blessed man, who wills well whatsoever he wills, and wills things, which when he obtains, he will be blessed. And certainly not bad things, but good, make men blessed, when they do so make them. And of good things he already has something, and that, too, a something not to be lightly esteemed,—namely, the very good will itself; who longs to rejoice in those good things of which human nature is capable, and not in the performance or the attainment of any evil; and who follows diligently, and attains as much as he can, with a prudent, temperate, courageous, and right mind, such good things as are possible in the present miserable life; so as to be good even in evils, and when all evils have been put an end to, and all good things fulfilled, then to be blessed.