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John Tillotson, Self-love and the Teleology of Happiness

Regina Maria Dal Santo    Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italia    



The idea of happiness in sermons in the long eighteenth century is examined, in particular the idea of moral reformation promoted by the Latitudinarian movement, which obtained relevant importance in the Church of England after the Restoration. The analysis focuses on Archbishop John Tillotson’s Sermons as they exemplify the Church’s position on Man’s relationship with God and happiness. His sermons describe Man as a traveller whose destination is happiness. They underline the role of reason and conscience in promoting human obedience to divine law, while insisting on self-love and its force to move the individual to moral reformation. Tillotson clearly addresses the malleable nature of Man, the part that can be educated to religion and to the promotion of sincerity and charitable activities. Seeking for happiness therefore endorses the improvement in the mores of society and potentially helps Man to gain God’s favour, which was considered lost after the Great Plague and the Great Fire of 1666. 

30 Giugno 2015
Copyright: © 2015 Regina Maria Dal Santo. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.