I believe it to be a public duty to warn people against cheats, quacks, and impostors!
(J.C. Ryle, "HAPPINESS" 1878)
Happiness is what all mankind want to obtain — the desire for it is deeply planted in the human heart. All men naturally dislike pain, sorrow, and discomfort. All men naturally like ease, comfort, and gladness. All men naturally hunger and thirst after happiness. As the sick man longs for health — so does poor mortal man long to be happy.
But, alas, how few consider what they really mean, when they talk of happiness! How vague and indistinct and undefined are the ideas of most people are upon the subject! They think some are happy — who in reality are miserable; they think some are gloomy and sad — who in reality are truly happy. They dream of a happiness which in reality, would never satisfy their nature's needs.
I want to expose some common mistakes about the way to be happy.
There are several roads which are thought by many, to lead to happiness. In each of these roads, tens of thousands of men and women are continually traveling. Each imagine that if they could only attain all that they want — that they would be happy. And all alike seem ignorant that they are hunting shadows!
I will mention by name some of the principal delusions about happiness. I do it in love, and charity, and compassion to men's souls. I believe it to be a public duty to warn people against cheats, quacks, and impostors! Oh, how much trouble and sorrow it might save my readers, if they would only believe what I am going to say!