John of Salisbury on Virtue and Happiness

“That purpose towards which all rational creatures turn is true happiness.  For in fact there is no one who does not wish to be happy; but those who desire this do not all advance along a single path.  A single route is laid out for all but it branches into many paths like a king’s highway.  This highway is virtue; for no one advances towards happiness except by way of virtue.  Perhaps one who lacks the works of virtue and is no doubt without works at all is attracted to happiness, but one never advances towards it except along the track of the virtues.  Virtue is, therefore, deserved of happiness; happiness rewards virtue.  And these are the greatest goods (summa bona): the one of the journey, the other of the homecoming.  For nothing surpasses virtue so long as the exile is a foreigner to God; nothing is better than happiness so long as the citizen is ruled by and rejoices with the Lord.” John of Salisbury, Policraticus VII. 8., ed. and trans. Cary J. Nederman (Cambridge 1990), p. 157.

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