Front Page Titles (by Subject) SHAFTESBURY An Inquiry Concerning Uirtue Or Merit - British Moralists, being Selections from Writers principally of the Eighteenth Century, vol. 1
Return to Title Page for British Moralists, being Selections from Writers principally of the Eighteenth Century, vol. 1
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
SHAFTESBURY An Inquiry Concerning Uirtue Or Merit - Lewis Amherst Selby-Bigge, British Moralists, being Selections from Writers principally of the Eighteenth Century, vol. 1 
British Moralists, being Selections from Writers principally of the Eighteenth Century, edited with an Introduction and analytical Index by L.A. Shelby-Bigge in two volumes (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1897). Vol. 1.
Part of: British Moralists, being Selections from Writers principally of the Eighteenth Century, 2 vols.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
SHAFTESBURY An Inquiry Concerning Uirtue Or Merit
[First printed, 1699. Reprinted in 'Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, and Times,' vol. ii 1711. Reprinted here from the fifth edition of the 'Characteristics,' 1732.]
ShaftesburyAn Inquiry concerning Virtue
BOOK I. Part II.
1 When we reflect on any ordinary Frame or Constltutmn either of Art or Nature; and consider how hard it is to give the least account of a particular Part, without a competent Knowledge of the Whole: we need not wonder to find our-selves at a loss in many things relating to the Constitution and Frame of Nature her-self. For to what End in Nature many things, even whole Species of Creatures, refer; or to what purpose they serve will be hard for any-one justly to determine: But to what End the many Propomons and various Shapes of Parts in many Creatures actually serve; we are able, by the help of Study and Observation, to demonstrate, with great exactness.
We know that every Creature has a private Good and Interest of his own; which Nature has compel'd him to seek, by all the Advantages afforded him, within the compass of his Make. We know that there is in reahty a right and a wrong State of every Creature; and that his right-one is by Nature forwarded, and by himself affectionately sought. There being therefore in every Creature a certain Interest or Good, there must be also a certain End, to which every thing in his Constitution must naturally refer. To this End, if any thing, either in his Appetites, Passions, or Affections, be not conducing, but the contrary we must of necessity own it ill to him. And in this manner he is ill, with respect to himself; as he certainly is, with respect to others of his kind, when any such Appetites or Passions make him any-way injurious to them. Now, if by the natural Constitution of any rational Creature, the same Irregularitys of Appetite which make him ill to Others, make him ill also to Himself; and if the same Regularity of Affectmns, which causes him to be good in one sense, causes him to be good also in the other; then is that Goodness by which he is thus useful to others, a real Good and Advantage to himself. And thus Virtue and Interest may be found at last to agree.
Of this we shall consider particularly in the latter part of our Inquiry. Our first Design is, to see if we can clearly determine what that Quality is to which we give the Name of Goodness, or Virtue.
2 Shou'd a Historian or Traveller describe to us a certain Creature of a more solitary Disposition than ever was yet heard of; one who had neither Mate nor Fellow of any kind nothing of his own Likeness, towards which he stood well-affected or inchn'd; nor any thing without, or beyond himself, for which he had the least Passion or Concern: we might be apt to say perhaps, without much hesitation,' That this was doubtless a very melancholy Creature, and that in this unsociable and sullen State he was he to have a very disconsolate kind of Life.' But if we were assur'd, that notwithstanding all Appearances, the Creature enjoyed himself extremely, had a great relish of Life, and was in nothing wanting to his own Good; we might acknowledge perhaps, 'That the Creature was no Monster, nor absurdly constituted as to himself.' But we should hardly, after all, be induc'd to say of him, 'That he was a good Creature.' However, shou'd it be urg'd against us, 'That such as he was, the Creature was still perfect in himself, and therefore to be esteem'd good: For what had he to do with others?, In this sense, indeed, we might be forc'd to acknowledge, 'That he was a good Creature; if he cou'd be understood to be absolute and complete in himself; without any real relation to any thing in the Universe besides.' For shou'd there be any where in Nature a System, of which this hving Creature was to be consider'd as a Part; then cou'd he no-wise be allow'd good; whilst he plainly appear'd to be such a Part, as made rather to the harm than good of that System or Whole in which he was included.
3 If therefore in the Structure of this or any other Animal, there be any thing which points beyond himself, and by which he is plainly discover'd to have relation to some other Being or Nature besides his own; then will this Animal undoubtedly be esteem'd a Part of some other System. For instance, if an Animal has the Proportions of a Male, it shews he has relation to a Female. And the respective Proportxons both of the Male and Female will be allow'd, doubtless, to have a joint-relation to another Existence and Order of things beyond themselves. So that the Creatures are both of 'em to be consxder'd as Parts of another System: which is that of a particular Race or Species of living Creatures, who have some one common Nature, or are provided for, by some one Order or Constitution of things subsisting together, and co-operating towards their Conservation, and Support.
In the same manner, if a whole Species of Animals contribute to the Existence or Well-being of some other; then is that whole Species, an general, a Part only of some other System.
For instance; To the Existence of the Spider, that of the Fly is absolutely necessary. The heedless Flight, weak Frame, and tender Body of this latter Insect, fit and determine him as much a Prey, as the rough Make, Watchfulness, and Cunning of the former, fit him for Rapine, and the ensnaring part. The Web and Wing are suted to each other. And in the Structure of each of these Ammals, there is as apparent and perfect a relation to the other, as in our own Bodys there is a relation of Limbs and Organs or, as in the Branches or Leaves of a Tree, we see a relation of each to the other, and all, in common, to one Root and Trunk.
In the same manner are Flies also necessary to the Existence of other Creatures, both Fowls and Fish. And thus are other Specms or Kinds subservient to one another; as being Parts of a certain System, and included in one and the same Order of Beings.
So that there is a System of all Animals; an Animal-Order or Œconomy, according to which the animal Affairs are regulated and dispos'd.
Now, if the whole System of Animals, together wxth that of Vegetables, and all other things in this inferior World, be properly comprehended in one System of a Globe or Earth: And if, again, this Globe or Earth it-self appears to have a real Dependence on something still beyond as, for example, either on its Sun, the Galaxy, or its Fellow-Planets; then is it in reality a Part only of some other System. And if it be allow'd, that there is in like manner a System of all Things, and a Universal Nature; there can be no particular Being or System which is not either good or ill in that general one of the Universe: For if it be insignificant and of no use, it is a Fault or Imperfection, and consequently ill in the general System.
4 Therefore if any Being be wholly and really Ill, it must be 111 with respect to the Universal System and then the System of the Universe is ill, or imperfect. But if the Ill of one private System be the Good of others; if it makes still to the Good of the general System, (as when one Creature lives by the Destruction of another; one thing is generated from the Corruption of another or one planetary System or Vortex may swallow up another) then is the Ill of that pnvate System no real Ill in it-self_ any more than the pain of breeding Teeth is ill, in a System or Body which is so constituted, that without this occasion of Pain, it wou'd suffer worse, by being defective.
So that we cannot say of any Being, that it is wholly and absolutely ill, unless we can positively shew and ascertain, that what we call Ill is no where Good besides, in any other System, or with respect to any other Order or Œconomy whatsoever.
But were there in the World any intire Species of Animals destructive to every other, it may be justly call'd an ill Species as being ill in the Animal-System. And if in any Species of Animals (as in Men, for example) one Man is of a nature pernicious to the rest, he is in this respect justly styl'd an ill Man.
5 We do not however say of any-one, that he is an ill Man because he has the Plague-Spots upon him, or because he has convulsive Fits which make him strike and wound such as approach him. Nor do we say on the other side, that he is a good Man, when having his Hands ty'd up, he is hinder'd from doing the Mischief he designs or (which is in a manner the same) when he abstains from executing his ill purpose, thro' a fear of some impending Punishment, or thro' the allurement of some exterior Reward.
So that in a sensible Creature, that which is not done thro' any Affection at all, makes neither Good nor Ill in the nature of that Creature; who then only is suppos'd Good, when the Good or Ill of the System to which he has relation, is the immediate Object of some Passion or Affection moving hma.
Since it is therefore by Affection merely that a Creature is esteem'd good or ill, natural or unnatural; our business will be, to examine which are the good and natural, and which the ill and unnatural Affections.
6 In the first place then, it may be observ'd, that if there be an Affection towards any Subject consider'd as private Good, which is1 not really such, but imaginary; that Affection, as being superfluous, and detracting from the Force of other requisite and good Affections, is in it-self vitious and ill, even in respect of the private Interest or Happiness of the Creature. If there can possibly be suppos'd in a Creature such an Affection towards Self-Good, as is actually, in its natural degree, conducing to his private Interest, and at the same time inconsistent with the publick Good; this may indeed be call'd still a vxtious Affection: And on this Supposition a Creature1 cannot really be good and natural in respect of his Society or Publick, without being ill and unnatural toward himself. But if the Affection be then only injurious to the Society, when it is immoderate, and not so when it is moderate, duly temper'd, and allay'd; then is the immoderate degree of the Affection truly vitious, but not the moderale. And thus, if there be found in any Creature a more than ordinary Self-concernment, or Regard to private Good, which is inconsistent with the Interest of the Species or Publick; this must in every respect be esteem'd an ill and viuous Affection. And this is what we commonly call1 Selfishness, and disapprove so much, in whatever Creature we happen to discover it. 7 On the other side, if the Affection towards private or Self-good, however selfish it may be esteem'd, is in reahty not only consistent with publick Good, but in some measure contributing to it; if it be such, perhaps, as for the good of the Species in general, every Individual ought to share; 'tis so far from being ill, or blameable in any sense, that it must be acknowledg'd absolutely necessary to constitute a Creature Good. For if the want of such an Affection as that towards Self-preservation, be injurious to the Species; a Creature is ill and unnatural as well thro' this Defect, as thro' the want of any other natural Affection. And this no-one wou'd doubt to pronounce, if he saw a Man who minded not any Precipices which lay in his way, nor made any distinction of Food, Diet, Clothing, or whatever else related to his Health and Being. The same wou'd be aver'd of one who had a Disposition which render'd him averse to any Commerce with Womankind, and of consequence unfitted him thro' Illness of Temper (and not merely thro' a Defect of Constitution) for the propagation of his Species or Kind.
8 Thus the Affection towards Self-good, may be a good Affection, or an ill-one. For if this private Affection be too strong, (as when the excessive Love of Life unfits a Creature for any generous Act) then is it undoubtedly vitious and if vitious, the Creature who is mov'd by it, is Vltlously mov'd, and can never be otherwise than vitious in some degree, when mov'd by that Affection. Therefore if thro' such an earnest and passionate Love of Life, a Creature be accidentally induc'd to do Good, (as he might be upon the same terms indue'd to do Ill) he is no more a good Creature for this Good he executes, than a Man is the more an honest or good Man e:ther for pleading a just Cause, or fighting in a good one, for the sake merely of his Fee or Stipend.
8 Whatsoever therefore is done which happens to be advan tageous to the Species, thro' an Affection merely towards Self-good, does not imply any more Goodness in the Creat me than as the Affection it-self is good. Let him, in any particuular, act ever so well; if at the bottom,:t be that selfish Affection alone which moves him he from himself shall various. Nor can any Creature be consider'd otherwise, when the Passion towards Self-good, the ever so moderate, is his real motive in the doing that, to which a natural Affection for his Kmd ought by right to have mclin'd him.
And indeed whatever exterior Helps or Succours an ill-dispos'd Creature may find, to push him on towards the performance of any one good Action; there can no Goodness arise in him, till his Temper be so far chang'd, that in the issue he comes in earnest to be led by some immediate Affection, directly, and not accidentally, to Good, and against Ill.
For instance; if one of those Creatures suppos'd to be by Nature tame, gentle, and favourable to Mankind, be, contrary to his natural Constitution, fierce and savage; we instantly remark the Breach of Temper, and own the Creature to be unnatural and corrupt. If at any time afterwards, the same Creature, by good Fortune or right Management, comes to lose his Faerceness, and is made tame, gentle, and treatable, like other Creatures of his Kind; 'tis acknowledg'd that the Creature thus restor'd becomes good and natural. Suppose, now, that the Creature has indeed a tame and gentle Carriage but that it proceeds only from the fear of his Keeper which if set aside, his predominant Passion instantly breaks out: then is his Gentleness not his real Temper; but, his true and genuine Nature or natural Temper remaimng just as it was, the Creature is still as ill as ever.
10 Nothing therefore being properly either Goodness or Illness in a Creature, except what is from natural Temper; 'A good Creature is such a one as by the natural Temper or Bent of has Affections is carry'd primarily and immediately, and not secondarily and accidentally, to Good, and against Ill:' And an ill Creature is just the contrary; viz. 'One who is wanting in right Affections, of force enough to carry him directly towards Good, and bear him out against Ill, or who is carry'd by other Affections directly to Ill, and against Good.'
When in general, all the Affections or Passions are suted to the publick Good, or good of the Species, as above-mention'd, then is the natural Temper entirely good. If, on the contrary, any requisite Passion be wanting, or if there be any one supernumerary, or weak, or any-wise disserviceable, or contrary to that main End; then is the natural Temper, and consequently the Creature himself, in some measure corrupt and ill.
There is no need of mentioning either Envy, Malice, Frowardness, or other such hateful Passions; to shew in what manner they are ill, and constitute an ill Creature. But it may be necessary perhaps to remark, that even as to Kindness and Love of the most natural sort, (such as that of any Creature for its Offspring) if it be immoderate and beyond a certain degree, it is undoubtedly vitious. For thus over-great Tenderness destroys the Effect of Love, and excessive Pity, renders us uncapable of giving succour. Hence the Excess of motherly Love is own'd to be a vinous Fondness; over-great Pity, Effeminacy and Weakness; over-great Concern for Self-preservatiou, Meanness and Cowardice; too httle, Rashness; and none at all, or that which is contrary, (viz. a Passion leading to Self-destruction) a mad and desperate Depravity.
11 But to proceed from what is esteem'd mere Goodness, and he's within the reach and capacity of all sensible Creatures, to that which is call'd VIRTUE or MERIT, and is allow'd to Man only.
In a Creature capable of forming general Notions of Things, not only the outward Beings which offer themselves to the Sense, are the Objects of the Affection but the very Actions themselves, and the Affections of Pity, Kindness, Gratitude, and their Contrarys, being brought into the Mind by Reflection, become Objects. So that, by means of this reflected Sense, there arises another kind of Affection towards those very Affections themselves, which have been already felt, and are now become the Subject of a new Liking or Dishke.
12 The Case is the same in mental or moral Subjects, as in ordinary Bodys, or tithe common Subjects of Sense. The Shapes, Motions, Colours, and Proportions of these latter being presented to our Eye; there necessarily results a1 Beauty or Deformity, according to the different Measure, Arrangement and Disposition of their several Parts. So in Behaviour and Actions, when presented to our Understanding, there must be found, of necessity, an apparent Difference, according to the Regularity or Irregularity of the Subjects.
The Mind, which is Spectator or Auditor of other Minds, cannot be without its Eye and Ear; so as to discern Proportion, distinguish Sound, and scan each Sentiment or Thought which comes before it. It can let nothing escape its Censure. It feels the Soft and Harsh, the Agreeable and Disagreeable, in the Affections; and finds a Foul and Fair, a Harmonious and a Dissonant, as really and truly here, as in any musical Numbers, or in the outward Forms or Representations of sensible Things. Nor can it1 with-hold its Admiration and Extasy, its Aversion and Scorn, any more in what relates to one than to the other of these Subjects. So that to deny the common and natural Sense of a SUBLIME and BEAUTIFUL in Things, will appear an Affectation merely, to any-one who considers duly of this Affair.
Now as in the sensible kind of Objects, the Species or Images of Bodys, Colours, and Sounds, are perpetually moving before our Eyes, and acting on our Senses, even when we sleep; so in the moral and intellectual kind, the Forms and Images of Things are no less active and incumbent on the Mind, at all Seasons, and even when the real Objects themselves are absent.
In these vagrant Characters or Pictures of Manners, which the Mind of necessity figures to it-self, and carrys still about with it, the Heart cannot possibly remain neutral; but constantly takes part one way or other. However false or corrupt it be within it-self, it finds the difference, as to Beauty and Comeliness, between one Heart and another, one Turn of Affection, one Behaviour, one Sentiment and another; and accordingly, in all disinterested Cases, must approve in some measure of what is natural and honest, and disapprove what is dishonest and corrupt.
Thus the several Motions, Inclinations, Passions, Dispositions, and consequent Carnage and Behaviour of Creatures in the various Parts of Life, being in several Views or Perspectives represented to the Mind, which readily discerns the Good and Ill towards the Species or Publick; there arises a new Trial or Exercise of the Heart: which must either rightly and soundly affect what is just and right, and disaffect what is contrary; or, corruptly affect what is ill, and disaffect what is worthy and good.
18 And in this Case alone it is we call any Creature worthy or virtuous, when it can have the Notion of a publick Interest, and can attain the Speculation or Science of what is morally good or ill, admirable or blameable, right or wrong. For the we may vulgarly call an ill Horse vitious, yet we never say of a good one, nor of any mere Beast, Idiot, or Changehng, the ever so good-natur'd, that he is worthy or virtuous.
So that if a Creature be generous, kind, constant, compassionate, yet if he cannot reflect on what he himself does, or sees others do, so as to take notice of what is worthy or honest; and make that Notice or Conception of Worth and Honesty to be an Object of his Affection; he has not the Character of being virtuous: for thus, and not otherwise, he is capable of having a Sense of Right or Wrong; a Sentiment or Judgment of what is done, thro' just, equal, and good Affection, or the contrary.
Whatsoever is done thro' any unequal Affection, IS iniquous, wicked, and wrong. If the Affection be equal, sound, and good, and the Subject of the Affection such as may with advantage to Society be ever in the same manner prosecuted, or affected; this must necessarily constitute what we call Equity and Right in any Action. For, WRONG is not such Action as is barely the Cause of Harm, (since at this rate a dutiful Son aiming at an Enemy, but by mistake or ill chance happening to kill his Father, wou'd do a Wrong) but when any thing is done thro' insufficient or unequal Affection, (as when a Son shews no Concern for the Safety of a Father or, where there is need of Succour, prefers an indifferent Person to him, this is the nature of Wrong).
14 Neither can any Weakness or Imperfection in the Senses be the occasion of iniquity or Wrong; if the Object of the Mind it-self be not at any time absurdly fram'd, nor any way improper, but sutable, just, and worthy of the Opinion and Affection apply'd to it. For if we will suppose a Man, who being sound and intire both in his Reason and Affection, has nevertheless so deprav'd a Constitution or Frame of Body, that the natural Objects are, thro' his Organs of Sense, as thro' ill Glasses, falsly convey'd and misrepresented; 'twill be soon observ'd, in such a Person's case, that since his Failure is not in his principal or leading Part; he cannot in himself be esteem'd iniquous, or unjust.
15 'Tis otherwise in what relates to Opinion, Belief, or Speculation. For as the Extravagance of Judgment or Belief is such, that in some Countrys even Monkeys, Cats, Crocodiles, and other vile or destructive Animals, have been esteem'd holy, and worshipp'd even as Deitys; shou'd it appear to any-one of the Religion or Belief of those Countrys, that to save such a Creature as a Cat, preferably to a Parent, was Right; and that other Men, who had not the same religious Opinion, were to be treated as Enemys, till converted this wou'd be certainly Wrong, and wicked in the Believer: and every Action, grounded on this Belief, wou'd be an iniquous, wicked, and vitious Action.
And thus whatsoever causes a Misconception or Misapprehension of the Worth or Value of any Object, so as to diminish a due, or raise any undue, irregular, or unsocial Affection, must necessarily be the occasion of Wrong. Thus he who affects or loves a Man for the sake of something which is reputed honourable, but which is in reality vitious, is himself vitious and ill. The beginnings of this Corruption may be noted in many Occurrences: As when an ambitious Man, by the Fame of his high Attempts, a Conqueror or a Pirate by his boasted Enterprizes, raises in another Person an Esteem and Admiration of that immoral and inhuman Character, which deserves Abhorrence: 'tis then that the Hearer becomes corrupt, when he secretly approves the Ill he hears. But on the other side, the Man who loves and esteems another, as believing him to have that Virtue which he has not, but only counterfeits, is not on this account either vitious or corrupt.
16 A Mistake therefore in Fact being no Cause or Sign of ill Affection, can be no Cause of Vice. But a Mistake of Right being the Cause of unequal Affection, must of necessity be the Cause of vitious Action, in every intelligent or rational Being.
But as there are many Occasions where the matter of Right may even to the most discerning part of Mankind appear difficult, and of doubtful Decision, 'tis not a slight Mistake of this kind which can destroy the Character of a virtuous or worthy Man. But when, either thro' Superstition or ill Custom, there come to be very gross Mistakes in the assignment or application of the Affection; when the Mistakes are either in their nature so gross, or so complicated and frequent, that a Creature cannot well live in a natural State; nor with due Affections, compatible with human Society and civil Life, then is the Character of Virtue forfeited.
17 And thus we find how far Worth and Virtue depend on a knowledge of Right and Wrong, and on a use of Reason, sufficient to secure a right application of the Affections; that nothing horrid or unnatural, nothing unexemplary, nothing destructive of that natural Affection by which the Species or Society is upheld, may, on any account, or thro' any Principle or Notion of Honour or Religion, be at any time affected or prosecuted as a good and proper object of Esteem. For such a Principle as this must be wholly vitious: and whatsoever is acted upon it, can be no other than Vice and Immorality. And thus if there be any thing which teaches Men either Treachery, Ingratitude, or Cruelty, by divine Warrant; or under colour and pretence of any present or future Good to Mankind: if there be any thing which teaches Men to persecute their Friends thro' Love; or to torment Captives of War in sport; or to offer human Sacrifice; or to torment, macerate, or mangle themselves, in a religious Zeal, before their God or to commit any sort of Barbarity, or Brutality, as amiable or becoming: be it Custom which gives Applause, or Religion which gives a Sanction; this is not, nor ever can be Virtue, of any kind, or in any sense; but must remain still horrid Depravity, notwithstanding any Fashion, Law, Custom, or Religion; which may be ill and vitious it-self, but can never alter the eternal Measures, and immutable independent Nature of Worth and Virtue.
18 Upon the whole. As to those Creatures which are only capable of being mov'd by sensible Objects; they are accordingly good or vitious, as the sensible Affections stand with them. 'Tis otherwise in Creatures capable of framing rational Objects of moral Good. For in one of this kind, shou'd the sensible Affections stand ever so much amiss; yet if they prevail not, because of those other rational Affections spoken of; 'tis evident, the Temper still holds good in the main; and the Person is with justice esteem'd virtuous by all Men.
19 More than this. If by Temper any one is passionate, angry, fearful, amorous; yet resists these Passions, and notwithstanding the force of their Impression, adheres to Virtue; we say commonly in this case, that the Virtue is the greater; and we say well. Tho if that which restrains the Person, and holds him to a virtuous-like Behaviour, be no Affection towards Goodness or Virtue it-self, but towards private Good merely, he is not in reality the more virtuous; as has been shewn before. But this still is ewdent, that if voluntarily, and without foreign Constraint, an angry Temper bears, or an amorous one refrains, so that neither any cruel or immodest Action can be forc'd from such a Person, the ever so strongly tempted by his Constitution; we applaud his Virtue above what we shou'd naturally do, if he were free of this Temptation, and these Propensitys. At the same time, there is no body will say that a Propensity to Vice can be an Ingredient in Virtue, or any way necessary to compleat a virtuous Character.
There seems therefore to be some kind of difficulty in the Case: but it amounts only to this. If there be any part of the Temper in which ill Passions or Affections are seated, whilst in another part the Affections towards moral Good are such as absolutely to master those Attempts of their Antagonists; this is the greatest Proof imaginable, that a strong Principle of Virtue lies at the bottom, and has possess'd it-self of the natural Temper. Whereas if there be no ill Passions stirring, a Person may he indeed more cheaply virtuous; that as to say, he may conform himself to the known Rules of Virtue, without sharing so much of a virtuous Principle as another. Yet if that other Person, who has the Principle of Virtue so strongly implanted, comes at last to lose those contrary Impediments suppos'd in him, he certainly loses nothing in Virtue; but on the contrary, losing only what is vitious in his Temper, is left more intire to Virtue, and possesses it in a higher degree.
20 Thus is Virtue shar'd in different degrees by rational Creatures; such at least as are call'd rational; but who come short of that sound and well-establish'd Reason, which alone can constitute a just Affection, a uniform and steddy Will and Resolution. And thus Vice and Virtue are found variously mix'd, and alternately prevalent in the several Characters of Mankind. For It seems evident from our Inquiry, that how ill soever the Temper or Passions may stand with respect either to the sensible or the moral Objects; however passionate, furious, lustful, or cruel any Creature may become; however vitious the Mind be, or whatever ill Rules or Principles it goes by; yet if there be any Flexibleness or favourable Inclination towards the least moral Object, the least appearance of moral Good, (as if there be any such thing as Kindness, Gratitude, Bounty, or Compassion) there is still something of Virtue left; and the Creature is not wholly vitious and unnatural.
Thus a Ruffian, who out of a sense of Fidelity and Honour of any kind, refuses to discover his Associates; and rather than betray them, is content to endure Torments and Death; has certainly some Principle of Virtue, however he may misapply it. 'Twas the same Case with that Malefactor, who rather than do the Office of Executioner to his Companions, chose to keep 'em company in their Execution.
In short: As it seems hard to pronounce of any Man,' That he is absolutely an Atheist;' so it appears altogether as hard to pronounce of any Man, 'That he is absolutely corrupt or vitious;' there being few, even of the horridest Villains, who have not something of Virtue in this imperfect sense. Nothing is more just than a known saying, 'That it is as hard to find a Man wholly Ill, as wholly Good:' because wherever there is any good Affection left, there is certainly some Goodness or Virtue still in being.
And, having consider'd thus of Virtue, What it is in it-self; we may now consider how it stands with respect to the Opinions concerning a Deity, as above-mention'd.
BOOK I. Part III.
21 The Nature of Virtue consisting (as has been explain'd) in a certain just Disposition, or proportionable Affection of a rational Creature towards the moral Objects of Right and Wrong; nothing can possibly in such a Creature exclude a Principle of Virtue, or render it ineffectual, except what,
On the other side, nothing can assist, or advance the Principle of Virtue, except what either in some manner nourishes and promotes a Sense of Right and Wrong; or preserves it genuine and uncorrupt; or causes it, when such, to be obey'd, by subduing and subjecting the other Affections to it.
We are to consider, therefore, how any of the above-mention'd Opinions on the Subject of a Deity, may influence in these Cases, or produce either of these three Effects.
I. As to the first Case; The taking away the natural Sense of Right and Wrong.
It will not surely be understood, that by this is meant the taking away the Notion of what is good or ill in the Species, or Society. For of the Reality of such a Good and Ill, no rational Creature can possibly be insensible. Every one discerns and owns a publick Interest, and is conscious of what affects his Fellowship or Community. When we say therefore of a Creature, 'That he has wholly lost the Sense of Right and Wrong; we suppose that being able to discern the Goad and Ill of his Species, he has at the same time no Concern for either, nor any Sense of Excellency or Baseness in any moral Action, relating to one or the other. So that except merely with respect to a private and narrowly confin'd Self-good, 'tis suppos'd there is in such a Creature no Liking or Dislike of Manners; no Admiration, or Love of any thing as morally good; nor Hatred of any thing as morally ill, he it ever so unnatural or deform'd.
There is in reality no rational Creature whatsoever, who knows not that when he voluntarily offends or does harm to anyone, he cannot fail to create an Apprehension and Fear of like harm, and consequently a Resentment and Animosity in every Creature who observes him. So that the Offender must needs be conscious of being liable to such Treatment from every-one, as if he had in some degree offended All.
Thus Offence and Injury are always known as punishable by every-one; and equal Behaviour, which is therefore call'd Merit, as rewardable and well-deserving from every-one. Of this even the wickedest Creature living must have a Sense. So that if there be any further meaning in this Sense of Right and Wrong; if in reality there be any Sense of this kind which an absolute wicked Creature has not; it must consist in a real Antipathy or Aversion to Injustice or Wrong, and in a real Affection or Love towards Equity and Right, for its own sake, and on the account of its own natural Beauty and Worth.
22 'Tis impossible to suppose a mere sensible Creature originally so ill-constituted, and unnatural, as that from the moment he comes to be try'd by sensible Objects, he shou'd have no one good Passion towards his Kind, no foundation either of Pity, Love, Kindness, or social Affection. 'Tis full as impossible to conceive, that a rational Creature coming first to be try'd by rational Objects, and receiving into his Mind the Images or Representations of Justice, Generosity, Gratitude, or other Virtue, shou'd have no Liking of these, or Dislike of their contrarys; but be found absolutely indifferent towards whatsoever is presented to him of this sort. A Soul, indeed, may as well be without Sense, as without Admiration in the Things of which it has any knowledg. Coming therefore to a Capacity of seeing and admiring in this new way, it must needs find a Beauty and a Deformity as well in Actions, Minds, and Tempers, as in Figures, Sounds, or Colours. If there be no real Amiableness or Deformity in moral Acts, there is at least an imaginary one of full force. Tho perhaps the Thing itself shou'd not be allow'd in Nature, the Imagination or Fancy of it must be allow'd to be from Nature alone. Nor can any thing besides Art and strong Endeavour, with long Practice and Meditation, overcome such a natural Prevention, or Prepossession of the Mind, in favour of this moral Distinction.
23 Sense of Right and Wrong therefore being as natural to us as natural Affection itself, and being a first Principle in our Constitution and Make; there is no speculative Opinion, Persuasion or Belief, which is capable immediately or directly to exclude or destroy it. That which is of original and pure Nature, nothing beside contrary Habit and Custom (a second Nature) is able to displace. And this Affection being an original one of earliest rise in the Soul or affectionate Part; nothing beside contrary Affection, by frequent check and controul, can operate upon it, so as either to diminish it in part, or destroy it in the whole.
'Tis evident in what relates to the Frame and Order of our Bodys; that no particular odd Mein or Gesture, which is either natural to us, and consequent to our Make, or accidental and by Habit acquir'd, can possibly be overcome by our immediate Disapprobation, or the contrary Bent of our Will, ever so strongly set against it. Such a Change cannot be effected without extraordinary Means, and the intervention of Art and Method, a strict Attention, and repeated Check. And even thus, Nature, we find, is hardly mastcr'd; but lies sullen, and ready to revolt, on the first occasion. Much more is this the Mind's Case in respect of that natural Affection and anticipating Fancy, which makes the sense of Right and Wrong. 'Tis impossible that this can instantly, or without much Force and Violence, be effac'd, or struck out of the natural Temper, even by means of the most extravagant Belief or Opinion in the World.
Neither Theism therefore, nor Atheism, nor Dœmonism, nor any religious or irreligious Belief of any kind, being able to operate immediately or directly in this Case, but indirectly, by the intervention of opposite or of favourable Affections casually excited by any such Belief; we may consider of this Effect in our last Case, where we come to examine the Agreement or Disagreement of other Affections with this natural and moral one which relates to Right and Wrong.
24 II. As to the second Case, viz. The Wrong Sense or false Imagination of Right and Wrong.
This can proceed only from the Force of Custom and Education in opposition to Nature; as may be noted in those Countrys where, according to Custom or politick Institution, certain Actions naturally foul and odious are repeatedly view'd with Applause, and Honour ascrib'd to them. For thus 'tis possible that a Man, forcing himself, may eat the Flesh of his Enemys, not only against his Stomach, but against his Nature; and think it nevertheless both right and honourable; as supposing it to be of considerable service to his Community, and capable of advancing the Name, and spreading the Terror of his Nation.
But to speak of the Opinions relating to a Deity; and what effect they may have in this place. As to Atheism, it does not seem that it can directly have any effect at all towards the setting up a false Species of Right or Wrong. For notwithstanding a Man may thro' Custom, or by licentiousness of Practice, favour'd by Atheism, come in time to lose much of his natural moral Sense; yet it does not seem that Atheism shou'd of it-self be the cause of any estimation or valuing of any thing as fair, noble, and deserving, which was the contrary. It can never, for instance, make it be thought that the being able to eat Man's Flesh, or commit Bestiality, is good and excellent in it-self. But this is certain, that by means of corrupt Religion, or Superstition, many things the most horridly unnatural and inhuman, come to be receiv'd as excellent, good, and laudable in themselves.* * * * * * *
As to this second Case therefore; Religion (according as the kind may prove) is capable of doing great Good, or Harm; and Atheism nothing positive in either way. For however it may be indirectly an occasion of Mens losing a good and sufficient Sense of Right and Wrong; it will not, as Atheism merely, be the occasion of setting up a false Species of it; which only false Religion, or fantastical Opinion, deriv'd commonly from Superstition and Credulity, is able to effect.
25 Now as to the last Case, The Opposition made by other Affections to the natural Sense of Right and Wrong.
'Tis evident, that a Creature having this sort of Sense or good Affection in any degree, must necessarily act according to it; if it happens not to be oppos'd, either by some settled sedate Affection towards a conceiv'd private Good, or by some sudden, strong and forcible Passion, as of Lust or Anger, which may not only subdue the Sense of Right and Wrong, but the very Sense of private Good itself; and overrule even the most familiar and receiv'd Opinion of what is conducing to Self-interest.
But it is not our business in this place to examine the several Means or Methods by which this Corruption is intro-duc'd or increas'd. We are to consider only how the Opinions concerning a Deity can influence one way or another.
That it is possible for a Creature capable of using Reflection, to have a Liking or Dislike of moral Actions, and consequently a Sense of Right and Wrong, before such time as he may have any settled Notion of a God, is what will hardly be question'd: it being a thing not expected, or any-way possible, that a Creature such as Man, arising from his Childhood, slowly and gradually, to several degrees of Reason and Reflection, shou'd, at the very first, be taken up with those Speculations, or more refin'd sort of Reflections, about the Subject of God's Existence.
Let us suppose a Creature, who wanting Reason, and being unable to reflect, has, notwithstanding, many good Qualitys and Affections; as Love to his Kind, Courage, Gratitude, or _Pity. 'Tis certain that if you give to this Creature a reflecting Faculty, it will at the same instant approve of Gratitude, Kindness, and Pity; be taken with any shew or representation of the social Passion, and think nothing more amiable than this, or more odious than the contrary. And this is to be capable of Virtue, and to have a Sense of Right and Wrong.
Before the time, therefore, that a Creature can have any plain or positive Notion one way or other, concerning the Subject of a God, he may be suppos'd to have an Apprehension or Sense of Rigth and Wrong, and be possess'd of Virtue and Vice in different degrees; as we know by Experience of those, who having liv'd in such places, and in such a manner as never to have enter'd into any serious Thoughts of Religion, are nevertheless very different among themselves, as to their Characters of Honesty and Worth: some being naturally modest, kind, friendly, and consequently Lovers of kind and friendly Actions; others proud, harsh, cruel, and consequently inclin'd to admire rather the Acts of Violence and mere Power.* * * * * * *
Book II. Part I.
26 We have consider'd what Virtue is, and to whom the Character belongs. It remains to require, What Obligation there is to Virtue. or what Reason to embrace it.
We have found, that to deserve the name of good or virtuous, a Creature must have all his Inclinations and. Affections, his Dispositions of Mind and Temper, sutable, and agreeing with the Good of his Kind, or of that System in which he is included, and of which he constitutes a Part. To stand thus well affected, and to have one's Affections right and intire, not only in respect of one's self, but of Society and the Publick: This is Rectitude, Integrity, or Virtue. And to be wanting in any of these, or to have their Contrarys, is Depravity, Corruption, and Vice.
It has been already shewn, that in the Passions and Affections of particular Creatures, there is a constant relation to the Interest of a Species, or common Nature. This has been demonstrated in the case of natural Affection, parental Kindness, Zeal for Posterity, Concern for the Propagation and Nurture of the Young, Love of Fellowship and Company, Compassion, mutual Succour, and the rest of this kind. Nor will any-one deny that this Affection of a Creature towards the Good of the Species or common Nature, in as proper and natural to him, as it is to any Organ, Part or Member of an Animal-Body, or mere Vegetable, to work in its known Course, and regular way of Growth. 'Tis not more natural for the Stomach to digest, the Lungs to breathe, the Glands to separate Juices, or other Intrails to perform their several Offices; however they may by particular Impediments be sometimes disorder'd, or obstructed in their Operations.
27 There being allow'd therefore in a Creature such Affections as these towards the common Nature, or System of the Kind, together with those other which regard the private Nature, or Self-system; it will appear that in following the first of these Affections, the Creature must on many Occasions contradict and go against the latter. How else shou'd the Species be preserv'd? Or what wou'd signify that implanted natural Affection, by which a Creature thro' so many Difficultys and Hazards preserves its Offspring, and supports its Kind?
It may therefore be imagin'd, perhaps, that there is a plain and absolute Opposition between these two Habits or Affections. It may be presum'd, that the pursuing the common Interest or publiek Good thro' the Affections of one kind, must be a hindrance to the Attainment of private Good thro' the Affections of another. For it being taken for granted, that Hazards and Hardships, of whatever sort, are naturally the Ill of the private State; and it being certainly the Nature of those publick Affections to lead often to the greatest Hardships and Hazards of every kind; 'tis presently infer'd, 'That 'tis the Creature's Interest to be without any publick Affection whatsoever.'
28 This we know for certain; That all social Love, Friendship, Gratitude, or whatever else is of this generous kind, does by its nature take place of the self-interesting Passions, draws us out of ourselves, and makes us disregardful of our own Convenience and Safety. So that according to a known way of reasoning on Self-interest, that which is of a social kind in us, shou'd of right be abolish'd. Thus Kindness of every sort, Indulgence, Tenderness, Compassion, and in short, all natural Affection shou'd be industriously suppress'd, and, as mere Folly, and Weakness or Nature, be resisted and overcome; that, by this means, there might be nothmg remaining in us, which was contrary to a direct Self-end; nothing which might stand in opposition to a steddy and deliberate Pursuit of the most narrowly confin'd Self-interest.
According to this extraordinary Hypothesis, it must be taken for granted, 'That in the System of a Kind or Species, the Interest of the private Nature is directly opposite to that of the common one; the Interest of Particulars directly opposite to that of the Publick in general.'— A strange Constitution! in which it must be confess'd there is much Disorder and Untowardness; unlike to what we observe elsewhere in Nature. As if in any vegetable or animal Body, the Part or Member cou'd be suppos'd in a good and prosperous State as to it-self, when under a contrary Disposition, and in an unnatural Growth or Habit as to its Whole.
Now that this is in reality quite otherwise, we shall endeavour to demonstrate; so as to make appear, 'That what Men represent as an ill Order and Constitution in the Universe, by making moral Rectitude appear the Ill, and Depravity the Good or Advantage of a Creature, is in Nature just the contrary. That to be well affected towards the Public Interest and one's own, is not only consistent, but inseparable; and that moral Rectitude, or Virtue, must accordingly be the Advantage, and Vice the Injury and Disadvantage of every Creature.'
29 There are few perhaps, who when they consider a Creature void of natural Affection, and wholly destitute of a communicative or social Principle, will suppose him, at the same time, either tolerably happy in himself, or as he stands abroad, with respect to his Fellow-Creatures or Kind. 'Tis generally thought, that such a Creature as this, feels slender Joy in Life, and finds little Satisfaction in the mere sensual Pleasures which remain with him, after the Loss of social Enjoyment, and whatever can be call'd Humanity or Good-nature. We know that to such a Creature as this, 'tis not only incident, to be morose, rancorous and malignant; but that, of necessity, a Mind or Temper thus destitute of Mildness and Benighity, must turn to that which is contrary, and be wrought by Passions of a different kind. Such a Heart as this must be a continual Seat of perverse Inclinations and bitter Aversions, rais'd from a constant ill Humour, Sourness, and Disquiet. The Consciousness of such a Nature, so obnoxious to Mankind, and to all Beings which approach it, must overcloud the Mind with dark Suspicion and Jealousy, alarm it with Fears and Horror, and raise in it a continual Disturbance, even in the most seeming fair and secure State of Fortune, and in the highest degree of outward Prosperity.
This, as to the compleat immoral State, is what, of their own accord, Men readdy remark. Where there is this absohtle Degeneracy, this total Apostacy from all Candour, Eqmty, Trust, Sociableness, or Friendship; there are few who do not see and acknowledg the Misery which is consequent. Seldom is the Case misconstru'd, when at worst. The misfortune is, we look not on this Depravity, nor consider how it stands, in less degrees. The Calamity, we think, does not of necessity hold proportion with the Injustice or Iniquity. As if to be absolutely immoral and inhuman, were indeed the greatest misfortune and misery; but that to be so, in a little degree, shou'd be no misery nor harm at all! Which to allow, is just as reasonable as to own, that 'tis the greatest Ill of a Body to be in the utmost manner distorted and maim'd; but that to lose the use only of one Limb, or to be impair'd in some one single Organ or Member, is no Inconvenience or Ill worthy the least notice.
30 The Parts and Proportions of the Mind, their mutual Relation and Dependency, the Connexion and Frame of those Passions which constitute the Soul or Temper, may easily be understood by any-one who thinks it worth his while to study this inward Anatomy. 'Tis certain that the Order or Symmetry of this inward Part is, in it-self, no less real and exact, than that of the Body. However, 'tis apparent that few of us endeavour to become Anatomists of this sort. Nor is any-one asham'd of the deepest Ignorance in such a Subject. For tho the greatest Misery and Ill is generally own'd to be from Disposition, and Temper; the 'tis allow'd that Temper may often change, and that it actually varys on many occasions, much to our disadvantage yet how this Matter is brought about, we inquire not. We never trouble our-selves to consider thorowly by what means or methods our inward Constitution comes at any time to be impair'd or injur'd. The Solutio Continui, which bodily Surgeons talk of, is never apply'd in this case, by Surgeons of another sort. The Notion of a Whole and Parts is not apprehended in this Science. We know not what the effect is, of straining any Affection, indulging any wrong Passion, or relaxing any proper and natural Habit, or good Inclination. Nor can we conceive how a particular Action shou'd have such a sudden Influence on the whole Mind, as to make the Person an immediate Sufferer. We suppose rather that a Man may violate his Faith, commit any Wickedness unfamiliar to him before, engage in any Vice or Villany, without the least prejudice to himself, or any Misery naturally following from the ill Action. 'Tis thus we hear it often said, 'Such a Person has done ill indeed: But what is he the worse for it?' Yet speaking of any Nature thorowly savage, curst, and inveterate, we say truly, 'Such a one is a plague and torment to himself:' And we allow, 'That thro' certain Humours, or Passions, and from Temper merely, a Man may be compleatly miserable; let his outward Circumstances be ever so fortunate.' These different Judgments sufficiently demonstrate that we are not accustom'd to think with much coherency on these moral Subjects; and that our Notions, in this respect, are not a little confus'd, and contradictory.
Now if the Fabrick of the Mind or Temper appear'd such to us as it really is; if we saw it impossible to remove hence any one good or orderly Affection, or introduce any ill or disorderly one, without drawing on, in some degree, that dissolute State, which at its height is confess'd to be so miserable: 'twou'd then undoubtedly be own'd, that since no ill, immoral, or unjust Action cou'd be committed without either a new inroad and breach on the Temper and Passions, or a farther advancing of that Execution already begun; whoever did ill, or acted in prejudice of his Integrity, Good-nature, or Worth, wou'd of necessity act with greater Cruelty towards himself, than he who scrupled not to swallow what was poisonous, or who with his own hands shou'd voluntarily mangle or wound his outward Form or Constitution, natural Limbs or Body.
31 It has been shewn before, that no Animal can be said properly to act, otherwise than thro' Affections or Passions, such as are proper to an Animal. For in convulsive Fits, where a Creature strikes either himself or others, 'tis a simple Mechanism, an Engine, or Piece of Clock-work, which acts, and not the Animal.
Whatsoever therefore is done or acted by any Ammal as such, is done only thro' some Affection or Passion, as of Fear, Love, or Hatred moving him.
32 And as it is impossible that a weaker Affection shou'd overcome a stronger, so it is impossible but that where the Affections or Passions are strongest in the main, and form in general the most' considerable Party, either by their Force or Number; thither the Animal must incline: And according to this Balance he must be govern'd, and led to Action.
The Affections or Passions which must influence and govern the Animal, are either,
I. The natural Affections, which lead to the Good of The Publick.
2 Or the Self-affections, which lead only to the Good of The Private.
3 Or such as are neither of these; nor tending either to any Good of the Publick or Private but contrary-wise: and which may therefore be justly styl'd unnatural Affections.
So that according as these Affections stand, a Creature must be virtuous or vitious, good or ill.
The latter sort of these Affections, 'tis evident, are wholly vitious. The two former may be vitious or virtuous, according to their degree.
33 It may seem strange, perhaps, to speak of natural Affections as too strong, or of Self-affections as too weak. But to clear this Difficulty, we must call to mind what has been already explain'd, 'That natural Affection may, in particular Cases, be excessive, and in an unnatural degree:' As when Pity is so overcoming as to destroy its own End, and prevent the Succour and Relief requir'd; or as when Love to the Offspring proves such a Fondness as destroys the Parent, and consequently the Offspring it-self. And notwithstanding it may seem harsh to call that unnatural and vitious, which is only an Extreme of some natural and kind Affection; yet 'tis most certain, that where-ever any single good Affection of this sort is over-great, it must be injurious to the rest, and detract in some measure from their Force and natural Operation. For a Creature possess'd with such an immoderate Degree of Passion, must of necessity allow too much to that one, and too little to others of the same Character, and equally natural and useful as to their End. And this must necessarily be the occasion of Partiality and Injustice, whilst only one Duty or natural Part is earnestly follow'd; and other Parts or Dutys neglected, which shou'd accompany it, and perhaps take place and be prefer'd.
34 Now as in particular Cases, publick Affection, on the one hand, may be too high; so private Affection may, on the other hand, be too weak. For if a Creature be self-neglectful, and insensible of Danger; or if he want such a degree of Passion in any kind, as is useful to preserve, sustain, or defend himself, this must certainly be esteem'd vitious, in regard of the Design and End of Nature. She her-self discovers this in her known Method and stated Rule of Operation. 'Tis certain, that her provisionary Care and Concern for the whole Animal, must at least be equal to her Concern for a single Part or Member. Now to the several Parts she has given, we see proper Affections, sutable to their Interest and Security; so that even without our Consciousness, they act in their own Defense, and for their own Benefit and Preservation. Thus an Eye, in its natural State, fails not to shut together, of its own accord, unknowingly to us, by a peculiar Caution and Timidity; which if it wanted, however we might intend the Preservation of our Eye, we shou'd not in effect be able to preserve it, by any Observation or Forecast of our own. To be wanting therefore in those principal Affections, which respect the Good of the whole Constitution, must be a Vice and Imperfection, as great surely in the principal part, (the Soul or Temper) as it is in any of those inferior and subordinate parts, to want the self-preserving Affections which are proper to them.
And thus the Affections towards private Good become necessary and essential to Goodness. For tho no Creature can be call'd good, or virtuous, merely for possessing these Affections; yet since at is impossible that the publick Good, or Good of the System, can be preserv'd without them; it follows that a Creature really wanting in them, is in reality wanting in some degree to Goodness and natural Rectitude; and may thus be esteem'd vitious and defective.
'T is thus we say of a Creature, in a kind way of Reproof, that he is too good; when has Affection towards others is so warm and zealous, as to carry him even beyond his Part; or when he really acts beyond it, not thro' too warm a Passion of that sort, but thro' an over-cool one of another, or thro' want of some Self-passion to restrain him within due Bounds.
35 It may be objected here, that the having the natural Affections too strong, (where the Self-affections are over-much so) or the having the Self-affections defective or weak, (where the natural Affections are also weak) may prove upon occasion the only Cause of a Creature's acting honestly and in moral proportion. For, thus, one who is to a fault regardless of his Life, may with the smallest degree of natural Affection do all which can be expected from the highest Pitch of social Love, or zealous Friendship. And thus, on the other hand, a Creature excessively timorous may, by as exceeding a degree of natural Affection, perform whatever the perfectest Courage is able to inspire.
To this it is answer'd, That whenever we arraign any Passion as too strong, or complain of any as too weak; we must speak with respect to a certain Constitution or Œconomy of a particular Creature, or Species. For if a Passion, leading to any right end, be only so much the more serviceable and effectual, for being strong; if we may be assur'd that the strength of it will not be the occasion of any disturbance within, nor of any disproportion between it self and other Affections; then consequently the Passion, however strong, cannot be condemn'd as vitious. But if to have all the Passions in equal proportion with it, be what the Constitution of the Creature cannot bear; so that only some Passions are rais'd to this height, whilst others are not, nor can possibly be wrought up to the same proportion; then may those strong Passions, the of the better kind, be call'd excessive. For being in unequal proportion to the others, and causing an ill Balance in the Affection at large, they must of course be the occasion of Inequality in the Conduct, and incline the Party to a wrong moral Practice.
36 But having shewn what is meant by a Passion's being in too high, or in too low a degree; and that, 'To have any natural Affection too high, or any Self-affection too low,' tho it be often approv'd as Virtue, is yet, strictly speaking, a Vice and Imper fection: we come now to the plainer and more essential part of Vice, and which alone deserves to be consider'd as such: that is to say,
Otherwise than thus, it is impossible any Creature can be such as we call ILL or VITIOUS. So that If once we prove that it is really not the Creature's Interest to be thus vitiously affected, but contrariwise; we shall then have pray'd, 'That it is his Interest to be wholly Good and Virtuous:' Since in a wholesom and sound State of his Affections, such as we have describ'd, he cannot passibly be other than sound, good and virtuous, in his Action and Behaviour.
37 Our Business, therefore, will be, to prove;
38 To begin therefore with this Proof, 'That to haw the Natural Affections (such as are founded in Love, Complacency, Good-will, and in a Sympathy with the Kind or Species) is to have the chief Means and Power of Self-enjoyment: And That to want them is certain Misery and Ill.'
We may inquire, first, what those are, which we call Pleasures or Satisfactions; from whence happiness is generally computed. They are (according to the common distinction) Satisfactions and Pleasures either of the Body, or of the Mind.
39 That the latter of these Satisfactions are the greatest, is allow'd by most People, and may be prov'd by this: That whenever the Mind, having conceiv'd a high Opinion of the Worth of any Action or Behaviour, has receiv'd the strongest Impression of this sort, and is wrought up to the highest pitch or degree of Passion towards the Subject; at such time it sets itself above all bodily Pain as well as Pleasure, and can be no-way deverted from its purpose by Flattery or Terror of any kind. Thus we see Indians, Barbarians, Malefactors, and even the most execrable Villains, for the sake of a particular Gang or Society, or thro' some cherish'd Notion or Principle of Honour or Gallantry, Revenge, or Gratitude, embrace any manner of Hardship, and defy Torments and Death. Whereas, on the other hand, a Person being plac'd in all the happy Circumstances of outward Enjoyment, surrounded with every thing which can allure or charm the Sense, and being then actually in the very moment of such a pleasing Indulgence; yet no sooner is there any thing amiss within, no sooner has he conceiv'd any internal Ail or Disorder, any thing inwardly vexatious or distemper'd, than instantly his Enjoyment ceases, the pleasure of sense is at an end; and every means of that sort becomes ineffectual, and is rejected as uneasy, and subject to give Distaste.
The Pleasures of the Mind being allow'd, therefore, superior to those of the Body; it follows, 'That whatever can create in any intelligent Being a constant flowing Series or Train of mental Enjoyment, or Pleasures of the Mind, is more considerable to his Happiness, than that which can create to him a like constant Course or Train of sensual Enjoyments, or Pleasures of the Body.'
40 Now the mental Enjoyments are either actually very natural Affections themselves in their immediate Operation: Or they wholly in a manner proceed from them, and are no other than their Effects.
If so; it follows, that the natural Affections duly establish'd in a rational Creature, being the only means which can procure him a constant Series or Succession of the mental Enjoyments, they are the only means which can procure him a certain and solid Happiness.
41 Now, in the first place, to explain, 'How much the natural Affections are in themselves the highest Pleasures and Enjoyments:' There shou'd methinks be little need of proving this to any-one of human Kind, who has ever known the Condition of the Mind under a lively Affection of Love, Gratitude, Bounty, Generosity, Pity, Succour, or whatever else is of a social or friendly sort. He who has ever so little Knowledge of human Nature, is sensible what pleasure the Mind perceives when it is touch'd in this generous way. The difference we find between Solitude and Company, between a common Company and that of Friends; the reference of almost all our Pleasures to mutual Converse, and the dependence they have on Society either present or imagin'd; all these are sufficient Proofs in our behalf.
How much the social Pleasures are superior to any other, may be known by visible Tokens and Effects. The very outward Features, the Marks and Signs which attend this sort of Joy, are expressive of a more intense, clear, and undisturb'd Pleasure, than those which attend the Satisfaction of Thirst, Hunger, and other ardent Appetites. But more particularly still may this Superiority be known, from the actual Prevalence and Ascendency of this sort of Affection over all besides. Where-ever it presents it-self with any advantage, it silences and appeases every other Motion of Pleasure. No Joy, merely of Sense, can be a Match for it. Whoever is Judg of both the Pleasures, will ever give the preference to the former. But to be able to judg of both, 'tis necessary to have a Sense of each. The honest Man indeed can judg of sensual Pleasure, and knows its utmost Force. For neither is his Taste, or Sense the duller; but, on the contrary, the more intense and clear, on the account of his Temperance, and a moderate Use of Appetite. But the immoral and profligate Man can by no means be allow'd a good Judg of social Pleasure, to which he is so mere a Stranger by his Nature.
Nor is it any Objection here; That in many Natures the good Affection, the really present, is found to be of insufficient force. For where it is not in its natural degree, 'tis the same indeed as if it were not or had never been. The less there is of this good Affection in any untoward Creature, the greater the wonder is, that it shou'd at any time prevail; as in the very worst of Creatures it sometimes will. And if it prevails but for once, in any single Instance it shews evidently, that if the Affection were thorowly experienc'd or known, it wou'd prevail in all.
Thus the Charm of kind Affection is superior to all other Pleasure: since it has the power of drawing from every other Appetite or Inclination. And thus in the Case of Love to the Offspring, and a thousand other Instances, the Charm is found to operate so strongly on the Temper, as, in the midst of other Temptations, to render it susceptible of this Passion alone; which remains as the Master-Pleasure and Conqueror of the rest.
42 There is no-one who, by the least progress in Science or Learning, has come to know barely the Principles ofMathematicks, but has found, that in the exercise of his Mind on the Discoverys he there makes, the merely of speculative Truths, he receives a Pleasure and Delight superior to that of Sense. When we have thorowly search'd into the nature of this contemplative Delight_ we shall find it of a kind which relates not in the least to any private interest of the Creature, nor has for its Object any Self-good or Advantage of the private System. The Admiration, Joy, or Love, turns wholly upon what is exterior, and foreign to our-selves. And tho the reflected Joy or Pleasure, which arises from the notice of this Pleasure once perceiv'd, may be interpreted a Self-passion, or interested Regard: yet the original Satisfaction can be no other than what results from the Love of Truth, Proportion, Order, and Symmetry, in the Things without. If this be the Case, the Passion ought in reality to be rank'd with natural Affection. For having no Object within the compass of the private System; it must either be esteem'd superfluous and unnatural, (as having no tendency towards the Advantage or Good of any thing in Nature) or it must be judg'd to be, what it truly is, 'A natural Joy in the Contemplation of those Numbers, that Harmony, Proportion, and Concord, which supports the universal Nature, and is essential in the Constitution and Form of every particular Species, or Order of Beings.'
But this speculative Pleasure, however considerable and valuable it may be, or however superior to any Motion of mere Sense; must yet be far surpass'd by virtuous Motion, and the Exercise of Benignity and Goodness; where, together with the most delightful Affection of the Soul, there is join'd a pleasing Assent and Approbation of the Mind to what is acted in this good Disposition and honest Bent. For where is there on Earth a fairer Matter of Speculation, a goodlier View or Contemplation, than that of a beautiful, proportion'd, and becoming Action? Or what is there relating to us, of which the Consciousness and Memory is more solidly and lastingly entertaining?
We may observe, that in the Passion of Love between the Sexes, where, together with the Affection of a vulgar sort, there is a mixture of the kind and friendly, the Sense or Feeling of this latter is in reality superior to the former; since often thro' this Affection, and for the sake of the Person belov'd, the greatest Hardships in the World have been submitted to, and even Death it-self voluntarily imbrac'd, without any expected Compensation. For where shou'd the Ground of such an Expectation lie? Not here, in this World surely; for Death puts an end to all. Nor yet hereafter, in any other: for who has ever thought of providing a Heaven or future Recompenee for the suffering Virtue of Lovers?
We may observe, withal, in favour of the natural Affections, that it is not only when Joy and Sprightliness are mix'd with them, that they carry a real Enjoyment above that of the sensual kind. The very Disturbances which belong to natural Affection, tho they may be thought wholly contrary to Pleasure, yield still a Contentment and Satisfaction greater than the Pleasures of indulg'd Sense. And where a Series or continu'd Succession of the tender and kind Affections can be carry'd on, even thro' Fears, Horrors, Sorrows, Griefs; the Emotion of the Soul is still agreeable. We continue pleas'd even with this melancholy Aspect or Sense of Virtue. Her Beauty supports it-self under a Cloud, and in the midst of surrounding Calamitys. For thus, when by mere Illusion, as in a Tragedy, the Passions of this kind are skilfully excited in us; we prefer the Entertainment to any other of equal duration. We find by our-selves, that the moving our Passions in this mournful way, the engaging them in behalf of Merit and Worth, and the exerting whatever we have of social Affection, and human Sympathy, is of the highest Delight; and affords a greater Enjoyment in the way of Thought and Sentiment, that any thing besides can do in a way of Sense and common Appetite. And after this manner it appears, 'How much the mental Enjoyments are actually the very natural Affections themselves.'
43 Now, in the next place, to explain, 'How they proceed from them, as their natural Effects;' we may consider first, That the EFFECTS of Love or kind Affection, in a way of mental Pleasure, are, 'An Enjoyment of Good by Communication: A receiving it, as it were by Reflection, or by way of Participation in the Good of others:' And 'A pleasing Consciousness of the actual Love, merited Esteem or Approbation of others?
How considerable a part of Happiness arises from the former of these Effects, will be easily apprehended by one who is not exceedingly ill natur'd. It will be consider'd how many the Pleasures are, of sharing Contentment and Delight with others; of receiving it in Fellowship and Company; and gathering it, in a manner, from the pleas'd and happy States of those around us, from accounts and relations of such Happinesses, from the very Countenances, Gestures, Voices and Sounds, even of Creatures foreign to our Kind, whose Signs of Joy and Contentment we can anyway discern. So insinuating are these Pleasures of Sympathy, and so widely diffus'd thro' our whole Lives, that there is hardly such a thing as Satisfaction or Contentment, of which they make not an essential part.
As for that other Effect of social Love, viz. the Consciousness of merited Kindness or Esteem; 'tis not difficult to perceive how much this avails in mental Pleasure, and constitutes the chief Enjoyment and Happiness of those who are, in the narrowest sense, voluptuous. How natural is it for the most selfish among us, to be continually drawing some sort of Satisfaction from a Character, and pleasing our-selves in the Fancy of deserv'd Admiration and Esteem? For tho it be mere Fancy, we endeavour still to beheve it Truth; and flatter our-selves, all we can, with the Thought of Merit of some kind, and the Persuasion of our deserving well from some few at least, with whom we happen to have a more intimate and familiar Commerce.
What Tyrant is there, what Robber, or open Violater of the Laws of Society, who has not a Companion, or some particular Sect, either of his own Kindred, or such as he calls Friends; with whom he gladly shares his Good; in whose Welfare he delights; and whose Joy and Satisfaction he makes his own? What Person in the world is there, who receives not some Impressions from the Flattery or Kindness of such as are familiar with him? 'Tis to this soothing Hope and Expectation of Friendship, that almost all our Actions have some reference. 'Tis this which goes thro' our whole Lives, and mixes it-self even with most of our Vices. Of this, Vanity, Ambition, and Luxury, have a share; and many other Disorders of our Life partake. Even the unchastest Love borrows largely from this Source. So that were Pleasure to be computed in the same way as other things commonly are; it might properly be said, that out of these two Branches (viz. Community or Participation in the Pleasures of others, and Belief of meriting well from others) wou'd arise more than nine Tenths of whatever is enjoy'd in Life. And thus in the main Sum of Happiness, there is scarce a single Article, but what derives it-self from social Love, and depends immediately on the natural and kind Affections.
Now such as Causes are, such must be their Effects. And therefore as natural Affection or social Lave is perfect, or imperfect so must be the Content and Happiness depending on it.
44 But lest any shou'd imagine with themselves that an inferior Degree of natural Affection, or an imperfect partial Regard of this sort, can supply the place of an intire, sincere, and truly moral one; lest a small Tincture of social Inclination shou'd be thought sufficient to answer the End of Pleasure in Society, and give us that Enjoyment of Participation and Community which is so essential to our Happiness; we may consider first, That Partial Affection, or social Love in part, without regard to a compleat Society or Whole, is in it-self an Inconsistency, and implies an absolute Contradiction. Whatever Affection we have towards any thing besides our-selves; if it be not of the natural sort towards the System, or Kind; it must be, of all other Affections, the most dtissociable, and destructive of the Enjoyments of Society: If it be really of the natural sort, and apply'd only to some one Part of Society, or of a Species, but not to the Species or Society it-self; there can be no more account given of it, than of the most odd, capricious, or humoursom Passion which may arise. The Person, therefore, who is conscious of this Affection, can be conscious of no Merit or Worth on the account of it. Nor can the Persons on whom this capricious Affection has chanc'd to fall, be in any manner secure of its Continuance or Force. As it has no Foundation or Establishment in Reason; so it must be easily removable, and subject to alteration, without Reason. Now the Variableness of such sort of Passion, which depends solely on Capriciousness and Humour, and undergoes the frequent Successions of alternate Hatred and Love, Aversion and Inclination, must of necessity create continual Disturbance and Disgust, give an allay to what is immediately enjoy'd in the way of Friendship and Society, and in the end extinguish, in a manner, the very Inclination towards Friendship and human Commerce. Whereas, on the other hand, Intire Affection (from whence Integrity has its name) as it is answerable to it-self, proportionable, and rational; so it is irrefragable, solid, and durable. And as in the case of Partiality, or vitious Friendship, which has no rule or order, every Reflection of the Mind necessarily makes to its disadvantage, and lessens the Enjoyment; so in the case of Integrity, the Consciousness of just Behaviour towards Mankind in general, casts a good reflection on each friendly Affection in particular, and raises the Enjoyment of Friendship still the higher, in the way of Community or Participation above-mention'd.
And in the next place, as partial Affection is fitted only to a short and slender Enjoyment of those Pleasures of Symathy or Participiation with others; so neither is it able to derive any considerable Enjoyment from that other principal Branch of human Happiness, viz. Consciousness of the actual or merited Esteem of others. From whence shou'd this Esteem arise? The Merit, surely, must in it-self be mean whilst the Affection is so precarious and uncertain. What Trust can there be to a mere casual Inclination or capricious Liking? Who can depend on such a Friendship as is founded on no moral Rule, but fantastically assign'd to some single Person, or small Part of Mankind, exclusive of Society, and the Whole?
It may be consider'd, withal, as a thing impossible; that they who esteem or love by any other Rule than that of Virtue, shou'd place their Affection on such Subjects as they can long esteem or love. 'Twill be hard for them, in the number of their so belov'd Friends, to find any, in whom they can heartily rejoice; or whose reciprocal Love or Esteem they can sincerely prize and enjoy. Nor can those Pleasures be sound or lasting, which are gather'd from a Self-flattery, and false Persuasion of the Esteem and Love of others, who are incapable of any sound Esteem or Love. It appears therefore how much the Men of narrow or partial Affection must be Losers in this sense, and of necessity fall short in this second principal part of mental Enjoyment.
45 Mean while intire Affection has all the opposite advantages. It is equal, constant, accountable to it-self, ever satisfactory, and pleasing. It gains Applause and Love from the best; and in all disinterested cases, from the very worst of Men. We may say of it, with justice, that it carry with it a Consciousness of merited Love and Approbation from all Society, from all intelligent Creatures, and from whatever is original to all other Intelligence. And if there be in Nature any such Original; we may add, that the Satisfaction which attends intire Affection, is full and noble, in proportion to its final Object, which contains all Perfection according to the Sense of Theism above-noted. For this, as has been shewn, is the result of Virtue. And to have this intire Affection or Integrity of Mind, is to live according to Nature, and the Dictates and Rules of supreme Wisdom. This is Morality, Justice, Piety, and natural Religion.
46 But lest this Argument shou'd appear perhaps too scholastically stated, and in Terms and Phrases, which are not of familiar use; we may try whether possibly we can set it yet in a plainer light.
Let any-one, then, consider well those Pleasures which he receives either in private Retirement, Contemplation, Study and Converse with himself; or in Mirth, Jollity, and Entertainment with others; and he will find, That they are wholly founded in An easy Temper, free of Harshness, Bitterness, or Distaste; and in A Mind or Reason well compos'd, quiet, easy within itself, and suck as can freely bear its own Inspection and Review. Now such a Mind, and such a Temper, which fit and qualify for the Enjoyment of the Pleasures mention'd, must of necessity be owing to the natural and good Affections.
47 As to what relates to Temper, it may be consider'd thus. There is no State of outward Prosperity, or flowing Fortune, where Inclination and Desire are always satisfy'd, Fancy and Humour pleas'd. There are almost hourly some Impediments or Crosses to the Appetite; some Accidents or another from without; or something from within, to check the licentious Course of the indulg'd Affections. They are not aways to be satisfy'd by mere Indulgence. And when a Life is guided by Fancy only, there is sufficient ground of Contrariety and Disturbance. The very ordinary Lassitudes, Uneasinesses, and Defects of Disposition in the soundest Body; the interrupted Course of the Humours, or Spirits, in the healthiest People; and the accidental Dasorders common to every Constitution, are sufficient, we know, on many occasions, to breed Uneasiness and Distaste. And this, in time, must grow into a Habit; where there is nothing to oppose its progress, and hinder its prevailing on the Temper. Now the only sound Opposite to ILL Humour, is natural and kind Affection. For we may observe, that when the Mind, upon reflection, resolves at any time to suppress this Disturbance already risen in the Temper, and sets about this reforming Work with heartiness, and in good earnest; it can no otherwise accomplish the Undertaking, than by introducing into the affectionate Part some gentle Feeling of the social and friendly kind; some enlivening Motion of Kindness, Fellowship, Complacency, or Love, to allay and convert that contrary Motion of Impatience and Discontent.
If it be said perhaps, that in the case before us, Religious Affection or Devotion is a sufficient and proper Remedy; we answer, That 'tis according as the Kind may happily prove. For if it be of the pleasant and chearful sort, 'tis of the very kind of natural Affection it-self; if it be of the dismal or fearful sort; if it brings along with it any Affection opposite to Manhood, Generosity, Courage, or Free-thought; there will be nothing gain'd by this Application; and the Remedy will, in the issue, be undoubtedly found worse than the Disease. The severest Reflections on our Duty, and the Consideration merely of what is by Authority and under Penaltys enjoin'd, will not by any means serve to calm us on this occasion. The more dismal our Thoughts are on such a Subject, the worse our Temper will be, and the readier to discover it-self in Harshness, and Austerity. If, perhaps, by Compulsion, or thro' any Necessity or Fear incumbent, a different Carriage be at any time effected, or different Maxims own'd the Practice at the bottom will be still the same. If the Countenance be compos'd; the Heart, however, will not be chang'd. The ill Passion may for the time be with-held from breaking into Action; but will not be subdu'd, or in the least debilitated against the next occasion. So that in such a Breast as this, whatever Devotion there may be; 'tis likely there will in time be little of an easy Spirit, or good Temper remaining; and consequently few and slender Enjoyments of a mental kind.
If it be objected, on the other hand, that tho in melancholy Circumstances ill Humour may prevail, yet in a Course of outward Prosperity, and in the height of Fortune, there can nothing probably occur which shou'd thus sour the Temper, and give it such disrelish as is suggested; we may consider, that the most humour'd and indulg'd State is apt to receive the most disturbance from every Disappointment or smallest Ail. And if Provocations are easiest rais'd, and the Passions of Anger, Offence, and Enmity, are found the highest in the most indulg'd State of Will and Humour; there is still the greater need of a Supply from social Affection, to preserve the Temper from running into Savageness and Inhumanity. And this, the Case of Tyrants, and most unlimited Potentates, may sufficiently verify and demonstrate
48 Now as to the other part of our Consideration, which relates to a Mind or Reason well compos'd and easy within il-self; upon what account this Happiness may be thought owing to natural Affection, we may possibly resolve our-selves, after this manner. It will be acknowledg'd that a Creature, such as Man, who from several degrees of Reflection has risen to that Capacity which we call Reason and Understanding; must in the very use of this his reasoning Faculty, be forc'd to receive Reflections back into his Mind of what passes in itself, as well as in the Affections, or Will; in short, of whatsoever relates to his Character, Conduct, or Behaviour amidst his Fellow-Creatures, and in Society. Or shou'd he be of himself unapt; there are others ready to remind him, and refresh his Memory, in this way of Criticism. We have all of us Remembrancers enow to help us in this work. Nor are the greatest Favourites of Fortune exempted from this Task of Self-inspection. Even Flattery itself, by making the View agreeable, renders us more attentive this way, and insnares us in the Habit. The vainer any Person is, the more he has in Eye inwardly fix'd upon himself; and is, after a certain manner, employ'd in this home-Survey. And when a true Regard to our-selves cannot oblige us to this Inspection, a false Regard to others, and a Fondness for Reputation raises a watchful Jealousy, and furnishes us sufficiently with Acts of Reflection on our own Character and Conduct.
In whatever manner we consider of this, we shall find still that every reasoning or reflecting Creature is, by his Nature, forc'd to endure the Review of his own Mind, and Actions; and to have Representations of himself, and his inward Affairs, constantly passing before him, obvious to him, and revolving in his Mind. Now as nothing can be more grievous than this is, to one who has thrown off natural Affection; so nothing can be more delightful to one who has preserv'd it with sincerity.
49 There are two Things, which to a rational Creature must be horridly offensave and grievous; viz. 'To have the Reflection in his Mind of any unjust Action or Behaviour, which he knows to be naturally odious and ill-deserving: Or, of any foolish Action or Behaviour, which he knows to be prejudicial to his own Interest or Happiness.
The former of these is alone properly call'd Conscience whether in a moral, or religious Sense. For to have Awe and Terror of the Deity, does not, of itself, imply Conscience. No one is esteem'd the more conscientious for the fear of evil Spirits, Conjurations, Enchantments, or whatever may proceed from any unjust, capricious, or devilish Nature. Now to fear God any otherwise than as in consequence of some justly blameable and imputable Act, is to fear a devilish Nature, not a divine one. Nor does the Fear of Hell, or a thousand Terrors of the Deity, imply Conscience unless where there is an Apprehension of what is wrong, odious, morally deform'd and ill-deserving. And where this is the Case, there Conscience must have effect, and Punishment of necessity be apprehended; even tho it be not expressly threaten'd
And thus religious Conscience supposes moral or natural Conscience. And tho the former be understood to carry with it the Fear of divine Punishment; it has it's force however from the apprehended moral Deformity and Odiousness of any Act, with respect purely to the Divine Presence, and the natural Veneration due to such a suppos'd Being. For in such a Presence, the Shame of Villany or Vace must have its force, independently on that farther Apprehension of the magisterial Capacity of such a Being, and his Dispensation of particular Rewards or Punishments in a future State.
It has been already said, that no Creature can maliciously and intentionally do ill, without being sensible, at the same time, that he deserves ill And in this respect, every sensible Creature may be said to have Conscience. For with all Mankind, and all intelligent Creatures this must ever hold, 'That what they know they deserve from every-one, that they necessarily must fear and expect from all.' And thus Suspicions and ill Apprehensions must arise, with Terror both of Men and of the Deity. But besides this, there must in every rational Creature, be yet farther Conscience; viz. from Sense of Deformity in what is thus ill-deserving and unnatural: and from a consequent Shame or Regret of incurring what is odious, and moves Aversion.
50 There scarcely is, or can be any Creature, whom Consciousness of Villany, as such merely, does not at all offend; nor any thing opprobrious or heniously imputable, move, or affect. If there be such a one; 'tis evident he must be absolutely indifferent towards moral Good or Ill. If this indeed be his Case; 'twill be allow'd he can be no-way capable of natural Affection: If not of that, then neither of any social Pleasure, or mental Enjoyment, as shewn above; but on the contrary, he must be subject to all manner of horrid, unnatural, and ill Affection. So that to want Conscience, or natural Sense of the Odiousness of Crime and Injustice, is to be most of all miserable in Life: but where Conscience, or Sense of this sort, remains; there, consequently, whatever is committed against it, must of necessity, by means of Reflection, as we have shewn, be continually shameful, grievous and offensive.
A man who in a Passion happens to kill his Companion, relents immediately on the sight of what he has done. His Revenge is chang'd into Pity, and his Hatred turn'd against himself. And this merely by the Power of the Object. On this account he suffers Agonys; the Subject of this continually occurs to him; and of this he has a constant ill Remembrance and displeasing Consciousness. If on the other side, we suppose him not to relent or suffer any real Concern or Shame; then, either he has no Sense of the Deformity of the Crime and Injustice, no natural Affection, and consequently no Happiness or Peace within: or if he has any Sense of moral Worth or Goodness, it must be of a perplex'd, and contradictory kind. He must pursue an inconsistent Notion, idolize somefalse Species of Virtue; and affect as noble, gallant, or worthy, that which is irrational and absurd. And how tormenting this must be to him, is easy to conceive. For never can such a Phantom as this be reduc'd to any certain Form. Never can this Proteus of Honour be held steddy, to one Shape. The Pursuit of it can only be vexatious and distracting. There is nothing beside real Virtue, as has been shewn, which can possibly hold any proportion to Esteem, Approbation, or good Conscience. And he who, being led by false Religion or prevailing Custom, has learnt to esteem or admire any thing as Virtue which is not really such; must either thro' the Inconsistency of such an Esteem, and the perpetual Immoralitys occasion'd by it, come at last to lose all Conscience; and so be miserable in the worst way: or, if he retains any Conscience at all, it must be of a kind never satisfactory, or able to bestow Content. For 'tis impossible that a cruel Enthusiast, or Bigot, a Persecutor, a Murderer, a Bravo, a Pirate, or any Villain of less degree, who is false to the Society of Mankind in general, and contradicts natural Affection; shou'd have any fix'd Principle at all, any real Standard or Measure by which he can regulate his Esteem, or any solid Reason by which to form his Approbation of any one moral Act. And thus the more he sets up Honour, or advances Zeal; the worse he renders his Nature, and the more detestable his Character. The more he engages in the Love or Admiration of any Action or Practice, as great and glorious, which is in it-self morally ill and vitious; the more Contradiction and Self-disapprobation he must incur. For there being nothing more certain than this, 'That no natural Affection can be contradicted, nor any unnatural one advanc'd, without a prejudice in some degree to all natural Affection in general:' it must follow, 'That inward Deformity growing greater, by the Incouragement of unnatural Affection; there must be so much the more Subject for dissatisfactory Reflection, the more any false Principle of Honour, any false Religion, or Superstition prevails.'
So that whatever Notions of this kind are cherish'd; or whatever Character affected, which is contrary to moral Equity, and leads to Inhumanity, thro' a false Conscience, or wrong Sense of Honour, serves only to bring a Man the more under the lash of real and just Conscience, Shame, and Self-reproach. Nor can any one, who, by any pretended Authority, commits one single Immorality, be able to satisfy himself with any Reason, why he shou'd not at another time be carry'd further into all manner of Villany; such perhaps as he even abhors to think of. And this is a Reproach which a Mind must of necessity make to it-self upon the least Violation of natural Conscience; in doing what is morally deform'd, and ill-deserving; tho warranted by any Example or Precedent amongst Men, or by any suppos'd Injunction or Command of higher Powers.
51 Now as for that other part of Conscience, viz. the remembrance of what was at any time unreasonably and foolishly done, in prejudice of one's real Interest or Happiness: This dissatisfactory Reflection must follow still and have effect, wheresoever there is a Sense of moral Deformity, contracted by Crime, and Injustice. For even where there is no Sense of moral Deformity, as such merely; there must be still a Sense of the ill Merit of it with respect to God and Man. Or tho there were a possibihty of excluding for ever all Thoughts or Suspicions of any superior Powers, yet considering that this Insensibility towards moral Good or Ill implies a total Defect in natural Affection, and that this Defect can by no Dissimulation be conceal'd; 'tis evident that a Man of this unhappy Character must suffer a very sensible Loss in the Friendship, Trust, and Confidence of other Men; and consequently must suffer in his Interest and outward Happiness. Nor can the Sense of this Disadvantage fail to occur to him; when he sees, with Regret, and Envy, the better and more grateful Terms of Friendship, and Esteem, on which better People live with the rest of Mankind. Even therefore where natural Affection is wanting; 'tis certain still, that by Immorality, necessarily happening thro' want of such Affection, there must be disturbance from Conscience of this sort, viz. from Sense of what is committed imprudently, and contrary to real Interest and Advantage.
52 From all this we may easily conclude, how much our Happiness depends on natural and goad Affection. For if the chief Happiness be from the Mental Pleasures and the chief mental Pleasures are such as we have describ'd, and are founded in natural Affection; it follows, 'That to have the natural Affections, is to have the chief Means and Power of Self-enjoyment, the highest Possession and Happiness of Life.
53 Now as to the Pleasures of THE BODY, and the Satisfactions belonging to mere SENSE 'tis evident, they cannot possibly have their Effect, or afford any valuable Enjoyment, otherwise than by the means of social and natural Affection.
To live well, has no other meaning with some People, than to eat anddrink well. And methinks 'tis an unwary Concession we make in favour of these pretended good Livers, when we join with 'em, in honouring their way of Life with the Title of living fast. As if they liv'd the fastest who took the greatest pains to enjoy least of Life: For if our Account of Happiness be right; the greatest Enjoyments in Life are such as these Men pass over in their haste, and have scarce ever allow'd themselves the liberty of tasting.
But as considerable a Part of Voluptuousness as is founded in the Palat; and as notable as the Science is, which depends on it; one may justly presume that the Ostentation of Elegance, and a certain Emulation and Study how to excel in this sumptuous Art of Living, goes very far in the raising such a high Idea of it, as is observ'd among the Men of Pleasure. For were the Circumstances of a Table and Company, Equipages, Services, and the rest of the Management withdrawn; there wou'd be hardly left any Pleasure worth acceptance, even in the Opinion of the most debauch'd themselves.
The very Notion of a Debauch (which is a Sally into whatever can be imagin'd of Pleasure and Voluptuousness) carrys with it a plain reference to Society, or Fellowship. It may be call'd a Surfeit, or Excess of Eating and Drinking, but hardly a Debauch of that kind, when the Excess is committed separately, out of all Society, or Fellowship. And one who abuses himself in this way, is often call'd a Sot but never a Debauchee. The Courtizans, and even the commonest of Women, who live by Prostitution, know very well how necessary it is, that every-one whom they entertain with their Beauty, shou'd believe there are Satisfactions reciprocal; and that Pleasures are no less given than receiv'd. And were this Imagination to be wholly taken away, there wou'd be hardly any of the grosser sort of Mankind, who wou'd not perceive their remaining Pleasure to be of slender Estimation.
Thus, therefore, not only the Pleasures of the Mind, but even those of the Body, depend on natural Affection: insomuch that where this is wanting, they not only lose their Force, but are in a manner converted into Uneasiness and Disgust. The Sensations which shou'd naturally afford Contentment and Delight, produce rather Discontent and Sourness, and breed a Wearisomness and Restlesness in the Disposition. This we may perceive by the perpetual Inconstancy, and Love of Change, so remarkable in those who have nothing communicative or friendly in their Pleasures. Good Fellowship, in its abus'd Sense, seems indeed to have something more constant and determining. The Company supports the Humour. 'Tis the same in Love. A certain Tenderness and Generosity of Affection supports the Passion, which otherwise wou'd instantly be chang'd. The perfectest Beauty cannot, of it-self, retain, or fix it. And that Love which has no other Foundation, but relies on this exterior kind, is soon turn'd into Aversion. Satiety, perpetual Disgust, and Feverishness of Desire, attend those who passionately study Pleasure. They best enjoy it, who study to regulate their Passions. And by this they will come to know how absolute an Incapacity there is in any thing sensual to please, or give contentment, where it depends not on something friendly or social, something conjoin'd, and in affinity with kind or natural Affection.
54 But ere we conclude this Article of social or natural Affection, we may take a general View of it, and bring it, once for all, into the Scale; to prove what kind of Balance it helps to make within; and what the Consequence may be, of its Deficiency, or light Weight.
There is no-one of ever so little Understanding in what belongs to a human Constitution, who knows not that without Action, Motion, and Employment, the Body languishes, and is oppress'd; its Nourishment turns to Disease; the Spirits, unimploy'd abroad, help to consume the Parts within; and Nature, as it were, preys upon her-self. In the same manner, the sensible and living Part, the Saul or Mind, wanting its proper and natural Exercise, is burden'd and diseas'd. Its Thoughts and Passions being unnaturally with-held from their due Objects, turn against itself, and create the highest Impatience and Ill-humour.
It happens with Mankind, that whilst some are by necessity confin'd to Labour, others are provided with abundance of all things, by the Pains and Labour of Inferiors. Now, if among the superior and easy sort, there be not something of fit and proper Imployment rais'd in the room of what is wanting in common Labour and Toil; if instead of an Application to any sort of Work, such as has a good and honest End in Society, (as Letters, Sciences, Arts, Husbandry, publick Affairs, Œconomy, or the like) there be a thorow Neglect of all Duty or Imployment; a settled Idleness, Supineness, and Inactivity: this of necessity must occasion a most relax'd and dissolute State; It must produce a total Disorder of the Passions, and break out in the strangest Irregularity imaginable.
We see the enormous Growth of Luxury in capital Citys, such as have been long the Seat of Empire. We see what Improvements are made in Vice of every kind, where numbers of Men are maintain'd in lazy Opulence, and wanton Plenty. 'Tis otherwise with those who are taken up in honest and due Imployment, and have been well inur'd to it from their Youth. This we may observe in the hardy remote Provincials, the Inhabitants of smaller Towns, and the industrious sort of common People; where 'tis rare to meet with any Instances of those Irregularitys, which are known in Courts and Palaces, and in the rich Foundations of easy and pamper'd Priests.
Now if what we have advanc'd concerning an inward Constitution be real and just; if it be true that Nature works by a just Order and Regulation as well in the Passions and Affections, as in the Limbs and Organs which she forms; if it appears withal, that she has so constituted this inward Part, that nothing is so essential to it as Exercise; and no Exercise so essential as that of social or natural Affection: it follows, that where this is remov'd or weaken'd, the inward Part must necessarily suffer andbeimpair'd Let Indolence, Indifference or Insensibility, be study'd as an Art, or cultivated with the utmost Care; the Passions thus restrain'd will force their Prison, and in one way or other procure their Liberty, and find full Employment. They will be sure to create to themselves unusual and unnatural Exercise, where they are cut off from such as is natural and goad. And thus in the room of orderly and natural Affection, new and unnatural must be rais'd, and all iuward Order and Œconomy destroy'd.
55 Thus it may appear, how much NATURAL AFFECTION is predominant; how it is inwardly join'd to us, and implanted in our Natures; how interwoven with our other Passions; and how essential to that regular Motion and Course of our Affections, on which our Happiness and Self-enjoyment so immediately depend.
And thus we have demonstrated, That as, on one side, To HAVE THE NATURAL AND GOOD Affections, IS TO HAVE THE CHIEF MEANS AND POWER OF SELF-ENJOYMENT: So, on the other side, to want them, is certain MISERY, AND Ill.
56 We are now to prove, That by having the Selfpassions TOO INTENSE OR STRONG, A CREATURE BECOMES MISERABLE.
In order to this, we must, according to Method, enumerate those Home-affections which relate to the private Interest or separate Economy of the Creature: such as Love of Life:—Resentment of Injury;—Pleasure, or Appetite towards Nourishment, and the Means of Generation;—Interest, or Desire of those Conveniences, by which we are all well provided for, and maintain'd;—Emulation, or Love of Praise and Honour;—Indolence, or Love of Ease and Rest.—These are the Affections which relate to the private System, and constitute whatever we call Interestedness or Self-love.
Now these Affections, if they are moderate, and within certain bounds, are neither injurious to social Life, nor a hindrance to Virtue: but being in an extreme degree, they become Cowardice,—Revengefulness,—Luxury,—Avarice, —Vanity and Ambition,—Sloth;— and, as such, are own'd vitious and ill, with respect to human Society. How they are ill also with respect to the private Person, and are to his own disadvantage as well as that of the Publick, we may consider, as we severally examine them.
57 If there were any of these Self-passions which for the Good and Happiness of the Creature might be oppos'd to Natural Affection, and allow'd to over-balance it; the desire and Love of Life wou'd have the best Pretence. But it will be found perhaps, that there is no Passion which, by having much allow'd to it, is the occasion of more Disorder and Misery.
There is nothing more certain, or more universally agreed than this; 'That Life may sometimes be even a Misfortune and Misery.' To inforce the continuance of it in Creatures reduc'd to such Extremity, is esteem'd the greatest Cruelty. And the Religion forbids that any-one shou'd be his own Reliever; yet if by some fortunate accident, Death offers of it-self it is embrac'd as highly welcome. And on this account the nearest Friends and Relations often rejoice at the Release of one intirely belov'd; even tho he himself may have been so weak as earnestly to decline Death, and endeavour the utmost Prolongment of his own un-eligible State.
Since, Life therefore, may frequently prove a Misfortune and Misery; and since it naturally becomes so, by being only prolong'd to the Infirmitys of old Age; since there is nothing, withal, more common than to see Life over-valu'd, and purchas'd at such a Cost as it can never justly be thought worth: it follows evidently, that the Passion itself (viz. the Love of Life, and Abhorreme or Dread of Death) if beyond a certain degree, and over-balancing in the Temper of any Creature, must lead him directly against his own Interest; make him, upon occasion, become the greatest Enemy to himself; and necessitate him to act as such.
But tho it were allow'd the Interest and Good of a Creature, by all Courses and Means whatsoever, in any Circumstances, or at any rate, to preserve Life; yet wou'd it be against his Interest still to have this Passion in a high degree. For it wou'd by this means prove ineffectual, and no-way conducing to its End. Various Instances need not be given. For what is there better known, than that at all times an excessive Fear betrays to danger, instead of saving from it? 'Tis impossible for any-one to act sensibly, and with Presence of Mind, even in his own Preservation and Defense, when he is strongly press'd by such a Passion. On all extraordinary Emergcnces, 'tis Couraoge and Resolution saves whilst Cowardice robs us of the means of Safety, and not only deprwes us of our defensive Facultys, but even runs us to the brink of Ruin, and makes us meet that Evil which of it-self wou'd never have invaded us.
But were the Consequences of this Passion less injurious than we have represented; it must be allow'd still that in it-self it can be no other than miserable; if it be Misery to feel Cowardice, and be haunted by those Specters and Horrors, which are proper to the Character of one who has a thorow Dread of Death. For 'tin not only when Dangers happen, and Hazards are incurr'd, that this sort of Pear oppresses and distracts. If it in the least prevails, it gives no quarter, so much as at the safest stillest hour of Retreat and Qmet. Every Object suggests Thought enough to employ it. It operates when it is least observ'd by others and enters at all times into the pleasantest parts of Life; so as to corrupt and poison all Enjoyment, and Content. One may safely aver, that by reason of this Passion alone, many a Life, if towardly and closely view'd, wou'd be found to be thorowly miserable, the attended with all other Circumstances which in appearance render it happy. But when we add to this, the Meannesses, and base Condescensions, occasion'd by such a passionate Concern for living; when we consider how by means of it we are driven to Actions we can never view without Dislike, and forc'd by degrees from our natural Conduct, into still greater Crookednesses and Perplexity there is no-one, surely, so disingenuous as not to allow, that Life, in this case, becomes a sorry Purchase, and is pass'd with little Freedom or Satisfaction. For how can this be otherwise, whilst every thing which is generous and worthy, even the chief Relish, Happiness, and Good of Life, is for Life's sake abandon'd and renoune'd.
And thus it seems evident, 'That to have this Affection of Desire And Love of Life, too intense, or beyond a moderate degree, is against the Interest of a Creature, and contrary to his Happiness and Good.'
58 There is another Passion very different from that of Fear, and which in a certain degree is equally preservative to us, and conducing to our Safety. As that is serviceable, in prompting us to shun Danger; so is this, in fortifying us against it, and enabling us to repel Injury, and reast Violence when offer' & 'Tis true, that according to smct Virtue, and a just Regulation of the Affections in a wise and virtuous Man, such Efforts towards Action amount not to what is justly styl'd Passion or Commotion. A Man of Courage may be cautious without real Fear. And a Man of Temper may resist or punish without Anger. But in ordinary Characters there must necessarily be some Mixture of the real Passions themselves which however, in the main, are able to allay and temper one another. And thus Anger in a manner becomes necessary. 'Tis by this Passion that one Creature offermg Violence to another, is deter'd from the Executmn; whilst he observes how the Attempt affects his Fellow; and knows by the very Signs which accompany this rising Motion, that if the Injury be carry'd further, it will not pass easily or with impunity. * * * As to this Affection therefore, notwithstanding its immediate Alia: be indeed the Ill or Punishment of another, yet it is plainly of the sort of those which tend to the Advantage and Interest of the Self-system, the Animal himself; and is withal in other respects contributing to the Good and Interest of the Species.
Now as to that Passion which is esteem'd peculiarly interesting; as having for its Aim the Possession of Wealth, and what we call a Settlement or Fortune in the World: If the Regard towards this kind be moderate, and in a reasonable degree; if it occasmns no passionate Pursmt, nor rinses any ardent Desire or Appetite; there is nothing in this Case which is not compatible with Virtue, and even sutable and beneficial to Society. The publick as well as private System is advanc'd by the Industry, which this Affection excites. But if it grows at length into a real Passion; the Injury and Mischief it does the Publick, is not greater than that which it creates to the Person himself. Such a one is in reality a Self-oppressor, and lies heavier on himself than he can ever do on Mankind.
59 Thus have we consider'd the Self-passions; and what the Consequence is of their rising beyond a moderate degree. These Affections, as self-interesting as they are, can often, we see, become contrary to our real Interest. They betray us into most Misfortunes, and into the greatest of Unhappinesses, that of a profligate and abject Character. As they grow imperious and high, they are the occasion that a Creature in proportion becomes mean and low. They are original to that which we call Selfishness, and give rise to that sordid Disposition of which we have already spoken. It appears there can be nothing so miserable in it-self, or so wretched in its Consequence, as to be thus impotent in Temper, thus master'd by Passion, and by means of it, brought under the most servile Subjection to the World.
'Tis evident withal, that as this Selfishness increases in us, so must a certain Subtlety, and feignedness of Carriage, which naturally accompanys it. And thus the Candour and Ingenuity of our Natures, the Ease and Freedom of our Minds must be forfeited; all Trust and Confidence, in a manner lost; and Suspicions, Jealousys, and Envys multiply'd. A separate End and Inlerest must be every day more strongly form'd in us; generous Views and Motives laid aside: And the more we are thus sensibly disjoin'd every day from Society and our Fellows the worse Opinion we shall have of those uniting Passions, which bind us in strict Alhance and Amity wath others. Upon these Terms we must of course endeavour to silence and suppress our natural and good Affections: since they are such as wou'd carry us to the good of Society, against what we fondly conceive to be our private Good and Interest; as has been shewn.
Now if these Selfish Passions, besides what other Ill they are the occasion of, are withal the certain means of losing us our natural Affections; then (by what has been prov'd before) 'tis evident, 'That they must be the certain means of losing us the chief Enjoyment of Life, and raising in us those horrid and unnatural Passions, and that Savageness of Temper, which makes the greatest of Miserys, and the most wretched State of Life:' as remains for us to explain.
60 The Passions therefore, which, in the last place, we are to examine, are those which lead neither to a publick nor a private Good; and are neither of any advantage to the Species in general, or the Creature in particular. These, in opposition to the social and natural, we call the unnatural Affections.
Of this kind is that unnatural and inhuman Delight in beholding Torments, and in viewing Distress, Calamity, Blood, Massacre and Destruction, with a peculiar Joy and Pleasure. This has been the retgning Passion of many Tyrants, and barbarous Nations; and belongs, in some degree, to such Tempers as have thrown off that Courteousness of Behaviour, which retains in us a just Reverence of Mankind, and prevents the Growth of Harshness and Brutahty. This Passion enters not where Civility or affable Manners have the least place. Such is the Nature of what we call good Breeding, that in the midst of many other Corruptions, it admits not of Inhumanity, or savage Pleasure. To see the Sufferance of an Enemy with cruel Delight, may proceed from the height of Anger, Revenge, Fear, and other extended Self-passions: But to delight in the Torture and Pain of other Creatures indifferently, Natives or Foreigners, of our own or of another Species, Kindred or no Kindred, known or unknown; to feed, as it were, on Death, and be entertain'd with dying Agonys; this has nothing in it accountable in the way of Self-interest or private Good above-mention'd, but is wholly and absolutely unnatural, as it is horrid and miserable.
There is also among these, a sort of Hatred of Mankind and Society a Passion which has been known perfectly reigning in some Men, and has had a peculiar Name given to it. A large share of this belongs to those who have long indulg'd themselves in a habitual Moroseness, or who by force of ill Nature, and ill Breeding, have contracted such a Reverse of Affability, and civil Manners, that to see or meet a Stranger is offensive. The very Aspect of Mankind is a disturbance to 'era, and they are sure always to hate at first mght. The Distemper of this kind is sometimes found to be in a manner National; but peculiar to the more savage Nations, and a plain Characteristick of unclvihz'd Manners, and Barbarity. This is the immediate Opposite to that noble Affection, which in antient Language, was term'd Hospitality, viz. extensive Love of Mankind, and Relief of Strangers.
Treachery and Ingratitude are in strictness mere negative Vices; and, in themselves, no real Passions; having neither Averslon or Inclination belonging to them; but are deriv'd from the Defect, Unsoundness, of Corruption of the Affections in general. But when these Vices become remarkable in a Character, and arise in a manner from Inclination and Chome when they are so forward and active, as to appear of their own accord, without any pressing occasion 'tis apparent they borrow something of the mere unnatural Passions, and are deriv'd from Malice, Envy, and Inveteracy; as explam'd above. 61 It may be objected here, that these Passions, unnatura! as they are, car-ry still a sort of Pleasure with them; and that however barbarous a Pleasure it be, yet still it is a Pleasure and Salisfaction which is found in Pride, or Tyranny, Revenge, Malice, or Cruelty exerted. Now if it be possible in Nature, that any-one can feel a barbarous or malicmus Joy, otherwise than in consequence of mere Angmsh and Torment, then may we perhaps allow this kind of Satisfaction to be call'd Pleasure or Delight. But the Case is evidently contrary. To love, and to be kind to have social or natural Affection, Complacency and Good-will, is to feel immediate Satisfaction and genuine Content. 'Tis in it-self original Joy, depending on no preceding Pain or Uneasiness and producing nothing beside Satisfaction merely. On the other side, Animosity, Hatred, and Bitterness, is original Misery and Torment, producing no other Pleasure or Satisfaction, than as the unnatural Desire is for the instant satisfy'd by something which appeases it. How strong soever this Pleasure, therefore, may appear; it only the more xmplies the Misery of that State which produces it. For as the cruellest bodily Pains do by intervals of Assuagement, produce (as has been shewn) the highest bodily Pleasure; so the fiercest and most ragtag Torments of the Mind, do, by certain Moments of Rehef, afford the greatest of mental Enjoyments to those who know little of the truer kind.
62 The Men of gentlest Dispositions, and best of Tempers, have at some time or other been sufl_clently acquainted with those Disturbances, which, at ill hours, even small occasions are apt to raise. From these slender Experiences of Harshness and Ill-humour, they fully know and will confess the ill Moments which are pass'd, when the Temper is ever so little gall'd or fretted. How must it fare, therefore, with those who hardly know any better hours in Life; and who, for the greatest part of it, are agitated by a thorow active Spleen, a close and settled Malignity, and Rancour? How lively must be the Sense of every thwarting and controuling Accident? How great must be the Shocks of Disappointment, the Stings of Affront, and the Agonys of a working Antipathy, against the multiply'd Objects of Offence Nor can it be wonder'd at, if to Persons thus agitated and oppress'd, it seems a high Delight to appease and allay for the while those furious and rough Motions, by an Indulgence of their Passion in Mischief and Revenge.
Now as to the Consequences of this unnatural State, in respect of Interest, and the common Circumstances of Life; upon what Terms a Person who has in this manner lost all which we call Nature, can be suppos'd to stand, in respect of the Society of Mankind; how he feels himself in it; what Sense he has of his own Disposition towards others, and of the mutual Disposition of others towards himself; this is easily conceiv'd.
What Injoyment or Rest is there for one, who is not conscious of the merited Affection or Love, but, on the contrary of the Ill-will and Hatred of every human Soul? What ground must this afford for Horror and Despair? What foundation of Fear, and continual Apprehension from Mankind, and from superior Powers? How thorow and deep must be that Melancholy, which being once mov'd, has nothing soft or pleasing from the side of Friendship, to allay or divert it? Wherever such a Creature turns himself; whichever way he casts his Eye every thing around must appear ghastly and horrid; every thing hostile, and, as it were, bent against a private and single Being, who is thus divided from every thing, and at defiance and war with the rest of Nature.
'Tls thus, at last, that a Mind becomes a Wilderness; where the is laid waste, every thing fair and goodly remov'd, and nothing extant beside what is savage and deform'd. Now if Basement from one's Country, Removal to a foreign Place, or any thing which looks like Solitude or Desertion, be so heavy to endure; what must it be to feel this inward Banlskment, this real Estrangement from human Commerce; and to be after this manner in a Desart, and in the worriedest of Solitudes, even when in the midst of Society? What must it be to live in this Disagreement, with everything, this Irreconcilableness and Opposition to the Order and Government of the Universe?
Hence it appears, That the greatest of Miserys accompanys that State which is consequent to the Loss of natural Affection; and That to have those horrid, monstrous, and unI_atural Affections, is to be miserable in the highest Degree.
68 Thus have we endeavour'd to prove what was propos'd in the beginning. And since in the common and known Sense of Vice and Illness, no-one can be vitious or ill except either,
I. By the Deficiency or Weakness of natural Affections;
Or, 2. by the Violence of the selfish
Or, 3. by such as are plainly unnatural:
It must follow, that if each of these are pernicious and destructive to the Creature, insomuch that his compleatest State of Misery is made from hence; To be wicked or vitious, is TO BE MISERABLE AND UNHAPPY.
And since every vitious Action must in proportion, more or less, help towards this Mischief, and Self-ill; it must follow, That EVERY VITIOUS ACTION MUST BE SELF-INJURIOUS AND ILL.
64 On the other side; the Happiness and Good of Virtue has been prov'd from the contrary Effect of other Affections, such as are according to Nature, and the Economy of the Species or Kind. We have cast up all those Particulars, from whence (as by way of Addition and Subtraction) the main Sum or general Account of Happiness, is either augmented or diminish'd. And if there be no Article exceptionable in this Scheme of Moral Arithmetick; the Subject treated may be said to have an Evidence as great as that which is found in Numbers, or Mathematicks. For let us carry Scepticism ever so far, let us doubt, if we can, of every thing about us; we cannot doubt of what passes within ourselves. Our Passions and Affections are known to us. They are certain, whatever the Objects may be, on which they are employ'd. Nor is it of any concern to our Argument, how these exterior Objects stand; whether they are Realitys, or mere Illusions; whether we wake or dream. For ill Dreams will be equally disturbing. And a good Dream, if Life be nothing else, will be easily and happily pass'd In this Dream of Life, therefore, our Demonstrations have the same force; our Balance and Œconomy hold good, and our Obligation to Virtue is in every respect the same.
65 Upon the whole: There is not, I presume, the least degree of Certainty wanting in what has been said concerning the Pre-ferableness of the mental Pleasures to the sensual', and even of the sensual, accompany'd with Good Affection, and under a temperate and right use, to those which are no ways restrain'd, nor supported by any thing soaal or affectionate
Nor is there less Evidence in what has been said, of the united Structure and Fabrick of the Mind, and of those Passions which constitute the Temper, or Soul; and on which its Happiness or Misery so immediately depend. It has been shown, That in this Constitution, the impairing of any one Part must instantly tend to the disorder and rum of other Parts, and of the Whole it-self; thro' the necessary Connexion and Balance of the Affections: That those very Passions thro' which Men are vitious, are of themselves a Torment and Disease; and that whatsoever is done which is knowingly ill, must be of ill Consciousness; and in proportion, as the Act is ill, must impair and corrupt social Enjoyment, and destroy both the Capacity and kind Affection, and the Consciousness of meriting any such. So that neither can we participate thus in Joy or Happiness with others, or receive Satisfaction from the mutual Kindness or banging' d Love of others: on which, however, the greatest of all our Pleasures are founded.
If thus be the Case of moral Dehnqueney; and if the State which is consequent to this Defection from nature, be of all other the most horrid, oppressive, and miserable 'twill appear, 'That to yield or consent to any thing ill or immoral, is a Breach of Interest, and leads to the greatest Ills:' and, 'That on the other side, Every thing which is an Improvement of Virtue, or an Establishment of right Affection and Integrity, is an Advancement of Interest, and leads to the greatest and most solid Happihess and Enjoyment.'
66 Thus the Wisdom of what rules, and is Pirst and crlief in Nature, has made it to be according to the private Interest and Good of every-one, to work towards the general Good; which if a Creature ceases to promote, he is actually so far wanting to himself, and ceases to promote his own Happiness and Welfare. He is, on this account, directly his own Enemy: Nor can he any otherwise be good or useful to himself, than as he continues good to Society, and to that Whole of which he is himself a Part. So that Virtue, which of all Excellencys and Beautys is the chief, and most amiable; that which is the Prop and Ornament of human Affairs; which upholds Communitys, maintains Union, Friendship, and Correspondence amongst Men; that by which Countrys, as well as private Familys, flourish and are happy and for want of which, everything comely, conspicuous, great and worthy, must perish, and go to rum that single Quality, thus beneficial to all Society, and to Mankind in general, is found equally a tappiness and Good to each Creature in particular; and is that by which alone Man can be happy, and without which he must be miserable.
And, thus Virtue is the Good, and Vice the Ill of everyone.
[EXTRACT FROM 'THE MORALISTS, A RHAPSODY.'
67 Is there then, said he, a natural Beauty of Figures? and is there not as natural a one of Actions 1 ? No sooner the Eye opens upon Figures, the Ear to Sounds, than straight the Beautiful results, and Grace and Harmony, are known and acknowledg'd. No sooner are Actions view'd, no sooner the human Affections and Passions discern'd (and they are most of 'em as soon discern'd as felt), than straight an inward Eye distinguishes, and sees the Fair and Shapely, the Amiable and Admirable, apart from the Deform'd, the Foul, the Odious, or the Despicable. How is it possible therefore not to own, 'That as these Distinctions have their Foundation in Nature, the Discernment it-self is natural, and from Nature alone'?
If this, I told him, were as he represented it; there cou'd never, I thought, be any Disagreement among Men concerning Actions and Behaviour: as which was Base, which Worthy; which Handsom, and which Deform'd. But now we find perpetual Variance among Mankind; whose Differences were chiefly founded on this Disagreement in Opinion; 'The one affrming the other denying that this, or 'that, was fit or decent.'
Even by this then, reply'd he, it appears there is Fitness and Decency in Actions since the Fit and Decent is in this Controversy ever pre-suppos'd: And whilst Men are at odds about the Subjects, the Thing it-self is universally agreed. For neither is there agreement in Judgments about other Beautys. 'Tis controverted 'Which is the finest Pile, the loveliest Skape, or Face:' But without controversy, 'tls allow'd 'There is a Beauty of eack kind.' This no-one goes about to teach: nor is it learnt by any but confess'd by All. AH own the Standard, Rule, and Measure: But in applying it to Things, Disorder arises, Ignorance prevails, Interest and Passion breed Disturbance, Nor can it otherwise happen in the Affairs of Life, whilst that which interests and engages Men as Good, is thought different from that which they admire and praise as Honest.— But with us, Philocles! 'tis better settled; since for our parts, we have already decreed, 'That Beauty and Good are still the same.']
Infra, § 27, 60, &c.
Infra, § 27, 60, &c.
Infra, § 27, 60, &c.
Infra, § 67.
Infra, § 67.
Supra, § 12.