Front Page Titles (by Subject) AN INQUIRY CONCERNING VIRTURE AND MERIT - Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, vol. 2
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AN INQUIRY CONCERNING VIRTURE AND MERIT - Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury, Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, vol. 2 
Characteristicks of Men, Manners, Opinions, Times, ed. Douglas den Uyl (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2001). 3 vols. Vol. 2.
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Virtue, or Merit.
Formerly Printed from an Imperfect Copy:
Now Corrected, and Publish’d intire.
The jest set aside, let us inquire
about serious matters.* Hor. Sat. I.
Printed first in the Year M.DC.XC.IX.
AN INQUIRY, &c.
Sect. 1.SECTION I
Occasion of this INQUIRY.RELIGION and VIRTUE appear in many respects so nearly related, that they are generally presum’d inseparable Companions. And so willing we are to believe well of their Union, that we hardly allow it just to speak, or even think of ’em apart. It may however be question’d, whether the Practice of the World, in this respect, be answerable to our Speculation. ’Tis certain that we sometimes meet with Instances which seem to make against this general Supposition. We have known People, who having the Appearance of great Zeal in Religion, have yet wanted even the common Affections of Humanity, and shewn themselves extremely degenerate and corrupt. Others, again, who have paid little regard to Religion, and been consider’d as mere Atheists, have yet been observ’d to practice the Rules of Morality, and act in many Cases with such good Meaning and Affection towards Mankind, as might seem to force an Acknowledgment of their being virtuous. And, in general, we find mere moral Principles of such weight, that in our dealings with Men, we are seldom satisfy’d by the fullest Assurance given us of their Zeal in Religion, till we hear something further of their Character. If we are told, a Man is religious; we still ask, “What are his Morals?” But if we hear at first that he has honest moral Principles, and is a Man of natural Justice and good Temper, we seldom think of the other Question, “Whether he be religious and devout?”
This has given occasion to enquire, “What Honesty or Virtue is, consider’d by it-self; and in what manner it is influenc’d by Religion: How far Religion necessarily implies Virtue; and whether it be a true Saying, That it is impossible for an Atheist to be virtuous, or share any real degree of Honesty, orMerit.”
And here it cannot justly be wonder’d at, if the Method of explaining Things shou’d appear somewhat unusual; since the Subject-Matter has been so little examin’d, and is of so nice and dangerous Speculation. For so much is the religious part of Mankind alarm’d by the Freedom of some late Pens; and so great a Jealousy is rais’d every-where on this Account; that whatever an Author may suggest in favour of Religion, he will gain little Credit in the Cause, if he allows the least Advantage to any other Principle. On the other side, the Men of Wit and Raillery, whose pleasantest Entertainment is in the exposing the weak sides of Religion, are so desperately afraid of being drawn into any serious Thoughts of it, that they look upon a Man as guilty of foul Play, who assumes the air of a Free Writer, and at the same time preserves any regard for the Principles of Natural Religion. They are apt to give as little quarter as they receive: And are resolv’d to think as ill of the Morals of their Antagonists, as their Antagonists can possibly think of theirs. Neither of ’em, it seems, will allow the least Advantage to the other. ’Tis as hard to persuade one sort, that there is any Virtue in Religion, as the other, that there is any Virtue out of the Verge of their particular Community. So that, between both, an Author must past his time ill, who dares plead for Religion and Moral Virtue, without lessening the force of either; but allowing to each its proper Province, and due Rank, wou’d hinder their being made Enemys by Detraction.
However it be: If we wou’d pretend to give the least new light, or explain any thing effectually, within the intended Compass of this Inquiry; ’tis necessary to take Things pretty deep; and endeavour, by some short Scheme, to represent the Original of each Opinion, whether natural or unnatural, relating to the Deity. And if we can happily get clear of this thorny part of our Philosophy; the rest, ’tis hop’d, may prove more plain and easy.
Sect. 2.SECTION II
State of Opinions.IN the Whole of Things (or in the Universe) either all is according to a good Order, and the most agreeable to a general Interest: or there is that which is otherwise, and might possibly have been better constituted, more wisely contriv’d, and with more advantage to the general Interest of Beings, or of the Whole.
If every thing which exists be according to a good Order, and for the best; then of necessity there is no such thing as real ILL in the Universe, nothing ILL with respect to the Whole.
Whatsoever, then, is so as that it cou’d not really have been better, or any way better order’d, is perfectly good. Whatsoever in the Order of the World can be call’d ILL, must imply a possibility in the nature of the thing to have been better contriv’d, or order’d. For if it cou’d not; it is perfect, and as it shou’d be.
Whatsoever is really ILL, therefore, must be caus’d or produc’d, either by Design, (that is to say, with Knowledg and Intelligence) or, in defect of this, by Hazard, and mere Chance.
If there be any thing ILL in the Universe from Design, then that which disposes all things, is no one good designing Principle. For either the one designing Principle is it-self corrupt; or there is some other in being which operates contrarily, and is ILL.
If there be any ILL in the Universe from mere Chance; then a designing Principle or Mind, whether Good or Bad, cannot be the Cause of all things. And consequently, if there be suppos’d a designing Principle, who is the Cause only of Good, but cannot prevent the Ill which happens from Chance, or from a contrary ill Design; then there can be suppos’d in reality no such thing as a superior good Design or Mind, other than what is impotent and defective: For not to correct, or totally exclude that Ill of Chance, or of a contrary ill Design, must proceed either from Impotency, or Ill-Will.
Whatsoever is superior in any degree over the World, or rules in Nature with Discernment and a Mind, is what, by universal Agreement, Men call God. If there are several such superior Minds, they are so many Gods: But if that single, or those several Superiors are not in their nature necessarily good, they rather take the name of Daemon.
To believe therefore that every thing is govern’d, order’d, or regulated for the best, by a designing Principle, or Mind, necessarily good and permanent, is to be a perfect Theist.
To believe nothing of a designing Principle or Mind, nor any Cause, Measure, or Rule of Things, but Chance; so that in Nature neither the Interest of the Whole, nor of any Particulars, can be said to be in the least design’d, pursu’d, or aim’d at; is to be a perfect Atheist.
To believe no one supreme designing Principle or Mind, but rather two, three, or more, (tho in their nature good) is to be a Polytheist.
To believe the governing Mind, or Minds, not absolutely and necessarily good, nor confin’d to what is best, but capable of acting according to mere Will or Fancy; is to be a Daemonist.
There are few who think always consistently, or according to one certain Hypothesis, upon any Subject so abstruse and intricate as the Cause of all Things, and the OEconomy or Government of the Universe. For ’tis evident in the Case of the most devout People, even by their own Confession, that there are Times when their Faith hardly can support ’em in the Belief of a supreme Wisdom; and that they are often tempted to judg disadvantageously of a Providence, and just Administration in the Whole.
That alone, therefore, is to be call’d a Man’s Opinion, which is of any other the most habitual to him, and occurs upon most occasions. So that ’tis hard to pronounce certainly of any Man, that he is an Atheist; because unless his whole Thoughts are at all Seasons, and on all Occasions, steddily bent against all Supposition or Imagination of Design in Things, he is no perfectAtheist. In the same manner, if a Man’s Thoughts are not at all times steddy and resolute against all Imagination of Chance, Fortune, or ill Design in Things, he is no perfectTheist. But if anyone believes more of Chance and Confusion than of Design; he is to be esteem’d more anAtheist than a Theist, from that which most predominates, or has the ascendent. And in case he believes more of the Prevalency of an ill-designing Principle, than of a good one, he is rather a Daemonist; and may be justly so call’d, from the Side to which the Balance of his Judgment most inclines.
All these sorts both of Daemonism, Polytheism, Atheism, and Theism, may be * mix’d. Religion excludes only perfect Atheism. Perfect Daemonists undoubtedly there are in Religion; because we know whole Nations who worship a Devil or Fiend, to whom they sacrifice and offer Prayers and Supplications, in reality on no other account than because they fear him. And we know very well that, in some Religions, there are those who expresly give no other Idea of God, than of a Being arbitrary, violent, causing Ill, and ordaining to Misery; which in effect is the same as to substitute a Daemon, or Devil, in his room.
Now since there are these several Opinions concerning a superior Power; and since there may be found perhaps some Persons, who have no form’d Opinion at all upon this Subject; either thro’ Scepticism, Negligence of Thought, or Confusion of Judgment: the Consideration is, how any of these Opinions, or this want of any certain Opinion, may possibly consist with Virtue and Merit; or be compatible with an honest or moral Character.
Sect. 1.SECTION I
A Constitution.WHEN we reflect on any ordinary Frame or Constitution either of Art or Nature; and consider how hard it is to give the least account of a particular Part, without a competent Knowledg of the Whole:Whole and Parts. 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 Proportions 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 reality 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;Interest or End in Creatures. 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 othersof his kind, when any such Appetites or Passions make him any-way injurious to them.Interest of the Species. 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 Him-self; and if the same Regularity of Affections, which causes him to be good in one sense, causes him to be good also in the other;Goodness. 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.
Private Good.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 inclin’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 like to have a very disconsolate kind of Life.” But if we were assur’d, that notwithstanding all Appearances, the Creature enjoy’d himself extremely, had a great relish of Life, and was in nothing wanting to his own Good; we might acknowledg perhaps, “That the Creature was no Monster, nor absurdly constituted as to himself.”Private SYSTEM. But we shou’d 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 acknowledg, “That he was a good Creature; if he cou’d be understood to be absolute and compleat in himself; without any real relation to any thing in the Universe besides.” For shou’d there be any where in Nature a System,System of the Species. of which this living 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.
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 Proportions 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 consider’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.
Animal System.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, in 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 Animals, 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 Species 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 OEconomy, according to which the animal Affairs are regulated and dispos’d.
System of the Earth.Now, if the whole System of Animals, together with 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;Planetary System. 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 Systemof all Things, and a Universal Nature;Universal System. 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.
Therefore if any Being be wholly and reallyIll, it must be ill 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 private 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,Absolute 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 OEconomy whatsoever.
Relative ILL.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.
Good and ill Man.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.
Goodness thro’ Affection.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 him.
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.
Sect. 2.SECTION II
Private or Self-Affection.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 is * not really such, but imaginary; this 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 vitious Affection: And on this Supposition a Creature *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 moderate. 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 vitious Affection. And this is what we commonly call †Selfishness, and disapprove so much, in whatever Creature we happen to discover it.
On the other side, if the Affection towards private or Self-good, however selfish it may be esteem’d, is in reality 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.
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 vitiously 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 induc’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 either for pleading a just Cause, or fighting in a good one, for the sake merely of his Fee or Stipend.
Whatsoever therefore is done which happens to be advantageous to the Species, thro’ an Affection merely towards Self-good, does not imply any more Goodness in the Creature than as the Affection it-self is good. Let him, in any particular, act ever so well; if at the bottom, it be that selfish Affection alone which moves him; he is in himself still vitious. Nor can any Creature be consider’d otherwise, when the Passion towards Self-good, tho ever so moderate, is his real Motive in the doing that, to which a natural Affection for his Kind ought by right to have inclin’d him.
Temper.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 Fierceness, 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 remaining just as it was, the Creature is still as ill as ever.
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 his 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 intirely 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 vitious Fondness; over-great Pity, Effeminacy and Weakness; over-great Concern for Self-preservation, Meanness and Cowardice; too little, Rashness; and none at all, or that which is contrary, (viz. a Passion leading to Self-destruction) a mad and desperate Depravity.
Sect. 3.SECTION III
BUT to proceed from what is esteem’d mere Goodness, and lies 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.
Reflex Affection.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 Dislike.
The Case is the same in mental or moral Subjects, as in ordinary Bodys, or the common Subjects of Sense. The Shapes, Motions, Colours, and Proportions of these latter being presented to our Eye; there necessarily results a * 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.
Moral Beauty and Deformity.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 it * 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 Carriage 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.
Publick Good an Object.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 tho we may vulgarly call an ill Horse vitious, yet we never say of a good one, nor of any mere Beast, Idiot, or Changeling, tho 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:GOODNESS and VIRTUE. for thus, and no 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.
Unequal Affection, or Iniquity.Whatsoever is done thro’ any unequal Affection, is iniquous, wicked, and wrong. If the Affection be equal, found, 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 of the nature of Wrong.
Neither can any Weakness or Imperfection in the Senses be the occasion of Iniquity or Wrong;Impair’d Sense. 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.
Corrupt Opinion.’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 worship’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.
Right and Wrong.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.
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.
And thus we find how far Worth and Virtue depend on a knowledg of Right and Wrong,VICE in Opinion. 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.Vitious Worship. 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,Vitious Custom. 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.
Sect. 4.SECTION IV
Sensible and rational Objects.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.
Trial of Virtue.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 evident, 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, tho 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 be indeed more cheaply virtuous; that is 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.
Degrees of Virtue.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 aDeity, as above-mention’d.
Sect. 1.SECTION I
Causes of VICE.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,
Of VIRTUE.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.
Loss of Moral Sense.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 Good 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 orDislike of Manners; no Admiration, or Love of any thing as morally good; nor Hatred of any thing as morally ill, be it ever so unnatural or deform’d.
Moral Sense.There is in reality no rational Creature whatsoever, who knows not that when he voluntarily offends or does harm to any-one, 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.
’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.
How impair’d: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;By opposite Affection, or Antipathy; 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 master’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,Not by Opinion merely. 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 Daemonism, 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.
Sect. 2.SECTION II
Corruption of Moral Sense.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.
Causes of this Corruption.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,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,Superstition. many things the most horridly unnatural and inhuman, come to be receiv’d as excellent, good, and laudable in themselves.
Nor is this a wonder. For where-ever any-thing, in its nature odious and abominable, is by Religion advanc’d, as the suppos’d Will or Pleasure of a supreme Deity; if in the eye of the Believer it appears not indeed in any respect the less ill or odious on this account; then must the Deity of necessity bear the blame, and be consider’d as a Being naturally ill and odious, however courted, and sollicited, thro’ Mistrust and Fear. But this is what Religion, in the main, forbids us to imagine. It everywhere prescribes Esteem and Honour in company with Worship and Adoration. Whensoever therefore it teaches the Love and Admiration of a Deity, who has any apparent Character of Ill; it teaches at the same time a Love and Admiration of that Ill, and causes that to be taken for good and amiable, which is in it-self horrid and detestable.
For instance: if Jupiter be He who is ador’d and reverenc’d; and if his History represents him amorously inclin’d, and permitting his Desires of this kind to wander in the loosest manner; ’tis certain that his Worshipers, believing this History to be literally and strictly true, must of course be taught a greater Love of amorous and wanton Acts. If there be a Religion which teaches the Adoration and Love of a God, whose Character it is to be captious, and of high resentment, subject to Wrath and Anger, furious, revengeful; and revenging himself, when offended, on others than those who gave the Offence: and if there be added to the Character of this God, a fraudulent Disposition, encouraging Deceit and Treachery amongst Men; favourable to a few, tho for slight causes, and cruel to the rest: ’tis evident that such a Religion as this being strongly enforc’d, must of necessity raise even an Approbation and Respect towards the Vices of this kind, and breed a sutable Disposition, a capricious, partial, revengeful, and deceitful Temper. For even Irregularitys and Enormitys of a heinous kind must in many cases appear illustrious to one, who considers them in a Being admir’d and contemplated with the highest Honour and Veneration.
This indeed must be allow’d; that if in the Cult or Worship of such a Deity there be nothing beyond common Form, nothing beside what proceeds from mere Example, Custom, Constraint, or Fear; if there be, at the bottom, no real Heartiness, no Esteem or Love imply’d; the Worshiper perhaps may not be much misled as to his Notion of Right and Wrong. If in following the Precepts of his suppos’d God, or doing what he esteems necessary towards the satisfying of such his Deity, he is compel’d only by Fear, and, contrary to his Inclination, performs an Act which he secretly detests as barbarous and unnatural; then has he an Apprehension or Sense still of Right and Wrong, and, according to what has been already observ’d, is sensible of Ill in the Character of his God; however cautious he may be of pronouncing any thing on this Subject, or so thinking of it, as to frame any formal or direct Opinion in the case. But if by insensible degrees, as he proceeds in his religious Faith and devout Exercise, he comes to be more and more reconcil’d to the Malignity, Arbitrariness, Pariality, or Revengefulness of his believ’d Deity; his Reconciliation with these Qualitys themselves will soon grow in proportion; and the most cruel, unjust, and barbarous Acts, will, by the power of this Example, be often consider’d by him, not only as just and lawful, but as divine, and worthy of imitation.
For whoever thinks there is a God, and pretends formally to believe that he is just and good, must suppose that there is independently such a thing as Justice and Injustice, Truth and Falshood, Right andWrong; according to which he pronounces that God is just, righteous, and true. If the mere Will, Decree, or Law of God be said absolutely to constitute Right and Wrong, then are these latter words of no significancy at all. For thus if each part of a Contradiction were affirm’d for Truth by the supreme Power, they wou’d consequently become true. Thus if one Person were decreed to suffer for another’s fault, the Sentence wou’d be just and equitable. And thus, in the same manner, if arbitrarily, and without reason, some Beings were destin’d to endure perpetual Ill, and others as constantly to enjoy Good; this also wou’d pass under the same Denomination. But to say of any thing that it is just or unjust, on such a foundation as this, is to say nothing, or to speak without a meaning.
And thus it appears, that where a real Devotion and hearty Worship is paid to a supreme Being, who in his History or Character is represented otherwise than as really and truly just and good; there must ensue a Loss of Rectitude, a Disturbance of Thought, and a Corruption of Temper and Manners in the Believer. His Honesty will, of necessity, be supplanted by his Zeal, whilst he is thus unnaturally influenc’d, and render’d thus immorally devout.
Influence of Religion.To this we need only add, that as the ill Character of a God does injury to the Affections of Men, and disturbs and impairs the natural Sense of Right and Wrong; so, on the other hand, nothing can more highly contribute to the fixing of right Apprehensions, and a sound Judgment or Sense of Right and Wrong, than to believe a God who is ever, and on all accounts, represented such as to be actually a true Model and Example of the most exact Justice, and highest Goodness and Worth. Such a View of divine Providence and Bounty, extended to All, and express’d in a constant good Affection towards the Whole, must of necessity engage us, within our Compass and Sphere, to act by a like Principle and Affection. And having once the Good of our Species or Publick in view, as our End or Aim, ’tis impossible we shou’d be misguided by any means to a false Apprehension or Sense of Right or Wrong.
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.
Sect. 3.SECTION III
NOW as to the last Case, The Opposition made by other Affections to the natural Sense of Right and Wrong.Opposition of the Affections.
’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 it-self; 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 introduc’d or increas’d. We are to consider only how the Opinions concerning a Deity can influence one way or another.
Rise of Moral Sense.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 ofVirtue, and to have a Sense ofRightandWrong.
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 Right 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.
DEITY.Now, as to the Belief of a Deity, and how Men are influenc’d by it; we may consider, in the first place, on what account Men yield Obedience, and act in conformity to such a supreme Being. It must be either in the way of hisPower, as presupposing some Disadvantage or Benefit to accrue from him: or in the way of hisExcellency and Worth, as thinking it the Perfection of Nature to imitate and resemble him.
If, as in the first Case, there be a Belief or Conception of a Deity,Hope and Fear. who is consider’d only as powerful over his Creature, and inforcing Obedience to his absolute Will by particular Rewards and Punishments; and if on this account, thro’ hope merely of Reward, or fear of Punishment, the Creature be incited to do the Good he hates, or restrain’d from doing the Ill to which he is not otherwise in the least degree averse; there is in this Case (as has been already shewn) no Virtue or Goodness whatsoever. The Creature, notwithstanding his good Conduct, is intrinsecally of as little Worth, as if he acted in his natural way, when under no dread or terror of any sort. There is no more of Rectitude, Piety, or Sanctity in a Creature thus reform’d, than there is Meekness or Gentleness in a Tiger strongly chain’d, or Innocence and Sobriety in a Monkey under the Discipline of the Whip. For however orderly and well those Animals, or Man himself upon like terms, may be induc’d to act, whilst the Will is neither gain’d, nor the Inclination wrought upon, but Awe alone prevails and forces Obedience; the Obedience is servile, and all which is done thro’ it, merely servile. The greater degree of such a Submission or Obedience, is only the greater Servility; whatever may be the Object. For whether such a Creature has a good Master,Fear. or an ill one, he is neither more or less servile in his own nature. Be the Master or Superior ever so perfect, or excellent, yet the greater Submission caus’d in this Case, thro’ this sole Principle or Motive, is only the lower and more abject Servitude; and implies the greater Wretchedness and Meanness in the Creature, who has those Passions of Self-love so predominant, and is in his Temper so vitious and defective, as has been explain’d.
Honour and Love.As to the second Case. If there be a Belief or Conception of a Deity, who is consider’d as worthy and good, and admir’d and reverenc’d as such; being understood to have, besides mere Power and Knowledg, the highest Excellence of Nature, such as renders him justly amiable to All: and if in the manner this Sovereign and mighty Being is represented, or, as he is historically describ’d, there appears in him a high and eminent regard to what is good and excellent, a Concern for the good of All, and an Affection of Benevolence and Love towards the Whole;Divine Example. such an Example must undoubtedly serve (as above explain’d) to raise and increase the Affection towards Virtue, and help to submit and subdue all other Affections to that alone.
Nor is this Good effected by Example merely. For where the Theistical Belief is intire and perfect, there must be a steddy Opinion of the Superintendency of a Supreme Being, a Witness and Spectator of human Life, and conscious of whatsoever is felt or acted in the Universe: So that in the perfectest Recess or deepest Solitude, there must be One still presum’d remaining with us; whose Presence singly must be of more moment than that of the most august Assembly on Earth. In such a Presense,Divine Presence. ’tis evident, that as the Shame of guilty Actions must be the greatest of any; so must the Honour be, of well-doing, even under the unjust Censure of a World. And in this Case, ’tis very apparent how conducing a perfect Theism must be to Virtue, and how great Deficiency there is in Atheism.
Fear and Hope.What the Fearof future Punishment, and Hopeof future Reward, added to this Belief, may further contribute towards Virtue, we come now to consider more particularly. So much in the mean while may be gather’d from what has been said above; That neither this Fear or Hope can possibly be of the kind call’d good Affections, such as are acknowledg’d the Springs and Sources of all Actions truly good. Nor can this Fear or Hope, as above intimated, consist in reality with Virtue, or Goodness; if it either stands as essential to any moral Performance, or as a considerable Motive to any Act, of which some better Affection ought, alone, to have been a sufficient Cause.
Self-love,It may be consider’d withal; That, in this religious sort of Discipline, the Principle of Self-love,How advanc’d. which is naturally so prevailing in us, being no-way moderated or restrain’d, but rather improv’d and made stronger every day, by the exercise of the Passions in a Subject of more extended Self-interest; there may be reason to apprehend lest the Temper of this kind shou’d extend it-self in general thro’ all the Parts of Life. For if the Habit be such as to occasion, in every particular, a stricter Attention to Self-good, and private Interest; it must insensibly diminish the Affections towards publick Good, or the Interest of Society; and introduce a certain Narrowness of Spirit, which (as some pretend) is peculiarly observable in the devout Persons and Zealots of almost every religious Persuasion.
Its Effects in Religion.This, too, must be confess’d; That if it be true Piety, to love Godfor his own sake; the over-sollicitous regard to private Good expected from him, must of necessity prove a diminution of Piety. For whilst God is belov’d only as the Cause of private Good, he is no otherwise belov’d than as any other Instrument or Means of Pleasure by any vitious Creature. Now the more there is of this violent Affection towards private Good, the less room is there for the other sort towards Goodness it-self, or any good and deserving Object, worthy of Love and Admiration for its own sake; such as God is universally acknowledg’d, or at least by the generality of civiliz’d or refin’d Worshipers.
’Tis in this respect that the strong Desire and Love of Life may also prove an Obstacle to Piety, as well as to Virtue and publick Love. For the stronger this Affection is in any-one, the less will he be able to have true Resignation, or Submission to the Rule and Order of the Deity.False Resignation. And if that which he calls Resignation depends only on the expectation of infinite Retribution or Reward, he discovers no more Worth or Virtue here, than in any other Bargain of Interest: The meaning of his Resignation being only this, “That he resigns his present Life and Pleasures, conditionally for That, which he himself confesses to be beyond an Equivalent; eternal living in a State of highest Pleasure and Enjoyment.”
But notwithstanding the Injury which the Principle of Virtue may possibly suffer, by the Increase of the selfish Passion, in the way we have been mentioning; ’tis certain, on the other side,Belief of future Life; that the Principle of Fear of future Punishment, and Hope of future Reward, how mercenary or servile soever it may be accounted, is yet, in many Circumstances,How advantageous. a great Advantage, Security, and Support to Virtue.
It has been already consider’d, that notwithstanding there may be implanted in the Heart a real Sense of Right and Wrong,Supporting. a real good Affection towards the Species or Society; yet by the violence of Rage, Lust, or any other counterworking Passion, this good Affection may frequently be controul’d and overcome. Where therefore there is nothing in the Mind capable to render such ill Passions the Objects of its Aversion, and cause them earnestly to be oppos’d; ’tis apparent how much a good Temper in time must suffer, and a Character by degrees change for the worse. But if Religion interposing, creates a Belief that the ill Passions of this kind, no less than their consequent Actions, are the Objects of a Deity’s Animadversion; ’tis certain, that such a Belief must prove a seasonable Remedy against Vice, and be in a particular manner advantageous to Virtue. For a Belief of this kind must be suppos’d to tend considerably towards the calming of the Mind, and disposing or fitting the Person to a better Recollection of himself, and to a stricter Observance of that good and virtuous Principle, which needs only his Attention, to engage him wholly in its Party and Interest.
Saving.And as this Belief of a future Reward and Punishment is capable of supporting those who thro’ ill Practice are like to apostatize from Virtue; so when by ill Opinion and wrong Thought, the Mind it-self is bent against the honest Course, and debauch’d even to an Esteem, and deliberate Preference of a vitious one; the Belief of the kind mention’d may prove on this occasion the only Relief and Safety.
A Person, for instance, who has much of Goodness and natural Rectitude in his Temper, but withal, so much Softness, or Effeminacy, as unfits him to bear Poverty, Crosses or Adversity; if by ill Fortune he meets with many Trials of this kind, it must certainly give a Sourness and Distaste to his Temper, and make him exceedingly averse to that which he may falsly presume the occasion of such Calamity or Ill. Now if his own Thoughts,Belief of future Life; or the corrupt Insinuations of other Men, present it often to his Mind, “That hisHonestyis the occasion of this Calamity, and that if he were deliver’d from this Restraint ofVirtueandHonesty,he might be much happier”: ’tis very obvious that his Esteem of these good Qualitys must in proportion diminish every day, as the Temper grows uneasy, and quarrels with it-self. But if he opposes to this Thought the Consideration, “That Honesty carrys with it, if not a present, at least a future Advantage, such as to compensate that Loss of private Good which he regrets”; then may this injury to his good Temper and honest Principle be prevented, and his Love or Affection towards Honesty and Virtue remain as it was before.
Improving.In the same manner, where instead of Regard or Love, there is rather an Aversion to what is good and virtuous, (as, for instance, where Lenity and Forgiveness are despis’d, and Revenge highly thought of, and belov’d) if there be this Consideration added, “That Lenity is, by its Rewards, made the cause of a greater Self-good and Enjoyment than what is found in Revenge”; that very Affection of Lenity and Mildness may come to be industriously nourish’d, and the contrary Passion depress’d. And thus Temperance, Modesty, Candour, Benignity, and other good Affections, however despis’d at first, may come at last to be valu’d for their own Sakes, the contrary Species rejected, and the good and proper Object belov’d and prosecuted, when the Reward or Punishment is not so much as thought of.
Rewards and Punishments,Thus in a civilState or Publick, we see that a virtuous Administration, and an equal and just Distribution of Rewards and Punishments, is of the highest service; not only by restraining the Vitious, and forcing them to act usefully to Society;In the State. but by making Virtue to be apparently the Interest of every-one, so as to remove all Prejudices against it, create a fair reception for it, and lead Men into that path which afterwards they cannot easily quit. For thus a People rais’d from Barbarity or despotick Rule, civiliz’d by Laws, and made virtuous by the long Course of a lawful and just Administration; if they chance to fall suddenly under any Misgovernment of unjust and arbitrary Power, they will on this account be the rather animated to exert a stronger Virtue, in opposition to such Violence and Corruption. And even where, by long and continu’d Arts of a prevailing Tyranny, such a People are at last totally oppress’d, the scatter’d Seeds of Virtue will for a long time remain alive, even to a second Generation; ere the utmost Force of misapply’d Rewards and Punishments can bring them to the abject and compliant State of long-accustom’d Slaves.
But tho a right Distribution of Justice in a Government be so essential a cause of Virtue, we must observe in this Case, that it is Example which chiefly influences Mankind, and forms the Character and Disposition of a People. For a virtuous Administration is in a manner necessarily accompany’d with Virtue in the Magistrate. Otherwise it cou’d be of little effect, and of no long duration. But where it is sincere and well establish’d, there Virtue and the Laws must necessarily be respected and belov’d. So that as to Punishments and Rewards, their Efficacy is not so much from the Fear or Expectation which they raise, as from a natural Esteem of Virtue, and Detestation of Villany, which is awaken’d and excited by these publick Expressions of the Approbation and Hatred of Mankind in each Case. For in the publick Executions of the greatest Villains, we see generally that the Infamy and Odiousness of their Crime, and the Shame of it before Mankind, contribute more to their Misery than all besides; and that it is not the immediate Pain, or Death it-self, which raises so much Horror either in the Sufferers or Spectators, as that ignominious kind of Death which is inflicted for publick Crimes, and Violations of Justice and Humanity.
In the Family.And as the Case of Reward and Punishment stands thus in the Publick, so, in the same manner, as to private Familys. For Slaves and mercenary Servants, restrain’d and made orderly by Punishment, and the Severity of their Master, are not on this account made good or honest. Yet the same Master of the Family using proper Rewards and gentle Punishments towards his Children, teaches them Goodness; and by this help instructs them in a Virtue, which afterwards they practice upon other grounds, and without thinking of a Penalty or Bribe. And this is what we call a Liberal Education and a Liberal Service: the contrary Service and Obedience, whether towards God or Man, being illiberal, and unworthy of any Honour or Commendation.
In the Case of Religion, however, it must be consider’d,In Religion. that if by the Hope of Reward be understood the Love and Desire of virtuous Enjoyment, or of the very Practice and Exercise of Virtue in another Life; the Expectation or Hope of this kind is so far from being derogatory to Virtue, that it is an Evidence of our loving it the more sincerely and for its own sake. Nor can this Principle be justly call’d selfish: for if the Love of Virtue be not mere Self-Interest, the Love and Desire of Life for Virtue’s sake cannot be esteem’d so. But if the Desire of Life be only thro’ the Violence of that natural Aversion to Death; if it be thro’ the Love of something else than virtuous Affection, or thro’ the Unwillingness of parting with something else than what is purely of this kind; then is it no longer any sign or token of real Virtue.
Thus a Person loving Life for Life’s sake, and Virtue not at all, may by the Promise or Hope of Life, and Fear of Death, or other Evil, be induc’d to practice Virtue, and even endeavour to be truly virtuous, by a Love of what he practices. Yet neither is this very Endeavour to be esteem’d a Virtue: For tho he may intend to be virtuous, he is not become so, for having only intended, or aim’d at it, thro’ love of the Reward. But as soon as he is come to have any Affection towards what is morally good, and can like or affect such Good for its own sake, as good and amiable in itself; then is he in some degree good and virtuous, and not till then.
Security to Virtue.Such are the Advantages or Disadvantages which accrue to Virtue from Reflection upon private Good or Interest. For tho the Habit of Selfishness, and the Multiplicity of interested Views, are of little Improvement to real Merit or Virtue; yet there is a necessity for the preservation of Virtue, that it shou’d be thought to have no quarrel with true Interest, and Self-enjoyment.
Whoever therefore, by any strong Persuasion or settled Judgment, thinks in the main, That Virtue causes Happiness, and Vice Misery, carrys with him that Security and Assistance to Virtue which is requir’d. Or tho he has no such Thought, nor can believe Virtue his real Interest, either with respect to his own Nature and Constitution, or the Circumstances of human Life; yet if he believes any supreme Powers concern’d in the present Affairs of Mankind, and immediately interposing in behalf of the Honest and Virtuous, against the Impious and Unjust; this will serve to preserve in him, however, that just Esteem of Virtue, which might otherwise considerably diminish. Or shou’d he still believe little of the immediate Interposition of Provindence in the Affairs of this present Life; yet if he believes a God dispensing Rewards and Punishments to Vice and Virtue in a future; he carrys with him still the same Advantage and Security;Caution. whilst his Belief is steddy, and no-wise wavering or doubtful. For it must be observ’d, that an Expectation and Dependency, so miraculous and great as this, must naturally take off from other inferior Dependencys and Encouragements. Where infinite Rewards are thus inforc’d, and the Imagination strongly turn’d towards them, the other common and natural Motives to Goodness are apt to be neglected, and lose much by Dis-use. Other Interests are hardly so much as computed, whilst the Mind is thus transported in the pursuit of a high Advantage and Self-Interest, so narrowly confin’d within our-selves. On this account, all other Affections towards Friends, Relations, or Mankind, are often slightly regarded, as being worldly, and of little moment, in respect of the Interest of our Soul. And so little thought is there of any immediate Satisfaction arising from such good Offices of Life,Imprudent Zeal. that it is customary with many devout People zealously to decry all temporal Advantages of Goodness, all natural Benefits of Virtue; and magnifying the contrary Happiness of a vitious State, to declare, “That except only for the sake of future Reward, and fear of future Punishment, they wou’d divest themselves of all Goodness at once, and freely allow themselves to be most immoral and profligate.” From whence it appears, that in some respects there can be nothing more * fatal to Virtue, than the weak and uncertain Belief of a future Reward and Punishment. For the stress being laid wholly here, if this Foundation come to fail, there is no further Prop or Security to Mens Morals. And thus Virtue is supplanted and betray’d.
Atheism.Now as to Atheism: tho it be plainly deficient and without remedy, in the case of ill Judgment on the Happiness of Virtue; yet it is not, indeed, of necessity the Cause of any such ill Judgment. For without an absolute Assent to any Hypothesis of Theism, the Advantages of Virtue may possibly be seen and own’d, and a high Opinion of it establish’d in the Mind. However, it must be confess’d, that the natural Tendency of Atheism is very different.
’Tis in a manner impossible, to have any great opinion of the Happiness of Virtue, without conceiving high thoughts of the Satisfaction resulting from the generous Admiration and Love of it: And nothing beside the Experience of such a Love is likely to make this Satisfaction credited. The chief Ground and Support therefore of this Opinion of Happiness in Virtue, must arise from the powerful feeling of this generous moral Affection, and the knowledg of its Power and Strength. But this is certain, that it can be no great strengthning to the moral Affection, no great support to the pure Love of Goodness and Virtue, to suppose there is neither Goodness nor Beauty in the Whole it-self; nor any Example, or Precedent of good Affection in any superior Being. Such a Belief must tend rather to the weaning the Affections from any thing amiable or self-worthy, and to the suppressing the very Habit and familiar Custom of admiring natural Beautys, or whatever in the Order of things is according to just Design, Harmony, and Proportion. For how little dispos’d must a Person be, to love or admire any thing as orderly in the Universe, who thinks the Universe it-self a Pattern of Disorder? How unapt to reverence or respect any particular subordinate Beauty of a Part; when even the Whole it-self is thought to want Perfection, and to be only a vast and infinite Deformity?
Nothing indeed can be more melancholy, than the Thought of living in a distracted Universe, from whence many Ills may be suspected, and where there is nothing good or lovely which presents it-self, nothing which can satisfy in Contemplation, or raise any Passion besides that of Contempt, Hatred, or Dislike. Such an Opinion as this may by degrees imbitter the Temper, and not only make the Love of Virtue to be less felt, but help to impair and ruin the very Principle of Virtue, viz. natural and kind Affection.
Theism.Upon the whole; whoever has a firm Belief of a God, whom he does not merely call good, but of whom in reality he believes nothing beside real Good, nothing beside what is truly sutable to the exactest Character of Benignity and Goodness; such a Person believing Rewards or Retributions in another Life, must believe them annex’d to real Goodness and Merit, real Villany and Baseness, and not to any accidental Qualitys or Circumstances; in which respect they cannot properly be styl’d Rewards or Punishments, but capricious Distributions of Happiness or Unhappiness to Creatures. These are the only Terms, on which the Belief of a World to come can happily influence the Believer. And on these Terms, and by virtue of this Belief, Man perhaps may retain his Virtue and Integrity, even under the hardest Thoughts of human Nature; when either by any ill Circumstance or untoward Doctrine, he is brought to that unfortunate Opinion of Virtue’s being naturally an Enemy to Happiness in Life.
This, however, is an Opinion which cannot be suppos’d consistent with soundTheism. For whatever be decided as to a future Life, or the Rewards and Punishments of hereafter; he who, as a sound Theist, believes a reigning Mind, sovereign in Nature, and ruling all things with the highest perfection of Goodness, as well as of Wisdom and Power, must necessarily believe Virtue to be naturally good and advantageous. For what cou’d more strongly imply an unjust Ordinance, a Blot and Imperfection in the general Constitution of Things, than to suppose Virtue the natural Ill, and Vice the natural Good of any Creature?
Atheism and Theism.And now last of all, there remains for us to consider a yet further Advantage to Virtue, in the Theistical Belief above the Atheistical. The Proposition may at first sight appear over-refin’d, and of a sort which is esteem’d too nicely philosophical. But after what has been already examin’d, the Subject perhaps may be more easily explain’d.
There is no Creature, according to what has been already prov’d,Effects of each. who must not of necessity be ill in some degree, by having any Affection or Aversion in a stronger degree than is sutable to his own private Good, or that of the System to which he is join’d. For in either Case the Affection is ill and vitious. Now if a rational Creature has that Degree of Aversion which is requisite to arm him against any particular Misfortune, and alarm him against the Approach of any Calamity; this is regular and well. But if after the Misfortune is happen’d, his Aversion continues still, and his Passion rather grows upon him; whilst he rages at the Accident, and exclaims against his private Fortune or Lot; this will be acknowledg’d both vitious in present, and for the future; as it affects the Temper, and disturbs that easy Course of the Affections on which Virtue and Goodness so much depend. On the other side, the patient enduring of the Calamity, and the bearing up of the Mind under it, must be acknowledg’d immediately virtuous, and preservative of Virtue. Now,Of Atheism. according to the Hypothesis of those who exclude a general Mind, it must be confess’d, there can nothing happen in the Course of things to deserve either our Admiration, and Love, or our Anger, and Abhorrence. However, as there can be no Satisfaction at the best in thinking upon what Atoms and Chance produce; so upon disasterous Occasions, and under the Circumstances of a calamitous and hard Fortune, ’tis scarce possible to prevent a natural kind of Abhorrence and Spleen, which will be entertain’d and kept alive by the Imagination of so perverse an Order of Things. But in another Hypothesis (that of perfect Theism) it is understood,Of Theism. “That whateverthe Order of the World produces, is in the main both just and good.” Therefore in the Course of Things in this World, whatever Hardship of Events may seem to force from any rational Creature a hard Censure of his private Condition or Lot; he may by Reflection nevertheless, come to have Patience, and to acquiesce in it. Nor is this all. He may go further still in this Reconciliation; and from the same Principle may make the Lot it-self an Object of his good Affection; whilst he strives to maintain this generous Fealty, and stands so well-dispos’d towards the Laws and Government of his higher Country.
Such an Affection must needs create the highest Constancy in any State of Sufferance, and make us in the best manner support whatever Hardships are to be endur’d for Virtue’s sake. And as this Affection must of necessity cause a greater Acquiescence and Complacency with respect to ill Accidents, ill Men, and Injurys; so of course it cannot fail of producing still a greater Equality, Gentleness, and Benignity in the Temper. Consequently the Affection must be a truly good one, and a Creature the more truly good and virtuous, by possessing it. For whatsoever is the occasion or means of more affectionately uniting a rational Creature to his Part in Society, and causes him to prosecute the publick Good, or Interest of his Species, with more Zeal and Affection than ordinary; is undoubtedly the Cause of more than ordinary Virtue in such a Person.
Contemplation.This too is certain; That the Admiration and Love of Order, Harmony and Proportion, in whatever kind, is naturally improving to the Temper, advantageous to social Affection, and highly assistant to Virtue; which is it-self no other than the Love of Order and Beauty in Society. In the meanest Subjects of the World, the Appearance of Order gains upon the Mind, and draws the Affection towards it. But if the Order of the World it-self appears just and beautiful; the Admiration and Esteem of Order must run higher, and the elegant Passion or Love of Beauty, which is so advantageous to Virtue, must be the more improv’d by its Exercise in so ample and magnificent a Subject.Religious Affection. For ’tis impossible that such aDivine Order shou’d be contemplated without * Extasy and Rapture; since in the common Subjects of Science, and the liberal Arts, whatever is according to just Harmony and Proportion, is so transporting to those who have any Knowledg or Practice in the kind.
Now if the Subject and Ground of this divine Passion be not really just or adequate, (the Hypothesis of Theism being suppos’d false) the Passion still in it-self is so far natural and good, as it proves an Advantage to Virtue and Goodness; according to what has been above demonstrated. But if, on the other side, the Subject of this Passion be really adequate and just, (the Hypothesis of Theism being real, and not imaginary) then is the Passion also just, and becomes absolutely due and requisite in every rational Creature.
Conclusion.HENCE we may determine justly the Relation which Virtue has to Piety; the first being not compleat but in the latter: Since where the latter is wanting, there can neither be the same Benignity, Firmness, or Constancy; the same good Composure of the Affections, or Uniformity of Mind.
And thus the Perfection and Height of Virtue must be owing to the Belief of aGod.
Sect. 1.SECTION I
WE have consider’d whatVirtueis, and to whom the Character belongs. It remains to inquire,Obligation to VIRTUE.What Obligation there is toVirtue; 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.
Difficulty stated.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, is 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.
There being allow’d therefore in a Creature such Affections as these towards the common Nature,Union with a Kind or Species. 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?
Opposition from Self-interest.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 publick 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.”
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 our-selves, 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 of Nature, be resisted and overcome; that, by this means, there might be nothing 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 itsWhole.
Reconciliation.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 Publick 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.”
Sect. 2.SECTION II
Contradictory Notions.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;Dissolute or immoral State. but that, of necessity, a Mind or Temper thus destitute of Mildness and Benignity, 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.
In whole.This, as to the compleat immoral State, is what, of their own accord, Men readily remark. Where there is this absolute Degeneracy, this total Apostacy from all Candour, Equity, 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,In part. 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.
Inward Proportion.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; tho ’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,Continuity. 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 compleately 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.
Fabrick or System of the Affections.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.
Sect. 3.SECTION III
SYSTEM explain’d.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.
Spring of Actions.Whatsoever therefore is done or acted by any Animal as such, is done only thro’ some Affection or Passion, as of Fear, Love, or Hatred moving him.
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.
Affections, three kinds.The Affections or Passions which must influence and govern the Animal, are either,
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.
It may seem strange, perhaps, to speak of natural Affections as too strong,Degrees of Affection. 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.
This may well be allow’d true in all other respects; since even Religion it-self, consider’d as a Passion, not of the selfish but nobler kind, may in some Characters be strain’d beyond its natural Proportion, and be said also to be in too high a degree. For as the End of Religion is to render us more perfect, and accomplish’d in all moral Dutys and Performances; if by the height of devout Extasy and Contemplation we are rather disabled in this respect, and render’d more unapt to the real Dutys and Offices of civil Life; it may be said that Religion indeed is then too strong in us. For how, possibly, can we call this Superstition, whilst the Object of the Devotion is acknowledg’d just, and the Faith orthodox? ’Tis only the Excess of Zeal, which, in this Case, is so transporting, as to render the devout Person more remiss in secular Affairs, and less concern’d for the inferior and temporal Interests of Mankind.
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 it 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.
’Tis thus we say of a Creature, in a kind way of Reproof, that he is too good; when his 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.
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 OEconomy 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, tho 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.
OEconomy of the Passions.But to shew more particularly what is meant by the OEconomy of the Passions, from Instances in the Species or * Kinds below us. As for the Creatures who have no manner of Power or Means given them by Nature for their defense against Violence, nor any-thing by which they can make themselves formidable to such as injure or offend them; ’tis necessary they shou’d have an extraordinary degree of Fear, but little or no Animosity, such as might cause ’em to make resistance, or incline ’em to delay their Flight. For in this their Safety lies, and to this the Passion of Fear is serviceable, by keeping the Senses on the watch, and holding the Spirits in readiness to give the start.
And thus Timorousness, and an habitual strong Passion of Fear, may be according to the OEconomy of a particular Creature, both with respect to himself, and to the rest of his Species. On the other hand, Courage may be contrary to his OEconomy, and therefore vitious. Even in one and the same Species, this is by Nature differently order’d, with respect to different Sexes, Ages, and Growths. The tamer Creatures of the grazing kind, who live in Herds, are different from the wilder, who herd not, but live in Pairs only, apart from Company, as is natural and sutable to their rapacious Life. Yet is there found, even among the former inoffensive kind, a Courage proportionable to their Make and Strength. At a time of danger, when the whole Herd flies, the Bull alone makes head against the Lion, or whatever other invading Beast of Prey, and shews himself conscious of his Make. Even the Female of this kind is arm’d, we see, by Nature, in some degree, to resist Violence; so as not to fly a common Danger. As for a Hind, or Doe, or any other inoffensive and mere defenceless Creature; ’tis no way unnatural or vitious in them, when the Enemy approaches, to desert their Offspring, and fly for Safety. But for Creatures who are able to make Resistance, and are by Nature arm’d offensively; be they of the poorest Insect-kind, such as Bees or Wasps; ’tis natural to ’em to be rouz’d with Fury, and at the hazard of their Lives, oppose any Enemy or Invader of their Species. For by this known Passion in the Creature, the Species it-self is secur’d; when by Experience ’tis found that the Creature, tho unable to repel the Injury, yet voluntarily exposes his Life for the Punishment of the Invader; and suffers not his Kind to be injur’d with Impunity. And of all other Creatures, Man is in this Sense the most formidable: since if he thinks it just and exemplary, he may possibly in his own, or in his Country’s Cause, revenge an Injury on any-one living; and by throwing away his own Life (if he be resolute to that degree) is almost certain Master of another’s, however strongly guarded. Examples of this nature have often serv’d to restrain those in Power, from using it to the utmost Extent, and urging their Inferiors to Extremity.
Measure. Tone.Upon the whole: It may be said properly to be the same with the Affections or Passions in an Animal-Constitution, as with the Cords or Strings of a Musical Instrument. If these, tho in ever so just proportion one to another, are strain’d beyond a certain degree, ’tis more than the Instrument will bear: The Lute or Lyre is abus’d, and its Effect lost. On the other hand, if while some of the Strings are duly strain’d, others are not wound up to their due proportion; then is the Instrument still in disorder, and its Part ill perform’d. The several Species of Creatures are like different sorts of Instruments: And even in the same Species of Creatures (as in the same sort of Instrument) one is not intirely like the other, nor will the same Strings fit each. The same degree of Strength which winds up one, and fits the several Strings to a just Harmony and Concert, may in another burst both the Strings and Instrument it-self. Thus Men who have the liveliest Sense, and are the easiest affected with Pain or Pleasure, have need of the strongest Influence or Force of other Affections, such as Tenderness, Love, Sociableness, Compassion, in order to preserve a rightBalancewithin,Balance. and to maintain them in their Duty, and in the just performance of their Part: whilst others, who are of a cooler Blood, or lower Key, need not the same Allay or Counterpart; nor are made by Nature to feel those tender and indearing Affections in so exquisite a degree.
It might be agreeable, one wou’d think, to inquire thus into the different Tunings of the Passions, the various Mixtures and Allays by which Men become so different from one another.TEMPER. For as the highest Improvements of Temper are made in human kind;Best or worst in Man. so the greatest Corruptions and Degeneracys are discoverable in this Race. In the other Species of Creatures around us, there is found generally an exact Proportionableness, Constancy and Regularity in all their Passions and Affections; no failure in the care of the Offspring, or of the Society, to which they are united; no Prostitution of themselves; no Intemperance, or Excess, in any kind. The smaller Creatures, who live as it were in Citys (as Bees and Ants) continue the same Train and Harmony of Life: Nor are they ever false to those Affections, which move them to operate towards their Publick Good. Even those Creatures of Prey, who live the farthest out of Society, maintain, we see, such a Conduct towards one another, as is exactly sutable to the Good of their own Species. Whilst Man, notwithstanding the Assistance of Religion, and the Direction of Laws, is often found to live in less conformity with Nature; and, by means of Religion it-self, is often render’d the more barbarous and inhuman. Marks are set on Men: Distinctions form’d: Opinions decreed, under the severest Penaltys: Antipathys instill’d, and Aversions rais’d in Men against the generality of their own Species. So that ’tis hard to find in any Region a human Society which has human Laws. No wonder if in such Societys ’tis so hard to find a Man who lives naturally, and as a Man.
State of the Argument.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 Imperfection: 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 prov’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 possibly be other than sound, good and virtuous, in his Action and Behaviour.
Our Business, therefore, will be, to prove;
Sect. 1.SECTION I
FIRST Proof, from the natural Affections.TO begin therefore with this Proof, “That to have 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:AndThat to want them is certain Misery and Ill.”
We may inquire, first, what those are, which we call Pleasures or Satisfactions;Pleasures of the BODY and MIND. from whence Happiness is generally computed. They are (according to the common distinction) Satisfactions and Pleasures either of the Body, or of the Mind.
The latter preferable.That the latter of these Satisfactionsare 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 diverted 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.
Inference.The Pleasures of the Mind being allow’d, therefore, superior, to those of theBody; it follows, “That whatever can create in any intelligent Being a constant flowing Series or Train of mental Enjoyments, 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.”
Mental Enjoyments, whence.Now the mental Enjoyments are either actually the 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.
Energy of natural Affections.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 Knowledg 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, tho 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 theCharm 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.
There is no-one who, by the least progress in Science or Learning, has come to know barely the Principles of Mathematicks, but has found, that in the exercise of his Mind on the Discoverys he there makes, tho 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 Recompence 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, than 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.”
Effects of natural Affection.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 believe 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 Set, 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 Love is perfect, or imperfect; so must be the Content and Happiness depending on it.
Partial Affection examin’d.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 dissociable, 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,Partial Affection. 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 Sympathy or Participation 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.
Intire Affection.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 carrys 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.
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,Mind and Temper.Bitterness, or Distaste; and in A Mind or Reason well compos’d, quiet, easy within it-self, and such 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.
TEMPER.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 other from without; or something from within, to check the licentious Course of the indulg’d Affections. They are not always 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 Disorders 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.
MIND.NOW as to the other part of our Consideration, which relates to a Mindor Reason well compos’d and easy within it-self; upon what account this Happiness may be thought owing to natural Affection,Reflection. 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 it-self, 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 Talk 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 his 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.
Conscience.There are two Things, which to a rational Creature must be horridly offensive 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.”
Moral Conscience.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 it-self, 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 fearGod 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 theDeity, 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 expresly 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 its 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 Vice 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 haveConscience. 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 theDeity. 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.
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 heinously 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,False Conscience. idolize some false 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,Causes Reproach from true. 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.
Conscience, from Interest.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 possibility 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.
Conclusion drawn from the MENTAL PLEASURES.From all this we may easily conclude, how much our Happiness depends on natural and good 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.”
Pleasures of the SENSE, Dependent also on natural Affection.NOW as to the Pleasures ofthe Body, and the Satisfactions belonging to mereSense; ’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 and drink well.Vulgar Epicurism. 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,Pleasures of the Sense, 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,Imagination, Fancy. 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.
A Debauch.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,Pleasures of the Sense. 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 him-self in this way, is often call’d a Sot, but never a Debauchee. The Courtizans, and even the commonest of Women,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.
Who is there can well or long enjoy any thing, when alone, and abstracted perfectly, even in his very Mind and Thought, from every thing belonging to Society? Who wou’d not, on such Terms as these, be presently cloy’d by any sensual Indulgence? Who wou’d not soon grow uneasy with his Pleasure, however exquisite, till he had found means to impart it, and make it truly pleasant to him, by communicating, and sharing it at least with some one single Person? Let Men imagine what they please; let ’em suppose themselves ever so selfish; or desire ever so much to follow the Dictates of that narrow Principle, by which they wou’d bring Nature under restraint: Nature will break out; and in Agonys, Disquiets, and a distemper’d State, demonstrate evidently the ill Consequence of such Violence, the Absurdity of such a Device, and the Punishment which belongs to such a monstrous and horrid Endeavour.
Pleasures of the Sense,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,Convertible into Disgust; produce rather Discontent and Sourness, and breed a Wearisomness and Restlessness in the Disposition. This we may perceive by the perpetual Inconstancy, and Love of Change,Variable: 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.Insupportable. 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.
Balance of the Affections.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 Soul 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 it-self, and create the highest Impatience and Ill-humour.
In †Brutes, and other Creatures, which have not the Use of Reason and Reflection,Instance in the animal Kinds. (at least not after the manner of Mankind) ’tis so order’d in Nature, that by their daily Search after Food, and their Application either towards the Business of their Livelihood, or the Affairs of their Species or Kind,Balance of the Affections. almost their whole time is taken up, and they fail not to find full Imployment for their Passion, according to that degree of Agitation to which they are fitted, and which their Constitution requires. If any one of these Creatures be taken out of his natural laborious State, and plac’d amidst such a Plenty as can profusely administer to all his Appetites and Wants; it may be observ’d, that as his Circumstances grow thus luxuriant, his Temper and Passions have the same growth. When he comes, at any time, to have the Accommodations of Life at a cheaper and easier rate than was at first intended him by Nature, he is made to pay dear for ’em in another way; by losing his natural good Disposition, and the Orderliness of his Kind or Species.
This needs not to be demonstrated by particular Instances. Whoever has the least knowledg of natural History, or has been an Observer of the several Breeds of Creatures, and their ways of Life, and Propagation, will easily understand this Difference of Orderliness between the wild and the tame of the same Species. The latter acquire new Habits; and deviate from their original Nature. They lose even the common Instinct and ordinary Ingenuity of their Kind;Animal Kinds. nor can they ever regain it, whilst they continue in this pamper’d State: but being turn’d to shift abroad, they resume the natural Affection and Sagacity of their Species. They learn to unite in stricter Fellowship; and grow more concern’d for their Offspring. They provide against the Seasons, and make the most of every Advantage given by Nature for the Support and Maintenance of their particular Species, against such as are foreign and hostile. And thus as they grow busy and imploy’d, they grow regular and good. Their Petulancy and Vice forsakes them, with their Idleness and Ease.
Mankind.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,Balance of the Affections. OEconomy, 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 Irregularitys 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 and be impair’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 good. And thus in the room of orderly and natural Affection, new and unnatural must be rais’d, and all inward Order and OEconomy destroy’d.OEconomy.
One must have a very imperfect Idea of the Order of Nature in the Formation and Structure of Animals, to imagine that so great a Principle, so fundamental a Part as that of natural Affection shou’d possibly be lost or impair’d, without any inward Ruin or Subversion of the Temper and Frame of Mind.Balance of the Affections.
Whoever is the least vers’d in this moral kind of Architecture, will find the inward Fabrick so adjusted, and the whole so nicely built;Fabrick. that the barely extending of a single Passion a little too far, or the continuance of it too long, is able to bring irrecoverable Ruin and Misery. He will find this experienc’d in the ordinary Case of Phrenzy, and Distraction; when the Mind, dwelling too long upon one Subject, (whether prosperous or calamitous) sinks under the weight of it, and proves what the necessity is, of a due Balance, and Counterpoise in the Affections. He will find, that in every different Creature, and distinct Sex, there is a different and distinct Order, Set, or Suit of Passions; proportionable to the different Order of Life, the different Functions and Capacitys assign’d to each. As the Operations and Effects are different, so are the Springs and Causes in each System. The inside Work is fitted to the outward Action and Performance. So that where Habits or Affections are dislodg’d, misplac’d, or chang’d; where those belonging to one Species are intermix’d with those belonging to another, there must of necessity be Confusion and Disturbance within.
Monsters.All this we may observe easily, by comparing the more perfect with the imperfect Natures, such as are imperfect from their Birth, by having suffer’d Violence within, in their earliest Form, and inmost Matrix. We know how it is with Monsters, such as are compounded of different Kinds, or different Sexes. Nor are they less Monsters, who are mishapen or distorted in an inward Part. The ordinary Animals appear unnatural and monstrous, when they lose their proper Instincts, forsake their Kind, neglect their Offspring, and pervert those Functions or Capacitys bestow’d by Nature. How wretched must it be, therefore, for Man, of all other Creatures, to lose that Sense, and Feeling, which is proper to him as aMan, and sutable to his Character, and Genius? How unfortunate must it be for a Creature, whose dependence on Society is greater than any others, to lose that natural Affection by which he is prompted to the Good and Interest of his Species, and Community? Such indeed is Man’s natural Share of this Affection, that He, of all other Creatures,Balance of the Affections. is plainly the least able to bear Solitude. Nor is any thing more apparent, than that there is naturally in every Man such a degree of social Affection as inclines him to seek the Familiarity and Friendship of his Fellows. ’Tis here that he lets loose a Passion, and gives reins to a Desire, which can hardly by any struggle or inward violence be with-held; or if it be, is sure to create a Sadness, Dejection, and Melancholy in the Mind. For whoever is unsociable, and voluntarily shuns Society, or Commerce with the World, must of necessity be morose and ill-natur’d. He, on the other side, who is with-held by force or accident, finds in his Temper the ill Effects of this Restraint. The Inclination, when suppress’d, breeds Discontent; and on the contrary, affords a healing and enlivening Joy, when acting at its liberty, and with full scope: as we may see particularly, when after a time of Solitude and long Absence, the Heart is open’d, the Mind disburden’d, and the Secrets of the Breast unfolded to a Bosom-Friend.
This we see yet more remarkably instanc’d in Persons of the most elevated Stations; even in Princes, Monarchs, and those who seem by their Condition to be above ordinary human Commerce, and who affect a sort of distant Strangeness from the rest of Mankind. But their Carriage is not the same towards all Men. The wiser and better sort, it’s true, are often held at a distance; as unfit for their Intimacy, or secret Trust. But to compensate this, there are others subtituted in their room, who, tho they have the least Merit, and are perhaps the most vile and contemptible of Men, are sufficient, however, to serve the purpose of an imaginary Friendship, and can become Favourites in form. These are the Subjects of Humanity in the Great. For These we see them often in concern and pain: in These they easily confide: to These they can with pleasure communicate their Power and Greatness, be open, free, generous, confiding, bountiful; as rejoicing in the Action it-self: having no Intention or Aim beyond it; and their Interest, in respect of Policy, often standing a quite contrary way. But where neither the Love of Mankind, nor the Passion for Favourites prevails, the tyrannical Temper fails not to shew it-self in its proper colours, and to the life, with all the Bitterness, Cruelty, and Mistrust, which belong to that solitary and gloomy State of un-communicative and un-friendly Greatness. Nor needs there any particular Proof from History, or present Time, to second this Remark.
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.
Sect. 2.SECTION II
SECOND Proof; from the Self-passions.WE are now to prove, That by having the Self-passions 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 OEconomy 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 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.Self-passions. 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.
Love of Life.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 tho Religion forbids that anyone 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 it-self (viz. the Love of Life, and Abhorrence 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.Self-passions. 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 Emergences, ’tis Courage and Resolution saves; whilst Cowardice robs us of the means of Safety, and not only deprives 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 ’tis not only when Dangers happen, and Hazards are incurr’d, that this sort of Fear oppresses and distracts. If it in the least prevails, it gives no quarter, so much as at the safest stillest hour of Retreat and Quiet. 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 inwardly and closely view’d, wou’d be found to be thorowly miserable, tho 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 renounc’d?
And thus it seems evident, “That to have this Affection of Desire and Love of Life,Love of Life. too intense, or beyond a moderate degree, is against the Interest of a Creature, and contrary to his Happiness and Good.”
Resentment.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 resist Violence when offer’d. ’Tis true, that according to strict 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 offering Violence to another, is deter’d from the Execution; 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. ’Tis this Passion withal, which, after Violence and Hostility executed, rouzes a Creature in opposition, and, assists him in returning like Hostility and Harm on the Invader. For thus, as Rage and Despair increase, a Creature grows still more terrible; and being urg’d to the greatest extremity, finds a degree of Strength and Boldness unexperienc’d till then, and which had never risen, except thro’ the height of Provocation. As to this Affection therefore, notwithstanding its immediate Aim 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. But there is hardly need we shou’d explain how mischievous and self-destructive Anger is, if it be what we commonly understand by that word: if it be such a Passion as is rash, and violent in the Instant of Provocation; or such as imprints it-self deeply, and causes a settled Revenge, and an eager vindicative Pursuit. No wonder indeed that so much is done in mere Revenge, and under the Weight of a deep Resentment, when the Relief and Satisfaction found in that Indulgence is no other than the assuaging of the most torturous Pain, and the alleviating the most weighty and pressing Sensation of Misery. The Pain of this sort being for a-while remov’d or alleviated, by the accomplishment of the Desire, in the Ill of another, leaves indeed behind it the perception of a delicious Ease, and an overflowing of soft and pleasing Sensation. Yet is this, in truth, no better than the Rack it-self. For whoever has experienc’d racking Pains, can tell in what manner a sudden Cessation or Respite is us’d to affect him. From hence are those untoward Delights of Perverseness, Frowardness, and an envenom’d malignant Disposition, acting at its liberty. For this is only a perpetual assuaging ofAngerperpetually renew’d. In other Characters, the Passion arises not so suddenly, or on slight Causes; but being once mov’d, is not so easily quieted. The dormant Fury,Revenge, being rais’d once, and wrought up to her highest pitch, rests not till she attains her End; and, that attain’d, is easy, and reposes; making our succeeding Relief and Ease so much the more enjoy’d, as our preceding Anguish and incumbent Pain was of long duration, and bitter sense. Certainly if among Lovers, and in the Language of Gallantry, the Success of ardent Love is call’d the assuaging of a Pain; this other Success may be far more justly term’d so. However soft or flattering the former Pain may be esteem’d, this latter surely can be no pleasing one: Nor can it be possibly esteem’d other than sound and thorow Wretchedness, a grating and disgustful Feeling, without the least mixture of any thing soft, gentle, or agreeable.
’Tis not very necessary to mention the ill effects of this Passion, in respect of our Minds, or Bodys, our private Condition, or Circumstances of Life. By these Particulars we may grow too tedious. These are of the moral sort of Subjects, join’d commonly with Religion, and treated so rhetorically, and with such inforc’d repetition in publick, as to be apt to raise the Satiety of Mankind. What has been said, may be enough perhaps to make this evident, “That to be subject to such a Passion as we have been mentioning, is, in reality, to be very unhappy”: And, “That the Habit it-self is a Disease of the worst sort; from which Misery is inseparable.”
PLEASURE. Luxury.NOW AS to Luxury, and what the World calls Pleasure: Were it true (as has been prov’d the contrary) that the most considerable Enjoyments were those merely of the Sense; and were it true, withal, that those Enjoyments of the Sense lay in certain outward things, capable of yielding always a due and certain Portion of Pleasure, according to their degree and quality; it wou’d then follow, that the certain way to obtain Happiness, wou’d be to procure largely of these Subjects, to which Happiness and Pleasure were thus infallibly annex’d. But however fashionably we may apply the Notion of good Living, ’twill hardly be found that our inward Facultys are able to keep pace with these outward Supplies of a luxuriant Fortune. And if the natural Disposition and Aptness from within be not concurring; ’twill be in vain that these Subjects are thus multiply’d from abroad, and acquir’d with ever so great facility.
It may be observ’d in those, who by Excess have gain’d a constant Nauseating and Distaste, that they have nevertheless as constant a Craving or Eagerness of Stomach. But the Appetite of this kind is false and unnatural; as is that of Thirst arising from a Fever, or contracted by habitual Debauch. Now the Satisfactions of the natural Appetite, in a plain way, are infinitely beyond those Indulgences of the most refin’d and elegant Luxury. This is often perceiv’d by the Luxurious them-selves. It has been experienc’d in People bred after the sumptuous way, and us’d never to wait, but to prevent Appetite; that when by any new Turn of Life they came to fall into a more natural Course, or for a while, as on a Journy, or a day of Sport, came accidentally to experience the Sweet of a plain Diet, recommended by due Abstinence and Exercise; they have with freedom own’d, that it was then they receiv’d the highest Satisfaction and Delight which a Table cou’d possibly afford.
On the other side, it has been as often remark’d in Persons accustom’d to an active Life, and healthful Exercise; that having once thorowly experienc’d this plainer and more natural Diet, they have upon a following Change of Life regretted their Loss, and undervalu’d the Pleasures receiv’d from all the Delicacys of Luxury, in comparison with those remember’d Satisfactions of a preceding State. ’Tis plain, that by urging Nature, forcing the Appetite, and inciting Sense, the Keenness of the natural Sensations is lost. And tho thro’ Vice or ill Habit the same Subjects of Appetite may, every day, be sought with greater Ardour; they are enjoy’d with less Satisfaction. Tho the Impatience of abstaining be greater; the Pleasure of Indulgence is really less. The Palls or Nauseatings which continually intervene, are of the worst and most hateful kind of Sensation. Hardly is there any thing tasted which is wholly free from this ill relish of a surfeited Sense and ruin’d Appetite. So that instead of a constant and flowing Delight afforded in such a State of Life, the very State it-self is in reality a Sickness and Infirmity, a Corruption of Pleasure, and destructive of every natural and agreeable Sensation. So far is it from being true; “That in this licentious Course we enjoyLifebest, or are likely to make the most of it.”
As to the Consequences of such an Indulgence; how fatal to the Body, by Diseases of many kinds, and to the Mind, by Sottishness and Stupidity; this needs not any explanation.
The Consequences as to Interest are plain enough. Such a State of impotent and unrestrain’d Desire, as it increases our Wants, so it must subject us to a greater Dependence on others. Our private Circumstances, however plentiful or easy they may be, can less easily content us. Ways and Means must be invented to procure what may administer to such an imperious Luxury, as forces us to sacrifice Honour to Fortune, and runs us out into all irregularity and extravagance of Conduct. The Injurys we do our-selves, by Excess and Unforbearance, are then surely apparent, when thro’ an Impotence of this sort, and an Impossibility of Restraint, we do what we our-selves declare to be destructive to us. But these are Matters obvious of themselves.PLEASURE. And from less than what has been said, ’tis easy to conclude, “That Luxury, Riot, and Debauch, are contrary to real Interest, and to the true Enjoyment of Life.”
Amours.THERE is another Luxury superior to the kind we have been mentioning, and which in strictness can scarce be call’d a Self-passion, since the sole End of it is the Advantage and Promotion of the Species. But whereas all other social Affections are join’d only with a mental Pleasure, and founded in mere Kindness and Love; this has more added to it, and is join’d with a Pleasure of Sense. Such Concern and Care has Nature shewn for the Support and Maintenance of the several Species, that by a certain Indigence and kind of Necessity of their Natures, they are made to regard the Propagation of their Kind. Now whether it be the Interest or Good of the Animal to feel this Indigence beyond a natural and ordinary degree; is what we may consider.
Having already said so much concerning natural and unnatural Appetite, there needs less to be said on this occasion. If it be allow’d, that to all other Pleasures there is a Measure of Appetite belonging, which cannot possibly be exceeded without prejudice to the Creature, even in his very Capacity of enjoying Pleasure; it will hardly be thought that there is no certain Limit or just Boundary of this other Appetite of theAmorouskind. There are other sorts of ardent Sensations accidentally experienc’d, which we find pleasant and acceptable whilst they are held within a certain degree; but which, as they increase, grow oppressive and intolerable. Laughter provok’d by Titillation, grows an excessive Pain; tho it retains still the same Features of Delight and Pleasure. And tho in the case of that particular kind of Itch which belongs to a Distemper nam’d from that effect, there are some who, far from disliking the Sensation, find it highly acceptable and delightful; yet it will hardly be reputed such among the more refin’d sort, even of those who make Pleasure their chief Study, and highest Good.
Now if there be in every Sensation of mere Pleasure, a certain Pitch or Degree of Ardour, which by being further advanc’d, comes the nearer to mere Rage and Fury;PLEASURE. if there be indeed a necessity of stopping somewhere, and determining on some Boundary for the Passion; where can we fix our Standard, or how regulate our-selves but with regard to Nature, beyond which there is no Measure or Rule of things? Now Nature may be known from what we see of the natural State of Creatures, and of Man himself, when unprejudic’d by vitious Education.
Where happily any-one is bred to a natural Life, inur’d to honest Industry and Sobriety, and un-accustom’d to any thing immoderate or intemperate; he is found to have his Appetites and Inclinations of this sort at command. Nor are they on this account less able to afford him the Pleasure or Enjoyment of each kind. On the contrary; as they are more sound, healthy, and un-injur’d by Excess and Abuse, they must afford him proportionate Satisfaction. So that were both these Sensations to be experimentally compar’d; that of a virtuous Course which belong’d to one who liv’d a natural and regular Life, and that of a vitious Course which belong’d to one who was relax’d and dissolute; there is no question but Judgment wou’d be given in favour of the former, without regard to Consequences, and only with respect to the very Pleasure of Sense it-self.
As to the Consequences of this Vice, with respect to the Health and Vigour of the Body; there is no need to mention any thing. The Injury it does the Mind, tho less notic’d, is yet greater. The Hinderance of all Improvement, the wretched Waste of Time, the Effeminacy, Sloth, Supineness, the Disorder and Looseness of a thousand Passions, thro’ such a relaxation and enervating of the Mind; are all of them Effects sufficiently apparent, when reflected on.
What the Disadvantages are of this Intemperance, in respect of Interest, Society, and the World; and what the Advantages are of a contrary Sobriety, and Self-command, wou’d be to little purpose to mention. ’Tis well known there can be no Slavery greater than what is consequent to the Dominion and Rule of such a Passion. Of all other, it is the least manageable by Favour or Concession, and assumes the most from Privilege and Indulgence. What it costs us in the Modesty and Ingenuity of our Natures, and in the Faith and Honesty of our Characters, is as easily apprehended by anyone who will reflect. And it will from hence appear, “That there is no Passion, which in its Extravagance and Excess more necessarily occasions Disorder and Unhappiness.”
INTEREST.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 occasions no passionate Pursuit, nor raises 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.
How far a coveting or avaritious Temper is miserable, needs not, surely, be explain’d. Who knows not how small a Portion of worldly Matters is sufficient for a Man’s single Use and Convenience; and how much his Occasions and Wants might be contracted and reduc’d, if a just Frugality were study’d, and Temperance and a natural Life came once to be pursu’d with half that Application, Industry and Art, which is bestow’d on Sumptuousness and Luxury? Now if Temperance be in reality so advantageous, and the Practice as well as the Consequences of it so pleasing and happy, as has been before express’d; there is little need, on the other side, to mention any thing of the Miserys attending those covetous and eager Desires after things which have no Bounds or Rule; as being out of Nature, beyond which there can be no Limits to Desire. For where shall we once stop, when we are beyond this Boundary? How shall we fix or ascertain a thing wholly unnatural and unreasonable? Or what Method, what Regulation shall we set to mere Imagination, or the Exorbitancy of Fancy, in adding Expence to Expence, or Possession to Possession?Interest.
Hence that known Restlessness of covetous and eager Minds, in whatever State or Degree of Fortune they are plac’d; there being no thorow or real Satisfaction, but a kind of Insatiableness belonging to this Condition. For ’tis impossible there shou’d be any real Enjoyment, except in consequence of natural and just Appetite. Nor do we readily call that an Enjoyment of Wealth or of Honour, when thro’ Covetousness or Ambition, the Desire is still forward, and can never rest satisfy’d with its Gains. But against this Vice of Covetousness, there is enough said continually in the World; and in our common way of speaking, “A covetous, and a miserable Temper, has, in reality, one and the same Signification.”
Emulation.NOR IS there less said, abroad, as to the Ills of that other aspiring Temper, which exceeds an honest Emulation, or Love of Praise, and passes the Bounds even of Vanity and Conceit. Such is that Passion which breaks into an enormous Pride and Ambition. Now if we consider once the Ease, Happiness, and Security which attend a modest Disposition and quiet Mind, such as is of easy Self-command, fitted to every Station in Society, and able to sute it-self with any reasonable Circumstances whatever; ’twill, on the first view, present us with the most agreeable and winning Character. Nor will it be found necessary, after this, to call to mind the Excellence and Good of Moderation, or the Mischief and Self-injury of immoderate Desires, and conceited fond Imaginations of personal Advantage, in such things as Titles, Honours, Precedencys, Fame, Glory, or vulgar Astonishment, Admiration, and Applause.
This too is obvious, that as the Desires of this kind are rais’d, and become impetuous, and out of our command; so the Aversions and Fears of the contrary part, grow proportionably strong and violent, and the Temper accordingly suspicious, jealous, captious, subject to Apprehensions from all Events, and uncapable of bearing the least Repulse or ordinary Disappointment. And hence it may be concluded, “That all Rest and Security as to what is future, and all Peace, Contentedness and Ease as to what is present, is forfeited by the aspiring Passions of this emulous kind; and by having the Appetites towards Glory and outward Appearance thus transporting and beyond command.”
Indolence.THERE is a certain Temper plac’d often in opposition to those eager and aspiring Aims of which we have been speaking. Not that it really excludes either the Passion of Covetousness or Ambition; but because it hinders their Effects, and keeps them from breaking into open Action. ’Tis this Passion, which by soothing the Mind, and softning it into an excessive Love of Rest and Indolence, renders high Attempts impracticable, and represents as insuperable the Difficultys of a painful and laborious Course towards Wealth and Honours. Now tho an Inclination to Ease, and a Love of moderate Recess and Rest from Action, be as natural and useful to us as the Inclination we have towards Sleep; yet an excessive Love of Rest, and a contracted Aversion to Action and Imployment, must be a Disease in the Mind equal to that of a Lethargy in the Body.
How necessary Action and Exercise are to the Body, may be judg’d by the difference we find between those Constitutions which are accustom’d, and those which are wholly strangers to it; and by the different Health and Complexion which Labour and due Exercise create, in comparison with that Habit of Body we see consequent to an indulg’d State of Indolence and Rest. Nor is the lazy Habit ruinous to the Body only. The languishing Disease corrupts all the Enjoyments of a vigorous and healthy Sense, and carrys its Infection into the Mind; where it spreads a worse Contagion. For however the Body may for a-while hold out, ’tis impossible that the Mind, in which the Distemper is seated, can escape without an immediate Affliction and Disorder. The Habit begets a Tediousness and Anxiety, which influences the whole Temper, and converts the unnatural Rest into an unhappy sort of Activity, ill Humour, and Spleen: of which there has been enough said above, where we consider’d the want of a due Balance in the Affections.
’Tis certain, that as in the Body, when no Labour or natural Exercise is us’d, the Spirits which want their due Imployment, turn against the Constitution, and find work for themselves in a destructive way; so in a Soul, or Mind, unexercis’d, and which languishes for want of proper Action and Employment, the Thoughts and Affections being obstructed in their due Course, and depriv’d of their natural Energy, raise Disquiet, and foment a rancorous Eagerness and tormenting Irritation. The Temper from hence becomes more impotent in Passion, more incapable of real Moderation; and, like prepar’d Fuel, readily takes fire by the least Spark.
As to Interest, how far it is here concern’d; how wretched that State is, in which by this Habit a Man is plac’d, towards all the Circumstances and Affairs of Life, when at any time he is call’d to Action; how subjected he must be to all Inconveniences, wanting to himself, and depriv’d of the Assistance of others; whilst being unfit for all Offices and Dutys of Society, he yet of any other Person most needs the help of it, as being least able to assist or support himself; all this is obvious. And thus ’tis evident, “That to have this over-biassing Inclination towards Rest, this slothful, soft, or effeminate Temper, averse to Labour and Imployment, is to have an unavoidable Mischief, and attendent Plague.”
Self-passions in general.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 Interest 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 Alliance and Amity with 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.
Sect. 3.SECTION III
THIRD Proof; from the unnatural Affections.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.
Inhumanity.Of this kind is that unnaturalandinhuman Delightin beholding Torments, and in viewing Distress, Calamity, Blood, Massacre and Destruction, with a peculiar Joy and Pleasure. This has been the reigning 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 Brutality. 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.
Petulancy.There is another Affection nearly related to this, which is a gay and frolicksome Delight in what is injurious to others; a sort of wanton Mischievousness, and Pleasure in what is destructive; a Passion which, instead of being restrain’d, is usually encourag’d in Children: so that ’tis indeed no wonder if the Effects of it are very unfortunately felt in the World. For ’twill be hard, perhaps, for any-one to give a reason why that Temper, which was us’d to delight in Disorder and Ravage, when in a Nursery; shou’d not afterwards find delight in other Disturbances, and be the occasion of equal Mischief in Familys, amongst Friends, and in the Publick it-self. But of this Passion there is not any foundation in Nature; as has been explain’d.
Malignity.Malice, Malignity, or Ill-Will, such as is grounded on no Self-consideration, and where there is no Subject of Anger or Jealousy, nor any thing to provoke or cause such a Desire of doing ill to another; this also is of that kind of Passion.
Envy.Envy too, when it is such as arises from the Prosperity or Happiness of another Creature no ways interfering with ours, is of the same kind of Passion.
Moroseness.There is also among these, a sort of Hatred of Mankind and Society; a Passion which has been known perfectly reigning in some Men,MISANTHROPY. 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 ’em, and they are sure always to hate at first sight. The Distemper of this kind is sometimes found to be in a manner National; but peculiar to the more savage Nations,Inhospitality, Barbarity. and a plain Characteristick of unciviliz’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.
Superstition.We may add likewise to the number of the unnatural Passions, all those which are rais’d from Superstition, (as before-mention’d) and from the Customs of barbarous Countrys: All which are too horrid and odious in themselves, to need any proof of their being miserable.
Unnatural Lusts.There might be other Passions nam’d, such as unnatural Lusts, in foreign Kinds or Species, with other Perversions of the amorous Desire within our own. But as to these Depravitys of Appetite, we need add nothing here; after what has been already said, on the Subject of the more natural Passions.
Such as these are the only Affections or Passions we can strictly call unnatural, ill, and of no tendency so much as to any separate or private Good. Others indeed there are which have this tendency, but are so exorbitant and out of measure, so beyond the common Bent of any ordinary Self-passion, and so utterly contrary and abhorrent to all social and natural Affection, that they are generally call’d, and may be justly esteem’d, unnatural and monstrous.
Tyranny.Among these may be reckon’d such an enormous Pride or Ambition, such an Arrogance and Tyranny, as wou’d willingly leave nothing eminent, nothing free, nothing prosperous in the World: such an Anger as wou’d sacrifice every thing to it-self: such a Revenge as is never to be extinguish’d, nor ever satisfy’d without the greatest Crueltys: such an Inveteracy and Rancour as seeks, as it were, occasion to exert it-self; and lays hold of the least Subject, so as often to make the weight of its Malevolence fall even upon such as are mere Objects of Pity and Compassion.
Treachery, Ingratitude.Treachery and Ingratitude are in strictness mere negative Vices; and, in themselves, no real Passions; having neither Aversion or Inclination belonging to them; but are deriv’d from the Defect, Unsoundness, or Corruption of the Affections in general. But when these Vices become remarkable in a Character, and arise in a manner from Inclination and Choice; 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 explain’d above.
Unnatural Pleasure in general.IT MAY be objected here, that these Passions, unnatural as they are, carry still a sort of Pleasure with them; and that however barbarous a Pleasure it be, yet still it is a Pleasure and Satisfaction 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 malicious Joy, otherwise than in consequence of mere Anguish 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 implies 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 raging Torments of the Mind, do, by certain Moments of Relief, afford the greatest of mental Enjoyments, to those who know little of the truer kind.
Unnatural State.The Men of gentlest Dispositions, and best of Tempers, have at some time or other been sufficiently 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.
’Tis thus, at last, that a Mind becomes a Wilderness; where all is laid waste, every thing fair and goodly remov’d, and nothing extant beside what is savage and deform’d. Now if Banishment 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 Banishment, this real Estrangement from human Commerce; and to be after this manner in a Desart, and in the horridest of Solitudes, even when in the midst of Society? What must it be to live in this Disagreement with every thing, 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 unnatural Affections, is to be miserable in the highest Degree.
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,
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,Conclusion. That every vitious action mustbe self-injurious and ill.
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 OEconomy 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 our-selves. 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 OEconomy hold good, and our Obligation to Virtue is in every respect the same.
Upon the whole: There is not, I presume, the least degree of Certainty wanting in what has been said concerning the Preferableness of the mental Pleasures to thesensual; 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 social 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 shewn, That in this Constitution, the impairing of any one Part must instantly tend to the disorder and ruin 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 of 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 imagin’d Love of others: on which, however, the greatest of all our Pleasures are founded.
If this be the Case of moral Delinquency; 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 Happiness and Enjoyment.”
Thus the Wisdom of what rules, and is first and chiefin 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, every-thing comely, conspicuous, great and worthy, must perish, and go to ruin; that single Quality, thus beneficial to all Society, and to Mankind in general, is found equally a Happiness 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 Vicethe Ill of every-one.
A Philosophical Rhapsody.
of certain Conversations on
Natural and Moral Subjects.
To seek the truth amidst the groves of Academe.*
Horat. Ep. 2. Lib. 2.
Publish’d in the Year M.DCC.IX.
[* ] Amoto quaeramus seria ludo.
[* ] As thus:
(1.) Theism with Daemonism: (2.) Daemonism with Polytheism: (3.) Theism with Atheism: (4.) Daemonism with Atheism: (5.) Polytheism with Atheism: (6.) Theism (as it stands in opposition to Daemonism, and denotes Goodness in the superior Deity) with Polytheism: (7.) The same Theism or Polytheism with Daemonism: (8.) Or with Daemonism and Atheism.
(1.) As when the one chief Mind, or Sovereign Being, is (in the Believer’s sense) divided between a good and an ill Nature, by being the Cause of Ill as well as Good: Or otherwise, when Two distinct and contrary Principles subsist; one, the Author of all Good, the other of all Ill.
(2.) As when there is not one, but several corrupt Minds who govern; which Opinion may be call’d Polydaemonism.
(3.) As when Chance is not excluded, but God and Chance divide.
(4.) As when an evil Daemon and Chance divide.
(5.) As when many Minds and Chance divide.
(6.) As when there are more principal Minds than one, but agreeing in Good, with one and the same Will and Reason.
(7.) As when the same System of Deity or corresponding Deity subsists, together with a contrary Principle, or with several contrary Principles or governing Minds.
(8.) As when the last Case is, together with Chance.
[* ]Infra, pag. 79, &c. 163, 4, &c.
[† ] VOL. I. pag. 120.
[* ]Infra, pag. 414.
[* ]Infra, pag. 415, 418, 419, &c.
[† ] VOL. I. p. 90, 91, 2, 3. VOL. III. p. 32, &c.
[* ] VOL. I. p. 18, 19, 20. VOL. III. p. 115.
[† ] VOL. III. p. 124.
[* ]Infra, pag. 412, 420, 421.
[* ] VOL. I. p. 97, &c.
[* ]Infra, pag. 394, 400, &c. And VOL. III. p. 30, &c.
[* ] VOL. I. p. 90, &c. 116, 117, 118, 119, 120.
[* ]Infra, p. 131, 307, 8, 9, &c. And VOL. III. p. 216, 217, &c.
[* ] VOL. III. p. 30.
[* ] VOL. I. p. 32, 33, &c. And VOL. III. p. 115, 116, 124–128.
[* ]Supra, p. 92, 93, &c.
[† ]Supra, p. 92, 93. And Infra, p. 307, 8, 9, &c. And VOL. III. p. 216, 17, &c.
[* ] VOL. III. p. 153, 154. in the Notes.
[* ] Inter Silvas Academi quaerere Verum.