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Francis Hutcheson, An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections, with Illustrations on the Moral Sense [1742]

Edition used:

An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections, with Illustrations on the Moral Sense, ed. Aaron Garrett (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002).

About this title:

The first half of the work presents a rich moral psychology built on a theory of the passions and an account of motivation deepening and augmenting the doctrine of moral sense developed in the Inquiry. The second half of the work, the Illustrations, is a brilliant attack on rationalist moral theories and is the font of many of the arguments taken up by Hume and used to this day.

Introduction

An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections, with Illustrations on the Moral Sense (1728), jointly with Francis Hutcheson’s earlier work Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue (1725), presents one of the most original and wide-ranging moral philosophies of the eighteenth century. These two works, each comprising two semiautonomous treatises, were widely translated and vastly influential throughout the eighteenth century in England, continental Europe, and America.

The two works had their greatest impact in Scotland and influenced many well-known Scottish philosophers, particularly those writing after the last Jacobite upheaval, in 1745. This can be seen in the concern of the post-1745 generation with analyzing human nature as the foundation of moral theory, with the “moral sense” and moral epistemology more generally, with the impartial spectator and the calm passions, and with the independence of benevolence from self-interest. In addition to the influence of his writings, Hutcheson was also a famed teacher whose Glasgow students, notably Adam Smith, held sway over generations of Scottish moral philosophers.

Despite their impact on Scottish letters, the four treatises were in fact written in Dublin, and the philosophers to whom Hutcheson responded and with whom he debated were in the main not Scottish but English, Irish, French, Roman, and Greek. Consequently, part of Hutcheson’s legacy was a cosmopolitan outlook among enlightened Scots, who learned to turn their eyes far from home.

Early Life

Hutcheson was born in 1694 in County Down, near Saintfield. His father and grandfather were respected Presbyterian ministers in the Scots emigrant community of Ulster. Unlike their brethren in Scotland, where the Presbyterian Kirk was the established church, the Irish Presbyterians were Dissenters. Like the English Dissenters, they were discriminated against by the Anglican state church, which considered them marginally less unsavory than Catholics. They were excluded from Trinity College, Dublin, as well as from Oxford and Cambridge, and, after 1704, they could not take public office. The major difference between Irish Presbyterians and English Dissenters was that the former had strong ties to Scotland, including the Scottish universities, especially Glasgow.

Irish Presbyterians were divided between traditionalists and more rationally inclined “New Light” ministers. John Hutcheson, Francis’s father, was a traditionalist who wrote the church’s response to the claims of “liberal” nonsubscribers. Francis associated with the nonsubscribing clergymen in Belfast and leaned toward the tolerationist theology of love that was associated with the New Light.

Hutcheson was schooled in classics in Ireland and moved to Glasgow in 1711 when the university was just recovering from a period of decline, thanks to the influence of some charismatic and theologically moderate teachers and of politically active Irish students who challenged the arbitrariness of university authority. Upon graduating, Hutcheson returned to Ireland to head a Dissenting Academy in Dublin, a major undertaking of the Ulster Kirk in which he appears to have prospered. Hutcheson associated with Robert Molesworth, a close friend of Shaftesbury and of radical intellectuals such as John Toland and Anthony Collins. In Ireland, Molesworth cultivated a circle of talented intellectuals who wrote in the Dublin Journal, notably Hutcheson’s friend James Arbuckle. Hutcheson was also in contact with open-minded Anglican intellectuals such as William King, the archbishop of Dublin. At the same time, Hutcheson no doubt felt the impact of the more bigoted world about him.

In intellectual circles, clubs, and, particularly, publications such as the Dublin Journal and the London Journal, provincial intellectuals flourished, fought, and exchanged ideas. Like Bayle’s Rotterdam, with its Huguenot diaspora, Hutcheson’s Dublin felt the weight of sectarian controversy and the tug of another country. In this context Hutcheson wrote his early masterpieces.

The Inquiry

Treatise 1, the Inquiry on Beauty, is relatively independent of the Essay with Illustrations except that it presents the sense of the “beautiful” as a model for Hutcheson’s subsequent considerations of the “internal” senses. Treatise 2, however, is presupposed in the Essay with Illustrations (see the Preface). The first section of Treatise 2 considers the moral sense, and the validity and the importance of the arguments for it in Treatise 2 are assumed in Treatises 3 and 4.

Hutcheson’s basic premise—in both the Inquiry and the Essay—is that our immediate perceptions of the moral qualities of an action or a character are derived from a “sense,” like the external senses, that perceives external, adventitious qualities. To this end, Hutcheson argued that the content of a moral perception, the quality perceived, cannot be forced upon us. Moral perceptions are, like the perceptions of other senses, independent of the will.

As we cannot will the perception of something, for example, stimulated by a reward or punishment, our volitions either result from or are independent of our experience of moral qualities; they do not prompt them. This is the basis for Hutcheson’s argument against the view that morality arises from sanctions associated with Locke’s Essay and Pufendorf’s Law of Nature and Nations (although Hutcheson is at pains not to deny all influence of sanctions). On the same basis, Hutcheson argued that benevolence toward mankind is “disinterested”; we are capable of having benevolent sentiments toward those in whom we have no interest and whose “lovely disposition” our moral sense tells us to approve (T2 148).

Hutcheson’s best explanation of this moral sense was that nature determines us to apprehend moral qualities and that our apprehension is issued with a moral sense that approves of good moral qualities (T2 180). Our judgments are sometimes incorrect, but there is nevertheless a perceived quality of which we judge. When we perceive as benevolent someone who is in fact malicious, what we approve of is still the perceived benevolence. Thus, Hutcheson attempted to rest the approval of benevolence on our perceptions and, ultimately, on our natures.

Gilbert Burnet and John Clarke of Hull

The Essay with Illustrations followed the Inquiry by almost three years, during which time a number of acute thinkers criticized the Inquiry, and Hutcheson became widely known. The Essay with Illustrations is distinctive, therefore, both for its content and for the altered intellectual context. In 1725, Hutcheson entered into a debate in the London Journal with Gilbert Burnet concerning the newly published Inquiry—and this bore fruit in Treatise 4, the Illustrations. In the same year, John Clarke published an attack on the then-anonymous author of the Inquiry (along with criticisms of Samuel Clarke) and then communicated further comments to Hutcheson directly. The first section of Treatise 3, the Essay, is a response to John Clarke that sets the agenda for much that follows.

Gilbert Burnet (1690–1726) was the son of Bishop Gilbert Burnet of Salisbury (1643–1715), one of the best-known latitudinarian divines of the era, admired by Shaftesbury and many others. His son, Hutcheson’s correspondent, was chaplain to George I and a promising young churchman. John Clarke was master of the Hull grammar school when he entered into argument with Hutcheson. He was referred to as John Clarke of Hull to distinguish him from Samuel Clarke’s better-known nephew. Clarke of Hull was known in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries primarily for his popular Latin manuals, but he was also an able philosopher who produced two undervalued but significant works: An Examination of the Notion of Moral Good and Evil (1725) and The Foundation of Morality in Theory and Practice Considered (1726).

In an enterprising piece of self-advertisement, Hutcheson published an anonymous letter, “To Britannicus,” in the London Journal, praising the Inquiry. Shortly afterward, Burnet responded skeptically: How do we know the moral sense is not erroneous or deceitful? Pleasure does not make it true; rather, reason does, and that is the proper internal or moral sense by which we judge. Once we know that a given act or quality is really good, then we take pleasure in its intrinsic moral qualities.

Hutcheson thus confronted moral rationalism of the sort presented by Samuel Clarke, who had argued that morality was found in the “fitnesses” of things. Obligations and duties flowed from eternal relations, ends, and offices forming a system as certain as mathematics and, like mathematics, discerned through reason.

Hutcheson provided a bevy of arguments against Burnet and criticized the clarity and coherence of his terminology. One argument is particularly notable. Hutcheson took over Grotius’s distinction between exciting and justifying reasons, arguing that “Desires, Affections, Instincts, must be previous to all Exciting Reasons; and a Moral Sense antecedent to all Justifying Reasons.” Neither justifying reason nor exciting reason is adequate to the purposes to which Samuel Clarke and Burnet would put reason. For moral reasoning, “reasonableness,” is practical and has numerous ends. Some ends may be more “fit” and “rational” than others, but we recognize ends through our practical interests, and we distinguish among competing ends.

John Clarke’s The Foundation of Morality in Theory and Practice was a criticism of Samuel Clarke and Hutcheson. Clarke of Hull was a hedonistic theist in the mold of the elder Locke and Pierre Bayle, who viewed sanction as the basic support of morality, in contrast with both Hutcheson and the moral rationalists. His central challenge to Hutcheson concerned self-love. Clarke claimed that Hutcheson’s arguments for the independence of benevolence from self-love were inadequate because they failed to recognize that “the Love of Benevolence is … a Desire or Inclination to do Good to others,” and “the Object and Cause of Desire is Pleasure alone, or the supposed Means of procuring it.” Although there is a profound natural connection between the happiness of a parent and the happiness of a child, and this connection is as “disinterested” as smelling a rose or tasting a peach, it is still pleasure that reinforces and spurs action in both cases. We may have different sorts of pleasures, some brutish and bad, such as the desire for esteem, and some delightful, such as eating a peach or seeking the good of a child, but this does not make them less pleasing. Their virtue must instead be related to the pain and pleasure of divine sanction.

The Essay

In the Essay, Hutcheson attempted to untangle these difficulties while furnishing a consistent and convincing theory of the passions. The latter was formulated with reference to two of his predecessors, Bernard Mandeville and Shaftesbury. Mandeville had been publishing for twenty years, but only with the publication in 1723 of a much expanded edition of the Fable of the Bees did he become famous and controversial. It was on Hutcheson’s generation, therefore, that he had his greatest impact. Mandeville presented an infamous Epicurean theory of the passions based on a skeptical analysis of human nature: “I believe Man (besides Skin, Flesh, Bones, &c. that are obvious to the Eye) to be a compound of various Passions, that all of them, as they are provoked, and come uppermost, govern him by turns, whether he will or no.” The theory was directed against Shaftesbury, as a naively optimistic aristocrat with little understanding of the realities of human nature.

Shaftesbury also championed the diversity of human nature but diminished the importance of self-interest by promoting the social affections “and a thousand other springs, which are counter to self-interest, [and] have as considerable a part.” Following Cicero and Marcus Aurelius, Shaftesbury saw virtue, not as a Mandevillian artifice, but as a stoic harmony with man’s intrinsically passionate nature.

Mandeville emphasized the complexity of self-interest, the interconnectedness of vice and virtue, and the diversity and ubiquity of pleasure. Hutcheson’s reply to this, as to John Clarke’s hedonism, was a reprise of the argument that we cannot force a sentiment, even if the result is pleasing. If feeling a certain passion makes us happy, we might wish to feel it in order to be happy, but we cannot force ourselves to feel something in order to get a reward. Instead, we sense and desire, and then we may feel pleasure as a consequence of the desire. The idea that action implies pleasure is false moral psychology.

For Hutcheson, as for many early modern philosophers, the passions were central to ethics. The most unsavory passions and sentiments—bigotry, anger, and the desire to harm—are consequences of limited and “partial Views,” and they arise from emphasis on selfish interest and mistaken understandings of the public good (pp. 72, 75). Consequently, they are less present in the broader view and disappear in the universal view of the moral system. Limited views of human interest derive such validity as they have from their approximation to the most general view, the providential design of creation, and the prospect of the future state (p. 123). The general view reinforces the calm passions.

The progress of the sentiments accordingly leads us to reflection not only on the human system but also on its place in the universal system. Such reflection shows how many apparently negative features of human nature have their place—in moderation. By reflection on the universal “oeconomy,” we learn to regulate passions so as to be happy and to make others happy.

Illustrations

Hutcheson’s theory of the passions responded to John Clarke’s claim that his moral philosophy was based on poor psychology. Clarke forced Hutcheson to draw his account of desire and sentiment more precisely than he had in the Inquiry, and to show how it was linked with the moral sense. But, as noted previously, other issues were afoot. Burnet’s criticisms of Treatise 2 had brought out Hutcheson’s conflict with moral realism and the view that moral judgments are like other judgments insofar as they are only valid if true.

As noted, Hutcheson emphasized in Treatise 4.1 that this was a skirmish among those who accepted the moral sense, even if some parties were not aware of it! But Burnet was not the only writer of that stripe. In the opening chapters of the Illustrations, Hutcheson successively criticized Samuel Clarke and William Wollaston (1659–1724), employing two related strategies. First, he used Grotius’s distinction between exciting and justifying reasons to show the confusion in many rationalists’ invocation of reason. Hutcheson argued that there is “no exciting Reason previous to Affection” (pp. 139–40); what we take as exciting reasons to action and to active attitudes, such as desire and affection, either presupposes affections and desires or serves as mere justifying reasons.

Furthermore, moral reasoning is practical and particular and varies from agent to agent. Consequently, supposedly fixed and eternal reasons differ drastically according to how they are viewed by individuals, and judging what is reasonable in a given situation is difficult. Rather, moral ends and actions are fixed through a moral sense; they may be justified by reason but cannot be called forth by it.

Similar arguments were deployed against Samuel Clarke’s eternal moral relations and Wollaston’s “significancy of truth in actions.” Hutcheson attacked Samuel Clarke’s “fitnesses”—real, normative predispositions among beings—and argued that the theory was incoherent and failed to support the eternal moral relations that Clarke required. Clarke’s heart was in the right place, but that was because the “eternal relations” were perceived by his own moral sense.

William Wollaston argued in the Religion of Nature Delineated (1724; first printed privately in 1722) that actions have “significancy”; that is, they could be true or false. Any act that interferes with truth is morally wrong, and, conversely, any act in accordance with the truth is morally right. Therefore, there is a correspondence of the truth signified by actions and the morally right, and conversely the denial of truth and the morally wrong.

Hutcheson distinguished between logical and moral truths. Many logical truths and falsehoods are not moral truths and falsehoods. Notably, actions that unintentionally hinder truth are rarely considered evil; they may be logically but not morally false. False ideas often may result in moral evil, but they are evil not because of falsity but because we recognize them as evil through our moral sense.

The moral sense in parallel with the senses of beauty, honor, and imagination does not mean that Hutcheson saw morals as nothing but spontaneous reactions. Although we do not divine eternal moral relations in the fitnesses of things, we are capable of exact knowledge of natural law and civil laws, which constitute “the most useful Subject of Reasoning … as certain, invariable, or eternal Truths, as in any Geometry” (pp. 174/10, 216). But these “relations” arise from the nature of people in social interaction, not from eternal logical relations in abstraction from human nature. The absolute principles of the universal moral system are inaccessible to humanity, but we can gain more extensive views by exploring our nature and its place in a wider world.

In the final chapter of Illustrations, Hutcheson is concerned with balancing the importance of toleration with the need for belief in and love of God. Our love of God amplifies the social affections and reinforces benevolence. Consequently, the best signs of piety are social affections and public virtue, and we should not attempt further divination of the beliefs of others. Instead, we should broaden our views through reflection on the general moral system and thereby cultivate the calm passions. The Illustrations thus concludes with a “moderate” vision of humanity that connects the theory of the passions with Hutcheson’s later discussions in the System.

Remarks Concerning the Editions

Three editions of the Essay with Ilustrations were printed during Hutcheson’s lifetime, with two variants of the first edition:

1aAn Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections. With Illustrations On the Moral Sense. By the Author of the Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue. London: Printed by J. Darby and T. Browne, for John Smith and William Bruce, Booksellers in Dublin; and sold by J. Osborn and T. Longman in Pater-Noster-Row, and S. Chandler in the Poultrey. M.DCC.XXVIII.

1bAn Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections. With Illustrations On the Moral Sense. London: Printed and Dublin re-printed by S. Powell for P. Crampton, at Addison’s Head, Opposite the Horse Guard in Dame’s-Street, and T. Benson, at Shakespear’s Head in Castle-Street, MDCCXXVIII.

2An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections. With Illustrations on the Moral Sense. By Francis Hutcheson, Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Glasgow; and Author of the Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue. London: Printed for James and John Knapton, and John Crownfield in St. Paul’s Church-Yard; John Darby in Bartholomew-Close; Thomas Osborne Jun. At Greys Inn; and Lauton Gilliver in Fleetstreet. M.DCC.XXX.

3An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections. With Illustrations On the Moral Sense. The third edition, with Additions. London: Printed for A. Ward, J. and P. Knapton, T. Longman, S. Birt, C. Hitch, L. Gilliver, T. Astley, S. Austen, and J. Rivington. MDCCXLII.

There is some question about the order of appearance of 1a and 1b. Scott notes that 1b was advertised as having “the errors of the London Edition emended.” But 1a has fewer errors than 1b, which might seem according to Scott’s comment to make it the “emended” edition. Furthermore, 1a and not 1b was repackaged as the “second edition.” But 1b clearly reads, “London: printed and Dublin re-printed,” and according to Mautner, 1a is advertised in the London Journal as having been printed on January 13, 1728. Thus, unless 1b was printed in the first two weeks of January, which seems unlikely, 1b was an inferior edition that appeared after 1a.

1a and 1b appeared anonymously as penned by “the Author of the Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue” (which did carry Hutcheson’s name). The second edition of 1730, which introduced Hutcheson’s name on the title page, is not an independent edition but rather 1a reprinted with Francis Hutcheson’s name on the title page. This was, it seems, the only revision. The authorship read in full, “Francis Hutcheson, Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Glasgow; and Author of the Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue.” The point of this reissue was probably to boost sales of both of Hutcheson’s works by means of his newly acquired academic distinction. He became a professor in Glasgow in 1730, and the third edition of the Inquiry (1729) had been published too early to make note of Hutcheson’s new standing.

The third edition of 1742 is a distinct and revised edition with many additions and emendations, mainly to the Illustrations. There were a number of posthumous editions of Essay with Illustrations. Jessop mentions a 1751 Dublin edition, a 1756 London fourth edition, and a 1772 Glasgow “3rd edition.”

Editorial Principles

Of the two extant variorum editions, Peach used a posthumous 1769 reprint of 3 as the copy text for his edition of the Illustrations. This is the best approach to the Illustrations when presented independently of the Essays. I have adopted 1a as the copy text for this edition of the entire Essay with Illustrations for a simple reason. It allows the reader to view the actual chronological alteration of the text: that is, how Hutcheson himself initially presented it and then altered it fourteen years later.

Turco’s excellent Italian edition uses internal citation to make the body of the text neutral to the specific edition. Unfortunately, that approach becomes far too unwieldy when noting punctuation changes. As Turco’s edition is a translation into Italian with textual apparatus, minute changes of punctuation go for the most part unremarked.

Why 1a and not 1b? Because 1a has fewer mistakes than 1b, is more common, and is the basis for 2 (more accurately, it is identical to 2, aside from a new title page). I have not noted any variations among 1a, 1b, and the “second edition,” as they have only bibliographic interest (and limited bibliographic interest at that), since Hutcheson appears to have had little or no hand in them. For the same reason, I have not noted variations found in posthumous editions.

Hutcheson made numerous alterations in the third edition, although the differences between the two editions are not as dramatic as one might expect, given the fourteen years between them. The significant varia are at the end of this text and are indicated by page and line number of the present volume. Hutcheson’s notes and my editorial notes are attached to the main body of the text, as is the pagination for 1a and 3 (1a appears in italic typeface; 3 appears in regular typeface).

The lengthiest emendations are found in the preface to the work and in the Illustrations; generally, these are subtractions from the preface and additions to the Illustrations. Many of the specific references to his contemporaries Joseph Butler, Jean Le Clerc, and John Clarke are trimmed from the preface in 3.

There are numerous other changes to the text, additions and subtractions of words, lines, and paragraphs, as well as countless modifications and alterations to punctuation, capitalization procedures, italics, and typeface. A number of footnotes were added to the later edition as well, including a diatribe against Hutcheson’s critic John Balguy. A sole reference to the New Testament is also added. There are even alterations in the marginal titles.

I have restricted my variorum to changes that could alter the sense of the text, although what could affect sense is a point of debate. I have noted all changes of wording and all changes of relevant punctuation. These are clearly the two most important types of textual varia. There are many varia, though, that have not been noted.

I have not noted most changes in capitalization, as there is little or no rhyme or reason to Hutcheson’s use of them. Although capitals are often used for emphasis in twentieth-century prose, they are not used with great consistency in earlier eighteenth-century English-language philosophical texts. Furthermore, capitalization was often a printer’s decision. The same holds for italics. I have noted very few changes in capitals and italics—only those that could possibly be construed as providing a change in emphasis. Readers are strongly cautioned, however, against reading too much into even those changes.

Among other variorum that have not been noted are the following:

  • 1.Differences in spelling, broadly conceived, among the editions.
    • a. The first edition prefers the idiomatic contraction of -ed: “join’d”/ “joined,” “gratify’d”/“gratified,” “alter’d”/“altered.” There are other variations in contraction, such as “though”/“tho’”/“tho,” “it is”/“’tis.”
    • b. There are numerous differences in spelling more narrowly construed. A few representative examples are: “alledge”/“alledg,” “threatned”/“threatened,” “inadvertencies”/“inadvertences,” “suspence”/“suspense,” “shews”/“shows.”
    • c. There are also differences in the hyphenation and separation of words. A few representative examples are “nobody”/“no body,” “pre-suppose”/“pre suppose,” “fellow-creatures”/“fellow creatures,” “ourselves”/ “our selves.”
  • 2. The placement of Hutcheson’s footnote markers—inside or outside punctuation marks. I have noted variations in the marks used, and of course the absence of notes.
  • 3. Changes in the use of roman and arabic numerals in the footnotes, as well as changes in the footnote markers themselves.

Finally, I have corrected obvious printer’s errors (e.g., “deipise” for “despise”) and missing punctuation (e.g., a period missing at the end of a sentence), without remark. I have also substituted regular capitalization for the small caps used in the first word of every paragraph.

Aaron Garrett

Acknowledgments

A number of people and institutions have helped in producing this edition of Hutcheson’s Essay with Illustrations. As to institutions, special thanks are due Boston University, the Humanities Research Centre of the Australian National University, the Houghton Library at Harvard University, Liberty Fund and its unfailingly helpful staff, and the Australian National Cricket Team, which kept me awake through long nights of collation. As to people, James Moore has shown great generosity in helping me with my many queries about Hutcheson. He suggested Gershom Carmichael as the possible identity of the man of “real merit” in Glasgow (cf. p. 10, note x) and has aided in numerous other notes. Stephen Scully and Morgan Meis have suggested and corrected translations. I am also grateful to Bob Brown, Alfredo Ferrarin, Ian Hunter, Thomas Mautner, and Åsa Söderman.

Three people deserve very special thanks. First, Shelly Kroll labored with me over the proofs and caught many errors with her eagle eye. Second, I have benefited beyond measure from Luigi Turco’s masterly Italian edition of the Essay with Illustrations. Through his scholarship I have avoided many pitfalls, and most of the notes in my edition are indebted in one way or another to his far more copious and erudite discussions. In particular, he has identified all of Hutcheson’s classical sources. I refer to Turco in a few of my notes, when I am deriving a particular point from him, but his mark is on virtually everything in this volume. All readers who can read Italian and want to know more about the Essay with Illustrations are referred to his work. Finally, thanks to Knud Haakonssen, the editor of this series, who has helped with many notes, edited my prose, and been a constant support and resource. Without him this edition would not exist.

an

ESSAY

on the

Nature and Conduct

of the

Passions and Affections.

with

ILLUSTRATIONS

On the Moral Sense.

By the Author of the Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue.

Hoc opus, hoc studium, parvi properemus, & ampli,Si Patriae volumus, si Nobis vivere chari. Hor.

LONDON:

Printed by J. Darby and T. Browne, for John Smith and William Bruce, Booksellers in Dublin; and sold by J. Osborn and T. Longman in Pater-Noster-Row, and S. Chandler in the Poultrey.

M.DCC.XXVIII.

the preface

[iii] Altho the main practical Principles, which are inculcated in this Treatise, have this Prejudice in their Favour, that they have been taught and propagated by the best of Men in all Ages, yet there is reason to fear that renewed Treatises upon Subjects so often well manag’d, may be look’d upon as superfluous; especially since little is offer’d upon them which has not often been well said before. But [iv] beside that general Consideration, that old Arguments may sometimes be set in such a Light by one, as will convince those who were not [iv] moved by them, even when better express’d by another; since, for every Class of Writers, there are Classes of Readers adapted, who cannot relish any thing higher: Besides this, I say, the very Novelty of a Book may procure a little Attention, from those who over‐look the Writings which the World has long enjoy’d. And if by Curiosity, or any other means, some few can be engag’d to turn their Thoughts to these important Subjects, about which a little Reflection will discover the Truth, and a thorow Consideration of it may occasion a great Increase of real Happiness; no Person need be asham’d of his Labours as useless, which do such Service to any of his Fellow‐Creatures.

[v] If any should look upon some Things in this Inquiry into the Passions, as too subtile for common Apprehension, and consequently not [v] necessary for the Instruction of Men in Morals, which are the common business of Mankind: Let them consider, that the Difficulty on these Subjects arises chiefly from some previous Notions, equally difficult at least, which have been already receiv’d, to the great Detriment of many a Natural Temper; since many have been discourag’d from all Attempts of cultivating kind generous Affections in themselves, by a previous Notion that there are no such Affections in Nature, and that all Pretence to them was only Dissimulation, Affectation, or at best some unnatural Enthusiasm. And farther, that to discover Truth on these Subjects, nothing more is necessary than a little Attention to what passes in our own Hearts, [vi] and consequently every Man may come to Certainty in these Points, without much Art or Knowledge of other Matters.

[vi] Whatever Confusion the Schoolmen introduced into Philosophy, some of their keenest Adversaries seem to threaten it with a worse kind of Confusion, by attempting to take away some of the most immediate simple Perceptions, and to explain all Approbation, Condemnation, Pleasure and Pain, by some intricate Relations to the Perceptions of the External Senses. In like manner they have treated our Desires or Affections, making the most generous, kind and disinterested of them, to proceed from Self‐Love, by some subtle Trains of Reasoning, to which honest Hearts are often wholly Strangers.

[vii] Let this also still be remembred that the natural Dispositions of Mankind will operate regularly in those who never reflected upon them, nor form’d just Notions about them. [vii] Many are really virtuous who cannot explain what Virtue is. Some act a most generous disinterested Part in Life, who have been taught to account for all their Actions by Self‐Love, as their sole Spring. There have been very different and opposite Opinions in Opticks, contrary Accounts have been given of Hearing, voluntary Motion, Digestion, and other natural Actions. But the Powers themselves in reality perform their several Operations with sufficient Constancy and Uniformity, in Persons of good Health, whatever their Opinions be about them. In the same manner our moral Actions and Affections may be in good order, when our Opinions [viii] are quite wrong about them. True Opinions however, about both, may enable us to improve our natural Powers, and to rectify accidental Disorders incident unto them. And true Speculations on these Subjects must certainly [viii] be attended with as much Pleasure as any other Parts of Human Knowledge.

It may perhaps seem strange, that when in this Treatise Virtue is suppos’d disinterested; yet so much Pains is taken, by a Comparison of our several Pleasures, to prove the Pleasures of Virtue to be the greatest we are capable of, and that consequently it is our truest Interest to be virtuous. But let it be remember’d here, that tho there can be no Motives or Arguments suggested which can directly raise any ultimate Desire, such as that of our own Happiness, or publick Affections (as we attempt to prove in Treatise IV;) [ix] yet if both are natural Dispositions of our Minds, and nothing can stop the Operation of publick Affections but some selfish Interest, the only way to give publick Affections their full Force, and to make them prevalent [ix] in our Lives, must be to remove these Opinions of opposite Interests, and to shew a superior Interest on their side. If these Considerations be just and sufficiently attended to, a natural Disposition can scarce fail to exert it self to the full.

In this Essay on the Passions, the Proofs and Illustrations of a moral Sense, and Sense of Honour are not mention’d; because they are so, in the Inquiry into Moral Good and Evil, in the first and fifth Sections. Would Men reflect upon what they feel in themselves, all Proofs in such Matters would be needless.

[x] Some strange Love of Simplicity in the Structure of human Nature, [x] or Attachment to some favourite Hypothesis, has engag’d many Writers to pass over a great many Simple Perceptions, which we may find in our selves. We have got the Number Five fixed for our external Senses, tho Seven or Ten might as easily be defended. We have Multitudes of Perceptions which have no relation to any external Sensation; if by it we mean Perceptions, occasion’d by Motions or Impressions made on our Bodies, such as the Ideas of Number, Duration, Proportion, Virtue, Vice, Pleasures of Honour, of Congratulation; the Pains of Remorse, Shame, Sympathy, and many others. It were to be wish’d, that those who are at such Pains to prove a beloved Maxim, that “all Ideas arise from Sensation and Reflection,” had so explain’d [xi] themselves, that none should take their Meaning to be, that all our Ideas are either external Sensations, [xi] or reflex Acts upon external Sensations: Or if by Reflection they mean an inward Power of Perception, as I fancy they do, they had as carefully examin’d into the several kinds of internal Perceptions, as they have done into the external Sensations: that we might have seen whether the former be not as natural and necessary as the latter. Had they in like manner consider’d our Affections without a previous Notion, that they were all from Self‐Love, they might have felt an ultimate Desire of the Happiness of others as easily conceivable, and as certainly implanted in the human Breast, tho perhaps not so strong as Self‐Love.

The Author hopes this imperfect Essay will be favourably re[xii] ceiv’d, till some Person of greater Abilities [xii] and Leisure apply himself to a more strict Philosophical Inquiry into the various natural Principles or natural Dispositions of Mankind; from which perhaps a more exact Theory of Morals may be formed, than any which has yet appear’d: and hopes that this Attempt, to shew the fair side of the human Temper, may be of some little use towards this great End.

The principal Objections offer’d by Mr. Clarke of Hull, against the second Section of the second Treatise, occurr’d to the Author in Conversation, and had appriz’d him of the necessity of a farther illustration of disinterested Affections, in answer to his Scheme of deducing them from Self‐Love, which seem’d more ingenious than any which the Author of the Inquiry ever yet saw in print. He takes better from Mr. Clarke, all [xiii] other Parts of his Treatment, than the raising such an Outcry against him as injurious to Christianity, for Principles which some of the most zealous Christians have publickly maintain’d: He hopes Mr. Clarke will be satisfy’d upon this Point, as well as about the Scheme of disinterested Affections, by what is offer’d in the Treatise on the Passions, Sect. I. and designedly placed here, rather than in any distinct Reply, both to avoid the disagreeable Work of Answering or Remarking upon Books, wherein it is hard to keep off too keen and offensive Expressions; and also, that those who have had any of the former Editions of the Inquiry, might not be at a loss about any Illustrations or additional Proofs necessary to complete the Scheme.

The last Treatise had never seen the Light, had not some worthy [xiv] Gentlemen mistaken some things about the moral Sense alledg’d to be in Mankind: Their Objections gave Opportunity of farther Inquiry into the several Schemes of accounting for our moral Ideas, which some apprehend to be wholly different from, and independent on, that Sense which the Author attempts to establish. The following Papers attempt to shew, that all these Schemes must necessarily presuppose this moral Sense, and be resolv’d into it: Nor does the Author endeavour to over-turn them, or represent them as unnecessary Superstructures upon the Foundation of a moral Sense; tho what he has suggested will probably shew a considerable Confusion in some of the Terms [xiv] much used on these Subjects. One may easily see from the great variety of Terms, and diversity of Schemes invented, that all Men feel something in their own Hearts recommending Virtue, which [xv] yet it is difficult to explain. This Difficulty probably arises from our previous Notions of a small Number of Senses, so that we are unwilling to have recourse in our Theories to any more; and rather strain out some Explication of moral Ideas, with relation to some other natural Powers of Perception universally acknowledg’d. The like difficulty attends several other Perceptions, to the Reception of which Philosophers have not generally assigned their distinct Senses; such as natural Beauty, Harmony, the Perfection of Poetry, Architecture, Designing, and such like Affairs of Genius, Taste, or Fancy: The Explications or Theories on these Subjects [xv] are in like manner full of Confusion and Metaphor.

To define Virtue by agreeableness to this moral Sense, or describing it to be kind Affection, may [xvi] appear perhaps too uncertain; considering that the Sense of particular Persons is often depraved by Custom, Habits, false Opinions, Company: and that some particular kind Passions toward some Persons are really pernicious, and attended with very unkind Affections toward others, or at least with a Neglect of their Interests. We must therefore only assert in general, that “every one calls that Temper, or those Actions virtuous, which are approv’d by his own Sense;” and withal, that “abstracting from particular Habits or Prejudices, every one is so constituted as to approve every particular kind Affection toward any one, which argues no want of Affection toward others. And constantly to approve that Temper which desires, and those Actions which tend to procure the greatest Moment of Good in the Power of the Agent toward [xvii] the [xvi] most extensive System to which it can reach;” and consequently, that the Perfection of Virtue consists in “having the universal calm Benevolence, the prevalent Affection of the Mind, so as to limit and counteract not only the selfish Passions, but even the particular kind Affections.

Our moral Sense shews this to be the highest Perfection of our Nature; what we may see to be the End or Design of such a Structure, and consequently what is requir’d of us by the Author of our Nature: and therefore if any one like these Descriptions better, he [xvii] may call Virtue, with many of the Antients, “Vita secundum naturam;” or “acting according to what we may see from the Constitution of our Nature, we were intended for by our Creator.”

[xviii] If this Moral Sense were once set in a convincing Light, those vain Shadows of Objections against a virtuous Life, in which some are wonderfully delighted, would soon vanish: alledging, that whatever we admire or honour in a moral Species, is the effect of Art, Education, Custom, Policy, or subtle Views of Interest; we should then acknowledge

  • Quid sumus, & quidnam victuri gignimur.
  • —Pers.

’Tis true, a Power of Reasoning is natural to us; and we must own, that all Arts and Sciences which are well founded, and tend to direct our [xviii] Actions, are, if not to be called Natural, an Improvement upon our Nature: yet if Virtue be look’d upon as wholly Artificial, there are I know not what Suspicions against it; as if indeed [xix] it might tend to the greater Interest of large Bodies or Societies of Men, or to that of their Governors; whereas a private Person may better find his Interest, or enjoy greater Pleasures in the Practices counted vicious, especially if he has any Probability of Secrecy in them. These Suspicions must be entirely remov’d, if we have a moral Sense and publick Affections, whose Gratifications are constituted by Nature, our most intense and durable Pleasures.

I hope it is a good Omen of something still better on this Subject to be expected in the learned World, that Mr. Butler, in his Sermons at the Rolls Chapel, has done so much Justice to the wise and good Order of our Nature; that the Gentlemen, who have oppos’d some other Sentiments of the Author of the Inquiry, seem convinc’d of a moral [xx] Sense. Some of them have by a Mistake made a Compliment to the Author, which does not [xix] belong to him; as if the World were any way indebted to him for this Discovery. He has too often met with the Sensus Decori & Honesti, and with the Δύναμις αγαθοειδὴς, to assume any such thing to himself.

Some Letters in the London Journals, subscribed Philaretus, gave the first Occasion to the Fourth Treatise; the Answers given to them bore too visible Marks of the Hurry in which they were wrote, and therefore the Author declined to continue the Debate that way; chusing to send a private Letter to Philaretus, to desire a more private Correspondence on the Subject of our Debate. I have been since informed, that his Death disappointed my great Expectations from [xxi] so ingenious a Correspondent. The Objections proposed in the first Section of Treatise [xx] IV, are not always those of Philaretus, tho I have endeavour’d to leave no Objections of his unanswer’d; but I also interspersed whatever Objections occurr’d to me in Conversation on these Subjects. I hope I have not used any Expressions inconsistent with the high Regard I have for the Memory of so ingenious a Gentleman, and of such Distinction in the World.

The last Section of the Fourth Treatise, was occasion’d by a private Letter from a Person of the most real Merit, in Glasgow; representing to me some Sentiments not uncommon among good Men, which might prejudice them against any Scheme of Morals, not wholly founded upon Piety. This Point is, I hope, so treated, as to remove the Difficulty.

[xxii] The Deference due to a Person, who has appear’d so much in the learned World, as M. Le Clerc, would seem to require, that I should make some Defense against, or Submission to, the Remarks he makes in his Bibliotheque Ancienne & Moderne. But I cannot but conclude from his Abstract, especially from that of the last Section of the Inquiry, either that I don’t understand his French, or he my English, or that he has never read more than the Titles of some of the Sections: and if any one of the three be the Case, we are not fit for a Controversy.

In the References, at bottom of Pages, the Inquiry into Beauty is called Treatise I. That into the Ideas of moral Good and Evil, is Treatise II. The Essay on the Passions, Treatise III. And the Illustrations on the moral Sense, Treatise IV.

treatise i

An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions

section i

A general Account of our several Senses and Desires, Selfish or Publick

[1/1] The Nature of human Actions cannot be sufficiently understood without considering the Affections and Passions; or those Modifications, or Actions of the Mind consequent upon the Apprehension of certain Objects or Events, in which the Mind generally conceives Good or Evil. [2] In this Inquiry we need little Reasoning, or Argument, since Certainty is only [2] attainable by distinct Attention to what we are conscious happens in our Minds.

Art. I. “Objects, Actions, or Events obtain the Name of Good, or Evil, according as they are the Causes, or Occasions, mediately, or immediately, of a grateful, or ungrateful Perception to some sensitive Nature.” To understand therefore the several Kinds of Good, or Evil, we must apprehend the several Senses natural to us.

There seems to be some Sense or other suited to every sort of Objects which occurs to us, by which we receive either Pleasure, or Pain from a great part of them, as well as some Image, or Apprehension of them: Nay, sometimes our only Idea is a Perception of Pleasure, or Pain. The Pleasures or Pains perceived, are sometimes simple, without any other previous Idea, or any Image, or other concomitant Ideas, save those of Extension, or of Duration; one of which accompanies every Perception, whether of Sense, or inward Consciousness. Other Pleasures arise only upon some previous Idea, or Assemblage, or Comparison of Ideas. These Pleasures, presupposing previous Ideas, were called Perceptions of an internal [3] Sense, in a former [3] Treatise. Thus Regularity and Uniformity in Figures, are no less grateful than Tastes, or Smells; the Harmony of Notes, is more grateful than simple Sounds. In [4] like manner, Affections, Tempers, [4] Sentiments, or Actions, reflected upon in our selves, or observed in others, are the constant Occasions of agreeable or disagreeable Perceptions, which we call Approbation, or Dislike. These Moral Perceptions arise in us as necessarily as any other Sensations; nor can we alter, or stop them, while our previous Opinion or Apprehension of the Affection, Temper, or Intention of the Agent continues the same; any more than we can make the Taste of Wormwood sweet, or that of Honey bitter.

If we may call every Determination of our Minds to receive Ideas independently on our Will, and to have Perceptions of Pleasure and Pain,a Sense, we shall find many other Senses beside those commonly explained. Tho it is not easy to assign accurate Divisions on such Subjects, yet we may reduce them to the following Classes, leaving it to others to arrange them as they think convenient. A little Reflection will [5] shew that there are such Natural [5] Powers in the human Mind, in whatever Order we place them. In the 1st Class are the External Senses, universally known. In the 2d, the Pleasant Perceptions arising from regular, harmonious, uniform Objects; as also from Grandeur and Novelty. These we may call, after Mr. Addison, the Pleasures of the Imagination;  or we may call the Power of receiving them, an Internal Sense. Whoever dislikes this Name may substitute another. 3. The next Class of Perceptions we may call a Publick Sense, viz. “our Determination to be pleased with the Happiness of others, and to be uneasy at their Misery.” This is found in some degree in all Men, and was sometimes called Ḱοινονοημοσύνη or Sensus Communis by some of the Antients. 4. The fourth Class we may call the Moral [6] Sense, by which “we perceive Virtue, or Vice in our selves, or others.” This is plainly distinct from the former Class of Perceptions, since many are strongly affected with the Fortunes of others, who seldom reflect upon Virtue, or Vice in themselves, or others, as an Object: as we may find in Natural Affection, Compassion, Friendship, or even general Benevolence to Mankind, which connect our Happiness or Pleasure with that of others, even when we are not reflecting upon our own Temper, nor delighted with the Perception of our own Virtue. 5. The fifth [6] Class is a Sense of Honour, “which makes the Approbation, or Gratitude of others, for any good Actions we have done, the necessary occasion of Pleasure; and their Dislike, Condemnation, or Resentment of Injuries done by us, the occasion of that uneasy Sensation called Shame, even when we fear no further evil from them.”

There are perhaps other Perceptions distinct from all these Classes, such as some Ideas “of Decency, Dignity, Suitableness to human Nature in certain Actions and Circumstances; and of an Indecency, Meanness, and Unworthiness, in the contrary Actions or Circumstances, even without any conception of Moral Good, or Evil.” Thus the Pleasures of Sight, and Hearing, are more esteemed than those of Taste or [7] Touch: The Pursuits of the Pleasures of the Imagination, are more approved than those of simple external Sensations. Plato accounts for this difference from a constant Opinion of Innocence in this sort of Pleasures, which would reduce this Perception to the Moral Sense. Others may imagine that the difference is not owing to any such Reflection upon their Innocence, but that there is a different sort of Perceptions in these cases, to be reckoned another Class of Sensations.

A like Division of our Desires.[7] II. Desires arise in our Mind, from the Frame of our Nature, upon Apprehension of Good or Evil in Objects, Actions, or Events, to obtain for our selves or others the agreeable Sensation, when the Object or Event is good; or to prevent the uneasy Sensation, when it is evil. Our original Desires and Aversions may therefore be divided into five Classes, answering to the Classes of our Senses. 1. The Desire of sensual Pleasure, (by which we mean that of the external Senses); and Aversion to the opposite Pains. 2. The Desires of the Pleasures of Imagination or Internal Sense, and Aversion to what is disagreeable to it. 3. Desires of the Pleasures arising from Publick Happiness, and Aversion to the Pains arising [8] from the Misery of others. 4. Desires of Virtue, and Aversion to Vice, according to the Notions we have of the Tendency of Actions to the Publick Advantage or Detriment. 5. Desires of Honour, and Aversion to Shame.

The third Class of Publick Desires contains many very different sorts of Affections, all those which tend toward the Happiness of others, or the removal of Misery; such as those of Gratitude, Compassion, [8] Natural Affection, Friendship, or the more extensive calm Desire of the universal Good of all sensitive Natures, which our moral Sense approves as the Perfection of Virtue, even when it limits, and counteracts the narrower Attachments of Love.

Secondary Desires of Wealth and Power.Now since we are capable of Reflection, Memory, Observation, and Reasoning about the distant Tendencies of Objects and Actions, and not confined to things present, there must arise, in consequence of our original Desires,secondary Desires of every thing imagined useful to gratify any of the primary Desires, with strength proportioned to the several original Desires, and the imagined Usefulness, or Necessity, of the advantageous Object.” Hence it is that as soon as we come to apprehend the Use of Wealth or Power to gratify any of our original Desires, we must also desire them. Hence arises the Universality of these Desires of Wealth and Power, since they are the Means of gratifying all other Desires. “How foolish then is the Inference, some would make, from the universal Prevalence of these Desires, that human Nature is wholly selfish, or that each one is only studious of his own Advantage; since Wealth or Power are as naturally fit to [9] gratify our Publick Desires, or to serve virtuous Purposes, as the selfish ones?”

[9] “How weak also are the Reasonings of some recluse Moralists, who condemn in general all Pursuits of Wealth or Power, as below a perfectly virtuous Character: since Wealth and Power are the most effectual Means, and the most powerful Instruments, even of the greatest Virtues, and most generous Actions?” The Pursuit of them is laudable, when the Intention is virtuous; and the neglect of them, when honourable Opportunities offer, is really a Weakness. This justifies the Poet’s Sentiments:

  • ——— Hic onus horret,
  • Ut parvis Animis & parvo Corpore majus:
  • Hic subit & perfert: aut virtus nomen inane est,
  • Aut Decus & Pretium recte petit experiens Vir.
  • Hor.Epist. 17.

“Further, the Laws or Customs of a Country, the Humour of our Company may have made strange Associations of Ideas, so that some Objects, which of themselves are indifferent to any Sense, by reason of some additional grateful Idea, may become very desirable; or by like Addition of an ungrateful Idea may raise the strongest Aversion.” Thus many a Trifle, when once it is made a Badge of Honour, an Evidence of some generous Disposition, a Monument of [9] some great Action, may be impatiently pursued, [10] from our Desire of Honour. When any Circumstance, Dress, State, Posture is constituted as a Mark of Infamy, it may become in like manner the Object of Aversion, tho in itself most inoffensive to our Senses. If a certain way of Living, of receiving Company, of shewing Courtesy, is once received among those who are honoured; they who cannot bear the Expence of this may be made uneasy at their Condition, tho much freer from Trouble than that of higher Stations. Thus Dress, Retinue, Equipage, Furniture, Behaviour, and Diversions are made Matters of considerable Importance by additional Ideas. Nor is it in vain that the wisest and greatest Men regard these things; for however it may concern them to break such Associations in their own Minds, yet, since the bulk of Mankind will retain them, they must comply with their Sentiments and Humours in things innocent, as they expect the publick Esteem, which is generally necessary to enable Men to serve the Publick.

The Uses of these Associations.Should any one be surprized at this Disposition in our Nature to associate any Ideas together for the future, which once presented themselves jointly, considering what [11] great Evils, and how much Corruption [11] of Affections is owing to it, it may help to account for this Part of our Constitution, to consider “that all our Language and much of our Memory depends upon it:” So that were there no such Associations made, we must lose the use of Words, and a great part of our Power of recollecting past Events; beside many other valuable Powers and Arts which depend upon them. Let it also be considered that it is much in our power by a vigorous Attention either to prevent these Associations, or by Abstraction to separate Ideas when it may be useful for us to do so.

Concerning our Pursuit of Honour, ’tis to be observ’d, that “since our Minds are incapable of retaining a great Diversity of Objects, the Novelty, or Singularity of any Object is enough to raise a particular Attention to it among many of equal Merit:” And therefore were Virtue universal among Men, yet, ’tis probable, the Attention of Observers would be turned chiefly toward those who distinguished themselves by some singular Ability, or by some Circumstance, which, however trifling in its own Nature, yet had some honourable Ideas commonly joined to it, such as Magnificence, Generosity, or the like. We should perhaps, when we considered sedately the [12] common Virtues of others, [12] equally love and esteem them: And yet probably our Attention would be generally fixed to those who thus were distinguishedfrom the Multitude. Hence our natural Love of Honour, raises in us a Desire of Distinction, either by higher Degrees of Virtue; or, if we cannot easily or probably obtain it this way, we attempt it in an easier manner, by any Circumstance, which, thro’ a Confusion of Ideas, is reputed honourable.

This Desire of Distinction has great Influence on the Pleasures and Pains of Mankind, and makes them chuse things for their very Rarity, Difficulty, or Expence; by a confused Imagination that they evidence Generosity, Ability, or a finer Taste than ordinary; nay, often the merest Trifles are by these means ardently pursued. A Form of Dress, a foreign Dish, a Title, a Place, a Jewel; an useless Problem, a Criticism on an obsolete Word, the Origin of a Poetic Fable, the Situation of a razed Town, may employ many an Hour in tedious Labour:

  • Sic leve, sic parvum est, animum quod laudis avarum
  • Subruit aut reficit.
  • Hor.

Desires, selfish and publick.[13/13] Art. III. There is another Division of our Desires taken from the Persons for whose Advantage we pursue or shun any Object. “The Desires in which one intends or pursues what he apprehends advantageous to himself, we may call Selfish; and those in which we pursue what we apprehend advantageous to others, and do not apprehend advantageous to our selves, or do not pursue with this view, we may call Publick or Benevolent Desires.” If there be a just Foundation for this Division, it is more extensive than the former Division, since each of the former Classes may come under either Member of this Division, according as we are desiring any of the five sorts of Pleasures for our selves, or desiring them for others. The former Division may therefore be conceived as a Subdivision of the latter.

This Division has been disputed since Epicurus; who with his old Followers, and some of late, who detest other parts of his Scheme, maintain, “that all our Desires are selfish: or, that what every one intends or designs ultimately, in each Action, is the obtaining Pleasure to himself, or the avoiding his own private Pain.

[14/14] It requires a good deal of Subtilty to defend this Scheme, so seemingly opposite to Natural Affection, Friendship, Love of a Country, or Community, which many find very strong in their Breasts. The Defences and Schemes commonly offered, can scarce free the Sustainers of this Cause from manifest Absurdity and Affectation. But some do acknowledge a publick Sense in many Instances; especially in natural Affection, and Compassion; by which “the Observation of the Happiness of others is made the necessary Occasion of Pleasure, and their Misery the Occasion of Pain to the Observer.” That this Sympathy with others is the Effect of the Constitution of our Nature, and not brought upon our selves by any Choice, with view to any selfish Advantage, they must own: whatever Advantage there may be in Sympathy with the Fortunate, none can be alledged in Sympathy with the Distressed: And every one feels that this publick Sense will not leave his Heart, upon a change of the Fortunes of his Child or Friend; nor does it depend upon a Man’s Choice, whether he will be affected with their Fortunes or not. But supposing this publick Sense, they insist, “That by means [15] of it there is a Conjunction of Interest: the [15] Happiness of others becomes the Means of private Pleasure to the Observer; and for this Reason, or with a View to this private Pleasure, he desires the Happiness of another.” Others deduce our Desire of the Happiness of others from Self‐love, in a less specious manner.

If a publick Sense be acknowledged in Men, by which the Happiness of one is made to depend upon that of others, independently of his Choice, this is indeed a strong Evidence of the Goodness of the Author of our Nature. But whether this Scheme does truly account for our Love of others, or for generous Offices, may be determined from the following Considerations; which being matters of internal Consciousness, every one can best satisfy himself by Attention, concerning their Truth and Certainty.

Let it be premised, that Desire is generally uneasy, or attended with an uneasy Sensation, which is something distinct from that uneasy Sensation arising from some Event or Object, the Prevention or Removal of which Sensation we are intending when the Object is apprehended as Evil; as this uneasy Sensation of Desire is obviously different from the pleasant Sensation, expected from the Object or Event [16 ] which we apprehend as Good. Then it is plain,

1. “That no Desire of any Event is excited by any view of removing the uneasy Sensation attending this Desire itself. ” Sensations which are previous to a Desire, or not connected with it, may excite Desire of any Event, apprehended necessary to procure or continue the Sensation if it be pleasant, or to remove it if it be uneasy: But the uneasy Sensation, accompanying and connected with the Desire itself, cannot be a Motive to that Desire which it presupposes. The Sensation accompanying Desire is generally uneasy, and consequently our Desire is never raised with a view to obtain or continue it; nor is the Desire raised with a view to remove this uneasy Sensation, for the Desire is raised previously to it. This holds concerning all Desire publick or private.

There is also a pleasant Sensation of Joy, attending the Gratification of any Desire, beside the Sensation received from the Object itself, which we directly intended. “But Desire does never arise from a View of obtaining that Sensation of Joy, connected with the Success or Gratification of Desire; [17] otherwise the strongest Desires might arise toward any Trifle, or an Event in all respects indifferent: [17] Since, if Desire arose from this View, the stronger the Desire were, the higher would be the Pleasure of Gratification; and therefore we might desire the turning of a Straw as violently as we do Wealth or Power.” This Expectation of the Pleasure of gratifiedDesire, would equally excite us to desire the Misery of others as their Happiness; since the Pleasure of Gratification might be obtained from both Events alike.

2. It is certain that, “that Desire of the Happiness of others which we account virtuous, is not directly excited by prospects of any secular Advantage, Wealth, Power, Pleasure of the external Senses, Reward from the Deity, or future Pleasures of Self‐Approbation.” To prove this let us consider, “That no Desire of any Event can arise immediately or directly from an Opinion in the Agent, that his having such a Desire will be the Means of private Good.” This Opinion would make us wish or desire to have that advantageous Desire or Affection; and would incline us to use any means in our power to raise that Affection: but no Affection or Desire is raised in us, directly by our volition or desiring it. That alone which raises in us from Self‐Love [18] the Desire of any Event, is an Opinion that that Event is the Means [18] of private Good. As soon as we form this Opinion, a Desire of the Event immediately arises: But if having the Desire or Affection be imagined the Means of private Good, and not the Existence of the Event desired, then from Self‐Love we should only desire or wish to have the Desire of that Event, and should not desire the Event itself, since the Event is not conceived as the Means of Good.

For instance, suppose God revealed to us that he would confer Happiness on us, if our Country were happy; then from Self‐Love we should have immediately the subordinate Desire of our Country’s Happiness, as the Means of our own. But were we assured that, whether our Country were happy or not, it should not affect our future Happiness; but that we should be rewarded, provided we desired the Happiness of our Country; our Self‐Love could never make us now desire the Happiness of our Country, since it is not now conceived as the Means of our Happiness, but is perfectly indifferent to it. The Means of our Happiness is the having a Desire of our Country’s Happiness; we should therefore from Self‐Love only wish to have this Desire.

[19] ’Tis true indeed in fact, that, because Benevolence is natural to us, a little Attention [19] to other Natures will raise in us good‐will towards them, whenever by any Opinions we are persuaded that there is no real Opposition of Interest. But had we no Affection distinct from Self‐Love, nothing could raise our Desire of the Happiness of others, but conceiving their Happiness as the Means of ours. An Opinion that our having kind Affections would be the Means of our private Happiness, would only make us desire to have those Affections. Now that Affections do not arise upon our wishing to have them, or our volition of raising them; as conceiving the Affections themselves to be the Means of private Good; is plain from this, that if they did thus arise, then a Bribe might raise any Desire toward any Event, or any Affection toward the most improper Object. We might be hired to love or hate any sort of Persons, to be angry, jealous, or compassionate, as we can be engaged into external Actions; which we all see to be absurd. Now those who alledg, that our Benevolence may arise from prospect of secular Advantage, Honour, Self‐Approbation, or future Rewards, must own, that these are either Motives only to external Actions, or Considerations, shewing, that having the Desire of the Happiness of others, would be the Means of private Good; [20] while the Event supposed to be desired, viz. the Happiness of others, is not [20] supposed the Means of any private Good. But the best Defenders of this part of the Scheme of Epicurus, acknowledge that “Desires are not raised by Volition.

This Distinction Defended3. “There are in Men Desires of the Happiness of others, when they do not conceive this Happiness as the Means of obtaining any sort of Happiness to themselves.” Self‐Approbation, or Rewards from the Deity, might be the Ends, for obtaining which we might possibly desire or will from Self‐Love, to raise in our selves kind Affections; but we could not from Self‐Love desire the Happiness of others, but as conceiving it the Means of our own. Now ’tis certain that sometimes we may have this subordinate Desire of the Happiness of others, conceived as the Means of our own; as suppose one had laid a Wager upon the Happiness of a Person of such Veracity, that he would own sincerely whether he were happy or not; when Men are Partners in Stock, and share in Profit or Loss; when one hopes to succeed to, or some way to share in the Prosperity of another; or if the Deity had given such Threatnings, as they tell us Telamon gave his Sons when they went to War, that he would reward or punish one according as others were [21] happy or miserable: In such cases one might have this subordinate Desire [21] of another’s Happiness from Self‐Love. But as we are sure the Deity has not given such Comminations, so we often are conscious of the Desire of the Happiness of others, without any such Conception of it as the Means of our own; and are sensible that this subordinate Desire is not that virtuous Affection which we approve. The virtuous Benevolence must be an ultimate Desire, which would subsist without view to private Good. Such ultimate publick Desires we often feel, without any subordinate Desire of the same Event, as the Means of private Good. The subordinate may sometimes, nay often does concur with the ultimate; and then indeed the whole Moment of these conspiring Desires may be greater than that of either alone: But the subordinate alone is not that Affection which we approve as virtuous.

Benevolence is not the Desire of the Pleasures of the publick Sense.Art. IV. This will clear our way to answer the chief Difficulty: “May not our Benevolence be at least a Desire of the Happiness of others, as the Means of obtaining the Pleasures of the publick Sense, from the Contemplation of their Happiness? ” If it were so, it is very unaccountable that we should approve this subordinate Desire as virtuous, and yet not approve the like Desire upon a Wager, or other Considerations of Interest. [22] Both Desires proceed from Self‐Love in the same [22] manner: In the latter case the Desires might be extended to multitudes, if any one would wager so capriciously; and, by increasing the Sum wagered, the Motive of Interest might, with many Tempers, be made stronger than that from the Pleasures of the publick Sense.

Don’t we find that we often desire the Happiness of others without any such selfish Intention? How few have thought upon this part of our Constitution which we call a Publick Sense? Were it our only View, in Compassion to free our selves from the Pain of the publick Sense; should the Deity propose it to our Choice, either to obliterate all Ideas of the Person in Distress, but to continue him in Misery, or on the other hand to relieve him from it; should we not upon this Scheme be perfectly indifferent, and chuse the former as soon as the latter? Should the Deity assure us that we should be immediately annihilated, so that we should be incapable of either Pleasure or Pain, but that it should depend upon our Choice at our very Exit, whether our Children, our Friends, or our Country should be happy or miserable; should we not upon this Scheme be intirely indifferent? Or, if we should even desire the [23] pleasant Thought of their Happiness, in our last Moment, would not this Desire be the faintest imaginable?

[23] ’Tis true, our Publick Sense might be as acute at our Exit as ever; as a Man’s Taste of Meat or Drink might be as lively the instant before his Dissolution as in any part of his Life. But would any Man have as strong Desires of the Means of obtaining these Pleasures, only with a View to himself, when he was to perish the next Moment? Is it supposable that any Desire of the Means of private Pleasure can be as strong when we only expect to enjoy it a Minute, as when we expect the Continuance of it for many Years? And yet, ’tis certain, any good Man would as strongly desire at his Exit the Happiness of others, as in any part of his Life. We do not therefore desire it as the Means of private Pleasure.

Should any alledge, that this Desire of the Happiness of others, after our Exit, is from some confused Association of Ideas; as a Miser, who loves no body, might desire an Increase of Wealth at his Death; or as any one may have an Aversion to have his Body dissected, or made a Prey to Dogs after Death: [24] let any honest Heart try if the deepest Reflection will break this Association (if there be any) which is supposed to raise the Desire. The closest Reflection would be found rather to strengthen it. [24] How would any Spectator like the Temper of one thus rendered indifferent to all others at his own Exit, so that he would not even open his Mouth to procure Happiness to Posterity? Would we esteem it refined Wisdom, or a Perfection of Mind, and not rather the vilest Perverseness? ’Tis plain then we feel this ultimate Desire of the Happiness of others to be a most natural Instinct, which we also expect in others, and not the Effect of any confused Ideas.

The Occasion of the imagined Difficulty in conceiving distinterested Desires, has probably been attempting to define this simple Idea, Desire. It is called an uneasy Sensation in the absence ofGood. Whereas Desire is as distinct from any Sensation, as the Will is from the Understanding or Senses. This every one must acknowledge, who speaks of desiring to remove Uneasiness or Pain.

We may perhaps find, that our Desires are so far from tending always toward private Good, that they are oftner employ’d about the State of others. Nay further, we may have a Propensity toward an Event, which we neither apprehend as the Means of private Good, or publick. Thus an Epicurean who denies a future State; or, one to [25] whom God revealed that he should be annihilated, might at his very Exit desire a future Fame, from which he expected no Pleasure to himself, nor intended any to others. Such Desires indeed no selfish Being, who had the modelling of his own Nature, would chuse to implant in itself. But since we have not this power, we must be content to be thus “befooled into a publick Interest against our Will;” as an ingenious Author expresses it.

The Prospect of any Interest may be a Motive to us, to desire whatever we apprehend as the Means of obtaining it. Particularly, “if Rewards of any kind are proposed to those who have virtuous Affections, this would raise in us the Desire of having these Affections, and would incline us to use all means to raise them in our selves; particularly to turn our Attention to all those Qualities in the Deity, or our Fellows, which are naturally apt to raise the virtuous Affections.” Thus it is, that Interest of any kind may influence us indirectly to Virtue, and Rewards particularly may over‐ballance all Motives to Vice.

[26] This may let us see, that “the Sanctions of Rewards and Punishments, as proposed in the Gospel, are not rendered [26] useless or unnecessary, by supposing the virtuous Affection to be disinterested;” since such Motives of Interest, proposed and attended to, must incline every Person to desire to have virtuous Affections, and to turn his Attention to every thing which is naturally apt to raise them; and must overballance every other Motive of Interest, opposite to these Affections, which could incline Men to suppress or counteract them.

section ii

Of the Affections and Passions: The natural Laws of pure Affection: The confused Sensations of the Passions, with their final Causes

Proper Affections are Desire and Aversion.[27/27] I. After the general account of Sensations, we may consider other Modifications of our Minds, consequent upon these Perceptions, whether grateful, or uneasy. The first which occur to any one are Desire of the grateful Perceptions, and Aversion to the uneasy, either for our selves or others. If we would confine the word Affection to these two, which are entirely distinct from all Sensation, and directly incline the Mind to Action or Volition of Motion, we should have no Debate about the Number or Division of Affections. But since, by universal Custom, this Name is applied to other Modifications of the Mind, such as Joy, Sorrow, Despair, we may consider what universal Distinction can be assigned between these Modifications, and the several Sensations abovementioned; and we shall scarce find any other than this, that we call “the direct immediate Perception of Pleasure or Pain from [28] the present [28] Object or Event, the Sensation:Affection distinct from Passion. But we denote by the Affection or Passion some other “Perceptions of Pleasure or Pain, not directly raised by the Presence or Operation of the Event or Object, but by our Reflection upon, or Apprehension of their present or certainly future Existence; so that we are sure that the Object or Event will raise the direct Sensations in us.” In beholding a regular Building we have the Sensation of Beauty; but upon our apprehending our selves possessed of it, or that we can procure this pleasant Sensation when we please, we feel the Affection of Joy. When a Man has a Fit of the Gout, he has the painful Sensation; when he is not at present pained, yet apprehends a sudden return of it, he has the Affection of Sorrow, which might in some sense also be called a Sensation.

When the word Passion is imagined to denote any thing different from the Affections, it includes, beside the Desire or Aversion, beside the calm Joy upon apprehended Possession of Good, or Sorrow from the Loss of it, or from impending Evil, “aconfused Sensation either of Pleasure [29/29] or Pain, occasioned or attended by some violent bodily Motions, which keeps the Mind much employed upon the present Affair, to the exclusion of every thing else, and prolongs or strengthens the Affection sometimes to such a degree, as to prevent all deliberate Reasoning about our Conduct.”

General Desires, and particular Affections or Passions.II. We have little reason to imagine, that all other Agents have such confused Sensations accompanying their Desires as we often have. Let us abstract from them, and consider in what manner we should act upon the several Occasions which now excite our Passions, if we had none of these Sensations whence our Desires become passionate.

There is a Distinction to be observed on this Subject, between “the calm Desire of Good, and Aversion to Evil, either selfish or publick, as it appears to our Reason or Reflection; and the particular Passions towards Objects immediately presented to some Sense.” Thus nothing can be more distinct than the general calm Desire of private Good of any kind, which alone would incline us to pursue whatever Objects were apprehended as the Means of Good, and the particular selfish Passions, such as Ambition, Covetousness, Hunger, Lust, Revenge, Anger, [30] as they arise upon particular Occasions. [30] In like manner, our publick Desires may be distinguished into the general calm Desire of the Happiness of others, or Aversion to their Misery upon Reflection; and the particular Affections or Passions of Love, Congratulation, Compassion, natural Affection. These particular Affections are found in many Tempers, where, thro’ want of Reflection, the general calm Desires are not found: Nay, the former may be opposite to the latter, where they are found in the same Temper. We obtain Commandover the particular Passions, principally by strengthning the general Desires thro frequent Reflection, and making them habitual, so as to obtain Strength superior to the particular Passions.

[31] Again, the calm public Desires may be considered as “they either regard the Good of particular Persons or Societies presented to our Senses; or that of some more abstracted or general Community, such as a Species or System.” This latter sort we may call universal calm Benevolence. Now ’tis plain, that not only particular kind Passions, but even calm particular Benevolence do not always arise from, or necessarily presuppose, the universal Benevolence; both the former may be found in Persons of little Reflection, where the latter is wanting: And the former two may [31] be opposite to the other, where they meet together in one Temper. So the universal Benevolence might be where there was neither of the former; as in any superior Nature or Angel, who had no particular Intercourse with any part of Mankind.

[32] Our moral Sense, tho it approves all particular kind Affection or Passion, as well as calm particular Benevolence abstractedly considered; yet it also approves the Restraint or Limitation of all particular Affections or Passions, by the calm universal Benevolence. To make this Desire prevalent above all particular Affections, is the only sure way to obtain constant Self‐Approbation.

The calm selfish Desires would determine any Agent to pursue every Object or Event, known either by Reason or prior Experience to be good to itself. We need not imagine any innate Idea of Good in general, of infinite Good, or of the greatest Aggregate: Much less need we suppose any actual Inclination toward any of these, as the Cause or Spring of all particular Desires. ’Tis enough to allow, “that we are capable by enlarging, or by Abstraction, of coming to these Ideas: That we must, by the Constitution of our Nature, desire any apprehended Good which occurs a‐part from any Evil: [32] That of two Objects inconsistent with each other, we shall desire that which seems to contain the greatest Moment of Good.” So that it cannot be pronounced concerning any finite Good, that it shall necessarily engage our Pursuit; since the Agent may possibly [33] have the Idea of a Greater, or see this to be inconsistent with some more valuable Object, or that it may bring upon him some prepollent Evil. The certain Knowledge of any of these Things, or probable Presumption of them, may stop the Pursuit of any finite Good. If this be any sort of Liberty, it must be allowed to be in Men, even by those who maintain “the Desire or Will to be necessarily determined by the prepollent Motive;” since this very Presumption may be a prepollent Motive, especially to those, who by frequent Attention make the Idea of the greatest Goodalways present to themselves on all important Occasions.

The same may easily be applied to our Aversion to finite Evils.

There seems to be this Degree of Liberty about the Understanding, that tho the highest Certainty or Demonstration does necessarily engage our Assent, yet we can suspend any absolute Conclusion from probable Arguments, until we examine whether this [33] apparent Probability be not opposite to Demonstration, or superior Probability on the other side.

This may let us see, that tho it were acknowledged that “Men are necessarily determined to pursue their own Happiness, and to be influenced by whatever Motive [34] appears to be prepollent;” yet they might be proper Subjects of a Law; since the very Sanctions of the Law, if they attend to them, may suggest a Motive prepollent to all others. In like manner, “Errors may be criminal, where there are sufficient Data or Objective Evidence for the Truth;” since no Demonstration can lead to Error, and we can suspend our Assent to probable Arguments, till we have examined both Sides. Yet human Penalties concerning Opinions must be of little consequence, since no Penalty can supply the place of Argument, or Probability to engage our Assent, however they may as Motives determine our Election.

In the calm publick Desires, in like manner, where there are no opposite Desires, the greater Good of another is always preferred to the less: And in the calm [34] universal Benevolence, the Choice is determined by the Moment of the Good, and the Number of those who shall enjoy it.

When the publick Desires are opposite to the private, or seem to be so, that kind prevails which is stronger or more intense.

Definitions.[35] III. The following Definitions of certain Words used on this Subject, may shorten our Expressions; and the Axioms subjoined may shew the manner of acting from calm Desire, with Analogy to the Laws of Motion.

  • 1. NaturalGoodis Pleasure: Natural Evil is Pain.
  • 2. Naturalgood Objects are those which are apt, either mediately or immediately to give Pleasure; the former are called Advantageous. Natural Evil Objects are such as, in like manner, give Pain.
  • Absolute.

    3. AbsoluteGoodis that which, considered with all its Concomitants and Consequences, contains more Good than what compensates all its Evils.
  • 4. AbsoluteEvil, on the contrary, contains Evil which outweighs all its Good.
  • Relative.

    [35] 5.RelativeGood or Evil, is any particular Good or Evil, which does not thus compensate its contrary Concomitants or Consequences. This Distinction would have been more exactly expressed by the Bonum simpliciter, and secundum quidof the Schoolmen.Cor. RelativeGoodmay be Absolute Evil; thus often sensual Pleasures are in the whole pernicious: And Absolute Goodmay be Relative Evil; thus an unpleasant Potion may recover Health.Good and Evil, according to the Persons whom they affect, may be divided into Universal, Particular and Private.
  • Universal.

    6. UniversalGood, is what tends to the Happiness of the whole System of sensitive Beings; and Universal Evil is the contrary.
  • Particular.

    7. ParticularGoodis what tends to the Happiness of a Part of this System: Particular Evil is the contrary.
  • Private.

    8.PrivateGood or Evil is that of the Person acting. Each of these three Members may be either Absolute or Relative.[36] Cor. I. Particularor private Goodmay possibly be universal Evil: And universal Goodmay be particular or private Evil. The Punishment of a Criminal is an Instance of the latter. Of the former, perhaps, there are no real Instances in the whole Administration of Nature: but there [37] are some apparent Instances; such as the Success of an unjust War; or the Escape of an unrelenting Criminal.Cor. 2. Whenparticular or private Goods are entirely innocent toward others, they are universal Good.
  • Compound.

    9. Compoundgood Objects or Events, are such as contain the Powers of several Goods at once. Thus, Meat may be both pleasant and healthful; an Action may give its Author at once the Pleasures of the Moral Sense and of Honour. The same is easily applicable to compound Evil.
  • Mixed.

    10. A mixedObject is what contains at once the Powers of Good and Evil: Thus a virtuous Action may give the Agent the Pleasures of the Moral Sense, and Pains of the external Senses. Execution of Justice may give the Pleasures of the publick Sense, and the Pains of Compassion toward the Sufferer.
  • Greatest Good.

    [37] 11. Thegreatest or most perfect Goodis that whole Series, or Scheme of Events, which contains a greater Aggregate of Happiness in the whole, or more absolute universal Good, than any other possible Scheme, after subtracting all the Evils connected with each of them.
  • Moral Good.

    [38] 12. An Action is good, in a moral Sense, when it flows from benevolent Affection, or Intention of absolute Good to others. Men of much Reflection may actually intend universal absolute Good; but with the common rate of Men their Virtue consists in intending and pursuing particular absolute Good, not inconsistent with universal Good.
  • Moral Evil.

    13. An Action is morally evil, either from Intention of absolute Evil, universal, or particular, ( which is seldom the case with Men, except in sudden Passions;) or from pursuit of private or particular relative Good, which they might have known did tend to universal absolute Evil. For even the want of a just Degree of Benevolence renders an Action evil.
  • Compound.

    [38] 14. Compoundmoral Goodness is that to which different moral Species concur: Thus the same Action may evidence Love to our Fellows, and Gratitude to God. We may in like manner understand compound moral Evil. We cannot suppose mixed moral Actions.
  • [39] 15. Agents are denominated morally good or evil, from their Affections and Actions, or Attempts of Action.

Axioms, or general Laws.IV. Axioms, or natural Laws of calm Desire.

  • 1. SelfishDesires pursue ultimately only the private Good of the Agent.
  • 2. Benevolent or publick Desires pursue the Good of others, according to the several Systems to which we extend our Attention, but with different Degrees of Strength.
  • 3. TheStrength either of the private or publick Desire of any Event, is proportioned to the imagined Quantity of Good, which will arise from it to the Agent, or the Person beloved.
  • [39] 4. MixedObjects are pursued or shunned with Desire or Aversion, proportioned to the apprehended Excess of Good or Evil.
  • 5. EqualMixtures of Good and Evil stop all Desire or Aversion.
  • 6. A compoundgood or evil Object, is prosecuted or shunned with a Degree of [40] Desire or Aversion, proportioned to the Sum of Good, or of Evil.
  • 7. In computing the Quantities of Good or Evil, which we pursue or shun, either for our selves or others, when the Durations are equal, the Moment is as the Intenseness: and when the Intenseness of Pleasure is the same, or equal, the Moment is as the Duration.
  • 8. Hence the Moment of Good in any Object, is in a compound Proportion of the Duration and Intenseness.
  • 9. TheTrouble, Pain, or Danger, incurred by the Agent, in acquiring or retaining any Good, is to be subtracted from the Sum of the Good. So the Pleasures which attend or flow from the means of prepollent Evil, are to be subtracted, to find the absolute Quantity.
  • [40] 10.The Ratio of the Hazardof acquiring or retaining any Good must be multiplied into the Moment of the Good; so also the Hazardof avoiding any Evil is to be multiplied into the Moment of it, to find its comparative value.Cor. Hence it is, that the smallest certain Good may raise stronger Desire than the [41] greatest Good, if the Uncertainty of the latter surpass that of the former, in a greater Ratio than that of the greater to the less. Thus Men content themselves in all Affairs with smaller, but more probably successful Pursuits, quitting those of greater Moment but less Probability.
  • 11. To an immortal Nature it is indifferent in what part of its Duration it enjoys a Good limited in Duration, if its Sense be equally acute in all parts of its Existence; and the Enjoyment of this Good excludes not the Enjoyment of other Goods, at one time more than another. The same may be applied to the Suffering of Evil, limited in Duration.
  • 12. But if the Duration of the Good be infinite, the Earliness of Commencement increases the Moment, as finite added to infinite, surpasses infinite alone.
  • [41] 13. To Beings of limited certain Duration, Axiom 12. may be applied, when the Duration of the Good would not surpass the Existence of the Possessor, after the Time of its Commencement.
  • 14. To Beings of limited uncertain Duration, the Earliness of Commencement increases the Moment of any Good, according [42] to the Hazard of the Possessor’s Duration. This may, perhaps, account for what some alledg to be a natural Disposition of our Minds, even previous to any Reflection on the Uncertainty of Life, viz. that we are so constituted, as to desire more ardently the nearer Enjoyments than the more distant, tho of equal Moment in themselves, and as certainly to be obtained by us.
  • 15.TheRemoval of Pain has always the Notion of Good, and sollicits us more importunately: Its Moment is the same way computed by Intenseness and Duration, and affected by the Hazardand by the Uncertainty of our Existence.These are the general Ways of computing the Quantities of Good in any Object or Event, whether we are pursuing our own private Good from selfish Desires, or [42] the Good of others from publick Affections. Concerning these latter we may observe,
  • 16. That our Desires toward publick Goodare, when other Circumstances are equal, proportioned to the Moment of the Goods themselves.
  • 17. Our publick Desires of any Events, are proportioned to the Number of Persons to whom the good Event shall extend, when [43] the Moments and other Circumstances are equal.
  • 18. When the Moments themselves, and Numbers of Enjoyers are equal, our Desire is proportioned to the Strength or Nearness of the Ties or Attachments to the Persons.
  • 19. When all other Circumstances are equal, our Desires are proportional to the apprehended Moral Excellence of the Persons.
  • 20.In general, the Strength of publick Desire is in a Compound Ratio of the Quantity of the Good itself, and the Number, Attachment, and Dignity of the Persons.These seem to be the general Laws, according to which our Desires arise. Our [43] Senses constitute Objects, Events or Actions good; and “we have Power to reason, reflect and compare the several Goods, and to find out the proper and effectual Means of obtaining the greatest for our selves or others, so as not to be led aside by every Appearance of relative or particular Good.”

Action from pure Desire or Affection.V. If it be granted, that we have implanted in our Nature the several Desires above‐mentioned, let us next inquire “into [44] what State we would incline to bring our selves, upon the several Accidents which now raise our Passions; supposing that we had the Choice of our own State entirely, and were not, by the Frame of our Nature, subjected to certain Sensations, independently of our Volition.”

If it seems too rash to assert a Distinction between Affections and Passions, or that Desire may subsist without any uneasiness, since perhaps we are never conscious of any Desire absolutely free from all uneasiness; “let it be considered, that the simple Idea of Desire is different from that of Pain of any kind, or from any Sensation whatsoever: Nor is there any other Argument for their Identity than this, that they occur to us at once: But this Argument is inconclusive, otherwise [44] it would prove Colour and Figure to be the same, or Incision and Pain.

There is a middle State of our Minds, when we are not in the pursuit of any important Good, nor know of any great Indigence of those we love. In this State, when any smaller positive Good to our selves or our Friend is apprehended to be in our power, we may resolutely desire and pursue it, without any considerable Sensation of Pain or Uneasiness. Some Tempers seem [45] to have as strong Desires as any, by the Constancy and Vigor of their Pursuits, either of publick or private Good; and yet give small Evidence of any uneasy Sensation. This is observable in some sedate Men, who seem no way inferior in Strength of Desire to others: Nay, if we consult our selves, and not the common Systems, we shall perhaps find, that “the noblest Desire in our Nature, that of universal Happiness, is generally calm, and wholly free from any confused uneasy Sensation:” except in some warm Tempers, who, by a lively Imagination, and frequent Attention to general Ideas, raise something of Passion even toward universal Nature. Yea, further, Desire may be as strong as possible toward a certainly future [45] Event, the fixed Time of its Existence being also known, and yet we are not conscious of any Pain attending such Desires. But tho this should not be granted to be Fact with Men, yet the Difference of the Ideas of Desire and Pain, may give sufficient ground for abstracting them; and for our making the Supposition of their being separated.

Upon this Supposition then, when any Object was desired, if we found it difficult or uncertain to be obtained, but worthy of all the Labour it would cost; we would set [46] about it with Diligence, but would never chuse to bring upon our selves any painful Sensation accompanying our Desire, nor to increase our Toil by Anxiety. Whatever Satisfaction we had in our State before the Prospect of this additional Good, we should continue to enjoy it while this Good was in suspense; and if we found it unattainable, we should be just as we were before: And we should never [46 ] chuse to bring upon our selves those Frettings which now commonly arise from Disappointments. Upon Opinion of any impending Evil, we should desire and use all means to prevent it, but should never voluntarily bring upon our selves the uneasy Sensation of Fear, which now naturally anticipates our Misery, and gives us a Foretaste of it, more ungrateful sometimes than the Suffering itself. If the Evil did befal us, we should never chuse to increase it, by the Sensations of Sorrow or Despair; we should consider what was the Sum of Good remaining in our State, after subtracting this Evil; and should enjoy our selves as well as a Being, who had never known greater Good, nor enjoyed greater Pleasure, than the absolute Goodyet remaining with us; or perhaps we should pursue some other attainable Good. In the like manner, did our State and the Modifications of our Mind depend upon our Choice, should we be affected upon the apprehended Approach of Good or [47] Evil, to those whom we love; we should have desires of obtaining the one for them, and of defending them from the other, accompanied with no uneasy Sensations. We do indeed find in fact, that our stronger Desires, whether private or publick, are accompanied with uneasy Sensations; but these Sensations do not seem the necessary Result of the Desire itself: They depend upon the present Constitution of our Nature, which might possibly have been otherwise ordered. And in fact we find a considerable Diversity of Tempers in this matter; some sedate Tempers equally desiring either publick or private Good with the more passionate Tempers; but without that Degree of Ferment, Confusion, and Pain, which attend the same Desires in the Passionate.

[47] According to the present Constitution of our Nature, we find that the Modifications or Passions of our Mind, are very different from those which we would chuse to bring upon our selves, upon their several Occasions. The Prospect of any considerable Good for our selves, or those we love, raises Desire; and this Desire is accompanied with uneasy confused Sensations, which often occasion Fretfulness, Anxiety, and Impatience. We find violent Motions in our Bodies; and are often made unfit for serious Deliberation about the Means of obtaining [48] the Good desired. When it is first obtained, we find violent confused Sensations of Joy, beyond the Proportion of the Good itself, or its Moment to our Happiness. If we are disappointed, we feel a Sensation of Sorrow and Dejection, which is often entirely useless to our present State. Foreseen Evils are antedated by painful Sensations of Fear; and Reflection, attended with Sensations of Sorrow, gives a tedious Existence to transitory Misfortunes. Our publick Desires are in the same manner accompanied with painful Sensations. The Presence or Suspence of Good or Evil to others, is made the Occasion of the like confused Sensations. A little Reflection will shew, that none of these Sensations depend upon our Choice, but arise from the very Frame [48 ] of our Nature, however we may regulate or moderate them.

The Necessity for these Sensations.VI. Let us then examine “for what Purpose our Nature was so constituted, that Sensations do thus necessarily arise in us.” Would not those first sorts of Sensations, by which we apprehend Good and Evil in the Objects themselves, have been sufficient, along with our Reason and pure Desires, without those Sensations attending the very Desires themselves, for which they are called Passions, or those Sensations which [49] attend our Reflection upon the Presence, Absence, or Approach of Good or Evil?

The common Answer, that “they are given to us as useful Incitements or Spurs to Action, by which we are roused more effectually to promote our private Good, or that of the Publick,” is too general and undetermined. What need is there for rousing us to Action, more than a calm pure Desire of Good, and Aversion to Evil would do, without these confused Sensations? Say they, “we are averse to Labour; we are apt to be hurried away by Avocations of Curiosity or Mirth; we are often so indolent and averse to the vigorous Use of our Powers, that we should neglect our true Interest without these solliciting [49] Sensations.” But may it not be answered, that if Labour and vigorous Use of our Powers be attended with Uneasiness or Pain, why should not this be brought into the Account? The Pursuit of a small Good by great Toil is really foolish; violent Labour may be as pernicious as any thing else: Why should we be excited to any uneasy Labour, except for prepollent Good? And, when the Good is prepollent, what need of any further Incitement than the calm Desire of it? The same may be said of the Avocations of Curiosity or Mirth; if their absolute Pleasures be greater than [50] that of the good from which they divert us, why should we not be diverted from it? If not, then the real Moment of the Good proposed is sufficient to engage our Pursuit of it, in Opposition to our Curiosity or Mirth.

If indeed our Aversion to Labour, or our Propensity to Mirth be accompanied with these Sensations, then it was necessary that other Desires should be attended with like Sensations, that so a Ballance might be preserved. So if we have confused Sensation strengthning and fixing our private Desires, the like Sensation joined to publick Affections is necessary, lest the former Desires should wholly engross our Minds: If weight be cast into one Scale, as much must be put into the other to preserve [50] an Equilibrium. But the first Question is, “whence arose the Necessity of such additional Incitements on either side?”

It must be very difficult for Beings of such imperfect Knowledge as we are, to answer such Questions: we know very little of the Constitution of Nature, or what may be necessary for the Perfection of the whole. The Author of Nature has probably formed many active Beings, whose Desires are not attended with confused Sensations, raising them into Passions like to ours. There is probably an infinite Variety of Beings, of all possible Degrees, in which the Sum of Happiness exceeds that of Misery. We know that our State is absolutely Good, notwithstanding a considerable Mixture of Evil. The Goodness of the great Author of Nature appears even in producing the inferior Natures, provided their State in the whole be absolutely Good: Since we may probably conclude, that there are in the Universe as many Species of superior Natures, as was consistent with the most perfect State of the whole. This is the Thought so much insisted upon by Simplicius, that the universal [51] Cause must produce τα μέσα, as well as τα πρω̑τα, και τα ἔσχατα. We know not if this Globe be a fit Place for the Habitation of Natures superior to ours: If not, it must certainly be in the whole better that it should have its imperfect [52] Inhabitants, whose State is absolutely Good, than that it should be desolate.

All then which we can expect to do in this Matter, is only to shew, that “these confused Sensations are necessary to such Natures as we are in other respects: Particularly that Beings of such Degrees of Understanding, and such Avenues to Knowledge as we have, must need these additional Forces, which we call Passions, beside the first Sensations by which Objects are constituted Good or Evil, and the pure Desire or Aversion arising from Opinion or Apprehension of Good or Evil.”

From the Imperfection of our Understanding, which required Sensations of Appetite. Now our Reason, or Knowledge of the Relations of external Things to our Bodies, is so inconsiderable, that it is generally some pleasant Sensation which teaches us what tends to their Preservation; and some painful Sensation which shews what is pernicious. Nor is this Instruction sufficient; we need also to be directed when our Bodies want supplies of Nourishment; to this our Reason could not extend: Here then [52] appears the first Necessity of uneasy Sensation, preceding Desire, and continuing to accompany it when it is raised.

[53] Again, our Bodies could not be preserved without a Sense of Pain, connected with Incisions, Bruises, or violent Labour, or whatever else tends to destroy any part of their Mechanism; since our Knowledge does not extend so far, as to judge in time what would be pernicious to it: And yet, without a great deal of human Labour, and many Dangers, this Earth could not support the tenth Part of its Inhabitants. Our Nature therefore required a Sensation, accompanying its Desires of the Means of Preservation, capable to surmount the Uneasiness of Labour: this we have in the Pains or Uneasiness accompanying the Desires of Food.

In like manner, the Propagation of Animals is a Mystery to their Reason, but easy to their Instinct. An Offspring of such Creatures as Men are, could not be preserved without perpetual Labour and Care; which we find could not be expected from the more general Ties of Benevolence. Here then again appears the Necessity of strengthning the Στοργὴ, or natural Affection, with strong Sensations, or Pains of Desire, sufficient to counter‐ballance the Pains of Labour, and the Sensations of the [53] selfish Appetites; since Parents must often check and [54] disappoint their own Appetites, to gratify those of their Children.

“When a Necessity of joining strong Sensations to one Class of Desires appears, there must appear a like Necessity of strengthning the rest by like Sensations, to keep a just Ballance.” We know, for instance, that the Pleasures of the Imagination tend much to the Happiness of Mankind: the Desires of them therefore must have the like Sensations assisting them, to prevent our indulging a nasty solitary Luxury. The Happiness of human Life cannot be promoted without Society and mutual Aid, even beyond a Family; our publick Affections must therefore be strengthned as well as the private, to keep a Ballance; so must also our Desires of Virtue and Honour. Anger, which some have thought an useless Passion, is really as necessary as the rest; since Men’s Interests often seem to interfere with each other; and they are thereby led from Self‐Love to do the worst Injuries to their Fellows. There could not therefore be a wiser Contrivance to restrain Injuries, than to make every mortal some way formidable to an unjust Invader, by such a violent Passion. We need not have recourse to a Prometheus in this matter, with the old Poets: [54] they might have ascribed it to their Optimus Maximus.

  • [52]—Insani Leonis,
  • Vim Stomacho apposuisse nostro.

A Ballance may be still preserved.VII. With this Ballance of publick Passions against the private, with our Passions toward Honour and Virtue, we find that human Nature may be as really amiable in its low Sphere, as superior Natures endowed with higher Reason, and influenced only by pure Desires; provided we vigorously exercise the Powers we have in keeping this Ballance of Affections, and checking any Passion which grows so violent, as to be inconsistent with the publick Good. If we have selfish Passions for our own Preservation, we have also publick Passions, which may engage us into vigorous and laborious Services to Offspring, Friends, Communities, Countries. Compassion will engage us to succour the distressed, even with our private Loss or Danger. An Abhorrence of the injurious, and Love toward the injured, with a Sense of Virtue, and Honour, can make us despise Labour, Expence, Wounds and Death.

The Sensations of Joy or Sorrow, upon the Success or Disappointment of any Pursuit, either publick or private, have directly the Effect of Rewards or Punishments, [55] to excite us to act with the utmost Vigor, either for our own Advantage, or that of [56] others, for the future, and to punish past Negligence. The Moment of every Event is thereby increased: as much as the Sensations of Sorrow add to our Misery, so much those of Joy add to our Happiness. Nay, since we have some considerable Power over our Desires, as shall be explained hereafter, we may probably, by good Conduct, obtain more frequent Pleasures of Joy upon our Success, than Pains of Sorrow upon Disappointment.

A just Balance very rare.’Tis true indeed, that there are few Tempers to be found, wherein these Sensations of the several Passions are in such a Ballance, as in all cases to leave the Mind in a proper State, for considering the Importance of every Action or Event. The Sensations of Anger in some Tempers are violent above their proportion; those of Ambition, Avarice, desire of sensual Pleasure, and even of natural Affection, in several Dispositions, possess the Mind too much, and make it incapable of attending to any thing else. Scarce any one Temper is always constant and uniform in its Passions. The best State of human Nature possible might require a Diversity of Passions and Inclinations, for the different Occupations necessary for the whole: But the Disorder seems to be much greater than is [56] requisite for this End. Custom, Education, Habits, and Company, may [57] often contribute much to this Disorder, however its Original may be ascribed to some more universal Cause. But it is not so great, but that human Life is still a desireable State, having a superiority of Goodness and Happiness. Nor, if we apply our selves to it, does it hinder us from discerning that just Ballance and Oeconomy, which would constitute the most happy State of each Person, and promote the greatest Good in the whole.

Dispositions to some particular Passions.Let Physicians or Anatomists explain the several Motions in the Fluids or Solids of the Body, which accompany any Passion; or the Temperaments of Body which either make Men prone to any Passion, or are brought upon us by the long Continuance, or frequent Returns of it. ’Tis only to our Purpose in general to observe, “that probably certain Motions in the Body do accompany every Passion by a fixed Law of Nature; and alternately, that Temperament which is apt to receive or prolong these Motions in the Body, does influence our Passions to heighten or prolong them.” Thus a certain Temperament may be brought upon the Body, by its being frequently put into Motion by the Passions of Anger, Joy, Love, or Sorrow; and the Continuance of this Temperament shall make Men prone to the several [57] Passions for the future. We find [58] our selves after a long Fit of Anger or Sorrow, in an uneasy State, even when we are not reflecting on the particular Occasion of our Passion. During this State, every trifle shall be apt to provoke or deject us. On the contrary, after good Success, after strong friendly Passions, or a State of Mirth, some considerable Injuries or Losses, which at other times would have affected us very much, shall be overlooked, or meekly received, or at most but slightly resented; perhaps because our Bodies are not fit easily to receive these Motions which are constituted the Occasion of the uneasy Sensations of Anger. This Diversity of Temper every one has felt, who reflects on himself at different Times. In some Tempers it will appear like Madness. Whether the only Seat of these Habits, or the Occasion rather of these Dispositions, be in the Body; or whether the Soul itself does not, by frequent Returns of any Passion acquire some greater Disposition to receive and retain it again, let those determine, who sufficiently understand the Nature of either the one or the other.

section iii

Particular Divisions of the Affections and Passions.

[58/59] I. The Nature of any Language has considerable Influence upon Men’s Reasonings on all Subjects, making them often take all those Ideas which are denoted by the same Word to be the same; and on the other hand, to look upon different Words as denoting different Ideas. We shall find that this Identity of Names has occasioned much confusion in Treatises of the Passions; while some have made larger, and some smaller Collections of Names, and have given the Explications of them as an Account of the Passions.

The Division of the Stoicks.Cicero, in the Fourth Book of Tusculan Questions, gives from the Stoicks, this general Division of the Passions: First, into Love and Hatred, according as the Object is good or evil; and then subdivides each, according as the Object is present or expected. About Good we have these two, Libido & Latitia, Desire and Joy: About Evil we have likewise two, Metus & Ægritudo, Fear and Sorrow. To this general Division he [60] subjoins many [59] Subdivisions of each of these four Passions; according as in the Latin Tongue they had different Names for the several Degrees of these Passions, or for the same Passion employed upon different Objects. A Writer of Lexicons would probably get the most precise Meanings of the Latin Names in that Book; nor would it be useless in considering the Nature of them.

The Schoolmen, as their Fund of Language was much smaller, have not so full Enumerations of them, going no further than their admired Aristotle.

II.

’Tis strange that the thoughtful Malebranche did not consider, that “Desire and Aversion are obviously different from the other Modifications called Passions; that these two directly lead to Action, or the Volition of Motion, and are wholly distinct from all sort of Sensation.” Whereas Joy and Sorrow are only a sort of Sensations; and other Affections differ from Sensations only, by including Desire or Aversion, or their correspondent Propensities: So that Desire and Aversion are the only pure Affections in the strictest Sense.

Sensation and Affection distinct.If, indeed, we confine the Word Sensation to the “immediate Perceptions of [61] Pleasure and Pain, upon the very Presence [60] or Operation of any Object or Event, which are occasioned by some Impression on our Bodies;” then we may denote by the Word Affection, those Pleasures or Pains not thus excited, but “resulting from some Reflection upon, or Opinion of our Possession of any Advantage, or from a certain Prospect of future pleasant Sensations on the one hand, or from a like Reflection or Prospect of evil or painful Sensations on the other, either to our selves or others.”

Passion.When more violent confused Sensations arise with the Affection, and are attended with, or prolonged by bodily Motions, we call the whole by the Name of Passion, especially when accompanied with some natural Propensities, to be hereafter explained.

Division by Malebranche.If this use of these Words be allowed, the Division of Malebranche is very natural. Good Objects excite Love; evil Objects Hatred: each of these is subdivided, as the Object is present and certain, or doubtfully expected, or certainly removed. To these three Circumstances correspond three Modifications of the original Affections; viz. Joy, Desire and Sorrow. Good present, raises Joy of Love, or Love of Joy: Good in suspense, [62] the Love of Desire; Good lost, Love of Sorrow. Evil [61] present, raises Aversion of Sorrow; Evil expected, Aversion or Hatred of Desire; and Evil removed, Aversion of Joy. The Joy of Love, and the Joy of Hatred, will possibly be found nearly the same sort of Sensations, tho upon different Occasions; the same may be said of the Sorrow of Aversion: and thus this Division will amount to the same with that of the Stoicks.

Desire and Aversion. Joy and Sorrow.Perhaps it may be more easy to conceive our Affections and Passions in this manner. The Apprehension of Good, either to our selves or others, as attainable, raises Desire: The like Apprehension of Evil, or of the Loss of Good, raises Aversion, or Desire of removing or preventing it. These two are the proper Affections, distinct from all Sensation: We may call both Desires if we please. The Reflection upon the Presence or certain Futurity of any Good, raises the Sensation of Joy, which is distinct from those immediate Sensations which arise from the Object itself. A like Sensation is raised, when we reflect upon the Removal or Prevention of Evil which once threatned our selves or others. The Reflection upon the Presence of Evil, or the certain Prospect [63] of it, or of the Loss of Good, is the Occasion of the Sensation of Sorrow, distinct from [62] those immediate Sensations arising from the Objects or Events themselves.

Affections may be distinguished from Passions.These Affections, viz. Desire, Aversion, Joy and Sorrow, we may, after Malebranche, call spiritual or pure Affections; because the purest Spirit, were it subject to any Evil, might be capable of them. But beside these Affections, which seem to arise necessarily from a rational Apprehension of Good or Evil, there are in our Nature violent confused Sensations, connected with bodily Motions, from which our Affections are denominated Passions.

Affections attended with undesigning Propensities. Anger.We may further observe something in our Nature, determining us very frequently to Action, distinct both from Sensation and Desire; if by Desire we mean a distinct Inclination to something apprehended as Good either publick or private, or as the Means of avoiding Evil: viz. a certain Propensity of Instinct to Objects and Actions, without any Conception of them as Good, or as the Means of preventing Evil. These Objects or Actions are generally, tho not always, in effect the Means of some Good; but we are determined to them even without this Conception of them. Thus, as we [64] observed above, the Propensity to Fame [63] may continue after one has lost all notion of Good, either publick or private, which could be the Object of a distinct Desire. Our particular Affections have generally some of these Propensities accompanying them; but these Propensities are sometimes without the Affections or distinct Desires, and have a stronger Influence upon the Generality of Men, than the Affections could have alone. Thus in Anger, beside the Intention of removing the uneasy Sensation from the Injury received; beside the Desire of obtaining a Reparation of it, and Security for the future, which are some sort of Goods intended by Men when they are calm, as well as during the Passion, there is in the passionate Person a Propensity to occasion Misery to the Offender, a Determination to Violence, even where there is no Intention of any Good to be obtained, or Evil avoided by this Violence. And ’tis principally this Propensity which we denote by the Name Anger, tho other Desires often accompany it.

So also our Presence with the distressed is generally necessary to their relief; and yet when we have no Hopes nor Intention of relieving them, we shall find a Propensity to [65] run to such Spectacles of Pity. Thus also, beside the calm Desire of the Happiness of a Person beloved, we have a strong Propensity to their Company, to the very [64] Sight of them, without any Consideration of it as a Happiness either to our selves or to the Person beloved. The sudden Appearance of great Danger, determines us to shriek out or fly, before we can have any distinct Desires, or any Consideration that a Shriek or Flight are proper means of Relief. These Propensities, along with the Sensations above-mentioned, when they occur without rational Desire, we may call Passions, and when they happen along with Desires, denominate them passionate. This part of our Constitution is as intelligible as many others universally observed and acknowledged; such as these, that Danger of falling makes us stretch out our Arms; noise makes us wink; that a Child is determined to suck; many other Animals to rise up and walk; some to run into Water, before they can have any Notion of Good to be obtained, or Evil avoided by these means.

Love and Hatred. Envy.It may perhaps be convenient to confine Love and Hatredto our Sentiments toward Moral Agents; Love denoting “Desire of the Happiness of another, generally attended with some Approbation of him as innocent at least, or being of a mixed [66] Character, where Good is generally prevalent:” And Hatred“denoting Disapprobation by our Sense, with the Absence of Desire of their [65] Happiness.” Benevolence may denote only “the Desire of another’s Happiness;” and Malice, “the Desire of their Misery,” abstractly from any Approbation or Condemnation by our Moral Sense. This sort of Malice is never found in our Nature, when we are not transported with Passion. The Propensities of Anger and Envy have some Resemblance of it; yet Envy is not an ultimate Desire of another’s Misery, but only a subordinate Desire of it, as the Means of advancing our selves, or some Person more beloved than the Person envied.

Fear. Hope.Fear, as far as it is an Affection, and not an undesigning Propensity, is “a Mixture of Sorrow and Aversion, when we apprehend the Probability of Evil, or the Loss of Good befalling our selves, or those we love:” There is more or less of Sorrow, according to the apprehended Degrees of Probability. Hope, if it be any way an Affection, and not an Opinion, is “a Mixture of Desire and Joy, upon the probability of obtaining Good, and avoiding Evil.” Both these Passions may have some Propensities and Sensations attending them, distinct from those of the other Affections.

Confused Use of Names,[67] The confused Use of the Names, Love, Hatred, Joy, Sorrow, Delight, has made [66 ] some of the most important Distinctions of our Affections and Passions, to be overlooked. No Modifications of Mind can be more different from each other, than a private Desire, and a publick; yet both are called Love. The Love of Money, for Instance, the Love of a generous Character, or a Friend: The Love of a fine Seat, and the Love of a Child. In like manner, what can be more different than the Sorrow for a Loss befallen our selves, and Sorrow for the Death of a Friend? Of this Men must convince themselves by Reflection.

There is also a considerable Difference even among the selfish Passions, which bear the same general Name, according to the different Senses which constitute the Objects good or evil. Thus the Desire of Honour, and the Desire of Wealth, are certainly very different sorts of Affections, and accompanied with different Sensations: The Sorrow in like manner for our Loss by a Shipwreck, and our Sorrow for having done a base Action, or Remorse: Sorrow for our being subject to the Gout or Stone, and Sorrow for our being despisedand condemned, or Shame: Sorrow for the Damage done by a Fire, and that Sorrow which arises upon an [68] apprehended Injury from a Partner, or any other of our Fellows, which we call Anger. Where we [67] get some special distinct Names, we more easily acknowledge a Difference, as it may appear in Shame and Anger; but had we other Names, appropriated in the same manner, we should imagine, with good ground, as many distinct Passions. The like Confusion is observable about our Senses.

To say that the Sensation accompanying all sorts of Joy is pleasant, and that accompanying Sorrow uneasy, will not argue that there is no farther Diversity. Pains have many differences among themselves, and so have Pleasures, according to the different Senses by which they are perceived. To enumerate all these Diversities, would be difficult and tedious. But some Men have piqued themselves so much upon representing “all our Affections as selfish; as if each Person were in his whole Frame only a seperate System from his Fellows, so that there was nothing in his Constitution leading him to a publick Interest, further than he apprehended it subservient to his own private Interest; and this Interest made nothing else, than the gratifying our external Senses and Imagination, or obtaining the Means of it:” that thereby the Wisdom [69] and Goodness of [68] the Author of our Nature is traduced, as if he had given us the strongest Dispositions toward what he had in his Laws prohibited; and directed us, by the Frame of our Nature, to the meanest and most contemptible Pursuits; as if what all good Men have represented as the Excellence of our Nature, were a Force or Constraint put upon it by Art or Authority. It may be useful to consider our Affections and Passions more particularly, as “they are excited by something in our Frame different from Self‐Love, and tend to something else than the private Pleasures of the external Senses or Imagination.” This we may do under the following Heads, by shewing

  • 1. How our Passions arise from the Moral Sense, and Sense of Honour.
  • 2.How our Passions tend toward the State of others, abstractly from any Consideration of their Moral Qualities.
  • 3. How the publick Passions are diversified by the Moral Qualities of the Agents, when they appear to our Moral Sense as virtuous or vicious.
  • 4. How the publick Passions are diversified by the Relations of several Agents to each other, when we consider at once their State, as to Happiness or Misery, and [69] their past as well as present Actions towards each other.
  • False Representations of our Nature rectified.

    5. How all these Passions may be complicated with the selfish. Under each of these Heads we may find the six Passions of Malebranche, or [70] the four of Zeno; with many other Combinations of them.

III.

1. Passions about our own Actions. The Passion of Heroism in Castle building. Moral Joy or Self Approbation. Remorse.1. The Passions about our own Actions occasioned by the Moral Sense. When we form the Idea of a morally good Action, or see it represented in the Drama, or read it in Epicks or Romance, we feel a Desire arising of doing the like. This leads most Tempers into an imagined Series of Adventures, in which they are still acting the generous and virtuous Part, like to the Idea they have received. If we have executed any good Design, we feel inward Triumph of Joy: If we are disappointed thro our own Negligence, or have been diverted from it by some selfish View, we shall feel a Sorrow called Remorse.

Reluctance.When the Idea is in like manner formed of any morally evil Action, which we might possibly accomplish, if we reflect upon the Cruelty or pernicious Tendency of it, there arises Reluctance, or Aversion: If we have committed such a Crime, upon like Reflection we feel the Sorrow called Remorse: If we have resisted the Temptation, [70] we feel a secret Joy and Self‐Approbation, for which there is no special Name.

Modesty. Shame.We might enumerate six other Passions from the Sense of Honour, according as we [71] apprehend our Actions, or any other Circumstances, shall affect the Opinions which others form concerning us. When any Action or Circumstance occurs, from which we imagine Honour would arise, we feel Desire; when we attain it, Joy; when we are disappointed, Sorrow. When we first apprehend any Action or Circumstance as dishonourable, we feel Aversion arising; if we apprehend our selves involved in it, or in danger of being tempted to it, we feel a Passion we may call Modesty or Shame; when we escape or resist such Temptations, or avoid what is dishonourable, we feel a Joy, for which there is no special Name.

Ambition. Pride.We give the Name Ambition to a violent Desire of Honour, but generally in a bad Sense, when it would lead the Agent into immoral Means to gratify it. The same Word often denotes the Desire of Power. Pride denotes sometimes the same Desires of Honour and Power, with Aversion to their contraries; sometimes Pride denotes Joy upon any apprehended Right or Claim to Honour; generally it is taken in a bad Sense, when one claims that to which he has no Right.

Shame for others.[71] Men may feel the Passion of Shame for the dishonourable Actions of others, when any part of the Dishonour falls upon themselves; [72] as when the Person dishonoured is one of their Club, or Party, or Family. The general Relation of human Nature may produce some uneasiness upon the Dishonour of another, tho this is more owing to our publick Sense.

IV.

2. Publick Passions abstractly. Goodwill. Compassion. Pity. Congratulation.2. The second Class are the publick Passions about the State of others, as to Happiness or Misery, abstractly from their Moral Qualities. These Affections or Passions extend to all perceptive Natures, when there is no real or imagined Opposition of Interest. We naturally desire the absent Happiness of others; rejoice in it when obtained, and sorrow for it when lost. We have Aversion to any impending Misery; we are sorrowful when it befals any Person, and rejoice when it is removed. This Aversion and Sorrow we often call Pity or Compassion; the Joy we may call Congratulation.

Since our Moral Sense represents Virtue as the greatest Happiness to the Person possessed of it, our publick Affections will naturally make us desire the Virtue of others. When the Opportunity of a great Action occurs to any Person against whom we are [72] no way prejudiced, we wish he would attempt it, and desire his good Success. If he succeeds, we feel Joy; if he is disappointed, [73] or quits the Attempt, we feel Sorrow. Upon like Opportunity of, or Temptation to a base Action, we have Aversion to the Event: If he resists the Temptation, we feel Joy; if he yields to it, Sorrow. Our Affections toward the Person arise jointly with our Passions about this Event, according as he acquits himself virtuously or basely.

V.

3. Publick Passions with moral Perceptions. Regret.3. The Passions of the third Class are our publick Affections, jointly with moral Perceptions of the Virtue or Vice of the Agents. When Good appears attainable by a Person of Moral Dignity, our Desire of his Happiness, founded upon Esteem or Approbation, is much stronger than that supposed in the former Class. The Misfortune of such a Person raises stronger Sorrow, Pity, or Regret, and Dissatisfaction with the Administration of the World, upon a light View of it, with a Suspicion of the real Advantage of Virtue. The Success of such a Character raises all the contrary Affections of Joy and Satisfaction with Providence, and Security in Virtue. When Evil threatens such a Character, we have strong Aversion to it, with Love toward the Person: His escaping the Evil raises Joy, Confidence in [73] Providence, with Security in Virtue. If the Evil befals him, we feel the contrary Passions, Sorrow, Dissatisfaction with Providence, [74] and Suspicion of the Reality of Virtue.

Which of them fit for the Drama.Hence we see how unfit such Representations are in Tragedy, as make the perfectly Virtuous miserable in the highest degree. They can only lead the Spectators into Distrust of Providence, Diffidence of Virtue; and into such Sentiments, as some Authors, who probably mistake his meaning, tell us Brutus express’d at his Death, “That the Virtue he had pursued as a solid Good, proved but an empty Name.” But we must here remember, that, notwithstanding all the frightful Ideas we have inculcated upon us of the King of Terrors, yet an honourable Death is far from appearing to a generous Mind, as the greatest of Evils. The Ruin of a Free State, the Slavery of a generous Spirit, a Life upon shameful Terms, still appear vastly greater Evils; beside many other exquisite Distresses of a more private nature, in comparison of which, an honourable Death befalling a favourite Character, is looked upon as a Deliverance.

Passions toward moral evil Agents. No disinterested or ultimate Malice in Men. Anger.Under this Class are also included the Passions employed about the Fortunes of Characters, apprehended as morally Evil. Such Characters do raise Dislike in any [74] Observer, who has a moral Sense: But Malice, or the ultimate Desire of their Misery, does [75] not necessarily arise toward them. Perhaps our Nature is not capable of desiring the Misery of any Being calmly, farther than it may be necessary to the Safety of the innocent: We may find, perhaps, that there is no Quality in any Object which would excite in us pure disinterested Malice, or calm Desire of Misery for its own sake. When we apprehend any Person as injurious to our selves, or to any innocent Person, especially to a Person beloved, the Passion of Anger arises toward the Agent. By Anger is generally meant “a Propensity to occasion Evil to another, arising upon apprehension of an Injury done by him:” This violent Propensity is attended generally, when the Injury is not very sudden, with Sorrow for the Injury sustained, or threatned, and Desire of repelling it, and making the Author of it repent of his Attempt, or repair the Damage.

Its Effects.This Passion is attended with the most violent uneasy Sensations, and produces as great Changes in our Bodies as any whatsoever. We are precipitantly led by this Passion, to apprehend the injurious as [75] directly malicious, and designing the Misery of others without farther Intention. While the Heat of this Passion continues, we seem naturally to pursue the Misery [76] of the injurious, until they relent, and convince us of their better Intentions, by expressing their Sense of the Injury, and offering Reparation of Damage, with Security against future Offences.

Now as it is plainly necessary, in a System of Agents capable of injuring each other, that every one should be made formidable to an Invader, by such a violent Passion, till the Invader shews his Reformation of Temper, as above, and no longer; so we find it is thus ordered in our Constitution. Upon these Evidences of Reformation in the Invader, our Passion naturally abates; or if in any perverse Temper it does not, the Sense of Mankindturns against him, and he is looked upon as cruel and inhumane.

In considering more fully the Passions about the Fortunes of evil Characters, distinct from Anger, which arises upon a fresh Injury, we may first consider the evil Agents, such as a sudden View sometimes represents them, directly evil and malicious; and then make proper Abatements, for what the worst of Men come short of this compleatly evil Temper. As Mathematicians [76] suppose perfect Hardness in some Bodies, and Elasticity in others, and then make Allowances for the imperfect Degrees in natural Bodies.

Joy of Hatred. Sorrow of Hatred.[77] The Prospect of Good to a Person apprehended as entirely malicious, raises Aversion in the Observer, or Desire of his Disappointment; at least, when his Success would confirm him in any evil Intention. His Disappointment raises Joy in the Event, with Trust in Providence, and Security in Virtue. His Success raises the contrary Passions of Sorrow, Distrust, and Suspicion. The Prospect of Evil, befalling an evil Character, at first, perhaps, seems grateful to the Observer, if he has conceived the Passion of Anger; but to a sedate Temper, no Misery is farther the Occasion of Joy, than as it is necessary to some prepollent Happiness in the whole. The escaping of Evil impending over such a Character, by which he is confirmed in Vice, is the Occasion of Sorrow, and Distrust of Providence and Virtue; and the Evil befalling him raises Joy, and Satisfaction with Providence, and Security in Virtue. We see therefore, that the Success of evil Characters, by obtaining Good, or avoiding Evil, is an unfit Representation in Tragedy.

[77] Let any one reflect on this Class of Passions, especially as they arise upon Occasions which do not affect himself, and he will see how little of Self‐Love there is in them; and yet they are frequently as violent as any Passions [78] whatsoever. We seem conscious of some Dignity in these Passions above the selfish ones, and therefore never conceal them, nor are we ashamed of them. These complicated Passions the Philosophers have confusedly mentioned, under some general Names, along with the simple selfish Passions. The Poets and Criticks have sufficiently shown, that they felt these Differences, however it did not concern them to explain them. We may find Instances of them in all Dramatick Performances, both Antient and Modern.

Passions about mixed Characters. Envy, Sorrow, Joy. Pity.The Abatements to be made for what human Nature comes short of the highest Degrees either of Virtue or Vice, may be thus conceived: When the Good in any mixed Character surpasses the Evil, the Passions arise as toward the Good; where the Evil surpasses the Good, the Passions arise as toward the Evil, only in both Cases with less Violence. And further, the Passions in both Cases are either stopped, or turned the contrary way, by want of due Proportion between the State and Character. Thus an imperfect good Character, [78 ] in pursuit of a Good too great for his Virtue, or to the exclusion of more worthy Characters, instead of raising Desire of his Success, raises Aversion; his Success raises Envy, or a Species of Sorrow, and his Disappointment Joy. [79] An imperfectly evil Character, threatned by an Evil greater than is necessary to make him relent and reform, or by a great Calamity, which has no direct tendency to reform him, instead of raising Desire toward the Event, raises Aversion; his escaping it raises Joy, and his falling under it raises Pity, a Species of Sorrow.

The best Plots in Tragedy.There is another Circumstance which exceedingly varies our Passions of this Class, when the Agents themselves, by their own Conduct, procure their Misery. When an imperfect good Character, by an evil Action, procures the highest Misery to himself; this raises these complicated Passions, Pity toward the Sufferer, Sorrow for the State, Abhorrence of Vice, Awe and Admiration of Providence, as keeping strict Measures of Sanctity and Justice. These Passions we may all feel, in reading the Oedipus of Sophocles, when we see the Distress of that Prince, occasioned by his superstitious Curiosity about his future Fortunes; his rash Violence of Temper, in Duelling without Provocation, and in pronouncing Execrations on Persons unknown. [79] We feel the like Passions from the Fortunes of Creon in the Antigone; or from the Fates of Pyrrhus and Orestes, in the Andromache of Racine; or our Distressed Mother. We heartily [80] pity these Characters, but without repining at Providence; their Misery is the Fruit of their own Actions. It is with the justest Reason, that Aristotle prefers such Plots to all others for Tragedy, since these Characters come nearest to those of the Spectators, and consequently will have the strongest Influence on them. We are generally conscious of some good Dispositions, mixed with many Weaknesses: few imagine themselves capable of attaining the height of perfectly good Characters, or arriving to their high Degrees of Felicity; and fewer imagine themselves capable of sinking into the Baseness of perfectly evil Tempers, and therefore few dread the Calamities which befal them.

How these Passions are raised high and complicated.There is one farther Circumstance which strengthens this Class of Passions exceedingly, that is, the greatness of the Change of Fortune in the Person, or the Surprize with which it comes. As this gives the Person a more acute Perception either of Happiness or Misery, so it [80] strengthens our Passions, arising from Observation of his State. Of this the Poets are very sensible, who so often represent to us the former Prosperity of the Person, for whom they [81] would move our pity; his Projects, his Hopes, his half‐executed Designs. One left his Palace unfinished, another his betrothed Mistress, or young Wife; one promised himself Glory, and a fortunate old Age; another was heaping up Wealth, boasted of his Knowledge, was honoured for his fine Armour, his Activity, his Augury.

  • Αλλ ̕ οὐκ οἰωνοι̑σιν ἐρύσσατα κη̑ρα μέλαιναν.
  • —ουδε τ἗ ἱ τόγ̕ ἐπήρκεσε λυγρον ὄλεθρον.
  • —Homer.

  • Sed non Augurio potuit depellere pestem; Sed non Dardanice medicari cuspidis ictum Invaluit.
  • —Virg.

The Joy is in like manner increased upon the Misfortunes of evil Characters, by representing their former Prosperity, Pride and Insolence.

This Sorrow or Joy is strangely diversified or complicated, when the Sufferers are multiplied, by representing the Persons attached to the principal Sufferer, and setting before us their Affections, Friendships, tender Solicitudes, care in Education, succour in former Distresses; this every [81] one will find in reading the Stories of Pallas, Camilla, Nisus, and Euryalus;  or in general, any Battle of Homer or Virgil. What there [82] is in Self‐Love to account for these Effects, let all Mankind judge.

4.Publick Passions and Relations of Agents.VI. The Passions of the fourth Class arise from the same moral Sense and publick Affections, upon observing the Actions of Agents some way attachedto each other, by prior Ties of Nature or good Offices, or disengaged by prior Injuries; when these Relations are known, the moral Qualities of the Actions appear considerably different, and our Passions are much diversified by them:Contrastes and Complications of Passions. there is also a great Complication of different Passions, and a sort of Contraste, or assemblage of opposite Passions toward the several Persons concerned. The most moving Peripeties, and Remembrances, in Epick and Dramatick Poetry, are calculated to raise these complicated Passions; and in Oratory we study to do the same.

Thus strong Sentiments of Gratitude, and vigorous Returns of good Offices observed, raise in the Spectator the highest Love and Esteem toward both the Benefactor, and even the Person obliged, with Security and Delight in Virtue.—Ingratitude, or returning bad Offices designedly, raises the greatest Detestation against [82] the Ungrateful; and Love with Compassion toward the [83] Benefactor, with Dejection and Diffidence in a virtuous Course of Life.—Forgiving of Injuries, and much more returning Good for Evil, appears wonderfully great and beautiful to our moral Sense: it raises the strongest Love toward the Forgiver, Compassion for the Injury received; toward the Injurious, if relenting, some degree of Good‐will, with Compassion; if not relenting, the most violent Abhorrence and Hatred.—Mutual good Offices done designedly between morally good Agents, raise Joy and Love in the Observer toward both, with delight in Virtue.—Mutual Injuries done by evil Agents designedly, raise Joy in the Events, along with Hatredto the Agents, with Detestation of Vice.—Good Offices done designedly by good Agents toward Evil, but not so as to encourage, or enable them to further Mischief, raise Love toward the good Agent; Displicence, with some Good‐will toward the evil Agent.—Good Offices designedly done mutually among evil Agents, if these Offices do not promote their evil Intentions, diminish our Dislike and Hatred, and introduce some Compassion and Benevolence.—Good Offices from good Agents, to Benefactors unknown to the Agent, or to their unknown Friends or Posterity, increase Love toward both; and raise great Satisfaction and Trust in [83] Providence, with [84] Security in Virtue, and Joy in the Event.—Undesigned evil Returns in like Case with the former, raise Sorrow in the Observer upon account of the Event, Pity toward both, with Suspicion of Providence and Virtue.—An undesigned Return of Evil to an evil Agent from a good one, whom he had injured, raises Joy upon account of the Event, and Trust in Providence.—Undesigned evil Offices mutually done to each other by evil Agents, raise Joy in the Event, Abhorrence of Vice, and Satisfaction with Providence.—Undesigned good Offices done by good Agents toward the evil, by which they are further excited or impowered to do evil, raise Pity toward the good Agent, Indignation and Envy toward the Evil, with Distrust in Providence.—Undesigned good Offices done by good to evil Agents, by which they are not excited or enabled to do further mischief, raise Envy or Indignation toward the evil Agent, if the Benefit be great; if not, they scarce raise any new Passion distinct from that we had before, of Love toward the one, and Hatredor Dislike toward the other.

These Passions might have been diversified, according to Malebranche’s Division, as the Object or Event was present, or in suspense, or certainly removed: And would appear in different Degrees of [84] Strength, according [85] as the Persons concerned were more nearly attached to the Observer, by Nature, Friendship, or Acquaintance.

5.Publick Passions join’d with the selfish.VII. The Passions of the last Class, are those in which any of the former Kinds are complicated with selfish Passions, when our own Interest is concerned. It is needless here to repeat them over again: Only this may be noted in general, that, as the Conjunction of selfish Passions will very much increase the Commotion of Mind, so the Opposition of any selfish Interests, which appear of great Importance, will often conquer the publick Desires or Aversions, or those founded upon the Sense of Virtue or Honour; and this is the Case in vicious Actions done against Conscience.

These Complications of Passions are often not reflected on by the Person who is acted by them, during their Rage: But a judicious Observer may find them by Reflection upon himself, or by Observation of others; and the Representation of them never fails to affect us in the most lively manner.

  • —Aestuat ingens
  • Imo in Corde Pudor, mixtoque Insania Luctu,
  • Et Furiis agitatus Amor, & conscia Virtus.
  • —Virg.

[85/86] In all this tedious Enumeration, let any one consider, “How few of our Passions can be any way deduced from Self‐Love, or desire of private Advantage: And how improbable it is, that Persons in the Heat of Action, have any of those subtle Reflections, and selfish Intentions, which some Philosophers invent for them: How great a part of the Commotions of our Minds arise upon the moral Sense, and from publick Affections toward the good of others. We should find, that without these Principles in our Nature, we should not feel the one half at least of our present Pleasures or Pains; and that our Nature would be almost reduced to Indolence.

How Characters and Tempers of Men are formed.An accurate Observation of the several distinct Characters and Tempers of Men, which are constituted by the various Degrees of their natural Sagacity, their Knowledge, their Interests, their Opinions, or Associations of Ideas, with the Passions which are prevalent in them, is a most useful and pleasant Entertainment for those, who have Opportunities of large Acquaintance and Observation. But our present Purpose leads only to consider the first general [87] Elements, from the various Combinations [86] of which, the several Tempers and Characters are formed.

The Order of Nature partly vindicated.This account of our Affections will, however, prepare the way for discerning considerable Evidences for the Goodness of the Deity, from the Constitution of our Nature; and for removing the Objections of voluptuous luxurious Men, against the Rules of Virtue laid down by Men of Reflection. While no other Ideas of Pleasure or Advantage are given us, than those which relate to the external Senses; nor any other Affections represented as natural, save those toward private Good: it may be difficult to persuade many, even of those who are not Enemies to Virtue from Inclination, of the Wisdom of the Deity, in making the Biass of our Nature opposite to the Laws he would give us; and making all Pleasure, the most natural Character of Good, attend the prohibited Actions, or the indifferent ones; while Obedience to the Law must be a constrainedCourse of Action, inforced only by Penalties contrary to our natural Affections and Senses. Nature and Grace are by this Scheme made very opposite: Some would question whether they could have the same Author. Whereas, if the preceding Account be just, we see no [88] such Inconsistency: “Every Passion [87] or Affection in its moderate Degree is innocent, many are directly amiable, and morally good: we have Senses and Affections leading us to publick Good, as well as to private; to Virtue, as well as to external Pleasure.”

section iv

How far our several Affections and Passions are under our Power, either to govern them when raised, or to prevent their arising: with some general Observations about their Objects.

Affections and Passions depend much upon Opinions.[88/89] I. From what was said above it appears, that our Passions are not so much in our Power, as some seem to imagine, from the Topicks used either to raise or allay them. We are so constituted by Nature, that, as soon as we form the Idea of certain Objects or Events, our Desire or Aversion will arise toward them; and consequently our Affections must very much depend upon the Opinions we form, concerning any thing which occurs to our Mind, its Qualities, Tendencies, or Effects. Thus the Happiness of every sensitive Nature is desired, as soon as we remove all Opinion or Apprehension of Opposition of Interest between this Being and others. The Apprehension of morally good Qualities, is the necessary Cause of Approbation, by our moral Sense, and of stronger [90] Love. The Cause of Hatred, is the Apprehension [89] of the opposite Qualities. Fear, in like manner, must arise from Opinion of Power, and Inclination to hurt us: Pity from the Opinion of another’s undeserved Misery: Shame only arises from Apprehension of Contempt from others: Joy, in any Event, must arise from an Opinion of its Goodness. Our selfish Passions in this, do not differ from our publick ones.

This may shew us some Inconsistency in Topicks of Argument, often used to inculcate Piety and Virtue. Whatever Motives of Interest we suggest, either from a present or future Reward, must be ineffectual, until we have first laboured to form amiable Conceptions of the Deity, and of our Fellow Creatures. And yet in many Writers, even in this Cause, “Mankind are represented as absolutely evil, or at best as entirely selfish; nor are there any nobler Ideas of the Deity suggested. It is grown a fashionable Topick, to put some sly selfish Construction upon the most generous human Actions; and he passes for the shreudest Writer, or Orator, who is most artful in these Insinuations.”

Appetites and Affections distinguished.II. The Government of our Passions must then depend much upon our Opinions: [91] But we must here observe an obvious Difference among our Desires, viz. that [90] “some of them have a previous, painful, or uneasy Sensation, antecedently to any Opinion of Good in the Object; nay, the Object is often chiefly esteemed good, only for its allaying this Pain or Uneasiness; or if the Object gives also positive Pleasure, yet the uneasy Sensation is previous to, and independent of this Opinion of Good in the Object.” These Desires we may call Appetites. “Other Desires and Aversions necessarily presuppose an Opinion of Good and Evil in their Objects; and the Desires or Aversions, with their concomitant uneasy Sensations, are produced or occasioned by this Opinion or Apprehension.” Of the former kind are Hunger and Thirst, and the Desires between the Sexes; to which Desires there is an uneasy Sensation previous, even in those who have little other Notion of Good in the Objects, than allaying this Pain or Uneasiness. There is something like to this in the Desire of Society, or the Company of our fellow Creatures. Our Nature is so much formed for this, that altho the Absence of Company is not immediately painful, yet if it be long, and the Person be not employed in something which tends to Society at last, or which is designed to fit him for Society, an uneasy Fretfulness, Sullenness, and Discontent, [92] will grow upon him by degrees, which Company alone [91] can remove. He shall not perhaps be sensible always, that it is the Absence of Company which occasions his Uneasiness: A painful Sensation dictates nothing of it self; it must be therefore some Reflection or Instinct, distinct from the Pain, which suggests the Remedy. Our Benevolence and Compassion pre suppose indeed some Knowledge of other sensitive Beings, and of what is good or evil to them: But they do not arise from any previous Opinion, that “the Good of others tends to the Good of the Agent.” They are Determinations of our Nature, previous to our Choice from Interest, which excite us to Action, as soon as we know other sensitive or rational Beings, and have any Apprehension of their Happiness or Misery.

In other Desires the Case is different. No Man is distressed for want of fine Smells, harmonious Sounds, beautiful Objects, Wealth, Power, or Grandeur, previously to some Opinion formed of these things as good, or some prior Sensation of their Pleasures. In like manner, Virtue and Honour as necessarily give us Pleasure, when they occur to us, as Vice and Contempt give us Pain; but, antecedently to some Experience or Opinion of this Pleasure, there is no previous uneasy Sensation in their Absence, as there [93] is in the Absence of the Objects of Appetite. The Necessity [92] of these Sensations previous to our Appetites, has been considered already. The Sensations accompanying or subsequent to our other Desires, by which they are denominated Passions, keep them in a just Balance with our Appetites, as was before observed.

But this holds in general, concerning all our Desires or Aversions, that according to the Opinion or Apprehension of Good or Evil, the Desire or Aversion is increased or diminished: Every Gratification of any Desire gives at first Pleasure; and Disappointment Pain, proportioned to the Violence of the Desire. In like manner, the escaping any Object of Aversion, tho it makes no permanent Addition to our Happiness, gives at first a pleasant Sensation, and relieves us from Misery, proportioned to the Degree of Aversion or Fear. So when any Event, to which we had an Aversion, befals us, we have at first Misery proportioned to the Degree of Aversion. So that some Pain is subsequent upon all Frustration of Desire or Aversion, but it is previous to those Desires only, which are called Appetites.

[93/94] III. Hence we see how impossible it is for one to judge of the Degrees of Happiness or Misery in others, unless he knows their Opinions, their Associations of Ideas, and the Degrees of their Desires and Aversions. We see also of how much Consequence our Associations of Ideas and Opinions are to our Happiness or Misery, and to the Command of our Passions.

Associations of Ideas and Opinions increase or diminish the strength of our Desires.For tho in our Appetites there are uneasy Sensations, previous to any Opinion, yet our very Appetites may be strengthened or weakened, and variously alter’d by Opinion, or Associations of Ideas. Before their Intervention, the bodily Appetites are easily satisfied: Nature has put it in almost every one’s power, so far to gratify them, as to support the Body, and remove Pain. But when Opinion, and confused Ideas, or Fancy comes in, and represents some particular kinds of Gratifications, or great Variety of them, as of great Importance; when Ideas of Dignity, Grandure, Magnificence, Generosity, or any other moral Species, are joined to the Objects of Appetites, they may furnish us with endless Labour, Vexation, and Misery of every kind.

As to the other Desires which pre suppose some Opinion or Apprehension of [94] Good, [95] previous to any Sensation of uneasiness; they must still be more directly influenced by Opinion, and Associations of Ideas. The higher the Opinion or Apprehension of Good or Evil is, the stronger must the Desire or Aversion be; the greater is the Pleasure of Success at first, and the greater the Pain of Disappointment. Our publick Desires are influenced in the same manner with the private: what we conceive as Good, we shall desire for those we love, as well as for our selves; and that in proportion to the Degree of Goodapprehended in it: whatever we apprehend as Evil in any degree to those we love, to that we shall have proportionable Aversion.

The common Effect of these Associations of Ideas is this, “that they raise the Passions into an extravagant Degree, beyond the proportion of real Good in the Object: And commonly beget some secret Opinions to justify the Passions. But then the Confutation of these false Opinions is not sufficient to break the Association, so that the Desire or Passion shall continue, even when our Understanding has suggested to us, that the Object is not good, or not proportioned to the Strength of the Desire.” Thus we often may observe, that Persons, who by reasoning have laid aside all Opinion of [95] Spirits being in the [96] dark more than in the light, are still uneasy to be alone in the dark. Thus the luxurious, the extravagant Lover, the Miser, can scarce be supposed to have Opinions of the several Objects of their Pursuit, proportioned to the Vehemence of their Desires; but the constant Indulgence of any Desire, the frequent Repetition of it, the diverting our Minds from all other Pursuits, the Strain of Conversation among Men of the same Temper, who often haunt together, the Contagion in the very Air and Countenance of the passionate, beget such wild Associations of Ideas, that a sudden Conviction of Reason will not stop the Desire or Aversion, any more than an Argument will surmount the Loathings or Aversions, acquired against certain Meats or Drinks, by Surfeits or emetick Preparations.

The Luxurious are often convinced, when any Accident has revived a natural Appetite, of the superior Pleasures in a plain Dinner, with a sharp Stomach: but [96/97] this does not reform them; they have got all the Ideas of Dignity, Grandure, Excellence, and Enjoyment of Life joined to their Table. Explain to a Miser the Folly of his Conduct, so that he can alledg nothing in his Defence; yet he will go on,

  • Ut locuples moriatur egenti vivere fato.
  • —Juv.

He has likewise all Ideas of Good, of Worth, and Importance in Life confounded with his Coffers.

A romantick Lover has in like manner no Notion of Life without his Mistress, all Virtue and Merit are summed up in his inviolable Fidelity. The Connoisseur has all Ideas of valuable Knowledge, Gentlemanlike Worth and Ability associated with his beloved Arts. The Idea of Property comes along with the Taste, and makes his Happiness impossible, without Possession of what he admires. A plain Question might confute the Opinion, but will not break the Association: “What Pleasure has the Possessor more than others, to whose Eyes they are exposed as well as his?”

Our publick Desires are affected by confused Ideas, in the same manner with our private Desires. What is apprehended [97] as [98] Good, thro’ an Association of foreign Ideas, shall be pursued for those we love, as well as what is really good for them. Our benevolent Passions in the nearer Ties, are as apt to be too violent as any whatsoever: this we may often experience in the Love of Offspring, Relations, Parties, Cabals. The Violence of our Passion makes us sometimes incapable of pursuing effectually their Good, and sinks us into an useless State of Sorrow upon their Misfortunes. Compassion often makes the Evil greater to the Spectator than to the Sufferer; and sometimes subjects the Happiness of a Person of great Worth, to every Accident befalling one entirely void of it.

The Desire of Virtue, upon extensive impartial Schemes of publick Happiness, can scarce be too strong; but, upon mistaken or partial Views of publick Good, this Desire of Virtue may often lead Men into very pernicious Actions. One may conceive a sort of Extravagancy, and effeminate Weakness even of this Desire; as when Men are dissatisfied with themselves for Disappointments in good Attempts, which it was not in their Power to accomplish; when some heroick Tempers shew no Regard to private Good; when the Pursuit of the lovely Form is so passionate, that the Agent [99] does not relish his past Conduct [98] by agreeable Reflection, but like the Ambitious,

  • Nil actum reputat si quid superesset agendum.
  • Lucan.

But the most pernicious Perversions of this Desire are “some partial Admirations of certain moral Species, such as Fortitude, Propagation of true Religion, Zeal for a Party; while other Virtues are overlooked, and the very Endto which the admired Qualities are subservient is forgotten. Thus some Phantoms of Virtue are raised, wholly opposite to its true Nature, and to the sole End of it, the publick Good.

Honour, in like manner, has had its foolish Associations, and the true Nature of it has been overlooked, so that the Desire of it has run into Enthusiasm, and pernicious Madness. Thus, “however our Desires, when our Opinions are true, and the Desire is proportioned to the true Opinion, are all calculated for good, either publick or private; yet false Opinions, and confused Ideas, or too great a Violence in any of them, above a due Proportion to the rest, may turn the best of them into destructive Follies.”

Malicious or cruel Tempers, how they arise.[99/100] This is probably the Case in those Affections which some suppose natural, or at least incident to our Natures, and yet absolutely evil: Such as Rancour, or disinterested Malice, Revenge, Misanthropy. We indeed find our Nature determined to disapprove an Agent apprehended as evil, or malicious, thro’ direct Intention; we must desire the Destruction of such a Being, not only from Self‐Love, but from our Benevolence to others. Now when we rashly form Opinions of Sects, or Nations, as absolutely evil; or get associated Ideas of Impiety, Cruelty, Profaneness, recurring upon every mention of them: when, by repeated Reflection upon Injuries received, we strengthen our Dislike into an obdurate Aversion, and conceive that the Injurious are directly malicious; we may be led to act in such a manner, that Spectators, who are unacquainted with our secret Opinions, or confused Apprehensions of others, may think we have pure disinterested Malice in our Nature; a very Instinct toward the Misery of others, when it is really only the overgrowth of a just natural Affection, upon false Opinions, or confused Ideas; even as our Appetites, upon which our natural Life depends, may acquire accidental Loathings at the most wholesom Food. Our Ideas and Opinions of Mankind are often very rashly formed, [101] but our Affections [100] are generally suited to our Opinions. When our Ideas and Opinions of the moral Qualities of others are just, our Affections are generally regular and good: But when we give loose Reins to our Imagination and Opinion, our Affections must follow them into all Extravagance and Folly; and inadvertent Spectators will imagine some Dispositions in us wholly useless, and absolutely and directly evil.

Now the Gratification of these destructive Desires, like those of all the rest, gives at first some Pleasure, proportioned to their Violence; and the Disappointment gives proportioned Pain. But as to the Continuance of these Pleasures or Pains, we shall find hereafter great Diversity.

From this view of our Desires, we may see “the great Variety of Objects, Circumstances, Events, which must be of Importance to the Happiness of a Creature, furnished with such a Variety of Senses of Good and Evil, with equally various Desires corresponding to them: especially considering the strange Combinations of Ideas, giving Importance to many Objects, in their own Nature indifferent.”

How far the several Desires must necessarily arise in us.IV. We must in the next Place enquire “how far these several Desires must [101] necessarily [102] arise, or may be prevented by our Conduct.”

1.That of external pleasures.The Pleasures and Pains of the external Senses must certainly be perceived by every one who comes into the World; the one raising some Degree of Desire, and the other Aversion: the Pains of Appetites arise yet more certainly than others, and are previous to any Opinion. But then it is very much in our power to keep these Sensations pure and unmixedwith any foreign Ideas: so that the plainest Food and Raiment, if sufficiently nourishing and healthful, may keep us easy, as well as the rarest or most expensive. Nay the Body, when accustomed to the simpler Sorts, is easiest in the Use of them: And we are raised to an higher Degree of Chearfulness, by a small Improvement in our Table, than it is possible to bring a pampered Body into, by any of the Productions of Nature. Whatever the Body is once accustomed to, produces no considerable Change in it.

2.The Desires of the Pleasures of the Imagination.The Pleasures of the Imagination, or of the internal Sense of Beauty, and Decency, and Harmony, must also be perceived by us. The Regularity, Proportion and Order in external Forms, will as necessarily strike the Mind, as any Perceptions of the external Senses. But then, as we have no uneasiness [103] of Appetite, previous to the [102] Reception of those grateful Ideas, we are not necessarily made miserable in their Absence; unless by some fantastick Habit we have raised very violent Desires, or by a long Pursuit of them, have made our selves incapable of other Enjoyments.

Again, the Sense and Desire of Beauty of several kinds is entirely abstracted from Possession or Property; so that the finest Relish of this kind, and the strongest subsequent Desires, if we admit no foolish Conjunctions of Ideas, may almost every where be gratified with the Prospects of Nature, and with the Contemplation of the more curious Works of Art, which the Proprietors generally allow to others without Restraint. But if this Sense or Desire of Beauty itself be accompanied with the Desire of Possession or Property; if we let it be guided by Custom, and receive Associations of foreign Ideas in our Fancy of Dress, Equipage, Furniture, Retinue; if we relish only the Modes of the Great, or the Marks of Distinction as beautiful; if we let such Desires grow strong, we must be very great indeed, before we can have any Pleasure by this Sense: and every Disappointment or Change of Fortune must make us miserable. The like Fate may attend the Pursuit of speculative Sciences, Poetry, Musick, or [104] Painting; to excel in these things is granted but to few. [103] A violent Desire of Distinction and Eminence may bring on Vexation and Sorrow for the longest Life.

3.The publick Desires.The Pleasures and Pains of the publick Sense will also necessarily arise in us. Men cannot live without the Society of others, and their good Offices; they must observe both the Happiness and Misery, the Pleasures and Pains of their Fellows: Desire and Aversion must arise in the Observer. Nay farther, as we cannot avoid more near Attachments of Love, either from the Instinct between the Sexes, or that toward Offspring, or from Observation of the benevolent Tempers of others, or their particular Virtues and good Offices, we must feel the Sensations of Joy and Sorrow, from the State of others even in the stronger Degrees, and have the publick Desires in a greater Height. All we can do to prevent the Pains of general Benevolence, will equally lessen the Pleasures of it. If we restrain our publick Affection from growing strong, we abate our Pleasures from the good Success of others, as much as we lessen our Compassion for their Misfortunes: If we confine our Desires to a small Circle of Acquaintance, or to a Cabal or Faction, we contract our Pleasures as much as we do our Pains. The Distinction of Pleasures and Pains into real [105] and imaginary, or rather into necessary and voluntary, [104] would be of some use, if we could correct the Imaginations of others, as well as our own; but if we cannot, we are sure, whoever thinks himself miserable, is really so; however he might possibly, by a better Conduct of his Imagination, have prevented this Misery. All we can do in this affair, is to enjoy a great Share of the Pleasures of the stronger Ties, with fewer Pains of them, by confining the stronger Degrees of Love, or our Friendships, to Persons of corrected Imaginations, to whom as few of the uncertain Objects of Desire are necessary to Happiness as is possible. Our Friendship with such Persons may probably be to us a much greater Source of Happiness than of Misery, since the Happiness of such Persons is more probable than the contrary.

Since there is nothing in our Nature determining us to disinterested Hatredtoward any Person; we may be secure against all the Pains of Malice, by preventing false Opinions of our Fellows as absolutely evil, or by guarding against habitual Anger, and rash Aversions.

The moral Ideas do arise also necessarily in our Minds. We cannot avoid observing the Affections of those we converse with; [106] their Actions, their Words, their Looks betray them. We are conscious of [105] our own Affections, and cannot avoid Reflection upon them sometimes: the kind and generous Affections will appear amiable, and all Appearance of Cruelty, Malice, or even very selfish Affections, will be disapproved, and appear odious. Our own Temper, as well as that of others, will appear to our moral Sense either lovely or deformed, and will be the Occasion either of Pleasure or Uneasiness. We have not any proper Appetite toward Virtue, so as to be uneasy, even antecedently to the Appearance of the lovely Form; but as soon as it appears to any Person, as it certainly must very early in Life, it never fails to raise Desire, as Vice does raise Aversion. This is so rooted in our Nature, that no Education, false Principles, depraved Habits, or even Affectation itself can entirely root it out. Lucretius and Hobbes shew themselves in innumerable Instances struck with some moral Species; they are full of Expressions of Admiration, Gratitude, Praise, Desire of doing Good; and of Censure, Disapprobation, Aversion to some Forms of Vice.

Since then there is no avoiding these Desires and Perceptions of Morality, all we can do to secure our selves in the possession of Pleasures of this kind, without Pain, consists in “a vigorous Use of our Reason, to [107] discern what Actions really [106 ] tend to the publick Good in the whole, that we may not do that upon a partial View of Good, which afterwards, upon a fuller Examination, we shall condemn and abhor our selves for; and withal, to fix our Friendships with Persons of like Dispositions, and just Discernment.” Men of partial Views of publick Good, if they never obtain any better, may be easy in a very pernicious Conduct, since the moral Evil or Deformity does not appear to them. But this is seldom to be hop’d for in any partial Conduct. Those who are injured by us fail not to complain; the Spectators, who are disengaged from our partial Attachments, will often take the Freedom to express their Sentiments, and set our Conduct in a full Light: This must very probably occasion to us Shame and Remorse. “It cannot therefore be an indifferent Matter, to an Agent with a moral Sense, what Opinions he forms of the Tendency of Actions; what partial Attachments of Love he has toward Parties or Factions. If he has true Opinions of the Tendencies of Actions; if he carefully examines the real Dignity of Persons and Causes, he may be sure that the Conduct which he now approves he shall always approve, and have delight in Reflection upon it, however it be censured by others. But if he takes up at hazard Opinions of Actions; [108] if [107] he has a foolish Admiration of particular Sects, and as foolish Aversions and Dislike to others, not according to any real Importance or Dignity, he shall often find occasion for Inconstancy and Change of his Affections, with Shame and Remorse for his past Conduct, and an inward Dislike and Self‐Condemnation.

What most deeply affects our Happiness or Misery, are the Dispositions of those Persons with whom we voluntarily contract some nearer Intimacies of Friendship: If we act wisely in this Point, we may secure to our selves the greatest Pleasures with the fewest Pains, by attaching our selves to Persons of real Goodness, good Offices toward whom are useful to the World. The Ties of Bloodare generally very strong, especially toward Offspring; they need rather the Bridle than the Spur, in all Cases wherein the Object is not recommended to a singular Love by his good Qualities. We may, in a considerable measure, restrain our natural Affection toward a worthless Offspring, by setting our publick Affections and our moral Sense against it, in frequent Contemplation of their Vices, and of the Mischief which may arise to Persons of more worth from them, if we give them any Countenance in their Vices.

[108/109] The regulating our Apprehensions of the Actions of others, is of very great Importance, that we may not imagine Mankind worse than they really are, and thereby bring upon our selves a Temper full of Suspicion, Hatred, Anger and Contempt toward others; which is a constant State of Misery, much worse than all the Evils to be feared from Credulity. If we examine the true Springs of human Action, we shall seldom find their Motives worse than Self‐Love. Men are often subject to Anger, and upon sudden Provocations do Injuries to each other, and that only from Self‐Love, without Malice; but the greatest part of their Lives is employed in Offices of natural Affection, Friendship, innocent SelfLove, or Love of a Country. The little Party‐Prejudices are generally founded upon Ignorance, or false Opinions, rather apt to move Pity than Hatred. Such Considerations are the best Preservative against Anger, Malice, and Discontent of Mind with the Order of Nature. “When you would make yourself chearful and easy (says the Emperor ) consider the Virtues of your several Acquaintances, the Industry and Diligence of one, the Modesty of another, the Generosity or [109] Liberality of a [110] third; and in some Persons some other Virtue. There is nothing so delightful, as the Resemblances of the Virtues appearing in the Conduct of your Contemporaries as frequently as possible. Such Thoughts we should still retain with us.”

When the moral Sense is thus assisted by a sound Understanding and Application, our own Actions may be a constant Source of solid Pleasure, along with the Pleasures of Benevolence, in the highest Degree which our Nature will admit, and with as few of its Pains as possible.

How far our Sense of Honour is in our power.As to the Desires of Honour, since we cannot avoid observing or hearing of the Sentiments of others concerning our Conduct, we must feel the Desire of the good Opinions of others, and Aversion to their Censures or Condemnation: since the one necessarily gives us Pleasure, and the other Pain. Now it is impossible to bring all Men into the same Opinions of particular Actions, because of their different Opinions of publick Good, and of the Means of promoting it; and because of opposite Interests; so that it is often impossible to be secure against all Censure or Dishonour from some of our Fellows. No one is so much Master of external Things, as to make his honourable Intentions successful; and yet [110] Success [111] is a Mark by which many judge of the Goodness of Attempts. Whoever therefore suffers his Desire of Honour or Applause to grow violent, without Distinction of the Persons to whose Judgment he submits, runs a great hazard of Misery. But our natural Desire of Praise, to speak in the Mathematical Style, is in a compounded Proportion of the Numbers of Applauders, and their Dignity. “He therefore who makes Distinction of Persons justly, and acts wisely for the publick Good, may secure himself from much uneasiness upon injudicious Censure, and may obtain the Approbation of those whose Esteem alone is valuable, or at least far over‐ballances the Censure of others.”

The Desire of Wealth and Power.The Desire of Wealth must be as necessary as any other Desires of our Nature, as soon as we apprehend the usefulness of Wealth to gratify all other Desires. While it is desired as the Means of something farther, the Desire tends to our Happiness, proportionably to the good Oeconomy of the principal Desires to which it is made subservient. It is in every man’s power, by a little Reflection, to prevent the Madness and Enthusiasm with which Wealth is insatiably pursued, even for itself, without any direct Intention of using it. The Consideration of the small Addition often [111] made by Wealth to the Happiness of the Possessor, may check [112] this Desire, and prevent that Insatiability which sometimes attends it.

Power in like manner is desired as the Means of gratifying other original Desires; nor can the Desire be avoided by those who apprehend its usefulness. It is easy to prevent the Extravagance of this Desire, and many of its consequent Pains, by considering “the Danger of affecting it by injurious Means, supporting it by Force, without consent of the Subject, and employing it to private Interest, in opposition to publick Good.” No Mortal is easy under such Subjection; every Slave to such a Power is an Enemy: The Possessor must be in a continual State of Fear, Suspicion and Hatred.

The Occasion of fantastick Desires.There is nothing in our Nature leading us necessarily into the fantastick Desires; they wholly arise thro’ our Ignorance and Negligence; when, thro’ want of Thought, we suffer foolish Associations of Ideas to be made, and imagine certain trifling Circumstances to contain something honourable and excellent in them, from their being used by Persons of Distinction. We know how the Inadvertencies, Negligences, Infirmities, and even Vices, either of great or ingenious Men, have been affected, [112] and imitated by those who were incapable of [113] imitating their Excellencies. This happens often to young Gentlemen of plentiful Fortunes, which set them above the Employments necessary to others, when they have not cultivated any relish for the Pleasures of the Imagination, such as Architecture, Musick, Painting, Poetry, Natural Philosophy, History: When they have no farther Knowledge of these things, than stupidly to praise what they hear others praise: When they have neglected to cultivate their publick Affections, are bantered a long time from Marriage and Offspring; and have neither themselves Minds fit for Friendships, nor any intimate Acquaintance with such as are fit to make Friends of: When their moral Sense is weakened, or, if it be strong in any points, these are fixed at random, without any regular Scheme: When thro’ Ignorance of publick Affairs, or want of Eloquence to speak what they know, they despair of the Esteem or Honour of the Wise: When their Hearts are too gay to be entertained with the dull Thoughts of increasing their Wealth, and they have not Ability enough to hope for Power; such poor empty Minds have nothing but Trifles to pursue; any thing becomes agreeable, which can supply the Void of Thought, or prevent the sullen Discontent which must grow upon a Mind conscious of no Merit, and expecting [113] the Contempt of its Fellows; as a Pack of Dogs, [114] an Horse, a Jewel, an Equipage, a Pack of Cards, a Tavern; any thing which has got any confused Ideas of Honour, Dignity, Liberality, or genteel Enjoyment of Life joined to it. These fantastick Desires any Man might have banished at first, or entirely prevented. But if we have lost the Time of substituting better in their stead, we shall only change from one sort to another, with a perpetual Succession of Inconstancy and Dissatisfaction.

  • —Cui si vitiosa Libido
  • Fecerit Auspicium—
  • Iidem eadem possunt horam durare probantes.
  • Hor. Ep. 1.

V. The End of all these Considerations, is to find out the most effectual way of advancing the Happiness of Mankind; in order to which, they may perhaps appear of considerable Consequence, since Happiness consists in “the highest and most durable Gratifications of, either all our Desires, or, if all cannot be gratify’d at once, of those which tend to the greatest and most durable Pleasures, with exemption either from all Pains and Objects of Aversion, or at least from those which are the most grievous.” The following general Observations may be premised concerning their Objects.

The full Pursuit of all kinds of Pleasure is impossible.[114/115] 1. “It is plainly impossible that any Man should pursue the Gratifications of all these Desires at once, with Prudence, Diligence, and Vigor, sufficient to obtain the highest Pleasures of each kind, and to avoid their opposite Pains.” For, not to mention the Narrowness of the Powers of our Minds, which makes them incapable of a Multiplicity of Pursuits at once; the very Methods of obtaining the highest Gratification of the several Senses and Desires, are directly inconsistent with each other. For example, the violent Pursuit of the Pleasures of the external Senses, or Sensuality, is opposite to the Pleasures of the Imagination, and to the Study of the ingenious Arts, which tend to the Ornament of Life: These require Labour and Application, inconsistent with the Voluptuousness of the external Senses, which by itself would engross the whole Application of our Minds, thro’ vain Associations of Ideas.

Again: The violent Pursuits of either of the former kinds of Pleasures, is often directly inconsistent with publick Affections, and with our moral Sense, and Sense of Honour. These Pleasures require a quite different Temper, a Mind little set upon selfish Pleasures, strongly possessed with Love for [116] others, and Concern for their [115] Interests capable of Labour and Pain. However our desire of Honour be really selfish, yet we know it is never acquired by Actions appearing selfish; but by such as appear publick‐spirited, with neglect of the Pleasures of the external Senses and Wealth. Selfishness is generally attended with Shame; and hence we conceal even our Desire of Honour itself, and are ashamed of Praise in our own Presence, even when we are doing beneficent Actions, with design to obtain it. The Pursuits of Wealth and Power are often directly opposite to the Pleasures of all the other kinds, at least for the present, however they may be intended for the future Enjoyment of them.

No Certainty of Success in any Pursuit, save that of Virtue.2. “There is no such Certainty in human Affairs, that a Man can assure himself of the perpetual Possession of these Objects which gratify any one Desire,” except that of Virtue itself: which, since it does not depend upon external Objects and Events, but upon our own Affections and Conduct, we may promise to our selves that we shall always enjoy. But then Virtue consists in Benevolence, or Desire of the publick Good: The Happiness of others is [117] very uncertain, so [116] that our publick Desires may often be disappointed; and every Disappointment is uneasy, in proportion to the Degree of Desire. And therefore, however the Admiration and fixed Pursuit of Virtue may always secure one stable and constant Pleasure of Self‐Approbation, yet this Enjoyment presupposes a Desire of publick Good, subject to frequent Disappointments, which will be attended with Uneasiness proportioned to the Degree of publick Desire, or the Virtue upon which we reflect. There seems therefore no possibility of securing to our selves, in our present State, an unmixed Happiness independently of all other Beings. Every Apprehension of Good raises desire, every Disappointment of Desire is uneasy; every Object of Desire is uncertain except Virtue, but the Enjoyment of Virtue supposes the Desire of an uncertain Object, viz. the publick Happiness. To secure therefore independently of all other Beings invariable and pure Happiness, it would be necessary either to have the Power of directing all Events in the Universe, or to root out all Sense of Evil, or Aversion to it, while we retained our Sense of Good, but without previous Desire, the Dissappointment of which could give Pain. The rooting out of all Senses and Desires, were it practicable, would cut off all Happiness as well as Misery: The removing [118] or stopping a part of them, might indeed be [117] of consequence to the Happiness of the Individual on some occasions, however pernicious it might be to the Whole. But ’tis plain, we have not in our power the modelling of our Senses or Desires, to form them for a private Interest: They are fixed for us by the Author of our Nature, subservient to the Interest of the System; so that each Individual is made, previously to his own Choice, a Member of a great Body, and affected with the Fortunes of the Whole, or at least of many Parts of it; nor can he break himself off at pleasure.

The Mistakes of the Stoicks about compleat Happiness.This may shew the Vanity of some of the lower rate of Philosophers of the Stoick Sect, in boasting of an undisturbed Happiness and Serenity, independently even of the Deity, as well as of their Fellow‐Creatures, wholly inconsistent with the Order of Nature, as well as with the Principles of some of their great Leaders: for which, Men of Wit in their own Age did not fail to ridicule them.

That must be a very fantastick Scheme of Virtue, which represents it as a private sublimely selfish Discipline, to preserve our selves wholly unconcerned, not only in the [119] Changes of Fortune as to our Wealth or Poverty, Liberty or Slavery, Ease or Pain, but even in all external Events [118] whatsoever, in the Fortunes of our dearest Friends or Country, solacing ourselves that we are easy and undisturbed. If there be any thing amiable in human Nature, the Reflection upon which can give us pleasure, it must be kind disinterested Affections towards our Fellows, or towards the whole, and its Author and Cause. These Affections, when reflected upon, must be one constant Source of Pleasure in Self-Approbation. But some of these very Affections, being toward an uncertain Object, must occasion Pain, and directly produce one sort of Misery to the virtuous in this Life. ’Tis true indeed, it would be a much greater Misery to want such an amiable Temper, which alone secures us from the basest and most detestable State of Self‐Condemnation and Abhorrence. But, allowing such a Temper to be the necessary Occasion of one sort of Happiness, even the greatest we are capable of, yet it may also be the Occasion of no inconsiderable Pains in this Life.

That this affectionate Temper is true Virtue, and not that undisturbed Selfishness, were it attainable, every one would readily own who saw them both in Practice. Would any honest Heart relish such a Speech [120] as this from a Cato or an Aemilius Paulus? “I foresee the Effects of this Defeat, my Fellow‐Creatures, my Countrymen, my [119] honourable Acquaintances; many a generous gallant Patriot and Friend, Fathers, Sons, and Brothers, Husbands and Wives, shall be inslaved, tortured, torn from each other, or in each other’s sight made subject to the Pride, Avarice, Petulancy, or Lust of the Conqueror. I have, for my own Pleasure, to secure agreeable Reflections, laboured in their Defence. I am unconcerned in their Misfortunes; their bodily Tortures, or more exquisite Distresses of Mindfor each other, are to me indifferent. I am entirely absolute, compleat in myself; and can behold their Agonies with as much Ease or Pleasure, as I did their Prosperity.” This is the plain Language of some boasting Refiners upon Virtue; Sentiments as disagreeable as those of Catiline.

The Desire of Virtue is toward an Object ἐκ τω̑ν έφ̕ ὴμιν, or in our power, since all Men have naturally kind Affections, which they may increase and strengthen; but these kind Affections tend toward an uncertain Object, which is not in our power. Suppose the Stoick should alledg, “Vice is the only Evil, and Virtue the only Good.” If we have Benevolence to others, we must [121] wish them to be virtuous, and must have compassion toward the vicious: thus still we may be subjected to Pain or Uneasiness, [120] by our very Virtue; unless we suppose, what no Experience can confirm, that Men may have strong Desires, the Disappointment of which will give no Uneasiness, or that Uneasiness is no Evil. Let the Philosopher regulate his own Notions as he pleases about Happiness or Misery; whoever imagines himself unhappy, is so in reality; and whoever has kind Affections or Virtue, must be uneasy to see others really unhappy.

But tho a pure unmixed Happiness is not attainable in this Life, yet all their Precepts are not rendered useless.

  • Est quoddam prodire tenus, si non datur ultra.
  • —Hor. Ep. 1

3.The full Sense of Good may be preserved, without the Pains of Desire, in many Cases.3. For we may observe, thirdly, that “the Sense of Goodcan continue in its full Strength, when yet we shall have but weak Desires.” In this case we are capable of enjoying all the Good in any Object, when we obtain it, and yet exposed to no great Pain upon Disappointment. This may be generally observed, that “the Violence of Desire does not proportionably enliven the Sensation of Good, when it is obtained; nor does diminishing the Desire weaken the Sensation, tho it will diminish the [122] Uneasiness of Disappointment, or the Misery of contrary Evils.” Our high Expectations of Happiness from [121] any Object, either thro’ the Acuteness of our Senses, or from our Opinions or Associations of Ideas, never fail to increase Desire: But then the Violence of Desire does not proportionably enliven our Sensation in the Enjoyment. During the first confused Hurry of our Success, our Joy may perhaps be increased by the Violence of our previous Desire, were it only by allaying the great Uneasiness accompanying the Desire itself. But this Joy soon vanishes, and is often succeeded by Disgust and Uneasiness, when our Sense of the Good, which is more fixed in Nature than our Fancy or Opinions, represents the Object far below our Expectation. Now he who examines all Opinions of Good in Objects, who prevents or corrects vain Associations of Ideas, and thereby prevents extravagant Admirations, or enthusiastick Desires, above the real Moment of Good in the Object, if he loses the transient Raptures of the first Success, yet he enjoys all the permanent Goodor Happiness which any Object can afford; and escapes, in a great measure, both the uneasy Sensations of the more violent Desires, and the Torments of Disappointment, to which Persons of irregular Imaginations are exposed.

[123] This is the Case of the Temperate and the Chaste, with relation to the Appetites; of the Men of Moderation and Frugality, [122] and corrected Fancy, with regard to the Pleasures of Imagination; of the Humble and the Content, as to Honour, Wealth or Power. Such Persons upon good Success, want only the first transitory Ecstacies; but have a full and lively Sense of all the lasting Good in the Objects of their Pursuit; and yet are in a great measure secure against both the Uneasiness of violent Desire, and the Dejection of Mind, and abject Sorrow upon Disappointment, or upon their being exposed to the contrary Evils.

Further, Persons of irregular Imaginations are not soon reformed, nor their Associations of Ideas broke by every Experience of the Smallness of the Good in the admired Object. They are often rather set upon new Pursuits of the same kind, or of greater Variety of like Objects. So their experience of Disappointment, or of contrary Evils, does not soon correct their Imaginations about the Degrees of Good or Evil. The Loss of Good, or the Pressure of any Calamity, will continue to torment them, thro’ their vain Notions of these Events, and make them insensible of the real Good which they might still enjoy in their present [124] State. Thus the Covetous have smaller Pleasure in any given Degree of Wealth; the Luxurious from a splendid Table; the Ambitious from any given [123] Degree of Honour or Power, than Men of more moderate Desires: And on the other hand, the Miseries of Poverty, mean Fare, Subjection, or Contempt, appear much greater to them, than to the moderate. Experience, while these confused Ideas remain, rather increases the Disorder: But if just Reflection comes in, and tho late, applies the proper Cure, by correcting the Opinions and the Imagination, every Experience will tend to our Advantage.

The same way may our publick Desires be regulated. If we prevent confused Notions of Good, we diminish or remove many Anxieties for our Friends as well as our selves. Only this must be remembered, that weakening our publick Affections, necessarily weakens our Sense of publick Good founded upon them, and will deprive us of the Pleasures of the moral Sense, in reflecting on our Virtue.

4.Laying our account to meet with Evil, often lessens our Misery.4. We may lastly remark, “That the Expectation of any Pain, or the frequent Consideration of the Evils which may befal us, or the Loss of Good we now enjoy, before these Events actually threaten [125] us, or raise any Consternation in our Minds by their Approach, does not diminish our Joy upon escaping Evil, or our Pleasure upon the arrival of any [124] Good beyond Expectation: But this previous Expectation generally diminishes our Fear, while the Event is in suspence, and our Sorrow upon its arrival;” Since thereby the Mind examines the Nature of the Event, sees how far it is necessarily Evil, and what Supports under it are in its power: This Consideration may break vain Conjunctions of foreign Ideas, which occasion our greatest Fears in Life, and even in Death itself. If, indeed, a weak Minddoes not study to correct the Imagination, but still dwells upon its possible Calamities, under all their borrowed Forms of Terror; or if it industriously aggravates them to itself, this previous Consideration may embitter its whole Life, without arming it against the smallest Evil.

This Folly is often occasioned by that Delight which most Men find in the Pity of others under Misfortunes; those especially, who are continually indulged as the Favourites of Families or Company, being long enured to the Pleasure arising from the perpetual Marks of Love toward them from all their Company, and from their tender Sympathy in Distress: this often leads them even to feign Misery to obtain Pity, [126] and to raise in themselves the most dejected Thoughts, either to procure Consolation, or the Pleasure of observing the Sympathy of others. This peevish or pettish [125] Temper, tho it arises from something sociable in our Frame, yet is often the Fore‐runner of the greatest Corruption of Mind. It disarms the Heart of its natural Integrity; it induces us to throw away our true Armour, our natural Courage, and cowardly to commit our selves to the vain Protection of others, while we neglect our own Defence.

section v

A Comparison of the Pleasures and Pains of the several Senses, as to Intenseness and Duration.

[126/127] I. Having considered how far these Desires must necessarily affect us, and when they are the Occasions of Pleasure or Pain; since by the first general Observation, the Pursuits of their several Pleasures, and the avoiding their several Pains, may often be inconsistent with each other; let us next examine, which of these several Pleasures are the most valuable, so as to deserve our Pursuit, even with neglect of the others; and which of these Pains are most grievous, so as to be shunned even by the enduring of other Pains if necessary.

“The Value of any Pleasure, and the Quantity or Moment of any Pain, is in a compounded Proportion of the Intenseness and Duration.” In examining the Duration of Pleasure, we must include not only the Constancy of the Object, but even of our Fancy; for a Change in either of these will put an end to it.

The difficulty in comparing the several Pleasures, as to Intenseness.[127/128] To compare these several Pleasures and Pains as to their Intenseness, seems difficult, because of the Diversity of Tastes, or Turns of Temper given by Custom and Education, which make strange Associations of Ideas, and form Habits; from whence it happens, that, tho all the several kinds of original Senses and Desires seem equally natural, yet some are led into a constant Pursuit of the Pleasures of one kind, as the only Enjoyment of Life, and are indifferent about others. Some pursue, or seem to pursue only the Pleasures of the external Senses, and all other Pursuits are made subservient to them: Others are chiefly set upon the Pleasures of Imagination or internal Senses; social and kind Affections employ another sort, who seem indifferent to all private Pleasure: This last Temper has generally joined with it an high moral Sense, and Love of Honour. We may sometimes find an high Sense of Honour and desire of Applause, where there is indeed a moral Sense, but a very weak one, very much perverted, so as to be influenced by popular Opinion, and made subservient to it: In this Character the Pleasures of the external Senses, or even of the Imagination, have little room, except so far as they may produce Distinction. Now upon comparing the several Pleasures, perhaps the Sentence of the Luxurious [129] would be quite opposite [128] to that of the Virtuous. The Ambitious would differ from both. Those who are devoted to the internal Senses or Imagination, would differ from all the three. The Miser would applaud himself in his Wealth above them all. Is there therefore no disputing about Tastes? Are all Persons alike happy, who obtain the several Enjoyments for which they have a Relish? If they are, the Dispute is at an end: A Fly or Maggot in its proper haunts, is as happy as a Hero, or Patriot, or Friend, who has newly delivered his Country or Friend, and is surrounded with their grateful Praises. The Fly or Maggot may think so of itself; but who will stand to its Judgment, when we are sure that it has experienced only one sort of Pleasure, and is a stranger to the others? May we not in like manner find some Reasons of appealing from the Judgment of certain Men? Or may not some Characters be found among Men, who alone are capable of judging in this matter?

The Pleasures of a moral Kind proved superior, by the Testimony of the Virtuous.II. It is obvious that “those alone are capable of judging, who have experienced all the several kinds of Pleasure, and have their Senses acute and fully exercised in them all.” Now a high Relish for Virtue, or a strong moral Sense, with [130] its concomitant publick Sense and Affections, and a Sense of Honour, was never alledged to impair our external Senses, or [129] to make us incapable of any pleasure of the Imagination; Temperance never spoiled a good Palate, whatever Luxury may have done; a generous affectionate publick Spirit, reflecting on itself with delight, never vitiated any Organ of external Pleasure, nor weakened their Perceptions. Now all virtuous Men have given Virtue this Testimony, that its Pleasures are superior to any other, nay to all others jointly; that a friendly generous Action gives a Delight superior to any other; that other Enjoyments, when compared with the Delights of Integrity, Faith, Kindness, Generosity, and publick Spirit, are but trifles scarce worth any regard.

By the Testimony of the Vicious.Nay, we need not confine our Evidence to the Testimony of the perfectly Virtuous. The vicious Man, tho no fit judge, were he entirely abandoned, since he loses his Sense of the Pleasures of the moral Kind, or at least has not experienced them fully, yet he generally retains so much of human Nature, and of the Senses and Affections of our [131] Kind, as sometimes to experience even moral Pleasures. There is scarce any Mortal, who is wholly insensible to all Species of Morality.

[130] A Luxurious Debauchee has never perhaps felt the Pleasures of a wise publick‐spirited Conduct, of an entirely upright, generous, social, and affectionate Life, with the Sense of his own moral Worth, and merited Esteem and Love; this course of Life, because unknown to him, he may despise in comparison of his Pleasures. But if in any particular Affair, a moral Species, or Point of Honour has affected him, he will soon despise his sensual Pleasures in comparison of the Moral. Has he a Person whom he calls his Friend, whom he loves upon whatever fantastick Reasons, he can quit his Debauch to serve him, nay can run the Hazard of Wounds and Death to rescue him from Danger? If his Honour be concerned to resent an Affront, will he not quit his Pleasures, and run the hazard of the greatest bodily Pain, to shun the Imputation of Cowardice or Falshood? He will scorn one who tells him, that “a Lyar, or a Coward, may be happy enough, while he has all things necessary to Luxury.” ’Tis in vain to alledge, “that there is no disputing about Tastes:” To every Nature there are certain Tastes assigned by the great Author [132] of all. To the human Race there are assigned a publick Taste, a moral one, and a Taste for Honour. These Senses they cannot extirpate, more than their external Senses: [131] They may pervert them, and weaken them by false Opinions, and foolish Associations of Ideas; but they cannot be happy but by keeping them in their natural State, and gratifying them. The Happiness of an Insect or Brute, will only make an Insect or Brute happy. But a Nature with further Powers, must have further Enjoyments.

Nay, let us consider the different Ages in our own Species. We once knew the time when an Hobby‐Horse, a Top, a Rattle, was sufficient Pleasure to us. We grow up, we now relish Friendships, Honour, good Offices, Marriage, Offspring, serving a Community or Country. Is there no difference in these Tastes? We were happy before, are we no happier now? If not, we have made a foolish Change of Fancy. An Hobby-Horse is more easily procured than an Employment; a Rattle kept in order with less trouble than a Friend; a Top than a Son. But this Change of Fancy does not depend upon our Will. “Our Nature determines us to certain Pursuits in our several Stages; and following her Dictates, is the only way to our Happiness. Two States may both be [133] happy, and yet the one infinitely preferable to the other: Two Species may both be content, and yet the Pleasures of the one, greater beyond all comparison, than those of the other.” The virtuous Man, who has [132] as true a Sense of all external Pleasure as any, gives the preference to moral Pleasures. The Judgment of the Vicious is either not to be regarded, because of his Ignorance on one side; or, if he has experience of moral Sentiments in any particular Cases, he agrees with the Virtuous.

Experience proves the same.III. Again, we see in fact, that in the virtuous Man, publick Affections, a moral Sense, and Sense of Honour, actually overcome all other Desires or Senses, even in their full Strength. Here there is the fairest Combate, and the Success is on the side of Virtue.

There is indeed an obvious Exception against this Argument. “Do not we see, in many Instances, the external Senses overcome the moral?” But the Reply is easy. A constant Pursuit of the Pleasures of the external Senses can never become agreeable, without an Opinion of Innocence, or the Absence of moral Evil; so that here the moral Sense is not engaged in the Combat. [134] Do not our luxurious Debauchees, among their Intimates, continually defend their Practices as innocent? Transient Acts of Injustice may be done, contrary to the moral Sentiments of the [133] Agent, to obtain relief from some pressing Evil, or upon some violent Motion of Appetite: and yet even in these cases, Men often argue themselves into some moral Notions of their Innocence. But for a continued Course of Life disapproved by the Agent, how few are the Instances? How avowedly miserable is that State, wherein all Self‐Approbation, all consciousness of Merit or Goodness is gone? We might here also alledge, what universal Experience confirms, “that not only an Opinion of Innocence is a necessary Ingredient in a Course of selfish Pleasures, so that there should be no Opposition from the moral Sense of the Agent; but that some publick Affections, some Species of moral Good, is the most powerful Charm in all sensual Enjoyments.” And yet, on the other hand, “Publick Affections, Virtue, Honour, need no Species of sensual Pleasure to recommend them; nor even an Opinion or Hope of Exemption from external Pain. These powerful Forms can appear amiable, and engage our Pursuit thro’ the rugged [135] Paths of Hunger, Thirst, Cold, Labour, Expences, Wounds and Death.

Thus, when a Prospect of external Pleasure, or of avoiding bodily Pain, engages Men into Actions really evil, the moral Sense of the Agent is not really overcome [134] by the external Senses. The Action or Omission does not appear morally evil to the Agent. The Temptation seems to extenuate, or wholly excuse the Action. Whereas when a Point of Honour, or a moral Species, makes any one despise the Pleasures or Pains of the external Senses, there can be no question made of a real Victory. The external Senses represent these Objects in the same manner, when they are conquered. None denies to the Virtuous their Sense of Pain, Toil or Wounds. They are allowed as lively a Sense as others, of all external Pleasure of every kind. The Expences of Generosity, Humanity, Charity and Compassion are allowed, even when yielded to Virtue, to be known to the full. But the moral Sense, weak as it often is, does not yield even to known external Pleasure, Ease or Advantage: but, where there is a depraved Taste, and a weak Understanding, private Advantage, or the avoiding of some external Evil, may make Actions appear innocent, which are not; and then the moral Sense gives no Opposition. All the Conquest [136] on such Occasions is only this, that private external Advantage surmounts our Aversion to Dishonour, by making us do Actions which others will censure, but we esteem innocent. In these Cases we generally fear only the Reproach of a Party, [135] of whom we have conceived an unfavourable Opinion.

Nay farther: It was before observed, that “fantastick Associations of Ideas do not really increase the Pleasure of Enjoyment, however they increase the previous Desire. The want of such Associations does not abate the external Pain, tho it diminishes the previous Fear, or takes away some farther Fears which may attend the Pain.” So that a Man of the most correct Imagination does feel and know all the Goodin external Pleasure, and all the Evil in Pain. “When therefore the moral Sense, and publick Affections, overcome all sensual Pleasure, or bodily Pain, they do it by their own Strength, without foreign Aids. Virtue is never blended with bodily Pleasure, nor Vice with bodily Pain in our Imaginations. But when the external Senses seem to prevail against the moral Sense, or publick Affections, it is continually by Aidborrowed from the moral [137] Sense, and publick Affections themselves, or from our Sense of Honour.” The Conquest is over a weakned moral Sense, upon partial views of Good, not by external Pleasure alone, but [136] by some moral Species, raised by a false Imagination.

Set before Men in the clearest Light all external Pleasures, but strip them of their borrowed Notions of Dignity, Hospitality, Friendship, Generosity, Liberality, Communication of Pleasure; let no regard be had to the Opinions of others, to Credit, to avoiding Reproach, to Company: Separate from the Pursuit of Wealth all Thoughts of a Family, Friends, Relations, Acquaintance; let Wealth be only regarded as the Means of private Pleasure of the external Senses, or of the Imagination, to the Possessor alone; let us divide our confused Ideas, and consider things barely and apart from each other: and in opposition to these Desires, set but the weakest moral Species, and see if they can prevail over it. On the other hand, let us examine as much as we please, a friendly, generous, grateful, or publick‐spirited Action; divest it of all external Pleasure, still it will appear the more lovely; the longer we fix our Attention [138] to it, the more we admire it. What is it which we feel in our own Hearts, determining as it were our Fate as to Happiness or Misery? What sort of Sensations are the most lively and delightful? In what sort of Possessions does the highest Joy and Self‐Satisfaction consist? Who has ever felt the Pleasure of a generous [137] friendly Temper, of mutual Love, of compassionate Relief and Succour to the distressed; of having served a Community, and render’d Multitudes happy; of a strict Integrity, and thorow Honesty, even under external Disadvantages, and amidst Dangers; of Congratulation and publick Rejoycing, in the Wisdom and Prosperity of Persons beloved, such as Friends, Children, or intimate Neighbours? Who would not, upon Reflection, prefer that State of Mind, these Sensations of Pleasure, to all the Enjoyments of the external Senses, and of the Imagination without them?

Our Judgments in the Case of others proves the same.IV. The truth, in a Question of this nature, one might expect would be best known by the Judgment of Spectators, concerning the Pursuits of others. Let them see one entirely employed in Solitude, with the most exquisite Tastes, Odors, [139] Prospects, Painting, Musick; but without any Society, Love or Friendship, or any Opportunity of doing a kind or generous Action; and see also a Man employed in protecting the Poor and Fatherless, receiving the Blessings of those who were ready to perish, and making the Widow to sing for [138] Joy; a Father to the Needy, an Avenger of Oppression; who never despised the Cause of his very Slave, but considered him as his Fellow‐Creature, formed by the same Hand; who never eat his Morsel alone, without the Orphan at his Table, nor caused the Eyes of the Poor to fail; who never suffered the Naked to perish, but warmed them with the Fleece of his Sheep; who never took advantage of the Indigent in Judgment, thro’ Confidence in his own Power or Interest; Let this Character be compared with the former; nay, add to this latter some considerable Pains of the external Senses, with Labour and kind Anxiety: which of the two would a Spectator chuse? Which would he admire, or count the happier, and most suitable to human Nature? Were he given to Castle‐building, or were he advising a Son, or a Friend, which of these States would he chuse or recommend? Such a Trial would [140] soon discover the Prevalence of the moral Species above all Enjoyments of Life.

Little Happiness in malicious Pleasures.V. There are a sort of Pleasures opposite to those of the publick Sense, arising from the Gratification of Anger or Hatred. To compare these Pleasures with those of Benevolence, we must observe what holds universally of all Mankind. The Joy, and Gaiety, and Happiness of any Nature, of which we have formed no previous Opinion, [139] either favourable or unfavourable, nor obtained any other Ideas than merely that it is sensitive, fills us with Joy and Delight: The apprehending the Torments of any such sensitive Nature, gives us Pain. The Poets know how to raise delight in us by such pastoral Scenes, they feel the Power of such pleasing Images: they know that the human Heart can dwell upon such Contemplations with delight; that we can continue long with Pleasure, in the View of Happiness of any Nature whatsoever. When we have received unfavourable Apprehensions of any Nature, as cruel and savage, we begin indeed from our very publick Affections, to desire their Misery as far as it may be necessary to the Protection of others.

But that the Misery of another, for its own sake, is never grateful, we may all find by making this Supposition: “That had we the [141] most savage Tyger, or Crocodile, or some greater Monster of our own Kind, a Nero, or Domitian, chained in some Dungeon; that we were perfectly assured they should never have power of doing farther Injuries; that no Mortal should ever know their Fate or Fortunes, nor be influenced by them; that the Punishments inflicted on them would never restrain others by way of example, nor any Indulgence shown be discovered; [140] that the first Heat of our Resentment were allayed by Time”—No Mortal, in such a Case, would incline to torture such wretched Natures, or keep them in continual Agonies, without some prospect of Goodarising from their Sufferings. What farther would the fiercest Rage extend to, if once the Tyrant, thus eternally confined from Mischief, began himself to feel Remorse and Anguish for his Crimes? Nay, did he continue without Reflection on his past Life, so as neither to betray Remorse nor Approbation, were Mankind well secured against his Temper, who would delight to load him with useless Misery?

If the Misery of others then be not grateful for itself, whence arises the Pleasure of Cruelty and Revenge? The Reason is plainly this: Upon apprehending Injury to our selves or others, Nature wisely determines [142] us to study Defense, not only for the present, but for the future. Anger arises with its most uneasy Sensations, as every one acknowledges. The Misery of the Injurious allays this furious Pain. Our Nature scarce leads to any farther Resentment, when once the Injurious seems to us fully seized with Remorse, so that we fear no farther Evils from him, or when all his Power is gone. Those who continue their Revenge further, are prepossessed with [141] some false Opinion of Mankind, as worse than they really are; and are not easily inclined to believe their hearty Remorse for Injuries, or to think themselves secure. Some Point of Honour, or Fear of Reproach, engages Men in cruel Acts of Revenge: But this farther confirms, that the Misery of another is only grateful as it allays, or secures us against a furious Pain; and cannot be the Occasion, by itself, of any Satisfaction. Who would not prefer Absence of Injury to Injury revenged? Who would not chuse an untainted Reputation, for Courage gained in a just War, in which, without Hatredor Anger, we acted from Love of our Country, rather than the Fame acquired by asserting our questioned Courage with furious Anger in a Duel, and with continued Hatredtoward the Person conquered? Who can dwell upon a Scene of Tortures, tho practis’d upon the vilest Wretch; or can delight either [143] in the Sight or Description of Vengeance, prolonged beyond all necessity of Self‐Defense, or publick Interest? “The Pleasure of Revenge then is to the Pleasures of Humanity and Virtue, as the flaking the burning, and constantly recurring Thirst of a Fever, to the natural Enjoyments of grateful Food in Health.”

Moral Evil compared with other Evils, appears greater. Causes of Mistake.VI. Were we to compare, in like manner, the Pains of the publick and moral Sense, and of the Sense of Honour, with [142] other Pains of the external Senses, or with the greatest external Losses, we should find the former by far superior. And yet nothing is more ordinary, than to find Men, who will allow “the Pleasures of the former Classes superior to any other, and yet look upon external Pain as more intollerable than any.” There are two Reasons for this Mistake. 1. “They compare the most acute Pains of the external Senses with some smaller Pains of the other Senses.” Whereas, would they compare the strongest of both Kinds, they would find the Ballance on the other side. How often have Parents, Husbands, Friends, Patriots, endured the greatest bodily Pains, to avoid the Pains of their publick and moral Sense, and Sense of Honour? How do they every day suffer Hunger, Thirst, and Toil, to prevent like Evils to those they love? [144] How often do Men endure, for their Party or Faction, the greatest external Evils, not only when they are unavoidable, but, when by counter‐acting their publick or moral Sense, or Sense of Honour, they could extricate themselves? Some Crimes appear so horrid, some Actions so cruel and detestable, that there is hardly any Man but would rather suffer Death, than be conscious of having done them.

[143] The second Cause of Mistake in this Matter, is this, “The avoiding moral Evil by the Sufferance of external Pain, does not diminish the Sense of the Pain; but on the other hand, the Motive of avoiding grievous Pain, really diminishes the moral Evil in the Action done with that design.” So that in such Instances we compare external Pain in its full strength, with a moral Pain of the lighter sort, thus alleviated by the Greatness of the Temptation. To make a just Comparison, it should be thus: “Whether would a Man chuse to be tortured to Death, or to have, without any Temptation or Necessity, tortured another, or a dear Friend, or Child to Death?” Not whether a Man will betray his Friend or Country, for fear of Tortures, but “whether it be better voluntarily, and under no fear, to betray a Friend, or our Country, than to suffer [145] Tortures, or the Pain of the Gout or Stone equal to Tortures?” Upon such Comparisons as these, we should find some other Pains and Misery superior to any external Pain. When we judge of the State of others, we would not be long in suspense which of these Evils to [144] chuse as the lightest for those whom we most regarded.

Publick Affections compared with our Desire of Virtue.VII. We have hitherto only compared on the one side the publick and moral Sense, and the Sense of Honour jointly, with the external Senses, the Pleasures of Imagination, and external Advantage or Disadvantage jointly. The reason of joining them thus must be obvious, since, to a Mind not prepossessed with any false Apprehensions of things, the former three Senses and Desires really concur, in exciting to the same Course of Action; for promoting the publick Good, can never be opposite to private Virtue; nor can the Desire of Virtue ever lead to any thing pernicious to the Publick: Had Men also true Opinions, Honour could only be obtained by Virtue, or serving the Publick.

But since there may be some corrupt partial Notions of Virtue, as when Men have inadvertently engaged themselves into [146] some Party or Faction pernicious to the Publick, or when we mistake the Tendencies of Actions, or have some Notions of the Deity, as requiring some Actions [145] apprehended pernicious to the publick, as Duties to himself; in such cases there is room to compare our publick Sense or Desires with our moral, to see which is prevalent. The Pleasures of these Senses, in such cases, need not be compared; the following either the one or the other will give little Pleasure: The Pain of the counteracted Sense will prevent all Satisfaction. This State is truly deplorable, when a Person is thus distracted between two noble Principles, his publick Affections, and Sense of Virtue. But it may be inquired, which of these Senses, when counteracted, would occasion the greater Pain? Perhaps nothing [147] can be answered universally on either side. With Men of recluse contemplative Lives, who have dwelt much upon some moral Ideas, but without large extensive View of publick Good, or without engaging themselves to the full in the publick [146] Affections, and common Affairs of Life: The Sense of Virtue, in some partial confined View of it, would probably prevail; especially since these partial Species of Virtue have always some sort of kind Affection to assist them. With active Men, who have fully exercised their publick Affections, and have acquired as it were an Habit this way, ’tis probable the publick Affections would be prevalent. Thus we find that active Men, upon any publick Necessity, do always break thro’ the limited narrow Rules of Virtue or Justice, which are publickly received, even when they have scarce any Scheme of Principles to justify their Conduct: Perhaps, indeed, in such cases, their moral Sense is brought over to the Side of their Affections, tho their speculative Opinions are opposite to both.

The Moral Sense compared with the Sense of Honour.VIII. It is of more consequence to compare the publick and moral Senses, in opposition to the Sense of Honour. Here there may be direct Opposition, since Honour is conferred according to the moral Notions [148] of those who confer it, which may be contrary to those of the Agent, and contrary to what he thinks conducive to the publick Good.

To allow the Prevalence of Honour, cannot with any Person of just Reflection, [147] weaken the Cause of Virtue, since Honour presupposes a moral Sense, both in those who desire it, and those who confer it. But it is enough for some Writers, who affect to be wondrous shrewd in their Observations on human Nature, and fond of making all the World, as well as themselves, a selfish Generation, incapable of any real Excellence or Virtue, without any natural Disposition toward a publick Interest, or toward any moral Species; to get but a “Set of different Words from those commonly used, yet including the same natural Dispositions, or presupposing them,” however an inadvertent Reader may not observe it; and they are sufficiently furnished to shew, that there is no real Virtue, that all is but Hyppocrisy, Disguise, Art, or Interest. “To be honoured, highly esteemed, valued, praised, or on the contrary, to be despised, undervalued, censuredor condemned; to be proudor ashamed, are Words without any meaning, if we take away a moral [149] Sense.” Let this Sense be as capricious, inconstant, different in different Persons as they please to alledge, “a Sense of Morality there must be, and natural it must be, if the Desire of Esteem, Pride or Shame be natural.”

[148] To make this comparison between the publick and moral Senses on the one hand, and that of Honour on the other, ’tis to be observed, that all Aversion to Evil is stronger than Desire of positive Good. There are many sorts of positive Good, without which any one may be easy, and enjoy others of a different kind: But Evil of almost any kind, in a high Degree, may make Life intolerable. The avoiding of Evil is always allowed a more extenuating Circumstance in a Crime, than the Prospect of positive Good: to make therefore just Comparisons of the Prevalence of several Desires or Senses, their several Goods should be opposed to each other, and their Evils to each other, and not the Pleasures of one compared with the Pains of another.

Publick Affections, in their nearer Ties, frequently overcome not only the Pleasures of Honour, but even the Pains of Shame. This is the most common Event in Life, [150] that for some apprehended Interest of Offspring, Families, Friends, Men should neglect Opportunities of gaining Honour, and even incur Shame and Contempt. In Actions done for the Service of a Party, there can be no comparison, for Honour is often a Motive on both sides.

[149] ’Tis also certain, that the Fear of Shame, in some Instances, will overcome all other Desires whatsoever, even natural Affection, Love of Pleasure, Virtue, Wealth, and even of Life itself. This Fear has excited Parents to the Murder of their Offspring; has persuaded Men to the most dangerous Enterprizes; to squander away their Fortunes, to counteract their Duty, and even to throw away their Lives. The Distraction and Convulsion of Mind observable in these Conflicts of Honour, with Virtue and publick Affection, shews how unnatural that State is, wherein the strongest Principles of Action, naturally designed to co‐operate and assist each other, are thus set in Opposition.

’Tis perhaps impossible to pronounce any thing universally concerning the Superiority of the Desire of Honour on the one hand, or that of the Desire of Virtue and publick Goodon the other. Habits or [151] Custom may perhaps determine the Victory on either side. Men in high Stations, who have long indulged the Desire of Honour, and have formed the most frightful Apprehensions of Contempt as the worst of Evils; or even those in lower Stations, who have been long enured to value Reputation in any particular, and dread Dishonour in that point, may have Fear of Shame superior [150] to all Aversions. Men, on the contrary, who have much indulged good Nature, or reflected much upon the Excellency of Virtue itself, abstracted from Honour, may find Affections of this kind prevalent above the Fear of Shame.

To compare the moral Sense with the Sense of Honour, we must find cases where the Agent condemns an Action with all its present Circumstances as evil, and yet fears Infamy by omitting it, without any unequal Motives of other kinds on either side: Or when one may obtain Praise by an Action, when yet the Omission of it would appear to himself as considerable a Virtue, as the Praise to be expected from the Action would represent the Action to be. The common Instances, in which some, who pretend deep Knowledge of human Nature, triumph much, have not these necessary Circumstances.Duels no proper Instances. When a Man condems Duelling in his private Sentiments, and yet practices it, we have indeed a considerable [152] Evidence of the Strength of this Desire of Honour, or Aversion to Shame, since it surpasses the Fear of Death. But here on one hand, besides the Fear of Shame, there is the Fear of constant Insults, of losing all the Advantages depending upon the Character of Courage, and sometimes even some Species of Virtue and publick Good, in restraining an insolent [151] Villain: On the other hand is the Fear of Death. The moral Sense is seldom much concerned: for however Men may condemn voluntary Duelling; however they may blame the Age for the Custom, or censure the Laws as defective, yet generally, in their present Case, Duelling appears a necessary Piece of Self‐Defence against opprobrious Injuries and Affronts, for which the Law has provided no Redress, and consequently leaves Men to the natural Rights of Self-Defence and Prosecution of Injuries. The Case seems to them the same with that of Thieves and Night‐Robbers, who may be put to Death by private Persons, when there is no hope of overtaking them by Law. These are certainly the Notions of those who condemn Duelling, and yet practise it.

It is foreign to our present Purpose, to detect the Fallacy of these Arguments, in defence of Duels, as they are commonly practiced among us; when Men from a [153] sudden Anger, upon some trifling or imaginary Affronts the despising of which would appear honourable in every wise Man’s Eyes, expose themselves, and often their dearest Friends to Death, and hazard the Ruin of their own Families, as well as that of their Adversary; tho the Success in such Attempts can have no tendency to justify them [152] against the dishonourable Charge, or to procure any Honour from Men of worth.

Nor the Case of Lucretia.The magnified Instance of Lucretia is yet less to our purpose. Some talk, as if “she indeed would rather have died than consented to the Crime; but the Crime did not appear so great an Evil as the Dishonour; to the Guilt she submitted to avoid the Shame.” Let us consider this renowned Argument. Was there then no Motive on either side, but Fear of Shame, and a Sense of Duty? If we look into the Story, we shall find, that to persuade her to consent, there conspired, beside the Fear of Shame, and of Death, which she little regarded, the Hope of noble Revenge, or rather of Justice on the Ravisher, and the whole Tyrant’s Family; nay, the Hopes of a [154] nobler Fame by her future Conduct; the Fear of suffering that contumely by force, which she was tempted to consent to, and that in such a manner as she could have had no Redress. All these Considerations concurred to make her consent. On the other side, there was only the moral Sense of a Crime thus extenuated by the most grievous Necessity, and by hopes of doing Justice to her Husband’s Honour, and rescuing her Country: Nay, [153] could she not have at once saved her Character and her Life by consenting; when in that virtuous Age she might have expected Secrecy in the Prince, since boasting of such Attempts would have been dangerous to the greatest Man in Rome?

It is not easy to find just Room for a Comparison even in fictitious Cases, between these two Principles. Were there a Person who had no Belief of any Deity, or of any reality in Religion, in a Country where his secular Interest would not suffer by a Character of Atheism; and yet he knew that the Profession of zealous Devotion would tend to his Honour: If such a Person could have any Sense of Morality, particularly an Aversion to Dissimulation, then his Profession of Religion would evidence the Superiority of the Sense of Honour; [155] and his Discovery of his Sentiments, or Neglect of Religion, would evidence the Ballance to be on the other side. I presume in Englandand Holland, we have more Instances of the latter than the former. ’Tis true, our Gentlemen who affect the Name of Freedom, may have now their Hopes of Honour from their own Party, as well as others.

The Adherence to any particular Religion by one in a strange Country, where it was dishonourable, would not be allowed a [154] good Instance of the Prevalence of a moral Species; it is a very common thing indeed, but here are Interests of another Life, and Regard to a future Return to a Country where this Religion is in repute.

The Pleasures of Imagination greater than those of external Senses.IX. The Pleasures of the internal Senses, or of the Imagination, are allowed by all, who have any tolerable Taste of them, as a much superior Happiness to those of the external Senses, tho they were enjoyed to the full.

Other Comparisons might be made but with less use, or certainty in any general Conclusions, which might be drawn from them.

[156] The Pleasures of Wealth or Power, are proportioned to the Gratifications of the Desires or Senses, which the Agent intends to gratify by them: So that, for the Reasons above offered, Wealth and Power give greater Happiness to the Virtuous, than to those who consult only Luxury or external Splendor. If these Desires are grown enthusiastick and habitual, without regard to any other end than Possession, they are an endless Source of Vexation, without any real Enjoyment; a perpetual Craving, without Nourishment or Digestion; and they may surmount all other Affections, [155] by Aids borrowed from other Affections themselves.

The fantastick Desires are violent, in proportion to the Senses from which the associated Ideas are borrowed. Only it is to be observed, that however the Desires may be violent, yet the obtaining the Object desiredgives little Satisfaction; the Possession discovers the Vanity and Deceit, and the Fancy is turned toward different Objects, in a perpetual Succession of inconstant Pursuits.

A Comparison of the several Pleasures as to Duration.X. These several kinds of Pleasure or Pain are next to be compared as to their Duration. Here we are not only to consider [157] the Certainty of the Objects occasioning these Sensations, but the Constancy of our Relish or Fancy.

1. The Objects necessary to remove the Pains of Appetite, and to give as grateful external Sensations as any others, to a Person of a correct Imagination, may be universally secured by common Prudence and Industry. But then the Sensations themselves are short and transitory; the Pleasure continues no longer than the Appetite, nor does it leave any thing behind it, to supply the Intervals of Enjoyment. When the Sensation is past, we are no happier for it, there is no pleasure in [156] Reflection; nor are past Sensations any security against, or support under either external Pain, or any other sort of evil incident to us. If we keep these Senses pure, and unmixed with foreign Ideas, they cannot furnish Employment for Life: If foreign Ideas come in, the Objects grow difficult and uncertain, and our Relish or Fancy full of Inconstancy and Caprice.

[158] 2. In like manner, the Pleasures of the Imagination may be enjoyed by all, and be a sure Foundation of Pleasure, if we abstract from Property, and keep our Imagination pure. Such are the Pleasures in the Observation of Nature, and even the Works of Art; which are ordinarily exposed to view. But as these give less Pleasure the more familiar they grow, they cannot sufficiently employ or entertain Mankind, much less can they secure us against, or support us under the Calamities of Life, such as Anger, Sorrow, Dishonour, Remorse, or external Pain. If the monstrous or trifling Taste take place, or the Ideas of Property, they may indeed give sufficient Employment, but they bring along with them little Pleasure, frequent Disgusts, Anxieties, and Disappointments, in the acquiring and retaining their Objects.

[157] 3. The publick Happiness is indeed, as to external Appearance, a very uncertain Object; nor is it often in our power to remedy it, by changing the Course of Events. There are perpetual Changes in Mankind from Pleasures to Pains, and often from Virtue to Vice. Our publick Desires must therefore frequently subject us to Sorrow; and the Pleasures of the publick Sense must [159] be very inconstant. ’Tis true indeed, that a general Good‐will to our kind, is the most constant Inclination of the Mind, which grows upon us by Indulgence; nor are we ever dissatisfied with the Fancy: the Incertainty therefore is wholly owing to the Objects. If there can be any Considerations found out to make it probable, that in the Whole all Events tend to Happiness, this implicit Hope indeed may make our publick Affections the greatest and most constant Source of Pleasure. Frequent Reflection on this, is the best Support under the Sorrow arising from particular evils, befalling our Fellow‐Creatures. In our nearer Attachments brought upon our selves, we may procure to our selves the greatest Enjoyments of this kind, with considerable Security and Constancy, by chusing for our Friends, or dearest Favourites, Persons of just Apprehensions of Things, who are subjected only to the necessary Evils of Life, and can enjoy all [158] the certain and constant Good. And in like manner, our Attachment to a Country may be fixed by something else than the Chance of our Nativity. The Enjoyments of the publick Sense cannot indeed secure us against bodily Pains or Loss; but they are often a considerable Support under them. Nothing can more allay Sorrow and Dejection of Mind for private Misfortunes, than good [160] Nature, and Reflection upon the Happiness of those we love.

4. The moral Sense, if we form true Opinions of the Tendencies of Actions, and of the Affections whence they spring, as it is the Fountain of the most intense Pleasure, so “it is in itself constant, not subject to Caprice or Change. If we resolutely incourage this Sense, it grows more acute by frequent Gratification, never cloys, nor ever is surfeited. We not only are sure never to want Opportunities of doing good, which are in every one’s power in the highest Degree; but each good Action is Matter of pleasant Reflection as long as we live. These Pleasures cannot indeed wholly secure us against all kinds of Uneasiness, yet they never tend naturally to increase them. On the contrary, their general [159] Tendency is to lead the virtuous Agent into all Pleasures, in the highest Degree in which they are consistent with each other. Our external Senses are not weakned by Virtue, our Imaginations are not impaired; the temperate Enjoyment of all external Pleasures is the highest. A virtuous Conduct is generally the most prudent, even as to outward Prosperity. Where Virtue costs us much, its own [161] Pleasures are the more sublime. It directly advances the Pleasures of the publick Sense, by leading us to promote the publick Happiness as far as we can; and Honour is its natural and ordinary Attendant. If it cannot remove the necessary Pains of Life, yet it is the best Support under them. These moral Pleasures do some way more nearly affect us than any other: They make us delight in our selves, and relish our very Nature. By these we perceive an internal Dignity and Worth; and seem to have a Pleasure like to that ascribed often to the Deity, by which we enjoy our own Perfection, and that of every other Being.”

It may perhaps seem too metaphysical to alledge on this Subject, that other Sensations are all dependent upon, or related by the Constitution of our Nature, to something different from our selves; to a [160] Body which we do not call Self, but something belonging to this Self. That other Perceptions of Joy or Pleasure carry with them Relations to Objects, and Spaces distinct from this Self; whereas “the Pleasures of Virtue are the very Perfection of thisSelf, and are immediately perceived as such, independent of external Objects.”

Our Sense of Honour may afford very constant Pleasures by good Oeconomy: If [162] our moral Sense be not perverted; if we form just Apprehensions of the Worth of others, Honour shall be pleasant to us in a compound Proportion of the Numbers and Worth of those who confer it. If therefore we cannot approve our selves to all, so as to obtain universal Honour among all to whom we are known, yet there are still Men of just Thought and Reflection, whose Esteem a virtuous Man may procure. Their Dignity will compensate the Want of Numbers, and support us against the Pains of Censure from the Injudicious.

The Inconstancy of the Pleasures of Wealth and Power is well known, and is occasioned, not perhaps by Change of Fancy, for these Desires are found to continue long enough, since they tend toward the universal Means of gratifying all other Desires; but by the Uncertainty of Objects [161] or Events necessary to gratify such continually increasing Desires as these are, where there is not some fixed View different from the Wealth or Power itself. When indeed they are desired only as the Means of gratifying some other well‐regulated Desires, we may soon obtain such a Portion as will satisfy us. But if once the Endbe forgotten, and Wealth or Power become grateful for themselves, no farther Limits are to be expected: the Desires are insatiable, nor is there any [163] considerable Happiness in any given Degree of either.

The Durations of the several Pains considered.XI. Were we to consider the Duration of the several Pains, we may find it generally as the Duration of their Pleasures. As to the external Senses, the old Epicurean Consolation is generally just: “Where the Pain is violent, it shortens our Duration; when it does not shorten our Duration, it is generally either tolerable, or admits of frequent Intermissions;” and then, when the external Pain is once past, no Mortal is the worse for having endured it. There is nothing uneasy in the Reflection, when we have no present Pain, or fear no Return of it.

The internal Senses are not properly Avenues of Pain. No Form is necessarily the Occasion of positive Uneasiness.

[162] The Pains of the moral Sense and Sense of Honour, are almost perpetual. Time, the Refuge of other Sorrows, gives us no Relieffrom these. All other Pleasures are made insipid by these Pains, and Life itself an uneasy Burden. Our very Self, our Nature is disagreeable to us. ’Tis true, we do not always observe the Vicious to be uneasy. The Deformity of Vice often does not appear to those who continue in a Course of [164] it. Their Actions are under some Disguise of Innocence, or even of Virtue itself. When this Mask is pulled off, as it often happens, nor can any vicious Man prevent its happening, Vice will appear as a Fury, whose Aspect no Mortal can bear. This we may see in one Vice, which perhaps has had fewer false or fantastick Associations of favourable Ideas than any, viz. Cowardice, or such a selfish Love of Life, and Aversion to Death, or to the very Hazard of it, as hinders a Man from serving his Country or his Friend, or supporting his own Reputation. How few of our gay Gentlemen can bear to be reputed Cowards, or even secretly to imagine themselves void of Courage? This is not tolerable to any, how negligent soever they may be about other Points in Morality. Other Vices would appear equally odious and despicable, and bear as horrid an Aspect, were they equally stript of the Disguises of[163] Virtue. A vicious Man has no other Security against the Appearances of this terrifying Form, than Ignorance or Inadvertence. If Truth break in upon him, as it often must, when any Adversity stops his intoxicating Pleasures, or Spectators use Freedom with his Conduct, he is render’d perpetually miserable, or must fly to the only Remedy which Reason would suggest, all possible Reparation of Injuries, and a new Course of Life, the Necessity of which [165] is not superseded by any Remedy suggested by the Christian Revelation.

The Pains of the publick Sense are very lasting. The Misery of others, either in past or present Ages, is matter of very uneasy Reflection, and must continue so, if their State appears in the whole absolutely Evil. Against this there is no Relief but the Consideration of a “good governingMind, ordering all for good in the whole, with the Belief of a future State, where the particular seeming Disorders are rectified.” A firm Persuasion of these Things, with strong publick Affections interesting us strongly in this Whole, and considering this Whole as one great System, in which all is wisely ordered for good, may secure us against these Pains, by removing the Opinion of any absolute Evil.

[164] The Pains arising from foolish Associations of moral Ideas, with the Gratifications of external Senses, or with the Enjoyment of Objects of Beauty or Grandeur, or from the Desires of Property, the Humour of Distinction, may be as constant as the Pains of the Senses from which these Ideas are borrowed. Thus what we gain by these Associations is very little. “The Desires of Trifles are often made very strong and uneasy; the Pleasures of Possession very [166] small and of short Continuance, only till the Object be familiar, or the Fancy change: But the Pains of Disappointment are often very lasting and violent. Would we guard against these Associations, every real Pleasure in Life remains, and we may be easy without these things, which to others occasion the greatest Pains.”

  • Gemmas, Marmor, Ebur, Tyrrhena Sigilla, Tabellas,
  • Argentum, vestes Getulo Murice tinctas,
  • Est qui non habet, est qui nec curat habere.
  • Hor.

section vi

Some general Conclusions concerning the best Management of our Desires. With some Principles necessary to Happiness.

[165/167] We see therefore, upon comparing the several kinds of Pleasures and Pains, both as to Intention and Duration, that “the whole Sum of Interest lies upon the Side of Virtue, Publick‐spirit, and Honour. That to forfeit these Pleasures in whole, or in part, for any other Enjoyment, is the most foolish Bargain; and on the contrary, to secure them with the Sacrifice of all others, is the truest Gain.

Constant Discipline necessary.There is one general Observation to be premised, which appears of the greatest Necessity for the just Management of all our Desires; viz. that we should, as much as possible, in all Affairs of Importance to our selves or others, prevent the Violence of their confused Sensation, and stop their Propensities from breaking out into Action, till we have fully examined the real Moment of the Object, either of our Desires [166] or Aversions.[168] The only way to affect this is, “a constant Attention of Mind, an habitual Discipline over our selves, and a fixed Resolution to stop all Action, before a calm Examination of every Circumstance attending it; more particularly, the real Values of external Objects, and the moral Qualities or Tempers of rational Agents, about whom our Affections may be employed.” This Power we may obtain over our selves, by a frequent Consideration of the great Calamities, and pernicious Actions, to which even the best of our Passions may lead us, when we are rashly hurried into Action by their Violence, and by the confused Sensations, and fantastick Associations of Ideas which attend them: Thus we may raise an habitual Suspicion and Dreadof every violent Passion, which, recurring along with them continually, may in some measure counter‐ballance their Propensities and confused Sensations. This Discipline of our Passions is in general necessary. The unkindor destructive Affections, our Anger, Hatred, or Aversion to rational Agents, seem to need it most; but there is also a great Necessity for it, even about the tender and benign Affections, lest we should be hurried into universal and absolute Evil, by the Appearance of particular Good: And consequently it must be of the highest Importance to all, to strengthen as much [167] as possible, by frequent Meditation and Reflection, the calm [169] Desires either private or publick, rather than the particular Passions, and to make the calm universal Benevolence superior to them.

Resignation of sensual Pleasures.That the necessary Resignation of other Pleasures may be the more easy, we must frequently suggest to our selves these Considerations abovementioned. “External Pleasures are short and transitory, leave no agreeable Reflection, and are no manner of Advantage to us when they are past; we are no better than if we had wanted them altogether.”

In like manner, “past Pains give us no unpleasant Reflection, nor are we the worse for having endured them. If they are violent, our Existence will probably be short; if not, they are tolerable, or allow long Intervals of Ease.” Let us join to these a stoical Consideration; “that external Pains give us a noble Opportunity of moral Pleasures in Fortitude, and Submission to the Order of the whole, if we bear them resolutely; but if we fret under them, we do not alleviate the Suffering, but rather increase it by Discontent or Sullenness.” When external Pains must be endured voluntarily to avoid moral Evil, we must, as much as possible, present to our selves [168] “the moral Species itself, [170] with the publick Goodto ensue, the Honour and Approbation to be expected from all good Men, the Deity, and our own Hearts, if we continue firm; and on the contrary, the Remorse, Shame and Apprehension of future Punishments, if we yield to this Temptation.”

How necessary it is to break off the vain Associations of moral Ideas, from the Objects of external Senses, will also easily appear. This may be done, by considering how trifling the Services are which are done to our Friends or Acquaintances, by splendid Entertainments, at an Expense, which, otherways employed, might have been to them of considerable Importance. Men who are at ease, and of as irregular Imaginations as our selves, may admire and praise our Magnificence; but those who need more durable Services, will never think themselves much obliged. We cannot expect any Gratitude for what was done only to please our own Vanity: The Indigent easily see this, and justly consider upon the whole how much they have profited.

If the Wealth of the Luxurious fails, he is the Object of Contempt: No body pities him nor honours him: his personal Dignity was placed by himself in his Table, [169] Equipage and Furniture; his Admirers placed [171] it also in the same: When these are gone all is lost.

  • —Non est melius quo insumere possis?
  • Cur eget indignus quisquam te Divite? quare
  • Templa ruunt antiqua Deûm? cur improbe carae
  • Non aliquid Patriae ex tanto emetiris acervo?
  • Uni nimirum tibi recte semper erunt res:
  • O magnus posthac inimicis Risus.
  • —Hor.

There is no Enjoyment of external Pleasure, which has more imposed upon Men of late, by some confused Species of Morality, than Gallantry. The sensible Pleasure alone must, by all Men who have the least Reflection, be esteemed at a very low rate: But the Desires of this kind, as they were by Nature intended to found the most constant uninterrupted Friendship, and to introduce the most venerable and lovely Relations, by Marriages and Families, arise in our Hearts, attended with some of the sweetest Affections, with a disinterested Love and Tenderness, with a most gentle and obliging Deportment, with something great and heroick in our Temper. The Wretch who rises no higher in this Passion than the mean sensual Gratification, is abhorred by every one: But these sublimer Sensations and Passions do often so fill the Imaginations of the Amorous, that they are unawares led into [172] the [170] most contemptible and cruel Conduct which can be imagined. When for some trifling transitory Sensations, which they might have innocently enjoyed along with the highest moral Pleasures in Marriage, they expose the very Person they love and admire to the deepest Infamy and Sorrow, to the Contempt of the World, to perpetual Confusion, Remorse, and Anguish; or, to what is worse, an Insensibility of all Honour or Shame, Virtue or Vice, Good or Evil, to be the Scorn and Aversion of the World; and all this coloured over with the gay Notions of Pleasantry, Genteelness, Politeness, Courage, high Enjoyment of Life.

Would Men allow themselves a little Time to reflect on the whole Effect of such capricious Pursuits, the Anguish and Distraction of Mind which these Sallies of Pleasure give to Husbands, Fathers, Brothers; would they consider how they themselves would resent such Treatment of a Wife, a Child, a Sister; how much deeper such Distresses are, than those trifling Losses or Damages, for which we think it just to bring the Authors of them to the Gallows; sure none but a thorow Villain could either practice or approve the one more than the other.

[171/173] A wise Man in his Oeconomy, must do much even in Complaisance to the Follies of others, as well as his own Conveniency, to support that general good Opinion which must be maintained by those who would be publickly useful. His Expences must be some way suited to his Fortune, to avoid the Imputation of Avarice. If indeed what is saved in private Expences, be employed in generous Offices, there is little danger of this Charge. Such a Medium may be kept as to be above Censure, and yet below any Affectation of Honour or Distinction in these matters. If one corrects his own Imagination in these things, he will be in no danger of doing any thing pernicious to please others. He is still in a State fit to judge of the real Importance of every thing which occurs to him, and will gratify the false Relish of others, no farther than it is consistent with, and subservient to some nobler Views.

Conduct necessary about the Pleasures of Imagination.II. To make the Pleasures of Imagination a constant Source of Delight, as they seem intended in the Frame of our Nature, with no hazard of Pain, it is necessary to keep the Sense free from foreign Ideas of Property, and the Desire of Distinction, as much as possible. If this can be done, we may receive Pleasure from every Work of[174] Nature or Art around us. We enjoy [172] not only the whole of Nature, but the united Labours of all about us. To prevent the Idea of Property, let us consider “how little the Proprietor enjoys more than the Spectator: Wherein is he the better or the happier?” The Poet, or the Connoisseur, who judges nicely of the Perfection of the Works of Art, or the Beauties of Nature, has generally a higher Taste than the Possessor. The magnificent Palace, the grand Apartments, the Vistas, the Fountains, the Urns, the Statues, the Grottos and Arbours, are exposed either in their own Nature, or by the Inclination of the Proprietor, to the Enjoyment of others. The Pleasure of the Proprietor depends upon the Admiration of others, he robs himself of his chief Enjoyment if he excludes Spectators: Nay, may not a Taste for Nature be acquired, giving greater Delight than the Observation of Art?

  • Deterius Lybicis olet, aut nitet, Herba lapillis?
  • Purior in vicis aqua tendit rumpere Plumbum,
  • Quam que per pronum trepidat cum murmure rivum?
  • Nempe inter varias nutritur Sylva Columnas,
  • Laudaturque Domus, longos qua prospicit Agros.
  • Naturam expellas surca licet, usque recurret.
  • —Hor.

Must an artful Grove, an Imitation of a Wilderness, or the more confined Forms or [175] Ever‐greens, please more than the real Forest, [173] with the Trees of God? Shall a Statue give more Pleasure than the human Face Divine?

Where the Humour of Distinction is not corrected, our Equals become our Adversaries: The Grandeur of another is our Misery, and makes our Enjoyments insipid. There is only one way of making this Humour tolerable, but this way is almost inconsistent with the Inclination itself, viz. “continually to haunt with our Inferiors, and compare our selves with them.” But if inconstant Fortune, or their own Merit do raise any of them to equal us, our Pleasure is lost, or we must sink ourselves to those who are still Inferior, and abandon the Society of every Person whose Art or Merit raises him. How poor a Thought is this!

The Pursuits of the Learnedhave often as much Folly in them as any others, when Studies are not valued according to their Use in Life, or the real Pleasures they contain, but for the Difficulty and Obscurity, and consequently the Rarity and Distinction. Nay, an abuse may be made of the most noble and manly Studies, even of Morals, Politicks, and Religion itself, if our Admiration and Desire terminate upon the Knowledge itself, and not upon [174] the Possession of [176] the Dispositions and Affections inculcated in these Studies. If these Studies be only matter of Amusement and Speculation, instead of leading us into a constant Discipline over our selves, to correct our Hearts, and to guide our Actions, we are not much better employed, than if we had been studying some useless Relations of Numbers, or Calculations of Chances.

There is not indeed any part of Knowledge which can be called entirely useless. The most abstracted Parts of Mathematicks, and the Knowledge of mythological History, or antient Allegories, have their own Pleasures not inferior to the more gay Entertainments of Painting, Musick, or Architecture; and it is for the Advantage of Mankind that some are found, who have a Taste for these Studies. The only Fault lies, in letting any of those inferior Tastes engross the whole Man to the Exclusion of the nobler Pursuits of Virtue and Humanity.

Concerning all these Pleasures of the Imagination, let us consider also “how little support they can give Men under any of the Calamities of Life,” such as the Treachery or Baseness of a Friend, a Wife, a Child, or the perplexing Intricacies [175] of our common Affairs, or the Apprehension of Death.

  • [177]
  • Re veraque Metus hominum, Curaeque sequaces
  • Nec metuunt sonitus Armorum, nec fera Tela;
  • Audacterque inter Reges, rerumque Potentes
  • Versantur, nec fulgorem reverentur ab auro,
  • Nec clarum vestis splendorem purpureaï
  • Quid dubitas quin omne sit hoc rationis egestas?
  • Luc.

Ideas of Divinity arise from the internal Senses.III. Under this Head of our Internal Sense, we must observe one natural Effect of it, that it leads us into Apprehensions of aDeity. Grandeur, Beauty, Order, Harmony, wherever they occur, raise an Opinion of a Mind, of Design, and Wisdom. Every thing great, regular, or proportioned, excites Veneration, either toward itself, if we imagine it animated, if not animated, toward some apprehended Cause. No Determination of our Mind is more natural than this, no Effect more universal. One has better Reason to deny the Inclination between the Sexes to be natural, than a Disposition in Mankind to Religion.

We cannot open our Eyes, without discerning Grandeur and Beauty every where. Whoever receives these Ideas, feels an inward Veneration arise. We may fall into a Thousand vain Reasonings: foolish limited Notions of Divinity may be formed, as attached to the particular Places or [176] Objects, which strike us in the most lively [178] manner. Custom, Prejudice of Sense or Education, may confirm some foolish Opinion about the Nature or Cause of these Appearances: But wherever a superior Mind, a governing Intention or Design is imagined, there Religion begins in its most simple Form, and an inward Devotion arises. Our Nature is as much determined to this, as to any other Perception or Affection. How we manage these Ideas and Affections, is indeed of the greatest Importance to our Happiness or Misery.

The Apprehension of an universal Mind with Power and Knowledge, is indeed an agreeable Object of Contemplation. But we must form our Ideas of all intelligent Natures, with some Resemblance or Analogy to our selves: We must also conceive something correspondent to our Affections in the Divinity, with some moral Apprehensions of the Actions and Tempers of his Creatures. The Order of Nature will suggest many Confirmations of this. We must conclude some Worship acceptable, and some Expressions of Gratitude as our Duty. The Conceptions of the Deity must be various, according to the different Degrees of Attention and Reasoning in the Observers, and their own Tempers and Affections. Imagining the divine Mind, as cruel, [177] wrathful, or capricious, must be a perpetual Source of Dread and Horror; and will be apt to raise a Resemblance of Temper in the Worshipper, with its attendant Misery. A contrary [179] Idea of the Divinty, as good, and kind, delighting in universal Happiness, and ordering all Events of the Universe to this End, as it is the most delightful Contemplation, so it fills the good Mind with a constant Security and Hope, amidst either publick Disorders, or private Calamities.

To find out which of these two Representations of the Deity is the true one, we must consult the Universe, the Effect of his Power, and the Scene of his Actions. After what has been observed by so many ingenious Authors, both Ancient and Modern, one cannot be at a loss which Opinion to chuse. We may only on this occasion consider the Evidences of divine Goodness appearing in the Structure of our own Nature, and in the Order of our Passions and Senses.

Evidences of the Goodness of God in the Frame of our Senses and Affections.It was observed above, how admirably our Affections are contrived for good in the whole. Many of them indeed do not pursue the private Goodof the Agent; nay, many of them, in various Cases, seem to tend to his detriment, by concerning him violently in the Fortunes of others, in their [178] Adversity, as well as their Prosperity. But they all aim at good, either private or publick: and by them each particular Agent is [180] made, in a great measure, subservient to the good of the whole. Mankind are thus insensibly link’d together, and make one great System, by an invisible Union. He who voluntarily continues in this Union, and delights in employing his Power for his Kind, makes himself happy: He who does not continue this Union freely, but affects to break it, makes himself wretched; nor yet can he break the Bonds of Nature. His publick Sense, his Love of Honour, and the very Necessities of his Nature, will continue to make him depend upon his System, and engage him to serve it, whether he inclines to it or not. Thus we are formed with a View to a general good End; and may in our own Nature discern a universal Mind watchful for the whole.

The same is observable in the Order of our external Senses. The simple Productions of Nature, which are useful to any Species of Animals, are also grateful to them; and the pernicious or useless Objects are made disagreeable. Our external Sensations are no doubt often painful, when our Bodies are in a dangerous State; when they want supplies of Nourishment; when any thing external would be injurious to them. But if it appears, “that the general Laws [179] are wisely constituted, and that it is necessary to the Good of a System of [181] such Agents, to be under the Influence of general Laws, upon which there is occasion for Prudence and Activity;” the particular Pains occasioned by a necessary Law of Sensation, can be no Objection against the Goodness of the Author.

Now that there is no room for complaint, that “our external Sense of Pain is made too acute,” must appear from the Multitudes we daily see so careless of preserving the Blessing of Health, of which many are so prodigal as to lavish it away, and expose themselves to external Pains for very trifling Reasons. Can we then repine at the friendly Admonitions of Nature, joined with some Austerity, when we see that they are scarce sufficient to restrain us from Ruin? The same may be said of the Pains of other kinds. Shame and Remorse are never to be called too severe, while so many are not sufficiently restrained by them. Our Compassion and friendly Sense of Sorrow, what are they else but the Alarms and Exhortations of a kind impartial Father, to engage his Children to relieve a distressed Brother? Our Anger itself is a necessary Piece of Management, by which every pernicious Attempt is made dangerous to its Author.

[180/182] Would we allow room to our Invention, to conceive what sort of Mechanism, what Constitutions of Senses or Affections a malicious powerful Being might have formed, we should soon see how few Evidences there are for any such Apprehension concerning the Author of this World. Our Mechanism, as far as we have ever yet discovered, is wholly contrived for good. No cruel Device, no Art or Contrivance to produce evil: No such Mark or Scope seems ever to be aimed at. How easy had it been to have contrived some necessary Engines of Misery without any use; some Member of no other service but to be matter of Torment; Senses incapable of bearing the surrounding Objects without Pain; Eyes pained with the Light; a Palate offended with the Fruits of the Earth; a Skin as tender as the Coats of the Eye, and yet some more furious Pain forcing us to bear these Torments? Human Society might have been made as uneasy as the Company of Enemies, and yet a perpetual more violent Motive of Fear might have forc’d us to bear it. Malice, Rancour, Distrust, might have been our natural Temper. Our Honour and Self‐Approbation might have depended upon Injuries; and the Torments of others been made our Delight, which yet we could not have enjoyed thro’ [183] perpetual Fear. Many such Contrivances we [181] may easily conceive, whereby an evil Mindcould have gratified his Malice by our Misery. But how unlike are they all to the Intention or Design of the Mechanism of this World?

Our Passions no doubt are often matter of Uneasiness to our selves, and sometimes occasion Misery to others, when any one is indulged into a Degree of Strength beyond its Proportion. But which of them could we have wanted, without greater Misery in the whole? They are by Nature ballanced against each other, like the Antagonist Muscles of the Body; either of which separately would have occasioned Distortion and irregular Motion, yet jointly they form a Machine, most accurately subservient to the Necessities, Convenience, and Happiness of a rational System. We have a Power of Reason and Reflection, by which we may see what Course of Action will naturally tend to procure us the most valuable Gratifications of all our Desires, and prevent any intolerable or unnecessary Pains, or provide some support under them. We have Wisdom sufficient to form Ideas of Rights, Laws, Constitutions; so as to preserve large Societies in Peace and Prosperity, and promote a general Goodamidst all the private Interests.

[182/184] If from the present Order of Nature, in which Goodappears far superior to Evil, we have just Presumptions to conclude the Deity to be benevolent, it is not conceivable “that any Being, who desires the Happiness of others, should not desire a greater Degree of Happiness to them rather than a less; and that consequently the whole Series of Events is the best possible, and contains in the whole the greatest possible absolute Good:” especially since we have no Presumption of any private Interest, which an universalMind can have in view, in opposition to the greatest Good of the whole. Nor are the particular Evils occurring to our Observation, any just Objection against the perfect Goodness of the universal Providence to us, who cannot know how far these Evils may be necessarily connected with the Means of the greatest possible absolute Good.

The Conduct of our publick Sense andAffections.IV. In managing our publick Sense of the State of others, we must beware of one common Mistake, viz. “apprehending every Person to be miserable in those Circumstances, which we imagine would make our selves miserable.” We may easily find, that the lower Rank of Mankind, whose only Revenue is their bodily Labour, enjoy as much Chearfulness, Contentment, [183/185] Health, Gaiety, in their own way, as any in the highest Station of Life. Both their Minds and Bodies are soon fitted to their State. The Farmer and Labourer, when they enjoy the bare Necessaries of Life, are easy. They have often more correct Imaginations, thro’ Necessity and Experience, than others can acquire by Philosophy. This Thought is indeed a poor Excuse for a base selfish Oppressor, who, imagining Poverty a great Misery, bears hard upon those in a low Station of Life, and deprives them of their natural Conveniences, or even of bare Necessaries. But this Consideration may support a compassionate Heart, too deeply touched with apprehended Miseries, of which the Sufferers are themselves insensible.

The Pains of this Sense are not easily removed. They are not allayed by the Distinction of Pains into real and imaginary. Much less will it remove them, to consider how much of human Misery is owing to their own Folly and Vice. Folly and Vice are themselves the most pityable Evils. It is of more consequence to consider, what Evidences there are “that the Vice and Misery in the World are smaller than we sometimes in our melancholy Hours imagine.” There are no doubt many furious [186] Starts of Passion, in which [184] Malice may seem to have place in our Constitution; but how seldom, and how short, in comparison of Years spent in fixed kind Pursuits of the Good of a Family, a Party, a Country? How great a Part of human Actions flow directly from Humanity and kind Affection? How many censurable Actions are owing to the same Spring, only chargeable on Inadvertence, or an Attachment to too narrow a System? How few owing to any thing worse than selfish Passions above their Proportion?

Here Men are apt to let their Imaginations run out upon all the Robberies, Piracies, Murders, Perjuries, Frauds, Massacres, Assassinations, they have ever either heard of, or read in History; thence concluding all Mankind to be very wicked: as if a Court of Justice were the proper Place of making an Estimate of the Morals of Mankind, or an Hospital of the Healthfulness of a Climate. Ought they not to consider, that the Number of honest Citizens and Farmers far surpasses that of all sorts of Criminals in any State; and that the innocent or kind Actions of even Criminals themselves, surpass their Crimes in Numbers? That ’tis the Rarity of Crimes, in comparison of innocent or good Actions, [187] which engages our Attention to them, and makes them be recorded in History; while incomparably more honest, generous, [185] domestick Actions are overlooked, only because they are so common; as one great Danger, or one Month’s Sickness, shall become a frequently repeated Story, during a long Life of Health and Safety.

The Pains of the external Senses are pretty frequent, but how short in comparison of the long Tracts of Health, Ease and Pleasure? How rare is the Instance of a Life, with one tenth spent in violent Pain? How few want absolute Necessaries; nay, have not something to spend on Gaiety and Ornament? The Pleasures of Beauty are exposed to all in some measure. These kinds of Beauty which require Property to the full Enjoyment of them, are not ardently desired by many. The Good of every kind in the Universe, is plainly superior to the Evil. How few would accept of Annihilation, rather than Continuance in Life in the middle State of Age, Health and Fortune? Or what separated Spirit, who had considered human Life, would not, rather than perish, take the hazard of it again, by returning into a Body in the State of Infancy?

  • [188]
  • —Who would lose,
  • For fear of Pain, this intellectual Being,
  • These Thoughts which wander thro’ Eternity,
  • To perish rather, swallowed up and lost
  • In the wide Womb of uncreated Night,
  • Devoid of Sense and Motion
  • —Milton’s Par. lost, Book 2.

[186 ] These Thoughts plainly shew a Prevalence of Good in the World. But still our publick Sense finds much matter of compassionate Sorrow among Men. The Many are in a tolerable good State; but who can be unconcerned for the distressed Few? They are few in comparison of the whole, and yet a great Multitude.

What Parent would be much concerned at the Pains of breeding of Teeth, were they sure they would be short, and end well? Or at the Pain of a Medicine, or an Incision, which was necessary for the Cure, and would certainly accomplish it? Is there then no Parent in Nature, no Physician who sees what is necessary for the Whole, and for the good of each Individual in the whole of his Existence, as far as is consistent with the general Good? Can we expect, in this our Childhoodof Existence, to understand all the Contrivance and Art of this Parent and Physician of Nature? May not [189] some harsh Discipline be necessary to Good? May not many natural Evils be necessary to prevent future moral Evils, and to correct the Tempers of the Agents, nay to introduce moral Good? Is not Suffering and Distress requisite, before there can be room for generous Compassion, Succour, and Liberality? Can there be Forgiveness, Returns of good for evil, [187] unless there be some moral Evil? Must the Whole want the eternally delightful Consciousness of such Actions and Dispositions, to prevent a few transient Sensations of Pain, or natural Evil? May there not be some unseen Necessity for the greatest universal Good, that there should be an Order of Beings no more perfect than we are, subject to Error and wrong Affections sometimes? May not all the present Disorders which attend this State of prevalent Order, be rectified by the directing Providence in a future Part of our Existence? This Belief of a Deity, a Providence, and a future State, are the only sure Supports to a good Mind. Let us then acquire and strengthen our Love and Concern for this Whole, and acquiesce in what the governing Mind, who presides in it, is ordering in the wisest Manner, tho not yet fully known to us, for its most universal Good.

The Necessity of believing a future State.[190] A future State, firmly believed, makes the greatest Difficulties on this Subject to vanish. No particular finite Evils can be looked upon as intolerable, which lead to Good, infinite in Duration. Nor can we complain of the Conditions of Birth, if the present Evils of Life have [188] even a probable hazard of everlasting Happiness to compensate them; much more if it be placed in our power certainly to obtain it. Never could the boldest Epicurean bring the lightest Appearance of Argument against the Possibility of such a State, nor was there ever any thing tolerable advanced against its Probability. We have no Records of any Nation which did not entertain this Opinion. Men of Reflection in all Ages, have found at least probable Arguments for it; and the Vulgar have been prone to believe it, without any other Argument than their natural Notions of Justice in the Administration of the World. Present Hope is present Good: and this very Hope has enlivened human Life, and given ease to generous Minds, under Anxieties about the publick Good.

This Opinion was interwoven with all Religions; and as it in many instances overballanced the Motives to Vice, so it removed Objections against Providence. The [191] good Influence of this Opinion, however it might not justify any Frauds, yet probably did more good than what might overballance many Evils flowing from even very corrupt Religions. How agreeable then must it be to every good Man, that this Opinion, were there even no more to be done, should be confirmed beyond question or doubt, by a well attested divine [189] Revelation, for the perpetual Security of the virtuous, and for the constant Support of the kind and compassionate? How gladly must every honest Heart receive it; and rejoice that even those who have neither Leisure nor Capacity for deep Reflection, should be thus convinced of it?

The Conduct of the unkind Affections.As to the Management of those Passions which seem opposite to the Happiness of others, such as Anger, Jealousy, Envy, Hatred; it is very necessary to represent to our selves continually, the most favourable Conceptions of others, and to force our Minds to examine the real Springs of the resented Actions. We may almost universally find, that “no Man acts from pure Malice; that the Injurious only intended some Interest of his own, without any ultimate Desire of our Misery; that he is more to be pitied for his own mean selfish Temper, for the want of true Goodness, and its attendant Happiness, than to be hated for his Conduct, which is really more pernicious to himself [192] than to others. Our Lenity, Forgiveness, and Indulgence to the Weakness of others, will be constant Matter of delightful Consciousness, and Self‐Approbation; [190] and will be as probably effectual in most cases, to obtain Reparation of Wrongs, from an hearty Remorse, and thorow Amendment of the Temper of the Injurious, as any Methods of Violence.” Could we raise our Goodness even to an higher Pitch, and consider “the Injurious as our Fellow-Members in this great intellectual Body, whose Interest and Happiness it becomes us to promote, as much as we can consistently with that of others, and not to despise, scorn, or cut them off, because of every Weakness, Deformity, or lighter Disorder;” we might bring our selves to that divine Conduct, of even returning good for evil.

In like manner, our Emulation, Jealousy, or Envy, might be restrained in a great measure, by a constant Resolution of bearing always in our Minds thelovely Side of every Character: “The compleatly Evil are as rare as the perfectly Virtuous: There is something amiable almost in every one.” Could we enure our selves [193] constantly to dwell on these things, we might often bear patiently the Success of a Rival, nay, sometimes even rejoice in it, be more happy our [191] selves, and turn him into a real Friend. We should often find those Phantoms of Vice and Corruption which torment the Jealous, vanishing before the bright Warmth of a thorow good Temper, resolved to search for every thing lovely and good, and averse to think any evil.

Conduct of the moral Sense, and Sense of Honour.V. In governing our moral Sense, and Desires of Virtue, nothing is more necessary than to study the Nature and Tendency of human Actions; and to extend our views to the whole Species, or to all sensitive Natures, as far as they can be affected by our Conduct. Our moral Sense thus regulated, and constantly followed in our Actions, may be the most constant Source of the most stable Pleasure. The same Conduct is always the most probable Means of obtaining the Pleasures of Honour. If there be a Distinction between Truth and Falshood, Truth must be stronger than Falshood: It must be more probable that Truth will generally prevail; that the real good Tendency of our Actions, and the Wisdom of our Intentions will be known; and Misrepresentations or partial Views will vanish. Our Desire of Honour is not confined to our present State. The Prospect of future Glory is a strong Motive [194] of Action. And thus the Time, in which our Character may have the hazard of obtaining Justice, has no other Limits [192] than those of the Existence of rational Natures. Whereas, partial Notions of Virtue, and partial Conduct, have no other Foundation for Self‐Approbation, than our Ignorance, Error, or Inadvertence; nor for Honour, than the like Ignorance, Error, or Inadvertence of others.

That we may not be engaged into any thing contrary to the publick Good, or to the true Schemes of Virtue, by the Desire of false Honour, or Fear of false Shame, it is of great use to examine the real Dignity of those we converse with, and to confine our Intimacies to the truly virtuous and wise. From such we can expect no Honour, but according to our sincere Pursuit of the publick Good; nor need we ever fear any Shame in such a Course. But above all, did we frequently, and in the most lively manner, present to ourselves that great, and wise, and good Mind, which presides over the Universe, sees every Action, and knows the true Character and Disposition of every Heart, approving nothing but sincere Goodness and Integrity; did we consider that the time will come, when we shall be as conscious of his Presence, as we are of our own Existence; as sensible of his Approbation or [195] Condemnation, as we are of the Testimony of our own Hearts; when we shall be engaged in a Society of Spirits, stripped of these Prejudices [193] and false Notions which so often attend us in Flesh and Blood, how should we despise that Honour which is from Men, when opposite to the truest Honour from God himself?

The Desires of Wealth and Power.VI. Concerning the Desires of Wealth and Power, besides what was suggested above to allay their Violence, from considering the small Addition commonly made to the Happiness of the Possessor, by the greatest Degrees of them, and the Uncertainty of their Continuance; if we have obtained any share of them, let us examine their true Use, and what is the best Enjoyment of them.

  • —Quid asper
  • Utile Nummus habet? Patriae carisque propinquis
  • Quantum elargiri decet?
  • Persius.

What moral Pleasures, what Delights of Humanity, what Gratitude from Persons obliged, what Honour, may a wise Man of a generous Temper purchase with them? How foolish is the Conduct of heaping up Wealth for Posterity, when smaller Degrees might make them equally happy! when great Prospects of this kind are the strongest Temptations to them, to indulge Sloth, Luxury, [196] Debauchery, Insolence, Pride, and Contempt of their Fellow‐Creatures; [194] and to banish some noble Dispositions, Humility, Compassion, Industry, Hardiness of Temper and Courage, the Offspring of the sober rigid Dame Poverty. How often does the Example, and almost direct Instruction of Parents, lead Posterity into the basest Views of Life!

  • —Qui nulla exempla beati
  • Pauperis esse putat—
  • Cum dicis Juveni stultum qui donat amico,
  • Qui paupertatem levat attollitque propinqui,
  • Et spoliare doces & circumscribere—
  • Ergo Ignem, cujus scintillas ipse dedisti,
  • Flagrantem late, & rapientem cuncta videbis.
  • Juv. Sat. 14.

How powerfully might the Example of a wisely generous Father, at once teach his Offspring the true Value of  Wealth or Power, and prevent their Neglect of them, or foolish throwing them away, and yet inspire them with a generous Temper, capable of the just Use of them!

Support against Death.Death is one Object of our Aversion, which yet we cannot avoid. It can scarcely be said, that “the Desire of Life is as strong as the Sum of all selfish Desires.” It may be so with those who enure themselves to no Pleasures but those of the external Senses. [197] But how often do we see [195] Death endured, not only from Love of Virtue, or publick Affections, in Heroes and Martyrs, but even from Love of Honour in lower Characters! Many Aversions are stronger than that to Death. Fear of bodily Pain, fear of Dishonour, which are selfish Aversions, do often surpass our Aversion to Death, as well as publick Affections to Countries or Friends. It is of the greatest Consequence to the Enjoyment of Life, to know its true Value; to strip Death of its borrowed Ideas of Terror; to consider it barely as the Cessation of both the Pains and Pleasures we now feel, coming frequently upon us with no more Pain than that of Swooning, with a noble Hazard, or rather a certain Prospect of superior Happiness to every good Mind. Death in this view must appear an inconsiderable Evil, in comparison of Vice, Self‐Abhorrence, real Dishonour, the Slavery of one’s Country, the Misery of a Friend.

The tender Regards to a Family and Offspring, are often the strongest Bands to restrain a generous Mind from submitting to Death. What shall be the Fate of a Wife, a Child, a Friend, or a Brother, when we are gone, are the frequent Subjects of grievous Anxiety. The Fortunes of such Persons often depend much upon us; and when [198] they do not, yet we are more anxious [196] about their State when we shall be absent.

  • Ut assidens implumibus pullis avis,
  • Serpentium allapsus timet
  • Magis relictis, non ut adsit Auxilî
  • Latura plus praesentibus.
  • —Hor.

Next to the Belief of a good Providence, nothing can support Men more under such Anxieties, than considering how often the Orphan acquires a Vigor of Mind, Sagacity and Industry, superior to those who are enfeebled by the constant Care and Services of others. A wise Man would desire to be provided with Friends against such an Exigency; Persons of such Goodness, as would joyfully accept the Legacy of a Child, or indigent Friendcommitted to their Protection.

Support against Death.If Death were an entire Endof the Person, so that no Thought or Sense should remain, all Goodmust cease at Death, but no Evil commence. The Loss of Goodis Evil to us now, but will be no Evil to a Being which has lost all Sense of Evil. Were this the Case, the Consolation against Death would only be this, frequently to look upon Life and all its Enjoyments as granted to us only for a short Term; to employ this uncertain Time as much as we can in the Enjoyment [199] of the noblest Pleasures; [197] and to prevent Surprize at our Removal, by laying our Account for it.

But if we exist, and think after Death, and retain our Senses of Good and Evil, no Consolation against Death can be suggested to a wicked Man; but for the virtuous, there are the best Grounds of Hope and Joy. If the Administration of the whole be good, we may be sure “that Order and Happiness will in the whole prevail: Nor will Misery be inflicted any farther than is necessary for some prepollent Good.” Now there is no Presumption, that the absolute Misery of any virtuous Person can be necessary to any good End: Such Persons therefore are the most likely to enjoy a State of perfect Happiness.

What is the natural State of Men.VII. To conclude: Let us consider that common Character, which when ascribed to any State, Quality, Disposition, or Action, engages our Favour and Approbation of it, viz. its being natural. We have many Suspicions about Tempers or Dispositions formed by Art, but are some way prepossessed in favour of what is natural: We imagine it must be advantageous and delightful to be in a natural State, and to live according to Nature. “This very Presumption in favour of what is natural, is a plain Indication that [200] the Order of Nature is good, and that Men are some [198 ] way convinced of it. Let us enquire then what is meant by it.”

If by natural we mean “that which we enjoy or do, when we first begin to exist, or to think,” it is impossible to know what State, Temper, or Actions, are natural. Our natural State in this Sense differs little from that of a Plant, except in some accidental Sensations of Hunger, or of Ease, when we are well nourished.

Some elaborate Treatises of great Philosophers about innate Ideas, or Principles practical or speculative, amount to no more than this, “That in the Beginning of our Existence we have no Ideas or Judgments;” they might have added too, no Sight, Taste, Smell, Hearing, Desire, Volition. Such Dissertations are just as useful for understanding human Nature, as it would be in explaining the animal Oeconomy, to prove that the Faetus is animated before it has Teeth, Nails, Hair, or before it can eat, drink, digest, or breathe: Or in a natural History of Vegetables, to prove that Trees begin to grow before they have Branches, Leaves, Flower, Fruit, or Seed: And consequently that all these things were adventitious, or the Effect of Art.

[201] But if we call “that State, those Dispositions and Actions, natural, to [199] which we are inclined by some part of our Constitution, antecedently to any Volition of our own; or which flow from some Principles in our Nature, not brought upon us by our own Art, or that of others;” then it may appear, from what was said above, that “a State of Good‐will, Humanity, Compassion, mutual Aid, propagating and supporting Offspring, Love of a Community or Country, Devotion, or Love and Gratitude to some governing Mind, is our natural State,” to which we are naturally inclined, and do actually arrive, as universally, and with as much uniformity, as we do to a certain Stature and Shape.

If by natural we understand “the highest Perfection of the Kind, to which any Nature may be improved by cultivating its natural Dispositions or Powers;” as few arrive at this in the Growth of their Bodies, so few obtain it in their Minds. But we may see what this Perfection is, to which our natural Dispositions tend, when we improve them to the utmost, as far as they are consistent with each other, making the weaker or meaner yield to the more excellent and stronger. Our several Senses and Affections, publick and private, with our Powers [202] of Reason and Reflection, shew this to be the Perfection of our Kind, viz. “to know, [200] love, and reverence the great Author of all things; to form the most extensive Ideas of our own true Interests, and those of all other Natures, rational or sensitive; to abstain from all Injury; to pursue regularly and impartially the most universal absolute Good, as far as we can; to enjoy constant Self‐Approbation, and Honour from wise Men; with Trust in divineProvidence,Hope of everlasting Happiness, and a full Satisfaction and Assurance of Mind, that the whole Series of Events is directed by an unerring Wisdom, for the greatest universal Happiness of the whole.”

To assert that “Men have generally arrived to the Perfection of their Kindin this Life,” is contrary to Experience. But on the other hand, to suppose “no Order at all in the Constitution of our Nature, or no prevalent Evidences of good Order,” is yet more contrary to Experience, and would lead to a Denial of Providence in the most important Affair which can occur to our Observation. We actually see such Degrees of good Order, of social Affection, of Virtue and Honour, as make the Generality of Mankind continue in a tolerable, nay, an agreeable State. However, in some [203] Tempers we see the selfish Passions by Habits grown too strong; [201] in others we may observe Humanity, Compassion, and Good‐nature sometimes raised by Habits, as we say, to an Excess.

Were we to strike a Medium of the several Passions and Affections, as they appear in the whole Species of Mankind, to conclude thence what has been the natural Ballance previously to any Change made by Custom or Habit, which we see casts the Ballance to either side, we should perhaps find the Medium of the publick Affections not very far from a sufficient Counter‐ballance to the Medium of the Selfish; and consequently the Overballance on either side in particular Characters, is not to be looked upon as the original Constitution, but as the accidental Effect of Custom, Habits, or Associations of Ideas, or other preternatural Causes: So that an universal increasing of the Strength of either, might in the whole be of little advantage. The raising universally the publick Affections, the Desires of Virtue and Honour, would make the Hero of Cervantes, pining with Hunger and Poverty, no rare Character. The universal increasing of Selfishness, unless we had more accurate Understandings to discern our nicest Interests, would fill the World with universal Rapine and War. The Consequences of [204] either universally abating, or increasing the Desires between the Sexes, the Love of Offspring, or the several [202] Tastes and Fancies in other Pleasures, would perhaps be found more pernicious to the whole, than the present Constitution. What seems most truly wanting in our Nature, is greater Knowledge, Attention and Consideration: had we a greater Perfection this way, and were evil Habits, and foolish Associations of Ideas prevented, our Passions would appear in better order.

But while we feel in ourselves so much publick Affection in the various Relations of Life, and observe the like in others; while we find every one desiring indeed his own Happiness, but capable of discerning, by a little Attention, that not only his external Conveniency, or worldly Interest, but even the most immediate and lively Sensations of Delight, of which his Nature is susceptible, immediately flow from a Publick Spirit, a generous, human, compassionate Temper, and a suitable Deportment; while we observe so many Thousands enjoying a tolerable State of Ease and Safety, for each one whose Condition is made intolerable, even during our present Corruption: How can any one look upon this World as under the Direction of an evil Nature, or even question a perfectly goodProvidence? How clearly does the [205] Order of our Nature point out to us our true Happiness and Perfection, and lead us to it as naturally as the several Powers of [203] the Earth, the Sun, and Air, bring Plants to their Growth, and the Perfection of their Kinds? We indeed are directed to it by our Understanding and Affections, as it becomes rational and active Natures; and they by mechanick Laws. We may see, that “Attention to the most universal Interest of all sensitive Natures, is the Perfection of each individual of Mankind:” That they should thus be like well‐tuned Instruments, affected with every Stroke or Touch upon any one. Nay, how much of this do we actually see in the World? What generous Sympathy, Compassion, and Congratulation with each other? Does not even the flourishing State of the inanimate Parts of Nature, fill us with joy? Is not thus our Nature admonished, exhorted and commanded to cultivate universal Goodness and Love, by a Voice heard thro’ all the Earth, and Words sounding to the Ends of the World?

treatise ii

Illustrations uponthe Moral Sense

[205/207] The Differences of Actions from which some are constituted morally Good, and others morally Evil, have always been accounted a very important Subject of Inquiry: And therefore, every Attempt to free this Subject from the usual Causes of Error and Dispute, the Confusion of ambiguous Words, must be excusable.

Definitions.In the following Discourse, Happiness denotes pleasant Sensation of any kind, or a continued State of such Sensations; and Misery denotes the contrary Sensations.

Such Actions as tend to procure Happiness to the Agent, are called privately useful: and such Actions as procure Misery to the Agent, privately hurtful.

[206] Actions procuring Happiness to others may be called publickly useful, and the contrary Actions publickly hurtful. Some Actions may be both publickly and privately useful, and others both publickly and privately hurtful.

These different natural Tendencies of Actions are universally acknowledged; and in proportion to our Reflection upon human Affairs, we shall enlarge our Knowledge of these Differences.

Two Questions about Morality.When these natural Differences are known, it remains to be inquired into: 1st, “What Quality in any Action determines our Election of it rather than the contrary?” Or, if the Mind determines itself, “What Motives or Desires excite to an Action, rather than the contrary, or rather than to the Omission?” 2dly, “What Quality determines our Approbation of one Action, rather than of the contrary Action?”

The Words Election and Approbation seem to denote simple Ideas known by Consciousness; which can only be explained by synonimous Words, or by concomitant or con[209]sequent Circumstances. Election is purposing to do an Action rather than its contrary, or than being inactive. Appro[207]bation of our own Action denotes, or is attended with a Pleasure in the Contemplation of it, and in Reflection upon the Affections which inclined us to it. Approbation of the Action of another is pleasant, and is attended with Love toward the Agent.

The Qualities moving to Election, or exciting to Action, are different from those moving to Approbation: We often do Actions which we do not approve, and approve Actions which we omit: We often desire that an Agent had omitted an Action which we approve; and wish he would do an Action which we condemn. Approbation is employed about the Actions of others, where there is no room for our Election.

Now in our Search into the Qualities exciting either our Election or Approbation, let us consider the several Notions advanced of moral Good and Evil in both these Respects; and what Senses, Instincts, or Affections, [210] must be necessarily supposed to account for our Approbation or Election.

The Epicurean Opinion.There are two Opinions on this Subject entirely opposite: The one that of the old Epicureans, as it is beautifully explained in the first Book of Cicero, De [208 ] finibus; which is revived by Mr. Hobbes, and followed by many better Writers: “That all the Desires of the human Mind, nay of all thinking Natures, are reducible to Self‐Love, or Desire of private Happiness: That from this Desire all Actions of any Agent do flow.” Our Christian Moralists introduce other sorts of Happiness to be desired, but still “ ’tis the Prospect of private Happiness, which, with some of them, is the sole Motive of Election. And that, in like manner, what determines any Agent to approve his own Action, is its Tendency to his private Happiness in the whole, tho it may bring present Pain along with it: That the Approbation of the Action of another, is from an Opinion of its Tendency to the Happiness of the Approver, either immediately or more remotely: That each Agent may discover it to be the surest way to promote his private Happiness, to do publickly useful Actions, and to abstain from those which are publickly hurtful: [211] That the neglecting to observe this, and doing publickly hurtful Actions, does mischief to the whole of Mankind, by hurting any one part; that every one has some little damage by this Action: Such an inadvertent Person might possibly be pernicious to any one, were he in his Neighbourhood; and the very Example [209] of such Actions may extend over the whole World, and produce some pernicious Effects upon any Observer. That therefore every one may look upon such Actions as hurtful to himself, and in this view does disapprove them, and hates the Agent. In the like manner, a publickly useful Action may diffuse some small Advantage to every Observer, whence he may approve it, and love the Agent.”

Does not answer the Appearances.This Scheme can never account for the principal Actions of human Life: Such as the Offices of Friendship, Gratitude, natural Affection, Generosity, publick Spirit, Compassion. Men are conscious of no such Intentions or acute Reflections in these Actions. Ingenious speculative Men, in their straining to support an Hypothesis, may contrive a thousand subtle selfish Motives, which a kind generous Heart never dreamed of. In like manner, this Scheme can never account for [212] the sudden Approbation, and violent Sense of something amiable in Actions done in distant Ages and Nations, while the Approver has perhaps never thought of these distant Tendencies to his Happiness. Nor will it better account for our want of Approbation [210] toward publickly useful Actions done casually, or only with Intention of private Happiness to the Agent. And then, in these Actions reputed generous, if the Agent’s Motive was only a view to his own Pleasure, how come we to approve them more than his enriching himself, or his gratifying his own Taste with good Food? The whole Species may receive a like Advantage from both, and the Observer an equal Share.

Were our Approbation of Actions done in distant Ages and Nations, occasioned by this Thought, that such an Action done toward our selves would be useful to us, why don’t we approve and love in like manner any Man who finds a Treasure, or indulges himself in any exquisite Sensation, since these Advantages or Pleasures might be conferred on our selves; and tend more to our Happiness than any Actions in distant Ages?

The Sanctions of Laws may make any Agent chuse the Action required, under the Conception of useful to himself, and lead [213] him into an Opinion of private Advantage in it, and of detriment in the contrary Actions; but what should determine any Person to approve the Actions of others, because of a Conformity to a [211] Law, if Approbation in any Person were only an Opinion of private Advantage?

The opposite Opinion does plainly.The other Opinion is this, “That we have not only Self‐Love, but benevolent Affections also toward others, in various Degrees, making us desire their Happiness as an ultimate End, without any view to private Happiness: That we have a moral Sense or Determination of our Mind, to approve every kind Affection either in our selves or others, and all publickly useful Actions which we imagined do flow from such Affection, without our having a view to our private Happiness, in our Approbation of these Actions.”

These two Opinions seem both intelligible, each consistent with itself. The former seems not to represent human Nature as it is; the other seems to do it.

Schemes seemingly different from both.There have been many ways of speaking introduced, which seem to signify something different from both the former Opinions. Such as these, that “Morality of Actions consists in Conformity to Reason, or Difformity [214] from it:” That “Virtue is acting according to the absolute Fitness and Unfitness of Things, or agreeably to the [212] Natures or Relations of Things,” and many others in different Authors. To examine these is the Design of the following Sections; and to explain more fully how the Moral Sense alledged to be in Mankind, must be presupposed even in these Schemes.

section i
Concerning the Character of Virtue, agreeable to Truth or Reason.

[213/215] Since Reason is understood to denote our Power of finding out true Propositions, Reasonableness must denote the same thing, with Conformity to true Propositions, or to Truth.

Reasonableness in an Action is a very common Expression, but yet upon inquiry, it will appear very confused, whether we suppose it the Motive to Election, or the Quality determining Approbation.

Conformity to Truth examined.There is one sort of Conformity to Truth which neither determines to the one or the other; viz. that Conformity which is between every true Proposition and its Object. This sort of Conformity can never make us chuse or approve one Action more than its contrary, for it is found in all Actions alike: Whatever attribute can be ascribed to a generous kind Action, the contrary Attribute may as truly be ascribed to a selfish cruel Action: Both Propositions are equally true, [216 ] and the two contrary Actions, the Objects of the two [214] Truths are equally conformable to their several Truths, with that sort of Conformity which is between a Truth and its Object. This Conformity then cannot make a Difference among Actions, or recommend one more than another either to Election or Approbation, since any Man may make as many Truths about Villany, as about Heroism, by ascribing to it contrary Attributes.

For Instance, these are Truths concerning the Preservation of Property. “It tends to the Happiness of human Society: It incourages Industry: It shall be rewarded by God.” These are also Truths concerning Robbery. “It disturbs Society: It discourages Industry: It shall be punished by God.” The former three Truths have the Preservation of Property for their Object; the latter three have Robbery. And each Class of Truths hath that sort of Conformity to its Object, which is common to all Truths with their Objects. The moral Difference cannot therefore depend upon this Conformity, which is common to both.

The Number of Truths in both cases may be plainly the same; so that a good Action cannot be supposed to agree to more Truths than an evil one, nor can an evil Action be disagreeable to any Truth or [215] Compages [217] of Truths made about it; for whatever Propositions do not agree with their Objects are not Truths.

If Reasonableness, the Character of Virtue, denote some other sort of Conformity to Truth, it were to be wished that these Gentlemen, who make it the original Idea of moral Good, antecedent to any Sense or Affections, would explain it, and shew how it determines us antecedently to a Sense, either to Election or Approbation.

They tell us, “we must have some Standardantecedently to all Sense or Affections, since we judge even of our Senses and Affections themselves, and approve or disapprove them: This Standard must be our Reason, Conformity to which must be the original Idea of moral Good.”

Reasons either justifying or exciting.But what is this Conformity of Actions to Reason? When we ask the Reason of an Action we sometimes mean, “What Truth shews a Quality in the Action, exciting the Agent to do it?” Thus, why does a Luxurious Man pursue Wealth? The Reason is given by this Truth, “Wealth is useful to purchase Pleasures.” Sometimes for a Reason of Actions we shew the Truth expressing a Quality, engaging our Approbation. Thus the Reason of hazarding [216] Life in just War, is, that “it tends to preserve our [218] honest Countrymen, or evidences publick Spirit:” The Reason for Temperance, and against Luxury is given thus, “Luxury evidences a selfish base Temper.” The former sort of Reasons we will call exciting, and the latter justifying. Now we shall find that all exciting Reasons presuppose Instincts and Affections; and the justifying presuppose a Moral Sense.

Exciting Reasons suppose Affections.As to exciting Reasons, in every calm rational Action some endis desired or intended; no end can be intended or desired previously to some one of these Classes of Affections, Self‐Love, Self‐Hatred, or desire of private Misery, (if this be possible) Benevolence toward others, or Malice: All Affections are included under these; no endcan be previous to them all; there can therefore be no exciting Reason previous to Affection.

We have indeed many confused Harangues on this Subject, telling us, “We have two Principles of Action, Reason, and Affection, or Passion (i.e. strong Affection): the former in common with [217] Angels, the latter with Brutes: No Action is wise, or good, or reasonable, to which we are not excited [219] by Reason, as distinct from all Affections; or, if any such Actions as flow from Affections be good, ’tis only by chance, or materially and not formally.” As if indeed Reason, or the Knowledge of the Relations of things, could excite to Action when we proposed no End, or as if Ends could be intended without Desire or Affection.

No exciting Reasons forultimate Ends.But are there not also exciting Reasons, even previous to any end, moving us to propose one end rather than another? To this Aristotle long ago answered, “that there are ultimate Ends desired without a view to any thing else, and subordinate Ends or Objects desired with a view to something else.” To subordinate Ends those Reasons or Truths excite, which shew them to be conducive to the ultimate End, and shew one Object to be more effectual than another: thus subordinate Ends may be called reasonable. But as to the ultimate Ends, to suppose exciting Reasons for them, would infer, that there is no ultimate End, but that we desire one thing for another in an infinite Series.

Thus ask a Being who desires private Happiness, or has Self‐Love? “what [218] Reason [221] excites him to desire Wealth”? He will give this Reason, that “Wealth tends to procure Pleasure and Ease.” Ask his Reason for desiring Pleasure or Happiness: One cannot imagine what Proposition he could assign as his exciting Reason. This Proposition is indeed true, “There is an Instinct or Desire fixed in his Nature, determining him to pursue his Happiness;” but it is not this Reflection on his own Nature, or this Proposition which excites or determines him, but the Instinct itself. This is a Truth, “Rhubarb strengthens the Stomach:” But ’tis not a Proposition which strengthens the Stomach, but the Quality in that Medicine. The Effect is not produced by Propositions shewing the Cause, but by the Cause itself.

In like manner, what Reason can a benevolent Being give, as exciting him to hazard his Life in just War? This perhaps, “such Conduct tends to the Happiness of his Country.” Ask him, “why he serves his Country?” he will say, “His Country is a very valuable Part of Mankind.” Why does he study the Happiness of Mankind? If his Affections be really disinterested, he can give no exciting Reasons for it: The Happiness of Mankind in general, or of any valuable Part of it, is an ultimate Endto that Series of Desires.

Men have many ultimate Ends.[219/222] We may transiently observe one Mistake which many fall into, who in their Philosophical Inquiries have learned to form very abstract general Ideas: They suppose, because they have formed some Conception of an infinite Good, or greatest possible Aggregate, or Sum of Happiness, under which all particular Pleasures may be included; that there is also some one great ultimate End, with a view to which every particular Object is desired; whereas, in truth, each particular Pleasure is desired without farther view, as an ultimate End in the selfish Desires. ’Tis true, the Prospect of a greater inconsistent Pleasure may surmount or stop this Desire; so may the Fear of a prepollent Evil. But this does not prove, that “all Men have formed Ideas of infinite Good, or greatest possible Aggregate, or that they have any Instinct or Desire, without an Idea of its Object.” Just so in the benevolent Affections, the Happiness of any one Person is an ultimate End, desired with no farther view: And yet the observing its Inconsistency with the Happiness of another more beloved, or with the Happiness of many, tho each one of them were but equally beloved, may overcome the former Desire. Yet this will not prove, that in each kind Action Men do form the abstract Conception of all Mankind, or the System of Rationals. [210] The forming such large Conceptions is indeed useful, that so we may gratify either our [223] Self‐Love or kind Affections in the fullest manner, as far as our Power extends; and may not content our selves with smaller Degrees either of private or publick Good, while greater are in our power: But when we have formed these Conceptions, we do not serve the Individual only from Love to the Species, no more than we desire Grapes with an Intention of the greatest Aggregate of Happiness, or from an Apprehension that they make a Part of the General sum of our Happiness. These Conceptions only serve to suggest greater Ends than would occur to us without Reflection; and by the Prepollency of one Desire toward the greater Good, either private or publick, to stop the Desire toward the smaller Good, when it appears inconsistent with the greater.

The common Reasons examined.Let us examine the Truths assigned as exciting to the Pursuit of publick Good, even by those, who, tho they allow disinterested Affections, and a moral Sense, yet suppose something reasonable in it antecedently. They assign such as these “publick Good is the End proposed by the Deity.” Then what Reason excites Men to concur with the Deity? Is it this, “Concurring with the Deity will make the Agent happy?” This is an exciting Reason indeed, [221] but plainly supposes Self‐Love: [224] And let any one assign the exciting Reason to the Desire of Happiness. Is the Reason exciting to concur with the Deity this, “The Deity is our Benefactor?” Then what Reason excites to concur with Benefactors? Here we must recur to an Instinct. Is it this Truth, “The divine Ends are reasonable Ends?” Then what means the Word [reasonable?] Does it mean, that “the Deity has Reasons exciting him to promote the publick Good?” What are these Reasons? Why, perhaps “we do not know them particularly, but in general are sure that the Deity has Reasons for them.” Then the Question recurs, What Reason excites us to implicit Concurrence with the Ends of the Deity? The Reasons which excite one Nature may not excite another: The Tendency of an Action to the Happiness of one Agent may excite him, but will not excite another Agent to concur, unless there appears a like Tendency to the Happiness of that other. They may say, “they are sure the divine Ends are good.” What means Goodness? Is it moral or natural? If the divine Ends be natural Good, i.e. pleasant, or the Cause of Pleasure, to whom is this Pleasure? If to the Deity, then why do we study the Happiness or the pleasing of the Deity? What Reason excites us? All the possible Reasons must [222] either presuppose some Affection, if they are [225] exciting; or some moral Sense, if they are justifying.—Is the divine End naturally good to us? This is an exciting Reason, but supposes Self‐Love. If we say the divine Ends are morally Good, we are just where we began. What is moral Goodness? Conformity to Reason. What are the Reasons exciting or justifying?

If any alledg as the Reason exciting us to pursue publick Good, this Truth, that “the Happiness of a System, a Thousand, or a Million, is a greater Quantity of Happiness than that of one Person: and consequently, if Men desire Happiness, they must have stronger Desires toward the greater Sum, than toward the less.” This Reason still supposes an Instinct toward Happiness as previous to it: And again, To whom is the Happiness of a System a greater Happiness? To one Individual, or to the System? If to the Individual, then his Reason exciting his Desire of a happy System supposes Self‐Love: If to the System, then what Reason can excite to desire the greater Happiness of a System, or any Happiness to be in the Possession of others? None surely which does not presuppose publick Affections. Without such Affections this Truth, “that an hundred Felicities is a greater Sum than one Felicity,” will no [223] more excite to study the Happiness of the Hundred, than this Truth, “an hundred [226] Stones are greater than one,” will excite a Man, who has no desire of Heaps, to cast them together.

The same may be observed concerning that Proposition, assigned by some as the ultimate Reason both exciting to, and justifying the Pursuit of publick Good, viz. “It is best that all should be happy.Best is most good: Good to whom? To the Whole, or to each Individual? If to the former, when this Truth excites to Action, it must presuppose kind Affections; if it is good to each Individual, it must suppose Self‐Love.

The true Meaning of Reasons exciting to Actions, and reasonable Actions.Let us once suppose Affections, Instincts or Desires previously implanted in our Nature: and we shall easily understand the exciting Reasons for Actions, viz. “These Truths which shew them to be conducive toward some ultimate End, or toward the greatest Endof that kind in our Power.” He acts reasonably, who considers the various Actions in his Power, and forms true Opinions of their Tendencies; and then chuses to do that which will obtain the highest Degree of that, to which the Instincts of his Nature incline him, with the smallest Degree of those things to [224] which the Affections in his Nature make him averse.

[227] More particularly, the exciting Reasons to a Nature which had only selfish Affections, are those Truths which shewed “what Object or Event would occasion to it the greatest Quantity of Pleasure:” these would excite to the Prosecution of it. The exciting Truths about Means, would be only those which pointed out some Means as more certainly effectual than any other, or with less Pain or Trouble to the Agent. Publick Usefulness of Ends or Means, or publick Hurtfulness would neither excite nor dissuade, farther than the publick State might affect that of the Agent.

If there is any Nature with publick Affections: The Truths exciting to any Endin this Order, are such as shew, “that any Event would promote the Happiness of others.” That Endis called most reasonable, which our Reason discovers to contain a greater Quantity of publick Good, than any other in our power.

When any Event may affect both the Agent and others, if the Agent have both Self‐Love and publick Affections, he acts according to that Affection which is strongest, when there is any Opposition of Interests; [225] if there be no Opposition, he follows both. If he discovers this Truth, that “his constant [228] pursuit of publick Goodis the most probable way of promoting his own Happiness,” then his Pursuit is truly reasonable and constant; thus both Affections are at once gratify’d, and he is consistent with himself. Without knowledge of that Truth he does not act reasonably for his own Happiness, but follows it by Means not tending effectually to this End: and must frequently, from the Power of Self‐Love, neglect or counteract his other End, the publick Good. If there be also a moral Sense in such an Agent, while yet he is inadvertent to the Connexion of private Happiness with the Study of the publick; he must be perpetually yet more uneasy, either thro’ the apprehended Neglect of private Interest  when he serves the Publick; or when he pursues only private Interest, he will have perpetual Remorse and Dissatisfaction with his own Temper, thro’ his moral Sense. So that the Knowledge of this Connexion of private Interest, with the Study of publick Good, seems absolutely necessary to preserve a constant Satisfaction of Mind, and to prevent an alternate Prevalence of seemingly contrary Desires.

Should any one ask even concerning these two ultimate Ends, private Good[226] and publick, is not the latter more reasonable than the former?—What means the Word reasonable in this Question? If we [229] are allowed to presuppose Instincts and Affections, then the Truth just now supposed to be discoverable concerning our State, is an exciting Reason to serve the publick Interest, since this Conduct is the most effectual Means to obtain both ends. But I doubt if any Truth can be assigned which excites in us either the Desire of private Happiness or publick. For the former none ever alledged any exciting Reason: and a benevolent Temper finds as little Reason exciting him to the latter; which he desires without any view to private Good. If the meaning of the Question be this, “does not every Spectator approve the Pursuit of publick Good more than private?” The Answer is obvious that he does: but not for any Reason or Truth, but from a moral Sense.

This leads to consider Approbation of Actions, whether it be for Conformity to any Truth, or Reasonableness, that Actions are ultimately approved, independently of any moral Sense? Or if all justifying Reasons do not presuppose it?

Justifying Reasons suppose a moral Sense.If Conformity to Truth, or Reasonable, denote nothing else but that “an Action is the Object of a true Proposition,” ’tis [227] plain, that all Actions should be approved [230] equally, since as many Truths may be made about the worst, as can be made about the best. See what was said above about exciting Reasons.

But let the Truths commonly assigned as justifying be examined. Here ’tis plain, “A Truth shewing an Action to be fit to attain an End,” does not justify it; nor do we approve a subordinate Endfor any Truth, which only shews it to be fit to promote the ultimate End; for the worst Actions may be conducive to their Ends, and reasonable in that Sense. The justifying Reasons then must be about the Ends themselves, especially the ultimate Ends. The Question then is, “Does a Conformity to any Truth make us approve an ultimate End, previously to any moral Sense?” For example, we approve pursuing the publick Good. For what Reason? or what is the Truth for Conformity to which we call it a reasonable End? I fancy we can find none in these Cases, more than we could give for our liking any pleasant Fruit.

The Reasons assigned are such as these; “’Tis the End proposed by theDeity.” But why do we approve concurring with [231] the divine Ends? This Reason is given, “He is our Benefactor:” But then, for [228] what Reason do we approve Concurrence with a Benefactor? Here we must recur to a Sense. Is this the Reason moving to Approbation,Study of publick Good tends to the Advantage of the Approver?” Then the Quality moving us to approve an Action, is its being advantageous to us, and not Conformity to a Truth. This Scheme is intelligible, but not true in fact. Men approve without Perception of private Advantage; and often do not condemn or disapprove what is plainly pernicious; as in the Execution of a just Sentence, which even the Criminal may approve.

If any allege, that this is the justifying Reason of the Pursuit of publick Good,that it is best all be happy,” then we approve Actions for their Tendency to that State which is best, and not for Conformity to Reason. But here again, what means best? morally best, or naturally best? If the former, they explain the same Word by itself in a Circle: If they mean the latter, that “it is the most happy State where all are happy;” then, most happy, for whom? the System, or the Individual? If for the former, what Reason makes us approve the Happiness of a System? Here we must recur to a Sense or kind Affections. Is [232] it most happy for the Individual? Then the Quality moving Approbation is [229] again Tendency to private Happiness, not Reasonableness.

Obligation supposes either Affections or a moral Sense.There are some other Reasons assigned in Words differing from the former, but more confused, such as these: “’Tis our Duty to study publick Good. We are obliged to do it. We owe Obedience to the Deity. The whole is to be preferred to a Part.” But let these Words Duty, Obligation, Owing, and the meaning of that Gerund, is to be preferred, be explained; and we shall find our selves still at a Loss for exciting Reasons previously to Affections, or justifying Reasons without recourse to a moral Sense.

The meaning of Obligation.When we say one is obliged to an Action, we either mean, 1. That the Action is necessary to obtain Happiness to the Agent, or to avoid Misery: Or, 2. That every Spectator, or he himself upon Reflection, must approve his Action, and disapprove his omitting it, if he considers fully all its Circumstances. The former Meaning of the Word Obligation presupposes selfish Affections, and the Senses of private Happiness: The latter Meaning includes the moral Sense. Mr. Barbeyrac, in his Annotations upon Grotius, [230/233] makes Obligation denote an indispensable Necessity to act in a certain manner. Whoever observes his Explication of this Necessity, (which is not natural, otherwise no Man could act against his Obligation) will find that it denotes only “such a Constitution of a powerful Superior, as will make it impossible for any Being to obtain Happiness, or avoid Misery, but by such a Course of Action.” This agrees with the former Meaning, tho sometimes he also includes the latter.

Many other confused Definitions have been given of Obligation, by no obscure Names in the learned World. But let any one give a distinct Meaning, different from the two above‐mentioned. To pursue them all would be endless; only let the Definitions be substituted in place of the Word Obligation, in other parts of each Writer, and let it be observed whether it makes good Sense or not.

Arguments for some Standard of Morals prior to a Sense considered. Before we quit this Character Reasonableness, let us consider the Arguments brought to prove that there must be some Standard of moral Good antecedent to any Sense. Say [234] they, “Perceptions of Sense are deceitful, we must have some Perception or Idea of Virtue more stable and certain; this must be Conformity to Reason: Truth discovered by our Reason [231] is certain and invariable: That then alone is the Original Idea of Virtue, Agreement with Reason.” But in like manner our Sight and Sense of Beauty is deceitful, and does not always represent the true Forms of Objects. We must not call that beautiful or regular, which pleases the Sight, or an internal Sense; but Beauty in external Forms too, consists in Conformity to Reason. So our Taste may be vitiated: we must not say that Savour is perceived by Taste, but must place the original Idea of grateful Savours in Conformity to Reason, and of ungrateful in Contrariety to Reason. We may mistake the real Extent of Bodies, or their Proportions, by making a Conclusion upon the first sensible Appearance: Therefore Ideas of Extension are not originally acquired by a Sense, but consist in Conformity to Reason.

If what is intended in this Conformity to Reason be this, “That we should call no Action virtuous, unless we have some Reason to conclude it to be virtuous, or some Truth shewing it to be so.” This is very true; but then in like manner we should count no Action vicious, unless we [235] have some Reason for counting it so, or when ’tis Truth “that it is vicious.” If this be intended by Conformity to Truth, then at the same rate we may make Conformity to Truth the original Idea of Vice [232] as well as Virtue; nay, of every Attribute whatsoever. That Taste alone is sweet, which there is Reason to count sweet; that Taste alone is bitter, concerning which ’tis true that it is bitter; that Form alone is beautiful, concerning which ’tis true that it is beautiful; and that alone deformed, which is truly deformed. Thus Virtue, Vice, Sweet, Bitter, Beautiful, or Deformed, originally denote Conformity to Reason, antecedently to Perceptions of any Sense. The Idea of Virtue is particularly that concerning which ’tis Truth, that it is Virtue; or Virtue is Virtue; a wonderful Discovery!

So when some tell us, “that Truth is naturally pleasant, and more so than any sensible Perception; this must therefore engage Men more than any other Motive, if they attend to it.” Let them observe, that as much Truth is known about Vice as Virtue. We may demonstrate the publick Miseries which would ensue upon Perjury, Murder, and Robbery. These Demonstrations would be attended with that Pleasure which is peculiar to Truth; as well as the Demonstrations of the publick Happiness to [236] ensue from Faith, Humanity and Justice. There is equal Truth on both sides.

Whence it is that Virtue is called reasonable and not Vice.[233] We may transiently observe what has occasioned the Use of the Word reasonable, as an Epithet of only virtuous Actions. Tho we have Instincts determining us to desire Ends, without supposing any previous Reasoning; yet ’tis by use of our Reason that we find out the Means of obtaining our Ends. When we do not use our Reason, we often are disappointed of our End. We therefore call those Actions which are effectual to their Ends, reasonable in one Sense of that Word.

Again, in all Men there is probably a moral Sense, making publickly useful Actions and kind Affections grateful to the Agent, and to every Observer: Most Men who have thought of human Actions, agree, that the publickly useful are in the whole also privately useful to the Agent, either in this Life or the next: We conclude, that all Men have the same Affections and Senses: We are convinced by our Reason, that ’tis by publickly useful Actions alone that we can promote all our Ends. Whoever then acts in a contrary manner, we presume is mistaken, ignorant of, or inadvertent to, these Truths which he might know; and say he acts unreasonably. Hence some have [237] been led to imagine, some Reasons either exciting or [234] justifying previously to all Affections or a moral Sense.

Objections from our judging even of our Affections and Senses themselves.Two Arguments are brought in defense of this Epithet, as antecedent to any Sense, viz. “That we judge even of our Affections and Senses themselves, whether they are morally Goodor Evil.

The second Argument is, that “if all moral Ideas depend upon the Constitution of our Sense, then all Constitutions would have been alike reasonable and good to the Deity, which is absurd.”

I.That we judge our Senses themselves.As to the first Argument, ’tis plain we judge of our own Affections, or those of others by our moral Sense, by which we approve kind Affections, and disapprove the contrary. But none can apply moral Attributes to the very Faculty of perceiving moral Qualities; or call his moral Sense morally Goodor Evil, any more than he calls the Power of Tasting, sweet, or bitter; or of Seeing, strait or crooked, white or black.

Answered.Every one judges the Affections of others by his own Sense; so that it seems not impossible that in these Senses Men might differ as they do in Taste. A Sense approving Benevolence would disapprove [235] that Temper, [238] which a Sense approving Malice would delight in. The former would judge of the latter by his own Sense, so would the latter of the former. Each one would at first view think the Sense of the other perverted. But then, is there no difference? Are both Senses equally good? No certainly, any Man who observed them would think the Sense of the former more desirable than of the latter; but this is, because the moral Sense of every Man is constituted in the former manner. But were there any Nature with no moral Sense at all observing these two Persons, would he not think the State of the former preferable to that of the latter? Yes, he might: but not from any Perception of moral Goodness in the one Sense more than in the other. Any rational Nature observing two Men thus constituted, with opposite Senses, might by reasoning see, not moral Goodness in one Sense more than in the contrary, but a Tendency to the Happiness of the Person himself, who had the former Sense in the one Constitution, and a contrary Tendency in the opposite Constitution: nay, the Persons themselves might observe this; since the former Sense would make these Actions grateful to the Agent which were useful to others; who, if they had a like Sense, would love him, and return good Offices; whereas the latter Sense would make all such Actions as are useful [236] to others, and [239] apt to engage their good Offices, ungrateful to the Agent; and would lead him into publickly hurtful Actions, which would not only procure the Hatred of others, if they had a contrary Sense, but engage them out of their Self‐Love to study his Destruction, tho their Senses agreed. Thus any Observer, or the Agent himself with this latter Sense, might perceive that the Pains to be feared, as the Consequence of malicious Actions, did over‐ballance the Pleasures of this Sense; so that it would be to the Agent’s Interest to counteract it. Thus one Constitution of the moral Sense might appear to be more advantageous to those who had it, than the contrary; as we may call that Sense of Tasting healthful, which made wholesom Meat pleasant; and we would call a contrary Taste pernicious. And yet we should no more call the moral Sense morally goodor evil, than we call the Sense of Tasting savoury or unsavoury, sweet or bitter.

But must we not own, that we judge of all our Senses by our Reason, and often correct their Reports of the Magnitude, Figure, Colour, Taste of Objects, and pronounce them right or wrong, as they agree or disagree with Reason? This is true. But does it then follow, that Extension, Figure, Colour, Taste, are not [237] sensible Ideas, but only denote Reasonableness, or Agreement with [240] Reason? Or that these Qualities are perceivable antecedently to any Sense, by our Power of finding out Truth? Just so a compassionate Temper may rashly imagine the Correction of a Child, or the Execution of a Criminal, to be cruel and inhuman: but by reasoning may discover the superior Goodarising from them in the whole; and then the same moral Sense may determine the Observer to approve them. But we must not hence conclude, that it is any reasoning antecedent to a moral Sense, which determines us to approve the Study of publick Good, any more than we can in the former Case conclude, that we perceive Extension, Figure, Colour, Taste, antecedently to a Sense. All these Sensations are often corrected by Reasoning, as well as our Approbations of Actions as Good or Evil: and yet no body ever placed the Original Idea of Extension, Figure, Colour, or Taste, in Conformity to Reason.

Thus tho no Man can immediately either approve or disapprove as morally good or evil his own moral Sense, by which he approves only Affections and Actions consequent upon them; yet he [238] may see whether it be advantageous to him in other respects, to have it constituted one way rather than another. One Constitution may make these Actions grateful to this Sense which tend to procure other Pleasures also. A contrary Constitution may be known to the very Person himself to be disadvantageous, as making these Actions immediately grateful, which shall occasion all other sorts of Misery. His Self‐Love may excite him, tho with Dissatisfaction, to counteract this Sense, in order to avoid a greater Evil. Mr. Hobbes seems to have had no better Notions of the natural State of Mankind. An Observer, who was benevolent, would desire that all had the former sort of Sense; a malicious Observer, if he feared no Evil to himself, [243] from the Actions of the Persons observed, would desire the latter Constitution. If this Observer had a moral Sense, he would think that Constitution which was contrary to his own, strange and surprizing, or unnatural. If the Observer had no Affections toward others, and were disjoined from Mankind, so as to have neither Hopes nor Fears from their Actions, he would be indifferent about their Constitutions, and have no Desire or Preference of one above another; tho he might see which were advantageous to them, and which pernicious.

The 2d Objection, that all Constitutions would have been alikereasonable,answered.[239] As to the second Argument, What means [alike reasonable or good to theDeity?] Does it mean, “that the Deity could have had no Reasons exciting him to make one Constitution rather than another?” ’Tis plain, if the Deity had nothing essential to his Nature, corresponding to our sweetest and most kind Affections, we can scarce suppose he could have any Reason exciting him to any thing he has done: but grant such a Disposition in the Deity, and then the manifest Tendency of the present Constitution to the Happiness of his Creatures was an exciting Reason for chusing it before the contrary. Each sort of Constitution [244] might have given Men an equal immediate Pleasure in present SelfApprobation for any sort of Action; but the Actions approved by the present Sense, procure all Pleasures of the other Senses; and the Actions which would have been approved by a contrary [245] moral Sense, would have been productive of all Torments of the other Senses.

If it be meant, that “upon this Supposition, that all our Approbation presupposes in us a moral Sense, the DDeitycould not have approved one Constitution more than another:” where is the Consequence? Why may not the Deity have [240] something of a superior Kind, analogous to our moral Sense, essential to him? How does any Constitution of the Senses of Men hinder the Deity to reflect and judge of his own Actions? How does it affect the divine Apprehension, which way soever moral Ideas arise with Men?

If it means “that we cannot approve of one Constitution more than another, or approve theDeityfor making the present Constitution:” This Consequence is also false. The present Constitution of our moral Sense determines us to approve all kind Affections: [246] This Constitution the Deity must have foreseen as tending to the Happiness of his Creatures; it does therefore evidence kind Affection or Benevolence in the Deity, this therefore we must approve.

The meaning of antecedent Reasonableness.We have got some strange Phrases, “that some things are antecedently reasonable in the Nature of the thing,” which some insist upon: “That otherwise, say they, if before Man was created, any Nature without a moral Sense had existed, this Nature would not have approved as morally good in the Deity, his constituting our Sense as it is at present.” Very true; and what next? If there had been no moral Sense in that Nature, there would have been no Perception [241] of Morality. But “could not such Natures have seen something reasonable in one Constitution more than in another?” They might no doubt have reasonedabout the various Constitutions, and foreseen that the present one would tend to the Happiness of Mankind, and would evidence Benevolence in the Deity So also they might have reasonedabout the contrary Constitution, that it would make Men miserable, and evidence Malice in the Deity. They would have reasonedabout both, and found out Truths: are both Constitutions alike reasonable to these Observers? No, say they, “the benevolent one is reasonable, and [247] the malicious unreasonable:” And yet these Observers reasonedand discovered Truths about both: An Action then is called by us reasonable when ’tis benevolent, and unreasonable when malicious. This is plainly making the Word reasonable denote whatever is approvedby our moral Sense, without Relation to true Propositions. We often use that Word in such a confused Manner: But these antecedent Natures, supposed without a moral Sense, would not have approvedone Constitution of the Deity as morally better than another.

Had it been left to the Choice of these antecedent Minds, what manner of Sense [242] they would have desired for Mankind; would they have seen no difference? Yes they would, according to their Affections which are presupposed in all Election. If they were benevolent, as we suppose the Deity, the Tendency of the present Sense to the Happiness of Men would have excited their Choice. Had they been malicious, as we suppose the Devil, the contrary Tendency of the contrary Sense would have excited their Election of it. But is there nothing preferable, or eligible antecedently to all Affections too? No certainly, unless there can be Desire without Affections, or superior Desire, i. e. Election antecedently to all Desire.

Reasons for Election different from those for Approbation.[248] Some do farther perplex this Subject, by asserting, that “the same Reasons determining Approbation, ought also to excite to Election.” Here, 1. We often see justifying Reasons where we can have no Election; viz. when we observe the Actions of others, which were even prior to our Existence. 2. The Quality moving us to Election very often cannot excite Approbation; viz. private usefulness, not publickly pernicious. This both does and ought to move Election, and yet I believe few will say, “they approve as virtuous the eating a Bunch of Grapes, taking a Glass of Wine, or sitting down when [243] one is tired.” Approbation is not what we can voluntarily bring upon our selves. When we are contemplating Actions, we do not chuse to approve, because Approbation is pleasant; otherwise we would always approve, and never condemn any Action; because this is some way uneasy. Approbation is plainly a Perception arising without previous Volition, or Choice of it, because of any concomitant Pleasure. The Occasion of it is the Perception of benevolent Affections in our selves, or the discovering the like in others, even when we are incapable of any Action or Election. The Reasons determining Approbation are such as shew that an Action evidenced kind Affections, and that in others, as often as in our [249] selves. Whereas, the Reasons moving to Election are such as shew the Tendency of an Action to gratify some Affection in the Agent.

The Prospect of the Pleasure of Self‐Approbation, is indeed often a Motive to chuse one Action rather than another; but this supposes the moral Sense, or Determination to approve, prior to the Election. Were Approbation voluntarily chosen, from the Prospect of its concomitant Pleasure, then there could [244] be no Condemnation of our own Actions, for that is unpleasant.

As to that confused Word [ought] ’tis needless to apply to it again all that was said about Obligation.

section ii

Concerning that Character of Virtue and Vice, The Fitness or Unfitness of Actions.

The Fitness and Unfitness in Morals.[245/250] We come next to examine some other Explications of Morality, which have been much insisted on of late. We are told, “that there are eternal and immutable Differences of Things, absolutely and antecedently: that there are also eternal and unalterable Relations in the Natures of the Things themselves, from which arise Agreements and Disagreements, Congruities and Incongruities, Fitness and Unfitness of the Application of Circumstances, to the Qualifications of Persons; that Actions agreeable to these Relations are morally Good, and that the contrary Actions are morally Evil.” These Expressions are sometimes made of the same Import with those more common ones: “acting agreeably to the eternal Reason and Truth [246] of Things.” ’Tis is asserted, that [251] “God who knows all these Relations, &c. does guide his Actions by them, since he has no wrong Affection” (the Word [wrong] should have been first explained): “And that in like manner these Relations, &c. ought” (another unlucky Word in Morals) “to determine the Choice of all Rationals, abstractly from any Views of Interest. If they do not, these Creatures are insolently counteracting their Creator, and as far as they can, making things to be what they are not, which is the greatest Impiety.”

That Things are now different is certain. That Ideas, to which there is no Object yet existing conformable, are also different, is certain. That upon comparing two Ideas there arises a relative Idea, generally when the two Ideas compared have in them any Modes of the same simple Idea, is also obvious. Thus every extended Being may be compared to any other of the same Kinds of Dimensions; and relative Ideas be formed of greater, less, equal, double, triple, subduple, &c. with infinite variety. This may let us see that Relations are not real Qualities inherent in external Natures, but only Ideas necessarily accompanying our Perception of two Objects at once, and comparing them. Relative Ideas do continue, when the external [247] Objects do not exist, provided [252] we retain the two Ideas. But what the eternal Relations in the Natures of Things do mean, is not so easy perhaps to be conceived.

Three sorts of Relationsconsidered.To shew particularly how far Morality can be concerned in Relations, we may consider them under these Three Classes. 1. The Relations of inanimate Objects, as to their Quantity, or active and passive Powers, as explained by Mr. Locke.”2. The Relations of inanimate Objects to rational Agents, as to their active or passive Powers.3. The Relations of rational Agents among themselves, founded on their Powers or Actions past or continued. Now let us examine what Fitnesses or Unfitnesses arise from any of these sorts of Relations, in which the Morality of Actions may consist; and whether we can place Morality in them, without presupposing a moral Sense. ’Tis plain, that ingenious Author says nothing against the Supposition of a moral Sense: But many do imagine, that his Account of moral Ideas is independent upon a moral Sense, and therefore are less willing to allow that we have such an immediate Perception, or Sense of Virtue and Vice. What follows is not intended to oppose his Scheme, but rather to suggest what seems a necessary Explication of it; by shewing that it is no otherwise intelligible, [248/253] but upon Supposition of a moral Sense.

None of them explain Morality without a Sense.1. Relations of inanimate Objects being known, puts it in the Power of a rational Agent often to diversify them, to change their Forms, Motions, or Qualities of any kind, at his pleasure: but no body apprehends any Virtue or Vice in such Actions, where no Relation is apprehended to a rational Agent’s Happiness or Misery; otherwise we should have got into the Class of Virtues all the practical Mathematicks, and the Operations of Chymistry.

2. As to the Relations of inanimate Objects to rational Agents; the Knowledge of them equally puts it in one’s Power to destroy Mankind, as to preserve them. Without presupposing Affections, this Knowledge will not excite to one Action rather than another; nor without a moral Sense will it make us approve any Action more than its contrary. The Relation of Corn to human Bodies being known to a Person of kind Affections, was perhaps the exciting Reason of teaching Mankind Husbandry: But the Knowledge of the Relations of Arsenick would excite a malicious Nature, just in the same manner, to the greatest Mischief. A Sword, an Halter, a Musket, bear the same Relation [249] to the Body of an Hero, which they [254] do to a Robber. The killing of either is equally agreeable to these Relations, but not equally goodin a moral Sense. The Knowledge of these Relations neither excites to Actions, nor justifies them, without presupposing either Affections or a moral Sense. Kind Affections with such Knowledge makes Heroes; malicious Affections, Villains.

3. The last sort of Relations is that among rational Agents, founded on their Actions or Affections; whence one is called Creator, another Creature; one Benefactor, the other Beneficiary (if that Word may be used in this general Sense;) the one Parent, the other Child; the one Governor, the other Subject, &c. Now let us see what Fitnesses or Unfitnesses arise from these Relations.

There is certainly, independently of Fancy or Custom, a natural Tendency in some Actions to give Pleasure, either to the Agent or to others; and a contrary Tendency in other Actions to give Pain, either to the Agent or others: This sort of Relation of Actions to the Agents or Objects is indisputable. If we call these Relations Fitnesses, then the most contrary Actions have equal Fitnesses for contrary Ends; and each one is unfit for the End of [250] the other. Thus Compassion is fit to make others happy, and unfit to make others miserable. Violation of[255] Property is fit to make Men miserable, and unfit to make them happy. Each of these is both fit and unfit, with respect to different Ends. The bare Fitness then to an End, is not the Idea of moral Goodness.

Perhaps the virtuous Fitness is that of Ends. The Fitness of a subordinate Endto the ultimate, cannot constitute the Action good, unless the ultimate Endbe good. To keep a Conspiracy secret is not a good End, tho it be fit for obtaining a farther End, the Success of the Conspiracy. The moral Fitness must be that of the ultimate Enditself: The publick Goodalone is a fit End, therefore the Means fit for this Endalone are good.

What means the Fitness of an ultimate End? For what is it fit? Why, ’tis an ultimate End, not fit for any thing farther, but absolutely fit. What means that Word fit? If it notes a simple Idea it must be the Perception of some Sense: thus we must recur, upon this Scheme too, to a moral Sense.

Agreement with Relations presupposes also a moral Sense.[256] If Fitness be not a simple Idea, let it be defined. Some tell us, that it is “an Agreement of an Affection, Desire, [251] Action, or End, to the Relations of Agents.” But what means Agreement? Which of these four Meanings has it? 1. We say one Quantity agrees with another of equal Dimensions every way. 2. A Corollary agrees with a Theorem; when our knowing the latter to be Truth, leads us to know that the former is also a true Proposition.3.Meat agrees with that Body which it tends to preserve.4. Meat agrees with the Taste of that Being in whom it raises a pleasant Perception. If any one of these are the Meanings of Agreement in the Definition, then one of these is the Idea of Fitness.1. That an Action or Affection is of the same Bulk and Figure with the Relation. Or, 2. When the Relation is a true Proposition, so is the Action or Affection. Or, 3. The Action or Affection tends to preserve the Relation; and contrary Actions would destroy it: So that, for instance, God would be no longer related to us as Creator and Benefactor, when we disobeyed him. Or, 4. The Action raises pleasant Perceptions in the Relation. All these Expressions seem absurd.

[257] These Gentlemen probably have some other Meanings to these Words Fitness or Agreement. I hope what is said will shew the need for Explication of them, tho they be so common. There is one Meaning [252] perhaps intended, however it be obscurely expressed, That “certain Affections or Actions of an Agent, standing in a certain Relation to other Agents, is approvedby every Observer, or raises in him a grateful Perception, or moves the Observer to love the Agent.” This Meaning is the same with the Notion of pleasing a moral Sense.

Whoever explains Virtue or Vice by Justice or Injustice, Right or Wrong, uses only more ambiguous Words, which will equally lead to acknowledge a moral Sense.

section iii

Mr. Woolaston’s Significancy of Truth, as the Idea of Virtue considered

[253/258] Mr. Woolaston has introduced a new Explication of moral Virtue, viz. Significancy of Truth in Actions, supposing that in every Action there is some Significancy, like to that which Moralists and Civilians speak of in their Tacit Conventions, and Quasi Contractus!  

Signification wherein it consists.The Word Signification is very common, but a little Reflection will shew it to be very ambiguous. In Signification of Words these things are included: 1. An Association of an Idea with a Sound, so that when any Idea is formed by the Speaker, the Idea of a Soundaccompanies it. 2. The Sound perceivedby the Hearer excites the Idea to which it is connected. 3. In like manner a Judgment in the Speaker’s Mind is accompanyed with the Idea of a Combination of Sounds. 4. This Combination of[254] Sounds heard raises the Apprehension of that Judgment [259] in the Mind of the Hearer. Nothing farther than these Circumstances seems to be denoted by Signification.

Conclusions drawn from Speech.Hearing a Proposition does not of itself produce either Assent or Dissent, or Opinion in the Hearer, but only presents to his Apprehension the Judgment, or Thema Complexum. But the Hearer himself often forms Judgments or Opinions upon this occasion, either immediately without Reasoning, or by some short Argument. These Opinions are some one or more of the following Propositions.1.That a Sound is perceived, and a Judgment apprehended.2.Such a Person caused the Sound heard. 3. The Speaker intended to excite in the Hearer the Idea of the Sound, and the Apprehension of the Judgment, or Thema Complexum. This Judgment is not always formed by the Hearer, nor is it always true, when Men are heard speaking. 4.The Speaker intended to produce Assent in the Hearer: This Judgment is not always true. 5.The Speaker assents to the Proposition spoken: This Judgment in the Hearer is often false, and is formed upon Opinion of the Speaker’s Veracity, or speaking what expresses his Opinion usually. 6.The Speaker does not assent to the Proposition spoken: This Judgment of the Hearer is often false, when [255] what is spoken is every way [260] true. 7.The Speaker intended that the Hearer should believe or judge, “that the Proposition spoken was assented to by the Speaker.”8.The Speaker had the contrary Intention, to that supposed in the last Judgment: Both these latter Judgments may be false, when the Proposition spoken is every way true.9.The Proposition spoken represents the Object as it is, or is logically true.10.The Proposition spoken does not represent the Object as it is, or it is logically false.

Morality does not consist in Significancy.As to the first four Circumstances which make up the proper Significancy of Speech, ’tis scarce possible that any one should place moral Goodor Evil in them. Whether the Proposition were logically true or false, the having a bare Apprehension of it as a Thema Complexum, or raising this in another, without intending to produce Assent or Dissent, can have no more moral Goodor Evil in it, than the Reception of any other Idea, or raising it in another. This Significancy of Falshoodis found in the very Propositions given in Schools, as Instances of Falshood, Absurdity, Contradiction to Truth, or Blasphemy. The pronouncing of which, are Actions signifying more properly than most of our other Actions; and yet no body condemns them as immoral.

Nor in Conclusions formed by Hearers.[256 ] As to the Opinions formed by the Hearer, they are all his own Action as much as [261] any other Conclusion or Judgment formed from Appearances of any sort whatsoever. They are true or false, according to the Sagacity of the Observer, or his Caution. The Hearer may form perfectly true Opinions or Judgments, when the Speaker is guilty of the basest Fraud; and may form false Judgments, when the Speaker is perfectly innocent, and spoke nothing false in any Sense.

The Evils which may follow from the false Judgments of the Hearer, are no otherwise chargeable on the Speaker, than as the evil Consequences of another’s Action of any kind may be chargeable upon any Person who co‐operated; or, by his Action, or Omission, the Consequence of which he might have foreseen, did either actually intendthis Evil, or wanted that Degree of kind Affection, which would have inclined him to have prevented it.

The Morality of Speech in the Intention.The Intention of the Speaker is what all Moralists have hitherto imagined the Virtue or Vice of Words did depend upon, and not the bare Significancy of Truth or Falshood. This Intention is either, 1.To lead the Hearer into a true or false Opinion about the Sentiments of the Speaker. [257] 2.To make the Hearer assent to the Proposition spoken. Or, 3.Both to make the Hearer assent to the Proposition, and judge that the [262] Speaker also assents to it. Or, 4.To accomplish some End, by means of the Hearer’s assent to the Proposition spoken. This End may be known by the Speaker to be either publickly useful, or publickly hurtful.

Some Moralists of late have placed all Virtue in Speech in the Intention of the last kind, viz. “Accomplishing some publickly useful End, by speaking either logical Truth or Falshood: and that all Vice in speaking, consists in intending to effect something publickly hurtful by Speech, whether logically true or false, and known to be such; or by using Speech in a manner which we may foresee would be publickly hurtful, whether we actually intendthis evil Consequence or not.” Some stricter Moralists  assert, that “the publick Evils which would ensue from destroying mutual Confidence, by allowing to speak Propositions known to be false on any occasion, are so great, that no particular Advantage to be expected from speaking known logical Falshoods, can ever over‐ballance [258] them; that all use of Speech supposes a tacit Convention of Sincerity, the Violation of which is always evil.” Both sides in this Argument agree, that the moral Evil in Speech consists either in some direct malicious Intention, or a Tendency to the publick Detriment of [263] Society; which Tendency the Agent might have foreseen, as connected with his Action, had he not wantedthat Degree of good Affections which makes Men attentive to the Effects of their Actions. Never was bare Significancy of Falshoodmade the Idea of moral Evil. Speaking logical Falshoodwas still looked upon as innocent in many cases. Speaking contrary to Sentiment, or moral Falshood, was always proved evil, from some publickly hurtful Tendency, and not supposed as evil immediately, or the same Idea with Vice. The Intention to deceive was the Foundation of the Guilt. This Intention the Speaker studies to conceal, and does not signify it: It is an Act of the Will, neither signifiedby his Words, nor itself signifying any thing else.

This Point deserved Consideration, because if any Action be significant, ’tis certainly the Act of Speaking: And yet even in this the Virtue is not the signifying of Truth, nor the Vice the signifying Falshood.

The Significancy of Actions.[259] The Signification of some Actions depends upon a like Association of Ideas with them, made either by Nature, or arbitrarily, and by Custom, as with Sounds. Letters are by Custom the Signs of Sounds. A Shriek or Groan is a natural Sign of Fear or Pain: A Motion of the Handor Headmay signify [264] Assent, Dissent, or Desire. The cutting down tall Poppies was an answer: The sending Spurs, advice to Flight: Kindling many Fires raises the Opinion of an Encampment: Raising a Smoke will raise Opinion of Fire.

The most important Distinction of Signs is this, that1. “Some Appearances are the Occasion upon which an Observer, by his own reasoning, forms a Judgment, without supposing, or having reason to believe, that the Agent, who caused these Appearances, did it with design to communicate his Sentiments to others; or when the Actions are such as are usually done by the Agents, without designing to raise Opinions in Observers. 2. Some Actions are never used but with professed Design to convey the Opinions of the Agent to the Observer; or such as the Observer [260] infers nothing from, but upon having reason to believe that the Causer of the Appearance intended to convey some Sentiment to the Observer.3. Other Signs are used, when “the Signifier gives no reason to conclude any other Intention, but only to raise an Apprehension of the Judgment, or the Thema Complexum, without professing any design to communicate [265] his Sentiments, or to produce any Assent in the Observer.”

To do Actions from which the Observer will form false Opinions, without having reason to imagine an Intention in the Agent, is never of itself imagined evil, let the Signs be natural or instituted; provided there be no malicious Intention, or neglect of publick Good. ’Tis never called a Crime in a Teacher, to pronounce an absurd Sentence for an instance; in a Nobleman, to travel without Coronets; or a Clergyman in Lay‐Habit, for private Conveniency, or to avoid troublesome Ceremony; to leave Lights in a Lodge, to make People conclude there is a Watch kept. This Significancy may be in any Action which is observed; but as true Conclusions argue no Virtue in the Agent, so false ones argue no Vice.

Raising false Opinions designedly by the second Sort of Signs, which reasonably [261] lead the Observer to conclude Intention in the Agent to communicate his Sentiments, whether the Signs be customary, instituted, or natural, is generally evil, when the Agent knows the Falshood; since it tends to diminish mutual Confidence. To send Spurs to a Friend, whom the Sender imagines to be in no danger, to deceive by Hieroglyphicks or Painting, is as criminal [266] as a false Letter. This Significancy occurs in very few human Actions: Some of the most important Virtues profess no design of communicating Sentiments, or raising Opinions either true or false: Nor is there any more Intention in some of the most vicious Actions. Again, who can imagine any Virtue, in all Actions, where there is this Significancy of Truth with Intention? Is it Virtue to say at Christmas, that “the Mornings are sharp?” to beckon with the Hand, in sign of Assent to such an Assertion? And in false Propositions thus signified by Actions or Words, there is no Evil apprehended where the Falshoodis only logical. When the Falshood is known by the Agent, the Evil is not imagined in the Significancy, but in doing what one may foresee tends to breed Distrust in Society. And did all moral Evil consist in moral Falshood, there could be no Sins of Ignorance. If Mr. Woolaston alledges, that “Ignorance of some things signifies this Falshood, viz. We are not [262] obliged to know the Truth:” This Falshood is not signified with Intention; nor is it moral Falshood, but only logical: since no Man in an Error knows that “he is obliged to know the contrary Truth,” Mr. Woolaston’s use of the Words [ought] or [obliged] without a distinct Meaning, is not peculiar to this Place.

[267] The third sort of Significancy of Falsehoodis never apprehended as morally Evil: if it were, then every Dramatick Writer drawing evil Characters, every History Painter, every Writer of Allegories, or Epicks, every Philosopher teaching the Nature of contradictory Propositions, would be thought criminal.

Significancy different from the Morality.But since only the first sort of Significancy can be in all Actions, and that too supposing that every Action whatsoever is observedby some Being or other: Let us see if this will account for Morality. Perhaps either, 1st, “Every Action is goodwhich leads the Observer into true Opinions concerning the Sentiments of the Agent, whether the Agent’s Opinions be true or false.” Or, 2dly. “That Action is good which leads the Observer into true Opinions concerning the Object, the Tendency of the Action, and the Relation between the Agent and the Object.

[263] Did Virtue consist in this first sort of Significancy of Truth, it would depend not upon the Agent but the Sagacity of the Observer: The acute Penetration of one would constitute an Action virtuous, and the Rashness or Stupidity of another would make it vicious: And the most barbarous Actions [268] would raise no false Opinion of the Sentiments of the Agent, in a judicious Observer.

The second sort of Significancy would also make Virtue consist in the Power of Observers. An exact Reasoner would receive no false Opinion from the worst Action concerning the Object or Relation of the Agent to it: And a false Opinion might be formed by a weak Observer of a perfectly good Action.—An Observer who knew an Agent to have the basest Temper, would not from his worst Action conclude any thing false concerning the Object: And all such false Opinions would arise only upon Supposition that the Agent was virtuous.

But may it not be said, that “whether Men reason well about Actions or not, there are some Conclusions really deducible from every Action? It is a Datum from which something may be inferred by just Consequence, whether any one [264] actually infers it or not. Then may not this Quality in Actions, whether we call it Significancy or not, that only true Propositions can be inferred from them by just Reasoning, be moral Goodness? And may it not be the very Idea of moral Evil in Actions, that some false Conclusions [269] can by just Consequence, be deduced from them? ” Or if we will not allow these to be the very Ideas of moral Good and Evil, “are they not universal just Characters to distinguish the one from the other?”

One may here observe in general, that since the Existence of the Action is supposed to be a true Premise or Datum, no false Conclusion can possibly be inferred from it by just Reasoning. We could perhaps often justly infer, that the Agent had false Opinions; but then this Conclusion of the Observer, viz. “that the Agent has false Opinions,” is really true.

True Conclusions deducible from Actions, no just Character of Virtue.But again, it will not make an universal Character of good Actions, that a just Reasoner would infer from them, that “the Opinions of the Agent are true.” For it is thus Men must reason from Actions; viz. Given the Constitution of Nature, the Affections of Agents, and the Action, to conclude concerning the Opinions: Or more generally given any three [265] of these to conclude the fourth. Thus suppose the “Constitution of Nature such, that the private Interest of each Individual is connected with the publick Good:” Suppose an Agent’s Affections selfish only, then from a publickly useful [270] Action we infer, that “the Agent’s Opinions are true:” And from a publickly hurtful Action conclude his Opinions to be false.

The same Constitution supposed with publick Affections as well as selfish. The observing a kind or publickly useful Action, will not immediately infer, that the Agent’s Opinions are either true or false: With false Opinions he might do publickly useful Actions out of his publick Affections, in those cases wherein they are not apparently opposite to his Interest. A publick Action opposite to some present private Interest, would generally evidence true Opinions; or if the Opinions were false, that his publick Affections were in this Case much stronger than his Self‐Love. A cruel Action would indeed evidence false Opinions.

Suppose the same Constitution in all other respects, with malicious Affections in an Agent. A cruel or ungrateful Action would not always prove the Opinions of the Agent to be false; but only that his [266] Malice in this instance, was more violent than regard to his Interest. A beneficent Action would prove only one of these two, either that his Opinions of the Constitution were true; or, that if [271] he was mistaken about the Constitution, he had also a false Opinion of the natural Tendency of the Action. Thus false Opinions may be evidenced by contrary Actions.

Suppose “a Constitution wherein a private Interest could be advanced in Opposition to the publick” (this we may call an evil Constitution:) Suppose only Self‐Love in the Agent, then a publickly useful Action, any way toilsome or expensive to the Agent, would evidence false Opinions: And the most cruel selfish Actions would evidence true Opinions.

In an evil Constitution, suppose kind Affections in the Agent; a publickly useful Action would not certainly argue either true or false Opinions. If his Opinions were true, but kind Affections stronger than SelfLove, he might act in the same manner, as if his Opinions were false, and Self‐Love the reigning Affection.

In an evil Constitution, suppose malicious Affections in an Agent, all publickly useful Actions would argue false Opinions; [267] and publickly hurtful Actions would argue true ones.

[272] This may shew us that Mens Actions are generally publickly useful, when they have true Opinions, only on this account; that we neither have malicious Affections naturally, nor is there any probability, in our present Constitution, of promoting a private Interest separately from, or in Opposition to the Publick. Were there contrary Affections and a contrary Constitution, the most cruel Actions might flow from true Opinions; and consequently publickly useful Actions might flow from false ones.

How far it is a Character of Virtue, that it flows from true Opinions.In our present Constitution, ’tis probable no Person would ever do anything publickly hurtful, but upon some false Opinion. The flowing from true Opinions is indeed a tolerable Character or Property of Virtue, and flowing from some false Opinion a tolerable Character of Vice; tho neither be strictly universal. But, 1. This is not proper Signification. A judicious Observer never imagines any Intention to communicate Opinions in some of the most important Actions, either goodor evil.2. Did an Action signify Falshood, ’tis generally only logical.3. The false Opinion in the Agent is not the Quality for which the evil Action is condemned; nor is the [268] true Opinion that for which the good Action is approved. True Opinions in Agents [273] often aggravate Crimes, as they shew higher Degrees of evil Affection, or total Absence of good. And false Opinions generally extenuate Crimes, unless when the very Ignorance or Error has flowed from evil Affection, or total Absence of good.

’Tis surprizing, for instance, how any should place the Evil of Ingratitude in denying the Person injured, to have been a Benefactor. The Observer of such an Action, if he supposed the Agent had really that false Opinion, would think the Crime the less for it: But if he were convinced that the Agent had a true Opinion, he would think his Ingratitude the more odious. Where we most abhor Actions, we suppose often true Opinions: And sometimes admire Actions flowing even from false Opinions, when they have evidenced no want of good Affection.

To write a Censure upon a Book so well designed as Mr. Woolaston’s, and so full of very good Reasoning upon the most useful Subjects, would not evidence much good Nature. But allowing him his just Praise, to remark any Ambiguities or Inadvertencies which may lead Men into Confusion in their Reasoning, I am confident would [269] have been acceptable to a Man of so much Goodness, when he was living.

[274] One may see that he has had some other Idea of moral Good, previous to this Significancy of Truth, by his introducing, in the very Explication of it, Words presupposing the Ideas of Morality previously known: Such as [Right,] [Obligation,] [Lye,] [his] denoting [Property.]

Signifying of Truth equal in unequal Virtue.Mr. Woolaston acknowledges that there may be very little evil in some Actions signifying Falshood; such as throwing away that which is of but little Use or Value. It is objected to him, that there is equal Contrariety to Truth in such Actions, as in the greatest Villany: He, in answer to it, really unawares gives up his whole Cause. He must own, that there may be the strictest Truth and Certainty about Trifles; so there may be the most obvious Falshoodsignified by trifling Actions. If then Significancy of Falshoodbe the very same with moral Evil, all Crimes must be equal. He answers, that Crimes increase according to the Importance of the Truth denied; and so the Virtue increases, as the Importance of the Truths affirmed. Then

[270] Virtue and Vice increase, as the Importance of Propositions affirmed or denied;

[275]But Signification of Truth and Falshooddoes not so increase:

Therefore Virtue and Vice are not the same with Signification of Truth or Falshood.

But what is this Importance of Truth? Nothing else but the Moment or Quantity of good or evil, either private or publick, which should be produced by Actions, concerning which these true Judgments are made. But it is plain, the Signification of Truth or Falshood is not varied by this Importance; therefore Virtue or Vice denote something different from this Signification.

But farther, The Importance of Actions toward publick Good or Evil, is not the Idea of Virtue or Vice: Nor does the one prove Virtue in an Action, any farther than it evidences kind Affections; or the other Vice, farther than it evidences either Malice or Want of kind Affections: Otherwise a casual Invention, an Action wholly from views of private Interest, might be as virtuous as the most kindand generous Offices: And Chance-Medley, or kindly‐intended, but unsuccessful Attempts [271] would be as vicious as Murder or Treason.

Some Ambiguities in Mr. Woolaston.One of Mr. Woolaston’s Illustrations that Significancy of Falshoodis the Idea of moral [276] Evil, ends in this, “’Tis acting a Lye.” What then? Should he not first have shewn what was moral Evil, and that every Lye was such?

Another Illustration or Proof is that, “it is acting contrary to that Reason whichGodhas given us as the Guide of our Actions.” Does not this place the original Idea of moral Evil in counteracting theDeity, and not in signifying Falshood? But, he may say, “Counteracting the Deity denies him to be our Benefactor, and signifies Falshood.” Then why is signifying Falshoodevil? Why, ’tis counteracting theDeity, who gave us Reason for our Guide. Why is this evil again? It denies the Truth, that “he is our Benefactor.

Another Illustration is this, “That signifying Falshood is altering the Natures of Things, and making them be what they are not, or desiring at least to make them be what they are not.” If by altering the Natures be meant destroying Beings, then moral Evil consists in desiring the Destruction of other Natures, [272] or in Evil Affections. If what is meant be altering the Laws of Nature, or desiring that they were stopped; this is seldom desired by any but Madmen, nor is this Desire evidenced by some of the [277] worst Actions, nor is such Desire always criminal; otherwise it were as great a Crime as any, to wish, when a Dam was broken down, that the Water would not overflow the Country.

If making Things be what they are not, means “attempting or desiring that any Subject should have two opposite Qualities at once, or a Quality and its Privation;” ’tis certain then, that according to the Stoicks, all vicious Men are thorowly mad. But ’tis to be doubted, that such Madness never happened to even the worst of Mankind. When a Man murders, he does not desire his Fellow‐Creature to be both deadand living. When he robs, he does not desire that both he and the Proprietor should at the same time possess. If any says, that he desires to have a Right to that, to which another has a Right; ’tis probably false. Robbers neither think of Rights at all, nor are solicitous about acquiring them: Or, if they retain some wild Notions of Rights, they think their Indigence, Conquest or Courage gives them a Right, and makes the other’s Right to cease. If attempting to make [273] old Qualities or Rights give place to new, be the Idea of moral Evil, then every Artificer, Purchaser, or Magistrate invested with an Office is criminal.

[278] Many of Mr. Woolaston’s Propositions contradicted by Actions, are about Rights, Duties, Obligation, Justice, Reasonableness. These are long Words, principal Names, or Attributes in Sentences. The little Word [his,] or the Particles [as, according] are much better: they may escape Observation, and yet may include all the Ambiguities of Right, Property, Agreement, Reasonableness:Treating Things as they are, and not as they are not:” Or, “According to what they are, or are not,” are Expressions he probably had learned from another truly great Name, who has not explained them sufficiently.

In Quasi Contracts, or Tacit, no Signification of Truth.It may perhaps not seem improper on this occasion to observe, that in the Quasi Contractus, the Civilians do not imagine any Act of the Mind of the Person obligedto be really signified, but by a sort of Fictio juris supposing it, order him to act as if he had contracted, even when they know that he had contrary Intentions.

In the Tacit Conventions, ’tis not a Judgment which is signified, but an Act of the Will transferring Right, in which [274] there is no Relation to Truth or Falshoodof itself. The Non‐performance of Covenants is made [279] penal, not because of their signifying Falshoods, as if this were the Crime in them: But it is necessary, in order to preserve Commerce in any Society, to make effectual all Declarations of Consent to transfer Rights by any usual Signs, otherwise there could be no Certainty in Mens Transactions.

section iv

Shewing the Use of Reason concerning Virtue and Vice, upon Supposition that we receive these Ideas by a Moral Sense.

Truths about Morals, four sorts.[275/280] Had those who insist so much upon the antecedent Reasonableness of Virtue, told us distinctly what is reasonable or provable concerning it, many of our Debates had been prevented. Let us consider what Truths concerning Actions Men could desire to know, or prove by Reason. I fancy they may be reduced to these Heads. 1. “To know whether there are not some Actions or Affections which obtain the Approbation of any Spectator or Observer, and others move his Dislike and Condemnation? ” This Question, as every Man can answer for himself, so universal Experience and History shew, that in all Nations it is so; and consequently the moral Sense is universal.2. “Whether there be any particular Quality, which, wherever it is apprehended, gains Approbation, and the contrary raises Disapprobation? ” We shall [276] find this Quality to be kind Affection, [281] or Study of the Good of others; and thus the moral Senses of Men are generally uniform. About these two Questions there is little reasoning; we know how to answer them from reflecting on our own Sentiments, or by consulting others. 3. “What Actions do really evidence kind Affections, or do really tend to the greatest publick Good?” About this Question is all the special Reasoning of those who treat of the particular Laws of Nature, or even of Civil Laws: This is the largest Field, and the most useful Subject of Reasoning, which remains upon every Scheme of Morals. 4. “What are the Motives which, even from Self‐Love, would excite each Individual to do those Actions which are publickly useful?” ’Tis probable indeed, no Man would approve as virtuous an Action publickly useful, to which the Agent was excited only by Self‐Love, without any kind Affection: ’Tis also probable that no view of Interest can raise that kind Affection, which we approve as virtuous; nor can any Reasoning do it, except that which shews some moral Goodness, or kind Affections in the Object; for this never fails, where it is observed or supposed in any Person to raise the Love of the Observer; so that Virtue is not properly taught.

[277/282] Yet since all Men have naturally Self‐Love as well as kind Affections, the former may often counteract the latter, or the latter the former; in each case the Agent is uneasy, and in some degree unhappy. The first rash Views of human Affairs often represent private Interest as opposite to the Publick: When this is apprehended, Self‐Love may often engage Men in publickly hurtful Actions, which their moral Sense will condemn; and this is the ordinary Cause of Vice. To represent these Motives of Self‐Interest, to engage Men to publickly useful Actions, is certainly the most necessary Point in Morals. This has been so well done by the antient Moralists, by Dr. Cumberland, Puffendorf, Grotius, Shaftesbury; ’tis made so certain from the divine Government of the World, the State of Mankind, who cannot subsist without Society, from universal Experience and Consent, from inward Consciousness of the Pleasure of kind Affections, and Self‐Approbation, and of the Torments of Malice, or Hatred, or Envy, or Anger; that no Man who considers these things, can ever imagine he can have any possible Interest in opposing the publick Good; or in checking or restraining his kind Affections; nay, if he had no kind Affections, his very Self‐Love and Regard to his private Good might excite [278] him to publickly [283] useful Actions, and dissuade from the contrary.

What farther should be provable concerning Virtue, whence it should be called reasonable antecedently to all Affection, or Interest, or Sense, or what it should be fit for, one cannot easily imagine.

Perhaps what has brought the Epithet Reasonable, or flowing from Reason, in opposition to what flows from Instinct, Affection, or Passion, so much into use, is this, “That it is often observed, that the very best of our particular Affections or Desires, when they are grown violent and passionate, thro’ the confused Sensations and Propensities which attend them, do make us incapable of considering calmly the whole Tendency of our Actions, and lead us often into what is absolutely pernicious, under some Appearance of relative or particular Good.” This indeed may give some ground for distinguishing between passionate Actions, and those from calm Desire or Affection which employs our Reason freely: But can never set rational Actions in Opposition to those from Instinct, Desire or Affection. And it must be owned, that the most perfect Virtue consists in the calm, unpassionate Benevolence, [279] rather than in particular Affections.

How we judge of our Moral Sense.[284] If one asks “how do we know that our Affections are right when they are kind?” What does the Word [right] mean? Does it mean what we approve? This we know by Consciousness of our Sense. Again, how do we know that our Sense is right, or that we approve our Approbation? This can only be answered by another Question, viz. “How do we know we are pleased when we are pleased?”—Or does it mean, “how do we know that we shall always approve what we now approve?” To answer this, we must first know that the same Constitution of our Sense shall always remain: And again, that we have applyed our selves carefully to consider the natural Tendency of our Actions. Of the Continuance of the same Constitution of our Sense, we are as sure as of the Continuance of Gravitation, or any other Law of Nature: The Tendency of our own Actions we cannot always know; but we may know certainly that we heartily and sincerely studied to act according to what, by all the Evidence now in our Power to obtain, appeared as most probably tending to publick Good. When we are conscious of this sincere Endeavour, the evil Consequences which we could not have foreseen, [280] never will make us condemn our Conduct. But without this sincere Endeavour, [285] we may often approve at present what we shall afterwards condemn.

How our Moral Sense is corrected by Reason.If the Question means, “How are we sure that what we approve, all others shall also approve?” Of this we can be sure upon no Scheme; but ’tis highly probable that the Senses of all Men are pretty uniform: That the Deity also approves kind Affections, otherwise he would not have implanted them in us, nor determined us by a moral Sense to approve them. Now since the Probability that Men shall judge truly, abstracting from any presupposed Prejudice, is greater than that they shall judge falsly; ’tis more probable, when our Actions are really kindand publickly useful, that all Observers shall judge truly of our Intentions, and of the Tendency of our Actions, and consequently approve what we approve our selves, than that they shall judge falsly and condemn them.

If the Meaning of the Question be, “Will the doing what our moral Sense approves tend to our Happiness, and to the avoiding Misery?” ’Tis thus we call a Taste wrong, when it makes that Foodat present grateful, which shall occasion future Pains, or Death. This Question [281] concerning our Self‐Interest must be answered by such Reasoning as was mentioned above, [286] to be well managed by our Moralists both antient and modern.

Thus there seems no part of that Reasoning which was ever used by Moralists, to be superseded by supposing a moral Sense. And yet without a moral Sense there is no Explication can be given of our Ideas of Morality; nor of that Reasonableness supposed antecedent to all Instincts, Affections, or Sense.

“But may there not be a right or wrong State of our moral Sense, as there is in our other Senses, according as they represent their Objects to be as they really are, or represent them otherwise?” So may not our moral Sense approve that which is vicious, and disapprove Virtue, as a sickly Palate may dislike grateful Food, or a vitiated Sight misrepresent Colours or Dimensions? Must we not know therefore antecedently what is morally Goodor Evil by our Reason, before we can know that our moral Sense is right?

To answer this, we must remember that of the sensible Ideas, some are allowed to be only Perceptions in our Minds, and not Images of any like external Quality, as [282] Colours, Sounds, Tastes, Smells, Pleasure, Pain. Other Ideas are Images of something external, [287] as Duration, Number, Extension, Motion, Rest: These latter, for distinction, we may call concomitant Ideas of Sensation, and the former purely sensible. As to the purely sensible Ideas, we know they are alter’dby any Disorder in our Organs, and made different from what arise in us from the same Objects at other times. We do not denominate Objects from our Perceptions during the Disorder, but according to our ordinary Perceptions, or those of others in good Health: Yet no body imagines that therefore Colours, Sounds, Tastes, are not sensible Ideas. In like manner many Circumstances diversify the concomitant Ideas: But we denominate Objects from the Appearances they make to us in an uniform Medium, when our Organs are in no disorder, and the Object not very distant from them. But none therefore imagines that it is Reason and not Sense which discovers these concomitant Ideas, or primary Qualities.

Just so in our Ideas of Actions. These three Things are to be distinguished, 1. The Idea of the external Motion, known first by Sense, and its Tendency to the Happiness or Misery of some sensitive Nature, often inferr’d by Argument or Reason.2.Apprehension or Opinion of the Affections [283] in [288] the Agent, concluded by our Reason: So far the Idea of an Action represents something external to the Observer. 3. The Perception of Approbation or Disapprobation arising in the Observer, according as the Affections of the Agent are apprehended kindin their just Degree, or deficient, or malicious. This Approbation cannot be supposed an Image of any thing external, more than the Pleasure of Harmony, of Taste, of Smell. But let none imagine, that calling the Ideas of Virtue and Vice Perceptions of a Sense, upon apprehending the Actions and Affections of another does diminish their Reality, more than the like Assertions concerning all Pleasure and Pain, Happiness or Misery. Our Reason does often correct the Report of our Senses, about the natural Tendency of the external Action, and corrects rash Conclusions about the Affections of the Agent. But whether our moral Sense be subject to such a Disorder, as to have different Perceptions, from the same apprehended Affections in an Agent, at different times, as the Eye may have of the Colours of an unaltered Object, ’tis not easy to determine: Perhaps it will be hard to find any Instances of such a Change. What Reason could correct, if it fell into such a Disorder, I know not; except suggesting to its Remembrance its former [289] Approbations, and representing the general Sense of Mankind. [284] But this does not prove Ideas of Virtue and Vice to be previous to a Sense, more than a like Correction of the Ideas of Colour in a Person under the Jaundice, proves that Colours are perceived by Reason, previously to Sense.

If any say, “this moral Sense is not a Rule:” What means that Word? It is not a strait rigid Body: It is not a general Proposition, shewing what Means are fit to obtain an end: It is not a Proposition, asserting, that a Superior will make those happy who act one way, and miserable who act the contrary way. If these be the Meanings of Rule, it is no Rule; yet by reflecting upon it our Understanding may find out a Rule. But what Rule of Actions can be formed, without Relation to some Endproposed? Or what Endcan be proposed, without presupposing Instincts, Desires, Affections, or a moral Sense, it will not be easy to explain.

section v

Shewing that Virtue may have whatever is meant by Merit; and be rewardable upon the Supposition, that it is perceived by a Sense, and elected from Affection or Instinct.

[285/290] Some will not allow any Merit in Actions flowing from kind Instincts:Merit, say they, attends Actions to which we are excited by Reason alone, or to which we freely determine ourselves. The Operation of Instincts or Affections is necessary, and not voluntary; nor is there more Merit in them than in the Shining of the Sun, the Fruitfulness of a Tree, or the Overflowing of a Stream, which are all publickly useful.

Merit, what.But what does Merit mean? or Praiseworthiness? Do these Words denote the “Quality in Actions, which gains Approbation from the Observer?” Or, 2dly, Are these Actions called [291] meritorious, “which, when any Observer does approve all other [286] Observers approve him for his Approbation of it; and would condemn any Observer who did not approve these Actions?” These are the only Meanings of meritorious, which I can conceive as distinct from rewardable, which is considered hereafter separately.

Now we endeavoured already to shew, that “no Reason can excite to Action previously to some End, and that no Endcan be proposed without some Instinct or Affection.” What then can be meant by being excited by Reason, as distinct from all Motion of Instincts or Affections?

Then determining our selves freely, does it mean acting without any Motive or exciting Reason? If it did not mean this, it cannot be opposed to acting from Instinct or Affections, since all Motives or Reasons presuppose them. If it do mean this, that “Merit is found only in Actions done without Motive or Affection, by mere Election, without prepollent Desire of one Action or Endrather than its opposite, or without Desire of that Pleasure which some do suppose follows [287] upon any Election, by a natural Connexion:” Then let any Man [293] consider whether he ever acts in this manner by mere Election, without any previous Desire? And again, let him consult his own Breast, whether such kind of Action gains his Approbation? Upon seeing a Person not more disposed by Affection, Compassion, or Love or Desire, to make his Country happy than miserable, yet choosing the one rather than the other, from no Desire of publick Happiness, nor Aversion to the Torments of others, but by such an unaffectionate Determination, as that by which one moves his first Finger rather than the second, in giving an Instance of a trifling Action; let any one ask if this Action should be meritorious: and yet that there should be no Merit in a tender compassionate Heart, which shrinks at every Pain of its Fellow‐Creatures, and triumphs in their Happiness; with kind Affections and strong Desire labouring for the publick Good. If this be the Nature of meritorious Actions; I fancy every honest [288] Heart would disclaim all Merit in Morals, as violently as the old Protestants rejected it in Justification.

But let us see which of the two Senses of Merit or Praise‐worthiness is founded on this (I won’t call it unreasonable or casual) but unaffectionate Choice. If Merit denotes the Quality moving the Spectator to approve, then there may be unaffectionate Election of the greatest Villany, as well as of the most [294] useful Actions; but who will say that they are equally approved?—But perhaps ’tis not the mere Freedom of Choice which is approved, but the free Choice of publick Good, without any Affection. Then Actions are approved for publick Usefulness, and not for Freedom. Upon this Supposition the Heat of the Sun, the Fruitfulness of a Tree, would be meritorious: or if one says, “these are not Actions;” they are at least meritorious Qualities, Motions, Attractions, &c. And a casual Invention may be meritorious.—Perhaps Free Election is a Conditio sine qua non, and publick Usefulness the immediate Cause of Approbation; neither separately, but both jointly are meritorious: Free Election alone is not Merit; Publick Usefulness alone is not Merit; but both concurring. Then should any Person by mere Election, without any Desire to serve the publick, set about Mines, [289] or any useful Manufacture; or should a Person by mere Election stab a Man, without knowing him to be a publick Robber; here both free Election and publick Usefulness may concur: Yet will any one say there is Merit or Virtue in such Actions? Where then shall we find Merit, unless in kind Affections, or Desire and Intention of the publick Good? This moves our Approbation wherever we observe it: and the want of this is the true Reason why a Searcher for Mines, a free Killer of an unknown [295] Robber, the warming Sun, or the fruitful Tree, are not counted meritorious.

But it may be said, that to make an Action meritorious, it is necessary not only that the Action be publickly useful, but that it be known or imaginedto be such, before the Agent freely chuses it. But what does this add to the former Scheme? Only a Judgment or Opinion in the Understanding, concerning the natural Tendency of an Action to the publick Good: Few, it may be presumed, will place Virtue in Assent or Dissent, or Perceptions. And yet this is all that is superadded to the former Case. The Agent must not desire the publick Good, or have any kind Affections. This would spoil the Freedom of Choice, according to their Scheme, who insist on a Freedom opposite to Affections [290] or Instincts: But he must barely know the Tendency to publick Good, and without any Propensity to, or Desire of, the Happiness of others, by an arbitrary Election, acquire his Merit. Let every Man judge for himself, whether these are the Qualities which he approves.

What has probably engaged many into this way of speaking, “that Virtue is the Effect of rational Choice, and not of Instincts or Affections,” is this; they [296] find, that “some Actions flowing from particular kind Affections, are sometimes condemned as evil,” because of their bad Influence upon the State of larger Societies; and that the Hurry and confused Sensations of any of our Passions, may divert the Mind from considering the whole Effect of its Actions: They require therefore to Virtue a calm and undisturbed Temper.

There is indeed some ground to recommend this Temper as very necessary in many Cases; and yet some of the most passionate Actions may be perfectly good. But in the calmest Temper there must remain Affection or Desire, some implanted Instinct for which we can give no reason; otherwise there could be no Action of any kind. As it was shewn above in the first Section.

[291] If meritorious Actions are these which whosoever does not approve, is himself condemnedby others; the Quality by which they are constituted meritorious in this Sense, is the same which moves our Approbation. We condemn any Person who does not approve that which we our selves approve: We presume the Sense of others to be constituted like our own; and that any other Person, would he attend to the [297] Actions which we approve, would also approve them, and love the Agent; when we find that another does not approve what we approve, we are apt to conclude, that he has not had kind Affections toward the Agent, or that some evil Affection makes him overlook his Virtues, and on this account condemn him.

Perhaps by meritorious is meant the same thing with another Word used in like manner, viz. rewardable. Then indeed the Quality in which Merit or Rewardableness is founded, is different from that which is denoted by Merit in the former Meanings.

Rewardable, or deserving Reward, denotes either that Quality which would incline a superior Nature to make an Agent happy: Or, 2dly, That Quality of Actions which would make a Spectator approve [292] a superior Nature, when he conferred Happiness on the Agent, and disapprove that Superior, who inflicted Misery on the Agent, or punished him. Let any one try to give a Meaning to the Word rewardable distinct from these, and not satisfy himself with the Words worthy of, or deserving, which are of very complex and ambiguous Signification.

[298] Now the Qualities of an Action determining a powerful Nature to reward it, must be various, according to the Constitution and Affections of that Superior. If he has a moral Sense, or something analogous of a more excellent sort, by which he is determined to love those who evidence kind Affections, and to desire their Happiness, then kind Affection is a Quality moving to Reward.

But farther, if this Superior be benevolent, and observes that inferior Natures can by their mutual Actions promote their mutual Happiness; then he must incline to excite them to publickly useful Actions, by Prospects of private Interest to the Agent, if it be needful: Therefore he will engage them to publickly useful Actions by Prospects of Rewards, whatever be the internal Principle of their Actions, or whatever their Affections be. These two Qualities in Actions, viz. flowing from kind[293] Affections, and publick Usefulness concurring, undoubtedly incline the benevolent Superior to confer Happiness: The former alone, where, thro’ want of Power, the Agent is disappointed of his kind Intentions, will incline a benevolent Superior to reward; and the want of Power in the Agent will never incline him to punish. But the want of kind Affections, altho [299] there be publickly useful Actions, may be so offensive to the moral Sense of the superior Nature, as to prevent Reward, or excite to punish; unless this Conduct would occasion greater publick Evil, by withdrawing from many Agents a necessary Motive to publick Usefulness, viz. the Hope of Reward.

But if the Superior were malicious with a moral Sense contrary to ours, the contrary Affections and Tendency of Actions would excite to reward, if any such thing could be expected from such a Temper.

If Actions be called rewardable, when “a Spectator would approve the superior Mindfor conferring Rewards on such Actions:” Then various Actions must be rewardable, according to the moral Sense of the Spectator. Men approve rewarding all kind Affections: And if it will promote publick Good to promise [294] Rewards to publickly useful Actions from whatsoever Affections they proceed, it will evidence Benevolence in the Superior to do so. And this is the Case with human Governors, who cannot dive into the Affections of Men.

Whether Motives or Inclinations to Evil be necessary to make an Agent rewardable?Some strongly assert (which is often the only Proof) that “to make an Action rewardable, the Agent should have had Inclinations to evil as well as to good.” What does this mean, That a good governing Mind is only inclined to make an Agent happy, or to confer a Rewardon him when he has some evil Affections, which yet are surmounted by the benevolent Affections? But would not a benevolent Superior incline to make any benevolent Agent happy, whether he had any weaker evil Inclinations or not? Evil Inclinations in an Agent would certainly rather have some Tendency to diminish the Love of the superior Mind. Cannot a good Mind love an Agent, and desire his Happiness, unless he observes some Qualities, which, were they alone, would excite Hatredor Aversion? Must there be a Mixture of Hatredto make Love strong and effectual, as there must be a Mixture of Shade to set off the Lights in a Picture, where there are no Shades? Is there any Love, where there is no Inclination to [295] make happy? Or is strong Love made up of Love and Hatred?

’Tis true indeed, that Men judge of the Strength of kind Affections generally by the contrary Motives of Self‐Love, which they surmount: But must the Deity do so too? Is any Nature the less lovely, for its having no Motive to make itself odious? If a Being which has no Motive to evil can be belovedby a Superior, shall he not desire the Happiness of that Agent whom he loves? ’Tis true, such a Nature will do good Actions [301] without Prospect of any Self‐Interest; but would any benevolent Superior study the less to make it happy on that account?—But if they apply the Word rewardable to those Actions alone, which an Agent would not do without Prospect of Reward: then indeed to make an Action in this Sense rewardable, ’tis necessary that the Agent should either have no kind Affections, or that he should live in such Circumstances, wherein Self‐Love should lead to Actions contrary to the publick Good, and over‐power any kind Affections; or that he should have evil Affections, which even in a good Constitution of the World, his Self‐Love could not over‐ballance without Reward.

[296 ] This poor Idea of Rewardableness is taken from the Poverty and Impotence of human Governors: Their Funds are soon exhausted; they cannot make happy all those whose Happiness they desire: Their little Stores must be frugally managed; none must be rewarded for what good they will do without Reward, or for abstaining from Evils to which they are not inclined. Rewards must be kept for the insolent Minister, who without reward would fly in the Face of his Prince; for the turbulent Demagogue, who will raise Factions if he is not bribed; for the covetous, mean‐spirited, but artful Citizen, who will serve his Country no farther [302] than it is for his private Interest. But let any kind honest Heart declare what sort of Characters it loves? Whose Happiness it most desires? Whom it would reward if it could? Or what these Dispositions are, which if it saw rewarded by a superior Nature, it would be most pleased, and most approve the Conduct of the Superior? When these Questions are answer’d, we shall know what makes Actions rewardable.

If we call all Actions rewardable, the rewarding of which we approve; then indeed we shall approve the rewarding of all Actions which we approve, whether the [297] Agent has had any Inclinations or Motives to Evil or not: We shall also approve the promising of Rewards to all publickly useful Actions, whatever were the Affections of the Agents. If by this Prospect of Rewardeither malicious Natures are restrained from Mischief, or selfish Natures induced to serve the Publick, or benevolent Natures not able without reward to surmount real or apparent selfish Motives: In all these Cases, the proposing Rewards does really advance the Happiness of the Whole, or diminish its Misery; and evidences Benevolence in the superior Mind, and is consequently approvedby our moral Sense.

[303] In this last Meaning of the Word rewardable, these Dispositions are rewardable. 1.Pure unmixed Benevolence.2.Prepollent good Affections.3.Such weak Benevolence, as will not without Reward overcome apparently contrary Motives of Self‐Love.4.Unmixed Self‐Love, which by Prospect of Reward may serve the publick.5.Self‐Love, which by Assistance of Rewards, may overballance some malicious Affections. If in these Cases proposing Rewards will increase the Happiness of the System, or diminish its Misery, it evidences Goodness in the Governor, when he cannot so well otherwise accomplish so much good for the whole.

[298] If we suppose a Necessity of making all virtuous Agents equally happy, then indeed a Mixture of evil Dispositions, tho surmounted by the good, or of strong contrary Motives overballanced by Motives to Good, would be a Circumstance of some Importance in the Distribution of Rewards: Since such a Nature, during the Struggle of contrary Affections or Motives, must have had less Pleasure than that virtuous Nature which met with no Opposition: But as this very Opposition did give this Nature full Evidence of the Strength of its Virtue, this Consciousness may be a peculiar Recompence to which the unmixed Tempers are Strangers: [304] And there seems no such necessity of an equal Happiness of all Natures. It is no way inconsistent with perfect Goodness, to make different Orders of Beings; and, provided all the Virtuous be at last fully content, and as happy as they desire, there is nothing absurd in supposing different Capacities and different Degrees; and during the Time of Probation, there is no necessity, not the least shew of it, that all be equal.

Those who think “no Person punishable for any Quality or Action, if he had it not in his Power to have had the opposite Quality, or to have abstained[299] from the Action if he had willed it;” perhaps are not mistaken: but then let them not assert on the other Hand, that it is unjust to reward or make happy those, who neither had any Dispositions to Evil, nor could possibly desire any such Dispositions. Now if Mens Affections are naturally good, and if there be in their Fellows no Quality which would necessarily raise Malice in the Observer; but, on the contrary, all Qualities requisite to excite at least Benevolence or Compassion: It may be justly said to be in the Power of every one, by due Attention, to prevent any malicious Affections, and to excite in himself kind Affections toward all. So that the intricate Debates about human Liberty do not affect what is here alledged, concerning our [305] moral Sense of Affections and Actions, any more than any other Schemes.

Some alledge, that Merit supposes, beside kind Affection, that the Agent has a moral Sense, reflects upon his own Virtue, delights in it, and chuses to adhere to it for the Pleasure which attends it. We need not debate the Use of this Word Merit: ’tis plain, we approve a generous kind Action, tho the Agent had not made this Reflection. [300] This Reflection shews to him a Motive of Self‐Love, the joint View to which does not increase our Approbation: But then it must again be owned, that we cannot form a just Conclusion of a Character from one or two kind, generous Actions, especially where there has been no very strong Motives to the contrary. Some apparent Motives of Interest may afterwards overballance the kind Affections, and lead the Agent into vicious Actions. But the Reflection on Virtue, the being once charmedwith the lovely Form, will discover an Interest on its side, which, if well attended to, no other Motive will overballance. This Reflection is a great Security to the Character; this must be supposed in such Creatures as Men are, before we can well depend upon a Constancy in Virtue. The same may be said of many other Motives [306] to Virtue from Interest; which, tho they do not immediately influence the kind Affections of the Agent, yet do remove these Obstacles to them, from false Appearances of Interest. Such are these from the Sanctions of divine Laws by future Rewards and Punishments, and even the manifest Advantages of Virtue in this Life: without Reflection on which, a steddy Course of Virtue is scarce to be expected amidst the present Confusion of human Affairs.

section vi

How far a Regard to the Deity is necessary to make an Action virtuous

[301/307] I. Some do imagine, that “to make an Action virtuous, it is necessary that the Agent should have previously known his Action to be acceptable to theDeity, and have undertaken it chiefly with design to please or obey him. We have not, say they, reason to imagine a malicious Intention in many of the worst Actions: the very want of good Affections in their just Degree, must constitute moral Evil. If so, then the moral Evil in the want of Love or Gratitude, must increase in proportion to the Causes of Love or Gratitude in the Object: by the Causes of Love, they mean those Qualities in the Object upon Observation of which Love or Gratitude do arise in every good Temper. Now the Causes of Love toward the Deity are infinite; therefore the want of the highest possible Degree of Love to him, must be infinitely evil.—To be excited more by smaller [302] Motives or Causes [308] than by greater; to love those who are less lovely, while we neglect him in whom are infinite Causes of Love, must argue great Perverseness of Affections. But the Causes of Love in the Deity, his infinite Goodness toward all, and even toward our selves, from whence springs all the Happiness of our Lives, are infinitely above any Causes of Love to be found in Creatures: Therefore to act from Love to them without Intention to please God, must be infinitely evil.”

If this Reasoning be just, the best of Men are infinitely evil. The Distinction between habitual and actual Intention will not remove the Difficulty, since these Arguments require actual Intention. An habitual Intention is not a present act of Love to the Deity, influencing our Actions more than actual Love to Creatures, which this Argument requires; but a prior general Resolution not at present repeated.

To find what is just on this Subject, we may premise some Propositions of which Men must convince themselves by Reflection.

How we compute the Goodness of Temper.II.There is in Mankind such a Disposition naturally, that they desire the Happiness of any known Sensitive Nature, [303] when it is not inconsistent with something more [309] strongly desired; so that were there no Oppositions of Interest either private or publick, and sufficient Power, we would confer upon every Being the highest Happiness which it could receive.

But our Understanding and Power are limited, so that we cannot know many other Natures, nor is our utmost Power capable of promoting the Happiness of many: our Actions are therefore influenced by some stronger Affections than this general Benevolence. There are certain Qualities found in some Beings more than in others, which excite stronger Degrees of Good‐will, and determine our Attention to their Interests, while that of others is neglected. The Ties of Blood, Benefits conferredupon us, and the Observation of Virtue in others, raise much more vigorus Affections, than that general Benevolence which we may have toward all. These Qualities or Relations we may call the Causes of Love.

However these Affections are very different from the general Benevolence toward all, yet it is very probable, that there is a Regularity or Proportion observed in the Constitution of our Nature; so that, abstracting from some acquired Habits, or [304] Associations of Ideas, and from the more sudden Emotions of some particular Passions, that Temper [310] which has the most lively Gratitude, or is the most susceptive of Friendship with virtuous Characters, would also have the strongest general Benevolence toward indifferent Persons: And on the contrary, where there is the weakest general Benevolence, there we could expect the least Gratitude, and the least Friendship, or Love toward the Virtuous. If this Proportion be observed, then, if we express all these Desires of the good of others by the Name of Benevolence, we may denote the several Degrees in which Men possess these several kind Dispositions by the Goodness of the Temper: And the Degrees of Desire toward the Happiness of any Person, we may call the Quantity of Love toward him. Then,

The Quantity of Love toward any Person is in a compound Proportion of the apprehended Causes of Love in him, and of the Goodness of Temper in the Observer. Or L = C × G.

When the Causes of Love in two Objects are apprehended equal, the Love toward either in different Persons is as the Goodness of Temper; or L = G × I.

[305] When the Goodness of Temper is the same or equal, the Love toward any Objects will be as the Causes; or L = C × I.

The Goodness of any Temper is therefore as the Quantity of Love, divided by the apprehended Causes, or G = L/C. And since we [311] cannot apprehend any Goodness in having the Degree of Love above the Proportion of its Causes, the most virtuous Temper is that in which the Love equals its Causes, which may therefore be expressed by Unity.

Hence it follows, that if there were any Nature incomparably more excellent than any of our Fellow‐Creatures, from whom also we our selves, and all others had received the greatest Benefits; there would be less Virtue in any small Degree of Desire of his Happiness, than in a like Degree of Love toward our Fellow‐Creatures. But not loving such a Being, or having a smaller Degree of Love, must evidence a much greater Defect in Virtue, than a like want of Love toward our Fellow‐Creature. For the Causes of Love being [306   ] very great, unless the Love be also very great, the Quotient which expresses the Goodness of Temper will be very much below Unity.

The general Rules applied to the Love of God.III.To apply this to the Deity is very obvious. Our Affections toward him arise in the same manner as toward our Fellows, in [312] proportion to our Attention to the Causes of Love in him, and the Goodness of our Temper. The Reflection on his Goodness raises Approbation and Complacence, his Benefits raise Gratitude, and both occasion Good‐will or Benevolence. Some imagine, that “his Happiness is wholly detached from all Events in this World, absolute, and unvaried in himself.” And yet the same Inclination of Mind might remain in us, tho we had this Opinion. When the Happiness of a Friendis in Suspense, we desire it; when he has obtained all that which we desired, the same Inclination of Mindseems to remain toward him, only without that Uneasiness accompanying Desire of an uncertain Object: Thus Gravity may be said to be the same when a Body is resting on a fixed Base, as when it caused descent.

Upon this Scheme of the divine Happiness, it is not easy to account how our Love to him could excite us to promote the Happiness of our Fellows. Our frequent Contemplation of such an amiable excellent [307] Nature, might indeed tend to reform or improve our Temper.

If we imagine that the Deity has such Perceptions of Approbation or Dislike toward [313] Actions as we have our selves, then indeed our Love to him would directly excite us to do whatever he approves, and shun what he condemns. We can scarce avoid imagining, that the frequent recurring of Events disapproved, must be uneasy to any Nature, and that the observing approved Actions must be delightful.

If we imagine that the divine Happiness, or any part of it is connected with the Happiness of his Creatures, so that their Happiness is constituted the Occasion of his; then indeed our Love to theDeity will directly excite us to all manner of beneficent Actions. ’Tis true, many good Men deny these two last Opinions, yet it is probable, when their Minds are diverted from Speculations, by Opportunities of Action, there recurs some Imagination of Offence, Uneasiness, and Resentment in the Deity, upon observing evil Actions; of Delight and Joy in beholding good Actions; of Sorrow upon observing the Misery of his Creatures, and Joy upon seeing them happy: So that by their Love to theDeity they are influenced to beneficent Actions, notwithstanding their [308] speculative Opinions. In our Conceptions of the Deity, we are continually led to imagine a Resemblance to what we feel in our selves.

[314] Whoever maintains these Opinions of the Deity to be true, must also suppose “a particular Determination of all Events in the Universe;” otherwise this part of the divine Happiness is made precarious and uncertain, depending upon the undetermined Will of Creatures.

The Diversity of Opinions concerning the divine Happiness, may lead Men into different ways of accounting for the Influence which the Love ofGod may have upon our Actions toward our Fellows: But the Affections toward the Deity would be much the same upon both Schemes. Where there were the same just Apprehensions of the divine Goodness in two Persons, the Love to the Deity in both would be proportioned to the Goodness of Temper. Tho the highest possible Degree of Love to a perfectly good Deity, would evidence no more Virtue of Temper, than a proportioned Love to Creatures; yet the having only smaller Degrees of Love to the Deity, would evidence a greater Defect of Goodness in the Temper, than any want of Affection toward Creatures.

[309] Here it must be remembred, that in arguing concerning the Goodness of Temper [315] from the Degree of Love directly, and the Causes of Love inversly, actual Attention to the Causes of Love is supposed in the Person. For ’tis plain, that in the best Temper no one Affection or Idea can always continue present, and there can be no Affection present to the Mind, toward any Object, while the Idea of it is not present. The bare Absence therefore of Affection, while the Mind is employed upon a different Object, can argue no evil in the Temper, farther than want of Attention may argue want of Affection. In like manner, in the best Temper, there can be no Love toward an Object unknown: The want therefore of Love to an Object unknown, can argue no evil in the Temper, farther than Ignorance may argue want of Affection. It is certain indeed, that he who knows that there is a good Deity, and actually thinks of him, and of all his Benefits, yet has not the strongest Love and Gratitude toward him, must have a Temper void of all Goodness; but it will not follow, that that Mind is void of Goodness which is not always thinking of the Deity, or actually loving him, or even does not know him. How far the want of Attention to the Deity, and Ignorance of him, may argue an evil Temper, [310] must be shown from different Topicks, to be considered hereafter.

What Degrees of Affection necessary to Innocence.[316] IV. But previously to these Inquiries we must consider “what Degrees or Kinds of Affection are necessary to obtain the simple Approbation of Innocence.” ’Tis plain, the bare Absence of all Malice is not enough. We may have the general Benevolence toward a mere sensitive Nature, which had no other desire but Self‐Love; but we can apprehend no moral Goodness in such a Being: Nay, ’tis not every small Degree of kind Affections which we approve. There must be some proportion of kind Affections to the other Faculties in any Nature, particularly to its Understanding and active Powers to obtain Approbation. Some Brutes evidence small Degrees of Good‐will, which make them be approvedin their Kind; but the same Degrees would not be approved in a Man. There is an higher Degree expected in Mankind, to which, if they do not come up, we do not account them innocent. It is not easy to fix precisely that Degree which we approve as innocent by our moral Sense. Every kind Affection, if it be considered only with relation to its own Object, is indeed approved; such as natural Affection, Gratitude, Pity, Friendship: And yet when we take a more extensive View of the Tendency of [311] some Actions proceeding even from these Affections, [317] we may often condemn these Actions when they are apprehended as pernicious to larger Systems of Mankind. In the same manner we often condemn Actions done from Love to a particular Country, when they appear to be pernicious to Mankindin general. In like manner, SelfPreservation and pursuing private Advantage abstractly considered, is innocent: But when it is apprehended as very pernicious in any case to the Safety of others, it is condemned.

Mankind are capable of large extensive Ideas of great Societies. And it is expected of them, that their general Benevolence should continually direct and limit, not only their selfish Affections, but even their nearer Attachments to others: that their Desire of publick Good, and Aversion to publick Misery, should overcome at least their Desire of positive private Advantages, either to themselves or their particular Favourites; so as to make them abstain from any Action which would be positively pernicious or hurtful to Mankind, however beneficial it might be to themselves, or their Favourites. To undergo positive Evil for the sake of positive Goodto others, seems some degree of Virtue above Innocence, which we do not universally expect: But to reject positive attainable [312/318] good, either for our selves or our particular Favourites, rather than occasion any considerable Misery to others, is requisite to obtain the Approbation of Innocence. The want of this Degree we positively condemn as evil; and an Agent must rise above it by positive Services to Mankind, with some Trouble and Expence to himself, before we approve him as virtuous. We seem indeed universally to expect from all Men those good Offices which give the Agent no trouble or expence: Whoever refuses them is below Innocence. But we do not positively condemn those as evil, who will not sacrifice their private Interest to the Advancement of the positive Goodof others, unless the private Interest be very small, and the publick Good very great.

But as the Desire of positive private Goodis weaker than Aversion to private Evil, or Pain; so our Desire of the positive Good of others, is weaker than our Aversion to their Misery: It seems at least requisite to [313] Innocence, that the stronger publick Affection, viz. our Aversion to the Misery of others, should surmount the weaker private Affection, the Desire of positive private Good; so that no prospect of [319] Good to our selves, should engage us to that which would occasion Misery to others. It is in like manner requisite to Innocence, that our Aversion to the Misery of greater or equal Systems, should surmount our Desire of the positive Goodof these to which we are more particularly attached.

How far it may be necessary to Innocence to submit to smaller private Pains to prevent the greater Sufferings of others, or to promote some great positive Advantages; or how far the Happiness of private Systems should be neglected for the Happiness of the greater, in order to obtain the Approbation of Innocence, it is perhaps impossible precisely to determine, or to fix any general Rules; nor indeed is it necessary. Our business is not to find out “at how cheap a Rate we can purchase Innocence, but to know what is most noble, generous and virtuous in Life.” This we know consists in sacrificing all positive Interests, and bearing all private Evils for the publick Good: And in submitting also the Interests of all smaller Systems to the Interests of the whole: Without any other Exception or Reserve than this, that every Man may look upon himself as a Part of this System, and consequently not sacrifice an important private Interest to a [320] less important Interest of others. We may find the same sort of Difficulty about all our other Senses, in determining precisely what Objects are indifferent, [314] or where Pleasure ends, and Disgust begins, tho the positive Degrees of the grateful and ungrateful are easily distinguished.

It is also very difficult to fix any precise Degree of Affection toward the Deity, which should be barely requisite to Innocence. Only in general we must disapprove that Temper, which, upon Apprehension of the perfect Goodness of the Deity, and of his innumerable Benefits to Mankind, has not stronger Affections of Love and Gratitude toward him, than those toward any other Being. Such Affections would necessarily raise frequent Attention and Consideration of our Actions; and would engage us, if we apprehended any of them to be offensive to him, or contrary to that Scheme of Events in which we apprehended the Deity to delight, to avoid them with a more firm Resolution than what we had in any other Affairs. Positive Virtue toward the Deity must go farther than a resolute abstaining from Offence, by engaging us with the greatest Vigor, to do whatever we apprehend as positively pleasing, or conducive to those Ends in which we apprehend the Deity delights. It is [321] scarce conceivable that any good Temper can want such Affections toward the Deity, when once he is known, as were above supposed necessary to Innocence. Nor [315] can we imagine positive Degrees of Goodness of Temper above Innocence, where Affections toward the Deity do not arise proportionably.

What is here said relates only to the Apprehensions of our moral Sense, and not to those Degrees of Virtue which the Deity may require by Revelation: And every one’s Heart may inform him, whether or no he does not approve, at least as innocent, those who omit many good Offices which they might possibly have done, provided they do a great deal of good; those who carefully abstain from every apprehended Offence toward the Deity, tho they might possibly be more frequent in Acts of Devotion. ’Tis true indeed, the Omission of what we know to be required is positively evil: so that by a Revelation we may be obliged to farther Services than were requisite previously to it, which we could not innocently omit, after this Revelation is known: But we are here only considering our moral Sense.

How far Ignorance of Deity is Evil.V. Now let us inquire how far simple Ignorance of a Deity, or unaffected Atheism does evidence an evil Disposition, or Defect of good Affections below Innocence.

1. Affections arising upon apparent Causes, or present Opinions, tho false, if [316] they be such as would arise in the best Temper, were these Opinions true, cannot argue any present want of Goodness in any Temper, of themselves: the Opinions indeed may often argue a want of Goodness at the time they were formed: But to a benevolent Temper there is no Cause of Malice, or Desire of the Misery or Non‐existence of any Being for itself. There may be Causes of Dislike, and Desire of Misery or Non‐existence, as the Means of greater Good, or of lessening Evil.

2. No Object which is entirely unknown, or of which we have no Idea, can raise Affection in the best Temper; consequently want of Affection to an unknown Object evidences no evil. This would be the Case of those who never heard even the Report of aDeity, if ever there were any such: Or who never heard of any Fellow‐Creatures, if one may make a Supposition like to that made by Cicero. And this is perhaps the Case, as to the Deity, of any unfortunate Children, who may have some [323] little Use of Reason, before they are instructed in any Religion.

If there really were an Innate Idea of a Deity so imprinted, that no Person could [317] be without it; or if we are so disposed, as necessarily to receive this Idea, as soon as we can be called moral Agents: then no Ignorance of a Deity can be innocent; all Atheism must be affected, or an Opinion formed, either thro’ evil Affection, or want of good Affection below Innocence. But if the Idea of aDeity be neither imprinted, nor offer itself even previously to any Reflection, nor be universally excited by Tradition, the bare Want of it, where there has been no Tradition or Reflection, cannot be called criminal upon any Scheme. Those who make Virtue and Vice relative to a Law, may say, “Men are required to reflect, and thence to know a Deity. “But they must allow Promulgation necessary, before Disobedience to a Law can be criminal. Now previously to Reflection it is supposed impossible for the Agent to know the Legislator, or to know the Law requiring him to reflect, therefore this Law requiring him to reflect, was not antecedently to his Reflection published to him.

The Case of human Laws, the Ignorance of which does not excuse, is not parallel [324] to this. No Person under any Civil Government can be supposed ignorant that there are Laws made for the whole State. But in the present Supposition, Men antecedently to Reflection may be ignorant of the Deity, or that there are Laws of Nature. [318] If any Subject could thus be unapprized, that he lived under Civil Government, he should not be accounted Compos Mentis. The Supposition indeed in both Cases is perhaps wholly imaginary; at least as to Persons above Childhood. One can scarce imagine that ever any Person was wholly unapprized of a governing Mind, and of a Right and Wrong in Morals. Whether this is to be ascribed to innate Ideas, to universal Tradition, or to some necessary Determination in our Nature, to imagine a designing Cause of the beautiful Objects which occur to us, with a moral Sense, let the curious inquire.

3. Suppose an Idea formed in a benevolent Mind, of other sensitive Natures, Desire of their Existence and Happiness would arise.

4. A good Temper would incline any one to wish, that other Natures were benevolent, or morally Good, since this is the chief Happiness.

[325] 5. A good Temper would desire that the Administration of Nature were by a benevolent or good Mind.

6. All Desire of any Event or Circumstance inclines any Mind to search into the Truth of that Event or Circumstance, [319] by all the Evidence within its power to obtain.

7. Where there is such Desire, and sufficiently obvious Evidence  given in proportion to the Sagacity of the desiring Mind, it will come to the Knowledge of the Truth, if its Desire be strong.

Now from these Propositions we may deduce the following Corollaries.

1. Supposing the Idea of a good Deity once apprehended, or excited either by Report, or the slightest Reflection; if there be objective Evidence in Nature proportioned to the Capacity of the Inquirer, for the Existence of a good Deity,Atheism directly argues want of good Affection below Innocence.

2. If there be only the simple Tradition or Presumption of a governing Mind once raised; and if there be Evidence as [326] before for his Goodness, to conclude the Deityevil or malicious, must argue want of good Affection as before.

3. Suppose the Idea of an evilDeity once excited, and some Presumptions for his Malice from Tradition, or slight Reflection upon particular Evils in Nature; to rest in this Opinion without Inquiry, [320] would argue want of good Affection; to desire to reject this Opinion, or confute it by contrary Evidence, would argue good Affection: Suppose such contrary Evidences obvious enough in Nature to one who inquired as diligently about it as about his own Interest; to continue in the false Opinion cannot be innocent.

How Ignorance in human Affairs evidences a bad Temper.VI. In like manner concerning our Fellow‐Creatures, who are actually known to us.

4. To imagine Fellow‐Creatures morally Good, either according to Evidence upon Inquiry, or even by a rash Opinion, evidences good Affection.

5. Imagining them Evil contrary to obvious Evidence, argues want of good Affection below Innocence.

6. Retaining and inculcating an Opinion either of the Causes of Love in [327] others, or of the Causes of Aversion, induces an Habit; and makes the Temper prone to the Affection often raised. Opinion of Goodness in the Deity and our Fellows, increases good Affection, and improves the Temper: Contrary Opinion of either, by raising frequent Aversions, weakens good Affection, and impairs the Temper.

[321] This may shew how cautious Men ought to be in passing Sentence upon the Impiety of their Fellows, or representing them as wicked and profane, or hateful to the Deity, and justly given over to eternal Misery: We may see also what a wise Mark it is to know the true Church by, that “it pronounces Damnation on all others.” Which is one of the Characters of the Romish Church, by which it is often recommended as the safest for Christians to live in.

The same Propositions may be applied to our Opinions concerning the natural Tendencies of Actions. Where the Evidence is obvious as before, good Affection will produce true Opinions, and false Opinions often argue want of good Affection below Innocence. Thus, tho in Assent or Dissent of themselves, there can neither be Virtue nor Vice, yet they may be Evidences[328] of either in the Agent, as well as his external Motions. ’Tis not possible indeed for Men to determine precisely in many cases the Quantity of Evidence, and its proportion to the Sagacity of the Observer, which will argue Guilt in him, who contrary to it, forms a false Opinion. But Men are no better judges of the Degrees of Virtue [322] and Vice in external Actions. This therefore will not prove that all false Opinions or Errors are innocent, more than external Actions: The Searcher of Hearts can judge exactly of both. Human Punishments are only Methods of Self‐Defence; in which the Degrees of Guilt are not the proper Measure, but the Necessity of restraining Actions for the Safety of the Publick.

How want of Attention evidences a bad Temper.VII. It is next to be considered, how far want of Attention to the Deity can argue want of good Affections, in any Agent, to whom he is known.

Every good Temper will have strong Affections to a good Deity, and where there is strong Affection there will be frequent Reflection upon the Object beloved, Desire of pleasing, and Caution of offence. In like manner every Person of good Temper, who has had the Knowledge of a [329] Country, a System, a Species, will consider how far these great Societies may be affected by his Actions, with such Attention as he uses in his own Affairs; and will abstain from what is injurious to them.

But an injurious Action which appeared to the Agent not only pernicious to his Fellows, or to particular Persons, but offensive to theDeity, and pernicious to a System, is much more vicious than when the Agent did not reflect upon the Deity, or a Community.

Nothing in this Scheme supersedes the Duty of Love to the Deity, and general Benevolence.[324] VIII. We must not hence imagine, that in order to produce greater Virtue in our selves, we should regard the Deity no farther, then merely to abstain from Offences. Were it our sole Intention in beneficent Actions, only to obtain the private Pleasure of Self‐Approbation for the Degree of our Virtue, this might seem the proper Means of having great Virtue with the least Expence. But if the real Intention, which constitutes an Action virtuous, be the promoting publick Good; then voluntarily to reject the Consideration of any Motive which would increase the Moment of publick Good, or would make us more vigorous and stedfast in Virtue, must argue want of good Affection. In any given Moment of Beneficence, the unaffected Want of Regard to the Deity, or to private Interest, does really argue greater Virtue. But the retaining these Motives with a View to increase the Moment of publick Good in our Actions, if they really do so, argues Virtue equal to, or greater than that in the former Case: And the affected Neglect of these Motives, that so we may acquit our selves virtuously with the least Expence to our selves, or with the least Moment of publick Good, must evidence want of good Affections, and base Trick and Artifice to impose upon [325] Observers, or our own Hearts. Therefore

Since Gratitude to the Deity, and even Consideration of private Interest, tend to increase the Moment of our Beneficence, and to strengthen good Affections, the voluntary Retaining them with this View evidences Virtue, and affecting to neglect them evidences Vice. And yet,

[332] If the Moment produced by the Conjunction of these Motives, be not greater than that produced with unaffected Neglect of these Motives, from particular good [326] Affection, there is less Virtue in the former than in the latter.

Men may use Names as they please, and may chuse to call nothing Virtue but “what is intended chiefly to evidence Affection of one kind or other toward the Deity.” Writers on this Scheme are not well agreed about what this virtuous Intention is; whether only to evidence Submission, or Submission and Love, or to obtain the divine Benevolence, and private Happiness to the Agent, or to give Pleasure to the Deity. But let them not assert, against universal Experience, that we approve no Actions which are not thus intended toward the Deity. ’Tis plain, a generous compassionate Heart, which, at first view of the Distress of another, flies impatiently to his Relief, or spares no Expence to accomplish it, meets with strong Approbation from every Observer who has not perverted his Sense of Life by School‐Divinity, or Philosophy. ’Tis to be suspected, that some Vanity must be at the Bottom of these Notions, which place Virtue in some Nicety, which active Tempers, have not leisure to apprehend, and only the Recluse Student can attain to.

[327] To be led by a weaker Motive, where a stronger is alike present to the Mind, to love a Creature more than God, or to have stronger Desires of doing what is grateful to Creatures than to God, when we equally attend to both, would certainly argue some Perversion of our Affections; or to study the particular Goodof one, more than that of a System, when we reflected on both: But as no finite Mindcan retain at once a [334] Multiplicity of Objects, so it cannot always retain any one Object. When a Person therefore not thinking at present of the Deity, or of a Community or System, does a beneficent Action from particular Love, he evidences Goodness of Temper. The bare Absence of the Idea of a Deity, or of Affections to him, can evidence no evil; otherways it would be a Crime to fall asleep, or to think of any thing else: If the bare Absence of this Idea be no evil, the Presence of kind Affections to FellowCreatures cannot be evil. If indeed our Love to the Deity excited to any Action, and at the same time Love to a Creature excited to the Omission of it, or to a contrary Action, we must be very criminal if the former do not prevail; yet this will not argue all Actions to be evil in which pleasing theDeity, [328] is not directly and chiefly intended. Nay, that Temper must really be very deficient in Goodness, which needs to excite it to any good Office, to recal the Thoughts of a Deity, or a Community, or a System.[335] The frequent recalling these Thoughts, indeed, does strengthen all good Affections, and increases the Moment of Beneficence to be expected from any Temper; and with this View frequently to recal such Thoughts, must be one of the best Helps to Virtue, and evidence high Degrees of it. Nay, one cannot call that Temper entire and complete, which has not the strongest Affection toward the greatest Benefactor, and the most worthy Object.

Beings of such Degrees of Knowledge, and such Extent of Thought, as Mankind are not only capable of, but generally obtain, when nothing interrupts their Inquiries, must naturally arise to the Knowledge of theDeity, if their Temper be good. They must form general Conceptions of the whole, and see the Order, Wisdom, and Goodness in the Administration of Nature in some Degree. The Knowledge and Love of the Deity, the universalMind, is as natural a Perfection to such a Being as Man, as any Accomplishment to which we arrive by [329] cultivating our natural Dispositions; nor is that Mind come to the proper State and Vigor of its kind, where Religion is not the main Exercise and Delight.

Whether the Deity is the sole proper Object of Love.IX. There is one very subtle Argument on this Subject. Some alledge, “That [336] since the Deity is really the Cause of all the Good in the Universe, even of all the Virtue, or good Affection in Creatures, which are the seeming Causes of Love toward them, it must argue strange Perversion of Temper to love those in whom there is no Cause of Love, or who are (as they affect to speak) nothing, or Emptiness of all Goodness. TheDeity alone is amiable, in whom there is infinite Fulness of every amiable Quality. The Deity, say they, not without some Reason, is the Cause of every pleasant Sensation, which he immediately excites according to a general Law, upon the Occasion of Motions arising in our Bodies; that likewise he gave us that general Inclination, which we modify into all our different Affections;God therefore, say they, is alone lovely. Other Things are not to be beloved, but only the Goodness of God appearing in them; nay some do make the loving of them, without considering God as displaying [330] his Goodness in them, to be infinitely evil.”

In answer to this it must be owned, that “God’s being the Cause of all the Good in the Universe, will no doubt raise the highest Love to him in a good Temper, when it reflects upon it.”

[337] But 1st, had all Men this Apprehension that “there was no good in any Creature,” they really would not love them at all. But Men generally imagine with very good ground, that there are good Beings distinct from God, tho produced by him: And whether this Opinion be true or false, it evidences no evil.

2. As upon this Scheme God is the Cause of all pleasant Sensation, so is he the Cause of all Pain: He is, according to them, the Cause of that Inclination which we modify into evil Affection, as well as into good. If then we are to love God only, for what we call good Affection in Creatures, and not the Creatures themselves, we must also only love God upon observing evil Affections in Creatures, and have no Aversion to the basest Temper, since God gave the general Inclination alike in both Cases.

[331] 3. If we may suppose real Beings distinct from God, that their Affections are not God’s Affections, if God is not the only Lover and Hater, if our moral Sense is determined to approve kind Affections, and our Love or Benevolence must arise toward what we approve; or if we find an Instinct to desire the Happiness of every sensitive [338] Nature, we cannot avoid loving Creatures, and we must approve any kind Affections observed in others toward their Fellows. ’Tis true, we must approve the highest Affections toward the Deity, and condemn, as a Deficiency of just Affections toward God any Degree which is not superior to our other Affections. But still, Affections towards Creatures, if they be distinct Natures from God, must be approved.

4. If to make a Mind virtuous, or even innocent, it be necessary that it should have such sublime Speculations of God, as the τὸ πα̑ν in the Intellectual active System (if we call one Agent in many Passive Organs an active System) then God has placed the Bulk of Mankind in an absolute Incapacity of Virtue, and inclined them perpetually to infinite Evil, by their very Instincts and natural Affections. Does the parental Affection direct [332] a Man to love the Deity, or his Children? Is it the Divinity, to which our Pity or Compassion is directed? Is God the Object of Humanity? Is it a Design to support the Divinity, which we call Generosity or Liberality? Upon Receipt of a Benefit, does our Nature suggest only Gratitude towardGod? Affections toward the Deity may indeed often accompany Affections toward Creatures, and do so in a virtuous Temper: but [339] these are distinct Affections. This Notion of making all virtuous Affections to be only directed toward God, is not suggested to Men by any thing in their Nature, but arises from the long subtle Reasonings of Men at leisure, and unemployed in the natural Affairs of Life.

5. If there be no Virtue or Cause of Love in Creatures, it is vain for them to debate wherein their Virtue consists, whether in regard toward the Deity, or in any thing else, since they are supposed to have none at all.

To conclude this Subject. It seems probable, that however we must look upon that Temper as exceedingly imperfect, inconstant, and partial, in which Gratitude toward the universal Benefactor, Admiration and Love of the supreme [333] original Beauty, Perfection and Goodness, are not the strongest and most prevalent Affections; yet particular Actions may be innocent, nay virtuous, where there is no actual Intention of pleasing the Deity, influencing the Agent.

FINIS.

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