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Philosophers

Mortimer Adler
Rogers Albritton
Alexander of Aphrodisias
Samuel Alexander
William Alston
Anaximander
G.E.M.Anscombe
Anselm
Louise Antony
Thomas Aquinas
Aristotle
David Armstrong
Harald Atmanspacher
Robert Audi
Augustine
J.L.Austin
A.J.Ayer
Alexander Bain
Mark Balaguer
Jeffrey Barrett
William Belsham
Henri Bergson
George Berkeley
Isaiah Berlin
Richard J. Bernstein
Bernard Berofsky
Robert Bishop
Max Black
Susanne Bobzien
Emil du Bois-Reymond
Hilary Bok
Laurence BonJour
George Boole
Émile Boutroux
F.H.Bradley
C.D.Broad
Michael Burke
C.A.Campbell
Joseph Keim Campbell
Rudolf Carnap
Carneades
Ernst Cassirer
David Chalmers
Roderick Chisholm
Chrysippus
Cicero
Randolph Clarke
Samuel Clarke
Anthony Collins
Antonella Corradini
Diodorus Cronus
Jonathan Dancy
Donald Davidson
Mario De Caro
Democritus
Daniel Dennett
Jacques Derrida
René Descartes
Richard Double
Fred Dretske
John Dupré
John Earman
Laura Waddell Ekstrom
Epictetus
Epicurus
Herbert Feigl
John Martin Fischer
Owen Flanagan
Luciano Floridi
Philippa Foot
Alfred Fouilleé
Harry Frankfurt
Richard L. Franklin
Michael Frede
Gottlob Frege
Peter Geach
Edmund Gettier
Carl Ginet
Alvin Goldman
Gorgias
Nicholas St. John Green
H.Paul Grice
Ian Hacking
Ishtiyaque Haji
Stuart Hampshire
W.F.R.Hardie
Sam Harris
William Hasker
R.M.Hare
Georg W.F. Hegel
Martin Heidegger
Heraclitus
R.E.Hobart
Thomas Hobbes
David Hodgson
Shadsworth Hodgson
Baron d'Holbach
Ted Honderich
Pamela Huby
David Hume
Ferenc Huoranszki
William James
Lord Kames
Robert Kane
Immanuel Kant
Tomis Kapitan
Jaegwon Kim
William King
Hilary Kornblith
Christine Korsgaard
Saul Kripke
Andrea Lavazza
Keith Lehrer
Gottfried Leibniz
Leucippus
Michael Levin
George Henry Lewes
C.I.Lewis
David Lewis
Peter Lipton
C. Lloyd Morgan
John Locke
Michael Lockwood
E. Jonathan Lowe
John R. Lucas
Lucretius
Alasdair MacIntyre
Ruth Barcan Marcus
James Martineau
Storrs McCall
Hugh McCann
Colin McGinn
Michael McKenna
Brian McLaughlin
John McTaggart
Paul E. Meehl
Uwe Meixner
Alfred Mele
Trenton Merricks
John Stuart Mill
Dickinson Miller
G.E.Moore
Thomas Nagel
Friedrich Nietzsche
John Norton
P.H.Nowell-Smith
Robert Nozick
William of Ockham
Timothy O'Connor
Parmenides
David F. Pears
Charles Sanders Peirce
Derk Pereboom
Steven Pinker
Plato
Karl Popper
Porphyry
Huw Price
H.A.Prichard
Protagoras
Hilary Putnam
Willard van Orman Quine
Frank Ramsey
Ayn Rand
Michael Rea
Thomas Reid
Charles Renouvier
Nicholas Rescher
C.W.Rietdijk
Richard Rorty
Josiah Royce
Bertrand Russell
Paul Russell
Gilbert Ryle
Jean-Paul Sartre
Kenneth Sayre
T.M.Scanlon
Moritz Schlick
Arthur Schopenhauer
John Searle
Wilfrid Sellars
Alan Sidelle
Ted Sider
Henry Sidgwick
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
J.J.C.Smart
Saul Smilansky
Michael Smith
Baruch Spinoza
L. Susan Stebbing
Isabelle Stengers
George F. Stout
Galen Strawson
Peter Strawson
Eleonore Stump
Francisco Suárez
Richard Taylor
Kevin Timpe
Mark Twain
Peter Unger
Peter van Inwagen
Manuel Vargas
John Venn
Kadri Vihvelin
Voltaire
G.H. von Wright
David Foster Wallace
R. Jay Wallace
W.G.Ward
Ted Warfield
Roy Weatherford
William Whewell
Alfred North Whitehead
David Widerker
David Wiggins
Bernard Williams
Timothy Williamson
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Susan Wolf

Scientists

Michael Arbib
Bernard Baars
Gregory Bateson
John S. Bell
Charles Bennett
Ludwig von Bertalanffy
Susan Blackmore
Margaret Boden
David Bohm
Niels Bohr
Ludwig Boltzmann
Emile Borel
Max Born
Satyendra Nath Bose
Walther Bothe
Hans Briegel
Leon Brillouin
Stephen Brush
Henry Thomas Buckle
S. H. Burbury
Donald Campbell
Anthony Cashmore
Eric Chaisson
Jean-Pierre Changeux
Arthur Holly Compton
John Conway
John Cramer
E. P. Culverwell
Charles Darwin
Terrence Deacon
Louis de Broglie
Max Delbrück
Abraham de Moivre
Paul Dirac
Hans Driesch
John Eccles
Arthur Stanley Eddington
Paul Ehrenfest
Albert Einstein
Hugh Everett, III
Franz Exner
Richard Feynman
R. A. Fisher
Joseph Fourier
Lila Gatlin
Michael Gazzaniga
GianCarlo Ghirardi
J. Willard Gibbs
Nicolas Gisin
Paul Glimcher
Thomas Gold
A.O.Gomes
Brian Goodwin
Joshua Greene
Jacques Hadamard
Patrick Haggard
Stuart Hameroff
Augustin Hamon
Sam Harris
Hyman Hartman
John-Dylan Haynes
Martin Heisenberg
Werner Heisenberg
John Herschel
Jesper Hoffmeyer
E. T. Jaynes
William Stanley Jevons
Roman Jakobson
Pascual Jordan
Ruth E. Kastner
Stuart Kauffman
Martin J. Klein
Simon Kochen
Stephen Kosslyn
Ladislav Kovàč
Rolf Landauer
Alfred Landé
Pierre-Simon Laplace
David Layzer
Benjamin Libet
Seth Lloyd
Hendrik Lorentz
Josef Loschmidt
Ernst Mach
Donald MacKay
Henry Margenau
James Clerk Maxwell
Ernst Mayr
Ulrich Mohrhoff
Jacques Monod
Emmy Noether
Abraham Pais
Howard Pattee
Wolfgang Pauli
Massimo Pauri
Roger Penrose
Steven Pinker
Colin Pittendrigh
Max Planck
Susan Pockett
Henri Poincaré
Daniel Pollen
Ilya Prigogine
Hans Primas
Adolphe Quételet
Juan Roederer
Jerome Rothstein
David Ruelle
Erwin Schrödinger
Aaron Schurger
Claude Shannon
David Shiang
Herbert Simon
Dean Keith Simonton
B. F. Skinner
Roger Sperry
John Stachel
Henry Stapp
Tom Stonier
Antoine Suarez
Leo Szilard
William Thomson (Kelvin)
Peter Tse
Vlatko Vedral
Heinz von Foerster
John von Neumann
John B. Watson
Daniel Wegner
Steven Weinberg
Paul A. Weiss
John Wheeler
Wilhelm Wien
Norbert Wiener
Eugene Wigner
E. O. Wilson
H. Dieter Zeh
Ernst Zermelo
Wojciech Zurek

Presentations

Biosemiotics
Free Will
Mental Causation
James Symposium
 
Essays on the Active Powers of Man
 
By THOMAS REID, D. D. F. R. S. Edin. 

PROFESSOR OF MORAL PHILOSOPHY 
IN THE UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW. 

He hath showed thee, Man, what is good. Micah. 



EDINBURGH: 
Printed FOR JOHN BELL, Parliament-Square, 
And G. G. J. & J. ROBINSON, London. 



M,DCC,LXXX\III. 
\ 1 t< 



CONTENTS 



Page 
INTRODUCTION, - - - - i 

ESSAY I. OF ACTIVE POWER IN GENERAL. 

Chap. i. Of the Notion of yl^ive Power ^ - - 5 

2. 7" he fame SubjeEl^ - - - 13 

3. Of Mr Locke's Account of our Idea of Power y 22 

4. OfMx Hume's Opinion of the Idea of Power, - 26 

5. Whether Beings that have no Will nor Under/landing 

may have ABive Power ? - - ~ 33 

6. Of the efficient Caufes of the Phanomena of Nature y 41 

7. Of the Extent of Human Power, - - 48 

ESSAY n. OF THE WILL. 

Chap. i. Obfervations concerning the Will, " - - 59 

2. 0/ the Influence of Incitements and Motives upon the — 

Will, - - - 67 

3. Of Operations of Mind which may be called Voluntary, 78 

-' 4. Corollaries, ^ - - - - 92 

ESSAY III. OF THE PRINCIPLES OF ACTION. 
PARTI. Of the Mechanical Principles of Jaion. '^ 

Chap. t. Of the Principles of jl£lion in general, - 97 

■ 2. Injlin5l, - - - - 103 

3. Of Habit, - - - 117 

a 2 ESSAY 



% 



vi CONTENTS. 

ESSAY III. PART II. 
Of Animal Principles of AB'ion. 

Page 

Chap. i. Of Appetites, - - - 121 

2. OfDeftres,.y - . - 131 

3. Of Benevolent Affedion in general, - - I41 

4. Of the particular Benevolent Affe^ions, - 148 

5. Of Malevolent AffeElion, - - 166 

6. OfPaJion, - - - 180 

7. Of Difpofttion, ' - - 102 

8. Of Opinion, - - - - 198 



ESSAY III. PART III. 
Of the Rational Principles of ASiion. 

Chap. i. 'There are Rational Principles of A6lion in Man, -' 205. 

2. Of Regard to our Good on the Whole, - - 208 

3. The Tendency of this Principle, - 215 

4. Defers of this Principle, - - - 221 

■ 5* Of the Notion of Duty, Redlitude. moral Obligation, 227 

6. Of the Senfe of Duty, - - - 236 

7. Of moral Approbation and Difapprobation^ - 244 

■ 8. Obfervations concerning Confcience, - - 252 

ESSAY IV. OF THE LIBERTY OF MORAL AGENTS. 

Chap. i. The Notions of Moral Liberty and Necefity fated, 267 

2. Of the Words Caufe and EjfeSl, A£lion, and AElive ' 

Power, - - - 275 

— — 3. Canfes of the Ambiguity of thofe Words, - 281 

Chap. 



CONTENTS. 



vu 



^ Page 

Chap. 4. Of the Influence of Motives, - - 291 

5. Liberty conftftent ivilb Government^ - - 302 

6. Firfl Argument for LJberty, - - - 312 

7. Second Argument, - - - 323 

8. Third Argument, - - - 329 

9. Of Arguments for Necejftty, - - - 333 

The fame Subject, - - - 346 



10. 



II. Of the PermiJJion of Evil, - - 3f5 



ESSAY V. OF MORALS. 

Chap. I. Of the Firjl Principles of Morals, - 369 

2. OfSyftems of Morals, _ _ . -gQ 

3. Of Syjlems of Natural Jurifprudence, - 387 

4. Whether an ASiion deferving Moral Approbation, mujl 

be done ivith the Belief of its being morally good, 39 c 

5. Whether Jttjiice be a Natural or an Artifcial Virtue, 409 

6. Of the Nature and Obligation of a Contrary • 44 c 

7. That Moral Approbation implies a real Judgment, 467 



ESSAYS 

ON THE 

ACTIVE POWERS of the HUMAN MIND, 

INTRODUCTION. 

TH E divifion of the faculties of the human mind into Un- 
derjlanding and Will is very ancient, and has been very ge- 
nerally adopted ^ the former comprehending all our fpeculative, 
the latter all our a<flive Powers. 

It is evidently the intention of our Maker, that man fhould be 
an adlive and not merely a fpeculative being. For this purpofe, 
certain adtive powers have been given him, limited indeed in 
many refpeds, but fuited to his rank and place in the creation. 

Ouv bufinefs is to manage thefe powers, by propofing to our- 
felves the beft ends, planning the moft proper fyftem of condud 
that is in our power, and executing it with induftry and zeal. 
This is true wifdom ; this is the very intention of our being. 

Every thing virtuous and praife-worthy muft lie in the right 
ufeof our power; every thing vicious and blameable in the abufe 
of it. What is not within the fphere of our power cannot be 
imputed to us either for blame or praife. Thefe are felf-evident 

A truths, 



INTRODUCTION. 

truths, to which every unprejudiced mind yields an immediate 
and invincible afTent. 

Knowledge derives its value from this, that it enlarges our 
power, and direds us in the application of it. For in the right 
employment of our ad;ive power confifts all the honour, digni- 
ty and worth of a man, and, in the abufe and perverfion of it, 
all vice, corruption and depravity. 

We are diflinguiflied from the brute-animals, not lefs by our 
active than by our fpeculative powers. 

The brutes are Simulated to various adlions by their inftinds, 
by their appetites, by their paflions. But they feem to be ne- 
ceflarily determined by the flrongeft impulfe, without any capa- 
city of felf-government. Therefore we do not blame them for 
what they do ; nor have we any reafon to think that they blame 
themfelves. They may be trained up by difcipline, but cannot 
be governed by law. There is no evidence that they have the 
conception of a law, or of its obligation. 

Man is capable of ading from motives of a higher nature. 
He perceives a dignity and worth in one courfe of condudl, a de- 
merit and turpitude in another, which brutes have not the capa- 
city to difcern. 

He perceives it to be his duty to a<5l the worthy and the ho- 
nourable part, whether his appetites and paflions incite him to it, 
or to the contrary. When he facrifices the gratification of the 
flrongeft appetites or paflions to duty, this is fo far from dimi- 
niftiing the merit of his condud, that it greatly increafes it, 
and affords, upon refledlion, an inward fatisfadion and triumph, 
of which brute-animals are not fufceptible. When he ads a 
contrary part, he has a confcioufnefs of demerit, to which they 
are no lefs ftrangers. 

Since, 



INTRODUCTION. 

Since, therefore, the active powers of man make fo important 
a part of his conftitution, and diftinguifh him fo eminently from 
his fellow-animals, they defer%'e no lefs to be the fubje<^ of phi- 
lofophical difquifition than his intellectual powers. 

A jufl: knowledge of our powers, whether intelledual or ac- 
tive, is fo far of real importance to us, as it aids us in the ex- 
ercife of them. And every man mufl acknowledge, that to adl 
properly is much more valuable than to think juftly or reafon 
acutely. 



A 2 ESSAY 



ESSAY L 

OF ACTIVE POWER IN GENERAL. 

CHAP. I. 
Of the Notion of A&ive Power. 

TO confider gravely what Is meant by Adtive Power, may 
feem altogether unneceflary, and to be mere trifling. It is 
not a term of art, but a common word in our language, ufed 
every day in difcourfe, even by the vulgar. We find words of 
the fame meaning in all other languages ; and there is no reafon 
to think that it is not perfectly underftood by all men who un- 
derftand the Englllh language. 

I believe all this is true, and that an attempt to explain a 
word fo well underftood, and to ftiow that it has a meaning, re- 
quires an apology. 

The apology is. That this term, fo well underftood by the vul- 
gar, has been darkened by philofophers, who, in this as in many 
other inftances, have found great difficulties about a thing which, 
to the reft of mankind, feems perfed:ly clear. 

This has been the more eafily effeifted, becaufe Power is a 
thing fo much of its own kind, and fo fimple in its nature, as 
not to admit of a logical definition. 

It is well known, that there are many things perfedly under- 
ftood, and of which we have clear and diftindt conceptions, 

which 



6 E S S A Y I. 

CH AP. L which cannot be logically defined. No man ever attempted $o 
define magnitude ; yet there is no word whofe meaning is more 
difl:indly or more generally underftood. We cannot give a logi- 
cal definition of thought, of duration, of number, or of motion. 

When men attempt to define fuch things, they give no light. 
They may give a fynonymous word or phrafe, but it will proba- 
bly be a worfe for a better. If they will define, the definition 
will either be grounded upon a hypothefis, or it will darken the 
fubjed: rather than throw light upon it. 

The Ariftotelian definition of motion, that it is " A&us entis in 
" potentia^quatenus in potentta,^'' has beenjuftly cenfured by modern 
Philofophers ; yet I think it is matched by what a celebrated mo- 
dern Philofopher has given us, as the moft accurate definition of 
belief, to wit, " That it is a lively idea related to or aflbciated 
" with a prefent impreflion." Treatife of Human Nature, vol. i. 
p. 172. " Memory," according to the fame Philofopher, " is 
" the faculty by which we repeat our impreflions, fo as that 
" they retain a confiderable degree of their firfl vivacity, and 
" are fomewhat intermediate betwixt an idea and an Imprelllon." 

Euclid, if his editors have not done him injuftice, has at- 
tempted to define a right line, to define unity, ratio and number. 
But thefe definitions are good for nothing. We may indeed 
fufped: them not to be Euclid's ; becaufe they are never once 
quoted in the Elements, and are of no ufe. 

I fhall not therefore attempt to define adive power, that I may 
not be liable to the fame cenfure ; but fliall offer fome oblerva- 
tions that may lead us to attend to the conception we have of it 
in our own minds. 

I. Power is not an objed of any of our external fenfes, nor 
even an objed of confcioufhefs. 

That 



OF THE NOTION OF ACTIVE POWER. 7 

That it is not feen, nor heard, nor touched, nor tafted, nor chap, i.^ 
fmclt, needs no proof. That we are not confcious of it, in 
the proper fenfe of that word, will be n6 lefs evident, if we re- 
flect, that confcioufnefs is that power of the mind by which it 
has an immediate knowledge of its own operations. Po\Ver is 
not an operation of the mind, and therefore no objed of cbn- 
fcioufneis. Indeed every operation of the mind is the exertion 
of fome power of the mind ; but we are confcious of the ope- 
ration only, the power lies behind the fcene; and though we 
may juftly infer the power from the operation, it muft be re- 
membered, that inferring is not the province of confcioufnefs, 
but of rcaion. 

I acknowledge, therefore, that our having ahy conception of 
idea of power is repuguant to Mr Locke's theory, that all our Am- 
ple ideas are got either by the external fenfes, or by confcioufnefs. 
Both cannot be true. Mr Hume perceived this repugnancy, 
and confiftently maintained, that we have no idea of power. 
Mr Locke did not perceive it. If he had, it might have led 
him to fufped his theory j for when theory is repugnant to facfl, 
it is eafy to fee which ought to yield. I am confcious that I 
have a conception or iJea of power, but, ftriclly fpeaking, I am 
not confcious that 1 have power. 

I fliall have occafion to (hew, that we have very early, from 
our conftitution, a convic'liou or belief of fome degree of adive 
power in ourfelves. This belief, however, is not confcioufnefs : 
For we may be deceived in it ; but the teftimony of confciouf- 
nefs can never deceive. Thus, a man who is (truck with a palfy 
in the night commonly knows not that he has loft the power of 
fpeech till he attempts to fpeak ; he knows not whether he can 
move his hands and arms till he makes the trial ; and if, with- 
out making trial, he confults his confcioufnefs ever fo attentive- 
ly, it will give him no information whether he has loft thefe 
powers, or iUll retains them. 

From 



^ 



ESSAY I. 



» — ^ — ' 



CHAP. I. From this we muft conclude, that the powers we have are not 
an objed of confcloufnefs, though it would be foolifh to cenfure 
this way of fpeaking in popular difcourfe, which requires not 
accurate attention to the different provinces of our various fa- 
culties. The teftimony of confcloufnefs is always unerring, nor 
was it ever called in queflion by the greateft fceptics, ancient or 
modem. 

2. A fecond obfervation is. That as there are fome things of 
which we have a dired, and others of which we have only a re- 
lative conception, power belongs to the latter clafs. 

As this diftindion is overlooked by moft writers In logic, I 
fliall beg leave to Illuflrate it a little, and then fhall apply It to 
the prefent fubjed. 

Of fome things we know what they are in themfelves ; our 
conception of fuch things I call direB. Of other things, we 
know not what they are in themfelves, but only that they have 
certain properties or attributes, or certain relations to other 
things ; of thefe oui* conception is only relative. 

To Illuftrate this by fome examples : In the unlverfity-library, 
I call for the book, prefs L, fhelf lo. No. lo. ; the library- 
keeper muft have fuch a conception of the book I want, as to be 
able to dlftlngulfh it from ten thoufand that are under his care. 
But what conception does he form of it from my words ? They 
inform him neither of the author, nor the fubjed, nor the lan- 
guage, nor the fize, nor the binding, but only of its mark and 
place. His conception of it is merely relative to thefe clrcum- 
ftances ; yet this relative notion enables him to diftinguifli it 
from every other book in the library. 

There are other relative notions that are not taken from ac- 
cidental relations, as in the example juft now mentioned, but 
from qualities or attributes eflential to the thing. 

Of 



OF THE NOTION OF ACTIVE POWER. < 

Of this kind are our notions both of body and mind. What CHA P, r. 
is body ? It is, fay Phllofophers, that which is extended, folid and 
divifible. Says the querift, 1 do not afk what the properties of 
body arc, but what is the thing itfelf ^ let me firft know diredly 
what body is, and then confider its properties ? To this demand 
I am afraid the querift will meet with no fatisfadory anfwer ; 
becaufe our notion of body is not diredl but relative to its qua- 
lities. We know that it is fomething extended, folid and divi- 
fible, and we know no more. 

Again, if It fhould be afked, W hat Is mind ? It is that which 
thinks. I afk not what it does, or what its operations are, but 
what it is ? To this I can find no anfwer j our notion of mind 
being not dired, but relative to its operations, as our notion of 
body Is relative to its qualities. 

There are even many of the qualities of body, of which we 
have only a relative conception. What Is heat In a body ? It is 
a quality which affeds the fenfe of touch In a certain way. If 
you want to know, not how It affeds the fenfe of touch, but 
what It Is In Itfelf ; this I confefs I know not. My conception 
of it Is not dired, but relative to the effed It has upon bodies. 
The notions we have of all thofe qualities which Mr Locke 
calls fecondary, and of thofe he calls powers of bodies, fuch as 
the power of the magnet to attrad iron, or of fire to burn 
wood, are relative. 

Having given examples of things of which our conception is 
only relative, it may be proper to mention fome of which It Is 
dired. Of this kind, are all the primary qualities of body ; fi- 
gure, extenfion, folidlty, hardnefs, fluidity, and the like. Of 
thefe we have a dired and Immediate knowledge from our fenfes. 
To this clafs belong alfo all the operations of mind of which we 
are confcious. I know what thought Is, what memory, what a 
purpofe, what a promife. 

B There 



10 



ESSAY I. 



CHAP. I. There are fome things of which we can have both a direcft and 
a relative conception. I can diredlly conceive ten thoufand men 
or ten thoufand pounds, becaufe both are objeds of fenfe, and 
may be feen. But whether I fee fuch an objed:, or dire(5lly con- 
ceive it, my notion of it is indiflind ; it is only that of a great 
multitude of men, or of a great heap of money ; and a fmall 
addition or diminution makes no perceptible change in the no- 
tion I form in this way. But I can form a relative notion of 
the fame number of men or of pounds, by attending to the re- 
lations which this number has to other numbers, greater or lefs. 
Then I perceive that the relative notion is diftin(St and fcientific. 
For the addition of a fingle man, or a fingle pound, or even of 
a penny, is ealily perceived. 

In like manner, I can form a diredl notion of a polygon of a 
thoufand equal fides and equal angles. This direct notion can- 
not be more diflintfl, when conceived in the mind, than that 
which I get by fight, when the objedl is before me ; and I find it 
fo indiftind:, that it has the fame appearance to my eye, or to 
my dired conception, as a polygon of a thoufand and one, or 
of nine hundred and ninety-nine fides. But when I form a rela- 
tive conception of it, by attending to the relation it bears to 
polygons of a greater or lefs number of fides, my notion of it 
becomes diftind and fcientific, and I can demonfl;rate the pro- 
perties by which it is diftinguifhed from all other polygons. 
From thefe inflances it appears, that our relative conceptions of 
things are not always lefs difi;ind, nor lefs fit materials for accu- 
rate reafoning, than thofe that are dired j and that the con- 
trary may happen in a remarkable degree. 

Our conception of power Is relative to its exertions or effeds. 
Power is one things its exertion is another thing. It is true, 
there can be no exertion without power; but there may be power 
that is not exerted. Thus a man may have power to fpeak when 
he is filentj he may have power to rife and walk when he fits flill. 

But 



OF THE NOTION OF ACTIVE POWER. n 

But though it be one thing to fpeak, and another to have the CHAI'. i.^ 
power of fpeaking, I apprehend we conceive of the power as 
fomething which has a certain relation to the efled. And of 
every power we form our notion by the effed which it is able to 
produce. 

3. It is evident that power is a quality, and cannot exifl with- 
out a fubjed to which it belongs. 

That power may exiil: without any being or fubjed to which 
that power may be attributed, is an abfurdity, fhocking to every 
man of common underllanding. 

It is a quality which may be varied, not only in degree, but 
alfo in kind ; and we diftinguifli both the kinds and degrees by 
the effedts which they are able to produce. 

Thus a power to fly, and a power to reafon, are different kinds 
of power, their effeds being different in kind. But a power to 
carry one hundred weight, and a power to carry two hundred, 
are different degrees of the fame kind. 

4. We cannot conclude the want of power from its not being 
exerted ; nor from the exertion of a lefs degree of power, can 
we conclude that there is no greater degree in the fubjed. Thus, 
though a man on a particular occafion faid nothing, we cannot 
conclude from that circumflance, that he had not the power of 
fpeech ; nor from a man's carrying ten pound weight, can we 
conclude that he had not power to carry twenty. 

5. There are fome qualities that have a contrary, others that 
have not ; power is a quality of the latter kind. 

Vice is contrary to virtue, mifery to happinefs, hatred to love, 
negation to affirmation ; but there is no contrary to power. Weak- 

B 2 nefs 



12 E S S A Y I. 

CHA P. I. nefs or impotence are defeds or privations of power, but not 
contraries to it. 

If what has been faid of power be ealily underftood, and rea- 
dily aflented to, by all who underftand our language, as I believe 
it is, we may from this juflly conclude. That we have a diftind 
notion of power, and may reafon about it with underltanding, 
though we can give no logical definition of it.. 

If power were a thing of which we have no idea, as fome 
Philofophers have taken much pains to prove, that is, if power 
were a word without any meaning, we could neither affirm nor 
deny any thing concerning it with underftanding. We fhould 
have equal reafon to fay that it is a fubftance, as that it is a qua- 
lity ; that it does not admit of degrees as that it does. If the 
underftanding immediately aflents to one of thefe affertions, and 
revolts from the contrary, we may conclude with certainty, that 
we put fome meaning upon the word power, that is, that we 
have fome idea of it. And it is chiefly for the fake of this con- 
clufion, that I have enumerated fo many obvious things concern- 
ing it. 

The term adive power is ufed, I conceive, to diftinguifh it 
from fpeculative powers. As all languages diflinguifh adlion 
from fpeculation, the fame difl;ind:ion is applied to the powers 
by which they are produced. The powers of feeing, hearing, 
remembering, diftinguifhing, judging, reafoning, are fpeculative 
powers ; the power of executing any work of art or labour is 
adive power. 

There are many things related to power, in fuch a manner, that 
we can have no notion of them if we have none of power. 

The exertion of adlive power we call aEl'ion; and as every 
adion produces fome change, fo every change muft be caufed by 

fome 



OFTHENOTIONOFACTIVEPOWER. 13 

fome exertion, or by the ceflation of fome exertion of power. That chap. ii. 
which produces a change by the exertion of its power, we call 
the caufe of that change ', and the change produced, the effeEl of 
that caufe. 

When one being, by its adive power, produces any change 
upon another, the lall is faid to be pqffive, or to be aded upon. 
Thus we fee that adion and paffion, cuufe and effed, exertion 
and operation, have fuch a relation to adive power, that if it 
be underftood, they are underftood of confequence ; but if 
power be a word without any meaning, all thofe words which 
are related to it, nuift be words without any meaning. They 
are, however, common words in our language j and equivalent 
words have always been common in all languages. 

It would be very ftrange indeed, if mankind had always ufed 
thefe words fo familiarly, without perceiving that they had no 
meaning ; and that this difcovery fliould have been firft made by 
a Philofophcr of the prefent age. 

With equal reafon it might be maintained, that though there 
are words in all languages to exprefs fight, and words to fignify 
the various colours which are objeds of fight ; yet that all man- 
kind from the beginning of the world had been blind, and never 
had an idea of fight or of colour. But there are no abfurdities 
fo grofs as thofe which Philofophers have advanced concerning 
ideas. 



CHAP. II. 

The fame Subje£l. 

THERE are, I believe, no abftrad notions, that are to be 
found more early, or more univerfally, in the minds of men, 
than thofe of ading, and being aded upon. Every child that 

underftands 



*4 



ESSAY I. 



CHAP. II. underftands the difllndlon between ftriking and being flruck, 
mufl have the conception of adlion and pailion. 

We find accordingly, that there Is no language fo Imperfed, but 
that it has adive and paffive verbs, and participles ; the one fig- 
nifying fome kind of adionj the other the being aded upon. 
This diftindion enters into the original contexture of all lan- 
guages. 

Adive verbs have a form and conftrudtlon proper to them- 
felves ; paffive verbs a different fonn and a different conflru6lion. 
In all languages, the nominative to an adlive verb is the agent; 
the thing aded upon is put in an oblique cafe. In paffive verbs, 
the thing adted upon is the nominative, and the agent, if expreC- 
fed, muit be in an oblique cafe ; as in this example : Raphael 
drew the Cartoons j the Cartoons were drawn by Raphael. 

Every diftindlon which we find m the ftrufture of all lan- 
guages, mufl: have been familiar to thofe who framed the lan- 
guages at firft, and to all who fpeak them with underftanding. 

It may be objeded to this argument, taken from the ftrudure 
of language, in the ufe of a6tive and paffive verbs, that adive 
verbs are not always ufed to denote an ad:ion, nor is the nomina- 
tive before an active verb, conceived in all cafes to be an agent, 
in the ftridl fenfe of that word j that there are many paffive 
verbs which have an adlive fignification, and adlive verbs which 
have a paffive. From thefe fadts, it may be thought a jufl: con- 
clufion, that in contriving the different forms of adllve and paf- 
five verbs, and their different conftruClion, men have not been 
governed by a regard to any diftindlion between adlion and paf- 
fion, but by chance, or fome accidental caufe. 

In anfwer to this objedion, the fad an which it Is founded, 

mufl 



OF THE NOTION OF ACTIVE POWER. 15 

mud be admitted ; hut I think the conclufion not juftly drawn cha p, il 
from it, for the following reafons : 

1. It feems contrary to reafon, to attribute to chance or acci- 
dent, what is fubjed to rules, even though there may be excep- 
tions to the rule. The exceptions may, in fuch a cafe, be attri- 
buted to accident, but the rule cannot. There is perhaps hard- 
ly any thing in language fo general, as not to admit of excep- 
tions. It cannot be denied to be a general rule, that verbs and 
participles have an adive and a pallive voice ; and as this is a 
general rule, not in one language only, but in all the languages 
we are acquainted with, it fhews evidently that men, in the ear- 
lieft ftages, and in all periods of fociety, have diftinguifhedadlion 
from paflion. 

2. It is to be obferved, that the forms of language are often ap- 
plied to purpofes different from thofe for which they were ori- 
ginally intended. The varieties of a language, even the moft 
perfect, can never be made equal to all the variety of human 
conceptions. The forms and modifications of language mull be 
confined within certain Imiits, that they may not exceed the ca- 
pacity of human memory. Therefore, in all languages, there 
muft be a kind of frugality ufed, to make one form of expref- 
fion ferve many different purpofes, like Sir Hudibras' dagger, 
which, though made to ftab or break a head, was put to many 
other ufes. Many examples might be produced of this frugali- 
ty in language. Thus the Latins and Greeks had five or fix 
cafes of nouns, to exprefs the various relations that one thing 
could bear to another. The genitive cafe muff have been at 
firft intended to exprefs fome one capital relation, fuch as that 
of poiTeflion or of property ; but it would be very difficult to 
enumerate all the relations which, in the progrefs of language, 
it was ufed to exprefs. The fame obl'crvatioa may be applied 
to other cafes of nouns. 

The 



i6 E S S A Y I. 

CHAP. II. The flighteft fimilltude or analogy is thought fufficlent to juf^ 
tify the extenfion of a form of fpeech beyond its proper mean- 
ing, whenever the language does not afford a more proper form. 
In the moods of verbs, a few of thofe which occur moll fre- 
quently are diftinguifhed by different forms, and thefe are made 
to fupply all the forms that are wanting. The fame obferva- 
tion may be applied to what is called the voices of verbs. An 
adiive and a paiUve are the capital ones ; fome languages have 
more, but no language fo many as to anfwer to all the variations 
of human thought. We cannot always coin new ones, and there- 
fore muft ufe fome one or other of thofe that are to be found 
in the language, though at firft intended for another purpofe. 

3. A third obfervation in anfwer to the objedlion is. That we 
can point out a caufe of the frequent mifapplication of adive 
verbs, to things which have no proper adlivity : A caufe which 
extends to the greater part of fuch mifapplications, and which 
confirms the account I have given of the proper intention of 
adive and pallive verbs. 

As there is no principle, that appears to be more univerfally ac- 
knowledged by mankind, from the fii'ft dawn of reafon, than, that 
every change we obferve in nature mufl have a caufe; fo this is no 
fooner perceived, than there arifes in the human mind, a flrong 
defire to know the caufes of thofe changes that fall within our 
obfervation. Felix qui potuit rerum cognofccre catifas, is the voice of 
nature in all men. Nor is there any thing that more early di- 
Itinguiflies the rational from the brute creation, than this avidi- 
ty to know the caufes of things, of which I fee no fign in brute- 
animals. 

■It muft furely be admitted, that in thofe periods wherein lan- 
guages are formed, men are but poorly furniftied for carrying on 
this invelHgation with fuccefs. We fee, that the experience of 
thoufands of years is neceflary to bring men into the right track 

in 



OF THE NOTION OF ACTIVE POWER. 17 

In this jnvcfligation, if indeed they can yet be Hiid to be brought CUAP^il. 
into it. What innumerable errors rude ages mufl fall into, with 
regard to caufes, from impatience to judge, and inability to judge 
right, we may conje«5ture from reafon, and may fee from experi- 
ence; from which I think, it is evident, that fuppofing adivc verbs 
to have been originally intended to exprefs what is properly cal- 
led adion, and their nominatives to exprefs the agent ; yet, in 
the rude and barbarous ftate wherein languages are formed, there 
muft be innumerable mifapplications of fuch verbs and nomina- 
tives, and many things fpoken of as adlive, which have no real 
adivity. 

To this we may add, that it is a general prejudice of our early 
years, and of rude nations, when we perceive any thing to be 
changed, and do not perceive any other thing which we can be- 
lieve to be the caufe of that change, to impute it to the thing itfelf, 
and conceive it to be adive and animated, fo far as to have the 
power of producing that change in itfelf. Hence, to a child, or to 
a favage, all nature feems to be animated ; the fea, the earth, the 
air, the fun, moon, and ftars, rivers, fountains and groves, are 
conceived to be adive and animated beings. As this is a fentiment 
natural to man in his rude flate, it has, on that account, even in 
polilhed nations, the verifimilitude that is required in poetical fic- 
tion and fable, and makes perfonification one of the moft agreeable 
figures in poetry and elofjuence. 

The origin of this prejudice probably is, that we judge of other 
things by ourfelves, and therefore are difpofed to afcribe to them 
that life and adivity which we know to be in ourfelves. 

A little girl afcribes to her doll, the pafTions and fentiments 

flie feels in herfclf. Even brutes feem to have fomething of this 

nature. Ayoung cat, when (he fees any brifk motion in a feather 

or a draw, is prompted, by natural inftind, to hunt it as (he would 

hunt a moufe. 

C Whatever 



i8 E S S A Y I. 



v. 



CHAP. II. Whatever be the origin of this prejudice in mankind, it has a. 
powerful influence upon language, and leads men, in the ftruc- 
ture of language, to afcribe action to many things that are merely 
paflive ; becaufe, when fuch forms of fpeech were invented, thofe 
things were really believed to be adive. Thus we fay, the wind 
blows, the fea rages, the fun rifes and fets, bodies gravitate and 
move. 

When experience difcovers that thefe things are altogether in- 
adlive, it is eafy to correal our opinion about them ; but it is not 
fo eafy to alter the efbablifhed forms of language. The moft 
perfe6l and the mofl: poliHied languages are like old furniture, 
which is never perfedlly fuited to the prefent tafte, but retains 
fomething of the fafliion of the times when it was made. 

Thus, though all men of knowledge believe, that the fuccef- 
fion of day and night is owing to the rotation of the earth round 
Its axis, and not to any diurnal motion of the heavens ; yet 
we find ourfelves under a neceility of fpeaking in the old flyle, 
of the fun's rifing and going down, and coming to the meridian. 
And this fliyle is ufed, not only In converfing with the vulgar, 
but when men of knowledge converfe with one another. And 
if we ihould fuppofe the vulgar to be at laft fo far enlightened,, 
as to have the fame belief with the learned, of the caufe of day 
and night, the fame ftyle would ftlll be ufed. 

From this inftance we may learn, that the language of man- 
kind may furnlfh good evidence of opinions which have been 
early and unlverfally entertained, and that the forms contrived 
for expreiling fuch opinions, may remain In ufe after the opinions 
which gave rife ta them have been greatly changed. 

Adllve verbs appear plainly to have been firft contrived to ex- 
prefs adion. They are Hill In general applied to this purpofe. 
And though we find many inllances of the application of adive 

verbs 



OF THE NOTION OF ACTIVE POWER. 19 



verbs to thinj^s which we now believe not to be adive, this 
one;ht to be afcribed to mens having once had the belief that 
thofe things are adive, and perhaps, in fome cafes, to this, that 
forms of exprelhon are commonly extended, in courfc of time, 
beyond their original intention, either from analogy, or hecanfe 
more proper forms for the purpofe nre not found in lan- 
guage. 

Even the mifapplication of this notion of adtion and adlive 
power fliews that there is fuch a notion in the human mind, and 
flaews the neceiTity there is in philofophy of diftinguifhing the 
proper application of thefe words, from the vague and improper 
application of them, founded on common language, or on po- 
pular prejudice. 

Another argimient to fliew that all men have a notion or idea 
of adive power is, that there are many operations of mind com- 
mon to all men who have reafon, and neceflary in the ordinary 
conduct of life, which imply a belief of adive power in our- 
felves and in others. 

All our volitions and efforts to ad, all our deliberations, our 
purpofes and promifes, imply a belief of adive power in our- 
felves ; our counfcls, exhortations and commands, imply a belief 
of adive power in thofe to whom they are addrefled. 

If a man (hould make an efTort to fly to the moon; if he fhould 
even deliberate about it, or refolve to do it, we fliould conclude 
him to be lunatic ; and even lunacy would not account for his 
condud, unlefs it made him believe the thing to be in his power. 

If a man promifes to pay me a fura of money to-morrow, with- 
out believing that it will then be in his power, he is not an ho- 
neft man ; and, if 1 did not believe that it will then be in his 
power, I fliould have no dependence on his proniife. 

C 2 All 



CHAP. II. 



20 



ESSAY I. 



CHAP. 11. All our power is, without doubt, derived from the Author of 
our being, and, as he gave it freely, he may take it away when 
he will. No man can be certain of the continuance of any of 
his powers of body or mind for a moment ; and, therefore, in 
every promife, there is a condition underflood, to wit, if we 
live, if we retain that health of body and foundnefs of mind 
which is neceflary to the perfoi-mance, and if nothing happen-, 
in the providence of God, which puts it out of our power. 
The rudefl; favages are taught by nature to admit thefe condi- 
tions in all promifes, whether they be exprefTed or not ; and na 
man is charged with breach of promife, when he fails through 
the failure of thefe conditions. 

It is evident, therefore, that, without the belief of fome ac- 
tive power, no honefl man would make a promife, no wife man 
would trufi; to a promife ; and it is no lefs evident, that the be- 
lief of adlive power, in ourfelves or in others, implies au idea 
or notion of adive power. 

The fame reafoning may be applied to every inftance wherein 
we give counfel to others, wherein we perfuade or command. 
As long, therefore, as mankind are beings who can deliberate and 
refolve and will, as long as they can give counfel, and exhort, and 
command, they muft believe the exiftence of axSive power in 
themfelves, and in others, and therefoi-e muft have a notion or 
idea of adive power. 

It might farther be obferved, that power is the proper and 
immediate object of ambition, one of the moft univerfal paf- 
fions of the human mind, and that which makes the greateft fi- 
gure in the hiftory of all ages. Whether Mr Hume, in defence 
of his fyftem, would maintain that there is no fuch pallion in 
mankind as ambition, or that ambition is not a vehement defire 
of power, or that men may have a vehement defire of power, 
without having any idea of power, I will not pretend to divine. 

I 



OF THE NOTION OF ACTIVE POWER. 21 

I cannot help repeating my apology for infifting fo long in the CHAP, ii.^ 
refutation of fo great an abfiirdity. It is a capital dodrine in a 
late celebrated fyfteni of human nature, that we have no idea 
of power, not even in the Deity ; that we are not able to difco- 
ver a fingle inftance of it, either in body or fpirit, either in 
fuperior or inferior natures ; and that we deceive ourfclves 
when we imagine that we are poffefled of any idea of this kind. 

To fupport this important doclrine, and the out-works that 
are railed in its defence, a great part of the firft volume of the 
Treatife of Human Nature is employed. That fyftem abounds 
with conclufions the moft abfurd that ever were advanced by 
any Philofopher, deduced with great acutencfs and ingenuity 
from principles commonly received by Philofophers. To rejed: 
fuch conclufions as unworthy of a hearing, would be difrefpedl- 
ful to the ingenious author ; and to refute them is difficult, and 
appears ridiculous. 

It is difficult, becaufe we can hardly find principles to reafon 
from, niore evident than thofe we wifli to prove ; and it appears 
ridiculous, becaufe, as this author juftiy obfervcs, next to the 
ridicule of denying an evident truth, is that of taking much 
pains to prove it. 

Proteflants complain, with juftice, of the hardfhip put upon 
them by Roman Catholics, in requiring them to prove that bread 
and wine is not flefh and blood. They have, however, fubmit- 
tcd to this hardfhip for the fake of truth. I think it is no lefs 
hard to be put to prove that men have an idea of power. 

What convinces myfelf that I have an idea of power is, that I 
am confcious that 1 know what I mean by that word, and, 
while I have this confcioufnefs, I difdain equally to hear argu- 
ments for or againft my having fuch an idea. But if we would 
convince thofc, who, being led away by prejudice, or by autho- 
rity. 



22 E S S A Y I. 

CHAP. IL rify^ deny that they have any fuch idea, we muft condefcend to 
ufe fuch arguments as the fubjed will afford, and fuch as we 
fhould ufe with a man who fliould deny that mankind have any 
idea of magnitude or of equality. 

The arguments I have adduced are taken from thefe five to- 
pics: I. That there are many things that we can affirm or deny 
concerning power, with underflanding. 2. That there are, In all 
languages, words fignlfying, not only power, but fignifying many 
other things that imply power, fuch as, adion and paffion, caufe 
and effed, energy, operation, and others. 3. That in the llruc- 
ture of all languages, there is an adive and pafllve form in. verbs 
and participles, and a different conftrudion adapted to thefe 
forms, of which diverfity no account can be given, but that it has 
been intended to diftinguifli adlion from paffion. 4. That there 
are many operations of the human mind familiar to every man 
come to the ufe of reafon, and neceflary in the ordinary con- 
dud of life, which imply a convidlon of fome degree of power 
in ourfelves and In others. 5. That the defire of power is one 
of the ftrongeft paffions of human nature. 



CHAP. III. 
Of Mr Locke's Account of our Idea of Power. 

THIS author, having refuted the Cartefian dodrlne of innate 
ideas, took up, perhaps too raflily, an opinion that all our 
fimple Ideas are got, either by fenfatlon or by refledlon j that Is, 
by our external fenfes, or by confcloufnefs of the operations of 
our own minds. 

Through the whole of his Effay, he fhews a fatherly affec- 
tion to this opinion, and often drains very hard to reduce our 
fimple ideas to one of thofe fources, or both. Of this, feveral 

inftances 



Mr LOCKE'S ACCOUNT OF POWER. 43 

inftances might be given, in his account of our idea of fub- CHAP. IIL 
ftance, of duration, of perfonal identity. Omitting thefe, as 
foreign to the prcfent fubjed, 1 fhall only take notice of the ac- 
count he gives of our idea of power. 

The fum of it is, That obferving, by our fenfes, various 
changes in objedls, we coUedl a pofllbility in one objedl to be 
changed, and in another a pofllbihty of making that change, 
and fo come by that idea which we call power. 

Thus we fay the fire has a power to melt gold, and gold has 
power to be melted ; the firfl he calls active, the fecond palHve 
power. 

He thinks, however, that we have the raoft diftindt notion of 
a<ftive power, by attending to the power which we ourfelves ex- 
ert, in giving motion to our bodies when at reft, or in directing 
our thoughts to this or the other objedl as we will. And this 
■way of forming the idea of power he attributes to reflexion, as 
he refers the former to fenfation. 

On this account of the origin of our idea of power, I would 
beg leave to make two remarks, with the refpe(ft* that is moft 
juflly due to fo great a Philofopher, and fo good a man. 

1. Whereas he diftinguifhes power into aHive and pajfive, I con- 
ceive paflive power is no power at all. He means by it, the pof- 
fibility of being changed. To call this poiver, feems to be a 
mifapplication of the word. I do not remember to have met 
■with the phrafe pajfive power in any other good autlior. Mr 
Locke feems to have been unlucky in inventing it; and it de- 
ferves not to be retained in our language. 

Perhaps he was unwarily led into it, as an oppofite to adive 
po^wer. But 1 conceive we call certain powers acJive, to diftin- 

guifli 



H 



ESSAY I. 



CHA P. Ill, guifli them from other powers that are called fpeculal'ive. As all 
mankind diflinguifh action from fpeculation, it is very proper to 
diftinguifh the powers by which thofe different oper tions are 
performed, into adive and fpeculative. Mr Locke indeed acknow- 
ledges that active power is more properly called power j but I 
fee no propriety at all in pallive power j it is a powerlefs power, 
and a contradidlion in terms. 

2. I would obferve, that Mr Locke feems to have impofed 
upon hlmfelf, in attempting to reconcile this account of the 
idea of power to his favourite dodrine. That all our fimple ideas 
are ideas of fenfation, or of refledion. 

There are two fleps, according to his account, which the 
mind takes, in forming this idea of power ; Jirji, It obferves 
changes in things j and, fecondly, From thefe changes, it infers a 
caufe of them, and a power to produce them. 

If both thefe lieps are operations of the external fenfes, or of 
confcioufnefs, then the idea of power may be called an idea of 
fenfation, or of refledion. But, if either of thofe fleps requires 
the co-operation of other powers of the mind, it will follow, 
that the idea of power cannot be got by fenfation, nor by reflec- 
tion, nor by both together. Let us, therefore, conlider each of 
thefe fteps by itfelf. 

Firjl, We obferve various changes in things. And Mr Locke 
takes it for granted, that changes in external things are obferved 
by our fenfes, and that changes in our thoughts are obferved by 
confcioufnefs. ' 

I grant that it may be faid, that changes in things are ob- 
ferved by our fenfes, when we do not mean to exclude every other 
faculty from a fhare in this operation. And it would be ridicu- 
lous to cenfure the phrafe, when it is fo ufed in popular difcourfe. 

But 



Mr LOCKE'S ACCOUNT OF POWER. 25 

But it is neccfHiry to Mr LockIe's purpofe, that changes in chap, iir^ 
external things fliould be obferved by the fenfes alone, excluding 
every other faculty ; becaufe every faculty that is ncceflary in 
order to obferve the change, will claim a fliarc in the origin of 
the idea of power. 

Now, it is evident, that memory is no Icfs neccfTIiry than the 
fenfes, in order to our obferving changes in external things, and 
therefore the idea of power, derived from the changes obferved, 
may as jullly be afcribed to memory as to the fenfes. 

Every change fuppofes two ftates of the thing changed. Both 
ihefe ftates may be part ; one of them at leafl muft be part ; and 
one only can be prefent. By our fenfes we may obferve the pre- 
fent ftate of the thing ; but memory muft fupply us with the 
part ; and, unlefs we remember the paft ftate, we can perceive 
no change. 

The fame obfervation may be applied to confcioufnefs. The 
truth, therefore, is, that, by the fenfes alone, without memory, 
or by confcioufnefs alone, without memory, no change can be 
obferved. Every idea, therefore, that is derived from obferving 
changes in things, muft have its origin, partly from memory, 
and not from the fenfes alone, nor from confcioufnefs alone, nor 
from both together. 

The fecond ftep made by the mind in forming this idea of 
pov.cr is this : From the changes obferved we colledl a caufe of 
thofe changes, and a power to produce them. 

Here one might afk Mr Locke, whether it is by our fenfes 
that we draw this conclufion, or is it by confcioufnefs ? Is rea- 
foning the province of the fenfes, or is it the province of con- 
fcioufnefs ? If the fenfes can draw one conclufion from premifes, 

D they 



26 E S S A Y I. 

CHAP. IV. they may draw five hundred, and demonflrate the whole ele- 
ments of Euclid. 

Thus, I think, it appears, that the account which Mr Locke 
himfelf gives of the origin of our idea of power, cannot be re- 
conciled to his favourite dodrine, That all our fimple ideas have 
their origin from fenfation or refledion ; and that, in attempting 
to derive the idea of power from thefe two fources only, he un- 
awares brings in our memory, and our reafoning power, for a 
{hare in its origin. 

CHAP. IV. 
Of Mr Hume's Opinion of the Idea of Power. 

THIS very ingenious author adopts the principle of Mr 
Locke before mentioned. That all our fimple ideas are de- 
rived either from fenfation or refledlion. This he feems to un- 
derftand, even in a ftrider fenfe than Mr Locke did. For he 
will have all our fimple ideas to be copies of preceeding impref- 
fions, either of our external fenfes or of confcioufnefs. " After 
" the moft; accurate examination," fays he, " of which I am 
" capable, I venture to affirm, that the rule here holds without 
" any exception, and that every fimple idea has a fimple im- 
" prefilon which refembles it, and every fimple imprellion a 
" correfpondent idea. Every one may fatisfy himfelf in this 
" point, by running over as many as he pleafes." 

I obferve here, by the way, that this conclufion is formed by 
the author rafhly and unphilofophically. For it is a conclufion 
that admits of no proof, but by indudion ; and it is upon this 
ground that he himfelf founds it. The indudion cannot be per- 
fedl till every fimple idea that can enter into the human mind 
be examined, and be fhewn to be copied from a refembling im- 

prefilon 



Mr HUME'S OPINION OF POWER. 27 

prcffion of fcnCc or of confcioufnefs. No man can pretend to CHAP, iv . 
have made this examination of all our funple ideas without ex- 
ception; and, therefore, no man can, confidently with the rules 
of philofophifniG;-, afllire us, that this conclufion holds without 
any exception. 

The author profelles, in his title-page, to introduce into moral 
fuhjeds the experimental method of reafoning. This was a very 
laudahle attempt ; but he ought to have known, that it is a rule 
in the experimental method of reafoning, That conclufions efta- 
bliflied by indudion ought never to exclude exceptions, if any 
fuch fliould afterwards appear from obfervation or experiment. 
Sir Isaac Newton, fpeaking of fuch conclufions, fays, " Et fi 
" quando in experiundo poflea reperiatur aliquid, quod a parte 
" contraria faciat ; tum demum, non fine iftis exceptionibus af- 
" firmetur conclufio opportebit." " But," fays our author, " I 
" will venture to afiirm, that the rule here holds without any ex- 
" ception." 

Accordingly, throughout the whole treatife, this general rule 
is confidered as of fufficient authority, in itfelf, to exclude, 
even from a hearing, every thing that appears to be an exception 
to it. This is contrary to the fundamental principles of the ex- 
perimental method of reafoning, and therefore may be called 
rafli and unphilofophical. 

Having thus cftabliflied this general principle, the author does * 

great execution by it among our ideas. He finds, that we have 
no idea of fubllance, material or fpiritual; that body and mind 
are only certain trains of related imprelTions and ideas; that we 
have no idea of fpace or duration, and no idea of power, adlive 
or intelledive. 

Mr Locke ufed his principle of fenfation and refledion with 
greater moderation and mercy. Being unwilling to thrufi the 

D 2 ideas 



28 E S S A Y I. 

CHAP. IV. ideas we have mentioned into the limbo of non-exiftence, he 
ftretches fenfation and refledion to the very utmoft, in order to 
receive thefe ideas within the pale ; and draws them into it, as 
it were by violence. 

But this author, inflead of fhewing them any favour, feems 
fond to get rid of them. 

Of the ideas mentioned, it is only that of power that con- 
cerns our prefent fubjed. And, with regard to this, the author 
boldly affirms, " That we never have any idea of power ; that 
" we deceive ourfelves when we imagine we are poflefTed of any 
" idea of this kind." 

He begins with obferving, " That the terms efficacy, agency, 
" power, force, energy, are all nearly fynonymous ^ and therefore 
" it is an abfurdlty to employ any of them in defining the reft. 
" By this obfervation," fays he, " we rejed at once all the vul- 
" gar definitions which Philofophers have given of power and 
" efficacy.^^ 

Surely this author was not ignorant, that there are many 
things of which we have a clear and diftindl conception, which 
are fo fimple in their nature, that they cannot be defined any 
other way than by fynonymous words. It is true that this is not 
a logical definition, but that there is, as he affirms, an abfurdity 
in ufing if, when no better can be had, I cannot perceive. 

He might here have applied to power and ejficacy what he fays, 
in another place, of pri^le and humility. " The pafllons of pride 
" and humility" he fays, " being fimple and uniform impref- 
, " fions, it is impofiible we can ever give a jufi definition of 
" them. As the words are of general ufe, and the things they 
** reprefent the mod common of any, every one, of himfelf, 

•• will 



Mr HUME'S OPINION OF POWER. 



39 



" will he able to form a jufl notion of them without danger of CHAP. IV. 
" miftake." ' 

He mentions Mr Locke's account of the idea of power, That, 
obferving various changes in things, we conclude, that there 
mull be fomewhere a power capable of producing them, and fo 
arrive at laft, by this real'oning, at the idea of power and effi- 
cacy. 

" But," fays he, " to be fatisfied that this explication is more 
" popular than philofophical, we need but refled: on two very 
" obvious principles ; fifjl. That reafon alone can never give 
" rife to any original idea j and, fecondly. That reafon, as dl- 
" ftinguifhed from experience, can never make us conclude, 
" that a caufe, or produdive quality, is abfolutely requifite to 
" every beginning of exiftence." 

Before v/e confider the two principles which our author op- 
pofes to the popular opinion of Mr Locke, I obferve, 

Firjl, That there are fome popular opinions, which, on that 
very account, deferv-e more regard from Philofophers, than this 
author is willing to bellow. 

That things cannot begin to cxifl, nor undergo any change, 
without a caufe that hath power to produce that change, is in- 
deed fo popular an opinion, that, 1 believe, this author is the 
firft of mankind that ever called it in queflion. It is fo popular, 
that there is not a man of common prudence who does not ad 
from this opinion, and rely upon it every day of his life. And 
any man who fliould condud himfelf by the contrary opinion 
would foon be confined as infane, and continue in that flate 
till a fuHkicnt caufe was found for his enlargement. 

Such a popular opinion as this, (lands upon a higher authori- 
ty 



3° 



ESSAY 1. 



CHAP. IV. ty than that of philofophy, and philofophy muft ftrike fail to it, if 
fhe would not render herfelf contemptible to every man of com- 
mon underftanding. 

For though, in matters of deep (peculation, the multitude 
muft be guided by Philofophers, yet, in things that are within 
the reach of every man's underftanding, and upon which the 
whole condudt of human life turns, the Philofopher muft fol- 
low the multitude, or make himfelf perfedly ridiculous. 

Secondly, I obferve, that whether this popular opinion be true 
or falfe, it follows from mens having this opinion, that they 
have an idea of power. A falfe opinion about power, no lefs 
than a true, implies an idea of power ; for how can men have 
any opinion, true or falfe, about a thing of which they have no 
idea ? 

The Jirji of the very obvious principles which the author op- 
pofes to Mr Locke's account of the idea of power, is, Thatrea- 
fon alone can never give rife to any original idea. 

This appears to me fo far from being a very obvious princi- 
ple, that the contrary is very obvious. 

Is it not our reafoning faculty that gives rife to the idea of 
reafoning itfelf ? As our idea of fight takes its rife from our be- 
ing endowed with that faculty ; fo does our idea of reafoning. 
Do not the ideas of demonftration, of probability, our ideas of 
a fyllogifm, of major, minor and conclufion, of an enthymeme, 
dilemma, forites, and all the various modes of reafoning, take 
their rife from the faculty of reafon ? Or is it poilible, that a 
being, not endowed with the faculty of reafoning, fliould have 
thefe ideas ? This principle, therefore, is fo far from being ob- 
vioufly true, that it appears to be obvioufly falfe. 

The 



Mr HUME'S OPINION OF POWER. 

The fccond obvious principle is, That reafon, as diftinguifhed CHAP. IV. 
from experience, can never make us conchidc, that a caufe, or 
produdlive quality, is abiblutely requifite to every beginning of 
exiftence. 

In fome Eflays on the Intelledual Powers of Man, I had 
occafion to treat of this principle, That every change in 
nature muft have a caufe; and, to prevent repetition, I beg 
leave to refer the reader to what is faid upon this fubjedl, 
EJfay VT. chap. 6. I endeavoured to fhew that it is a firft princi- 
ple, evident to all men come to years of underftanding. Be- 
fides its having been univerfally received, without the lead 
doubt, from the beginning of the world, it has this fure mark 
of a fir ft principle, that the belief of it is abfolutely neceflary 
in the ordinary affairs of life, and, without it, no man could 
adl with common prudence, or avoid the imputation of inJanity. 
Yet a Philofopher, who ac^ed upon the finn belief of it every 
day of his life, thinks fit, in his clofet, to call it in queftion. 

He infinuates here, that we may know it from experience. I 
endeavoured to (hew, that we do not learn it from experience, 
for two reafons. 

Fir^, Becaufe it is a necefHiry truth, and has always been re- 
ceived as a neceflary truth. Experience gives no information of 
what is necelTary, or of what muft be. 

We may know from experience, what is, or what was, and 
from that may probably conclude what (hall be in like circum- 
ftances ; but, with regard to what muft; necefl^arily be, exjjeri- 
ence is perfectly filent. 

Thus we know, by unvaried experience, from the beginning 
of the world, that the fun and ftars rife in the eaft and fet in the 
weft. But no man believes, that it could not polTibly have been 

otherwife, 



32 



ESSAY I. 



CHA P, iv^ otherwife, or that it did not depend upon the will and power of 
him who made the world, whether the earth fliould revolve to 
the eaft or to the wefl. 

In like manner, if we had experience, ever fo conftant, that 
every change in nature we have obferved, actually had a caufe, 
this might afford ground to believe, that, for the future, it fhall 
be fo ; but no ground at all to believe that it muft be fo, and 
cannot be otherwife. 

Another reafon to fhew that this principle is not learned from 
-experience is, That experience does not fliew us a caufe of one 
in a hundred of thofe changes which we obferve, and therefore 
can never teach us that there muft be a caufe of all. 

Of all the paradoxes this author has advanced, there is not 
one more Ihocking to the human underftanding than this, That 
things may begin to exift without a caufe. This would put an 
end to all fpeculation, as well as to all the bufmefs of life. The 
employment of fpeculative men, lince the beginning of the 
world, has been to inveftigate the caufes of things. What pity 
is it, they never thought of putting the previous quellion, Whe- 
ther things have a caufe or not ? This queftion has at laft been 
ftarted j and what is there fo ridiculous as not to be maintained 
by fome Philofopher? 

Enough has been faid upon it, and more, I think, than it de- 
ferves. But, being about to treat of the adlive powers of the 
human mind, 1 thought it improper to take no notice of what 
has been faid by fo celebrated a Philofopher, to fhew, that there 
is not, in the human mind, any idea of power. 

CHAP. 



OF BEINGS THAT HAVE NO UNDERSTANDING. 33 

CHAP. V. 

CHAP. V. 

Whether Beings that have no Will nor Under/landing may have A&ive 
Power ? 

THAT adive power is an attribute, which cannot exifl: but 
in fome being poflelTed of that power, and the fubjed; of 
that attribute, I take for granted as a felf-evident truth. Whe- 
ther there can be adtive power in a fubjed which has no thought, 
no underdanding, no will, is not fo evident. 

The ambiguity of the words power, caufe, agent, and of all 
the words related to thefe, tends to perplex this queftion. The 
weaknefs of human underftanding, which gives us only an in- 
dirccl: and relative conception of power, contributes to darken 
our realbning, and Ihould make us cautious axid modeft in our 
detenninations. 

We can derive little light in this matter from the events which 
we obferve in the courfe of nature. We perceive changes innu- 
mer:ible in things without us. We know that thofe changes 
mufl be produced by the adive power of fome agent ; but we 
neither perceive the agent nor the power, but the change only. 
Whether the things be adlive, or merely pallive, is not eafily dif- 
covered. And though it may be an objedl of curiofity to the 
fpeculative few, it does not greatly concern the many. 

To know the event and the circumftances that attended it, 
.ind to know in what circumrtances like events may be expeded, 
may be of confequence in the condud of life ; but to know the 
real efficient, whether it be matter or mind, whether of a fupe- 
rior or inferior order, concerns us little. 

E Thus 



34 . E S S A Y I. 

CHAP. V. Thus it is with regard to all the effedls we afcribe to na- 
ture. 

Nature is the name we give to the efficient caufe of innumera- 
ble effedls which fall daily under our obfervation. But if it be 
afked what nature is ? Whether the firft unlverfal caufe, or a 
fubordinate one, whether one or many, whether intelligent or 
unintelligent ? Upon thefe points we find various conjedures and 
theories, but no folid ground upon which we can reil. And I 
apprehend the wifeft men are they who are fenfible that they 
know nothing of the matter. 

From the courfe of events in the natural world, we have fuf- 
ficient reafon to conclude the exiftence of an eternal intelligent 
Firft Caufe. But whether he adls immediately in the production 
of thofe events, or by fubordinate intelligent agents, or by in- 
ftruments that are unintelligent, and what the number, the na- 
ture, and the different offices of thofe agents or inftruments 
may be ; thefe I apprehend to be myfteries placed beyond the 
limits of human knowledge. We fee an eftablifhed order in the 
fucceflion of natural events, but we fee not the bond that con- 
nedts them together. 

Since we derive fo little light, v/ith regard to efficient cau(es 
and their ad:ive power, from attention to the natural world, let 
us next attend to the moral, I mean, to human actions and con- 
dud. 

Mr Locke obferves very juftly, " That, from the obferva- 
'• tion of the operation of bodies by our fenfes, we have but a 
" very imperfect obfcure idea of adlive power, fince they afford us 
" not any idea in themfelves of the power to begin any adion, 
" either of motion or thought." He adds, " That we find in 
" ourfelves a power to begin or forbear, continue or end feveral 
" adlions of our minds and motions of our bodies, barely by a 

" thought 



OF BEINCIS THAT HAVE NO UNDERSTANDING. 35 

" thouglit or preference of the mind, ordering, or, as it were, CHAP, v.^ 

" coumianding the doing or not doing fuch a particuhir adtion. 

" This power which the mind has tlius to order the confidera- 

" tion of any idea, or the forbearing to confider it, or to pre- 

" fer the motion of any part of the body to its I'eft, and -y/Vdr ver- 

" fa, in any particnhir inftance, is that which we call the ivill. 

" The adiiai exercife of that power, by diredling any particular 

" adion, or its forbearance, is that which we call volition or 

" willing^ 

"^Yv^ According to Mr Locke, therefore, the only clear notion or 
idea we have of active power, is taken from the power which 
we fmd in ourfelves to give certain motions to our bodies, or a 
certain direction to our thoughts ; and this power in ourfelves 
can be brought into adlion only by willing or volition. 

From this, I think, it follows, that, if we had not will, 
and that degree of underftanding which will neceflarily im- 
plies, we could exert no adive power, and confequently could 
have none : For power that cannot be exerted is no power. It 
follows alfo, that the adlive power, of which only we can have 
any diftindl conception, can be only in beings that have under- 
ftanding and will. 

^^^ Power to produce any effedl implies power not to produce 
it. We can conceive no way in which power may be deter- 
mined to one of thefe rather than the other, in a being that has 
no will. 

Whatever is the effed of adive power muft be fomething that 
is contingent. Contingent exiftence is that which depended 
upon the power and will of its caufe. Oppofed to this, is necef- 
fary exiltcnce, which we afcribe to the Supreme Being, becaufe 
his exiftence is not owing to the power of any being. The fmic 
diftindion there is between contingent and neceflary truth. 

E 2 That 



36 E S S A Y I. 



CHAP. V. That the planets of our fyftem go round the fun from weft to 
eaft, is a continofent truth ; becaufe it depended upon the power and 
will of him who made the planetary fyftem, and gave motion to it. 
That a circle and a right line can cut one another only in two 
points, is a truth which depends upon no power nor will, and 
therefore is called neceftary and immutable. Contingency, 
therefore, has a relation to adlive power, as all ad:ive power is 
exerted in contingent events ; and as fuch events can have no 
exiftence, but by the exertion of adlive power. 

When I obferve a plant growing from its feed to maturity, I 
know that there muft be a caufe that has power to produce this 
effed:. But I fee neither the caufe nor the manner of its ope- 
ration. 

/ But in certain motions of my body and diredllons of my 

thought, I know, not only that there muft be a caufe that has 
power to produce thefe effeds, but that I am that caufe ; and I 
am confcious of what 1 do in order to the production of them. 

From the confcioufnefs of our own adlivity, feems to be de- 
rived, not only the cleareft, but the only conception we can 
form of adivity, or the exertion of adlive power. 

As I ain unable to form a notion of any intelledlual power 
different in kind from thofe I poflefs, the fame holds with re- 
fped to adlive power. If all men had been blind, we ftiould 
have had no conception of the power of feeing, nor any name 
for it in language. If man had not the powers of abftradlion 
and reafoning, we could not have had any conception of thefe 
operations. In like manner, if he had not fome degree of ac- 
tive power, and if he were not confcious of the exertion of it 
in his voluntary adlions, it is probable he could have no con- 
ception of adlivity, or of acSlive power. 

A 



OF BEINGS THAT HAVE NO UNDERSTANDING. 37 

A train of events following one another ever fo regularly, 'xll^^LZ^ 
.could never lead us to the notion of a caufe, if we had not, from 
our conftitution, a convidion of the necelTity of a caufe to eve- 
ry event. 

And of the manner in which a caufe may exert its adive 
power, we can have no conception, but from confcioufnefs of the 
manner in which our own adlive power is exerted. 

With regard to the operations of nature, it is fufficient for 
us to know, that, whatever the agents may be, whatever the 
manner of their operation, or the extent of their power, they 
depend upon the firft caufe, and are under his control ; and this 
indeed is all that we know ; beyond this we are left in darknefs. 
But, in what regards human adions, we have a more immediate 
concern. 

It is of the highefl importance to us, as moral and account- 
able creatures, to know what adions are in our own power, be- 
caufe it is for thefe only that we can be accountable to our Ma- 
ker, or to our fellow-men in fociety ; by thefe only we can me- 
rit praife or blame ; in thefe only all our prudence, wifdom and 
virtue muft be employed 3 and, therefore, with regard to them, 
the wife Author of nature has not left us in the dark. 

Every man is led by nature to attribute to himfelf the free de- 
terminations of his own will, and to believe thofe events to be 
in his power which depend upon his will. On the other hand, 
it is felf-evident, that nothiug is in our power that is not fubjedt 
to our will. 

We grow from childhood to manhood, we digeft our food, 
our blood circulates, our heart and arteries beat, we are fome- 
times fick and fomttimi s in health ; all thefe things muft be 
done by the power of fomc agent 3 but they are not done by 

our 



38 E S S A Y I. 

CHAP. V. om- power. How do we know this ? Becaufe they are not 
fubjedt to our will. This is the infallible "criterion by which 
we diftinguifh what is our doing from what is not ; what is in 
our power from what is not. 

Human power, therefore, can only be exerted by will, and we 
are unable to conceive any active power to be exerted without 
will. Every man knows infallibly that what is done by his con- 
fcious will and intention, is to be imputed to him, as the agent 
or caufe ; and that whatever is done without his will and inten- 
tion, cannot be imputed to him with truth. 

We judge of the adions and condud: of other men by the 
fame rule as we judge of our own. In morals, it is felf-evi- 
dent that no man can be the objedl either of approbation or of 
blame for what he did not. But how fhall we know whether it 
is his doing or not ?ij[f the adlion depended upon his will, and 
if he intended and willed it, it is his adlion in the judgment of 
all mankind. But if it was done without his knowledge, or 
without his will and intention, it is as certain that he did It not, 
and that it ought not to be imputed to him as the agent. 

When there is any doubt to whom a particular adtion ought 
to be imputed, the doubt arifes only from our ignorance of 
fadls J when the fads relating to it are known, no man of un- 
derflanding has any doubt to whom the adtion ought to be im- 
puted. 

The general rules of imputation are felf-evident. They have 
been the fame in all ages, and among all civilized nations. No 
man blames another for being black or fair, for having a fever 
or the falling licknefs ; becaufe thefe things are believed not to 
be in his power ; and they are believed not to be in his power, 
becaufe they depend not upon his will. We can never conceive 

that 



OF BEINGS THAT HAVE NO UNDERSTANDING. 39 

that a man's duty goes beyond his power, or that his power goes CHA P, v.^ 
beyond what depends upon his will. 

Reafon leads us to afcribe unlimited power to the Supreme 
Being. But what do we mean by unlimited power ? It is power 
to do whatfoever he wills. To fuppofe him to do what he does 
not will to do, is abfurd. 

The only diftincfl conception I can form of adlive power is, 
that is is an attribute in a being by which he can do certain 
things if he wills. This, after all, is only a relative conception. 
It is relative to the effed, and to the will of producing it. Take 
away thefe, and the conception vaniflies. They are the handles 
by which the mind takes hold of it. When they are taken 
away, our hold is gone. The fame is the cafe with regard to 
other relative conceptions. Thus velocity is a real flate of a 
body, about which Philofophers reafon with the force of demon- 
ftration ; but our conception of it is relative to fpace and time. 
What is velocity in a body ? It is a flate in which it pafles 
through a certain fpace in a certain time. Space and time are 
very different from velocity ; but we cannot conceive it but by 
its relation to them. The effect produced, and the will to pro- 
duce it, are things different from acftive power, but we can have 
no conception of it, but by its relation to them. 

Whether the conception of an efficient caufc, and of real ac- 
tivity, could ever have entered into the mind of man, if we had 
not had the experience of a(^ivity in ourfelves, I am not able to 
determine with certainty. The origin of many of our concep- 
tions, and even of many of our judgments, is not fo eafily traced 
as Philofophers have generally conceived. No man can recol- 
\e6t the time when he firfl got the conception of an efficient 
caufe, or the time when he firfl got the belief that an cflicient 
caufe is nccelfary to every change in nature. The conception 
of an efficient caufe may very probably be derived from the ex- 
perience 



40 E S S A Y I. 

CHAP. V.^ perlence we have had in very early life of our own power to 
produce certain effefts. But the belief, that no event can hap- 
pen without an efficient caufe, cannot be derived from expe- 
rience. We may learn from experience what is, or what was, 
but no experience can teach us what neceflarily mufl be. 

In like manner, we probably derive the conception of pain 
from the experience we have had of it in ourfelves ; but our be- 
lief that pain can only exifl in a being that hath life, cannot be 
got by experience, becaufe it is a neceflary truth ; and no ne- 
cefTary truth can have its attellation from experience. 

If it be fo that the conception of an efficient caufe enters in- 
to the mind, only from the early conviction we have that we 
are the efficients of our own voluntary adlions, (which 1 think 
is moft probable) the notion of efficiency will be reduced to this. 
That it is a relation between the caufe and the efFed, fimilar to 
that which is between us and our voluntary adions. This is 
furely the moft diftindl notion, and, 1 think, the only notion we 
can form of real efficiency. 

Now It is evident, that, to conftitute the relation between me 
and my action, my conception of the adion, and will to do it, 
are eflential. For what I never conceived, nor willed, I never 
did. 

If any man, therefore, affirms, that a being may be the effi- 
cient caufe of an adion, and have power to produce it, which 
that being can neither conceive nor will, he fpeaks a language 
which I do not underfland. If he has a meaning, his notion of 
power and efficiency muft be eflentially different from mine ; 
and, until he conveys his notion of efficiency to my underftand- 
ing, I can no more aflent to his opinion, than if hefliould affirm, 
that a being without life may feel pain. 

It 



OF THE PHiENOMENA OF NATURE. 

It fecms, therefore, to me mod probable, that fuch beings only 
as have fome degree of underftanding and will, can pofTefs ac- 
tive power ; and that inanimate beings mufl be merely paflive, 
and have no real adivity. Nothing we perceive without us af- 
fords any good ground for afcribing aflive power to any inani- 
mate being ; and every thing we can difcover in our own con- 
flitution, leads us to think, that adive power cannot be exerted 
without will and intelligence. 



CHAP. VI. 

Of the efficient Catifes of the Phanomena of Nature. 

IF adlive power, in its proper meaning, requires a fubjedl en- 
dowed with will and intelligence, what Ihall we fay of thofe 
adive powers which Philofophers teach us to afcribe to matter ; 
the powers of corpufcular attradlion, magnetifm, eledlricity, 
gravitation, and others ? Is it not univerfally allowed, that hea- 
vy bodies defcend to the earth by the power of gravity ; that, 
by the fame power, the moon, and all the planets and comets, 
are retained in their orbits ? Have the moft eminent natural 
Philofophers been impofuig upon us, and giving us words in- 
flcad of real caufes ? 

In anfwcr to this, I apprehend, that the principles of natural 
philofophy have, in modern times, been built upon a foundation 
that cannot be Ihaken, and that they can be culled in quertiou 
only by thofe who do not undcrftand the evidence on which 
they (land. But the ambiguity of the words caufe, agency^ aElivc 
power, and the other words related to thefe, has led many to un- 
derftand them, when ufed in natural philofuphy, in a wrong 
fenfe, and in a fcnfe which is neither ncccflary for eftablifliing 

F the 




42 E S S A Y 1. 

CHAP. VI. the true principles of natural phllofophy, nor was ever meant 
by the mofl enlightened in that fcience. 

To be convinced of this, we may obferve, that thofe very Phi- 
lofophers who attribute to matter the power of gravitation, and 
other active powers, teach us, at the fame time, that matter is a 
fubftance altogether inert, and merely paffive ; that gravitation, 
and the other attra6live or repulfive powers which they afcribe 
to it, are not inherent in its nature, but imprefled upon it by 
fome external caufe, which they do not pretend to know, or to 
explain. Now, when we find wife men afcribing action and ac- 
tive power to a fubftance which they exprefsly teach us to con- 
fider as merely paflive and afted upon by fome unknown caufe, 
we muft conclude, that the adtion and adive power afcribed to 
it are not to be underftood ftridily, but in fome popular fenfe. 

It ought llkewife to be obfei'ved, that although Philofophers, 
for the fake of being underftood, muft fpeak the language of 
the vulgar, as when they fay, the fun rifes and fets, and goes 
through all the figns of the zodiac, yet they often think diffe- 
rently from the vulgar. Let us hear what the greateft of natu- 
ral Philofophers fays, ia the 8th definition prefixed to his Pr'inci- 
pia, " Voces autem attradionis, impulfus, vel propenfionis cu- 
'• jufcunque in centrum, indifferenter et pro fe mutuo promlfcue 
" ufurpo ; has voces non phyfice fed mathematice confixlerando. 
" Unde caveat ledtor, ne per hujus modi voces cogitet me fpe- 
" ciem vel modum adtionis, caufamve aut rationem j^yficam, 
" alicubi definire ; vel centris (quae funt punda mathematica) 
" vires vere et phyfice tribuere, fi forte centra trahere, aut vires 
" centrorum eft'e, dixero." 

In all languages, adion is attributed to many things which all 
men of common underftanding believe to be merely paflive j 
thus we fay, the wind blows, the rivers flow, the fea rages, the 
fire burns, bodies move, and impel other bodies. 

Every 



OF THE PHENOMENA OF NATURE. 43 

Every objedl which undergoes any change, mufl be either ac- CHAP, vr . 
tive or palTive in that change. This is felf-evident to all men 
from the firrt dawn of reafon ; and therefore the change is al- 
ways exprefTed in language, either by an active or a pallive verb. 
Nor do I know any verb, exprelFive of a change, which does 
not imply either a<flion or palllon. The thing either changes, 
or it is changed. But it is remarkable in language, that when 
an external caufe of the change is not obvious, the change is al- 
ways imputed to the thing changed, as if it were animated, and 
had adlive power to produce the change in itfelf. So we fav, 
the moon clianges, the fun rifes and goes down. 

Thus acllve verbs arc very often applied, and adlive power 
imputed to things, which a little advance in knowledge and ex- 
perience teaches us to be merely pailive. This proj^erty, com- ' 
mon to all languages, I endeavoured to account for in the fe- 
cond chapter of this Eflay, to which the reader is referred. 

A like irregularity may be obferved in the ufe of the word 
figmfying can/e, in all languages, and of the words related to it. 

Our knowledge of caufes is very fcanty In the moft advanced 
ftate of fociety, much more is it fo in that early period in which 
language is formed. A ftrong defire to know the caufes of 
things, is common to all men in every Hate ; but the experience 
of all ages fhews, that this keen appetite, rather than go empty, 
will feed upon the hulks of real knowledge where the fruit can- 
not be found. 

While we are very much in the dark with regard to the real 
agents or caufes which produce the phxnomena of nature, and 
have, at the fame time, an avidity to know them, ingenious men 
frame conjcdures, which thofe of weaker underflanding take for 
truth. The fare is coarfe, but appetite makes it go down. 

F 2 Thus. 



'44 



ESSAY I. 



V. 



CHAP. VI. Thus, In a very ancient fyftem, love and ftrife were made the 
caufes of things. Plato made the caufes of tilings to be mat- 
ter, ideas, and an efEcient archited. Aristotle, matter, form, 
and privation. Des Cartes thought matter, and a certain quan- 
tity of motion given it by the Almighty at firft, to be all that is 
neceffiu-y to make the material world. Leibnitz conceived the 
whole univerfe, even the material part of it, to be made up of 
monodes, each of which is active and intelligent, and produces 
in itfelf, by its own active power, all the changes it undergoes 
frpm the beginning of its exiftence to eternity. 

In common language, we give the name of a caufe to a reafon, 
a motive, an end, to any circumflance which is connedled with 
the efFed, and goes before it. 

Aristotle, and the fchoolmen after him, diftinguiflied four 
kinds of caufes, the efficient, the material, the formal, and the 
final. This, like many of Aristotle's diftindlions, is only a di- 
ftindion of the various meanings of an ambiguous word j for 
the efficient, the matter, the form and the end, have nothing 
common in their nature, by which they may be accounted fpe- 
cies of the fame genus; but the Greek word which Ve tranflate 
cavfe, had thefe four different meanings in Aristotle's days, 
and we have added other meanings. We do not indeed call the 
matter or the fonn of a thing its caufe ; but we have final caufes, 
inflrumental caufes, occafional caufes, and 1 know not how many 
others. 

Thus the word caufe has been fo hackneyed, and made to hare 
lb many different meanings in the writings of Philofophers, and 
in the difcourfe of the vulgar, that its original and proper mean- 
ina; is loft in the crowd. 

With regard to the pha:nomena of nature, the important end 
of knowing their caufes, befides gratifying our curiofity, is, 

that 



OF THE PHiENOMENA OF NATURE. 45 

ihat wc may know when to expedl them, or how to bring them CHA P. VI . 
ubout. This is very often of real importance in life; and tliis 
jnirpofe is fcrved, by knowing what, by the coiirfe of nature, 
goes before tlicm and is connedled with them ; and this, there- 
fore, we call the cau/c of fuch a phxnonienon. 

If a magnet be brought near to a mariner's compafs, the 
needle, which was before at reft, immediately begins to move, 
and bends its courfe towards the magnet, or perhaps the contrary 
way. If an imlearned failor is afked the caufe of this motion 
of the needle, he is at no lofs for an anfwer. He tells you it is 
the magnet j and the proof is clear ', for, remove the magnet, 
and the elTed ccafes ; bring it near, and the cffed: is again pro- 
duced. It is, therefore, evident to fenfe, that die magnet is the 
caufe of this effect. 

A Cartefian Philofopher enteVs deeper into the caufe of this 
phasnomenon. He obferves, that the magnet does not touch the 
needle, and therefore can give it no impulfe. He pities the ig- 
norance of the failor. The effect is produced, fays he, by mag- 
netic clTluvia, or fubtile matter, which paflcs from the magiiet to 
the needle, and forces it from its place. He can even fliew you, 
in a figure, where thefe magnetic effluvia iflue from the magnet, 
what round they take, and what way they return home again. 
And thus he thinks he comprehends perfedly how, and by what 
caufe, the motion of the needle is produced. 

A Newtonian Philofopher enquires what proof can be offered 
for the exiftcnce of magnetic effluvia, and can find none. He 
therefore holds it as a fidion, a hypothefis ; and he has learned 
that hypothefes ought to have no place in the pliilofophy of na- 
ture. He confelles his ignorance of the real caufe of this 
motion, and thinks, that his bullnefs, as a Philofopher, is onlv to 
find from experiment the laws by which it is regulated in aP 
cafes. 

Thefe 



-46 E S S A Y I. 

CHA P. VI. Thefe three perfons difFer much in their fentiments with re- 
gard to the real caufe of this phaenomenon ; and the man who 
knows moft is he who is fenfible that he knows nothing of the 
matter. Yet all the three fpeak the fame language, and acknow- 
ledge, that the caufe of this motion is the attradive or repulfive 
power of the magnet. 

What has been faid of this, may be applied to every phaeno- 
menon that falls within the compafs of natural philofophy. We 
deceive ourfelves, if we conceive, that we can point out the real 
efficient caufe of any one of them. 

The grandefl difcovery ever made in natural philofophy, was 
that of the law of gravitation, which opens fuch a view of our 
planetary fyftem, that it looks like fomething divine. But the 
author of this difcovery was perfectly aware, that he difcovered 
no real caufe, but only the law or rule, according to which the 
unknown caufe operates. 

Natural Philofophers, w^io think accurately, have a precife 
meaning to the terms they ufe in the fcience ; and when they 
pretend to fhew the caufe of any phaenomenon of nature, they 
mean by the caufe, a law of nature of which that phaenomenon 
is a necelFary confequence. 

The whole objed of natural philofophy, as Newton exprefsly 
teaches, is reducible to thefe two heads j firft, by jufl: indudion 
from experiment and obfervation, to difcover the laws of nature, 
and then to apply thofe laws to the folution of the phenomena 
of nature. This was all that this great Philofopher attempted, 
and all that he thought attainable. And this indeed he attained 
in a great meafure, with regard to the motions of our planetary 
fyllem, and with regard to the rays of light. 

But fuppofing that all the phsenomena that fall within the 

reach 



OF THE PIIiENOMENA OF NATURE. 47 

reach of our fcnfcs, were accoiintccl for from general laws of na- CiiAP. vi. 
ture, jiiflly deduced from experience ; that is, fuppofmg natu- 
ral philofophy brought: to its utmoft perfedion, it does not dif- 
cover the efficient caufe of any one phaenomenon in nature. 

The laws of nature are the rules according to which the ef- 
fe£ls are produced ; but there muft be a caufe which operates 
according to thefe rules. The rules of navigation never navi- 
gated a fliip. The rules of architedure never built a houfe. 

Natural philofophers, by great attention to the courfe of na- 
ture, have difcovered many of her laws, and have very happily 
applied them to account for many phasnomena ; but they have 
never difcovered the efFicient caufe of any one phenomenon ; 
nor do thofe who have diltinct notions of the principles of the 
fcience, make any fuch pretence. 

Upon the theatre ofnature we lee Innumerable effects, which-' 
require an agent endowed with active 'power j but the agent is 
behind the fcene. Whether it be the Supreme Caufe alone, or a 
fubordinate caufe or caufes ; and if fubordinate caufes be em- 
ployed by the Almighty, what their nature, their number, and ■ 
their different offices may be, are things hid, for wife reafous 
without doubt, from the human eye. 

It is only in human adions, that may be imputed for praife or 
blame, that it is neceflfary for us to know who is the agent ; 
and in this, nature has given us all the light that is necefTary for 
our condutl. 



CHAP. 




ESSAY I. 

CHAP. VII. 

Of the Extent of Human Power. 

EVERY thing laudable and praife-worthy in man, muft con- 
lift in the proper exercife of that power which is given 
him by his Maker. This is the talent which he is required to 
occupy, and of which he muft give an account to him who com- 
mitted it to his truft. 

To fome perfons more power is given than to others ; and to 
the fame perfon more at one time and lefs at another. Its ex- 
iftence, its extent, and its continuance, depend folely upon the 
pleafure of the Almighty j but every man that is accountable 
muft have more or lefs of it. For, to call a perfon to account, 
to approve or difapprove of his condudt, who had no power to do 
good or ill, is abfurd. No axiom of Euclid appears more evi- 
dent than this. 

As power is a valuable gift, to under-rate it is ingratitude to 
the giver ; to over-rate it, begets pride and prefumption, and 
leads to unfuccefsful attempts. It is therefore, in every man, 
a point of wifdom to make a juft eftimate of his own power. 
^Idferre recufent, quid valeant humeri. 

We can only fpeak of the power of man in general ; and as 
our notion of power is relative to its effedis, we can eftimate its 
extent only by the effects which it is able to produce. 

It would be wrong to eftimate the extent of human power by 
the effedls which it has adlually produced. For every man had 
power to do many things which he did not, and not to do many 

things 



OF THE EXTENT OF HUMAN POWER. 



49 



things wliich he did ; othcrwife he could not be an ohiecft either CHAP. V'ir. 
of approbation or of difapprobation, to any rational being. 

The efleds of human power are either immediate, or they are 
more remote. 

The immediate eficcfts, I think, are reducible to two heads. 
We can give certain motions to our own bodies ; and we can give 
a certain direction to our own thoughts. 

Whatever we can do beyond this, muft be done by one of 
thefe means, or both. 

We can 'produce no motion in any body in the univerfe, but 
by moving firft our own body as an inftrument. Nor can we 
produce thought in any other perfon, but by thought and mo- 
tion in ourfelves. 

Our power to move our own body, is not only limited in its 
extent, but in its nature is fubjed to mechanical laws. It may 
be compared to a fpring endowed with the power of contra<5ling 
or expanding itfelf, but which cannot contradl without drawing 
equally at both ends, nor expand without pufhing equally at both 
ends ; fo that every adion of the fpring is always accompanied 
with an equal readtion in a contrary diretflion. 

We can conceive a man to have power to move his whole bo- 
dy in any diredtion, without the aid of any other body, or a 
power to move one part of his body without the aid of any other 
part. But philofophy teaches us that man has no fuch power. 

If he carries his whole body in any direction with a certain 
quantity of motion, this he can do only by pufliing the earth, 
or fome other body, with an equal quantity of motion in the con- 

G trary 



^o E S S A Y I. 

CHAP. VI!. trary direaion. If he but ftretch out his arm in one diredion, 
* — " ' the reft of his body is pufhed with an equal quantity of mo- 
tion in the contrary diredlion. 

This is the cafe with regard to all animal and voluntary mo- 
tions, which come within the reach of our fenfes. They are 
perfonned by the contraction of certain mufcles ; and a mufcle, 
when it is contracted, draws equally at both ends. As to the 
motions antecedent to the contra6tion of the mufcle, and confe- 
quent upon the volition of the animal, we know nothing, and 
can fay nothing about them. 

We know not even how thofe immediate effedls of our power 
are produced by our willing them. We perceive not any necef- 
fary connedion between the volition and exertion on our part, 
and the m.otion of our body that follows them. 

Anatomifts inform us, that every voluntary motion of the 
body is performed by tlae contradlion of certain mufcles, and 
that the mufcles are contraded by fome influence derived from 
the nerves. But, without thinking in the leaft, either of muf- 
cles or nerves, we will only the external efTedl, and the inter- 
nal machinery, without our call, immediately produces that 
effed. 

This is one of the wonders of our frame, which we have rea- 
fon to admire ; but to account for it, is beyond the reach of our 
underflanding. 

That there is an eftabliflied hannony between our willing cer- 
tain motions of our bodies, and the operation of the nerves and 
mufcles which produces thofe motions, is a fad known by expe- 
rience. This volition is an ad of th^ mind. But whether this 
ad of the~TTuii^~Tiave^~any phyfical effed upon the nerves and 
mufcles 5 or whether it be only an occafion of their being aded 

upon 



OF THE EXTENT OF HUMAN POWER. ^r 

upon by fome other efficient, accordinc^ to the eftublifhed laws CITAP. viL 
of nature, is hid froin us. So dark is our conception of our 
own power when wc trace it to its origin. 

We have good rcafon to believe, that matter had its origin 
from mind, as well as all its motions ; but how, or in what man- 
ner, ic is moved by mind, we know as little as how it was created. 

It is pofTible therefore, for any thing we know, that what we 
call the immediate effeds of our power, may not be fo in the 
Uridcrt fenfe. Between the will to produce the efl'edt, and the 
produdion of it, there may be agents or inftruments of which 
we are ignorant. 

This may leave fome doubt, whether wc be in the flridteft 
fenfe, the efficient caufe of the voluntary motions of our own 
body. But it can produce no doubt with regard to the moral 
cftimation of our adions. 

The man who knows that fuch an event depends upon his 
will, and who deliberately wills to produce it, is, in the ftridefl 
moral fenfe, the caufe of the event; and it is juftly imputed to 
him, whatever phyfical caufes may have concurred in its pro- 
duction. 

Thus, he who malicioufly intends to Hioot his neighbour dead, 
and voluntarily does it, is undoubtedly the caufe of his death, 
though he did no more to occafion it than draw the trigger of 
the gim. He neither gave to the ball its velocity, nor to the 
powder its expanfive force, nor to the flint and fteel the power 
to ftrike fire ; but he knew that what he did muff be followed by 
the man's death, and did it with that intention; and therefore he 
is juftly chargeable with the murder. 

Philofophers may therefore difputc innocently, whether we 

G 2 ' be 



5a 



ESSAY I. 



CHAP. vn. be the proper efficient caufes of the voluntary motions of our 
own body J or whether we be only, as Malebranche thmks, 
the occafional caufes. The determination of this queftion, if 
it can be determined, can have no efFed on human condudt. 

The other branch of what is immediately in our power, is to give 
a certain dlr^dion to our own thoughts. This, as well as the firft 
branch, is limited in various ways. It is greater in fome perfons 
than in others, and in the fame perfon is very different, accord- 
ing to the health of his body, and the ftate of his mind. But 
that men, when free from difeafe of body and of mind, have a 
confiderable degree of power of this kind, and that it may be 
greatly increafed by pradice and habit, is fufficiently evident- 
from experience, and from the natural convidion of all man- 
kind. 

Were we to examine minutely into the connedion between, 
our volitions, and the diredion of our thoughts which obeys, 
thefe volitions ; were we to confider how we are able to give 
attention to an objed for a certain time, and turn our attention 
to another when we chufe, we might perhaps find it difficult tO' 
determine, whether the mind itfelf be the fole efficient caufe of- 
the voluntary changes in the diredion of our thoughts, or whe- 
ther it requires the aid of other efficient caufes. 

I fee no good reafon why the difpute about efficient and oc- 
cafional caufes, may not be applied to the power of direding- 
our thoughts, as well as to the power of moving our bodies. In 
both cafes, I apprehend the difpute is endlefs, and, if it could be: 
brought to an ilTue, would be fruitlefs. 

Nothing appears more evident to our reafon, than that there- 
mull be an efficient caufe of every change that happens in na- 
ture. But when I attempt to comprehend the manner in which 
an efficient caufe operates, either upon body or upon mind, 

there 



OF THE EXTENT OF HUMAN POWER. S3 

there Is a darknefs which my faculties arc not able to pene- chap^vi'. 
tratc. 

However finall the immediate effefts of human power feem 
to be, its more remote effcdls are very confiderablc. 

In this refpedl, the power of man may be compared to the 
Nile, the Ganges, and other great rivers, which make a figure 
upon the globe of the earth, and, travcrfing vafl; regions, bring 
fomctimes great benefit, at other times great mifchief to many, 
nations ; yet, when we trace tliofc rivers to their fource, we fmd 
them to rife from inconfiderable fountains and rills. 

The command of a mighty prince, what is it, but the found 
of his breatli, modified by his organs of fpeech ? But it may 
have great confequences; it may raife armies, equip fleets, and 
fpread war and defolation over a great part of the earth. 

The meaneft of mankind has confiderablc power to do good, 
and more to hurt himfelf and others. 

From this I think we may conclude, that, although the dege- 
neracy of mankind be great, and juftly to be lamented, yet men, 
in general, are more difpofed to employ their power in doing 
good, than in doing hurt to their fellow-men. The lafl is much 
more in their power than tlic firft ; and, if they were as much 
difpofed to it, human fociety could not fubfift, and the fpecies 
mud foon perifli from the eaith. 

We may firll confider the efTecls which may be produced by 
human power upon the material fyflem. 

It is confined indeed to the planet which we inhabit ; we can- 
not remove to another j nor can we produce any change in the 
annual or diunial motions of our own. 

But, 



54 



ESSAY I. 



CHAP. vli. gut:^ by human power, great changes may be made upon tlie 
face of the earth ; and thofe treafures of metals and minerals 
that are florcd up in its bowels, may be difcovered and brought 
forth. 

The Supreme Being could, no doubt, have made the earth to 
fiipply the wants of man, without any cultivation by human la- 
bour. Many inferior animals, who neither plant, nor fow, nor 
fpin, are provided for by the bounty of Heaven. But this is not 
the cafe with man. 

He has adive powers and ingenuity given him, by which he 
can do much for fupplying his wants ', and his labour is made ne- 
cellary for that purpofe. 

His wants are more than thofe of any other animal that inha- 
bits this globe ; and his refources are proportioned to them, and 
put within the fphere of his power. 

The earth Is left by nature in fuch a flate as to require culti- 
vation for the accommodation of man. 

It is capable of cultivation, in moft places, to fuch a degree, 
that, by human labour, it may afford fubfiftence to an hundred 
times the number of men it could in its natural ftate. 

Every tribe of men, in evei'y climate, muft labour for their 
fubfiftence and accommodation ; and their fupply is more or lefs 
comfortable, in proportion to the labour properly employed 
for that purpofe. 

It is evidently the intention of Nature, that man fliould be la- 
borious, and that he fhould exert his powers of body and mind 
for his own, and for the common good. And, by his power 
properly applied, he may make great improvement upon the fer- 
tility 



OF THE EXTENT OF HUMAN POWER. 55 

tllity of the earth, and a great addition to his o-Mvn accommoda- cha?. vir. 
tion and comfortable ftate. 

By clearing, tilling and manuring tlic ground, by planting and 
fowing, by building cities and harbours, draining marfhes and 
lakes, making rivers navigable, and joining them by canals, by 
manufaduring the rude materials which the earth, duly culti- 
vated, produces in abundance, by the mutual exchange of com- 
modities and of labour, he may make the bai'ren wildernefs the 
habitation of rich and populous ftates. 

If \vc compare the city of Venice, the province of Holland, 
the empire of China, with thofe places of the earth which ne- 
ver felt the hand of induflry, we may form foinc conception of 
the extent of human power upon the material fyftcm, in 
changing the face of the eartli, and furnilhing the accommoda- 
tions of human life. 

But, in order to produce thofe happy changes, man himfclf 
inuft be improved. 

His animal faculties are fufiicient for the prcfervation of the 
fj)ecies ; they grow up of themfelves, like the trees of the foreft, 
which require only the force of nature and the influences of 
Heaven. 

His rational and moral faculties, like the earth itfelf, arc rude 
and barren by nature, but capable of a high degree of culture ; 
ami this culture he muft receive from parents, from inflru<ftors, 
from thofe with whom he lives in fociety, joined with his own 
indurtry. 

If wc confider the changes that may be produced by man upon 
his own mind, and upon the minds of others, they appear to be 
great. 

Upon 



56 E S S A Y I. 

CHA P.viT . Upon his ovm mind he may make great improvement, In ac- 
quiring the treafures of ufeful knowledge, the habits of flcill in 
arts, the habits of wifdom, prudence, felf-command, and every 
other virtue. It is the conftitution of nature, that fuch qualities 
as exalt and dignify human nature are to be acquired by proper 
exertions ; and, by a contrary condud, fuch qualities as debafe 
it below the condition of brutes. 

Even upon the minds of others, great efFed:s may be produced 
by means within the compafs of human power ; by means 
of good education, of proper inflrudlion, of perfuafion, of good 
example, and by the difcipline of laws and government. 

That thefe have often had great and good effeds on the civili- 
zation and improvement of individuals, and of nations, cannot 
be doubted. But what happy efFeds they might have, if applied 
univerfally with the fkill and addrefs that is within the reach 
of human wifdom and power, is not eafily conceived, or to what 
pitch the happinefs of human fociety, and the improvement of 
the fpecies, might be carried. 

What a noble, what a divine employment of human power is 
here afligned us ? How ought it to roufe the ambition of pa- 
rents, of inftrudtors, of lawgivers, of magiftrates, of every man 
in his ftation, to contribute his part towards the accomplifhment 
of fo glorious an end ? 

The power of man over his own and other minds, when we 
trace it to its origin, is involved in darknefs, no lefs than his 
power to move his own and other bodies. 

How far we are properly efficient caufes, how far occafional 
■caufes, I cannot pretend to determine. 

We know that habit produces great changes in the mind 5 but 

how 



OF TUT. EXTENT OF HUMAN POWER. 57 

how it docs fo, v,c know not. ^Vc know, that example has a CHAP. vir » 
powerful, anil, in the early period of life, ahnofl: an irrtfiftihle 
elYcti ; but we know not how it produces this elTcdl. The com- 
munication of thonj^ht, fcntiment and palllon, from one mind to 
another, has foraethinj^ in it as myfterious as the communication 
of motion from one body to another. 

We perceive one event to follow another, according to efta- 
blillied laws of nature, and we are accuftomed to call the firil 
the caufe, and the lafl the effect, without knowing what is the 
bond that unites them. In order to produce a certain event, we 
ufe means which, by laws of nature, are connedcd with that 
event ; and we call ourfelves the caufe of that event, though 
other eilicient caufes may have had the chief hand in its pro- 
dudion. 

Upon the whole, human power, in its exigence, in Its extent, 
and in its exertions, is entirely dependent upon God, and upon 
the laws of nature which he has eftabliilied. This ought to 
banilh pride and arrogance from the moft mighty of the fons of 
men. At the fame time, that degree of power which we have 
received from the bounty of Heaven, is one of the noblefl; gifts 
of God to man ; of which we ought not to be infenfible, that 
we may not be ungrateful, and that we may be excited to make 
the proper ufe of it. 

The extent of human power is pcrfei^ly fm'ted to the ftate of 
man, as a (late of improvement and difcipline. It is fufPicient 
to animate us to the noblefl exertions. By the proper exercifc 
of this gift of God, human nature, in individuals and in Ibcicties, 
may be exalted to a high degree of dignity and felicity, and the 
earth become a paradifc. On the contrary, its perverfion and 
nbufe is the caufe of moft of the evils that afHi<5t human life. 

H ESSAY 



ESSAY ir. 

OF THE WILL. 

CHAP. I. 

Obfcrvai'iom concerning the WilL 

EVERY man is confcious of a power to determine, in things 
whicli he conceives to depend upon his determination. 
To this power we give the name of w/V/y and, as it is ufual, in 
the operations of the mind, to give tlie fame name to the power 
and to the ad of that power, the term iv'tll is often put to figni- 
fy the adt of determining, which more properly is called voli- 
tion. 

Volition, tliereforc, fignifies the acft of willing and determin- 
ing, and will is put indifferently to lignify cither the power of 
willing or the ad. 

But the term leill has ^'ery often, efpccially In the writings of 
Philofophers, a more e.xtenfive meaning, which we muft careful- 
ly dirtinguifla from that which we have. now given. 

In the general divifion of our faculties into underflandhig and 
will, our pafllons, appetites and affedions arc comprehended 
under the will ; and lb it is m.ade to figiiify, not only our de- 
termination to ad or not to ad, but cverv motive :'.nd incite- 
ment to ndion. 

H 2 It 



^0 £ S S A Y IT. 

CHAP. J. It Is this, probably, that has led fome Philofophers to reprefent 
defire, averfion, hope, fear, joy, forrow, all our appetites, paf- 
fions and alTedions, as different modifications of the will, which, 
I think, tends to confound things which are very different in 
their nature. 

The advice given to a man, and his determination cohfequent 
to that advice, are things fo different in their nature, that it 
would be improper to call them modifications of one and the 
fame thing. In like manner, the motives to adion, and the de- 
termination to ad or not to ad, are things that have no com- 
mon nature, and therefore ought not to be confounded under 
one name, or reprefented as different modifications of the fame 
thing. 

For this reafon, in fpeaking of the will in this Effay, I do not 
comprehend under that term any of the incitements or motives 
which may have an influence upon our determinations, but fole- 
ly the determination itfelf, and the power to determine. 

Mr Locke has confidered this operation of the mind more at- 
tentively, and diftinguifhed it more accurately, than fome very 
ingenious authors w^ho wrote after him. 

He defines volition to be, " An ad of the mind knowingly 
" exerting that dominion it takes Itfelf to have over any part 
" of the man, by employing it in, or with-holding it from any 
" particular adion." 

It may more briefly be defined. The determination of the 
mind to do, or not to do fomething which we conceive to be in 
our power. 

If this were given as a flridly logical definition, It would be 
liable to this objedion, that the determination of the mind is 

only 



OBSERVATIONS CONCERNING THE WILL. 6r 

CHily another term for volition. But it ought to be obferved, CIIAP. i. 
that the niort limple ads of the mind do not admit of a logical 
defniition. The way to form a clear notion of theni is, to re- 
fled attentively upon them as we feel them in ourfelves. With- 
out this relleclion, no definition can give us a diftintl conception 
of them. 

For this rcafon, rather than fift any definition of the will, I 
fliall make fome obfervations upon it, whicli may lead us to re- 
fled upon it, and to dillinguilh it from other ads of mind, 
which, from the ambiguity of words, are apt to be confounded 
with it. 

FirJ}, Every ad of will muft have an objed. He that wills 
muft will fomething; and that which he wills is called the ob- 
jcd of his volition. As a man cannot think without thinking 
of ibmething, nor remember without remembering fomething, 
fo neither can he will without willing fomething. Every ad of 
will, therefore, muft have an objcd ; and the perfon who wills 
muft have fome conception, more or lefs diftind, of what he 
wills. 

By this, things done voluntarily arc diftingulflied from things 
done merely from inftind, or merely from habit. 

A healthy child, fome hours after its birth, feels the fenfatioa 
of hunger, and, if applied to the breaft, fucks and fwallows 
Its food very perfedly. We have no reafon to think, that, be- 
fore it ever fucked, it has any conception of that complex opera- 
tion, or how it is performed. It cannot, therefore, with pro- 
priety, be faid, that it wills to fuck. 

Numberlefs inftances might be given of things done by animals 
without any previous conception of what they are to do ; without 
the intention of doing it. They ad by fome inward blind iin- 

pulfe. 



^2 E S S A Y II. 

CH-AP. I. pulfe, of which the efficient caufe is hid from us ; and though 
"^ ' there is an end evidently intended by the action, this intention 

is not in the animal, but in its Maker. 

Other things are done by habit, which cannot properly be 
called voluntary. We fhut our eyes feveral times every minute 
while we are awake 3 no man is confcious of willing this every 
time he does it. 

A fecond obfcrvation is, That the immediate objed of will 
muft be fome adion of our own. 

By this, will is diftinguiflied from two adls of the mind, 
which fometimes take its name, and thereby are apt to be con- 
founded with it p thefe are defire and command. 

The diftindlion between will and defire has been well explain- 
ed by Mr Locke; yet many later writers have overlooked it, 
and have reprefented defire as a modification of will. 

Defire and will agree in this, that both mufl have an objed, 
of which w^e mufi: have fome conception j and therefore both 
muflr be accompanied with fome degree of underftanding. But' 
they differ in feveral things. 

The objed of defire may be any thing which appetite, pafilon 
or affedion, leads us' to purfue ; it may be any event which we 
think good for us, or for thofe to whom we are well affeded. 
1 may defire meat, or drink, or eafe from pain : But to fay that 
I will meat, or will drink, or will eafe from pain, is not Englifh. . 
There is therefore a difiindion in common language between 
defire and will. And the dillindion is, That v/hat we willmufl 
be an adion, and our own adion ;, what we defire may not be our 
own adion, it may be no adion at all. 

A 



OBSERVATIONS CONTCERNING THE WILL. 63 

A man tlellres that his children maybe happy, and tliat they CIIAP. i. 
may bcliavc well. Their being happy is no udion at all 3 their 
behaving well is not his adion but theirs. 

With regard to our own adions, we may defire what we do 
not will, and will what we do not defire ^ nay, what we have a 
great avcrfion to. 

A man a-thirfl has a (Irong defire to drink, but, for fome par- 
ticular reafon, he determines not to gratify his defire. A judge, 
from a regard to juftlce, and to the duty of his office, dooms a 
criminal to die, while, from humanity or particular affedion, he 
defires that he ihould live. A man for health may take a nau- 
feous draught, for which he has no defire but a great avcrfion. 
Defire therefore, even when its objed is fome action of our own, 
is only an incitement to will, but it is not volition. The deter- 
mination of the mind may be, not to do what we defire to do. 
But as defire is often accompanied by will, we are apt to over- 
look the diftindion between them. 

The command of a perfon is fomctimes called his will, fome- 
timcs his defire ; but when thefe words are ufed properly, they 
fignify three dilTerent ads of the mind. 

The immediate objed of will is fome adion of our own ; the 
objcd of a command is fome adion of another peribn, over 
whom we claim authority ^ the objed of defire may be no adion 
.at all. 

In giving a command all thefe ads concur 3 and as they go 
together, it is not uncommon in language, to give to one the 
name which properly belongs to another. 

A command being a voluntary adion, there muft be a will to 

give 



64 E S S A Y II. 

CHA P, i.^ g|yg j-}jg command : Some defire is commonly the motive to that 
ad; of will, and the command is the effect of it. 

Perhaps it may be thought that a command is only a defire 
exprefied by language, that the thing commanded fliould be done. 
But it is not fo. For a defire may be expreOed by language 
■when there is no command j and there may poflibly be a com- 
mand without any defire that the thing commanded fliould be 
done. There have been inftances of tyrants who have laid grie- 
vous commands upon their fubjeds, in order to reap the penalty 
of their difobedience, or to fumifh a pretence for their puniih- 
ment. 

We might farther obfer\^e, that a command is a fecial a(5t of 
the mind. It can have no exiftence but by a communication 
of thought to fome intelligent being ; and therefore implies 
a belief that there is fuch a being, and that we can communicate 
our thoughts to him. 

Defire and will are folitary a6ls, which do not imply any fuch 
communication or belief. 

"^ The immediate object of volition therefore, mufl be fome 
adlion, and our own action. 

A third obfervation is. That the objed: of our volition mufl 
be fomething which we believe to be in our power, and to de- 
pend upon our will. 

A man may defire to make a vifit to the moon, or to the 
planet Jupiter, but he cannot will or determine to do it ; becaufe 
he knows it is not in his power. If an infane perfon fhould 
make an attempt, his infanity muft firft make him believe it to 
be in his power. 

A 



OBSERVATIONS CONCERNING THE WILL. 65 

A man In his flcep mny be ftrnck witli a pally, which deprives CHAP. I. 
hiin of tlie power of fpcech ; when he awakes, he attempts to 
f|K-ak, not knowing; that he has loft the power. }5ut when he 
knows by experience that the power is gone, he ceafes to make 
the effort. 

The fame man, knowing that fome perfons have recovered the 
power of fijecch after they had loll it by a paralytica! ftroke, 
may now and then make an effort. In this effort, iiowever, 
there is not properly a will to fpcak, but a will to try whether 
he can fpeak or not. 

In like manner, a man may exert his ftrength toraifc a weight 
which is too heavy for him. liut he always does this, either 
from the belief that he can raife the weight, or for a trial whe- 
ther he can or not. It is evident therefore, that what we will 
niuft be believed to be in our power, and to depend upon our 
will. 

The next obfervation is, That when we will to do a thing im- 
mediately, the volition is accompanied with an eiforc to execute 
that which we willed, y 

If a man wills to raife a great weight from the ground by the 
llrengih of his arm, he makes an eflfort for that purpofe propor- 
tioned to the weight he determines to raife. A great weight re- 
quires a great effort ; a fmall weight a Icfs effort. We fay in- 
deed, thjt to raife a very fmall body requires no effort at all. 
But this, I ai:)|)rehend, muft be underftood either as a figurative 
way of fpeaking, by which things very fmall are accounted as 
nothing; or it is owing to our giving no attention to very final! 
efforts, and therefore having no name for them. 

Great efforts, wlicthcr of body or mind, arc attended with 
difficulty, and wlien long continued produce laflltude, which re- 

I quires 



66 E S S A Y II. 

CHAP. I. quires that they fliould be intermitted. This leads us to refled 
" upon them and to give them a name. The name effort is com- 

monly appropriated to them ; and thole that are made with eafe, 
and leave no fenfible efted, pafs without obfervation and with- 
out a name, though they be of the fame kind, and differ only 
in degree from thofe to which the name is given. 

This effort we are confcious of, if we will but give attention 
to it ; and there is nothing in which we are in a more flrid 
fenfe adive. 

The laji obfervation is. That in all determinations of the mind 
that are of any importance, there mufl be fomething in the pre- 
ceding flate of the mind that difpofes or inclines us to that de- 
termination. 

If the mind were always in a flate of perfect indifference, 
without any incitement, motive, or reafon, to adt, or not to ad:, 
to ad one way rather than another, our adive power, having no 
end to purfue, no rule to dired its exertions, would be given in 
vain. We fliould either be altogether inadive, and never will to 
do any thing, or our volitions would be perfedly unmeaning and. 
futile, being neither wife nor foolilh, virtuous nor vicious. 

We have reafon therefore to think, that to every being to 
whom God hath given any degree of adive power, he hath alfo 
given fome principles of adion, for the diredion of that power 
to the end for which it was intended. 

It is evident that, in the conftitution of man, there are various 
principles of adion fuited to our flate and fituation. A particu- 
lar confideration of thefe is the iubjed of the next effay ; in 
this we are only to confider them in general, with a view to ex- 
amine the relation they bear to volition, and how it is influ- 
enced by them. 

CHAP, 



OBSERVATIONS CONCERNING THE WILL. 67 



CHAT. II. 
' .. ' 



C H A P. II. 

Of the Influence of Incitements and Motives upon the Will. 

WE come into the world ignorant of every thing, yet we 
muft do many things in order to our fubfirtence and 
well-being. A new-born child may be carried in arms, and 
kept warm by his nurfe \ but he muil fuck and fwallow his food 
for himfelf. And this muft be done before he has any concep- 
tion of fucking or fwallowing, or of the manner in which they 
are to be performed. He is led by nature to do thefe adions 
without knowing for what end, or what he is about. This we 
call tnftiuEl. 

In many cafes there Is no time for voluntary determination. 
The motions muft; go on fo rapitlly, that the conception and vo- 
lition of every movement cannot keep pace with them. In fome 
cafes of this kind, inftind, iu others habit, comes in to our aid. 

When a man ftumblcs and lofes his balance, the motion ne- 
ceftarv to prevent his fall would come too late, if it were the 
confcquence of thinking what is fit to be done, and making a 
voluntary efiort for that purpofe. He does this inftindively. 

When a man beats a drum or plays a tune, he has not time to 
dired every particular beat or ftop, by a voluntary determina- 
tion ; but the habit which may be acquired by exercifc, anfwers 
the purpofe as well. 

By inftind therefore, and by habit, we do many things with- 
out any exercife either of judgment or will. 

In other adions the will Is exerted, but without judgment. 

1 2 Suppofe 



6a E S S A Y II. 

CHAP. II. Suppofe a man to know that, in order to live, he mufl: eat. 
What (hall he eat ? How much ? And how often ? His reafon 
can anfwer none of thefe queftions j and therefore can give no 
diredion how he fhould determine. Here again nature, as an in- 
dulgent parent, fupplies the defedls of his reafon ; giving him ap- 
petite, which fhews him when he is to eat, how often, and how 
much J and tafle, which informs him what he is, and what he Is 
not to eat. And by thefe principles he is much better direded 
than he could be without them, by all the knowledge he can ac- 
quire. 

As the Author of nature has given us fome principles of adlon- 
to fupply the defeds of our knowledge, he has given others to^ 
lupply the defeds of our wifdom and virtue.. 

The natural delires, affedions and paflions, which are common 
to the wife and to the foolifli, to the virtuous and to the vicious, 
and even to the more fagacious brutes, ferve very often to dired 
the courfe of human adions. By thefe principles men may perform 
the moft laborious duties of life, without any regard to duty 5 
and do what is proper to be done, without regard to propriety ; 
like a veflel that is carried on In her proper courfe by a pro- 
fperous gale, without the (kill or judgment of thofe that are a- 
board. 

Appetite, a(Iedion, or pallibn, give an Impulfe to a certain 
adion. In this impulfe there is no judgment implied. It may- 
be weak or ftrong; we can even conceive It Irrefiftible. In the 
cafe of madnefs it Is fo. Madmen have their appetites and paf^ 
lions y but they want the power of felf-government ; and there- 
fore we do not Impute their adions to the man but to the dif- 
eafe. 

In adions that proceed from app*etlte or paffion, we are pa(^" 
iive In part, and only In part adive. They are therefore part- 



INFLUENCE OF MOTIVES UPON THE WILL. ^9 



ly imputed to the pafllon ; and If it is fnppofcd to be irrcfiftiblc, ^ 
wc do not impute them to the man at all. 

Even an American favagc judg;es in this manner : When in a 
fit of drunkcnnefs he kills his friend : As foon as he comes to 
himfclf, he is very forry for what he has done j but pleads that 
drink, and not he, was the caufe. 

We conceive brute-animals to have no fuperior principle to 
control their appetites and palllons. On this account, their ac- 
tions are not fubjedl to law. Men are in a like ftate in infancy, 
in madnefs, and in the delirium of a fever. They have appe- 
tites and palTlons, but they want that which makes them moral 
agents, accountable for their condu<fl, and objedts of moral ap- 
probation or of blame. 

In fome cafes, a flronger Impulfe of appetite or pafllon may 
oppofe a weaker. Here alfo there may be determination and' 
adion without judgment. 

Suppofe a foldier ordered to inount a breach, and cenain of 
prefent death if he retreats, this man needs not courage to go 
on, fear is fufficient. The certainty of prefent death if he 
retreats, is an overbalance to the probability of being killed if 
he goes on. Tlie man is pufhed by contrary forces, and it re- 
quires neither judgment nor exertion to yield to the ItrongelK 

A hungry dog adts by the fame principle, if meat is fet before 
him, with a threatening to beat him if he touch it. Hunger 
pufties him forward, fear pufhes him back with more force, and 
the ftrongeft force prevails. 

Thus we fee, that, in many even of our voluntary aclions, 
we may acl from the impulfe of appetite, affedion, or jnilion, 

without 



CHAP. ir. 



70 



ESSAY II. 



CHAP. IL -without any exerclfe of judgment, and much in the fame man« 
ner as brute-animals feem to a.&.. 

Sometimes, however, there is a calm in the mind from the 
gales of pafllon or appetite, and the man is left to work his 
way, in the voyage of Life, without thofe impulfes which they 
give. Then he calmly weighs goods and evils, which are at too 
great a diftance to excite any pafllon. He judges what is befl; 
upon the whole, without feeling any bias drawing him to one 
fide. He judges for himfelf as he would do for another in his 
fituation ; and the determination is wholly imputable to the man, 
and not in any degree to his pafllon. 

Every man come to years of underftanding, who has given 
any attention to his own condudt, and to that of others, has, in 
his mind, a fcale or meafure of goods and evils, more or lefs 
exadt. He makes an efl:imate of the value of health, of repu- 
tation, of riches, of pleafure, of virtue, of felf-approbation, and 
of the approbation of his Maker. Thefe things, and their con- 
traries, have a comparative importance in his cool and delibe- 
xate judgment. 

When a man confiders whether health ought to be preferred 
•to bodily ftrength, fame to riches, whether a good confcience 
and the approbation of his Maker, to every thing that can come 
in competition with it ; this appears to me to be an exercife of 
judgment, and not any impulfe of pafllon or appetite. 

Every thing worthy of purfuit, muft be fo, either intrinfically, 
and upon its own account, or as the means of procuring fomething 
that is intrinfically valuable. That it is by judgment that we 
difcern the fitnefs of means for attaining an end, is felf-evident ; 
and in this, I think, all Philofophers agree. But that it is the 
office of judgment to appreciate the value of an end, or the 

preference 



INFLUENCE OF MOTIVES UPON THE WILL. ^x 

preference due to one end above another, is not granted by fome ^hap. ir.^ 
Philofophers. 

In determining what is good or ill, and, of different goods, 
which is bcft, they think we muft be guided, not by judgment, 
but by fome natural or acquired tafte, which makes us rclilh 
one thing and diflike another. 

Thus, if one man prefers cheefe to lobflers, anotlicr lobfters 
to cheefe, it is vain, fay they, to apply judgment to determine 
which is right. In like manner, if one man prefers pleafure to 
virtue, another virtue to pleafure, this is a matter of tafle, judg- 
ment has nothing to do in it. This feems to be the opinion of 
fome Fhilofophers. 

I cannot help being of a contrary opinion. I think we may 
form a judgment, both in the queftion about cheefe and lobfters 
and in the more important queftion about pleafure and virtue. 

When one man feels a more agreeable relifli in cheefe, ano- 
ther in lobfters, this, I grant, requires no judgment ; it de- 
pends only upon the conftitution of the palate. But, if we 
would determine which of the two has the befl tafte, I think 
the queftion muft be determined by judgment ; and that, with a 
fraall Ihare of this faculty, we may give a very certain determi- 
nation, to wit, that the two taftes are equally good, and that 
both of the perfons do equally well, in preferring what fuits 
their palate and their llomach. 

Nay, I apprehend, that the two perfons who differ in their 
tafte will, notwithftanding that diftcrencc, agree perfedly in 
their judgment, that both taftes are upon a footing of equality, 
and that neither has a juft claim to preference. 

Thus it appears, that, in this inftance, the office of tafle is 

very 



72 E S S A Y II. 

CHAP. IL very different from that of judgment ; and that men, who differ 
moft in tafte, may agree perfectly in their judgment, even with 
refpedt to the taftes wherein they differ. 

To make the other cafe parallel with this, it mufl be fup- 
pofed, that the man of pleafure and the man of virtue agree in, 
their judgment, and that neither fees any reafon to prefer the 
one courfe of life to the other. 

If this be fuppofed, I fhall grant, that neither of thefe perfons 
has reafon to condemn the other. Each chufes according to his 
tafte, in matters which his befl judgment determines to be per- 
fectly indifferent. 

But it is to be obferved, that this fuppofitlon cannot have 
place, when we fpeak of men, or indeed of moral agents. The 
man who is incapable of perceiving the obligation of virtue, 
when he ufes his beft judgment, is a man in name, but not in 
reality. He is incapable either of virtue or vice, and is not a 
moral agent. 

Even the man of pleafure, when his judgment Is unblafled, 
fees, that there are certain things which a man ought not to do, 
though he ftiould have a tafte for them. If a thief breaks into 
his houfe and carries off his goods, he is perfedlly convinced 
that he did wrong and deferves punifhment, although he had as 
ftrong a relifli for the goods as he himfelf has for the pleafures 
he purfues. 

It is evident, that mankind, in all ages, have conceived two 
parts in the human conftitution that may have influence upon 
our voluntary adions. Thefe we call by the general names of 
pajfion and reofon ; and we Ihall find, in all languages, names that 
are equivalent. 

Under 



INFLUEN'CE OF MOTIVES UPON THE WILL. 73 

Under the former, we comprehend various principles of ac- CHAP. ir. 
lion, funihir to thofe we obfcrvc in brute-animals, and in men 
who have not the ufe of reafon. Appetites, offe&ious, pajjions^ are 
the names by which they are denominated ; and thcfe names 
are not fo accurately thftinguinied in common language, but 
that they are ufed fomewhat promifcuoufly. This, however, 
is common to them all, that they draw a man toward a certain 
objed, without any farther view, by a kind of violence ; a vio- 
lence which indeed may be refifted if the man is mailer of him- 
felf, but cannot be refifted without a ftruggle. 

Cicero's phrafe for exprefling their influence is, " Horainem 
" hue et illuc rapiunt." Dr Hutcheson ufes a iimilar phrafe, 
" (^libus agitatur mens et brute quodam impetu fertur." 
There is no exercile of reafoa or judgment neceflary in order 
to feel their influence. 

"With regard to this part of the human conftitutlon, I fee no 
difference between the vulgar and Philolbphers. 

As to the other part of our conftltution, which is commonly 
called reafon, as oppofed to pafCon, there have been very fubtile 
difputes among modern Philolbphers, whether it ought to be 
called reafon, or be not rather fome internal fenfe or tafle. 

"Whether it ought to be called reafon, or by what other name, 
I do not here enquire, but what kiud of influence it has upon 
our voluntary actions. 

As to this point, I think, all men muft allow that this is the 
manly part of our conllitution, the other the brute part. This 
operates in a calm and difpafTionate manner ; a manner fo like 
to judgment or reafon, that even thofe who ilo not allow it to 
be called by that name, endeavour to account for its having al- 

K ways 



7+ 



ESSAY ir. 



CHAT^iL ways had the namej becaufe, in the manner of its operation, 
it has a fimilitude to reafon. 

As the fimilitude between this principle and reafon has led 
mankind to give it that name, fo the diflimilitude between it 
and paflion has led them to fet the two in oppofition. They 
have confidered this cool principle, as having an influence upon 
our adlions fo different from pailion, that what a man does cool- 
ly and deliberately, without paffion, is imputed folely to the 
man, whether it have merit or demerit ; whereas, what he does 
from paflion is imputed in part to the paflion. If the paflion 
be conceived to be irrefiftible, the adtion is imputed folely to it, 
and not at all to the man. If he had power to refift, and ought 
to have refifted, we blame him for not doing his duty j but, in 
proportion to the violence of the paflion, the fault is alleviated. 

By this cool principle, we judge what ends are moft worthy 
to be purfued, how far every appetite and paflion may be in- 
dulged, and when it ought to be refifled. 

It direds us, not only to refift the impulfe of paflion when it 
would lead us wrong, but to avoid the occafions of inflaming 
it ; like Cyrus, who refufed to fee the beautiful captive prin- 
cefs. In this he a6ted the part both of a wife and a good man j 
firm in the love of virtue, and, at the fame time, confcious of 
the weaknefs of human nature, and unwilling to put it to too 
fevere a trial. In this cafe, the youth of Cyrus, the incompara- 
ble beauty of his captive, and every circumftance which tended 
to inflame his defire, exalts the merit of his condudl in refifting 
it. 

It is in fuch adlions that the fuperiority of human nature ap- 
pears, and the fpecific difference between it and that of brutes. 
lx\ them we may obferve one paflion combating another, and the 
flrongeft prevailing^ but we perceive no calm principle in their 

conftitution, 



INFLUENCE OF MOTIVES UPON THE WILL. 75 

Gonftitution, thatis fuperior to every paflion, and able to give chaiml 
law to it. 

The difference between thcfe two parts of our conftitution 
may be farther illurtratcd by an inflance or two wherein pailion 
prevails. 

If a man, upon great provocation, flrike another when he 
ought to keep the peace, he blames himt'elf for what he did, 
and acknowledges that he ought not to have yielded to his paf- 
Gon. Every other pcrfon agrees with his fober judgment. They 
think he did wrong in yielding to his paflion, when he might 
and ought to have refifled its impulfe. If they thought it im- 
poffible to bear the provocation, they would not blame him at 
all ; but believing that it was in his power, and was his duty, 
they impute to him fome degree of blame, acknowledging, at 
the fame time, that it is alleviated in proportion to the provoca- 
tion ; Co that the trefpafs is imputed, partly to the man, and 
partly to the paffion. But, if a man deliberately conceives a 
defign of mifchief againft his neighbour, contrives the means, 
.ind executes it, the adion admits of no alleviation, it is perfedt- 
ly voluntary, ahd he bears the whole guilt of the evil in- 
tended and done. 

If a man, by the agony of the rack, is made to difclofe a fe- 
cret of importance, with which he is entrulted, we pity him 
more than we blame him. We confider, that fuch is the wcak- 
nefs of human nature, that the refolutlon, even of a good man, 
might be overcome by fuch a trial. But if he have ftrength of 
mind, which even the agony of the rack could not fubduc, we 
admire his fortitude as truly heroical. 

Thus, I think, it appears, that the common fenfe of men 
(which, in matters of common life, ought to have great authori- 
ty) has led them to diftinguilh two parts iu the huinuu conllitu- 

K. 2 tion. 



y6 E S S A Y II. 

CHAP. 11. tion, which have nifluence upon our vokmtary determinations. 
There is an irrational part, common to us with brute-animals, 
confifling of appetites, affedions and pafTions, and there is a 
cool and rational part. The firft, in many cafes, gives a flrong 
impulfe, but without judgment, and without authority. The fe- 
cond is always accompanied with authority. All wifdom and 
virtue confill in following its did:ates ; all vice and folly in dlf- 
obeying them. We may refill the Impulfes of appetite and paf- 
fion,.not only without regret, but with lelf-applaufe and triumph; 
but the calls of reafon and duty can never be refifted, without 
remorfe and felf-conderanation. 

The ancient Philofophers agreed with the vulgar, in making 
this diftinftion of the principles of acflion. The irrational part 
the Greeks called o^iJin. Cicero calls it appetUus, taking that 
word in an extenfive fenfe, fo as to include every propenfity to 
adtion which is not grounded on judgment. 

The other principle the Greeks called ^cuf ; Plato calls It the 
iyr/xenxoi-, or leading principle. " Duplex en'im eft vis animorum at-^ 
" que natura^ fays Cicero, una pars in oppetitu pofita eji, qua ejl 
" Of;:**) Grace, qua hominem hue et illuc rapit; altera in ratione, qua 
" docet, et explanat, quid faciendum fugiendumvefitj ita Jit ut ratio 
" prafit appetitus obtemperet.''^ 

The reafon of explaining this dillindion here Is, that thefe 
two principles influence the will in diiferent ways. Their In- 
fluence differs, not in degree only, but in kind. This difference 
we feel, though it may be difKcult to find words to exprefs it. 
We may perhaps more eafily form a notion of it by a fimili- 
tude. 

It Is one thing to pufh a man from one part of the room to> 

another ; it is a thing of a very different nature to ufe argu- 
ments to perluade him to leave his place, and go to another,. 

He 



INFLUENCE OF MOTIVES UPON THE WILL. 77 

He may yield to the force which puHics him, without any exer- CHARir. 
cife of liis rational faculties ; nay, he mufl: yield to it, if he do 
not oppofe an equal or a greater force. His liberty is impaired 
in foinc degree ; and, if he has not power fuflicient to oppofe, 
his liberty is quite taken away, and the motion cannot be im- 
puted to him at all. The influence of appetite or pafllon feems 
to me to be very like to this. If the paflion be fuppofed irre- 
fiftiblc, we impute the adion to it fulely, and not to the man» 
If he had power to refill, but yields after a flruggle, we impute 
the adion, partly to the man, and partly to the paffion. 

If we attend to the other caie, when the man is only urged 
by arguments to leave his place, this refembles the operation of 
the cool or rational principle. It is evident, that, whether he 
yields to the arguments or not, the determination is wholly his 
own ad, and is entirely to be imputed to him. Argimients, 
whatever be the degree of their ftrength, dimlnifh not a man's 
liberty ; they may produce a cool convidlion of what we ought 
to do, and they can do no more. But appetite and palllon give 
an impulfe to ad and impair liberty, in proportion to their 
Ilrength. 

With mofl men, the Impulfe of paflion is more efiedual than 
bare convidion ; and, on this account, orators, who would per- 
fuade, find it necefiary to addrefs the paflions, as well as to con- 
vince the underftanding ; and, in all fyftcms of rhetoric, thefe 
two have been confidered as different intentions of the orator^ 
and to be accompliflied by different means. 



C II A P. 



78 E S S A Y II. 

CHAP. in. 



CHAP. III. 

Of Operations of Mind ivhicb may be called Voluntary. 

THE faculties of underftanding and will are eafi^y diflin- 
guifhed in thought, but very rarely, if ever, disjoined in 
operation. 

In moft, perhaps in all the operations of mind for which we 
have names in language, both faculties are employed, and we are 
both intelle(5live and adtive. 

Whether it be poffible that intelligence may exifl without 
fome degree of ad;ivity, or impoflible, is perhaps beyond the 
reach of our faculties to determine ; but, I apprehend, that, in 
fadl, they are always conjoined in the operations of our minds. 

It is probable, I think, that there is fome degree of adlivity in 
thofe operations which we refer to the underflanding ; accor- 
dingly, they have always, and in all languages, been expreffed by 
adtive verbs ; as, I fee, I hear, I remember, I apprehend, I judge, 
I reafon. And it is certain, that every adl of will mufl be ac- 
companied by fome operation of the underflanding j for he that 
wills mufl apprehend what he wills, and apprehenfion belongs 
to the underflanding. 

The operations I am to confider in this chapter, I think, have 
commonly been referred to the underflanding ; but we fhall 
find that the will has fo great a (hare in them, that they may, 
with propriety, be called voluntary. They are thefe three, attention^ 
deliberation, and fxed purpofe or refolution. 

Attention may be given to any objedl, either of fenfe or of 

intelledl. 



OF VOL UNTARY OPERATIONS. 79 

jntelleft, in order to form a diftind notion of it, or to difcover CHAP. III. 
its nature, its attributes, or its relations. And fo great is the 
cffcd of attention, that, without it, it is iinpofliblc to acquire or 
retain a dlllind: notion of any objed: of thought. 

If a man hear a dilcourfe without attention, what does he car- 
ry away with him ? If he fee St Peter's or the Vatican without 
attention, What account can he give of it ? While two per- 
fons are engaged in interefting difcourfe, the clock {Irikes with- 
in their hearing, to which they give no attention, What is the 
confequence ? The next minute they know not whether the 
clock ftruck or not. Yet their ears were not fliut. The ufual 
imprellion was made upon the organ of hearing, and upon the 
auditory nerve and brain ; but from inattention the found either 
was not perceived, or pafled in the twinkling of an eye, without 
leaving the leaft veftige in the memory. 

A man fees not what is before his eyes when his mind is oc- 
cupied about another objedl. In the tumult of a battle a man 
may be fliot through the body without knowing any thing 
of the matter, till he difcover it by the lofs of blood or of 
ftrcns-th. 



'o* 



The moft acute fenfation of pain may be deadened, if the at- 
tention can be vigoroufly direded to another objetfl. A gentle- 
man of my acquaintance, in the agony of a fit of the gout, ufed 
to call for the chefs-board. As he was fond of that game, he 
acknowledged that, as the game advanced and drew his at- 
tention, the fenfe of pain abated, and the time feemcd much 
fhorter. 

Archimedes, it is faid, being intent upon a mathematical 
propofition, when Syracufe was taken by the Romans, knew not 
the calamity of the city, till a Roman foldier broke in upon his 

retirement. 



So E S S A Y II. 

CHA P. Ill , retiremenf , and gave him a deadly wound ; on which he lament- 
ed only that he had loft a fine demonftration. 

It is needlefs to multiply Inftances to fliew, that when one 
faculty of the mind is intenfely engaged about any objedl, the 
other faculties are laid as it were fafl: afleep. 

It may be farther obferved, that if there be any thing that 
can he called genius in matters of mere judgment and reafoning, 
it feems to confifl chiefly in being able to give that attention 
to the fubjed which keeps it iteady in the mind, till we can 
furvey it accurately on all fides. 

There is a talent of imagination, which bounds from earth 

to heaven, and from heaven to earth in a moment. This may 

be favourable to wit and imagery ; but the powers of judging 

and reafoning depend chiefly upon keeping the mind to a clear 

[ and fteady view of the fubjed. 

Sir Isaac Newton, to one who complimented him upon the 
force of genius, which had made fuch improvements in mathe- 
matics and natural philofophy, is faid to have made this reply, 
which was both modefl: and judicious, That, if he had made any 
improvements in thofe fciences, it was owing more to patient at- 
tention than to any other talent. 

Whatever be the effedls which attention may produce, ( and I 
apprehend they are far beyond what is commonly believed,} it 
is for the moft part in our power. 

Every man knows that he can turn his attention to this fub- 
jedl or to that, for a longer or a fliorter time, and with more or 
lefs intenfenefs, as he pleafes. It is a voluntary ad:, and depends 
upon his will. 

But what was before obferved of the will in general, is appli- 
cable 



OF VOLUNTARY OPERATIONS. 8i 

cable to this particular exertion of it, That the mind is rarely P^'^| ';^"' 
ill a flate of indilTerence, left to turn its attention to the ob- 
jedt which to realbn appears moft deferving of it. There is, for 
the moft part, a bias to feme particular object, more than to any- 
other J and this not from any judi^ment of its deferving our 
attention more, but from foine impulfe or proptnfity, grounded 
on nature or habit. 

It is well known that things new and uncommon, things 
grand, and things that are beautiful, draw our attention, not in 
proportion to the intereft we have, or think we have in them, 
but in a much greater proportion. 

Whatever moves our paflions or affe(flions draws our atteu" 
tion, very often, more than we wifli. 

You defire a man not to think of an unfortunate event which 
torments him. It admits of no remedy. The thought of it an- 
fwers no purpofe but to keep the wound bleeding. He is per- 
fedlly convinced of all you fay. He knows that he would not 
feel the afflidion, if he could only not think of it ; yet he hard- 
ly thinks of any thing elfe. Strange ! when happinefs and mi- 
fery ftand before him, and depend upon his choice, he chufes 
mifery, and reje<^s happinefs with his eyes open! 

Yet he wifhes to be happy, as all m.cn do. How fliall we re- 
concile this contradiction between his judgment and his con- 
ducfl? 

The account of it feems to me to be this : The afflicfling event 
draws his attention fo ftrongly, by a natural and blind force, 
that he either hath not the power, or hath not the vigour, of 
mind to refift its impulfe, though he knows that to yield to it 
is mifery, without any good to balance it. 

L Acute 




ESSAY II. 

Acute bodily pain draws oar attention, and makes it very 
difficult to attend to any thing elfe, even when attention to the 
pain ferves no other purpofe but to aggravate it tenfold. 

The man who played a game at chefs in the agony of the 
gout, to engage his attention to another objedl, aded the reafon- 
able part, and confulted his real happinefs ; but it required a 
great effort to give that attention to his game, which was necef- 
fary to produce the effed intended by it.. 

Even when there is no particular object that draws away our 
attention, there is a defultorinefs of thought in man, and in fome 
more than in others, which makes it very difficult to give that 
fixed attention to important objed:s which reafon requires. 

It appears, I think, from what has been faid, that the atten- 
tion we give to objeds, is for the moft part voluntary : That a 
great part of wifdom and virtue confifls in giving a proper di-^ 
redlon to our attention j and that however reafonable this ap- 
pears to the judgment of every man, yet, in fome cafes, it re- 
quires an effort of felf-command no lefs than the mofl heroic 
virtues. 

Another operation that may be called vduntary^ is delibera- 
tion about what we are to do or to forbear. 

Every man knows that it Is In his power to deliberate or not 
to deliberate about any part of his conduft ; to deliberate for a 
Ihorter, or a longer time, more carelefsly, or more ferioully : 
And when he has reafon to fufpedt that his affedion may bias 
his judgment,, he may either honelily ufe the beft means in his 
power to form an impartial judgment, or he may yield to his 
bias, and only feek arguments to juftify what inclination leads 
him to do. In all thefe points, he determines, he wills, the 
right or the wrong. 

The 



OF VOLUNTARY OPERATIONS. 83 

The general rules of deliberation arc perfectly evident to rca- chap, iir . 
fon when we conlidcr them abftradly. They are axioms ia 
morals. 

Wc ought not to deliberate in cafes that are perfectly clean 
No man deliberates whether he ought to chufe happincfs or mi- 
fcry. No honeit man deliberates whether he fliall Ileal his neigh- 
bour's property. When the cafe is not clear, when it is of im- 
portance, and when there is time for deliberation, wc ought 
to deliberate with more or lefs care, In proportion to the Import- 
ance of the adlion. In deliberation we ought to weigh things in 
an even balance, and to allow to every confideration the weight 
which, in fober judgment, we think it ought to have, and no 
more. This is to deliberate impartially. Our deliberation 
fliould be brought to an IfTue in due time, fo that we may not 
lofe the opportunity of adling while we deliberate. 

The axioms of Euclid do not appear to me to have a greater 
degree of felf-evidence, than thefe rules of deliberation. And 
as far as a man ads according to them, his heart approves of 
him, and he has confidence of the approbation of the Searcher 
of hearts. 

But though the manner in which we ought to deliberate be 
evident to reafon, it Is not always eafy to follow it. Our appe- 
tites, our afiedions and paflions, oppofe all deliberation, but that 
which Is employed in finding the means of their gratification. 
Avarice may lead to deliberate upon the ways of making money, 
but it does not difiinguilh between the honeil and the dilhoneit. 

We ought furely to deliberate how far every appetite and paf- 
fion may be indulged, and what limits fliould be fet to it. But 
our appetites and palfions pufh us on to the attainment of their 
objeds, in the fhortcft road, and without delay. 

L 2 Tiuu 



84 E S S A. Y II. 

CHAP. III. Thus it happens, that, if we yield to their impulfe, we fliall 
often tranfgrefs thofe rules of deliberation, which reafon approves. 
In this conflia between the didlates of reafon, and the blind im- 
pulfe of pallion, we mufl voluntarily determine. When we take 
part with our reafon, though in oppofition to paflion, we ap- 
prove of our own condudl. 

What we call a fault of ignorance, is always owing to the- 
want of due deliberation. When we do not take due pains to 
be rightly informed, there is a fault, not indeed in adiing ac- 
cording to the light we have, but in not uling the proper means 
to get light. For if we judge wrong, after uling the proper 
means of information, thei'e is no fault in ading according to 
that wrong judgment ; the error is invincible. 

The natural confequence of deliberation on any part of our 
condud:, is a determination how we fhall ad 3 and if it is not 
brought to this ilTue it is loft labour. 

There are two cafes in which a determination may take place ; 
when the opportunity of putting it in execution is prefent, and 
when it is at a diftance. 

When the opportunity is prefent, the determination to ad is 
immediately followed by the adion. Thus, if a man determine 
to rife and walk, he immediately does it, unlefs he is hindered 
by force, or has loll the power of walking. And if he fit ftill 
when he has power to walk, we conclude infallibly that he has 
not determined, or willed to walk immediately. 

Our determination or will to ad, is not always the refult of 
deliberation, it may be the effed of fome paffion or appetite, 
without any judgment interpofed. And when judgment is in- 
terpofed, we may determine and ad either according to that 
judgment or contrary to it. 

When 



OF VOLUNTARY OPERATIONS. ■ 9^ 

When a man fits down hungry to dine, he eats from appetite, C!i\P. iir. 
very often without exercifing his judgment at all ; nature in- 
vites and he obeys the call, as the ox, or the horfe, or as an in- 
fant does. 

When we converfe with perfons whom we love or refpect, we 
fay and do civil things merely from affedion or from refpe(ft. 
They flow fpontancoufly from the heart, without requiring any 
judgment. In fuch cafes we adl as brute-animals do, or as child- 
ren before the ufe of reafon. We feel an impulfe in our na- 
ture, and we yield to it. 

When a man eats merely from appetite, he does not confider 
the pleafure of eating, or its tendency to health. Thefe coiifi- 
derations are not in his thoughts. But we can fuppofe a man 
who eats with a view to enjoy the pleafure of eating. Such a 
nian reafons and judges. He will take care to ufe the proper 
means of procuring an appetite. He will be a critic in tafles, 
and make nice difcriminations. This man ufes his rational fa- 
culties even in eating. And however contemptible this applica- 
tion of them may be, it is an exercife of which, I apprehend, 
brute-animals are not capable. 

In like manner, a man may fay or do civil things to another, 
not from affedtion, but in order to ferve fome end by it, or be- 
caufe he thinks it his duty. 

To a(5l with a view to fome dillant interefl, or to act from a 
fenfe of duty, feems to be proper to man as a reafonable being ; 
but to a£l merely from pallion, from appetite, or from afleclion, 
is common to him with the brute-animals. In the lail cafe there 
is no judgment required, but in the firft there is. 

To acft againft what one judges to be for his real good upon 
the whole, is folly. To act againft what he judges to be his du- 
ty, 



S6 ESSAY II. 

CHAP . Ill, ty^ ]g immorality. It cannot be denied that there are too many 
inftances of both in human Hfe. Video 7neliora proboque, deteriora 
feqttor, is neither an impoflible, nor an unfrequent cafe. 

"While a man does what he really thinks wifefl and heft to be 
done, the more his appetites, his affeftions and paffions draw 
him the contrary way, the more he approves of his own con- 
dud, and the more he is entitled to the approbation of every 
rational being. 

The ^/6/r<y operation of mind I mentioned, which may be cal- 
led voluntary, Is, A fixed purpofe or refolutlon with regard to 
our future condudt. 

This naturally takes place, when any adllon, or courfe of ac- 
tion, about which we have deliberated, is not immediately to be 
executed, the occafion of adiing being at fome diflance. 

A fixed purpofe to do, fome time hence, fomething which we 
believe fhall then be in our power, is ftrldly and properly a de- 
termination of will, no lefs than a determination to do it in- 
flantly. Every definition of volition agrees to it. Whether 
the opportunity of doing what we have determined to do be 
prefent or at fome diflance, is an accidental circumftance which 
does not affedl the nature of the determination, and no good 
reafon can be afligned why It fhould not be called volition in the 
one cafe, as well as in the other. A purpofe or refolutlon, 
therefore, is truly and properly an adl of will. 

Our purpofes are of two kinds. We may call the one particu- 
lar, the other general. By a particular purpofe, I mean that 
which has for its objedl an individual adion, limited to one 
time and place ; by s. general \)nx\io(Q, that of a courfe or train 
of adion, intended for fome general end, or regulated by fome 
general rule. 

Thus, 



OF VOLUNTARY OPERATIONS. 87 

Tlius, I may purpofe to go to London next winter. When p'^'"^''^'^; 
the time comes, 1 execute my purpofe, if I continue of the 
fame mind j and the purpofe, when executed, is no more. Thus 
it is with every particuhir purpofe. 

A general purpofe may continue for life ; and, after many par- 
ticular adiions have been done in confcq^uence of it, may re- 
main and regulate future adions. 

Thus, a young man propofes to follow the profefllon of law, 
of medicine, or of theology. This general purpofe diredls the 
courfe of his reading and lludy. It drredts him in the choice- 
of his company and companions, and even of his diverfions. 
It determines his travels and the place of his abode. It has in- 
fluence upon his drefs and manners, and a confiderable elTec^ in 
forming his charader. 

There are other fixed purpofes which have a ftill greater ef- 
fe<ft in forming the charader. I mean fuch as regard our mo- 
ral conduct. 

Suppofe a man to have exercifed his intelle»flual and moral 
faculties, fo far as to have dillind notions of juftice and inju- 
ftice, and of the confequences of both, and, after due delibera- 
tion, to have formed a fixed purpofe to adhere inflexibly to ju- 
nice, and never to handle the wages of iniquity. 

Is not this the man whom we flaould call a juft man ? We 
confider the moral virtues as inherent in the mind of a good 
man, even when there is no opportunity of exercifing them. 
And what is it in the mind which we can call the virtue of ju- 
flice, when it is not exercifed ? It can be nothing but a fixed 
purpofe, or determination, to acft according to the rules of ju- 
ftice, when there is opportunity. 

The 



88 



E S S A V IT. 



CHAP. HI. The Roman law defined jufllce, A Jleady and perpetual will to 
(rive to every man his due. When the opportunity of doing juftice 
is not prefent, this can mean nothing ehe than a fteady parpofe, 
which is very properly called will. Such a purpofe, if it is ftea- 
dy, will infallibly produce jufl conduct ; for every known tranf- 
crellion of juftice demonftrates a change of purpofe, at leafl for 
that time. 

What has been fald of juftice, may be fo eafily applied to 
every other moral virtue, that it is unneceflary to give inftances. 
They are all fixed purpofes of ading according to a certain 
rule. 

By this, the virtues may be eafily diftinguiflied, in thought 
at leaft, from natural affedtions that bear the fame name. Thus, 
benevolence is a capital virtue, which, though not fo neceflliry 
to the being of fociety, is entitled to a higher degree of appro- 
bation than even juftice. But there is a natural affedtion of be- 
nevolence, common to good and bad men, to the virtuous and to 
the vicious. How fliall thefe be diftinguiflied ? 

In practice, indeed, we cannot diftinguifli them in other men, 
and with difficulty in ourfelves ; but in theory, nothing is more 
eafy. The virtue of benevolence is a fixed purpofe or refolution 
to do good when we have opportunity, from a convidtion that 
it is right, and is our duty. The affedtion of benevolence is a 
propenfity to do good, from natural conftitution or habit, with- 
out regard to reditude or duty. 

There are good tempers and bad, which are a part of the 
conftitution of the man, and ai'e really involuntary, though they 
often lead to voluntary adions. A good natural temper is not 
virtue, nor is a bad one vice. Hard would it be indeed to think, 
that a man fliould be born under a decree of reprobation, be- 
caufe he has the misfortune of a bad natural temper. 

The 



OF VOLUNTARY OPERATIONS. 89 

The Phyfiog-nomifl; faw, in the features of Socrates, the f^g- chap. iir. 
natures of many bad difpofitlons, which that good man acknow- 
ledged he feh within him ; but the triumph of his virtue was 
the greater in having conquered them. 

In men who have no fixed rules of condu(fl, no felf-govern- 
ment, the natural temper is variable by numberlefs accidents. 
The man who is full of affedion and benevolence this hour, 
when a crofs accident happens to ruffle him, or perhaps when 
an eafterly wind blows, feels a flrange revolution in his temper. 
The kind and benevolent affedlions give place to the jealous 
and malignant, which are as readily indulged in their turn, and 
for the fame reafon, becaufe he feels a propenfity to indulge 
them. 

We may obferve, that men who have exercifed their rational 
powers, are generally governed in their opinions by fixed prin- 
ciples of belief; and men who have made the greateft advance 
m felf-government, are governed, in their pradlice, by general 
fixed purpofes. Without the former, there would be no fleadi- 
nefs and confiftence in our belief j nor without the latter, in our 
condud;. 

When a man is come to years of underdanding, from his edu- 
cation, from his company, or from his ftudy, he forms to him- 
felf a fet of general principles, a creed, which governs his judg- 
ment in particular points that occur. 

If new evidence is laid before him which tends to overthrow 
any of his received principles, it requires in him a great degree 
of candour and love of truth, to give it an impartial examination, 
and to form a new judgment. Moil men, when they are fixed 
in their principles, upon what they account fufficient evidence, 
can hardly be drawn into a new and ferious examination of 
them, 

M They 



90 



ESSAY II. 



CHA P. ]n . They get a habit of believing them, which Is flrengthened by 
repeated ads, and remains Immoveable, even when the evidence 
upon which their belief was at firfl grounded, is forgot. 

It is this that makes converfions, either from religious or 
political principles, fo difficult. 

A mere prejudice of education ftlcks faft, as a propofitlon of 
Euclid does with a man who hath long ago forgot the proof. 
Both Indeed are upon a fimllar footing. We reft in both, be- 
caufe we have long done fo, and think we received them at firll 
upon good evidence, though that evidence be quite forgot. 

When we know a man*s principles, we judge by them, rather 
than by the degree of his underftanding, how he will determine 
in any point which is connedied with them. 

Thus, the judgment of moft men who judge for themfelves Is 
governed by fixed principles ; and, I apprehend, that the con- 
dudl of moft men who have any felf-government, and any con- 
fiftency of conduct, Is governed by fixed purpofes. 

A man of breeding may, m his natural temper, be proud, pat 
fionate, revengeful, and In his morals a very bad man ; yet, in 
good company, he can ftlfle every pafllon that is inconfiftent 
with good breeding, and be humane, modeft, complaifant, even 
to thofe whom In his heart he defpifes or hates. Why is this 
man, who can command all his pallions before company, a Have 
to them in private ? The reafon is plain : He has a fixed refolu- 
tion to be a man of breeding, but hath no fuch refolution to be 
a man of virtue. He hath combated his moft violent pafllons 
a thoufand times before he became mafter of them In company. 
The fame refolution and perfeverance would have given him the 
eGirunand of them when alone, 

A 



OF VOLUNTARY OPERATIONS. 91 

A fixed rcfolution retains its influence upon the condu(fl, even CHAP. ii» . 
\vhen the motives to it are not in view, in the fame manner as a 
fixed principle retains its influence upon the belief, when the 
evidence of it is forgot. The former may be called a habit of 
the w/7/, the latter a habit of the underjiandlng. By fuch habits 
chiefly, men are governed in their opinions and in their prac- 
tice. 

A man who has no general fixed purpofes,may be fiiid, as Pope 
fays of moft: women, (I hope imjuftly) to have no charadler at 
all. He will be honefl; or diflionclt, benevolent or malicious, 
compaflionate or cruel, as the tide of his paflions and affections 
drives him. This, however, I believe, is the cafe of but a few 
in advanced life, and thefe, with regard to condud:, the wcakefl: 
and moft contemptible of the fpecies. 

A man of fome conftancy may change his general purpofes 
once or twice in life, feldom more. From the purfuit of plea- 
fure in early life, he may change to that of ambition, and from 
ambition to avarice. But every man who ufes his reafon in the 
conduct of life, will have fome end, to which he gives a pre- 
ference above all others. To this he fteers his courfe ; his pro- 
je(fls and his actions will be regulated by it. Without this, there 
would be no confiftency in his condud;. He would be like a 
ftiip in the ocean, which is bound to no port, under no govern- 
ment, but left to the mercy of winds and tides. 

We obferved before, that there are moral rules refpeding the 
attention we ought to give to objeds and refpeding our delibe- 
rations, which are no lefs evident than mathematical axioms. 
The fame thing may be obferved with refpedl to our fixed pur- 
pofes, whether particular or general. 

Is it not felf-cvident, that, after due deliberation, we oughc 
to refolve upon that condud, or that courfe of condud, which, 

JM 2 to 



9* 



ESSAY 11. 



CHAP. IV. to our fober judgment, appears to be befl and mofl approvable ? 
That we ought to be firm and fteady in adhering to fuch refo- 
lutions, while we are perfuaded that they are right ; but open 
to conviction, and ready to change our courfe, when we have 
good evidence that it is wrong ? 

Ficklenefs, inconftancy, facility, on the one band, wilfulnefs, 
inflexibility, and obllinacy, on the other, are moral qualities, 
refpedlng our purpofes, which every one fees to be wrong. A 
manly firmnefs, grounded upon rational convldlion, is the pro- 
per mean which every man approves and reveres. 



CHAP. IV. 

Corollaries. 

FROM what has been faid concerning the will, it appears, 
frj, That, as fome ads of the will are tranfient and mo- 
mentary, fo others are permanent, and may continue for a long, 
time, or even through the whole courfe of our rational life. 

When T will to ftretch out my hand, that will is at an end as- 
foon as the adion is done. It is an adt of the will which be- 
sfins and ends in a moment. But when I will to attend to a 
mathematical propofition, to examine the demonflratlon, and 
the confequences that may be drawn from it, this will may con- 
tinue for hours. It mufl continue as long as my attention con- 
tinues ; for no man attends to a mathematical propofitipn longer 
than he wills. 

The fame thing may be faid of deliberation, with regard,, 
(either to any point of couuud:, or with regard to any general 

courfe 



COROLLARIES. ^ 

courfe of condud. We will to deliberate as long as. we do dc- CHAP. iv. 
liberate > and that may be for days or for weeks. 

A purpofc or refolution, which we have fliewn to be an act of 
the will, may continue for a great part of life, or for the whole, 
after we are of age to form a refolution. 

Thus, a merchant may refolve, that, after he has made fuch a 
fortune by traffic, he will give it up, and retire to a country 
life. He may continue this refolution for thirty or forty years, 
and execute it at laft ; but he continues it no longer than he 
wills, for he may at ^ny time change his refolution. 

There are therefore a6ls of the will which are not tranfient 
and momentary, which may continue long, and grow into a habit. 
This deferves the more to be obiei-ved, becaufe a very eminent 
Philofopher has advanced a contrary principle, to wit. That all 
the ads of the will are tranfient and momentary ; and from that 
principle has drawn very important conclufions, with regard to 
what conftltutes the moral charader of man. 

hfeconi corollary is. That nothing in a man, wherein the will 
is not concerned, can juftly be accounted either virtuous or im- 
moral. 

That no blame can be imputed to a man for what is altoge- 
ther involuntary, is fo evident in itfelf, that no arguments can 
make it more evident. The pradice of all criminal courts, in 
all enlightened nations, is founded upon it. 

If it fliould be thought an objedion to this maxim, that, by 
the laws of all nations, children often fuffer for the crimes of 
parents, in which they had no hand, the anfwer is eafy. 

Yor,JirJ}, Such is the connedion between parents and children, 

that 



94 E S S A Y II. 

CHAP. IV. that the punllhment of a parent miift hurt his children whether 
the law will or not. If a man is fined, or imprifoned ; If he 
lofes life, or limb, or eftate, or reputation, by the hand of juftice, 
his children fuffer by neceflary confequence. Secondly When 
laws intend to appoint any punidmient of innocent children 
for the father's crime, fuch laws are either unjuft, or they are 
to be confidered as adts of police, and not of jurifprudence, and 
are intended as an expedient to deter parents more effectually 
from the commlffion of the crime. The innocent children, in 
this cafe, are facrlficed to the public good, in like manner, as, 
to prevent the fpreading of the plague, the found are fliut up 
with the infeded in a houfe or fhip, that has the infed;ion. 

By the law of England, if a man is killed by an ox goring 
him, or a cart running over him, though there be no fault or 
negledl in the owner, the ox or the cart is a deodand, and is confif- 
cated to the Church. The Legiflature furely did not intend to 
punifli 'the ox as a criminal, far lefs the cart. The intention 
evidently was, to inlplre the people with a facred regard to the 
life of man. 

When the Parliament of Paris, with a fimilar intention, or- 
dained the houfe in which RavIUiac was born, to be razed to the 
ground, and never to be rebuilt, it would be great weaknefs to 
conclude, that the wife judlcatui'e intended to punlfh the houfe. 

If any judicature fhould. In any inftance, find a man guilty, 
and an obje6l of punllhment, for what they allowed to be alto- 
gether involuntary, all the world would condemn them as men 
who knew nothing of the firft and mofl fundamental rules of 
jullice. 

I have endeavoured to fliew, that, in our attention to objeds, 
in order to form a right judgment of them ; in our deliberation 
about particular adions, or about general rules of condud ; In 

our 



COROLLARIES. 



95 



our purpofcs and refolutions, as well as in the execution of them, chap. iv. 
the will has a j)rincii'al fliare. If any man could be found, who, 
in the whole courfc of his life, had given due attention to things 
that concern him, had deliberated duly and impartially about 
his coiidudl, had formed his refolutions, and executed them ac- 
cording to his befl: judgment and capacity, furely fuch a man 
might hold up his face before God and man, and plead inno- 
cence. He muft be acquitted by the impartial Judge, whatever 
his natural temper was, whatever his pallions and affedions, as 
far as they were involuntary. 

A tlj'ird corollary is. That all virtuous habits, when we diftin- 
guilh them from virtuous actions, confift in fixed purpofes of 
adling according to the rules of virtue, as often as we have op- 
portunity. 

We can conceive in a man a greater or a lefs degree of fleadi- 
nefs to his purpofes or refolutions ; but that the general tenor 
of his condutl: fhould be contrary to them, is impollible. 

The man who has a determined refolution to do his duty in 
every inftance, and who adheres fteadily to his refolution, is a 
perfedl man. The man who has a determined purpofe of car- 
rying on a courfe of adlion which he knows to be wrong, is a. 
hardened offender. Between thefe extremes there are many in- 
termediate degrees of virtue and vice. 



ESSAY 



ESSAY JII. 

OF THE PRINCIPLES OF ACTION. 

PART I. 

Of the Mechanical Principles of AEl'ion. 

CHAP. I. 

Of the Principles of AElion in general. 

IN the ftrid phllofophical fenfe, nothing can be called the aftion 
of a man, but what he previoufly conceived and willed or de- 
termined to do. In morals we commonly employ the word in 
this fenfe, and never impute any thing to a man as his doing, in 
which his will was not interpofed. But when moral imputation 
is not concerned, we call many things adions of the man, which 
he neither previoufly conceived nor willed. Hence the adions of 
men have been diftinguilbed into three claffes, the voluntary, the 
involuntary, and the mixed. By the lafl: are meant fuch adions 
as are \mdcr the command of the will, but are commonly per- 
formed without any interpofition of will. 

We cannot avoid ufing the word aElion in this popular fenfe, 
without deviating too much from the common ufe of language 5 
and it is in this fenfe we ufe it when we enquire into the prin- 
ciples of adion in the human mind. 

V>y principles of adion, I undcrftand every thing that incites us 
to ad. 

N If 



9« ESSAY III. 

CHAP. I, If there were no incitements to adiion, adive power would 
be given us in vain. Having no motive to dired: our adlive ex- 
ertions, the mind would, in all cafes, be in a ftate of perfed in- 
difference, to do this or that, or nothing at all. The adive 
power would either not be exerted at all," or its exertions would 
be perfedly unmeaning and frivolous, neither wife nor foolifh, 
neither good nor bad. To every adion that is of the fmalleft 
importance, there muft be fome incitement, fome motive, fome 
reafon. 

It is therefore a moft important part of the philofophy of the 
human mind, to have a diflind and juft view of the various prin- 
ciples of adion, which the Author of our being hath planted in 
our nature, to arrange them properly, and to affign to every one 
its rank. 

By this it is, that we may difcover the end of our being, and 
the part which is affigned us upon the theatre of life. In this 
part of the human conllitution the noblefl work of God that 
falls within our notice, we may difcern moft clearly the cha- 
rader of him who made us, and how he would have us to em- 
ploy that adive power which he hath given us. 

I cannot without great diffidence enter upon this fubjed, ob- 
ferving that almoft every author of reputation, who has given at:- 
tention to it, has a fyftem of his own ; and that no man has 
been fo happy as to give general fatisfadion to thofe who came 
after him. 

There is a branch of knowledge much valued, and very juftly, 
which we call knowledge of the world, knowledge of mankind, 
knowledge of human nature : This, I think, confifts in knowing 
from what principles men generally ad ; and it is commonly the 
fruit of natural fagacity joined with experience. 

A 



OF THE PRINCIPLES OF ACTION. 99 

A man of fagacity, who has had occafion to deal in mtercftlng cha p, i. 
matters, with a great variety of perfons of diflcrent age, fcx, 
rank and profclTion, learns to judge what may be expeded from 
men in given circinnftances ; and how they may be mofl; efFec- 
tually induced to ad the part which he defircs. To know this 
is of fo great importance to men in adlive life, that it is called 
knowing men, and knowing human nature. 

This knowledge may be of confiderable ufe to a man who 
would fpeculate upon the fubjedt we have propofed, but is not, 
by itfelf, futPicient for that purpofe. 

The man of the world conjedlures, perhaps with great proba- 
bility, how a man will adl in certain given circumllances ; and 
this is all he wants to know. To enter into a detail of the va- 
rious principles which influence the adtions of men, to give them 
diftind names, to define them, and to afcertain their different 
provinces, is the bufmefs of a philofoplier, and not of a man of 
the world ; and, indeed, it is a matter attended with great diffi- 
culty from various caufes. 

Firji, On account of the great number of adive principles that 
influence the adions of men. 

Man has, not without reafon, been called an epitome of the 
univerfe. His body, by which his mind is greatly affeded, being 
a part of the material fyftem, is fubjed to all the laws of inani- 
mate matter. During fome part of his exiftence, his flate is very 
like that of a vegetable. He rifes, by imperceptible degrees, to 
the animal, and, at lafl, to the rational life, and has the prin- 
ciples that belong to all. 

Another caufe of the difficulty of tracing the various principles 
of adion in man, is, That the fame adion, nay, the fame courfc 
and train of adiou may proceed from very different principles. 

N a Men 



loo ESSAY III. 

CHAP. I. Men who are fond of a hypothefis, commonly feek no other 
proof of US truth, but that it ferves to account for the ap- 
pearances which it is brought to explain. This is a very flip- 
pery kind of proof in every part of philofophy, and never to be 
truiled ', but leafl of all, when the appearances to be accounted 
for are. human adtions. 

Moft actions proceed from a variety of principles concurring 
in their diredlon ; and according as we are difpofed to judge 
favourably or unfavourably of the perfon, or of human nature 
in general, we impute them wholly to the befl, or wholly to the 
■worft, overlooking others which had no fniall Ihare in them. 

The principles from which men afb can be difcovered only 
in thefe two ways; by attention to the condud: of other men^ 
or by attention to our own condu<ft, and to what we feel in our- 
felves. There is much uncertainty in the former, and much 
difficulty in the latter. 

Men differ much In their charad^ers ; and we can obferve the 
condudl of a few only of the fpecles. Men differ not only from 
other men, but from themfelves at different times, and on dif- 
ferent occalions ; according as they are in the company of their 
fuperiors, inferiors, or equals j according as they are in the eye 
of flrangers, or of their familiars only, or in the view of no hu- 
man eye j according as they are in good or bad fortune, or in 
good or bad humour. We fee but a fmall part of the adlions 
of our mofl familiar acquaintance ; and what we fee may lead 
us to a probable conjedture, but can give no certain knowledge 
of the principles from which they acl. 

A man may, no doubt, know with certainty the principles 
from which he himfelf ad:s, becaufe he is confcious of them. 
But this knowledge requires an attentive refledlion upon the 
operations of his own mind, which is very rarely to be found. 

It 



OF THE PRINCIPLES OF ACTION. ici 

It is perhaps more eafy to find a man who has formed a jufl notion CHAP. I. 
of the cliarader of man in general, or of thofc of his familiar 
acquaintance, than one who has a jufl notion of Ins own cha- 
racter. 

Moll men, through pride and felf-flattery, are apt to think 
themfelves better than they really are ; and fome, perhaps from 
melancholy, or from falfe principles of religion, arc led to 
think themfelves worfe than they really are. 

It requires, therefore, a very accurate and impartial examina- 
tion of a man's own heart, to be able to form a diftind notion 
of the various principles which influence his conduct:. That 
this is a matter of great difliculty, we may judge from the very 
different and contradidory fyftems of Philofophers upon this 
fubjedt, from the earliefl ages to this day. 

During the age of Greek Philofophy, the Platonifl, the Peri- 
patetic, the Stoic, the Epicurean, had each his own fyftem. In 
the dark ages, the Schoolmen and the MylHcs had fyftems dia- 
metrically oppofite ; and, fince the revival of learning, no con- 
troverfy hath been more keenly agitated, efpecially among Bri- 
tifli Philofophers, than that about the principles of adion in the 
human conftitution- 

They have determined, to the fatisfadion of the learned, the 
forces by which the planets and comets traverfe the boundlefs 
regions of fpace ; but have not been able to determine, with any 
degree of unanimity, the forces which every man is confcious 
of m himfelf, and by which his condud is directed. 

Some admit no principle but felf-love ; others refolve all into 
love of the pleafures of fenfe, varioufly modified by the aflocia- 
tion of ideas ; others admit difinterefled benevolence along with 
feLf-love ; others reduce all to realon and pallion ; others to piC- 

fion 



JD2 



ESSAY III. 



CHAP.i. fion alone J nor is there lefs variety about the number and dif- 
tribution of the paffions. 

The names we give to the various principles of adlion, have 
fo little precifion, even in the befl and pureft writers in every 
language, that, on this account, there is no fmall difEculty in 
giving them names, and arranging them properly. 

The words appetite, pojfion^ offeEl'iotiy iuterejl, reafon^ cannot be 
faid to have one definite fignification. They are taken fome- 
times in a larger, and fometimes in a more limited fenfe. The 
fame principle is fometimes called by one of thofe names, fome- 
times by another ; and principles of a very different nature are 
often called by the fame name. 

To remedy this confufion of names, it might perhaps feem 
proper to invent new ones. But there are fo few entitled to this 
privilege, that I ihall not lay claim to it ; but fhall endeavour to 
clafs the various principles of human adlion as diftindlly as I 
am able, and to point out their fpecific differences j giving 
them fuch names as may deviate from the common ufe of the 
words as little as poflible. 

There are fome principles of adtlon which require no atten- 
tion, no deliberation, no will. Thefe, for diflindlion's fake, we 
fliall call mechanical. Another clafs we may call animal, as they 
feem common to man with other animals. A third clafs we 
may call rational, being proper to man as a rational creature. 



CHAP, 



T 



INSTINCT. 

CHAP. II. 
hiJlhiEl. 

H E mechanical principles of adion may, I think, be re- 
duced to two fpecies, inJlinEls and babUs. 



103 



By Inflindl, I mean a natural blind impulfe to certain adlions, 
without having any end in view, without deliberation, and very 
often without any conception of what we do. 

Thus a man breathes while he Is alive, by the alternate con- 
traction and relaxation of certain mufcles, by which the chef!:, 
and of confcquence the lungs, are contracted and dilated. 
There is no reafon to think, that an infant new-born, knows 
that breathing is neceflary to life in its new ftate, that he knows 
how it muft be performed, or even that he has any thought or 
conception of that operation ; yet he breathes as foon as he is 
born with perfedl regularity, as if he had been taught, and got 
the habit by long pradlice. 

By the fame kind of principle, a new-born child, when its 
ftomach is emptied, and nature has brought milk into the mo- 
ther's breaft, fucks and fwallows its food as perfedly as if it. 
knew the principles of that operation, and had got the habit of 
working according to them. 

Sucking and fwallowing are very complex operations. Ana- 
tomifts defcribe about thirty pairs of mufcles that muft be em- 
ployed in every draught. Of thofe mufcles, every one muft be 
ferved by its proper nerve, and can make no exertion but by 
fomc influence communicated by the nerve. The exertion of 
all thofc mufcles and nerves is not fimultaneous. They muft 

fucceed 



CH\P. II. 



I04 



ESSAY III. 



CHAP. II. fucceed each other in a certain order, and their order is no lefs 
necellliry than the exertion itfelf. 

This regular train of operations is carried on according to the 
niceft rules of art, by the infant, who has neither art, nor 
fcience, nor experience, nor habit. 

That the infant feels the uneafy fenfation of hunger, I admit; 
and that it 'fucks no longer than till this fenfation be removed. 
But who informed it that this uneafy fenfation might be re- 
moved, or by what means ? That it knows nothing of this is 
evident ; for it will as readily fuck a finger, or a bit of ilick, as 
the nipple. 

By a like principle it is, that infants cry when they are pain- 
ed or hurt ; that they are afraid when left alone, efpecially in 
the dark; that they ftart when in danger of falling; that they 
are terrified by an angry countenance, or an angry tone of voice, 
and are foothed and comforted by a placid countenance, and by 
foft and gentle tones of voice. 

In the animals we are befl acquainted with, and which we 
look upon as the more perfect of the brute-creation, we fee 
much the fame inflinds as in the human kind, or very fimilar 
ones, fuited to the particular date and manner of life of the 
animal. 

Befides thefe, there are in brute-animals inflinds peculiar to 
each tribe, by which they are fitted for defence, for offence, 
or for providing for themfelves, and for their offspring. 

It is not more certain, that nature hath furniflied various 
animals with various weapons of ofience and defence, than that 
the fame nature hath taught them how to ufe them ; the bull 
and the ram to butt, the horfe to kick, the dog to bite, the 

lion 



INSTINCT. IC5 

lion to life his paws, tlie boar his tuHcs, the fcrpent his fangs, CHAP.ir. 
and the bee and wafp their fting. 

The manufadlures of animals, If we may call them by that 
name, prefent us with a wonderful variety of inflinds, belong- 
ing to particular fpecies, whether of the focial or of the folitary 
kind ; the nefls of birds, fo fimilar in their fituation and archi- 
tedure ii the fame kind, fo various in different kinds ; the webs 
of fpiders, and of other fpinning animals ; the ball of the filk- 
worm i the ncfts of ants and other mining animals ; the combs 
of wafps, hornets and bees j the dams and houfes of beavers. 

The inftind of animals is one of the moft delightful and in- 
ftrudive parts of a moft pleafant ftudy, that of natural hiftory; 
and deferves to be more cultivated than it has yet been. 

Every manufacturing art among men was invented by fome 
man, improved by others, and brought to perfedion by time 
and experience. Men learn to work in it by long pradice, 
which i-roduces a habit. The arts of men vary in every age, 
and in every nation, and are found only in thofe who have been 
taught them. 

The manufactures of animals differ from thofe of men in 
many flriking particulars. 

No animal of the fpecies can claim the invention. No ani- 
mal ever introduced any new improvement, or any variation 
from the former pradice. Every one of the fpecies has equal 
(kill from the beginning, without teaching, without experience 
or habit. Every one has its art by a kind of infpiration. I do 
not mean that it is infpired witk the principles or niles of the 
art, but with the ability and inclination of working in it to per- 
fedion, without any knowledge of its principles, rules or end. 

O The 



io6 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. II. The more fagacious animals may be taught to do many things 
which they do not by inftincl. What they are taught to do, 
they do with more or lefs fklll, according to their fagacity and 
their training. But, in their own arts, they need no teaching nor 
training, nor Is the art ever improved or loft. Bees gather their 
honey and their wax, they fabricate their combs and rear their 
young at this day, neither better nor worfe than they did when 
Virgil fo fweetly fung their works. 

The work of every animal is Indeed like the works of nature,, 
perfedl in Its kind, and can bear the moft critical examination 
of the mechanic or the mathematician. One example from the 
animal laft mentioned may ferve to Illuftrate this. 

Bees, It Is well known, conftru(5t their combs with fmall cells 
on both fides, fit both for holding their ftore of honey, and for 
rearing their young. There are only three poffible figures of the 
cells, which can make them all equal and fimilar, without any 
ufelefs nterftlces. Thefe are the equilateral triangle, thefquare, 
and the regular hexagon. 

It Is well known to mathematicians, that there is not a fourth 
way poffible. In which a plane may be cut Into little fpaces that 
fhall be equal, fimilar and regular, without leaving any Inter- 
ftices. Of tlie three, the hexagon is the moft proper, both for 
convenlency and ftrength. Bees, as if they knew this, make 
their cells regular hexagons. 

As the combs have cells on both fides, the cells may either be 
exadly oppofite, having partition agalnft partition, or the bot- 
tom of a cell may reft upon the partitions between the cells on 
the other fide, which will ferve as a buttrefs to ftrengthen It. 
The laft way Is beft for ftrength ; accordingly, the bottom of 
each cell refts agalnft the point where three partitions meet on 
the other fide, which gives it all the ftrength poftible* 

The 



1 N S T I N C T. 



T07 



The bottom of a cell may either be one plane perpendicular chap. ir. 
to the fide-partitions, or it may be compofed of feveral planes, 
meeting in a foliJ angle in the middle point. It is only in one 
of thefe two ways, that all the cells can be fimilar without 
lofing room. And, for the fame intention, the planes of which 
the bottom is compofed, if there be more than one, mufl be 
three in number, and neither more nor fewer. 

It has been demonftrated, that, by making the bottoms of the 
cells to confift of three planes meeting in a point, there is a 
faving of material and labour no way inconfiderable. The bees, 
as if acquainted with thefe principles of folld geometry, follow 
them mod accurately ; the bottom of each cell being compofed 
of three planes which make obtufe angles with the fide-parti- 
tions, and with one another, and meet in a point in the middle 
of the bottom ; the three angles of this bottom being fupported 
by three partitions on the other fide of the comb, and the point 
of it by the common interfedtion of thofe three partitions. 

One inflance more of the mathematical fkill difplayed in the 
ftruclure of a honey-comb deferves to be mentioned. 

It is a curious mathematical problem, at what precife angle 
the three planes which compofe the bottom of a cell ought to 
meet, in order to make the greatefl poflible faving, or the leall 
expence, of material and labour. 

. This is one of thofe problems, belonging to the higher parts 
of mathematics, which are called problems of maxima and mini- 
ma. It has been refolved by fome mathematicians, particularly 
by the ingenious Mr Maclaurin, by a fluxionary calculation, 
which is to be found in the Tranfa(^Ioiis of the Royal Society 
of London. He has determined precifely the angle required ^ 
and he found, by the mofl exadt menfuration the fubjed could 

O 2 admit. 



io8 ESSAY III. 

CHA P. II . admit, that it is the very angle, in which the three planes in the- 
bottom of the cell of a honey-comb do actually meet. 

Shall we afk here, who taught the bee the properties of folids, 
and to refolve problems of maxima and minima ? If a honey- 
comb were a work of human art, every man of common fenfe 
would conclude, without hefitation, that he who invented the 
conflrudlion, mail have underftood the principles on which it is 
conflruded. 

We need not fay that bees know none of thefe things. They 
work moft geometrically, without any knowledge of geometry ; 
fomewhat like a child, who, by turning the handle of an organ^ 
makes good raufic, without any knowledge of mufic. 

The art is not in the child, but in him who made the organ. 
In like manner, when a bee makes its combs fo geometrically, 
the geometry is not in the bee, but in that great Geometrician 
who made the bee, and made all things in number, weight and 
meafure,. 

To return to inftinds in man ; thofe are mofl remarkable 
which appear in infancy, when we are ignorant of every thing 
neceflary to bur prefervation, and therefore mufl; periih, if we 
had not an invifible Guide, who leads us blind -fold in the way we 
fliould take, if we had eyes to fee it. 

Befides the inftinds which appear only in infancy, and are. 
intended to fupply the want of underftanding in that early pe- 
riod, there are many which continue through life, and which 
fupply the defeds of our intelledual powers in every period. 
Of thefe we may obferve three clafles. 

Firfi^ There are many things neceflary to be done for our pre- 
fervation, 



INSTINCT. 



109 



fervation, which, even when we will to do, we know not the ci!AP. 11. 
means by which they inuft be done. 

A man knows that he mufl fwallow his food before it can 
nourifli him. But this adion requires the co-operation of ma- 
ny nerves and mufclcs, of which he knows nothing; and if it 
were to be direded folely by his underftanding and will, he 
would llarve before he learned how to perform it. 

Here inftind comes in to his aid. He needs do no more than 
will to fwallow. All the rcquifite motions of nerves and muf- 
cles immediately take place in their proper order, without his 
knowing or willing any thing about them. 

If we afk here, whofe will do thefe nerves and mufcles obey ? 
Not his, furely, to whom they belong. He knows neither their 
names, nor nature, nor office ; he never thought of them. They 
are moved by fome impulfe, of which the caufe is unknown, 
without any thought, will or intention on his part, that is, they 
are moved inlHndivelv. 

ft 

This is the cafe, in fome degree, in every voluntary motion of 
our body. Thus, I will to ftretch out my arm. The effedl im- 
mediately follows. But we know that the arm is ftrctched out 
by the contradlion of certain mufcles ; and that the mufcles are 
contradled by the influence of the nerves. I know nothing, I 
think nothing, either of nerves or mufcles, when I ftretch out 
my arm ; yet this nervous influence, and this contraction of the 
mufcles, uncalled by me, immediately produce the effect which I 
willed. This is, as if a weight were to be raifed, which can be 
raifed only by a complication of levers, pullies, and other me- 
chanical powers, that are behind the curtain, and altogether un- 
known to me. I will to raife the weight ; and no fooner is this 
volition exerted, than the machinery behind the curtain falls to 
■work and raifes the weight. 

Tf 



no 



ESSAY III. 



CHAP. II, If fuch a cafe fiiould happen, we would conclude, that there 
is fome perfon behind the curtain, who knew my will, and put 
the machine in motion to execute it. 

The cafe of my willing to llretch out my arm, or to fwallow 
my food, has evidently a great fimilarity to this. But who it is 
that flands behind the curtain, and fets the internal machinery 
a-going, is hid from us ; fo flrangely and wonderfully are we 
made. This, however, is evident, that thofe internal motions 
are nt)t willed nor intended by us, and therefore are iuftindlive. 

A fecond cafe in which we have need of inllind, even in ad- 
vanced life, is. When the adtion muft be fo frequently repeated, 
that to intend and will it every time it is done, would occupy 
too much of our thought, and leave no room for other necef- 
fary employments of the mind. 

We muft breathe often every minute whether awake or afleep. 
We muft often clofe the eye-lids, in order to preferve the luftre 
of the eye. If thefe things required particular attention and 
volition every time they are done, they would occupy all our 
thought. Nature therefore gives an impulfe to do them as often 
as is neceflary, without any thought at all. They confume no 
time, they give not the leaft interruption to any exercife of the 
mind ', becaufe they are done by inftind. 

A third cafe, in which we need the aid of inftind, is, When 
the adion muft be done fo fuddenly, that there is no time to 
think and determine. When a man lofes his balance, either on 
foot or on horfeback, he makes an inftantaneous effort to recover 
it by inftin(5t. The effort would be in vain, if it waited the de- 
termination of reafon and will. 

When .any thing threatens our eyes, we wink hard, by inftindt, 
and can hardly avoid doing fo, even when we know that the 

ftroke 



INSTINCT. Ill 

flroke is aimed in jeft, and that we are perfedly fafe from dan- CHAP. n. 

ger. I liave feen this tried upon a wa52;er, which a man was to 

gain if he could keep his eyes open, while another aimed a ftroke 

at them in jefl. The difficulty of doing this fliews that there 

may be a ftruggle between inflinrt and will ; and that it is not 

eafy to refill; the impulfe of inftinft, even by a ftrong refolution 

not to yield to it. 

Thus the merciful Author of our nature, hath adapted our in- 
(lindls to the defedts, and to the weaknefs of our underfland- 
ing. In infancy we are ignorant of every thing j yet many 
things muft be done by us for our prefervation : Thefe are done 
by inflind. When we grow up there are many motions of our 
limbs and bodies necefTary, which can be performed only by a 
curious and complex internal machinery ; a machinery of which 
the bulk of mankind are totally ignorant, and which the moft 
fkilful anatomifl knows but imperfedly. All this machinery 
is fet a-going by inftinc^. We need only to will the external 
motion, and all the internal motions, previoufly neceffary to the 
effeft, take place of themfelves, without our will or command. 

Some actions muR be fo often repeated, through the whole of 
life, that, if they required attention and will, we lliould be able 
to do nothing elfe : Thefe go on regularly by inftincft. 

Our prefervation from danger often requires fuch fudden ex- 
ertions, that there is no time to think and to determine : Accord- 
ingly we make Inch exertions by inftincft. 

Another thing in the nature of man, which I take to be part- 
ly, though not wholly, iiiflindtive, is his pronenefs to imita- 
tion. 

Aristotle obferved, long ago, that man is an Imitative a- 
nimal. He is fo in more refpedls than one. He is difpofed 

to 



112 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. 1 1. to imitate what be approves. In all arts men learn more, and 
more agreeably, by example than by rules. Imitation by the 
chifTel, by the pencil, by defcription profaxc and poetical, and 
by adlion and gefture, have been favourite and elegant enter- 
tainments of the whole fpecies. In all thefe cafes, however, the 
imitation is intended and willed, and therefore cannot be faid 
to be inftindive. 

But, I apprehend, that human nature difpofes us to the imita- 
tion of thofe among whom we live, when we neither defire nor 
will it. 

Let an Englilhman, of middle age, take up his refidence in 
Edinburgh or Glafgow ; although he has not the leaft intention 
to ufe the Scots dialed, but a firm refolution to preferve his own 
pure and unmixed, he will find it very difficult to make 
good his intention. He will, in a courfe of years, fall in- 
fenfibly, and without intention, into the tone and accent, and 
even into the words and phrafes of thofe he converfes with j and 
nothing can preferve him from this, but a flrong difgufl to eve- 
ry Scoticifm, which perhaps may overcome the natural inflind;. 

It is commonly thought that children often learn to flammer 
by imitation 3 yet I believe no perfon ever defired or willed to 
learn that quality, 

I apprehend that inftindive imitation has no fmall influence 
in forming the peculiarities of provincial dialeds, the peculiari- 
ties of voice, geflure, and manner, which we fee in fome fami- 
lies, the manners peculiar to different ranks, and different pro- 
feflions j and perhaps even in forming national charaders, and 
the human character in general. 

The inflances that hiftory furnifhes of wild men, brought up 
from early years, without the fociety of any of their own fpe- 
cies 



INSTINCT. nj 

cies are Co few that we cannot build conclufions upon them with CHAP. ir. 
great certainty. But all I have heard of agreed in this, that the 
wild man gave but very flender indications of the rational facul- 
ties ; and, with regard to his mind, was hardly diftinguifhable 
from the more fagacious of the brutes. 

There is a confiderable part of the lowcft rank in every na- 
tion, of whom it cannot be faid that any pains have been taken by 
themfelves, or by others, to cultivate their underftanding, or to 
form their manners ; yet we fee an immenfe difference between 
them and the wild man. 

This difference is wholly the effedl of foclety ; and, I think, 
it is in a great meafure, though not wholly, the effedt of unde- 
figned and inftindlive imitation. 

Perhaps, not only our adions, but even our judgment, and be- 
lief, is, in fome cafes, guided by inflindl:, that is, by a natural 
and blind impulfe. 

When we confider man as a rational creature, it may feem 
right that he fliould have no belief but what is grounded upon 
evidence, probable or demonllrative ; and it is, I think, common- 
ly taken for granted, that it is always evidence, real or apparent, 
that determines our belief. 

If this be fo, the confequence is, That, in no cafe, can there 
be any belief, till we find evidence, or, at leaft, what to our judg- 
ment appears to be evidence. I fufped it is not fo ; but that, on the 
contrary, before we grow up to the full ufe of our rational facul- 
ties, we do believe, and mufl believe, many things without any 
evidence at all. 

The faculties which we have in common with brute-animals, 
are of earlier growth than reafon. We are irrational animals 

P for 



n+ 



ESSAY HI. 



CHAP. ir. for a conliderable time before we can properly be called rational. 
The operations of reafon fpring up by imperceptible degrees j 
nor is it pofllble for vis to trace accurately the order in which 
they rife. The power of refledtion, by which only we could 
trace the progrefs of our growing faculties, comes too late to 
anfvver that end. Some operations of brute-animals look fo like 
reafon, that they are not eafily diftinguilhed from it. Whether 
brutes have any thing that can properly be called belief, I cannot 
fay ; but their actions fliew fomething that looks very like it. 

If there be any inflincftive belief in man, it is probably of the 
fame kind with that which we afcribe to brutes, and may be fpe- 
cifically different from that rational belief which is grounded on 
evidence ; but that there is fomething in man which we call be- 
lief, which is not grounded on evidence, I think, mufl be 
granted. 

We need to be informed of many things before we ar€ ca- 
pable of difcerning the evidence on which they reft. W^ere our 
belief to be with-held till we are capable, in any degree, of weigh- 
ing evidence, we fhould lofe all the benefit of that inftrudioii 
and information, without which we could never attain the ufe of 
our rational faculties. 

Man would never acquire the ufe of reafon if he were not 
brought up in the fociety of reafonable creatures. The benefit 
he receives from fociety, is derived partly from imitation of 
what he fees others do, partly from the inftrudlion and informa- 
tion they communicate to him, without which he could neither 
be preferved from deftrudtion, nor acquire the ufe of his ration- 
al powers. 

Children have a thoufand things to learn, and they learn ma- 
ny things every day ; more than will be eafily believed by thofe 
who have never given attention to their progrefs. 

Oportet 



INSTINCT.. f,5 

X)portct d'lfcentan credere is a common adage. Clilldrcn liave chap. ir. 
every thing to learn ; and, in order to learn, they mud believe 
their inftrudors. They need a greater (lock of faiih from in- 
fancy to twelve or fourteen, than ever after. But how fliall 
they get this ftock fo nccefifary to tlieni ? If their faith de- 
pend upon evidence, the ftock of evidence, real or apparent, 
muft bear proportion to their faith. But fuch, in reality, is 
their fituation, that when their faith mufl be greatell, the 
evidence is leaft. They believe a thoufand things before they 
ever fpend a thought upon evidence. Nature fupplies the 
want of evidence, and gives them an inftindive kind of faith 
without evidence. 

They believe Implicitly whatever they are told, and receive 
with aflurance the teftimony of every one, without ever thinking 
of a reafon why they fliould do fo. 

A parent or a mafter might command them to believe j but 
In vain ; for belief is not in our power ; but in the firft part of 
life, it is governed by mere teftimony in matters of fad, and by 
mere authority in all other matters, no lefs than by evidence in 
riper years. 

It is not the words of the teftifier, but his belief, that produces 
this belief in a child: For children foon learn to diftiii<ruini 
what is faid in jeft, from what is faid in good earneft. What 
appears to them to be faid in jeft, produces no belief. They 
glory in ftiewing that they are not to be impofed on. When the 
figns of belief in the fpeaker are ambiguous, it is pleafant to ob- 
ferve with what fagacity they pry into his features, to difcern 
whether he really believes what he fays, or only counterfeits 
belief. As foon as this point is determined, their belief is regu- 
lated by his. if he be doubtful, they are doubtful, if he be af- . 
fured, they are alfo aflured. 

It is well known what a deep impreflion religious principles 

P 2 zealouflv 



iifr ESSAY III. 

CHAP. II. zealoufly inculcated make upon the minds of children. The 
abfurditles of ghofts and hobgoblins early imprefled, have been 
known to flick fo fall, even in enlightened minds, as to baffle all 
rational conviction. 

Wheo we grow up to the ufe of reafon, teftimony attended 
with certain circumftances, or even authority, may afford a ra- 
tional ground of belief; but with children, without any regard 
to circumftances, either of them operates like demonftration. 
And as they feek no reafon, nor can give any reafon, for this re- 
gard to teftimony and to authority, it is the effedt of a natural 
impulfe, and may be called inftindl. 

Another inftance of belief which appears to be inftindlive, is 
that which children fhew even in infancy, that an event v.'hich 
they have obferved in certain circumftances, will happen again 
in like circumftances. A child of half a year old, who has once 
burned his finger by putting it in the candle, will not put it there 
again. And if you make a fhew of putting it in the candle by 
force, you fee the mofl manifelt figns that he believes he fhall 
meet with the fame calamity. 

Mr Hume hath fhewn very clearly, that this belief is not the 
effecft either of reafon or experience. He endeavours to account 
for it by the affociation of ideas. Though I am not fatisfied 
with his account of this phenomenon, I fhall not now examine 
it J becaufe it is fulKcient for the prefent argument, that this be- 
lief is not grounded on evidence, real or apparent, which I think 
he clearly proves. 

A perfon who has lived fo long In the world, as to obferve that 
nature is governed by fixed laws, may have fome rational ground 
to expert fimilar events in fimilar circumftances ; but this can- 
not be the cafe of the child. His belief therefore is not ground- 
ed on evidence. It is the refult of his conftitution. 

Nor 



O F H A B I T. „7 

Nor is It the lefs fo, though it fliould arifc from the aflbciation CHAP. iii. 
of ideas. For what is called the alTociation of ideas is a law of 
nature in our couftitution ; which produces its efTcds without 
any operation of reafon oil our part, and in a manner of wliich 
we are entirely ignorant. 



CHAP. III. 
Of Hahit. 

HABIT differs from inftind, not in its nature, but in Its 
origin .; the latter being natural, the former acquired. 
Both operate without will or intention, without thought, and 
therefore may be called mechanical principles. 

Habit is commonly defined, A facility of doing a thing, acquired 
hy having done it frequently. This definition is fufficient for ha- 
bits of art ; but the habits which may, with propriety, be called 
principles of action, muft give more than a facility, they mufl 
give aa inclination or impulfe to do the adllon ; and that, in 
many cafes, habits have this force, cannot be doubted. 

How many aukward habits, by frequenting Improper compa- 
ny, are children apt to learn, in their addrefs, motion, looks, 
gefiure and pronunciation. They acquire fuch habits common- 
ly from an undefigned and inllindlive iniitation, before they can 
judge of what is proper and becoming. 

When they are a little advanced in undcrflanding, they may 
eafily be convinced that fuch a thing is unbecoming, they may 
relolve to forbear it, but when the habit is formed, fuch a gene- 
ral rcfoluiion is not of itlllf fulficient ; for the habit will ope- 
rate without intention ; and particular attention is ncceflary, on 

every 



ii8 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. III. every occafion, to refift its impulfe, until it be undone by tVie 
habit of oppofing it. 

It is owing to the force of habits, early acquired by imitation, 
that a man who has grown up to manhood in the lowefl rank of 
life, if fortune raife him to a higher rank, very rarely acquires 
the air and manners of a gentleman. 

When to that inflindlive imitation, which I fpoke of before, 
%ve join the force of habit, it is eafy to fee, that thefe mechani- 
cal principles have no fmall fliare in forming the manners and 
charader of mort men. 

The difficulty of overcoming vicious habits has, in all ages, 
been a common topic of theologians and moralifls ; and we fee 
too many fad examples to permit us to doubt of it. 

There are good habits, in a moral fenfe, as well as bad ; and 
it is certain, that the dated and regular performance of what we 
approve, not only makes it eafy, bat makes us uneafy in the 
omilFion of it. This is the cafe, even when the adion dei'ives 
all its goodnefs from the opinion of the performer. A good il- 
literate Roman Catholic does not fleep found if he goes to 
bed without telling his beads, and repeating prayers which he 
does not underfland. 

Aristotle makes wifdom, prudence, good fenfe, fcience and 
art, as well as the moral virtues and vices, to be habits. If he 
meaot no more, by giving this name to all thofe intelledual and 
moral qualities, than that they are all flrengthened and confirm- 
ed by repeated adls, this is undoubtedly true. I take the word 
in a lefs extenfive fenfe, when I confider habits as principles of 
adlion. I conceive it to be a part of our conftitution, that what 
we have been accuftomed to do, we acquire, not only a facility, 
but a pronenefs to do on like occafions j fo that it requires a 

particular 



O V H A B I r. 119 

particular will and efTort to forbear it, but to do it, requires very CHAPjni. 
often no will at all. We are carried by habit as by a ftream 
in fwimming, if we make no refiUance. 

Every art furiiiflies examples both of the power of habits and 
of their utility ; no one more than the molt common of all arts, 
the art of fpeaking. 

Articulate language is fpoken, not by nature, but by art. It 
is no eafy matter to children, to learn the fnnple founds of lan- 
guage J I mean, to learn to pronounce the vowels and confo- 
nants. It would be much more difficult, if they were not led 
by inftind to imitate the founds they hear ; for the difficulty is 
vaflly greater of teaching the deaf to pronounce the letters and 
words, though experience fliows that it can be done. 

What is it that makes this prommciatron fo eafy at lafl which 
was fo difficult at firft ? It is habit. 

But from what caufe does it happen, that a good fpeaker no 
fooner conceives what he would exprefs, than the letters, fylla- 
blcs and words arrange themfelves according to innumerable 
rules of fpeech, while he never thinks of thefe rules ? He means 
to exprefs certain fentiments ; in order to do this properly, a fe- 
ledlion muft be made of the materials, out of many thoufands. 
He makes this feledion without any expence of time or thought. 
The materials feleded mull be airranged in a particular order, 
according to innumerable rules of grammar, logic and rhetoric, 
and accompanied with a particular tone and eniphafis. He does 
all this as it were by infplration, without thinking of any of 
thefe rules, and without breaking one of them. 

This art, if it were not more common, would appear more 
wonderful, than that a roan flioukl dance blind-fold amidft a 

thou land 



120 ESSAY III. 

CHA P. Ill , thoufand burning plough-flaares, without being burnt i yet all 
this may be done by habit. 

It appears evident, that as, without infllndl, the infant could 
not live to become a man, fo, without habit, man would re- 
main an infant through life, and would be as helplefs, as un- 
handy, as fpeechlefs, and as much a child in underftanding at 
threefcore as at three. 

I fee no reafon to think, that we fhall ever be able to affign 
the phyfical caufe, either of inftindl, or of the power of habit. 

Both feem to be parts of our original conftitutlon. Their end 
and ufe is evident ; but we can aflign no caufe of them, but the 
will of him who made us. 

With regard to inftindl, which is a natural propenfity, this will 
perhaps be eafily granted ; but it Is no lefs true with regard to 
that power and inclination which we acquire by habit. 

No man can fliew a reafon why our doing a thing frequently 
fliould produce either facility or inclination to do it. 

The fadl is fo notorious, and fo conflantly in our eye, that 
we are apt to think no reafon fhould be fought for it, any more 
than why the fun (hines. But there muft be a caufe of the fun's 
Ibinlng, and there muft be a caufe of the power of habit. 

We fee nothing analogous to it in inanimate matter, or in 
things made by human art. A clock or a watch, a waggon or 
a plough, by the cuftom of going, does not learn to go better, 
or require lefs moving force. The earth does not increafe in 
fertility by the cuftom of bearing crops. 

It is faid, that 'trees and other vegetables, by growing long in 

an 



O F H A B I T. 121 



an unkindly foil or climate, fometimes acquire qualities by CHAP. in. 
which they can bear its inclemency with lefs hurt. This, in the 
vegetable kingdom, has fome refemblancc to the power of ha- 
bit ; but, in inanimate matter, I know nothing that refembles 



It. 



A ftone lofes nothing of its weight by being long fupported, 
or made to move upward. A body, by being toQed about ever 
fo long, or ever fo violently, lofes nothing of its inertia, nor ac- 
quires the leaft difpofition to change its Hate. 



H 



ESSAY III. PART 11. 

Of Animal Principles of AElion, 

CHAP. I. 

Of Appetites. 

AVING difcourfed of the mechanical principles of adion, 
I proceed to confider thofe 1 called animal. 



They are fuch as operate upon the will and intention, but do 
not fuppofe any exercife of judgment or reafon ; and are moft 
of them to be found in fome brute-animals, as well as in man. 

In this clafs, the firfl kind I fliall call appetites, taking that 
word in a ftric^er fenfe than it is fometimes taken, even by good 
writers. 

Q^ The 



122 



ESSAY in. 



CHAP. I. xhe word appetite is fometimes limited, fo as to figt^ify only 
' "^ ' the defire of food when we hunger ; fometimes it is extended 
fo as to fignify any ftrong defire, whatever be its obje(ft. With- 
out pretending to cenfure any ufe of the word which cuflom 
hath authorifed, I beg leave to limit it to a particular clafs of 
defires, which are diflinguiflied from all others by the following 
marks. 

Firjl, Every appetite is accompanied with an uneafy fenfation 
proper to it, which is ftrong or weak, in proportion to the de- 
fire we have of the objeft. Secondly, Appetites are not conftant, 
but periodical, beingfated by their objedts for a time, and re- 
turning after certain periods. Such is the nature of thofe prin- 
ciples of adlion, to which I beg leave, in this EfTay, to appro- 
priate the name o? appetites. Thofe that are chiefly obfervable 
in man, as well as in moft other animals, are hunger, thirft, and 
luft. 

If we attend to the appetite of hunger, we fhall find in it two 
ingredients, an uneafy fenfuion and a defire to eat. The defire^ 
keeps pace with the fenfation, and ceafes when it ceafes. When 
a man is fated with eating, both the uneafy fenfation and the 
defire to eat ceafe for a time, and return after a certain interval. 
So it is w^ith other appetites. 

In infants, for fome time after they come into the world, the 
uneafy fenfation of hunger is probably the whole. W^e cannot 
fuppofe in them, before experience, any conception of eating, 
nor, confequently, any defire of it. They are led by mere in- 
ftindl to fuck when they feel the fenfation of hunger. But 
when experience has conneded, in their imagination, the uneafy 
fenfation with the means of removing it, the defire of the laft 
comes to be fo afTociated with the firft, that they remain through 
life infeparable ; And we give the name of hunger to the prin- 
ciple that is made up of both. 

That 



O F A p. P E T I T E S. 123 



That the a]:>])ciitL; of hunger includes the two higrcchents I C^HAP. I 
have nicinionecl will not, I apprehciul, he queftionetl. I take 
noiice of it the rather becaufe we may, if I niiftake not, find a 
fnniiar conipolition in other principles of aclion. They arc 
made up of dilTerent ingredients, and may be analyzed into t]}e 
parts that enter into their compofition. 

If one Philofopher fliould maintain, that hunger is an uneafy 
fenfation, another, that it is a defire to eat, they feem to difler 
widely ; for a defire and a fenfation are very different things, 
and have no finiilitude. But they are both in the right j for 
hunger includes both an- uneafy fenfation and a defire to eat. 

Although there has been no fuch difpute among Philofophcrs 
as we h;ne fuppofed with regard to hunger, yet there have been 
fimilar difputes with regard to other principles of action ; and 
it deferves to be confidercd whether they may not be terminated 
in a fimilar manner. 

The ends for which our natural appetites are given, are too 
evident to efcape the obfervation of any man of the lead re- 
flection. Two of thofe I named are intended for the preferva- 
tion of the individual, and the third for the continuance of the 
fpecies. 

The reafon of mankind would be altogether infufficient for 
thcfe ends, without the diredlion and call of apjietite. 

Though a man knew that his life muft be fupported by eating, 
reafon could not direcl: liim when to eat, or what ; how much, 
or how often. In all thefe things, apj^etite is a much better 
guide than our reafon. Were reafon only to direcfl us in this 
matter, its calm voice would often be drowned in the hurry of 
bufinefs, or the charms of amulement. But the voice of appe- 

CL 2 titc 



J 



124 



ESSAY III. 



CHAP. r. tjte rifes gradually, and, at laft, becomes loud enough to call of? 
our attention from any other employment. 

Every man muft be convinced, that, without our appetites, 
even fuppofing mankind inipired with all the knowledge requi- 
iite for anfwering their ends, the race of men mufl have periflied 
long ago ; but, by their means, the race is continued from one 
generation to another, whether men be favage or civilized, 
knowing or ignorant, virtuous or vicious. 

By the fame means, every tribe of brute-animals, from the 
whale that ranges the ocean to the lead microfcopic infed:, has 
been continued from the beginning of the world to this day j 
nor has good evidence been found, that any one fpecies which 
God made has perifhed. 

Nature has given to every animal, not only an appetite for 
its food, but tafte and fmell, by which it diftinguilhes the food 
proper for it. 

It is pleafant to fee a caterpillar, which nature intended to 
live upon the leaf of one fpecies of plant, travel over a hundred 
leaves of other kinds without tafting one, till it comes to that 
which is its natural food, which it immediately falls on, and de- 
vours greedily. 

Mofl; caterpillars feed only upon the leaf of one fpecies of 
plant, and nature fuits the feafon of their produdion to the 
food that is intended to nourifh them. Many infedls and ani- 
mals have a greater variety of food ; but, of all animals, man 
has the greatell variety, being able to fubfill; upon almoft every 
kind of vegetable or animal food, from the bark of trees to the 
oil of whales. 

I believe our natural appetites may be made more violent by 

excellive 



O F A P P E T I T E S. 12^- 

excefllve indulgence, and that, on the other hand, they may be chai\l 
weakened by flarvlng. The firfl is often the efie<fl of a perni- 
cious hixury, the hift may fometinies be the effe(f\ of want, 
fonietinics of fuperftition. I apprehend that nature has given to 
our appetites that degree of ftrength which is mod proper for us j 
and that whatever ahers tlieir natural tone, either in excefs or 
in defetY, does not mend the work of nature, but may mar and 
pervert it. 

A man may eat from appetite only. So the brutes common- 
ly do. He may eat to pleafe his tafte when he has no call of 
appetite. I believe a brute may do this alfo. He may eat for 
the fake of health, when neither ajipetite nor tafte invites. 
This, as far as I am able to judge, brutes never do. 

From fo many different principles, and from many more, the 
fame adion may be done ; and this may be faid of moft human 
adions. From this, it appears, that very different and contrary 
theories may ferve to account for the adlions of men. The 
caufes affigned may be fufhcient to produce the effecfb, and yet 
not be the true caufes. 

To acH: merely from appetite is neither good nor ill in a mo- 
ral view. It is neither an object of praife nor of blame. No 
man claims any praife becaufe he eats when he is hungry, or 
refts when he is weary. On the other hand, he is no objedl of 
blame, if he obeys the call of appetite when there is no reafon 
to hinder him. In this, he ads agreeably to his nature. 

From this we may obferve, that the definition of virtuous ac- 
tions, given by the ancient Stoics, and adopted by fome modera 
authors, is imperfed. They defined virtuous adions to be fuch 
as are according to nature. What is done according to the animal 
part of our nature, which is common to us with the brute-ani- 
raals, is in itfelf neither virtuous nor vicious, but perfedly in- 
different. 



126 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. I. diiTerent. Then only it becomes vicious, when it is done in op- 
poiition to Ibme principle of iuperior importance and authority. 
And it may be virtuous, if done for fome important or worthy 
tnd. 

Appetites, considered in themfelves, are neither focial princi- 
ples of adion, nor felfifh. They cannot be called focial, be- 
caufe they imply no concern for the good of others. Nor can 
they juflly be called felfiili, though they be commonly referred 
to that clafs. An appetite draws us to a certain object, without 
regard to its being good for us, or ill. There is no felf-love im- 
plied in it any more than benevolence. We fee, that, in many 
cafes, appetite may lead a man to what he knows will be to his 
hurt. To call this adling from felf-love, is to pervert the mean- 
ing of words. It is evident, that, in every cafe of this kind, 
felf-love is fncrificed to appetite. 

There are fome principles of the human frame very like to 
our appetites, though they do not commonly get that name. 

Men are made for labour either of body or mind. Yet ex- 
ceflive labour hurts the powers of both. To prevent this hurt, 
nature "hath given to men, and other animals, an uncafy fenfa- 
tion, which always attends excellive labour, and which we call 
fatigue, -wearinefs, lajjitudc. This uneafy fenfation is conjoined 
•with the defire of relt, or intermlffion of our labour. And thus 
nature calls us to reft when we are weary, in the fame manner 
as to eat when we are hungry. 

In both cafes there is a defire of a certain obje<fl, and an un- 
eafy fenfation accompanying that defire. In both cafes the de- 
fire is fatiated by its objed, and returns after certain intervals. 
In this only they differ, that in the appetites firft mentioned, 
the uneafy fenfation arifes at intervals without adion, and leads 

to 



O F A P P E T I T E S. 127 

to a certain adion : In wearincfs, tlie uncafy fcnfation arifcs CHAP. L 
from adion too long continued, and leads to relh 

But nature Intended that we Ihould be adive, and we need 
fome principle to incite us to adlion, when we happen not to be 
invited by any appetite or pallion. 

For this end, when rtrength and fpirits are recruited by reft, 
nature has made total inadion as uneafy as excelfive labour. 

We may call this the principle of a^ivi/y. It is mofl confpl- 
cuous in children, who cannot be fuppofed to know how ufeful 
and necefTary It is for their improvement to be conflantly em- 
ployed. Their conftant activity therefore aj^pcars not to pro- 
ceed from their having fome end conftantly in view, but rather 
from this, that they defire to be always doing fomething, and 
feel uneafinefs in total inadion. 

Nor Is this principle confined to childhood 3 it has great ef- 
fedls in advanced life. 

When a man has neither hope, nor fear, nor defire, nor pro- 
ject, nor employment, of body or mind, one might be apt to 
think him the happicfl mortal upon earth, having nothing to do 
but to enjoy himfelf : but we find him, in fad, the moft un- 
happy. 

He is more weary of inadlon than ever he was of exceflive 
labour. He is weary of the world, and of his own exillence j 
and is more miferable than the failor wreftling with a florin, or 
the foldier mounting a breach. 

This difmal ftate is commonly the lot of the man who has 
neither exercife of body nor employment of mind. For the 

mind. 



128 ESSAY III. 

^^HAP^ mind, like water, corrupts and putrifies by ftagnation, but by 
running purifies and refines. 

Befides the appetites which nature hath given us for ufeful 
and necefiliry purpofes, we may create appetites which nature 
never gave. 

The frequent ufe of things which flimulate the nervous fyftem, 
produces a languor when their effeil is gone off, and a defire 
to repeat them. By this means a defire of a certain objedt is 
created, accompanied by an uneafy fenfation. Both are remo- 
ved for a time by the objedl defired j but they return after a 
certain interval. This differs from natural appetite, only in 
being acquired by cuflom. Such are the appetites which fome 
men acquire for the ufe of tobacco, for opiates, and for intoxi-^ 
eating liqours. 

Thefe are commonly called habits, and juftly. But there are 
different kinds of habits, even of the adive fort, which ought to 
be difflnguifhed. Some habits produce only a facility of doing 
a thing, without any inclination to do it. All arts are habits of 
this kind, but they cannot be called principles of adllon. Other 
habjts produce a pronenefs to do an adlion, without thought or 
intention. Thefe we confidered before as mechanical prin- 
ciples of adlion. There are other habits which produce a de- 
lire of a certain objeft, and an uneafy fenfation, till it is obtain- 
ed. It is this lafl kind only that I call acquired appetites. 

As It is befl to preferve our natural appetites, in that tone and 
degree of flrength which nature gives them, fo we ought to be- 
ware of acquiring appetites which nature never gave. They 
are always ufelefs, and very often hurtful. 

Although, as was before obferved, there be neither virtue nor 

vice 



O F A P P E T I T E S. 129 

vice in riding- from appetite, there may be much of either in the ^^^- ^- 
management of our appetites. 

When appetite h oppofed by fome principle drawing a con- 
trary way, there muft be a determination of the will, which 
fliall prevail, and this determination may be, in a moral fenfe, 
right or wrong. 

Appetite, even in a brute-animal, may be reftrained by a 
ilronger principle oppofed to it. A dog, when he is hungry 
and has meat fet before him, may be kept from touching it by 
the fear of immediate punilhment. In this cafe his fear ope- 
rates more ftrongly than his defire. 

Do we attribute any virtue to the dog on this account ? I 
think not. Nor fhould we afcribe any virtue to a man in a like 
cafe. The animal is carried by the ftrongeft moving force. This 
requires no exertion, no felf-government, but paffively to yield 
to the ftrongeft impulfe. This, I think, brutes always do j there- 
fore we attribute to them, neither virtue nor vice. We confider 
them as being neither objeQs of moral approbation, nor difap- 
probation. 

But it may happen, that, when appetite draws one way, it may 
be oppofed, not by any appetite or pafiion, but by fome cool 
principle of adlion, which has authority without any impulfive 
force : For example, by fome intereft, which is too diftant 
to raife any pafllon or emotion j or by fome confideration of 
decency, or of duty. 

In cafes of this kind, the man is convinced that he ought not 
to yield to appetite, yet there is not an equal or a greater im- 
pulfe to oppofe it. There are circumftances, indeed, that con- 
vince the judgment, but thefe are not fiifficient to determine the 
will agaiufl a ftrong appetite, without felf-govcmment. 

R I 



130 



ESSAY III. 



CHAP. I. I apprehend that brute-animals have no power of felf-govern- 
ment. From their conftitution, they muft be led by the appe- 
tite or paflion which is itrongell for the time. 

On this account they have, in all ages, and among all nations, 
been thought incapable of being governed by laws, though fonie 
of them may be fubjeds of difcipline. 

The fame would be the condition of man, if he had no pow- 
er to reftrain appetite, but by a ftronger contrary appetite or 
paffion. It would be to no purpofe to prefcribe laws to him for 
the government of his adions. You might as well forbid the 
wind to blow, as forbid him to follow whatever happens to give 
the flrongefl prefent impulfe. 

Every one knows, that when appetite draws one way, duty, 
decency, or even interefl, may draw the contrary way j and that 
appetite may give a ftronger impulfe than any one of thefe, or 
even all of them conjoined. Yet it is certain, that, in every 
cafe of this kind, appetite ought to yield to any of thefe princi- 
ples when it ftands oppofed to them. It is in fuch cafes that 
felf-government is neceflary. 

The man who fuffers himfelf to be led by appetite to do w hat 
he knows he ought not to do, has an immediate and natural 
convidtion that he did wrong, and might have done otherwife ;, 
and therefore he condemns himfelf, and confefles that he yield- 
ed to an appetite which ought to have been under his com- 
mand. 

Thus it appears, that though our natural appetites have in 
themfelves neither virtue nor vice, though the ading merely 
from appetite, when there is no principle of greater authority 
to oppofe it, be a matter indifferent ; yet there may be a great 
deal of virtue or of vice in the management of our appetites; 

and 



1" DESIRES. 



13^ 



and that ihc power of fclf-govcrnmciit is nccclTary for their re- CH'^P- "• 

, « ' 

pulation. 



c: U A ?. II. 
Of Befires, 



A 



NOT HER clafs of animal principles of aclion in man, 1 
Ihall, for want of a better fpecific name, call dcftres. 



They are diflingiiiflied from appetites by this : That there is 
not an uneafy fcnfation proper to each, and always accompany- 
ing it J and that they are not periodical, but conllant, not being 
fated with their objects for a time, as appetites are. 

The defires I have in view, are chiefly thefe three, tlie defire 
of power, the defire of efleem, and the defire of knowledge. 

We may, I think, perceive fome degree of thefe principles in 
brute-animals of the more fagacious kind j but in man they are 
much more confpicuous, and have a larger fphere. 

In a herd of black cattle there is a rank and fubordination. 
When a ftranger is introduced into the herd, he mud fight every 
one till his rank is fettled. Then he yields to the ftronger and 
alTumes authority over the weaker. The cafe is much the fame 
in the crew of a (hip of war. 

As foon as men alTociate together, the defire of fuperiority 
difcovers itfelf. In barbarous tribes, as well as among the gre- 
garious kinds of animals, rank is determined by flrength, cou- 
rage, fwiftnefs, or fuch other qualities. Among civili/ed na- 
tions, many things of a different kind give power and rank ; 

R 2 places 



132 ESSAY III. 

^HAP^ places in government, titles of honour, riches, ■wifdom, elo- 
quence, virtue, and even the reputation of thefe. All thefe are 
either different fpecies of power, or means of acquiring it ; and 
•when they are fought for that end, mufl be confidered as inftan- 
ces of the defire of power. 

The defire of efteem Is not peculiar to man. A dog exults In 
the approbation and applaufe of his mafter, and is humbled by 
his difpleafure. But in man this defire is much more conlpi- 
cuous, and operates In a thoufand different ways. 

Hence it Is that fo very few are proof agalnfl flattery, when 
it Is not very grofs. We wifli to be well In the opinion of o- 
thers, and therefore are prone to interpret in our own favour, 
the figns of their good opinion, even when they are ambiguous. 

There are few Injuries that are not more eafy to be born than 
contempt. 

We cannot always avoid feeing, In the condudl of others, 
things that move contempt ; but, in all polite circles, the figns 
of It muft be fuppreffed, otherwife men could not converfe to- 
gether. 

As there Is no quality, common to good and bad men, more 
efteemed than courage, nor any thing In a man more the ob- 
je6i: of contempt than cowardice ; hence every man defires to 
be thought a man of courage ; and the reputation of cowardice 
Is worfe than death. How many have died to avoid being 
thought cowards ? How many, for the fame reafon, have done 
Vvhat made them unhappy to the end of their lives. 

I believe many a tragical event. If traced to Its fource In hu- 
man nature, might be referred to the defire of eflieem, or the 
dread of contempt. 

In 



O F D E S I R E S. 133 

In brute-animals there is fo little that can be called know- cha p, ii.^ 
ledge, that the dcfirc of it can make no confiderable figure in 
them. Yet I have fccn a cat, when brought into a new habita- 
tion, examine with care every corner of it, and anxious to know 
every lurking place, and the avenues to it. And I believe the 
fame thing may be obferved in many other fpecies, efpeci- 
ally in thofe that are liable to be hunted by man, or by other 
animals. 

But the defire of knowledge in the human fpecies, is a prin- - 
ciple that cannot efcape our obfervation. 

The curiofity of children is the principle that occupies mofl 
of their time while they are awake. What they can handle 
they examine on all fides, and often break in pieces, in order to 
difcover what is within. 

When men grow up their curiofity does not ceafe, but is em- 
ployed upon other objedls. Novelty is confidered as one great 
fource of the pleafures of tafte, and indeed is neceflary, in one 
degree or other, to give a relifh to them all. 

When we fpeak of the defire of knowledge as a principle of 
adlion in man, we muft not confine it to the purfuits of the Phi- 
lofopher, or of the literary man. The defire of knowledge dif- 
covers itfelf, in one perfon, by an avidity to know the fcandal 
of the village, and who makes love, and to whom ; in another, 
to know the economy of the next family j in another, to know 
what the poll brings, and, in another, to trace the path of a new 
comet. 

When men ihew an anxiety, and take pains to know what is 
of no moment, and can be of no ufe to thcmfelves or to others, 
this is trifling, and vain curiofity. It is a culpable weaknefs and 
folly 3 but flill it is the wrong dIre«flion of a natural principle ; 

and 



134 



ESSAY III. 



CHAP. II. a^-id fliews the force of that principle, more than when it is di- 
redied to matters worthy to be known. 

I think it unneceflary to ufe arguments to fliow, that the de- 
Hres of power, of efteem, and of knowledge, are natural prin- 
ciples in the conftitution of man. Thofe who are not convinced 
•of this by refleAing upon their own feelings and fentiments, 
will not eafily be convinced by arguments. 

Power, efteera and knowledge, are fo ufeful for many purpofes, 
that it is eafy to refolve the defire of them into other principles. 
Thofe who do fo muft maintain, that we never defire thefe ob- 
jeds for their own fakes, but as means only of procuring plea- 
fure, or fomething which is a natural object of defire. This, 
indeed, was the dod:rine of Epicurus ; and it has had its vota- 
ries in modern times. But it has been obferved, that men de- 
fire poflhumous fame, which can procure no pleafure. 

Epicurus himfelf, though he believed that he fhould have no 
€xiflence after death, was fo defirous to be remembered with 
effeem, that, by his lafl will, he appointed his heirs to comme- 
morate his birth annually, and to give a monthly feafl to his 
difciples, upon the twentieth day of the moon. What pleafure 
could this give to Epicurus when he had no exiflence ? On 
this account, Cicero juflly obferves, that his dodirine was re- 
futed by his own practice. 

Innumerable inflances occur in life, of men who facrifice 
eafe, pleafure, and every thing elfe, to the lufl of power, of 
fame, or even of knowledge. It is abfurd to fuppofe, that men 
fliould facrifice the end to what they defire only as the means 
of promoting that end. 

The natural defires I have mentioned are, in themfelves, nei- 
ther virtuous nor vicious. They are parts of our conftitution, 

' and 



O F D E S I R E S. 135 

and ought to be regulated and rcftrained, when they ftand in cha p, il 
competition with more important principles. But to eradicate 
them if it were poOiblc, (and I believe it is not) would only be 
like cutting oft' a leg or an arm, that is, making ourfelves other 
creatures than God has made us. 

They cannot, with propriety, be called rehifli. principles, 
though they have commonly been accounted fuch. 

"When power is defired for its own fake, and not as the means 
in order to obtain fomething elfe, this deli re is neither felfifh nor 
focial. When a man defires power as the means of doing good to 
others, this is benevolence. When he defires it only as the 
means of promoting his own good, thisisfelf-love. But when he 
defires it for its own fake, this only can properly be called the 
defire of power ; and it implies neither felf-lovc nor benevo- 
lence. The fame thing may be applied to the defires of efleein 
and of knowledge. 

The wife intention of nature in giving us thefe defires, is na 
lefs evident than in giving our natural appetites. 

Without the natural appetites, reafon, as was before obferved, 
would be infufficient, either for the prefervation of the indivi- 
dual, or the continuation of the fpecies j and without the natu- 
ral defires we have mentioned, human virtue would be infuffi- 
cient to influence mankind to a tolerable condutl: in fociety. 

To thefe natural defires, common to good and to bad men, 
it is owing, that a man, who has little or no regard to virtue, • 
may notwithftanding be a good member of fociety. It is true, 
indeed, that perfedl virtue, joined with perfect knowledge, 
would make both our appetites and defires unneceflary incum- 
brances of our nature ; but as human knowledge and human 

virtue 



136 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. 11,^ virtue are both very imperfedl, thefe appetites and defires are 
necellary fupplements to our imperfe<5lions. 

Society, among men, could not fubfifl without a certain de- 
gree of that regularity of condudl which virtue prefcribes. To 
this regularity of conduft, men who have no virtue are induced 
by a regard to charaiSler, fometimes by a regard to intereft. 

Even in thofe who are not deditute of virtue, a regard to cha- 
rader is often an ufeful auxiliary to it, when both principles 
concur in their diredion. 

The purfuits of power, of fame, and of knowledge, require a 
felf-command no lefs than virtue does. In our behaviour towards 
our fellow-creatures, they generally lead to that very condu6t 
which virtue requires. I fay generally, for this, no doubt, ad- 
mits of exceptions, efpecially in the cafe of ambition, or the 
defire of power. , 

The evils which ambition has produced in the world are a 
common topic of declamation. But it ought to be obferved, 
that where it has led to one adlion hurtful to fociety, it has led 
to ten thoufand that are beneficial to it. And we juftly look 
upon the want of ambition as one of the mofl unfavourable 
fymptoms in a man's temper. 

The defires of efteem and of knowledge are jhighly ufeful to 
fociety, as well as the defire of power, and, at the fame time, 
are lefs dangerous in their exceflTes. 

Although adlions proceeding merely from the love of power, 
of reputation, or of knowledge, cannot be accounted virtuous, 
or be entitled to moral approbation ; yet we allow them to be 
manly, ingenuous, and fuited to the dignity of human nature ; 

and 



OFDESIRES. ,37 

and therefore they are entitled to a degree of eftimation, fupc- ctiap. 11. 
rlor to ihofe which proceed from mere appetite. 

Alexander the Great deferved that epithet in the early part 
of his life, when cafe and pleafure, and every appetite, were 
facrificed to the love of glory and power. Bat when we view 
him conquered hy oriental luxury, and ufing his power to grati- 
fy his paflions and apjietitcs, he finks in our efteein, and feenu 
to forfeit the title which he had acquired. 

Sardanapalus, who is faid to have purfued pleafure as ea- 
gerly as Alexander purfued glory, never obtained from man- 
kind the appellation of the Great. 

Appetite is the principle of moft of the adions of brutes, and 
we account it brutal in a man to employ himfelf chiefly in the 
gratification of his appetites. The dcfires of power, of efleem, 
and of knowledge, are capital parts in the conftituti-on of man • '' 
and the adions proceeding from them, though not properly vir- 
tuous, are human and manly ; and they claim a jufl: fuperiority 
over thofe that proceed from appetite. This, I think, is the uni- 
verfal and unbiafled judgment of mankind. Upon what ground 
this judgment is founded, may deferve to be confidered in its 
proper place. 

The defires we have mentioned arc not only highly ufeful in 
fociety, and in their nature more noble than our appetites, they 
are likewife the moft proper engines that can be ufed in the edu- 
cation and difcipliue of men. 

In training brute-animals to fuch habits as they are capable 
of, the fear of punilhment is the chief inllrument to be ufed. 
But in training men of ingenuous difpofition, ambition to excel, 
and the love of efteem, are much nobler and more powerful 

S engines, 



138 ESSAY III. 

^CHAF. II . engines, by which they may be led to worthy conduct, and 
trained to good habits. 

To this we may add, that the defires we have mentioned are 
very friendly to real virtue, and make it more eafy to be ac- 
quired. 

A man that is not quite abandoned mufl behave Co in fociety 
as to preferve forae degree of reputation. This every man de- 
fires to do, and the greater part adually do it. In order to this, 
he mufl acquire the habit of rellraining his appetites and paf- 
fions within the bounds which common decency requires, and fo 
as to make himfelf a tolerable member of fociety, if not an ufeful 
and agreeable one. 

It cannot be doubted that many, from a regard to charadler 
and to the opinion of others, are led to make themfelves both 
ufeful and agreeable members of fociety, in whom a fenfe of 
duty has but a fmall influence. 

Thus men, living in fociety, efpecially in poliihed fociety, are 
tamed and civilized by the principles that are common to good 
and bad men. They are taught to bring their appetites and paf- 
fions under due reftraint before the eyes of men, which makes it 
more eafy to bring them under the rein of virtue. 

As a horfe that is broken is more eafily managed than an un- 
broken colt, fo the man who has undergone the difcipline of focie- 
ty is more tractable, and is in an excellent ftate of preparation for 
the difcipline of virtue ; and that felf-command, which is ne- 
celFary in the race of ambition and honour, is an attainment of 
no fmall importance in the courfe of virtue. 

For this reafon, I apprehend, they err very grofsly who con- 
ceive the life of a hermit to be favourable to a courfe of virtue. 

The 



OF DESIRES, 



'39 



The hermit, no doubt, is free from fome temptations to vice, chap. ii. 
but he is deprived of many ftrong inducements to felf-govcrn- 
nient, as well as of every opportunity of cxercifing the focial 
virtues. 

A very ingenious author has refolved our moral fcntiments 
refpeding the virtues of felf-government, into a regard to the 
opinion of men. This I think is giving a great deal too much 
to the love of iefleem, and putting the iliadow of virtue in place 
of the fubftance ; but that a regard to the opinion of others is, 
in mofl: inftanccs of our external behaviour, a great inducement 
to good condud, cannot be doubted. For, whatever men may 
pradice themfelves, they will always approve of that in others 
which they think right. 

It was before obferved, that, befides the appetites which na 
ture has given us, we may acquire appetites which, by indul- 
gence, become as importunate as the natural. The fame thing 
may be applied to defires. 

One of the moft remarkable acquired defires Is that of mo- 
ney, which, in commercial ftates, will be found in mofl men, 
in one degree or other, and, in fome men, fwallows up every 
other defire, appetite and pallion. 

The defire of money can then only be accounted a principle 
of adion, when it is defired for its own fake, and not merely as 
the means of procuring fomething clfe. 

It feems evident, that there is in mifers fuch a defire of mo- 
ney ; and, I fuppofe, no man will fay that it is natural, or a part 
of our original confiitution. It feems to be the ef^'ed of habit. 

In commercial nations, money is an infli-ument by which al- 
moft every thing may be procured that is defired. Being uleful 

S a for 



140 



ESSAY III. 



CHAP. IJ. for many different purpofes as the means, fome men lofe fight 
of the end, and terminate their defire upon the means. Money 
is alfo a fpecies of power, putting a man in condition to do 
many things which he could not do without it ; and power is a 
natural objed: of defire, even when it is not exercifed. 

In like manner, a man may acquire the defire of a title of 
honour, of an equipage, of an efiate. 

Although our natural defires are highly beneficial to (bciety, 
and even aiding to virtue, yet acquired defires are not only ufe- 
lefs, but hurtful and even difgraceful. 

No man is afhamed to own, that he loves power, that he loves 
efteem, that he loves knowledge, for their own fake. There 
may be an excefs in the love of thefe things, which is a ble- 
milh ; but there is a degree of it, which is natural, and Is no 
blemifli. To love money, titles or equipage, on any other ac- 
count than as they are ufeful or ornamental, is allowed by all 
to be weaknefs and folly. 

The natural defires I have been confidering, though they 
cannot be called facial principles of adlion in the common fenfe 
of that word, fince it is not their objed: to procure any good or 
benefit to others, yet they have fuch a relation to fociety, as to 
ftiew moft evidently the Intention of nature to be, that man 
Ihould live in fociety. 

The defire of knowledge is not more natural than is the de- 
fire of communicating our knowledge. Even power would be 
lefs valued if there were no opportunity of Ihewing it to others. 
It derives half its value from that circumflance. And as to the 
defire of elleem, it can have no pofiTible gratification but in fo- 
ciety. 

Thefe 



OF BENEVOLENT AFFECTION IN GENERAL. 141 

Thefe parts of our conltitiition, therefore, are evidently in- chap. iir. 
tended for focial life ; and it is not more evident that birds were 
made for flying and fiHies for fwimming, than^hat mm, endow- 
ed with a natural defire of power, of efteem, and of knowledge, 
is made, not for the fiivage and folitary Hate, but for living in 
fociety. 



w 



CHAP. III. 

Of Benevolent Jlffcdlion in generol. 

E have fcen how, by inftind and habit, a kind of me- 
chanical principles, man, without any expence of 
thought, without deliberation or will, is led to many anions, 
necellary for his prefervation and well-being, which, without 
thofe principles, all his fkill and wifdom would not have been 
able to accomplifli. 

It may perhaps be thought, that his deliberate and voluntary 
actions are to be guided by his reafon. 

But it ought to be obftrved, that he is a voluntary agent long 
before he has the ufe of reafon. Reafon and virtue, the prero- 
gatives of man, are of the laieft growth. They come to matu- 
rity by flow degrees, and are too weak, in the greater part of 
the fpecies, to fecure the prefervation of individuals and of com- 
munities, and to produce that varied fcene of human life, in 
which they are to be exercifed and improved. 

Therefore the wife Author of our being haili imnlanted in 
human nature many inferior principles of ad^tion, which, with 
little or no aid of reafon or virtue, preferve the fpecies, and pro- 
duce the various exertions, and the various changes and revolu- 
tions which we oLfcrve upon the theatre of life. 

In 



142 



ESSAY III. 



CHAP. III. In this bufy fcene, reafon and virtue have accefs to adl their 
parts, and do often produce great and good efFed:s ; but whe- 
ther they interpofe or not, there are adlors of an inferior order 
that will carry on the play, and produce a variety of events, 
good or bad. 

Reafon, if It were perfedl, would lead men to ufe the proper 
means of preferving their own lives, and continuing their kind. 
But the Author of our being hath not thought fit to leave this 
taflc to reafon alone, otherwife the race would long ago have 
been extind. He hath given us, in common with other ani- 
mals, appetites, by which thofe important purpofes are fecured, 
whether men be wife or foollfh, virtuous or vicious. 

Reafon, if it were perfedl, would lead men neither to lofe the 
benefit of their adlive powers by inadllvlty, nor to overfirain 
them by excellive labour. But nature hath given a powerful 
afliflant to reafon, by making inadlvlty a grievous punifhment 
to Itfelf; and by annexing the pain of lallitude to exceffive 
labour. 

Reafon, If It were perfed, would lead us to defire power, know- 
ledge, and the efteem and affection of our fellow-men, as means 
of promoting our own happlnefs, and of being ufeful to others. 
Here again, nature, to fupply the defeds of reafon, hath given 
us a ftrong natural defire of thofe objeds, which leads us to pur- 
fue them without regard to their utility. 

Thefe principles we have already confidered ; and, we may 
obferve, that all of them have things, not perfons, for their ob- 
jedt. They neither imply any good nor 111 affedllon towards 
any other perfon, nor even towards ourfelves. They cannot 
therefore, with propriety, be called either felfi/h ox foetal. But 
there are various principles of adion in man, which have per- 
fons for their immediate objed, and imply, in their very nature, 

our 



OF BENEVOLENT AFFECTION IN GENERAL. 143 

our being well or ill affedled to fome peilbn, or, at leaft, to fome CHA? ill. 
animated being. 

Such principles I lluill call by the general name of affc6lions ; 
Nvhether they difpofe us to do good or hurt to others. 

Perhaps, in giving them this general name, I extend the meaning 
of the word nffc£lion beyond its common ufe in difcourfe. Indeed 
our language feems in this to have departed a little from analogy : 
For ^ve ufe the verb affeB, and the participle affcEled^ in an indif- , 
ferent fenfe, fo that they may be joined either with good or ill. 
A man may be faid to be ill afFecled towards another man, or 
well affected. But the word affeElmi^ which, according to ana- 
logy, ought to have the fame latitude of lignification with that* 
from which it is derived, and therefore ought to be applicable 
to ill affediions as well as to good, feems, by cuflom, to be li- 
mited to good affedions. When we fpeak of having affection 
for any perfon, it is always underflood to be a benevolent af- 
fedlion. 

Malevolent principles, fuch as anger, refentment, envy, are 
not commonly called affeUions, but rsLthev paj^ons. 

I take the reafon of this to be, that the malevolent affedlions 
are almoft always accompanied with that perturbation of mind 
which we properly call pajfion ; and this paflion, being the mofl 
conlpicuous ingredient, gives its name to the whole. 

Even love, when it goes beyond a certain degree, is called a 
pajfwn. But it gets not that name when it is fo moderate as not 
to difcompofe a man's mind, nor deprive him in any meafure of 
the government of himfelf. 

As we give the name of pajfwn, even to benevolent affcdion 
when it is fo vehement as to difcompofe the mind, fo, I think, 

without 



144 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. III. without trerpafling much agahift propriety of words, we may 
give the name of affe£l'ioii even to malevolent principles, when 
unattended with that difturhance of mind which commonly, 
though not always, goes along with them, and which has made 
them get the name oi pajfwns. 

The principles which lead us immediately to defire the good 
of others, and thofe that lead us to defire their hurt, agree in 
this, that perfons, and not things, are their immediate objed. 
Both imply our being fome way affecfted towards the perfon. 
They ought therefore to have fome common name to exprefs 
what is common in their nature ; and I know no name more 
proper for this than affcBion. 

Taking affedion therefore in this extenfive fenfe, our affec- 
tions are very naturally divided into benevolent and malevolent, 
according as they imply our being well or ill affcdled towards 
their objed. 

There are fome things common to all benevolent afFedlions, 
others wherein they differ. 

They differ both in the feeling, or fenfation, which is an in- 
gredient in all of them, and in the objed;s to which they are 
direded. 

They all agree in two things, to wit. That the feeling which 
accompanies them is agreeable; and that they imply a defire 
of good and happinel's to their objedl. 

The affedion we bear to a parent, to a child, to a benefador, 
to a perfon in diftrefs, to a miftrefs, differ not more in their ob- 
je6l, than in the feelings they produce in the mind. We have 
not names to exprefs the differences of theie feelings, but every 
man is confcious of a difference. Yet, with all this difference, 
they agree in being agreeable feelings. 

I 



OF BENEVOLENT AFFECTION IN GENERAL. 145 

I know no exception to this rule, If we diflingulili, as \vc cha p, ul 
ouglu, the feeling which naturally and necclTarily attends the 
kind affcclion, from tliofc which accidentally, in certain cir- 
cumftanccs, it may jiroduce. 

The parental afFeftion is an agreeable feeling; but it makies 
the misfortune or mifbehaviour of a child give a deeper wound 
to the mind. Pity is an agreeable feeling, yet diftrefs, which 
we are not able to relieve, may give a painful fympathy. Love 
to one of the other fex is an agreeable feeling ; but where it 
does not meet with a proper return, it may give the mod pun- 
gent dillrefs. 

The joy and comfort of human life confifts in the reciprocal 
exercife of kind afFedions, and without them life would be unde- 
firable. 

It has been obferved by Lord Shaftesbury, and by many other 
judicious moralifts. That even the epicure and the debauchee, 
who are thought to place all their happinefs in the gratifica- 
tions of fenfe, and to purfue thefe as their only objecft, can find 
no reliih in folitary indulgences of this kind, but in thofe only 
that are mixed with focial intercourfe, and a reciprocal exchange 
of kind afFedions. 

Cicero has obferved, that the word convivium, which in Latin 
fignifies a feaft, is not borrowed from eating or from drinking, 
but from that focial intercourfe which, being the chief part of 
fuch an entertainment, gives the name to the whole. 

Mutual kind afFcdions are undoubtedly the balm of life, and 
of all the enjoyments common to good and bad men, are the 
chief. If a man had no perfon whom he loved or eftecmcd, no 
perfon who loved or efteeined him, how wretched mufl his con- 

T d it ion 



145 ESSAY III. 

CKAP^^ dition be ! Surely a man capable of reflection would chufe to 
pafs out of exiflence, rather than to live in fuch a ftate. 

It has been, by the Poets, reprefented as the ftate of Tome 
bloody and barbarous tyrants ; but Poets are allowed to paint 
a little beyond the life. Atreus is reprefented as faying, Ode- 
rint dum metuant. " I care not for their hatred, providing they 
" dread my power." I believe there never .was a man fo dif- 
pofed towards all mankind. The moft odious tyrant that ever 
was, will have his favourites, whofe affedllon he endeavours to 
deferve or to bribe, and to whom he bears fome good will. 

We may therefore lay it down as a principle, that all benevo- 
lent aiFedions are, in their nature, agreeable ; and that, next 
to a good confcience, to which they are always friendly, and 
never can be adverfe, they make the capital part of human hap- 
pinefs. 

Another ingredient ellential to every benevolent affedion, 
and from which it takes the name, is a delire of the good and 
happinefs of the objedt. 

• 

The objedt of benevolent affedion therefore, muft be fome be- 
ing capable of happinefs. When we fpeak of affed:ion to a houfe, 
or to any inanimate thing, the word has a different meaning. For 
that which has no capacity of enjoyment, or of fuffering, may 
be an objedl of liking or difguft, but cannot pofGbly be an ob- 
jedl either of benevolent or malevolent affedion. 

A thing may be defired either on its own account, or as the 
ineans in order to fomething elfe. That only can properly be 
called an obje6b of defire, which is defired upon its own account j 
and it is only fuch defires that I call principles of adion. When 
any thing is defired as the means only, there muft be an end 

for 



OF BENEVOLENT AFFECTION IN GENERAL. 147 

for which it is dcfired ; and the defire of the enti is, in this CHAP. ill. 
cafe, the principle of adion. The means are dell red only as 
they tend to that end ; and if different, or even contrary means 
tended to the fame end, they would be equally defired. 

On this account I confider thofe affedions only as benevo- 
lent, where the good of the objedt is defired ultimately, and 
not as the means only, in order to fomething elfe. 

To fay that we defire the good of others, only in order to 
procure fome pleafure or good to ourfelves, is to fay that there 
is no benevolent affedlion in human nature. 

This indeed has been the opinion of fome Philofophers, both 
in ancient and in later times. I intend not to examine this opi- 
nion in this place, conceiving it proper to give that view of the 
principles of adlion in man, which appears to me to be jufl, be- 
fore I examine the fyflems wherein they have been miftakcn or 
mifreprefented. 

I obferve only at prefent, that it appears as unreafonahle to 
refolve all our benevolent affections into felf-love, as it would 
be to refolve hunger and thirfl into felf-love. 

Thefe appetites are neceflary for the prefervation of the indi- 
vidual. Benevolent affedlions are no lefs neceffary for the pre- 
fervation of fociety among men, without which man would be- 
come an eafy prey to the beafts of the field. 

We are placed in this world, by the Author of our being, 
furrounded with many objedls that are neceffiry or ufeful to us, 
and with many that may hurt us. We are led, not by rcafon and 
felf-love only, but by many inlHnds, and appetites, and natural 
defires, to feek the former and to avoid the latter. 

T 2 Bur 



148 ESSAY HI. 

CHAP. III. But of all the things of this world, mau may be the mofl ufe- 
"^ ful, or the moft hurtful to man. Every man is in the power of 

every man with whom he lives. Every man has power to do 
much good to his fellow-men, and to do more hurt. 

We cannot live without the fociety of men ; and it would be 
impoffible to live in fociety, if men were not difpofed to do 
much of that good to men, and but little of that hurt, which it 
is in their power to do. 

But how fhall this end, fo neceflary to the exiftence of human 
fociety, and confequently to the exiftence of the human fpecies, 
be accompliihed ? 

If we judge from analogy, we muft conclude, that in this, as 
in other parts of our conduit, our rational principles are aided 
by principles of an inferior order, fimilar to thofe by which ma- 
ny brute animals live in fociety with their fpecies ; and that by 
means of fuch principles, that degree of regularity is obferved, 
which we find in all focieties of men, whether wife or foolifh, 
virtuous or vicious. 

The benevolent affedions planted in human nature, appear 
therefore no lefs neceffary for the prefervation of the human 
fpecies, than the appetites of hunger and thirfl. 



CHAP. IV. 

Of the particular Benevolent AffeB'tons. 

HAVING premifed thefe things in general concerning be- 
nevolent affediions, I ihall now attempt fome enumera- 
tion of them. 

I. The 



OF PARTICULAR BENEVOLENT AFFECTIONS. 149 

I. The firj] 1 mention Is tlint of parents and cliildrcn, and o- CHAP. iv. 
thcr near relations. """ '""^"^ 

This we commonly call natural affedion. Every language 
has a name for it. It is common to us with moft of the brute- 
animals J and is varioufly modified in different animals, accor- 
ding as it is more or Icfs nccellary for the prcfervation of the 
fpecies. 

Many of the infect-tribe need no other care of parents, than 
that the eggs be laid in a proper place, where they iliall have 
neither too little nor too much heat, and where the animal, as 
foon as it is hatched, ftiall find its natural food. This care the 
parent takes, and no more. 

In other tribes, the young mufl be lodged in fome fecret place, 
where they cannot be eafily difcovered by their enemies. They 
rnuft be cheriflied by the warmth of the parent's body. They 
mull be fuckled, and fed at firft with tender food ; attended in 
their excurfions, and guarded from danger, till they have learn- 
ed by experience, and by the example of their parents, to pro- 
vide for their own fubfirtence and fafety. With what afllduity 
and tender affection this is done by the parents, in every fpecies 
that requires it, is well known. 

The eggs of the feathered tribe are commonly hatched by in- 
cubation of the dam, who leaves off at once her fprightly mo- 
tions and migrations, and confines herfelf to her folitary and 
painful talk, cheered by the fong of her mate upon a neighbour- 
ing bough, and fometimes fed by him, fomctinies relieved in 
her incubation, while (lie gathers a fcanty meal, and with the 
greateft difpatch returns to her port. 

The young birds of many fjiecies are fo very tender and deli- 
cate, that man, with all his wifdom and experience, would not 

be 



I50 



ESSAY III. 



CHAP. IV. be able to rear one to maturity. But the parents, without any 
experience, know perfectly how to rear fometimes a dozen or 
more at one brood, and to give every one its portion in due fea- 
fon. They know the food beft fuited to their delicate confll- 
tution, which is fometimes afforded by nature^, fometimes muft 
be cooked and half digefted in the flomach of the parent. 

In fome animals, nature hath furnifhed the female with a kind 
of fecond womb, into which the young retire occafionally, for 
food, warmth, and the conveniency of being carried about with 
the mother. 

It would be endlefs to recou-nt all the various ways in which 
the parental affedtion is exprefled by brute-animals. 

He muft, in my apprehenfion, have a very flrange complexion 
of underftanding, who can furvey the various ways in which the 
young of the various fpecies are reared, without wonder, with- 
out pious admiration of that manifold wifdom, which hath fo 
fkilfully fitted means to ends, in fuch an infinite variety of ways. 

In all the brute-animals we are acquainted with, the end of 
the parental affedion is completely anfwered in a fliort time ; 
and then it ceafes as if it had never been. 

The infancy of man is longer and more helplefs than that of 
any other animal. The parental affedlion is neceffary for many 
years j it is highly ufeful through life^ and therefore it termi- 
nates only with life. It extends to children's children without 
any diminution of its force. 

How common is it to fee a young woman, in the gayefl; period 
of life, who has fpent her days in mirth, and her nights in profound 
fleep, without foUicitude or care, all at once transformed into 
the careful, the folicitous, the watchful nurfe of her dear in- 
fant : 



OF PARTICULAR BENEVOLENT AFFECTIONS. 151 

flint : doing nothing by day but gazing upon it, and fcrving it Sll^Il!^* 
in the meaneft oflices ; by night, depriving hcrfelf of found flecp 
for months, that it may lie Cafe in her arms. Forgetful of her- 
felf,- her whole care is centered in this little ohjed. 

Such a fudden transformation of her whole habits, and occu- 
pation, and turn of mind, if we did not fee it every day, would 
appear a more wonderful mctamorphofis than any that Ovid has 
defcribed. 

This, however, is the work of nature, and not the effed of 
rcafon and refledion. For we fee it in the good and in the bad, 
in the moll thoughtlefs, as well as in the thoughtful. 

Nature has afllgned different departments to the father and 
mother in rearing their offspring. This may be feen in many 
brute-animals; and that it is fo in the human fpecies, was long 
ago obferved by Socrates, and mofl beautifully illuftrated by 
him, as we learn from Xenophon's Oeconom'icks. The parental 
affecftion in the different fexes is exadly adapted to the ollice 
affigned to each. The father would make an awkward nurfe to 
a new-bom child, and the mother too indulgent a guardian. But 
both adl with propriety and grace in their proper fphere. 

It is very remarkable, that when the office of rearing a child 
is transferred from the parent to another perfon, nature feems 
to transfer the affedion along with the office. A wet nurfe, or 
even a dry nurfe, has commonly the fame affedion for her nurf- 
ling, as if fhe had bom it. The fad is fo well known that 
nothing needs be faid to confirm it 3 and it feems to be the work 
of nature. 

Our affedlons are not immediately in our power, as our out- 
ward adions are. Nature has direded them to certain objeds. 

We 



152 ESSAY III. 

CHAP IV. ^^\TQ jnay do kind offices without affedion i but we cannot create 
an affedion which nature has not given. 

Reafon might teach a man that his children are particularly 
committed to his care by the providence of God, and, on that 
account, that he ought to attend to them as his particular 
charge ; but reafon could not teach him to love them more than 
other children of equal merit, or to be more afflidled for their 
misfortunes or mifbehaviour. 

It is evident, therefore, that that peculiar fenfibility of affec- 
tion, with regard to his own children, is not the effect of reafon- 
ing or reflection, but the effed: of that conllitution which na- 
ture has given him. 

There are fome affe<!^ions which we may call rational^ becaufe 
they are grounded upon an opinion of merit in the objed:. The 
parental affediou is not of this kind. For though a man's af- 
fedion to his child may be encreafed by merit, and diminifhed 
by demerit, I think no man will fay, that it took its rife from 
an opinion of merit. It is not opinion that creates the affedion, 
but affedion often creates opinion. It is apt to pervert the 
judgment, and create an opinion of merit where there is none. 

The abfolute neceflity of this parental affedion, in order to 
the continuance of the human fpecies, is fo apparent, that there 
is no need of arguments to prove it. The rearing of a child 
from its birth to maturity requires fo much time and care, and 
fuch infinite attentions, that, if it were to be done merely from 
confiderations of reafon and duty, and were not fweetened by 
affeftion in parents, nurfes and guardians, there is reafon to 
doubt, whether one child in ten thoufand would ever be reared. 

Befide the abfolute neceflity of this part of the human con- 
ftitution to the prefervation of the fpecies, its utility is very 

great 



OF PARTICULAR BENEVOLENT AFFECTIONS. 155 

great, for tempering the giddinefs and impetuofity of youth, Cir.A P. iv . 

and improving its knowledge by the prudence and experience of 

age, for encouraging induflry and frugah'ty in the parents, in 

order to provide for their children, for the folace and fupport 

of parents under the infirmities of old age ; not to mention 

that it probably gave rife to the firft civil governments. 

It does not appear that the parental, and other family affec- 
tions, are, in general, either too ftrong or too weak for anfwer- 
ing their end. If they were too weak, parents would be moft 
apt to err on the fide of undue fe verity ; if too ftrong, of un- 
due indulgence. As they are in facl, 1 believe no man can 
fay, that the errors are more general on one fide than on the 
other. 

When thefe afiedlions are exerted according to their inten- 
tion, under the diredtion of wifdom and prudence, the econo- 
my of fuch a family is a mod delightful fpedlacle, and furnifhes 
the moft agreeable and affeding fubjedl to the pencil of the 
painter, and to the pen of the orator and poet. "^ 

2. The w^x/ benevolent affedtion I mention is gratitude to be- 
nefadors. 

That good ofiices are, by the very conftitution of our nature, 
apt to produce good will towards the benefa(ftor, in good and 
bad men, in the favage and in the civilized, cannot furely be de- 
nied by any one, in the leaft acquainted with human nature. 

The danger of perverting a man's judgment by good deeds, 
where he ought to have no bias. Is fo well known, that it is 
difhonourable in judges, In witnefll-s, in eledlors to offices of 
truft, to accept of them ; and, in all civilized nations, they are, 
in fuch cafes, prohibited, as the means of corruption. 

U Tiiofe 



»54 



ESSAY III. 



CHAP. IV. Thofe who would corrupt the fentence of a judge, the tefli- 
mony of a witnefs, or the vote of an elecftor, know well, that 
they muft not make a bargain, or ftipulate what is to be done in 
return. This would fhock every man who has the leaft pre- 
tenfion to morals. If the perfon can only be prevailed upon to 
accept the good office, as a teflimony of pure and difinterefted 
friendlhip, it is left to work upon his gratitude. He finds hira- 
felf under a kind of moral obligation to confider the caufe of 
his benefador and friend in the moft favourable light. He 
finds it eafier to jullify his condudl to himfelf, by favouring the 
intereil of his benefaiflor, than by oppofing it. 

Thus the principle of gratitude is fuppofed, even in the na- 
ture of a bribe. Bad men know how to make this natural prin- 
ciple the moft effedual means of corruption. The very befl 
things may be turned to a bad ufe. But the natural texidency 
of this principle, and the intention of nature in planting it in 
the human breaft, are, evidently, to promote good-will among 
men, and to give to good offices the power of multiplying their 
kind, like feed fown in the earth, which brings a return, with 
increafe. 

Whether there be, or be not, in the more fagacious brutes, 
fomething that may be called gratitude, I will not difpute. We 
muft allow this important difference between their gratitude and 
that of the human kind, that, in the laft, the mind of the be- 
nefadlor is chiefly regarded, in the firft, the external adlion only. 
A brute-animal will be as kindly affedled to him who feeds it in 
order to kill and eat it, as to him who does it from affedion. 

A man may be juftly entitled to our gratitude, for an office 
that is ufeful, though it be, at the fame time, difagreeable ; and 
not only for doing, but for forbearing what he had a right to 
do. Among men, it is not every beneficial office that claims 
our gratitude, but fuch only as are not due to us in juftice. A 

favour 



OF PARTICULAR BENEVOLENT AFFECTIONS. 155 

favour alone gives a claim to gratitude ; and a favour muft be chap. jv. 

fomcthing more than juftice requires. It does not appear that 

brutes have any conception of juftice. They can neither diflin- 

guifli hurt from injury, nor a favour from a good office that is 

due. 

3. A third natural benevolent affedion is pity and compaflioii 
towards the diftrefled. 

Of all perfons, thofe in diftrefs ftand mod in need of our 
good otTices. And, for that reafon, the Author of nature hath 
planted in the breaft of every human creature a powerful advo- 
cate to plead their caufe. 

In man, and in fome other animals, there are figns of diftrefs, 
which nature hath both taught them to ufe, and taught all men 
to underlland without any interpreter. Thefe natural figns are 
more eloquent than language ; they move our hearts, and pro- 
duce a fympathy, and a defire to give relief. 

There are few hearts fo hard, but great diftrefs will conquer 
their anger, their indignation, and every malevolent affedion. 

We fympathife even with the traitor and with the afta/TIn, when 
we fee him led to execution. It is only felf-prefervation, and 
the public good, that makes us reludantly aflent to his being cut 
off from among men. 

The pradlice of the Canadian nations toward their prifoners 
would tempt one to think, that they have been able to root out 
the principle of compafllon from their nature. But this, I ap- 
prehend, would be a rafti conclufion. It is only a part of the 
prifoners of war that they devote to a cruel death. This grati- 
fies the revenge of the women and children who h.ave loft their 

U 2 hulbaud'; 



156 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. IV. hulbands and fathers in the v/ar. The other pri loners are khul- 
ly ufed, and adopted as brethren. 

Compaflion with bodily pain is no doubt weakened among 
thefe favages, becaufe they are trained from their infancy to be 
fuperior to death, and to every degree of pain ; and he is 
thouglit unworthy of the name of a man, who cannot defy his 
tormentors, and fing his death-fbng in the midft of the moft 
cruel tortures. He who can do this, is honoured as a brave 
man, though an enemy. But he mud perifli in the experiment. 

A Canadian has the mofi: perfedl contempt for every man who 
thinks pain an intolerable evil. And nothing is fo apt to flifle 
compaflion as contempt, and an apprehenlion, that the evil fuf- 
fered is nothing but what ought to be manfully borne. 

It muft alfo be obferved, that favages fet no bounds to their 
revenge. Thofe who find no protedion in laws and government 
never think themfelves fafe, but in the deftrudlion of their ene- 
my. And one of the chief advantages of civil government is, 
that it tempers the cruel paffion of revenge, and opens the 
heart to compaflion with every human woe. 

It feems to be falfe religion only, that is able to check the tear 
of compaflion. 

We are told, that, in Portugal and Spain, a man condemned to 
be burned as an obftinate heretick, meets with no compaflion, 
even from the multitude. It is true, they are taught to look 
upon him as an enemy to God, and doomed to hell-fire. But 
Ihould not this very circumftance move compaflion ? Surely it 
would, if they were not taught, that, in this cafe, it is a crime 
to fliew compaflion, or even to feel it. 

4. A fourth benevolent affedion is, efleem of the wife and the 
good» 

The 



OF PARTICULAR BENEVOLENT AFFECTIONS. 157 

The word: men cannot avoid feeling this in fome degree. CITAP. iv. 
Eftecm, veneration, devotion, are different degrees of the fame ' ' ~^ 
urtec'lion. The perfedion of -wirdom, power and goodnefs, 
which belongs only tu the Almighty, is the objed of the liO. 

It may be a doubt, whether this principle of efleem, as well as 
that of gratitude, ought to be ranked in the order of animal prin- 
ciples, or if they ought not rather to be placed in a higher or- 
der. They are certainly more allied to the rational nature than ' 
the others that have been named ; nor is it evident, that there 
is any thing in brute-animals that delerves the fame name. 

There is indeed a fubordination in a herd of cattle, and in a 
flock of fheep, which, I believe, is determined by ftrength and 
courage, as it is among lavage tribes of men. I have been in- 
formed, that, in a pack of hounds, a ftanch hound acquires a 
degree of efteem in the pack ; fo that, when the xlogs arc wan- 
dering in queft of the fcent, if he opens, the pack immediately 
clofes in with him, \?hen they would not regard the opening of 
a dog of no reputation. This is fomething like a refpedl to 
wifdom. 

But I have placed efteem of the wife and good in the order of 
animal principles, not from any perfuafion that it is to be found 
in brute-animals, but becaufe, I think, it appears in the mod un- 
improved and in the moft degenerate part of our fpecies, even 
in thofe in whom we hardly perceive any exertion, either of rea- 
fon or virtue. 

I will not, however, difpute with any man who thinks that it 
deferves a more honourable name than that of an animal prin- 
ciple. It is of fmall importance what name we give it, if we 
are fatisfied that there is fuch a principle in the human conftl- 
tution. 

5. Friendfliip 



X 



158 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. IV. ^. Friendfliip is another benevolent affedtion. 

Of this we have fome inftances famous in hlftory : Few in- 
deed ; but fufficient to fhew, that human nature is fufceptlble 
of that extraordinary attachment, fympathy and affedllon, to 
one or a few perfons, which the ancients thought alone worthy 
of the name of friendfhip. 

The Epicureans found it very difficult to reconcile the ex- 
Iftence of friendfhip to the principles of their fedl. They were 
not fo bold as to deny its exiftence. They even boafted that 
there had been more attachments of that kind between Epicure- 
ans than in any other fed. But the difficulty was, to account 
for real friendfhip upon Epicurean principles. They went into 
different hypothefes upon this point, three of which are explained 
by ToRQUATUs the Epicurean, in Cicero's book, De Finibus. 

Cicero, in his reply to ToRquATUs, examines all the three, 
and {hews them all to be either Inconfiflent with the nature of 
true friendfhip, or inconfiflent with the fundamental principles 
of the Epicurean fed:. 

As to the friendfhip which the Epicureans boafled of among 
thofe of their fed, Cicero does not queftlon the fad, but ob- 
ferves, that, as there are many vvhofe pradice is worfe than 
their principles, fo there are fome wliofe principles are worfe 
than their pradice, and that the bad principles of thefe Epicu- 
reans were overcome by the goodnefs of their nature. 

6. Among the benevolent affedions, the paflion of love be- 
tween the fexes cannot be overlooked. 

Although it is commonly the theme of Poets, it is not un- 
worthy of the pen of the Philofopher, as it is a moft important 
part of the human confHtution. 

It 



OF PARTICULAR BENEVOLENT AFFECTIONS. 159 

It is no doubt made up of various ingredients, as many other CHAP. iv. 
principles ot action are, but it certainly cannot exifl without a 
very flrong benevolent affcrtion toward its objedl ; in whom it 
finds, or conceives, every thing that is amiable and excellent, 
and even fomething more than human. I confider it here, only 
as a benevolent affedion natural to man. And that it is lb, no 
man can doubt who ever felt its force. 

It is evidently intended by nature to dired a man in the 
choice of a mate, with whom he defires to live, and to rear an 
offspring. 

It has effedually fecured this end in all ages, and in every 
(late of fociety. 

The paflion of love, and the parental affecftion, are counter- 
parts to each other ; and when they are conduded with pru- 
dence, and meet with a proper return, are the fource of all do- 
mcftic felicity, the greatelt, next to that of a good coafcience, 
which this world affords. 

As, in the prefent ftate of things, pain often dwells near to 
pleafure, and forrov? to joy, it needs not be thought ftrange, 
tliat a paffion, fitted and intended by nature to yield the great- 
eft worldly felicity, ftioiild, by being ill regulated, or wrong di- 
reded, prove the occafion of the moft pungent diftrefs. 

But its joys and its griefs, its different modifications in the 
different fexes, and its influence upon the charader of both, 
though very important fubjeds, are fitter to be fung than faid ; 
and I leave them to thofe who have llept upon the two-topped 
Parnaffus. 

7. The /o/? benevolent affedion I fhall mention is, what we 

commonly 



170 



ESSAY III. 



CHAP. IV. commonly call public fpirit, that is, an affediion to any coramu- 
nity to which we belong. 

If there be any man quite deftitute of this affedlion, he muft 
be as great a monfter as a man born with two heads. Its ef- 
fects are manifefl in the whole of human life, and in the hiftory 
of all nations. 

The lituatlon of a great part of mankind, indeed, is fuch, 
that their thoughts and views muft be confined within a very 
narrow fphere, and be very much engrofled by their private con- 
cerns. With regard to an extenfive public, fuch as a ftate or 
nation, they are like a drop to the ocean, fo that they have rare- 
ly an opportunity of acting with a view to it. 

In many, whofe adlions may affed the public, and whofe rank 
and ftation lead them to think of it, private paflions may be an 
overmatch for public fpirit. All that can be inferred from this 
is, that their public fpirit is weak, not that it does not exift. 

If a man wifhes well to the public, and is ready to do good 
to it rather than hurt, when it cofts him nothing, he has fome 
affedtion to it, though it may be fcandaloufly weak in degree. 

I believe every man has it in one degree or another. What 
man is there who does not refent fatyrical refledions upon his 
country, or upon any community of which he is a member .'' 

Whether the affedlion Ije to a college or to a cloifter, to a 
clan or to a profefTion, to a party or to a nation, it is public 
fpirit, Thefe affedlions differ, not in kind, but in the extent of 
their objed;. 

The objedl extends as our connedions extend j and a fenfe of 

the 



OF PARTICULAR BENEVOLENT AFFECTIONS. i5i 

the connection carries the affcdlon along with It to every com- CHAT, iv.^ 
munity to which we can apply the pronouns we and our. 

Friend, parent, neighbour, firfl it will embrace, 
His country next, and then all human race. Pope. 

Even in the mifanthrope, this afFcdlon Is not extlngulflied. 
It is overpowered by the apprehenfjon he has of the worthlefs- 
nefs, the bafenefs, and the ingratitude of mankind. Convince 
him, that there is any amiable quality in the fpecies, and imme- 
diately his philanthropy revives, and rejoices to find an objedl 
on which it can exert Itfelf. 

Public rpirit has this in common with every fubordinate prin- 
ciple of adion, that, when It is not under the government of 
reafon and virtue, it may produce much evil as well as good. 
Yet, where there is leaft of reafon and virtue, to regulate it, its 
good far overbalances its ill. 

It foraetlmes kindles or inflames animofitles between commu- 
nities, or contending parties, and makes them treat each other 
•with little regard to juftice. It kindles wars between nations, 
and makes them deftroy one another for trifling caufes. But, 
without it, fociety could not fublift, and every community 
would be a rope of fand. 

When under the diredion of reafon and virtue, It is the very 
image of God in the foul. It difTufes its benign influence as 
far as its power extends, and participates in the happinefs of 
God, and of the whole creation. 

Thefe are the benevolent affedions which appear to me to be 
parts of the human conflitiition. 

If any one thinks the enumeration incomplete, and that there 

X are 



i62 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. IV. are natural benevolent affections, which are not included under 
any of thoie that have been named, I fliall very readily liften to 
fuch a corredion, being fenfible that fuch enumerations are 
very often incomplete. 

If others fhould think that any, or all, the afFedions I have 
named, are acquired by education, or by habits and aflbciations 
grounded on felf-love, and are not original parts of our conftitu- 
tion; this is a point upon which, indeed, there has been much 
fabtile difputation in ancient and modern times, and which, I 
believe, muft be determiined from what a man, by careful re- 
fledlion, may feel in himfelf, rather than from what he obferves 
in others. But I decline entering into this difpute, till I fhall 
have explained that principle of action which we commonly call 
felf-love. 

I fhall conclude this fubjed with fome reflections upon the 
benevolent affedions. 

The 7?/)? is, That all of them, in as far as they are benevo- 
lent, in which view only I consider them, .agree very much in 
the condud they difpofe us to, with regard to their objedls. 

They difpofe us to do them good as far as we have power and 
opportunity ), to wifli them well, when we can do them no good j 
to judge favourably, and often partially, of them ; to fympa- 
thife with them in their afflidions and calamities ; and to rejoice 
with them in their happineis and good fortune. 

It is Impoflible that there can be benevolent affedlion without 
fympathy, both with the good and bad fortune of the objed ; 
and it appears to be impoflible that there can be fympathy with- 
out benevolent afFedlion. Men do not fyrapathife with one 
whom they hate ; nor even with one to whofe good or ill they 
are perfedtly indifferent.. 

We may fympathife with a perfcd flranger, or even with an 

enemy 



OF PARTICULAR BENEVOLENT AFFECTIONS. 163 

enemy whom vvc fee In diflrefs ; but this is the effed of pity ; Cfl\ ?.iv\ 
and if \vc did not pity him, \vc fhould not fympathife with him. 

1 take notice of this the rather, becaufe a very ingenious au- 
thor in his Theory of Moral Sentiments, gives a very (hfferent ac- 
count of the origin of fympathy. It appears to me to be the 
efrccH: of benevolent afFedUon, and to be infeparable from it. 

K ftcond reflecftion is, That the coiiftitution of our nature 
very powerfully invites us to cheriih and cultivate in our mintls 
the benevolent alTedions. 

The agreeable feeling which always attends them as a prefent 
reward, appears to be intended by nature for this purpofc. 

Benevolence, from its nature, compofes the mind, warms the 
heart, enlivens the whole frame, and brightens every feature of 
the countenance. It may juftly be faid to be medicinal both to 
foul and body. We are bound to it by duty ; w-e are invited to it 
by intereft ; and becaufe both thefe cords are often feeble, we have 
natural kind affedions to aid them in their operation, and fup- 
ply their defeds ; and thefe affedlions are joined with a manly 
pleafure in their exertion, 

A third refledion is. That the natural benevolent affcdions 
fumllh the mofl irrefiftible proof, that the Author of our na- 
ture intencled that we fliould live in fociety, and do good to our 
fellow-men as we have opportunity ; fince this great and im- 
portant part of the human conftitution has a manifefl relation to 
fociety, and can have no exercife nor ufe in a folitary flate. 

The Iq/i refledion is. That the different principles of ad:ion 
have different degrees of dignity, and rife one above another 
in our eftimation, when we make them objeds of contempla- 
tion. 

X 2 We 



i54 ESSAY III. 

pH^ P-^; We afcribe no dignity to inftlnds or to habits. They lead 
us only to admire the wifdom of the Creator, in adapting them 
fo perfedtly to the manner of life of the different animals in 
which they are found. Mach the fame may be faid of appe- 
tites. They ferve rather for ufe than ornament. 

The defires of knowledge, of power, and of efteem, rife high- 
er in our eftimation, and we confider them as giving dignity 
and ornament to man. The adlions proceeding from them, 
though not properly virtuous, are manly and refpedtable, and 
claim a jufl fuperiority over thofe that proceed merely from ap- 
petite. This I think is the uniform judgment of mankind. 

If we apply the fime kind of judgment to our benevolent 
affedlions, they appear not only manly and refpectable, but ami- 
able in a high degree. 

They are amiable even in brute-animals. We love the meek^^ 
nefs of the lamb, the gentlenefs of the dove, the affedion of a 
dog to his mafter. We cannot, without pleafure, obferve the ti'- 
mid ewe, v/ho never fhewed the leafl degree of courage in her 
own defence, become valiant and intrepid in defence of her 
lamb, and boldly aflault thofe enemies, the very fight of whom 
was wont to put her to flight. 

How pleafant is it to lee the family economy of a pair of 
little birds in rearing their tender offspring ; the conjugal affec- 
tion and fidelity of the parents ; their cheerful toil and induftry 
in providing food to their family j their fagacity in concealing 
their habitation ; the arts they ufe, often at the peril of their 
own lives, to decoy hawks, and other enemies, from their dwel- 
ling-place, and the afflicSlion they feel when fome unlucky boy 
has robbed them of the dear pledges of their affedlion, and frur 
illrated all their hopes of their riling family ? 

If 



OF PARTICULAR BENEVOLENT AFFECTIONS. 165 

If kind afTedion be amiable in brutes, it is not lefs Co in our CTIAP . Tv.^ 
own fpccics. Even the external figns of it have a powerful 
charm. 

Every one knows that a perfon of accompliflied good breed- 
ing, channs every one he converfes with. And what is this 
good breeding ? If we analyze it, we fhall find it to be made up 
of looks, geflurcs and fpeeches, which are the natural ligns of be- 
nevolence and good ufTecftion. He who has got the habit of 
ufing thefe figns with propriety, and without meannefs, is a 
■well-bred and a polite man. 

What is that beauty in the features of the face, particularly of 
the fair fex, which all men love and admire ? I believe it con- 
fifts chiefly in the features which indicate good affedlions. Eve- 
ry indication of meeknefs, gentlenefs, and benignity, is a beauty. 
On the contrary, every feature that indicates pride, pafllon, envy, 
and malignity, is a deformity. 

Kind affecftions, therefore, are amiable in brutes. Even the 
figns and ftiadows of them are highly attradtive in our own fpe- 
cies. Indeed tliey are the joy and the comfort of human life, 
not to good men only, but even to the vicious and dilfolutc. 

Without fociety, and the intercourfe of kind affeclion, man is 
a gloomy, melancholy and joylefs being. His mind opprefled 
with cares and fears, he cannot enjoy the balm of found fleep : 
in conftant dread of impending danger, he ftarts at the rufiling 
of a leaf. His ears are continually upon> the ftretch, and every 
zephyr brings fome found that alarms him. 

When he enters into fociety, and feels fecurity in the good af- 
fedion of friends and neighbours, it is then only that his fear 

vanifhes. 



^S6 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. IV. vanirties, and his mind is at eafe. His courage is raifed, his un- 
' " ' derftanding is enlightened, and his heart dilates with joy. 

Human fociety may be compared to a heap of embers, which 
when placed afunder, can retain neither their light nor heat, 
amidfl the furrounding elements ; but when brought together 
they mutually give heat and light to each other ; the flame breaks 
forth, and not only defends itfelf, but fubdues every thing a- 
roimd it. » 

The fecurity, the happinefs, and the ftrength of human fociety, 
fpring folely from the reciprocal benevolent affedions of its 
members. 

The benevolent affedlions, though they be all honourable and 
lovely, are not all equally fo. There is a fubordination among 
them J and the honour we pay to them generally correfponds to 
the extent of their objed. 

The good hufband, the good father, the good friend, the good 
neighbour, we honour as a good man, worthy of our love and af- 
fedion. But the man in whom thefe more private affedions 
are fwallowed up in zeal for the good of his country, and of 
mankind, who goes about doing good, and feeks opportunities 
of being ufeful to his fpecies, we revere as more than a good 
man, as a hero, as a good angel. 



CHAP. V. 
Of Malevolent AffeElion. 

AR E there, in the conftitution of man, any affedions that 
may be called malevolent f What are they ? And what is 
their ufe and end ? 

To 



OF MALEVOLENT AFFECTION. 167 

To me there feem to be two, which we may call by that name. CHAP. v. 
They are einul.ition and rclentincnt. Thefc 1 take to be parts 
of the human conllitution, given us Ijy our Maker for good ends, 
and, -when properly dirccled and regulated, of excellent ufe. 
But, as their excefs or abufe, to which human nature is very 
prone, is the fource and fpring of all the malevolence that is to 
be found among men, it is on that account 1 call them male- 
volent. 

If any man thinks that they defcrve a foftcr name, fincc they 
may be excrcifed according to the intention of nature, without 
malevolence, to this I have no objeQion. 

By emulation, I mean, a defire of fuperiorlty to our rivals in 
any purfuit, accompanied with an uneafinefs at being fur- 
pa fled. 

Human life has juftly been compared to a race. The prize 
is fuperiority in one kind or another. But the fpecies or forms 
(if I may ufe the exprtllion) of fuperiority among men are in- 
finitely diverfirted. 

There is no man fo contemptible In his own eyes, as to hin- 
der him from entering the lills in one form or another ; and he 
^\l\ always fmd competitors to rival him in his own way. 

We fee emulation among brute-animals. Dogs and horfes 
contend each with his kind in the race. Many animals of the 
gregarious kind contend for fuperiority in their flock or herd, 
and fhew manifefi: figns of jealoufy when others pretend to ri- 
val them. 

The emulation of tlie brute-animals is moHly confined to 
fwiftnefs, or ftrength, or favour witli their fen)alcs. But the 
emulation of the human kind has a much wider field. 



In 



i68 ESSAY III. 

CHAP.v. In every profeflion, and in every accompHfliment of body or 
mind, real or imaginary, there are rivalfliips. Literary men 
rival one another in literary abilities. Artifts in their feveral 
arts. The fair fex in their beauty and attractions, and in the 
refpedl paid them by the other fex. 

In every political fociety, from a petty corporation up to the 
national adminillration, there is a rivalfhip for power and in- 
fluence. 

Men have a natural defire of power without refpedl to the 
power of others. This we call ambition. But the defire of fu- 
periority, either in power, or in any thing we think worthy of 
eftimation, has a relpe(5t to rivals, and is what we properly call 

eviulation. 

The flronger the defire is, the more pungent will be the un- 
•eafinefs of being found behind, and the mind will be the more 
hurt by this humiliating view. 

Emulation has a manifefl tendency to improvement. With- 
out it life would ftagnate, and the difcoveries of art and genius 
would be at a ftand. This principle produces a conftant fer- 
mentation in fociety, by which, though dregs may be produced, 
the better part is purified and exalted to a perfe(Sion, which it 
could not otherwife attain. 

We have not fufficient data for a comparifon of the good and 
bad effed:s which this principle adually produces in fociety ; 
but there is ground to think of this, as of other natural princi- 
ples, that the good overbalances the ill. As far as it is under 
the dominion of reafon and virtue, its effeds are always good ', 
when left to be guided by palliou and folly, they are often very 
bad. 

Reafon 



OF MALEVOLENT AFFECTION. t6^ 

Reafon direds us to ftrive for fuperiority, only in tliinj^s that CHAP, v.^ 
have real excellence, otlierwife we fpend our labour for that 
which profiteth not. To value ourfelves for fuperiority in 
things that have no real worth, or none compared with what 
they coft, is to be vain of our own folly ; and to be uneafy at 
the fuperiority of others in fuch things, is no lefs ridiculous. 

Reafon diredls us to flrive for fuperiority only in things in 
our power, and attainable by our exertion, otherwife we fliall 
be like the frog in the fable, who fwelled herfelf till (he burft, 
in order to equal the ox in magnitude. 

To check all defire of things not attainable, and every uneafy 
thought in the want of them, is an obvious dictate of prudence, 
as well as of virtue and religion. 

If emulation be regulated by fuch maxims of reafon, and all 
undue partiality to ourfelves be laid afide, it will be a powerful 
principle of our improvement, without hurt to any other perfon. 
It will give ftrength to the nerves, and vigour to the mind, in eve- 
ry noble and manly purfuit. 

But dlfmal are its effedls, when it is no*: under thedirecftionof 
reafon and virtue. It has often the moft malignant influence 
on mens opinions, on their affedtions, and on their adions. 

It Is an old obfervation, that affedion follows opinion; and it 
is undoubtedly true in many cafes. A man cannot be grateful 
without the opinion of a favour done him. He cannot have de- 
liberate refentment without the opinion of an injury; nor efteem 
without the opinion of fome elUmable quality ; nor compaliion 
without the opinion of fuffering. 

But it is no lefs true, that opln-on fometimes follows afTcdion, 
not that it ought, but that it adually does fo, by giving a faife 

Y bias 



lyo ESSAY III. 

CHAP, v.^ ijjas to our judgment. We are apt to be partial to our friends, 
and flill more to onrfelves. 

Hence the defire of fuperiorlty leads men to put an undue 
efllmation upon thofe things wherein they excel, or think they 
excel. And, by this means, pride may feed itlelf upon the very 
dregs of human nature. 

The fame defire of fuperiority may lead men to undervalue 
thofe things wherein they either defpair of excelling, or care 
not to make the exertion neceflary for that end. The grapes 
are four, faid the fox, when he faw them beyond his reach. The 
fame principle leads men to detract from the merit of others, 
and to impute their brighteft adions to mean or bad motives. 

He who runs a race feels uneafinefs at feeing another out- 
ftrip him. This is uncorrupted nature, and the work of God 
within him. But this uneafinefs may produce either of two ve- 
ry different effeds. It may incite him to make more vigorous 
exertions, and to flrain every nerve to get before his rival. 
This is fair and honefl emulation. This is the effecft it is in-- 
tended to produce. But if he has not fairnefs and candour of 
heart, he will look with an evil eye upon his competitor, and 
will endeavour to trip him, or to throw a ftumbling-block in his 
way. This is pure envy, the moft malignant paflion that can 
lodge In the human breaft j which devours, as its natural food, 
the fame and the happinefs of thofe who are moft deferving of 
our efleem. 

If there be, in feme men, a pronenefs to detrad from the 
charadler, even of perfons unknown, or indifferent, in others an 
avidity to hear and to propagate fcandal, to v,'hat principle in 
human nature muft we afcribe thefe qualities ? The failings of 
others furely add nothing to our worth, nor are they, in them- 
felves, a pleafant fubjed of thought or of difcourfe. But they 

flatter 



OF MALEVOLENT AFFECTION. 171 

flatter pride, by giving an opinion of our fuperiority to thofe p^^^J- ^; 
from whom we detracit. 

Is it not poflible, that the fame defire of fuperiority may liave 
fome fecret influence upon thofe „who love to difplay their elo- 
quence in declaiming upon the corruption of human nature, 
and the wickednefs, fraud and infincerity of mankind in gene- 
ral ? It ought always to be taken for granted, that the declaimer 
is an exception to the general rule, otherwife he would rather 
chuie, even for his own fake, to draw a veil over the nakednefs 
of his fpecies. But, hoping that his audience will be fo civil as 
not to include him In the black defcription, he rifes fuperior by 
the deprefllon of the fpecies, and (lands alone, like Noah in the 
antediluvian world. This looks like envy agalnft the human 
race. 

It would be endlefs, and no ways agreeable, to enumerate all 
the evils and all the vices which paflion and folly beget upon 
emulation. Here, as in mofl cafes, the corruption of the bed 
things is the worft. In brute-animals, emulation has little matter 
to work upon, and its effeds, good or bad, are few. It may pro- 
duce battles of cocks and battles of bulls, and little elfe that is 
obfervablc. But in mankind, It has an infinity of matter to 
work upon, and its good or bad effects, according as it is well or 
ill regulated and directed, multiply in proportion. 

The conclufion to be drawn from what has been faid upon 
this principle is. That emulation, as far as it is a part of 
our conftitution, is highly ufeful and important in fociety ; that 
in the wife and good, it produces the bcft effedls without any 
harm ; but in the foolifh and vicious, it is the parent of a great 
part of the evils of life, and of the moft malignant vices that 
ftain human nature. 

We are next to confider refentmcnt. 

Y a Nature 



17^ 



ESSAY HI. 



CHAP. V. Nature difpofes US, when we are hurt, to refift and retaliate, 
Befides the bodily pain occafioned by the hurt, the mind Is 
ruffled, and a defire raifed to retaliate upon the author of the 
hurt or injury. This, in general, is what we call anger or refent- 
ment. 

A very important diftindlion is made by Bifhop Butler "be- 
tween fudden refentment, which is a blind impulfe arifing from 
our conilitution, and that which is deliberate. The firfl may 
be raifed by hurt of any kind 5 but the laft can only be raiftd by 
injury real or conceived. 

The fame diftindlion is made by Lord Kames in his Elements 
of Critic'ifm. What Butler calls fudden, he calls infmnive. 

We have not, in common language, different names for thefe 
different kinds of refentment; but the diftindlion is very necef- 
fary, in order to our having jufl notions of this part of the hu- 
man conftitution. It correfponds perfedly with the diilinction 
I have made between the animal and rational principles of ac- 
tion. For this fudden or inftindlive refentment, is an animal 
principle common to us with brute-animals. But that refent- 
ment which the authors I have named call deliberate, muft fall 
under the clafs of rational principles. 

It is to be obferved, however, that, by referring it to that clafs, 
I do not mean, that it is always kept within the bounds that rea- 
fon prefcribes, but only that it is proper to man as a reafonable 
being, capable, by his rational faculties,, of diftinguifliing be- 
tween hurt and injury. ; a dillin<5lion which no brute-animal can 
make. 

Both thefe kinds of refentment are raifed, whether the hurt 
or injury be done to ourlelves, or to thole we are interefted in. 

Wherever 



OF MALEVOLENT AFFECTIONS 173 

Wherever there Is any hencvolent aflcdion towards others, chap. v. 
we relent their wrongs, hi proportion to the rtrength of our af- 
fedion. Pity and lynipatliy with the fufTcrer, produce rcfent- 
mcnt againh the author of the fuffcring, as naturally as concern 
for ourfelves produces rcfentment of our own wrongs. 

I fliall full confider that rcfentment which I call animal, which 
BuTL£R calls fudJai, and Lord Kames injlin^ive. 

In every animal to which nature hath given the power oF 
hurting its enemy, we fee an endeavour to retaliate the ill that 
is done to it. Even a moufe will bite when it cannot run away. 

Perhaps there may be fome animals to whom nature hath 
given no offenfive weapon. To fuch, anger and refentmenc 
■would be of no ufe ; and I believe we fliall find, that they never 
Ihew any fign of it. But there are few of this kind. 

Some of the more fagacious animals can be provoked to fierce 
anger, and retain it long. Many of them fhcw great animofity 
in defending their young, who hardly ftiew any in defending 
themfelves. Others refift every aflault made upon the flock or 
herd to which they belong. Bees defend their hive, wild beafls 
their den, and birds their nelL 

This fudden rcfentment operates In a fimilar manner in men 
and in brutes, and appears to be given by nature to both for the 
fame end, namely, for defence, even in cafes where there is no 
time for deliberation. It may be compared to that natural \\\- 
ftind, by which a man, who has loft his balance and begins to 
fall, makes a fudden and violent effort to recover hiuifclf, with- 
out uny intention or deliberation. 

In. fuch efforts, men. often exert a degree of mufcular flrength 

beyond 



174 ESSAY III. 

^'-^^^- '^i beyond what they are able to exert by a cahn determination of 
the will, and thereby fave themfelves from many a dangerous 
fail. 

By a like violent and fudden impulfe, nature prompts us to re- 
pel hurt upon the caufe of it, whether it be man or beaft. The 
inflindl before mentioned is folely defenfive, and is prompted by 
fear. This fudden refentment is offenlive, and is prompted by 
anger, but with a view to defence. 

Man, in his prefent ftate, is furrounded with fo many dangers 
from his own fpecies, from brute-animals, from every thing 
around him, that he has need of fome defenfive armour that fhall 
always be ready in the moment of danger. His reafon is of 
great ufe for this purpofe, when there is time to apply it. But, 
in many cafes, the mifchief would be done before reafon could 
think of the means of preventing it. 

The wifdom of nature hath provided two means to fupply this 
defedl of our reafon. One of thefe is the inftindl before men- 
tioned, by which the body, upon the appearance of danger, is 
inflantly, and without thought or intention, put in that pofture 
•which is proper for preventing the danger, orleflening it. Thus, 
we wink hard when our eyes are threatened ; we bend the body 
to avoid a ftroke j we make a fudden effort to recover our ba- 
lance, when in danger of falling. By fuch means we are guard- 
ed from many dangers which our reafon would come too late to 
prevent. 

But as offenfive arms are often the fureft means of defence, 
by deterring the enemy from an alTault, nature hath alfo pro- 
vided man, and other animals, with this kind of defence, by that 
fudden refentment of which we now fpeak, which outruns the 
quickeft determinations of reafon, and takes fire in an infl:ant, 
threatening the enemy with retaliation. 

The 



OF iMALEVOLENT AFFECTION. 175 

.: The firft of thefe principles operates upon the defender only ; CHAP. v. 
but this operates both upon the defender and the affailant, in- 
f|)iring the former with courage and animofity, and ftriking ter- 
ror into the latter. It proclaims to all alT^ilants, what our ancient 
Scottifh kings did upon their coins, by the emblem of a thilllc, 
with this motto, Nemo me impune lacejfet. By this, in innume- 
rable cafes, men and hearts are deterred from doing hurt, and 
others thereby fecured from fuffering it. 

But as refentment fuppofes an objed on whom we may reta- 
liate, how comes it to pafs, that in brutes very often, and fome- 
times in our own fpecies, we fee it wreaked upon inanimate 
things, which are incapable of furtering by it ? 

Perhaps it might be a fufficient anfwer to this queftion, That 
pature ads by general laws, which, in fome particular cafes, 
may go beyond, or fall (liort of their intention, though they be. 
ever fo well adapted to it in general. 

But I confefs It feems to me impoflible, that there fliould be 
refentment againll a thing, which at that very moment is con- 
fidered as inanimate, and confequently incapable either of in- 
tending hurt, or of being punifhed. For what can be more ab- 
furd, than to be angry with the knife for cutting me, or with 
the weight for falling upon my toes ? There muft therefore, I 
conceive, be fome momentary notion or conception that the ob- 
ject of our refentment is capable of puniihment ; and if it be 
natural, before refledion, to be angry with things inanimate, it 
feems to be a necelFary confequence, that it is natural to think; 
that they have life and feeling. 

Several phenomena in human nature lead us to conjeclure 
that, in the earlieft period of life, we are apt to think every 
object about us to be animated. Judging of them, by ourfelvcs, 
■we afcribe to them the feelings we are confcious of in ourlclvcs. 

So 



176 ESSAY in. 

CHAP. V. So we Tee a little girl judges of her doll and of her 'play-things. 
And fo we fee rude nations judge of the heavenly bodies, of the 
elements, and of the fea, rivers, and fountains. 

If this be fo, it ought not to be faid, that by reafon and expe- 
rience, we learn to afcribe life and intelligence to things which 
we before confidered as inanimate. It ought rather to be faid, 
That by reafon and experience we learn that certain things are 
inanimate, to which at firfl; we afcribed life and intelligence. 

If this be true, it is lefs furprifing that, before reflexion, wc 
fliould for a moment relapfe into this prejudice of our early 
years, and treat things as if they had life, which we once be- 
lieved to have it. 

It does not much affedl our prefent argument, whether this 
be, or be not the caufe, why a dog purfues and gnafhes at the 
Hone that hurt him ; and why a man in a paffion, for lofing at 
play, fometimes wreaks his vengeance on the cards or dice. 

It is not ftrange that a blind animal impulfe ihould fometimes 
lofe its proper diredlion. In brutes this has no bad confequence ', 
in men the leaft ray of refledlion correds it, and fhews its ab- 
furdity. 

It is fufEciently evident, upon the whole, that this ludden, 
or animal refehtment, is intended by nature for our defence. 
It prevents mifchief by the fear of punifliment. It is a kind of 
penal ftatute, promulgated by nature, the execution of which is 
committed to the fufFerer. 

It may be expeifled indeed, that one who judges in his own 
caufe, will be difpofed to feek more than an equitable redrefs. 
But this difpofition is checked by the refentment of the other 
party. 

Yet 



OF MALEVOLENT AFFECTION. 177 

Yet, in the ftate of nature, injuries once begun, will often be C"ap^v. 
reciprocated between the parties, until mortal enmity is produ- 
ced, and each party thinks himfclf fafe only in the dcllrudion 
of his enemy. 

This right of redrefling and punifliing our own wrongs, fo apt 
to be abufed, is one of thofe natural rights, which, in political 
fociety, is given up to the laws, and to the civil magiftratej and 
this indeed is one of the capital advantages we reap from the 
political union, that the evils arifing from ungoverned rcfent- 
ment are in a great degree prevented. 

Although deliberate refentment does not properly belong to 
the clafs of animal principles ; yet, as both have the fame name, 
and are diftinguilhed only by Philofophers, and as in real life 
they are commonly intermixed, I Ihall here make fome remarks 
upon it. 

A fmall degree of reafoa and refledion teaches a man that in- 
jury only, and not mere hurt, is a juft objed: of refentment to a 
rational creature. A man may fuffer grievoufly by the hand of 
another, not only without injury, but with the moft friendly 
intention ; as in the cafe of a painful chirurgical operation. Eve- 
ry man of common fenfe fees, that to refent fuch fuffcring, is 
tiot the part of a man, but of a brute. 

Mr Locke mentions a gentleman who, having been cured of 
raadnefs by a very harfh and offenfive operation, with great 
fenfe of gratitude, owned the cure as the grcateft obligation he 
could have received, but could never bear the fight of the ope- 
rator, becaufe it brought back the idea of that agony which he 
"had endured from his hands. 

In this cafe we fee diftindlly the operation both of the ani- 
mal, and of the rational princi])le. The firft produced an avt-r- 

Z iion 



178 



ESSAY III. 



CHA P. V. fion to the operator, which reafon was not able to overcome ; 
and probably in a weak mind, might have produced lafting re- 
fentment and hatred. But, in this gentleman, reafon lb far pre- 
vailed, as to make him fenfible that gratitude, and not refent- 
ment, was due. 

Suffering may give a bias to the judgment, and make us ap- 
prehend injury where no injury is done. But, I think, without 
an apprehenlion of injury, there can be no deliberate refent- 
nient. 

Hence, among enlightened nations, hoftile armies fight with- 
out anger or refentment. The vanquilhed are not treated as of- 
fenders, but as brave men who have fought for their country 
unfuccefsfuUy, and who are entitled to every office of humanity 
confiflent with the fafety of the conquerors. 

If we analyze that deliberate refentment which is proper to 
rational creatures, we fhall find that though it agrees with that 
which is merely animal in fome refpecls, it differs in others. 
Both are accompanied with an uneafy fenfation, which diflurbs 
the peace of the mind. Both prompt us to feek redrefs of our 
fufferlngs, and fecurity from harm. But, in deliberate refent- 
ment, there muft be an opinion of injury done or intended. 
And an opinion of injury implies an idea of iuftice, and confe- 
quently a moral faculty. 

The very notion of an injury is, that it is lefs than we may juflly 
claim J as, on the contrary, the notion of a favour is, that it is 
more than we can jullly claim. Whence it is evident, that juflice 
is the flandard, by which both a favoui', and an injury, are to be 
weighed and ellimated. Their very nature and definition con- 
fift in their exceeding or falling fhort of this ffandard. No man 
therefore, can have the idea either of a favour or of an injury, 
who has not the idea of juflice. 

That 



OF MALEVOLENT AFFECTION. 179 

That vci-y idea of juftice which enters into cool and delibe- cha p, v.^ 
rate refcntment, tends to rcftrain its excelTcs. For as there is 
injuftice in doing an injury, Co there is injuflice in punifliing it 
beyond meafure. 

To a man of candour and refledion, conrclournefs of the frail- 
ty of human nature, and that he has often flood in need of for- 
givenefs himlelf, the plcafure of renewing good underftanding, 
after it has been interrupted, the inward approbation of a gene- 
rous and forgiving difpofition, and even the irkfomenefs and un- 
eafjnefs of a mind rullled by refentment, plead ftrongly agaiuft 
its excelTes. 

Upon the whole, when we confider. That, on the one hand, 
every benevolent affedtion is pleafant in its nature, is health to 
the foul, and a cordial to the fpirits j That nature has made even 
the outward exprellion of benevolent affedtions in the counte- 
nance, pleafant to every beholder, and the chief ingredient of 
beauty in the human Jace divine ', That, on the other hand, every 
malevolent affection, not only in its faulty excefles, but in its 
moderate degrees, is vexation and difquiet to the mind, and even 
gives deformity to the countenance, it is evident that, by thefe 
fignals, nature loudly admonifhes us to ufe the former as our 
daily bread, both for health and pleafure, but to confider the 
latter as a naufeous medicine, which is never to be taken with- 
out neceffity j and even then in no greater quantity than the 
neccflity requires. 



Z 2 CHAP. 




ESSAY III. 

C H A P. VL 

Of Fajfion. 

BEFORE I proceed to confider the rational principles of 
ad ion, it is proper to obferve, that there are fome things 
belonging to the mind, which have great influence upon human 
condudl, by exciting or allaying, inflaming or cooling the ani- 
mal principles we have mentioned. 

Three of this kind deferve particular confideration. I {hall call 
them by the names of pajfton, difpofttmi, and opinion. 

The meaning of the word pajfton is not precifely afcertained, 
either in common difcourfe, or^in the writings of Philofophers. 

I think it is commonly put to fignify fome agitation of mind, 
which is oppofed to that ftate of tranquillity and compofure, in 
which a man is moll mafter of himfelf. 

The word iraflej, which anfwers to it in the Greek language, is, 
by Cicero, rendered by the \} ord perturbatio. 

It has always been conceived to bear analogy to a florm at 
fea, or to a tempeft in the air. It does not therefore fignify any 
thing in the mind that is conftant and permanent, but fomething 
that is occaflonal, and has a limited duration, like a ftorm or 
tempell. 

Palfion commonly produces fenfible effeds even upon the bo- 
dy. It changes the voice, the features, and the gefture. The ex- 
ternal figns of paflion have, in fome cafes, a great refemblance to 
thofe of madnefs ; in others, to thofe of melancholy. It gives of- 
ten 



O F P A S S I O N. i8i 

ten a deo^ree of mufcular force and agility to the body, far be- CHA P. VI . 
yond what it poUcHls in cahn moments. 

The effeds of pafTIon upon the mind are not lefs remarkable. 
It turns the thoughts involuntarily to the ohjedts related to it, 
fo that a man can hardly think of any thing elie. It gives often 
, a ftrange bias to the judgment, making a man quickfighted in 
every thing that tends to inflame his pafllon, and to juftify It, 
but blind to every thing that tends to moderate and allay it. 
Like a magic lanthorn, it raifes up fpeclres and apparitions that 
have no reality, and throws falfe colours upon every objed. It 
can turn deformity into beauty, vice Into virtue, and virtue into 
vice. 

The fentlments of a man under its influeiice will appear ab- 
furd and ridiculous, not only to other men, but even to himfelf 
when the ftorm is fpent and is fucceeded by a calm. Pafllon often 
gives a violent impulfe to the will, and makes a man do what he 
knows he fliall repent as long as he lives. 

That fuch are the effedls of pafllon, I think all men agree. 
They have been defcribcd in lively colours by poets, orators and 
moralifts, in all ages. But men have given more attention to 
the effeds of pafllon than to its nature ; and while they have co- 
pioufly and elegantly defcribed the former, they have not pre- 
cifely defined the latter. 

The controvcrfy between the ancient Peripatetics and the 
Stoics, with regard to the pafllons, was probably owing to their 
affixing diftcrent meanings to the word. The one feci maintain- 
ed, that the pafllons are good, and ufeful parts of our onft u- 
tion, while they are held under the government of reafon. The 
other fed, conceiving that nothing Is to be called palFion which 
does not, In fome degree, cloud and darken the underftanding, con- 
fidered all paliion as hortile to reafon, and therefore maintained, 

that, 



i82 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. VI. tjiat, in the wife man, paflion fliould have no exigence, but be 
utterly exterminated. 

If both feds had agreed about the definition of paflion, they 
would probably have had no difference. But while one con- 
fidered paflion only as the caufe of thofe bad effedls which it 
often produces, and the other confidered it as fitted by nature 
to produce good effeds, while it is under fubjedion to reafon, it 
does not appear that what one fedt jufl:ified, was the fame thing 
which the other condemned. Both allowed that no didlate of 
paflion ought to be followed in oppofition to reafon. Their dif- 
ference therefore was verbal more than real, and was owing to 
their giving different meanings to the fame word. 

The precife meaning of this word feems not to be more clear- 
ly afcertained among modern Philofophers. 

Mr Hume gives the name oipajftonto every principle of adion 
in the human mind ^ and, in confequence of this maintains, that 
every man is, and ought to be led by his paflions, and that the 
ufe of reafon is to be fubfervient to the paflions. 

Dr Hutch EsoN, confidering all the principles of adlion as fo 
many determinations or motions of the will, divides them into 
the calm and the turbulent. The turbulent, he lays, are our ap- 
petites and our paflions. Of the paflions, as well as of the calm 
determinations, he fays, that " fome are benevolent, others are 
" felfifti ; that anger, envy, indignation, and fome others, may 
" be either felfifli or benevolent, according as they arife from 
*' fome oppofition to our own interefts, or to thofe of our friends, 
*' or perfons beloved or efl:eemed." 

It appears, therefore, that this excellent author gives the name 
of pajfions, not to every principle of adion, but to fome, and to 

thofe 



O F P A S S I O N. 183 

thofe only wlien they are turbulent and vehement, not wlicn CHAP. Vl. 
they are cahn and deliberate. 

Our natural dcfircs and affediions may be fo calm as to leave 
room for refledlion, ib that we find no difliculty in deliberating 
coolly, whether, in Inch a particular inftance, they ought ta be 
gratified or not. On other occafions, they may be fo importu- 
nate as to make deliberation very difficult, urging us, by a kind 
of violence, to their immediate gratification. 

Thus, a man may be fenfible of an injury without being in- 
flamed. He judges coolly of the injury, and of the proper 
means of redrefs. This is refentment without paJlion. It 
leaves to the man the entire command of himfelf. 

On another occafion, the fame principle of refentment rifes 
into a flame. His blood boils within himj his looks, his voice 
and his gefture are changed ; he can think of nothing but imme- 
diate revenge, and feels a flrong impulfe, without regard to con- 
fequences, to fay and do things which his cool reafon cannot 
juftify. This is the paflion of refentment. 

What has been fald of refentment may eafily be applied to 
other natural defires and affections. When they are fo calm as 
neither to produce any fenfible effedts upon the body, nor to 
darken the undcrfl:anding and weaken the power of felf-com- 
mand, they are not called paflions. But the fame principle, 
when it becomes fo violent as to produce thefe effeds upon the 
body and upon the mind, is a pallion, or, as Cicero very pro- 
perly calls it, a perturbation. 

It is evident, that this meaning of the word pajfion accords 
much better with its common ufe in language, than that which 
Mr Hume gives it. 

When 



1^4 ESSAY III. 

CHAP^. When he fays, that men ought to be governed by their paf- 
fions only, and that the ufe of reafon is to be fubfervient to the 
paffiohs, this, at firft hearing, appears a (hocking paradox, re- 
pugnant to good morals and to common fenfe ; but, like moft 
other paradoxes, when explained according to his meaning, it is 
nothing but an abufe of words. 

For if we give the name oi pajfton to every principle of adlion, 
in every degree, and give the name of reafon folely to the power 
■ of difcerning the fitnefs of means to ends, it will be true, that 
the ufe of reafon is to be fubfervient to the paflions. 

As I wifh to ufe words as agreeably as poffible to their com- 
mon ufe in language, I fhall, by the word pajfion mean, not any 
principle of adion dittind: from thofe defires and affedions be- 
fore explained, but fuch a degree of vehemence in them, or in any 
of them, as is apt to produce thofe efFeds upon the body or upon 
the mind which have been above defcribed. 

Our appetites, even when vehement, are not, I think, very 
commonly called paflions, yet they are capable of being in- 
flamed to rage, and in that cafe their effedts are very fimilar to 
thofe of the paflions ; and what is faid of one may be applied to 
both. 

Having explained what I mean by paflions, I think it unne- 
ceflary to enter into any enumeration of them, fince they diffei*, 
not in kind, but rather in degree, from the principles already 
enumerated. 

The common divifion of the paflions into defire and averfion, 
hope and fear, joy and grief, has been mentioned almofl: by eve- 
ry author who has treated of them, and needs no explic tion. 
But we may obferve, that thefe are ingredients or modifications, 

not 



O F P A S S J O N. i8j 

not of tlie paflions only, but of every principle of adion, ani- CHAP. VI 
mal and rational. 

All of them imply the defire of fome objedl j and the dcfire 
of an obje(5l cannot l)e without averfion to its contrary ; and, 
according as the oBjedt is prefent or abfent, dcfirc and averfion 
will be varioufly modified into joy or grief, hope or fear. It is 
evident, that defire and averfion, joy and grief, hojoe and fear, 
may be either calm and fedate, or vehement and pallionate. 

Pafllng thefe, therefore, as common to all principles of adlion, 
whether calm or vehement, I fliall only make fome obfervations 
on paffion in general, which tend to fliew its influence on hu- 
man condud. 

Firjl, It is paflion that makes us liable to ftrong temptations. 
Indeed, if we had no paflions, we fliould hardly be under any 
temptation to wrong condu<ft. For, when we view things 
calmly, and free from any of the falfe colours which paflion 
throws upon them, we can hardly fail to fee the right and the 
wrong, and to fee that the firfl is more eligible than the laft. 

I believe a cool and deliberate preference of ill to good is never 
the firfl: ftep into vice. 

*' When the woman faw that the tree was good for food, and 
" that it was pleafant to the eyes, and a tree to be defired to 
" make one wife, flie took of the fruit thereof and did eat, and 
" gave alfo to her hufljand with her and he did eat ; and the 
" eyes of them both were opened." Inflamed defire had blind- 
ed the eyes of their underflanding. 

Fix'd on the fruit flie gaz'd, which to behold 
Might tempt alone ; and in her cars the found 

A a Yet 



i86 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. vr. Yet rung of his perfuafive words impregn'd 

With reafon to her feemhig, and with truth. 

Fair to the eye, inviting to the tafte, 

Of virtue to make wife, what hinders then 

To reach and feed at once both body and mind. Milton. 

Thus our firfl parents were tempted to difobey their Maker, 
and all their poflerity are liable to temptation from the fame 
caufe. Paffion, or violent appetite, firfl blinds the underfland- 
ing, and then perverts the will. 

It is paflion, therefoi'e, and the vehement motions of appe- 
tite, that makes us liable, in our prefent flate, to flrong tempta- 
tions to deviate from our duty. This is the lot of human na- 
ture in the prefent period of our exiftence. 

Human virtue mufl gather flrength by ftruggle and effort. 
As infants, before they can walk wi,thout Humbling, mufl be ex- 
pofed to many a fall and bruife; as wrefllers acquire their 
flrength and agility by many a combat and violent exertion j fb 
it is in the noblefl powers of human nature, as well as the mean- 
eft, and even in virtue itfelf. 

It is not only made manifell by temptation and trial, but by 
thefe means it acquires its flrength and vigour. 

Men muft acquire patience by fuffering, and fortitude by be- 
ing expofed to danger, and every other virtue by fituations that 
put it to trial and exercife. 

This, for any thing we know, may be neceffary in the nature 
of things. It is certainly a law of nature with regard to man. 

Whether there may be orders of intelligent and moral crea- 
tures who never were fubjedl to any temptation, nor had their 

virtue 



O F P A S S I O N. 187 

virtue put to any trial, we cannot without prefumption deter- CHAP.vi. 
mine. But it is evident, that this neither is, nor ever was the 
lot of man, not even in the (late of innocence. 

Sad, indeed, would be the condition of man, if the tempta- 
tions to which, by the conftitution of his nature, and by his cir- 
cumftances, he is liable, were irrefiftible. Such a flate would 
not at all be a flate of trial and difcipline. 

Our condition here is fuch, that, on the one hand, pafHon often 
tempts and folicits us to do wrong j on the other hand, reafon 
and confcience oppofe the didates of pafTion. The flefli lufteth 
againft the fpirit, and the fpirit againft the flefh. And upon the 
iflue of this conflid:, the charadler of the man and his fate de- 
pend. 

If reafon be vidorious, his virtue is (Irengthened ; he has the 
inward fatisfadion of having fought a good fight in behalf of 
his duty, and the peace of his mind is preferved. 

If, on the other hand, paflion prevails againft the fen{e of du- 
ty, the man is confcious of having done what he ought not, and 
might not have done. His own heart condemns him, and he is 
guilty to himfelf. 

This conflict between the paflions of our animal nature and 
the calm didatcs of reafon and confcience, is not a theory in- 
vented to folve the phaenomena of human condud, it is a fad, 
of which every man who attends to his own condud is con- 
fcious. 

In the moft ancient philofophy, of which we have any ac- 
count, I mean that of the Pythagorean fchool, the mind of man 
was compared to a ftate, or commonwealth, in which there are 

A a 2 variouc 



i88 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. VI. various powers, fome that ought to govern, and others that ought 
to be fubordinate. ' 

The good of the whole, which is the fupreme law in this, as 
in every commonweakh, requires that this fubordination be pre- 
ferved, and that the governing powers have always the afcendant 
over the appetites and paflions. All wife and good condud: con- 
fifts in this. All folly and vice in the prevalence of pallion 
over the dictates of reafon. 

This philofophy was adopted by Plato j and it is fo agree- 
able to what every man feels in himfelf, that it muft always pre- 
vail with men who think without bias to a fyflem. 

The governing powers, of which thefe ancient Philofophers 
fpeak, are the fame which I call the rational principles of adion, 
and which I fhall have occafion to explain. I only mention 
them here, becaufe, without a regard to them, the influence of 
the paflions, and their rank in our conftitution, cannot be di- 
flinctly underfl:ood. 

A fecond obfervation is, That the impulfe of pafllon is not al- 
ways to what is bad, but very often to what is good, and what 
our reafon approves. There are fome paflions, as Dr Hutc he- 
son obferves, that are benevolent, as well as others that are 
felfifli. 

The aflfedions of refentment and emulation, with thofe that 
fpring from them, from their very nature, difturb and difquiet 
the mind, though they be not carried beyond the bounds which 
reafon prefcribes ; and therefore they are commonly called paf- 
fions, even in their moderate degrees. From a fimilar caufe, 
the benevolent affedlions, which are placid in their nature, and 
are rarely carried beyond the bounds of reafon, are very feldom 
called paflions. We do not give the name of pafllon to bene- 
volence, 



O F P A S S I O N. 189 

volcnce, gratitude, or fVIcndfliip. Yet wc mnft except from this CHAP. vi. 
gciu nil rule, love between the fexts, which, as it commonly dif- 
conipofes the mind, and is not eafily kept within reafonable 
bounds, is always called a paflion. 

All our natural defires and affedions are good and neceffary 
parts of our conftitution ; and paflion, being only a certain de- 
gree of vehemence in thefe, its natural tendency is to good, 
and it is by accident that it leads us wrong. 

Paflion is very properly faid to be blind. It looks not beyond 
the prefent gratification. It belongs to reafon to attend to the 
accidental circumfl;ances which may fometimes make that grati- 
fication impropiex or hurtful. When there is no impropriety in 
it, much more when it is our duty, paflion aids reafon, and gives 
additional force to its didates. 

Sympathy with the diflrefl'ed may bring them a charitable re- 
lief, when a calm fenfe of duty would be too weak to produce 
the effed. 

Objeds, either good or ill, conceived to be very diflant, when 
they are confidered coolly, have not that influence upon men 
which In reafon they ought to have. Imagination, like the eye, 
diminiflieth its objeds in proportion to their diftance. The 
paflions of hope and fear muft be raifed, in order to give fuch 
objeds their due magnitude in the imagination, and their due 
influence upon our condud. 

The dread of difgrace and of the civil maglflrate, and the ap- 
prehenfion of future punifliment, prevent many crimes, which 
bad men, without thefe reflralnts, would commit, and contribute 
greatly to the peace and good order of fociety. 

There is no bad adion which fome paflion may not prevent; 

nor 



I90 ESSAY III. 

CHAP, vr. jjQj. jg there any external good action, of which fome paflion 
may not be the main fpring ; and, it is very probable, that even 
the paflions of men, upon the whole, do more good to fociety 
than hurt. 

The ill that is done draws our attention more, and is imputed 
folely to human paflions. The good may have better motives, 
and charity leads us to think that it has ; but, as we fee not the 
heart, it is impoflible to determine what ihare men's paflions 
may have in its produdlion. 

The lajl obfervation is. That if we diflinguifli, in the effedts 
of our paflions, thofe which are altogether involuntary, and 
without the fphere of our power, from the effeds which may 
be prevented by an exertion, perhaps a great exertion, of felf- 
government ; we fliall find the firfl: to be good and highly ufeful, 
and the laft only to be bad. 

Not to fpeak of the effedls of moderate paflions upon the 
health of the body, to which fome agitation of this kind feems 
to be no lefs ufeful than ftorms and tempefl:s to the falubrity of 
the air; every paflion naturally draws our attention to its obje<S, 
and interefts us in it. 

The -mind of man is naturally defultory, and when it has no 
interefting obje6t in view, roves from one to another, without 
fixing its attention upon any one. A tranfient and carelefs 
glance is all that we beftow upon objeds in which we take no 
concern. It requires a ftrong degree of curiofity, or fome more 
important paflion, to give us that interefl: in an object which is 
necefl^ary to our giving attention to it. And, without attention, 
we can form no true and ft;able judgment of any objedt. 

Take away the paflions, and it is not eafy to fay how great 

a 



OF PASSION. 



19T 



a part of mankind would refemble thofe frivolous tnortals, who CHA P, vi . 
never had a thought that engaged them in good earncft. 

It is not mere judgment or intelle<ftual ability that enables a 
man to excel in any art or fcience. He mufl: have a love and 
admiration of it bordering upon enthufiafm, or a pafllonate de- . 
fire of the fame, or of fome other advantage to be got by that 
excellence. Without this, he would not undergo the labour and 
fatigue of his faculties, which it requires. So that, I think, we 
may with juftice allow no fmall merit to the paflions, even in 
the difcoveries and improvements of the arts and fciences. 

If the pafllons for fame and diftindion were extinguifhed, it 
would be difficult to find men ready to undertake the cares and 
toils of government ; and few perhaps would make the exer- 
tion neceffary to raite themfelves above the ignoble vulgar. 

The involuntary figns of the paffions and difpofitions of the 
mind, in the voice, features, and a<flion, are a part of the human 
conftitution which deferves admiration. The fignification of thofe 
figns is known to all men by nature, and previous to all expe- 
rience. 

They are fo many openings into the fouls of our fellow-men, 
by which their fentiments become vifible to the eye. They are 
a natural language common to mankind, without which it would 
have been impoilible to have invented any artificial language. 

It is from the natural figns of the pafllons and difpofitions of 
the mind, that the human form derives its beauty ; that paint- 
ing, poetry, and mufic, derive their expreffion ; that eloquence 
derives it greateft force, and converfation its greatefl charm. 

The paffions, when kept within their proper bounds, give life 
and vigour to the whole man. Without them man would be a flng:. 

We 



192 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. VI. We fee what pollfli and animation the paffion of love, when ho- 
nourable and not unfuccefsful, gives to both fexes. 

The paffion for military glory raifes the brave commander, 
in the day of battle, far above himfelf, making his countenance 
to fhine, and his eyes to fparkle. The glory of old England 
warms the heart even of the Britifh tar, and makes him defpife 
every danger. 

As to the bad effedls of paffion, it muft be acknowledged that 
it often gives a ftrong impulfe to what is bad, and what a man 
condemns himfelf for, as foon as it is done. But he muft be 
confcious that the impulfe, though ftrong, was not irrefiftible, 
otherwife he could not condemn himfelf. 

We allow that a fudden and violent paffion, into which a man 
is furprifed, alleviates a bad adlion ; but if it was irrefiflible, 
it would not only alleviate, but totally exculpate, which it never 
does, either in the judgment of the man himfelf,- or of others. 

To fum up all, paffion furnifhes a very ftrong inftance of the 
truth of the common maxim, That the corruption of the beft 
things is worft. 



CHAP. VII. 

0/ D'tfpofition, 

BY difpofit'ton I mean a ftateof mind which, while it lafts, gives 
a tendency, or pronenefs, to be moved by certain animal 
principles, rather than by others ; while, at another time, ano- 
ther ftate of mind, in the fame perfon, may give the afcendant 
to other animal principles. 

It 



OF DISPOSITION. 



195 



It was before obfervecl, that it Is a property of oar appetites CTfAP. vii. 
to be periodical, cealing for a time, when fated by their objcds, 
and returning reguhirly after certain periods. 

Even thofe principles which are not periodical, l^ave their ebbs 
and flows occalionally, according to the prefcnt difpofition of 
the mind. 

Among fome of the principles of adion there is a natural affi- 
nity, lb that one of the tribe naturally difpofes to thofe which 
are allied to it. 

Such an affinity has been obferved by many good authors to 
be among all the benevolent affedtions. The exercife of one be- 
nevolent affedtion gives a pronenefs to the exercife of others. 

There is a certain placid and agreeable tone of mind which in 
common to them all, which feems to be the bond of that con- 
nedllon and affinity they have with one another. 

The malevolent affedions have alfo an affinity, and mutually 
difpofe to each other, by means, perhaps, of that difagreeable 
feeling common to them all, which makes the mind fore and 
uneafy. 

As far as we can trace the caufes of the dlflerent difpofitions 
of the mind, they fcem to be in fome cafes owing to thofe aflb- 
ciating powers of the principles of action, which have a natural 
affinity, and are prone to keep company with one another; fome- 
times to accidents of good or bad fortune, and fometimes, no 
doubt, the ftate of the body may have Influence upon the difpo- 
fition of the mind. 

At one time the (late of the mind, like a ferenc unclouded 
iky, fhews every thing in the moft agreeable light. Then a man 

B b is 



X94 ESSAY III. 

CHAP, VII. is prone to benevolence, compalHon, and every kind afFedion ; 
unfufpicious, not eafily provoked. 

The Poets have obferved that men have their mol/ia tempora 
fundi, when they are averfe from faying or doing a harfli thing ; 
and artful men watch thefe occafions, and know how to improve 
them to promote their ends. 

This difpofition, I think, we commonly call good humour^ of 
which, in the fair fex, INlr Pope fays, 

Good humour only teaches charms to laft, 

Still makes new conquefts, and maintains the paft. 

There is no difpofition more comfortable to the perfon him- 
felf, or more agreeable to others, than good humour. It is to 
the mind, what good health is to the body, putting a man in 
the capacity of enjoying every thing that is agreeable in life, 
and of ufmg every faculty without clog or impediment. It dif- 
pofes to contentment with our lot, to benevolence to all men, 
to fyttipathy with the diflrefled. It prefents every objed in the 
moft favourable light, and difpofes us to -avoid giving or taking 
offence. 

This happy difpofition feems to be the natural fruit of a good 
confcience, and a firm belief that the world is under a wife and 
benevolent adminiflration j and, when it fprings from this root, 
it is an habitual fentiment of piety. 

Good humour is likewife apt to be produced by happy fuccefs, 
or unexpeded good fortune. Joy and hope are favourable to itj. 
vexation and difappointment are unfavourable. 

The only danger of this difpofition feems to be. That if 
we are not upon our guard, it may degenerate into levity, and 

indifpofe 



OF DISPOSITION. 195 

indifpofe us to a proper degree of caution, and of attention to the cha p, vii . 
future coiifequences of our adions. 

There is a difpofition oppofitc to good humour which \vc call 
b^d humour, of which the tendency is diredlly contrary, and 
therefore its influence is as malignant, as that of the other is 
falutary. 

Bad humour alone is fufficient to make a man unhappy; it tin- 
ges every ohjert with its own difmal colour ; and, like a part 
that is galled, is hurt by every thing that touches it. It takes 
oflence where none was meant, and difpofes to dilcontcnt, jea- 
loufy, envy, and, in general, to malevolence. 

Another couple of oppofite difpofitions arc elatiou of mind, 
on the one hand, and deprejjioti, on the other. 

Thefe contrary difpofitions are both of an ambiguous nature ; 
their influence may be good or bad, according as they are 
grounded on true or falfe opinion, and according as they are 
regulated. 

That elation of mind which arifes from a juft fenfe of the 
dignity of our nature, and of the powers and faculties with 
which God hath endowed us, is true magnanimity, and difpofes 
a man to the noblefl: virtues, and the mofl: heroic a<5lions and 
enterprifes. 

There is alfo an elation of mind, which arifes from a confci- 
oufnefs of our worth and integrity, fuch as Job felt, when he 
faid, " Till 1 die, I will not remove my integrity from ine. 
'' My righteoufncfs 1 hold faft, and will not let it go ; my heart 
" fliall not reproach me while I live." This may be called the 
pride of virtue \ but it is a noble pride. It makes a man dif- 

B b 2 dain 



196 ESSAY llf. 

CHAP VII. d-^in to do what is bafe or mean. This is the true fenfe of ho- 



nour. 



B;it tbere is an elation of mind arifing from a vain opinion 
of our having talents, or worth, which we have not ; or from 
putting an undue value upon any of our endowments of mind, 
body, or fortune. This is pride, the parent of many odious 
vices ; fach as arrogance, undue contempt of others, felf-par- 
tiality, and vicious felf-Iove. 

The oppofite difpofition to elation of mind, is deprellion, which 
alfo has good or bad efFecT:s, according as it is grounded upon 
true or falfe opinion. 

A jufl fenfe of the weaknefs and imperfedlions of human na- 
ture, and of our own perfonal faults and defeds, is true humi- 
lity. It is not to think of ourfelves above what ive ought to think ; a 
moft falutary and amiable difpofition ; of great price in the 
fight of God and man. Nor is it inconfifl:ent with real magna- 
nimity and greatnefs of foul. They may dwell together with 
great advantage and ornament to both, and be faithful monitors 
againll; the extremes to which each has the greatefl tendency. 

But there is a deprefiion of mind which is the oppofite to mag- 
nanimity, which debilitates the fprings of adlion, and fi-eezes 
every fentimeut that ihould lead to any noble exertion or enter- 
prife. 

Suppofe a man to have no belief of a good adminiftration of 
the world, no conception of the dignity of virtue, no hope of 
happinefs in another fi^ate. Suppofe hiin, at the fame time, in 
a ftate of extreme poverty and dependence, and that he has no 
higher aim than to fupply his bodily wants, or to minifter to the 
pleafure, or flatter the pride of fome being as worthlefs as him- 
felf. Is not the foul of fuch a man deprefled as much as his 

body 



OF D r ^ ]W^ S I T I O N. ufj 

body or bis fortune? And, if fortune fliould fnillc upon him CHAP. vii. 
while he retains the fame fentiments, lie is only the ll.ive of for- 
tune. His mind is deprefled to the ftate of a hrute ; and his 
human faculties ferve only to make him feel that deprellion. 

Depreillon of mind may be owing to melancholy, a diftempcr 
of mind ^vhich jiroceeds from the Hate of the body, which 
throws a difmal gloom upon every objed of thought, cuts all 
the hnews of action, and often gives rife to ftrange and abfurd 
opinions in religion, or in other intcrefling matters. Yet, where 
there is real worth at bottom, fome rays of iu will break forth 
even in this deprefled ftate of mind. 

A remarkable inflance of this was exhibited in Mr Simon 
Broun, a difl'enting clergyman in England, who, by melancho- 
ly, was led into the belief that his rational foul had gradually 
decayed within him, and at laft was totally extind:. From this 
belief he gave up his miniflerial fundlion, and would not even 
join with others in any act of v/orlhip, conceiving it to be a pro- 
fanation to worlliip God without a foul. 

Tn this difmal ftate of mind, he wrote an excellent defence of 
the Chriftian religion, againlt Tindal's Chr'ijl'iamty as old as the 
Creation. To the book he prefixed an epiftle dedicatory to 
Qiieen Caroline, wherein he mentions, " That he was once a 
*' man, but, by the immediate hand of God, for his fins, his 
'' very thinking fubfiancc has, for more than feven years, been 
" continually wafting away, till it is wholly perilhed out of 
" him, if it be not utterly come to nothing.'' And, having 
heard of her M;ijefty's eminent piety, he begs the aid of her 
prayers. 

The book was publiflied after his death without tlic dedica- 
tion, which, however, having been preferved in manufcrij^t, was 
afterwards printed in the Adventurer, No. 88. 

Thus 



198 ESSAY III. 

CHA P. VII . Thus this good man, when he believed that he had no foul, 
fhewed a mod: generous and difmterefted concern for thole who 
had fouls. 

As depreffioa of mind may produce flrange opinions, efpeci- 
ally in the cafe of melancholy, fo our opinions may have a very 
confidei-able influence, either to elevate or to deprefs the mind, 
even where there is no melancholy. 

Suppofe, on one hand, a man who believes that he is deflin- 
ed to an eternal exiflcnce ; that he who made, and who governs 
the world, maketh account of him, and hath furnifhed him with 
the means of attaining a high degree of perfection and glory. 
With this man compare, on the other hand, the man who be- 
lieves nothing at all, or who believes that his exiftence is only 
the play of atoms, and that, after he hath been tofled about by 
blind fortune for a few years, he fhall again return to nothing : 
Can it be doubted, that the former opinion leads to elevation 
and greatnefs of mind, the latter to meannefs and depreffion ? 



CHAP. VIII. 
Of Opinion. 

WHEN we come to explain the rational principles of ac- 
tion, it will appear, that opinion is an eflential ingredi- 
ent in them. Here we are only to confider its influence upon 
the animal principles. Some of thofe I have ranked in that 
clafs cannot, I think, exift in the human mind without it. 

Gratitude fuppofes the opinion of a favour done or intended j 
refentment the opinion of an injury ; efteem the opinion of me- 
rit ; the paflion of love fuppofes the opinion of uncommon me- 
rit and perfedion in its objed. 

Although 



O F O P I N I O N. 199 

Altliough natural atredion to parents, children, and near rela- C HAP.vilf . 
tions, is not grounded on the opinion of their merit, it is much 
increafed by that eonfideration. So is every benevolent affec- 
tion. On the contrary, real malevolence can hardly exifl with- 
out the opinion of demerit in the objed. 

There is no natural defire or averfion, which may not be re- 
trained by opinion. Thus, if a man were athirfl, and had a 
ftrong" defire to drink, the opinion that there was poifon in the 
cup would make him forbear. 

It is evident, that hope and fear, which every natural defire 
or affection may create, depend upon the opinion of future good 
or ill. 

Thus it appears, that our palllons, our difpofitions, and our 
opinions, have great influence upon our animal principles, to- 
flrengthen or weaken, to excite or reftrain them ; and, by that 
means, have great influence upon human adions and charaders. 

That brute-animals have both pailions and difpofitions fimilar, 
in many refpeds, to thofe of men, cannot be doubted. Whe- 
ther they have oj)inions, is not fo clear. I thiiik they have not, 
in the proper fenfe of the word. But, waving all difpute upon 
this point, it will be granted, that opinion in men has a much 
wider field than in brutes. No man will fay, that they have 
fyftems of theology, morals, jurifprudence or politics ; or that 
they can reafon from the laws of nature, in mechanics, medii- 
cine, or agriculture. 

They feel the evils or enjoyments that are prcfent j probably 
they imagine thofe which experience has aflbciated with what 
they feel. But they can take no large profped cither of the 
pad or of the future, nor fee through a train of confequences. 

■ A 



200 



ESSAY III. 




<■ .. ■» 



CHAP. VIII. A dog may be deterred from eating what is before him, by the 
fear of immediate punilhment, which he has felt on Hke occa- 
fions ; but he is never deterred by the confideration of health, 
or of any diftant good. 

I have been credibly informed, that a monkey, having once 
been intoxicated with ftrong drink, in confequence of which it 
burnt its foot in the fire, and had a fevere fit of ficknefs, could 
never after be induced to drink any thing but pure water. 1 be- 
lieve this is the utmoft pitch which the faculties of brutes can 
reach. 

From the influence of ■ opinion upon the condud: of mankind 
we may learn, tbnr it is one of the chief inflruments to be ufed 
In the difciplii e and government of men. 

All men, in the early part of life, mufl; be under the difci- 
pline and government of parents and tutors. Men, who live in 
fociety, muft be under the government of laws and magiflrates, 
through life. The government of men is undoubtedly one of 
the nobleft exertions of human power. And it is of great im- 
portance, that thofe who have any fliare, either in domeftic or 
civil government, fhould know the nature of man, and how he 
is to be trained and governed. 

Of all inflruments of government, opinion is the fweeteft, 
and the mofl agreeable to the nature of man. Obedience that 
flows from opinion, is real freedom, which every man defires. 
That which is extorted by fear of punifliment, is flavery ; a 
yoke which is always galling, and which every man will fliake 
off when it is in his power. 

The opinions of the bulk of mankind have always been, and 
vill always be, what they are taught by thofe whom they efteem 

to 



O F O P I N I O N. 201 

to be wife and good ; and, therefore, in a confidcrablo degree, chap . v ill , 
are in the power of thofe who govern them. 

Man, uncorrupted by bad habits and bad opinions, is of all 
animals the moll: tractable ; corrupted by thefe, he is of all 
animals the mofl untradlable. 

I apprehend, therefore, that, if ever civil government Hiall 
be brought to perfedion, it muft be the principal care of the '' 
ftate to make good citi^^ens by proper education, and proper in- 
ftruction and dilcipline. 

The mofl ufcful part of medicine is that which ftrcngthens 
the conrtitution, and prevents difeafes by good regimen ; the 
reft is fomewhat like propping a ruinous fabric at great expence, 
and to little purpofe. The art of government is the medicine 
of the mind, and the moft ufeful part of it is that which pre- 
vents crimes and bad habits, and trains men to virtue and good 
habits, by proper education and difcipline. 

The end of government is to make the fociety happy, which 
can only be done by making it good and virtuous. 

That men in general will be good or bad members of focietv, 
according to the education and difcipline by whicli they have 
been trained, experience may convince us. 

The prefent age has made great advances in the art of train- 
ing men to military duty. It will not be faid, that thofe who 
enter into that fervice are more tradable than their fcllow-fub- 
jeds of other profcfTions. And I know not why it iliould be 
thought impolFible to train men to equal pcrfedion in the other 
duties of good citizens. 

What an immenfe dilTerence is there, for the purpofe of war, 

C c between 



202 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. VIII between an army properly trained, and a militia haflily drawn 
out of the multitude ? What fnould hinder us from thinking, 
that, for every purpofe of civil government, there may be a like 
difference between a civil fociety properly trained to virtue, 
good habits and right fentiments, and thofe civil focieties which 
we now behold ? But 1 fear 1 flaall be thought to digrefs from 
xny fubjed: into Utopian fpeculation. 

To make an end of what I have to fay upon the animal prin- 
ciples of adtion, we may take a complex view of tb.eir eirtcl in 
life, by fuppofing a being at!tuated by principles of no higher 
order, to have no confcience or fenfe of duty, only let us allow 
him that fuperiority of underflanding, and that power of felf- 
government which man adually has. Let us fpeculate a little 
upon this imaginary being, and conlider what condud and tenor 
of adion might be expeded from him. 

It is evident he would be a very different animal from a brute, 
and perhaps not very different, in appearance, from what a 
great part of mankind is» 

He would be capable of confidering the diftant confequences 
of his adions, and of reftraining or indulging his appetites, de- 
fires and affcdions, from the confideration of diftant good or 
evil. 

He would be capable of chufing fome main end of his life, 
and planning fuch a rule of condud as appeared moft fubfervi- 
ent to it. Of this we have reafon to think no brute is capable. 

We can perhaps conceive fuch a balance of the animal prin- 
ciples of adion, as, with very little felf-government, might 
make a man to be a good member of fociety, a good companion, 
and to have many amiable qualities. 

The 



OF OPINION. 203 

The balance of our animal principles, 1 think, conftitntcs CHA P.vni . 
what we call a man's natural temper; which may be good or bad, 
without regard to his virtue. 

A man in whom the benevolent aflecftions, the dcfire of 
efteem and good humour are naturally prevalent, who is of a 
calm and difpalllonate nature, who has the good fortune to live 
with good men, and allbciate with good companions, may be- 
have properly with little eflbrt. 

His natural temper leads him, in mod cafes, to do what virtue 
requires. And if he happens not to be expofed to thofc trying 
fituations, in which virtue crolTes the natural bent of his tem- 
per, he has no great temptation to adl amils. 

But perhaps a happy natural temper, joined with fuch a happy 
fituation, is moie ideal than real, though no doubt fome men 
make nearer approaches to it than others. 

The temper and the fituation of men is commonly fuch, that 
the animal principles alone, without felf-governincnt, would 
never produce any regular and confillent train of condudl. 

One principle croffes another. Without felf-government, that 
which is ftrongeft at the time will prevail. And that which is 
weakeft at one time may, from pallion, from a change of difpo- 
fition or of fortune, become rtrongeft at another time. 

Every natural appetite, defire and affedion, has its own prc- 
fent gratification only in view. A man, therefore, who has no 
other leader than thefe, would be like a Ihip in the ocean with- 
out hands, which cannot be faid to be deflined to any port. He 
would have no charader at all, but be benevolent or fpiteful, 
pleafant or morofe, honed or dillionefl, as the prefcnt wind of 
pallion or tide of humour moved him. 

C c ^ Every 



204 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. VIII. Every man who purfues an end, be it good ox* bad, muft be 
adlive when he is difpofed to be indolent ; he muft rein every 
pafllon and appetite that would lead him out of his road. 

Mortification and felf-denial are found not in the path of vir- 
tue only, they are common to every road that leads to an end, 
be it ambition, or avarice, or even pleafure itfelf. Every man 
who maintains an uniform and confiftent charadler, muft fweat 
and toil, and often ftruggle with his prefent inclination. 

Yet thofe who fteadily purfue fome end in life, though they 
muft often reftrain their ftrongeft defires, and praclife much 
felf-denial, have, upon the whole, more enjoyment than thofe 
who have no end at all, but to gratify the prefent prevailing in- 
clination. 

A dog that is made for the chafe, cannot enjoy the happinefs 
of a dog without that exercife. Keep him within doors, feed 
him with the moft delicious fare, give him all the pleafures his 
nature is capable of, he foon becomes a dull, torpid, unhappy 
animal. No enjoyment can fupply the want of that employ- 
ment which nature has made his chief good. Let him hunt, 
and neither pain nor hunger nor fatigue feem to be evils. De- 
prived of this exercife, he can relifh nothing. Life itfelf be- 
comes burdcnfome. 

It is no difparagement to the human kind to fay, that man, 
as well as the dog, is made for hunting, and cannot be happy 
but in fome vigorous purfuit. He has indeed nobler game to 
purfue than the dog, but he muft have fome purfuit, otherwife 
life ftagnates, all the faculties are benumbed, the fpirits flag, 
and his exiftence becomes an unfupportable burden. 

Even the mere foxhunter, who has no higher purfuit than his 
dogs, has more enjoyment than he who has no purfuit at all. 

He 



O F O P I N I O N. 205 

He has an end in view, and this invigorates his fpirits, makes CHAV.vni . 
him defpife pleafiire, and hear cold, hunger and fatigue, as if 
they were no evils. 

Manet fub Jove frigido 
Venator, tenerae conjugis immemor, 
Sen vifa eft catulis cerva fidclibus 
Seu rupit teretes marfus aper plagas. 



ESSAY III. PART III. 

Of the Rational Principles of Adion. 

CHAP. I. 

There are Rational Principles of A6lion in Man. 

MECHANICAL principles of adion produce their efTedl with- 
out any will or intention on our part. We may, by a 
voluntary effort, hinder the effecl: ; but if it be not hindered by 
will and effort, it is produced without them. 

Animal principles of action require intention and will in 
their operation, but not judgment. They are, by ancient mo- 
ralifts, very properly called caca cupidincs, blind defires. 

Having treated of thefe two clafles, I proceed to the third, 
the rational principles of atflion in man,; wiiich have that name, 
becaufe they can have no exiftcnce in beings not endowed with 
reafon, and, in all their exertions, require, not only intention 
.and will, but judgment or rcafou. 

That 



266 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. I. That talent which we call reafon, by which men that are adult 
and of a found mind, are diftinguifhed from brutes, idiots, and 
infants, has, in all ages, among the learned and unlearned, been 
conceived to have two offices, to regulate our belief, and to re- 
gulate our adlions and condudt. 

Whatever we believe, we think agreeable to reafon, and, on that 
account, yield our afTent to it. Whatever we difbelieve, we think 
contrary to reafon, and, on that account, diffent from it. Rea- 
fon therefore is allowed to be the principle by which our belief 
and opinions ought to be regulated. 

But reafon has been no lefs univerfally conceived to be a prin- 
ciple, by which our adlions ought to be regulated. 

To ad reafonably, is a plirafe no lefs common in all languages, 
than to judge reafonably. We immediately approve of a man's 
condud, when it appears that he had good reafon for what he did. 
And every adion we difapprove, we think unreafonable, or con- 
trary to reafon. 

A way of fpeaking fo univerfal among men, common to the 
learned and the unlearned in all nations, and in all languages, 
muft have a meaning. To fuppofe it to be words without mean- 
ing, is to treat, with undue contempt, the common fenfe of man- 
kind. 

Suppofing this phrafe to have a meaning, we may confider in 
what way reafon may ferve to regulate human conduct, fo that 
fome adions of men are to be denominated reafonable, and o- 
thers unreafonable. 

I take it for granted, that there can be no exercife of reafon 
without judgment, nor, on the other hand, any judgment of 
things, abftract and general, without fome degree of reafon. 

If 



RATIONAL PRINCIPLES OF ACTION IN MAN. 207 

If, therefore, there be any principles of adion in the hiimnn CHAP. r. 
conllitution, which, in their nature, nccefllirily imply ftich judjr. "^ ' 

ment, they are the principles which we may call rational, to di- 
ftinguifh them from animal principles, which hnply clefirc and 
will, but not judgment. 

Every deliberate human adlion muft be done either as the 
means, or as an end ; as the means to fome end, to which it is 
fubfervlt-nt, or as an end, for its own fake, and without regard ■ 
to any thing beyond it. 

That it is a part of the office of reafon to determine, what 
are the proper means to any end which we defire, no man ever 
denied. But fome Philolbphers, particularly Mr Hume, think 
that it is no part of the oflice of reafon to determine the ends we 
ought to purfuc, or the preference due to one end above ano- 
ther. This, he thinks, is not the otlice of reafon, but of tafte 
or feeling. 

If this be fo, reafon cannot, with any propriety, be called a 
principle of a(fkion. Its office can only be to minifter to the 
principles of adion, by difcovering the means of their gratifica- 
tion. Accordingly Mr Hume maintains, that reafon is no prin- 
ciple of adlion ; but that it is, and ought to be, the fervant of 
the paflions. 

I iliall endeavour to fhew, that, among the various ends of 
human adions, there are fome, of which, without reafon, we 
could not even form a conception ; and that, as foon as they 
are conceived, a regard to them is, by our conflitution, not only 
a principle of acflion, but a leading and governing principle, to 
which all our animal principles are fubordlnate, and to which 
they ought to be fubjed. 

Thefe 1 fliall call rational principles > becaufe they can exift 

only 



2o8 ESSAY III, 

CHAP. I.^ only in beings endowed with reafon, and becaufe, to adl from 
thefe principles, is what has always been meant by adling accord- 
ing to reafon. 

The ends of human adions I have in view, are two, to wit, 
What is good for us upon the whole, and what appears to be 
our duty. They are very ftridliy conne(5ted, lead to the fame 
courfe of condudt, and co-operate with each other ; and, on that 
account, have commonly been comprehended under one name, 
that of reafon. But as they may be disjoined, and are really 
diftindt principles of adiion, I fhall confider them feparately. 



CHAP. II. 

Of Regard to our Good on the Whole. 

IT will not be denied that man, when he comes to years of 
underftanding, is led by his rational nature, to form the con- 
ception of what is good for him upon the whole. 

How early in life this general notion of good enters into the 
mind, I cannot pretend to determine. It is one of the mod ge- 
neral and abftradl notions we form. 

Whatever makes a man more happy, or more perfedl, is good, 
and is an object of defire as foon as we are capable of forming 
the conception of it. The contrary is ill, and is an objed of 
averflon. 

In the firft part of life we have many enjoyments of various 
kinds ; but very fimilar to thofe of brute-animals. 

They confift in the exercife of our fenfes and powers of mo- 
tion. 



OF REGARD TO OUR GOOD ON THE WHOLE. 209. 

tion, the gratification of our appetites, and the exertions of our CHA P. U. 
kind affedions. Thcfe are chequered with many evils of pain, 
and fear, and cUfapiJointnient, and fympathy with the fufll-rings 
of others. 

But the goods and evils of this period of life are of (hort du- 
ration, and foon forgot. The mind being regardlefs of the part, 
and unconcerned about the future, we have then no other inea- 
fure of good but tlie prefent delirej no other meafure of evil 
but the prefent avcrfion. 

Every animal defire has fome particular and prefent objedl, 
and looks not beyond that objedt to its confequences, or to the *- 

connexions it may have with other things. 

The prefent objed, which is moft attrad;ive, or excites the 
flrongeft; defire, determines the choice, whatever be its confe- 
quences. The prefent evil that prefles moft, is avoided, though 
it fliould be the road to a greater good to come, or tlie only 
way to efcape a greater evil. This is the way in which brutes 
adt, and the way in which men rauft adl:, till they come to the ufe 
of reafon. 

As we grow up to underftanding, we extend our view both 
forward and backward. We refle(fl: upon what is part, and, by 
the lampof experience, difcern what will probably happen in time 
to come. We find that many things which we eagerly defired, 
were too dearly purchafed, and that things grievous for the pre- 
fent, like naufeous medicines, may be falutary in the ilTue. 

We leam to obferve the conne<flions of things, and the con- 
fequences of our actions j and, taking an extended view of our 
exillence, pad, prefent, and future, we correCl our firrt notions 
of good and ill, and form the conception of what is good or ill 
upon the whole ; which muft be elUmated, not from the prefent 

D d feeling, 



2IO ■' ESSAY III. 

CHAP. IL feeling, or from the prefent animal defire or averfion, but from 
a due confideration of its confequences, certain or probable, 
during the whole of our exiftence. 

That which, taken with all its difcoverable connections and 
confequences, brings more good than ill, I call good upon the 
whole. 

That brute-animals have any conception of this good, I fee 
no reafon to believe. And it is evident, that man cannot have 
the conception of it, till reafon is fo far advanced, that he can 
ferioufly refleft upon the paft, and take a profpedt of the future 
part of his exiftence. 

It appears therefore, that the very conception of what is good 
or ill for us upon the whole, is the offspring of reafon, and can 
be only In beings endowed with reafon. And if this concep- 
tion give rife to any principle of adiion in man, which he had 
not before, that principle may very properly be called a rational 
principle of a6tion. 

I pretend not in this to fay any thing that is new, but what 
reafon fuggefted to thofe who firft turned their attention tothephi- 
lofophy of morals. I beg leave to quote one paffage from Cicero,.. 
in his nrft book of Offices ; wherein, with his ufual elegance, he 
expreffes the fubftance of what I have fald. And there is good 
reafon to think that Cicero borrowed it from Pan^tius, a 
Greek Philofopher, whofe books of Offices are lofl. 

" Sed Inter homlnem et belluam hoc maxime Interefl, quod 
" haec tantum quantum fenfu movetur, ad id folum quod adefl, 
" quodque praefens eft fe accommodat, paululum admodum ^tn- 
", tiens prasteritum aut futurum : Homo autem quoniam rationis 
" eft partlceps, per quam confequentia cernit, caufas rerum videt, 
*' earumque praegreflus et quafi antecefliones non ignorat ; fimi- 
*' litudines comparat, et rebus praefentibus adjungit atque an- 

" nedit 



OF REGARD TO OUR GOOD ON THE WHOLE. 211 

" nedit futuras ; facile totius vitx curfum viJct ad eamque de- chap. ii. 
'* gendam preparat res neceflarias.'' 

I obferve, in the next place. That as foon as we have the con- 
ception of what is good or ill for us upon the wliole, we are led, 
by our conrtitution, to feek the good and avoid the ill ; and 
this beoomes not only a principle of adion, but a leading or 
governing principle, to which all our animal principles ought 
to be fubordinate. 

I am very apt to think, with Dr Price, tliat, in intelligent 
beings, the deilre of what is good, and averfion to what is ill, is 
neceflarily conneded with the intelligent nature ; and that it is 
a contradidion to fuppofe fuch a being to have the notion of 
good without the defire of it, or the notion of ill without aver- 
fion to it. Perhaps there may be other necefTfiry connedions 
between underftanding and the bell principles of adion, which 
our faculties arc too weak to difcern. That they are neceflari- 
ly conneded in him who is perfed in underflanding, we have 
good rcafon to believe. 

To prefer a greater good, though diftant, to a Icfs that is pre- 
fent ; to chufe a prefent evil, in order to avoid a greater evil, 
or to obtain a greater good, is, in the judgment of all men, wife 
and reafonable condud ; and, when a man acts the contrary 
part, all men will acknowledge, that he ads foolilhly and unrea- 
fonably. Nor will it be denied, that, in innumerable cafes in 
common life, our animal principles draw us one way, while a re- 
gard to what is good on the whole, draws us the contrary wav. 
Thus the flefh lurteth againrt the fpirit, and the ijiirit againft 
the flcih, and thefe two are contrary. That in every conflid of 
this kind the rational principle ought to prevail, and the animal 
to be fubordinate, is too evident to need, or to admit of proof. 

Thus, I think, it appears, that to purfue what is good up- 

D d 2 on 



212 



ESSAY III. 



CHAP. II. on the whole, and to avoid what is ill upon the whole, is a 
rational principle of adion, grounded upon our conftitution as 
reafonable creatures. 

It appears that It Is not without juft caufe, that this principle of 
action has in all ages been called reafon^ in oppolition to our 
animal principles, which in common language are called by the 
general name of the pajftons. 

The firft not only operates in a calm and cool manner, like 
reafon, but implies real judgment in all its operations. The fe- 
cond, to wit, the paflions, are blind defires of fome particular 
obje(5l, without any judgment or confideration, whether it be 
good for us upon the whole, or ill. 

It appears alfo, that the fundamental maxim of prudence, 
and of all good morals, That the paflions ought, in all cafes, to 
be under the dominion of reafon, is not only felf-evident, when 
rightly underftood, but is exprefled according to the common 
ufe and propriety of language. 

The contrary maxim maintained by Mr Hume, can only be 
defended by agrofs and palpable abufe of words. For, in order to 
defend it, he muft include under the pajjions, that very principle 
which has always, in all languages, been called reafon, and never 
was, in any language, called a pajfton. And from the meaning of 
the word reafon he mufl exclude the mod important part of it, 
by which we are able to difcern and to purfue what appears to be 
good upon the whole. And thus, including the mofl important 
part of reafon under pailion, and making the leafl important 
part of reafon to be the whole, he defends his favourite para- 
dox, That reafon is, and ought to be, the fervant of the paf^ 
fions. 

To judge of what is true or falfe in fpeculative points, is the 

office 



OF REGARD TO OUR GOOD ON THE WHOLE. 

office of fpcculntive rcafon ; and to judge of what is good or ill CHAP. ii. 
for us upon the whole, is the office of practical rcafon. Of true 
and falfe there are no degrees ; but of good and ill there are 
many degrees, and niajiy kinds ; and men are very apt to form 
erroneous opinions concerning them j miflcd by their pafTions, 
by the authority of the multitude, and by other caufes. 

Wife men, in all ages, have reckoned it a chief point of wif- 
do:ii, to make a right cftimate of the goods and evils of life. 
They have laboured to difcover the errors of the multitude on 
this important point, and to warn others againft them. 

The ancient moraliits, though divided into feds, all agreed in 
this, That opinion has a mighty influence upon what we com- 
monly account the goods and ills of life, to alleviate or to ag- 
gravate them. 

The Stoics carried this fo far, as to conclude that they all de- 
pend on opinion. n«'>T« 'TTroXn^if was a f^ivourite maxim with 
them. 

We fee, indeed, that the fame ftation or condition of life, 
which makes one man happy, makes another miferable, and to 
a third is perfedly indifferent. We fee men miferable through 
life, from vain fears, and anxious defires, grounded folely upon 
wrong opinions. \\'e fee men wear thcmfelves out with toil- 
fome days, and fleeplefs nights, in purfuit of fome objecft which 
they never attain ; or which, when attained, gives little fatisfac- 
tion, perhaps real difguft. 

The evils of life, which every man mufl feel, have a very dif- 
ferent efTecil upon different men. What finks one into defpair 
and abfolute mifery, roufes the virtue and magnanimity of ano- 
ther, who bears it as the lot of humanity, and as the difcipliuc 

of 



214 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. II. Qf r^ ^yjfg aj^(j merciful father in heaven. He rife s fuperior to 
adverfity, and is made wifer and better by it, and confequently 
happier. 

It is therefore of the lafl importance, in the conduct of life, 
to have juft opinions with refpedl to good and evil ; and furely 
it is the province of reafon to corredl wrong opinions, and to 
lead us into thofe that are juft and true. 

It is true indeed, that men's paffions and appetites, too often, 
draw them to a6l contrary to their cool judgment and opinion 
of what is beft for them. Video tneUora proboque, deteriorafequor, 
is the cafe in every wilful deviation from our true intereft and 
our duty. 

When this is the ca(e, the man is felf-condemned, he fees that 
' he a6led the part of a brute, when he ought to have adled the 

part of a man. He is convinced that reafon ought to have re- 
ftrained his paflion, and not to have given the rein to it. 

When he feels the bad effeds of his condutfl, he imputes them 
to himfelf, and would be flung with remorfe for his folly, though 
he had no account to make to a fuperior being. He has finned, 
againft himfelf, and brought upon his own head the punifhment 
which his folly deferved. 

From this we may fee, that this rational principle of a regard 
to our good upon the whole, gives us the conception of a right: 
and a wrong in human condud, at lead of a wife and ^ fooU/I}. 
It produces a kind of felf-approbatlon, when the paffions and 
appetites are kept in their due fubjedion to it ; and a kind of re- 
morfe and compundion, when it yields to them. 

In thefe refpeds, this principle is fo fimilar to the moral prin-. 

ciple, 



OF REGARD TO OUR GOOD ON THE WHOLE. 21^ 

ciple, or confciencc, and fo interwoven with it, that both are chap. iir. 
commonly coinprcheiuled under the name of r^^//. This fimi- 
larity led many of the ancient Philofophers, and fome among 
the moderns, to refolve confcience, or a CtinCc of duty, entirely 
into a regard to what is good for us upon the whole. 

That they are diftindl principles of adion, though both lead 
to the Came condud in life, I Ihall have occafion to fhew, when 
I come to treat oC confcience. 



CHAP. III. 
7'he Tendency of this Principle. 

IT has been the opinion of the wifeft men, in all ages, that 
this principle, of a regard to our good upon the whole, in 
a man duly enlightened, leads to the pradice of every virtue. 

This was acknowledged, even by Epicurus ; and the beft mo- 
ralifts among the ancients derived all the virtues from this prin- 
ciple. For, among them, the whole of morals was reduced to 
this queftion, What is the greatelt good ? Or what courfe of 
condud is beft for us upon the whole ? 

In order to refolve this queftion, they divided goods into 
three clafles, the goods of the body ; the goods of fortune, or 
external goods, and the goods of the mind ; meaning, by the 
laft, wifdon^ and virtue. 

Comparing thefe different claffes of goods, they ftiewed, with 
convincing evidence, that the goods of the mind arc, in many 
refpeds, fuperior to ihofe of the body and of fortune, not only 
as they have more dignity, are more durable, and lefs expofed 

to 



2i6 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. III. to the ftrokes of fortune, but chiefly as they are the only goods 
in our power, and which depend wholly on our condudt. 

Epicurus himfelf maintained, that the wife man may be hap- 
py in the tranquillity of his mind, even when racked with pain, 
and ilruggling with adveriity. 

They obferved very juftly, that the goods of fortune, and 
even thofe of the body, depend much on opinion j and that, 
when our opinion of them is duly corre(5ted by reafon, we fhall 
find them of (mail value in themfelves. 

How can he be happy who places his happinefs in things 
which it is not in his power to attain, or in things from which, 
when attained, a fit of ficknefs, or a flroke of fortune, may 
tear him afunder. 

The value we put upon things, and our uneafinefs in the want 
of them, depend upon the ftrength of our defires j corred the 
defire, and the uneafinefs ceafes. 

The fear of the evils of body and of fortune, is often a 
greater evil than the things we fear. As the wife man moderates 
his defires by temperance, fo, to real or imaginary dangers, he. 
oppofes the fhield of fortitude and magnanimity, which raifes 
him above himfelf, and makes him happy and triumphant in 
thofe moments wherein others are mofl raiferable. 

Thefe oracles of reafon led the Stoics fo faras to maintain. 
That all defires and fears, with regard to things not in our 
power, ought to be totally eradicated ; that virtue is the only 
good I, that what we call the goods of the body and of fortune, 
are really things indifferent, which may, according to circum- 
ftances, prove good or ill, and therefore have no intrinfic good- 
nefs in themfelves ; that our fole bufinefs ought to be, to adl 

our 



THE TENDENCY OF THIS PRINCIPLE. 217 

our part well, and to do what is right, without the lead concern CH \P. IH. 
about things not in our power, which we ought, with perfect 
acquicfcencc, to leave to the care of hiin who governs the 
world. 

This noble and elevated conception of human wifdom and 
duty was taught by Socrates, free from the extravagancies 
which the Stoics afterwards joined with it. We fee it in the 
Alcibiades of Plato ; from which Juvemal hatii taken it in 
his tenth fatire, and adorned it with the graces of poetry. 

Omnibus in terris quae funt a gadibus ufque 
Auroram et Gangen, pauci dignofcere poflunt 
Vera bona, atque illis multum diverfa, remota 
Erroris nebula. Qiiid cnim ratione tiniemus ? 
Aut cupimus ? Qiiid tarn dextera pede concupis ut te 
Conatus non poeniteat, votique peradli ? 
Nil ergo optabunt homines ? Si concilium vis, 
Permittes Ipfis expendere numinibus, quid 
Conveniat nobis, rebufque fit utile noftris. 
Nam pro jucundis aptillima quxque dabunt Dii. 
Charior eft illis homo quam fibi. Nos animorum 
Impulfu, et ca;ca magnaque cupidine dudi, 
Conjugium petimus, partumque uxoris ; at illis 
Notum qui pueri, qualifque futura fit uxor. 
Fortem pofce animum, et mortis terrore carentem, 
Qui fpatium vitae extremum inter munera ponat 
Naturse ; qui ferre queat quofcunque labores, 
Nefciat irafci, cupiat nihil, et potiores 
Herculis oerumnas credat, fa»vofque labores 
Et venere, et coenis, et pluniis, Sardanapali. 

Monftro quid ipfe tibi polfis dare. Semita certe 
Tranquillae per virtuteni patet unica vitae. 
Nullum numen abeft fi fit prudentia ; fed te 
Nos facimus fortuna Deam, cceloque locamus. 

E c Even 



2i8 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. III. Even Horace, in his ferious moments, falls into this fyftemv 

Nil admirari, prope res eft una Numici, 
Solaque quae poffit facere et fervare beatum. 

We cannot but admire the Stoical fyftem of morals, even 
when we think that, in fome points, it went beyond the pitch of 
human nature. The virtue, the temperance, the fortitude and 
magnanimity of fome who fincerely embraced it, amidft all the 
flattery of fovereign power and the luxury of a court, will be 
everlafting monuments to the honour of that fyftem^ and to the 
honour of human nature. 

That a due regard to what is bell: for us upon the whole," in 
an enlightened mind, leads to the pradice of every virtue, may 
be argued from conlidering what we think befl: for thofe for 
whom we have the ftrongell affedion, and whofe good we ten- 
der as our own. In judging for ourfelves, our paffions and ap- 
petites are apt to bias our judgment ; but when we judge for 
others, this bias is removed, and we judge impartially. 

What is it then that a wife man would wifli as the greateft 
good to a brother, a fon, or a friend ? 

Is it that he may fpend his life in a conftant round of the 
pleafures of fenfe, and fare fumptuoufly every day ? 

No, furely j we wifh him to be a man of real virtue and 
worth. We may wilh for him an honourable ftation in life j 
but only with this condition, that he acquit himfelf honourably 
m it, and acquire jufl reputation, by being ufeful to his country 
and to mankind. We would a thoufand times rather wifli him 
honourably to undergo the labours of Hercules, than to dif- 
folve in pleafure with Sardanapalus. 

Such 



THE TENDENCY OF THIS PRINCIPLE. 219 

Such would be the wilh of every man of undcrflanding for CilAP.iir. 
the friend whom he loves as his own foul. Such ihinj^s, there- 
fore, he judj^es to be heft for him upon the whole ; and if lie 
judges otherwife for himfelf, It is only becaufe his judgment is 
perverted by animal pafCons and defires. 

The fum of what has been faid in thefe three chapters amounts 
to this : 

There is a principle of acftion in men that are adult and of a 
found mind, which, in all ages, has been called reafon, and let 
in oppofition to the animal principles which we call the pajjlons. 
The ultimate objeCl of this principle is what we judge to be good 
upon the whole. This is not the objed of any of our animal 
principles, they being all direded to particular objeds, without 
any comi)arif(>n with others, or any conlideration of their being 
good or ill upon the whole. 

What is good upon the whole cannot even be conceived with- 
out the exercife of reafon, and therefore cannot be aa objeC\ to 
beings that have not feme degree of reafon. 

As foon as we have the conception of this objed, we are led, 
by ovw conilitution, to defire and purfue it. It juftly claims a 
preference to all objeds of purfuit that can come in competition 
with it. In preferring it to any gratification that oppofes it, or 
in fubmitting to any pain or mortification which it requires, we 
ad according to reafon ; and every fuch adion is accompanied 
with felf-approbation and the approbation of mankind. The 
contrary adions are accompanied with ftiame and lelf-condem- 
nation in the agent, and with contempt in the fpedator, as foolilh 
and unreafonable. 

The right application of this principle to our condud re- 
quires an extenlive prolped of human life, and a corred j'ldg- 

£ c 2 ment 



220 ESSAY III. 

CHAP, m. nient and eftimate of its goods and evils, with refped to their 
intrinfic worth and dignity, their conftancy and duration, and 
their attainablenefs. He muft be a wife man indeed, if any fuch 
man there be, who can perceive, in every inftance, or even in 
every important inftance, what is beft for him upon the whole, 
if he have no other rule to dired his conduct. 

However, according to the beft judgment which wife men 
have been able to form, this principle leads to the pra<flice of 
every virtue. It leads diredly to the virtues of prudence, tem- 
perance and fortitude. And, when we confider ourfelves as fe- 
cial creatures, whofe happinefs or mifery is very much connedl- 
ed with that of our fellow-men j when we confider, that there 
are many benevolent affedlions planted in our conftitution, 
whofe exertions make a capital part of our good and enjoyment; 
from thefe confiderations, this principle leads us alfo, though 
more indiredlly, to the prad:ice of juftice, humanity, and all the 
fecial virtues. 

It is true, that a regard to our own good cannot, of itfelf, 
produce any benevolent affedlion. But, if fuch affedlions be a 
part of our conftitution, and if the exercife of them make a ca- 
pital part of our happinefs, a regard to our own good ought to 
lead us to cultivate and exercife them, as every benevolent af- 
fedlion makes the good of others to be our own. 



CHAP. 



DEFECTS OF THIS PRINCIPLE. 

CHAP. IV. 
DefeEls of this Principle. 

HAVING explained the nature of this principle of adlion, 
and fhewn in general the tenor of condu<5l to which it 
leads, I fhall conclude what relates to it, by pointing out fome 
of its defedts, if it be fuppofed, as it has been by fome Philofo- 
phers, to be the only regulating principle of human conduct. 

Upon that fuppofition, it would neither be a fufficiently plain 
rule of condudt, nor would it raife the human character to that 
degree of perfedion of which it is capable, nor would it yield 
fo much real happinefs as when it is joined with another ra- 
tional principle of adion, to wit, a difinterefted regard to duty. 

Firji^ I apprehend the greater part of mankind can never at- 
tain fuch extenfive views of human life, and fo correft a judg- 
ment of good and ill, as the right application of this principle 
requires. 

The authority of the poet before quoted is of weight in this 
point. " Pauci dignofcere pofl'unt vera bona, remota erroris ne- 
" bula." The ignorance of the bulk of mankind concurs with 
the ftrength of their paflious to lead them into error in this mofl: 
important point. 

Every man, in his calm moments, wiflies to know what is heft 
for him on the whole, and to do it. But the difficulty of dif- 
covering it clearly, amidfl fuch variety of opinions and the im- 
portunity of prefent dcfires, tempt men to give over the fearch, 
and to yield to the prefeut inclination. 

Though 




444 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. IV. Though Phllof(3phers and morallfts have taken much laudable 
pains to corredt the errors of mankind In this great point, their 
inftrudlons are known to few ; they have little influence upon 
the greater part of thofe to whom they are known, and fome- 
times little even upon the Philofopher hiinfelf. 

Speculative difcoveries gradually fpread from the knowing to 
the ignorant, and diffufe themielves over all, fo that, with re- 
gard to them, the world, it may be hoped, will Hill be growing 
wifer. But the errors of men, with regard to what is truly good 
or ill, after being difcovered and refuted in every age, are ilill 
prevalent. 

Men ftand in need of a fharper monitor to their duty than a 
dubious view of diflant good. There is reafon to believe, that a 
prefent fenfe pf duty has, in many cafes, a ftronger influence 
than the apprehenfion of difl;ant good would have of itfelf. 
And it cannot be doubted, that a fenfe of guilt and demerit is a 
more pungent reprover than the bare apprehenfion of having 
miftaken our true intereft. 

The brave foldier, in expofing himfelf to danger and death, 
is animated, not by a cold computation of the good and the ill, 
but by a noble and elevated fenfe of military duty. 

A Philofopher fliews, by a copious and jufl: indudion, what is 
our real good and what our ill. But this kind of reafoning is 
not eafily apprehended by the bulk of men. It has too little 
force upon their minds to refifl; the fophiflry of the pafllons. 
They are apt to think, that if fuch rules be good in the general, 
they may admit of particular exceptions, and that what is good 
for the greater part, may, to fome perfons, on account of parti- 
cular circumftances, be ilk 

Thus, I apprehend, that, if we had no plainer rule to direcfl 

our 



DEFECTS OF THIS PRINCIPLE. 223 

our conduct: in life than a rt\e;ard to our grcatcll good, the great- Cfiap. iv, 

eft part of mankind would be fatally mifled, even by ignorance ^ "^ ' 
of the road to it. 



m 



Secondly, Though a fteady purfuit of our own real good may, 
III an enlightened mind, produce a kind of virtue which is en- 
titled to fonie degree of approbation, yet it can never produce 
the noblefl: kind of virtue, which claims our higheft love and 
efteem. 

We account him a wife man who Is wife for himfelf ; and, if 
he i^rofecutes this end through dilHculties and temptations that 
lie in his way, his character is far fuperior to that of the man 
•who, having the fame end in view, is continually llarting out of 
the road to it, from an attachment to bis appetites and paflions, 
and doing every day what he knows he ihall heartily repent. 

Yet, after all, this wife man, whofe thoughts and cares are all 
centered ultimately in himielf, who indulges even his focial af- 
fedtions only with a view to his own good, is not the man whom 
we cordially love and efteem. 

Like a cunning merchant, he carries his goods to the beft 
market, and watches every opportunity of putting them oft' to 
the beft account. He does well and wileiy. But it is for him- 
felf. We owe him nothing upon this account. Even when he 
does good to others, he means only to ferve himfelf; and there- 
fore has no juft claim to their gratitude or affection. 

This iurcly, if it be virtue, is not the nobleft kind, but a low 
and mercenary fpecies of it. It can neither give a noble eleva- 
tion to the mind tliat poft^fles it, nor attract the efteem and 
love of others. 

Our cordial love and efteem is due only to the man whofe 

foul 



224 



ESSAY III. 



CHAP. IV. foul is not contraded within itfelf, but embraces a more exten- 
five objedl : who loves virtue, not for her dowry only, but for 
her own fake : whofe benevolence is not felfifh, but generous 
and difinterefled : who, forgetful of himfelf, has thecommongood 
at heart, not as the means only, but as the end : who abhors 
what is bafe, though he were to be a gainer by it, and loves that 
which is right, although he fhould fuffer by it. 

Such a man we efteem the perfedl man, compared with whom, 
he who has no other aim but good to himfelf, is a mean and 
defpicable charader. 

Difinterefled goodnefs and reditude, is the glory of the Di- 
vine Nature, without which he might be an objedt of fear or 
hope, but not of true devotion. And it is the image of this 
divine attribute in the human character, that is the glory of 
man. 

To ferve God and be ufeful to mankind, without any concern 
about our own good and happinefs, is, I believe, beyond the pitch 
of human nature. But to ferve God and be ufeful to men, 
merely to obtain good to ourfelves, or to avoid ill, is fervility, 
and not that liberal fervice which true devotion and real vir- 
tue require. 

Thirdly^ Though one might be apt to think, that he has the 
befl chance for happinefs, who has no other end of his delibe- 
rate adions but his own good ; yet a little confideration may 
fatisfy us of the contrary. 

A concern for our own good is not a principle that, of itfelf, 
gives any enjoyment. On the contrary, it is apt to fill the mind 
with fear, and care, and anxiety. And thefe concomitants of 
this principle, often give pain and uneafinefs, that overbalance 
the good they have in view. 

We 



DEFECTS OF THIS PRINCIPLE. 225 



We may here compare, in point of prefcnt happinefs, two ima- 
ginary characters ; the firft, of the man who has no other ulti- 
mate end of liis deliberate actions but his own good ; and who 
has no regard to virtue or duty, but as the means to that end. 
The fecond character is that of the man who is not indifferent 
with regard to his own good, but has another ultimate end per- 
fedly confiftent with it, to wit, a difmterefted love of virtue, for 
its own fake, or a regard to duty as an end. 

Comparing thcfe two characters in point of happinefs, that we 
may give all poilible advantage to the fehilh principle, we fliall 
fuppofe the man who is aduated iblely by it, to be fo far enlight- 
ened as to fee it his intereft to live foberly, righteoufly, and god- 
ly in the world, and that he follows the fame courfe of conduct 
from the motive of his own good only, which the other does, 
in a great meafure, or in fome meafure, from a fenfeofduty 
and reftitude. 

We put the cafe fo as that the difference between thefe two 
perfons may be, not In what they do, but in the motive from 
which they do it : and, I think, there can be no doubt that he 
who adts from the noblefl: and molt generous motive, will have 
moft happinefs in his conduct. 

The one labours only for hire, without any love to the work. 
The other loves the work, and thinks it the noblefl and moft 
honourable he can be employed in. To the firlt, the mortifica- 
tion and felf-denial which the courfe of virtue requires, is a 
grievous talk, which he fubmits to only through nccellity. To 
the other it is victory and triunjph, in the moll honourable 
warfare. 

It ought farther to be confidered, That although wife men 
have concluded that virtue is the only road to happinefs, this 

F f conclufion 



CHA? IV, 
» .J ' 



226 ESSAY III. 

^!!^1^' conclufion is founded chiefly upon the natural refpecl men have 
for virtue, and the good or happinefs that is intriiific to it and 
arifes from the love of it. If we fuppofe a man, as we now do, 
altogether deftitute of this principle, who confidered virtue only 
as the means to another end, there is no reafon to think that 
he would ever take it to be the road to happinefs, but would 
wander forever feeking this objedl, where it is not to be found. 

The road of duty is fo plain, that the man who feeks it, with 
an upright heart, cannot greatly err from it. But the road to 
happinefs, if that be fuppofed the only end our nature leads us 
to purfue, would be found dark and intricate, full of fuares and 
dangers, and therefore not to be trodden without fear, and care, 
and perplexity. 

The happy man therefore, is not he whofe happinefs is his 
only care, but he who, with perfedl refignation, leaves the care 
of his happinefs to him who made him, while he purfues with 
ardor the road of his duty. 

This gives an elevation to his mind, which Is real happinefs. 
Inftead of care, and fear, and anxiety, and difappointment, it 
brings joy and triumph. It gives a relifh to every good we en- 
joy, and brings good out of evil. 

And as no man can be indifferent about his happinefs, the 
good man has the confolation to know, that he confults his hap- 
pinefs moft effedtually, when, without any painful anxiety about 
future events, he does his duty. 

Thus, I think. It appears. That although a regard to our good 
upon the whole, be a rational principle in man, yet, if it be fup- 
pofed the only regulating principle of our condudl, it would be 
a more uncertain rule, it would give far lefs perfedion to the 

human 



OF THE NOTION OF DUTY, y^. 227 

human charadter, and far IcTs happinefs, than wlien joined with ' ^^^^^- ^-^ 
anotlicr rational principle, to wit, a regard to duty. 



CHAP. V. 
Of the Notion of Duty, ReSJ'itudcy moral Obligation. 

A Being endowed with the animal principles of aclion on- 
ly, may be capable of being trained to certain purpofes 
by difcipline, as we fee many bnxte-animals are, but would be 
altogether incapable of being governed by law. 

The fubjedl of law muft have the conception of a general rule 
of condud^, which, without fome degree of reafon, he cannot 
have. He mufl likewife have a fufficient inducement to obey 
the law, even when his ftrongeft animal defires draw him the 
contrary way. 

This inducement may be a fenfe of intereft, or a fenfe of duty, 
or both concurring. 

Thefe are the only principles I am able to conceive, which 
can reafonably induce a man to regulate all his adtions accord- 
ing to a certain general rule or law. They may therefore be 
juQIy called the rational principles of adion, fince they can have 
no place but in a being endowed with reafon, and fince it is by 
them only, that man is capable either of political or of moral 
government. 

Without them human life would be like a fhip at fea without 
hands, left to be carried by winds and tides as they happen. It 
belongs to the rational part of our nature to intend a certain 
port, as the end of the voyage of life j to take the advuntat^e of 

F f 2 wind«; 



228 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. V. winds and tides when they are favourable, and to bear up a- 
gainfl them when they are unfavourable. 

A fenfe of interefl: may induce us to do this, when a fuitable 
reward is fet before us. But there is a nobler principle in the 
conftitution of man, which, in many cafes, gives a clearer and 
more certain rule of conducSt, than a regard merely to interefl: 
would give, and a principle, without which man would not be a 
moral agent. 

A man is prudent when he confults his real interefl:, but he 
cannot be virtuous, if he has no regard to duty. 

I proceed now to confider this regard to duty as a rational 
principle of adlion in man, and as that principle alone by which 
he is capable either of virtue or vice. 

I fliall firfl: offer fome obfervations with regard to the general 
notion of duty, and its contrary, or of right and wrong in hu- 
man condud, and then confider how we come to judge and 
determine certain things in human condud to be right, and 
others to be wrong. 

With regai-d to the notion or conception of duty, I take it to 
be too fimple to admit of a logical definition. 

We can define it only by fynonymous words or phrafes, or by 
its properties and neceflary concomitants, as when we fay that it 
is what we ought to do, what is fair and honeft, what is ap- 
provable, what evei'y man profeffes to be the rule of his con- 
dud, what all men praife, and what is in itfelf laudable, though 
no man fliould praife it. 

I obferve, In the }iext place, That the notion of duty cannot 

be 



OF THE NOTION OF DUTY, ^r. 229 

be refolved into that of intereft, or what is moll for our happi- chap. v. 

r "^ "^ ' 

nets. 

Every man may be fatisfied of this who attends to his own 
conceptions, and the language of all mankind fliews it. When I 
fay, this is my intercfl, I mean one thing; when I fay, it is my 
duty, I mean another thing. And though the fame courfe of 
adtion, when rightly underftood, may be both my duty and my 
intcreft, the conce])tions are very different. Both are reafon- 
able motives to adion, but quite diftinct in their nature. 

I prefume it will be granted, that in every man of real worth, 
there is a principle of honour, a regard to what is honourable 
or dilhonourable, very diftind: from a regard to his intereft. It 
is folly in a man to difregard his intereft, but to do what is dif- 
honourable is bafenefs. The firft may move our pity, or, in 
fome cafes, our contempt, but the lafl; provokes our indignation. 

As thefe two principles are different in their nature, and not 
refolvable into one, fo the principle of honour is evidently fupe- 
rior in dignity to that of intereft. 

No man would allow him to be a man of honour, who fliould 
plead his interelt to juflify M'hat he acknowledged to be dif- 
honourable ; but to facrifice intcrell to honour never cofls a 
blufh. 

It likewife will be allowed by every man of honour, that this 
principle is not to be refolved into a regard to our reputation 
among men, otherwife the man of honour would not defer\-e to 
be trufted in the dark. He would have no averfion to lie, or 
cheat, or play the coward, when he had no dread of being dif- 
covered. 

I take it for granted, therefore, that every man of real honour 

feels 



230 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. V.^ feels an abhorrence of certain acftions, becaufe they are in them- 
felves bafe, and feels an obligation to certain other ad;ions, be- 
caufe they are in themfelves what honour requires, and this, in- 
dependently of any conlideration of intereft or reputation. 

This is an immediate moral obligation. This principle of ho- 
nour, which is acknowledged by all men who pretend to cha- 
radler, is only another name for what we call a regard to duty, 
to reditude, to propriety of condu6t. It is a moral obligation 
which obliges a man to do certain things becaufe they are right, 
and not to do other things becaufe they are wrong. 

Afk the man of honour, why he thinks himfelf obliged to pay 
a debt of honour ? The very queftion fhocks him. To fuppofe 
that he needs any other inducement to do it but the principle of 
honour, is to fuppofe that he has no honour, no worth, and de- 
ferves no efteem. 

There is therefore a principle in man, which, when he adls 
according to it, gives him a confcioufnefs of worth, and when 
he adls contrary to it, a fenfe of demerit. 

From the varieties of education, of fafhion, of prejudices, 
and of habits, men may differ much in opinion with regard to the 
extent of this principle, and of what it commands and forbids ; 
but the notion of it, as far as it is carried, is the fame in all. 
It is that which gives a man real worth, and is the objed: of mo- 
ral approbation. 

Men of rank call it honour, and too often confine it to certain 
virtues that are thought mofl effential to their rank. The vul- 
gar call it honejly, probityy virtue, confcience. Philofophers have 
given it the names of the moral fenfe, the moral faculty, reBitude. 

The univerfality of this principle in men that are grown up 

to 



OF THE NOTION OF DUTY, ffff. 33» 

to years of underftandinjjj and reflcdion, is evident. The words . ^J' J 
that exprefs it, the names of the virtues which it commands, 
and of the vices which it forbids, the ought and oug/jl not which 
exprefs its didlates, make an efleniial part of every language. 
The natural aflc-dions of refped to worthy characters, of re- 
fentment of Injuries, of gratitude for favours, of indignation 
againft tlie worthlefs, are parts of the human conftitutiun 
which fui)pofe a right and a wrong in condudl. Many tranfac- 
tions that arc found neceflary in the rudeft focieties go upon 
the fame fuppofition. In all teftimony, in all promiles, and in all 
contrads, there is necefHirily implied a moral obligation on one 
party, and a truft in the other, grounded upon this obligation. 

The variety of opinions among men in points of morality, is 
not greater, but, as 1 apprehend, much Icfs than in fpcculative 
points ; and this variety is as eafily accounted for, from the 
common caufes of error, in the one cafe as in the other j fo that 
it is not more evident, that there is a real diftinclion between 
true and falfe, in matters of fpeculation, than that there is a real 
diftiniition between right and wrong in human condud. 

Mr Hume's authority, if there were any need of it, is of 
weight in this matter, becaufe he was not wont to go ralhly 
into vulgar opinions. 

" Thofe, fays lie, who have denied the reality of moral dl- 
" rtindions, may be ranked among the difingenuous difputants 
" (who really do not believe the opinions they defend, but engage 
" in the controverfy, from affedation, from a fpirit of oppofitit)n, 
*' or from a defire of fhewingwit and ingenuity fuperior to the red 
" of mankind) ; nor is it conceivable, that any human creature 
" could ever ferioufly believe, that all charaders and adions 
" were alike entitled to the regard and affedion of every one. 

** Let a man's iufenfibility be ever fo great, he muft often be 

" touched 



23* 



ESSAY III. 



CHAP, v.^ « touched with the images of right and wrong j and let his pre- 
" judices be ever Co obftinate, he mufl obferve that others are fuf- 
" ceptible of like impreflions. The only way, therefore, of con- 
" vincing an antagonift of this kind is to leave him to himfelf. 
" For, finding that nobody keeps up the controverfy with him, 
" it is probable he will at laft, of himfelf, from mere wearinefs, 
" come over to the fide of common fenfe and reafon." 

What we call rl^bi and honourable in human condudl, was, by 
the ancients, called honejlum, to xatAw j of which Tully fays, 
" Quod vere dicimus, etiamfi a nuUo laudetur, natura efle lauda- 
" bile." 

All tlie ancient feels, except the Epicureans, diftinguifhed the 
honejlum from the utile, as we diflinguifh what is a man's duty 
from what is his intereft. 

The word offichnn, xoMwv, extended both to the honejlum and 
the utile : So that every reafonable adlion, proceeding either 
from a fenfe of duty or a fenfe of intereft, was called ojfficium. 
It Is defined by Cicero to be, " Id quod cur fadlum fit ratio 
" probabilis reddi poteft." We commonly render It by the 
word duty, but it is more extenfive ; for the word duty, in the 
Englifh language, I think, is commonly applied only to what 
the ancients called honejlum. CicERO, and Panjetius before 
him, treating of offices, firft point out thofe that are grounded 
upon the honejlum, 2iX\A next thofe that are grounded upon the utile. 

The moft ancient philofophical fyftem concerning the princi- 
ples of adlion In the human mind, and, I think, the moft agree- 
able to nature, is that which we find In foir.e fragments of the 
ancient Pythagoreans, and which is adopted by Plato, and ex- 
plained In fome of his dialogues. 

According to this fyftem, there is a leading principle in the 

foul. 



OFTHENOTIONOFDUTY, y^. 233 

foul, which, like the fuprcme power in a commonwealth, his chap. v. 
authority and right to jj;overn. Tliis leadin;^ princijjle they 
called reafon. It is that which diftin^uiihes men that are adult 
from brutes, idiots and infants. The inferior principles, which 
are under the authority of the leading principle, are our paf- 
fions and appetites, which we have in common with the brutes. 

Cicero adopts this fyftem, and exprefles it well in few words. 
" Duplex enim eft vis animorum atque naturae. Una pars in 
" ajjpetitu pofita eft, quae hominem hue et illuc rapit, quie eft 
" i^fjii grcece, altera in ratione, quae docet, et cxplanat quid faci- 
" endum fugiendumve lit. Ita fit ut ratio prxfit appetitus ob- 
" temperet." 

This divifion of our acftive principles can hardly indeed be ac- 
counted a difcovery of philofophy, becaufe it has been common 
to the unlearned in all ages of the world, and fcems to be dic- 
tated by the common fenfe of mankind. 

What I would now obferve concerning this common divifion 
of our active powers, is, that the leading principle, which is 
called reafon, comprehends both a regard to what is right and 
honourable, and a regard to our happincfs upon the whole. 

Although thefe be really two diftind principles of adlion, it 
is very natural to comprehend them under one name, becaufe 
both are leading principles, both fuppofe the ufe of reafon, and, 
when rightly underftood, both lead to the fame courfe of life. 
They are like twp fountains whofe ftreams unite and run in the 
lame channel. 

When a man, on one occafion, confults his real happinefs in 
things not inconfillent with his duty, though in oppolition to 
the Iblicitation of appetite or paflion ; and when, on another 
occafion, without any Itlfifli confideration, he does what is right 

G g and 



234 ESSAY HI. 

CHAP. V. ^^^] honourable, becaufe it is fo ; in both thefe cafes, he adls 
reafonably ; every man approves of his condud, and calls it 
reafonable, or according to reafon. 

So that, when we fpeak of reafon as a principle of adlion in 
man, it includes a regard both to the honejlum and to the utile. 
Both are combined under one name ; and accordingly the dic- 
tates of both, in the Latin tongue, were combined under the 
name officium, and in the Greek under xaflrxoi*. 

If we examine the abftradl notion of duty, or moral obliga- 
tion, it appears to be neither any real quality of the ad:ion con- 
fidered by itfelf, nor of the agent confidered without refpedl to 
the adlion, but a certain relation between the one and the 
other. 

When we fay a man ought to do fuch a thing, the ought, 
which exprefles the moral obligation, has a refpeft, on the one 
hand, to the perfon who ought, and, on the other, to the adion 
which he ought to do. Thofe two correlates are eflential to 
every moral obligation ; take away either, and it has no ex- 
iftence. So that, if we feek the place of moral obligation 
among the categories, it belongs to the category of relation. 

There are many relations of things, of which we have the 
mod diftindt conception, without being able to define them lo- 
gically. Equality and proportion are relations between quanti- 
ties, which every man underflands, but no man can define. 

Moral obligation is a relation of its own kind, which every 
man underftands, but is perhaps too fimple to admit of logical 
definition. Like all other relations, it may be changed or anni- 
hilated by a change in any of the two related things, I mean 
the agent or the adion. 

Perhaps 



OF THE NOTION OF DUTY, Wc. 235 

Perhaps it may not be improper to point out briefly the cir- CHAP, v, 
cumftances, both in the ndion and in the aj^L-nt, wliich are ne- 
ceflary to conllitute moral obligation. The univerfal agreement 
of men in thefe, fliews that they have one and the lame notion 
of it. 

With regard to the adion, it mufl be a voluntary adion, or 
preftation of the perfon obliged, and not of another. There 
can be no moral obligation upon a man to be fix feet high. 
Nor can I be under a moral obligation that another perfon 
fliould do fuch a thing. His adlions mufl be imputed to hiinfelf, 
and mine' only to me, either for praife or blame. 

I need hardly mention, that a perfon can be under a moral 
obligation, only to things within the fphere of his natural 

power. 

« 

As to the party obliged, it is evident, there can be no moral 
obligation upon an inanimate thing. To fpeak of moral obliga- 
tion upon a ftone or a tree is ridiculous, becaufe it coutradids 
every man's notion of moral obligation. 

The perfon obliged mufl have underflanding and will, and 
fome degree of adive power. He mufl not only have the na- 
tural faculty of underflanding, but the means of knowing his 
obligation. An invincible ignorance of this deflroys all moral 
obligation. 

The opinion of the agent in doing the adion gives it its mo- 
ral denomination. If he does a materially good udion, without 
any belief of its being good, but from fome other principle, it 
is no good adion in him. And if he does it with the belief of 
its being ill, it is ill in him. 

Thus, if a man fliould give to his neighbour a potion which 

G g 2 he 



236 ■ ESSAY III. 

CHAP. V. [je really believes will poifon him, but which, in the event, proves 
falutary, and does much good ; in moral eftimation, he is a poi- 
foner, and not a benefactor. 

Thefe qualifications of the ad:ion and of the agent, in mo- 
ral obligation, are felf-evident ; and the agreement of all men 
in them fhows, that all men have the fame notion and a diflindl 
notion of moral obligation. 



CHAP. VI. 
Of the Senfe of Duty. 



w 



E are next to confider, how we learn to judge and deter- 
mine, that this is right, and that is wrong. 



The abftradl notion of moral good and ill would be of no ufe 
to diredl our life, if we had not the power of applying it to. 
particular adions, and determining what is morally good, and 
what is morally ill. 

Some Phllofophers, with whom I agree, afcribe this to an ori- 
ginal power or faculty in man, which they call the moral fenfe, 
the moral faculty, confcience. Others think, that our moral fenti- 
ments may be accounted for without fuppofing any original 
fenfe or faculty appropriated to that purpofe, and go into very 
different fyftems to account for them. 

I am not, at prefent, to take any notice of thofe fyftems, be- 
caufe the opinion firfl mentioned feems to me to be the truth, 
to wit, That, by an original power of the mind, when we come 
to years of underftanding and refledion, we not only have the 

notions 



OFTHESENSEOFDUTY. 237 

notions of right :iiul wrong in condud, but perceive certain cftat. vr. 
tilings to be right, and others to be wrong. s/— — ' 

The name of the moral fcnfe, thougii more frequently given to 
confcience fince Lord Shaftesbury and Dr Hutcheson wruie 
is not new. The fitifns reEl'i et boricjli is a phrafe not unfrequent 
among the ancients, neither is the fenfe of duty among us. 

It lias got this name of fenfe ^ no doubt, from fome analogy 
which it is conceived to bear to the external fenfes. And if we 
have juft notions of the oilice of tiie external fenfes, the analogy 
is very evident, and I fee no reafon to take oiVence, as fome have 
done, at the name ot the moral fcnfe. 

The offence taken at this name feems to be owing to this, 
That Philofophcrs have degraded the fenfes too much, and de- 
prived them of the moft important part of their office. 

We are taught, that, by the fenfes, we have only certain ideas 
which we could not have otherwife. They are reprefented as 
powers by which we have fenfations and ideas, not as powers by 
which we judge. 

This notion of the fenfes I take to be very lame, and to con- 
tradidl what nature and accurate refledion teach concerning 
them. 

A man who has totally loft the fenfe of feeing, may retain ve- 
ry diftinct notions of the various colours ; but he cannot judge 
of colours, becaufe he has loft the fenfe by which alone he could 
judge. By my eyes I not only have the ideas of a fquare and 
a circle, but I perceive this furface to be a fquare, that to be a 
circle. 

By my ear, I not only have the idea of founds, loud and fofi, 
acute and grave, but 1 immediately perceive and judge this found 

to 



238 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. VI. to be loud, that to be foft, this to be acute, that to be grave. 
Two or more fynchronous founds I perceive to be concordant, 
others to be difcordant. 

Thefe are judgments of the fenfes. They have always been 
called and accounted fuch, by thofe whofe minds are not tinc- 
tured by philofophical theories. They are the immediate 
teftimony of nature by our fenfes ; and we are fo conftituted by 
nature, that we mull receive their teftimony, for no other reafon 
but becaufe it is given by our fenfes. 

In vain do Sceptics endeavour to overturn this evidence by 
metaphyfical reafoning. Though we fhould not be able to an- 
fwer their arguments, we believe our fenfes ftill, and reft our 
moft important concerns upon their teftimony. 

If this be a juft notion of our external fenfes, as I conceive it 
is, our moral faculty may, I think, without impropriety, be cal- 
led the moral fenfe. 

In its dignity it is, without doubt, far fuperior to every other 
power of the mind j but there is this analogy between it and 
the external fenfes, That, as by them we have not only the ori- 
ginal conceptions of the various qualities of bodies, but the ori- 
ginal judgments that this body has fuch a quality, that fuch 
another^ fo by our moral faculty, we have both the original 
conceptions of right and wrong in condudl, of merit and demerit, 
and the original judgments that this condud is right, that is 
wrong ', that this charader has worth, that, demerit. 

The teftimony of our moral faculty, like that of the external 
fenfes, Is the teftimony of nature, and we have the fame reafon 
to rely upon it. 

The truths immediately teftified by the external fenfes are the 

firft 



OF THE SENSE OF DUTY. 



239 



lirft principles from which we rcafon, with regard to the mate- Cli^? vr. 
rial world, and from which all our knowledge of it is deduced. 

The truths immediately teftified by our moral faculty, are the 
firfl: principles of all moral reafoning, from which all our know- 
ledge of our duty muft be deduced. 

By moral reafoning, I undcrftand all reafoning that is brought 
to prove that fuch conducl: is right, and deferring of moral ai>- 
probation, or that it is wrong, or that it is inditlereut, and, in it- 
felf, neither morally good nor ill. 

I think, all we can properly call moral judgments are redu- 
cible to one or other of thefe, as all human actions, confidered 
in a moral view, are either good, or bad, or indifferent. 

I know the term moral reafoning is often ufed by good writers 
in a more extenfive ['tn(t ; but as the reafoning I now fpeak of Is 
of a peculiar kind, diflind from all others, and therefore ought to 
have a diftind name, I take the liberty to limit the name of 
moral reafoning to this kind. 

Let It be underftood therefore, that in the reafoning I call 
morale the conclufion always is, That fomething in the conduct 
of moral agents is good or bad, in a greater or a lefs degree, 
or indifferent. 

All reafoning muft be grounded on firft principles. This 
holds in moral reafoning, as in all other kinds. There muft 
therefore be in morals, as in all other fclences, rirft or felf-evi- 
dent principles, on which all moral reafoning is grounded, and 
on which it ultimately refts. From fuch felf-evidcnt princi])les, 
conclufions may be drawn fynthetically with regard to the mo- 
ral condu(5t of life ; and particular duties or virtues may be 
traced back to fuch principles, analytically. But, without fuch 

principles, 



240 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. VI . principles, we can no more eftablifli any conclufion in morals, 
than we can build a caftle in the air, without any foundation. 

An example or two will ferve to illuftrate this. 

It is a firft principle in morals. That we ought not to do to 
another, what we fhould think wrong to be done to us in like 
circumflances. If a man Is not capable of .perceiving this in 
his cool moments, when he refledls ferioufly, he is not a moral 
agent, nor is he capable of being convinced of It by reafon- 

From what topic can yon reafon with fuch a man? You may 
polfibly convince him by reafonlng, that It Is his Intereft to ob- 
ferve this rule j but this Is not to convince him that it is his du- 
ty. To reafon about juftice with a man who fees nothing to be 
juft or unjuft ', or about benevolence with a man who fees no- 
thing In benevolence preferable to malice, is like reafonlng with 
a blind man about colour, or with a deaf man about found. 

It is a quefllon in morals that admits of reafonlng. Whether, 
by the law of nature, a man 'ought to have only one wife ? 

We reafon upon this queftlon, by balancing the advantages 
and difadvantages to the family, and to foclety In general, that 
are naturally confequent both upon monogamy and polygamy. 
And If It can be fhewn that the advantages are greatly upon the 
fide of monogamy, we think the point Is determined. 

But, if a man does not perceive that he ought to regard the 
good of fociety, and the good of his wife and children, the rea- 
fonlng can have no effed; upon him, becaufe he denies the firft 
principle upon which it Is grounded. 

Suppofe again, that we reafon for monogamy from the inten- 
tion 



OF THE SENSE OF DUTY. 24* 

tion of nature, difcovercd by the projiortion of mules and of fc- CHA P. VL 
males that are born ; a proportion which correfixmds pcr:fcCi\y 
with monogamy, but by no means with polygamy. This argu- 
ment can have no weight with a man who does not perceive 
that he ought to have a regard to the intention of nature. 

Thus we fhall find that all moral rcafonings reft upon one or 
more firft princijiles of morals, whofe truth is immediately per- 
ceived without reafoning, by all men come to year') of under- 
Handing. 

And this indeed is common to every branch of human know- 
ledge that deferves the name of fcience. There muft be fnii 
principles proper to that fcience, by which the whole fupcr- 
ftrudlure is fupported. 

The firft: principles of all the fciences, muft be the immediate 
didates of our natural faculties]; nor is it pollible that we fliould 
have any other evidence of their truth. And in different fci- 
ences the faculties which didate their firft principles are very 
different. 

Thus, in aftronomy and in optics, in which fuch wonder- 
ful difcoveries have been made, that the unlearned can hardly 
believe them to be within the reach of human capacity, the 
firft principles are phrcnomena attefted folely by that little or- 
gan, the human eye. If we diftjclieve its report, the whole of 
thofe two noble fabrics of fcience, falls to pieces like the vi- 
fions of tlie night. 

The principles of mufic all depend upon the teftimony of the 
ear. The principles of natural philofophy, upon the fadls at- 
tefted by the fenfes. The principles of mathematics, upon the 
neceffary relations of quantities confidered abftradly, fuch as, 
That equal quantities added to equal quantities make equal 

H h fums, 



242 ESSAY III. 

P^'"^?- ^'l - Turns, and the like ; which neccflary relations are immediately- 
perceived by the underftanding. 

The fcience of politics borrows its principles from what we 
know by experience of the charader and conduct of man. We 
confider not what he ought to be, but wliat he is, and thence 
conclude what part he will a6l in different fituations and cir- 
cumllances. From fuch principles we reafon concerning the 
caufes and effeds of different forms of government, laws, cuf- 
toms, and manners. If man were either a more perfedl or a 
more iraperfed, a better or a worfe creature than he is, politics 
would be a different fcience from what it is. 

The firft principles of morals are the Immediate ditftates of 
the moral faculty. They Ihew us, not what man is, but what 
he ought to be. Whatever is Immediately perceived to be juft, 
honeft, and honourable, In human condudl, carries moral obli- 
gation along with it, and the contrary carries demerit and blame ; 
and, from thofe moral obligations that are immediately per- 
ceived, all other moral obligations mull be deduced by reafon- 
ing. 

He that will judge of the colour of an objedl, mufl; confult his 
eyes, In a good light, when there is no medium or contiguous 
objeds that may give It a falfe tinge. But In vain will he con- 
fult every other faculty In this matter. 

In like manner, he that will judge of the firft principles of 
morals, muft confult his confclence, or moral faculty, when he 
is calm and dlfpaflionate, unbialled by intereft, affedlon, or 
fafhion. 

As we rely upon the clear and dlftlnd teftlmony of our eyes, 
concerning the colours and figures of the bodies about us, we 
have the fame reafon to rely with fecurity upon the clear and 

unblafled 



OF THi: SENSE OF DUTY. 243 

unblanecl tefllmony of our confcicncc, with rcgirJ to what we CH.MVVL 
ought and ought not to do. In many cafes, moral worth and 
demerit are difccrncd no lefs clearly by the Lift of thofe natural 
faculties, than hgure and colour by the full. 

The faculties which nature hath given us, are the only en- 
gines we can ufe to find out the truth. ^V^e cannot indeed prove 
that thofe faculties are not fallacious, unlcfs God fliould give 
us new faculties to fit in judgment upon the old. But we are 
born under a neccfTity of truftiiig them. 

Every man in his fenfes believes his eyes, his ears, and his 
other fenfes. He believes his confcioufnefs with refpedl to his 
own thoughts and purpofes, his memory, with regard to what is 
paft, his underftanding, with regard to abftrad: relations of 
things, and his tafte, with regard to what is elegant and beau- 
tiful. And he has the fame reafon, and, indeed, is under the 
fame necelFity of believing the clear and unbiafled didates of 
his confcience, with regard to what is honourable and what is 
bafe. 

The fum of what has been faid in this chapter is, That, by an 
original power of the mind, which we call confcience, or the mo- 
ral faculty, we have the conceptions of right and wrong in hu- 
man condud, of merit and demerit, of duty and moral oblit^a- 
tion, and our other moral conceptions ; and that, by the fame 
faculty, we perceive fome things in human conduCl to be right, 
and others to be wrong ; that the firft principles of morals are 
the didates of this faculty ; and that we have the fame reafon 
to rely upon thofe didtates, as upon the determinations of our 
fenfes, or of our other natural faculties. 



H h 2 CHAP. 




ESSAY III. |] 



CHAP. VII. 

Of moral Approbation and Diftp probation. 

OUR moral judgments are not like thofe we form in fpecu- 
lative matters, dry and unaffeding, but, from their na- 
ture, are neceflarily accompanied with affedions and feelings j 
which we are now to conlider. 

It was before obferved, that every human adlion, confidered 
in a moral view, appears to us good, or bad, or indifferent. When 
we judge the adion to be indifferent, neither good nor bad, 
though this be a moral judgment, it produces no affedion nor 
feeling, any more than our judgments in fpeculative matters. 

But we approve of good adions, and difapprove of bad ; and 
this approbation and difapprobation, when we analyfe it, appears 
to include, not only a moral judgment of the adion, but fome 
affedion, favourable or unfavourable, towards^ the agent, and 
fome feeling in ourfelves. 

Nothing Is more evident than this. That moral worth, even itt 
a ftranger, with whom we have not the leall connedion, never 
fails to produce fome degree of efteem mixed with good will. 

The efteem which we have for a man on account of his mo- 
ral worth, is different from that which is grounded upon his in- 
telledual accomplifhments, his birth, fortune, and connedion 
with us. 

Moral worth, when it is not fet off by eminent abilities, and 
external advantages, is like a diamond in the mine, which is 

rough 



OF MORAL APPROBATION, =^c. 245 

rough and unpoliflied, and perhaps cruftcd over with fome bafer chap. \ ir. 
material that takes away its luflrc. ^' 

But, -when it is attended with thefe advantages, it is hke a 
diamond cut, polilhcd, and fet. Then its luftrc attrads every 
eye. Yet thefe tilings which add Co much to its appearance, 
add but little to its real value. 

We muft farther obferve, that efleem and benevolent regard, 
not only accompany real worth by the conftitution of our na- 
ture, but are perceived to be really and properly due to it j and 
that, on the contrary, unworthy condud really merits diflike 
and indignation. 

There is no judgment of the heart of man more clear, or 
more irrefiftible, than this, That efteem and regard are really 
due to good condudl, and the contrary to bafc and unworthy 
contlud. Nor can we conceive a greater depravity in the heart 
of man, than it would be to fee and acknowledge worth without 
feeling any refpedt to it 3 or to fee and acknowledge the higheft. 
■worthlefliiefs without any degree of diflike and indignation. 

The efteem that is due to worthy condud, is not leflened 
■when a man is confcious of it in himfelf. Nor can he help ha- 
ving fome efleem for himfelf, when he is confcious of thofe 
qualities for which he moft highly efteems others. 

Self-efleem, grounded upon external advantages, or the gifts 
of fortune, is pride. When it is grounded upon a vain conceit 
of inward worth which we do not poflcfs, it is arrogance and 
felf-dcceit. But when a man, without thinking of himfelf more 
highly than he ought to think, is confcious of that integrity 
of heart, and uprightnefs of conduct, which he moft highly 
efteems in others, and values himfelf duly upon this account ; 
this perhaps may be called the pride of virtue, but it is not a 

vicious 



a4<5 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. VII . vicious pride. It is a noble and magnanimous dlfpofition, with- 
out which there can be no fleady virtue. 

A man who has a charadler with iiimfelf, which he vaUies, 
will difdain to a6l in a manner unworthy of it. The language 
of his heart will be like that of Job, " My righteoufnefs I hold 
" faft, and will not let it go ; my heart fhall not reproach ine 
" while I live." 



^ 



A good man owes much to his character with the w^orld, and 
will be concerned to vindicate it from unjuft imputations. But 
he owes much more to his character with himfelf. For if his 
heart condemns him not, he has confidence towards God j and 
he can more eafily bear the lafli of tongues than the reproach 
of his own mind. 

The fenfe of honour, fo much fpoken of, and fo often mifap- 
plied, is nothing elfe, when rightly underflood, but the difdain 
which a man of worth feels to do a diflionourable adlion, though 
it fhould never be known nor fufpe<5led. 

A good man will have a much greater abhorrence againfl do- 
ing a bad adlion, than even againfl: having it unjuftly imputed 
to him. The laft may give a wound to his reputation, but the 
firft gives a wound to his confcience, which is more difficult to 
heal, and more painful to endure. 

Let us, on the other hand, confider how we are affeded by 
difapprobation, either of the condudt of others, or of our own. 

Every thing we difapprove in the condudt of a man leflens 
him in our eflieem. There are indeed brilliant faults, which, 
having a mixture of good and ill in them, may have a very dif- 
ferent afpedt, according to the fide on which we view them. 

In 



OF MORAL APPROBATION, Wf. 247 

In fuch faults of our friends, and much more of ourfclves, CHAP. vii. 
we are difpofed to view them on the bcft fide, and on the con- 
trary fide in thofe to whom wc are ill aflccted. 

This partiality, in taking things by the befl or by the worfl 
handle, is the chief caufe of wrong judgment with regard to 
the cliaradler of others, and of felf-deceit with regard to our 
own. 

But when we take complex a<flions to pieces, and view every 
part by itfclf, ill conduct of every kind leffens our efteem of a 
man, as much as good conduct increafes it. It is apt to turn 
lovc-into indifference, indifference into contempt, and contempt 
into averfion and abhorrence. 

When a man is confcious of immoral condudV in himfclf, it 
lellens his felf-efteem. It depreffes and humbles his fpirit, and 
makes his countenance to fall. He could even punilh himfelf 
for his mifhehaviour, if that could wipe out the flain. There 
is a fenfe of diflionour and worthleffnefs arifing from guilt, as 
well as a fenfe of honour and worth arifing from woithy con- 
dud. And this is the cafe, even if a man could conceal his 
guilt from all the world. 

We are next to confider the agreeable or uneafy feelings, in 
the breaft of the fpedlator or judge, which naturally accompany 
moral approbation and difapprobation. 

There is no affection that is not accompanied with fome 
agreeable or uneafy emotion. It has often been obferved, that 
all the benevolent affections give pleafure, and the contrary ones 
pain, in one degree or another. 

When we contemplate a noble charader, though but in an- 
cient hiftory, or even in tktiou j like a beautiful objcd, it gives 

u 



248 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. vu. ^ lively and pleafant emotion to the fpirits. It warms the heart, 
and invigorates the whole frame. Like the beams of the fun, 
it enlivens the face of nature, and diffufes heat and light all 
around. 

We feel a fympathy with every noble and worthy charadler 
that is reprefented to us. We rejoice in his profperity, we are 
afflided in his diftrefs. We even catch fome fparks of that ce- 
leftial fire that animated his conduct, and feel the glow of his 
virtue and magnanimity. 

This fympathy is the neceflary effedl of our judgment of his 
conduct, and of the approbation and efteem due to it ; for real 
fympathy is always the effedl of fome benevolent affediion, fuch 
as efteem, love, pity or humanity. 

When the perfon whom we approve is conneded with us by 
acquaintance, friendfhip or blood, the pleafure we derive from 
his condud is greatly increafed. We claim fome property in 
his worth, and are apt to value ourfelves on account of it. This 
fhews a ftronger degree of fympathy, which gathers ftrength 
from every fecial tie. 

But the higheft pleafure of all is, when we are confcious of 
good condud in ourfelves. This, in facred fcripture, is called 
the tejl'imony of a good confcience ', and it is reprefented, not only in 
the facred writings, but in the writings of all moralifts, of eve- 
ry age and fed:, as the pureft, the moft noble and valuable of 
all human enjoyments. 

Surely, were we to place the chief happinefs of this life (a 
thing that has been fo much fought after) in any one kind of 
enjoyment, that which arifes from the confcioufnefs of integri- 
ty, and a uniform endeavour to adt the beft part in our ftation, 
would moft juftly claim the preference to all other enjoyments the 

human 



OF MORAL APPROBATION, t^V. 



249 



luiinin mind is capable of, on account of its dignity, the in- CUAV. viL 
tenfcnefs of the happinefs it aiTords, its liability and duration, 
its being in our power, and its being proof againft all accidents 
of time and fortune. 

On the other hand, the view of a vicious character, like that 
of an ugly and deformed jobjed, is difagreeable. It gives dif- 
gurt and abhorrence. 

If the unworthy perfon be nearly connedcd with us, we have 
a very painful fympathy indeed. We blufli even for the fmal- 
ler faults of thofe we are conncded with, and feel ourfelves, as 
it were, diflionoured by their ill condudl. 

But, when there is a high degree of depravity in any perfon 
connedled with us, we are deeply humbled and deprefled by it. 
The fympathetic feeling has fome refemblance to that of guilt, 
though it be free from all guilt. We are afhamed to fee our ac- 
quaintance ; we would, if pofllble, difclaim all connection with 
the guilty perfon. We wifh to tear him from our hearts, and 
to blot him out of our remembrance. 

Time, however, alleviates thofe fympathetic forrows which 
arife from bad behaviour in our friends and connedions, if we 
are confcious that we had no fhare in their guilt. 

The wifdom of God, in the conftitution of our nature, hath 
intended, that this fympathetic dillrefs fliould intereit us the 
more deeply in the good behaviour, as well as in the good for- 
tune of our friends j and that thereby friendlhip, relation and 
every focial tie, fliould be aiding to virtue and unfavourable to 
vice. 

How common is it, even in vicious parents, to be deeply af- 
flided when their children go into thefe courfes in which per- 

I i haps 



250 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. VII. ]j3pg tiiey have gone before them, and, by their example, fliewa 
them the way. 

If bad conduct in thofe in whom we are interefted, be uneafy 
and painful, it is fo much more when we are confcious of it in 
ourfelves. This uneafy feeling has a name in all languages. We 
call it remorje. 

It has been defcribed in fuch frightful colours by writers (a- 
cred and profane, by writers of every age and of every perfua- 
fion, even by Epicureans, that 1 will not attempt the defcription 
of it. 

It is on account of the uneafmefs of this feeling, that bad 
men take fo much pains to get rid of it, and to hide, even from 
their own eyes, as much as poffible, the pravity of their con- 
duit. Hence arife all the arts of felf-deceit, by which men 
varnlfh their crimes, or endeavour to wafh out the flain of 
guilt. Hence the various methods of expiation which fuperfti- 
tion has invented, to folace the confcience of the criminal, and 
give fome cooling to his parched breaft. Hence alfo arife, very 
often, the efforts of men of bad hearts to excel in fome amiable 
quality, which may be a kind of counterpoife to their vices, both 
in the opinion of others and in their own. 

For no man can bear the thought of being abfolutely deftltute 
of all worth. The confcloufnefs of this would make him deteft 
himfelf, hate the light of the fun, and fly. If poffible, out of ck- 
iflence. 

I have now endeavoured to delineate the natural operations 
of that principle of a dl ion In man, which we call the moral fenfe, 
the moral faculty, confcience. We know nothing of our natural 
faculties, but by their operations within us. Of their operations 
in our own minds, we are confcious, and we fee the figns of 

their 



OF MORAL APPRO HAT I ON, ^r. 251 

their operations in the minds of others. Of this faculty the CMAr.vii. 
operations appear to be, the judy;ing ukiinately of what is right, 
what is wrong, and what is indilVcrent in the conduct of inoral 
agents ; the approbation of good condiidl anil difai^probation of 
bad in confcquencc of that judgtnent, and the agreeable emo- 
tions which attend obedience, and difagreeable which attend 
difobcdience to its didates. 

The Supreme Being, who lias given us eyes to difcern what 
may be ufeful and what hurtful to our natural life, hath alfo 
given us this light within to direct our moral condutt. 

Moral condud is the bufinefs of every man ; and therefore 
the knowledge of it ought to be within the reach of all. 

Epicurus reafoned acutely and juftly to fliew, that a regard 
to our prefent happinefs fliould induce us to the practice of tem- 
perance, juftice and humanity. But the bulk of mankind can- 
not follow long trains of reafoning. The loud voice of the 
pafllons drowns the calm and ftill voice of reafoning. 

Confcience commands and forbids with more authority, and 
in the moft common and moft important points of condud, 
without the labour of reafoning. Its voice is heard by every 
man, and cannot be difregarded with impunity. 

The fenfe of guilt makes a man at variance with himfclf. 
He fees that he is what he ought not to be. He has fallen 
from the dignity of his nature, and has fold his real worth for 
a thing of no value. He is confcious of demerit, and cannot 
avoid the dread of meeting with its reward. 

On the other hand, he who pays a facred regard to the dic- 
tates of his confcience, cannot fail of a prefent reward, and a 
reward proportioned to the exertion required in doing his duty. 

I i 2 1 he 



352 . ESSAY 111. 

CHAP. VII . "phe man who, in oppofitlon to (Irong temptation, b y roble 
eftbrt, maintains his integrity, is the happieft man on earth. The 
more fevere his conflidl has been, the greater is his triumph. 
The confcioufnefs of inward worth gives flrength to his heart, 
and makes his countenance to (hine. Teinpefts may beat and^ 
floods roar, but he ftands firm as a rock in the joy of a good ^ 
confcience, and confidence of divine approbation. 

« 

To this I fhall only add, what every man's confcience dic- 
tates. That he who does his duty, from the convidion that it is 
right and honourable, and what he ought to do, adts from a 
nobler principle, and with more inward fatisfad:ion, than he 
who is bribed to do it, merely from the confideration of a reward 
prefent or future. 



CHAP. VIII. 

Obfervations concerning Confcience. 

I Shall now conclude this EfTay with fome obfervations con- 
cerning this power of the mind which we call confciencey by 
which its nature may be better underftood. 

The ^r^ is. That, like all our other powers, it comes to ma- 
turity by infenfible degrees, and may be much aided ia its 
ftrength and vigour by proper culture. 

All the human faculties have their infancy and their fiate of 
maturity. 

The faculties which we have in common with the brutes ap- 
pear firft, and have the quickefl growth. In the firfi period of 
life, children are not capable of diftinguifliing right from 

wrong 



' OBSERVATIONS CONCERNING CONSCIENCE. ac;^ 

wrong in human condud j neither are they capable of abftradl CHAP.vill- 
reafoning in matters of fcicnce. I'heir judgment of moral 
condudt, as well as their jutlgment of truth, advances by iiifcn- 
fible degrees, like the corn and the grafs. 

In vegetables, full; the blade or the leaf appears, then the 
flower, and laJl of all the fruit, the noblelt produdion of the 
three, and that for which the others were produced. Thefe 
fucceed one another in a regular order. They require moiflufs 
and heat and air and flielter to bring them to maturity, and 
may be much improved by culture. According to the variations 
of i'oil, fealbn and culture, fome plants are brought to much 
greater perfedion than others of the fame fpecies. But no va- 
riation of culture or feafon or foil can make grapes grow froiu 
thorns, or figs from thiftles. 

We may obferve a fimilar progrefs in the faculties of the 
mind : For there is a wonderful analogy among all the works 
of God, from the leaft even to the greateft. 

The faculties of man unfold themfelves in a certain order, 
appointed by the great Creator. In their gradual progrefs, they 
may be greatly alUfted or retarded, improved or corrupted, by 
education, inftruclion, example, exercife, and by the fociety and 
converfation of men, which, like foil and culture in plants, may 
produce great changes to the better or to the worfe. 

But thefe means can never produce any new faculties, nor 
any other than were originally planted in the mind by the Au- 
thor of nature. And what is common to the whole fpecies, in 
all the varieties of inftrudtion and education, of improvement 
and degeneracy, is the work of God, and not the operation of 
fecond caufes. 

Such we may juflly account confciencc, or the faculty of df- 

ftinguifliing 



254 E S S A Y III. 

CHAP.viir. flinguiflilng right conduct from wrong ', fince it appears*, and in 
all nations and ages, has appeared, in men that are come to ma- 
turity. 

The feeds, as it were, of moral difcernment are planted in the 
mind by him that made us. They grow up in their proper fea- 
fon, and are at firft tender and delcate, and eafily warped. 
Their progrefs depends very much upon their being duly culti- 
vated and properly exercifed. 

It is fo with the power of reafonlng, which all acknowledge 
to be one of the moil eminent natural faculties of man. It ap- 
pears not in infancy. It fprings up, by infenfible degrees, as we 
grow to maturity. But its llrength and vigour depend fo much 
upon its being duly cultivated and exercifed, that we fee many 
individuals, nay many nations, in which it is hardly to be per- 
ceived. 

Our intelledual difcernment is not fo flrong and vigorous by 
nature, as to fecure us from errors in fpeculation. On the con- 
trary, we fee a great part of mankind, in every age, funk in 
grofs ignorance of things that are obvious to the more enlight- 
ened, and fettered by errors and falfe notions, which the hu- 
man underftanding, duly improved, eafily throws off. 

It would be extremely abfurd, from the errors and ignorance 
of mankind, to conclude that there is no fuch thing as truth ; or 
that man has not a natural faculty of difcerning it, and diftin- 
guilhing it from error. 

In like manner, our moral difcernment of what we ought, and 
what we ought not to do, is not fo flrong and vigorous by na- 
ture, as to fecure us from very grofs raiftakes with regard to our- 

duty. 

In 



OBSERVATIONS CONCERNING CONSCIENCE. 255 

In matters of conduci, as \vell as in matters of fpeculation, CHAP.vill. 
we are liable to be nilfled by prejudices of education, or by 
wrong- inflruction. But, in matters of condud, we are alfo very 
liable to have our judgment warped by our appetites and paflions, 
by fafhion, and l)y tbe contagion of evil exainj)le. 

We muft not therefore think, becaufe man has the natural 
power of difcerning what is right and what is wrong, that he 
has no need of inilrudioji ; that this power has no need of culti- 
vation and inij)rovement ; that he may fafely rely upon the fug- 
gertions of his mind, or upon opinions he has got, he knows not 
how. 

What (hould we think of a man who, becaufe he has by na- 
ture the power of moving all his limbs, fhould therefore con- 
clude that he needs not be taught to dance, or to fence, to ride, 
or to fwim ? All thcfe excrcifes are performed by that power 
of moving our limbs, which we have by nature ; but they will 
be performed very awkwardly and imperfectly by thofe who 
have not been trained to them, and praclifed in them. 

W^hat (hould we think of the man who, becaufe he has the 
power by nature of dillinguifhing what is true from what is 
falfe, fhould conclude that he has no need to be taught mathe- 
matics, or natural philofopliy, or other fciences ? It is by the 
natural power of human underflanding that every thing in thofe 
fciences has been difcovered, and that the truths they contain 
are difcerned. But the underftanding left to itfelf, witliout the 
aid of inftrudlion, training, habit, and exercife, would make ve- 
ry fmall progrefs, as every one fees, in perfons unlnllruCted in 
tliofe matters. 

Our natural power of difcerning between right and wrong, 
needs the aid of inftrudion, education, exercife, and habit, as 
well as our other natural powers. 

There 



^5^ ESSAY III. 

C HA?.vil L There are perfons who, as the fcrlpture fpeaks, have, by rea- 
fon of ufe, their fenfes exercifed to difcern both good and evil ; 
by that means, they have a much quicker, clearer, and more 
certain judgment in morals than others. 

The man who negledls the means of improvement in the 
knowledge of his duty, may do very bad things, while he fol- 
lows the light of fhis mind. And though he be not culpable for 
acting according to his judgment, he may be very culpable for 
not uling the means of having his judgment better informed. 

It may be obferved. That there are truths, both fpeculative 
and moral, which a, man left to himfelf would never difcover; 
yet, when they are fairly laid before him, he owns and adopts 
them, not barely upon the authority of his teacher, but upon 
their own intrinfic evideace, and perhaps wonders that he could 
be fo blind as not to fee them before. 

Like a man whofe fon has been long abroad, and fuppofed 
dead. After many years the fon returns, and is not known by 
his father. He would never find that this is his fon. But, when 
he difcovers himfelf, the father foon finds, by many circura- 
ilances, that this is his fon who was loft, and can be no other 
perfon. 

Truth has an affinity with the human underftanding, which 
error hath not. And right principles of condu<5t have an affinity 
with a candid mind, which wrong principles have not. When 
they are fet before it in a juft light, a well difpofed mind recog- 
nifes this affinity, feels their authority, and perceives them to be 
genuine. It was this, I apprehend, that led Plato to conceive 
that the knowledge we acquire in the prefent ftate, is only re- 
minifcence of what, in a former ftate, we were acquainted 
with. 

A 



OBSERVATIONS CONCERNING CONSCIENCE. 257 

A man born and brought up in a ilivage nation, maybe taug;ht chap .viii . 
to purine injury with unrelenting malice, to the tleftrudion of 
his enemy. Perhnps when he does fo, his heart does not con- 
demn him. 

Yet, if he be fair and candid, and, when the tumult of paflion 
is over, have the virtues of clemency, generofity, and forgive- 
nefs, laid before him, as they were taught and exemplified by 
the divine Author of our religion, he will fee, that it is more 
noble to overcome himfelf, and fubdue a favage pallion, than to 
dellroy his enemy. He will fee, that to make a friend of an 
enemy, and to overcome evil with good, is the greateft of all 
vidliories, and gives a manly and a rational deliglii, with which 
the brutifli pallion of revenge deferves not to be compared. He 
will fee that hitherto he a(5led like a man to his friends, but like 
a brute to his enemies ; now he knows how to make his whole 
charader confillent, and one part of it to harmonize Nvith ano- 
ther. 

He muft indeed be a great ftranger to his own heart, and to 
the ftate of human nature, who does not fee that he has need of 
all the aid which his fituation affords him, in order to know 
how he ought to aft in many cafes that occur. 

A fecond obfervatlon is. That confcience is peculiar to man. 
We fee not a veftige of it in brute-animals. It is one of thofe 
prerogatives by which we are raifed above them. 

Brute-animals have many faculties in common with us. They 
fee, and hear, and tafte, and fmell, and feel. They have their 
pleafures and pains. They have various inftincis and appetites. 
They have an affedion for their offspring, and fome of them for 
their herd or flock. Dogs have a wonderful attachment to 
their mafters, and give manlfeft figns of fympathy with them. 

K k Wc 



258 ESSAY III. 

CHAP.VIII . We fee, in brute-animals, anger and emulation, pride and 
fliame. Some of them are capable of being trained by habit, 
and by rewards and punilbments, to many things ufeful to 
man. 

All this muft be granted ; and if our perception of what we 
ought, and what we ought not to do, could be refolved into any 
of thefe principles, or into any combination of them, it would 
follow, that feme brutes are moral agents, and accountable for 
their condudt. 

But common fenfe revolts againft this conclufion. A man 
"who ferioufly charged a brute with a crime, would be laughed 
at. They may do adlions hurtful to themfelves, or to man. 
They may have qualities, or acquire habits, that lead to fuch 
adlions ; and this is all we mean when we call them vicious. 
But they cannot be immoral j nor can they be virtuous. They 
are not capable of felf-governraent ; and, when they adt accord- 
ing to the pailion or habit which is llrongefl at the time, they 
adl according to the nature that God has given them, and no 
more can be required of them. 

They cannot lay down a rule to themfelves, which they are 
not to tranfgrefs, though prompted by appetite, or ruffled by 
paflion. We fee no reafon to think that they can form the con- 
ception of a general rule, or of obligation to adhere to it. 

They have no conception of a promife or contract ; nor can 
you enter into any treaty with them. They can neither affirm 
iwr deny, nor refolve, nor plight their faith. If nature had 
made them capable of thefe operations, we Ihould fee the figns 
of them in their motions and geftures. 

The moll fagacious brutes never Invented a language, nor 
learned the ufe of one before invented. They never formed a 

plan 



OBSERVATIONS CONCERNING CONSCIENCE. 259 

plan of government, nor tranfmittcd inventions to their pofte- CHAP.viii. 
nty. 

Thefe things, and many others that are obvious to conimon 
obiervation, ihcw that there is juft rcafon why mankind have 
always conlidered the brute-creation as deftitute of the nobicfl 
faculties with which God hath endowed man, and particularly 
of that faculty which makes us moral and accountable beings. 

The next obfervation is. That confclence is evidently intend- 
ed by nature to be the immediate guide and diredor of our con- 
du(5l, after we arrive at the years of undcrflanding. 

There are many things, which, from their nature and ftruc- 
ture, fhew intuitively the end for which they were made. 

A man who knows the flrudlure of a watch or clock, can have 
no doubt in concluding that it was made to meafure time. And 
he that knows the ftrudure of the eye, and the properties of 
light, can have as little doubt whether it was made that we might 
fee by it. 

In the fabric of the body, the intention of the fevcral parts 
is, in many inftances, fo evident, as to leave no poflibility of 
doubt. Who can doubt whether the mufcles were intended to 
move the parts in which they are inferted ? Whether the bones 
were intended to give flrength and fupport to the body ; and 
fomc of them to guard the parts which they inclofe ? 

When we attend to the ftrudure of the mind, the intention of 
its various original powers is no lefs evident. Is it not evi- 
dent, that the external fenfes are given, that we may difcern 
thofe qualities of bodies which may be ufeful or hurtful to us. 
Memory, that we may retain the knowledge we have acquired : 

K k 2 Judgment 



26o ESSAY III. 

CHAP.viii. Jiirltrment and underftanding, that we may diftinguifli what is 
'^ ^ * true from what is falfe ? 

The natural appetites of hunger and thirft, the natural affec- 
tions of parents to their offspring, and of relations to each o- 
ther, tlie natural docility and credulity of children, the affec- 
tions of pity and fympathy with the diftreffed, the attachment 
we feel to neighbours, to acquaintance, and to the laws and con- 
flitution of our country j thefe are parts of our conftitution, 
which plainly point out their end, fo that he muft be blind, or 
very inattentive, who does not perceive it. Even the paffions of 
anger and refentment, appear very plainly to be a kind of de- 
fenfive armour, given by our Maker to guard us againfl inju- 
ries, and to deter the injurious* 

Thus it holds generally with regard both to the intelledlual 
and adive powers of man, that the intention for which they are 
given, is written in legible charaders upon the face of them* 

Nor Is this the cafe of any of them more evidently than of 
confcience. Its intention is manifeflly implied in its office ; 
which is, to fhew us what is good, what bad, and what indiffe- 
rent in human condud;. 

It judges of every adion before it is done. For we can rarely 
ad fo precipitately, but we have the confcioufnefs that what we 
are about to do is right, or wrong, or indifferent. Like the bo- 
dily eye, it naturally looks forward, though its attention may 
be turned back to the paft. 

To conceive, as fome feem to have done, that its office is only 
to refled on paft adions, and to approve or dilapprove, is, as if 
a man ftiould conceive, that the office of his eyes is only to look 
back upon the road he has travelled, and to fee whether it be 

clean 



OBSERVATIONS CONCERNING CONSCIENCE. a6i 

clean or dirty ; a miflake which no man can make who has CHAP.viri, 
made the proper ufe of his eyes. 

Confcience prefcribes meafures to every appetite, affcdion, 
and pafTion, and fays to every otht;r principle of acliou, So far 
thou niayeft go, but no farther. 

We may Indeed tranlgrefs its didates, but we cannot tranf- 
grcfs them with innocence, nor even with impmiity. 

We condemn ourfelves, or, in the language of fcripture, our heart 
condemns us, whenever we go beyond the rules of right and 
wrong which confcience prefcribes. 

Other principles of adion may have more ftrength, but this 
only has authority. Its fentence makes us guilty to onrfelvcs, 
and guilty in the eyes of our Maker, whatever other principle 
may be fet in oppofition to it. 

It is evident therefore, that this principle has, from its nature, 
an authority to f'.ired and determine with regard to our condud ; 
to judge, to acquit, or to condemn, and even to punlHi ; an 
authority which belongs to no other principle of the human 
mind. 

It is the candle of the Lord fet up within us, to guide our 
fteps. Other principles may urge and impel, but this only au- 
thorifes. Other principles ought to be controlled by this ; this 
may be, but never ought to be controlled by any other, and ne- 
ver can be with innocence. 

The authority of confcience over the other adive principles of 
the mind, I do not confider as a point that requires proof by argu- 
ment, but as fclf-evident. For it implies no more than this. 

That. 



262 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. VIII. That in all cafes a man ought to do his duty. He only who 
does in all cafes what he ought to do, is the perfed: man. 

Of this perfedlion in the human nature, the Stoics formed the 
idea, and held it forth in their writings, as the goal to which 
the race of life ought to be dired:ed. Their vDife man was one 
in whom a regard to the honejium fwallowed up every other prin- 
ciple of adion. 

The "Wife man of the Stoics, like the perfe& orator of the rhe- 
toricians, was an ideal charadler, and was, in fome refpedls, car- 
ried beyond nature ; yet it was perhaps the moft perfed; model 
of virtue, that ever was exhibited to the heathen world ; and 
fome of thofe who copied after it, were ornaments to human 
nature. 

The la^ obfervation is. That the moral faculty or confcience 
is both an adlive and an intelledtual power of the mind. 

It is an adive power, as every truly virtuous adion muft be 
more or lefs influenced by it. Other principles may concur 
with it, and lead the fame way ; but no adlion can be called 
morally good, in which a regard to what is right, has not fome 
influence. Thus a man who has no regard to juftice, may pay 
his juft debt, from no other motive, but that he may not be 
thrown into prifon. In this adion there is no virtue at all. 

The moral principle, in particular cafes, may be oppofed by 
any of our animal principles. Pafljon or appetite may urge to 
what we know to be wrong. In every infl:ance of this kind, 
the moral principle ought to prevail, and the more ditEcult its 
conquefl is, it is the more glorious. 

In fome cafes, a regard to what is right may be the fole mo- 
tive, without the concurrence or oppofition of any other prin- 
ciple 



OBSERVATIONS CONCERNING CONSCIENCE. 263 

ciple of adion ; as when a judge or an arbiter determines a CHAP.vin 
pica between two indilTerent perfons, lolely from a regard to 
juflice. 

Thus we fee, that confcience, as an adlive principle, fometimes 
concurs with other adlive principles, fometimes oppofes them, 
and fometimes is the fole principle of adlion. 

I endeavoured before to fliew, that a regard to our own good 
upon the whole is not only a rational principle of action, but a 
leading principle, to which all our animal principles are fubor- 
dinate. As thefe are, therefore, two regulating or leading prin- 
ciples in the conftitution of man, a regard to what is bed for 
us upon the whole, and a regard to duty, it may be afked. 
Which of thefe ought to yield if they happen to interfere? 

Some well meaning perfons have maintained, That all regard 
to ourfelves and to our own happinefs ought to be extinguifh- 
ed ; that we ftiould love virtue for its own fake only, evea 
though it were to be accompanied with eternal mifery. 

This feems to have been the extravagance of fome Myflics, 
which perhaps they were led into, in oppofitlon to a contrary 
extreme of the fchoohnen of the middle ages, who made the de- 
iire of good to ourfelves to be the fole motive to adion, and 
virtue to be approvable only on account of its prefent or fu- 
ture reward. 

Jufter views of human nature will teach us to avoid both 
thefe extremes. 

On the one hand, the difinterefted love of virtue is undoubted- 
ly the nobleft principle in human nature, and ought never to 
ftoop to any other. 

Oa 



264 ESSAY III. 

CHAP.vni. On the other hand, there is no adlive principle which God 
hath planted in our nature that is vicious in itfelf, or tliat ought 
to be eradicated, even if it were in our power. 

They are all ufeful and neceflary in our prefent ftaie. The 
perfedion of human nature confifts, not in extinguilhing, but 
inreftraining them within their proper bounds, and keeping them 
in due fubordination to the governing principles. 

As to the fuppofition of an oppofition between the two go- 
verning principles, that is, between a regard to our happinefs 
upon the whole, and a regard to duty, this fuppofition is merely 
imaginary. There can be no fuch oppofition. 

While the world is under a wife and benevolent adminiftration, 
it is impoflible, that any man Ihould, in the ifTue, be a lofer by 
doing his duty. Every man, therefore, who believes in God, 
while he is careful to do his duty, may fafely leave the care of 
his happinefs to him who made him. He is confcious that hfe 
confults the laft mofl: effedually by attending to the firfl. 

Indeed, if we fuppofe a man to be an atheift in his belief, 
and, at the fame time, by wrong judgment, to believe that vir- 
tue is contrary to his happinefs upon the whole, this cafe, as 
Lord Shaftesbury juftly obferves, is without remedy. It will 
be impoflible for the man to adl, fo as not to contradid: a lead- 
ing principle of his nature. He muft either facrifice his happi- 
nefs to virtue, or virtue to happinefs ; and is reduced to this 
miferable dilemma, whether it be beft to be a fool or a knave. 

This (hews the ftrong connedllon between morality and the 
principles of natural religion ; as the lalt only can fecure a man 
from the poflibility of an apprehenfion, that he may play the 
fool by doing his duty. _ 

Hence, 



OBSERVATIONS CONCERNING CONSCIENCE. 265 

Hence, even Lord Shaftesbury, in his gravcfl work, con- cHai'aiii. 
eludes, T/miI virtue ivilhotit piety is incomplete. Without piety, it 
IoIl-s its brighteft example, its nobled object, and its firmcft fup- 
port. 

I conclude with obferving;. That confcience, or the moral fa- 
culty, is likewife an intellectual power. 

By it folely we have the orip,inal conceptions or ideas of right 
and wrong in human condudt. And of right and wrong, there 
are not only many dilTcrent degrees, but many different fpecies. 
Juftice and injuftice, gratitude and ingratitude, benevolence and 
malice, prudence and folly, magnanimity and meannefs, decency 
and indecency, are various moral forms, all comprehended under 
the general notion of right and wrong in condudt, all of them 
objedts of moral approbation or dilapprobation, in a greater or 
a lefs degree. 

The conception of thefe, as moral qualities, we have by our 
moral faculty j and by the fame faculty, when we compare them 
together, we perceive various moral relations among them. 
Thus, we perceive, that juftice is entitled to a fmall degree of 
praife, tut injufticc to a high degree of blame ; and the fame 
may be faid of gratitude and its contrary. When juftice and 
gratitude interfere, gratitude mult give place to juftice, and un- 
merited beneficence muft give place to both. 

Many fuch relations between the various moral qualities com- 
pared together, are immediately difcerned by our moral faculty. 
A man needs only to confult his own heart to be convinced of 
them. 

All our reafonings in morals, in natural jurifprudence, in the 
law of nations, as well as our reafonings about the duties of 
natural religion, and about the moral government of the Deity, 

L 1 mufl 



266 ESSAY III. 

CHAP. VIII. muft be grounded upon the di(3:ates of our moral faculty, as firft 
principles. 

As this faculty, therefore, furniflies the human mind with ma- 
ny of its original conceptions or ideas, as well as with the firft 
principles of many Important branches of human knowledge, it 
may juftly be accounted an intellectual, as well as an adive 
power of the mind. 



ESSAY 



B 



IL S S A Y IV. 

OF THE LIBERTY OF MORAL AGENTS. 

CHAP. L 

T'he Notions of Moral Liberty and Necejfity JlalcJ. 

Y the liberty of a moral agent, I underfland, a power ovei' 
the determinations of his own will. 



If, in any adion, he had power to will what he did, or not 
to will it, in that adtion he is free. But if, in every voluntary 
action, the determination of his will be the necellary confe- 
quence of fomething involuntary in the ftate of his mind, or of 
fomething in his external circumllances, he is not free ; he has 
not what I call the liberty of a moral agent, but is fubjcdl to nc- 
cellity. 

This liberty fuppofcs the agent to have uuderftanding and 
will ; for the determinations of the will are the fole objecl 
about which this power is employed ; and there can be no will 
witliout fuch a degree of underltanding, at leail, as gives the 
conception of that which we will. 

The liberty of a moral agent implies, not only a conception of 
what he wills, but fome degree of practical judgment or reafon. 

For, if he has not the judgment to diicem one determination 

L 1 2 to 



268 ESSAY IV. 

CHAP. I. to be preferable to another, either in itfelf, or for fome pur- 
pofe which he intends, what can be the ufe of a power to de- 
termine ? His determinations mufl be made perfecflly in the dark, 
without reafon, motive or end. They can neither be right nor 
wrong, wife nor foohfh. Whatever the confequences may be, 
they cannot be imputed to the agent, who had not the capacity 
of forefeeing them, or of perceiving any reafon for ading other- 
wife than he did. 

We may perhaps be able to conceive a being endowed with 
power over the determinations of his will, without any light in 
his mind to dii'ed: that power to fome end. But fuch power 
would be given in vain. No exercife of it could be either 
blamed or approved. As natui*e gives no power in vain, I fee 
no ground to afcribe a power over the determinations of the 
will to any being who has no judgment to apply it to the direc- 
tion of his condudt, no difcernment of what he ought or ought 
not to do. 

For that reafon, in this Eflay, I fpeak only of the liberty of 
moral agents, who are capable of acfting well or ill, wifely or 
fooliflaly, and this, for diftindion's fake, I fhall call moral liberty. 

What kind, or what degree of liberty belongs to brute aniw 
mals, or to our own fpecies, before any ufe of reafon, I do not 
know. We acknowledge that they have not the power of felf- 
government. Such of their adions as may be called voluntary^ 
feem to be invariably determined by the paflion or appetite, or 
affection or habit which is ftrongcft at the time. 

This feems to be the law of their conftitution, to which they 
yield, as the inanimate creation does, without any conception, 
of the law, or any intention of obedience. 

But of civil or moral government, which are addrefled to the 

ratioiial 



THE NOTIONS OF MORAL LIBERTY, l^c. 26(j- 

rational powers, and require a conception of the law and an in- CIIAP. I. 

tentional obedience, they arc, in the judgment of all mankind, 

incapable. Nor do I fee what end could be ferved by giving 

them a power over the determinations of their own will, unlefs 

to make them intraclable by difcipline, which we fee they are 

not. 

The efTeift of moral liberty is, That it is in the power of the 
agent to do well or ill. This power, like every other gift of 
God, may be abufed. The right ufe of this gift of God is to 
do well and wifely, as far as his beft judgment can direcfl him, 
and thereby merit efteem and approbation. The abufe of it is 
to adl contrary to what he knows or fufpcds to be his duty and 
his wifdom, and thereby juftly merit difapprobation and blame. 

By neccjfily^ I underftand the want of that moral liberty which 
I have above defined. 

If there can be a better and a worfe in adions on the fyftem 
of neccfTity, let us fuppofe a man necelTarily determined in all 
cafes to will and to do what is befl to be done, he would furely 
be innocent and inculpable. But, as far as I am able to judge, 
he w-ould not be entitled to the efteem and moral approbation of 
thofe who knew and believed this nece/lity. What was, by an 
ancient author, faid of Cato, might indeed be faid of him. 
He was good becaufc he could riot be otberwife. But this faying, if 
undcrftood literally and ftriclly, is not the praife of Cato, but 
of his conftitution, which wns no more the work of Cato, than 
his exiftence. 

On the other hand, if a man be neceflarily determined to do 
ill, this cafe feems to me to move pity, but not difapprobation. 
He was ill, becaufe he could not be otherwife. Who can blame 
l\im ? Ncccllity has no law. 

If 



270 



ESSAY IV. 

If he knows that he a died under this necefCty, has he not jufl 
ground to exculpate himfelf ? The blame, if there be any, is not 
in him, but in his conftitution. If he be charged by his Maker 
with doing wrong, may he not expoflulate with him, and fay, 
Why haft thou made me thus ? I may be facrificed at thy plea- 
fure, for the common good, like a man that has the plague, but 
not for ill defert ; for thou knoweft that what I am charged with 
is thy work, and not mine. 

~ Such are my notions of moral liberty and neceflity, and of the con- 
fequences infeparably connedled with both the one and the other. 

This moral liberty a man may have, though it do not extend 
to all his adlions, or even to all his voluntary adions. He does 
many things by inftincSl, many things by the force of habit 
without any thought at all, and confequently without will. In 
the firft part of life, he has not the power of felf-government 
any more than the brutes. That power over the determinations 
of his own will, which belongs to him In ripe years, is limited, 
as all his powers are ; and it is perhaps beyond the reach of his 
underftanding to define its limits with precifion. We can only 
fay, in general, that it extends to every adion for which he is ac- 
countable. 

This power is given by his Maker, and at his pleafure whofe 
gift it is, it may be enlarged or diminlfhed, continued or with- 
drawn. No power In the creature can be independent of the 
Creator. His hook is In its nofe ; he can give it line as far 
as he fees fit, and, when he pleafes, can reftrain it, or turn it 
whitherfoever he will. Let this be always underftood, when we 
afcribe liberty to man, or to any created being. 

Suppofing it therefore to be true, That man Is a free agent, 
it may be true, at the fime time, that his liberty may be 
impaired or loft, by dllbrder of body or mind, as in melancholy, 

or 



THE NOTIONS OF MORAL LIBERTY, 'dfc. 271 

or in madnefs ; it may be impaired or loft by vicious habits : it t:i^A.r. i. 
may, in particular cafes, be reftrained by divine interpofition. 

We call mail a free a^jent in the fame way as we call him a 
reafonable agent. In many things he is not guided by rcafon, 
but by principles fimilar to thofe of the brutes. His rcafon is 
weak at bcft. It is liable to be impaired or lofl, by his own fault, 
or by other means. In like manner, he may be a free aj^ent, 
though his freedom of aclion may have many fmiilar limi- 
tations. 

The liberty I have defcribed has been reprefcnted bv fome 
Philofophers as inconceivable, and as involving an abfurdity. 

" Liberty, they fay, confifts only in a power to ac\ as we 
will; and it is impollible to conceive in any being a greater 
liberty than this. Hence it follows, that liberty does not ex- 
tend to tlie determinations of the will, but only to the adions 
confequent toits determination, and depending upon the will. To 
fay that we have power to will fuch an adion, is to fay, that we 
may will it, if we will. This fuppofes the will to be determined 
by a prior will ; and, for the fame reafon, that will muli be de- 
tennined by a will prior to it, and fo on in an infinite feries of 
wills, which is abfurd. To a6l freely, therefore, can mean no- 
thing more than to adt voluntarily ; and this is all the liberty 
that can be conceived in man, or in any being." 

This reafoning, firft, I think, advanced by Hobbes, has been 
very generally adopted by the defenders of ncceflity. It is 
gronndcd upon a definition of liberty totally different from 
that which I have given, and therefore docs not apply to moral 
liberty, as above defined. 

But it is faid that this is the only liberty that is polTIbIc, that 
is conceivable, that docs not involve an abfurdity. 

It 



^72 



Ts: s s A Y rv. 



CHAP. L Xt is ilratige, indeed ! if the word liberty has no meaning but 
*" this one. I fliall mention three all very common. The objec- 

ction applies to one of them, but to neither of the other two. 

Liberty is fometimes oppofed to external force or confinement 
:of the body. Sometimes it is oppofed to obligation by law, or 
by lawful authority. Sometimes it is oppofed to neceflity. 

I. It is oppofed to confinement of the body by fuperior force. 
So we fay a prifoner is fet at liberty when his fetters are knock- 
ed off, and he is difcharged from confinement. This is the li- 
berty defined in the objedion ; and I grant that this liberty ex- 
tends not to the will, neither does the confinement, becaufe the 
will cannot be confined by external force. 

1. Liberty is oppofed to obligation by law, or lawful autho- 
rity. This liberty is a right to ad one way or another, in things 
which the law has neither commanded nor forbidden ^ and 
this liberty is meant when we fpeak of a man's natural liberty, 
his civil liberty, his Chriftian liberty. It is evident that this li- 
berty, as well as the obligation oppofed to it, extends to the 
will : For It is the will to obey that makes obedience ; the will 
to tranfgrefs that makes a tranfgreffion of the law. Without 
will there can be neither obedience nor tranfgreffion. Law fup- 
pofes a power to obey or to tranfgrefs ; it does not take away 
this power, but propofes the motives of duty and of intereft, 
leaving the power to yield to them, or to take the confequence 
of tranfgreffion. 

'i. Liberty is oppofed to neceffity, and in this fenfe it extends 
to the determinations of the will only, and not to what is confe- 
quent to the will. 

In every voluntary adion, the determination of the will is 
ithe firfl part of the adion, upon which alone the moral eftima- 

tion 



THE NOTIONS OF MORAL LIBERTY, ^c. 273 

tion of it depends. It has been made a cjueftlon among Pliilo- P^"^^- '■, 
fophers, Wliether, in every inflance, this determination be the 
neceflury confequence of the conftitution of the perfon, and the 
circumflances in which he is phiced ; or whether he had not power, 
in many cafes, to determine this way or that? 

This has, by fome, been called the philofoph'ical notion of liber- 
ty and necefllty i but it Is by no means peculiar to Phiiofophers. 
The loweft of the vidgar have, in all ages, been prone to have 
recourfe to this necelHty, to exculpate themfelves or their friends 
in what they do wrong, though, in the general tenor of their 
condudl, they a(5t upon the contrary principle. 

Whether this notion of moral liberty be conceivable or not, 
every man mufl judge for himfelf. To me there appears no 
difhculty in conceiving it. I confider the determination of the 
will as an efFed:. This effect mufl: have a caufe which had power 
to produce it ; and the caufe mufl; be either the perfon him- 
felf, whofe will it is, or fome other being. The firfl: is as eafily 
conceived as the lafl. If the perfon was the caufe of that deter- 
mination of his own will, he was free in that adllon, and it is 
juftly imputed to him, whether it be good or bad. But, if ano- 
ther being was the caufe of this determination, either by produ- 
cing it immediately, or by means and inftruments under his di- 
redion, then the determination is the ad and deed of that be- 
ing, and is folely imputable to him. 

But it Is faid, " That nothing is In our power but what de- 
pends upon the will, and therefore the will Itfelf cannot be in 
our power." 

I anfwer, That this is a fallacy arifing from taking a common 
faying in a fenfe which it never was intended 10 convey, and in 
a fenfe contrary to what it neccflarily implies. 

I\I m In 




ESSAY IV. 

In common life, when men fpeak of Avliat is, or is not, in a 
man's power, they attend only to the external and vifible effeds, 
which only can be perceived, and which only can affecft them. 
Of thefe, it is true, that nothing is in a man's power, but what 
depends upon his will, and this is all that is meant by this com- 
mon faying. 

But this is fo far from excluding his will from being in his 
power, that it neceflarily implies it. For to fay that what de- 
pends upon the will Is in a man's power, but the will is not in 
his power, is to fay that the end is in his power, but the means 
nccelTary to that end are not in his power, which is a contra- 
didion. 

In many propofitions which we exprefs univerfaliy, there is 
an exception neceflarily implied, and therefore always under- 
liood. Thus when we fay that all things depend upon God, 
God himfelf is neceflarily excepted. In like manner, when we 
fay, that all that is in our power depends upon the will, the 
will itfelf is neceflarily excepted : For if the will be not, no- 
thing elfe can be in our power. Every effed mull be in the 
power of its caufe. The determination of the will is an effed, 
and therefore muft be in the power of its caufe, whether that 
caufe be the agent himfelf, or fome other being. 

From what has been faid In this chapter, I hope the notion of 
moral liberty will be diftindly underftood, and that It appears 
that this notion is neither inconceivable, nor involves any ab- 
furdity or contradidion. 



CHAP. 



OF THE WORDS CAUSE AND EFFECT, ^c. 275 

CMAP. 11 

C H A P. II. 
Of the Words Caufe and EJft^l, A5i'ton, and Aclivc Poiver. 

THE writings upon liberty and necenity have been much 
darkened, by the ambiguity of the words ufed in reafon- 
ing upon that fubjecl. The words caufe and tffccJ, aEl'iou and ac- 
tive poxvcr^ liberty and ticcejfity, are related to each other : The 
meaning of one determines the meaning of the reft. When we 
attempt to define them, we can only do it by fynonymous words 
which need definition as much. There is a ftricl: fenfe in which 
thofe words muft be ufed, if we fpeak and reafon clearly about 
moral liberty ; but to keep to this ftricl fenfe is difficult, becaufe, 
in all languages, they have, by cuftom, got a great latitude of 
fignification. 

As we cannot reafon about moral liberty, without ufng thofe 
ambiguous words, it is proper to point out, as diftindly as pof- 
fible, their proper and original meaning, in which they ought to 
be underftood in treating of this fubjecl:, and to fhew from 
what caufes they have become fo ambiguous in all languages, 
as to darken and embarrafs our reafonings upon it. 

Every thing that begins to exift, muft have a caufe of Its ex- 
iftence, which had power to give it exiftence. And every thing 
that undergoes any change, muft have fbme caule of that 
change. 

That neither exiftence, nor any mode of exiflencc, can begin 
without an efficient caufe, is a principle that appears very early 
in the mind of man ; and it is fo univerfal, and fo firmly rooted 
in human nature, that the moft determined fccpticifm cannot 
eradicate it. 

M m 2 Ir 




ESSAY IV. 

It is upon this principle that we ground the rational belief of 
a deity. But that is not the only ufe to which we apply it. 
Every man's conducl is governed by it every day, and almoft 
every hour of his life. And if it were pollible for any man to 
root out this principle from his mind, he muft give up. every 
thing that is called common prudence, and be fit only to be 
confined as infane. 

From this principle it follows, That every thing which under- 
goes any change, muft either be the efficient caufe of that 
change in itfelf, or it muft be changed by fome other being. 

In the firfl cafe it is faid to have aSive power, and to aEi in- 
producing that change. In the fecotid cafe it is merely pajfive^ or 
is aBed upon, and the adtive power is in that being only which 
produces the change. 

The name of a caufe and of an agent, Is properly given to that 
being only, which, by its ad:Ive power, produces fome change in 
itfelf, or in fome other being. The change, whether it be of 
thought, of will, or of motion, is the effe£l. Aftlve power there- 
fore, is a quality in the caufe, which enables it to produce the 
effedl. And the exertion of that adlive power In producing the 
effed:, is called aEl'ion, agency, efficiency.. 

In order to the production of any effe6t,. there muft be In the 
caufe, not only power, but the exertion of that power : For 
pov/er that is not exerted produces no effed. 

All that is necefTary to the produifllon of any effedt, is power 
in an efficient caufe to produce the effedl, and the exertion of 
that power : For It Is a contradlcflion to fay, that the caufe has 
powder to produce the effed, and exerts that power, and yet the 
effed is not produced. The effed cannot be in his power un- 
lefs all the means neceflary to Its produdion be in his power. 

It 



OF THE WORDS CAUSE AND EFFECT, Uc. 277 

It Is no Icfs a contradiction to fay, that a caufe has power to CHAP. ir. 
produce a certain efFcd, but that he cannot exert that power: 
For power which cannot be exerted is no power, and i^ a con- 
tradidlion in terms. 

To prevent miflake, it is jn-oper to obferve, That a being may 
have a power at one time wliich it has not at another. It may 
commonly have a power, which, at a particular time, it has not. 
Thus, a man may commonly have power to walk or to run ; 
but he lias not this power when afleep, or when he is confined 
by fupcrior force. In common language, he may be faid to 
have a power which he cannot then exert. But this popular 
exprelTion means only that he commonly h'ls this power, and 
will have it when the caufe is removed which at prefent deprives 
him of it : For when we fpeak ftriftly and philofophically, it is 
a contradidion to fay that he has this power, at that momenc 
when he is deprived of it. 

Thcfe, I thini:, are neceflary confequences from the principle 
firlt mentioned, That every change which happens in nature 
jnuft have an efficient caufe which had power to produce it. 

Another principle, which appears very early in tlie mind of 
man, is, That we are efficient caufes in our deliberate and vo- 
luntary adlions. 

Wc are confcious of making an exertion, fometimes with dif- 
ficulty, in order to produce certain efleds. An exertion n^ade 
deliberately and voluntarily, in order to produce an cfTcd, im- 
plies a convidion that the effiid is in our power. No man can 
deliberately attempt what he does not believe to be iruhis power. 
The language of all mankind, and their ordinary condud in 
life, demonftrate, that they have a conviction of fome active 
power in thcmfelves to produce certain motions in their own and 
ill other bodies, and to regulate and direct their own thoughts. 

Thi^ 



278 ESSAY IV. 

CHAP. IL xhls convldlion we have fo early in life, that we have no re- 
membrance when, or in what way we acquired it. 

That fuch a convidion Is at firfl the neceflary refuit of our 
conflitution, and that it can never be entirely obliterated, is, I 
think, acknowledged by one of the mofl; zealous defenders of 
necellity. Free Difaijfiott, &c. p. 298. " Such are the influences 
" to which all mankind, without dillindlion, are expofed, that 
" they neceflarily refer adions (I mean refer them ultimately) 
" firfl of all to themfelves and others ; and it is a long time be- 
" fore they begin to confider themfelves and others as inflru- 
*' ments in the hand of a fuperior agent. Conlcquently, the 
" affociations which refer adions to themfelves get fo confirm- 
" ed, that they are never entirely obliterated ; and therefore 
" the common language, and the common feelings of mankind, 
" will be adapted to the firfl, the limited and imperfed, or ra- 
*' ther erroneous view of things." 

It is very probable, that the very conception or idea of aftlve 
power, and of efficient caufes, is derived from our voluntary ex- 
ertions in producing efFeds ; and that, if we were not confcious 
of fuch exertions, we fhould have no conception at all of a 
caufe, or of adtive power, and confequently no convidion of 
the neceflity of a caufe of every change which we obferve in 
nature. 

It is certain that we can conceive no kind of adive power 
but what is fimilar or analogous to that which we attribute to 
ourfelves ; that is, a power which is exerted by will and with 
underftanding. Our notion, even of Almighty power, is derived 
from the notion of human power, by removing from the for- 
mer thofe imperfedions and limitations to which the latter is 
fubjeded. 

It may be difficult to explain the origin of our conceptions 

and 



OF THE WORDS CAUSE AND EFFECT, l^c. 279 

and belief concerning clliciciit caufcs and aclivc power. The CHAP. IT. 
common theory, that all our ideas are ideas of fenl'ition or rc- 
fledlon, and that all our belief is a perception ol* the agree- 
ment or the difagreemcnt of thofe ideas, appears to be repug- 
nant, both to the idea of an etlicient caufc, and to the belief of 
its neceflity. 

An attachment to that theory has led fome Philofophers 10 
deny that we have any conception of an eflicient caufe, or of ac- 
tive power, bccaufe efficiency and aclive power are not ideas, 
either of fenfation or relledion. They maintain, therefore, 
that a caufe is only fomething prior to the efiecl, and conflantly 
conjoined with it. This is Mr Hume's notion of a caufe, and 
feenns to be adopted by Dr Priestley, who fays, " That a caiife 
" cannot be defined to be any thing, but fuch previous circum- 
" Jlaiices as are cotijlnnlly fulloivcd by a certain effe£l, tlie conllancy 
" of the refult making us conclude, that there mufl be ^ftifficierit 
" rea/on, in the nature of the things-, why it lliould be produced 
" in thofe circumftances." 

But theory ought to floop to fact, and not fn£t to theory. 
Every man who underftands the language knows, that neither 
priority, nor conftant conjun£tion, nor both taken together, im- 
ply efliciency. Every man, free from prejudice, muil allent to 
what Cicero has faid : Idiquc non ftc caufa intclligl debet, ut quod cin- 
que antecedal, id et caufa fit , fed quod cu'iquc ejfficientcr antcccdit. 

The very difpute, whether we have the conception of an efPi- 
cicnt caufe, (hows thai we have. For though men may difpute 
about things which have no exiAence, they cannot difpute about 
things of which they have no conception. 

What has been faid in this chapter is intended to flicw, That 
the conception of caufes, of adion and of adive power, in the 
ftrid and proper fcnfe of tbefe words, is found in the minds of 

al! 



j>8o ESSAY IV. 

CHA P, ir.^ .ill ji-iei^ very early, even in the dawn of their rational life. It 
is therefore probable, that, in all languages, the words by which 
thefe conceptions were exprefled were at firft diftinct and unam- 
biguous, yet it is certain, that, among the moft enlightened na- 
tions, thefe words are applied to fo many things of different na- 
tures, and ufed in fo vague a mannei', that it is very difficult to 
reafon about them diftindly. 

This phsenomenon, at firft view, feems very unaccountable. 
But a little refledion may fatisfy us, that it is a natural confe- 
quence of the flow and gradual progrefs of human knowledge. 

And fince the ambiguity of thefe words has fo great influence 
upon our reafoning about moral liberty, and furnifhes the 
ftrongeft objedions againft it, it is not foreign to our fubjedl to 
fhew whence it arifes. When we know the caufes that have 
produced this ambiguity, we fhall be lefs in danger of being 
mifled by it, and the proper and RriO: meaning of the words 
will more evidently appear. 



CHAP. 



OF THE AMBIGUITY OF THOSE WORDS. 28r 

CHAT III 

CHAP. III. 
Caufcs of the Ambiguity of tbofe Words. 

WH E N we turn our attention to external objcds, and be- 
gin to exercife our rational faculties about them, we 
find, that there are fome motions and changes in them, which 
we have power to produce, and that they have many which 
muft have fome other caufe. Either the objeiTts muft have life 
and adive power, as we have, or they mull be moved or changed 
by fomething that has life and adlive power, as external objeds 
are moved by us. 

Our firft thoughts feem to be, That the objedls in which we 
perceive fuch motion have underflanding and adlive power as 
we have. 

. " Savages, fays the Abbe Raynal, wherever they fee motion 
" which they cannot account for, there they fuppofe a foul." 

All men may be confidered as favages in this refpedl, until 
they are capable of inftrudion, and of ufing their faculties in a 
more perfedt manner than favages do. 

The rational converfations of birds and beads in iEsop's Fa- 
bles do not fhock the belief of children. They have that pro- 
bability in them which we require in an epic poem. Poets give 
us a great deal of pleafure, by clothing every objed with intel- 
ledual and moral attributes, in metaphor and in other figures. 
May not the pleafure which we take in this poetical language, 
arife, in part, from its correfpondence with our earlicft fenti- 
ments ? 

N n However 



282 ESSAY IV. 

CHAP. III. However this may be, the Abbe Raynal's o])rervation is fuf- 
ficiently confirmed, both from fad:, and from the ftrudure of all 
languages. 

Rude nations do really believe fun, moon and flars, earth, fea 
and air, fountains and lakes, to have underftanding and adtive 
power. To pay homage to them and implore their favour, is a 
kind of idolatry natural to favages. 

All languages carry in their flrudure the marks of their be- 
ing formed when this belief prevailed. The diftindion of verbs 
and participles into a61ive and pafllve, which is found in all lan- 
guages, mufl have been originally intended to diftinguilh what 
is really adive from what is merely paflive; and, in all lan- 
guages, we find adive verbs applied to thofe objeds, in which, 
according to the Abbe Raynal's obfervation, favages fuppofe a 
foul. 

Thus we fay the fun rifes and fets, and comes to the meridian, 
the moon changes, the fea ebbs and flows, the winds blow. 
Languages were formed by men who believed thefe objeds to 
have life and adive power in themfelves. It was therefore pro- 
per and natural to exprefs their motions and changes by adive 
verbs. 

There is no furer way of tracing the fentiments of nations 
before they have records than by the ftrudure of their language, 
which, notwithftanding the changes produced in it by time, will 
always retain fonie fignatures of the thoughts of thofe by whom 
it was invented. When we find the fame fentiments indicated 
in the fl:rudure of all languages, thofe fentiments mufl have 
been common to the human fpecies when languages were in- 
vented. 

When a few of fuperior intelledual abilities find leifure for 

Ipeculation, 



OF THE AMBIGUITY OF THOSE WORDS. 28J 

rpcculatinn.thcybegin tophiloroi)hi7,c,anclfoon difcovL-r, that many CHAiMii. 
of thole ohjcds uliich, at firll, they believed to he nitelliu,cMt and 
artive, arc really lifelefs and jKillive. This is a very impurtant 
difcovery. It elevates the mind, emancipates from many ^allga^ 
luperllitions, and invites to fanher dilcoveries of the fame 
kind. 

As philofophy advances, life and adivity in natural objects 
retires, and leaves them dead and inadlive. Inftead of movini;; 
voluntarily, \\c find them to be moved neceflarily ; inftead of 
adting, we find them to be acl;ed upon ; and nature appears as 
one great machine, where one wheel is turned by another, that 
by a third ; and how far this neceflary fucceillon may reach, the 
Philofopher does not know. 

The weaknefs of human reafon makes men prone, when they 
leave one extreme, to rufli into the opjjofite ; and thus philofo- 
phy, even in its infancy, may lead men from idolatry and poly- 
theifm into atheifm, and from afcribing adlive power to inani- 
mate beings, to conclude all things to be carried on by necellity. 

Whatever origin we afcribe to the dodtrines of atheifm and 
of fatal necedity, it is certain, that both may be traced almoft 
as far back as philofophy ; and both appear to be the ojij^ofitcs 
of the earlielt fentiments of men. 

It muft have been by the obfervation and reafoning of the 
fpeculative yt-w, that thofe objects were difcovered to be inani- 
mate and inadive, to which the many afcribed life and aclivity. 
But while the few are convinced of this, they muft fpeak the 
language of the ruat/y in order to be undcrftood. So we fee, 
that when the Ptolemaic fyllem of ailronomy, which agrees 
with vulgar prejudice and with vulgar language, has been uni- 
verfally rejected by Philofophers, they continue to ufe the phrafe- 
ology that is grounded upon it, not only in fpeaking to the vul- 

N n 3 gar. 



284 E S S A Y IV. 

CHAP, iih gar, but in fpeaking to one another. They fay, The fun rlfes 
and fets, and moves annually through all the figns of the zodiac, 
while they believe that he never leaves his place. 

In like manner, thofe ad:ive verbs and participles, which 
were applied to the inanimate objeds of nature, when they were 
believed to be really adtive, continue to be applied to them after 
they are difcovered to be paflive. 

The forms of language, once eflablifhed by cuftom, are not 
fo eafily changed as the notions on which they were originally 
founded. While the founds remain, their fignification is gra- 
dually enlarged or altered. This is fometimes found, even in 
thofe fciences in which the fignification of words is the moft 
accurate and precife. Thus, in arithmetic, the word number^ 
among the ancients, always fignified fo many units, and it would 
have been abfurd to apply it either to unity or to any part of 
an unit ; but now we call unity, or any part of unity, a number. 
With them, multiplication always increafed a number, and di- 
vifion diminiftied it j but we fpeak of multiplying by a fradtion, 
which diminifhes, and of dividing by a fradlion, which in- 
creafes the number. We fpeak of dividing or multiplying by 
unity, which neither diminifhes nor increafes a number. Thefe 
forms of exprellion, in the ancient language, would have been 
abfurd. 

By fuch changes, in the meaning of words, the language of 
every civilized nation refembles old furniture new modelled, in 
which many things are put to ufes for which they were not ori- 
ginally intended, and for which they are not perfedly fitted. 

This is one great caufe of the imperfedlion of language, and 
it appears very remarkably in thofe verbs and participles which 
are a<3;ive in their form, but are frequently ufed fo as to have 
nothing adlive in their fignificatiou. 

Hence 



OF THE AMBIGUITY OF THOSE WORDS. 1S5 

Hence we are authorilcd by cuftom to afcribe atflion and ac- ^'HAP. ill. 
tlvc power to things which we believe to be padlvc. The pro- 
per and original lignihcation of every word, which at firft fig- 
nified acflion and caiilation, is buried and loft under that vague 
meaning which cuftoni has affixed to it. 

That there is a real diftinclion, and perfect oppofition, be- 
tween ading and being aded upon, every man may be fatisfied 
who is capable of refledion. And that this diftindion is per- 
ceived by all men as foon as they begin to reafon, appears by 
the diltindlion between aclive and paffive verbs, which is origi- 
nal in all languages, though, from the caufcs that have been 
mentioned, they come to be confounded in tlie progrefs of hu- 
man improvement. 

Another way in which philofophy has contributed very much 
to the ambiguity of the words under our confideration, deferves 
to be mentioned. 

The firfl ftep into natural philofophy, and what hath com- 
monly been confidered as its ultimate end, is the invefligation 
of the caufes of the phenomena of nature ; that is, the caufes 
of thofe appearances in nature which are not the effects of hu- 
man power. Felix qui potuit rcrum cogtiofcere caufas, is tlic fentl- 
ment of every mind that has a turn to fpeculation. 

The knowledge of the caufes of things promifes no lefs the 
enlargement of human power than the gratification of human 
curiofity j and therefore, among the enlightened part of man- 
kind, this knowledge has been purfued in all ages with an avi- 
dity proportioned to its importance. 

In nothing does the difference between the intelledual powers 
of man and thofe of brutes appear more confpicuous than in this. 
For in them we perceive no defire to invefligate the caufes 

of 



286 ESSAY rV. 

CHA P. IIL of things, nor indeed any fign that they have the proper notion 
of a caufe. 

There is reafon, however, to apprehend, that, in this inveftl- 
gation, men have wandered much in the dark, and that their 
fuccefs has, by no means, been equal to their defire and expeda- 
tion. 

We eafily difcover an eftabliflied order and connection in the 
phisnomena of nature. We learn, in many cafes, from what 
has happened, to know what will happen. The difcoveries of 
this kind, made by common obfervation, are many, and are the 
foundation of common prudence in the condud of life. Philo- 
fophers, by more accurate obfervation and experiment, have 
made many more ', by which arts are improved, and human 
power, as well as human knowledge, is enlarged. 

But, as to the real caufes of the phjenomena of nature, how 
little do we know ! All our knowledge of things external, muft 
be grounded upon the informations of our fenfes 5 but caufation 
and adive power are not objedls of fenfe ; nor is that always 
the caufe of a phaenomenon which is prior to it, and conftantly 
conjoined with it; otherwife night would be the caufe of day, 
and day the caufe of the following night. 

It is to this day problematical, whether all the ph:snomena of 
the material fyflem be produced by the immediate operation of 
the Firft Caufe, according to the laws which his wifdom deter- 
mined, or whether fubordinate caufes are employed by him in 
the operations of nature ; and, if they be, what their nature, 
their number, and their different offices are ? And whether, in 
all cafes, they ad by commillion, or, in fome, according to their 
difcretion ? 

When we are fo much in the dark with regard to the real 

caufes 



OF THE AMBIGUITY OF TFIOSE WORDS. 2S7 

caufes of the phenomena of nature, and have a ftrung dcfirc to chap. hi. 
know them, it is not ftranv!,e, that inj^enious men Ihould form 
lurvberlefs conjetfturcs and theories, by which the fuul, liunger- 
Ing for knowledge, is fed with chaff inftead of wheat. 

In a very ancient fyftem, love and ftrife were made the canfes 
of thinG;s. In the Pythagpreau and Platonic fyllem, matter, 
ideas and an intelligent mind. By Aristotle, matter, form and 
privation. Des Carti.s thouglit that matter and a certain quantity 
of motion given ar firll by the Almighty, arc fullicient to ac- 
count for all the phaenomena of the natural world. Leiunitz, 
that the uuiverfe is made u]) of monades, a(^^ive and i)recipient, 
which, by their acT;ive power received at lirft, produce all the 
changes they undergo. 

While men thus wandered in the dark in fearcli of caules, 

► unwilling to confefs their difappointment, they vainly conceived 

every thing they {tumbled upon to be a caufe, and the projjcr 

notion of a caufe is loft, by giving the name to numberlefs 

things which neither are nor can be caufes^ 

This confufion of various things under the name of caufes, 
is the more eafdy tolerated, bccaufe however hurtful it may be 
to found philofophy, it has little influence upon the concerns of 
life. A conftant antecedent, or concomitant of the phaenome- 
non whofe caufe is fought, may anfwer the purpofe of the en- 
quirer, as well as if the real caufe were known. Thus a failor 
defires to know the caufe of the tides, that he may know when 
to cxped high water : He is told that it is high water when the 
moon is fo many hours palt the meridian : And now he thinks 
he knows the caufe of the tides. What he takes for the caufe 
anl'wrrs his purpofe, and his miftake does him no harm. 

Thofe philofophers feem to have had the julleft views of na- 
ture, as well as of the weaknefs of human uuderftanding, who, 

giving 



288 ESSAY III. 

CHAP, lu. giving up the pretence of difcovering the caufes of the opera- 
tions of nature, have applied themfelves to difcover, by obferva- 
tion and experiment, the rules, or laws of nature according to 
which the phjenomena of nature are produced. 

In compliance with cuftom, or perhaps, to gratify the avidity 
of knowing the caufes of things, we call the laws of nature 
caufes and adive powers. So we fpeak of the powers of gravi- 
tation, of magnetifm, of eledricity. 

We call them caufes of many of the phaenomena of nature ; 
and fuch they are efteemed by the ignorant, and by the half 
learned. 

But thofe of jufter difcernment fee, that laws of nature are 
not agents. They are not endowed with adlive power, and 
therefore cannot be caufes in the proper fenfe. They are on- 
ly the rules according to which the unknown caufe aiSls. 

Thus it appears, that our natural defire to know the caufes 
of the phaenomena of nature, our inability to difcover them, 
and the vain theories of Philofophers employed in this fearch, 
have made the word caufe, and the related words, fo ambiguous, 
and to fignify fo many things of different natures, that they have 
In a manner loft their proper and original meaning, and yet 
we have no other words to exprefs it. 

Every thing joined with the effed;, and prior to it, is called 
its caufe. An inftrument, an occafion, a reafon, a motive, an 
end, are called caufes. And the related words e^e^^ agent , power ^ 
are extended in the fame vague manner. 

Were it not that the terms caufe and agent have loft their pro- 
per meaning, in the crowd of meanings that have been given 

them, 



OF THE AMBIGUITY OF THOSE WORDS. 289 

tneno, weiliould immediately perceive a com radidl ion in the terms chap. hi. 
neceff'ary caufe and neccffary agent. And althougli the loofe mean- 
ing of thofe words ib authoriled by cullom, the arbiter of lan- 
guage, and therefore cannot be ccnfured, [xrhaps cannot always 
be avoided, yet we ought to be upon our guard, that we be not 
milled by it to conceive things to be the fame which are eden- 
tially different. 

To fay that man is a free agent, is no more than to fay, that 
in fome inftanccs he is truly an agent, and a caufe, and is not 
merely adted upon as a paillve inftrumcnt. On the contrary, 
to fay that he ads from neceflity, is to fay that he does not adl 
at all, that he is no agent, and that, for any thing we know, 
there is only one agent in the univerfe, who does every thing 
that is done, whether it be good or ill. 

If this neceffity be attributed even to the Deity, the confe- 
quence muft be, that there neither is, nor can be, a caufe at all ; 
that nothing ads, but every thing is aded upon ; nothing moves, 
but every thing is moved ; all is pallion without adion ; all in- 
flrument without an agent ; and that every thing that is, or 
•was, or fhall be, has that neceffary exiftence in its feafon, which 
■we commonly confider as the prerogative of the Firft Caufe. 

This I take to be the genuine, and the mofl tenable fyftem of 
neceflity. It was the fyftem of Spinosa, though he was not 
the firft that advanced it ; for it is very ancient. And if this 
fyftem be true, our reafoning to prove the exiftence of a firll 
caufe of every thing that begins to exift, muft be given up as 
fallacious. 

If it be evident to the human underftanding, as 1 take it to be. 
That what begins to exift muft have an efficient caufe, which 
had power to give or not to give it exiftence ; and if it be true, 

O o that 



290 ESSAY IV. 

CHAP. Ill , that effects well and wifely fitted for the befl: purpofes, demon- 
ftrate intelligence, wifdom, and goodnefs, in the efficient caufe, 
as well as power, the proof of a Deity from thefe principles is 
very eafy and obvious to all men that can reafon. 

If, on the other hand, our belief that every thing that begins 
to exift has a caufe, be got only by experience ; and if, as Mr 
Home maintains, the only notion of a caufe be fomething prior 
to the effed, which experience has fliewn to be coniiantly con- 
joined with fuch an effedt, I fee not how, from thefe principles, 
it is poffible to prove the exiftence of an intelligent caufe of the 
univerfe. 

Mr Hume feems to me to reafon juflly from his definition of 
a caufe, when, in the perfon of an Epicurean, he maintains, that 
with regard to a caufe of the univerfe, we can conclude no- 
thing ', becaufe it is a Angular effedt. We have no expe- 
rience that fuch effedls are always conjoined with fuch a caufe. 
Nay, the caufe which we aflign to this effedl, is a caufe which 
no man hath feen, nor can fee, and therefore experience cannot 
inform us that it has ever been conjoined with any effedt. He 
feems to me to reafon juflly from his definition of a caufe, 
when he m'aintains, that any thing may be the caufe of any thing j 
fince priority and conftant conjundlion is all that can be con- 
ceived in the notion of a caufe. 

Another zealous defender of the dodlrine of neceffity fays, that 
" A caufe cannot be defined to be any thing hnx. fuch previous 
" circumjiances as are conjlantly followed by a certain effe^, the conflancy 
" of the refult making us conclude, that there muft be ^fiffi- 
" cient recfon, in the nature of things, why it fhould be produced 
" in thofe circumfl:ances." 

This feems to me to be Mr Hume's definition of a caufe in 
other words, and neither more nor lefs ; but I am far from 
thinking that the Author of it will admit the confequences 

which 



OF THE INFLUENCE OF MOTIVES. 291 

which Mr Humk draws from it, however necenary they may ap- ch.M'. iv 
pear to others. ' '' -.——' 



CHAP. IV. 

Of the Influence of Motives. 

HP HE modern advocates for the dodrine of nccellity la} 
■*• the rtrefs of their caufc upon the inlinencc of motives. 

" Every deliberate adion, they fay, muft; have a motive. 
" When there is no motive on the other fide, this motive muft 
" determine the agent : When there are contrary motives, the 
" ftrongeft muft prevail : We reafon from men's motives to 
" their actions, as we do from other caufes to their effeds : 
" If man be a free agent, and be not governed by motives, all 
" his adions muft be mere caprice, rewards and punilhments 
" can have no effed, and fuch a being muft be abfolutely ungo- 
" vernable." 

In order therefore to underftand diftindly, in what fenfe we 
afcribe moral liberty to man, it is ncceflary to underftand what 
influence we allow to motives. To prevent mifunderftanding, 
which has been very common upon this point, I ofler the fol- 
lowing obfervations : 

1. I grant that all rational beings are influenced, and ought to 
be influenced by motives. But the influence of motives is of a 
ver^' different nature from that of efticient caufes. They arc 
neither caufes nor agents. They fuppofe an efficient caufc, and 
can do nothing without it. AVe cannot, without abfurdity, fup- 
pofe a motive, either to ad, or to be adcd upon j it is equally 

O o 2 incapablf 



292 E S S A Y IV. 

^^^■^' ^^' ii^capable of adlion and of paflion ; becaufe it Is not a thing that 
exifts, but a thing that is conceived ; it is \A'hat the fchoolmen 
called an ens rationis. Motives, therefore, may influence to adion, 
but they do not adt. They may be compared to advice, or ex- 
hortation, which leaves a man ftlll at liberty. For in vain is ad- 
vice given when there is not a power either to do, or to forbear 
what it recommends. In like manner, motives fuppofe liberty in. 
the agent, otherwife they have no influence at alU 

• 

It is a law of nature, with refped to matter, That every mo- 
tion, and change of motion, is proportional to the force im- 
prefled, and in the diredtion of that force. The fcheme of ne- 
celTity fuppofes a fimilar law to obtain in all the adlions of intel- 
ligent beings ; which, with little alteration, may be expreffed 
thus : Every adlion, or change of adtion, in an intelligent beings 
is proportional to the force of motives imprefled, and in the di- 
redlion of that force. 

The law of nature refpecfting matter. Is grounded upon this 
principle : That matter is an inert, inad:Ive fubftance, which 
does not a6t, but is aded upon j and the law of neceflity rauft 
be grounded upon the fuppofition. That an Intelligent being Is 
an inert, inadlive fubftance, which does not adt^ but is adted 
upon. 

2. Rational beings, in proportion as they are wife and good, 
will adl according to the beft motives ; and every rational being,, 
who does otherwife, abufes his liberty. The raoft perfedl be- 
ing. In every thing where there Is a right and a wrong, a better 
and a worfe, always infallibly adls according to the beft motives. 
This indeed is little elfe than an identical propohtion : For 
it is a contradidtion to fay. That a perfedt being does 
what is wrong or unreafonable. But to fay, that he does not 
adt freely, becaufe he always does what is beft, is to fay. That 

the 



OF THE INFLUENCE OF MOTIVES. 293 

the proper ufe of liberty deflroys liberty, and that liberty cou- chap, iv . 
fifts only in its abufe. 

The moral perfection of the Deity confills, not in having no 
power to do ill, otherwife, as Dr Clark. julHy obfcrves, there 
would be no ground to thank him for his goodnefs to us any 
more than for his eternity or immenfity ; but his moral perfection 
confifts in this, that, when he has power to do every thing, a 
power which cannot be refirted, he exerts that power only in 
doing what is wifeft and bcft. To be fubjed to neceflity j,s to 
have no power at all ; for power and neceflity arc oppofites. 
We grant, therefore, that motives have inlluence, funllar to that 
of advice or perfualion ; but this inHuence is perfectly confiitent 
witli liberty, and indeed fuppofes liberty. 

3. Whether every deliberate adion muft have a motive, de- 
pends on the meaning we put upon the word deliberate. If, by 
a deliberate adtion, we mean an aftion wherein motives are 
weighed, which feems to be the original meaning of the word, 
furely there mud be motives, and contrary motives, otherwife 
they could not be weighed. But if a deliberate a(llion means 
only, as it commonFy does, an action done by a cool and calm 
determination of the mind, with forethought and will, I believe 
there are innumerable fuch actions done without a motive. 

This muli be appealed to every man's confcioufnefs. 1 do 
many trifling actions every day, in which, upon the moft care- 
ful refledion, I am confcious of no motive ; and to fay that 1 
may be influenced by a motive of which 1 am not confcious, is, 
in the firft place, an arbitrary fuppofition without any evidence, 
aifd then, it is to fay, that 1 may be convinced by an argument 
which never entered into my thought. 

Cafes frequently occur, in which an end, that is of fume im- 
portance, may be aufwered equally well by any one of fevcral 

dilTcrenr 



294 



ESSAY IV. 



CHAP. IV. (llfferent means. In fuch cafes, a man who Intends the end finds 
not the leaft difficulty In taking one of thefe means, though he 
be firmly perfuaded, that It has no title to be preferred to any of 
the others. 

To fay that this is a cafe that cannot happen, is to con- 
tradict the experience of mankind ; for furely a man who 
has occafion to lay out a fliilllng, or a guinea, may have two 
hundred that are of equal value, both to the giver and to the re- 
ceiver, any one of which will anfwer his purpofe equally well. 
To fay, that, if fuch a cafe fliould happen, the man could not 
execute his purpofe, Is ftill more ridiculous, though it have the 
authority of fome of the fchoolmen, who determined, that the 
afs, between two equal bundles of hay, would ftand fllll till it 
died of hunger. 

If a man could not adl without a motive, he would have no 
power at all j for motives are not in our power , and he that has 
not power over a neceflary mean, has not power over the end. 

That an adion, done without any motive, can neither have 
merit nor demerit. Is much infifted on by the writers for necef- 
fity, and triumphantly, as if it were the very hinge of the con- 
troverfy. I grant it to be a felf-evident propofitlon, and I know 
no author that ever denied it. 

How Infignlficant foever, in moral efi;imation, the adions 
may be which are done without any motive, they are of mo- 
ment in the queftion concerning moral liberty. For, if there 
ever was any adion of this kind, motives are not the fole 
caufes of human adions. And If we have the power of ading 
without a motive, that power, joined to a weaker motive, may 
counterbalance a fl:ronger. 

4. It 



OF THE INFLUENCE OF MOTIVES. 295 

4. It can never be proved, That when there is a motive on fMAljl^- 
one fule only, tliat motive muft determine the adion. 

According to the laws of reafoning, the proof is incumbent 
on thofe who hold the affirmative ; and I have never feen a fha- 
dow of argument, which does not take for granted the thing ii» 
queftion, to wit, that motives are the fole caufes of actions. 

Is there no fuch thing as wilfulnefs, ca[)rice or obftinacy, 
among mankind ? If there be not, it is wonderful that they fhould 
have nsimes in all languages. If there be fuch things, a fmgle 
motive, or even many motives, may be refilled. 

5. When it is faid, that of contrary motives the ftrongefl always 
prevails, this can neither be aflirmed nor denied with under- 
ftanding, until we know diftinctly what is meant by the ftrongeft 
motive. 

I do not find, that thofe who have advanced this as a felf- 
evident axiom, have ever attempted to explain what they meant 
by the Orongeft motive, or have given any rule by which we 
may judge which of two motives is the ftrongeft. 

How Ihall we know whether the ilrongeft motive always pre- 
vails, if we know not which is rtrongeft ? There muft be fome 
teft by which their ilrength is to be tried, fome balance in 
which they may be weighed, otherwife, to fay that the ftrongeft 
motive always prevails, is to fpcak without any meaning. We 
mull therefore fearch for this tell or balance, fince they 
who have laid fo much llrefs upon tliis axiom, have left us 
wholly in the dark as to its meaning. 1 grant, that when the 
contrary motives are of the fame kind, antl dilfer only in quan- 
tity, it may be eafy to fay which is the (Irongefi. Thus a bribe 
of a thoufand pounds is a ftronger motive than a bribe of a hun- 
dred pounds. But when the motives are of di/lf^rcnt kinds, as, 

money 



296 ESSAY IV. 

CHAP. IV. money and fame, duty and worldly intereft, health and flrength, 
riches and honour, by what rule fhall we judge which is the 
ftrongeft motive ? 

Either we meafure the flrength of motives, merely by their 
prevalence, or by fome other flandard diftincS from their preva- 
lence. 

If we meafure their ftrength merely by their prevalence, and 
by the ftrongeft motive mean only the motive that prevails, 
it will be true indeed that the ftrongeft motive prevails j but the 
propofition will be identical, and mean no more than that the 
ftrongeft motive is the ftrongeft motive. From this furely no 
conclulion can be drawn. 

If It ftiould be faid. That by the ftrength of a motive is not 
meant its prevalence, but the caufe of its prevalence ; that we 
meafure the caufe by the effed:, and from the fuperiority of the 
effeft conclude the fuperiority of the caufe, as we conclude that 
to be the heavieft weight which bears down the fcale ; I anfwer, 
That, according to this explication of the axiom, it takes for 
o-ranted that motives are the caufes, and the fole caufes of ac- 
tions. Nothing is left to the agent, but to be adled upon by the 
motives, as the balance is by the weights. The axiom fuppofes, 
that the agent does not ad, but is adted upon j and, from this 
fuppofition, It is concluded that he does not adt. This is to rea- 
fon in a circle, or rather it is not reafoning but begging the que- 
ftion. 

Contrary motives may very properly be compared to advo- 
cates pleading the oppofite fides of a caufe at the bar. It would 
be very weak reafoning to fay, that fuch an advocate is the moft 
powerful pleader, becaufe fentence was given on his fide. The fen- 
tence is in the power of the judge, not of the advocate. It is equally 
weak reafoning, in proof of necellity, to fay, fuch a motive pre- 
vailed, 



OF THE INFLUENCE OF MOTIVES. 29; 

vailed, therefore it is the flrongcft ; fince the ckfeiulcrs of liber- CHAP. iv. 
ty maintain that the determination was made l)y the man, and 
not by the motive. 

We are therefore brought to this ifTuc, that nnltfs fome mea- 
fure of the ftrength of motives can be found dillinct from their 
prevalence, it cannot be determined, whether tlie ftrongefl: mo- 
tive always prevails or not. If fuch a meafure can be found 
and applied, we may be able to judge of the truth of this max- 
im, but not otherwife. 

Every thing that can be called a motive, is addreflcd either 
to the animal or to the rational part of our nature. Motives 
of the former kind are common to us with the brutes ; thofe of 
the latter are peculiar to rational beings. We fliall beg leave, 
for diftin(5tiou's fake, to call the former, rtw/wa/ motives, and the 
latter, rational. 

Hunger is a motive in a dog to eat ; fo is it in a man. Ac- 
cording to the ftrength of the appetite, it gives a ftronger or a 
weaker impulfe to eat. And the fame thing may be faid of eve- 
ry other appetite and pafTion. Such animal motives give an im- 
pulfe to the agent, to which he yields with eafe ; and, if the im- 
pulfe be ftrong, it cannot be refifled without an effort which re- 
quires a greater or a lefs degree of felf-command. Such mo- 
tives are not addrelfed to the rational powers. Their intluence 
is immediately upon the will. We feel their influence, and 
judge of their flrength, by the confcious effort which is neceJla- 
ry to relift them. 

When a man is aded upon by contrary motives of this kind, 
he finds it eafy to yield to the ftrongefl. They are like two 
forces pufliing him in contrary diredlions. To yield to the 
ftrongeft, he needs only to be pillive. By exerting his own 
force, he may refift ; l)ut this requires an effort of which he is 

P p confcious. 



298 ESSAY IV. 

C HAP. IV. confcious. The ftrength of motives of this kind is perceived, 
not by our judgment, but by our feeling ; and that is the 
ftrongeft of contrary motives, to which he can yield with eafe, 
or which it requires an effort of felf-command to refiftj and 
this we may call the animal tejl of flie ftrength of motives. 

If it be afked, whether, in motives of this kmd, the ftrongeft 
always prevails ? I would anfwer, That in brute-animals 1 be- 
lieve it does. They do not appear to have any felf-command \. 
an appetite or paiTion in them is overcome only by a ftronger 
contrary one. On this account, they are not accountable for 
their adions, nor can they be the fubjeds of law. 

But in men who are able to exercife their rational powers, 
and have any degree of felf-command, the ftrongeft animal mo- 
tive does not always prevail. The flefti does not always prevail 
againft the fpirit, though too often it docs. And if men were 
necefllirlly determined by the ftrongeft animal motive, they 
could no more be accountable, or capable of being governed by 
law, than brutes are. 

Let us next confider rational motives, to which the name of 
tnotive is more commonly and more properly given. Their in- 
fluence is upon the judgment, by convincing us that fuch an ac- 
tion ought to be done, that it is our duty, or conducive to our 
real good, or to ibme end which we have determined to purfue. 

They do not give a blind impulfe to the will as animal mo- 
tives do. They convince, but they do not impel, unlels, as may 
often happen, they excite fome paflion of hope, or fear, or de- 
fire. Such paflious may be excited by convidion, and may ope- 
rate in its aid as other animal motives do. But there may bg, 
convidion without pallion ; and the convidion of what we 
ought to do, in order to fome end which we have judged fit to 
be purfiied, is what 1 call a rational motive. 

Brutes, 



OF THE INFLUENCE OF MOTIVES. 



299 



Brutes, I think, cannot be influenced by fuch motives. They t:HAP. IV. 
have not the conception of ought and ought not. Children ac- 
quire thcfe conceptions as their rational powers advance ; and 
they are found in all of ripe age, who have the human facul- 
ties. 

If there be any competition between rational motives, it is 
evident, that the Itrongell, in the eye of reafon, is that which it 
is moft our duty and our real happinefs to follow. Our duty 
and our real happinefs are ends which are infeparable; and they 
are the ends which every man, endowed with reafon, is confci- 
ous he ought to purine in preference to all others. This we 
may call the rational teft of the ftrength of motives. A motive 
which is the ftrongeft, according to the animal teft, may be, and 
very often is the weakeft according to the rational. 

The grand and the important competition of contrary mo- 
tives is between the animal, on the one hand, and the rational 
on the other. This is the conflid: between the flefli and the 
fpirit, upon the event of which the charadter of men depends. 

If it be afked, which of thefe is the ftrongeft motive ? The 
anfwer is. That the firft is commonly ftrongeft, when they are 
tried by the animal teft. If it were not fo, human life would 
be no ftate of trial. It would not be a warfare, nor would vir- 
tue require any effort or felf-command. No man would have 
any temptation to do wrong. But, when we try the contrary 
motives by the rational teft, it is evident, that the rational mo- 
tive is always the ftrongeft. 

And now, I think, it appears, that the ftrongeft motive, ac- 
cording to either of the tefts I have mentioned, does not always 
prevail. 

In every wife and virtuous a(ftion, the motive that prevails is 

P p 2 the 



300 



ESSAY IV. 



CHAP. IV. tiie ftrongefl according to the rational teft, but commonly the 
weakeft according to the animal. In every fooliih, and in eve- 
ry vicious adtion, the motive that prevails is commonly the 
ftrongefl according to the animal teft, but always the weakeft 
according to the rational. 

6. It is true, that we reafon from men's motives to their ac- 
tions, and, in many cafes, with great probability, but never with 
abfolute certainty. And to infer from this, that men are necef- 
farily determined by motives, is very weak reafoning. 

For let us fuppofe, for a moment, that men have moral liber- 
ty, I would afk, what ufe may they be expedted to make of this 
liberty ? It may furely be expedted, that, of the various adions 
within the fphere of their power, they will chufe what pleafes 
them moft for the prefent, or what appears to be moft for their 
real, though dlftant good. When there is a competition between 
thefe motives, the foolifh will prefer prefent gratification ; the 
wife the greater and more diftant good. 

Now, is not this the very way in which we fee men adl ? Is it 
not from the prefumption that they adl in this way, that we rea- 
fon from their motives to their adions ? Surely it is. Is it not 
weak reafoning, therefore, to argue, that men have not liberty, 
becaufe they ad in that very way in which they would ad if 
they had liberty ? It would furely be more like reafoning to 
draw the contrary conclufion from the fame premifes. 

y. Nor is it better reafoning to conclude, that, if men are 
not neceflarily determined by motives, all their adions muft be 
capricious. 

To refift the ftrongeft animal motives when duty requires, is 
fo far from being capricious, that it is, in the higheft degree, wife 
and virtuous. And we hope this is often done by good men. 

To 



OF THE INFLUENCE OF MOTIVES. 

To ad agalnll rational motives, iiuift always be foolidi, vi- 
cious, or capricious. And, it cannot be denied, that there are 
too many fuch adions done. But is it reafonable to conclude, 
that becaufe liberty may be abufed by the foolilh and the vici- 
ous, therefore it can never be put to its proper ufe, which is to 
ad wilt'ly and virtuoufly ? 

8. It is equally unreafonable to conclude, That if men are not 
neceflarily determined by motives, rewards and punifhments 
would have no eflc-d. With wife men they will have their due 
effed i but not always with the foolifh and the vicious. 

Let us confulerwhat effed rewards and punirtiments do really, 
and in fad, produce, and what may be inferred from that ef- 
fed, upon each of the oppofite fyftems of liberty and of necef- 
fity. 

I take it for granted that, in fad, the heft; and wifeft laws, 
both human and divine, are often traufgreffed, notwithflanding 
the rewards and punifliments that are annexed to them. If 
any man fliould deny this fad, I know not how to reafon with 
him. 

From this fad, it may be inferred with certainty, upon the 
fuppofition of nccelTity, That, in every inllance of tranfgreflion, 
the motive of reward or punifliment was not of fufTicient llrerjgth 
to produce obedience to the law. This implies a fault in the 
lawgiver; but there can be no fault in the tranfgreflbr, who 
ads mechanically by the force of motives. We might as well 
impute a fault to the balance, when it does not raife a weight 
of two pounds by the force of one pound. 

Upon the fuppofition of ncccHlty, there can be neither reward 
nor punifhmcnt, in the proper Cenfe, as ihofe words imply good 
and ill dcfcrt. Reward and punifhmcnt arc only tools employ- 
ed 




302 ESSAY IV. 

CHAP. IV. Q^ fo produce a mechanical effedl. When the eSeO: is not pro- 
duced, the tool muft be unfit or wrong applied. 

Upon the fuppofitlon of liberty, rewards and punifhments will 
have a proper effedt upon the wife and the good ; but not fo up- 
on the foolifh and the vicious, when oppofed by their animal 
pallions or bad habits ; and this is juft what we fee to be the 
fad:. Upon this fuppofition the tranfgrefllon of the law im- 
plies no defeft in the law, no fault in the lawgiver ; the fault 
is folely in the tranfgrefTor. And it is upon this fuppofition on- 
ly, that there can be either reward or punifhment, in the pro- 
per fenfe of the words, becaufe it is only on this fuppofition, that 
there can be good or ill defert. 



CHAP. V. 

Liberty consent with Government. 

WHEN it is f.id that liberty would make us abfolute- 
ly ungovernable by God or man ; to underftand the 
ftrength of this conclufion, it is neceflary to know diftindt- 
ly what is meant by government. There are two kinds of govern- 
ment, very different in their nature. The one we may, for 
diftindlion's fake, call mechanical government, the other moral. 
The firll is the government of beings which have no adlive 
power, but are merely pallive and aded upon ; the fecond, of 
intelligent and attive beings. 

An inflance of mechanical government may be that of a maf- 
ter or commander of a fhip at fea. Suppofing her ikilfuUy built, 
and furnifhed with every thing proper for the deiHned voyage, 
to govern her properly for this purpofe requires much art and 
attention ; And, as every art has its rules, or laws, fo has this. 

But 



LIBERTY CONSISTENT WITH GOVERNMENT. 303 

But by whom are thofe laws to be obeyed, or thofe rules ob- CfTAP. v. 
fcrved ? not by the (hip, fureiy, for flic is anina<5tive being, but 
by the governor. A fallor may fay that flie does not obey the 
rudder ; and he has a diilindt meaning when he fays fo, and is 
j)erfe(5lly underftood. But he means not obedience in the pro- 
per, but in a metaphorical fcnfe : For, in the proper fen(e, 
the ihip can no more obey the rudder, than flie can give a com- 
mand. Every motion, both of the (hip and rudder, is exadly 
proportioned to the force impreffed, and in the direction of that 
force. The fliip never difobeys the laws of motion, even in the 
metaphorical linfe j and they arc the only laws fhe can be fub- 
jecl to. 

The failor, perhaps, curfcs her for not obeying the rudder ; 
but this is not the voice of reafon, but of pallion, like that of 
the lofing gamerter, when he curfes the dice. The fliip is as 
innocent as the dice. 

Whatever may happen during the voyage, whatever may be 
its ilTue, the (hip, in the eye of reafon, is neither an objedt of 
approbation nor of blame ; becaufe (he docs not adl, but is acfl- 
ed upon. If the material, in any part, be faulty ; Wiio put it 
to that ufe ? If the form; Who made it? If the rules of na- 
vigation were not oblerved ; \\"ho tranfgrefled them? If a 
ftorm occafioned any difarter, it was no more in the power of 
the fliip than of the mafler. 

Another inftance to illuftrate the nature of mechanical govern- 
ment may be, That ot the man win) makes and e\hi!)its a puppet- 
fliow. The puppets, in all their diverting gelticulaiions, do not 
move, but are moved by an impulfe fecretly conveyed, which 
they cannot relilL If they do not play their parts properlv, the 
fault is only in the maker or manager of the machinery. Too 
much or too little force was applied, or it was wrong direded. 

No 



304 .- E S S A Y IV. 

CHA P. V.^ i^Q reafonable man imputes either praife or blame to the puppets, 
but folely to their maker or their governor. 

If we fuppofe for a moment, the puppets to be endowed with 
underrtanding and will, but without any degree of active power, 
this will make no change in the nature of their government : 
For underllanding and will, without fome degree of adlive power, 
can produce no effedl. They might, upon this fuppofition, be 
called intelligent machines j but they would be machines ftill as 
much fubjed: to the laws of motion as inanimate matter, and 
therefore incapable of any other than mechanical government. 

Let us next confider the nature of moral government. This Is 
the government of perfons who have reafon and adlive power, and 
have laws prefcribed to them for their condudl, by a legiflator. 
Their obedience is obedience in the proper fenfe ', it mufl there- 
fore be their own a6t and deed, and confequently they muft 
have power to obey or to difobey. To prefcribe laws to them 
which they have not power to obey, or to require a fei-vice 
beyond their power, would be tyranny and injuilice in the high- 
eft degree. 

'"' When the laws are equitable, and prefcribed by juft authority, 

"■ they produce moral obligation in thofe that are fubjed; to them, 

and dlfobedience is a crime deferving puniihment. But if the 
obedience be impollible ; if the tranfgreflion be neceffary j it 
is felf-evident, that there can be no moral obligation to what is 
impollible, that there can be no crime in yielding to neceilky, 
and that there can be no jullice in punifliing a perfon for what 
it was not In his power to avoid. There are firft principles in 
morals and, to every unprejudiced mind, as felf-evident as the 
axioms of mathematics. The whole fcience of morals muft 
fland or fall with them. 

Having thus explained the nature both of mechanical and of 

moral 



LIBERTY CONSISTENT WITH GOVERNMENT. 305 

moral government, the only kinds of government I am able to CHAP. v. 
conceive, it is eafy to fee how far liberty or necelTity aj^rces with 
either. 

On the one hand, I acknowledge that necellky agrees per- 
fedly with mechanical government. This kind of government 
is molt perfect when the governor is the fole agent ; every thing 
done is the doing of the governor only. The praife of every 
thing well done is his fulely ; and his is the blame if there be- 
any thing ill done, becaufe he is the fole agent. 

It Is true that, in common language, praife or difpraife is often 
metaphorically given to the work ; but, in propriety, it belongs 
folely to the author. Every workman underftands this per- 
fectly, and takes to himfelf very juftly the praife or difpraife of 
his own work. 

On the other hand, it is no lefs evident, that, on the fuppo- 
fitlon of neceflity in the governed, there can be no moral go- 
vernment. There can be neither wifdom nor equity in prc- 
fcribing laws that cannot be obeyed. There can be no moral 
obligation upon beings that have no a<flive power. There can 
be no crime in not doing what it was impollible to do ; nor can 
there be jultice in punilhing fuch omilHon. 

If we apply thefe theoretical principles to the kinds of go- 
vernment which do actually exift, whether human or divine, 
we fhall find that, among men, even mechanical government is 
imperfed. 

Men do not make the matter they work upon. Its various 
kinds, and the qualities belonging to each kind, are the work 
of God. The laws of nature, to which it is fubjcd, are the 
work of God. The motions of the atmofphere and of the fea, 
the heat and cold of the air, the rain and wind, which are ule- 



3o6 ESSAY IV. 

CHAP, V. fyi inflruments in moft human operations, are not in our power. 
So that, in all the mechanical produdions of men, the work is 
more to be afcribed to God than to man. 

Civil government among men is a £pecies of moral govern- 
ment, but imperfed, as its lawgivers and its judges are. Hu- 
man laws may be unwife or unjufl ; human judges may be par- 
tial or unfkilful. But in all equitable civil governments, the max- 
ims of moral government above mentioned, are acknowledged 
as rules which ought never to be violated. Indeed the rules of 
juftice are fo evident to all men, that the mofl tyrannical go- 
A-ernments profefs to be guided by them, and endeavour to pal- 
liate what is contrary to them by the plea of neceflity. 

That a man cannot be under an obligation to what is impoH- 
fible ; that he cannot be criminal in yielding to neceflity, nor 
juflly puniftied for what he could not avoid, are maxims admit- 
ted, in all criminal courts, as fundamental rules of juflice. 

In oppofition to this, it has been faid by fome of the moft 
able defenders of neceflity, That human laws require no more to 
conftitute a crime, but that it be voluntary ; whence it is infer- 
red that the criminality confifts in the determination of the 
will, whether that determination be free or neceflliry. This, I 
think indeed, is the only poflible plea by which criminality can 
be made confiftent with neceflity, and therefore it deferves to be 
confidered. 

I acknowledge that a crime mufl; be voluntary ; for, if it be 
not voluntary, it is no deed of the man, nor can be juflly im- 
puted to him J but it Is no lefs necefliiry that the criminal have 
moral liberty. In men that are adult, and of a found mind, 
this liberty is prefumed. But in every cafe where it cannot be 
prefumed, no criminality is imputed, even to voluntary anions. 

This 



LIBERTY CONSISTENT WITH GOVERNMENT. 307 

This is evident from the following inftanccs : Fhj}, The CHAr. v , 
a«5lions of brutes apj^car to be voluntary ; yet they are never 
conceived to be criminal, though they may be noxious. Sccoud- 
/)', Children in nonage a<Sl voluntarily, but they are not charge- 
able with crimes. 'thirdly. Madmen have both underllandlng 
and will, but they have not moral liberty, and therefore are 
not chargeable with crimes. Fourthly, Even in men that arc 
adult, and of a found mind, a motive that is thought irrefiflible 
by any ordinary degree of felf-command, fuch as the rack, or 
the dread of prefent death, either exculpates, or very much alle- 
viates a voluntary action, which, in other circumflances, would 
be highly criminal ; whence it is evident, that if the motive 
were abfolutely irrefiflible, the exculpation would be complete. 
So far is it from being true in itfelf, or agreeable to the common 
fenfe of mankind, that the criminality of an adtion depends fole- 
ly upon its being voluntary. 

The government of brutes, fo far as they are fubjcd to man, 
is a fpecies of mechanical government, or fomething very like 
to it, and has no refemblance to moral government. As inani- 
mate matter is governed by our knowledge of the qualities 
which God hath given to the various productions of nature, and 
our knowledge of the laws of nature which he hath eftabliflicd ; 
fo brute-animals are governed by our knowledge of the natural 
Inltincbs, appetites, affections and pallions, which God hath given 
them. By a Ikilfid application of thefe fprings of their actions, 
they may be trained to many habits ufeful to man. After all, 
we find that, from caufes unknown to us, not only fome fpecies, 
but fome individuals of the fame fpecies, are more tradable 
than others. 

Children under age are governed much in the fame way as 
the mofl: fagacious brutes. The opening of their intelledual 
and moral powers, which may be much aided by proper inllruc- 

Q^q 2 tion 



3o8 ESSAY IV. 

CHAP, v^ jJq,^ jjnd example, is that which makes them by .degrees, ca- 
pable of moral government. 

Reafon teaches us to afcrlbe to the Supreme Being a govern- 
ment of the inanimate and inadlive part of his creation, analo- 
gous to that mechanical government which men exerclfe, but 
hifinitely more perfed. This, I think, is what we call God's 
nati/ral government of the univerfe. In this part of the divine 
government, whatever is done is God's doing. He is the fole 
caufe, and the fole agent, whether he act immediately, or by in- 
ftruments fubordinate to him ; and his will is always done : For 
mllruments are not caufes, they are not agents, though we fome- 
times improperly call them fo. 

It is therefore no lefs agreeable to reafon, than to the lan- 
guage of holy writ, to impute to the Deity whatever is done in 
the natural world. When we fay of any thing, that it is the 
work of nature, this is faying that it is the work of God, and 
can have no other meaning. 

The natural world is a grand machine, contrived, made, and 
governed by the wifdom and power of the Almighty : And If 
there be in this natural world, beings that have life, intelligence, 
and will, without any degree of adtive power, they can only be 
fubjedt to the fame kind of mechanical government, Their de- 
terminations, whether we call them good or ill, muft be the 
actions of the Supreme Being, as much as the produdlions of the 
earth : For, life, intelligence, and will, without adive power, 
can do nothing, and therefore nothing can juftly be imputed 
to it. 

This grand machine of the natural" world, difplays the power 
and wifdom of the artificer. But in it, there can be no difplay 
of moral attributes, which have a relation to moral condud in 
his creatures, fuch as juftice and equity in rewarding or punifli- 



LIBERTY CONSISTENT WITH GOVERNMENT. 309 

ing, the love of virtue unci abhorrence of wickednefs : For, as CHAT. v. 
every thing in it is God's doing, tliere can be no vice to be pu- 
niflied or abhorred, no virtue in his creatures to be rewarded. 

According to the fyftem of neceflity, the whole univerfe of 
creatures is this natural world; and of everything done in 
it, God is the fole agent. There can be no moral government, 
nor moral obligation. Laws, rewards, and punilhments, are 
only mechanical engines, and the will of the lawgiver is obeyed 
as much when his laws are tranfgreired, as when they are ob- 
ferved. Such mufl be our notions of the government of the 
world, ui)on the fuppolition of necellity. It mull be purely me- 
chanical, and there can be no moral government upon that hy- 
pothefis. 

Let us confider, oi> the other hand, what notion of the divine 
government we are naturally led into by the fuppofition of li- 
berty. 

Tliey who adopt this fyflem conceive, that in that fmall por- 
tion of the univerfe which falls under our view, as a great part 
has no adtive power, but moves, as it is moved, by necelTity, and 
therefore mufl be fubje<fl to a mechanical government, fo it has 
pleafed the Almighty to beftow upon fome of his creatures, par- 
ticularly upon man, fome degree of active power, and of reafon, 
to diredl him to the right ufe of his power. 

What connedion there may be, in the nature of things, be- 
tween reafon and adlive power, we know not. But we fee evi- 
dently that, as reafon without adlive power can do nothing, fo 
adive power without reafon has no guide to diredt it to any 
end. 

Thefc two conjoined make moral liberty, which, in how fmall 
a degree foever it is polfeired, raifes man to a fuperior rank in 

the 



3T0 ESSAY rv.. 

CHA P. V. tjie creation of God. He is not merely a tool in the hand of 
the mafter, but a fervant, in the proper fenfe, who has a certain 
truft, and is accountable for the dilcharge of it. Within the fphere 
of his power, he has a fubordinate dominion or government, and 
therefore may be fiid to be made after the image of God, the 
Supreme Governor. But as his dominion is fubordinate, he is 
under a moral obligation to make a right ufe of it, as far as the 
reafon which God hath given him can dired: him. When he does 
fo, he is a juft objed: of moral approbation; and no lefs an object: 
of dlfapprobation and jufl; puniftiment when he abufes the power 
with which he is entrufled. And he muft finally render an ac- 
count of the talent committed to him, to the fupreme Governor 
and righteous Judge. 

This Is the moral government of God, which, far from being 
inconfiftent with liberty, fuppofes liberty in thofe that are fub- 
jeO. to it, and can extend no farther than that liberty extends ; 
for accountablenefs can no more agree with neceffity than light 
with darknefs. 

It ought likewife to be obferved, that as adlive power in man, 
and in every created being, is the gift of God, it depends en- 
tirely on his pleafure for its exiftence, its degree and its conti- 
nuance, and therefore can do nothing which he does not fee fit 
to permit. 

Our power to adl does not exempt us from being adled upon, 
and refiralned or compelled by a fuperior power ; and the power 
of God is always fuperior to that of man. 

It would be great folly and prefumption In us to pretend to 
know all the w^ays in which the government of the Supreme 
Being Is carried on, and his purpofes accomplifhed by men, ad:- 
ing freely, and having different or oppofite purpofes in their 
view. For, as the heavens are high above the earth, fo are his 
thoughts above our thoughts, and his ways above our ways. 

That 



LIBERTY CONSISTENT WITH GOVERNMENT. 311 

That a man may have great influence upon the voluntary de- <^Hap. v. 
terminations of other men, by means of education, eNannplc and ' "^ 

pcrtliafion, Is a facil: uhith iniift be granted, whether \vc ado])t 
the fyftc-m of liberty or necefllty. How far fuch determinations 
ought to be imputed to the perfon who applied thofe means, 
how far to the perfon influenced by them, we know not, but 
God knows, and will judge righteoufly. 

But what I would here obferve is, That if a man of fuperior 
talents may have fo great influence over the adions of his fel- 
low-creatures, without taking away their liberty, it is furely rca- 
fonable to allow a much greater influence of the fame kind to 
him who made man. Nor can it ever be proved, that the wif- 
dom and power of the Almighty are infuflicient for governing 
free agents, fo as to anfwer his purpofes. 

He who made man -may have ways of governing his detenni- 
nations, confident with moral liberty, of which we have no con- 
ception. And he who gave this liberty freely, may lay anv re- 
llraint upon it that is neceflary for anfwering his wife and bene- 
volent purpofes. The juftice of his government requires, that 
his creatures (hould be accountable only for what they have re- 
ceived, and not for what was never entrufted to them. And we 
are fure that the Judge of all the earth will do what is right. 

Thus, I think, it appears, that, upon the fuppofition of nccef- 
fity, there can be no moral government of the univerfe. Its 
government muft be perfedly mechanical, and every thing done 
in it, whether good or IH, mufl be God's doing ; and that, up- 
on the fuppofition of liberty, there may be a perfed moral go- 
vernment of the univerfe, confident with his atcompliiliing all 
his purpofes, in its creation and government. 

The arguments to prove that man is endowed with moral li- 
berty, which have the grcateft weight with me, are three ; FirJ}, 

Becauft 



312 E S S A Y IV. 



CHAP. VI. Becaufe he has a natural convidion or belief, that, In many- 
cafes, he ads freely ; fecondly, Becaufe he is accountable ; and, 
thirdly, Becaufe he is able to profecute an end by a long feries of 
means adapted to it. 



C H A P. VI. 

Firjl Argument, 

X'T^'E have, by our conflitution, a natural convidlion or be- 
W lief that we adl freely : A convidion fo early, fo uni- 
verfal and fo neceflary in mofl of our rational operations, that 
it muft be the refult of our conflitution, and the work of him 
that made us. 

Some of the mofl flrenuous advocates for the dodrlne of ne- 
ceffity acknowledge that it is impoffible to ad upon it. They 
fay that we have a natural fenfe or convidion that we ad freely, 
but that this is a fallacious fenfe. 

This dodrlne is difhonourable to our Maker, and lays a foun- 
dation for univerfal fcepticifm. It fuppofes the Author of our 
being to have given us one faculty on purpofe to deceive us, and 
another by which we may deted the fallacy, and find that he 
impofed upon us. 

If any one of our natural faculties be fallacious, there can be 
no reafon to trufl to any of them ; for he that made one made 
all. 

The genuine didate of our natural faculties is the voice of 
God, no lefs than what he reveals from heaven j and to fay that 
it is fallacious is to impute a lie to the God of truth. 

If 



F I R S T A R G U M E N T. 313 

If candour and veracity be not an cnLniial part of moral excel- chap vr. 
lence, there is no fuch thinj^ as moral excellence, nor any reafon 
to rely on the declarations and promifes of the Almis;hty. A man 
may be tempted to lie, but not without being confcious of guilt 
and of meaimefs. Shall we impute to the Almighty what we 
cannot impute to a man without a heinous affi'ont ? 

Failing this opinion, therefore, as fliocking to an ingenuous 
mind, and, in its confequences, fubverfive of all religion, all 
morals and all knowledge, let us proceed to coulider the evi- 
dence of our having a natural conviction that we have fome de- 
gree of adive power. 

The very conception or idea of adive power muft be derived 
from fomething in our own conftitution. It is impoflible to ac- 
count for it otherwife. We fee events, but we fee not the 
power that produces them. We perceive one event to fol- 
low another, but we perceive not the chain that binds them to- 
gether. The notion of power and caufation, therefore, cannot 
be got from external objeds. 

Yet the notion of caufes, and the belief that every event 
muft have a caufe which had power to produce it, is found in 
every human mind fo firmly eftablifhed, that it cannot be rooted 
out. 

This notion and this belief mufl have its origin from fome- 
thing in our conftitution; and that it is natural to man, appears 
from the following obfervations. 

I. We are confcious of many voluntary exertions, fome eafy, 
others more dilHcult, fome requiring a great cITort. Thefc are 
exertions of power. And though a man may be unconfcious of 
his power when he does not exert it, he muft have both the con- 

R r ccption 



3H 



ESSAY IV. 



CHAP. VI. ception and the belief of it, when he knowingly and willingly 
exerts it, with intention to produce Ibme cffed:. 

2. Deliberation about an adion of moment, whether we fliall 
do it or not, implies a conviction that it is in our power. To 
deliberate about an end, we mull be convinced that the means 
are in our power j and to deliberate about the means, we muft 
be convinced that we have power to chufe the mofl proper. 

3. Suppofe our deliberation brought to an iflue, and that we 
refolve to do what appeared proper, Can we form fuch a refolu- 
tion or purpofe, without any convi6tion of power ta execute it ? 
No J it is impoflible. A man cannot refolve to lay out a fum of 
money, which he neither has, nor hopes ever to have. 

4. Again, when I plight my faith in any promife or contraft, 
I muft believe that I fhall have power to perform what I pro- 
mile. Without this perfuafion, a promife would be downright 
fraud. 

There Is a condition implied in every promife, if we live, and 
if God continue with us the power •which he hath given us. Our 
eonvidion, therefore, of this power derogates not in the leaft 
from our dependence upon God. The rudeft favage is taught 
by nature to admit tliis condition in all promifes, whether it be 
exprefTed or not. For it is a didtate of common fcnfe, that we 
can be under no obligation to do what it is impoflible for us to 
do. 

If we adl upon the fyftem of necefllty, there muft be another 
condition implied in all deliberation, in every refolution, and in 
every promife j and that is, if wc fhall be willing. But the will 
not being in our power, we cannot engage for it. 

If this condition be underftood, as It muft be underftood if we 

ad;'' 



]'" 1 R S T A R G U M E N T. 3 1; 

act upon the lyflem of nccefllty, there can be no deliberation, chap, vi 
or rciolution, nor any obligation in a promife. A man might 
as well deliberate, refolve and promife, upon the aif\ions of other 
men as upon his own. 

It is no lefs evident, that we have a convicliou of pov/er in 
other men, when we advife, or perfuade, or command, or con- 
ceive them to be under obligation by their promifcs. 

5. Is it pofllble for any man to blame himfclf for yielding to 
nccefllty ? Then he may blame himfelf for dying, or for being a 
man. Blame fiippofes a wrong ufe of power ; and when a man 
does as well as it was pollible for him to do, wherein is he to be 
blamed? Therefore all convi<flion of wrong conduct, all re- 
morfe and felf-condemnation, imply a conviction of our power 
to have done better. Take away this conviction, and there may 
be a fenfe of mifery, or a dread of evil to come, but there can 
be no fenfe of guilt or refolution to do better. 

Many who hold the dodtrine of neceflity difown thefe confe- 
quences of it, and think to evade them. To fuch they ought 
not to be imputed ; but their infeparable connection with that 
dodtrine appears felf-evident : And therefore fome late patrons 
of it have had the boldnefs to avow them. " They cannot ac- 
" cufe themfelves of having done any thing wrong in the ulti- 
" mate fenfe of the words. In a ftridt fenfe, they have nothing 
*' to do with repentance, confeiTion and pardon, thefe being 
" adapted to a fallacious view of things." 

Thofe who can adopt thefe fentiments, may indeed celebrate, 
with high encomiums, the great and glorious doBr'tne of nccef- 
fity. It reflores them, in their own conceit, to the Hate of in- 
nocence. It delivers them from all the pangs of guilt and re- 
morfe, and from all fear about their future conduct, thouo;h not 
about their fate. They may be as fecurc that they fiiall do no- 

R r 2 thint', 



3i6 ESSAY IV. 

CHAP. VI. thing wrong, as thofe who have finiflied their courfe. A doc- 
trine fo flattering to the mind of a finncr is very apt to give 
ftrength to weak arguments. 

After all, it is acknowledged by thofe who boaft of this glo- 
rious dodrine, " That every man, let him ufe what efforts he 
*' can, will necelfanly feel the fentiments of fhame, remorfe, 
•' and repentance, and, oppreiled with a fenfe of guilt, will 
" have recourfe to that mercy of which he ftands in need." 

The meaning of this feems to me to be, That although the 
dod:rine of necellity be fupported by invincible arguments, and 
though it be the moft confolatory dodtrine in the world ; yet no 
man, in his moft ferious moments, when he fifts himfelf before 
the throne of his Maker, can poflibly believe it, but muft then 
neceffarily lay afide this glorious dodlrine, and all its flattering 
confequences, and return to the humiliating convidlion of his 
having made a bad ufe of the power which God had given him. 

If the belief of our having adtive power be neceflarily im- 
plied in thofe rational operations we have mentioned, it mufl: be 
coeval with our reafon j it mufl; be as univerfal among men, and 
as necefl^ary in the conduct of life, as thofe operations are. 

We cannot recoiled: by memory when it began. It cannot be 
a prejudice of education, or of f;\lfe philofophy. It mufl; be a 
part of our conftitution, or the necefl^ary refult of our confl;itU' 
tion, and therefore the work of God. 

It refembles, in this refpedt, our belief of the exiflence of a 
material world j our belief that thofe we converfe with are li^ 
ving and intelligent beings 3 our belief that thofe things did 
really happen which we diftindlly remember, and our belief 
that we continue the fame identical perfons. 

We 



FIRST ARGUMENT. ^17 



We find difFiculty in accounting for our belief of thefe things ; 
and fomc Philolbi^hcrs think, that they have difcovcred good 
reafons for throwing it olT. But it flicks fart, and the grcatert; 
fccptic finds, that he muft yield to it in his praclice, while he 
wages war with it in fpeculation. 

If it be objeded to this argnment, That the belief of our 
adling freely cannot be im])lied in the operations we have men- 
tioned, becaufe thofe operations are performed by them who be- 
lieve, that we are, in all our actions, governed by necellity. 
The anfwer to this objedion is, That men in their pracflice may 
be governed by a belief which in fjjeculation they rejecft. 

However ftrange and unaccountable this may appear, there 
are many well known inrtances of it. 

I knew a man who was as much convinced as any man of the 
folly of the popular belief of apparitions in the dark, yet he 
could not fleep in a room alone, nor go alone into a room in 
the dark. Can it be faid, that his fear did not imply a beleif of 
danger ? This is impofUble. Yet his philofophy convinced him, 
that he was In no more danger in the dark when alone, than 
with company. 

Here an unreafonable belief, which was merely a prejudice of 
the nurfery, fluck fo fart as to govern his condud:, in oppofition 
to his fpeculative belief as a Philofopher and a man of fenfe. 

There are few perfons who can look down from the battlement 
of a very high tower without fear, while their reafon convinces 
them that they are in no more danger than when Handing upon 
the ground. 

There have been perfons who profefltd to believe that tlicrr 



CFIAP.vr. 

' — ., ' 



3,8 ESSAY IV. 

CHAP. VI. Is no diftindioa between virtue and vice, yet in their practice 
they refented injuries, and efteemed noble and virtuous actions. 

There have been fceptics who profefled to difbelieve their 
fenfes, and every human facuky; but no fceptic was ever known, 
who did not, in pradlice, pay a regard to his fenfes and to his 
other faculties. 

There are fome points of belief fo neceflary, that, without 
them, a man would not be the being which God made him. 
Thefe may be oppofed in fpeculation, but it is impolTible to root 
them out. In a fpeculative hour they feem to vanifh, but in 
practice they refume their authority. This feems to be the cafe 
of thofe who hold die dodlriue of neceflity, and yet adl as if 
they were free. 

This natural convidlion of fome degree of power in ourfelves 
and in other men, refpedts voluntary adions only. For as all 
our power is directed by our will, we can form no conception of 
power, properly fo called, that is not under the diredlion of 
will. And therefore our exertions, our deliberations, our pur- 
pofes, our promifes, are only in things that depend upon our 
will. Our advices, exhortations and commands, are only in 
things that depend upon the will of thofe to whom they are ad- 
drefled. We impute no guilt to ourfelves, nor to others, in 
things where the will is not concerned. 

But it deferves our notice, that we do not conceive every 
thing, without exception, to be in a man's power which depends 
upon his will. There are many exceptions to this general rule. 
The mofi: obvious of thefe I fhall mention, becaufe they both 
ferve to illuftrate the rule, and are of importance In the que- 
ftion concerning the liberty of man. 

In the rage of madnefs, men are abfolutely deprived of the 

power 



F 1 R S T A R G U M E N T. " 3^9 

power of felf-government. They adl voluntarily, but their will CHAP, vi . 
is driven as by a tempeft, which, in lucid intervals, they rcfolve 
to oppofe with all their might, but are overcome when the fit of 
madnefs returns. 

Idiots are like men Malking in the dark, who cannot be faid 
to have the power of chulinir their way, becaufe they cannot 
diftinguiOi the good road from the bad. Having no light in 
their underflanding, they mufl either fit llill, or be carried on 
by fome blind impulfc. 

Between the darknefs of infxncy, which is equal to that of 
idiots, and the maturity of reafon, there is a long twilight, 
which, by infenfible degrees, advances to the perfedl day. 

In this period of life, man has but little of the power of felf- 
government. His actions, by nature, as well as by the laws of 
fociety, are in the power of others more than in his own. His 
folly and indifcretion, his levity and inconftancy, are confidered 
as the fault of youth, rather than of the man. We confider 
him as half a man and half a child, and expedl that each by 
turns fliould play its part. He would be thought a fcvere and 
wnequltable cenfor of manners, who required the fame cool de- 
liberation, the flmne fteady condudl, and the fame maftery over 
himfelf in a boy of thirteen, as in a man of thirty. 

It is an old adage. That violent anger is a fhort fit of madtiefs. 
If this be literally true in any cafe, a man, in fuch a fit of paf- 
lion, cannot be faid to have the command of himfelf. If real 
madnefs could be proved, it muil have the cffecl of madnefs 
while it lafts, whether it be for an hour or for life. But the 
madnefs of a (hort fit of palHon, if it be really madnefs, is inca- 
pable of proof ; and therefore is not admitted in human tribu- 
nals as an exculpation. And, I believe, there is no cafe where 
a man can fatisfy his own mind tliat his paflion, both in its be- 



ginning 



320 



ESSAY IV. 



GHAP, VI. ginning and in its progrefs, was irrefiflible. The Searcher of 
hearts alone knows infallibly what allowance is due in cafes of 
this kind. 

But a violent paflion, though it may not be irrefiftible, is dif- 
ficult to be refifted : And a man, furely, has not the fame power 
over himfelf in palTion, as when he is cool. On this account it is 
allowed by all men to alleviate, when it cannot exculpate ; and 
has its weight in criminal courts, as well as in private judg- 
ment. 

It oueht likewife to be obferved. That he who has accuftomed 
himfelf to reftrain his pallions, enlarges by habit his power over 
them, and confequently over himfelf. When we confider that 
a Canadian favage can acquire the power of defying death, in its 
moft dreadful forms, and of braving the moft exquifite torment 
for many long hours, without loiing the command of himfelf; 
we may learn froili this, that, in the conflitution of human na- 
ture, there is ample fcope for the enlargement of that power of 
felf-command, without which there can be no virtue nor magna- 
nimity. 

There are cafes, however, in which a man's voluntary adlions 
are thought to be very little, if at all, in his power, on account 
of the violence of the motive that impels him. The magnani- 
mity of a hero, or of a martyr, is not expected in every man, 
and on all occafions. 

If a man trufled, by the government, with a fecret, which it is 
high treafon to difclofe, be prevailed upon by a bribe, we have 
no mercy for him, and hardly allow the greateft bribe to be any 
alleviation of his crhne. 

But, on the other hand, if the fecret be extorted by the rack, 
or by the dread of prefent death, we pity him more than we 

blame 



FIRST ARGUMENT. 321 

blame hiui, and would think it fevere and uncrjuitable to con- CHAP. vi. 
deuDi him as a traitor. 

^^'^Klt is the reafon that all men agree in condemning this 
man as a traitor in the firfl; cafe, and in the Jail, either excul- 
pate him, or think his fault greatly alleviated ? If he aded 
neceflarily in both cafes, compelled by an irrellftlblc motive, 
I can fee no reafou why we Ihould not pafs the fume judgment 
on both. 

But the reafon of thefe dlfTcrent judgments is evidently this, 
That the love of money, and of what is called a man's intereft, 
is a cool motive, which leaves to a man the entire power over 
himfelf: But the torment of the rack, or the dread of prefent 
death, are fo violent motives, that men, who have not uncom- 
mon ftrength of mind, are not mafters of themfelves In fuch a 
Iituation, and therefore what they do is not imputed, or is thought 
lefs criminal. 

If a man refift fuch motives, we admire his fortitude, and 
think his condud heroical rather than human. If he vields, 
we impute It to human frailty, and think him rather to be pitied 
than feverely cenfured. 

Inveterate habits are acknowledged to diminifh very confider- 
ably the power a man has over himfelf. Although we may 
think him highly blameable In acquiring them, yet, when they 
are confirmed to a certain degree, we confider him as no longer 
mailer of himfelf, and hardly reclalmable without a miracle. 

Thus we fee, that the power which we are led, by common 
fcnfe, to afcrlbe to man, refpeds his voluntary actions only, and 
that It has various limitations even with regard to them. Some 
adions that depend upon our will are eafy, others very diflicult, 
rmd fomc, peihaps, beyond our power. In different men, the 

S f power 



322 



ESSAY IV. 



CHAP. VI. power of felf-government is different, and in the fame man at 
different times. It may be diminiflied, or perhaps loft, by bad 
habits ; it may be greatly increafed by good habits. 

Thefe are fads attefted by experience, and fupported by the 
common judgment of mankind. Upon the fyftem of liberty, 
they are perfedly Intelligible ; but, I think, irreconcileable to 
that of neceflity ; for. How can there be an eafy and a diffi- 
cult in adtions equally fubjed: to neceffity ? or, How can power 
be greater or lefs, increafed or diminiflied, in thofe who have 
no power i^ 

This natural convidlon of our adling freely, which is acknow- 
ledged by many who hold the dodlrine of neceffity, ought to 
throw the whole burden of proof upon that fide : For, by this, 
the fide of liberty has what lawyers call a Jus quafitiimy or a 
right of ancient poffeflion, which ought to Hand good till it be 
overturned. If it cannot be proved that we always ad: from 
neceffity, there is no need of arguments on the other fide to 
convince us that we are free agents. 

To illuftrate this by a fimilar cafe ; If a Philofopher would 
perfuade me, that my fellow-men with whom I converfe, are 
not thinking Intelligent beings, but mere machines, though I 
might be at a lofs to find arguments againft this ftrange opinion, 
I ffiould think it reafonable to hold the belief which nature 
gave me before I was capable of weighing evidence, vmtil con- 
vincing proof is brought againft It. 



CHAR 



SECOND ARGUMEN T. 323 

CHAP. VII. 


> ^ ' 

C H A P. VII. 
Second Argument. 

I'^H AT there is a real andeflentlal dirtincflion between right 
and wrong condud:, between jufl: and unjufl ; that the 
mod perfe<5l moral reclltude is to be afcribed to the Deity j 
that man is a moral and accountable being, capable of ading 
right and wrong, and anfwcrable for his condudl to him who 
made him, and atllgned him a part to adt upon the Itage of life ; 
are principles proclaimed by every man's confcience ; principles 
upon which the fyftems of morality and natural religion, as well 
as the fyftem of revelation, are grounded, and which have been 
generally acknowledged by thofe who hold contrary opinions on 
the fubjedt of human liberty. I fliall therefore here take them 
for granted. 

Thefe principles afford an obvious, and, I think, an invincible 
argument, that man is endowed with moral liberty. 

Two things are implied in the notion of a moral and account- 
able being ; underftandi ng and acflive power. 

F'trjl, He muft underftand the law to which he is bound, and 
his obligation to obey it. IMoral obedience murt be voluntary, 
and muft regard the authority of the law. I may command my 
horfe to eat when he hungers, and drink when he thirfts. He 
does fo ; but his doing it is no moral obedience. He does 
not underftand my command, and therefore can have no will 
to obey it. He has not the conception of moral obligation, 
and therefore cannot a<ft from the conviction of it. In eating 
and drinking he is moved by his own appetite onlv, and not by 
my authority. 

S f 2 Brute- 



324 



ESSAY IV. 



CHAP. VII. Brute-animals are Incapable of moral obligation, becaufe thej 
have not that degree of underftanding which It implies. They 
have not the conception of a rule of conducft, and of obligation to 
obey it, and therefore, though they may be noxious, they can- 
not be criminal. 

]\Ian, by his rational nature, is capable both of underftanding 
the law that is prefcribed to him, and of perceiving its obliga- 
tion. He knows what it is to be juft and honeft, to injure na 
raan, and to obey his Maker. From his conftltution, he has an 
immediate convid:ion of his obligation to thefe things. He has 
the approbation of his confcience when he ads by thefe rules v 
and he is confcious of guilt and demerit when he tranfgrefles 
them. And, without this l<jaowledge of his duty and his obliga- 
tion, he would not be a moral and accountable being. 

Secondly^ Another thing implied in the notion of a moral and 
accountable being, is power to do what he is accountable for. 

That no man can be under a moral obligation to do what it Is 
Impoflible for him to do, or to forbear what it is impoflible for 
him to forbear, Is an axiom as felf-evident as any In mathema- 
tics. It cannot be contradided, without overturning all notion 
of moral obligation y nor can there be any exception to it, when 
it is rightly underftood. 

Some moralifts have mentioned what they conceive to be an 
exception to this maxim. The exception is this. When a man, 
by his own fault, has difabled himfelf from doing his duty, his 
obligation, they fay, remains, though he is now unable to dis- 
charge it. Thus, if a man by fumptuous living has become 
bankrupt, his inability to pay his debt does not take away his 
obligation. 

To 



SECOND A R G U INI K N T. ^z^ 

To judge whether, in this and Jnnilar cafes, there be any ex- CHAi'.vii. 
ception to the axiom above mentioned, they mull be ftatcd ac- 
curately. 

No doubt a man is highly criminal in living al)Ovc his for- 
tune, and his crime is greatly aggravated by the circumftance 
of his being thereby unable to pay his jufl debt. Let us fup- 
pofe, therefore, that he is punifhed for this crime as much as it 
deferves j that his goods are fairly diftributed among his credi- 
tors, and that one half remains unpaid : Let us fuppofe alfo, 
that he adds no new crime to what is pad:, that he becomes a 
new man, and not only fupports himfelf by honefl induflry, 
but does all in his power to pay what he Hill owes. 

I would now aflc, Is he further punifliable, and really guilty 
for not paying more than he is able ? Let every man confult 
his confcience, and fay whether he can blame this man for not 
doing more than he is able to do. His guilt before his bank- 
ruptcy is out of the queftion, as he has received the puniHiment 
due for it. But that his fubfequent condutt is unblameable, 
every man mufl allow ; and that, in his prefent ftate, he is ac- 
countable for no more than he is able to do. His obligation is 
not cancelled, it returns with his ability, and can go no far- 
ther. 

Suppofe a fa'ilor, employed in the navy of his country, and 
longing for the eafe of a public hofpital as an invalid, to cut off 
his fingers, fo as to difable him from doing tiie duty of a fail- 
or j he is guilty of a great crime ; but, after he has been pu- 
niflied according to the demerit of his crime, will his captain in- 
fill that he fliall ftill do the duty of a failor ? Will he command 
him to go aloft when it is impofllble for him to do it, and pu- 
nifli him as guilty of difobedience ? Surely if there be any fuch 
thing as juftice and injufticc, this would be unjufl and wanton 
cruelty. 

Suppofe 




ESSAY IV. 

Sunix)fe a fervant, through negligence and inattention, mif- 
takes the orders given him by his mafter, and, from this mi- 
ftake, does what he was ordered not to do. It is commonly 
faid that culpable ignorance does not excufe a fault : This de- 
cifion is inaccurate, becaufe it does not {hew where the fault 
lies : The fault was folely in that inattention, or negligence, 
■vs'hich was the occafion of his miftake : There was no fubfe- 
quent fault. 

This becomes evident, when we vary^the cafe fo far as to fup- 
pofe, that he was unavoidably led into the miftake without any 
fault on his part. His miftake is now invincible, and, in the 
opinion of all moralifts, takes aw-ay all blame ; yet this new 
cafe fuppofes no change, but in the caufe of his miftake. His 
fubfequent condud: was the fame in both cafes. The fault 
therefore lay folely in the negligence and inattention which was 
the eaufe of his miftake. 

The axiom. That invincible ignorance takes away all blame, 
is only a particular cafe of the general axiom. That there can 
be no moral obligation to what is impoftlble j the former is 
grounded upon the latter, and can have no other foundation. 

I ftiall put only one cafe more. Suppofe that a man, by ex- 
cefs and intemperance, has entirely deftroyed his rational fa- 
culties, fo as to have become perfedlly mad or idiotical j fuppofe 
him forewarned of his danger, and that, though he forefaw that 
this muft be the confequence, he went on ftill in his criminal 
indulgence. A greater crime can hardly be fuppofed, or more 
deferving of fevere puniftiment ? Suppofe him puniftied as he 
deferves ; will it be faid, that the duty of a man is incumbent 
upon him now, when he has not the faculties of a man, or that 
he incurs new guilt when he is not a moral agent ? Surely we 
may as well fuppofe a plant, or a clod of earth, to be a fubjedl 
of moral duty. 

The 



SECOND ARGUMENT. 527 

Tli€ tlecifions I have given of thefe cafes, are grounded upon CHAi'. vir. 
the fundamental principles of morals, the niofl; immediate dic- 
tates of confcience. If ihefe principles are given up, all mo- 
ral reafoning is at an end, and no diflinclion is left between 
what is jull and what is unjulh And it is evident, that none of 
thefe cafes furniflies any exception to the axiom above mention- 
ed. No moral obligation can be confident with impollibility 
in the performance. 

A(f\ive power, therefore, is neceflltrily implied in the very no- 
tion of a moral accountable being. And if man be fuch a be- 
ing, he muft have a degree of acftive power proportioned to the 
account he is to make. He may have a model of perfedion 
let before him which he is unable to reach ; but, if he does to 
the utmoft of his power, this is all he can be anfwerable for. 
To incur guilt, by not going beyond his power, is Impollible. 

What was faid, in the firft argnmient, of the limitation of 
our power, adds much ftrength to the prefent argument. A 
man's power, it was obferved, extends only to his voluntary ac- 
tions, and has many limitations, even with refpecfl to them. 

His accountablenefs has the fame extent and the fime limita- 
tions. 

In the rage of madnefs he has no power over himfelf, neither 
Is he accountable, or capable of moral obligation. In ripe age, 
man is accountable in a greater degree than in non-age, becaufe 
his power over himfelf is greater. Violent paflions, and violent 
motives alleviate what is done through their influence, in the 
fame proportion as they diminilh the power of reliftance. 

There is, therefore, a perfedl correfpondence between power, • 
on the one hand, and moral obligation and accountablenefs, on 
the other. They not only correfpond in general, as they refped 

voluntary 



J 



28 E S S A Y IV. 



CHAP.vir. voluntary actions only, but every limitation of the firft produces 
a correfponding limitation of the two laft. This, indeed, 
amounts to nothing more than that maxim of common fenfe, 
confirmed by Divine authority, That to whom much is given, of 
him much will be required. 

The fum of this argument is. That a certain degree of ac- 
tive power is the talent which God hath given to every rational 
accountable creature, and of which he will requii*e an account. 
If man had no power, he would have nothing to account for. 
All wife and all foolifh condud, all virtue and vice, confift in 
the right ule or in the abufe of that power which God hath 
given us. If man had no power, he could neither be wife nor 
foolifli, virtuous nor vicious. 

If we adopt the fyftem of neceflity, the terms moral obligation 
and accountableuefs^ praife and blame^ inerit and demerit, jujiice and 
injujlice, reward and punijljment, •wifdom and Jolly, virtue and vice, 
ought to be difufed, or to have new meanings given to them 
when they are ufed in religion, In morals, or In civil govern- 
ment J for upon that fyftem, there can be no fuch things as they 
have been always ufed to fignify. 



C HAP. 



THIRD ARGUMENT. 329 



CHAP.VIII. 

^^ ,, / 



.C H A P. VIII. 
Third Argument. 

THAT man has po\ver over his own niflions and volition* 
appears, becaufc he is capable of carrying on, wifely and 
prudently, ai fyftem of condud, which he has before conceived 
in his mind, and refolved to profecute. 

I take it for granted, that, among the various charaders of 
men, there have been fome, who, after they came to years of 
underftanding, deliberately laid down a plan of condud:, which 
they refolved to pnrUie through life ; and that of thefe, fome 
have fteadily purfued the end they had in view, by the proper 
means. 

It Is of no confequence in this argument, whether one has 
made the beft choice of his main end or not ; whether his end 
be riches, or power, or fiime, or the approbation of his Maker. 
I fiippofe only, that he has pioidently and fteadily purfued it ; 
that, in a long courfe of deliberate adions, he has taken the 
means that appeared moll conducive to his end, and avoided 
whatever might crofs it. 

That fuch condud in a man demonftrates a certain degree of 
wifdom and underftanding, no man ever doubted j and, I fay, it 
demonltrates, with equal force, a certain degree of power over 
his voluntary determinations. 

This will appear evident, if we conlidcr, that underftanding 
without power may projed, but can execute nothing. A regular 
plan of condud, as it cannot be contrived without underftand- 
ing, fo it cannot be carried into execution without power ; and, 

T t therefore, 



330 ESSAY IV. 

CHAP.viii. therefore, the execution, as an effedl, demonflrates, with equal 
force, both power and underflandlng in the caufe. Every indi- 
cation of wifdom, taken from the effed, is equally an indication 
of power to execute what wifdom planned. And, if we have 
any evidence, that the wifdom which formed the plan is in the 
man, we have the very fame evidence, that the power which ex- 
ecuted it is in him alfo. 

In this argument, we reafon from the fame principles, as in 
demonftrating the being and perfedlons of the FIrft Caufe of all 
things. 

The effedls we obferve In the courfe of nature require a caufe. 
EfFedls wifely adapted to an end, require a wife caule. Every 
Indication of the wifdom of the Creator Is equally an indication 
of his power. His wifdom appears only In the works done by 
his power ; for wifdom without power may fpeculate, but it 
cannot aft j it may plan, but It cannot execute its plans. 

The fame reafoning we apply to the works of men. In a 
ftately palace we fee the wifdom of the archited:. His wifdom 
contrived It, and wifdom could do no more. The execution re- 
quired, both a diftind conception of the plan, and power to 
operate according to that plan. 

Let us apply thefe principles to the fuppofition we have made. 
That a man, in a long courfe of condud:, has determined and 
adled prudently In the profecutlon of a certain end. If the 
man had both the wifdom to plan this courfe of condud, and 
that power over his own adions that was neceill^ry to carry It 
Into execution, he is a free agent, and ufed his liberty. In this 
inftance, with underftanding. 

But if all his particular determinations, which concurred in 
the execution of this plan were produced, not by himfelf, but 

. by 



THIRD ARGUMENT. 331 

by fome caufe aclint;; necefliirily upon liiui, then there is no cvi- CHAP.vin. 
clcncL" left that he contrived tliis plan, or that he ever fpent a 
thought about it. 

The caufe that direcled all thefe determinations fo wifely, what- 
ever it was, muft be a wife and intelligent caufe ; It muft have 
underltood the plan, and have intended the execution of it. 

If it be faid, that all this courfe of determinations was pro- 
duced by motives ; motives llirely have not underftanding to 
conceive a plan, and intend its execution. We muft therefore 
go back beyond motives to fome intelligent being who had the 
power of arranging thofe motives^ and applying them, in their 
proper order and feafon, fo as to bring about the end. 

This intelligent being muft have underftood the plan, and in- 
tended to execute it. If this be fo, as the man had no hand in 
the execution, we have not any evidence left, that he had any 
hand in the contrivance, or even that he is a thinking being. 

If we can believe, that an extenfive feries of means may con- 
fpire to promote an end without a caufe that intended the end, 
and had power to chufe and apply thofe means for the purpofe, 
we may as well believe, that this world was made by a fortui- 
tous concourfe of atoms, without an intelligent and powerful 
caufe. 

If a lucky concourfe of motives could produce the condudl of 
an Alexander or a JuLtus C^sar, no reafon can be given 
wliy a lucky concourfe of atoms might not produce the plane- 
tary fyftem. 

If, therefore, wife condudl in a man demonftrates that he has 
fome degree of wifdom, it demonftrates, with equal force and 

T t 2 evidence, 



332 E S S A Y IV. 

CHAP. VI LI . evidence, that he has fome degree of power over his own deter- 
mi nations. 

All the reafon we can aflign for believing that our fellow-men 
think and reafon, Is grounded upon their adions and fpeeches. 
If they are not the caufe of thefe, there Is no reafon left to 
conclude that they think and reafon. 

Des Cartes thought that the human body is merely ame- 
chanical engine, and that all its motions and aftlons are pro- 
duced by mechanifm. If fuch a machine could be made to 
fpeak and to ad rationally, we might indeed conclude with cer- 
tainty, that the maker of it had both reafon and adlive power 5 
but if we once knew, that all the motions of the machine were 
purely mechanical, we fhould have no reafon to conclude that 
the man had reafon or thought. 

The conclufion of this argument is. That, If the adlions and 
fpeeches of other men give us fufficient evidence that they are 
reafonable beings, they give us the fame evidence, and the fame 
degree of evidence, that they are free agents.. . 

There is another conclufion that may be drawn from this rea- 
foning, which it Is proper to mention. 

Suppofe a fiitalift, rather than give up the fcheme of neceillty, 
Ihould acknowledge that he has no evidence that there Is 
thought and reafon In any of his fellow-men, and that they may 
be mechanical engines for all that he knows j he will be forced 
to acknowledge,, that there raufh be adlive power, as well as uur 
derftanding, in the maker of thofe engines, and that the firft 
caufc is a free agent. We have the fame reafon to believe this, 
as to believe his exiftence and liis wifdom. And, if the Deity 
ads freely, every argument brought to prove that freedom of 
adion Is Impoflible, mull fall to the ground. 

The 



THIRD ARGUMENT. 333 

The Firft Cuufe gives us evidence of his power by every ef- C?lAP.viif . 
feci that gives us evidence of his wirdom. And, if he is jileafed 
to communicate to the work of his hands fonie degree of his 
Nvifdom, no reafon can be afligned why he may not communi- 
cate fome degree of his power, as the talent which wifdom is to 
employ. 

That the firft motion, or the firft effecfl, whatever It be, can- 
not be produced necefl'arily, and, confequently, that the Firft 
Caufe muft be a free agent, has been demouftrated fo clearly and 
unanfwerably by Dr Clarke, both in his Demonftration of the 
Being and Attributes of God, and in the end of his Remarks 
on Collin's Philofophical Enquiry concerning Human Liberty, 
that I can add nothing to what he has faid ; nor have I found 
any objection made to his reafoning, by any of the defenders of 
neceflltv. 



CHAP. IX. 

Of Arguments for Neceffity. 

SO M E of the arguments that have been offered for necef- 
fity were already confidered in this eflay. 

It has been faid. That human liberty refpecls only the adions 
that are fubfequent to volition j and that power over the deter- 
minations of the will is inconceivable, and involves a contra- 
diction. This argument was confidered in the firft chapter. 

It has been faid, That liberty is inconfiftent with the influence 
of motives, that it would make human atflions capricious, and 
man ungovernable by God or man. Thefe arguments were 
confidered in the fourth and fifth chapters. 

I 



334 



ESSAY IV. 



CHAF.IX. I am now to make fome remarks upon other arguments that 

^ " ' have been urged in this caufe. They may, 1 think, be reduced 

to three clafies. They are intended to prove, either that liberty 

of determination is impoffible, or that it would be hurtful, or 

that, in fad, man has no iuch liberty. 

To prove that liberty of determination is impoffible, it has 
been faid, That there mufl; be a fufEcient reafon for every thing. 
For every exijlence^ for every evenly for every truths there mtiji be afuf- 
ficknt reafon. 

The famous German Philofopher Leibnitz boafted much of 
having firfl: applied this principle to philolbphy, and of having, 
by that means, changed metaphyfics from being a play of un- 
meaning words, to be a rational and demonftrative fcience. On 
this account it deferves to be confidered. 

A very obvious objection to this principle was, That two or 
more means may be equally fit for the fame end ; and that, in 
fuch a cafe, there may be a fufficient reafon for taking one of 
the number, though there be no reafon for preferring one to 
another, of means equally fit. 

To obviate this objeftion Leibnitz maintained, that the cafe 
fuppofed could not happen -, or, if it did, that none of the means 
could be ufed, for want of a fufficient reafon to prefer one to the 
reft. Therefore he detennined, with fome of the fchoolmen. 
That if an afs could be placed between two bundles of hay, or 
two fields of grafs equally inviting, the poor beaft would cer- 
tainly ftand ftill and flarve ; but the cafe, he fays, could not 
happen without a miracle. 

When it was objedted to this principle. That there could be 
no reafon but the will of God why the material world was 
placed in one part of unlimited fpace rather than another, or 

created 



OF ARGUMENTS FOR NECESSITY. 335 

created at one point of unliipite4 duration ratlicr than another, CHAV. IX: 

or why the planets Hiould move from weft to eaft, rather than 

in a contrary diredion ; thefe ohjedions Leibnitz, obviated 

hy maintaining, That there is no fueh thing as unoccupied fpace 

or duration; that fpace is nothing but the order of things co- 

exlfting, and duration is nothing but the order of things fuccef- 

five; that all motion is relative, fo that if there were only one 

body in the univerfe, It would be immoveable ; that it is incon- 

fiftent with the perfection of the Deity, that there fliould be any 

part of fpace unoccupied by body ; and, I fiippofe, he under- 

ftood the fame of every part of duration. So that, according to 

this fyftcm, the world, like its Author, muft be infinite, eternal, 

and immoveable; or, at leaft, as great in extent and duration 

as it is poflible for it to be. 

When it was objeded to the principle of a fuflicient reafon, 
That of two particles of matter perfectly fimilar, there can be 
no reafon but the will of God for placing this here and ibat 
there ; this objection Leibnitz obviated by maintaining, That 
it is impoinble that there can be two particles of matter, or 
any two things perfedly fimilar. And this feems to have led 
him to another of his grand principles, which he calls, The 
Identity of indifcernibles. 

When the principle of a fufficient reafon had produced fo 
many furprifing difcoveries in philofophy, it is no wonder that 
it fhould determine the long difputed queftion about human li^ 
berty. This it does In a moment. The determination of the 
will is an event for which there mult be a fulBcient reafon, that 
is, fomething previous, which was neceiTarily followed by that 
determination, and could not be followed by any other deter- 
mination ; therefore it was neceflury. 

Thus we fee, that this principle of the neceffity of a fufHcient 
reafon for every thing, is very fruitful of confequences; anrl by its 

fruits 



336 ESSAY IV. 

CHAP. IX. fruits we may judge of it. Thofe who will adopt it, muft adopt 
"^'""^ all the confequences that hang upon it. To fix them all be- 
yond difpute, no more is neceflary but to prove the truth of the 
principle on which they depend. 

I know of no argument offered by Leibnitz in proof of this 
principle, but the authority of Archimedes, who, he fays, 
makes ufe of it to prove, that a balance loaded with equal 
weights on both ends will continue at reft. 

I grant it to be good reafoning with regard to a balance, or 
with regard to any machine, That, when there is no external 
caufe of its motion, it muft remain at reft, becaufe the ma- 
chine has no power of moving itfelf. But to apply this reafoii- 
ing to a man, is to take for granted that the man is a machine, 
which is the very point in queftion. 

Leibnitz, and his followers, would have us to take this prin- 
ciple of the neceftity of a fufficient reafon for every exiftence, 
for every event, for every truth, as a firft principle, without 
proof, without explanation ; though it be evidently a vague pro- 
pofition, capable of various meanings, as the word reafon is. It 
muft have different meanings when applied to things of fo dif- 
ferent nature as an event and a truth ; and it may have diffe- 
rent meanings when applied to the fame thing. We cannot 
therefore form a diftind: judgment of it in the grofs, but only 
by taking it to pieces, and applying it to different things, in a 
precife and diftin6l meaning. 

It can have no connection with the difpute about liberty, ex- 
cept when it is applied to the determinations of the will. Let 
us therefore fuppofe a voluntary action of a man j and that the 
queftion is put, Whether was there a fufficient reafon for this 
iidion or not ? 

The 



OF ARGUMENTS FOR NECESSITY. 337 

The natural aiul obvious meaning of this qucllion is, Was CHAP. IX. 
there a inotive to the adion fullkient to jultify it to be wife and 
good, or, at Icafl, innocent ? Surely, in this fenfe, there is not a 
fufficient reafon for every human adion, becaufe there are ma- 
ny that are foolilh, unreafonable and unjuftitiable. 

If the meaning of the qucflion be, 'Was there a caufe of the 
action? Undoubtedly there was: Of every event there muft be 
a caufe, that had power fnfhcient to produce it, and that exert- 
ed that power for the purpofe. In the prefent cafe, either the 
man was the caufe of the adion, and then it was a free adlion, 
and is juftly imputed to him; or it mufl have had another 
caufe, and cannot juftly be imj)uted to the man. In this fenfe, 
therefore, it is granted that there was a fufficient reafon for 
the action ; but the queftion about liberty is not in the Icaft 
affeded by this concelllon. 

If, again, the meaning of the queftion be, Was there fomc- 
thlng previous to the adion, which made it to be neceftarily 
produced ? Every man, who believes that the adlion was free, 
will anfwer to this queftion in the negative. 

I know no other meaning that can be put upon the principle 
of a fufficient reafon, when applied to the determinations of the 
human will, befides the three I have mentioned. In the firfl:, it 
is evidently falfe ; In the fecond, it is true, but does not affircfl 
the queftion about liberty ; in the third, it is a mere aflertion 
of neceffity without proof. 

Before we leave this boafted principle, we may fee how it ap- 
plies to events of another kind. When we fay that a Philofo- 
pher has afllgned a fufficient reafon for fuch a phetnomenon. 
What is the meaning of this ? The meaning furely is. That he 
has accounted for it from the known laws of nature. The fuffiicient 
reafon of a phenomenon of nature muft therefore be fomc law 

U u or 



338 ESSAY IV. 

CHAP. IX. or la^vs of nature, of which the phaenomenon Is a neccHary 
confequence. But are we fure that, in this fenfe, there is a fuf- 
ficient reafon for every phenomenon of nature ? I think we are 
not. 

For, not to fpeak of inlraculous events, hi which the laws of 
nature are fufpended, or counteradted, we know not but that, 
in the ordinary courfe of God's providence, there may be parti- 
cular adls of his adminiftration, that do not come under any 
general law of nature. 

Eftablilhed laws of nature are necefTary for enabling Intelli- 
gent creatures to condudl their affairs with wifdom and pru- 
dence, and profecute their ends by proper means ; but ftill It 
may be fit, that fome particular events fhould not be fixed by 
general laws, but be diredted by particular adls of the Divine 
government, that fo his reafonable creatures may have fufficient 
inducement to fupplicate his aid, his protedlion and direction, 
and to depend upon him for the fuccefs of their honefl de- 
figns. 

We fee that, in human governments, even thofe that are mofl 
legal, it is impollible that every ad: of the adminiftration iliould 
be direded by eftabliflied laws. Some things mufl be left to the 
diredion of the executive power, and particularly ads of cle- 
mency and bounty to petitioning fubjeds. That there is no- 
thing analogous to this in the Divine government of the world, 
no man Is able to prove. 

We have no authority to pray that God would counterad or 
fufpend the laws of nature in our behalf. Prayer therefore fup- 
pofes that he may lend an ear to our prayers, without tranf- 
grefling the laws of nature. Some have thought that the only 
ufe of prayer and devotion is, to produce a proper temper and 
difpofition In ourfelves, and that it has no elHcacy with the 

Deity.. 



OF ARGUMENTS FOR NECESSITY. 339 

Deity. But this is a hypothcfis without proof. It contradids CMAl'. ix. 
our moll natural fcntiaients, as well as the plain dodrine of fcrip- 
ture, and tends to damp the fervour of every act of devotion. 

It was indeed an article of the fyftcm of Leibmitz, That the 
Deity, fmce the creation of the world, never did any thing, ex- 
cepting in the cafe of n^iraclcs ; his work being made fo per- 
feA at firfl, as never to need his interpofition. But, in this, he 
was oppofed by Sir Isaac Newton, and others of the ableft 
Philofophers, nor was he ever able to give any proof of this 
tenet. 

There is no evidence, therefore, that there is a fufiiclent rea- 
fon for every natural event ; if, by a "uFicient rcafon, we under- 
ftand feme fixed law or laws of nature, of which that event is a 
necelTary confequence. 

But what, fhall we fay, Is the fufficient reafon for a truth? 
For our belief of a truth, I think, the fufficient reafon is our 
having good evidence ; but what may be meant by a fufficient 
reafon for its being a truth, I am not able to guefs, unlefs the 
fufficient reafon of a contingent truth be, That it is true ; and, 
of a neceflary truth, that it ;«///? l)e true. This makes a man 
little wifer. 

From what has been fald, I think it appears. That this principle 
of the necelTity of a fufficient reafon for every thing, is very in- 
definite in its fignlfication. If it mean, That of every event there 
mufl be a caufe that had fufficient power to produce it, this 
is true, and has always been admitted as a firft principle in Phi- 
lofophy, and in common life. If it mean that every event mufl 
be neceflarily confequent upon fomething (called a fufficient 
reafon) that went before it ; this is a direct aflertion of univcr- 
fal fatality, and has many (Irangc, not 10 fay abfurd, confe- 
quences : But, in this fenfe, it is neither fclf-evident, nor has 

U u 2 any 



34° 



ESSAY IV. 



CHAP. IX . jjpy proof of it been offered. And, In general, In every fenfe In 
which it has evidence, it gives no new information ; and, in eve- 
ry fenfe in which it would give new information, it wants evi- 
dence. 

Another argument that has been ufed to prove Hberty of 
aftion to be impoflible is, That it implies " an effedl without a 
*♦ caufe." 

To this it may be briefly anfwered. That a free adion is an 
effe<ft produced by a being who had power and will to pro- 
duce it ; therefore it is not an effedl without a caufe. 

To fuppofe any other caufe neceffary to the produdlion of an 
effed, than a being who had the power and the will to produce 
it, is a contradidion ; for it is to fuppofe that being to have power 
to produce the effed, and not to have power to produce it. 

But as great ftrefs is laid upon this argument by a late zea- 
lous advocate for neceility, we Ihall conllder the light in which: 
he puts it. 

He' introduces this argument with an obfervatlon to which I 
entirely agree : It is, That to eftablifli this dodrine of necef- 
fity, nothing is neceffary but that, throughout all nature, the 
fame confequences ihould invariably refult from the fame cir- 
cumftances^ 

I know nothing more that can be def] red to eftablifh univer- 
fal fatality throughout the univerfe. When it is proved that, 
through all nature, the fame confequences invariably refult 
from the fame circumltances, the dodrine of liberty mufl: be 
given up. 

To prevent all ambiguity, I grant, that, in reafoning, the 

fame 



OF ARGUMENTS F O R N E C ES SI T Y. 341 

f;ime confeqiicnces, throughout all nature, will Invariahly follow CHUMX. 
from the fame prenilfes : Hecaufe good reafonlnjif mud be good 
reafoning in all times and places. But this has nothing to do 
with the dodrine of necelllty. The thing to be proved, there- 
fore, in order to eftablilli that dodrine, is, That, through all na- 
ture, the fame events invariably refult from the fame circum- 
flances. 

Of this capital point, the proof offered by that author is, That 
an event not preceded by any circumftanccs that determined it 
to be what it was, would be an effcEl without a caiifc. Why fo ? 
" For, fays he, a caufc cannot be defined to be any thing but 
" fuch previous c'lrcumjlanccs as are conjlanlly folloived hy a certain ef~ 
" fcR ; the conflancy of the refult making us conclude, that 
" there muft be a fiifficient reafoii, in the nature of things, why it 
" fliould be produced in thofe circumflances." 

I acknowledge that, if this be the only definition that can be 
given of a caufe, it will follow, That an event not preceded by 
circumflances that determined it to be what it was, would be, 
not an effcB without a caufe, which is a contradiclion in terms, 
but an event without a caufe, which I hold to be impollible. 
The matter therefore is brought to this lllue, \Vhether this be 
the only definition that can be given of a caufe ? 

With regard to this point, we may obferve,^r/?. That this defi- 
nition of a caufe, bating the phrafeology of putting a c<7///^ under 
the category of circumjlances, which I take to be new, is the fame, 
in other words, with that which Mr Hume gave, of which he 
ought to be acknowledged the inventor. For 1 know of no 
author before Mr Hu.me, who maintained, that we ha\c no 
other notion of a caufe, but that it is fomething prior to the ef- 
fc<fl, which has been found by experience to he conftantly fol- 
lowed by the effecl. This is a main pillar of his fyflcm; and 

he 



342 



ESSAY IV. 



•CHAP. IX. he has drawn very important confequences fr^m this definition, 
which I am far from thinking this author will adopt. 

Without repeating what I have before faid of caufes in the 
firft of thefe Eflays, and in the fecond and third chapters of 
this, I {hall here mention fome of the confequences that may be 
juftly deduced from this definition of a caufe, that we may 
judge of it by its fruits. 

Ytrjl, It follows from this definition of a caufe, that night is 
the caufe of day, and day the caufe of night. For no two 
things have more conflantly followed each other fince the be- 
ginning of the world. 

Secondly, It follows from this definition of a caufe, that, for 
what we know, any thing may be the caufe of any thing, fince 
nothing is eflential to a caufe but its being conftantly followed 
by the effed. If this be fo, what is unintelligent may be the 
caufe of what is intelligent ; folly may be the caufe of wifdom, 
and evil of good ; all reafoning from the nature of the effecft to 
the nature of the caufe, and all reafoning from final caufes, 
muft be given up as fallacious. 

Thirdly, From this definition of a caufe, it follows, that we 
have no reafon to conclude, that every event muft have a caufe : 
For innumerable events happen, when it cannot be fliewn that 
there were certain previous circumftances that have conftantly 
been followed by fuch an event. And though it were certain, 
that every event we have had accefs to obferve had a caufe, it 
would not follow, that every event muft have a caufe : For it is 
contrary to the rules of logic to conclude, that, becaufe a thing 
has always been, therefore it muft be j to reafon from what is 
contingent, to what is neceflary. 

Fourthly^ From this definition of a caufe, it would follow, that 

we 



OF ARGUMENTS FOR NECESSITY. 343 

we have no reafon to conclude that there was any caufe of the CiTMv ix. 
creation of tliis world : For there were no previous clrcum- 
ftances that had been conllantly followed by fuch an eflcd:. 
And, for the fame reafon, it would follow from the definition, 
that whatever was fmgular in its nature, or the firft thing- of its 
kind, could have no caule. 

Several of thefe confequences were fondly embraced by Mr 
Hume, as necefliirily following from his definition of a caiifc, 
and as favourable to his fyllem of abfolute fcepticlfin. Thofe 
who adopt the definition of a caufe, from which they follow 
may chufe whether they will adopt its confequences, or Hiew 
that they do not follow from the definition. 

A fecond ohfervation with regard to this argument is, That a 
definition of a caufe may be given, which is not burdened with 
fuch untoward confe-. uences. 

Why may not an efficient caufe be defined to be a being that 
had power and will to produce the cffed ? The produdion of 
an etfecl requires adive power, and adive power, being a qua- 
lity, muft be in a being endowed with that power. Power 
without will produces no effed 3 but, where thefe are conjoined, 
the effed muft be produced. 

This, I think, is the proper meaning of the word caufe, when 
it is ufed in mttaphyfics ; and particularly when we affirm, that 
every thing that begins to exift muft have a caufe ; and when, 
by rrjafonlng, we prove, that there muft be an eternal Firft Caufe 
of all things. 

Was the world produced by previous circumftances wiiich are 
conftantly followed by fuch an effied ? or, Was it produced by a 
Being that had power to produce it, and willed its produdion ? 

In 




ESSAY IV. 

In natural philofophy, the word caufe is often ufed in a very 
different fenfe. "When an event is produced according to a 
known law of nature, the law of nature is called the caufe of 
that event. But a law of nature is not the efBcient caufe of 
any event. It is only the rule, according to which the efficient 
caufe adts. A law is a thing conceived in the mind of a rational 
being, not a thing that has a real exiflence ; and, therefore, like 
a motive, it can neither adt nor be adted upon, and confequent- 
ly cannot be an efficient caufe. If there be no being that adls 
according to the law, it produces no effedl. 

This author takes it for granted, that every voluntary aftion 
of man was determined to be what it was by the laws of nature, 
in the fame fenfe as mechanical motions are determined by the 
laws of motion ; and that every choice, not thus determined, " is 
" juft as impolTible, as that a mechanical motion fliould depend 
" upon no certain law or rule, or that any other effedl fliould 
" exifl without a caufe." 

It ought here to be obferved, that there are two kinds of 
laws, both very properly called laws of nature, which ought not 
to be confounded. There are moral laws of nature, and phyli- 
cal laws of nature. The firfl: are the rules which God has pre- 
fcribed to his rational creatures for their condudl. They re- 
fpedl voluntary and free adlions oiily \ for no other actions can 
be fubjedl to moral rules. Thefe laws of nature ought to be al- 
ways obeyed, but they are often tranfgrefled by men. There is 
therefore no impofllbility in the violation of the moral laws of 
nature, nor is iuch a violation an effed: without a caufe. The 
tranfgreffor is the caufe, and is juftly accountable for it. 

The phyfical laws of nature are the rules according to which 
the Deity commonly adls in his natural government of the 
world ; and, whatever is done according to them, is not done 
by man, but by God, either immediately or by inftruments un- 
der 



or ARGUMENTS FOR NECESSITY. 345 

der his direcftion. Thefc laws of nature neither reflrain the crJAP. IX. 
power of" the Author of nature, nor bring him under any obhga- 
tion to do nothing beyond their fjjhere. He has fomctimes 
adled contrary to them, in the cafe of miracles, and perhaps of- 
ten adls without regard to them, in the ordinary courfe of his 
providence. Neither miraculous events, which are contrary to 
the phyfical laws of nature, nor fuch ordinary ads of the Di- 
vine adminiftration as are without their fphere, arc impollible, 
nor are they effcEls without a catije. God is the caufe of them, 
and to him only they are to be imputed. 

That the moral laws of nature are often tranfgrefled by man, 
is undeniable. If the phyfical laws of nature make his obedi- 
ence to the moral law> to be impoflible, then he is, in the li- 
teral fenfe, born under one law, bound unto another, which contra- 
dicts every notion of a righteous government of the world. 

But though this fuppofition were attended with- no fuch 
(hocking confequence, it is mei'ely a fuppofition ; and until it be 
proved, that every choice or voluntary adion of man is deter- 
mined by the phyfical laws of nature, this argument for necefli- 
ty is only the taking for granted the point to be proved. 

Of the fame kind is the argument for the impoflibility of li- 
berty, taken from a balance, which cannot move but as it is 
moved by the weights put into it. This argument, though 
urged by aimoft every writer in defence of neceflity, is fo piti- 
ful, and has been fo often anfwered, that it fcarce delerves to be 
mentioned. 

Every argument in a difpute, which is not grounded on prin- 
ciples granted by both parties, is that kind of fophifm which lo- 
gicians call pctitio prtncipn\ and fuch, in my apprehenfion, are 
all the arguments oflered to prove that liberty of adion is im- 
poflible. 

X X l! 



34^ ESSAY IV. 

CHAP. X. jj. n^jiy farther be obferved, that every argument of this clafs, 
if it were really conclufive, inufl extend to the Deity, as well as 
to all created beings ; and neceflary exiftence, which has always 
been confidered as the prerogative of the Supreme Being, muft 
belong equally to every creature and to every event, even the 
moft trifling. 

This I take to be the fyftem of Spinosa, and of thofe among 
the ancients who carried fatality to the higheft pitch. 

I before referred the reader to Dr Clarke's argument, which 
profelTes to demonftrate, that the Firft Caufe is a free* agent. 
Until that argument fhall be ftiewn to be fallacious, a thing 
which I have not feen attempted, fuch weak arguments as have 
been brought to prove the contrary, ought to have little weight. 



CHAP, X. 

'The fame SuhjeEl. 

WITH regard to the fecond clafs of arguments for necef- 
iity, which are intended to prove, that liberty of ac- 
tion would be hurtful to man, I have only to obferve, that it is 
n fad too evident to be denied, whether we adopt the fyflem of 
liberty or that of necefllty, that men adually receive hurt from 
their own voluntary adions, and from the voluntary adions of 
other men j nor can it be pretended, that this fad is inconfiftent 
with the dodrine of liberty, or that it is more unaccountable 
upon this fyftem than upon that of neceffity. 

In order, therefore, to draw any folid argument againft liber- 
ty, from its hurtfulnefs, it ought to be proved, That, if man 

were 



OF ARGUMENTS FOR NECESSITY. 3+7 



were a free agent, he would do more hurt to himfclf, or to ^ 
others, than he actually does. 

To this purpofe it has been faid, That liberty woidd make 
men's actions capricious ; that it would deftroy the influence of 
motives ; that it would take away the effe<5t of rewards and pu- 
nilhments ; and that it would make man abfolutely ungovern- 
able. 

Thefe arguments have been already confulered in the fourth and 
fifth chapters of this Eflay ; and, therefore, I fliall now proceed 
to the third clafs of arguments for necefllty, which are intended 
to prove, that, in faft, men are not free agents. 

The moft formidable argument of this clafs, and, I think, the 
only one that has not been confidered in fome of the preceding 
chapters, is taken from the prefcience of the Deity. 

God forefees every determination of the human mind. It 
muft therefore be what he forefees it fhall be ; and therefore 
muft be necefTary. 

This argument may be underflood three different ways, each 
of which we fliall confider, that we may fee all its force. 

The necefllty of the event may be thought to be a juft confe- 
quence, either barely from its being certainly future, or barely 
from its being forefeen, or from the impofllbility of its being 
forefeen, if it was not neceffary. 

Fir^, It may be thought, that, as nothing can be known to be 
future which is not certainly future ; fo, if it be certainly future, 
it muft be neceflary. 

This opinion has no lefs authority in its favour than tliat of 

X x 2 Akistotjle, 



CFIAr. X. 

I 



348 ESSAY IV. 

CHA F. X . Aristotle, who indeed held the doctrine of liberty, but be- 
lieving, at the lame time, that whatever is certainly future muft 
be neceflary, In order to defend the liberty of human actions, 
maintained, That contingent events have no cenain futurity ; 
but I know of no modern advocate for liberty, who has put the 
defence of it upon that ifllie. 

It muft be granted, that as whatever was, certainly was, and 
whatever is, certainly is, fo whatever fhall be, certainly fhall be. 
Thefe are identical propofitions, and cannot be doubted by thofe 
who conceive them diftinclly. 

But I know no rule of reafoning by which it can be inferred, 
that, becaufe an event certainly (hall be, therefore its produc- 
tion muft be neceflary. The manner of its produdion, whe- 
ther free or neceflary, cannot be concluded from the time of its 
production, whether it be paft, prefent or future. That it fhall 
be, no more implies that it fliall be neceflarily, than that it fliall 
be freely produced ; for neither prefent, paft nor future, have 
any more connection with necefllty than they have with 
freedom. 

I grant, therefore, that, from events being forefeen, it may 
be juftly concluded, that they are certainly future ; but from 
their being certainly future, it does not follow that they are ne- 
ceflary. 

Secondly, If it be meant by this argument, that an event muft 
be neceflary, merely becaufe it is forefeen, neither is this a juft 
confequence : For it has often been obferved, That prefcience 
and knowledge of every kind, being an immanent act, has no 
effect upon the thing known. Its mode of exiftence, whether 
it be free or neceflary, is not in the leaft affedted by its being 
known to be future, any more than by its being known to be 
paft or prefent. The Deity forefees his own futuxe free adions, 

but 



OF ARGUMENTS FOR NECESSITY. 349 

but neither his forefight nor his purjiofc makes them ncceflliry. CH-y --^- 
The arji;inncnt, therefore, taken in this view, as well as in the 
former, is inconclufive. 

A third way in which this argument may he underftood, is 
this : It is impoirihle that an event which is not necefTary ihould 
be forefeen ; therefore every event that is certainly foreieen, 
muft be necellary. Here the conchiiion certainly follows from 
the antecedent propofition, and therefore the wliole ftrels of the 
argument lies upon the proof of that propofition. 

Let us confider, therefore, whether it can be proved, That no 
free adion can be certainly forefeen. If this can be proved, it 
will follow, either that all adlions are neceflary, or that all ac- 
tions cannot be forefeen. 

With regard to the general propofition. That it is impofllble 
that any free adion can be certainly forefeen, I obferve, 

FirJ}, That every man who believes the Deity to be a free 
agent, muft believe that this propofition not only is incapable of 
proof, but that it is certainly falle : For the man himfelf fore- 
fees, that the Judge of all tlie earth will always do what is 
right, and that he will fulfd whatever he has promifed j and, 
at the fame time, believes, that, in doing what is right, and in 
fulfilling his promifes, the Deity a(fts with the mort perfed: 
freedom. 

Secondly, I obfen'e, That every man who believes that it is an 
abfurdity or contraditflion, that any free acftion fliould be certain- 
ly forefeen, mud believe, if he will be confident, either that the 
Deity is not a free agent, or that he does not forcfee his own 
actions; nor can we forefee that he will do what is right, and 
will fulfil his promifes. 

rbirdh, 



350 



ESSAY IV. 



CHAP. X. Thirdly^ Without confidering the confequences which this ge- 
neral propofition carries in its bofom, which give it a very bad 
afpecl, let us attend to the arguments offered to prove it. 

Dr Priestley has laboured more in the proof of this propo- 
fition than any other author I am acquainted with, and main- 
tains it to be, not only a difficulty and a myftery, as it has been 
called, that a contingent event Ihould be the objedl of know- 
ledge, but that, In reality, there cannot be a greater abfurdity or 
contradiction. Let us hear the proof of this. 

" For, fays he, as certainly as nothing can be known to ex- 
" ift, but what does exift ; fo certainly can nothing be known to 
" ar'ifefrom what does ex'ifi, but what does arife from it or de- 
" pend upon it. But, according to the definition of the terms, 
" a contingent event does not depend upon any previous known 
" circumftances, fmce fome other event might have arifeninthe 
" fame circumftances." 

This argument, when ftripped of incidental and explanatory 
claufes, and affedled variations of exprefllon, amounts to this : 
Nothing can be known to arife from what does exift, but what 
does arife from it : But a contingent event does not arife from 
what does exift. The conclufion, which is left to be drawn by 
the reader, muft, according to the rules of reafoning, be : There- 
fore a contingent event cannot be known to arife from what 
does exift. 

It is here very obvious, that a thing may arife from what does 
exift, two Avays, freely or neceffarily. A contingent event a- 
rifes from its caufe, not neceftarily but freely, and fo, that ano- 
ther event might have arifen from the fxme caufe, in the fame 
circumftances. 

The fecond propofition of the argument is, That a contingent 

event 



OF ARGUMENTS FOR NECESSITY. 33 



event does not ilcpcncl upon any previous known circumrtances, 
which 1 lake to be only a variation of the term of «&/ ar'ifmg from 
•what does exijl. Therefore, in order to make tlie two propofi- 
tions to correfpond, we mull underftand by arifing from what 
does extfl, arifing neceflarily from what does cxift. When this 
ambiguity is removed, the argument ftands thus : Nothing can 
be known to arife neceflarily from what does exift, but what 
does necellarily arife from it : But a contingent event does not 
arife neceflarily from what docs exilt j therefore a contingent 
event cannot be known to arife necelTarily from what docs 
exift. 

1 grant the whole ; but the conclufion of this argument is 
not what he undertook to prove, and tlierefore the argument Is 
that kind of fophifiii which logicians call ignoratitia elenchi. 

The thing to be proved is not, That a contingent event can- 
not be known to arife neceflarily from what exillsj but that a 
contingent future event cannot be the object of knowledge. 

To draw the argument to this conclufion, it muft be put thus : 
Nothing can be known to arife from what does exifl:, but w hat 
arifes necefllirily from it : But a contingent event does not arife 
neceflarily from what does exifl: j therefore a contingent event 
cannot be known to arife from what does exifl. 

The conclufion here is what it ought to be j but the \ix^ pro- 
pofltion ailumes the thing to be proved, and therefore the argu- 
ment is what logicians call pcth'io principll. 

To the fame purpofe he fays, " That nothing can be known 
" at prefent, except itfelf or its neceflary caufe exifl at prc- 
" fent." 

This is afllrmed, but I find no proof of it. 

Again 



CHAP. X. 




ESSAY IV. 

Again he fays, " That knowledge fiippofes an object, which, 
" iu this cafe, does notexift." It is true that knowledge fuppofes 
an objed, and every thing that is known is an objed of know- 
ledge, whether paft, prefent, or future, whether contingent or 
neceflary. 

Upon the whole, the arguments 1 can find upon this point, 
bear no proportion to the confidence of the aflertion, that there 
cannot be a greater abfurdity or contradidion, than that a con- 
tingent event fhould be the objed of knowledge. 

To thofe who, without pretending to fliew a manifefl abfurdi- 
ty or contradidion in the knowledge of future contingent e- 
vents, are ftill of opinion, that it is impoirible that the future 
free adions of man, a being of imperfed wifdom and virtue, 
flioukl be certainly foreknown, I would humbly offer the fol- 
lowing confiderations. 

I. I grant that there is no knowledge of this kind In man j and 
this is the caufe that we find it fo difficult to conceive it in any 
other being. 

All our knowledge of future events is drawn either from their 
necefiliry connedion with the prefent courfe of nature, or from 
their connedion with the charader of the agent that produces 
them. Our knowledge, even of thofe future events that necef- 
farily refult from the eftablifhed laws of nature, is hypothetical. 
It fuppofes the continuance of thofe laws with which they are 
conneded. And how long thofe laws may be continued, we 
have no certain knowledge. God only knows when the pre- 
fent courfe of nature lliall be changed, and therefore he only 
has certain knowledge even of events of this kind. 

The charader of perfed wifdom and perfed reditude in the 

Deity, 



OF ARGUMENTS FOR NECESSITY. ^53 

Deity gives us certain knowledge th.it he will always be true CHA" x. 
in all his declarations, faithful in all his pro nifes, and juft in ail 
his difpenfations. But when we reafon from the character of 
men to their future adions, though, in many cafes, we have 
fucli probability as we reft upon in our moft important worldly 
concerns, yet we have no certainty, becaufe men are imperfett 
in wifdoni and in virtue. If we had even the moft pcrfed: know- 
ledge of the charader and fituation of a man, this would not 
be fulBcient to give certainty to our knowledge of his future 
adions ; becaufe, in fonie adions, both good and bad men de- 
viate from their general charader. 

The prefcience of the Deity, therefore, muft be different not 
only in degree, but in kind, from any knowledge we can attain 
of futurity. 

2. Though we can have no conception how the future free 
adions of men may be known by the Deity, this is not a fufii- 
cient reafon to conclude that they cannot be known. Do we 
know, or can we conceive, how God knows the fecrets of mens 
hearts ? Can we conceive how God made this world without any 
pre-exiftent matter? All the ancient Philofophers believed this 
to be impolTible : And for what reafon but this, that they could 
not conceive how it could be done. Can we give any better 
reafon for believing that the adions of men cannot be certain- 
ly forefeen ? 

3. Can we conceive how we ourfelves have certain knowledge 
by thofe fixculties with which God has endowed us ? If any 
man thinks that he underftands diftindly how he is confcio'is of 
his own thoughts ; how he perceives external objeds by his fenfes i 
how he remembers paft events, I am afraid that he is not yet fo 
wile as to underftand his own ignorance. 

4» There feems to me to be a great analogy between the pre- 

Y y fcience 



3S^ 



ESSAY IT. 



CHAP. X. fclence of future contingents, and the memory of pafl: contln- 
gents. We polTefs the laft in fome degree, and therefore find 
no difficulty in believing that it may be perfed in the Deity. 
But the firfl we have in no degree, and therefore are apt to think 
it impoflible. 

In both, the objed of knowledge is neither what prefently ex- 
ifts, nor has any neceflary connedion with what prefently exifts. 
Every argument brought to prove the impoffibility of prefcience, 
proves, with equal force, the impoflibiHty of memory. If it be 
true that nothing can be known to arife from what does exift, 
but what neceflarily arifes from it, it muft be equally true, that 
nothing can be known to have gone before what does exift, but 
what muft neceflarily have gone before it. If it be true that 
nothing future can be known unlefs its neceflary caufe exift at 
prefent, it muft be equally true that nothing paft can be known 
unlefs fomething confequent, with which it is necefl^arily connedt- 
ed, exift at prefent. If the fatalift fliould fay. That paft events 
are indeed neceflarily conneded with the prefent, he will not 
furely venture to fay, that it is by tracing this neceflary con?- 
nedion, that we remember the paft. 

Why then fliould we think prefcience impoflible In the Al- 
mighty, when he has given us a faculty which bears a ftrong 
analogy to it, and which is no lefs unaccountable to the human 
underftanding, than prefcience is. It is more reafonable, as 
well as more agreeable to the facred writings, to conclude with 
a pious father of the church, " Qnocirca nullo mode cogimur, aut 
** retenta prsefclentia Dei tollere voluntatis arbitrium, aut retento 
." voluntatis arbitrio, Deum, quod nefas eft, negare praefcium fu- 
" turorum : Sed utrumque arapledimur, utrumque fideliter et 
" veraciter confitemur : Illud ut bene credamus j hoc ut bene 
" vivamus," Aug. 

CHAP. 



OF THE PERMISSION OF EVIL. 

CHAP. XI. 

Of the Perni'ijfion of EviL 

ANOTHER ufe has been made of Divine prefcience by the 
advocates for necefllty, which it is proper to confider be- 
fore wc leave this fubject. 

It has been faid, ** That all thofe confeqaences follow from 
" the Divine prefcience which are thought moft alarming in the 
" fcheme of neceility j and particularly God's being the proper 
" caufe of moral evil. For, to fuppofe God to forefee and per- 
" mlt what it was in his power to have prevented, is the very 
" fame thing, as to fuppofe him to will, and diredly to caufe 
" it. He diitindlly forefees all the adions of a man's life, and 
" all the confequences of them : If, therefore, he did not think 
" any particular man and his condud: proper for his plan of 
" creation and providence, he certainly would not have in- 
** troduced him into being at all." 

In this reafoning we may obferve, that a fuppofition Is made 
which feems to contradidt itfelf. 

That all the adions of a particular man (hould be diftindly 
forefeen, and, at the fame time, that that man fhould never be 
brought into exiftence, feems to me to be a contradidion : And 
the fame contradidion there is, in fuppofing any adion to be 
diftindly forefeen, and yet prevented. For, if it be forefeen, it 
Ihall happen ; and, if it be prevented, it (hall not happen, and 
therefore could not be forefeen. 

The knowledge here fuppofed is neither prefcience nor fciencc, 

Y y 3 but 




^.^S ESSAY IV. 

C?IAP. XL but fomefhing very different from both. It is a kind of know- 
ledge, which fome metaphyfical divines, in their controverfies 
about the order of the Divine decrees, a fubject far beyond the 
limits of human underftanding, attributed to the Deity, and of 
which other divines denied the poffibility, while they firmly 
maintained the Divme prefcience. 

It was cciUed fciefifia media, to diftinguifh it from prefcience j^ 
and by this fdentia media was meant, not the knowing from 
eternity all things that fhall exill, which is prefcience, nor 
the knowing all the connexions and relations of things that 
exift or may be conceived, which is (cience, but a knowledge oF 
things contingent, that never did nor fhall exifl. For inftance, 
the knowing every action that would be done by a man who is 
barely conceived, and fhall never be brought mto exiflence. 

Agalnft the pofTibllity of the fcieinla media arguments may be 
urged, which cannot be applied to prefcience. Thus it may be 
faid, that nothing can be known but what is true. It is true 
that the future adions of a iv(t& agent fliall exift, and there- 
fore we fee no impoflibility ia its being known that they fhall' 
exifl : But with regard to the free adtions of an agent that ne- 
ver did nor fhall exifl, there is nothing true, and therefore 
nothing can be known. To fay that the being conceived, would- 
certainly ad in fuch a way, if placed in fuch a fituation, if it 
have any meaning, is to fay, That his adling in that way is the 
confequence of the conception j but this contradicts the fuppo- 
fitioii of its being a free adiona 

Things merely conceived have no relations or connexions 
but fuch as are implied in the conception, or are conlequent. 
from it. Thus I conceive two. circles in the fame plane. If 
this be all I conceive, it is not true that thefe circles are equal 
or unequal, becaufe neither of thefe relations is implied in the 
conception 3 yet if the two circles really exifled, they mufl be 

either 



OF THE PERMISSION OF EVIL. 357 

either equal or uuc'iikiI. A^ain, I conceive two circles in the C ^HA I ' xi . 
fame i)hinc, the diftancc of whofe centres Is equal to the fum of 
their feniidiamctcrs. It Is true of thefe circles, that they will 
touch one another, becaufe this follows from the conception ; 
but it Is not true that they will be equal or unequal, becaufe 
neither of thefe relations is implieil in the conception, nor is con- 
fcquent from it. 

In like manner, I can conceive a being who has power to do 
an inditTercnt adion, or not to do It. It Is not true that he 
would do it, nor is it true that he would not do It, becaufe nei- 
ther is implied in my conception, nor follows from it ; and what 
is not true cannot be known. 

Though I do not perceive any fallacy In this argument agalnfl 
a fcicntia media, I am fenfible how apt we are to err in applying 
what belongs to our conceptions and our knowledge, to the con- 
ceptions and knowledge of the Supreme Being ; and, therefore, 
without pretending to determine for or againfl a fcientia media, 
I only obferve, that, to fuppofe that the Deity prevents what he 
forefees by his prefcience, is a contradidion, and that to know 
that a contingent event which he fees fit not to permit would 
certainly happen if permitted, is not prefcience, but the fcientia 
media, whofe exigence or poilibillty we are under no neceility of 
admitting. 



•a- 



Waving all dlfpute about fcientia media., we ackno\vIedge, that 
nothing can happen under the adminillratlon of the Deity, 
which he does not fee fit to permit. The permillion of natural 
and moral evil. Is a phenomenon which cannot be cMfputed. To 
account for this phaeiiomenon under the government of a ileing 
of infinite gooilnefs, jufiice, wifdom and power, has, hi all ages 
been confidercd as difficult to human reafon, whether we em- 
brace the fyflem of liberty or that of necellity. Bat, If the 
difficulty of accounting for this phacnomenon upon the fvfleiji 

cf 



■358 ESSAY IV. 

CHA?. XI. of neceflity, be as great as it is upon the fyilem of liberty, it 
can have no weight when ufed as an argument againft liberty. 

The defenders of neceility, to reconcile it to the principles of 
Theifm, find themfelves obliged to give up all the moral attri- 
butes of God, excepting that of goodnefs, or a defire to produce 
happinefs. This they hold to be the fole motive of his making 
and governing the univerfe. Juftice, veracity, faithfulnefs, are 
only modifications of goodnefs, the means of promoting its pur- 
pofes, and are exercifed only fo far as they ferve that end. 
Virtue is acceptable to him and vice difpleafing, only as the firft 
tends to produce happinefs and the laft mifery. He is the pro- 
per caufe and agent of all moral evil as well as good > but it is 
for a good end, to produce the greater happinefs to his creatures. 
He does evil that good may come, and this end fandlifies the 
■worft adions that contribute to it. All the wickednefs of men 
being the work of God, he muft, when he furveys it, pronounce 
it, as well as all his other works, to be very good. 

This view of the Divine nature, the only one confiftent with 
the fcheme of neceffity, appears to me much more fhocking 
than the permiilion of evil upon the fcheme of liberty. It is 
faid, that it requires on\j Jirejigth of mind to embrace it : To me 
it feems to require much ftrength of countenance to profefs it. 

In this fyfiem, as in Cleanthes' Tablature of the Epicurean 
fyftem, pleafure or happinefs is placed upon the throne as the 
queen, to whom all the virtues bear the humble office of menial 
fervants. 

As the end of the Deity, in all his adions, is not his own 
good, which can receive no addition, but the good of his crea- 
tures 5 and, as his creatures are capable of this difpofition in 
fome degree, is he not pleafed with this image of himfelf in his 
creatures, and difpleafed with the contrary ? Why then fliould 

he 



OF THE PERMISSION OF EVIL. 359 

he be the author of malice, envy, revenge, tyranny and oppref- CHA ? xf. . 
{ion, in their hearts ? Other vices that have no malevolence in 
them may pleafe fuch a Deity, but furcly malevolence cannot 
plcafe him. 

If we form our notions of the moral attributes of the Deity 
from what we fee of his government of the world, from the 
didates of reafon and confcience, or from the dodlrine of 
revelation, jullice, veracity, faith fulnefs, the love of virtue and 
diflike of vice, appear to be no lefs eflential attributes of his 
nature than goodnefs. 

In man, who is made after the Image of God, goodnefs or 
benevolence is indeed an eflential part of virtue^ but it is not 
the whole. 

I am at a lofs what arguments can be brought to prove good- 
nefs to be eflential to the Deity, which will not, with equal 
force, prove other moral attributes to be fo ; or what objections 
can be brought againfl the latter, which have not equal Itrength 
againft the former, unlefs it be admitted to be an objcdion 
againft other moral attributes, that they do not accord with the 
dodrine of necellity. 

If other moral evils maybe attributed to the Deity as the 
means of promoting general good, why may not falfe declara- 
tions and falfe promifes ? And then what ground have we left to 
believe the truth of what he reveals, or to rely upon what he 
promifes? 

Suppofing this ftrange view of the Divine nature were to be 
adopted in favour of the dodrine of necelEty, there is flill a 
great difliculty to be refolved. 

Since it is fuppofed, that the Supreme Being had no other end 

in 



jGo ESSAY IV. 

.CHAP. XI J,-) making and governing the univerfe, but to produce the great- 
eft degree of happinefs to his creatures in general, how comes 
it to pafs, that there 's To much mifery in a fyfteni made and 
governed by infinite wifdom and power for a contrary purpofe ? 

The fohition of this difficulty leads us neceflarily to another 
hypothecs, That all the mifery and vice that is in the world is a 
neceifary ingredient in that f)ftem which produces the greatefl: 
fum of happinefs upon the whole. This connection betwixt the 
greatefl fum of happinefs and all the mifery that is in the uni- 
verfe, mufl be fatal and neceffary in the nature of things, fo that 
even Almighty power cannot break It : For benevolence can 
never lead to iaflid mifery without neceility. 

This neceffary connexion between the greatefl Cam of happinefs 
upon the whole, and all the natural and moral evil that is, or has 
been, or fhall be, being once ellablifhed, it is impofUble for mor- 
tal eyes to difcern how far this evil may extend, or on whom it 
may happen to fall j whether this fatal connexion may be tem- 
porary or eternal, or what proportion of the happinefs may be 
balanced by it. 

A world made by perfecft wifdom and Almighty power, for 
no other end but to make it happy, prefents the moll pleafing 
profpedl that can be imagined. We expe6l nothing but uninter- 
rupted happinefs to prevail for ever. But, alas ! When we con- 
lider that in this happiell fyflem, there mufl be neceflarily all 
the mifery and vice we fee, and how much more we know not, 
how is the profpecT; darkened ! 

Thefe two hypothefes, the one limiting the moral charaderof 
the Deity, the other limiting his power, feem to me to be 
the nc' eflary confequences of neceility, when it is joined with 
Theifm ; and they have accordingly been adopted by the ablefl 
defenders of tiiat Uodlrine. 

If 



OF THE P E R M I S S I O x\ OF E V I L. ^f)! 

If Come defenders of liberty, by limiting too rafhiy the Divine CHAP. xi. 
prefciencc, in order to defend that fylkm, have raifed hij^h in- 
dignation in their opponents ; have they not equal ground of 
indignation againft thofe, who, to defend nccefTity, limit the mo- 
ral perfection of the Deity, and his Almighty power? 

Let us confider, on the other hand, what confequenccs may 
be fairly drawn from God's permitting the abufe of liberty in 
agents on whom he has beftowed it. 

If it be alked. Why does God permit fo much fin in his crea- 
tion ? I confefs I cannot anfwer the qneftion, but mufl lay my 
hand upon my mouth. He giveth no account of his conduct 
to the children of men. It is our part to obey his commands, 
and not to fay unto him. Why dofl thou thus ? 

Hypothefes might be framed ; but, while we have ground to 
be fatisfied, that he does nothing but what is right, it is more 
becoming us to acknowledge that the ends and reafons of his 
univerfal government are beyond our knowledge, and perhaps 
beyond the comprehenfion of human underftanding. We can- 
not penetrate fo far into the counfel of the Almighty, as to 
know all the reafons why it became him, of whom are all things, 
and to whom are all things, to create, not only machines, which 
are folely moved by his hand, but fervants and children, who, 
by obeying his commands, and imitating his moral jjerfedions, 
might rile to a high degree of glory and happinefs in nis favour, 
or, by perverfc difobedience, might incur guilt and jull puniHi- 
ment. In this he appears to us awful in his juftice, as well as 
amiable in his goodnefs. 

But, as he difdains not to appeal to men for the equity of his 
proceedings towards them when his character is impeached, 
we may, with humble reverence, plead for God, and vindicate 

Z z that 



362 ESSAY IV. 

CHAP. XI. that moral excellence which is the glory of his nature, and of 
which the image is the glory and the perfed:ion of man. 

Let us obferve firil: of all, that to permit hath two meanings. 
It fignifies not to forbid ; and it fignifies not to hinder by fupe- 
rior power. In the firii of thefe fenfes, God never permits fin. 
His law forbids every moral evil. By his laws and by his go- 
vernment, he gives every encouragement to good condudt, and 
every difcoui-agement to bad. But he does not always, by his 
fuperior power, hinder it from being committed. This is the 
ground of the accufation ; and this, it is faid, is the very fame 
thing as diredly to will and to caufe it. 

As this is afTerted without proof, and is far from being felf- 
evldent, it might be fufficient to deny it until it be proved. 
But, without refting barely on the defenfive, we may obferve, 
that the only moral attributes that can be fuppofed inconfiftent 
with the permillion of fin, are either goodnefs or juftice. 

The defenders of necefHty, with whom we have to do In this 
point, as they maintain that goodnefs is the only eflential moral 
attribute of the Deity, and the motive of all his atftions, muft, 
if they will be confiftent, maintain. That to will, and diredly to 
caufe fin, much more not to hinder It, is confiftent with perfedl 
goodnefs, nay, that goodnefs Is a fufEcient motive to juftify the 
willing and diredly caufing it. 

With regard to them, therefore, It Is furely unnecefTary to at- 
tempt to reconcile the permillion of fin with the goodnefs of 
God, fince an inconfiftency between that attribute and the 
caufing of fin would overturn their whole fyftem. 

If the caufing of moral evil, and being the real author of It, 
be confiftent with perfect goodnefs, what pretence can there be 

to 



OF THE PERMISSION OF EVIL. 363 

to fay, that not to hinder it is inconfiftent with perfe<5l good- P^^J; ^[ ' 
nefs ? 

What is Incumbent upon them, therefore, to prove, Is, That the 
permlfllon of fin is inconfiftent with jiiftice ; and, upon this 
point, we are ready to join ifllie witli them. 

But what pretence can there be to fay, that the perminion of 
fin Is perfedly confillent with goodnefs in the Deity, but incon- 
fiflent with juftice ? 

Is it not as eafy to conceive, that he fliould permit fin, though 
virtue be his delight, as that he infllcfls mifery, when his fole de- 
light is to bellow happlnefs ? Should it appear Incredible, that 
the permilTion of fin may tend to promote virtue, to them who 
believe that the infliction of jnifery is necelTiiry to promote 
happlnefs ? 

The juftlce, as well as the goodnefs of God's moral govern- 
ment of mankind, appears In this: That his laws are not arbi- 
trary nor grievous, as it is only by the obedience of them that 
our nature can be perfected and qualified for future happlnefs ; 
that he Is ready to aid our weaknefs, to help our Infirmities, and 
not to fufFer us to be tempted above what we arc able to bear ; 
that he is not Ihid to mark Iniquity, or to execute judgment 
fpeedily againft an evil work, but is long-fuflering, and waits to 
be gracious ; that he is ready to receive the humble penitent to 
his favour ; that he Is no refpedler of perfons, but in every na- 
tion he that fears God and works rlQ;liteoufiiefs Is accepted of 
him ; that of every man he will require an account, proportion- 
ed to the talents he hath received; that he delights in mercy, 
but hath no pleafure in the death of the wicked j and therefore 
in ixmliliing will never go beyond the demerit of the criminal, 
Dor beyond what the rules of his univcrfil government re- 
quire. 

Z. z 2 There 




ESSAY IV. 

There were, in ancient ag;es, fome who faid, the way of the 
Lord is not equal ; to whom the Prophet, in the name of God, 
makes this reply, which, in all ages, is fufEcient to repel this ac- 
cufation. Hear now, O houfe of Ifrael, Is not my way equal, 
are not your ways unequal? When a righteous man turneth 
away from his righteoufnefs, and committeth iniquity, for his 
iniquity which he hath done fliall he die. Again, when a 
wicked man turneth away from his wickednefs that he hath 
committed, and doth that which is lawful and right, he fliall 
fare his foul alive. O houfe of Ifrael, are not my ways equal, 
are not your ways unequal ? Repent, and turn from all your 
tranfgrellions, fo iniquity fliall not be your ruin. Cafl: away 
from you all your tranfgreflions whereby you have tranfgreflTed, 
and make you a new heart and a new fpirit, for why will ye die, 
O houfe of Ifrael ? For I have no pleafure in the death of him 
that dieth, faith the Lord God. 

Another argument for necefllty has been lately offered, which 
we fliall very briefly confider. 

It has been maintained, that the powder of thinking is the re- 
fult of a certain modification of matter, and that a certain con- 
figuration of brain makes a foul ; and, if man be wholly a ma- 
terial being, it is faid, that it will not be denied, that he muft be 
a mechanical being ; that the dodlrine of necefllty is a dired: in- 
ference from that of materialifm, and its undoubted confe- 
quence. 

As this argument can have no weight with thofe who do not 
fee reafon to embrace this fyftem of materialifm ; fo, even v/ith 
thofe who do, it feems to me to be a mere fophifm. 

Phllofophers have been wont to conceive matter to be an In- 
ert paflive being, and to have certain properties Inconfiftent 
with the power of thinking or of adling. But a Philofopher 

arifes. 



01- THE PERMISSION OF EVIL. 5<'5 

drill's, who proves, we ftiall fiippofe, that we were quite mirtaKcn ^ ' ' . / 

in our notion of matter ; that it has not the properties we fup- 
polcd, and, in fad, has no properties but thofe of attradion and 
rcpulfion ; but ftill he thinks, tliat, being matter, it will not be 
denied that it is a mechanical being, and that the dotflrine of 
necelTIty is a diretft inference from that of materialllin. 

Herein, however, he deceives himfelf. If matter be what we 
conceived it to be, it is equally Incapable of thinking and of 
acftlng freely. But if the properties, from which wc drew this 
conclufion, have no reality, as he thinks he has proved ; if it 
have the powers of attradlion and repulfion, and require only a 
certain configuration to make it think rationally. It will be im- 
poirihlc to (hew any good reafon why the fame configuration 
may not make it adl rationally and freely. If its reproach of 
folldity, inertnefs and fluggiflinefs be wiped off; and if it be 
raifed in our efteem to a nearer approach to the nature of what 
we call fplrltual and immaterial beings, why fliould it flill be 
nothing but a mechanical being? Is its folidity, inertnefs and 
fluggiflinefs, to be firfl removed to make it capable of thinking, 
and then reftored in order to make it incapable of adling ? 

Thofe, therefore, who reafon juftly from this fyftcm of ma- 
terlalifm will eafily perceive, that the dodrine of neceflity is fo 
far from being a direct inference, that it can receive no fupport 
from it. 

To conclude this Effay : Extremes of all kinds ought to be 
avoided ; yet men are prone to run into them j and, to fhun one 
extreme, we often run into the contrary. 

Of all extremes of opinion, none are more dangerous than 
thofe that exalt the powers of man too high, on the one hand, 
or fink them too low, on the other. 

By 




ESSAY IV. 

By raifing them too high, we feed pride and vain-glory, we 
lofe the fenfe of our dependence upon God, and engage in at- 
tempts beyond our abihties. By depreflhig them too low, we 
cut the finews of adtion and of obligation, and are tempted to 
think, that, as we can do nothing, we have nothing to do, but 
to be carried pafllvely along by the flream of neceffity. 

Some good men, apprehending that, to kill pride and vain- 
glory, our active powers cannot be too much deprefTed, have 
been led, by zeal for religion, to deprive us of all ad:ive power. 

Other good men, by a like zeal, have been led to depreciate 
the human underflanding, and to put out the light of nature 
and reafon, in order to exalt that of revelation. 

Thofe weapons which we/e taken up in fupport of religion, 
are now employed to overturn it ; and what was, by fome, ac- 
counted the bulwark of orthodoxy, is become the ftrong hold of 
atheifm and infidelity. 

Atheifls join hands with Theologians, In depriving man of 
all ad:Ive power, that they may deflroy all moral obligation, and 
all fenfe of right and wrong. They join hands with Theolo- 
gians, in depreciating the human underftanding, that they may 
lead us into abfolute fcepticlfm. 

God, in mercy to the human race, has made us of fuch a 
frame, that no fpeculative opinion whatfoever can root out the 
fenfe of guilt and demerit when we do wrong, nor the peace and 
joy of a good confcience when we do what is right. No fpecu- 
lative opinion can root out a regard to the teftimony of our 
fenfes, of our memory, and of our rational faculties. But we 
have reafon to be jealous of opinions which run counter to thofe 
natural fentiments of the human mind, and tend to fhake„ 
though they never can eradicate them. 

There 



OF THE PERMISSION OF EVIL. 367 

There is little reafon to fear, that the condud of men, with CHAR X[. 
regard to the concerns of the prefent life, will ever be much af- 
feded, either by the dodrine of necefllty, or by fcepticifm. It 
were to be wiflied, that men's condud, with regard to the con- 
cerns of another life, were in as little danger from thofe opi- 



nions. 



In the prefent flate, we fee fome who zealoufly maintain the 
dodrine of neceflity, others who as zealoufly maintain that of 
liberty. One would be apt to think, that a practical belief of 
thefe contrary fyftems fliould produce very different conduct in 
them that hold them ; yet we fee no fuch difference in the af- 
fairs of common life. 

The fatalifl deliberates, and refolves, and plights his faith. 
He lays down a plan of conduct, and profecutes it with vigour 
and induftry. He exhorts and commands, and holds thofe to be 
anfwerable for their condudl to whom he hath committed any 
charge. He blames thofe that are falfe or unfaithful to him as 
other men do. He perceives dignity and worth in fome charac- 
ters and adions, and in others demerit and turpitude. He re- 
fents injuries, and is grateful for good offices. 

If any man fhould plead the do(flrine of necefllty to excul- 
pate murder, theft, or robbery, or even wilful negligence in the 
difcharge of his duty, his judge, though a fatalifl, if he had 
common fenfe, would laugh at fuch a plea, and would not allow 
It even to alleviate the crime. 

In all fuch cafes, he fees that it would be abfurd not to acl 
and to judge as thofe ought to do who believe themfelves and 
other men to be free agents, juft as the fceptic, to avoid abfur- 
dity, muft, when he goes into the world, ad and judge like other 
men who are not fceptics. 

If 



368 ESSAY IV. 

CHAP. XL If the fatalifl: be as little influenced by the opinion of necef- 
fity in his moral and religious concerns, and in his expedations 
concerning another world, as he is in the common affairs of life, 
his fpeculative opinion will probably do him little hurt. But, if 
he trufl fo far to the do(5lrine of necellity, as to indulge lloth 
and inadivity in his duty, and hope to exculpate himfelf to his 
Maker by that dodlrine, let him confider whether he fuflains 
this excufe from his fervants and dependants, when they are ne- 
gligent or unfaithful in what is committed to their charge. 

Bifliiop Butler, in his Analogy, has an excellent chapter upon 
the opinion of necejjity confidered as iiifluencing praElice, which I think 
highly deferring the confideration of thofe who are inclined to 
that opinion. 



ESSAY 



M 



ESSAY V. 

OF MORALS. 

CHAP. I. 

Of the Firji Principles of Morals. 

ORALS, like all other fciences, mufl have firft principles, 
on which all moral reafoning is grounded. 



In every branch of knowledge where difputes have been 
raifed, it is ufeful to diftinguifh the firft: principles from the 
fuperftrudture. They are the foundation on which the whole 
fabric of the fcience leans ; and whatever is not fupported by 
this foundation can have no {lability. 

In all rational belief, the thing believed is either itfelf a firft 
principle, or it is by juft reafoning deduced from firft prin- 
ciples. When men differ about dcdudions of reafoning, the 
appeal muft be to the rules of reafoning, which have been very 
unanimoufly fixed from the days of Aristotle. But when they 
differ about a firft principle, the appeal is made to another tri- 
bunal ; to that of common fenfe. 

How the genuine decifions of common fenfe may be diftin- 
guifhed from the counterfeit, has been confidered in eflay fixth, 
on the Intellcdual Powers of Man, chapter founh, to which 
the reader is referred. What I would here obferve is, That as 
firft principles differ from dedudtions of reafoning in the nature 

A a a of 



370 ESSAY V. 

CHAP. I. of their evidence, and muft be tried by a different ftandard when 
they are called in queftion, It is of importance to know to which 
of thefe two clalTes a truth which we would examine, belongs. 
When they are not diftinguilhed, men are apt to demand proof 
for every thing they think fit to deny : And when we attempt 
to prove by diredl arg-ument, what is really felf-evldent, the 
reafoning will always be inconclufive ; for it will either take for 
granted the thing to be proved, or fomething not more evident; 
and fo, inflead of giving flrength to the conclufion, will rather 
tempt thofe to doubt of It, who never did fo before. 

I propofe, therefore, In this chapter, to point out fome of the 
firft principles of morals, without pretending to a complete enu- 
meration. 

The principles I am to mention, relate either to virtue In ge- 
neral, or to the different particular branches of virtue, or to the 
comparifon of virtues where they feem to interfere. 

1. There are fome things in human condud, that merit ap- 
probation and praife, others that merit blame and punifhment ; 
and different degrees either of approbation or of blame, are due 
to different adlions. 

2. What Is In no degree voluntary, can neither deferve moral 
approbation nor blame 

3. What Is done from unavoidable neceffity may be agreeable 
or dlfagreeable, ufeful or hurtful, but cannot be the objedl either 
of blame or of moral approbation. 

4. Men may be highly culpable in omitting what they ought 
to have done, as well as In doing what they ought not. 

5. We ought to ufe the befl means we can to be well inform^ 

ed 



OF THE FIRST PRINCIPLES OF MORALS. 371 

ed of our duty, by ferious attention to moral inftrudion ; by ob- Pl^Jl_j' 
fervin^- what we approve, and what wc dilapjirove, in other 
men, whether our accjuaintance, or thofe whofe adlions are re- 
corded in hillory ; by reflecl:ing often, in a calm and difpaffion- 
ate hour, on our own paft condudl, that we may difcern what 
was wrong, what was right, and what might have been better j 
by deliberating coolly and impartially upon our future condu(fl. 
as far as we can forefee the opportunities we may have of doing 
good, or the temptations to do wrong ; and by having this prin- 
ciple deeply fixed in our minds, that as moral excellence is the 
true worth and glory of a man, fo the knowledge of our duty 
is to every man, in every ftation of life, the moft important of 
all knowledge. 

6. It ought to be our mofl ferious concern to do our duty as 
far as we know it, and to fortify our minds againfl; every temp- 
tation to deviate from it ; by niaintaining a lively fenfe of the 
beauty of right condud, and of its prefent and future reward, 
of the turpitude of vice, and of its bad confequences here and 
hereafter; by having always in our eye the noblell examples; 
by the habit of fubjedling our palTions to the government of rea- 
fon; by firm purpofes and refolutions with regard to our coa- 
dud ; by avoiding occafions of temptation when we can ; and 
by imploring the aid of him who made us, in every hour of 
temptation. 

Thefe principles concerning virtue and vice in general, mud 
appear felf-evident to every man who hath a confcience, and 
who hath taken pains to exercife this natural power of his mind. 
I proceed to others that are more particular. 

I. We ought to prefer a greater good, though more diftant, 
to a lefs ; and a Icfs evil to a greater. 

A regard to our own good, though we had no confcience, 

A a a 2 didate? 



,372 E S S A Y V. 

w^-Z_i didates this principle ; and we cannot help difapproving the 
man that ads contrary to it, as deferving to lofe the good which 
he wantonly threw away, and to fuffer the evil which he know- 
ingly brought upon his own head. 

We obferved before, that the ancient moralifts, and many 
among the modern, have deduced the whole of morals from this 
principle, and that when we make a right eftimate of goods and 
evils according to their degree, their dignity, their duration, 
and according as they are more or lefs in our power, it leads to 
the practice of every virtue : More direcfhly, indeed, to the vir- 
tues of felf- government, to prudence, to temperance, and to for- 
titude ; and, though more indiredly, even to juftice, humanity, 
and all the focial virtues, when their influence upon our happi- 
nefs is well underllood. 

Though it be not the nobleft principle of conduit, it has this 
peculiar advantage, that its force is felt by the mofl ignorant, 
and even by the moft abandoned. 

Let a man's moral judgment be ever fo little improved by ex- 
ercife, or ever fo much corrupted by bad habits, he cannot be 
indifferent to his own happinefs or mifery. When he is become 
infenfible to every nobler motive to right conduft, he cannot be 
infenfible to this. And though to adl from this motive folely may 
be called prudence rather than virtue, yet this prudence deferves 
fome regard upon its own account, and much more as it is the 
friend and ally of virtue, and the enemy of all vice ; and as it 
gives a favourable teftimony of virtue to thofe who are deaf to 
every other recommendation. 

If a man can be induced to do his duty even from a regard to 
his own happinefs, he will foon find reafon to love virtue for her 
own iake, and to ad from motives lels mercenary. 

I 



OF THE FIRST PRINCIPLES OF MORALS. 

I cannot therefore approve of thofe moralifts, who would ba- 
niHi all perluafives to virtue taken from the confidcration of pri- 
vate good. In the prefent flate of human nature thefe are not 
ufelefs to the belt, and they are the only means left of reclaim- 
ing the abandoned. 

2. As far as the intention of nature appears In the conftltu- 
tion of man, we ought to comply with that intention, and to att 
agreeably to it. 

The Autlior of our being; hath given us not only the power 
of ading within a limited fphere, but various principles or fprlngs 
of action, of different nature and dignity, to diredl us in the ex- 
ercife of our adlive power. 

Fron:i the conftitution of every fpecies of the inferior ani- 
mals, and efpccially from the active principles which nature has 
given them, we eafily perceive the manner of life for which na- 
ture intended them ; and they uniformly ad: the part to which 
they are led by their conftitution, without any refledion upon 
it, or intention of obeying its dictates. Man only, of the inha- 
bitants of this world, is made capable of obferving his own con- 
ftitution, what kind of life it is made for, and of ading accord- 
ing to that intention, or contrary to it. He only is capable of 
yielding an intentional obedience to the dictates of his nature, 
or of rebelling againft them. 

In treating of the principles of adion in man, it has been 
fhewn, that as his natural inftinds and bodily appetites, are well 
adapted to the prefervation of his natural life, and to the con- 
tinuance of the fjiecies ; fo his natural dcfires, alTcdions, and 
pallions, when uncorrupted by vicious habits, and under the go- 
vernment of the leading principles of reafon and confcience, are 
excellently fitted for the rational and fecial life. Every vicious 
\6tion fliews an exccfs, or defed, or wrong dircdion of fome na- 
tural 




374 ESSAY V. ^ 

CHAP. I. tural fpring of adlion, and therefore may, very juflly, be faid to 
be unnatural. Every virtuous adlion agrees with the uncorrupt- 
ed principles of human nature. 

The Stoics defined virtue to be a life according to nature. 
Some of them more accurately, a life according to the nature of 
man, in fo far as it is fuperior to that of brutes. The life of a 
brute is according to the nature of the brute j but it is neither 
virtuous nor vicious-. The life of a moral agent cannot be ac- 
cording to his nature, unlefs it be virtuous. That confcience, 
which is in every man's breaft, is the law of God written in his 
heart, which he cannot difobey without adting unnaturally, and 
being felf-condemned. 

The intention of nature, in the various adlive principles of 
man, in the defires of power, of knowledge, and of efteem, in 
the affedion to children, to near relations, and to the commu- 
nities to which we belong, in gratitude, in compaflion, and even 
in refentment and emulation, is very obvious, and has been 
pointed out in treating of thofe principles. Nor is it lefs evi- 
dent, that reafon and confcience are given us to regulate the in- 
ferior principles, fo that they may confpire, in a regular and 
confiflent plan of life, in purfuit of fome worthy end. 

3. No man is born for himfelf only. Every man, therefore, 
ought to confider himfelf as a member of the common fociety 
of mankind, and of thofe fubordinate focieties to which he be- 
longs, fuch as family, friends, neighbourhood, country, and to do 
as much good as he can, and as little hurt to the focieties of 
■which he is a part. 

This axiom leads diredlly to the practice of every focial vir- 
tue, and indiredlly to the virtues of felf-govemment, by which 
only we can be qualified for difcharging the duty we owe to fo- 

riet^f, 

4. In 



OF THE FIRST PRINCIPLES OF MORALS. 375 

4. In every cafe, we ought to a(it that part towarils another, p'^^*'- ] • 
which we would judge to he right in him to adl toward us, if 
we were in his circumftances and he in ours; or, more gene- 
rally, what we approve in others, that we ought to pradife in 
like circumftances, and what we condemn in others we ought 
not to do. 

If there be any fuch thing as right and wrong in the condu(fl 
of moral agents, it muft be the fome to all in the fame circum- 
ftances. 

We ftand all in the fame relation to him who made us, and 
will call us to account for our condud ; for with him there is 
no refpedl of perfons. We ftand in the fame relation to one 
another as members of the great community of mankind. The 
duties confcquent upon the different ranks and offices and rela- 
tions of men are the fame to all in the fame circumftances. 

It is not want of judgment, but want of candour and Impar- 
tiality, that hinders men from difcerning what they owe to 
others. They are quickfighted enough in difcerning what is 
due to themfclves. When they are injured, or ill-treated, they 
fee it, and feel refentment. It is the want of candour that 
makes men ufc one meafure for the duty they owe to others, 
and another meafure for the duty that others owe to them in 
like circumftances. That men ought to judge with candour, as 
in all other cafes, fo efpecially in what concerns their moral 
conduct, is furely felf-evident to every intelligent being. The 
man who takes offence when he is injured in his perfon, in his 
property, in his good name, pronounces judgment againft liim- 
felf if he adl fo toward his neighbour. 

As the equity and obligation of this rule of conduct is felf- 
evident to every man who hath a confcience ; fo it is, of all the 
rules of morality, the moft comprelicnfivc, and truly deferves 

the 



376 E S S A Y V. 

CHAP, r. tiie encomium given it by the higheft authority, that it is the law 
and the prophets. 

It comprehends every rule of juftice without exception. It 
comprehends all the relative duties, ariling either from the 
more permanent relations of parent and child, of mailer 
and fervant, of magiftrate and fubjed, of hufband and wife, or 
from the more tranlient relations of rich and poor, of buyer 
and feller, of debtor and creditor, of benefadlor and benefici- 
ary, of friend and enemy. It comprehends every duty of cha- 
rity and humanity, and even of courtefy and good manners. 

Nay, I think, that, without any force or draining, it extends 
even to the duties of felf-government. For, as every man ap- 
proves in others the virtues of prudence, temperance, felf-com- 
mand and fortitude, he muft perceive, that what is right in 
others muft be right in hirafelf in like circumftances. 

To fum up all, he who ads invariably by this rule will never 
deviate from the path of his duty, but from an error of judg- 
ment. And, as he feels the obligation that he and all men are 
under to ufe the beft means in his power to have his judgment 
well-informed in matters of duty, his errors will only be fuch as 
are invincible. 

It may be obferved, that this axiom fuppofes a faculty in man 
by which he can diftinguifh right condud from wrong. It fup- 
pofes alfo, that, by this faculty, we eafily perceive the right and 
the wrong in other men that are indifferent to us ; but are very 
apt to be blinded by the partiality of felfifh paflions when the 
cafe concerns ourfelves. Every claim we have againft others is 
apt to be magnified by felf-love, when viewed diredly. A 
change of perfons uemoves this prejudice, and brings the claim 
to appear in its juft magnitude. 

5. To 



OF THE FIRST PRINCIPLES OF MORALS. 377 



5. To every man who believes the exigence, the perfedlions, 
and the providence of Gon, tlie veneration and tubniilllon we 
owe to him is lelf-evident. Right fentinients of the Deity and 
of his works, not only make the duty we owe to him obvious to 
every intelligent being, but likewife add the authority of a Di- 
vhie law to every rule of right condud. 

There is another clafs of axioms in morals, by which, when 
there feems to be an oppofition between the adlions that diffe- 
rent virtues lead to, we determine to which the preference is due. 

Between the feveral virtues, as they are difpofitions of mind, 
or determinations of will, to a6l according to a certain general 
rule, there can be no o|)poiition. They dwell together moll 
amicably, and give mutual aid and ornament, without the polli- 
bility of hoflility or oppofition, and, taken altogether, make 
one uniform and confiftent rule of condu(il. But, between par- 
ticular external adions, which different virtues would lead to, 
there may be an oppofition. Thus, the fame man may be in 
his heart, generous, grateful and juft. Thefe difpofitions 
ftrengthen, but never can weaken one another. Yet it may 
happen, that an external adlion which generofity or gratitude 
folicits, juftice may forbid. 

That in all fuch cafes, unmerited generofity fliould yield to 
gratitude, and both to juftice, is felf-evident. Nor is it lefs fo, 
that unmerited beneficence to thofe who are at eafe fhould 
yield to compailion to the miferable, and external ads of 
piety to works of mercy, becaufe God loves mercy more than 
facrilice. 

At the fame time, we perceive, that thofe ads of virtue which 
ought to yield in the cafe of a competicion, h:ive moil intriulic 
worth when there is no competitinn. 1 lius, it is evident that 
there is more worth in pure and unmerited benevolence than iu 

B b b compalfion. 



CHAP. I. 



378 E S S A Y V. 

F^^J"- '•, compaffion, more in compaflion than in gratitude, and more in 
gratitude than in juftice. 

I call thefe Jirjl principles, becaufe they appear to me to have 
in themfelves an intuitive evidence which I cannot refift. I find 
I can exprefs them in other words. I can illuftrate them by 
examples and authorities, and perhaps can deduce one of them 
from another j but I am not able to deduce them from other 
principles that are more evident. And I find the beft moral 
reafonings of authors I am acquainted with, ancient and mo- 
dern, Heathen and Chriftian, to be grounded upon one or more 
of them. 

The evidence of mathematical axioms is not difcerned till men 
come to a certain degree of maturity of underftanding. A boy 
muft have formed the general conception of quantity, and of 
more and lefs and equal, oi fum and difference; and he muft have 
been accuftomed to judge of thefe relations in matters of com- 
mon life, before he can perceive the evidence of the mathema- 
tical axiom, that equal quantities, added to equal quantities, 
make equal fums. 

In like manner, our moral judgment, or confclence, grows to 
maturity from an imperceptible feed, planted by our Creator. 
When we are capable of contemplating the adions of other 
men, or of reflecting upon our own calmly and difpaffionately, 
we begin to perceive in them the qualities of honeft and dif- 
honefl, of honourable and bafe, of right and wrong, and to 
feel the fentiments of moral approbation and difapprobation. 

Thefe fentiments are at firft feeble, eafily warped by paffions 
and prejudices, and apt to yield to authority. By ufe and time, 
the judgment, in morals as in other matters, gathers flrength, 
and feels more vigour. We begin to diftinguifh the didates of 
paflion from thofe of cool reafon, and to perceive, that it is not 

always 



OF THE FIRST PRINCIPLES OF MORALS. 379 

always fafe to rely upon the judf^ineiit of others. By an iin- CH^'^v^^ 
pulfe of nature, we venture to judge for ourfelves, as we ven- 
ture to walk by ourfelves. 

There is a flrong analogy between the progrefs of the body 
from infancy to maturity, and the progrefs of all the powers of 
the mind. This progrelllon in both is the work of nature, and 
in l)oth may be greatly aided or hurt by projjer education. It 
is natural to a man to be able to walk or run or leap; but if 
his limbs had been kept in fetters from his birth, he would have 
none of thofe powers. It is no lefs natural to a man trained 
in fociety, and accurtomed to judge of his own actions and 
thofe of other men, to perceive a right and a wrong, an ho- 
nourable and a bafe, in human condudl ; and to fuch a man, I 
think, the principles of morals I have above mentioned will 
appear ielf-evident. Yet there may be individuals of the hu- 
man fpecies fo little accuftomed to think or judge of any thing, 
but of gratifying their animal appetites, as to have hardly any 
conception of right or wrong in condud:, or any moral judg- 
ment ; as there certainly are fome who have not the conceptions 
and the judgment neceflary to underftand the axioms of geo- 
metry. 

From the principles above mentioned, the whole fyflem of 
moral conduft follows fo eafily, and with fo little aid of rea- 
foning, that every man of common underflanding, who wiHies 
to know his duty, may know it. The path of duty is a plain 
path, which the upright in heart can rarely miftake. Such it 
muft be, fince every man is bound to walk in it. There are 
fome intricate cafes in morals which admit of difputation ; but 
thefe feldom occur in pradice ; and, when they do, the learned 
difputant has no great advantage : For the unlearned man, who 
ufes the bed means in his power to know his duty, and ad:s ac- 
cording to his knowledge, is inculpable in the fight of God and 
man. He may err, but he is not guilty of immorality. 

B b b 2 CHAP. 



380 ESSAY 



CHAP.U. 

-^ .. ^ 



CHAR II. 

Of Syjlcms of Morals. 

F the knowledge of our duty be fo level to the apprehenfion 
of all men, as has been reprefented In the lafl chapter, it 
may feem hardly to deferve the name of a fcience. It may 
feem that there is no need for inftrudtion in morals. 

From what caufe then has it happened, that we have many 
large and learned fyftems of moral philofophy, and iyftems of 
natural jurifprudence, or the law of nature and nations ; and 
that, in modern times, public profefllons have been inftituted in 
molt places of education for inflruding youth in thefe branches 
of knowledge ?. 

This event, I think, may be accounted for, and the utility of 
fuch fyftems and profefllons juftified, without fuppoling any dif- 
ficulty or intricacy in the knowledge of our duty. 

I am far from thinking inftruction in morals unnecefTary, 
Men may, to the end of life, be ignorant of felf-evident truths.. 
They niay, to the end of life, entertain grofs abfurdities. Expe- 
rience fliews that this happens often in matters that are indiffe- 
rent. Much more may it happen in matters where intereft, 
pafllon, prejudice andfafliion, are fo apt to pervert the judgment. 

The moft obvious truths are not perceived without fome ripe- 
nefs of judgment. For we fee, that children may be made to 
believe any thing, though ever fo abfurd. Our judgment of 
things is ripened, not by time only, but chiefly by being exer- 
cifed about things of the fame or of a fimilar kind. 

Judgment, even in things feif-evident, requires a clear, di- 

flind 



OF SYSTEMS OF MORALS. 381 

flin<fl and fteady conception of tlic things about which we charit 
ju(I(';f. Our conceptions are at firft ohfcure and wavering. The 
habit of attending to them is neccfTary to make them diftind: 
and Oeatly ; and this habit re(]uires an exertion of mind to 
which many of our animal principles are unfriendly. The love 
of truth calls for it ; but its ftill voice is often drowned by the 
louder call of fome pafllon, or we are hindered from liftening to 
it by lazinefs and defultorinefs. Thus men often remain 
through life ignorant of things which they needed but to open 
their eyes to fee, and which they would have feen if their at- 
tention had been turned to them. 

The mod knowing derive the greateft part of their know- 
ledge, even in things obvious, from inftrucl:ion and informa- 
tion, and from being taught to excrcife their natural faculties, 
which, without inllrudion, would lie dormant. 

I am very apt to tliink, that, if a man could be reared from 
inf\ncy, without any fociety of his fellow-creatures, he would 
hardly ever {hew anyfign, either of moral judgment, or of the 
power of reafoning. His own adions would be direded by his ani- 
mal appetites and paflions, without cool reflexion, and he would 
have no accefs to improve, by obferving the condud of other 
beings like himlelf. 

The power of vegetation in the feed of a plant, without heat 
and moifture, would for ever lie dormant. The rational and 
moral powers of man would perhaps lie dormant without in- 
ilrudion and example. Yet thefe powers are a part, and the 
nobleft part, of his conftitution ; as the power of vegetation is 
of the feed. 

Our firft moral conceptions are probably got by attending 
coolly to the condud of others, and obferving what moves our 
approbation, what our indignation. Thefe fentiments fpring 

from 



382 ' E S S A Y V. 

CHAP. II. from our moral faculty as naturally as the fenfations of fweet 
and bitter from the faculty of tafte. They have their niitural 
objeds. But moft human adions are of a mixed nature, and 
have various colours, according as they are viewed on different 
fides. Prejudice againfl, or in favour of the perfon, is apt to 
warp our opinion. It requires attention and candour to diftin- 
guifli the good from the ill, and, without favour or prejudice, to 
form a clear and impartial judgment. In this we may be great- 
ly aided by inftrudtion. 

He mufl be very ignorant of human nature, who does not 
perceive that the feed of virtue in the mind of man, like that of 
a tender plant in an unkindly foil, requires care and culture in 
the firft period of life, as well as our own exertion when we 
come to maturity. 

If the irregularities of pailion and appetite be timely checked,' 
and good habits planted ; if we be excited by good examples, 
and bad examples be fliewn in their proper colour j if the atten- 
tion be prudently diredled to the precepts of wifdom and virtue, 
as the mind is capable of receiving them ; a man thus trained 
will rarely be at a lofs to diftlnguilli good from ill in his own 
condud, without the labour of reafoning. 

The bulk of mankind have but little of this culture in the 
proper feafon ; and what they have is often unlkilfuUy applied ; 
by which means bad habits gather ftrength, and falfe notions of 
pleafure, of honour, and of intereft, occupy the mind. They 
give little attention to what is right and honeft. Confcience is 
feldom confulted, and fo little exercifed, that its decifions are 
weak and wavering. Although, therefore, to a ripe underftand- 
ing, free from prejudice, and accuflomed to judge of the morali- 
ty of adions, moft truths in morals will appear felf-evldcnt, it 
does not follow that moral inftrudion is unneceffary in the firft: 

part 



OF SYSTEMS OF MORALS. 383 

part of life, or that it may not be very profitable in its more ad- CHAPMI. 
vancecl period. 

The hiftory of pad ap;cs fliews that nations, highly civilized 
and greatly enlightened in many arts and fciences, may, for ages, 
not only hold the groflcfl; abfurdities with regard to the Deity 
and his worihip, but with" regard to the duty we owe to our fel- 
low-men, particularly to children, to fervants, to ftrangers, to 
enemies, and to thofe who differ from us in religious opinions. 

Such corruptions in religion, and in morals, had fpread fo 
wide among mankind, and were fo confirmed by cuftom, as to 
require a light from heaven to correct them. Revelation was 
not intended to fuperfede, but to aid the ufe of our natural fa- 
culties ; and 1 doubt not, but the attention given to moral truths, 
in fuch fyllcms as we have mentioned, has contributed much to 
corred the errors and prejudices of former ages, and may con- 
tinue to have the fame good effed in time to come. 

It needs not feem ftrange, that fyftems of morals may fwell to 
great magnitude, if we confider that, although the general prin- 
ciples be few and fimple, their application extends to every part 
of human conducft, in every condition, every relation, and every 
tranfaclion of life. They are the rule of life to the magirtrate 
and to the fubjed, to the matter and to the fervant, to the parent 
and to the child, to the fellow-citizen and to the alien, to the 
friend and to the enemy, to the buyer and to the feller, to the 
borrower and to the lender. Every human creature is fiibjeft 
to their authority in his actions and words, and even in his 
thoughts. They may, in this refpect, be compared to the laws 
of motion in the natural world, which, though few and fimple, 
ferve to regulate an infinite variety of operations throughout the 
univerfe. 

And as the beauty of the laws of motion is difplayed in the 

moft 



384 ' E S S A Y V. 

CHAP. 11. moft flriking manner, when we trace them through all the va- 
riety of their effedls j fo the divine beauty and fanftity of the 
priuciples of morals, appear moft auguft when we take a com- 
prehenfive view of their application to every condition and rela- 
tion, and to every tranfadlion of human fociety. 

This Is, or ought to be, the defign of fyftems of morals. They 
may be made more or lefs extenfive, having no limits fixed by na- 
ture, but the wide circle of human tranfadtions. When the prin- 
ciples are applied tothefe in detail, the detail is pleafant and profit- 
able. It requires no profound reafoning, (excepting, perhaps, 
in a few difputable points.) It admits of the moft agreeable il- 
luftration from examples and authorities ; it ferves to exercife, 
and thereby to ftrengthen moral judgment. And one who has 
given much attention to the duty of man. In all the various rela- 
tions and circumftances of life, will probably be more enllghten- 
.ed in his own duty, and more able to enlighten others. 

The firfl writers in morals, we are acquainted with, delivered 
(their moral Inftrudlions, not In fyftems, but in fliort unconnedt- 
ed fentences, or aphorlfras. They faw no need for deductions 
of reafoning, becaufe the truths they delivered could not but be 
admitted by the candid and attentive. 

Subfequent writers, to Improve the way of treating this fub- 
jed:, gave method and arrangement to moral truths, by reducing 
them under certain divlfions and fubdivifions, as parts of one 
whole. By thefe means the whole Is more eafily comprehended 
and remembered, and from this arrangement gets the name of a 
fyftem and of a fcience. 

A fyftem of morals is not like a fyftem of geometry, where 
the fubfequent parts derive their evidence from the preceding, 
and one chain of reafoning is carried on from the beginning ; 
fo that, If the arrangement is changed, the chain is broken, and 

the 



OF SYSTEMS OF MORALS. 38; 

ihe evidence is loH. It rcfemblcs more a fyftcm of botany, or CHAT\ii. 
mineralogy, where the fubfcqucnt parts depend not for their 
evidence upon the preceding, and the arrangement is made to 
facilitate apprchenfion and memory, and not to give evidence. 

Morals have been methodifcd in different ways. The an- 
cients commonly arranged them under the four cardinal virtues 
of prudence, temperance, fortitude, and juftice. Chriftian wri- 
ters, I think more properly, under the three heads of the duty 
we owe to God, to ourfelves, and to our neighbour. One divi- 
fion may be more comprehenfive, or more natural, than ano- 
ther ; but the truths arranged are the fame, and their evidence 
the fame in all. 

I fliall only farther obferve, with regard to fyftems of mo- 
rals, that they have been made more voluminous, and more in- 
tricate, partly by mixing political queilions with morals, which 
I think improper, becaufe they belong to a different fcience, and 
are grounded on different principles ; partly by making what is 
commonly, but 1 think improperly, called the Theory of Morals, 
a part of the fyftem. 

By the theory of morals is meant a juft account of the flruc- 
ture of our moral powers ; that is, of thofe powers of the mind by 
which we have our moral conceptions, and diftinguifli right 
from wrong in human adions. This, indeed, is an intricate fub- 
J€<ft, and there have been various theories and much controver- 
fy about it in ancient and in modern times. But it has little 
connection with the knowledge of our duty; and thofe who dif- 
fer nioft in the theory of our moral powers, agree in the practical 
rules of morals which they dictate. 

As a man may be a good judge of colours, and of the other 
vifible qualities of objects, without any knowledge of the ana- 
tomy of the eye, and of the theory of vifion; fo a man may have 

Geo a 



386 



ESSAY V. 



CHAP. II, a very clear and comprehenfive knowledge of what is right and 
" what is wrong in human condudt, who never fludied the ftruc- 

ture of our moral powers. 

A good ear in mufic may be much improved by attention and 
pradlice in that art ; but very little by ftudying the anatomy of 
the ear, and the theory of found. In order to acquire a good 
eye or a good ear in the arts that require them, the theory of 
vifion and the theory of found, are by no means necefliiry, and 
indeed of very little ufe. Of as little neceflity or ufe is what we 
call the theory of morals, in order to improve our moral judg- 
ment. 

1 mean not to depreciate this branch of knowledge. It is a 
very important part of the philofophy of the human mind, and 
ought to be confidered as fuch, but not as any part of morals. 
By the name we give to it, and by the cuftom of making it a 
part of every fyftem of morals, men may be led into this grofs 
miftake, which I wifh to obviate. That in order to underftand 
his duty, a man muft needs be a philofopher and a metaphyfi- 
cian. 



CHAP. 



OF SYSTEMS OF NATURAL JURISPRUDENCE. 387 

CHAP. iir. 

CHAP. III. 

Of Syflems of Natural fur if prudence. 

SYSTEMS of natural jurifprudence, of the rights of peace 
and war, or of the law of nature and nations, arc a modern 
invention, which foon acquired fuch reputation, as gave occafion 
to many public eftablifliments for teaching it along with the 
other fciences. It has fo clofe a relation to morals, tliat it may 
anfwer the purpofe of a fyftem of morals, and is commonly put 
in the place of it, as far, at leaft, as concerns our duty to our 
fellow-men. They differ in the name and form, but agree in 
fubftance. This will appear from a llight attention to the na- 
ture of both. 

The dired intention of morals is to teach the duty of men : 
that of natural jurifprudence, to teach the rights of men. Right 
and duty are things very different, and have even a kind of op- 
pofition ; yet they are fo related, that the one cannot even be 
conceived without the others and he that underftands the one 
mufl undcrftand the other. 

They have the fame relation which credit has to debt. As 
all credit fuppofes an equivalent debt; fo all right fuppofes a cor- 
refponding duty. There can be no credit in one party without 
an equivalent debt in another party; and there can be no 
right in one party, without a correfponding duty in another 
party. The fum of credit fliews the fum of debt; and the funi 
of mens rights fliews, in like manner, the fum of their duty to 
one another. 

The word right has a very different meaning, according as it 
is applied to actions or to perfons. A right adion is an adiou 

C c c 2 agreeable 



588 - ■ E S S A Y V. 

CHAP. Ill , agreeable to our duty. But when we fpeak of the rights of men, 
the word has a very different and a more artificial meaning. 
It is a term of art in law, and fignifies all that a man may law- 
fully do, all that he may lawfully poflefs and ufe, and all that he 
may lawfully claim of any other perfon. 

This comprehenfive meaning of the word right, and of the 
Latin wordyW, which correfponds to it, though long adopted in- 
to common language, is too artificial to be the birth of com- 
mon language. It is a term of art, contrived by Civilians when 
th ecivil lr>w became a profeifion^ 

The whole end and obje<S of law is to protect the fubjedls in 
all that they may lawfully do, or pofl^efs, or demand. This 
threefold objed: of law. Civilians have comprehended under the 
\iovdi jus ox right, which they define, Facultas aliquid agendi, vel 
pojfidendi, vel ab alio confequendi : A lawful claim to do any thing, 
to poflefs any thing, or to demand fome preftatioa from feme 
other perfon. The firft of thefe may be called the right of //- 
bertv, the fecond that of property, which is alfo called a real rigbty 
the third is called perfonal right, becaufe it refpedls fome particu 
lar perfon or pei^fons of whom the preflation may be demanded. 

We can be at no lofs to perceive the duties correfponding to 
the feveral kinds of rights. What I have a right to do, it is the 
duty of all men not to hinder me from doing. What is my 
property or real right, no man ought to take from me j or to mo- 
left me in the ufe and enjoyment of it. And what I have a right 
to demand of any man, it is his duty to perform. Between the 
rio-ht, on the one hand, and the duty, on the other, there is not 
only a neceffary connexion, but, in reality, they are only diffe- 
rent expreflions of the fame meaning; juft as it is the fame 
thing to fay I am your debtor, and to fay you are my creditor; 
or as it is the fame thing to fay I am your father, and to fay 
you are my fon. 

Thus 



OF SYSTEMS OF NATURAL JURISPRUDENCE. 389 

Thus \vc fee, tliat there is Inch a correfpondencc between tlie CHAP. ill. 
rights of nifn and the ihitics of men, that the one points out the 
other; and a lylUnn of the one may be fubftituttd for a fyllem 
of the other. 

Rnt here an objedlion occurs. It may be faid, That although 
every right implies a chity, yet every duty does not imply a 
right. Thus, it may be my duty to do a humane or kind office 
to a man who has no claim of right to it ; and therefore a 
fyftem of the rights of men, though it teach all the duties of 
Itrid juflice, yet it leaves put all the duties of charity and hu- 
manity, without which the f^fteni of morals muft be very 
lame. 

In aniwer to this objedlon, it may be obfcrved, That, as tlicrc 
is a flrid notion of juflice, in which it is diflinguifhed from hu- 
manity and cliarity, fo there is a more exteniive fignification of 
it, in which it includes thole virtues. The ancient moralifls, 
both Greek and Roman, under the cardinal virtue of juflice, in- 
cluded beneficence ; and, in this exteniive fcnfe, it is often ufed 
in common language. The like may be faid of right, which, 
in a fenfc not uncommon, is extended to every proper claim of 
humanity and charity, as well as to the claims of flricft juftice. 
But, as it is proper to dillinguilli thefe two kinds of claims by 
different names, writers in natural jurifprudence have given the 
name of pcrfeH rights to the claims of llrid; juftice, and that of 
mperfe^l rights to the claims of charity and humanity. Thus 
all the duties of humanity have imperfed rights correfponding 
to them, as thofe of Ihict juflice have pcrfecl rights. 

Another objedion may be, That there is flill a clafs of duties 
to which no right, perfect or imperfcd, correfponds. 

We are bound in duty to pay due refped, not only to what is 
truly the right of another, but to what, through ignorance or 

miftake. 



390 ESSAY V. 

CHA P. Ill , iiilftake, we believe to be his right. Thus, if my neighbour iS 
pofleiled of a horfe which he ftole, and to which he has no 
right 5 while I believe the horfe to be really his, and am igno- 
rant of the theft, it is my duty to pay the fam-e refpedl to this 
conceived right as if it were real. Here, then, is a moral obli- 
gation on one party, without any correfponding right on the 
other. 

To fupply this defe(5l in the fyftem of rights, fo as to make 
right and duty correfpond in every Inftance, writers in jurifpru- 
dence have had recourfe to fomething like what is called a 
fidl:ion of law. They give the name of right to the claim which 
even the thief hath to the goods he has ftolen, while the theft 
is unknown, and to all limilar claims grounded on the igno- 
rance or miflake of the parties concerned. And to diflinguifli 
this kind of right from genuine rights, perfedt or imperfed:, 
they call it an external right. 

Thus it appears, That although a fyflem of the perfed: rights 
of men, or the rights of ftrid juftice, would be a lame fubftitute 
for a fyftem of human duty ; yet when we add to it the imper- 
fed and the external rights, it comprehends the whole duty we 
owe to our fellow-men. 

But it may be afked, Why fhould men be taught their duty in 
this indirect way, by refledlion, as it were, from the rights of 
other men ? 

Perhaps it may be thought, that this indiredl way may be 
more agreeable to the pride of man, as we fee that men of rank 
like better to hear of obligations of honour than of obligations 
of duty (although the didates of true honour and of duty be- 
the fame) ; for this reafon that honour puts a man in mind of 
what he owes to himfelf, whereas duty is a more humiliating 
idea. For a like reafon, men may attend more willingly to their 

rights, 



OF SYSTEMS OF NATURAL JURISPRUDENCE. 39^ 

rights, which put them in mind of their dignity, than to their CHAP. iii. 
duties, which fuggefl their dependence. And we fee that men 
may give great attention to their rights who give but little to 
their duty. 

Whatever truth there may be in this, I believe better reafons 
can be given why fyflems of natural jurifprudence have been 
contrived and put in the place of fyftems of njorals. 

Syftems of civil law were invented many ages before we had 
any iyftem of natural jurifprudence 5 and the former feem to 
have fuggefled the idea of the latter. 

Such is the weaknefs of human underflanding, that no large 
body of knowledge can be eafily apprehended and remembered, 
unlefs it be arranged and methodifed, that is, reduced into a 
fyftem. When the laws of the Roman people were multiplied to a 
great degree, and the ftudy of them became an honourable and 
lucrative profefTion, it became neceflary that they fliould be 
methodifed into a fyftem. And the moft natural and obvious 
way of methodifing law was found to be according to the divi- 
iions and fubdivifions of mens rights, which it is the intention 
of law to protedl. 

The fludy of law produced not only fyftems of law, but a 
language proper for exprelTlng them. Every art has its terms 
of art for exprefling the conceptions that belong to it ; and the 
Civilian inuft have terms for exprelling accurately the divifions 
and fubdivifions of rights, and the various ways whereby they 
may be acquired, transferred, or extinguiihed, in the various 
tranfacftions of civil fociety. He muft have terms accurately de- 
fined, for the various crimes by which mens rights are violated, 
not to fpcak of the terms which exprefs the dilTerent forms of 
adions at law, and the various ftcps of the procedure of judica- 
tories. 

Thofe 



592 



ESSAY V. 



CHA P, in . Thofe who have been bred to any profefTion are very 
prone to ufe the terms of their profeflion in fpeaking or writing 
on fubjeds that have any analogy to it. And they may do fo 
with advantage, as terms of art are commonly more precife in 
their fignification, and better defined, than the words of common 
language. To fuch perfons it is alio very natural to model and 
arrange other fubjedts, as far as their nature admits, into a me- 
thod fimilar to that of the fyftem which fills their minds. 

It might, therefore, be expedled, that a Civilian, intending to 
give a detailed fyftem of morals, would ufe many of the terms 
of civil law, and mould it, as far as it can be done, into the 
form of a fyftem of law, or of the rights of mankind. 

The necefl^ary and clofe relation of right to duty, which we 
before obferved, juftified this : And moral duty had long been 
confidered as a law of nature j a law, not wrote on tables of 
ftone or brafs, but on the heart of man ; a law of greater anti- 
quity and higher authority than the laws of particular ftates ; a 
law which is binding upon all men of all nations, and therefore 
is called by Cicero the taw of nature and of nations. 

The idea of a fyftem of this law was worthy of the genius of 
the immortal Hugo Grotius, and he was the firft who exe- 
cuted it in fuch a manner as to draw the attention of the learn- 
ed in all the European nations ; and to give occafion to feveral 
princes and ftates to eftabliili public profeftions for the teaching 
of this law. 

The multitude of commentators and annotators upon this 
work of Grotius, and the public eftablifhments to which it 
gave occafion, are fufficient vouchers of its merit. 

It is, indeed, a work fo well defigned, and fo fkllfully exe- 
cuted ; fo free from the fcholaftic jargon which infeded the 

learned 



OF SYSTEMS OF NATURAL JURISPRUDENCE. 393 

learned at that time, fo miicli acldrcfrLd to the common fcnfe CHA?. in. 
and moral judi^mcnt of mankind, and fo agreeably illiiftratcd by 
examples from ancient biftory, and authorities from the fcnti- 
mcnts of ancient authors, Heathen and Chrlitian, that it muft 
always be efteemed as the capital work of a great genius upon 
a moil important fubjccl. 

The utility of a juft fyflcm of natural jurifprudcncc appears, 
I. As it is a fyftem of the moral duty we owe to men, which, 
by the aid they have taken from the terms and divifions of the 
civil law, has been given more in detail and more fyftematically 
by writers in natural jurifprudence than it was formerly. 2. As 
it is the beil preparation for the fludy of law, being, as it were, 
calt in the mould, and ufing and explaining many of the terms 
of the civil law, on which the law of mofl; of tlie European na- 
tions is grounded. 3. It is of ufe to lawgivers, who ought to 
make their laws as agreeable as poflible to the law of nature. 
And as laws made by men, like all human works, muft be im- 
perfedl, it points out the errors and imperfedions of human 
laws. 4. To judges and interpreters of the law it is of ufe, be- 
caufc that interpretation ought to be preferred which is founded 
in the law of nature. 5. It is of ufe in civil controverlles be- 
tween ftates, or between individuals who have no common fupc- 
rior. In fuch controverfies, the appeal muft be made to the law 
of nature ; and the ftandard fyftems of it, particularly that of 
Grotius, have great authority. And, 6. to fay no more upon 
tliis point. It is of great ufe to foverelgns and ftates who arc 
above all human laws, to be folemnly admonillied of the con- 
dud they are bound to obferve to their own fubjecis, to the 
fubjedls of other Jhites, and to one another, in peace and in war. 
The better and the more generally the law of nature is under- 
ftood, the greater difhonour, in public eftimation, will follow 
every violation of it. 

Some authors liavc imagined, that fyftems of natura.1 jurifiiru- 

D d d dcnce 



» 



94 



ESSAY V. 



CHAP. III. (lence ought to be confined to the perfeft rights of men, be- 
caiife the duties which correfpond to the imperfed rights, the 
duties of charity and humanity cannot be enforced by human 
hiws, but nuifl: be left to the judgment and confcience of men, 
free from compulfion. But the fyftems which have had the 
greatefl applaufe of the pubUc, have not follovired this plan, and, 
I conceive, for good reafons. Firjl, Becaufe a fyllem of perfect 
rights could by no means ferve the purpofe of a fyftem of mo- 
rals, which furely is an important purpofe. Secondly, Becaufe, 
in many cafes, it is hardly pollible to fix the precife limit be- 
tween juftice and humanity, between perfed and imperfedl right. 
Like the colours in a prifmatic image, they run into each other, 
fo that the heft eye cannot fix the precife boundary between them. 
7'hirdly, As wife legiflators and magiftrates ought to have it as 
their end to make the citizens good, as well as juft, we find, in 
all civilized nations, laws that are intended to encourage the du- 
ties of humanity. Where human laws cannot enforce them by 
puniihments, they may encourage them by rewards. Of this 
the wifeft legiflators have given examples ; and how far this 
branch of legiflation may be carried, no man can forefee. 

The fubftance of the four following chapters was wrote long 
ago, and read in a literary fociety, with a view to juftify fome 
points of morals from metaphyfical objedtions urged againft 
them in the writings of David Hume, Efq. If they anfwerthat 
end, and, at the fame time, ferve to illuftrate the account I have 
given of our moral powers, It is hoped that the reader will not 
think them improperly placed here j and that he will forgive 
fome repetitions, and perhaps anachronifms, occafioned by their 
being wrote at different times, and on different occafions. 



CHAP. 



OBJECT OF MORAL. APPROBATION. 395 



C H A P. IV. 

Whether an AElion defervittg Moral Approbation, miijl be done with the 
belief of its being morally good. 

THERE Is no part of phllofophy more fubtilc and intri- 
cate tlian that whicli is called 7'he Theory of Morals. Nor 
is there any more plain and level to the apprehenfion of man 
than the practical part of morals. 

In the former, the Epicurean, the Peripatetic and the Stoic, 
had each his different fyftem of old ; and almofl every modern 
author of reputation has a fyftem of his own. At the fame 
time, there is no branch of human knowledge, in which there 
is fo general an agreement among ancients and moderns, learned 
and unlearned, as in the prad.ical rules of morals. 

From this difcord in the theory, and harmony in the pradical 
part, \vc may judge, that the rules of morality ftand upon ano- 
ther and a firmer foundation than the theory. And of this it Is 
eafy to perceive the reafon. 

For, in order to know what is right and what is wrong in hu- 
man condud, we need only liften to the dictates of our con- 
fcience when the mind is calm and unruffled, or attend to the 
judgment we form of others in like clrcumftances. P)Ut, to 
judge of the various theories of morals, we muft be able to ana- 
lyze and diffed, as it were, the adivc powers of the human 
mind, and efpecially to analyze accuia ely that confcicnce or 
moral power by which we difcern right from wrong. 

The confcience may be compared to the C} e in this, as in many 

D d d 2 other 



CHAP. IV. 




ESSAY V. 

other refpedls. The learned and the unlearned fee objefts with 
equal diftinftnefs. The former have no title to didate to the 
latter, as far as the eye is judge, nor is there any difagreement 
about fuch matters. But, to difTedl the eye, and to explain the 
theory of vifion, is a difficult point, wherein the moll fkilful 
have differed. 

From this remarkable difparity between our decifions in the 
theory of morals and in the rules of morality, we may, I think, 
draw this conclufion. That wherever we find any difagreement 
between the pradical rules of morality, which have been re- 
ceived in all ages, and the principles of any of the theories ad- 
vanced upon this fubjed, the pradlical rules ought to be the 
flandard by which the theory is to be corred\ed, and that it is 
both unfufe and unphilofophical to warp the pradical rules, in 
order to make them tally with a favourite theory. 

The queftion to be confidered in this chapter belongs to the 
pradlical part of morals, and therefore is capable of a more eafy 
and more certain determination. And, if it be determined ia 
the affirmative, I conceive that it may ferve as a touchftone to 
try fome celebrated theories which are inconfiftent with that de- 
termination, and which have led the theorifts to oppofe it by 
very fubtile metaphyfical arguments. 

Every queftion about what is or is not the proper objedl of 
moral approbation, belongs to pratlical morals, and fuch is the 
queftion now under confideration : Whether a(ftions deferving 
moral approbation muft be done with the belief of their being 
morally good ? Or, Whether an adtion, done without any regard 
to duty or to the didlates of confcience, can be entitled to moral 
approbation ? 

In every adion of a moral agent, his confcience is either al- 
together filent, or it pronounces the adion to be good, or bad, 

or 



OBJECT OF MORAL APPROBATION. 397 

or indiiTcrent. This, I think, is a complete enumeration, cuw iv . 

If it be jjcrfedly iHent, the adion mult be very trifling, 

or appear lb. For confcience, in ihofe who have exercifcd 

it, is a very pragmatical faculty, and meddles with every part 

of our condudt, whether we defire its counfel or not. And 

■what a man does in perfedl fimplicity, without the leaf! fufpi- 

cion of its being bad, his heart cannot condemn him for, nor 

\vill he that knows the heart condemn him. If there was any 

previous culjxible negligence or inattention which led him to a 

wrong judgment, or hindered his forming a right one, that I do 

not exculpate. I only confider the adion done, and the difpofi- 

tion with which it w^as done, without its previous circumflances. 

And in this there appears nothing that merits difapprobation. 

As little can it merit any degree of moral approbation, becaufe 

there was neither good nor ill intended. And the fame may be 

faid when confcience pronounces the adion to be indifferent. 

If, in the fecond place, I do what my confcience pronounces 
to be bad or dubious, I am guilty to myfelf, and juftly deferve 
the difapprobation of others. Nor am I lefs guilty in this cafe, 
though what I judged to be bad fhould happen to be good or 
indifferent. I did it believing it to be bad, and this is an im- 
morality. 

Lcijlly, If I do what my confcience pronounces to be right and 
ray duty, either 1 have fome regard to duty, or I have none. 
The lafi: is not fuppofible ; for I believe there is no man fo 
abantloncd, but that he does what he believes to be his duty, 
with more affurancc and alacrity upon that account. The 
more weight the reclltude of the adion has in determining me 
to do it, the more I approve of my own condud. x\n(.l if my 
worldly intereft, my appetites or inclinations draw me ftrongly 
the contrary way, my following the didates of my confcience, 
in oppolition to thefe motives, adds to the moral worth of the 
ad ion. 

When 



398 E S S A Y V. 

CHAP. IV . When a man ads from an erroneous judgment, if his error 
be invincible, all agree that he is inculpable: But if his error 
be owing to fome previous negligence or inattention, there 
fcems to be fome dlfrerence among moralifts. This difference, 
however, is only fceming, and not real. For wherein lies the 
fault in this cafe ? It muil: be granted by all, that the fault lies 
in this, and folely in this, that he was not at due pains to have 
his judgment well informed. Thofe moralifts, therefore, who 
confider the action and the previous conduct that led to it as 
one whole, find fomething to blame in the whole ; and they do 
fo mort juftly. But thofe who take this whole to pieces, and 
confider what is blameable and what is right in each part, find 
all that is blameable In what preceded this wrong judgment, 
and nothing but what is approvable in what followed it. 

Let us fuppofe, for Infiiance, that a man believes that God 
has indifpenfably required him to obferve a A'ery rigorous fafl In 
Lent ; and that, from a regard to this fuppofed Divine com- 
mand, he fafts in fiich manner as is not only a great mortifica- 
tion to his appetite, but even hurtful to his health. 

His fuperftitlous opinion may be the effed of a culpable ne- 
gligence, for which he can by no means be juftified. Let him, 
therefore, bear all the blame upon this account that he deferves. 
But now, having this opinion fixed in his mind, fhall he act 
according to It or agalnfl; it ? Surely we cannot hefitate a mo- 
ment in this cafe. It is evident, that. In following the light of 
his judgment, he a6ls the part of a good and pious man ; where- 
as, in acting contrary to his judgment, he would be guilty of 
wilful difobedience to his Maker. 

If my fervant, by miftaking my orders, docs the contrary of 
wdiat 1 commanded, believing, at the fame time, that he obeys 
my orders, there may be fome fault in his miftake, but to charge 

him 



OBJECT OF MORAL APPROBATION. 399 

hiin %\ iih the crime of difobcdicncc, would be Inhuman and CHAF. iv. 
unjulh 

Thefe deternunations appear to me to have hitultive evidence, 
no lefs than that of mathematical axioms. A man who is 
come to years of underdanding, and who has excrcifed his fa- 
culties in judging of right and wrong, fees their truth as he fees 
day-light. Mctaphyfical argmncnts brought againft them have 
the fame efFed as when brought againll the evidence of fenfe ; 
they may puzzle and confound, but they do not convince. It 
appears evident, therefore, that jhofe adions only can truly be 
called virtuous, or deferving of moral approbation, which the 
agent believed to be right, and to which he was intluenced, 
more or lefs, by that belief. 

If it fliould be objected, Tliat this principle makes it to be of 
no confequence to a man's morals, what his opinions may be, 
providing he ads agreeably to them, the anfwer is eafy. 

IVIorality requires, not only that a man fliould ad according 
to his judgment, but that he fliould ufe the bell means in his 
power that his judgment be according to truth. If he fail in 
either of thefe points, he is worthy of blame j but, if he fail in 
neither, I fee not wherein he can be blamed. 

When a man muft ad, and has no longer time t6 deliberate, 
he ought to ad according to the lii^ht of his confcience, even 
•when he is in an error. But, when he has time to deliberate, 
he ought furely to ufe all the means in his power to be rightly 
informed. When he has done fo, he may ftill be in an error j 
but it is an invincible error, and cannot juftly be imputed to him 
as a fault. 

A fecond objedion is, That we immediately approve of bene- 
volence, gratitude, and other primary virtues, without enquiring 

whether 



-40-0 E S S A Y V. 

CHAP, iv.^ whether they are pradifed from a perfuafion that they are our 
duty. And the laws of God place the fum of virtue in loving 
God and our neighbour, without any provifion that we do it 
from a perfuafion that we ought to do To. 

The anfvver to this objedion is, That the love of God, the 
love of our nei;',hbour, jultice, gratitude, and other primary vir- 
tues, are, by the conftitution of human nature, neceffarily ac- 
companied with a conviction of their being morally good. We 
may therefore fafely prefume, that thele things are never dif- 
joined, and that every man who pradifes thefe virtues does it 
with a good confcience. In judging of mens condud, we do 
not fuppofe things which cannot happen, nor do the laws of 
God give decifions upon impoflible cafes, as they muft have 
done, if they fuppofed the cafe of a man who thought it contra- 
ry to his duty to love God or to love mankind. 

But if we wifh to know how the laws of God determine the 
point in queftion, we ought to obferve their decifion with regard 
to fuch acflions as may appear good to one man and ill to ano- 
ther. And here the decifions of fcripture are clear : Let every 
man be petfoaded in bis own mind. He that doubt eth is condemned if he 
eat, becaufe he eateth not of faith, for •whatfuever is not rf faith is fin. 
1^0 him that efeemeth any thing to be unclean, it is unclean. The 
fcripture often placeth the fum of virtue in living in all good con- 
fcience, in a<5ting fo that our hearts condemn us not. 

The laft objedion I fhall mention is a metaphyfical one urged 
by Mr Hume. 

It is a favourite point In his fyftem of morals. That jufiice is 
not a natural but an artificial virtue. To prove this, he has ex- 
erted the whole itrength of his reafon and eloquence. And as 
the principle we are confidering flood in his way, he takes 
pains to relate it. 

" Suppofe, 



OBJECT OF MORAL APPROBATION. 401 

" Suppofe, (i\ys he, a perfon to have lent mc a fum of ino- CHAP. iv. 
" ney, on coiulitioii that it be rcftored in a few days. After 
" the expiration of the term he demands the fum. I afk, what 
" reafon or motive have I to reftore the money ? It will per- 
" haps be faid, That my regard to juftice and abhorrence of 
" villany and knavery are funkicnt reafons for me." And this, 
he acknowledges, would be a fatisfactory anfwer to a man in 
his civilized ftatc, and when trained up according to a certain 
difciplinc and education. " But in his rude and more natural 
" condition, fays he, if you are pleafed to call fuch a condition 
" natural, this anfwer would be rejeded as perfectly unintelli- 
" gible and fophillical. 



" For wherein confifts this honefty and juftice ? Not furely 
" in the external adion. It muft, therefore, confift in the 
" motive from which the external adlion is derived. This mo- 
" tive can never be a regard to the honefty of the action. For 
•' it is a plain fallacy to fay. That a virtuous motive is requifite 
" to render an adtion honeft, and, at the fame time, that a re- 
" gard to the honefty is the motive to the adion. We can 
" never have a regard to the virtue of an adtion, unlcfs the ac- 
" tion be antecedently virtuous." 

And, in another place, " To fuppofe that the mere regard to 
" the virtue of the action is that which rendered it virtuous, is 
" to reafon in a circle. An action muft be virtuous, before we 
" can have a regard to its virtue. Some virtuous motive, there- 
" fore, muft be antecedent to that regard. Nor is this merely 
" a metaphyfical fubtilty," 6v. Trcat'tfe of Hum. Nature, book 3. 
Ptirl 2. fen. I. 

I am not to confider at this time, how this reafoning is ap- 
plied to fupport the author's opinion, That juftice is not a natu- 
ral but an artificial virtue. I conlidcr it only as far as it 0{> 

pofes the principle I have been endeavouring to eftabliHi, That, 

E e e to 



402 



ESSAY V. 



CHAP. IV. to render an adion truly virtuous, the agent mufl: have fome 
regard to its reditude. And I conceive the whole force of the 
reafoning amounts to this : 



'o 



When we judge an adion to be good or bad, it muft have 
been fo in its own nature antecedent to that judgment, other- 
wife the judgment is erroneous. If, therefore, the adlion be 
good in its nature, the judgment of the agent cannot make it 
had, nor can his judgment make it good if, in its nature, it be 
bad. For this would be to afcribe to our judgment a flrange 
magical power to transform the nature of things, and to fay, 
that my judging a thing to be what it is not, makes it really to 
be what I erroneoufly judge it to be. This, I think, is the ob- 
jedlion in Its full ftrength. And, in anfwer to it, 

T'srjl, If w^e could not loofe this metaphyfical knot, I think we 
might fairly and honertly cut it, becaufe it fixes an abfurdity 
upon the clearefl and moft indifputable principles of morals and 
of common fenfe. For I appeal to any man whether there be 
any principle of morality, or any principle of common fenfe, 
more clear and indifputable than that which we juft now quoted 
from the Apoftle Paul, That although a thing be not unclean 
in itfelf, yet to him that efteemeth it to be unclean, to him it is 
unclean. But the metaphyfical argument makes this abfiard. 
For, fays the metaphyfician. If the thing was not unclean in 
itfelf, you judged wrong in efteeming it to be unclean ; and 
what can be more abfurd, than that your efteeming a thing to 
be what it is not, fliould make it what you erroneoufly efteem it 
to be? 

Let us try the edge of this argument in another inftance. 
Nothing is more evident, than that an acftion does not merit the 
name of benevolent, unlefs it be done from a belief that it 
tends to promote the good of our neighbour. But this is ab- 
furd, fays the metaphyfician. For, if it be not a benevolent 

adlion 



OBJECT OF MORAL APPROBATION. 403 

adion In itfelf, your belief of Its tendency cannot chan2;e its CHAP. iv. 
nature. It is abfnrd, that your erroneous belief fliould make the 
adion to be what you believe it to be. Nothing is more evi- 
dent, than that a man who tells the truth, believing it to be a 
lie, Is guilty of falfehood ; but the metaphyfician would make 
this to be abfurd. 

In a word, if there be any ftrength in this argument, it 
would follow. That a man might be, in the higheft degree, vir- 
tuous, without the leaft regard to virtue j that he might be very 
benevolent, without ever intending to do a good office ; very 
malicious, without ever intending any hurt ; very revengeful, 
without ever intending to retaliate an injury j very grateful, 
without ever intending to return a benefit ; and a man of ftrld: 
veracity, with an intention to lie. We might, therefore, rejcdl 
this reafoning, as repugnant to felf-evldent truths, though we 
were not able to point out the fallacy of It. 

2. But let us try, in the fecond place, whether the fallacy of 
this argument may not be difcovered. 

We afcribe moral goodnefs to adions confidered abftradly, 
without any relation to the agent. We likewife afcribe moral 
goodnefs to an agent on account of an adlion he has done ; we 
call it a good adion, though, in this cafe, the goodnefs Is pro- 
perly in the man, and is only by a figure afcribed to the adlion. 
Now, it is to be confidered, whether moral goodnefs^ when applied 
to an action confidered abftradlly, has the fame meaning as 
when we apply it to a man on account of that adion j or whe- 
ther we do not unawares change the meaning of the word, ac- 
cording as we apply it to the one or to the other. 

The a(flion, confidered abflradly, has neither underflanding 
nor will ; it is not accountable, nor can it be under any moral 
obligation. But all thefe things are elTential to that moral good- 

E e e 2 nefs 



404 ESSAY V. 

CHAP. IV. ji(.fs which belongs to a man ; for, if a man had not underftand- 
ing and will, he could have no moral goodnefs. Hence it fol- 
lows neceflarily, that the moral goodnefs which we afcribe to an 
aftion confidered abftracflly, and that which we afcribe to a per- 
fon for doing that adtion, are not the fame. The meaning of 
the word is changed when it is applied to thefe different fubjeds. 

This will be more evident, when we confider what is meant 
by the moral goodnefs which we afcribe to a man for doing an 
aft ion, and what by the goodnefs which belongs to the adion 
confidered abftradlly. A good adion in a man is that in which 
he applied his intelledual powers properly, in order to judge 
what he ought to do, and adted according to his beft judgment. 
This Is all that can be required of a moral agent j and in this 
his moral goodnefs, in any good adion, confifts. But is this the 
goodnefs which we afcribe to an adion confidered abllradly ? 
No, furely. For the adion, confidered abfliradly, is neither 
endowed with judgment nor with adive power ; and, therefore, 
can have none of that goodnefs which we afcribe to the man 
for doing it. 

But what do we mean by goodnefs in an adion confidered 
abftradly ? To me it appears to lie in this, and in this only. 
That it is an adion which ought to be done by thofe who have 
the power and opportunity, and the capacity of perceiving their 
obligation to do it. I would gladly know of any man, what 
other moral goodnefs can be in an adion confidered abftradly. 
And this goodnefs Is inherent in its nature, and infeparable from 
it. No opinion or judgment of an agent can in the leaft alter 
its nature. 

Suppofe the adion to be that of relieving an innocent perfon 
out of great dlftrefs. This furely has all the moral goodnefs 
that an adion confidered abftradly can have. Yet it Is evident, 
that an agent, in relieving a perfon in diftrefs, may have no 

moral 



OBJECT OF MORAL APPROBATION. 405 

moral goodnefs, may have great merit, or may have great de- chap. iv. 
merit. 

Suppofe, yfr/?, That mice cut the cords which bound the di- 
ftreflcd peribn, and fo bring him relief. Is there moral good- 
nefs in this aft of the mice ? 

Suppofe,y?foff^/)', That a man malicioufly relieves the diflrefled 
perfon, in order to plunge him into greater diftrefs. In this ac- 
tion, there is furely no moral goodnefs, but much malice and in- 
humanity. 

If, in the lajl place, we fuppofe a perfon, from real fympathy 
and humanity, to bring relief to the diflrefled perfon, with con- 
fiderable cxpence or danger to himfelf j here is an ad ion of 
real worth, which every heart approves and every tongue 
praifes. But wherein lies the worth ? Not in the action confi- 
dered by itfelf, which was common to all the three, but in the 
man who, on this occafion, aded the part which became a good 
man. He did what his heart approved, and therefore he is ap- 
proved by God and man. 

Upon the whole, if we diftinguifli between that goodnefs 
which may be afcribed to an adion confidered by itfelf, and 
that goodnefs which we afcribe to a man when he puts it in ex- 
ecution, we fliall find a key to this metaphyfical lock. \Ve ad- 
mit, that the goodnefs of an adion, confidered abftradly, can 
have no dependence upon the opinion or belief of an agent, any 
more than the truth of a propofition depends upon our believing 
it to be true. But, when a man exerts his adive power well or 
ill, there is a moral goodnefs or turpitude which we figuratively 
impute to the adion, but which is truly and properly imputable 
to the man only ; and this goodnefs or turpitude depends very 
much upon the intention of the agent, and the opinion he had 
of his adion. 

This 



4o6 ESSAY V. 

CHAP. IV. This cliftlncllon has been underftood in all ages by thofe who 
gave any attention to morals, though it has been varioully ex- 
prefled. The Greek moralifts gave the name of xxBwev to an 
adion good in itfelf j fuch an adtion might be done by the moft 
worthlefs. But an adllon done with a right intention, which 
implies real worth in the agent, they called xarcfS-w/xa. The di- 
flindion is explained by Cicero in his OfRces. He calls the 
firfl officium medium, and the fecond officium perfe£lum^ or reBum. 
In the fcholaftic ages, an adlion good in itfelf was faid to be ma- 
terially good, and an a6lion done with a right intention was ciX- 
ledi formally good. This laft way of exprefling the diftindion 
is ftill familiar among Theologians ; but Mr Hume feems not 
to have attended to it, or to have thought it to be words with- 
out any meaning. 

Mr Hume, in the fedlion already quoted, tells us with great 
afliirance, " In fhort, it may be eftabllfhed as an undoubted 
*' maxim, that no adion can be virtuous or morally good, un- 
" lefs there be in human nature fome motive to produce it, di- 
" flindt from the fenfe of its morality," And upon this maxim 
he founds matiy of his reafonings on the fubjed of morals. 

Whether it be confiftent with Mr Hume's own fyftem, that 
an adion may be produced merely from the fenfe of its mora- 
lity, without any motive of agreeablenefs or utility, I Ihall not 
now enquire. But, if it be true, and I think it evident to eve- 
ry man of common underllanding, that a judge or an arbiter 
ads the moft virtuous part when his fentence is produced by no 
other motive but a regard to juftice and a good confcience; nay, 
when all other motives diftind from this are on the other fide : 
If this I fay be true, then that undoubted maxim of Mr Hume 
muft be falfe, and all the concluiions built upon it muft fall to 
the ground. 

From the principle I have endeavoured to eftablifh, I think 

fome 



OBJECT OF MORAL APPROBATION. 407 

fonic confequcnces may be drawn with regard to the theory of CfiAP. iv. 

morals. 

Firji, If there be no virtue without the behef that what we 
do Is right, it follows. That a moral faculty, that is, a j)ower 
of difceniing moral goodnefs and turpitude in human condudl, 
is eflcjitial to every being capable of virtue or vice. A being 
who has no more conception of moral goodnefs and bafenefs 
of right and wrong, than a blind man hath of colours, can 
have no regard to it in his condud:, and therefore can neither 
be virtuous nor vicious. 

He may have qualities that are agreeable or difagreeable, ufe- 
ful or hurtful ; fo may a plant or a machine. And we fome- 
times ufe the word virtue in fuch a latitude as to fignify any 
agreeable or ufeful quality, as when we fpeak of the virtues 
of plants. But we are now fpeaking of virtue in the llridl and 
proper fenfe, as it fignifics that quality in a man which is the 
objed of moral approbation. 

This virtue a man could not have, if he had not a power of 
difcerning a right and a wrong in human condudt, and of being 
influenced by that difcernment. For in fo far only he is virtu- 
ous as he is guided in his conduft by that part of his conftitu- 
tion. Brutes do not appear to have any fuch power, and there- 
fore are not moral or accountable agents. They are capable of 
culture and difcipline, but not of virtuous or criminal condudl. 
Even human creatures, in infancy and non-age, are not moral 
agents, becaufe their moral faculty is not yet unfolded. Thcfe 
fentiments are fupported by the common fenfe of mankind, 
which has always determined, that neither brutes nor infants 
can be indidted for crimes. 

It is of fmall confequence what name we give to this moral 
power of the human mind^ but it is fo important a part of our 

conftitution, 



4o8 E S S A Y V. 

CFIAP. IV . conftitution, as to deferve an appropriated name. The name of 
confdence^ as it is the moft common, feems to me as proper as any 
that has been given it. I find no fault with the name moral 
fetife, although I conceive this name has given occafion to fome 
miftakes concerning the nature of our moral power. Modern 
Philofophers have conceived of the external fenfes as having no 
other office but to give us certain fenfations, or fimple concep- 
tions, which we could not have without them. And this no- 
tion has been applied to the moral fenfe. But it feems to me a 
miftaken notion in both. By the fenfe of feeing, I not only 
have the conception of the different colours, but I perceive one 
body to be of this colour, another of that. In like manner, 
by my moral fenfe, I not only have the conceptions of right and 
wrong in condudl, but I perceive this conduct to be right, that 
to be wrong, and that indifferent. All our fenfes are judging 
faculties, fo alfo is confcience. Nor is this power only a judge 
of our own adlions and thofe of others, it is likewife a princi- 
ple of adlion in all good men j and fo far only can our condud: 
be denominated virtuous, as it is influenced by this principle. 

A fecond confequence from the principle laid down in this 
chapter is, That the formal nature and effence of that virtue 
which is the objed: of moral approbation confifts neither in a 
prudent profecution of our private intereft, nor in benevolent 
affedions towards others, nor in qualities ufeful or agreeable to 
ourfelves or to others, nor in fympathizing with the pailions 
and affedions of others, and in attuning our own condudt to 
the tone of other mens paflions ; but it confifts in living in all 
good confcience, that is, in ufing the befl means in our power 
to know our duty, and adling accordingly. 

Prudence is a virtue, benevolence is a virtue, fortitude is a 
virtue ; but the eflence and formal nature of virtue muft lie in 
fomething.that is common to all thefe, and to every other vir- 
tue. And this I conceive can be nothing elfe but the reditude 

of 



O F J U S T I C E. 409 

of fuch conducl and tvirpltude of the contrary, which is difccrn- CHAP. v. 
ed by a good man. And Co far only he is virtuous as he pur- 
fucs the former and avoids the latter. 



CHAP. V. 
Whether Juji'ice be a Natural or an Artificial Virtue. 

MR Hume's philofophy concerning morals was firft prc- 
fented to the world in the third volume of his Treatife of 
Human Nature, in the year 17405 afterwards in his Enquiry con- 
cerning the Principles of Morals, which was firft publifhed by itfelf, 
and then in feveral editions of his EJfays and Treatfes, 

In thefe two works on morals the fyftem is the fame. A more 
popular arrangement, great embcUiflmient, and the omiilion of 
fome metaphyfical reafonings, have given a preference in the 
public efteem to the laft ; but I find neither any new principles 
in it, nor any new arguments in fupport of the fyftem common 
to both. 

In this fyftem, the proper objed of moral approbation is 
not adions or any voluntary exertion, but qualities of mind 5 
that is, natural affedions or paflions, which are involunta- 
ry, a part of the conftitution of the man, and common to us 
with many brute-animals. When we praife or blame any vo- 
luntary adion, it is only confidered as align of the natural af- 
fedion from which it flows, and from which all its merit or de- 
merit is derived. 

Moral approbation or difapprobatlon is not an ad of the 
judgment, which, like all ads of judgment, muft be true or falfe, 
it is only a certain feeling, which, from the conftitution of hu- 

F f f man 



410 E S S A Y V. 

CHAP. V. jj^an nature, arifes upon contemplating certain characters or 
qualities of mind coolly and impartially. 

This feeling, when agreeable, is moral approbation ; when 
difagreeable, difapprobation. The qualities of mind which 
produce this agreeable feeling are the moral virtues, and thofe 
that produce the difagreeable, the vices. 

Thefe preliminaries being gi*anted, the queflion about the 
foundation of morals is reduced to a fimple queftion of fafl, 
to wit, What are the qualities of mind which produce, in the 
difinterefted obferver, the feeling of approbation, or the con- 
trary feeling ? 

In anfwer to this queflion, the author endeavours to prove, 
by a very copious indudlion, That all perfonal merit, all virtue, 
all that is the obje6l of moral approbation, confifts in the qua- 
lities of mind which are agreeable or i/Jlfitl to the pei'fon who 
poflefTes them, or to others. 

The t:/i/Ice and the ufi/e is the whole fum of merit in every 
charad:er, in every quality of mind, and in every adion of life. 
There is no room left for that hcnejlum which Cicero thus de- 
fines, Honejlum igitur id intelligmus, quod tale ejl, tit detraHa omni uti- 
Ihate^fme ullis prern'us frtiEltbufve, per fe ipjum pojfit jure landari. 

Among the ancient moralifts, the Epicureans were the only 
{^Gi who denied that there is any fuch thing as honejium, or mo- 
ral worth, diftindl from pleafure. In this Mr Hume's fyflem 
agrees with theirs. For the addition of utility to pleafure, as 
a foundation of morals, makes only a verbal, but no real diffe- 
rence. What is ufeful only has no value in itfelf, but derives 
all its merit from the end for which it is ufeful. That end, in 
this fyftem, is agreeablenefs or pleafure. So that, in both fy- 
ftems, pleafure is the only end, the only thing that is good in 

itfelf, 



O F J U 5 T I C E. 411 

itftlf, and tlefirablc for its own fake ; and virtue derives all its CHAP, v^ 
merit from its tendency to produce plcafurc. 

Ai^^recablencfs and utility arc not moral conceptions, nor 
have they any connexion with morality. What a man does, 
merely becaufe it is agreeable, or ufeful to procure what is 
agreeable, is not virtue. Therefore the Epicurean fyftem was 
juftly thought by Cicero, and the beft moralifts among the an- 
cients, to fubvert morality, and to fubftitutc another principle 
in its room ; and this fyftem is liable to the fame cenfure. 

In one thing, however, it differs remarkably from that of Epicu- 
rus. It allows, that there are difinterefted affedions in human na- 
ture ; that the love of children and relations, friendlhip, grati- 
tude, companion and humanity, are not, as Epicurus maintain- 
ed, different modifications of felf-love, but fimple and original 
parts of the human conftitution ; that when intereft, or envy, 
or revenge, pervert not our difpofition, we are Inclined, from 
natural philanthropy, to dcfirc, and to be pleafed with the hap- 
pinefs of the human kind. 

All this, in oppofition to the Epicurean fyflem, Mr Hume 
maintains with great ftrength of reafon and eloquence, and, in 
this refped, his fyftcm is more liberal and difintercrted than that 
of the Greek Philofopher. According to Epicurus, virtue is 
whatever is agreeable to ourfelves. Accorditig to INIr Hume, 
every quality of mind that is agreeable or ufeful to ourfelves or 
to others. 

This theory of the nature of virtue, it mufl be acknowledged, 
enlarges greatly the catalogue of moral virtues, by bringing in- 
to that catalogue every cpiality of mind that is ufeful or agree- 
able. Nor does there ajipear any good reafon why the ufeful 
and agreeable qualities of body and of fortune, as well as tiiofe 
of the mind, fhould not have a place among moral viriaci in 

F f f 2 this 



412 ESSAY V. 

CHAP. V. t}^|s fyftem. They have the eiTence of virtue j that Is, agreca- 
blenefs and utility, why then Ihould they not have the name ? 

But, to compenfate this addition to the moral virtues, one 
clafs of them feems to be greatly degraded and deprived of all 
intrinfic merit. The ufeful virtues, as was above obferved, are 
only minirtering fervants of the agreeable, and pur%'eyors for 
them j they mufl, therefore, be fo far inferior in dignity, as 
hardly to deferve the fame name. 

Mr Hume, how^ever, gives the name of virtue to both ; and to 
diflinguifh them, calls the agreeable qualities natural virtues, and 
the ufeful artificial. 

The natural virtues are thofe natural affedions of the human 
conflitution which give immediate pleafure in their exercife. 
Such are all the benevolent afledions. Nature difpofes to them, 
and from their own nature they are agreeable, both when we 
exercife them ourfelves, and when we contemplate their exercife 
in others. 

The artificial virtues are fuch as are efleemed folely on ac- 
count of their utility, either to promote the good of fociety,. 
as juflice, fidelity, honour, veracity, allegiance, chaftlty ; or on 
account of their utilty to the poflefTor, as indufiry, difcretion, 
frugality, fecrecy, order, perfeverance, forethought, judgment, 
and others, of which, he fays, many pages could not contain 
the catalogue. 

This general view of Mr Hume's fyilem concerning the 
foundation of morals, feemed neceffary, in order to underftand 
diftlndly the meaning of that principle of his, which Is to be 
the fubjedt of this chapter, and on which he has beftowed 
much labour, to wit, that juftice is not a natural but an artifi- 
cial virtue. 

Thi^ 



OF JUSTICE. 41. 

This fyftcm of the foundation of virtue is fo contraclidlory in CHAi\ v. 
many of its efTcntial points to the account we have before given 
of the adlivc powers of liuuKin nature, tliat, if tlie one be true, 
the other mufl be faUc. 

If God has given to man a power Avhicli we call confcience, 
the moral faculty, l\\fc fc rife of duty, by wliirli, when he comes to 
years of underllandincr, he perceives certain things that depend 
on his will to be his duty, and other things to be bafe and un- 
worthy ; if the notion of duty be a finiple conception, of its 
own kind, and of a diflercnt nature from the conceptions of 
utility and agreeablenefs, of intereft or reputation ; if this mo- 
ral faculty be the prerogative of man, and no velHge of it be 
found in brute-animals ; if it be given us by God to regulate 
all our animal affections and paflions ; if to be governed by it 
be the glory of man and the image of God in his foul, and to 
difrcgard its didlates be his didionour and depravity : I fliy, if 
thefe things be fo, to feek the foundation of morality in the 
affections which we have in common with the brutes, is to feek 
the living among the dead, and to change the glory of man 
and the image of God in his foul, into the llmilitude of an ox 
that cateth grafs. 

If virtue and vice be a matter of choice, they muft confift in 
vcjluntary actions, or in fixed purpofes of arting according to a 
certain rule when there is opportunity, and not in qualities of 
mind which arc involuntary. 

It is true, that every virtue is both agi-eeablc and ufeful in 
the higheft degree ; and that every quality that is agreeable or 
ufeful, has a merit upon that account. But virtue has a merit 
peculiar to itlelf, a merit which does not arife from its beinrr 
ufeful or agreeable, but from its being virtue. This merit is 
difcerned by the fame faculty by which we dilcern it to be vir- 
tue, and by no other. 



4H 



ESSAY V. 



CHAP. V. We e;Ive the name of ejleftn both to the regard we have for 
tilings ufeful and agreeable, and to the regard we have for vir- 
tue; but thefe are different kinds of elleem. I erteem a man 
for his ingenuity and learning. 1 efteem him for his moral 
worth. The found of tjleem in both thefe fpeeches is the fame, 
but its meaning is very different. 

Good breeding is a very amiable quality j and even if I knew 
that the man had no motive to it but its pleafure and utility 
to himfelf and others, I fliould like it flill, but I would not in 
that cafe call it a moral virtue. 

A dog has a tender concern for her puppies ; fo has a man 
for his children. The natural affedlion is the fame in both, and 
is amiable in both. But why do we impute moral virtue to the 
man on account of this concern, and not to the dog? The rea- 
fon furely is, That, in the man, the natural afFedion is accom- 
panied with a fenfe of duty, but, in the dog, it is not. The 
fame thing may be faid of all the kind affedions common to us 
with the brutes. They are amiable qualities, but they are not 
moral virtues. 

What has been faid relates to Mr Hume's fyftem in general. 
We are now to confider his notion of the particular virtue of 
juftice, that its merit confifts wholly in its utility to foclety. 

That juftice is highly ufeful and neceffary in fociety, and, on 
that account, ought to be loved and efteeraed by all that love 
mankind, will readily be granted. And as juftice is a foclal vir- 
tue, it is true alfo, that there could be no exercife of it, and 
perhaps we fliould have no conception of it, without fociety. 
But this is equally true of the natural affections of benevolence, 
gratitude, friendihip and compaffion, which Mr Hume makes to 
be the natural virtues. 

It may be granted to Mr Hume, that men have no concep- 
tion 



O F J U S T I C E. 4ij- 

tiou of the ^•il•tue of jullice till they have lived fome time in fo- Cliw. v. 
ciety. It is purely a moral conce|)tion, and our moral concep- 
tions and moral judgments are not born with us. They grow 
up by degrees, as our reaion docs. Nor do I pretend to know 
how early, or in wluit order we acquire the conception of the 
feveral virtues. The conception of juflice fuppofes fome exer- 
cife of the moral faculty, which, being the nobleft part of the 
human conllitution, and that to which all its other parts are fub- 
fervient, appears latell. 

It may likewife be granted, that there is no animal atTeclion 
in human nature that prompts us immediately to ads of juflice, 
as fuch. We have natural aflecflions of the animal kind, which 
immediately prompt us to acts of kindnefs ; but none, that I 
know, that has the fame relation to juftice. The very concep- 
tion of juftice fuppofes a moral faculty ; but our natural kind 
atfeclions do not ; othcrwife w'e mufl allow that brutes have 
this faculty. 

What I maintain \s,Jiijl, That when men come to the exer- 
cife of their nu)ral faculty, they perceive a turpitude in inju- 
ftice, as they do in other crimes, and confequcntly an obliga- 
tion to juftice, abftrading from the confideration of its utility. 
hxvCi^fecojidly, That as foon as men liave any rational conception 
of a favour, and of an injury, they muft have the conception of 
juflice, and perceive its obligation dillind from its utility. 

The firft of thefe points hardly admits of any other proof, 
but an appeal to the fentiments of every honefl man, and eve- 
ry man of honour. Whether his indignation is not immediately 
inflamed againfl an atrocious ad of villany, without the cool 
confideration of its diflant confequences upon the good of Ib- 
ciety ? 

We might appeal even to robbers and pirates, Whether they 

have 



4i6 E S S A Y V. 

CHAP. V. iijive not had 'great ftruggles with their confcience, when they 
firft reiblved to break through all the rules of juflicc ? And 
whether, in a folitary and ferious hour, they have not frequent- 
ly felt the pangs of guilt ? They have very often confeiled this 
at a time when all difguife is laid afide. 

The common good of fociety, though a pleafing objedl to 
all men, when prefented to their view, hardly ever enters' into 
the thoughts of the far greatefl part of mankind ; and, if a regard 
to it were the fole motive to juftice, the number of honeft men 
mufl be fmall indeed. It would be confined to the higher ranks, 
who, by their education, or by their office, are led to make the 
public good an objed ; but that it is fo confined, I believe no 
man will venture to affirm. 

The temptations to injuflice are firongeft in the loweft clafs 
of men j and if nature had provided no motive to oppofe thofe 
temptations, but a fenfe of public good, there would not be 
found an honeft man in that clafs. 

To all men that are not greatly corrupted, injuftice, as well 
as cruelty and ingratitude, is an objedl of difapprobation on its 
own account. There is a voice within us that proclaims it to 
be bafe, unworthy, and deferving of punifhment. 

*That there is, in all ingenuous natures, an antipathy to ro- 
guery and treachery, a reluctance to the thoughts of villany 
and bafenefs, we have the teftimony of Mr Hume himfelf j who, 
as I doubt not but he felt it, has exprefl'ed it very ftrongly in 
the conclufion to his enquiry, and acknowledged that, in fome 
cafes, without this reludiance and antipathy to difhonefty, a fen- 
fible knave would find no fufficient motive from public good to 
be honeft. 

I 



O F J U S T I C E. 417 

I fliiill give the paflage at large from the Enquiry concerning CHAP, v . 
the Principles of Morals, fection 9. near the end. 

" Treating vice with the greatcfl: candour, and making it all 

• poflible concellions, we muft acknowledge that there is not, 
' in any inftance, the fmallefl pretext for giving it the preference 

' above virtue, with a view to felf-interefl j except, perhaps, 

* in the cafe of juftice, where a man, taking things in a certain 
light, may often feem to be a lofer by his integrity. And 
though it is allowed that, without a regard to property, no fo- 
ciety could fubfifl^ yet, according to the imperfedl way in which 
human affairs are conducted, a fenfible knave, in particular in- 
cidents, may think, that an adl of iniquity or infulelity will 
make a coniiderable addition to his fortune, without caufing 
any confiderablc breach in the focial union and confederacy. 
That bottejiy is the bejl policy, may be a good general rule, but 
it is liable to many exceptions : And he, it may perhaps be 
thought, conduds himfelf with moft wifdom, who obferves 
the general rule, and takes advantage of all the exceptions. 

" I muft confefs that, if a man think that this reafoning much 
" requires an anfwer, it will be a little difficult to find any, 
", which will to him appear fatisfadory and convincing. If his 
" heart rebel not againfl: fuch pernicious maxims, if he feel no 
" reludance to the thoughts of villany and bafenefs, he has in- 
" deed loft a coniiderable motive to virtue, and we may expecT: 
" that his pradice will be anfwerable to his fpeculation. But 
" in all ingenuous natures, the antipathy ,to treachery and ro- 
" gucry is too ftrong to be counterbalanced by any views of 
" profit or pecuniary advantage. Inward peace of mind, confci- 
" ouliiefs of integrity, a fatisfaclory review of our own conducl ; 
" thefe are circumftances very requifite to happinefs, and will 
" be cheriflied and cultivated by every honeft man who feels 
" the importance of them." 

G g g The 



4i8 E S S A Y V. 

CHAP. V. xhe reafonlng of the fenftble knave in this pafTuge, feenis to 
me to be juftly founded upon the principles of the Enquiry and 
of the Treatife of Human Nature, and therefore it is no wonder, 
that the Author fliould find it a little difficult to give any an- 
fwer which would appear fatisfadory and convincing to fuch 
a man. To counterbalance this reafoning, he puts in the other 
fcale a reludance, an antipathy, u rebellion of the heart againfl: 
fuch pernicious maxims, which is felt by ingenuous natures. 

Let us confider a little the force of Mr Hume's anfwer to 
this fenfible knave, who reafons upon his own principles. I 
think it is either an acknowledgment, that there is a natural 
judgment of confcience in man, that injuftice and treachery is a 
bafe and unworthy praftice, which is the point I would efta- 
blilh ; or it has no force to convince either the knave or an ho- 
neft man. 

A clear and intuitive judgment, refulting from the conftitu- 
tion of human nature, is fufficient to overbalance a train of 
fubtile reafoning on the other fide. Thus, the tefiiimony of our 
fenfes is fufficient to overbalance all the fubtile arguments 
brought againfl their teflimony. And, if there be a like tefi:imo- 
«y of confcience in favour of honefl:y, all the fubtile reafoning 
of the knave againfl; it ought to be rejedled without examina- 
tion, as fallacious and fophifl:ical, becaufe it concludes againfl a 
felf-evident principle; jufl: as we rejedl the fubtile reafoning of 
the metaphyficlan againfl the evidence of fenfe. 

If, therefore, the reluElance, the antipathy, the rebellion of the 
heart againfl: injuftice, which Mr Hume fets againfl the reafon- 
ing of the knave, include in their meaning a natural intuitive 
judgment of confcience, that injuftice is bafe and unworthy, 
the reafoning of the knave is convincingly anfwered ; but the 

principle.. 



O F J U S T I C E. 419 

principle, Thai jujlice is an artificial •virtue, approved folely for its CHAP, v. 
utility, is given up. 

If, on the other liand, the antipathy, reluctance and rebellion 
of heart, imply no judgment, but barely an uneafy feeling, and 
that not natural, but acquired and artificial, the anfwer is indeed 
very agreeable to the principles of the Enquiry, but has no force 
to convince the knave, or any other man. 

The knave is here fuppofed by Mr Hume to have no fucli 
feelings, and therefore the anfwer does not touch hib cafe in the 
leaft, but leaves him in the full poneilion of his reafoning. 
And ingenuous natures, who have thefe feelings, are left to delibe- 
rate whether they will yield to acquired and artificial feelings, 
in oppofition to rules of condudl, which, to their beft judgment, 
appear wife and prudent. 

The fecond thing I propofed to fliew was, That, as foon as 
men have any rational conception of a favour and of an injury, 
they mufl have the conception of juftice, and perceive its obli- 
gation. 

The power with which the Author of nature hath endowed 
us, may be employed either to do good to our fellow-men, or 
to hurt them. When we employ our power to promote the 
good and happinefs of others, this is a benefit or favour ; when 
we employ it to hurt them, it is an injury. Juftice fills up the 
middle between thefe two. It is fuch a conduct as does no in- 
jury to others ; but it does not imply the doing them any fa- 
vour. 

The notions of a favour and of an injury, appear as early in 
the mind of man as any rational notion whatever. They are 
difcovercd, not by language only, but by certain alTcclions of 

G g g 2 mind, 



420 E S S A Y V. 

CHAP. V. mind, of which they are the natural objedls. A favour natu- 
rally produces gratitude. An injury done to ourfelves produces^ 
refentment j and even when done to another, it produces indig- 
nation. 

I take it for granted that gratitude and refentment are no lefs 
natural to the human mind than hunger and thirfl ; and that 
thofe affedlions are no lefs naturally excited by their proper ob- 
jedls and occafions than thefe appetites. 

It is no lefs evident, that the proper and formal objedl of gra- 
titude is a perfon who has done us a favour ^ that of refentment, 
a perfon who has done us an injury. 

Before the ufe of reafon, the diftindlion between a favour and 
an agreeable office is not perceived. Every adlion of another 
perfon which gives prefent pleafure produces love and good 
will towards the agent. Every adiion that gives pain or'unea- 
jQnefs produces refentment. This is common to man before 
the ufe of reafon, and to the more fagacious brutes j and it 
Ihews no conception of juftice in either. 

But, as we grow up to the ufe of reafon, the notion, both of 
a favour and of an injury, grows more diftin6t and better de- 
fined. It is not enough that a good office be done j it mufl be 
done from good will, and with a good intention, otherwife it 
is no favour, nor does it produce gratitude. 

I have heard of a phyfician who gave fpiders in a medicine 
to a dropfical patient, with an intention to poifon him, and that 
this medicine cured the patient, contrary to the intention of 
the phyfician. Surely no gratitude, but refentment, was due by 
the patient, when he knew the real ftate of the cafe. It is evi- 
dent to every man, that a benefit arifiug from the action of ano- 
ther. 



O F J U S T I C E. 421 

ther, either without or againil his intention, is not a motive to p^^ ^- v. 
gratitude ; that is, is no favour. 

Another thing implied in the nature of a favour is, that it be 
not due. A man may fave my credit by paying what he owes 
me. In this cafe, what he does tends to my benefit, and per- 
haps is done with that intention; but it is not a favour, it is no 
more than he was bound to do. 

If a fervant do his work and receive his wages, there Is no 
favour done on either part, nor any objecfl of gratitude j be- 
caufe, though each party has benefited the other, yet neither 
has done more than he was bound to do. 

What I infer from this Is, That the conception of a favour in 
every man come to years of underflanding, implies the concep- 
tion of things not due, and confequently tlie conception of 
things that are due. 

A negative cannot be conceived by one who has no concep- 
tion of the correfpondent pofitlve. Not to be due is the negative 
of being due ; and he who conceives one of them mull conceive 
both. The conception of things due and not due muft there- 
fore be found in every mind which lias any rational concep- 
tion of a favour, or any rational fentiment of gratitude. 

If we confider, on the other hand, what an injury is which 
is the obje(fl of the natural paflion of refentment, every man, 
capable of refledion, perceives, that an injury implies more 
than being hurt. If I be hurt by a ftone falling out of the 
wall, or by a flafh of lightning, or by a convulfive and ijivo- 
luntary motion of another man's arm, no injury is done, no 
refentment railed in a man that has reafon. In this, as in all 

moral 



422 E S S A Y V. 

CHAP. V. moral actions, there mufl be the will and intention of the agent 

V i»— ^.— iM^ 

to do the hurt. 

Nor is this fufBcient to conflitute an injury. The man who 
breaks my fences, or treads down my corn, when he cannot 
otherwlfe preferve himfelf from dellrudlion, who has no injuri- 
ous intention, and is willing to indemnify me for the hurt 
which neceflity, and not ill will, led him to do, is not injurious, 
nor is an objec5l of refentment. 

The executioner who does his duty, in cutting off the head 
of a condemned criminal, is not an objedl of refentment. He 
does nothhig unjuft, and therefore nothing injurious. 

From this it is evident, that an injury, the objed: of the na- 
tural palllon of refentment, implies in it the notion of injuftice. 
And it is no lefs evident, that no man can have a notion of in- 
juftice without having the notion of juftice. 

To fum up what has been faid upon this point : A favour, an 
adl of jurtice and an injury, are fo related to one another that 
he who conceives one mufl conceive the other two. They lie, 
as it were, in one line, and refemble the relations of greater, 
lefs and equal. If one underflands what is meant by one line 
being greater or lefs than another, he can be at no lofs to un- 
derftand what is meant by its being equal to the other j for, if 
it be neither greater nor lefs, it mufl be equal. 

In like manner, of thofe adlions by which we profit or hurt 
other men, a favour is more than juftice, an injury is lefs ; and 
that which is neither a favour nor an injury is a jull adion. 

As foon, therefore, as men come to have any proper notion 
of a favour and of an injury ; as foon as they have any rational 
exerclfc of gratitude and of refentment j fo foon they mufl 

have 



O F J U S T I C E. 423 

have the conception of jufticc and of injufticc; and if ^-ati- CHAi'. v. 
tude and rcfcntmcnt be natural to man, which Mr Hume al- 
lows, the notion of juftice mufl be no lefs natural. 

The notion of juftice carries infeparabiy along with it, a per- 
ception of its moral obligation. For to fay that fuch an action 
is an a6l of juflice, that it is due, that it ought to be done, 
that we are under a moral obligation to do it, are only diffe- 
rent ways of exprefling the fame thing. It is true, that we per- 
ceive no high degree of moral worth in a merely juft adion, 
when it is not oppofed by intereft or paflion ; but we perceive 
a high degree of turpitude and demerit in unjuft adions, or in 
the omilllon of what juftice requires. 

Indeed, if there were no other argument to prove, that the 
obligation of juftice is not folely derived from its utility to pro- 
cure what is agreeable either to ourfelves or to fociety, this 
would be fuflicient, That the very conception of juftice implies 
its obligation. The morality of juftice is included in the very 
idea of it : Nor is it poftible that the conception of juftice can 
enter into the human mind, without carrying along with it the 
conception of duty and moral obligation. Its obligation, there- 
fore, is infeparable from its nature, and is not derived folely from 
its utility, either to ourfelves or to fociety. 

We may farther obfcrve, That as in all moral eftimation, 
every action takes its denomination from the motive that pro- 
duces it j fo no ad ion can properly be denominated an ad of 
juftice, unlefs it be done from a regard to juftice. 

If a man pays his debt, only that he may not be cafl: into 
prifon, he is not a juft man, becanfe prudence, and not juftice, 
is liis motive. And if a man, from benevolence and charity, 
gives to another what is really due to him, but wliat he believes 

not 



424 E S S A Y V. 

^^Illj "°^ *° ^^ '^^^^' ^'^'^ ^^ ^°'- ^^ ^"^ °^ juflice in him, but of chari- 
ty or benevolence, becaufe it is not done from a motive of ju- 
flice. Thefe are felf-evldent truths j nor is it lefs evident, that 
what a man does, merely to procure fomething- agreeable, either 
to himfelf or to others, is not an adl of juftice, nor has the me- 
rit of juftice. 

Good mufic and good cookery have the merit of utility, in 
procuring what is agreeable both to ourfelves and to fociety, but 
they never obtained among mankind the denomination of mo- 
ral virtues. Indeed, if this author's fyflem be well founded, 
great injuftice has been done them on that account. 

I fhall now make fome obfervations upon the reafoning of 
this author, in proof of his favourite principle, That juftice is 
not a natural but an artificial virtue; or, as it is exprefled in the 
Enquiry, That public utility is the fole origin of juftice, and that 
reflexions on the beneficial confequences of this virtue are the 
fole foundation of its merit. 

I. It muft be acknowledged, that this principle has a necefl'a- 
ry connedion with his fyftem concerning the foundation of all 
virtue ; and therefore it is no wonder that he hath taken fo 
much pains to fupport It j for the whole fyftem muft ftand or 
fall with it. 

If the dulce and the utik, that is, pleafure, and what Is ufeful 
to procure pleafiire, be the whole merit of virtue, juftice can 
have no merit beyond its utility to procure pleafure. If, on the 
other hand, an Intrinfic worth in juftice and demerit in injuftice 
be dlfcerned by every man that hath a confclence ; if there be 
a natural principle in the conftitution of man, by which juftice 
is. approved and injuftice difapproved and condemned, then the 
whole of this laboured fyftem muft fall to the ground. 

2. We 



OF JUSTICE. 



425 



2. Wc may obfcrve, That as jiiftice is dircclly oppofcd to in- Cinr. v. 
jury, and as there are various ways in which a man may be in- 
jured, fo there mufl be various branches of juftice oppofed to 
tiie diO'erent kinds of injury. 

A man may be injured, Ji/;;^, in his perfon, by wounding-, 
maiming or killing him ; fccoudly, in his family, by robbing him 
of his children, or any way injuring thofc he is bound to pro- 
tedl ; thirdly, in his liberty, by confinement ; fourthly, in his re- 
jiutation ; fifthly^ in his goods or property ; and, lajlly, in the vio- 
lation of contracts or engagements made with him. This enu- 
meration, whetlier complete or not, is fulHcient for the prefent 
pur pole. 

The different branches of juflice, oppofed to thcfe different 
kinds of injury, are commonly expreffed by laying, that an in- 
nocent man has a right to the fafety of his perfon and family, 
a right to his liberty and reputation, a right to his goods, and 
to fidelity to engagements made with him. To fay that he has 
a right to thefe things, has precifely the fame meaning as to fiy, 
that juftice requires that he fliould be permitted to enjoy th*^-?!!, 
or chat it is unjuft to violate them. For injuftice is the viola- 
tion of right, and juftice is to yield to every man what is his 
right. 

Thefe things being underflood as the fimpleft and mofl com- 
mon ways of expreffing the various branches of juUice, we are 
to confider how far Mr Hume's reafoning proves any or all of 
them to be artificial, or grounded folely upon jniblic utility. 
The lad of them, fidelity to engagements, is to be the fubject 
of the next chapter, and therefore I fhall lay nothing of it in 
this. 

The four firft named, to wit, the right of an innocent man to 
the fafety of his perfon and family, to his liberty and reputa- 

H h h tion, 




ESSAY V. 

tlon are, by the writers on jnrifprudence, called natural rights 
of man, becaufe they are grounded in the nature of man as a 
rational and moral agent, and are by his Creator committed to 
his care and keeping. By being called natural or innate, they 
are diftlnguifhed from acquired rights, which fuppofe fome pre- 
vious ad or deed of man by which they are acquired, whereas 
natural rights fuppofe nothing of this kind. 

When a man's natural rights are violated, he perceives in- 
tuitively, and he feels that he is injured. The feeling of his 
heart arifes from the judgment of his underftanding ; for if he 
did not believe that the hurt was intended, and unjuflly intend- 
ed, he would not have that feeling. He perceives that injury 
is done to himfelf, and that he has a right to redrefs. The na- 
tural principle of refentment is roufed by the view of its pro- 
per objedt, and excites him to defend his right. Even the in- 
jurious perfon is confclous of his doing Injury ; he dreads a jufi: 
retaliation J and if it be in the power of the injured perfon, he 
expeds it as due and deferved^ 

That thefe fentiments fpring up in the mind of man as natu- 
rally as his body grows to its proper llature ; that they are not 
the birth of Inftrudtion, either of parents, priefts, philofophers 
or politicians, but the pure growth of nature, cannot, I think, 
without effrontery, be denied. We find them equally flrong in 
the mort favage and in the mofl civilized tribes of mankind ; 
and nothing can weaken them but an inveterate habit of rapine 
and bloodfhed, which benumbs the confcience, and turns men 
into wild beafls. 

The public good is very properly confidered by the judge 
who puniflies a private injury, but feldom enters into the 
thought of the Injured perfon. In all criminal law, the redrefs 
due to the private fufferer is diftinguiflied from that vv'hich is 
due to the public j a diftlndion which could have no foundation, 

if 



OF JUSTICE. 

if the demerit of injufUcc arofe folcly from its hurting the pu- 
blic. And every man is confcious of a l'j)ecific dilTcrencc be- 
tween the refcntment he feels for an injury done to himtelf, 
and his indignation againfl a wrong done to the public. 

I think, therefore, it is evident, that, of the fix branches of 
jultice we mentioned, four are natural, in the i^riclell fenfe, 
being founded upon the conltitution of man, and antecedent to 
all deeds and conventions of fociety ; fo that, if there were 
but two men upon the earth, one might be unjufl and injurious, 
and the other injured. 

But does Mr Hume maintain the contrary r 

To this queflion I anfwer. That his dodrine feems to imply 
it, but I hope he meant it not. 

He affirms in general that juftice is not a natural virtue ; 
that it derives its origin folely from public utility, and that re- 
fleclions on the beneficial confequences of this virtue are the 
fole foundation of its merit. He mentions no particular 
branch of jullice as an exception to this general rule ; yet ju- 
ftice, in common language, and in all the writers on jurifpru- 
dcnce 1 am acquainted with, comprehends the four branches 
above mentioned. His doctrine, therefore, according to the 
common conftruction of words, extends to thefe four, as well as 
to the two other branches of juft:ice. 

On the other hand, if we attend to his long and laboured 
proof of this doclrine, it appears evident, that he had in his 
eye only two particular branches of juftice. No part of his 
reafoning applies to the other four. He feems, 1 know not why, 
to have taken up a confined notion of juftice, and to have re- 
ftricled it to a regard to property and fidelity in con^rads. As 
to other branches he is filent. He no where lays, that it is not 

H h h 2 naturally 




428 E S S A Y V. 

CHAP, v.^ naturally criminal to rob an innocent man of his life, of his 
children, of his liberty, or of his reputation ; and I am apt to 
think he never meant it. 

The only Philofopher I know who has had the afTurance to 
maintain this, is Mr Hobbes, who makes the ftate of nature to 
be a ftate of war, of every man againfl every man ; and of fuch 
u war in which every man has a right to do and to acquire 
whatever his power can, by any means, accomplifti ; that is, a 
ftate wherein neither right nor injury, juftice nor injulHce, can 
poffibly exill. 

Mr Hume mentions this fyflem of Hobbes, but without 
adopting it, though he allows it the authority of Cicero in its 
favour. 

He fays in a note, " This fidllon of a flate of nature as a 
*' ftate of war was not firfl flarted by Mr Hobbes, as is com- 
" monly imagined. Plato endeavours to refute an hypothelis 
" very like it, in the 2d, 3d and 4th books, De Republka. Ci- 
" CERO, on the contrary, fuppofes it certain and univerfally ac- 
" knowledged, in the following paflage, &c. Pro Sextio^ I. 42." 

The pafTage, which he quotes at large, from one of Cicero's 
Orations, feems to me to require fome flraining to make it tally 
with the fyllem of Mr Hobbes. Be this as it may, Mr Hume 
might have added, That Cicero, in his Orations, like many 
other pleaders, fometimes fays not what he believed, but what 
was fit to fupport the caufe of his client. That Cicero's opi- 
nion, with regard to the natural obligation of juftice, was very 
different from that of Mr Hobbes, and even from Mr Hume's, 
is very well known. 

3. As Mr Hume, therefore, has faid nothing to prove the 
four branches of juftice which relate to the innate rights of 

men, 



O F J U S T I C E. 429 

men, to be artificial, or to derive their origin folely from public CIIAP. v. 
utility, 1 proceed to the fifth branch, which requires us not to 
invade another man's property. 

The right of proj^erty is not innate, but acquired. It is not 
grounded upon the conflitutiou of man, but upon his adions. 
Writers on jurifprudence have explained its origin in a manner 
that may fatisfy every man of common underi\anding. 

The earth is given to men in common for the purpofes of life, 
by the bounty of Heaven. But, to divide it, and appropriate 
one part of its produce to one, another part to another, muft be 
the work of men who have power and underftanding given 
them, by which every man may accommodate himfelf without 
hurt to any other. 

This common right of every man to what the earth produces, 
before it be occupied and appropriated by others, was, by an- 
cient moralifts, very properly compared to the right which eve- 
ry citizen had to the public theatre, where every man that came 
might occupy an empty feat, and thereby acquire a right to it 
while the entertainment lafled j but no man had a right to difpof- 
fefs another. 

The earth is a great theatre, furniflied by the Almighty, with 
perfed wifdom and goodnefs, for the entertainment and employ- 
ment of all mankind. Here every man has a right to accom- 
modate himfelf as a fpedator, and to perform his part as an ac- 
tor, but without hurt to others. 

He who does fo is a jufl man, and thereby entitled to fome 
degree of moral approbation ; and he who not only does no 
hurt, but employs his j)ower to do good, is a good man, and is 
thereby entitled to a higher degree of moral approbation. But 
he who juflles and molefts his neighbour, who deprives him of 

any 



430 E S S A Y V. 

CHAP.v. any accommodation which his indurtry has provided without 
hurt to others, is unjuft, and a proper objedt of refentment. 

It Is true, therefore, that property has a beginning from the 
xiftions of men, occupying, and perhaps improving, by their in- 
duftry, what was common by nature. It Is true aUo, that before 
property exifts, that branch of jullice and injuftice which re- 
gards property cannot exift. But it Is alfo true, that where 
there are men, there will very foon be property of one kind or 
^ another, and confequently there will be that branch of juftice 
which attends property as its guardian. 

There are two kinds of property which we may diftingulflx. 

The Jirjl is what mufl prefently be confumed to fuftain life ; 
xhtfecond, which is more permanent, is what may be laid up and 
iftored for the fupply of future wants. 

Some of the gifts of nature muft be ufed and confumed by 
Individuals for the daily fupport of life ; but they cannot be 
ufed till they be occupied and appropriated. If another perfon 
may, without injuftice, rob me of what I have Innocently occu- 
pied for prefent fubfiftence, the neceflary confequence muft be, 
that he may, without injuftice, take away my life. 

A right to life implies a right to the neceflary means of life. 
And that juftice which forbids the taking away the life of an 
innocent man, forbids no lefs the taking from him the neceflary 
means of life. He has the fame right to defend the one as the 
other; and nature Infpires him with the fame juft refentment of 
the one injury as of the other. 

The natural right of liberty implies a right to fuch innocent 
labour as a man chufes, and to the fruit of that labour. To 

hinder 



O F J U S T I C E. 431 

liIndcT anotlicr man's innocent labour, or to deprive him of the CUA?. v. 
fruit of it, is an injultice of the fame kind, and has the fame 
cBld as to put him in fetters or in prifon, and is equally a juft 
object of refentment. 

Thus it appears, that fome kind, or fome degree, of property 
muft cxift wherever men exift, and that the right to fuch pro- 
perty is the neceffary confequence of the natural right of men 
to life and liberty. 

It has been further obferved, that God has made man a faga- 
cious and provident animal, led by his conftitution not only to 
occupy and ufe what nature has provided for the fupply of his 
prefent wants and neceflities, but to forefee future wants, and to 
provide for them ^ and that not only for liimfelf, but for his 
family, his friends and connexions.. 

He therefore acts in perfect conformity to his nature, when 
he Itores, of the fruit of his labour, what may afterwards be 
ufeful to himfelf or to others ; when he invents and fabricates 
utenfils or machines by which his labour may be facilitated, 
and its produce increafed; and when, by exchanging with his 
fellow-men commodities or labour, he accommodates both him- 
felf and them. Thefe are the natural and innocent exertions 
of that underftanding wherewith his Maker has endowed him. 
He has therefore a right to exercife them, and to enjoy the fruit 
of them. Every man who impedes him in making fjch exer- 
tions, or deprives him of the fruit of them, is injurious and un- 
juft, and an objedt of juil refentment. 

Many brute-animals are led by inftinct to provide for futu- 
rity, and to defend their ftore, and their itore-houfc, againlt all 
invaders. There feems to be in man, before the ufe of reafon, 
an inllind of the fame kind. When reafon and confcience 

grow 



432 E S S A Y V. 

CHAP, v.^ gj-Q^y up^ ^l■^gy approve and juftify this provident care, and con- 
demn, as unjuft, every invafion of others, that may fruftrate 
it. 

Two inftances of this provident fagacity feem to be peculiar 
to man. I mean the invention of utenfils and machines for fa- 
cilitating labour, and the making exchanges with his fellow- 
men for mutual benefit. No tribe of men has been found fo 
rude as not to pradife thefe things in fome degree. And I 
know no tribe of brutes that was ever obferved to pradife them. 
They neither invent nor ufe utenfils or machines, nor do they 
traffic by exchanges. 

From thefe obfervations, I think it evident, that man, even In 
the ftate of nature, by his powers of body and mind, may ac- 
quire permanent property, or what we call riches, by which his 
own and his family's wants are more liberally fupplied, and his 
power enlarged to requite his benefadors, to I'elieve objeds of 
companion, to make friends, and to defend his property againft 
unjuft invaders. And we know from hiftory, that men, who had 
no fuperior on earth, no connedion with any public beyond 
their own family, have acquired property, and had difl:ind no- 
tions of that jufi:ice and injuftice, of which it is the objed. 

Every man, as a reafonable creature, has a right to gratify his 
natural and innocent defires, without hurt to .others. No defire 
is more natural, or more reafonable, than that of fupplying his 
wants. When this is done without hurt to any man, to hin- 
der or frufl:rate his innocent labour, is an unjuft violation of his 
natural liberty. Private utility leads a man to defire property, 
and to labour for it ; and his right to it is only a right to la- 
bour for his own benefit. 

That public utility is the fole origin, even of that branch of 
juftice which regards property, is fo far from being true, that 
when men confederate and conftitute a public, under laws and 

government, 



O F J U S T I C E. 433 

government, the right of each indivuUial to his property Is, by ch ap, v . 
that confederation, abridged and liniited. In the Ihite of na- 
ture every man's property was folely at his own difpofal, becaufe 
he had no fuperior. In civil fociety it nuifl: be fubjecl to the laws 
of the fociety. He gives up to the public part of that right which 
he had in the ftate of nature, as the price of that protection and 
fecurity which he I'eceives from civil fociety. In the Uate of na- 
ture, he was fole judge in his own caufe, and had right to de- 
fend his property, his liberty, and life, as far as his power reach- 
ed. In the ftate of civil fociety, he nnift fubmit to the judg- 
ment of the fociety, and acquiefce in its fentence, though he 
iliould conceive it to be unjuft. 

What was faid above, of the natural right every man has to 
acquire permanent property, and to difpofe of it, mull be under- 
ftood with this condition, That no other man be thereby depriv- 
ed of the neceflary means of life. The right of an innocent 
man to the neceffaries of life, is, in its nature, fuperior to tbat 
which the rich man has to his riches, even though they be ho- 
neftly acquired. The ufe of riches, or permanent property, is 
to fupply future and cafual wants, which ought to yield to pre- 
fent and certain neceflity. 

As, in a family, juftice requires that the children who are 
unable to labour, and thofe who, by ficknefs, are di fabled, 
fliould have their neeelTities fupplicd out of the common ftock, 
fo, in the great family of God, of which all mankind are the 
children, juftice, I think, as well as charity, requires, that the 
necellities of thofe who, by the providence of God, are dif- 
abled from fupplying themfelves, Ihould be fupplicd from what 
might otherwife be ftored for future wants. 

From this it appears, That the right of acquiring and that 
of difpofing of property, may be fubjeCt to limitations and re- 
ftriclions, even in the llate of nature, ami much more in the 

I i i Mate 




in 



ESSAY V. 

flate of civil fociety, in which the public has what writers 
jurifprudence call an eminent dominion over the property, as well 
as over the lives of the fubjeds, as far as the public good re- 
quires. 

If thefe principles be well founded, Mr Hume's arguments to 
prove that juftice is an artificial virtue, or th it its public utility 
is the fole foundation of its merit, may be eafily anfwered. 

He fuppofes,^/;^, a ftate in which nature has beftowed on the 
human race, fuch abundance of external goods, that every man, 
without cafe or induftry, finds himfelf provided of whatever he 
can wifli or defire. It is evident, fays he, that in fuch a ftate, 
the cautious jealous virtue of juftice would never once have 
been dreamed of. 

It may be obferved,^r/?, That this argument applies only to 
one of the fix branches of juftice before mentioned. The other 
five are not in the leaft afiecfted by it j and the Reader will eafily 
perceive that this obfervation applies to almofl all his arguments, 
fo that it needs not be repeated. 

Secondly, All that this argument proves is, That a ftate of the 
human race may be conceived wherein no property exifts, and 
where, of confequence, there can be no exercife of that branch 
of juftice which refpecfts property. But does it follow from this, 
that where property exifts, and muft exift, that no regard ought 
to be had to it ? 

He next fuppofes that the necefllties of the human race con- 
tinuing the fame as at prefent, the mind is fo enlarged with 
friendftiip and generofity, that every man feels as much tender- 
nefs and concern for the intereft of every man, as for his own. 
It feems evident, he fays, that the ufe of juftice would be fu- 
fpended by fuch an extenfive benevolence, nor would the divi- 

fions 



O F J U S T I C E. 435 

lions and barriers of property and obligation have ever been chap. v. 
thought of. 

I anfwcr, The condncH: whicl) this extenfivc benevolence leads 
to, is either perfecftly confiftent with juftice, or it is not. FtrJ}, 
If there be any cafe where this benevolence would lead us to 
do injuiUce, the ufe of juftice is not fufpended. Its obligation 
is fuperior to that of benevolence ; and, to fliew benevolence to 
one, at the expcnce of injuftice to another, is immoral. Second- 
ly^ Suppofing no fuch cafe could happen, the ufe of juftice would 
"not be fufpended, becaufe by it we muft diftinguifli good offices 
to which we had a right, from thole to which we had no rigiit, 
and which therefore require a return of gratitude. Thirdly, 
Suppofing the ufe of juftice to be fufpended, as it muft be in 
every cafe where it cannot be exercifed, Will it follow, that its 
obligation is fufpended, where there is accefs to exercife it ? 

A third fuppofition is, the reverfe of the firft, That a fociety 
falls into extreme want of the neceflaries of life : Tiie queftion 
is put, Whether in fuch a cafe, an equal partition of bread, with- 
out regard to private property, though effedted by power, and 
even by violence, would be regarded as criminal and injurious ? 
And. the Author conceives, that this would be a fufpenfion of 
the ftricl laws of juftice. 

I anfwer. That fuch an equal partition as Mr Hume mentions, 
is fo fir from being criminal or injurious, that jullice recjuires 
it ; and furely that cannot be a fufpenfion of the laws of juftice, 
which is an act of juftice. All that the ftricleft juftice requires in 
fuch a cafe, is, That the man whofe life is preferved at the expence 
of another, and without his confent, lliould indemnify him when 
he is able. His cafe is fimilar to that of a debtor who is infol- 
vent, without any fault on his part. Juftice requires that he 
ftiould be forboru till he is able to pay. It is ftrange that Mr 

1 i i 2 Hume 



436 , E S S A Y V. 

CHAP. V. Hume flioukl think that an adion, neither criminal nor in- 
jurious, flaould be a fufpenfion of the U\ws of juftice. This feems 
to me a contradiction j for jujiice and injury are contradidlory 
terms. 

The next argument is thus exprelled : " When any man, even 
" in political fociety, renders himfelf, by crimes, obnoxious 
" to the public, he is punifhed in his goods and perfon \ that is, 
" the ordinary rules of juflice are, with regard to him, fufpend- 
" ed for a moment, and it becomes equitable to inflid on him, 
" what otherwife he could not fuffer without wrong or injury." 

This argument, like the former, refutes itfelf. For that an 
a(5tion fhould be a fufpenfion of the rules of juftice, and at the 
fame time equitable, feems to me a contradiction. It is pofli- 
ble that equity may interfere with the letter of human laws, be- 
caufe all the cafes that may fall under them, cannot be forefeen > 
but that equity fliould interfere with juftice is impoftible. It is 
ftrange that Mr Hume fhould think, that juft;ice requires that a 
criminal fhould bC' treated in the fame way as an innocent 
man. 

Another argument is taken fi-om public war. What is it, fays 
he, but a fufpenfion of juftice among the warring parties ? The 
laws of war, which then fucceed to thofe of equity and juftice, 
are rules calculated for the advantage and utility of that parti- 
cular ftate in which men are now placed. 

I anfwer, when war is undertaken for felf-defence, or for re- 
paration of intolerable injuries, juftice authorifes it. The laws 
of war, which have been defcribed by many judicious moralifts, 
are all drawn from the fountain of juftice and equity ; and eve- 
ry thing contrary to juftice, is contrary to the laws of war. 
That juftice, which prefcribes one rule of condud: to a mafter, 

another 



OF JUSTICE. 



437 



another to a fcrvant ; one to a parent, another to a child ; pre- chap. v. 
Icribes ahb one rule of condudl towards a frienti, another to- 
wards an enemy. I do not underfland what Mr Hume means 
by the advantage and titUity of a Itate of war, for which he fays 
the laws of war are calculated, and fuccced to thofe'of juftice 
and equity. 1 know uo laws of war that are not calculated for 
juflice and equity. 

The next argument is this, were there a fpecies of creatures 
intermingled with men, which, though rational, were polleired 
of fucii inferior flrength, both of body and mind, that they were* 
incapable of all refiftance, and could never, upon the higheft 
provocation, make us feel the effeds of their refentment ; the 
necefTary confequence, I think, is, that we fliould be bound, by 
the laws of humanity, to give gentle ufage to thefe creatures, 
but lliould not, properly fpeaking, lie under any rellraint of ju- 
ftice with regard to tliem, nor could they poflefs any right or 
property, exclufive of fuch arbitrary lords. 

If Mr Hume had not owned this fentiment as a confequence 
of his Tlieory of Morals, 1 fliould have thought it very unchari- 
table to impute it to him. However, we may judge of the 
Theory by its avowed confequence. For there cannot be bet- 
ter evidence, that a theory of morals, or of any particular vir- 
tue, is falfe, than when it fubverts the pradical rules of morals. 
This defencelefs fpecies of rational creatures, is doomed by Mr 
Hume to have no rights. Wliy ? Becaufe they have no power 
to defend themfelves. Is not this to fay, That right has its ori- 
gin from power ; which, indeed, was the doctrine of I\Ir Hobbes. 
And to illuftrate this doctrine, Mr Hume adds, That as no in- 
convenience ever refults from the cxercife of a power, fo llrmly 
eftablilhed in nature, the reflraints of judice and property being 
totally ufelefs, could never have place in fo imequal a confede- 
racy J and, to tlie fame purpofe, he fays, that the female part of 

our 



438 ESSAY V. 

CHAP, v^ Qm- Q^i^ fpecies, owe the fhare they have in the rights of fociety, 
to the power which their addrefs and their charms give them. 
If this be found morals, Mr Hume's Theory of Juftice may be 
true. 

We may here obferve, that though, in other places, Mr Hume 
founds the obligation of juftice upon its utility to owr/^/t;^/, or 
to others, it is here founded folely upon utility to our/elves. For 
furely to be treated with juftlce would be highly ufeful to the 
defencelefs fpecies he here fuppofes to exift. But as no incon- 
•venience to ourfelves can ever refult from our treatment of 
them, he concludes, that juftice would be ufelefs, and therefore 
can have no place. Mr Hobbes could have faid no more. 

He fuppofes, in the laj} place, a Hate of human nature, where- 
in all fociety and intercourfe is cut off between man and man. 
It is evident, he fays, that fo folitary a being would be as much 
incapable of juflice as of focial difcourfe and converfation. 

And would not fo folitary a being be as incapable of frlend- 
fliip, generofity and compafllon, as of juftice ? If this argu- 
ment prove juftice to be an artificial virtue, it will, with equal 
force, prove every focial virtue to be artificial. 

Thefe are the arguments which Mr Hume has advanced in 
his Enquiry, in the firft part of a long fedion upon juftice. 

In the fecond part, the arguments are not fo clearly diftin- 
guiftied, nor can they be eafily colledled. I fliall offer fome 
remarks upon what feems mofl fpecious in this fecond part. 

He begins with obferving, " That, if we examine the par- 
" ticular laws by which juftice is direded and property deter- 
*' mined, they prefent us with the fame conclufion. The good 

" of 



O F J U S T I C E. 439 

" of inankiiul is the only obj(^(S of all thofe laws and rcgula- CHAV. V. 



" tions. 



It is not eafy to perceive where the flrefs of this argument 
lies. The good of mauk'iud is the ohjeEl of all the laivs and regulations 
by "which jnflice is directed and property determined; therefore jiijlicc is 
not a natural virtue^ hut has its origin folely from public utility, and its 
beneficial confeqnences are the fole foundation of its inerit. 

Some ftep feems to be wanting to connedl the antecedent 
propofition with the conclufion, which, I think, mufl: be one 
or other of thefe two propofitions ; firft, ylll the rules of juflice 
tend to public utility ; or, fccondly, Public utility is the only flandard 
of juJ}ice,from which alone all its rules mufl be deduced. 

If the argument be, That juftice mufl have Its origin folely 
from public utility, bccaufe all Its rules tend to public utility, 
I cannot admit the confequence; nor can Mr Hume admit it 
without overturning his own fyflem. For the rules of benevo- 
lence and humanity do all tend to the public utility, and yet 
in his fyflem, they have another foundation In human nature ; 
fo likewifc may the rules of juftice. 

I am apt to think, therefore, that the argument Is to be 
taken in the lafl fcnfe, That public utility Is the only ftandard 
of juftice, from which all Its rules mufl be deduced; and there- 
fore juflice has Its origin folely from public utility. 

This feems to be Mr Hume's meaning, bccaufe, In what 
follows, he obferves, That, In order to ellablini laws for the 
regulation of property, we mufl be acquainted with the na- 
ture and fituation of man ; mufl rejedl appearances which may 
be falfc, though fpecious ; and mufl fearch for thofe rules which 
are, on the whole, mofl ufeful and beneficial ; and endeavours 
to Ihew, that the cftabllflied rules which regard property are 
more for the public good, than the iyflcm, either of thofe reli- 
gious 



440 J: S S A Y V. 

CHAP. V, glous fanatics of the lafl age, who held, that faints only fhould 
inherit the earth 5 or of thofe political fanatics, who claimed an 
equal divilion of property. 

We fee here, as before, that though Mr Hume's conclufion 
refpedls juflice in general, his argument Is confined to one 
branch of juflice, to wit, the right of property ; and it is well 
known, that, to conclude from a part to the whole, is not good 
reafoning. 

Befides, the propofition from which his conclufion is drawn, 
cannot be granted, either with regard to property, or with re- 
gard to the other branches of juflice. 

We endeavoured before to fhow, that property, though not 
a,n innate but an acquired right, may be acquired in the flate of 
nature, and agreeably to the laws of nature ', and that this 
right has not its origin from human laws, made for the public 
good, though, when men enter into political fociety. It may 
and ought to be regulated by thofe laws. 

If there were but two men upon the face of the earth, of 
ripe faculties, each might have his own property, and might 
know his right to defend It, and his obligation not to invade the 
property of the other. He would have no need to have re- 
courfe to reafoning from public good, in order to know when 
he was injured, either in his property, or In any of his natural 
rights, or to know what rules of juflice he ought to obferve to- 
wards his neighbour. 

The fimple rule, of not doing to his neighbour what he 
would think wrong to be done to himfelf, would lead him to 
the knowledge of every branch of juflice, without the confidera- 
tion of public good, or of laws and flatutes made to promote 
it. 

It 



O F J U S T I C E. 441 

It is not tme, therefore, That public utility is the only flan- chap, v.^ 
darcl of juUicc, and that the rules of juftice cai\ be deduced 
only from their public utility. 

Aristides, and the people of Athens, had kirely another 
notion of juftice, when he pronounced the counfel of Themis- 
TOCLES, which was communicated to him only, to be highly 
ufeful, but unjuft ; and the aflembly, upon this authority, re- 
jeded the propofitl unheard. Thefe honefl; citizens, though fub- 
je(ft to no laws but of their own making, far from making 
utility the flandard of judice, made juftice to be the ftandard 
of utility. 

" What is a man^s property ? Any thing which it is lawful for 
*' him, and for him alone, to ufe. But ivbat rule have we by 
" which we can di/iinguiP} thefe objeBs? Here we muft have re- 
" courfe to ftatutes, cuftoms, precedents, analogies, ^t." 

Does not this imply, that, in the ftate of nature, there can be 
no diftindion of property? If fo, Mr Hume's ftate of nature 
is the fame with that of Mr Hobbes. 

It is true, that, when men become members of a political fo- 
ciety, they fubjecfl their property, as well as themfelves, to the 
laws, and muft either acquiefce in what the laws determine, or 
leave thefociety. But juftice, and even that particular branch of it 
which our author always fuppofes to be the whole, is antecedent 
to political focieties and to their laws ; and the intention of 
thefe laws is, to be the guardians of juftice, and to redrefs in- 
juries. 

As all the works of men are imperfecft, human laws may be 

unjuft ; which could never be, if juftice had its origin from 
law, as the author feems here to iniinuate. 

K k k Juftice 



442 ESSAY V. 

i^'!^^^' Juftice requires, that a member of a flate fliould fubmit to 
the laws of the (late, when they require nothing unjufl or im- 
pious. There may, therefore, be ilatutory rights and flatutory 
crimes. A ftatute may create a right which did not before ex- 
ift, or make that to be criminal which was not fo before. But 
this could never be, if there were not an antecedent obligation 
upon the fubjedts to obey the flatutes. In like manner, the 
command of a mailer may make that to be the fervant's duty 
which, before, was not his duty, and the fervant may be charge- 
able with injuflice if he dlfobeys, becaufe he was under an 
antecedent obligation to obey his mafter in lawful things. 

We grant, therefore, that particular laws may diredl juftice 
and determine property, and fometimes even upon very flight 
reafons and analogies, or even for no other reafon but that it i-s 
better that fuch a point Ihould be determined by law than that 
it fliould be left a dubious fubjed: of contention. But this, 
far from prefenting us with the conclufion which the author 
•would eftabliHi, prelents us with a contrary conclufion^ For 
all thefe particular laws and flatutes derive their whole obliga- 
tion and force from a general rule of juftice antecedent to 
them, to v/it, That fubjeds ought to obey the laws of their 
country. 

The author compares the rules of juftice with the moft frivo- 
lous fuperftitions, and can find no foundation for moral fenti- 
ment in the one more than In the other, excepting that jufllce 
is requifite to the well-being and exiflence of fociety* 

It is very true, that, if we examine mhte and thine by the 
fcnfes of fight, fmell or touch, or fcrutinize them by the fc'tences of medi- 
cine, chemijiry or phyfics, we perceive no difierence. But the rea- 
fon is, that none of thefe fenfes or fciences are the judges of 
right or wrong, or can give any conception of them, any more 
than the ear of colour, or the eye of found. Every man of 

common 



O F J U S T I C E. 443 

common underftandlng, and every favage, when he applies his piAP. v. 
moral faculty to thofe objcds, perceives a difference as clearly 
as he perceives day-light. When that fcnfe or faculty is not 
confulted, in vain do we confult every other, in a queflion of 
right and wrong. 

To perceive that juftlcc tends to the good of mankind, would 
lay no moral obligation upon us to be juft, unlefs we be con- 
fcious of a moral obligation to do what tends to the good of 
mankind. If fuch a moral obligation be admitted, why may 
We not admit a flronger obligation to do injury to no man ? 
The laft obligation is as eafily conceived as the firft, and there 
is as clear evidence of its exiftence in human nature. 

The lafl argument is a dilemma, and is thus expreflcd : " The 

" dilemma feems obvious. As juftice evidently tends to pro- 

" mote public utility, and to fupport civil fociety, the fentimeni 

" of juflice is either derived from our reflcding on that ten- 

" dency, or, like hunger, thirfl and other appetites, refentment, 

" love of life, attachment to offspring, and other pafljons, arifes 

" from a fimple original inftind in the human breart, which 

*' nature has implanted for like falutary purpofes. If the lat- 

*• ter be the cafe, it follows, That property, which is the objed: 

" of juftice, is alfo diftinguifhed by a fimple original inftind, 

" and is not afcertained by any argument or refledion. But 

'* who is there that ever heard of fuch an iuflind," <Sc. 

1 doubt not but Mr Hume has heard of a principle called 
confciettce, which nature has implanted in the human breaft. 
Whether he will call it a fimple original inflind, I know not, 
as he gives that name to all our appetites and to all our pafTions. 
From this principle, I think, we derive the fentiment of juftice. 

As the eye not only gives us the conception of colours, but 
makes us perceive one body to have one colour, and another 

K k k 2 bodv 



444 ESSAY V. 

y^^ ^' ^ ' ^°^y another ; and as our reafon not only gives us the concep- 
tion of true and falfe, but makes us perceive one propofition to 
be true and another to be falfe ; fo our confcience, or moral fa- 
culty, not only gives us the conception of honefl and dilhoneft, 
but makes us perceive one kind of condud to be honeft, ano- 
ther to be difhoneft. By this faculty we perceive a merit in 
honeft condudl, and a demerit in difhoneft, without regard to 
public utility. 

That thefe fentiments are not the effedl of education or of 
acquired habits, we have the fame reafon to conclude, as that 
our perception of what is true and what falfe, is not the effed: 
of education or of acquired habits. There have been men who- 
profeffed to believe, that there is no ground to aflent to any one 
propofition rather than its contrary ; but I never yet heard 
of a man who had the effrontery to profefs himfelf to be under 
no obligation of honour or honefty, of truth or juftice, in his 
dealings with men. 

Nor does this faculty of confcience require innate Ideas of pro- 
perty, and of the various ways of acquiring and transferring it, or in- 
nate ideas of kings and fenators, of pretors and chancellors and juries, 
any more than the faculty of feeing x-equires innate ideas of 
colours, or than the faculty of reafoning requires innate ideas 
• of cones, cylinders and fpheres. 



CHAP. 



OF THE NATURE OF A COXTRACT. 445 



CHAP. \ I. 



CHAP. VI. 

Of the Nature and Obligation of a ContraH. 

TH E obligation of contradls and promifes is a matter fo fa- 
cred, and of fuch confcqiience to human focicty, that fpe- 
culations which have a tendency to weaken that obligation, and 
to perplex men's notions on a fubjecft fo plain and fo important, 
ought to meet with the difapprobation of all honeft men. 

Some fuch fpcculations, I think, we have in the third volume 
of Mr Hume's Trcatife of Human Nature, and in his Enquiry 
hito the Principles of Morals ; and my defign in this chapter is, 
to offer fome obfervations on the nature of a contrad or pro- 
mife, and on two paffages of that author on this fubjed. 

I am far from faying or thinking, that Mr HtJME meant to 
weaken men's obligations to honcfty and fair dealing, or that 
he had not a fenfe of thefe obligations himfelf. It is nut the 
man I impeach, but his writings. Let us think of the lirft as 
charitably as we can, while we freely examine the import and 
tendency of the laft. 

Although the nature of a contrad and of a promifc is per- 
fecTlly underflood by all men of common underftanding ; yet, 
by attention to the operations of mind fignified by thefe words, 
we fliall be better enabled to judge of the metaphyfical fubtil- 
ties which have been raifed about them. A promife and a con- 
trail differ fo little in what concerns the prefent difquiiition, 
that the fame reafoning (as Mr Hume jullly obferves) extends 
to both. In a promife, one party only comes under the obliga- 
tion, the other acquires a right to the prclhition promifed. But 
we give the name of a contract to a tranfadion in which each 

party 



44^ E S S A Y V. 

CHAP. VI. party comes under an obligation to the other, and each recipro- 
cally acquires a right to what is promifed by the other. 

The Latin word paBum feems to extend to both \ and the de- 
finition given of it in the Civil Law, and borrowed from Ul- 
PIAN, is, Duorum pluriumve in idem placitum covfenfus. Titius, 
a modern Civilian, has endeavoured to make this definition 
more complete, by adding the words, Obligationis licite conftituenda 
vel tolknda caufa datus. With this addition the definition is. That 
a contract is the confent of two or more perfons in the fame 
thing, given with the intention of conftituting or diiTolving law- 
fully fome obligation. 

This definition is perhaps as good as any other that can be 
given; yet, I believe, every man will acknowledge, that it gives 
him no clearer or more diflin6l notion of a contradl than he 
had before. If it is confidered as a ftridly logical definition, 
I believe fome objections might be made to it ; but I forbear to 
mention them, becaufe I believe that fimilar objedlions might be 
made to any definition of a contrail that can be given. 

Nor can it be inferred from this, that the notion of a contrail 
is not perfedlly clear in every man come to years of underfland- 
ing. For this is common to many operations of the mind, that 
although we underfi:and them perfedlly, and are in no danger of 
confounding them with any thing elfe ; yet we cannot define 
them according to the rules of logic, by a genus and a fpecific 
difference. And when we attempt it, we rather darken than 
give light to them. 

Is there any thing more difi:In£lly underilood by all men, 
than what it is to fee, to hear, to remember, to judge ? Yet it is 
the mofl; difficult thing in the world to define thefe operations 
according to the rules of logical definition. But it is not more 
difficult than it is ufelefs. 

Sometimes 



OF THE NATURE OF A CONTRACT. 447 

Sometimes Pliilofophcrs attempt to define them ; but, if we chap, vl 
examine their definitions, we fliall find, that they amount to no 
more than giving one fynonymous word for another, and com- 
conly a worle for a better. So when we define a contrad, by 
calling it a confent, a convention, an agreement, what is this but 
giving a fynonymous word for it, and a word that is neither 
more expreflivc nor better underftood ? 

One boy has a top, another a fcourge ; fays tlie firfi to the 
other, If you will lend me your fcourge as long as I can keep up 
my top with it, you fliall next have the top as long as you can 
keep it up. Agreed, fays the other. This is a contrad: perfecfl- 
ly undcrftood by both parties, though they never heard of the 
definition given by Ulpian or by Tixius. And each of them 
knows, that he is injured if the other breaks the bargain, cmd 
that he does wrong if he breaks it himfelf. 

The operations of the human mind may be divided into two 
clafles, the folitary and the focial. As promifes and contradls 
belong to the lafl clafs, it may be proper to explain this divi- 
fion.. 

I call thofe operations yoAVi/rj, which may be performed by a 
man in folitude, without iutercourfe with any other intelligent 
being. 

I call thofe operations foc/a/, which necefTlirily Imply focial 
iutercourfe with fome other intelligent being who bears a part 
in them. 

A man may fee, and hear, and remember, and judge, and rea- 
fon ; he may deliberate and form purpofcs, and execute them, 
without the intervention of any other intelligent being. They 
are folitary aifls. But when he afks a queftion for information, 
when he tefiifics a fadl, when he gives a command to his ler- 
vant, when he makes a promife, or enters into a contract, thefe arc 

focial 



44S E S S A Y V. 

CHAP. VI. focial ads of mind, and can have no exiftence without the inter- 
vention of fome other intelligent being, who a-^s a part in them. 
Between the operations of the mind, which, for want of a more 
proper name, I have called folitary, and thofe I have calledyoria/, 
there is this very remarkable diftindion, that, in the folitary, 
the exprellion of them by words, or any other fenfible fign, is 
accidental. They may exift, and be complete, without being 
exprefled, without being Known to any other perfon. But, in 
the focial operations, the expreflion is effential. They can- 
not exift without being exprefTed by words or figns, and known 
to the other party. 

If nature had not made man capable of fuch focial operations 
of mind, and furnlflied him with a language to exprefs them, "he 
might think, and reafon, and deliberate, and will ; he might 
have defires and averfions, joy and forrow ; in a word, he might 
exert all thofe operations of mind, which the writers in logic and 
pneumatology have fo copioufly defcrlbed ; but, at the fame 
time, he would ftill be a folitary being, even when in a crowd ', 
it would be impolTible for him to put a queftion, or give a com- 
mand, to alk a favour, or teftify a fad, to make a promife or a 
bargain. 

I take it to be the common opinion of Philofophers, That the 
focial operations of the human mind are not fpecifically differ- 
ent from the folitary, and that they are only various modifica- 
tions or compofitions of our folitary operations, and may be re- 
folved into them. 

It is, for this reafon probably, that, in enumerating the opera- 
tions of the mind, the folitary only are mentioned, and no no- 
tice at all taken of the focial, though they are familiar to every 
man, and have names in all languages. 

I apprehend, however, it will be found extremely difficult, if 
not impoffible, to refolve our focial operations into any modifi- 
cation 



OF THE NATURE OF A CONTRACT. 



449 



cation or compofition of the folitary : And that an attempt to ^HAP. vi. 

tlo this, would prove as ineffediial as the attempts that have 

been made to refolve all our focial aO'edions into the felfifli. 

The focial operations appear to be as fimple in their nature as 

the folitary. They are found in every individual of the fpecies, 

even before the ufc of reafon. 

The power which man has of holding focial intercourfe 
with his kind, by aflcing and refufing, threatening and fupplica- 
ting, commanding and obeying, tertifying and promifing, mull 
either be a dilUnifl faculty given by our Maker, and a part of 
our conftitution, like the powers of feeing, and hearing, or it 
muft be a human invention. If men have invented this art of 
focial intercourfe, it muft follow, that every individual of the 
fpecies muft have invented it for himfelf. It cannot be taught; 
for though, when once carried to a certain pitch, it may be im- 
proved by teaching ; yet it is impollible it can begin in that way, 
becaufe all teaching fuppofes a focial intercourfe and language 
already eftabliflied between the teacher and the learner. This 
intercourfe muft, from the very firft, be carried on by fenfible 
figns ; for the thoughts of other men can be difcovered in no 
other way. I think it is likewife evident, that this intercourfe, 
in its beginning at leaft, muft be carried on by natural figns, 
whofe meaning is underftood by both parties, previous to all 
compad or agreement. For there can be no compact without 
figns, nor without focial intercourfe. 

I apprehend therefore, that the focial intercourfe of mankind, 
confifting of thofc focial operations which 1 have mentioned, 
is the excrcife of a faculty appropriated to that purpofe, wliich 
is the gift of God, no lefs than the powers of feeing and hear- 
ing. And that, in order to carry on this intercourfe, God has 
given to man a natural language, by which his focial operations 
are exprefied, and, without which, the artificial languages of ar- 
ticulate founds, and of writing, could never have been invented 
by human art. 

L I I The 



45 o 



ESSAY V. 



CHAP. VI. The figns in this natural language are looks, changes of the 
' ' features, modulations of the voice, and geftures of the body. 

All men underftand this language without inftrudion, and all 
men can ule it in fome degree. But they are moft expert in it 
who ufe it moft. It makes a great part of the language of fa- 
vages, and therefore they are more expert in the ufe of natural 
figns than the civilized. 

The language of dumb perfons is moftly formed of natural 
figns ; and they are all great adepts in this language of nature. 
All that we call adion and pronunciation, in the moft perfedl 
orator, and the moft admired adlor, is nothing elfe but fuperad- 
ding the language of nature to the language of articulate founds. 
The pantomimes among the Romans carried it to the higheft: 
pitch of perfedion. For they could a6l parts of comedies and 
tragedies in dumb-fliew, fo as to be underftood, not only by 
thofe who were accuftomed to this entertainment, but by all 
the ftrangers that came to Rome, from all the corners of the 
earth. 

For it may be obferved of this natural language, (and no- 
thing more clearly demonftrates it to be a part of the human 
conftitution,) that although it require pradlice and ftudy to en- 
able a man to exprefs his fentiments by it in the moft perfedl 
manner j yet it requires neither ftudy nor pradice in the fpec- 
tator to underftand it. The knowledge of it was before latent 
in the mind, and we no fooner fee it, than we immediately re- 
coonife it, as we do an acquaintance whom we had long forgot, 
and could not have defcribed j but no fooner do we fee him, 
than we know for certain that he is the very man. 

This knowledge, in all mankind, of the natural figns of men's 
thoughts and fentiments, is indeed fo like to reminifcence, that it 

feems 



OF JUSTICE. 



451 



ieems to have led Plato to conceive all human knowledge to be chap. vi. 
of that kind. 

It is not by reafoning, that all mankind know, that an open 
countenance, and a placid eye, is a fign of amity ; that a con- 
tracted brow, and a fierce look, is the ligii of anger. It is not 
from reafon that we learn to know the natural figns of confent- 
ing and refufing, of affirming and denying, of threatening and 
fupplicating. 

No man can perceive any neceflary connecflion between the 
figns of fuch operations, and the things fignified by them. But 
we are fo formed by tlie Author of our nature, that the opera- 
tions themfelves become vilible, as it were, by their natural 
figns. This knowledge refembles reminifcence, in this refpcifl, 
that it is immediate. We form the conclufion with great aflu- 
rance, without knowing any premifes from which it may be 
drawn by reafoning. 

It would lead us too far from the intention of the prefent en- 
quiry, to confider more particularly, in what degree the focial 
intercourfe is natural, and a part of our conftitution ; how far 
it is of human invention. 

It is fufficient to obferve, that this intercourfe of human 
minds, by which their thoughts and fentiments are exchanged, 
and their fouls mingle together as it were, is common to the 
whole fpecies from infancy. 

Like our other powers, its firfl beginnings are weak, and 
fcarccly perceptible. But, it is a certain fad, that we can 
perceive fome communication of fentiments between the nurfe 
and her nurfling, before it is a month old. And I doubt not, 
but that, if both had grown out of the earth, and had never 
feen another human face, they would be able in a few years 
to converfe together. 

L 1 1 2 There 



45* 



ESSAY V. 



CHAP. VI. There appears indeed to be fome degree of fecial intercourfe 
among brute-animals, and between fome of them and man. A 
dog exults in the careifes of his mafter, and is humbled at his 
difpleafure. But there are two operations of the focial kind, of 
which the brute-animals feem to be altogether incapable. They 
can neither plight their veracity by teftimony, nor their fidelity 
by any engagement or promife. If nature had made them ca- 
pable of thefe operations, they would have had a language to ex- 
prefs them by, as man has : But of this we fee no appearance. 

A fox is faid to ufe ftratagems, but he cannot lie ; becaufe he 
cannot give his teftimony, or plight his veracity. A dog is faid 
to be faithful to his mafter ; but no more is meant but that he 
is affedionate, for he never came under any engagement. I fee 
no evidence, that any brute-animal is capable of either giving 
teftimony, or making a promife. 

A dumb man cannot fpeak any more than a fox or a dog ; but 
he can give his teftimony by figns as early in life as other men 
can do by words. He knows what a lie is as early as other men, 
and hates it as much. He can plight his faith, and is fenfible 
of the obligation of a promife or contradl^ 

It is therefore a prerogative of man, that he can communicate 
his knowledge of fads by teftimony, and enter into engagements 
by promife or contrad. God has given him thefe powers by a 
part of his conftitution, which diftinguiflies him from all brute- 
animals. And whether they are original powers, or refolvable 
into other original powers, it is evident that they fpring up in 
the human mind at an early period of life, and are found in eve- 
ry individual of the fpecies, whether lavage or civilized. 

Thefe prerogative powers of man, like all his other powers, 
muft be given for fome end, and for a good end. And if we 
confuler a little farther the oeconomy of nature, in relation to 
this part of the human conftitution, we ftiall perceive the wif- 

dom 



OF THE NATURE OF A CONTRACT. 453 

(lorn of Nature in the ftru(5liire of it, and difcover clearly our chap. vi. 
duty in confequcnce of it. 

■ It is evident, in xht fir/} place, that if no credit was given to 
tefliinony, if there was no reliance upon proinifes, they would 
anfwer no end at all, not even that of deceiving. 

Secondly, Suppofing men difpofed by fome principle in their na- 
ture to rely on declarations and promifes ; yet if men found in 
experience, that there was no fidelity on the other part in ma- 
king and in keeping them, no man of common underftanding 
would truft to them, and fo they would become ufelefs. 

Hence it appears, thirdly, That this power of giving teftimony, 
and of promifing, can anfwer no end in fociety, unlefs there be 
a confiderable degree, both of fidelity on the one part, and of 
truft on the other. Thefe two muft ftand or fall together, and 
one of them cannot pofllbly fubfift without the other. 

Fourthly, It may be obferved, that fidelity in declarations and 
promifes, and its counter-part, truft and reliance upon them, 
form a fyftem of focial intercourfe, the moft amiable, the moft 
ufeful, that can be among men. Without fidelity and truft, 
there can be no human fociety. There never was a fociety, 
even of favages, nay even of robbers or pirates, in which there 
was not a great degree of veracity and of fidelity among them- 
felves. Without it man would be the moft diflocial aninuil that 
God has made, tlis ftate would be in reality whatHoBBEs con- 
ceived the ftate of nature to be, a ftate of war of every man 
againft every man j nor could this war ever terminate in peace. 

It may be obferved, in the fifth place, that man is evidently 
made for living in fociety. His focial afTcdions ftiew this as 
evidently, as that the eye was made for feeing. His focial ope- 
rations, particularly thole of teftifying and promifing, make it 
no Icfs evident. 

From 



454 E S S A Y V. 

CHAP. VI, From thefe obfervations it folldws, that if no provifion were 
made by nature, to engage men to fidelity in declarations and 
promifes, human nature would be a contradidion to itfelf, made 
for an end, yet without the neceflary means of attaining it. 
As if the fpecies had been furnifhed with good eyes, but with- 
out the power of opening their eye-lids. There are no blunders 
of this kind in the works of God. Wherever there is an end 
intended, the means are admirably fitted for the attainment of 
it J and fo we find it to be in the cafe before us. 

For we fee that children, as foon as they are capable of under- 
flandlng declarations and promifes, are led by their conftitution 
to rely upon them. They are no lefs led by conftitution to ve- 
racity and candour, on their own part. Nor do they ever de- 
viate from this road of truth and fincerlty, until corrupted by 
bad example and bad company. This difpofition to fincerity In 
themfelves, and to give credit to others, whether we call it in- 
Jlm6l, or whatever name we give it, mufl be confidered as the 
effed of their conftitution. 

So that the things efTentlal to human fociety, I mean good 
faith on the one part, and truft on the other, are formed by na- 
ture in the minds of children, before they are capable of know- 
ing their utility, or being influenced by confiderations either of 
duty or intereft. 

When we grow up fo far as to have the conception of a right 
and a wrong in condud, the turpitude of lying, falfehood, and 
difhonefty, is difcerned, not by any train of reafoning, but by 
an immediate perception. For we fee that every man difap- 
proves it in others, even thofe who are confcious of it in them- 
felves. 

Every man thinks hlmfelf injured and ill ufed, and feels re- 
fentment, when he Is Impofed upon by it. Every man takes it 
as a reproach when falfehood is imputed to him. Thefe are 

the 



OF JUSTICE. 455 

the clcareft evidences, tliat all men difapprove of fulfeliood, when chap. vi. 
their judgment is not biafled. 

I know of no evidence that has been given of any nation fo 
rude, as not to have thefe fcntiments. It is certain that dumb 
people have them, and difcover them about the fame period of 
life, in which they appear in thofe who fpeak. And it may rca- 
fonably be thought, that dumb perfons, at that time of life, have 
had as little advantage, with regard to morals, from their educa- 
tion, as the greateft favages. 

Every man come to years of refledion, when he pledges his 
veracity or fidelity, thinks he has a right to be credited, and is 
affronted if he is not. But there cannot be a fliadow of right to 
be credited, unlefs there be an obligation to good faith. For 
right on one hand, ueceflarily implies obligation on the other. 

When we fee that in the mod favage (late, that ever was 
known of the human race, men have alw^ays lived in focieties 
greater or lefs, this of itfelf is a proof from facft, that they have 
had that fenfe of their obligation to fidelity, without which no 
human fociety can fubfift. 

From thefe obfervations, I think, it appears very evident, that 
as fidelity on one part, and truft on the other, are elfcntial to 
that intercourfc of men, which we call human fociety ; fo the 
Author of our nature has made wife provifion for perpetuating 
them among men, in that degree that is neceflary to human fo- 
ciety, in all the different periods of human life, and in all the 
llages of human improvement and degeneracy. 

In early years, we have an innate difpofition to them. In 
riper years, we feel our obligation to fidelity as much as to any 
moral duty \yhatfocver. 

Nor 



456 E S S A Y V. 

CHAP. VI, jvjoj- is it necefTary to mention the collateral inducements to 
this virtue, from confiderations of prudence, which are obvious 
to every man that refleds. Such as, that it creates truft, the 
moft efFedtual engine of human power; that it requires no arti- 
fice or concealment ; dreads no detection j that It infpires cou- 
rage and magnanimity, and is the natural ally of every virtue ; 
fo that there is no virtue whatfoever, to which our natural ob- 
ligation appears more ftrong or more apparent. 

An obfervation or two, with regard to the nature of a con- 
trad:, will be fufficient for the prefent purpofe. 

It is obvious that the preftation promifed mull be underftood 
by both parties. One party engages to do fuch a thing, another 
accepts of this engagement. An engagement to do, one does not 
know what, can neither be made nor accepted. It is no lefs 
obvious, that a contract is a voluntary tranfadtion. 

But It ought to be obferved, that the will, which is eflential 
to a contract, is only a will to engage, or to become bound. 
We muft beware of confounding this will, with a will to perform 
what we have engaged. The laft can fignify nothing elfe than 
an intention and fixed purpofe to do what we have engaged to 
do. The will to become bound, and to confer a right upon the 
other party, is indeed the very eiTence of a contrad: ; but the pur- 
pofe of fulfilling our engagement, is no part of the contrad at 
all. 

A purpofe is a folitary ad of mind, which lays no obliga- 
tion on the perfon, nor confers any right on another. A fraudu- 
lent perfon may contrad with a fixed purpofe of not perform- 
ing his engagement. But this purpofe makes no change with 
regard to his obligation. He Is as much bound as the honeft 
man, who contrads with a fixed purpofe of performing. 

As the contrad is binding without any regard to the purpofe, 

fo 



OF THE NATURE OF A CONTRACT. 457 

fo there may be a purpofe without any contrail. A purpofe Is chat. \'i. 
no contradt, even when It is declared to the perfon for wliofe 
benefit it is intended. 1 may fay to a man, I Intend to do fiieh 
a thing for your benefit, but I come imdcr no engagement. 
Every man underftands the meaning of this fpeech, and fees 
no contradlcllon in It : Whereas, if a purpofe declared were the 
fame thing with a contract, fuch a fpeech would be a contra- 
didion, and would be the fame as if one fliould fay, I promlfe 
to do fuch a thing, but I do not promlfe. 

All this Is fo plain to every man of common fenfe, that it 
would have been unuecefTary to be mentioned, had not fo acute 
a man as Mr Hume grounded fome of the contradictions he 
finds in a contracft, upon confounding a will to engage in a con- 
tracft with a will or purpofe to perform the engagement. 

I come now to confider the fpeculatlons of that Author with 
regard to contrails. 

In order to fupport a favourite notion of his own. That juftice 
is not a natural but an artificial virtue, and that it derives Its 
whole merit from its utility, he has laid down fome principles 
which, I think, have a tendency to fubvert all faith and fair- 
dealing among mankind. 

In the third volume of the Treatlfe of Human Nature, p. 40. 
he lays it down as an undoubted maxim, That no aclion can be 
virtuous or morally good, unlefs there be, In human nature, 
fome motive to produce It, dlfUnct from its morality. Let us 
apply this undoubted maxim In an inlhmce or two. If a man 
keeps his word, from this fole motive, that he ought to do fo, 
this is no virtuous or morally good a<flion. If a man pays his 
debt from this motive, that julllce requires this of him, this Is 
no virtuous or morally good adion. If a judge or an arbiter 
gives a fentence in a caufe, from no other motive but regard to 

M m m jurticc, 



458 E S S A Y V. 

CHAP . VL j\iflJce, this is no virtuous or morally good a(flion. Thefe ap- 
pear to me to be ihocking abfurdities, which no metaphyfical 
fubtilty can ever juftify. 

Nothing is more evident than that every human adion takes 
its denomination and its moral nature from the motive from 
which it is performed. That is a benevolent adlion, which is 
done from benevolence. That is an ad of gratitude which is 
done from a fentiment of gratitude. That is an ad: of obedi- 
ence to God, which is done from a regard to his command.. 
And, in general, that is an ad of virtue which Is done from a 
regard to virtue. 

Virtuous adions are fo far from needing other motives, be- 
lides their being virtuous, to give them merit, that their merit 
is then greateft and mod confpicuous, when every motive that 
can be put In the oppofite fcale is outweighed by the fole con- 
fideration of their being our duty. 

This maxim, therefore, of Mr Hume, That no adion can be 
virtuous or morally good, unlefs there be fome motive to pro- 
duce it diftind from Its morality, is fo far from being undoubt- 
edly true, that it is undoubtedly falfe. It was never, fo far as I 
know, maintained by any moralifl:, but by the Epicureans j and 
it favours of the very dregs of that fed. It agrees well with 
the principles of thofe who maintained, that virtue is an empty 
name, and that it Is entitled to no regard, but in as far as it ml- 
nifters to pleafure or profit. 

I believe the author of this maxim aded upon better moral 
principles than he wrote j and that what Cicero fays of Epi- 
curus, may be applied to him : Redarguitur ipfe a fefe^ vincunttir- 
que fcripta ejus probitate ipfius et moribus, et ut alii exijlimantur dicere 
melius quam facer e,fic ilk mihi vidctur facere melius quarn dicere. 

But 



OF THE NATURE OF A CONTRACT. 



459 



But let us fee how lie applies this maxim to contrads. I give CHAP. vi. 
you his words from the place formerly cited. " I fuppofe, 
" fays he, a perfon to have lent me a fum of money, on condi- 
" tion that it be reftored in a few days ; and, after the expira- 
'• tion of the term agreed on, he demands tlie fimi. I aHc, 
" what reafon or motive have I to reftore the money ? It will 
** perhaps be faid, that my regard to juilice and al)horrence of 
*' villany and knavery, are fufficient reafons for me, if I have 
" the leafl; grain of honefty, or fcnfe of duty and obligation. 
" And this anfwer, no doubt, is jufl and fatisfaclory to man in 
" his civilized ftate, and when trained up according to a certain 
" difcipline and education. But, in his rude and more natural 
** condition, if you are pleafed to call fuch a condition natural, 
" this anfwer would be rejeded as perfedly unintelligible and 
" fophiftical." 

Tiie dodrine we are taught in this palTage is this, That 
though a man, in a civilized Itate, and when trained up accord- 
ing to a certain difcipline and education, may have a regard to 
juftice, and an abhorrence of villany and knavery, and fome 
fenfe of duty and obligation; yet to a man in his rude and more 
natural condition, the confiderations of honefty, jullice, duty 
and obligation, will be perfectly unintelligible and fophiftical. 
And this is brought as an argument to ftiew, that juftice is not 
a natural but an artificial virtue. 

I fliall offer fome obfervations on this argument. 

I. Although it may be true, that what is unintelligible to man 
in his rude ftate may be intelligible to him in his civilized ftate, 
I cannot conceive, that what is fophiftical in the rude llatc 
ihould change its nature, and become juft reafoning, when man 
is more improved. What is a fophifm, will always be fo ; nor 
can any change in the ftate of the perfon who judges, make 
that to be juft reafoning Mhich before was fojihiltical. Mr 

IM m m 2 HuMB'f 



46o E S S A Y V. 

^^^ZlZi' Hume's argument requires, that to man in his rude ftate, the 
motives to juflice and honefly fhould not only appear to be fo- 
phiflical, but fhould really be fo. If the motives were juft in 
themfelves, then jullice would be a natural virtue, although the 
rude man, by an error of his judgment, thought otherwife. 
But if juftice be not a natural virtue, which is the point 
Mr Hume intends to prove, then every argument, by which man 
in his natural ftate may be urged to it, mufl be a fophifm in re- 
ality, and not in appearance only j and the effed: of difcipllne 
and education in the civilized ftate can only be to make thofe 
motives to juftice appear juft and fatisfadlory, which, in their 
own nature, are fophiftical, 

2. It were to be wiftied, that this ingenious Author had fliewn 
us, why that ftate of man, in which the obligation to honefty, 
and an abhorrence of villany, appear perfectly unintelligible 
and fophiftical, ftiould be his more natural JIate. 

It is the nature of human fociety to be progreflive, as much 
as it is the nature of the individual. In the individual, the 
ftate of infancy leads to that of childhood, childhood to youth, 
youth to manhood, and manhood to old age. If one ftiould fay, 
that the ftate of infancy is a more natural ftate than that of 
manhood or of old age, I am apt to think, that this would be 
words without any meaning. In like manner, in human fociety, 
there is a natural progrefs from rudenefs to civilization, from 
ignorance to knowledge. What period of this progrefs fliall we 
call man's natural ftate? To me they appear all equally natural. 
Every ftate of fociety is equally natural, wherein men have ac- 
cefs to exert their natural powers about their proper objeds, 
and to improve thofe powers by the means which their fituation 
affords. 

Mr Hume, indeed, ftiews fome timidity in affirming the rude 
ftate to be the more natural ftate of man ; and, therefore, adds 

this 



OF THE NATURE OF A CONTRACT. 461 

this qualifying parenthefis, If you are pleafed to call fiich a con- c hap, vr 
dition natural. 

But It ought to be obfcrvcd, That if the premifcs of his argu- 
ment be weakened by this claufe, the fame weaknefs mull be 
communicated to the conclufion ; and the concluiion, according 
to the rules of good reafoning, ought to be, That juflice is aa 
artificial virtue, if you be pleafed to call it artificial. 

3. It were likewife to be wifhed, tliat Mr Hume had fhewn 
from fad, that there ever did exift fuch a (late of man as that 
which he calls his more natural flace. It is a flate wherein a 
man borrows a fum of money, on the condition that he is to re- 
ftore it in a few days ; yet when the time of payment comes, 
his obligation to repay what he borrowed is perfectly unintelli- 
gible and fophiftical. It would have been proper to have given 
at leafl a fmgle inllance of fome tribe of the human race that 
was found to be in this natural (late. If no fuch inftance can 
be given, it is probably a (late merely imaginary ; like that 
ftate, which fome have imagined, wherein men were Ouran Oii- 
tangs, or wherein they were (i(hcs with tails. 

Indeed, fuch a ftate feems Impodiblc. That a man fliould 
lend without any conception of his having a right to be repaid ; 
or that a man (hould borrow on the condition of paying in a 
few days, and yet have no conception of his obligation, feems 
to me to involve a contradidlion. 

I grant, that a humane man may lend without any expecta- 
tion of being repaid ; but that he (hould lend without any con- 
ception of a right to be repaid, is a contradidion. In like man- 
ner, a fraudulent man may borrow without an intention of pay- 
ing back ; but that he could borrow, while an obligation to re- 
pay is perfe(flly unintelligible to him, this is a contradiction. 

The 



452 E S S A Y V. 

CHAP. VI. The fame author, in his Enquiry into the Principles of Mo- 
rals, fedt. 3. treating of the fame fubjed, has the following 
note : 

^' 'Tis evident, that the will or confent alone never transfers 
" property, nor caufes the obligation of a promife, (for the fame 
" reaibning extends to both) but the will mull be exprefled by 
" words or ligns, in order to impofe a tie upon any man. The 
" expreflion being once brought in as fubfervient to the will, 
" foon becomes the principal part of the promife ; nor will a 
" man be lefs bound by his word, though he fecretly give a dif- 
" ferent diredlion to his intention, and with-hold the affent of 
" his mind. But though the expreflion makes, on moll occa- 
" fions, the whole of the promife ; yet it does not always fo ; 
" and one who fliould make ufe of any expreflion, of which he 
" knows not the meaning, and which he ufes without any fenfe 
" of the confequences, would not certainly be bound by it. 
^' Nay, though he know its meaning ; yet if he ufes it in jeft 
" only, and with fuch ligns as Ihew evidently he has no ferious 
" intention of binding himfelf, he would not be under any ob- 
" ligation of performance j but it is neceflary that the words be 
*' a perfeft expreflion of the will, without any contrary figns. 
** Nay, even this we mufl; not carry fo far as to imagine, that 
" one whom, from our quicknefs of underftanding, we conjec- 
■" tui-e to have an intention of deceiving us, is not bound by 
*' his expreflion or verbal promife, if we accept of it, but mufl; 
" limit this conclufion to thofe cafes, where the figns are of a 
" different nature from thofe of deceit. All thefe contradic- 
** tions are eafily accounted for, if juftice arifes entirely from 
" its ufefulnefs to fociety, but will never be explained on any 
" other hypothefis." 

Here we have the opinion of this grave moralifl: and acute 
metaphyfician, that the principles of honefty and fidelity are at 
bottom a bundle of contradidions. This is one part of his 

moral 



OF THE NATURE OF A CONTRACT. 

moral fyflem which, I cannot help thinking, borders upon licen- 
tioufnefs. It furely tends to give a very unfavourable notion of 
that cardinal virtue, Nvithout which no man has a title to be 
called an lioneft man. What regard can a man pay to the vir- 
tue of fidelity, who believes that its efleiitial rules contradidt 
each other ? Can a man be bound by contradidory rules of con- 
dud ? No more, furely, than he can be bound to believe con- 
tradictory principles. 

He tells us, " That all thefe contradi(5tions are eafdy ac- 
" counted for, if juftice arifes entirely from its ufefulnefs to 
" fociety, but will never be explained upon any other hypo- 
" thefis." 

I know not indeed what is meant by accounting for contra- 
dictions, or explaining them. I apprehend, that no hypothefis 
can make that which is a contradiction to be no contradiction. 
However, without attempting to account for thefe contradictions 
upon his own hypothefis, he pronounces, in a decifive tone, that 
they will never be explained upon any other hypothefis. 

What if it fliall appear, that the contradictions mentioned in 
this paragraph, do all take their rife from two capital miftakes 
the author has made with regard to tlie nature of promifes and 
contracts ; and if, when thefe are corrected, there fhall not appear 
a Ihadow of contradiction in the cafes put by him? 

The firft miftake is, That a promife is fome kind of will, con- 
fent or intention, which may be exprelfed, or may not be ex- 
prefled. This is to millake the nature of a promife : For no 
will, no confent or intention, that is not exprefl'ed, is a promife. 
A promife, being a fociai tranfaction between two parties, with- 
out being exprefled can have no exiftcnce. 

Another capital miftake that runs through the pafTiige cited 




464 E S S A Y V. 

CHAP. VI. js That this will, confent or intention, which makes a promife, 
is a will or intention to perform what we promife. Every man 
knows that there may be a fra' dulent pro I e, made without in- 
tention of performing. But the intention to perform the pro- 
mife, or not to perform it, whether the intention be known to 
the other party or not, makes no part of the promife, it is a fo- 
litary a6l of the mind, and can neither conftltute nor diffolve 
an obligation. What makes a promife is, that it be exprefled 
to the other party with underftanding, and with an intention to 
become bound, and that it be accepted by him. 

Carrying thefe remarks along with us, let us review the paf- 
fage cited. 

Fir^, He obferves, that the will or confent alone does not 
caufe the obligation of a promife, but it muft be expreffed. 

I anfwer : The will not exprefled is not a promife ; and is it 
a contradiction that that which is not a promife fhould not 
caufe the obligation of a promife ? He goes on : The expref- 
iion being once brought in as fubfervient to the will, foon be- 
comes a principal part of the promife. Here it is fuppofed, that 
the expreflion was not originally a conflituent part of the pro- 
mife, but it foon becomes fuch. It is brought in to aid and be 
fubfervient to the promife which was made before by the will. 
If Mr Hume had confidered, that it is the exprellion accompa- 
nied with underftanding and will to become bound, that confl:i- 
tutes a promife, he would never have faid, that the exprellion 
foon becomes a part, and is brought In as fubfervient. 

He adds. Nor will a man be lefs bound by his word, though 
he fecretly gives a different diredion to his intention, and with- 
holds the affent of his mind. 

The cafe here put needs fome explication. Either it means, 

that 



OF THE NATURE OF A CONTRACT. 465 

that the man knowingly and vohmturily gives his word, with- CHAI\VI. 

out any intention of giving his word ; or that he gives it without 

the intention of keeping it, and performing what he promifes. 

The Lift of thefe is indeed a poilible cafe, and is, I apprehend, 

what Mr Hume means. But the intention of keeping his pro- 

mife is no part of the promife, nor does it in the leall afledl the 

obligation of it, as we have often obferved. 

If the Author meant that the man may knowingly and volun- 
tarily give his word, without the intention of giving his word, 
this is impolllble : For fuch is the nature of all focial aifts of the 
mind, that, as they cannot be without being exprefled, lb they 
cannot be exprefled knowingly and willingly, but they muft be. 
If a man puts a queftion knowingly and willingly, it is impof- 
fible that he fhould at the fame time will not to put it. If he 
gives a command knowingly and willingly, it is impolllble that 
he Ihould at the fame time will not to give it. We cannot have 
contrary wills at the fame time. And, in like manner, if a man 
knowingly and willingly becomes bound by a promife, it is im- 
polllble that he ftiould at the fame time will not to be bound. 

To fuppofe, therefore, that when a man knowingly and wil- 
lingly gives his word, he with-holds that will and intention 
which makes a promife, is indeed a contradidion ; but the con- 
tradidion is not in the nature of the promife, but in the cafe 
fuppofed by Mr Hume. 

He adds, though the exprefllon, for the moft part, makes the 
whole of the promife, it does not always fo. 

I anfwer. That the exprefllon, if it is not accompanied with 
underftanding, and will to engage, never makes a promife. The 
Author here alTumes a polUdate, which no body ever granted, 
and which can only be grounded on the impoflible fuppolition 
made in the former fentence. And as there can be no promife 
without knowledge, and will to engage, is it marvellous that 

N u u words 



466 



ESSAY V. 



CHAP. VI. words which are not underrtood, or words fpoken in jeft, and 
"^ without any intention to become bound, fliould not have the 

effed of a promife ? 

The laft cafe put by Mr Hume, is that of a man who pro- 
mifes fraudulently with an intention not to perform, and whofe 
fraudulent intention is difcovered by the other party, who, not- 
withftanding, accepts the promife. He is bound, fays Mr 
Hume, by his verbal promife. Undoubtedly he is bound, be- 
caufe an intention not to perform the promife, whether known 
to the other party or not, makes no part of the promife, nor 
affefts its obligation, as has been repeatedly obferved. 

From what has been faid, I think it evident, that to one 
who attends to the nature of a promife or contrad:, there is not 
the leaft appearance of contradidrion in the principles of morali- 
ty relating to contrads. 

It would indeed appear wonderful, that fuch a man as Mr 
Hume Ihould have impofed upon himfelf in fo plain a matter, if 
we did not fee frequent inftances of ingenious men, whofe zeal 
in fupporting a favourite hypothefis, darkens their underftand- 
ing, and hinders them from feeing what is before their eyes. 



C h a p. 



APPROBATION IMPLIES JUDGMENT. 467 

CHAr.VII. 

CHAP. VII. 
That moral Approbation implies a real judgment. 

THE approbation of good adlions, and dlfapprobation of 
bad, are fo familiar to every man come to years of mider- 
flanding, that it feems flrange there fhould be any difpute a- 
bout their nature. 

Whether we reflect upon our own condudl, or attend to the 
condudl of others with whom we live, or of whom we hear or 
read, we cannot help approving of fome things, difapproving of 
others, and regarding many with perfett indifference. 

Thefc operations of our minds we are confcious of every day, 
and ahnoft every hour we live. Men of rijje underftanding are 
capable of reflecting upon them, and of attending to what palTes 
in their own thoughts on fuch occafions ; yet, for half a cen- 
tury, it has been a ferious difpute among Philofophers, what 
this approbation and diiapprobation is, Whether there be a real 
judgment included in it, which, like all other judgments, muft 
be true or falfe ; or. Whether it include no more but fome agree- 
able or uneafy feeling, in the perfon who approves or difap- 
proves. 

Mr Hume obferves very juftly, that this is a controverfy7?j;7- 
ed of late. Before the modern fyftem of ideas and impreilions 
was introduced, nothing would have appeared more abl'uril, than 
to fay. That when I condemn a man for what he has done, I 
pafs no judgment at all about the man, but only exprefs fome 
uneafy feeling in myfelf. 

Nor did the new fyftem produce this difcovery at once, but 
gradually, by feveral fteps, according as its confequences were 

N n n .: more 



468 E S S A Y V. 

CHAP. VII. more accurately traced, and its fpirit more thoroughly imbibed by 
fuccefllve Philofophers. 

Des Cartes and Mr Locke went no farther than to maintain 
that the fecondary qualities of body, heat and cold, found, co- 
lour, tafte and fmell, which we perceive and judge to be in the 
external object, are mere feelings or fenfations in our minds, 
there being nothing in bodies themfelves to which thefe names 
can be applied j and that the office of the external fenfes is not 
to judge of external things, but only to give us ideas or fenfa- 
tions, from which we are by reafoning to deduce the exiftence 
of a material world without us, as well as we can. 

Arthur Collier and Bifhop Berkeley difcovered, from 
the fame principles, that the primary, as well as the fecondary, 
qualities of bodies, fuch as exteniion, figure, folidity, motion, 
are only fenfations in our minds 3 and therefore, that there is 
no material world without us at all. 

The fame philofophy, when it came to be applied to matters 
of tafte, difcovered that beauty and deformity are not any thing 
in the objects, to which men, from the beginning of the world, 
afcribed them, but certain feelings in the mind of the fpeda- 
tor. 

The next ftep was an eafy confequence from all the prece- 
ding, that moral approbation and difapprobation are not judg- 
ments, which muft be true or falfe, but barely, agreeable and un- 
eafy feelings or fenfations. 

Mr Hume made the lafl ftep in this progrefs, and crowned 
the fyftem by what he calls his hypothefis, to wit. That belief is 
more properly an adt of the fenfitive, than of the cogitative part 
of our nature. 

Beyond this I think no man can go in this track 5 fenfation or 

feeling 



APPROBATION IMPLIES JUDGMENT. 469 

feeling is all, and what is left to the cogitative part of our na- chap, vil 
ture, I am not able to comprehend. "^ 

I have had occafion to confidcr each of thefe paradoxes, ex- 
cepting that which relates to morals, in E[fays on the Intel- 
leBual Powers of Man : and, though they be ftridly conneded 
with each other, and with the fyllem which has produced them, 
I have attempted to fliew, that they are inconfiflent with jnft 
notions of our intelledual powers, no lefs than they are with 
the common fenfe and common language of mankind. And 
this, I think, will likewife appear with regard to the conclufion 
relating to morals, to wit. That moral approbation is only an agree- 
able feeling, and not a real judgment. 

To prevent ambiguity as much as pofllble, let us attend to 
the meaning of feeling and of judgment. Thefe operations of the 
mind, perhaps, cannot be logically defined ; but they are well 
underftood, and eafily diftinguilhed, by their properties and ad- 
jundts. 

Feeling, or fenfiation, feems to be the lowed degree of anima- 
tion we can conceive. We give the name of animal to every 
being that feels pain or pleafure ; and this feems to be the bouu- 
dary between the inanimate and animal creation. 

We know no being of fo low a rank in the creation of God, 
as to poffefs this animal power only without any other. 

We commonly Ax^'m^uih feeling from thinking, becaufe it hard- 
ly dcferves the name ; and though it be, in a more general fenfe, 
a fpecies of thought, is leaft removed from the pallive and in- 
ert ftate of things inanimate. 

A feeling muft be agreeable, or uncafy, or indillcrent. It 
may be weak or ftrong. It is exprefled in language either by 
a fingle word, or by fuch a contexture of words as may be the 

fubjea 



470 E S S A Y V. 

CHAP. VII. fubjedl or predicate of a propofition, but fucli as cannot by them- 
felves make a propofition. For it implies neither affirmation 
nor negation ; and therefore cannot have the qualities of true 
or falfe, which diftlnguilh propofitions from all other forms of 
fpeech, and judgments from all other ad;s of the mind. 

nat I have fuch a feeling. Is Indeed an affirmative propofition, 
and exprefles teftlmony grounded upon an intuitive judgment. 
But the feeling is only one term of this propofition ^ and It can 
only make a propofition when joined with another term, by a 
verb affirming or denying. 

As feeling dlfl;lnguiflies the animal nature from the Inani- 
mate J fo judging feeais to diftlngulfli the rational nature from 
the merely animal. 

Though judgment In general Is exprefled by one word In lan- 
guage, as the moft complex operations of the mind may be ; yet 
a particular judgment can only be exprefi^ed by a fentence, and 
by that kind of fentence which Logicians call a propofition^ in 
which there mufl; neceflarily be a verb In the Indicative mood, 
either exprefled or underftood. 

Every judgment mufi; necefl!arily be true or falfe, and the 
fame may be faid of the propofition which exprefi^es it. It Is a 
determination of the underftanding, with regard to what is true, 
or falfe, or dubious. 

In judgment, we can diftlngulfli the objedt about which we 
judge, from the adl of the mind in judging of that objedt. In 
mere feeling there Is no fuch difl:indion. The objed of judg- 
ment mufi be exprefl'ed by a propofition j and belief, difiaelief 
or doubt, always accompanies the judgment we form. If we 
judge the propofition to be true, we mufi believe it j if we judge 
It to be falfe, we muft diftDelieve it ; and If we be uncei'tain whe- 
ther It be true or falfe, we muft doubt. 

The 



APPROBATION IMPLIES JUDGMENT. 471 

The tootbachy the headachy are words which cxprefs iincafy feel- CHAP. vir. 
ings J but to lay that they exprefs a judgment would be ridi- 
culous. 

That the fun is greater than the earthy is a propofition, and there- 
fore the objedt of judgment ; and when afl'inned or denied, be- 
lieved or dilbelieved, or doubted, it exprefles judgment \ but to 
fay that it expreflls only a feeling in the mind of him that be- 
lieves it, would be ridiculous. 

Thefe two operations of mind, when we confidcr them fcpa- 
ratcly, are very different, and eafdy diflinguilhed. W'len we 
feel without judging, or judge without feeling, it is impollible, 
without very grofs "inattention, to raiftake the one for the 
other. 

But in many operations of the mind, both are infcparably con- 
joined under one name ; and when we are not aware that the 
operation is complex, we may take one ingredient to be the 
whole, and overlook the other. 

In former ages, that moral power, by which hninan acfl^ions 
ought to be regulated, was called rejfon, and confidered both by 
Philofophers, and by the vulgar, as the power of judging what 
we ought, and what we ought not to do. 

This is very fully expreflcd by Mr Hume, in his Treatife of Hu- 
man Nature, Book II. Part III. § 3. " Nothing is more ufual iu 
" philofophy, and even in common life, than to talk of the com.- 
" bat of paflion and reafon, to give the preference to reafon, 
" and aiTert that men are only fo far virtuous as they conform 
" themfelves to its didlates. Every rational creature, 'tis laid, 
** is obliged to regulate his actions by reafon ; and if any other 
" motive or principle challenge the direction of his conduct, he 
" ought to oppofe it, till it be entirely fnbdued, or, at ka(t, 
'* brought to a conformity to that fuperior principle. On this 

" method 



472 " E S S A Y V. 

CHAP, vir . " method of thinking, the greatefl part of moral philofophy, 
" ancient and modern, feems to be founded." 

That thofe Philofophers attended chiefly to the judging power 
of our moral faculty, appears from the names they gave to Its 
operations, and from the whole of their language concern- 
ing It. 

The modern philofophy has led men to attend chiefly to theit 
fenfatlons and feelings, and thereby to refolve Into mere feel- 
ing, complex adts of the mind, of which feeling is only one in- 
gredient. 

I had occafion, in the preceding Eflliys, to obferve. That feve- 
ral operations of the mind, to which we give one name, and con- 
fider as one a6t, are compounded of more limple ails Infeparably 
united In our conftitutlon, and that In thefe, fenfatlon or feeling 
often makes one ingredient. 

Thus the appetites of hunger and thirfl: are compounded of 
an uneafy fenfatlon, and the defire of food or drink. In our 
benevolent affed^ions, there Is both an agreeable feeling, and a 
defire of happinefs to the objedt of our affedlion^ and malevo- 
lent affedions have ingredients of a contrary nature. 

In thefe infl:ances, fenfatlon or feeling Is Infeparably conjoin- 
ed with defire. In other infl:ances, we find fenfatlon Infepa- 
rably conjoined with judgment or belief, and that In two diffe- 
rent ways. In fome infliances, the judgment or belief feems to 
be the confequence of the fenfatlon, and to be regulated by it. 
In other inftances, the fenfatlon is the confequence of the judg- 
ment. 

When we perceive an external object by our fenfes, we have 
a fenfatlon conjoined with a firm belief of the exiftence and 

fenfible 



•APPROBATION IMPLIES JUDGMENT. 473 

fenfible qiuilities of the external objed. Nor has all the Tub- CHAr-.vii. 
tilty of inecaphyfics been able to disjoin what nature has con- 
joined in our conllituiio i. Des Cartes a;.'d Locke endeavour- 
ed, by reafoning, to deduce the exiftcnce of external objects 
from our fenfations, but in vain. Subfcquent Philofophcrs, 
finding no reafon for this connedion, endeavoured to throw off 
the belief of external objects as being unreafonable ; but thii 
attempt is no lefs vain. Nature has doomed us to believe tlic 
teftimony of our fenfes, whether we can give a good reafon for 
doing fo or not. 

In this inftance, the belief or judgment is the confequence of 
the fenfation, as the fcnfation is the confequence of the impref- 
fion made on the organ of fenfe. 

But in mod of the operations of mind in which judgment: or 
belief is combined with feeling, the feeling is the conlequeuce 
of the judgment, and is regulated by it. 

Thus, an account of the good condud of a friend at a di- 
ftance gives me a very agreeable feeling, and a contrary ac- 
count would give me a very uneafy feeling ; but thefe feelings 
depend entirely upon my belief of the report. 

In hope, there is an agreeable feeling, depending upon the 
belief or expectation of good to come : Fear is made up of con- 
trary ingredients ; in both, the feeling is regulated by the de- 
gree of belief. 

In the refpecl we bear to the worthy, and in our contempt of 
the worthlefs, there is both judgment and feeling, aiid the laft 
depends entirely upon the firlt. 

The fame may be laid of gratitude for good offices and re- 
fcntment of injuries. 

O o o Let 



474 E S S A Y V. 

CHAP. vii. Let me now confider how I am afFefted when I fee a man ex- 
erting himlelf nobly in a good caufe. I am confcious that the 
efTect of his condudl on my mind is complex, though it may be 
called by one name. I look up to his virtue, I approve, I ad- 
mire it. In doing fo, I have pleafure indeed, or an agreeable 
feeling ; this is granted. But I find myfelf interefted in his 
fuccefs and in his fame. This is affedion ; it is love and efteem, 
which is more than mere feeling. The man is the objedt of 
this efteem j but in mere feeling there is no object* 

I am llkewife confcious, that this agreeable feeling in me, 
and this efteem of him, depend entirely upon the judgment I 
form of his condudt. I judge that this conduct merits efteem ; 
and, while 1 thus judge, I cannot but efteem him, and contem- 
plate his condudt with pleafure. Perfuade me that he was 
bribed, or that he aded from fome mercenary or bad motive, 
immediately my efteem and my agreeable feeling vanifli. 

In the approbation of a good adion, therefore, there is feel- 
ing indeed, but there is alfo efteem of the agent ; and both the 
feeling and the efteem depend upon the judgment we form of 
his condud. 

When I exercife my moral faculty about my own adlions or 
thofe of other men, I am confcious that I judge as well as feel. 
I accufe and excufe, I acquit and condemn, I aflent and diffent, 
I believe and difl)elieve, and doubt. Thefe are ads of judgment, 
and not feelings. 

Every determination of the underftanding, with regard to 
what is true or falfe, is judgment. That I ought not to fteal, or 
to kill, or to bear falfe witnefs, are propofitions, of the truth of 
which I am as well convinced as of any propofition in Euclid. 
1 am confcious that I judge them to be true propofitions; and 

ray 



APPROBATION IMPLIES JUDGMENT. 



(•/J 



my confciournefs makes all other arguments unneccITary, with CHAP. vii. 
regard to the operations of my own mind. 

That other men judge, as well as feel, in fuch cafes, I am 
convinced, becaufe they underfland me when I exprefs my mo- 
ral judgment, and exprefs theirs by the fame terms and 
phrafes. 

Suppofe that, in a cafe well known to both, my friend fays, 
Such a man did well and wortbUy, his condu& Is highly approvable. 
This fpeech, according to all rules of interpretation, exprefles 
my friend's judgment of the man's condudl. This judgment 
may be true or falfe, and I may agree in opinion with him, or 
I may diiTent from him without olfence, as we may dilTer in 
other matters of judgment. 

Suppofe, again, that, in relation to the fame cafe, my friend 
fays, 'The man s conduct gave me a very agreeable feeling. 

This fpeech, if approbation be nothing but an agreeable feel- 
ing, mufl have the very fame meaning with the firft, and exprefs 
neither more nor lefs. But this cannot be, for two realons. 

Firji^ Becaufe there is no rule in grammar or rhetoric, nor 
any ufage in language, by which thefe two fpeeches can be con- 
ilrued, fo as to have the fame meaning. The firjl exprciles 
plainly an opinion or judgment of the conduct of the man, but 
fays nothing of the fpeaker. The fecond only teftifies afa(5t con- 
cerning the fpeaker, to wit, that he had fuch a feeling. 

Another reafon why thefe two fpeeches cannot mean the fame 
thing is, that the firft may be contradicled without any ground 
of offence, fuch contradiclion being only a difference of opinion, 
which, to a reafonable man, gives no offence. But the IccunJ 
fpeech cannot be contradicled without an affront ; for, as cvr.iy 

O o o 2 man 



476 E S S A Y V. 

CHAP. VII . jD^xi muft know his own feelings, to deny that a man had a feel- 
ing which he affirms he had, is to charge him with falfehood. 

If moral approbation be a real judgment, which produces an 
agreeable feeling in the mind of him who judges, both fpeeches 
are perfedliy intelligible, in the moft obvious and literal fenfe. 
Their meaning is different, but they are related, fo that the one 
may be inferred from the other, as we infer the effedl from the 
caufe, or the caufe from the effedl. I know, that what a man 
judges to be a very worthy action, he contemplates with plea- 
fure ; and what he contemplates with pleafure muft, in his judg- 
ment, have worth. But the judgment and the feeling are diffe- 
rent adls of his mind, though connected as caufe and effe<5t. 
He can exprefs either the one or the other with perfedl pro- 
priety ; but the fpeech which exprefles his feeling is altogether 
improper and inept to exprefs his judgment, for this evident 
reafon, that judgment and feeling, though in fome cafes con- 
neded, are things in their nature different. 

If we fuppofe, on the other hand, that moral approbation is 
nothing more than an agreeable feeling, occafioned by the con- 
templation of an adlion, the fecond fpeech above mentioned has 
a diftind meaning, and expreffes all that is meant by moral ap- 
probation. But the firft fpeech either means the very fame 
thing, (which cannot be, for the reafons already mentioned) or 
it has no meaning. 

Now, we may appeal to the Reader, whether, in converfation 
upon human characters, fuch fpeeches as the firft are not as fre- 
quent, as familiar, and as well underftood, as any thing in lan- 
guage ; and whether they have not been common in all ages 
that we can trace, and in all languages ? 

This dodrine, therefore, That moral approbation is merely a 
feeling without judgment, necellkrily carries along with it this 

confequeuce, 



APPROBATION IMPLIES JUDGMENT. 477 

confequence, that a form of fpeech, upon one of the mod com- CHAP. vil. 
mon topics of difcoiirfe, which either has no meaning, or a 
ireaning irreconcilable to all rules of grammar or rhetoric, is 
found to be common and familiar in all languages and in all 
ages of the world, while every man knows how to cxprefs the 
meaning, if it have^any, in plain and proper language. 

Such a confequence I think fufficient to fink any philofophical 
opinion on which it hangs. 

A particular language may have fome oddity, or even ab- 
furdity, introduced by fome man of eminence, from caprice or 
wrong! judgment, ^"'■' *^'>''"^'ed, by fervile imitators, for a time, 
till it be deteded, and, of confequence, difcountenanced and 
dropt ; but that the fame abfurdity fhould pervade all languages, 
through all ages, and that, after being detected and expofed, it 
fhould flill keep its countenance and its place in language as 
much as before, this can never be while men have uuderrtand- . 
ing. 

It maybe obferved by the way, that the fame argument may 
be applied, with equal force, agalnft thofe other paradoxical 
opinions of modern philofophy, which we before mentioned as 
conneded with this, fuch as, that beauty and deformity are not 
at all in the objeds to which language univerfally afcribes them, 
but are merely feelings in the mindof the fpedlator ; that the 
fecondary qualities are not in external objeds, but are merely 
feelings or fenfations in him that perceives them ; and, in gene- 
ral, that our external and internal fenfes are faculties by which 
we have fenfations or feelings only, but by which we do not 
judge. 

That every form of fpeech, which language a/Tords tf) exprefs 
our judgments, fhould, in all ages, and in all languages, be ufcd 
to exprefs what is no judgment j and that feelings, which arc 

eafjiy 



478 . ESSAY V. 

CHAP. VII . eafily exprefled In proper language, fliould as univerfally be ex- 
prefled by language altogether improper and abfurd, I cannot 
believe ; and therefore muft conclude, that if language be the 
expreflion of thought, men judge of the primary and fecondary 
qualities of body by their external fenfes, of beauty and defor- 
mity by their tafte, and of virtue and vice hy their moral fa- 
culty. 

A truth fo evident as this Is, can hardly be obfcured and 
brought Into doubt, but by the abufe of w^ords. And much 
abufe of words there has been upon this fubjeft. To avoid this, 
as much as poffible, I have ufed the word Judgment, on one fide, 
and Jen/ation ox feeling, upon the other ; becaufe thefe words have 
been leaft liable to abufe or ambiguity. But it may be proper 
to make fome obfervations upon other words that have been ufed 
In this controverfy. 

Mr Hume, in his Treatife of Human Nature, has employed 
two fedions upon it, the titles of which are, Moral DiJilnSlions not 
derived from Reafon, and Moral DiJlinSliom derived from a Moral 
Senfe, 

When he is not, by cuftom, led unawares to fpeak of reafon 
like other men, he limits that word to fignify only the power 
of judging in matters merely fpeculative. Hence he concludes, 
That reafon of itfelf is inadive and perfedly inert." That 
adtions may be laudable or blameable, but cannot be reafon- 
able or unreafonable." That " it Is not contrary to reafon, 
to prefer the deftrucftlon of the whole world to the fcratch- 
ing of my finger." That " it is not contrary to reafon, for 
me to chufe my total ruin to prevent the leafi; uneafinefs of 
an Indian, or of a perfon wholly unknown to me." That 
reafon is, and ought only to be, the flave of the paflions, and 
can never pretend to any other ofEce, than to ferve and obey 
'' them." 

If 



APPROBATION IMPLIES JUDGMENT. 479 

If we take the word reafon to mean what common ufe, both of f^'^Ai'. vir. 
Pliilofophers, and of the vulgar, hath made it to mean, thefe 
maxims are not only falfe, but licentious. It is only his abufe 
of the words reafon and pajfiott, that can ju(tify thcn\ from this 
cenfure. 

The meaning of a common word is not to be afcertained by 
philofophical theory, but by common ufage j and if a man will 
take the liberty of limiting or extending the meaning of com- 
mon words at his pleafure, he may, like Mandeville, infinuate 
the moft licentious paradoxes with the appearance of plaufibi- 
lity. I have before made fome obfervations upon the meaning 
of this word, Eflay II. chap. 2. and Ellay III. part j. chap. i. 
to which the Reader is referred. 

When Mr Hume derives moral diftin(5lions from amoral fenfe, 
I agree with him in words, but we differ about the meaning of 
the word fenfe. Every power to which the name of a fenfe has 
been given, is a power of judging of the objects of that (tnk^ 
and has been accounted fuch in all ages ; the moral fenfe there- 
fore is the power of judging in morals. But Mr Hume will 
have the moral fenfe to be only a power of feeling, without 
judging: This 1 take to be an abufe of a word. 

Authors who place moral approbAtion in feeling only, very 
often ufe the wordfen/imenl, to exprefs feeling without judgment. 
This I take likewife to be an abufe of a word. Our moral de- 
terminations may, with propriety, be called moral fenliments. For 
the \vovi.\fent'tment^ in the Euglifh language, never, as I conceive, 
fignifies mere feeling, but judgment accompanied with feeling. 
It was wont to fignify opinion or judgment of any kind, but, of 
late, is appropriated to fignify an opinion or judgment, that 
ftilkes, and produces fome agreeable or uneafy emotion. So we 
fpeak of fcntiments of refjiedt, of efteem, of gratitude. But I 
never heard the pain of the gout, or any other mere feeling, 
called a lentimeut. 

Even 



48o E S S A Y V. 

^!ill^llli' Even the word judgment has been ufed by Mr Hume to ck- 
prefs what he maintains to be only a feeling. Treatilc of Hu- 
man Nature, part .3. page 3. " The term perception is no lefs ap- 
*' plicable to \.ho(Q judgments by which we diftinguifh moral good' 
" and evil, than to every other opei'ation of the mind." Per- 
haps he ufed this word inadvertently ; for I think there cannot 
be a greater abufe of words, than to put judgment for what he 
held to be mere feeling. 

All the words moft commonly ufed, both by Phllofophers and 
by the vulgar, to exprefs the operations of our moral faculty, 
fuch as, decijion, determination, fentence^ approbation^ difapprobation, 
applaufe, cenfure, praife, blame^ neceffarily imply judgment in 
their meaning. When, therefore, they are ufed by Mr Hume, 
and others who hold his opinion, to fignify feelings only, this 
is an abufe of words. If thefe Philofophers wifh to fpeak plain- 
ly and properly, they muft, in difcourfing of morals, difcard 
thefe words altogether, becaufe their eflablifhed fignification in 
the language, is contrary to what they would exprefs by them. 

They muft likewife difcard from morals the words ougJot and 
ought not, which very properly exprefs judgment, but cannot be 
applied to mere feelings. Upon thefe words Mr Hume has 
made a particular obfervation in the conclufion of his firft fec- 
tion above mentioned. I fhall give it in his own words, and 
make fome remarks upon it. 

" I cannot forbear adding to thefe reafonings, an obfervation 
" which may, perhaps, be found of fome importance. In eve- 
" ry fyftem of morality which I have hitherto met with, I have 
" always remarked, that the Author proceeds for fome time in 
" the ordinary way of reafoning, and eftabliflies the being of a 
" God, or makes obferyatlons concerning human affairs ; when, 
" of a fudden, I am furprifed to find, that, inftead of the ufual 
" copulations of propofitions, is, and is not, I meet with no pro- 
*' pofition that is not conneded with an ought, or an ought not. 

" This 



<c 



APPROBATION IMPLIES JUDGMENT. « 481 

" This chane;e is imperceptible, but is, however, of the laft con- CIIAP. vw. 
" fequence. For as this ought or ought not exprefles fome new 
relation or affirmation, 'tis necefTary that it fhould l)c obferved 
" and explained ; and, at the fame time, that a reafon fhould be 
*' given for what feems altogether inconceivable j how this 
" new relation can be a declu(ftion from others which are cn- 
" tirely different from it. But as Authors do not commonly ufe 
" this precaution, I (liall prefume to recommend it to the Read- 
" ers J and am perfuaded, that this fmall attention would fub- 
" vert all the vulgar fyftems of morality, and let us fee, thai 
" the diftindion of vice and virtue, is not founded merely on 
" the relations of objedls, nor is perceived by reafon." 

We may here obferve, that it is acknowledged, that the words 
ought and ought not exprefs fome relation or affirmation ; but a re- 
lation or affirmation which Mr Hume thought inexplicable, or, 
at leafl, inconfiftent with his fyftem of morals. He mufl, there- 
fore, have thought, that they ought not to be ufed in treating 
of that fubjed. 

He likewife makes two demands, and, taking it for granted 
that they cannot be fatisfied, is perfuaded, that an attention to 
this is fufficient to fubvert all the vulgar fyftems of morals. 

The firjl demand is, that ought and ought not be explained. 

To a man that underftands Englifli, there are furely no words 
that require explanation lefs. Are not all men taught, from 
their early years, that they ought not to lie, nor ftcal, nor fwear 
falfely ? But Mr Hume thinks, that men never underftood what 
thefe precepts mean, or rather that they are unintelligible. M 
this be fo, I think indeed it will follow, that all the vulgar 
fyftems of morals are fubverted. 

P p p Dr 



482 ESSAY V. 

CHAP. VII. Dr Johnson, in his Didlonary, explains the word ought to 
lignify, being obliged by duty ; and I know no better explica- 
tion that can be given of it. The Reader will fee what 1 thought 
neceflary to fay concerning the moral relation exprelfed by this 
word, in Elfay III. part 3. chap. 5. 

The fecond demand is, That a reafon fhould be given why this 
relation fliould be a dedudion from others which are entirely 
different from it. 

This is to demand a reafon for what does not exift. The firft 
principles of morals are not deductions. They are felf-evident j 
and their truth, like that of other axioms, is perceived without 
reafoning or dedudion. And moral truths that are not felf- 
evident, are deduced, not from relations quite different from 
them, but from the firfl principles of morals. 

In a matter fo interefling to mankind, and fo frequently the 
fubjed of converfation among the learned and the unlearned as 
morals is, it may furely be expeded, that men will exprefs both 
their judgments and their feelings with propriety, and con- 
fiflently with the rules of language. An opinion, therefore, 
which makes the language of all ages and nations, upon this fub- 
jed, to be improper, contrary to all rules of language, and fit 
to be difcarded, needs no other refutation. 

As mankind have, in all ages, underflood reafon to mean the 
power by which not only our fpeculative opinions, but our ac- 
tions ought to be regulated, we may fay, with perfed propriety, 
that all vice is contrary to reafon ; that, by reafon, we are to 
judge of what we ought to do, as well as of what we ought to 
believe. 

But though all vice be contrary to reafon, I conceive that it 

would 



APPROBATION IMPLIES JUDGMENT. 483 

would not be a proper dclinlcion of vice to C^y, that it is a con- CHAT. vir. 
dudl contrary to reafon, becaufc this dcfuiition would apply 
equally to folly, which all men diftinguifh from vice. 

There are other phrafes which have been ufctl on the fume 
fide of the quellion, which I fee no reafon for adopting, fuch as, 
a^ifig contrary to the relations of things^ contrary to the rcofon of 
things t to the fitnefs of things, to the truth of things, to abfolute fitncfs. 
Thefe phrafes have not the authority of common w^^^ which, in 
matters of language, is great. They feem to have been invent- 
ed by fome authors, with a view to explain the nature of vice ; 
but I do not think they aufwer that end. If intended as defi- 
nitions of vice, they are improper; becaufe, in the moft favour- 
able fenfe they can bear, they extend to every kind of foolifli 
and abfurd condudl, as well as to that which is vicious. 

I fhall conclude this chapter with fome obfervations upon the 
five arguments which Mr Hume has offered upon this point in 
his Enquiry. 

The firji is. That it is impofllble that the hypothefis he op- 
pofes, can, in any particular inftance, be fo much as rendered 
intelligible, whatever fpecious figure it may make in general dif- 
courfe. " Examine, fays he, the crime of ingratitude, anato- 
" mize all its circumftances, and examine, by your reafon 
" alone, in what confifts the demerit or blame, you will never 
" come to any ilfue or conclufion." 

I think it unneceffary to follow him through all the accounts 
of ingratitude which he conceives may be given by thofe whom 
he oppofes, becaufe I agree with him in that which he liimfelf 
adopts, to wit, " That this crime arifes from a complication of 
" circumftances, which, being prefented to the fpeclator, excites 

P p p 3 "the 



484 ESSAY V. 

CHAP^il. " (}-jg fentlment of blame by the particular (Irudure and fabric 
" of his mind." 

This he thought a true and intelligible account of the crimi- 
nality of ingratitude. So do I. And therefore 1 think the hy- 
pothefis he oppofes is intelligible, when applied to a particular 
inflance. 

Mr Hume, no doubt, thought, that the account he gives of 
ingratitude is inconfiftent with the hypothefis he oppofes, and 
could not be adopted by thofe who hold that hypothefis. He 
could be led to think fo, only by taking for granted one of thefe 
two things. Either, Jlrji^ That the fentiment of blame is a feeling- 
only, without judgment }, or, fecondly, That whatever is excited 
by the particular fabric and ftrufture of the mind mufl be feel- 
ing only, and not judgment. But I cannot grant either the one 
or the other. 

For, as to thefirj}, it feems evident to me, that both fentiment 
and blame imply judgment j and, therefore, that the fentiment of 
blame is a judgment accompanied with feeling, and not mere 
feeling without judgment. 

The fecond can as little be granted ; for no operation of mind, 
whether judgment or feeling, can be excited but by that parti- 
cular flrucSure and fabric of the mind which makes us capable 
of that operation. 

By that part of our fabric which we call the facidty of feeing y 
we judge of vifible objects ; by tafle^ another part of our fabric, 
we judge of beauty and deformity j by that part of our fabric, 
which enables us to form abllradt conceptions, to compare them, 
and perceive their relations, we judge of abflracl truths ; and 
by that part of our fabric which we call the moral faculty ^ we 

judge 



APPROBATION IMPLIES J U D G .M E X T. 485 

judge of virtue and vice. If wc fuppofe a being uithoiit any chap. vii. 
moral faculty in his fabric, 1 grant that he could not have the " ' 

Icntiincnts of blame and nioral approbation. 

There are, therefore, judgments, as ^vell as feelings, tliat are 
excited by the particular ftrudurc and fabric of tjie mind. But 
there is this remarkable diflerence between them. That every 
judgment is, in its own nature, true or falfe j and though it de- 
pends upon the f\\bric of a mind, whether it have fuch a judg- 
ment or not, it depends not upon tliat fabric whether the judg- 
ment be true or not. A true judgment will be true, whatever 
be the fabric of the mind; but a particular ftrutlure and fabric 
is neceffary, in order to our perceiving that truth. Nothing 
like this can be faid of mere feelings, becaufe the attributes of 
true or falfe do not belong to them. 

Thus I think it appears, that the hypothefis which Mr H[u:\iE 
oppofes is not unintelligible, when applied to the particular in- 
ilance of ingratitude ; becaufe the account of ingratitude 
which he himfelf thinks true and intelligible, is perfectly agree- 
able to it. 

The /tffoW argument amounts to this : That in moral delibe- 
ration, we mufl be acquainted before-hand with all the objcifls 
and all their relations. After thefe things are known, the un- 
dcrllanding has no farther room to operate. Nothing remains 
but to feel, on our part, fome fentiraent of blame or approba- 
tion. 

Let us apply this reafoning to the office of a judge. In a caufc 
that comes before him, he mufl be made acquainted with all the 
objeds, and all their relations. After this, his underftanding 
has no fiirther room to operate. Nothing remains, on his part, 

but 



486 E S S A Y V. 

CHAP. VII. but to feel the right or the wrong; and mankind have, very ab- 
furdly, called him ^ judge; he ought to be called ^feeler. 

To anfwer this argument more diredtly : The man who dell- 
berates, after all the objedls and relations mentioned by Mr 
Hume are known to him, has a point to determine ; and that is, 
whether the adion under his deliberation ought to be done or 
ought not. In moll: cafes, this point will appear felf-evident to 
a man who has been accuftomed to exercife his moral judgment ; 
in fome cafes it may require reafoning. 

In like manner, the judge, after all the circumftances of the 
caufe are known, has to judge, whether the plaintiff has a juft 
plea or not. 

The third argument is taken from the analogy between moral 
beauty and natural, between moral fentlment and tafte. As 
beauty is not a' quality of the objedt, but a certain feeling of 
the fpedator, fo virtue and vice are not qualities in the perfons 
to whom language afcribes them, but feelings of the fpedator. 

But is it certain that beauty is not any quality of the objed ? 
This is indeed a paradox of modern philofophy, built upon a 
philofophical theory ; but a paradox fo contrary to the common 
language and common fenfe of mankind, that it ought rather to 
overturn the theory on which it ftands, than receive any fup- 
port from it. And if beauty be really a quality of the objed, 
and not merely a feeling of the fpedator, the whole force of 
this argument goes over to the other fide of the queflion. 

" Euclid, he fays, has fully explained all the qualities of 

" the circle, but has not, in any propofition, faid a word of its 

*' beauty. The reafon is evident. The beauty is not a quality 

" of the circle." 

By 



APPROBATION IMPLIES JUDGMENT. 487 

By the qualities of the circle, he muft mean its properties ; and CHAP.VIL 
there are here two miftakes. 

Firjl, Euclid has not fully explained all the properties of the 
circle. Many have been difcovered and demonflratcd which he 
never dreamt of. 

Secondly, The reafon why Euclid has not faid a word of the 
beauty of the circle, is not, that beauty is not a quality of the circle ; 
the reafon is, that Euclid never di^relTcs from his fubjed. His 
purpofc was to demonftrate the mathematical properties of the 
circle. Beauty is a quality of the circle, not demonftrable by 
mathematical reafoning, but immediately perceived by a good 
tafte. To fpeak of it would have been a digreflion from his 
fubjedl f and that is a fault he is never guilty of. 

The fourth argument is, That inanimate objects may bear to 
each other all the fame relations which we obferve in moral 
agents. 

If this were true, it would be very much to the purpofe ; but 
it feems to be thrown out raftily, without any attention to its 
evidence. Had I\Ir Hume reflected but a very little upon this 
dogmatical aflertion, a thoufand inftances would iiave occurred 
to him in diredt contradiction to it. 

May not one animal be more tame, or more docile, or more 
cunning, or more fierce, or more ravenous, than another ? Are 
thefe relations to be found in inanimate objeds ? May not one 
man be a better painter, or fculptor, or Ihip-builder, or tailor, 
or fhoemaker, than another? Are thefe relations to be found in 
inanimate objects, or even in brute-animds ? May not one moral 
agent be more jud, more pious, more attentive to any moral du- 
ty, or more cmineut in any uioral virtue, than auother ? Are 

not 



488 E S S A Y V. 

CHA P. VII . iiot tlicfe relations peculiar to moral agents ? But to come to the 
relations raofi: eflentlal to morality. 

When I fay that / ought to dofiich an aHlon, that it is my diityy 
do not thefe words exprefs a relation between me and a certain 
adion in my power ; a relation which cannot be between inani- 
mate objects, or between any other objects but a moral agent 
and his moral aftions ; a relation which is well underftood by 
all men come to years of underftanding, and exprefled in all 
languages ? 

Again, when in deliberating about two actions In my power, 
which cannot both be done, 1 fay this ought to be preferred to 
the other; that juftice, for inllance, ought to be preferred to 
generolity ; I exprefs a moral relation between two adtions of a 
moral agent, which is well underftood, and which cannot exift 
between objedts of any other kind. 

There are, therefore, moral relations which can have no ex- 
iftence but between moral agents and their voluntary adtions. 
To determine thefe relations is the objedt of morals ; and to de- 
termine relations is the province of judgment, and not of mere 
feeling. 

The laft argument is a chain of feveral propofitions, which de- 
ferve diftindt confideration. They may, I think, be fummed up 
in thefe four : i. There mufl be ultimate ends of adtion, beyond 
which it is abfurd to afk a reafon of adting. 2. The ultimate 
ends of human adtions can never be accounted for by reafon ; 
3. but recommend themfelves entirely to the fentiments and af- 
fedtions of mankind, without any dependence on the intelledtual 
faculties. 4. As virtue is an end, and is defirable on its own ac- 
count, without fee or reward, merely for the immediate fatisfac- 
tion it conveys ; it is requifite, that there ihould be fome fenti- 

ment 



APPROBATION IMPLIES JUDGMENT. 489 

mcnt which it touches, fome internal tafte or feelinj^, or whnt- CHAP vii. 
ever you pleafe to call it, which (liltinguilhcs moral good and 
evil, and which embraces the one and rejcds the other. 

To iUc Jirji df thcfe propofitions I entirely agree. The ulti- 
mate ends of adion are what I have called the principles of aElion^ 
•which I have endeavoured, in the third ElTiiy, to enumerate, and 
to clafs under three heads of mechanical, animal and rational. 

The fecond propofition needs fome explication. I take its 
meaning to be. That there cannot be another end, for the fake 
of which an ultimate end is purfued : For the reafon of an adtiou 
means nothing but the end for which the adlion is done ; and 
the reafon of an end of adtion can mean nothing but another 
end, for the fake of which that end is purfued, and to which it 
is the means. 

That this is the author's meaning is evident from his reafon- 
ing in confirmation of it. " Aflc a man, why he iifcs exercife ? 
" he will anfwer, becaufe he defires to keep his health. If you then 
" enquire, ivhy he defires health? he will readily reply, becaufe 
" ficknefs is painful. If you pufti your enquiries further, and de- 
*' fire a reafon why he hates pain, it is impoilible he can ever 
" give any. This is an ultimate end, and is never referred to 
" any other objedl." To account by reafon for an end, there- 
fore, is to Hiow another end, for the fake of which that end is 
defired and purfued. And that, in this fenfe, an ultimate end 
can never be accoimted for by reafon, is certain, becaufe that 
cannot be an ultimate end which is purfued only for the fake 
of another end. 

I agree therefore with Mr Hume in this fecond propofition, 
which indeed is implied in the firft. 

Qji\ q The 



490 



ESSAY V. 



CHAP. VII. The third propofition is. That ultimate ends recommend 
themfelves entirely to the fentiments and afFedlions of mankind, 
without any dependence on the intelledual faculties. 

By fentiments he muft here mean feelings without judgment, 
and by affeElions, fuch affedlions as imply no judgment. For 
furely any operation that implies judgment, cannot be independ- 
ent of the intellectual faculties. 

This being underftood, I cannot aflent to this propofition. 

The Author feems to think it implied in the preceding, or a 
neceffary confequence from it, that becaufe an ultimate end 
cannot be accounted for by reafon j that is, cannot be purfued 
merely for the fake of another end ; therefore it can have no 
dependence on the intelledual faculties. I deny this confe- 
quence, and can fee na force in it. 

1 think it not only does not follow from the preceding propo- 
fition, but that it is contrary to trutli. 

A man may axSt from gratitude as an ultimate end; but gra- 
titude implies a judgment and belief of favours received, and 
therefore is dependent on the intelledtual faculties. A man 
may adt from refped to a worthy charader as an ultimate end ; 
but this refped neceflarily implies a judgment of worth in the 
peribn, and therefore is dependent on the intelledual facul^ 
ties. 

I have endeavoured in the third Eflay before mentioned, to 
Ihew that, befide the animal principles of our nature, which 
require will and intention, but not judgment, there are alfo in 
human nature rational principles of adion, or ultimate ends, 
which have, in all ages, been called rational, and have a jufl 

title 



APPROBATION IMPLIES JUDGMENT. 491 

title- to that name, not only from the authority of language, chap, vii 
but becaufe they can have no exigence hut in beings endowed 
with reafon, and becaufe, in all thtir exertions, they require not 
only intention and will, but judgment or reafon. 

Therefore, until it can be proved that an ultimate end cannot 
be dependent on the intelled;ual faculties, this third propofitioD, 
and all that hangs upon it, muft fail to the ground. 

The /a/i ^propolhion alTumes, with very good reafon, That 
virtue is an ultimate end, and dellrable on its own account. 
From which, if the third propofition were true, the conclufion 
would undoubtedly follow, That virtue has no dependence on 
the intelleftual faculties. But as that propofition is not granted, 
nor proved, this conclufion is left without any fupport from the 
v?hole of the argument. 

I fliould not have thought it worth while to infifl fo long 
upon this controverfy, if I did not conceive that the confe- 
quences which the contrary opinions draw after them are im- 
portant. 

If what we call moral judgment be no real judgrnent, but mere- 
ly a feeling, it follows, that the principles of morals which we 
have been taught to confider as an immutable law to all intelli- 
gent beings, have no other foundation but an arbitrary ftruc- 
ture and fabric in the conftitution of the human mind : So 
that, by a change In our flrudure, what Is immoral might be- 
come moral, virtue might be turned into vice, and vice into 
virtue. And beings of a different ftrudure, according to the 
variety of their feelings, may have different, nay oppofite, mea- 
fures of moral good and evil. 

It follows that, from our notions of morals, we can conclude 

CLq q 2 nothing 



492 



ESSAY V. 



.• nothing concerning a moral character in the Deity, which is 
the foundation of all religion, and the ftrongeft fupport of vir- 
tue. 

Nay, this opinion feems to conclude flrongly againil a m6ral 
charadler in the Deity, fince nothing arhitrary or mutable can 
be conceived to enter into the defcription of a nature eternal, 
immutable, and neceflarily exiftent. Mr Hume feems perfedly 
confiftent with himfelf, in allowing of no evidence for the mo- 
ral attributes of the Supreme Being, whatever then; may be for 
his natural attributes. 

On the other hand, if moral judgment be a true and real 
judgment, the principles of morals ftand' upon the immutable 
foundation of truth, and can undergo no change by any diffe- 
rence of fabric, or ilrudiure of thofe who judge of them. 
There may be, and there are, beings, who have not the faculty 
of conceiving moral truths, or perceiving the excellence of mo- 
ral worth, as there are beings incapable of perceiving mathe- 
matical truths 'y but no defedt, no error of imderftanding, can- 
make what is true to be falfc. 

If it be true that piety, juflice, benevolence, wifdom, tempe- 
rance, fortitude, are in their own nature the moll excellent and 
mofl amiable qualities of a human creature ; that vice has an in- 
herent turpitude, which merits difapprobation and dillike ; thefc 
truths cannot be hid from him whofe underftandlng is infinite, 
whofe judgment is always according to truth, and who muft 
efteem every thing according to its real value. 

The Judge of all the earth, we are fure, will do right. He 
has given to men the faculty of perceiving the right and the 
wrong in condud;, as far as is neceffary to our prefent flate, and 
of perceiving the dignity of the one, and the demerit of the 

other ; 



y 



APPROHATION IMPLIES JUDGMENT. 493 

other; and fu rely there can be no real knowledge or real ex- ciiAi'. vii. 
ccllence in man, which is not in his Maker. ' 

We may therefore juflly conclude, That what we know In 
part, and fee in j^art, of right and wrong, he fees pcrfedly ; that 
the moral excellence which we fee and admire in fome of our 
fellow-creatures, is a faint hut true copy of that moral ex- 
cellence, which is effential to his nature ; and that to tread the 
path of virtue, is the true dignity of our nature, an imitation of 
God, and the way to obtain his favour. 




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