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is like a fixt star, which tho', to the eye of reason it may appear as luminous as the sun in his meridian, is so infinitely removed, as to affect the senses neither with light nor heat. Bring this virtue nearer, by our acquaintance or connexion with the persons, or even by an eloquent narration and recital of the cafe ; our hearts are immediately caught, our sympathy enlivened, and our cool approbation converted into the warmelt sentiments of friendship and regard. These seem necellary and infallible consequences of the general principles of human nature, as discovered in common life and practice.
' Again; reverse these views and reasonings : Consider the matter a posteriori ; and weighing the consequences, enquire, if the merit of all social virtue is not derived from the feelings of humanity, with which it affects the spectators. It appears to be matter of fact, that the circumstance of utility, in all subjects, is a source of praise and approbation: That it is constantly appealed to in all moral decisions concerning the merit and demerit of Actions : That it is the fole source of that high regard paid to justice, fidelity, họnour, allegiance and chaltity : That it is inseparable from all the other social virtues of humanity, generosity, charity, affability, lenity, mercy and moderation : and in a word, that it is the foundation of the chief part of morals, which has a reference to mankind and society.
• It appears also, in our general approbation or judge ment of characters and manners, that the useful tendency of the social virtues moves us not by any regards to self-interest, but has an influence much more universal and extensive. It appears, that a tendency to public good, and to the promoting of peace, harmony, and concord in society, by affecting the benevolent principles of our frame, engages us on the side of the social virtues. And it appears, as an additional confirmation, that these principles of hụmanity and sympathy enter so deep into all our sentiments, and have so powerful an influence, as may enable them to excite the strongest censure and applaule. The present theory is the simple result of all these inferences, each of which seems founded on uniform experience and observation.
• Were it doubtful, whether there was any such principle in our nature as humanity or a concern for others, yet when we see, in numberless instances, that, whatever has a tendency to promote the interests of fociety; is so bighly approv'd of,' we ought thence to learn the force of
the benevolent principle; since 'tis impossible for any thing to please as means to an end, where the end itself is totally indifferent. On the other hand, were it doubtful, whether there was, implanted in our natures, any general principle of moral blame and approbation, yet when we see, in numberless instances, the influence of humanity, we ought thence to conclude, that 'tis impossible, but that every thing, which promotes the interest of society, must communicate pleasure, and what is pernicious give uneasiness. But when these different reflections and observations concur in establishing the same conclufion; must they not bestow an undisputed evidence upon it?
< 'Tis however hoped, that the progress of this argument will bring a farther confirmation of the present theory, by Thewing the rise of other sentiments of esteem and regard from the same or like principles.'
The fixth section treats of qualities useful to ourselves. It is introduced with the following juft obfervation, viz. that nothing is more usual, than for philosophers to encroach upon the province of Grammarians, and to engage in disputes of words, while they imagine, that they are handling controversies of the deepest importance and con
; Thus, says our author, were we here to assert or to deny, that all laudable qualities of the mind were to be considered as virtues or moral attributes, many would imagine, that we had entered upon one of the profoundest speculations of Ethics ; tho' 'tis probable, all the while, that the greatest part of the dispute would be found entirely verbal. After this he makes the two following observations ; that, in common life, the sentiments of censure or approbation, produced by mental qualities of every kind, are very similar ; and that all antient moralists, (the best mo.. dels) in treating of them, make little or no difference amongst them. These observations he confirms and illustrates, in the subsequent part of the section, with great beaucy and elegance ; shews that all the qualities, useful to the poffesfor, are approved, and the contrary cenfuręd; and examines the influence of bodily endowments and of the goods of fortune, over our sentiments of regard and efteem.
In the seventh section, which treats of qualities immediately agreeable to ourselves, our author shews that there is another set of virtues, such as chearfulness, dignity of character, courage and ferenity of mind, which, without any utility or any tendency to farther good, either of the
community or of the pofieflor, diffuse a satisfaction on the beholders, conciliate friendship and regard, and are praised from the immediate pleasure, which they communicate to
the person pofleft of them. This section too is very entertaining, and contains several beautiful illustrations drawn from celcbrated characters both in ancient and modern times.
In the eighth section our author treats of qualities immediately agreeable to others, such as politeness, wit, the live'y spirit of dialogue in conversation, eloquence, modefiy, decency, &c. and shews that, abstracted from any regard to utility or beneficial tendencies, they conciliate affection, promote esteem, and greatly inhance the merit of the pofiesfor. He closes this section in the following 'manner. • Amongst the other virtues, says he, we may also give CLEANLINESS a place ; since it naturally renders us agreeable to others, and is no inconsiderable source of
love and affection. No one will deny, that a negligence in this particular is a fault; and as faults are nothing but smaller vices, and this fault can have no other origin
than the uneasy sensation, which it excites in others ; 'we may, in this instance, seemingly so trivial, clearly discover the origin of moral distinctions, about which the learned have ina volved themselves in such mazes of perplexity and error.'
< But befides all the agreeable qualities, the origin of whose beauty we can, in some degree, explain and account for, there still remains something mysterious and unaccountable, which conveys an immediate satisfaction to the spectators, but how, or why, or for what reason, they cannot pretend to determine. There is a 'MANNER, á grace, a genteelness, an I-know-not-what, which fome men poffefs above others, which is very different from externał beauty and comeliness, and which, however, catches our affection almost as suddenly and powerfully. And tho' this manner be chiefly talked of in the passion betwixt the fexes, where the concealed magic is easily explained, *yet surely much of it prevails in all our estimation of
characters, and forms no inconsiderable part of personal merit. This class of virtues, therefore, must be trusted entirely to the blind but sure testimony of taste and sentiment; and must be considered as a part of ethics, left by nature to baffle all the pride of philosophy, and make her sensible of her narrow boundaries and slender 'acquisifitions,
« We approve of another, because of his wit, politeness, modesty, decency, or any agreeable quality he possesses, although he be not of our acquaintance, nor has ever given us any entertainment, by means of these accomplishments. The idea, which we form of their effect on his acquaintance, has an agreeable influence on our imagination, and gives us the sentiment of approbation. This principle enters into all the judgments which we form concerning morals.'
The ninth section, which is the conclufion of the whole, our author introduces with observing that it may appear surprising, that any man, in so late an age,
should find it requisite to prove, by elaborate reasonings, that VIRTUE or PERSONAL MERIT consists altogether in the possession of qualities, useful or agreeable to the perfan
himself or to others... It might be expected, says he, that this principle would have occurred even to the first rude, .unpractised enquirers concerning morals, and been received, from its own evidence, without any argument or difputation. Whatever is valuable in any kind so naturally classes itself under the division of useful or agreeable, the utile or the dulce, that it is not easy to imagine, why we should ever seek farther, or consider the question as a matter of nice - research or enquiry. And as every thing useful or agree
able must possess these qualities with regard either to the -person himself or to others, the compleat delineation or description of merit seems to be performed as naturally as a fhadow is cast by the sun, or an image is reflected upon water. If the ground, on which the shadow is caft, be not broken aud uneven, nor the surface, froin which the image is reflected, disturbed and confused, a just figure is immediately presented, without any art or attention. And it seems a reasonable presumption, that systems and hypotheses have perverted our natural understanding, when a theory, so simple and obvious, could so long have escaped the most elaborate scrutiny and examination,
• But however the case may have fared with philosophy,; in common life these principles are still implicitly maintained ; nor is any other topic of praise or blame ever recurred to, when we employ any panegyric or satire, any -applause or censure of human action and behaviour. If we observe men, in every intercourse of business or pleasure, in each conference and conversation, we shall find them no where, except in the schools, at any loss upon this fubject.
And as every quality, which is useful or agreeable to ourselves or others, is, in common life, admitted under the denomination of virtue or personal merit; fo no other will ever be received, where men judge of things by their natural unprejudiced reason, without the delusive glófles of superftition and false religion. Celibacy, fasting, penances, mortification, self-denial, humility, filence, folitude and the 'whole train of monkith virtues ; for what reason are they every where rejected by men of sense, but because they serve to no manner of purpose; neither advance a man's fortune in the world, nor render him a more valuable member of society ; neither qualify him for the entertainment of company, nor increase his power of self-enjoyment? We observe, on the contrary, that they cross all these desirable ends; stupify the understanding, and harden the heart, obscure the fancy and fower the temper. We justly therefore transfer them to the opposite column, and place them in the catalogue of vices ; nor has any superstition force sufficient, amongst men of the world, to pervert entirely these natural sentiments. A gloomy hair-brained enthusiast, after his death, may have place in the calendar; but will scarce ever be admitted, when alive, into intimacy and society, except by those who are as delirious and dismal as himself.'
Our author does not enter into that vulgar dispute concerning the degrees of benevolence or self-love, which prevail in human nature; a dispute, which, as he justly obferves, is never likely to have any issue, both because men, who have taken party, are not easily convinced, and because the phænoniena, which can be produced on either fide, are so uncertain, and subject to fuch a variety of interpretations, that it is impossible accurately to compare them, or draw any determinate conclusion from them. He thinks it sufficient for his purpose, if it be allowed that there is fome benovelence, however small, infused into our bosom; some spark of friendship for human kind, some particle of the dove kneaded into our frame, along with the elements of the wolf and serpent. “ Let these generous fentiments, says he, be supposed ever so weak; let them be hardly fufficient to move even a hand or finger of our body ; they must ftill direct the determinations of the mind, and where every thing else is equal, produce a cool preference of what is useful and serviceable to mankind, above what is pernicious and dangerous. A moral distinction, therefore, immediately arises ; a general sentiment of blame and appro