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is like a fixt ftar, which tho', to the eye of reafon it may appear as luminous as the fun in his meridian, is fo infinitely removed, as to affect the fenfes neither with light nor heat. Bring this virtue nearer, by our acquaintance or connexion with the perfons, or even by an eloquent narration and recital of the cafe; our hearts are immediately caught, our fympathy enlivened, and our cool approbation converted into the warmeft fentiments of friendship and regard. These seem neceflary and infallible confequences of the general principles of human nature, as difcovered in common life and practice.

• Again; reverse these views and reasonings: Confider the matter a pofteriori; and weighing the confequences, enquire, if the merit of all focial virtue is not derived from the feelings of humanity, with which it affects the fpectators. It appears to be matter of fact, that the circumstance of utility, in all fubjects, is a fource of praise and approbation: That it is conftantly appealed to in all moral decifions concerning the merit and demerit of Actions: That it is the fole fource of that high regard paid to juftice, fidelity, họnour, allegiance and chastity: That it is infeparable from all the other focial virtues of humanity, generofity, 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 fociety.

It appears alfo, in our general approbation or judgment of characters and manners, that the useful tendency of the focial virtues moves us not by any regards to felf-intereft, but has an influence much more universal and extenfive. It appears, that a tendency to public good, and to the promoting of peace, harmony, and concord in fociety, by affecting the benevolent principles of our frame, engages us on the fide of the focial virtues. And it appears, as an additional confirmation, that thefe principles of humanity and fympathy enter fo deep into all our fentiments, and have fo powerful an influence, as may enable them to excite the ftrongeft cenfure and applaufe. The prefent theory is the fimple refult of all thefe inferences, each of which feems founded on uniform experience and obfervation.

Were it doubtful, whether there was any fuch principle in our nature as humanity or a concern for others, yet when we fee, in numberlefs inftances, that, whatever has a tendency to promote the interefts of fociety, is fo highly approv❜d of, we ought thence to learn the force of


the benevolent principle; fince 'tis impoffible 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 fee, in numberlefs inftances, the influence of humanity, we ought thence to conclude, that 'tis impoffible, but that every thing, which promotes the intereft of fociety, must communicate pleasure, and what is pernicious give uneasinefs. But when thefe different reflections and obfervations concur in establishing the fame conclufion; muft they not bestow an undifputed evidence upon it?

''Tis however hoped, that the progrefs of this argument will bring a farther confirmation of the prefent theory, by fhewing the rife of other fentiments of efteem and regard from the fame or like principles.'

The fixth fection treats of qualities ufeful to ourselves. It is introduced with the following juft obfervation, viz. that nothing is more ufual, than for philofophers to encroach upon the province of Grammarians, and to engage in difputes of words, while they imagine, that they are handling controverfies of the deepest importance and concern. Thus, fays our author, were we here to affert or to deny, that all laudable qualities of the mind were to be confidered 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 difpute would be found entirely verbal.' After this he makes the two following obfervations; that, in common life, the fentiments of cenfure or approbation, produced by mental qualities of every kind, are very fimilar; and that all antient moralifts, (the beft models) in treating of them, make little or no difference amongst them. Thefe obfervations he confirms and illuftrates, in the fubfequent part of the fection, with great beaucy and elegance; fhews that all the qualities, ufeful to the poffeffor, are approved, and the contrary cenfured; and examines the influence of bodily endowments and of the goods of fortune, over our fentiments of regard and ef


In the feventh fection, which treats of qualities immediately agreeable to ourselves, our author fhews that there is another fet of virtues, fuch as chearfulness, dignity of character, courage and ferenity of mind, which, without any utility or any tendency to farther good, either of the community

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community or of the poffeffor, diffufe a fatisfaction on the beholders, conciliate friendship and regard, and are praised from the immediate pleasure, which they communicate fo 'the perfon poffeft of them. This fection too is very entertaining, and contains feveral beautiful illuftrations drawn from celebrated characters both in ancient and modern times.


In the eighth fection our author treats of qualities imme"diately agreeable to others, fuch as politenefs, wit, the lively fpirit of dialogue in converfation, eloquence, modefty, decency, &c. and fhews that, abftracted from any regard to utility or beneficial tendencies, they conciliate affection, promote efteem, and greatly inhance the merit of the poffeffor. He clofes this fection in the following 'manner. Amongst the other virtues, fays he, we may also give CLEANLINESS a place; fince it naturally renders 'us agreeable to others, and is no inconfiderable fource of love and affection. No one will deny, that a negligence in this particular is a fault; and as faults are nothing but fmaller vices, and this fault can have no other origin than the uneafy fenfation, which it excites in others; we may, in this inftance, feemingly fo trivial, clearly difcover the origin of moral diftinctions, about which the learned have involved themfelves in fuch mazes of perplexity and error.'

But befides all the agreeable qualities, the origin of whofe beauty we can, in fome degree, explain and account for, there ftill remains fomething myfterious and unaccountable, which conveys an immediate fatisfaction to the fpectators, but how, or why, or for what reason, they cannot pretend to determine. There is a MANNER, a grace, a genteelness, an I-know-not-what, which fome men poffefs above others, which is very different from external beauty and comeliness, and which, however, catches our affection almost as fuddenly and powerfully. And tho' this manner be chiefly talked of in the paffion betwixt the fexes, where the concealed magic is easily explained, yet furely much of it prevails in all our eftimation of characters, and forms no inconfiderable part of personal merit. This clafs of virtues, therefore, must be trufted entirely to the blind but fure teftimony of tafte and fentiment; and must be confidered as a part of ethics, left by nature to baffle all the pride of philofophy, and make her fenfible of her narrow boundaries and flender acquififitions.'


• We approve of another, because of his wit, politeness, modefty, decency, or any agreeable quality he poffeffes, 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 fentiment of approbation. This principle enters into all the judgments which we form concerning morals.'


The ninth fection, which is the conclufion of the whole, our author introduces with obferving that it may appear furprising, that any man, in fo late an age, fhould find it requifite to prove, by elaborate reasonings, that VIRTUE or PERSONAL MERIT confifts altogether in the poffeffion of qualities, ufeful or agreeable to the perfan himself or to others. It might be expected, fays he, that this principle would have occurred even to the first rude, unpractifed enquirers concerning morals, and been received, from its own evidence, without any argument For difputation. Whatever is valuable in any kind fo naturally claffes itself under the divifion of ufeful or agreeable, the utile or the dulce, that it is not eafy to imagine, why we should ever seek farther, or confider the queftion as a matter of nice -refearch or enquiry. And as every thing ufeful or agreeable muft poffefs thefe qualities with regard either to the perfon himself or to others, the compleat delineation or defcription of merit seems to be performed as naturally as a fhadow is caft by the fun, or an image is reflected upon water. If the ground, on which the fhadow is caft, be not broken aud uneven, nor the surface, from which the image is reflected, difturbed and confufed, a juft figure is immediately presented, without any art or attention. And it seems a reasonable prefumption, that systems and hypotheses have perverted our natural understanding, when a theory, fo fimple and obvious, could fo long have escaped the most elaborate fcrutiny and examination.

• But however the cafe may have fared with philofophy; in common life these principles are ftill implicitly maintained; nor is any other topic of praise or blame ever recurred to, when we employ any panegyric or fatire, any applause or censure of human action and behaviour. If we obferve men, in every intercourfe of bufinefs or pleasure, in each conference and converfation, we fhall find them no where, except in the fchools, at any lofs upon this fubject.

• And


And as every quality, which is useful or agreeable to ourfelves or others, is, in common life, admitted under the denomination of virtue or perfonal merit; fo no other will ever be received, where men judge of things by their natural unprejudiced reason, without the delufive gloffes of superftition and falfe religion. Celibacy, fafting, penances, mortification, felf-denial, humility, filence, folitude and the whole train of monkith virtues; for what reafon are they every where rejected by men of fenfe, but because they ferve to no manner of purpose; neither advance a man's fortune in the world, nor render him a more valuable member of fociety; neither qualify him for the entertainment of company, nor increase his power of felf-enjoyment? We obferve, on the contrary, that they cross all these desirable ends; ftupify the understanding, and harden the heart, obfcure the fancy and fower the temper. We juftly therefore transfer them to the oppofite column, and place them in the catalogue of vices; nor has any fuperftition force fufficient, amongst men of the world, to pervert entirely thefe natural fentiments. A gloomy hair-brained enthufiaft, after his death, may have place in the calendar; but will scarce ever be admitted, when alive, into intimacy and fociety, except by those who are as delirious and difmal as himfelf.'

Our author does not enter into that vulgar difpute concerning the degrees of benevolence or felf-love, which prevail in human nature; a difpute, which, as he justly obferves, is never likely to have any iffue, both because men, who have taken party, are not eafily convinced, and because the phænomena, which can be produced on either fide, are fo uncertain, and subject to fuch a variety of interpretations, that it is impoffible accurately to compare them, or draw any determinate conclufion from them. He thinks it fufficient for his purpose, if it be allowed that there is fome benovelence, however small, infufed into our bofom; fome fpark of friendship for human kind, fome particle of the dove kneaded into our frame, along with the elements of the wolf and ferpent. "Let thefe generous fentiments, fays he, be fuppofed ever fo weak; let them be hardly fufficient to move even a hand or finger of our body; they muft ftill direct the determinations of the mind, and where every thing elfe is equal, produce a cool preference of what is ufeful and ferviceable to mankind, above what is pernicious and dangerous. A moral diftinction, therefore, immediately arifes; a general fentiment of blame and appro


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