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Morality is taught in Scripture in this wise. Ge.. neral rules are laid down of piety, justice, benevolence, and purity : such as worshipping God in fpirit and in truth; doing as we would be done by ; loving our neighbour as ourself; forgiving others, as we expect forgiveness from God; that mercy is better than sacrifice; that not that which entereth into a man, (nor, by parity of reason, any ceremo. nial pollutions) but that which proceedeth from the heart, defileth him. These rules are occasionally illustrated, either by fictitious examples, as in the parable of the good Samaritan; and of the cruel fervant, who refused to his fellow.servant that indul. gence and compassion which bis master had shewn to him: or in instances which actually presented them. felves, as in Christ's reproof of bis disciples at the Samaritan village ; his praise of the poor widow, who cast in her last mite ; his censure of the Phari. sees, who chose out the chief rooms and of the tradition, whereby they evaded the command to fustain their indigent parents: or lastly, in the refolution of questions, which those who were about our Saviour proposed to him; as in his answer to the young man who asked him, " What lack I yet?” and to the honest scribe, who had found out, even in that age and country, that “ to love God and his “ neighbour was more than all whole burnt offer. « ings and sacrifice.”
And this is in truth the way in which all practi. cal sciences are taught, as Arithmetic, Grammar, Navigation, and the like.-- Rules are laid down, and examples are subjoined; not that these exam. ples are the cases, much less all the cases which will actually occur, but by way only of explaining the principle of the rule, and as so many specimens of the nethod of applying it. The chief difference is, that the examples in Scripture are not annexed to the rules with the didactic regularity to which we are now-a-days accustomed, but delivered dispersed. ly, as particular occasions suggested them ; which
gave them however, especially to those who heard them, and were present to the occasions which produced them, an energy and persuasion, much beyond what the same or any instances would have appeared with, in their places in a system.
Beside this, the Scriptures commonly pre-suppose, in the persons to whom they speak, a knowledge of the principles of natural justice ; and are employed not so much to teach new rules of morality, as to enforce the practice of it by new fanctions, and by a greater certainty : which last seems to be the proper business of a revelation from God, and what was most wanted.
Thus the “ unjust, covenant breakers and extor. tioners” are condemned in Scripture, supposing it known, or leaving it, where it admits of doubt, to moralists to determine, what injustice, extortion, or breach of covenant are.
The above considerations are intended to prove that the Scriptures do not supersede the use of the science of which we profess to treat, and at the same time to acquit them of any charge of imperfection or insufficiency on that account.
сн A P. V.
THE MOR AL SENSE.
“T HE father of Caius Toranius had beeu pro" scribed by the triumvirate. Caius Toranius, e coming over to the interests of that party, disco“ vered to the officers, who were in pursuit of his “ father's life, the place where he concealed him. “ self, and gave them withal a description, by which " they might distinguish his person, when they “ found him. The old man, more anxious for the safety and fortunes of his son, than about the lit
oc tle that might remain of his own life, began im. “ mediately to inquire of the officers who seized him, “ whether his son was well, whether he had done « his duty to the satisfaction of his generals. That 6 son, replied one of the officers, so dear to thy affec« tions, betrayed thee to us; by his information " thou art apprehended, and diest. The officer " with this struck a poniard to his heart, and the un." “ happy parent fell, not so much affected by his “ fate, as by the means to which he owed it "*
Now the question is, whether, if this story were related to the wild boy, caught some years ago in the woods of Hanover, or to a savage, without experience and without instruction, cut off in his infancy from all intercourse with his species, and, consequently, under no possible influence of example, authority, education, fympathy, or habit ; whether, I say, such a one would feel, upon the relation, any degree of that sentiment of disapprobation of Torarius's conduct which we fell, or not.
They who maintain the existence of a moral sense -of innate maxims-of a natural conscience that the love of virtue and hatreď of vice are instinctiveor the perception of right and wrong intuitive, (all which are only different ways of expressing the same opinion) affirm that he would.
They who deny the existence of a moral sense, &c. affirm that he would not.
And upon this issue is joined.
* “ Caius Toranius triumvirům partes fecutus, profcripri pa“ tris sui prætorii et ornati viri latebras, ætatem, notasque corpo“ris, quibus agnosci posset, centurionibus edidit, qui eum perse“cuti sunt. Senex de filii magis vitâ, et incrementis, quam de “ reliquo spiritu suo follicitus ; an incolumis esset, et an impera“ toribus larisfaceret, interrogare eos cæpit. Equibus unus : “ ab illo, inquit, quem tantopere diligis, demonftratus, noftro “ ministerio, filii indicio occideris : protinusque pectus ejus gla“ dio trajecit. Collapsus itaque est infelix, auctore cædis, quam “ ipfâ cæde, miserior."
Valer. Max. Lib. IX. Cap. 11.
As the experiment has never been made ; and from the difficulty of procuring a subject (not to mention the impossibility of proposing the question 10 him, if we had one) is never likely to be made, what would be the event, can only be judged of from probable reasons.
Those who contend for the affirmative observe, that we approve examples of generosity, gratitude, fidelity, &c. and condemn the contrary, instantly, without deliberation, without having any interest of our own concerned in them, oft-times without being conscious of, or able to give, any reason for our approbation : that this approbation is unitorm ard univerfal , the same forts of conduct being approved or disapproved in all ages and countries of the worldcircumstances, lay they, which strongly indicate the operation of an instinct or moral sente.
On the other hand, answers have been given to most of these arguments, by the patrons of the oppo. lite lystem : and,
First, as to the uniformity above allodged, they controvert the fact. 1 hey remark, from authentic a counts of historians and travellers, that there is icarcely a sir zle vice, which in some age or country of the world, has not been countenanced by public opinion : that in one country it is esteemed an office of picry ia children to sustain their aged parents, in another to dispatch them out of the way; that fui. cide in oie age of the world has been heroilm, is in another fclony ; that theft, which is punished by muit laws, by the laws of Sparta was not unfre. qrrently rewarded ; that the promiscuous commerce of the sexes, although condemned by the regulations ard cel.lure of all civilized rations, is practica by the lavages of the tropical regions without referve, com. pur.ction, or digrace; that crimes, of which it is no longer permitted us even to speak, have had their advocates amongst the fage of very renowned times; that, if an ihabriant of the polithed natioris of Eu. repe is delighted with the appearance, wherevc. he meets with it, of happiness, tranquillity, and comfort, a wild American is no less diverted with the writhings and contortions of a victim at the stake; that even amongst ourselves, and in the present improved state of moral knowledge, we are far from a perfect consent in our opinions or feelings; that you Thall hear duelling alternately reprobated and applauded, according to the sex, age, or station of the person you converse with; that the forgiveness of injuries and insults is accounted by one fort of people magnanimity, by another meanness: that in the above instances, and perhaps in most others, moral approbation follows the fashions and institutions of the country we live in ; which fashions also and institutions themselves have grown out of the exigencies, the climate, fituation, or local circumstances of the country; or have been set up by the authority of an arbitrary chief. tain, or the unaccountable caprice of the multitude -all which, they observe, looks very little like the steady hand and indelible characters of nature. But, Secondly, because, after these exceptions and abatements, it cannot be denied, but that some sorts of actions command and receive the esteem of mankind more than others ; and that the approbation of them is general, though not universal : as to this they say, that the general approbation of virtue, even in instances where we have no interest of our own to induce us to it, may be accounted for, without the affiftance of a moral sense, thus:
“ Having experienced, in some instance, a a particular conduct to be beneficial to ourselves, " or observed that it would be so, a sentiment of ap-' “ probation rises up in our minds, which sentiment " afterwards accompanies the idea or mention of the " same conduct, although the private advantage “ which firit excited ic no longer exist.”
And this continuance of the passion, after the rea. son of it has ceased, is nothing more, say they, than what happens in other cales; especially in the love of money, which is in no person so eager, as it is often