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but by way only of explaining the principle of the rule, and as so many specimens of the method 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-adays accustomed, but delivered dispersedly, 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 presuppose 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 sanctions, 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 s extortioners,” 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.
THE MORAL SENSE.
“ The father of Caius Toranius had been " proscribed by the triumvirate. Caius “ Toranius, coming over to the interests of " that party, discovered to the officers, who 56 were in pursuit of his father's life, the 6 place where he concealed himself, 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 6 son, than about the little that might re“ main of his own life, began immediately “to inquire of the officers who seized him, 6 whether his son was well, whether he had “ done his duty to the satisfaction of his
“ generals. That son (replied one of the “ officers), so dear to thy affections, be666 trayed thee to us; by his information “ “ thou art apprehended, and diest. The “ officer with this, struck a poniard to his “ heart, and the unhappy parent fell, not 6 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, sympathy, or habit; whether, I say, such a one would feel, upon the relation, any degree of that sentiment of disapprobation of Toranius's condnct which we feel, or not?
* « Caius Toranius triumvirûm partes secutus, pro6 scripti patris sui prætorii et ornati viri latebras, ætatem, “ notasque corporis, quibus agnosci posset, centurionibus “ edidit, qui eum persecuti sunt. ' Senex de filii magis 6 vitâ, et incrementis, quàm de reliquo spiritu suo solli“ citus, an incolumis esset, et an imperatoribus satisface“.ret, interrogare eos coepit. E quibus unus : Ab illo, in“ quit, quem tantoperè diligis, demonstratus nostro mini“ sterio, filii indicio occideris: protinusque pectus ejus gladio “ trajecit. Collapsus itaque est infelix, auctore cædis, “ quàm ipsâ cæde, miserior.”
VALER. Max. lib. ix. cap. 11.
They who maintain the existence of a moral sense ; of innate maxims; of a natural conscience; that the love of virtue and hatred of vice are instinctive; or 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.
As the experiment has never been made, and, from the difficulty of procuring a subject (not to mention the impossibility of proposing the question to him, if we had one), is never likely to be made, what would be the event, can only be judged of from probable reasons.
They 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 uniform and universal, the same sorts of conduct being approved or disapproved in all ages and countries of the world ;-circumstances, say they, which strongly indicate the operation of an instinct or moral sense. : · On the other hand, answers have been given to most of these arguments, by the patrons of the opposite system : and,
First, as to the uniformity above alleged, they controvert the fact. They remark, from authentic accounts of historians and travellers, that there is scarcely a single 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 piety in children to sustain their aged parents ; in another, to dispatch them out of the way: that suicide, in one age of the world, has been heroism, is in another felony: that theft, which is punished by most laws, by the laws of Sparta was not unfrequently rewarded : that the promiscuous commerce of the sexes, although condemned by the regulations and censure of all civilized nations, is practised by the savages of the tropical regions without reserve, compunction, or disgrace: that crimes, of which it is no longer permitted us even to speak, have had their advocates amongst the sages of very renowned