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make us cling rather to selfishness, which we can always gratify. At the same time, tho' there is not room for a more extensive list of particular objects, yet the faculty we have of uniting numberless individuals into one complex object, enlarges greatly the sphere of benevolence. By that faculty our country, our government, our religion, become objects of public spirit, and of a lively affection. The individuals that compose the group, considered apart, may be too minute, or too diftant, for our benevolence : but when united into one whole, accumulation makes them great, greatnefs makes them conspicuous; and affection, preserved entire and undivided, is bestow'd upon an abstract object, as upon one that is single and visible; but with energy proportioned to its greater dignity and importance. Thus the principle of benevolence is not too fparingly scattered among men.
It is indeed made subordinate to self-interest, which is wisely ordered, as will afterward be made evident (a): but its power and extent are nicely proportioned to the limited capacity of man, and to his situation in this world; (4) Sect. 7.
so as better to fulfil its destination, than if it were an overmatch for self-interest, and for every other principle.
S E C T.
Laws respecting Rewards and Punisoments.
REflecting on the moral branch of our
nature qualifying us for society in a manner suited to our capacity, we cannot overlook the hand of our Maker ; for means fo finely adjusted to an important end, never happen by chance. It must however be acknowledged, that in many individuals, the principle of duty has not vigour nor authority sufficient to stem every tide of unruly passion : by the vigilance of some passions, we are taken unguarded ; deluded by the fly infinuations of others; or overwhelmed with the stormy impetuosity of a third fort. Moral evil is thus introduced, and much wrong is done. This new scene suggests to us, that there must be some article still want
ing to complete the moral system ; fome means for redressing such wrongs, and for preventing the reiteration of them. To accomplish these important ends, there are added to the moral system, laws relative to rewards and punishments, and to reparation ; of which in their order.
Many animals are qualified for society by instinct merely ; such as beavers, sheep, monkeys, bees, rooks. But men are seldom led by instinct: their actions are commonly prompted by passions ; of which there is an endless variety, social and felfish, benevolent and malevolent. And were every paflion equally'entitled to gratification, inan would be utterly unqualified for fociety: he would be a ship without a rudder, obedient to every wind, and moving at randoin without any ultimate destination. The faculty of reason would make no opposition ; for were there no sense of wrong, it would be reasonable to gratify every desire that harms not ourselves : and to talk of punishment would be abfurd; for punishment, in its very
idea, implies fome wrong that ought to be redressed. Hence the necessity of the moral sense, to qualify us for society : by in
structing us in our duty, it renders us accountable for our conduct, and makes us susceptible of rewards and punishments. The moral fenfe fulfils another valuable purpose: it erects in man an unerring standard for the application and measure of rewards and punishments.
To complete the fystem of rewards and punishments, it is necessary that a provifion be made, both of power and of willingness to reward and punish. The author of our nature hath provided amply for the former, by entitling every man to reward and punish as his native privilege. And he has provided for the latter, by a noted principle in our nature, prompting us to exercise the power. Impelled by that principle, we reward the virtuous with approbation and esteem, and punish the vicious with disapprobation and contempt. And there is an additional motive for exercising that principle, which is, that we have
great satisfaction in rewarding, and no less in punishing.
As to punishment in particular, an action done intentionally to produce mifchief, is criminal, and merits punishment. Such an action, being disagree
able, raises my resentment, even where I have no connection with the person in
and the principle mentioned impells me to chastise the delinquent with indignation and hatred. An injury done to myself raises my resentment to a higher tone: I am not satisfied with so slight a punishment as indignation and hatred : the author must by my hand suffer mischief, as great as he has made me suffer.
Even the most secret crime escapes not punishment. The delinquent is tortured with remorse: he even desires to be
punished, sometimes so ardently as to punish himself *. There cannot be imagined
* Mr John Kello, minister of Spot in East Lothian, had an extraordinary talent for preaching, and was universally held a man of fingular piety. His wife was handsome, chearful, tender-hearted, and in a word pofleffed all the qualities that can endear a woman to her husband. A pious and rich widow in the neighbourhood tempted his avarice. She clung to him as a spiritual guide ; and but for his little wife, he had no doubt of obtaining her in marriage. He turned gradually peevish and discontented. His change of behaviour made a deep impression on his wife, for she loved him dearly; and yet she was anxious to conceal her treatment from