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for committed by his competitor, in order to recover payment.
But in lucro captando, the moral sense teacheth a different
which is, that no man ought to lay hold of another's error to make gain by it. Thus, an heir finding a rough diamond in the repositories of his ancestor, gives it away, mistaking it for a common pebble: the purchaser is in conscience and equity bound to restore, or to pay a juft price.
Thirdly, The following considerations, respecting the precaution that is necessary in acting, unfold a final cause, no less beautiful than that last mentioned. Society could not subfist in any tolerable manner, were full scope given to raihness and negligence, and to every action that Nrictly speaking is not criminal; whence it is a maxiın founded no less upon utility ihan upon justice, That men in fociety ought to be extremely circumspect, as to every action that may possibly do harm. On the other hand, it is also a maxim, That' as the prosperity and happiness of man depend on action, activity ought to be encouraged, inslead of being discoupaged by dread of consequences. These
maxims, seemingly in opposition, have natural limits that prevent their encroaching one upon the other. There is a certain degree of attention and circumspection that men generally bestow upon: affairs, proportioned to their importance : if that degree were not sufficient to defend against a claim of reparation, individuals would be too much cramped in action; which would be a great discouragement to activity : if a less degree were sufficient, there would be too great scope for rash or remifs conduct; which would prove the bane of society. These limits, which evidently tend to the good of fociety, are adjusted by the moral sense; which dictates, as laid down in the section of Reparation, that the man who acts with foresight of the probability of mischief, or acts rafhly and uncautiously without such forefight, ought to be liable for confequences; but that the man who acts cautiously, without foreseeing or suspecting any mischief, ought not to be liable for consequences.
In the fame section it is laid down, that the moral sense requires from every man, not his own degree of vigilance and at
tention, which may be very small, but that which belongs to the common nature of the species. The final cause of that regulation will appear upon considering, that were reparation to depend upon perfonal circumstances, there would be a necessity of enquiring into the character of individuals, their education, their manner of living, and the extent of their understanding; which would render judges arbitrary, and such law-suits inextricable. But by assuming the common nature of the species as a standard, by which every man in conscience judges of his own actions, law-suits about reparation are rendered easy and expeditious,
Liberty and Necesity considered with respect
HAving in the foregoing sections afcer
tained the reality of a moral sense, with its sentiments of approbation and dif
approbation, praise and blame; the purpose of the present section is, to fhew, that these sentiments are consistent with the laws that govern the actions of man as a rational being. In order to which, it is first necessary to explain these laws; for there has been much controversy about them, especially among divines of the Arminian and Calvinist sects.
Human actions, as laid down in the first section, are of three kinds : one, where we act by instinct, without any view to consequences ; one, where we act by will in order to produce some effect; and one, where we act against will. With respect to the first, the agent acts blindly, without deliberation or choice; and the external act follows necessarily from the instinctive impulse *
* A stonechatter makes its nest on the ground or near it; and the young, as soon as they can shift for themselves, leave the nest instinctively. An egg of that bird was laid in a swallow's nest, fixed to the roof of a church. The swallow fed all the young equally, without distinction. The young stone. chatter left the neft at the usual time before it could fly; and falling to the ground, it was taken up. dead. Here is instinct in purity, exerting itself
Actions done with a view to an end, are in a very different condition : into these, defire, and will, enter : desire to accomplish the end goes first; the will to act in order to accomplish the end, is next; and the external act follows of course. It is the will then that governs every external act done as a mean to an end ; and it is desire to accomplish the end that
the will in motion ; desire in this view being commonly termed the motive to act. Thus, hearing that my friend is in the hands of robbers, I burn with desire to free him: desire influences my will to arm my fervants, and to fly to his relief. Actions done against will come in afterward.
But what is it that raises desire ? The answer is ready : it is the prospect of attaining fome agreeable end, or of avoiding one that is disagreeable. And if it be enquired, What makes an object agreeable or disagreeable ; the answer is equalblindly without regard to variation of circumstances. The fame is observable in our dunghill-fowl. They feed on worms, corn, and other feeds dropt on the ground. In order to discover their food, nature has provided them with an instinct to scrape with the foot ; and the instinct is so regularly exercised, that they scrape even when they are set upon a heap of corn,