Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

page

BOOK III. Continued.
Sk.
2. Principles and progress of morality,

Part
1. Principles of morality,

Sect.

1. Human actions analysed, - ib. 2. Division of human actions into right,

wrong, and indifferent, - 10 3. Laws of nature respecting our moral conduct in society,

27 4. Principles of duty and of benevolence, 48 5. Laws respecting rewards and punish

ments, - - - 52 6. Laws respecting reparation, - 66 7. Final causes of the foregoing laws of nature,

- ; 78 8. Liberty and necessity considered with

respect to morality, - • 94 Appendix, Upon chance and contingency, 120

Book

OF THE

HISTORY OF M A N.

в оок ІІ.

Progress of SCIENCES.

s K E T C H II. Principles and Progress of Morality,

T HE principles of morality are little

understood among favages : and if they arrive at maturity among

enlightened nations, it is by flow degrees. This progress points out the historical part, as first in order : but as that history would give little satisfaction, without a rule for comparing the morals of different ages, and of different nations,

Vol. IV,

I begin with the principles of morality, such as ought to govern at all times, and in all nations. The present sketch accordingly is divided into two parts. In the first, the principles are unfolded; and the second is altogether historical.

P A R T I.
Principles of Morality.

SECT. I.
Human Actions analysed.

THE hand of God is no where more

I visible, than in the nice adjustment of our internal frame to our situation in this world. An animal is endued with a power of self-motion; and in performing animal functions, requires no external aid. This in particular is the case of man, the noblest of terrestrial beings. His heart beats, his blood circulates, his stomach digests, &c. &c, By what means ? Not

surely

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

surely by the laws of mechanism, which
are far from being adequate to such ope-
rations. They are effects of an internal
power, bestow'd on man for preserving
life. The power is exerted uniformly, and
without interruption, independent of will,
and without consciousness.

Man is a being susceptible of pleasure
and pain: these generate desire to attain
what is agreeable, and to shun what is
disagreeable; and he is possessed of other
powers which enable him to gratify his de-
fires. One power, termed instinct, is exert-
ed indeed with consciousness; but with-
out will, and consequently without defi-
ring or intending to produce any effect.
Brute animals act for the most part by in-
stinct: hunger prompts them to eat, and
cold to take shelter; knowingly indeed,
but without exerting any act of will, and
without foresight of what will happen. In-
fants of the human species are, like brutes,
governed by instinct: they apply to the
nipple, without knowing that fucking will
satisfy their hunger; and they weep when
pained, without any view of relief. But
men commonly are governed by desire and
intention. In the progress froin infancy

« AnteriorContinuar »