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least in some proportion, as a man had more of a sweet, benign, and benevolent temper ; which seems something disagreeable to reason, as well as contrary to experience, which shews that the less men have of benevolence, and the more they have of a contrary temper, the more are they disposed to anger and deep resentment of injuries. And though gratitude be that which many speak of as a certain noble principle of virtue, which God has implanted in the hearts of all mankind ; and though it be true, there is a gratitude, that is truly virtuous, and the want of gratitude or an ungrateful temper, is truly vicious, and argues an abominable depravity of heart (as I may have particular occasion to shew afterwards) yet, I think what has been observed, may serve to convince such as impartially consider it, not only that not all anger, or hating those which hate us, but also that not all gratitude, or loving those which love us, arises from a truly virtuous benevolence of heart. Another sort of affections, which may be properly referred to self love, as their source and which might be expected to be the fruit of it, according to the general analogy of nature’s laws, are affections to such as are near to us by the ties of nature ; that we look upon as those whose Beings we have been the occasions of, and that we have a very peculiar propriety in, and whose circumstances, even from the first beginning of their existence, do many ways lead them, as it were, necessarily, to an high esteem of us, and to treat us with great dependence, submission and compliance ; and whom the constitution of the world makes to be united in interest, and accordingly to act as one in innumerable affairs, with a communion in each other's affections, desires, cares, friendships, enmities, and pursuits. Which is the case of men’s affection to their children. ...And in like manner self love will also beget in a man some degree of affections, towards others, with whom he has connexion in any degree parallel. As to the opinion of those that ascribe the natural affection there is between parents and children, to a particular instinct of nature, I shall take notice of it afterwards. Vol. II. 3 G
And as men may love persons and things from self Iove, so may love to qualities and characters arise from the same source. Some represent as though there were need of a great degree of metaphysical refining to make it out, that men approve of others from self love, whom they hear of at a distance, or read of in history, or see represented on the stage, from whom they expect no profit or advantage. But perhaps it is not considered, that what we approve of in the first place is the character, and from the character we approve the person, and is it a strange thing, that men should, from self love, like a temper or character, which in its nature and tendency falls in with the nature and tendency of self love; and which, we know by experience and self evidence, without metaphysical refining, in the general, tends to men's pleasure and benefit 2 And on the contrary, should dislike what they see tends to men's pain and misery : Is there need of a great degree of subtilty and abstraction, to make it out, that a child, which has heard and seen much, strongly to fix an idea, of the pernicious deadly nature of the rattlesnake, should have aversion to that species or form, from self love; so as to have a degree of this aversion and disgust excited by seeing even the picture of that animal : And that from the same self love it should be pleased and entertained with a lively figure and representation of some pleasant fruit which it has often tasted the sweetness of : Or, with the image of some bird, which it has always been told, is innocent, and whose pleasant singing it has often been entertained with ? Though the child neither fears being bitten by the picture of the snake, nor expects to eat of the painted fruit, or to hear the figure of the bird sing. I suppose none will think it difficult to allow, that such an approbation or disgust of a child may be accounted for from its natural delight in the pleasures of taste and hearing, and its aversion to pain and death, through self love, together with the habitual connexion of these agreeable or terrible ideas with the form and qualities of these objects, the ideas of which are impressed on the mind of the child by their images.
And where is the difficulty of allowing, that a child or man may hate the general character of a spiteful and malicious man, for the like reason, as he hates the general nature of a serpent ; knowing, from reason, instruction and experience, that malice in men is pernicious to mankind, as well as spite or poison in a serpent 3 And if a man may, from self love, disapprove the vices of malice, envy, and others of that sort, which naturally tend to the hurt of mankind, why may he not from the same principle approve the contrary virtues of meekness, peaceableness, benevolence, charity, generosity, justice, and the social virtues in general ; which he as easily and clearly knows, naturally tend to the good of mankind It is undoubtedly true that some have a love to these virtues from a higher principle. But yet I think it as certainly true, that there is generally in mankind a sort of approbation of them, which arises from self love. Besides what has been already said, the same thing further appears from this ; that men commonly are most affected to: wards, and do most highly approve, those virtues which agree with their interest most, according to their various conditions in life. We see that persons of low condition are es: pecially enamored with a condescending, accessible, affable temper in the great ; not only in those whose condescension has been exercised towards themselves ; but they will Be per culiarly taken with such a character when they have accounts of it from others, or when they meet with it in history or even in romance. The poor will most highly approve and commend liberality. The weaker sex who especially need assistance and protection, will peculiarly esteem and applaud fortitude and generosity in those of the other sex, they read or hear of, or have represented to them on a stage. As I think it plain from what has been observed, that men may approve and be disposed to commend a benevolent temper, from self love, so the higher the degree of benevolence is, the more may they approve of it. Which will account for some kind of approbation, from this principle, even of love to enemies, viz. as a man's loving his enemies is an
evidence of a high degree of benevolence of temper ;.....the degree of it appearing from the obstacles it overcomes. And it may be here observed, that the consideration of the tendency and influence of self love may shew, how men in general may approve of justice from another ground, besides that approbation of the secondary beauty there is in uniformity and proportion, which is natural to all. Men from their infancy see the necessity of it, not only that it is necessary for others, or for human society; but they find the necessity of it for themselves, in instances that continually occur : Which tends to prejudice them in its favor, and to fix an habitual approbation of it from self love. And again, that forementioned approbation of justice and desert, arising from a sense of the beauty of natural agreement and proportion, will have a kind of reflex, and indirect influence to cause men to approve benevolence, and disapprove malice ; as men see that he who hates and injures others, deserves to be hated and punished, and that he who is benevolent, and loves others, and does them good, deserves himself also to be loved and rewarded by others, as they see the natural congruity or agreement and mutual adaptedness of these things. And having always seen this, malevolence becomes habitually connected in the mind with the idea of being hated and punished, which is disagreeable to self love ; and the idea of benevolence is habitually connected and associated with the idea of being loved and rewarded by others, which is grateful to self love. And by virtue of this association of ideas, benevolence itself becomes grateful, and the contrary displeasing. Some vices may become in a degree odious by the influence of self love, through an habitual connexion of ideas of contempt with it; contempt being what self love abhors. So it may often be with drunkenness, gluttony, sottishness, cowardice, sloth, niggardliness. The idea of contempt becomes associated with the idea of such vices, both because we are used toobserve that those things are commonly objects of contempt, and also find that they excite contempt, in ourselves....Some of
them appear marks of littleness, i.e. of small abilities, and, weakness of mind, and insufficiency for any considerable effects among mankind.....By others, men's influence is contracted into a narrow sphere, and by such means persons become of less importance, and more insignificant among mankind. And things of little importance are naturally little accounted of....And some of these ill qualities are such as, mankind find it their interest to treat with contempt, as they are very hurtful to human society.
There are no particular moral virtues whatsoever, but what in some or other of these ways, and most of them in several of these ways, come to have some kind of approbation from self love, without the influence of a truly virtuous principle ; nor any particular vices, but what by the same means meet with some disapprobation.
This kind of approbation and dislike, through the joint influence of self love and association of ideas, is in very many vastly heightened by education; as this is the means of a strong, close, and almost irrefragable association, in innumerable instances, of ideas which have no connexion any other way than by education; and of greatly strengthening that association, or connexion, which persons are led into by other means; as any one would be convinced, perhaps more effectually than in most other ways, if they had opportunity of any considerable acquaintance with American savages and their children.
Of Natural Conscience, and the Moral Sense."
THERE is yet another disposition or principle, of great importance, natural to mankind; which, if we consider the consistence and harmony of nature’s laws, may also be looked upon as in some sort arising from self love, or self union : And that is a disposition in man to be uneasy in a conscious