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spark and remains, of pristine and primitive purity. In this latter sense, especially, the soul is a partaker of such a portion of light, as enables it to behold and discover the perfection of the moral law; yet this light is not sufficiently clear, but is afforded in such a manner that it rather reproves for vice, than fully informs us of our duties. Wherefore, the doctrine of Religion, as well moral as mystical, is not to be attained but by inspiration and revelation from God."*
Sir Matthew Hale testifies, that "Whatever may be said of other matters, certainly, the first draughts and strictures of natural religion and morality are naturally in the mind:"-" and by his faculties man is rendered into a capacity of knowing the will of Almighty God, and what is acceptable to him; for it is in a great measure inscribed in his soul." This eminent man "appeals to the most knowing men in the world, who have but had the leisure to think seriously and converse with themselves ;-whether next under Divine revelation their best and clearest sentiments of morality at least have not been gathered from the due animadversion and inspection of their own minds, and the improving of that stock of morals that they there find, and the transcribing of that original which they found first written there.”+
It is remarked, by the profound Bishop Butler, "that nothing can be more evident, than that, exclusive of revelation, man cannot be considered as a creature left by his Maker to act at random ; —but Prim. Orig, of Man.
* Advancem. of Learning.
that from his make, condition, or nature, he is in the strictest and most proper sense a law to himself.-He hath the rule of right within; what is wanting is only that he honestly attend to it."-" Let any plain honest man, before he engages in any course of action, ask himself, is this I am going about right, or is it wrong ? Is it good, or is it evil? I do not in the least doubt, but that this question would be answered agreeably to truth and virtue, by almost any fair man in almost any circumstance."*
"The soul," says Dr. Cudworth, "is not a mere Rasa Tabula, a naked and passive thing, which has no innate furniture or activity of its own, nor any thing at all in it, but what was impressed upon it without; for if it were so, then there could not possibly be any such thing as moral good and evil, just and unjust. The anticipations of morality do not spring merely from notional ideas, or from certain rules or propositions, arbitrarily printed upon the soul as upon a book, but from some other more inward, and vital principle, in intellectual beings, as such, whereby they have a natural determination in them to do some things, and to avoid others; which could not be if they were mere naked passive things."+
Dr. Hutcheson remarks, that "The Author of Nature has much better furnished us for a virtuous conduct, than our moralists seem to imagine, by
* See Sermons on Human Nature, ii. & iii.
+ Eternal and Immut. Morality. ch. 6.
almost as quick and powerful instructions, as we have for the preservation of our bodies. He has given us strong affections to be the springs of each virtuous action." He also adds, "The perception of moral good is not derived from custom, education, example or study......... We are not to imagine, that this Moral Sense, more than the other senses, supposes any innate ideas, knowledge, or practical proposition: we mean by it only a determination of our minds to receive the simple ideas of approbation or condemnation, from actions observed, antecedent to any opinions of advantage or loss to redound to ourselves from them."-" Notwithstanding the mighty Reason we boast of above other animals, its processes are too slow, too full of doubt and hesitation, to serve us in every exigency, either for our own preservation, without the external senses, or to influence our actions for the good of the whole, without this moral sense. "The universality of it and that it is antecedent to instruction, may appear from observing the sentiments of children, upon hearing the stories with which they are commonly entertained as soon as they understand language."-In conclusion, Dr. Hutcheson queries that if according to many of our moralists, the ultimate end is to each one his own happiness; and yet this he seeks by Instinct: "may not another Instinct toward the public or the good of others, be as proper a principle of virtue, as the Instinct towards private happiness ?”*
* See Inquiry concerning Moral Good and Evil,
"Happily for the human race," says Dr. Rush, "the intimations of duty and the road to happiness are not left to the slow operations or doubtful inductions of Reason.....It is worthy of notice, that while second thoughts are best in matters of judgment, first thoughts are always to be preferred in matters that relate to morality. Second thoughts in these cases are generally parlies between duty and corrupted inclinations. Hence, Rousseau has justly said, that "a well regulated moral instinct is the surest guide to happiness."*
Dr. Reid states, "That there must be in morals as in all other sciences, first or self-evident principles, on which all moral reasoning, as to whether the conduct of moral agents be good or bad, in a greater or less degree, or indifferent, is grounded, and in which it ultimately rests. Without such principles, we can no more establish any conclusion in morals, than we can build a castle in the air, without any foundation." -The first principles of morals are the immediate dictates of the moral faculty. By it, as an original power of the mind, we have the conceptions of right and wrong in human conduct, of merit and demerit, of duty, and moral obligation, &c.-He that will judge of the first principles of morals must consult his moral faculty, when he is calm and dispassionate."
"We shall find that all moral reasonings rest upon one or more first principles of morals, whose truth is immediately perceived without reasoning, by all men come to years of understanding."-" It is a first
* Influence of Physical Causes on the Moral Faculty.
principle in morals, that we ought not to do to another, what we should think wrong to be done to us in like circumstances. If a man is not capable of perceiving this in his cool moments, when he reflects seriously, he is not a moral agent, nor is he capable of being convinced of it by reasoning."*
I am aware that in quoting the opinions of Lord Shaftesbury and Rousseau, either by way of authority or illustration, I may be supposed to favour their general writings. It is therefore incumbent upon me to express my regret, that men, who could take so interesting and just a view of human nature, in many particulars, as may be noticed in several parts of their respective works, should have been betrayed into any impotent attacks against the sacred and impregnable bulwarks of Revealed Truth. The author of the "Characteristics" was perhaps the most consistent, and sincere, yet withal too frequently vapid in his reasonings, and given to unbecoming levity on serious subjects. But Rousseau, while, at one time, he wrote as if his mind was deeply embued with virtue from the streams of Inspiration itself, at another, he displayed the depravity and weakness of the libertine and unbeliever. We cannot, therefore, regard the acknowledgments which have fallen from such men, but as the unconstrained testimony of the human mind on the side of virtue, or the spontaneous homage which is paid by all men in their cool and
* Essays on the Powers of the Human Mind, vol. 3. ch. 6.