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tive principle nearly allied to the two last, and is one of the leading springs of human improvement. From this root arises Envy, in its excess, one of the most hateful passions. Their affinity is thus marked by Pope:
"Envy, to which th' ignoble mind's a slave,
Is Emulation in the learn'd or brave.”
III. AFFECTIONS. The Affections are those active principles or natural impulses, by which man is disposed to communicate good or ill to his fellow-creatures. Hence they are divided into the benevolent and malevolent. I am now to notice the latter. natural root of all the malevolent feelings appears to be the instinctive principle of Resentment: which Dr. Butler and others have justly considered to be the only principle of this kind implanted in us by nature; and that its object is to guard us against sudden violence in cases where Reason would come too late to our assistance. Resentment very soon subsides when we are convinced, that no injury was intended. Indignation is the feeling excited, when we see one person intentionally injuring another without cause.
Hatred, Malice, Rage and Revenge are evil branches springing from this root; and according to the usages of civilized and savage society, display themselves in a great variety of complex acts, into which, Deliberation, the characteristic of a rational being, more or less enters. For, in this case, as in that of the Appetites and Desires, the higher faculties of the mind are often employed in subserviency to
the lower propensities; not only in aggravating the malignity and bitterness of the latter, but in devising means, by cunning, treachery, or open violence, for the attainment of their objects. Hence arises cruelty in all its forms, with brutal ferocity and murder. And hence proceed the vices of those who call themselves civilized, Retaliation, Duelling, and that outrage upon all Reason, Humanity and ReligionSYSTEMATIC WARFARE.
From all that has been said, of the active principles above enumerated, I apprehend it may be fairly concluded that there is not a vice, which deforms the human character, that may not be traced from a few simple natural propensities or seeds, which appear in children, almost as soon as they discover any signs of character at all, and therefore long before that period when Education has power to make its impressions.
The remarks of Dr. Price, in allusion to this subject, are deserving of attention: "Tis true," he observes," that these very principles, the necessity of which, to the preservation and happiness of the species, we so evidently see, often prove, in event, the causes of many grievous evils, and the most dreadful calamities. But they are plainly intended for good. These evils are the accidental, not the proper and direct consequences of them: they proceed from the unnatural abuse and corruption of them; and happen entirely through our own fault and folly, contrary to what appears to be the will and constitution of our Maker. It is impossible to produce one
instance, in which the original and ultimate direction of nature is to evil, or to any thing, not upon the whole, best." See Price's Review, chap. 3.
The last opinion, must however be received with the annexed cautions, and those limitations which are pointed out in a subsequent part of this Essay.
In the preceding enumeration of the roots and branches of the several vices, I have not spoken of the Passions: for they seem to be turbulent emotions of the mind, restricted to none, but arising from all the active principles, when they exceed the rule of moderation; that is, when they are carried beyond the bounds of reason. As ships, in a storm, without a pilot, are in danger of being driven upon rocks and shoals; so is the mind in peril, when it is tossed by the tempest of Passion, and unwilling or unable to hear the voice of Reason.
Of the Seed of Virtue.
It is an arduous task, by any process of natural inquiry, to trace Virtue to its original source. Dr. Hutcheson has remarked, that "it is a difficult question, involving a threefold consideration, namely, whether it comes to man by Nature, or by Custom and Education, or by some Divine Instinct." Dr. Hutcheson does not profess to solve the difficulty, but he observes, that learning, instruction and exercise
will improve the implanted powers ("vires insitas"); and expresses his wish that all these causes may cooperate. For, that "nature itself and divine instinct will sometimes avail without learning; but without some implanted disposition to good (upura) some natural virtuous inclination, "which," he believes," is scarcely denied to any, learning will avail nothing."*
It is not my business to discuss the abstract question above noticed: metaphysical discussions of this sort, being as far from my purpose as they are beyond my ability.
Virtue, I may premise for the sake of brevity, has been understood, in opposition to vice, by some, to comprehend what is good and excellent in human character-of which the unbiassed testimony of the heart is the witness; and by others, to be the practical observance of every civil, moral, and religious duty. Hence it would appear to be that which the Christian may account his glory as well as the Stoic: but it is received by the first as the free gift of Providence with humble thankfulness; and boasted of by the last, as the attainment of man's unassisted power, with pride and self-complacency.
With many other eminent philosophers, whose opinions I have already quoted on this point, Dr. Hutcheson has admitted that we have innate seeds of virtue.+
* Phil. Mor. Inst. Compend. lib. I. cap. 3.
+ "Quamvis haud spernendos dederit natura igniculos, ingeniisque nostris innata sint quædam virtutum semina, quæ quidem raro adolescere patimur.”—Hutches. Phil. Mor. lib. 1. cap. 1.
It is natural, therefore, to inquire, what are the earliest indications of virtue in children: for, what so many have taken for granted, can scarcely rest on a false foundation.
We have, I think, cause to lament the proneness of human nature to vice; and it must appear evident to those who watch the openings of character in children, that some of the first mental indications, when they are able to show the signs of any active principles, are not, so far as can be judged, of a virtuous tendency. This appears to be a moral fact, common to every age and nation, however it may be explained. The seeds of virtue do not appear to show themselves so early as the seeds of vice, whatever may be the advantages of outward good example. But, in as much as virtue is a plant of nobler and later growth, it may obey that natural law, which subjects the things that are more excellent to a more tardy developement. For, as that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is animal, and afterward that which is spiritual; so, it may be consistent with the right order of things, that the animal, sensual or inferior propensities should appear before the moral or spiritual. Indeed, we can scarcely see for what end these latter noble principles should appear in an infant, before it has discovered one spark even of intellect; for to it, moral conduct must be, in effect,
a mere name.
There is a progression or rising scale in nature,— in the different orders of beings, and even in the