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arrive at adult age "without any principles of morality at all," and are in the practice of vice without remorse, as if it were virtue; he maintains an opinion widely different from the former; which, it is humbly conceived, cannot be supported on any sound principles.

Therefore, in reference to his various comments on the word Innate, as applied to speculative and moral rules-a denial of which is made the ground of such alarming conclusions with regard to the foundation of morals-it may at once be conceded that they are not innate, and yet his inferences be questioned; it being plainly of little moment whether principles are innate, or they develope themselves according to certain determinate laws of the mind, when it is placed under the ordinary advantages of culture in human society. Hence though we admit all his reasonings, in proving the negative of innate principles, to be valid, we may justly question his conclusions, when he contends that whole societies are without any principles of morality at all. For, in making the latter assertion, he leaves the former ground of argument; and, in attempting to prove that men in society, in other words, come to the use of reason, (which he alleges to be capable of knowing right and wrong and of distinguishing vice from virtue,) are, notwithstanding, without these principles of morality; he evidently attacks the competency of Reason itself, and makes as little even of the light of nature, to which he before allowed some capability in the discovery of

moral rules. As all men have the light of nature, and the light of nature is said to be competent to the discovery of some moral principles, it follows that all men are to be considered more or less partakers of these principles; as much as they are to be considered partakers of the common principles of reasoning, which are the privilege of every rational being. To take away from a moral agent the very principles by which his moral accountability is only to be judged, is to take away an essential part of his mental constitution, and to make him in fact not a man. It would be impossible by any sound logic to prove that a moral agent could exist without moral principles; or a rational agent without rational principles; or a sensual agent without sensual principles; or an instinctive agent without instinctive principles; or a mechanical agent without mechanical principles. Therefore, if the principles are wanting, the agency is destroyed; and so far the essential character of moral, rational, sensual, instinctive, or mechanical, is lost.

It is plain, therefore, that any system, however clear and plausible its arguments, which goes to prove that whole societies of men are not moral agents, should be received with very great hesitation. When it can be proved that human beings are never visited by any monitions of conscience, then, indeed we must acknowledge they are in no way to be considered accountable for their actions. But a man bred up in society without conscience, is a being of

whom we can form no conception: and a conscience without some sort of moral principles is a building without any foundation. Therefore conscience is as essential to man as reason or sense.

Some men may indeed do violence to their natural feelings and sear the conscience, as they may blunt even the edge of appetite and cloy the senses; and others may lose their understanding, or like idiots may be incapable of reasoning at all. But he who cannot distinguish vice from virtue or right from wrong, and confounds the sacred distinctions of good and evil, as if they were mutable relations, has as diseased and perverted a moral perception, as he that reasons amiss may be considered to have a perverted use of his rational faculty, or he that see amiss has a perverted use of the organ of vision, or he that tastes amiss has a vitiated palate.

Hence, it would seem as consistent to believe, that whole societies of men should agree to overturn the understood relations of truth and falsehood, so as to think and act like so many madmen; or to put sweet for bitter, and bitter for sweet, from some unaccountable and unnatural motive; as that they should agree by general compact to confound the distinctions of right and wrong, and to call evil good, and good evil.

We call custom arbitrary, and fashion changeable, and common sense revolts at their inconsistencies: but we turn with delight and confidence to the belief that there are pure unerring principles (whether a

man's rational or moral conduct is concerned,) which can regulate both one and the other according to a right standard; and that this standard is to be ultimately found no where else, but in his own unperverted and unsophisticated reason and conscience; just as the outward senses in their pure and natural state convey true and unperverted impressions to the mind of the qualities of external things.

If at any time the multitude, by passion, carelessness or ease, have been hurried away by preposterous usages, there have seldom been wanting among any people a few honest censors who have examined their own hearts, and discovered what was right, and raised their voices against the prevailing evil. Besides, however the multitude may seem to be carried down the current of popular opinion, without a thought of the immorality or absurdity of any practices amongst them; it is difficult to conceive that, as human nature is constituted, there are not some who now and then feel a secret wound. Is is not, however, dangerous to assume the negative? And is it possible for any philosopher to know that human beings are not visited by secret upbraidings for omissions and commissions, for unkindness and ingratitude, for ebullitions of passion and violations of faith and truth, even in the most savage state of society? And what are these upbraidings of a man's own heart, but the evidence and the effect of moral principles Without them no human society can be imagined to exist. And, therefore, we may with con

fidence presume, that there never was any human society without some sort of moral principles.

If the passages I have quoted from Locke on this subject, did not carry their own evidence of his meaning along with them, many might suppose that some unfair advantage had been taken in the selection. And I almost doubt whether I should have ventured to comment so freely on the writings of so eminent an author, if the way had not been in some measure opened before me. For, I do not believe that such men as Reid, Price, Stewart, Watts, Beattie, and others, would have made similar comments on the tendency of his principles, if these had not naturally led to conclusions unfavourable to, what the writers above named apprehended to be, the only sure foundation of morality and religion, viz. an implanted principle of Truth.

SECT. IV.

Conscience always includes the notion of a Moral
Principle.

:

I have thus endeavoured to illustrate the two senses in which the word Conscience has been usually employed in the one signifying an original principle, light, governor, or teacher-the internal propounder of the moral law and the guide of life; in the other a secret testimony and judgment of the mind, varying with its knowledge or speculative opinions, yet carry

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