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recal it, as it did to banish it. Let but the form and the love of virtue be imprinted by nature in the bottom of my soul, I shall have my rule as long as it is not disfigured: but how am I to assure myself that I shall always preserve in its purity this internal image which has no model among sensible beings to which it can be compared? Do we not know that inordinate affections corrupt the judgment as well as the will, and that Conscience is changed and modified insensibly in every age, in every people, and in every individual, according to the inconstancy and the variety of prejudices ?-Let us adore the eternal Being;with a breath of air we destroy these phantoms of Reason, which have only a visionary existence, and flee away like a shadow before immutable Truth."*

I should think myself called upon to apologize for the length of the following quotation from Dr. Reid, if it were not so very applicable to the view I have taken.

"Our moral Judgment, or Conscience, grows to maturity from an imperceptible seed, planted by our Creator. It may be much aided in its strength and vigour by proper culture.

"The faculties which we have in common with the brutes appear first, and have the quickest growth. In the first period of life, children are not capable of distinguishing right from wrong in conduct; neither are they capable of abstract reasoning in matters of science. Their judgment of moral conduct, as well as

Pensées de Rousseau..

their judgment of truth, advances by insensible degrees, like the corn and grass.

"In vegetables first the blade or the leaf appears, then the flower, and last of all the fruit, the noblest production of the three, and that for which the others were produced. According to the variation of soil, season, and culture, some plants are brought to much greater perfection than others of the same species. But no variation of culture, or season, or soil, can make grapes grow from thorns, or figs from thistles.

"We may observe a similar progress in the faculties of the mind; for there is a wonderful analogy among all the works of God, from the least even to the greatest.

"The faculties of man unfold themselves in a certain order appointed by the great Creator. In their gradual progress they may be greatly assisted or re. tarded, improved or corrupted, by education, instruction, example, exercise, and by the society and conversation of men, which like soil and culture in plants, may produce great changes to the better or to the worse.

"The seeds of moral discernment are at first tender and delicate, and easily warped.

"Our intellectual discernment is not so strong and vigorous by nature as to secure us from errors in speculation. It would be absurd, from the errors and ignorance of mankind, to conclude, that man has not a natural faculty of discerning truth, and distin guishing it from error,

"In like manner, our moral discernment of what we ought and what we ought not to do, is not so strong and vigorous by nature, as to secure us from very gross mistakes with regard to our duty.

In matters of conduct we are liable to be misled by prejudices of education, or by wrong instruction; and to have our judgment warped by our appetites and passions, by fashion, and by the contagion of evil example.

"The natural power of discerning between right and wrong needs the aid of instruction, education, exercise, and habit, as well as our other natural powers.

"There is a strong analogy between the progress of the body from infancy to maturity, and the progress of all the powers of the mind. This progression in both is the work of nature, and in both may be greatly aided by proper education,

"The power of vegetation in the seed of a plant, without heat and moisture, would for ever lie dormant. The rational and moral powers of man would perhaps lie dormant without instruction and example. Yet these powers are a part, and perhaps the noblest part of his constitution; as the power of vegetation is of the seed,

"Our first moral conceptions are probably got by attending coolly to the conduct of others, and observing what moves our approbation, what our indignation. These sentiments spring from our moral faculty as naturally as the sensations of sweet and

bitter from the faculty of taste. They have their natural objects. But most human actions are of a mixed nature, and have various colours, according as they are viewed, on different sides. Prejudice against, or in favour of the person, is apt to warp our opinion. It requires attention and candour to distinguish the good from the ill, and, without favour or prejudice, to form a clear and impartial judgment. In this, we be greatly aided by instruction.


"The bulk of mankind have but little of this culture in the proper season; and what they have is often unskilfully applied; by which means bad habits gather strength, and false notions of pleasure, of honour, and of interest occupy the mind. They give little attention to what is right and honest. Conscience is seldom consulted, and so little exercised, that its decisions are weak and wavering.

"He must be very ignorant of human nature, who does not perceive that the seed of virtue in the mind of man, like that of a tender plant in an unkindly soil, requires care and culture in the first period of life, as well as our own exertion when we come to maturity.

"The path of duty is a plain path, which the upright in heart can rarely mistake. Such it must be, since every man is bound to walk in it. There are some intricate cases in morals which admit of disputation, but these seldom occur in practice; and when they do, the learned disputant has no great advantage: For the unlearned man, who uses the best means in

his power to know his duty, and acts according to his knowledge, is inculpable in the sight of God and man. He may err, but is not guilty of immorality.'


Of the various opinions concerning the nature of the Moral Principle.

We see, therefore, that, notwithstanding all the seeming exceptions which have been made to the doctrine of an internal teacher-exceptions which may be sufficiently accounted for by the passions, conflicting interests, and free will of man; most of the writers above quoted, admit what is called a Moral Sense, or innate principle of moral obligation. It is curious however to note the variety of opinions which have been entertained respecting the nature of this principle. Human wisdom, it would appear, is scarce. ly competent to develope the true relations of a secret Guide and Intelligence, to which such an important office in the moral economy of man is intrusted by the Author of his being. Accordingly, those who have admitted the principle, have differed as to its nature: and those, who have rejected it, seem to have been scarcely aware of what their rejection of it involved.

* Reid's Essays.

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