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work, neither let him eat,' is equally the judicial sentence of both.

In the present state of man, amid all the advantages furnished to industry by education, habit, example, and reward, the number of idlers is not small. In the proposed state, it would include the whole number of the human race. There would therefore be originally no disposition to labour. Should we, however, suppose some tendencies of this nature to exist, a complete discouragement would be thrown on all, by the knowledge that the proper reward of every industrious effort would either be wholly prevented, or snatched away by the hands of those who would not labour at all. Of course, mere necessaries, such as food and clothes, habitations and fuel, would be provided only in the degree which absolute necessity demanded, even by those who were industriously inclined. What then could become of the rest? Plainly, where they did not plunder, they would perish.

As therefore necessaries only would be provided, and even these only in the most stinted manner, it is evident that all the comforts of men would vanish at once. All the blessings of civilized life, its knowledge, arts, refinement, and religion, would cease to exist. There would be neither schools nor churches; for none would be inclined nor able to build them. There would be neither instructors nor ministers, neither legislators nor magistrates. Law, protection, and justice, learning and religion, together with a host of blessings which they lead in their train, would visit the world no more.

7. All the duties of man respect especially the objects which he best knows; those particularly which are most and most commonly within his reach; and to which he can most frequently and effectually extend his beneficence.

Man owes more to the poor in his neighbourhood, to his neighbours, generally, to the town and the country in which he lives than to others. The reason is obvious. It is in his power to do them more good, and God has placed him where he is that he may do this very good. For the same reason he owes more to his own family; because he can do more good to the members of it than to any other equal collection of mankind.

As therefore it is the indispensable duty of all men to do the most good in their power, and as this is the direct dictate,

the genuine tendency, of benevolence, so it is certain, that the division of mankind into families furnishes the fairest, and the only fair, foundation for accomplishing this purpose in a successful manner. On any other supposable plan, instead of increasing the efficacy of benevolence, or multiplying the enjoyments of mankind, we should in a great measure cramp the former and destroy the latter.


1. From these observations it is evident, that no objection lies, from the nature of benevolence, against this great requisition of the Gospel.

From the considerations which have been alleged it is manifest, that the arrangement of mankind into families is the foundation of more possible and more actual good than could be accomplished by any other means; of more, if man were perfectly disinterested, and yet possessed of his present limited capacity; of incalculably more, as man really is—a selfish, fallen creature. At the same time infinitely more evil is prevented. The spel therefore has directed the efforts of huC man benevolence in the best manner, and so, that they may be truly said to be employed with the highest advantage.

At the same time the wisdom of God is strongly manifested in furnishing every individual of the human race with so desirable a field for the exercise of his benevolence. In each case this field is at his door, always within his reach, easily comprehended, necessarily delightful, ever inviting and ever rewarding his labours. At the same time, it is sufficiently wide to employ and exhaust all his contrivance, and all his active powers. Nowhere else could he do so much good; and the utmost which he can do can be done here. This field is also provided for every man. Objects of beneficence are furnished to him of course, and for all those objects an efficient benefactor is supplied. Thus, in the simplest of all modes, is provision effectually made for the beneficence of all, and the comfort of all.

At the same time this happy arrangement becomes of course the foundation of the happiest distribution of mankind into larger societies, and the means of uniting to them, in the

strongest and most enduring manner, the attachment of the individuals. He therefore, whose superior powers and opportunities enable him to extend the offices of good-will beyond this little field, has one which is wider always spread around him, where these superior powers may always be advantageously employed. This more extended scene of usefulness is a mere appendage to the other. Were there no families, there would be no country; were there no little spheres of beneficence, there would be no great one; and were goodwill not exercised first towards those who are near, it would never be extended to those who are distant. The kindness learned by the fire-side, and practised towards the domestic circle, is easily spread by him who is invested with sufficient talents through a country, or extended over a world.

2. These observations clearly show the folly of Godwin's system of human perfectibility.

This wretched apostle of atheism, with a weakness exceeded only by his audacity, has undertaken, in form, to show himself wiser than his Maker. For this purpose he has boldly declared marriage to be an unjust monopoly, and the institution of families to be the means of preventing the happiness and perfection of man. Of this perfection a promiscuous concubinage, and a community of labours and of property are, in his opinion, essential constituents. Nor has the whole concurring experience of mankind, invariably opposed to his doctrires, been sufficient to awaken him from his dreaming speculations to sober thought, and the exercise of common sense. This system, if it may be called such, this crude gathering together of ideas into a mob, he professedly founds on the doctrine of disinterested good-will; and these he professes to be the genuine consequences of this glorious principle. Were they indeed its consequences, every good man would be struck with amazement and horror; for they would undoubtedly annihilate all the comfort, peace, and hopes of mankind. That benevolence, which is the only virtue, would prove the most fruitful and efficacious cause of absolute destruction of all human good; and its glorious character, instead of being the voluntary cause of happiness, would be exchanged for that of being only and fatally the voluntary cause of misery.

Who, for example, would labour, if he were uncertain that

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he should enjoy the fruit of his efforts; much more, if he were assured that he should not enjoy it? What multitudes now refuse to labour when completely secure of all its products! Were this stimulus to industry taken away, the exertions of man would terminate in a moment and the world would become the seat of universal inexertion and idleness. The food, clothes, and other comforts now brought into existence by the toil of man, are barely sufficient to supply his immediate wants. All the food annually produced is annually consumed. Multitudes are scantily supplied; while always some, and in particular seasons great numbers, even in industrious and fruitful countries, perish with hunger. Suppose half the labour by which food is furnished were to cease, what would be the consequence? The answer cannot be mistaken. Multitudes must immediately die, and still greater multitudes perish by gradual suffering and lingering want. The young particularly, the infirm, the feebler sex, together with all those unaccustomed to labour at all, or unacquainted with that kind of labour by which food is produced, must, where they did not subsist by plundering others, become speedily victims to famine. Within the period of a single generation, the present population of the globe would be reduced to that of an American wilderness. China, India, and Europe would be emptied at once. The arts of life, the knowledge, the order, the safety, the refinement, the humanity, the morals, and the religion of civilized society would vanish; and hunting, and scouting, and pawawing be substituted in their stead. The regions which are now beautified with verdant fields, and enriched with luxuriant harvests, whose hills and plains are adorned with cheerful villages and splendid cities, in which thousands of churches invite mankind to the worship of God, and ten thousands of schools allure their children to knowledge and improvement; would become a vast Patagonian desert, gloomily set with here and there a solitary weekwam, wandered over at times by the prowling foot of a savage, and, when undisturbed by the warwhoop, the shrieks of terror, or the groans of suffering, hushed into the universal sleep of silence and death. That such would be the fact is certain, because, where property has for a length of time continued unsafe, it has all regularly existed.

One half of the story, however dismal the recital may

seem, has not yet been told, The very savages have families, and provide for them with no little care. We must sink below the Patagonian, who performs this duty, to find either the character or the circumstances of those who do not. The savages, in many instances at least, are chaste; in all, are the subjects of natural affection; and feel strong attachments to their friends and their nation. These means of comfort, these last hopes of virtue, the philosopher whom I have mentioned proposes to destroy. In their stead he leaves nothing but the fierce and brutal passions of men sanctioned by the voice of philosophy, and legalized by the decrees of legislation. These passions and appetites wholly unrestrained, because thus legalized and sanctioned, would originate, direct, and control all the future conduct of men, What these passions would dictate, we know from what they have always dictated. What they would accomplish, we know from what, when let loose, they have heretofore accomplished. If any man is at a loss on this subject, he may find a faint image of what he seeks, in a den of thieves or a horde of banditti. To complete the picture, let him cast his eye onward to a lair of wild beasts, and a stye of swine. With all these objects in view, he would find a faint image of the degraded, ferocious, guilty, suffering state of this miserable world, accomplished by these Godwinian means of perfection. Virtue itself therefore, according to the scheme of this writer, would become the cause of exterminating all virtue from the breast of man, as well as of rooting all enjoyment out of the present world.

3. We have here a specimen of the success with which human philosophy directs the moral concerns of mankind.



The Scriptures have required us to love our neighbour as ourselves;' and have directed the application of this principle in such a manner as to give it its utmost efficacy, and to produce by means of it the greatest mass of human good. "God," says Dryden, never made his work for man to mend." A philosopher, laying hold on this principle, and understanding it only in the gross, has undertaken to direct its application anew, and in a manner better suited to his own feelings. The consequence (as we have seen) is, the gold is changed into dross in a moment, the food into poison. That, which as the Scriptures taught and directed it, nay, that which

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