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makes them honour'd and belov'd by Their neighbours
, and invites mankind to cultivate a correspondence with them.
But further : these virtues are useful, not only to the persons who practise them, but also to those with whom they converse. The success of men's undertakings oftentimes depends upon a right information of circumstances.. When we are made acquainted with the truth of things we have some foundation to þuild upon, and shall most probably take such measures as will prevent any ihreatning evil, or procure any desired good, But when men 'diffemble and play the hypocrite with us, and endeavour to make us believe that which they know to be false; we shall Þe 'apt to direct our conduct according ro those false notions which we receive from
en measures of action, which will hinder our attaining the good we desire, or bring, down upon us the evil which we dread. One great advantage of society, is the communicating to one another the knowledge of those things which tend to our welfare, and assisting each other by our counsel. But if I
cannot believe a man, I am not like to receive any benefit from his society; because I shall have no regard to what he faith, but shall reject his counsel, how good foever it may be, from a fufpicion of his insincerity.
Again: fidelity is a very useful virtue in society. Whosoever fulfils his
promises, and performs his contracts, thereby becomes useful to the persons to whom those promises and contracts were made. The end of a promise is to secure to another the enjoyment of fome good, or protection from fome evil; and the design of contracts is the mutual -benefit and advantage of the contracting parties. Therefore he who fulfils his promife is ufeful to his neighbour, by putting him into the possession of the promised good, or protecting him from that evil which he promised to protect him from.
And when men perform their contracts with one another, they do one another all that good, whatever it be, which was proposed in the contracts made betwixt them.
"To what hath been said concerning the usefulness of these virtues in society we may add further, that they are ab
solutely necessary to the support of it. 'Tis impossible that fociety should be maintained without mutual faith. All the commerce which is among men is founded upon the mutual confidence which they have in one another, and their persuasion of each other's sincerity: and when once these foundations of commerce are destroyed, the commerce itself will be destroyed also. If we suspect a man's veracity, and know not how to believe what he says, wę Thall fhun his conversation ; for no character is more odious than that of a liar. We shall decline all manner of dealings with those whom we cannot trust, and avoid entering into any contracts with such as allow themselves in breach of promise.
A great part of what hath been said concerning the virtues of truth and fidelity, may with equal justice be applied to the virtue of gratitude co our benefactors. There is a natural fitness and decency in it ; it is acting in conformity to truth, the righteousness of which hath been already shewn. When men are thankful for benefits confer'd upon them, they confess the truth, viz. that they have received benefits; and
treat their benefactors as being what they are, viz. kind and beneficent to them. On the
On the contrary, when men are unthankful for favours received, they do in effect deny the receipt of any such favours, and those to be benefactors who really have been fo. I put gratitude under the head of justice, because it seems to me to be one eminent branch of it : for if justice consists in rendering to everyone what is his due, then gratitude to a benefactor is a part of justice, becaufe it is rendering to him what is his due: for a thankful acknowledgment, and even a requital, if it lies in his power, is a debt due from him who receives a kindness, to him who bestows it. And no man ought to accept of a kindnefs from another, who would not, if it were in his power, shew the fame kindness to him when he ftands in need of it: for by accepting a kindness, a man lays himself under an obligation to the person who bestowed it, and makes himself indebted to him; and no man ought to contract a debt, who is not determin'd, as soon as he is able, to pay it. That man hath no right to a kind usage from others, who hath no disposition to thew the like towards them;
for: whatsoever we would that men jould do to us, we ought to do the same to
them; according to the rule prescribed by our Saviour, Mat. VII. 12.
The mention of this rule furnishes us with another good argument whereby to prove the righteoufness of all the yirtues I have been discoursing of. "Every man is desirous that others should be just in their dealings with him, that they should pay for what they have bought, restore what they have borrow'd, and fuffer him peaceably.ito enjoy that
which is his own. Every one is desirous that others should fulfil their promises to and contracts with him, and be faithful to any trust which he hath reposed in them: and every one is desirous that oL thers fhould express ca grateful senfe of . the benefits which they have received from him. It is therefore most righteous that he should practise the same things with regard to others : for the same reafons which-oblige ochers to observe these rules in their conduct towards him, .0blige him to observe them in his conduct towards others. These things may suffice to thew the rightediefness of those precepts, which enjoin justice, which makes fo confiderable a part of the dụty -we owe to our neighbour.