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found what all mankind in all ages have conceived to be distinct. Nature, as I just now remarked, has provided a proper feeling and a proper term for the fortunate and the virtuous. We rejoice with the former: we approve of the latter : that joy and that approbation carry with them two kinds of merit in ourselves. Our benevolence implies the absence of envy, makes us rejoice in the happiness of others, and often impels us to promote it. Antecedently to any effort or any wish, and independently of both, our love of virtue itself induces us to extend that love to good men, and to sympathise with them in their own approbation of their own good deeds. That remorse should be irreconcilable to the doctrine of necessity, is a circumstance which, in my judgment, forms a strong presumption against the truth of that doctrine. Remorse, as a reality, can be ascertained by a direct appeal to experience. Necessity is proved by a long and abstract chain of reasoning, the process of which is not very intelligible to the bulk of mankind, and upon which the premises have been examined and rejected by a great majority of the very greatest metaphysicians. Virtuous men, by a sort of instinct, startle at necessity; and vicious men would gladly persuade themselves that they have an excuse in it for their vices. But no man is alarmed on hearing that he is endowed with liberty; for he is told at the same time, that it is his interest as well as his duty not to abuse it.
Let me, however, expostulate a little with the Necessarian himself. If the question be put to him on his own practice, will he venture to maintain unequivocally, that there is no difference in his reflections upon those actions, which by the common consent of mankind are praised or blamedthat for offences not very heinous, he has not smarted under what is called compunction and shame—that, hereafter, should he commit any atrocious crime, such as perjury, incest, or murder, he should expect to look back upon it with perfcet indifference—that, with equal indifference he should contemplate those actions which other men call meritorious—that in the former cases, where all other men would blame him, he should stand acquitted to himself, as a being merely unfortunate—that, in the opposite situation in which all men would praise him, he should appear to himself only fortunate—and that this similar feeling of indifference in situations most different, would arise from his reliance upon certain reasonings which taught him to believe that, under the circumstances in which he acted, according to his own views of necessity, he was compelled so to act, and was incapable of acting in any other manner from any
other motive? He might tell us, as indeed we have been told, with a magnificent array
of eloquence, of metaphysics, and I had almost added of specious piety ;-yes, he might say, that the divine wisdom, which ordained the existence of a chain, binding the past to the present, the present to the future, and the future to eternity, willed the existence of every link of which that chain is composed. He might say, that in the link of iron
there is a Caligula, and in the link of gold there is a Marcus Aurelius. But the very contrast of these two characters implies, that he cannot even himself pronounce Caligula not bad, Aurelius not goodthat he had no hatred of Caligula, though in the language of his own school, he was only unfortunate— that he had no love for Aurelius, though in the language of his own school, he was only fortunate.
Upon this, as upon many other questions, the fallacy of general propositions is most effectually developed by the application of them to particular
If a man, intending to support the credit of his sect, should put Caligula and Aurelius upon the same footing, we might be content to smile at him for singularity and affectation ; but if we had reason to think that he was sincere, our smiles would be converted into frowns, and we should suspect that the errors of his head would sooner or later be allied with the corruptions of his heart. It has been intimated by men, whose belief in the existence of the Deity is somewhat problematical, that he who ordained the chain just now mentioned, is neither pleased with the golden link, nor displeased with the iron. This is not a place for me to enter into any discussion with those who doubt the existence of a God. My concern is with a better class of men, who not only admit his existence, but ascribe to him moral attributes—with men who admire his power and his wisdom in the natural world, and allow their joint operation with justice, holiness, and mercy in the moral world. I do not call upon them
to say that God is angry at the sight of the iron link, but I should entreat him to pause before he pronounces that God beholds that link with the same approbation with which he views the golden one-to pause before he declares, that the same Being, who had ordained the differences of both, would contemplate both as if they equally excluded from approbation and disapprobation. An omnipotent and at the same time a benevolent Being may, and in my opinion does, employ a physical evil as the instrument eventually of moral good. A righteous, and, at the same time, an omniscient Being, may permit moral evil to exist, if, upon the whole, it be instrumental to physical good, and, in many cases let me add, auxiliary to the production of moral good among creatures circumstanced as we
But can a just and holy Being be supposed, through the whole system of our moral discipline, to substitute appearances for realities? Can he be supposed to have given us a fallacious, useless, pernicious feeling in that remorse, which to good and to bad men, if we can believe in their own representation of their own thoughts, is a powerful and even necessary restraint from wickedness? Can he be supposed to have implanted in us notions of virtue as leading to happiness, and vice as obstructing it, while he views both virtue and vice with perfect indifference? Can he be supposed to have deceived us, in ascribing our choice of virtue and vice to freedom ; while, in reality, that choice was the result of inevitable necessity; and therefore upon any known principles of justice, or wis
dom, or holiness, could neither entitle virtue to praise, or subject vice to blame?
When, from the general laws of the moral world, virtue is experimentally found to be, on the whole, favourable to happiness, and vice unfavourable to it, is it conceivable, that such a constitution of things was not intended on the part of God himself to encourage virtue and discourage vice ? and if the tendency of remorse be to reclaim us from vice, and rescue us from the dreadful consequences of it, such a feeling makes an important property in the human mind, and ought not to be obscured and explained away by metaphysical subtleties. As to the links of which I was speaking, because other men have spoken of them-a good man might call the link of gold happy; he must wish to be that link. He will be thankful to Providence for not permitting him to be the iron link. But he would not describe his own happiness by saying, with the Necessarian, and the Fatalist, that he was fortunate. He would have an additional and a distinct perception of some other property which he, without arrogance, would call meritorious ; and he at the same time would perceive, that a consciousness of merit was one ingredient of his happiness. The Necessarians, as I have sometimes observed, do not profess to make any distinction between omissions and commissions, which are against the common sentiments of mankind, and other omissions and commissions, the guilt of which arises from mistaken and superstitious notions about that which is pleasing or displeasing to the true God, or to false gods. We know,