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´╗┐Title: Human Nature and Other Sermons
Author: Butler, Joseph, 1692-1752
Language: English
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Transcribed from the 1887 Cassell & Co. edition by David Price, email





Joseph Butler was born in 1692, youngest of eight children of a
linendraper at Wantage, in Berkshire.  His father was a Presbyterian, and
after education at the Wantage Free Grammar School Joseph Butler was sent
to be educated for the Presbyterian ministry in a training academy at
Gloucester, which was afterwards removed to Tewkesbury.  There he had a
friend and comrade, Secker, who afterwards became Archbishop of
Canterbury.  Butler and Secker inquired actively, and there was
foreshadowing of his future in the fact that in 1713, at the age of
twenty-one, Butler was engaged in anonymous discussion with Samuel Clarke
upon his book on the _a priori_ demonstration of the Divine Existence and

When the time drew near for call to the ministry, Butler, like his friend
Secker, had reasoned himself into accordance with the teaching of the
Church of England.  Butler's father did not oppose his strong desire to
enter the Church, and he was entered in 1714 at Oriel College, Oxford.  At
college a strong friendship was established between Butler and a fellow-
student, Edward Talbot, whose father was a Bishop, formerly of Oxford and
Salisbury, then of Durham.  Through Talbot's influence Butler obtained in
1718 the office of Preacher in the Rolls Chapel, which he held for the
next eight years.  In 1722 Talbot died, and on his death-bed urged his
father on behalf of his friend Butler.  The Bishop accordingly presented
Joseph Butler to the living of Houghton-le-Spring.  But it was found that
costs of dilapidations were beyond his means at Houghton, and Butler had
a dangerous regard for building works.  He was preferred two years
afterwards to the living of Stanhope, which then became vacant, and which
yielded a substantial income.  Butler sought nothing for himself, his
simplicity of character, real worth, and rare intellectual power, secured
him friends, and the love of two of them--Talbot first, and afterwards
Secker, who made his own way in the Church, and became strong enough to
put his friend as well as himself in the way of worldly advancement,
secured for Butler all the patronage he had, until the Queen also became
his active friend.

Joseph Butler was seven years at Stanhope, quietly devoted to his parish
duties, preaching, studying, and writing his "Analogy of Religion,
Natural and Revealed, to the Constitution and Course of Nature."  In
1727, while still at Stanhope, he was appointed to a stall in Durham
Cathedral.  Secker, having become chaplain to the Queen, encouraged her
in admiration of Butler's sermons.  He told her that the author was not
dead, but buried, and secured her active interest in his behalf.  From
Talbot, who had become Lord Chancellor, Secker had no difficulty in
obtaining for Butler a chaplaincy which exempted him from the necessity
of residence at Stanhope.  Butler, in accepting it, stipulated for
permission to live and work in his parish for six months in every year.
Next he was made chaplain to the King, and Rector of St. James's, upon
which he gave up Stanhope.  In 1736 Queen Caroline appointed him her
Clerk of the Closet, an office which gave Butler the duty of attendance
upon her for two hours every evening.  In that year he published his
"Analogy," of which the purpose was to meet, on its own ground, the
scepticism of his day.  The Queen died in 1737, and, in accordance with
the strong desire expressed in her last days, in 1738 Butler was made a
Bishop.  But his Bishopric was Bristol, worth only 300 or 400 pounds a
year.  The King added the Deanery of St. Paul's, when that became vacant
in 1740, and in 1750, towards the close of his life, Joseph Butler was
translated to the Bishopric of Durham.  He died in 1752.

No man could be less self-seeking.  He owed his rise in the Church wholly
to the intellectual power and substantial worth of character that
inspired strong friendship.  Seeing how little he sought worldly
advancement for himself, while others were pressing and scrambling,
Butler's friends used their opportunities of winning for him the
advancement he deserved.  He was happiest in doing his work, of which a
chief part was in his study, where he employed his philosophic mind in
strengthening the foundations of religious faith.  Faith in God was
attacked by men who claimed especially to be philosophers, and they were
best met by the man who had, beyond all other divines of his day--some
might not be afraid to add, of any day--the philosophic mind.

H. M.


   ROMANS xii. 4, 5.

   _For as we have many members in one body_, _and all members have not
   the same office_: _so we_, _being many_, _are one body in Christ_,
   _and every one members one of another_.

The Epistles in the New Testament have all of them a particular reference
to the condition and usages of the Christian world at the time they were
written.  Therefore as they cannot be thoroughly understood unless that
condition and those usages are known and attended to, so, further, though
they be known, yet if they be discontinued or changed, exhortations,
precepts, and illustrations of things, which refer to such circumstances
now ceased or altered, cannot at this time be urged in that manner and
with that force which they were to the primitive Christians.  Thus the
text now before us, in its first intent and design, relates to the decent
management of those extraordinary gifts which were then in the Church,
{1} but which are now totally ceased.  And even as to the allusion that
"we are one body in Christ," though what the apostle here intends is
equally true of Christians in all circumstances, and the consideration of
it is plainly still an additional motive, over and above moral
considerations, to the discharge of the several duties and offices of a
Christian, yet it is manifest this allusion must have appeared with much
greater force to those who, by the many difficulties they went through
for the sake of their religion, were led to keep always in view the
relation they stood in to their Saviour, who had undergone the same: to
those, who, from the idolatries of all around them, and their
ill-treatment, were taught to consider themselves as not of the world in
which they lived, but as a distinct society of themselves; with laws and
ends, and principles of life and action, quite contrary to those which
the world professed themselves at that time influenced by.  Hence the
relation of a Christian was by them considered as nearer than that of
affinity and blood; and they almost literally esteemed themselves as
members one of another.

It cannot, indeed, possibly be denied, that our being God's creatures,
and virtue being the natural law we are born under, and the whole
constitution of man being plainly adapted to it, are prior obligations to
piety and virtue than the consideration that God sent his Son into the
world to save it, and the motives which arise from the peculiar relation
of Christians as members one of another under Christ our head.  However,
though all this be allowed, as it expressly is by the inspired writers,
yet it is manifest that Christians at the time of the Revelation, and
immediately after, could not but insist mostly upon considerations of
this latter kind.

These observations show the original particular reference to the text,
and the peculiar force with which the thing intended by the allusion in
it must have been felt by the primitive Christian world.  They likewise
afford a reason for treating it at this time in a more general way.

The relation which the several parts or members of the natural body have
to each other and to the whole body is here compared to the relation
which each particular person in society has to other particular persons
and to the whole society; and the latter is intended to be illustrated by
the former.  And if there be a likeness between these two relations, the
consequence is obvious: that the latter shows us we were intended to do
good to others, as the former shows us that the several members of the
natural body were intended to be instruments of good to each other and to
the whole body.  But as there is scarce any ground for a comparison
between society and the mere material body, this without the mind being a
dead unactive thing, much less can the comparison be carried to any
length.  And since the apostle speaks of the several members as having
distinct offices, which implies the mind, it cannot be thought an
allowable liberty, instead of the _body_ and _its members_, to substitute
the _whole nature_ of _man_, and _all the variety of internal principles
which belong to it_.  And then the comparison will be between the nature
of man as respecting self, and tending to private good, his own
preservation and happiness; and the nature of man as having respect to
society, and tending to promote public good, the happiness of that
society.  These ends do indeed perfectly coincide; and to aim at public
and private good are so far from being inconsistent that they mutually
promote each other: yet in the following discourse they must be
considered as entirely distinct; otherwise the nature of man as tending
to one, or as tending to the other, cannot be compared.  There can no
comparison be made, without considering the things compared as distinct
and different.

From this review and comparison of the nature of man as respecting self
and as respecting society, it will plainly appear that _there are as real
and the same kind of indications in human nature_, _that we were made for
society and to do good to our fellow-creatures_, _as that we were
intended to take care of our own life and health and private good_: _and
that the same objections lie against one of these assertions as against
the other_.  For,

First, there is a natural principle of _benevolence_ {2} in man, which is
in some degree to _society_ what _self-love_ is to the _individual_.  And
if there be in mankind any disposition to friendship; if there be any
such thing as compassion--for compassion is momentary love--if there be
any such thing as the paternal or filial affections; if there be any
affection in human nature, the object and end of which is the good of
another, this is itself benevolence, or the love of another.  Be it ever
so short, be it in ever so low a degree, or ever so unhappily confined,
it proves the assertion, and points out what we were designed for, as
really as though it were in a higher degree and more extensive.  I must,
however, remind you that though benevolence and self-love are different,
though the former tends most directly to public good, and the latter to
private, yet they are so perfectly coincident that the greatest
satisfactions to ourselves depend upon our having benevolence in a due
degree; and that self-love is one chief security of our right behaviour
towards society.  It may be added that their mutual coinciding, so that
we can scarce promote one without the other, is equally a proof that we
were made for both.

Secondly, this will further appear, from observing that the _several
passions_ and _affections_, which are distinct {3} both from benevolence
and self-love, do in general contribute and lead us to _public good_ as
really as to _private_.  It might be thought too minute and particular,
and would carry us too great a length, to distinguish between and compare
together the several passions or appetites distinct from benevolence,
whose primary use and intention is the security and good of society, and
the passions distinct from self-love, whose primary intention and design
is the security and good of the individual. {4}  It is enough to the
present argument that desire of esteem from others, contempt and esteem
of them, love of society as distinct from affection to the good of it,
indignation against successful vice--that these are public affections or
passions, have an immediate respect to others, naturally lead us to
regulate our behaviour in such a manner as will be of service to our
fellow-creatures.  If any or all of these may be considered likewise as
private affections, as tending to private good, this does not hinder them
from being public affections too, or destroy the good influence of them
upon society, and their tendency to public good.  It may be added that as
persons without any conviction from reason of the desirableness of life
would yet of course preserve it merely from the appetite of hunger, so,
by acting merely from regard (suppose) to reputation, without any
consideration of the good of others, men often contribute to public good.
In both these instances they are plainly instruments in the hands of
another, in the hands of Providence, to carry on ends--the preservation
of the individual and good of society--which they themselves have not in
their view or intention.  The sum is, men have various appetites,
passions, and particular affections, quite distinct both from self-love
and from benevolence: all of these have a tendency to promote both public
and private good, and may be considered as respecting others and
ourselves equally and in common; but some of them seem most immediately
to respect others, or tend to public good; others of them most
immediately to respect self, or tend to private good: as the former are
not benevolence, so the latter are not self-love: neither sort are
instances of our love either to ourselves or others, but only instances
of our Maker's care and love both of the individual and the species, and
proofs that He intended we should be instruments of good to each other,
as well as that we should be so to ourselves.

Thirdly, there is a principle of reflection in men, by which they
distinguish between, approve and disapprove their own actions.  We are
plainly constituted such sort of creatures as to reflect upon our own
nature.  The mind can take a view of what passes within itself, its
propensions, aversions, passions, affections as respecting such objects,
and in such degrees; and of the several actions consequent thereupon.  In
this survey it approves of one, disapproves of another, and towards a
third is affected in neither of these ways, but is quite indifferent.
This principle in man, by which he approves or disapproves his heart,
temper, and actions, is conscience; for this is the strict sense of the
word, though sometimes it is used so as to take in more.  And that this
faculty tends to restrain men from doing mischief to each other, and
leads them to do good, is too manifest to need being insisted upon.  Thus
a parent has the affection of love to his children: this leads him to
take care of, to educate, to make due provision for them--the natural
affection leads to this: but the reflection that it is his proper
business, what belongs to him, that it is right and commendable so to
do--this, added to the affection, becomes a much more settled principle,
and carries him on through more labour and difficulties for the sake of
his children than he would undergo from that affection alone, if he
thought it, and the cause of action it led to, either indifferent or
criminal.  This indeed is impossible, to do that which is good and not to
approve of it; for which reason they are frequently not considered as
distinct, though they really are: for men often approve of the action of
others which they will not imitate, and likewise do that which they
approve not.  It cannot possibly be denied that there is this principle
of reflection or conscience in human nature.  Suppose a man to relieve an
innocent person in great distress; suppose the same man afterwards, in
the fury of anger, to do the greatest mischief to a person who had given
no just cause of offence.  To aggravate the injury, add the circumstances
of former friendship and obligation from the injured person; let the man
who is supposed to have done these two different actions coolly reflect
upon them afterwards, without regard to their consequences to himself: to
assert that any common man would be affected in the same way towards
these different actions, that he would make no distinction between them,
but approve or disapprove them equally, is too glaring a falsity to need
being confuted.  There is therefore this principle of reflection or
conscience in mankind.  It is needless to compare the respect it has to
private good with the respect it has to public; since it plainly tends as
much to the latter as to the former, and is commonly thought to tend
chiefly to the latter.  This faculty is now mentioned merely as another
part in the inward frame of man, pointing out to us in some degree what
we are intended for, and as what will naturally and of course have some
influence.  The particular place assigned to it by nature, what authority
it has, and how great influence it ought to have, shall be hereafter

From this comparison of benevolence and self-love, of our public and
private affections, of the courses of life they lead to, and of the
principle of reflection or conscience as respecting each of them, it is
as manifest that _we were made for society_, _and to promote the
happiness of it_, _as that we were intended to take care of our own life
and health and private good_.

And from this whole review must be given a different draught of human
nature from what we are often presented with.  Mankind are by nature so
closely united, there is such a correspondence between the inward
sensations of one man and those of another, that disgrace is as much
avoided as bodily pain, and to be the object of esteem and love as much
desired as any external goods; and in many particular cases persons are
carried on to do good to others, as the end their affection tends to and
rests in; and manifest that they find real satisfaction and enjoyment in
this course of behaviour.  There is such a natural principle of
attraction in man towards man that having trod the same tract of land,
having breathed in the same climate, barely having been born in the same
artificial district or division, becomes the occasion of contracting
acquaintances and familiarities many years after; for anything may serve
the purpose.  Thus relations merely nominal are sought and invented, not
by governors, but by the lowest of the people, which are found sufficient
to hold mankind together in little fraternities and copartnerships: weak
ties indeed, and what may afford fund enough for ridicule, if they are
absurdly considered as the real principles of that union: but they are in
truth merely the occasions, as anything may be of anything, upon which
our nature carries us on according to its own previous bent and bias;
which occasions therefore would be nothing at all were there not this
prior disposition and bias of nature.  Men are so much one body that in a
peculiar manner they feel for each other shame, sudden danger,
resentment, honour, prosperity, distress; one or another, or all of
these, from the social nature in general, from benevolence, upon the
occasion of natural relation, acquaintance, protection, dependence; each
of these being distinct cements of society.  And therefore to have no
restraint from, no regard to, others in our behaviour, is the speculative
absurdity of considering ourselves as single and independent, as having
nothing in our nature which has respect to our fellow-creatures, reduced
to action and practice.  And this is the same absurdity as to suppose a
hand, or any part, to have no natural respect to any other, or to the
whole body.

But, allowing all this, it may be asked, "Has not man dispositions and
principles within which lead him to do evil to others, as well as to do
good?  Whence come the many miseries else which men are the authors and
instruments of to each other?"  These questions, so far as they relate to
the foregoing discourse, may be answered by asking, Has not man also
dispositions and principles within which lead him to do evil to himself,
as well as good?  Whence come the many miseries else--sickness, pain, and
death--which men are instruments and authors of to themselves?

It may be thought more easy to answer one of these questions than the
other, but the answer to both is really the same: that mankind have
ungoverned passions which they will gratify at any rate, as well to the
injury of others as in contradiction to known private interest: but that
as there is no such thing as self-hatred, so neither is there any such
thing as ill-will in one man towards another, emulation and resentment
being away; whereas there is plainly benevolence or good-will: there is
no such thing as love of injustice, oppression, treachery, ingratitude,
but only eager desires after such and such external goods; which,
according to a very ancient observation, the most abandoned would choose
to obtain by innocent means, if they were as easy and as effectual to
their end: that even emulation and resentment, by any one who will
consider what these passions really are in nature, {5} will be found
nothing to the purpose of this objection; and that the principles and
passions in the mind of man, which are distinct both from self-love and
benevolence, primarily and most directly lead to right behaviour with
regard to others as well as himself, and only secondarily and
accidentally to what is evil.  Thus, though men, to avoid the shame of
one villainy, are sometimes guilty of a greater, yet it is easy to see
that the original tendency of shame is to prevent the doing of shameful
actions; and its leading men to conceal such actions when done is only in
consequence of their being done; _i.e._, of the passion's not having
answered its first end.

If it be said that there are persons in the world who are in great
measure without the natural affections towards their fellow-creatures,
there are likewise instances of persons without the common natural
affections to themselves.  But the nature of man is not to be judged of
by either of these, but by what appears in the common world, in the bulk
of mankind.

I am afraid it would be thought very strange, if to confirm the truth of
this account of human nature, and make out the justness of the foregoing
comparison, it should be added that from what appears, men in fact as
much and as often contradict that _part_ of their nature which respects
_self_, and which leads them to their _own private_ good and happiness,
as they contradict that _part_ of it which respects _society_, and tends
to _public_ good: that there are as few persons who attain the greatest
satisfaction and enjoyment which they might attain in the present world,
as who do the greatest good to others which they might do; nay, that
there are as few who can be said really and in earnest to aim at one as
at the other.  Take a survey of mankind: the world in general, the good
and bad, almost without exception, equally are agreed that were religion
out of the case, the happiness of the present life would consist in a
manner wholly in riches, honours, sensual gratifications; insomuch that
one scarce hears a reflection made upon prudence, life, conduct, but upon
this supposition.  Yet, on the contrary, that persons in the greatest
affluence of fortune are no happier than such as have only a competency;
that the cares and disappointments of ambition for the most part far
exceed the satisfactions of it; as also the miserable intervals of
intemperance and excess, and the many untimely deaths occasioned by a
dissolute course of life: these things are all seen, acknowledged, by
every one acknowledged; but are thought no objections against, though
they expressly contradict, this universal principle--that the happiness
of the present life consists in one or other of them.  Whence is all this
absurdity and contradiction?  Is not the middle way obvious?  Can
anything be more manifest than that the happiness of life consists in
these possessed and enjoyed only to a certain degree; that to pursue them
beyond this degree is always attended with more inconvenience than
advantage to a man's self, and often with extreme misery and unhappiness?
Whence, then, I say, is all this absurdity and contradiction?  Is it
really the result of consideration in mankind, how they may become most
easy to themselves, most free from care, and enjoy the chief happiness
attainable in this world?  Or is it not manifestly owing either to this,
that they have not cool and reasonable concern enough for themselves to
consider wherein their chief happiness in the present life consists; or
else, if they do consider it, that they will not act conformably to what
is the result of that consideration--_i.e._, reasonable concern for
themselves, or cool self-love, is prevailed over by passions and
appetite?  So that from what appears there is no ground to assert that
those principles in the nature of man, which most directly lead to
promote the good of our fellow-creatures, are more generally or in a
greater degree violated than those which most directly lead us to promote
our own private good and happiness.

The sum of the whole is plainly this: The nature of man considered in his
single capacity, and with respect only to the present world, is adapted
and leads him to attain the greatest happiness he can for himself in the
present world.  The nature of man considered in his public or social
capacity leads him to right behaviour in society, to that course of life
which we call virtue.  Men follow or obey their nature in both these
capacities and respects to a certain degree, but not entirely: their
actions do not come up to the whole of what their nature leads them to in
either of these capacities or respects: and they often violate their
nature in both; _i.e._, as they neglect the duties they owe to their
fellow-creatures, to which their nature leads them, and are injurious, to
which their nature is abhorrent, so there is a manifest negligence in men
of their real happiness or interest in the present world, when that
interest is inconsistent with a present gratification; for the sake of
which they negligently, nay, even knowingly, are the authors and
instruments of their own misery and ruin.  Thus they are as often unjust
to themselves as to others, and for the most part are equally so to both
by the same actions.


   ROMANS ii. 14.

   _For when the Gentiles_, _which have not the law_, _do by nature the
   things contained in the law_, _these_, _having not the law_, _are a
   law unto themselves_.

As speculative truth admits of different kinds of proof, so likewise
moral obligations may be shown by different methods.  If the real nature
of any creature leads him and is adapted to such and such purposes only,
or more than to any other, this is a reason to believe the Author of that
nature intended it for those purposes.  Thus there is no doubt the eye
was intended for us to see with.  And the more complex any constitution
is, and the greater variety of parts there are which thus tend to some
one end, the stronger is the proof that such end was designed.  However,
when the inward frame of man is considered as any guide in morals, the
utmost caution must be used that none make peculiarities in their own
temper, or anything which is the effect of particular customs, though
observable in several, the standard of what is common to the species; and
above all, that the highest principle be not forgot or excluded, that to
which belongs the adjustment and correction of all other inward movements
and affections; which principle will of course have some influence, but
which being in nature supreme, as shall now be shown, ought to preside
over and govern all the rest.  The difficulty of rightly observing the
two former cautions; the appearance there is of some small diversity
amongst mankind with respect to this faculty, with respect to their
natural sense of moral good and evil; and the attention necessary to
survey with any exactness what passes within, have occasioned that it is
not so much agreed what is the standard of the internal nature of man as
of his external form.  Neither is this last exactly settled.  Yet we
understand one another when we speak of the shape of a human body: so
likewise we do when we speak of the heart and inward principles, how far
soever the standard is from being exact or precisely fixed.  There is
therefore ground for an attempt of showing men to themselves, of showing
them what course of life and behaviour their real nature points out and
would lead them to.  Now obligations of virtue shown, and motives to the
practice of it enforced, from a review of the nature of man, are to be
considered as an appeal to each particular person's heart and natural
conscience: as the external senses are appealed to for the proof of
things cognisable by them.  Since, then, our inward feelings, and the
perceptions we receive from our external senses, are equally real, to
argue from the former to life and conduct is as little liable to
exception as to argue from the latter to absolute speculative truth.  A
man can as little doubt whether his eyes were given him to see with as he
can doubt of the truth of the science of _optics_, deduced from ocular
experiments.  And allowing the inward feeling, shame, a man can as little
doubt whether it was given him to prevent his doing shameful actions as
he can doubt whether his eyes were given him to guide his steps.  And as
to these inward feelings themselves, that they are real, that man has in
his nature passions and affections, can no more be questioned than that
he has external senses.  Neither can the former be wholly mistaken,
though to a certain degree liable to greater mistakes than the latter.

There can be no doubt but that several propensions or instincts, several
principles in the heart of man, carry him to society, and to contribute
to the happiness of it, in a sense and a manner in which no inward
principle leads him to evil.  These principles, propensions, or instincts
which lead him to do good are approved of by a certain faculty within,
quite distinct from these propensions themselves.  All this hath been
fully made out in the foregoing discourse.

But it may be said, "What is all this, though true, to the purpose of
virtue and religion? these require, not only that we do good to others
when we are led this way, by benevolence or reflection happening to be
stronger than other principles, passions, or appetites, but likewise that
the _whole_ character be formed upon thought and reflection; that _every_
action be directed by some determinate rule, some other rule than the
strength and prevalency of any principle or passion.  What sign is there
in our nature (for the inquiry is only about what is to be collected from
thence) that this was intended by its Author?  Or how does so various and
fickle a temper as that of man appear adapted thereto?  It may indeed be
absurd and unnatural for men to act without any reflection; nay, without
regard to that particular kind of reflection which you call conscience,
because this does belong to our nature.  For as there never was a man but
who approved one place, prospect, building, before another, so it does
not appear that there ever was a man who would not have approved an
action of humanity rather than of cruelty; interest and passion being
quite out of the case.  But interest and passion do come in, and are
often too strong for and prevail over reflection and conscience.  Now as
brutes have various instincts, by which they are carried on to the end
the Author of their nature intended them for, is not man in the same
condition--with this difference only, that to his instincts (_i.e._,
appetites and passion) is added the principle of reflection or
conscience?  And as brutes act agreeably to their nature, in following
that principle or particular instinct which for the present is strongest
in them, does not man likewise act agreeably to his nature, or obey the
law of his creation, by following that principle, be it passion or
conscience, which for the present happens to be strongest in him?  Thus
different men are by their particular nature hurried on to pursue honour
or riches or pleasure; there are also persons whose temper leads them in
an uncommon degree to kindness, compassion, doing good to their fellow-
creatures, as there are others who are given to suspend their judgment,
to weigh and consider things, and to act upon thought and reflection.  Let
every one, then, quietly follow his nature, as passion, reflection,
appetite, the several parts of it, happen to be strongest; but let not
the man of virtue take upon him to blame the ambitious, the covetous, the
dissolute, since these equally with him obey and follow their nature.
Thus, as in some cases we follow our nature in doing the works _contained
in the law_, so in other cases we follow nature in doing contrary."

Now all this licentious talk entirely goes upon a supposition that men
follow their nature in the same sense, in violating the known rules of
justice and honesty for the sake of a present gratification, as they do
in following those rules when they have no temptation to the contrary.
And if this were true, that could not be so which St. Paul asserts, that
men are _by nature a law to themselves_.  If by following nature were
meant only acting as we please, it would indeed be ridiculous to speak of
nature as any guide in morals; nay, the very mention of deviating from
nature would be absurd; and the mention of following it, when spoken by
way of distinction, would absolutely have no meaning.  For did ever any
one act otherwise than as he pleased?  And yet the ancients speak of
deviating from nature as vice, and of following nature so much as a
distinction, that according to them the perfection of virtue consists
therein.  So that language itself should teach people another sense to
the words _following nature_ than barely acting as we please.  Let it,
however, be observed that though the words _human nature_ are to be
explained, yet the real question of this discourse is not concerning the
meaning of words, any other than as the explanation of them may be
needful to make out and explain the assertion, that _every man is
naturally a law to himself_, that _every one may find within himself the
rule of right_, _and obligations to follow it_.  This St. Paul affirms in
the words of the text, and this the foregoing objection really denies by
seeming to allow it.  And the objection will be fully answered, and the
text before us explained, by observing that _nature_ is considered in
different views, and the word used in different senses; and by showing in
what view it is considered, and in what sense the word is used, when
intended to express and signify that which is the guide of life, that by
which men are a law to themselves.  I say, the explanation of the term
will be sufficient, because from thence it will appear that in some
senses of the word _nature_ cannot be, but that in another sense it
manifestly is, a law to us.

I.  By nature is often meant no more than some principle in man, without
regard either to the kind or degree of it.  Thus the passion of anger,
and the affection of parents to their children, would be called equally
_natural_.  And as the same person hath often contrary principles, which
at the same time draw contrary ways, he may by the same action both
follow and contradict his nature in this sense of the word; he may follow
one passion and contradict another.

II.  _Nature_ is frequently spoken of as consisting in those passions
which are strongest, and most influence the actions; which being vicious
ones, mankind is in this sense naturally vicious, or vicious by nature.
Thus St. Paul says of the Gentiles, _who were dead in trespasses and
sins_, _and walked according to the spirit of disobedience_, _that they
were by nature the children of wrath_. {6}  They could be no otherwise
_children of wrath_ by nature than they were vicious by nature.

Here, then, are two different senses of the word _nature_, in neither of
which men can at all be said to be a law to themselves.  They are
mentioned only to be excluded, to prevent their being confounded, as the
latter is in the objection, with another sense of it, which is now to be
inquired after and explained.

III.  The apostle asserts that the Gentiles _do by NATURE the things
contained in the law_.  Nature is indeed here put by way of distinction
from revelation, but yet it is not a mere negative.  He intends to
express more than that by which they _did not_, that by which they _did_,
the works of the law; namely, by _nature_.  It is plain the meaning of
the word is not the same in this passage as in the former, where it is
spoken of as evil; for in this latter it is spoken of as good--as that by
which they acted, or might have acted, virtuously.  What that is in man
by which he is _naturally a law to himself_ is explained in the following
words: _Which show the work of the law written in their hearts_, _their
consciences also bearing witness_, _and their thoughts the meanwhile
accusing or else excusing one another_.  If there be a distinction to be
made between the _works written in their hearts_, and the _witness of
conscience_, by the former must be meant the natural disposition to
kindness and compassion to do what is of good report, to which this
apostle often refers: that part of the nature of man, treated of in the
foregoing discourse, which with very little reflection and of course
leads him to society, and by means of which he naturally acts a just and
good part in it, unless other passions or interest lead him astray.  Yet
since other passions, and regards to private interest, which lead us
(though indirectly, yet they lead us) astray, are themselves in a degree
equally natural, and often most prevalent, and since we have no method of
seeing the particular degrees in which one or the other is placed in us
by nature, it is plain the former, considered merely as natural, good and
right as they are, can no more be a law to us than the latter.  But there
is a superior principle of reflection or conscience in every man, which
distinguishes between the internal principles of his heart, as well as
his external actions; which passes judgement upon himself and them,
pronounces determinately some actions to be in themselves just, right,
good, others to be in themselves evil, wrong, unjust: which, without
being consulted, without being advised with, magisterially exerts itself,
and approves or condemns him the doer of them accordingly: and which, if
not forcibly stopped, naturally and always of course goes on to
anticipate a higher and more effectual sentence, which shall hereafter
second and affirm its own.  But this part of the office of conscience is
beyond my present design explicitly to consider.  It is by this faculty,
natural to man, that he is a moral agent, that he is a law to himself,
but this faculty, I say, not to be considered merely as a principle in
his heart, which is to have some influence as well as others, but
considered as a faculty in kind and in nature supreme over all others,
and which bears its own authority of being so.

This _prerogative_, this _natural supremacy_, of the faculty which
surveys, approves, or disapproves the several affections of our mind and
actions of our lives, being that by which men _are a law to themselves_,
their conformity or disobedience to which law of our nature renders their
actions, in the highest and most proper sense, natural or unnatural, it
is fit it be further explained to you; and I hope it will be so, if you
will attend to the following reflections.

Man may act according to that principle or inclination which for the
present happens to be strongest, and yet act in a way disproportionate
to, and violate his real proper nature.  Suppose a brute creature by any
bait to be allured into a snare, by which he is destroyed.  He plainly
followed the bent of his nature, leading him to gratify his appetite:
there is an entire correspondence between his whole nature and such an
action: such action therefore is natural.  But suppose a man, foreseeing
the same danger of certain ruin, should rush into it for the sake of a
present gratification; he in this instance would follow his strongest
desire, as did the brute creature; but there would be as manifest a
disproportion between the nature of a man and such an action as between
the meanest work of art and the skill of the greatest master in that art;
which disproportion arises, not from considering the action singly in
_itself_, or in its _consequences_, but from _comparison_ of it with the
nature of the agent.  And since such an action is utterly
disproportionate to the nature of man, it is in the strictest and most
proper sense unnatural; this word expressing that disproportion.
Therefore, instead of the words _disproportionate to his nature_, the
word _unnatural_ may now be put; this being more familiar to us: but let
it be observed that it stands for the same thing precisely.

Now what is it which renders such a rash action unnatural?  Is it that he
went against the principle of reasonable and cool self-love, considered
_merely_ as a part of his nature?  No; for if he had acted the contrary
way, he would equally have gone against a principle, or part of his
nature--namely, passion or appetite.  But to deny a present appetite,
from foresight that the gratification of it would end in immediate ruin
or extreme misery, is by no means an unnatural action: whereas to
contradict or go against cool self-love for the sake of such
gratification is so in the instance before us.  Such an action then being
unnatural, and its being so not arising from a man's going against a
principle or desire barely, nor in going against that principle or desire
which happens for the present to be strongest, it necessarily follows
that there must be some other difference or distinction to be made
between these two principles, passion and cool self-love, than what I
have yet taken notice of.  And this difference, not being a difference in
strength or degree, I call a difference in _nature_ and in _kind_.  And
since, in the instance still before us, if passion prevails over self-
love the consequent action is unnatural, but if self-love prevails over
passion the action is natural, it is manifest that self-love is in human
nature a superior principle to passion.  This may be contradicted without
violating that nature; but the former cannot.  So that, if we will act
conformably to the economy of man's nature, reasonable self-love must
govern.  Thus, without particular consideration of conscience, we may
have a clear conception of the _superior nature_ of one inward principle
to another, and see that there really is this natural superiority, quite
distinct from degrees of strength and prevalency.

Let us now take a view of the nature of man, as consisting partly of
various appetites, passions, affections, and partly of the principle of
reflection or conscience, leaving quite out all consideration of the
different degrees of strength in which either of them prevails, and it
will further appear that there is this natural superiority of one inward
principle to another, and that it is even part of the idea of reflection
or conscience.

Passion or appetite implies a direct simple tendency towards such and
such objects, without distinction of the means by which they are to be
obtained.  Consequently it will often happen there will be a desire of
particular objects, in cases where they cannot be obtained without
manifest injury to others.  Reflection or conscience comes in, need
disapproves the pursuit of them in these circumstances; but the desire
remains.  Which is to be obeyed, appetite or reflection?  Cannot this
question be answered, from the economy and constitution of human nature
merely, without saying which is strongest?  Or need this at all come into
consideration?  Would not the question be _intelligibly_ and fully
answered by saying that the principle of reflection or conscience being
compared with the various appetites, passions, and affections in men, the
former is manifestly superior and chief, without regard to strength?  And
how often soever the latter happens to prevail, it is mere _usurpation_:
the former remains in nature and in kind its superior; and every instance
of such prevalence of the latter is an instance of breaking in upon and
violation of the constitution of man.

All this is no more than the distinction, which everybody is acquainted
with, between _mere power_ and _authority_: only instead of being
intended to express the difference between what is possible and what is
lawful in civil government, here it has been shown applicable to the
several principles in the mind of man.  Thus that principle by which we
survey, and either approve or disapprove our own heart, temper, and
actions, is not only to be considered as what is in its turn to have some
influence--which may be said of every passion, of the lowest
appetites--but likewise as being superior, as from its very nature
manifestly claiming superiority over all others, insomuch that you cannot
form a notion of this faculty, conscience, without taking in judgment,
direction, superintendency.  This is a constituent part of the idea--that
is, of the faculty itself; and to preside and govern, from the very
economy and constitution of man, belongs to it.  Had it strength, as it
had right; had it power, as it had manifest authority, it would
absolutely govern the world.

This gives us a further view of the nature of man; shows us what course
of life we were made for: not only that our real nature leads us to be
influenced in some degree by reflection and conscience, but likewise in
what degree we are to be influenced by it, if we will fall in with, and
act agreeably to, the constitution of our nature: that this faculty was
placed within to be our proper governor, to direct and regulate all under
principles, passions, and motives of action.  This is its right and
office: thus sacred is its authority.  And how often soever men violate
and rebelliously refuse to submit to it, for supposed interest which they
cannot otherwise obtain, or for the sake of passion which they cannot
otherwise gratify--this makes no alteration as to the _natural right_ and
_office_ of conscience.

Let us now turn this whole matter another way, and suppose there was no
such thing at all as this natural supremacy of conscience--that there was
no distinction to be made between one inward principle and another, but
only that of strength--and see what would be the consequence.

Consider, then, what is the latitude and compass of the actions of man
with regard to himself, his fellow-creatures, and the Supreme Being?  What
are their bounds, besides that of our natural power?  With respect to the
two first, they are plainly no other than these: no man seeks misery, as
such, for himself; and no one unprovoked does mischief to another for its
own sake.  For in every degree within these bounds, mankind knowingly,
from passion or wantonness, bring ruin and misery upon themselves and
others.  And impiety and profaneness--I mean what every one would call so
who believes the being of God--have absolutely no bounds at all.  Men
blaspheme the Author of nature, formally and in words renounce their
allegiance to their Creator.  Put an instance, then, with respect to any
one of these three.  Though we should suppose profane swearing, and in
general that kind of impiety now mentioned, to mean nothing, yet it
implies wanton disregard and irreverence towards an infinite Being our
Creator; and is this as suitable to the nature of man as reverence and
dutiful submission of heart towards that Almighty Being?  Or suppose a
man guilty of parricide, with all the circumstances of cruelty which such
an action can admit of.  This action is done in consequence of its
principle being for the present strongest; and if there be no difference
between inward principles, but only that of strength, the strength being
given you have the whole nature of the man given, so far as it relates to
this matter.  The action plainly corresponds to the principle, the
principle being in that degree of strength it was: it therefore
corresponds to the whole nature of the man.  Upon comparing the action
and the whole nature, there arises no disproportion, there appears no
unsuitableness, between them.  Thus the _murder of a father_ and the
_nature of man_ correspond to each other, as the same nature and an act
of filial duty.  If there be no difference between inward principles, but
only that of strength, we can make no distinction between these two
actions, considered as the actions of such a creature; but in our coolest
hours must approve or disapprove them equally: than which nothing can be
reduced to a greater absurdity.


The natural supremacy of reflection or conscience being thus established,
we may from it form a distinct notion of what is meant by _human nature_
when virtue is said to consist in following it, and vice in deviating
from it.

As the idea of a civil constitution implies in it united strength,
various subordinations under one direction--that of the supreme
authority--the different strength of each particular member of the
society not coming into the idea--whereas, if you leave out the
subordination, the union, and the one direction, you destroy and lose
it--so reason, several appetites, passions, and affections, prevailing in
different degrees of strength, is not _that_ idea or notion of _human
nature_; but _that nature_ consists in these several principles
considered as having a natural respect to each other, in the several
passions being naturally subordinate to the one superior principle of
reflection or conscience.  Every bias, instinct, propension within, is a
natural part of our nature, but not the whole: add to these the superior
faculty whose office it is to adjust, manage, and preside over them, and
take in this its natural superiority, and you complete the idea of human
nature.  And as in civil government the constitution is broken in upon
and violated by power and strength prevailing over authority; so the
constitution of man is broken in upon and violated by the lower faculties
or principles within prevailing over that which is in its nature supreme
over them all.  Thus, when it is said by ancient writers that tortures
and death are not so contrary to human nature as injustice, by this, to
be sure, is not meant that the aversion to the former in mankind is less
strong and prevalent than their aversion to the latter, but that the
former is only contrary to our nature considered in a partial view, and
which takes in only the lowest part of it, that which we have in common
with the brutes; whereas the latter is contrary to our nature, considered
in a higher sense, as a system and constitution contrary to the whole
economy of man. {7}

And from all these things put together, nothing can be more evident than
that, exclusive of revelation, man cannot be considered as a creature
left by his Maker to act at random, and live at large up to the extent of
his natural power, as passion, humour, wilfulness, happen to carry him,
which is the condition brute creatures are in; but that _from his make_,
_constitution_, _or nature_, _he is in the strictest and most proper
sense a law to himself_.  He hath the rule of right within: what is
wanting is only that he honestly attend to it.

The inquiries which have been made by men of leisure after some general
rule, the conformity to or disagreement from which should denominate our
actions good or evil, are in many respects of great service.  Yet let any
plain, honest man, before he engages in any course of action, ask
himself, Is this I am going about right, or is it wrong?  Is it good, or
is it evil?  I do not in the least doubt but that this question would be
answered agreeably to truth and virtue, by almost any fair man in almost
any circumstance.  Neither do there appear any cases which look like
exceptions to this, but those of superstition, and of partiality to
ourselves.  Superstition may perhaps be somewhat of an exception; but
partiality to ourselves is not, this being itself dishonesty.  For a man
to judge that to be the equitable, the moderate, the right part for him
to act, which he would see to be hard, unjust, oppressive in another,
this is plain vice, and can proceed only from great unfairness of mind.

But allowing that mankind hath the rule of right within himself, yet it
may be asked, "What obligations are we under to attend to and follow it?"
I answer: It has been proved that man by his nature is a law to himself,
without the particular distinct consideration of the positive sanctions
of that law: the rewards and punishments which we feel, and those which
from the light of reason we have ground to believe, are annexed to it.
The question, then, carries its own answer along within it.  Your
obligation to obey this law is its being the law of your nature.  That
your conscience approves of and attests to such a course of action is
itself alone an obligation.  Conscience does not only offer itself to
show us the way we should walk in, but it likewise carries its own
authority with it, that it is our natural guide; the guide assigned us by
the Author of our nature: it therefore belongs to our condition of being;
it is our duty to walk in that path, and follow this guide, without
looking about to see whether we may not possibly forsake them with

However, let us hear what is to be said against obeying this law of our
nature.  And the sum is no more than this: "Why should we be concerned
about anything out of and beyond ourselves?  If we do find within
ourselves regards to others, and restraints of we know not how many
different kinds, yet these being embarrassments, and hindering us from
going the nearest way to our own good, why should we not endeavour to
suppress and get over them?"

Thus people go on with words, which when applied to human nature, and the
condition in which it is placed in this world, have really no meaning.
For does not all this kind of talk go upon supposition, that our
happiness in this world consists in somewhat quite distinct from regard
to others, and that it is the privilege of vice to be without restraint
or confinement?  Whereas, on the contrary, the enjoyments--in a manner
all the common enjoyments of life, even the pleasures of vice--depend
upon these regards of one kind or another to our fellow-creatures.  Throw
off all regards to others, and we should be quite indifferent to infamy
and to honour; there could be no such thing at all as ambition; and
scarce any such thing as covetousness; for we should likewise be equally
indifferent to the disgrace of poverty, the several neglects and kinds of
contempt which accompany this state, and to the reputation of riches, the
regard and respect they usually procure.  Neither is restraint by any
means peculiar to one course of life; but our very nature, exclusive of
conscience and our condition, lays us under an absolute necessity of it.
We cannot gain any end whatever without being confined to the proper
means, which is often the most painful and uneasy confinement.  And in
numberless instances a present appetite cannot be gratified without such
apparent and immediate ruin and misery that the most dissolute man in the
world chooses to forego the pleasure rather than endure the pain.

Is the meaning, then, to indulge those regards to our fellow-creatures,
and submit to those restraints which upon the whole are attended with
more satisfaction than uneasiness, and get over only those which bring
more uneasiness and inconvenience than satisfaction?  "Doubtless this was
our meaning."  You have changed sides then.  Keep to this; be consistent
with yourselves, and you and the men of virtue are _in general_ perfectly
agreed.  But let us take care and avoid mistakes.  Let it not be taken
for granted that the temper of envy, rage, resentment, yields greater
delight than meekness, forgiveness, compassion, and good-will; especially
when it is acknowledged that rage, envy, resentment, are in themselves
mere misery; and that satisfaction arising from the indulgence of them is
little more than relief from that misery; whereas the temper of
compassion and benevolence is itself delightful; and the indulgence of
it, by doing good, affords new positive delight and enjoyment.  Let it
not be taken for granted that the satisfaction arising from the
reputation of riches and power, however obtained, and from the respect
paid to them, is greater than the satisfaction arising from the
reputation of justice, honesty, charity, and the esteem which is
universally acknowledged to be their due.  And if it be doubtful which of
these satisfactions is the greatest, as there are persons who think
neither of them very considerable, yet there can be no doubt concerning
ambition and covetousness, virtue and a good mind, considered in
themselves, and as leading to different courses of life; there can, I
say, be no doubt, which temper and which course is attended with most
peace and tranquillity of mind, which with most perplexity, vexation, and
inconvenience.  And both the virtues and vices which have been now
mentioned, do in a manner equally imply in them regards of one kind or
another to our fellow-creatures.  And with respect to restraint and
confinement, whoever will consider the restraints from fear and shame,
the dissimulation, mean arts of concealment, servile compliances, one or
other of which belong to almost every course of vice, will soon be
convinced that the man of virtue is by no means upon a disadvantage in
this respect.  How many instances are there in which men feel and own and
cry aloud under the chains of vice with which they are enthralled, and
which yet they will not shake off!  How many instances, in which persons
manifestly go through more pains and self-denial to gratify a vicious
passion, than would have been necessary to the conquest of it!  To this
is to be added, that when virtue is become habitual, when the temper of
it is acquired, what was before confinement ceases to be so by becoming
choice and delight.  Whatever restraint and guard upon ourselves may be
needful to unlearn any unnatural distortion or odd gesture, yet in all
propriety of speech, natural behaviour must be the most easy and
unrestrained.  It is manifest that, in the common course of life, there
is seldom any inconsistency between our duty and what is _called_
interest: it is much seldomer that there is an inconsistency between duty
and what is really our present interest; meaning by interest, happiness
and satisfaction.  Self-love, then, though confined to the interest of
the present world, does in general perfectly coincide with virtue, and
leads us to one and the same course of life.  But, whatever exceptions
there are to this, which are much fewer than they are commonly thought,
all shall be set right at the final distribution of things.  It is a
manifest absurdity to suppose evil prevailing finally over good, under
the conduct and administration of a perfect mined.

The whole argument, which I have been now insisting upon, may be thus
summed up, and given you in one view.  The nature of man is adapted to
some course of action or other.  Upon comparing some actions with this
nature, they appear suitable and correspondent to it: from comparison of
other actions with the same nature, there arises to our view some
unsuitableness or disproportion.  The correspondence of actions to the
nature of the agent renders them natural; their disproportion to it,
unnatural.  That an action is correspondent to the nature of the agent
does not arise from its being agreeable to the principle which happens to
be the strongest: for it may be so and yet be quite disproportionate to
the nature of the agent.  The correspondence therefore, or disproportion,
arises from somewhat else.  This can be nothing but a difference in
nature and kind, altogether distinct from strength, between the inward
principles.  Some then are in nature and kind superior to others.  And
the correspondence arises from the action being conformable to the higher
principle; and the unsuitableness from its being contrary to it.
Reasonable self-love and conscience are the chief or superior principles
in the nature of man; because an action may be suitable to this nature,
though all other principles be violated, but becomes unsuitable if either
of those are.  Conscience and self-love, if we understand our true
happiness, always lead us the same way.  Duty and interest are perfectly
coincident; for the most part in this world, but entirely and in every
instance if we take in the future and the whole; this being implied in
the notion of a good and perfect administration of things.  Thus they who
have been so wise in their generation as to regard only their own
supposed interest, at the expense and to the injury of others, shall at
last find, that he who has given up all the advantages of the present
world, rather than violate his conscience and the relations of life, has
infinitely better provided for himself, and secured his owns interest and


   JAMES i. 26.

   _If any man among you seem to be religious_, _and bridleth not his
   tongue_, _but deceiveth his own heart_, _this man's religion is vain_.

The translation of this text would be more determinate by being more
literal, thus: _If any man among you seemeth to be religious_, _not
bridling his tongue_, _but deceiving his own heart_, _this man's religion
is vain_.  This determines that the words, _but deceiveth his own heart_,
are not put in opposition to _seemeth to be religious_, but to _bridleth
not his tongue_.  The certain determinate meaning of the text then being,
that he who seemeth to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but in
that particular deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain, we
may observe somewhat very forcible and expressive in these words of St.
James.  As if the apostle had said, No man surely can make any pretences
to religion, who does not at least believe that he bridleth his tongue:
if he puts on any appearance or face of religion, and yet does not govern
his tongue, he must surely deceive himself in that particular, and think
he does; and whoever is so unhappy as to deceive himself in this, to
imagine he keeps that unruly faculty in due subjection when indeed he
does not, whatever the other part of his life be, his religion is vain;
the government of the tongue being a most material restraint which virtue
lays us under: without it no man can be truly religious.

In treating upon this subject, I will consider,

First, what is the general vice or fault here referred to; or what
disposition in men is supposed in moral reflections and precepts
concerning _bridling the tongue_.

Secondly, when it may be said of any one, that he has a due government
over himself in this respect.

I.  Now, the fault referred to, and the disposition supposed, in precepts
and reflections concerning the government of the tongue, is not
evil-speaking from malice, nor lying or bearing false witness from
indirect selfish designs.  The disposition to these, and the actual vices
themselves, all come under other subjects.  The tongue may be employed
about, and made to serve all the purposes of vice, in tempting and
deceiving, in perjury and injustice.  But the thing here supposed and
referred to, is talkativeness: a disposition to be talking, abstracted
from the consideration of what is to be said; with very little or no
regard to, or thought of doing, either good or harm.  And let not any
imagine this to be a slight matter, and that it deserves not to have so
great weight laid upon it, till he has considered what evil is implied in
it, and the bad effects which follow from it.  It is perhaps true, that
they who are addicted to this folly would choose to confine themselves to
trifles and indifferent subjects, and so intend only to be guilty of
being impertinent: but as they cannot go on for ever talking of nothing,
as common matters will not afford a sufficient fund for perpetual
continued discourse, where subjects of this kind are exhausted they will
go on to defamation, scandal, divulging of secrets, their own secrets as
well as those of others--anything rather than be silent.  They are
plainly hurried on in the heat of their talk to say quite different
things from what they first intended, and which they afterwards wish
unsaid: or improper things, which they had no other end in saying, but
only to afford employment to their tongue.  And if these people expect to
be heard and regarded--for there are some content merely with
talking--they will invent to engage your attention: and, when they have
heard the least imperfect hint of an affair, they will out of their own
head add the circumstances of time and place and other matters to make
out their story and give the appearance of probability to it: not that
they have any concern about being believed, otherwise than as a means of
being heard.  The thing is, to engage your attention; to take you up
wholly for the present time: what reflections will be made afterwards, is
in truth the least of their thoughts.  And further, when persons who
indulge themselves in these liberties of the tongue are in any degree
offended with another--as little disgusts and misunderstandings will
be--they allow themselves to defame and revile such a one without any
moderation or bounds; though the offence is so very slight, that they
themselves would not do, nor perhaps wish him, an injury in any other
way.  And in this case the scandal and revilings are chiefly owing to
talkativeness, and not bridling their tongue, and so come under our
present subject.  The least occasion in the world will make the humour
break out in this particular way or in another.  It as like a torrent,
which must and will flow; but the least thing imaginable will first of
all give it either this or another direction, turn it into this or that
channel: or like a fire--the nature of which, when in a heap of
combustible matter, is to spread and lay waste all around; but any one of
a thousand little accidents will occasion it to break out first either in
this or another particular part.

The subject then before us, though it does run up into, and can scarce be
treated as entirely distinct from all others, yet it needs not be so much
mixed or blended with them as it often is.  Every faculty and power may
be used as the instrument of premeditated vice and wickedness, merely as
the most proper and effectual means of executing such designs.  But if a
man, from deep malice and desire of revenge, should meditate a falsehood
with a settled design to ruin his neighbour's reputation, and should with
great coolness and deliberation spread it, nobody would choose to say of
such a one that he had no government of his tongue.  A man may use the
faculty of speech as an instrument of false witness, who yet has so
entire a command over that faculty as never to speak but from forethought
and cool design.  Here the crime is injustice and perjury, and, strictly
speaking, no more belongs to the present subject than perjury and
injustice in any other way.  But there is such a thing as a disposition
to be talking for its own sake; from which persons often say anything,
good or bad, of others, merely as a subject of discourse, according to
the particular temper they themselves happen to be in, and to pass away
the present time.  There is likewise to be observed in persons such a
strong and eager desire of engaging attention to what they say, that they
will speak good or evil, truth or otherwise, merely as one or the other
seems to be most hearkened to: and this though it is sometimes joined, is
not the same with the desire of being thought important and men of
consequence.  There is in some such a disposition to be talking, that an
offence of the slightest kind, and such as would not raise any other
resentment, yet raises, if I may so speak, the resentment of the
tongue--puts it into a flame, into the most ungovernable motions.  This
outrage, when the person it respects is present, we distinguish in the
lower rank of people by a peculiar term: and let it be observed, that
though the decencies of behaviour are a little kept, the same outrage and
virulence, indulged when he is absent, is an offence of the same kind.
But, not to distinguish any further in this manner, men race into faults
and follies which cannot so properly be referred to any one general head
as this--that they have not a due government over their tongue.

And this unrestrained volubility and wantonness of speech is the occasion
of numberless evils and vexations in life.  It begets resentment in him
who is the subject of it, sows the seed of strife and dissension amongst
others, and inflames little disgusts and offences which if let alone
would wear away of themselves: it is often of as bad effect upon the good
name of others, as deep envy or malice: and to say the least of it in
this respect, it destroys and perverts a certain equity of the utmost
importance to society to be observed--namely, that praise and dispraise,
a good or bad character, should always be bestowed according to desert.
The tongue used in such a licentious manner is like a sword in the hand
of a madman; it is employed at random, it can scarce possibly do any
good, and for the most part does a world of mischief; and implies not
only great folly and a trifling spirit, but great viciousness of mind,
great indifference to truth and falsity, and to the reputation, welfare,
and good of others.  So much reason is there for what St. James says of
the tongue, _It is a fire_, _a world of iniquity_, _it defileth the whole
body_, _setteth on fire the course of nature_, _and is itself set on fire
of hell_. {8}  This is the faculty or disposition which we are required
to keep a guard upon: these are the vices and follies it runs into when
not kept under due restraint.

II.  Wherein the due government of the tongue consists, or when it may be
said of any one in a moral and religious sense that he _bridleth his
tongue_, I come now to consider.

The due and proper use of any natural faculty or power is to be judged of
by the end and design for which it was given us.  The chief purpose for
which the faculty of speech was given to man is plainly that we might
communicate our thoughts to each other, in order to carry on the affairs
of the world; for business, and for our improvement in knowledge and
learning.  But the good Author of our nature designed us not only
necessaries, but likewise enjoyment and satisfaction, in that being He
hath graciously given, and in that condition of life He hath placed us
in.  There are secondary uses of our faculties: they administer to
delight, as well as to necessity; and as they are equally-adapted to
both, there is no doubt but He intended them for our gratification as
well as for the support and continuance of our being.  The secondary use
of speech is to please and be entertaining to each other in conversation.
This is in every respect allowable and right; it unites men closer in
alliances and friendships; gives us a fellow-feeling of the prosperity
and unhappiness of each other; and is in several respects servicable to
virtue, and to promote good behaviour in the world.  And provided there
be not too much time spent in it, if it were considered only in the way
of gratification and delight, men must have strange notion of God and of
religion to think that He can be offended with it, or that it is any way
inconsistent with the strictest virtue.  But the truth is, such sort of
conversation, though it has no particular good tendency, yet it has a
general good one; it is social and friendly, and tends to promote
humanity, good-nature, and civility.

As the end and use, so likewise the abuse of speech, relates to the one
or other of these: either to business or to conversation.  As to the
former: deceit in the management of business and affairs does not
properly belong to the subject now before us: though one may just mention
that multitude, that heedless number of words with which business is
perplexed, where a much fewer would, as it should seem, better serve the
purpose; but this must be left to those who understand the matter.  The
government of the tongue, considered as a subject of itself, relates
chiefly to conversation; to that kind of discourse which usually fills up
the time spent in friendly meetings and visits of civility.  And the
danger is, lest persons entertain themselves and others at the expense of
their wisdom and their virtue, and to the injury or offence of their
neighbour.  If they will observe and keep clear of these, they may be as
free and easy and unreserved as they can desire.

The cautions to be given for avoiding these dangers, and to render
conversation innocent and agreeable, fall under the following
particulars: silence; talking of indifferent things; and, which makes up
too great a part of conversation, giving of characters, speaking well or
evil of others.

The Wise Man observes that "there is a time to speak, and a time to keep
silence."  One meets with people in the world who seem never to have made
the last of these observations.  And yet these great talkers do not at
all speak from their having anything to say, as every sentence shows, but
only from their inclination to be talking.  Their conversation is merely
an exercise of the tongue: no other human faculty has any share in it.  It
is strange these persons can help reflecting, that unless they have in
truth a superior capacity, and are in an extraordinary manner furnished
for conversation if they are entertaining, it is at their own expense.  Is
it possible that it should never come into people's thoughts to suspect
whether or no it be to their advantage to show so very much of
themselves?  "O that you would altogether hold your peace, and it should
be your wisdom." {9}  Remember likewise there are persons who love fewer
words, an inoffensive sort of people, and who deserve some regard, though
of too still and composed tempers for you.  Of this number was the Son of
Sirach: for he plainly speaks from experience when he says, "As hills of
sand are to the steps of the aged, so is one of many words to a quiet
man."  But one would think it should be obvious to every one, that when
they are in company with their superiors of any kind--in years,
knowledge, and experience--when proper and useful subjects are discoursed
of, which they cannot bear a part in, that these are times for silence,
when they should learn to hear, and be attentive, at least in their turn.
It is indeed a very unhappy way these people are in; they in a manner cut
themselves out from all advantage of conversation, except that of being
entertained with their own talk: their business in coming into company
not being at all to be informed, to hear, to learn, but to display
themselves, or rather to exert their faculty, and talk without any design
at all.  And if we consider conversation as an entertainment, as somewhat
to unbend the mind, as a diversion from the cares, the business, and the
sorrows of life, it is of the very nature of it that the discourse be
mutual.  This, I say, is implied in the very notion of what we
distinguish by conversation, or being in company.  Attention to the
continued discourse of one alone grows more painful, often, than the
cares and business we come to be diverted from.  He, therefore, who
imposes this upon us is guilty of a double offence--arbitrarily enjoining
silence upon all the rest, and likewise obliging them to this painful

I am sensible these things are apt to be passed over, as too little to
come into a serious discourse; but in reality men are obliged, even in
point of morality and virtue, to observe all the decencies of behaviour.
The greatest evils in life have had their rise from somewhat which was
thought of too little importance to be attended to.  And as to the matter
we are now upon, it is absolutely necessary to be considered.  For if
people will not maintain a due government over themselves, in regarding
proper times and seasons for silence, but _will_ be talking, they
certainly, whether they design it or not at first, will go on to scandal
and evil-speaking, and divulging secrets.

If it were needful to say anything further to persuade men to learn this
lesson of silence, one might put them in mind how insignificant they
render themselves by this excessive talkativeness: insomuch that, if they
do chance to say anything which deserves to be attended to and regarded,
it is lost in the variety and abundance which they utter of another sort.

The occasions of silence then are obvious, and one would think should be
easily distinguished by everybody: namely, when a man has nothing to say;
or nothing but what is better unsaid: better, either in regard to the
particular persons he is present with; or from its being an interruption
to conversation itself; or to conversation of a more agreeable kind; or
better, lastly, with regard to himself.  I will end this particular with
two reflections of the Wise Man; one of which, in the strongest manner,
exposes the ridiculous part of this licentiousness of the tongue; and the
other, the great danger and viciousness of it.  _When he that is a fool
walketh by the way side_, _his wisdom faileth him_, _and he saith to
every one that he is a fool_. {10}  The other is, _In the multitude of
words there wanteth not sin_. {11}

As to the government of the tongue in respect to talking upon indifferent
subjects: after what has been said concerning the due government of it in
respect to the occasions and times for silence, there is little more
necessary than only to caution men to be fully satisfied that the
subjects are indeed of an indifferent nature; and not to spend too much
time in conversation of this kind.  But persons must be sure to take heed
that the subject of their discourse be at least of an indifferent nature:
that it be no way offensive to virtue, religion, or good manners: that it
be not of a licentious, dissolute sort, this leaving always ill
impressions upon the mind; that it be no way injurious or vexatious to
others; and that too much time be not spent this way, to the neglect of
those duties and offices of life which belong to their station and
condition in the world.  However, though there is not any necessity that
men should aim at being important and weighty in every sentence they
speak: yet since useful subjects, at least of some kinds, are as
entertaining as others, a wise man, even when he desires to unbend his
mind from business, would choose that the conversation might turn upon
somewhat instructive.

The last thing is, the government of the tongue as relating to discourse
of the affairs of others, and giving of characters.  These are in a
manner the same; and one can scarce call it an indifferent subject,
because discourse upon it almost perpetually runs into somewhat criminal.

And, first of all, it were very much to be wished that this did not take
up so great a part of conversation; because it is indeed a subject of a
dangerous nature.  Let any one consider the various interests,
competitions, and little misunderstandings which arise amongst men; and
he will soon see that he is not unprejudiced and impartial; that he is
not, as I may speak, neutral enough to trust himself with talking of the
character and concerns of his neighbour, in a free, careless, and
unreserved manner.  There is perpetually, and often it is not attended
to, a rivalship amongst people of one kind or another in respect to wit,
beauty, learning, fortune, and that one thing will insensibly influence
them to speak to the disadvantage of others, even where there is no
formed malice or ill-design.  Since therefore it is so hard to enter into
this subject without offending, the first thing to be observed is that
people should learn to decline it; to get over that strong inclination
most have to be talking of the concerns and behaviour of their neighbour.

But since it is impossible that this subject should be wholly excluded
conversation; and since it is necessary that the characters of men should
be known: the next thing is that it is a matter of importance what is
said; and, therefore, that we should be religiously scrupulous and exact
to say nothing, either good or bad, but what is true.  I put it thus,
because it is in reality of as great importance to the good of society,
that the characters of bad men should be known, as that the characters of
good men should.  People who are given to scandal and detraction may
indeed make an ill-use of this observation; but truths, which are of
service towards regulating our conduct, are not to be disowned, or even
concealed, because a bad use may be made of them.  This however would be
effectually prevented if these two things were attended to.  First, That,
though it is equally of bad consequence to society that men should have
either good or ill characters which they do not deserve; yet, when you
say somewhat good of a man which he does not deserve, there is no wrong
done him in particular; whereas, when you say evil of a man which he does
not deserve, here is a direct formal injury, a real piece of injustice
done him.  This therefore makes a wide difference; and gives us, in point
of virtue, much greater latitude in speaking well than ill of others.
Secondly, A good man is friendly to his fellow-creatures, and a lover of
mankind; and so will, upon every occasion, and often without any, say all
the good he can of everybody; but, so far as he is a good man, will never
be disposed to speak evil of any, unless there be some other reason for
it, besides, barely that it is true.  If he be charged with having given
an ill character, he will scarce think it a sufficient justification of
himself to say it was a true one, unless he can also give some further
account how he came to do so: a just indignation against particular
instances of villainy, where they are great and scandalous; or to prevent
an innocent man from being deceived and betrayed, when he has great trust
and confidence in one who does not deserve it.  Justice must be done to
every part of a subject when we are considering it.  If there be a man,
who bears a fair character in the world, whom yet we know to be without
faith or honesty, to be really an ill man; it must be allowed in general
that we shall do a piece of service to society by letting such a one's
true character be known.  This is no more than what we have an instance
of in our Saviour himself; {12} though He was mild and gentle beyond
example.  However, no words can express too strongly the caution which
should be used in such a case as this.

Upon the whole matter: If people would observe the obvious occasions of
silence, if they would subdue the inclination to tale-bearing, and that
eager desire to engage attention, which is an original disease in some
minds, they would be in little danger of offending with their tongue; and
would, in a moral and religious sense, have due government over it.

I will conclude with some precepts and reflections of the Son of Sirach
upon this subject.  _Be swift to hear_; _and_, _if thou hast
understanding_, _answer thy neighbour_; _if not_, _lay thy hand upon thy
mouth_.  _Honour and shame is in talk_.  _A man of an ill tongue is
dangerous in his city_, _and he that is rash in his talk shall be hated_.
_A wise man wilt hold his tongue till he see opportunity_; _but a babbler
and a fool will regard no time_.  _He that useth many words shall be
abhorred_; _and he that taketh to himself authority therein shall be
hated_.  _A backbiting tongue hath disquieted many_; _strong cities hath
it pulled down_, _and overthrown the houses of great men_.  _The tongue
of a man is his fall_; _but if thou love to hear_, _thou shall receive


   ROM. xii. 15.

   _Rejoice with them that do rejoice_, _and weep with them that weep_.

Every man is to be considered in two capacities, the private and public;
as designed to pursue his own interest, and likewise to contribute to the
good of others.  Whoever will consider may see that, in general, there is
no contrariety between these; but that from the original constitution of
man, and the circumstances he is placed in, they perfectly coincide, and
mutually carry on each other.  But, among the great variety of affections
or principles of actions in our nature, some in their primary intention
and design seem to belong to the single or private, others to the public
or social capacity.  The affections required in the text are of the
latter sort.  When we rejoice in the prosperity of others, and
compassionate their distresses, we as it were substitute them for
ourselves, their interest for our own; and have the same kind of pleasure
in their prosperity, and sorrow in their distress, as we have from
reflection upon our own.  Now there is nothing strange or unaccountable
in our being thus carried out, and affected towards the interests of
others.  For, if there be any appetite, or any inward principle besides
self-love; why may there not be an affection to the good of our fellow-
creatures, and delight from that affection's being gratified, and
uneasiness from things going contrary to it? {13}

Of these two, delight in the prosperity of others, and compassion for
their distresses, the last is felt much more generally than the former.
Though men do not universally rejoice with all whom they see rejoice,
yet, accidental obstacles removed, they naturally compassionate all, in
some degree, whom they see in distress; so far as they have any real
perception or sense of that distress: insomuch that words expressing this
latter, pity, compassion, frequently occur: whereas we have scarce any
single one by which the former is distinctly expressed.  Congratulation
indeed answers condolence: but both these words are intended to signify
certain forms of civility rather than any inward sensation or feeling.
This difference or inequality is so remarkable that we plainly consider
compassion as itself an original, distinct, particular affection in human
nature; whereas to rejoice in the good of others is only a consequence of
the general affection of love and good-will to them.  The reason and
account of which matter is this: when a man has obtained any particular
advantage or felicity, his end is gained; and he does not in that
particular want the assistance of another: there was therefore no need of
a distinct affection towards that felicity of another already obtained;
neither would such affection directly carry him on to do good to that
person: whereas men in distress want assistance; and compassion leads us
directly to assist them.  The object of the former is the present
felicity of another; the object of the latter is the present misery of
another.  It is easy to see that the latter wants a particular affection
for its relief, and that the former does not want one because it does not
want assistance.  And upon supposition of a distinct affection in both
cases, the one must rest in the exercise of itself, having nothing
further to gain; the other does not rest in itself, but carries us on to
assist the distressed.

But, supposing these affections natural to the mind, particularly the
last; "Has not each man troubles enough of his own? must he indulge an
affection which appropriates to himself those of others? which leads him
to contract the least desirable of all friendships, friendships with the
unfortunate?  Must we invert the known rule of prudence, and choose to
associate ourselves with the distressed? or, allowing that we ought, so
far as it is in our power to relieve them, yet is it not better to do
this from reason and duty?  Does not passion and affection of every kind
perpetually mislead us?  Nay, is not passion and affection itself a
weakness, and what a perfect being must be entirely free from?"  Perhaps
so, but it is mankind I am speaking of; imperfect creatures, and who
naturally and, from the condition we are placed in, necessarily depend
upon each other.  With respect to such creatures, it would be found of as
bad consequence to eradicate all natural affections as to be entirely
governed by them.  This would almost sink us to the condition of brutes;
and that would leave us without a sufficient principle of action.  Reason
alone, whatever any one may wish, is not in reality a sufficient motive
of virtue in such a creature as man; but this reason joined with those
affections which God has impressed upon his heart, and when these are
allowed scope to exercise themselves, but under strict government and
direction of reason, then it is we act suitably to our nature, and to the
circumstances God has placed us in.  Neither is affection itself at all a
weakness; nor does it argue defect, any otherwise than as our senses and
appetites do; they belong to our condition of nature, and are what we
cannot be without.  God Almighty is, to be sure, unmoved by passion or
appetite, unchanged by affection; but then it is to be added that He
neither sees nor hears nor perceives things by any senses like ours; but
in a manner infinitely more perfect.  Now, as it is an absurdity almost
too gross to be mentioned, for a man to endeavour to get rid of his
senses, because the Supreme Being discerns things more perfectly without
them; it is as real, though not so obvious an absurdity, to endeavour to
eradicate the passions He has given us, because He is without them.  For,
since our passions are as really a part of our constitution as our
senses; since the former as really belong to our condition of nature as
the latter; to get rid of either is equally a violation of and breaking
in upon that nature and constitution He has given us.  Both our senses
and our passions are a supply to the imperfection of our nature; thus
they show that we are such sort of creatures as to stand in need of those
helps which higher orders of creatures do not.  But it is not the supply,
but the deficiency; as it is not a remedy, but a disease, which is the
imperfection.  However, our appetites, passions, senses, no way imply
disease: nor indeed do they imply deficiency or imperfection of any sort;
but only this, that the constitution of nature, according to which God
has made us, is such as to require them.  And it is so far from being
true, that a wise man must entirely suppress compassion, and all fellow-
feeling for others, as a weakness; and trust to reason alone to teach and
enforce upon him the practice of the several charities we owe to our
kind; that, on the contrary, even the bare exercise of such affections
would itself be for the good and happiness of the world; and the
imperfection of the higher principles of reason and religion in man, the
little influence they have upon our practice, and the strength and
prevalency of contrary ones, plainly require these affections to be a
restraint upon these latter, and a supply to the deficiencies of the

First, The very exercise itself of these affections in a just and
reasonable manner and degree would upon the whole increase the
satisfactions and lessen the miseries of life.

It is the tendency and business of virtue and religion to procure, as
much as may be, universal good-will, trust, and friendship amongst
mankind.  If this could be brought to obtain; and each man enjoyed the
happiness of others, as every one does that of a friend; and looked upon
the success and prosperity of his neighbour as every one does upon that
of his children and family; it is too manifest to be insisted upon how
much the enjoyments of life would be increased.  There would be so much
happiness introduced into the world, without any deduction or
inconvenience from it, in proportion as the precept of _rejoicing with
those who rejoice_ was universally obeyed.  Our Saviour has owned this
good affection as belonging to our nature in the parable of the _lost
sheep_, and does not think it to the disadvantage of a perfect state to
represent its happiness as capable of increase from reflection upon that
of others.

But since in such a creature as man, compassion or sorrow for the
distress of others seems so far necessarily connected with joy in their
prosperity, as that whoever rejoices in one must unavoidably
compassionate the other; there cannot be that delight or satisfaction,
which appears to be so considerable, without the inconveniences, whatever
they are, of compassion.

However, without considering this connection, there is no doubt but that
more good than evil, more delight than sorrow, arises from compassion
itself; there being so many things which balance the sorrow of it.  There
is first the relief which the distressed feel from this affection in
others towards them.  There is likewise the additional misery which they
would feel from the reflection that no one commiserated their case.  It
is indeed true that any disposition, prevailing beyond a certain degree,
becomes somewhat wrong; and we have ways of speaking, which, though they
do not directly express that excess, yet always lead our thoughts to it,
and give us the notion of it.  Thus, when mention is made of delight in
being pitied, this always conveys to our mind the notion of somewhat
which is really a weakness.  The manner of speaking, I say, implies a
certain weakness and feebleness of mind, which is and ought to be
disapproved.  But men of the greatest fortitude would in distress feel
uneasiness from knowing that no person in the world had any sort of
compassion or real concern for them; and in some cases, especially when
the temper is enfeebled by sickness, or any long and great distress,
doubtless, would feel a kind of relief even from the helpless goodwill
and ineffectual assistances of those about them.  Over against the sorrow
of compassion is likewise to be set a peculiar calm kind of satisfaction,
which accompanies it, unless in cases where the distress of another is by
some means so brought home to ourselves as to become in a manner our own;
or when from weakness of mind the affection rises too high, which ought
to be corrected.  This tranquillity, or calm satisfaction, proceeds
partly from consciousness of a right affection and temper of mind, and
partly from a sense of our own freedom from the misery we compassionate.
This last may possibly appear to some at first sight faulty; but it
really is not so.  It is the same with that positive enjoyment, which
sudden ease from pain for the present affords, arising from a real sense
of misery, joined with a sense of our freedom from it; which in all cases
must afford some degree of satisfaction.

To these things must be added the observation which respects both the
affections we are considering; that they who have got over all fellow-
feeling for others have withal contracted a certain callousness of heart,
which renders them insensible to most other satisfactions but those of
the grossest kind.

Secondly, Without the exercise of these affections men would certainly be
much more wanting in the offices of charity they owe to cache other, and
likewise more cruel and injurious than they are at present.

The private interest of the individual would not be sufficiently provided
for by reasonable and cool self-love alone; therefore the appetites and
passions are placed within as a guard and further security, without which
it would not be taken due care of.  It is manifest our life would be
neglected were it not for the calls of hunger and thirst and weariness;
notwithstanding that without them reason would assure us that the
recruits of food and sleep are the necessary means of our preservation.
It is therefore absurd to imagine that, without affections, the same
reason alone would be more effectual to engage us to perform the duties
we owe to our fellow-creatures.  One of this make would be as defective,
as much wanting, considered with respect to society, as one of the former
make would be defective, or wanting, considered as an individual, or in
his private capacity.  Is it possible any can in earnest think that a
public spirit, _i.e._, a settled reasonable principle of benevolence to
mankind, is so prevalent and strong in the species as that we may venture
to throw off the under affections, which are its assistants, carry it
forward and mark out particular courses for it; family, friends,
neighbourhood, the distressed, our country?  The common joys and the
common sorrows, which belong to these relations and circumstances, are as
plainly useful to society as the pain and pleasure belonging to hunger,
thirst, and weariness are of service to the individual.  In defect of
that higher principle of reason, compassion is often the only way by
which the indigent can have access to us: and therefore, to eradicate
this, though it is not indeed formally to deny them that assistance which
is their due; yet it is to cut them off from that which is too frequently
their only way of obtaining it.  And as for those who have shut up this
door against the complaints of the miserable, and conquered this
affection in themselves; even these persons will be under great
restraints from the same affection in others.  Thus a man who has himself
no sense of injustice, cruelty, oppression, will be kept from running the
utmost lengths of wickedness by fear of that detestation, and even
resentment of inhumanity, in many particular instances of it, which
compassion for the object towards whom such inhumanity is exercised,
excites in the bulk of mankind.  And this is frequently the chief danger
and the chief restraint which tyrants and the great oppressors of the
world feel.

In general, experience will show that, as want of natural appetite to
food supposes and proceeds from some bodily disease; so the apathy the
Stoics talk of as much supposes, or is accompanied with, somewhat amiss
in the moral character, in that which is the health of the mind.  Those
who formerly aimed at this upon the foot of philosophy appear to have had
better success in eradicating the affections of tenderness and compassion
than they had with the passions of envy, pride, and resentment: these
latter, at best, were but concealed, and that imperfectly too.  How far
this observation may be extended to such as endeavour to suppress the
natural impulses of their affections, in order to form themselves for
business and the world, I shall not determine.  But there does not appear
any capacity or relation to be named, in which men ought to be entirely
deaf to the calls of affection, unless the judicial one is to be

And as to those who are commonly called the men of pleasure, it is
manifest that the reason they set up for hardness of heart is to avoid
being interrupted in their course by the ruin and misery they are the
authors of; neither are persons of this character always the most free
from the impotencies of envy and resentment.  What may men at last bring
themselves to, by suppressing their passions and affections of one kind,
and leaving those of the other in their full strength?  But surely it
might be expected that persons who make pleasure their study and their
business, if they understood what they profess, would reflect, how many
of the entertainments of life, how many of those kind of amusements which
seem peculiarly to belong to men of leisure and education they became
insensible to by this acquired hardness of heart.

I shall close these reflections with barely mentioning the behaviour of
that divine Person, who was the example of all perfection in human
nature, as represented in the Gospels mourning, and even, in a literal
sense, weeping over the distresses of His creatures.

The observation already made, that, of the two affections mentioned in
the text, the latter exerts itself much more than the former; that, from
the original constitution of human nature, we much more generally and
sensibly compassionate the distressed than rejoice within the prosperous,
requires to be particularly considered.  This observation, therefore,
with the reflections which arise out of it, and which it leads our
thoughts to, shall be the subject of another discourse.

For the conclusion of this, let me just take notice of the danger of over-
great refinements; of going beside or beyond the plain, obvious, first
appearances of things, upon the subject of morals and religion.  The
least observation will show how little the generality of men are capable
of speculations.  Therefore morality and religion must be somewhat plan
and easy to be understood: it must appeal to what we call plain common
sense, as distinguished from superior capacity and improvement; because
it appeals to mankind.  Persons of superior capacity and improvement have
often fallen into errors which no one of mere common understanding could.
Is it possible that one of this latter character could even of himself
have thought that there was absolutely no such thing in mankind as
affection to the good of others? suppose of parents to their children; or
that what he felt upon seeing a friend in distress was only fear for
himself; or, upon supposition of the affections of kindness and
compassion, that it was the business of wisdom and virtue to set him
about extirpating them as fast as he could?  And yet each of these
manifest contradictions to nature has been laid down by men of
speculation as a discovery in moral philosophy; which they, it seems,
have found out through all the specious appearances to the contrary.  This
reflection may be extended further.  The extravagances of enthusiasm and
superstition do not at all lie in the road of common sense; and
therefore, so far as they are _original mistakes_, must be owing to going
beside or beyond it.  Now, since inquiry and examination can relate only
to things so obscure and uncertain as to stand in need of it, and to
persons who are capable of it; the proper advice to be given to plain
honest men, to secure them from the extremes both of superstition and
irreligion, is that of the Son of Sirach: _In every good work trust thy
own soul_; _for this is the keeping of the commandment_. {14}


   Rom. xii. 15.

   _Rejoice with then that do rejoice_, _and weep with them that weep_.

There is a much more exact correspondence between the natural and moral
world than we are apt to take notice of.  The inward frame of man does in
a peculiar manner answer to the external condition and circumstances of
life in which he is placed.  This is a particular instance of that
general observation of the Son of Sirach: _All things are double one
against another_, _and God hath made nothing imperfect_. {15}  The
several passions and affections in the heart of man, compared with the
circumstances of life in which he is placed, afford, to such as will
attend to them, as certain instances of final causes, as any whatever,
which are more commonly alleged for such: since those affections lead him
to a certain determinate course of action suitable to those
circumstances; as (for instance) compassion to relieve the distressed.
And as all observations of final causes, drawn from the principles of
action in the heart of man, compared with the condition he is placed in,
serve all the good uses which instances of final causes in the material
world about us do; and both these are equally proofs of wisdom and design
in the Author of nature: so the former serve to further good purposes;
they show us what course of life we are made for, what is our duty, and
in a peculiar manner enforce upon us the practice of it.

Suppose we are capable of happiness and of misery in degrees equally
intense and extreme, yet, we are capable of the latter for a much longer
time, beyond all comparison.  We see men in the tortures of pain for
hours, days, and, excepting the short suspensions of sleep, for months
together, without intermission, to which no enjoyments of life do, in
degree and continuance, bear any sort of proportion.  And such is our
make and that of the world about us that any thing may become the
instrument of pain and sorrow to us.  Thus almost any one man is capable
of doing mischief to any other, though he may not be capable of doing him
good; and if he be capable of doing him some good, he is capable of doing
him more evil.  And it is, in numberless cases, much more in our power to
lessen the miseries of others than to promote their positive happiness,
any otherwise than as the former often includes the latter; ease from
misery occasioning for some time the greatest positive enjoyment.  This
constitution of nature, namely, that it is so munch more in our power to
occasion and likewise to lessen misery than to promote positive
happiness, plainly required a particular affection to hinder us from
abusing, and to incline us to make a right use of the former powers,
_i.e._, the powers both to occasion and to lessen misery; over and above
what was necessary to induce us to make a right use of the latter power,
that of promoting positive happiness.  The power we have over the misery
of our fellow-creatures, to occasion or lessen it, being a more important
trust than the power we have of promoting their positive happiness; the
former requires and has a further, an additional, security and guard
against its being violated, beyond and over and above what the latter
has.  The social nature of man, and general goodwill to his species,
equally prevent him from doing evil, incline him to relieve the
distressed, and to promote the positive happiness of his
fellow-creatures; but compassion only restrains from the first, and
carries him to the second; it hath nothing to do with the third.

The final causes, then, of compassion are to prevent and to relieve

As to the former: this affection may plainly be a restraint upon
resentment, envy, unreasonable self-love; that is, upon all the
principles from which men do evil to one another.  Let us instance only
in resentment.  It seldom happens, in regulated societies, that men have
an enemy so entirely in their power as to be able to satiate their
resentment with safety.  But if we were to put this case, it is plainly
supposable that a person might bring his enemy into such a condition, as
from being the object of anger and rage, to become an object of
compassion, even to himself, though the most malicious man in the world;
and in this case compassion would stop him, if he could stop with safety,
from pursuing his revenge any further.  But since nature has placed
within us more powerful restraints to prevent mischief, and since the
final cause of compassion is much more to relieve misery, let us go on to
the consideration of it in this view.

As this world was not intended to be a state of any great satisfaction or
high enjoyment, so neither was it intended to be a mere scene of
unhappiness and sorrow.  Mitigations and reliefs are provided by the
merciful Author of nature for most of the afflictions in human life.
There is kind provision made even against our frailties: as we are so
constituted that time abundantly abates our sorrows, and begets in us
that resignment of temper, which ought to have been produced by a better
cause; a due sense of the authority of God, and our state of dependence.
This holds in respect too far the greatest part of the evils of life; I
suppose, in some degree, as to pain and sickness.  Now this part of the
constitution or make of man, considered as some relief to misery, and not
as provision for positive happiness, is, if I may so speak, an instance
of nature's compassion for us; and every natural remedy or relief to
misery may be considered in the same view.

But since in many cases it is very much in our power to alleviate the
miseries of each other; and benevolence, though natural in man to man,
yet is in a very low degree kept down by interest and competitions; and
men, for the most part, are so engaged in the business and pleasures of
the world, as to overlook and turn away from objects of misery; which are
plainly considered as interruptions to them in their way, as intruders
upon their business, their gaiety, and mirth: compassion is an advocate
within us in their behalf, to gain the unhappy admittance and access, to
make their case attended to.  If it sometimes serves a contrary purpose,
and makes men industriously turn away from the miserable, these are only
instances of abuse and perversion: for the end, for which the affection
was given us, most certainly is not to make us avoid, but to make us
attend to, the objects of it.  And if men would only resolve to allow
thus much to it: let it bring before their view, the view of their mind,
the miseries of their fellow-creatures; let it gain for them that their
case be considered; I am persuaded it would not fail of gaining more, and
that very few real objects of charity would pass unrelieved.  Pain and
sorrow and misery have a right to our assistance: compassion puts us in
mind of the debt, and that we owe it to ourselves as well as to the
distressed.  For, to endeavour to get rid of the sorrow of compassion by
turning from the wretched, when yet it is in our power to relieve them,
is as unnatural as to endeavour to get rid of the pain of hunger by
keeping from the sight of food.  That we can do one with greater success
than we can the other is no proof that one is less a violation of nature
than the other.  Compassion is a call, a demand of nature, to relieve the
unhappy as hunger is a natural call for food.  This affection plainly
gives the objects of it an additional claim to relief and mercy, over and
above what our fellow-creatures in common have to our goodwill.
Liberality and bounty are exceedingly commendable; and a particular
distinction in such a world as this, where men set themselves to contract
their heart, and close it to all interests but their own.  It is by no
means to be opposed to mercy, but always accompanies it: the distinction
between them is only that the former leads our thoughts to a more
promiscuous and undistinguished distribution of favours; to those who are
not, as well as those who are, necessitous; whereas the object of
compassion is misery.  But in the comparison, and where there is not a
possibility of both, mercy is to have the preference: the affection of
compassion manifestly leads us to this preference.  Thus, to relieve the
indigent and distressed, to single out the unhappy, from whom can be
expected no returns either of present entertainment or future service,
for the objects of our favours; to esteem a man's being friendless as a
recommendation; dejection, and incapacity of struggling through the
world, as a motive for assisting him; in a word, to consider these
circumstances of disadvantage, which are usually thought a sufficient
reason for neglect and overlooking a person, as a motive for helping him
forward: this is the course of benevolence which compassion marks out and
directs us to: this is that humanity which is so peculiarly becoming our
nature and circumstances in this world.

To these considerations, drawn from the nature of man, must be added the
reason of the thing itself we are recommending, which accords to and
shows the same.  For since it is so much more in our power to lessen the
misery of our fellow-creatures than to promote their positive happiness;
in cases where there is an inconsistency, we shall be likely to do much
more good by setting ourselves to mitigate the former than by
endeavouring to promote the latter.  Let the competition be between the
poor and the rich.  It is easy, you will say, to see which will have the
preference.  True; but the question is, which ought to have the
preference?  What proportion is there between the happiness produced by
doing a favour to the indigent, and that produced by doing the same
favour to one in easy circumstances?  It is manifest that the addition of
a very large estate to one who before had an affluence, will in many
instances yield him less new enjoyment or satisfaction than an ordinary
charity would yield to a necessitous person.  So that it is not only true
that our nature, _i.e._, the voice of God within us, carries us to the
exercise of charity and benevolence in the way of compassion or mercy,
preferably to any other way; but we also manifestly discern much more
good done by the former; or, if you will allow me the expressions, more
misery annihilated and happiness created.  If charity and benevolence,
and endeavouring to do good to our fellow-creatures, be anything, this
observation deserves to be most seriously considered by all who have to
bestow.  And it holds with great exactness, when applied to the several
degrees of greater and less indigency throughout the various ranks in
human life: the happiness or good produced not being in proportion to
what is bestowed, but in proportion to this joined with the need there
was of it.

It may perhaps be expected that upon this subject notice should be taken
of occasions, circumstances, and characters which seem at once to call
forth affections of different sorts.  Thus vice may be thought the object
both of pity and indignation: folly, of pity and of laughter.  How far
this is strictly true, I shall not inquire; but only observe upon the
appearance, how much more humane it is to yield and give scope to
affections, which are most directly in favour of, and friendly towards,
our fellow-creatures; and that there is plainly much less danger of being
led wrong by these than by the other.

But, notwithstanding all that has been said in recommendation of
compassion, that it is most amiable, most becoming human nature, and most
useful to the world; yet it must be owned that every affection, as
distinct from a principle of reason, may rise too high, and be beyond its
just proportion.  And by means of this one carried too far, a man
throughout his life is subject to much more uneasiness than belongs to
his share; and in particular instances, it may be in such a degree as to
incapacitate him from assisting the very person who is the object of it.
But as there are some who upon principle set up for suppressing this
affection itself as weakness, there is also I know not what of fashion on
this side; and, by some means or other, the whole world almost is run
into the extremes of insensibility towards the distresses of their fellow-
creatures: so that general rules and exhortations must always be on the
other side.

And now to go on to the uses we should make of the foregoing reflections,
the further ones they lead to, and the general temper they have a
tendency to beget in us.  There being that distinct affection implanted
in the nature of man, tending to lessen the miseries of life, that
particular provision made for abating its sorrows, more than for
increasing its positive happiness, as before explained; this may suggest
to us what should be our general aim respecting ourselves, in our passage
through this world: namely, to endeavour chiefly to escape misery, keep
free from uneasiness, pain, and sorrow, or to get relief and mitigation
of them; to propose to ourselves peace and tranquillity of mind, rather
than pursue after high enjoyments.  This is what the constitution of
nature before explained marks out as the course we should follow, and the
end we should aim at.  To make pleasure and mirth and jollity our
business, and be constantly hurrying about after some gay amusement, some
new gratification of sense or appetite, to those who will consider the
nature of man and our condition in this world, will appear the most
romantic scheme of life that ever entered into thought.  And yet how many
are there who go on in this course, without learning better from the
daily, the hourly disappointments, listlessness, and satiety which
accompany this fashionable method of wasting away their days!

The subject we have been insisting upon would lead us into the same kind
of reflections by a different connection.  The miseries of life brought
home to ourselves by compassion, viewed through this affection considered
as the sense by which they are perceived, would beget in us that
moderation, humility, and soberness of mind which has been now
recommended; and which peculiarly belongs to a season of recollection,
the only purpose of which is to bring us to a just sense of things, to
recover us out of that forgetfulness of ourselves, and our true state,
which it is manifest far the greatest part of men pass their whole life
in.  Upon this account Solomon says that _it is better to go to the house
of mourning than to go to the house of feasting_; _i.e._, it is more to a
man's advantage to turn his eyes towards objects of distress, to recall
sometimes to his remembrance the occasions of sorrow, than to pass all
his days in thoughtless mirth and gaiety.  And he represents the wise as
choosing to frequent the former of these places; to be sure not for his
own sake, but because _by the sadness of the countenance_, _the heart is
made better_.  Every one observes how temperate and reasonable men are
when humbled and brought low by afflictions in comparison of what they
are in high prosperity.  By this voluntary resort to the house of
mourning, which is here recommended, we might learn all those useful
instructions which calamities teach without undergoing them ourselves;
and grow wiser and better at a more easy rate than men commonly do.  The
objects themselves, which in that place of sorrow lie before our view,
naturally give us a seriousness and attention, check that wantonness
which is the growth of prosperity and ease, and head us to reflect upon
the deficiencies of human life itself; that _every man at his best estate
is altogether vanity_.  This would correct the florid and gaudy prospects
and expectations which we are too apt to indulge, teach us to lower our
notions of happiness and enjoyment, bring them down to the reality of
things, to what is attainable, to what the frailty of our condition will
admit of, which, for any continuance, is only tranquillity, ease, and
moderate satisfactions.  Thus we might at once become proof against the
temptations with which the whole world almost is carried away; since it
is plain that not only what is called a life of pleasure, but also
vicious pursuits in general, aim at somewhat besides and beyond these
moderate satisfactions.

And as to that obstinacy and wilfulness, which renders men so insensible
to the motives of religion; this right sense of ourselves and of the
world about us would bend the stubborn mind, soften the heart, and make
it more apt to receive impression; and this is the proper temper in which
to call our ways to remembrance, to review and set home upon ourselves
the miscarriages of our past life.  In such a compliant state of mind,
reason and conscience will have a fair hearing; which is the preparation
for, or rather the beginning of, that repentance, the outward show of
which we all put on at this season.

Lastly, The various miseries of life which lie before us wherever we turn
our eyes, the frailty of this mortal state we are passing through, may
put us in mind that the present world is not our home; that we are merely
strangers and travellers in it, as all our fathers were.  It is therefore
to be considered as a foreign country; in which our poverty and wants,
and the insufficient supplies of them, were designed to turn our views to
that higher and better state we are heirs to: a state where will be no
follies to be overlooked, no miseries to be pitied, no wants to be
relieved; where the affection we have been now treating of will happily
be lost, as there will be no objects to exercise it upon: for _God shall
wipe away all tears from their eyes_, _and there shall be no more death_,
_neither sorrow_, _nor crying_; _neither shall there be any more pain_;
_for the former things are passed away_.


   NUMBERS xxiii. 10.

   _Let me die the death of the righteous_, _and let my last end be like

These words, taken alone, and without respect to him who spoke them, lead
our thoughts immediately to the different ends of good and bad men.  For
though the comparison is not expressed, yet it is manifestly implied; as
is also the preference of one of these characters to the other in that
last circumstance, death.  And, since dying the death of the righteous or
of the wicked necessarily implies men's being righteous or wicked;
_i.e._, having lived righteously or wickedly; a comparison of them in
their lives also might come into consideration, from such a single view
of the words themselves.  But my present design is to consider them with
a particular reference or respect to him who spoke them; which reference,
if you please to attend, you will see.  And if what shall be offered to
your consideration at this time be thought a discourse upon the whole
history of this man, rather than upon the particular words I have read,
this is of no consequence: it is sufficient if it afford reflection of
use and service to ourselves.

But, in order to avoid cavils respecting this remarkable relation in
Scripture, either that part of it which you have heard in the first
lesson for the day, or any other; let me just observe that as this is not
a place for answering them, so they no way affect the following
discourse; since the character there given is plainly a real one in life,
and such as there are parallels to.

The occasion of Balaam's coming out of his own country into the land of
Moab, where he pronounced this solemn prayer or wish, he himself relates
in the first parable or prophetic speech, of which it is the conclusion.
In which is a custom referred to, proper to be taken notice of: that of
devoting enemies to destruction before the entrance upon a war with them.
This custom appears to have prevailed over a great part of the world; for
we find it amongst the most distant nations.  The Romans had public
officers, to whom it belonged as a stated part of their office.  But
there was somewhat more particular in the case now before us: Balaam
being looked upon as an extraordinary person, whose blessing or curse was
thought to be always effectual.

In order to engage the reader's attention to this passage, the sacred
historian has enumerated the preparatory circumstances, which are these.
Balaam requires the king of Moab to build him seven altars, and to
prepare him the same number of oxen and of rams.  The sacrifice being
over, he retires alone to a solitude sacred to these occasions, there to
wait the Divine inspiration or answer, for which the foregoing rites were
the preparation.  _And God met Balaam_, _and put a word in his mouth_;
{16} upon receiving which, he returns back to the altars, where was the
king, who had all this while attended the sacrifice, as appointed; he and
all the princes of Moab standing, big with expectation of the Prophet's
reply.  _And he took up his parable_, _and said_, _Balak the king of Moab
hath brought me from Aram_, _out of the mountains of the east_, _saying_,
_Come_, _curse me Jacob_, _and come_, _defy Israel_.  _How shall I
curse_, _whom God hath not cursed_?  _Or how shall I defy_, _whom the
Lord hath not defied_?  _For from the top of the rocks I see him_, _and
from the hills I behold him_: _lo_, _the people shall dwell alone_, _and
shall not be reckoned among the nations_.  _Who can count the dust of
Jacob_, _and the number of the fourth part of Israel_?  _Let me die the
death of the righteous_, _and let my last end be like his_. {17}

It is necessary, as you will see in the progress of this discourse,
particularly to observe what he understood by _righteous_.  And he
himself is introduced in the book of Micah {18} explaining it; if by
_righteous_ is meant _good_, as to be sure it is.  _O my people_,
_remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted_, _and what Balaam the
son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal_.  From the mention of
Shittim it is manifest that it is this very story which is here referred
to, though another part of it, the account of which is not now extant; as
there are many quotations in Scripture out of books which are not come
down to us.  _Remember what Balaam answered_, _that ye may know the
righteousness of the Lord_; _i.e._, the righteousness which God will
accept.  Balak demands, _Wherewith shall I come before the Lord_, _and
bow myself before the high God_?  _Shall I come before him with burnt-
offerings_, _with calves of a year old_?  _Will the Lord be pleased with
thousands of rams_, _or with ten thousands of rivers of oil_?  _Shall I
give my first-born for my transgression_, _the fruit of my body for the
sin of my soul_?  Balaam answers him, _he hath showed thee_, _O man_,
_what is good_: _and what doth the Lord require of thee_, _but to do
justly_, _and to love mercy_, _and to walk humbly with thy God_?  Here is
a good man expressly characterised, as distinct from a dishonest and a
superstitious man.  No words can more strongly exclude dishonesty and
falseness of heart than _doing justice and loving mercy_; and both these,
as well as _walking humbly with God_, are put in opposition to those
ceremonial methods of recommendation, which Balak hoped might have served
the turn.  From hence appears what he meant by the _righteous_, whose
_death_ he desires to die.

Whether it was his own character shall now be inquired; and in order to
determine it, we must take a view of his whole behaviour upon this
occasion.  When the elders of Noah came to him, though he appears to have
been much allured with the rewards offered, yet he had such regard to the
authority of God as to keep the messengers in suspense until he had
consulted His will.  _And God said to him_, _Thou shalt not go with
them_; _thou shalt not curse the people_, _for they are blessed_. {19}
Upon this he dismisses the ambassadors, with an absolute refusal of
accompanying them back to their king.  Thus far his regards to his duty
prevailed, neither does there anything appear as yet amiss in his
conduct.  His answer being reported to the king of Moab, a more
honourable embassy is immediately despatched, and greater rewards
proposed.  Then the iniquity of his heart began to disclose itself.  A
thorough honest man would without hesitation have repeated his former
answer, that he could not be guilty of so infamous a prostitution of the
sacred character with which he was invested, as in the name of a prophet
to curse those whom he knew to be blessed.  But instead of this, which
was the only honest part in these circumstances that lay before him, he
desires the princes of Moab to tarry that night with him also; and for
the sake of the reward deliberates, whether by some means or other he
might not be able to obtain leave to curse Israel; to do that, which had
been before revealed to him to be contrary to the will of God, which yet
he resolves not to do without that permission.  Upon which, as when this
nation afterwards rejected God from reigning over them, He gave them a
king in His anger; in the same way, as appears from other parts of the
narration, He gives Balaam the permission he desired: for this is the
most natural sense of the words.  Arriving in the territories of Moab,
and being received with particular distinction by the king, and he
repeating in person the promise of the rewards he had before made to him
by his ambassadors, he seeks, the text says, by _sacrifices_ and
_enchantments_ (what these were is not to our purpose), to obtain leave
of God to curse the people; keeping still his resolution, not to do it
without that permission: which not being able to obtain, he had such
regard to the command of God as to keep this resolution to the last.  The
supposition of his being under a supernatural restraint is a mere fiction
of Philo: he is plainly represented to be under no other force or
restraint than the fear of God.  However, he goes on persevering in that
endeavour, after he had declared that _God had not beheld iniquity in
Jacob_, _neither had he seen perverseness in Israel_; {20} _i.e._, they
were a people of virtue and piety, so far as not to have drawn down by
their iniquity that curse which he was soliciting leave to pronounce upon
them.  So that the state of Balaam's mind was this: he wanted to do what
he knew to be very wicked, and contrary to the express command of God; he
had inward checks and restraints which he could not entirely get over; he
therefore casts about for ways to reconcile this wickedness with his
duty.  How great a paradox soever this may appear, as it is indeed a
contradiction in terms, it is the very account which the Scripture gives
us of him.

But there is a more surprising piece of iniquity yet behind.  Not daring
in his religious character, as a prophet, to assist the king of Moab, he
considers whether there might not be found some other means of assisting
him against that very people, whom he himself by the fear of God was
restrained from cursing in words.  One would not think it possible that
the weakness, even of religious self-deceit in its utmost excess, could
have so poor a distinction, so fond an evasion, to serve itself of.  But
so it was; and he could think of no other method than to betray the
children of Israel to provoke His wrath, who was their only strength and
defence.  The temptation which he pitched upon was that concerning which
Solomon afterwards observed, that it had _cast down many wounded_; _yea_,
_many strong men had been slain by it_: and of which he himself was a sad
example, when _his wives turned away his heart after other gods_.  This
succeeded: the people sin against God; and thus the Prophet's counsel
brought on that destruction which he could by no means be prevailed upon
to assist with the religious ceremony of execration, which the king of
Moab thought would itself have affected it.  Their crime and punishment
are related in Deuteronomy {21} and Numbers. {22}  And from the relation
repeated in Numbers, {23} it appears, that Balaam was the contriver of
the whole matter.  It is also ascribed to him in the Revelation, {24}
where he is said to have _taught Balak to cast a stumbling-block before
the children of Israel_.

This was the man, this Balaam, I say, was the man, who desired to _die
the death of the righteous_, and that his _last end might be like his_;
and this was the state of his mind when he pronounced these words.

So that the object we have now before us is the most astonishing in the
world: a very wicked man, under a deep sense of God and religion,
persisting still in his wickedness, and preferring the wages of
unrighteousness, even when he had before him a lively view of death, and
that approaching period of his days, which should deprive him of all
those advantages for which he was prostituting himself; and likewise a
prospect, whether certain or uncertain, of a future state of retribution;
all this joined with an explicit ardent wish that, when he was to leave
this world, he might be in the condition of a righteous man.  Good God!
what inconsistency, what perplexity is here!  With what different views
of things, with what contradictory principles of action, must such a mind
be torn and distracted!  It was not unthinking carelessness, by which he
ran on headlong in vice and folly, without ever making a stand to ask
himself what he was doing: no; he acted upon the cool motives of interest
and advantage.  Neither was he totally hard and callous to impressions of
religion, what we call abandoned; for he absolutely denied to curse
Israel.  When reason assumes her place, when convinced of his duty, when
he owns and feels, and is actually under the influence of the divine
authority; whilst he is carrying on his views to the grave, the end of
all temporal greatness; under this sense of things, with the better
character and more desirable state present--full before him--in his
thoughts, in his wishes, voluntarily to choose the worse--what fatality
is here!  Or how otherwise can such a character be explained?  And yet,
strange as it may appear, it is not altogether an uncommon one: nay, with
some small alterations, and put a little lower, it is applicable to a
very considerable part of the world.  For if the reasonable choice be
seen and acknowledged, and yet men make the unreasonable one, is not this
the same contradiction; that very inconsistency, which appeared so

To give some little opening to such characters and behaviour, it is to be
observed in general that there is no account to be given in the way of
reason, of men's so strong attachments to the present world: our hopes
and fears and pursuits are in degrees beyond all proportion to the known
value of the things they respect.  This may be said without taking into
consideration religion and a future state; and when these are considered,
the disproportion is infinitely heightened.  Now when men go against
their reason, and contradict a more important interest at a distance, for
one nearer, though of less consideration; if this be the whole of the
case, all that can be said is, that strong passions, some kind of brute
force within, prevails over the principle of rationality.  However, if
this be with a clear, full, and distinct view of the truth of things,
then it is doing the utmost violence to themselves, acting in the most
palpable contradiction to their very nature.  But if there be any such
thing in mankind as putting half-deceits upon themselves; which there
plainly is, either by avoiding reflection, or (if they do reflect) by
religious equivocation, subterfuges, and palliating matters to
themselves; by these means conscience may be laid asleep, and they may go
on in a course of wickedness with less disturbance.  All the various
turns, doubles, and intricacies in a dishonest heart cannot be unfolded
or laid open; but that there is somewhat of that kind is manifest, be it
to be called self-deceit, or by any other name.  Balaam had before his
eyes the authority of God, absolutely forbidding him what he, for the
sake of a reward, had the strongest inclination to: he was likewise in a
state of mind sober enough to consider death and his last end: by these
considerations he was restrained, first from going to the king of Moab,
and after he did go, from cursing Israel.  But notwithstanding this,
there was great wickedness in his heart.  He could not forego the rewards
of unrighteousness: he therefore first seeks for indulgences, and when
these could not be obtained, he sins against the whole meaning, end, and
design of the prohibition, which no consideration in the world could
prevail with him to go against the letter of.  And surely that impious
counsel he gave to Balak against the children of Israel was, considered
in itself, a greater piece of wickedness than if he had cursed them in

If it be inquired what his situation, his hopes, and fears were, in
respect to this his wish; the answer must be, that consciousness of the
wickedness of his heart must necessarily have destroyed all settled hopes
of dying the death of the righteous: he could have no calm satisfaction
in this view of his last end: yet, on the other hand, it is possible that
those partial regards to his duty, now mentioned, might keep him from
perfect despair.

Upon the whole it is manifest that Balaam had the most just and true
notions of God and religion; as appears, partly from the original story
itself, and more plainly from the passage in Micah; where he explains
religion to consist in real virtue and real piety, expressly
distinguished from superstition, and in terms which most strongly exclude
dishonesty and falseness of heart.  Yet you see his behaviour: he seeks
indulgences for plain wickedness, which not being able to obtain he
glosses over that same wickedness, dresses it up in a new form, in order
to make it pass off more easily with himself.  That is, he deliberately
contrives to deceive and impose upon himself in a matter which he knew to
be of the utmost importance.

To bring these observations home to ourselves: it is too evident that
many persons allow themselves in very unjustifiable courses who yet make
great pretences to religion; not to deceive the world, none can be so
weak as to think this will pass in our age; but from principles, hopes,
and fears, respecting God and a future state; and go on thus with a sort
of tranquillity and quiet of mind.  This cannot be upon a thorough
consideration, and full resolution, that the pleasures and advantages
they propose are to be pursued at all hazards, against reason, against
the law of God, and though everlasting destruction is to be the
consequence.  This would be doing too great violence upon themselves.  No,
they are for making a composition with the Almighty.  These of His
commands they will obey; but as to others--why, they will make all the
atonements in their power; the ambitious, the covetous, the dissolute
man, each in a way which shall not contradict his respective pursuit.
Indulgences before, which was Balaam's first attempt, though he was not
so successful in it as to deceive himself, or atonements afterwards, are
all the same.  And here, perhaps, come in faint hopes that they may, and
half-resolves that they will, one time or other, make a change.

Besides these there are also persons, who, from a more just way of
considering things, see the infinite absurdity of this, of substituting
sacrifice instead of obedience; there are persons far enough from
superstition, and not without some real sense of God and religion upon
their minds; who yet are guilty of most unjustifiable practices, and go
on with great coolness and command over themselves.  The same dishonesty
and unsoundness of heart discovers itself in these another way.  In all
common ordinary cases we see intuitively at first view what is our duty,
what is the honest part.  This is the ground of the observation, that the
first thought is often the best.  In these cases doubt and deliberation
is itself dishonesty, as it was in Balaam upon the second message.  That
which is called considering what is our duty in a particular case is very
often nothing but endeavouring to explain it away.  Thus those courses,
which, if men would fairly attend to the dictates of their own
consciences, they would see to be corruption, excess, oppression,
uncharitableness; these are refined upon--things were so and so
circumstantiated--great difficulties are raised about fixing bounds and
degrees, and thus every moral obligation whatever may be evaded.  Here is
scope, I say, for an unfair mind to explain away every moral obligation
to itself.  Whether men reflect again upon this internal management and
artifice, and how explicit they are with themselves, is another question.
There are many operations of the mind, many things pass within, which we
never reflect upon again; which a bystander, from having frequent
opportunities of observing us and our conduct, may make shrewd guesses

That great numbers are in this way of deceiving themselves is certain.
There is scarce a man in the world, who has entirely got over all
regards, hopes, and fears, concerning God and a future state; and these
apprehensions in the generality, bad as we are, prevail in considerable
degrees: yet men will and can be wicked, with calmness and thought; we
see they are.  There must therefore be some method of making it sit a
little easy upon their minds; which, in the superstitious, is those
indulgences and atonements before mentioned, and this self-deceit of
another kind in persons of another character.  And both these proceed
from a certain unfairness of mind, a peculiar inward dishonesty; the
direct contrary to that simplicity which our Saviour recommends, under
the notion of _becoming little children_, as a necessary qualification
for our entering into the kingdom of heaven.

But to conclude: How much soever men differ in the course of life they
prefer, and in their ways of palliating and excusing their vices to
themselves; yet all agree in one thing, desiring to _die the death of the
righteous_.  This is surely remarkable.  The observation may be extended
further, and put thus: even without determining what that is which we
call guilt or innocence, there is no man but would choose, after having
had the pleasure or advantage of a vicious action, to be free of the
guilt of it, to be in the state of an innocent man.  This shows at least
the disturbance and implicit dissatisfaction in vice.  If we inquire into
the grounds of it, we shall find it proceeds partly from an immediate
sense of having done evil, and partly from an apprehension that this
inward sense shall one time or another be seconded by a higher judgment,
upon which our whole being depends.  Now to suspend and drown this sense,
and these apprehensions, be it by the hurry of business or of pleasure,
or by superstition, or moral equivocations, this is in a manner one and
the same, and makes no alteration at all in the nature of our case.
Things and actions are what they are, and the consequences of them will
be what they will be: why, then, should we desire to be deceived?  As we
are reasonable creatures, and have any regard to ourselves, we ought to
lay these things plainly and honestly before our mind, and upon this, act
as you please, as you think most fit: make that choice, and prefer that
course of life, which you can justify to yourselves, and which sits most
easy upon your own mind.  It will immediately appear that vice cannot be
the happiness, but must upon the whole be the misery, of such a creature
as man; a moral, an accountable agent.  Superstitious observances, self-
deceit though of a more refined sort, will not in reality at all mend
matters with us.  And the result of the whole can be nothing else, but
that with simplicity and fairness we _keep innocency_, _and take heed
unto the thing that is right_; _for this alone shall bring a man peace at
the last_.


   ROMANS xiii. 9.

   _And if there be any other commandment_, _it is briefly comprehended
   in this saying_, _namely_, _Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself_.

It is commonly observed that there is a disposition in men to complain of
the viciousness and corruption of the age in which they live as greater
than that of former ones; which is usually followed with this further
observation, that mankind has been in that respect much the same in all
times.  Now, not to determine whether this last be not contradicted by
the accounts of history; thus much can scarce be doubted, that vice and
folly takes different turns, and some particular kinds of it are more
open and avowed in some ages than in others; and, I suppose, it may be
spoken of as very much the distinction of the present to profess a
contracted spirit, and greater regards to self-interest, than appears to
have been done formerly.  Upon this account it seems worth while to
inquire whether private interest is likely to be promoted in proportion
to the degree in which self-love engrosses us, and prevails over all
other principles; _or whether the contracted affection may not possibly
be so prevalent as to disappoint itself_, _and even contradict its own
and private good_.

And since, further, there is generally thought to be some peculiar kind
of contrariety between self-love and the love of our neighbour, between
the pursuit of public and of private good; insomuch that when you are
recommending one of these, you are supposed to be speaking against the
other; and from hence arises a secret prejudice against, and frequently
open scorn of, all talk of public spirit and real good-will to our fellow-
creatures; it will be necessary to _inquire what respect benevolence hath
to self-love_, _and the pursuit of private interest to the pursuit of
public_: or whether there be anything of that peculiar inconsistence and
contrariety between them over and above what there is between self-love
and other passions and particular affections, and their respective

These inquiries, it is hoped, may be favourably attended to; for there
shall be all possible concessions made to the favourite passion, which
hath so much allowed to it, and whose cause is so universally pleaded: it
shall be treated with the utmost tenderness and concern for its

In order to do this, as well as to determine the forementioned questions,
it will be necessary to _consider the nature_, _the object_, _and end of
that self-love_, _as distinguished from other principles or affections in
the mind_, _and their respective objects_.

Every man hath a general desire of his own happiness; and likewise a
variety of particular affections, passions, and appetites to particular
external objects.  The former proceeds from, or is, self-love; and seems
inseparable from all sensible creatures, who can reflect upon themselves
and their own interest or happiness so as to have that interest an object
to their minds; what is to be said of the latter is, that they proceed
from or together make up that particular nature, according to which man
is made.  The object the former pursues is somewhat internal--our own
happiness, enjoyment, satisfaction; whether we have, or have not, a
distinct particular perception what it is, or wherein it consists: the
objects of the latter are this or that particular external thing, which
the affections tend towards, and of which it hath always a particular
idea or perception.  The principle we call self-love never seeks anything
external for the sake of the thing, but only as a means of happiness or
good: particular affections rest in the external things themselves.  One
belongs to man as a reasonable creature reflecting upon his own interest
or happiness.  The other, though quite distinct from reason, are as much
a part of human nature.

That all particular appetites and passions are towards _external things
themselves_, distinct from the _pleasure arising from them_, is
manifested from hence; that there could not be this pleasure, were it not
for that prior suitableness between the object and the passion: there
could be no enjoyment or delight from one thing more than another, from
eating food more than from swallowing a stone, if there were not an
affection or appetite to one thing more than another.

Every particular affection, even the love of our neighbour, is as really
our own affection as self-love; and the pleasure arising from its
gratification is as much my own pleasure as the pleasure self-love would
have from knowing I myself should be happy some time hence would be my
own pleasure.  And if, because every particular affection is a man's own,
and the pleasure arising from its gratification his own pleasure, or
pleasure to himself, such particular affection must be called self-love;
according to this way of speaking, no creature whatever can possibly act
but merely from self-love; and every action and every affection whatever
is to be resolved up into this one principle.  But then this is not the
language of mankind; or if it were, we should want words to express the
difference between the principle of an action, proceeding from cool
consideration that it will be to my own advantage; and an action, suppose
of revenge or of friendship, by which a man runs upon certain ruin, to do
evil or good to another.  It is manifest the principles of these actions
are totally different, and so want different words to be distinguished
by; all that they agree in is that they both proceed from, and are done
to gratify, an inclination in a man's self.  But the principle or
inclination in one case is self-love; in the other, hatred or love of
another.  There is then a distinction between the cool principle of self-
love, or general desire of our own happiness, as one part of our nature,
and one principle of action; and the particular affections towards
particular external objects, as another part of our nature, and another
principle of action.  How much soever therefore is to be allowed to self-
love, yet it cannot be allowed to be the whole of our inward
constitution; because, you see, there are other parts or principles which
come into it.

Further, private happiness or good is all which self-love can make us
desire, or be concerned about: in having this consists its gratification:
it is an affection to ourselves; a regard to our own interest, happiness,
and private good: and in the proportion a man hath this, he is
interested, or a lover of himself.  Let this be kept in mind; because
there is commonly, as I shall presently have occasion to observe, another
sense put upon these words.  On the other hand, particular affections
tend towards particular external things: these are their objects: having
these is their end: in this consists their gratification: no matter
whether it be, or be not, upon the whole, our interest or happiness.  An
action done from the former of these principles is called an interested
action.  An action proceeding from any of the latter has its denomination
of passionate, ambitious, friendly, revengeful, or any other, from the
particular appetite or affection from which it proceeds.  Thus self-love
as one part of human nature, and the several particular principles as the
other part, are, themselves, their objects and ends, stated and shown.

From hence it will be easy to see how far, and in what ways, each of
these can contribute and be subservient to the private good of the
individual.  Happiness does not consist in self-love.  The desire of
happiness is no more the thing itself than the desire of riches is the
possession or enjoyment of them.  People might love themselves with the
most entire and unbounded affection, and yet be extremely miserable.
Neither can self-love any way help them out, but by setting them on work
to get rid of the causes of their misery, to gain or make use of those
objects which are by nature adapted to afford satisfaction.  Happiness or
satisfaction consists only in the enjoyment of those objects which are by
nature suited to our several particular appetites, passions, and
affections.  So that if self-love wholly engrosses us, and leaves no room
for any other principle, there can be absolutely no such thing at all as
happiness or enjoyment of any kind whatever; since happiness consists in
the gratification of particular passions, which supposes the having of
them.  Self-love then does not constitute _this_ or _that_ to be our
interest or good; but, our interest or good being constituted by nature
and supposed, self-love only puts us upon obtaining and securing it.
Therefore, if it be possible that self-love may prevail and exert itself
in a degree or manner which is not subservient to this end; then it will
not follow that our interest will be promoted in proportion to the degree
in which that principle engrosses us, and prevails over others.  Nay,
further, the private and contracted affection, when it is not subservient
to this end, private good may, for anything that appears, have a direct
contrary tendency and effect.  And if we will consider the matter, we
shall see that it often really has.  _Disengagement_ is absolutely
necessary to enjoyment; and a person may have so steady and fixed an eye
upon his own interest, whatever he places it in, as may hinder him from
_attending_ to many gratifications within his reach, which others have
their minds _free_ and _open_ to.  Over-fondness for a child is not
generally thought to be for its advantage; and, if there be any guess to
be made from appearances, surely that character we call selfish is not
the most promising for happiness.  Such a temper may plainly be, and
exert itself in a degree and manner which may give unnecessary and
useless solicitude and anxiety, in a degree and manner which may prevent
obtaining the means and materials of enjoyment, as well as the making use
of them.  Immoderate self-love does very ill consult its own interest:
and, how much soever a paradox it may appear, it is certainly true that
even from self-love we should endeavour to get over all inordinate regard
to and consideration of ourselves.  Every one of our passions and
affections hath its natural stint and bound, which may easily be
exceeded; whereas our enjoyments can possibly be but in a determinate
measure and degree.  Therefore such excess of the affection, since it
cannot procure any enjoyment, must in all cases be useless; but is
generally attended with inconveniences, and often is downright pain and
misery.  This holds as much with regard to self-love as to all other
affections.  The natural degree of it, so far as it sets us on work to
gain and make use of the materials of satisfaction, may be to our real
advantage; but beyond or besides this, it is in several respects an
inconvenience and disadvantage.  Thus it appears that private interest is
so far from being likely to be promoted in proportion to the degree in
which self-love engrosses us, and prevails over all other principles,
that _the contracted affection may be so prevalent as to disappoint
itself_, _and even contradict its own and private good_.

"But who, except the most sordidly covetous, ever thought there was any
rivalship between the love of greatness, honour, power, or between
sensual appetites and self-love?  No, there is a perfect harmony between
them.  It is by means of these particular appetites and affections that
self-love is gratified in enjoyment, happiness, and satisfaction.  The
competition and rivalship is between self-love and the love of our
neighbour: that affection which leads us out of ourselves, makes us
regardless of our own interest, and substitute that of another in its
stead."  Whether, then, there be any peculiar competition and contrariety
in this case shall now be considered.

Self-love and interestedness was stated to consist in or be an affection
to ourselves, a regard to our own private good: it is therefore distinct
from benevolence, which is an affection to the good of our
fellow-creatures.  But that benevolence is distinct from, that is, not
the same thing with self-love, is no reason for its being looked upon
with any peculiar suspicion; because every principle whatever, by means
of which self-love is gratified, is distinct from it; and all things
which are distinct from each other are equally so.  A man has an
affection or aversion to another: that one of these tends to, and is
gratified by, doing good, that the other tends to, and is gratified by,
doing harm, does not in the least alter the respect which either one or
the other of these inward feelings has to self-love.  We use the word
_property_ so as to exclude any other persons having an interest in that
of which we say a particular man has the property.  And we often use the
word _selfish_ so as to exclude in the same manner all regards to the
good of others.  But the cases are not parallel: for though that
exclusion is really part of the idea of property; yet such positive
exclusion, or bringing this peculiar disregard to the good of others into
the idea of self-love, is in reality adding to the idea, or changing it
from what it was before stated to consist in, namely, in an affection to
ourselves. {25}  This being the whole idea of self-love, it can no
otherwise exclude good-will or love of others, than merely by not
including it, no otherwise, than it excludes love of arts or reputation,
or of anything else.  Neither on the other hand does benevolence, any
more than love of arts or of reputation exclude self-love.  Love of our
neighbour, then, has just the same respect to, is no more distant from,
self-love, than hatred of our neighbour, or than love or hatred of
anything else.  Thus the principles, from which men rush upon certain
ruin for the destruction of an enemy, and for the preservation of a
friend, have the same respect to the private affection, and are equally
interested, or equally disinterested; and it is of no avail whether they
are said to be one or the other.  Therefore to those who are shocked to
hear virtue spoken of as disinterested, it may be allowed that it is
indeed absurd to speak thus of it; unless hatred, several particular
instances of vice, and all the common affections and aversions in
mankind, are acknowledged to be disinterested too.  Is there any less
inconsistence between the love of inanimate things, or of creatures
merely sensitive, and self-love, than between self-love and the love of
our neighbour?  Is desire of and delight in the happiness of another any
more a diminution of self-love than desire of and delight in the esteem
of another?  They are both equally desire of and delight in somewhat
external to ourselves; either both or neither are so.  The object of self-
love is expressed in the term self; and every appetite of sense, and
every particular affection of the heart, are equally interested or
disinterested, because the objects of them all are equally self or
somewhat else.  Whatever ridicule therefore the mention of a
disinterested principle or action may be supposed to lie open to, must,
upon the matter being thus stated, relate to ambition, and every appetite
and particular affection as much as to benevolence.  And indeed all the
ridicule, and all the grave perplexity, of which this subject hath had
its full share, is merely from words.  The most intelligible way of
speaking of it seems to be this: that self-love and the actions done in
consequence of it (for these will presently appear to be the same as to
this question) are interested; that particular affections towards
external objects, and the actions done in consequence of those affections
are not so.  But every one is at liberty to use words as he pleases.  All
that is here insisted upon is that ambition, revenge, benevolence, all
particular passions whatever, and the actions they produce, are equally
interested or disinterested.

Thus it appears that there is no peculiar contrariety between self-love
and benevolence; no greater competition between these than between any
other particular affections and self-love.  This relates to the
affections themselves.  Let us now see whether there be any peculiar
contrariety between the respective courses of life which these affections
lead to; whether there be any greater competition between the pursuit of
private and of public good, than between any other particular pursuits
and that of private good.

There seems no other reason to suspect that there is any such peculiar
contrariety, but only that the course of action which benevolence leads
to has a more direct tendency to promote the good of others, than that
course of action which love of reputation suppose, or any other
particular affection leads to.  But that any affection tends to the
happiness of another does not hinder its tending to one's own happiness
too.  That others enjoy the benefit of the air and the light of the sun
does not hinder but that these are as much one's own private advantage
now as they would be if we had the property of them exclusive of all
others.  So a pursuit which tends to promote the good of another, yet may
have as great tendency to promote private interest, as a pursuit which
does not tend to the good of another at all, or which is mischievous to
him.  All particular affections whatever, resentment, benevolence, love
of arts, equally lead to a course of action for their own gratification;
_i.e._, the gratification of ourselves; and the gratification of each
gives delight: so far, then, it is manifest they have all the same
respect to private interest.  Now take into consideration, further,
concerning these three pursuits, that the end of the first is the harm,
of the second, the good of another, of the last, somewhat indifferent;
and is there any necessity that these additional considerations should
alter the respect, which we before saw these three pursuits had to
private interest, or render any one of them less conducive to it, than
any other?  Thus one man's affection is to honour as his end; in order to
obtain which he thinks no pains too great.  Suppose another, with such a
singularity of mind, as to have the same affection to public good as his
end, which he endeavours with the same labour to obtain.  In case of
success, surely the man of benevolence hath as great enjoyment as the man
of ambition; they both equally having the end their affections, in the
same degree, tended to; but in case of disappointment, the benevolent man
has clearly the advantage; since endeavouring to do good, considered as a
virtuous pursuit, is gratified by its own consciousness, _i.e._, is in a
degree its own reward.

And as to these two, or benevolence and any other particular passions
whatever, considered in a further view, as forming a general temper,
which more or less disposes us for enjoyment of all the common blessings
of life, distinct from their own gratification, is benevolence less the
temper of tranquillity and freedom than ambition or covetousness?  Does
the benevolent man appear less easy with himself from his love to his
neighbour?  Does he less relish his being?  Is there any peculiar gloom
seated on his face?  Is his mind less open to entertainment, to any
particular gratification?  Nothing is more manifest than that being in
good humour, which is benevolence whilst it lasts, is itself the temper
of satisfaction and enjoyment.

Suppose then, a man sitting down to consider how he might become most
easy to himself, and attain the greatest pleasure he could, all that
which is his real natural happiness.  This can only consist in the
enjoyment of those objects which are by nature adapted to our several
faculties.  These particular enjoyments make up the sum total of our
happiness, and they are supposed to arise from riches, honours, and the
gratification of sensual appetites.  Be it so; yet none profess
themselves so completely happy in these enjoyments, but that there is
room left in the mind for others, if they were presented to them: nay,
these, as much as they engage us, are not thought so high, but that human
nature is capable even of greater.  Now there have been persons in all
ages who have professed that they found satisfaction in the exercise of
charity, in the love of their neighbour, in endeavouring to promote the
happiness of all they had to do with, and in the pursuit of what is just
and right and good as the general bent of their mind and end of their
life; and that doing an action of baseness or cruelty would be as great
violence to _their_ self, as much breaking in upon their nature, as any
external force.  Persons of this character would add, if they might be
heard, that they consider themselves as acting in the view of an Infinite
Being, who is in a much higher sense the object of reverence and of love,
than all the world besides; and therefore they could have no more
enjoyment from a wicked action done under His eye than the persons to
whom they are making their apology could if all mankind were the
spectators of it; and that the satisfaction of approving themselves to
his unerring judgment, to whom they thus refer all their actions, is a
more continued settled satisfaction than any this world can afford; as
also that they have, no less than others, a mind free and open to all the
common innocent gratifications of it, such as they are.  And if we go no
further, does there appear any absurdity in this?  Will any one take upon
him to say that a man cannot find his account in this general course of
life as much as in the most unbounded ambition, and the excesses of
pleasure?  Or that such a person has not consulted so well for himself,
for the satisfaction and peace of his own mind, as the ambitious or
dissolute man?  And though the consideration that God himself will in the
end justify their taste, and support their cause, is not formally to be
insisted upon here, yet thus much comes in, that all enjoyments whatever
are much more clear and unmixed from the assurance that they will end
well.  Is it certain, then, that there is nothing in these pretensions to
happiness? especially when there are not wanting persons who have
supported themselves with satisfactions of this kind in sickness,
poverty, disgrace, and in the very pangs of death; whereas it is manifest
all other enjoyments fail in these circumstances.  This surely looks
suspicions of having somewhat in it.  Self-love, methinks, should be
alarmed.  May she not possibly pass over greater pleasures than those she
is so wholly taken up with?

The short of the matter is no more than this.  Happiness consists in the
gratification of certain affections, appetites, passions, with objects
which are by nature adapted to them.  Self-love may indeed set us on work
to gratify these, but happiness or enjoyment has no immediate connection
with self-love, but arises from such gratification alone.  Love of our
neighbour is one of those affections.  This, considered as a _virtuous
principle_, is gratified by a consciousness of _endeavouring_ to promote
the good of others, but considered as a natural affection, its
gratification consists in the actual accomplishment of this endeavour.
Now indulgence or gratification of this affection, whether in that
consciousness or this accomplishment, has the same respect to interest as
indulgence of any other affection; they equally proceed from or do not
proceed from self-love, they equally include or equally exclude this
principle.  Thus it appears, that _benevolence and the pursuit of public
good hath at least as great respect to self-love and the pursuit of
private good as any other particular passions_, _and their respective

Neither is covetousness, whether as a temper or pursuit, any exception to
this.  For if by covetousness is meant the desire and pursuit of riches
for their own sake, without any regard to, or consideration of, the uses
of them, this hath as little to do with self-love as benevolence hath.
But by this word is usually meant, not such madness and total distraction
of mind, but immoderate affection to and pursuit of riches as possessions
in order to some further end, namely, satisfaction, interest, or good.
This, therefore, is not a particular affection or particular pursuit, but
it is the general principle of self-love, and the general pursuit of our
own interest, for which reason the word _selfish_ is by every one
appropriated to this temper and pursuit.  Now as it is ridiculous to
assert that self-love and the love of our neighbour are the same, so
neither is it asserted that following these different affections hath the
same tendency and respect to our own interest.  The comparison is not
between self-love and the love of our neighbour, between pursuit of our
own interest and the interest of others, but between the several
particular affections in human nature towards external objects, as one
part of the comparison, and the one particular affection to the good of
our neighbour as the other part of it: and it has been shown that all
these have the same respect to self-love and private interest.

There is indeed frequently an inconsistence or interfering between self-
love or private interest and the several particular appetites, passions,
affections, or the pursuits they lead to.  But this competition or
interfering is merely accidental, and happens much oftener between pride,
revenge, sensual gratifications, and private interest, than between
private interest and benevolence.  For nothing is more common than to see
men give themselves up to a passion or an affection to their known
prejudice and ruin, and in direct contradiction to manifest and real
interest, and the loudest calls of self-love: whereas the seeming
competitions and interfering, between benevolence and private interest,
relate much more to the materials or means of enjoyment than to enjoyment
itself.  There is often an interfering in the former when there is none
in the latter.  Thus as to riches: so much money as a man gives away, so
much less will remain in his possession.  Here is a real interfering.  But
though a man cannot possibly give without lessening his fortune, yet
there are multitudes might give without lessening their own enjoyment,
because they may have more than they can turn to any real use or
advantage to themselves.  Thus the more thought and time any one employs
about the interests and good of others, he must necessarily have less to
attend his own: but he may have so ready and large a supply of his own
wants, that such thought might be really useless to himself, though of
great service and assistance to others.

The general mistake, that there is some greater inconsistence between
endeavouring to promote the good of another and self-interest, than
between self-interest and pursuing anything else, seems, as hath already
been hinted, to arise from our notions of property, and to be carried on
by this property's being supposed to be itself our happiness or good.
People are so very much taken up with this one subject, that they seem
from it to have formed a general way of thinking, which they apply to
other things that they have nothing to do with.  Hence in a confused and
slight way it might well be taken for granted that another's having no
interest in an affection (_i.e._, his good not being the object of it)
renders, as one may speak, the proprietor's interest in it greater; and
that if another had an interest in it this would render his less, or
occasion that such affection could not be so friendly to self-love, or
conducive to private good, as an affection or pursuit which has not a
regard to the good of another.  This, I say, might be taken for granted,
whilst it was not attended to, that the object of every particular
affection is equally somewhat external to ourselves, and whether it be
the good of another person, or whether it be any other external thing,
makes no alteration with regard to its being one's own affection, and the
gratification of it one's own private enjoyment.  And so far as it is
taken for granted that barely having the means and materials of enjoyment
is what constitutes interest and happiness; that our interest or good
consists in possessions themselves, in having the property of riches,
houses, lands, gardens, not in the enjoyment of them; so far it will even
more strongly be taken for granted, in the way already explained, that an
affection's conducing to the good of another must even necessarily
occasion it to conduce less to private good, if not to be positively
detrimental to it.  For, if property and happiness are one and the same
thing, as by increasing the property of another you lessen your own
property, so by promoting the happiness of another you must lessen your
own happiness.  But whatever occasioned the mistake, I hope it has been
fully proved to be one, as it has been proved, that there is no peculiar
rivalship or competition between self-love and benevolence: that as there
may be a competition between these two, so there many also between any
particular affection whatever and self-love; that every particular
affection, benevolence among the rest, is subservient to self-love by
being the instrument of private enjoyment; and that in one respect
benevolence contributes more to private interest, _i.e._, enjoyment or
satisfaction, than any other of the particular common affections, as it
is in a degree its own gratification.

And to all these things may be added that religion, from whence arises
our strongest obligation to benevolence, is so far from disowning the
principle of self-love, that it often addresses itself to that very
principle, and always to the mind in that state when reason presides, and
there can no access be had to the understanding, but by convincing men
that the course of life we would persuade them to is not contrary to
their interest.  It may be allowed, without any prejudice to the cause of
virtue and religion, that our ideas of happiness and misery are of all
our ideas the nearest and most important to us; that they will, nay, if
you please, that they ought to prevail over those of order, and beauty,
and harmony, and proportion, if there should ever be, as it is impossible
there ever should be, any inconsistence between them, though these last,
too, as expressing the fitness of actions, are real as truth itself.  Let
it be allowed, though virtue or moral rectitude does indeed consist in
affection to and pursuit of what is right and good, as such, yet, that
when we sit down in a cool hour, we can neither justify to ourselves this
or any other pursuit, till we are convinced that it will be for our
happiness, or at least not contrary to it.

Common reason and humanity will have some influence upon mankind,
whatever becomes of speculations; but, so far as the interests of virtue
depend upon the theory of it being secured from open scorn, so far its
very being in the world depends upon its appearing to have no contrariety
to private interest and self-love.  The foregoing observations,
therefore, it is hoped, may have gained a little ground in favour of the
precept before us, the particular explanation of which shall be the
subject of the next discourse.

I will conclude at present with observing the peculiar obligation which
we are under to virtue and religion, as enforced in the verses following
the text, in the epistle for the day, from our Saviour's coming into the
world.  _The night is far spent_, _the day is at hand_; _let us therefore
cast off the works of darkness_, _and let us put on the armour of light_,
&c.  The meaning and force of which exhortation is, that Christianity
lays us under new obligations to a good life, as by it the will of God is
more clearly revealed, and as it affords additional motives to the
practice of it, over and above those which arise out of the nature of
virtue and vice, I might add, as our Saviour has set us a perfect example
of goodness in our own nature.  Now love and charity is plainly the thing
in which He hath placed His religion; in which, therefore, as we have any
pretence to the name of Christians, we must place ours.  He hath at once
enjoined it upon us by way of command with peculiar force, and by His
example, as having undertaken the work of our salvation out of pure love
and goodwill to mankind.  The endeavour to set home this example upon our
minds is a very proper employment of this season, which is bringing on
the festival of His birth, which as it may teach us many excellent
lessons of humility, resignation, and obedience to the will of God, so
there is none it recommends with greater authority, force, and advantage
than this love and charity, since it was _for us men_, _and for our
salvation_, that _He came down from heaven_, _and was incarnate_, _and
was made man_, that He might teach us our duty, and more especially that
He might enforce the practice of it, reform mankind, and finally bring us
to that _eternal salvation_, of which _He is the Author to all those that
obey Him_.


   ROM. xiii. 9.

   _And if there be any other commandment_, _it is briefly comprehended
   in this saying_, _namely_, _Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself_.

Having already removed the prejudices against public spirit, or the love
of our neighbour, on the side of private interest and self-love, I
proceed to the particular explanation of the precept before us, by
showing, _Who is our neighbour_: _In what sense we are required to love
him as ourselves_; _The influence such love would have upon our behaviour
in life_; and lastly, _How this commandment comprehends in it all

I.  The objects and due extent of this affection will be understood by
attending to the nature of it, and to the nature and circumstances of
mankind in this world.  The love of our neighbour is the same with
charity, benevolence, or goodwill: it is an affection to the good and
happiness of our fellow-creatures.  This implies in it a disposition to
produce happiness, and this is the simple notion of goodness, which
appears so amiable wherever we meet with it.  From hence it is easy to
see that the perfection of goodness consists in love to the whole
universe.  This is the perfection of Almighty God.

But as man is so much limited in his capacity, as so small a part of the
Creation comes under his notice and influence, and as we are not used to
consider things in so general a way, it is not to be thought of that the
universe should be the object of benevolence to such creatures as we are.
Thus in that precept of our Saviour, _Be ye perfect_, _even as your
Father_, _which is in heaven_, _is perfect_, {26} the perfection of the
divine goodness is proposed to our imitation as it is promiscuous, and
extends to the evil as well as the good; not as it is absolutely
universal, imitation of it in this respect being plainly beyond us.  The
object is too vast.  For this reason moral writers also have substituted
a less general object for our benevolence, mankind.  But this likewise is
an object too general, and very much out of our view.  Therefore persons
more practical have, instead of mankind, put our country, and made the
principle of virtue, of human virtue, to consist in the entire uniform
love of our country: and this is what we call a public spirit, which in
men of public stations is the character of a patriot.  But this is
speaking to the upper part of the world.  Kingdoms and governments are
large, and the sphere of action of far the greatest part of mankind is
much narrower than the government they live under: or however, common men
do not consider their actions as affecting the whole community of which
they are members.  There plainly is wanting a less general and nearer
object of benevolence for the bulk of men than that of their country.
Therefore the Scripture, not being a book of theory and speculation, but
a plain rule of life for mankind, has with the utmost possible propriety
put the principle of virtue upon the love of our neighbour, which is that
part of the universe, that part of mankind, that part of our country,
which comes under our immediate notice, acquaintance, and influence, and
with which we have to do.

This is plainly the true account or reason why our Saviour places the
principle of virtue in the love of our _neighbour_, and the account
itself shows who are comprehended under that relation.

II.  Let us now consider in what sense we are commanded to love our
neighbour _as ourselves_.

This precept, in its first delivery by our Saviour, is thus
introduced:--_Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart_,
_with all thy soul_, _and with all thy strength_; _and thy neighbour as
thyself_.  These very different manners of expression do not lead our
thoughts to the same measure or degree of love, common to both objects,
but to one peculiar to each.  Supposing, then, which is to be supposed, a
distinct meaning and propriety in the words, _as thyself_; the precept we
are considering will admit of any of these senses: that we bear the _same
kind_ of affection to our neighbour as we do to ourselves, or, that the
love we bear to our neighbour should have _some certain proportion or
other_ to self-love: or, lastly, that it should bear the particular
proportion of _equality_, that _it be in the same degree_.

First, The precept may be understood as requiring only that we have the
_same kind_ of affection to our fellow-creatures as to ourselves; that,
as every man has the principle of self-love, which disposes him to avoid
misery, and consult his own happiness, so we should cultivate the
affection of goodwill to our neighbour, and that it should influence us
to have the same kind of regard to him.  This at least must be commanded,
and this will not only prevent our being injurious to him, but will also
put us upon promoting his good.  There are blessings in life, which we
share in common with others, peace, plenty, freedom, healthful seasons.
But real benevolence to our fellow-creatures would give us the notion of
a common interest in a stricter sense, for in the degree we love another,
his interest, his joys and sorrows, are our own.  It is from self-love
that we form the notion of private good, and consider it is our own: love
of our neighbour would teach us thus to appropriate to ourselves his good
and welfare; to consider ourselves as having a real share in his
happiness.  Thus the principle of benevolence would be an advocate within
our own breasts, to take care of the interests of our fellow-creatures in
all the interfering and competitions which cannot but be, from the
imperfection of our nature, and the state we are in.  It would likewise,
in some measure, lessen that interfering, and hinder men from forming so
strong a notion of private good, exclusive of the good of others, as we
commonly do.  Thus, as the private affection makes us in a peculiar
manner sensible of humanity, justice or injustice, when exercised towards
ourselves, love of our neighbour would give us the same kind of
sensibility in his behalf.  This would be the greatest security of our
uniform obedience to that most equitable rule.  _Whatsoever ye would that
men should do unto you_, _do ye even so unto them_.

All this is indeed no more than that we should have a real love to our
neighbour; but then, which is to be observed, the words _as thyself_
express this in the most distinct manner, and determine the precept to
relate to the affection itself.  The advantage which this principle of
benevolence has over other remote considerations is, that it is itself
the temper of virtue, and likewise that it is the chief, nay, the only
effectual security of our performing the several offices of kindness we
owe to our fellow-creatures.  When from distant considerations men
resolve upon any thing to which they have no liking, or perhaps an
averseness, they are perpetually finding out evasions and excuses, which
need never be wanting, if people look for them: and they equivocate with
themselves in the plainest cases in the world.  This may be in respect to
single determinate acts of virtue, but it comes in much more, where the
obligation is to a general course of behaviour, and most of all, if it be
such as cannot be reduced to fixed determinate rules.  This observation
may account for the diversity of the expression in that known passage of
the prophet Micah, _to do justly_, _and to love mercy_.  A man's heart
must be formed to humanity and benevolence, he must _love mercy_,
otherwise he will not act mercifully in any settled course of behaviour.
As consideration of the future sanctions of religion is our only security
of preserving in our duty, in cases of great temptation: so to get our
heart and temper formed to a love and liking of what is good is
absolutely necessary in order to our behaving rightly in the familiar and
daily intercourses amongst mankind.

Secondly, The precept before us may be understood to require that we love
our neighbour in some certain _proportion_ or other, _according as_ we
love ourselves.  And indeed a man's character cannot be determined by the
love he bears to his neighbour, considered absolutely, but the proportion
which this bears to self-love, whether it be attended to or not, is the
chief thing which forms the character and influences the actions.  For,
as the form of the body is a composition of various parts, so likewise
our inward structure is not simple or uniform, but a composition of
various passions, appetites, affections, together with rationality,
including in this last both the discernment of what is right, and a
disposition to regulate ourselves by it.  There is greater variety of
parts in what we call a character than there are features in a face, and
the morality of that is no more determined by one part than the beauty or
deformity of this is by one single feature: each is to be judged of by
all the parts or features, not taken singly, but together.  In the inward
frame the various passions, appetites, affections, stand in different
respects to each other.  The principles in our mind may be contradictory,
or checks and allays only, or incentives and assistants to each other.
And principles, which in their nature have no kind of contrariety or
affinity, may yet accidentally be each other's allays or incentives.

From hence it comes to pass, that though we were able to look into the
inward contexture of the heart, and see with the greatest exactness in
what degree any one principle is in a particular man, we could not from
thence determine how far that principle would go towards forming the
character, or what influence it would have upon the actions, unless we
could likewise discern what other principles prevailed in him, and see
the proportion which that one bears to the others.  Thus, though two men
should have the affection of compassion in the same degree exactly, yet
one may have the principle of resentment or of ambition so strong in him
as to prevail over that of compassion, and prevent its having any
influence upon his actions, so that he may deserve the character of a
hard or cruel man, whereas the other having compassion in just the same
degree only, yet having resentment or ambition in a lower degree, his
compassion may prevail over them, so as to influence his actions, and to
denominate his temper compassionate.  So that, how strange soever it may
appear to people who do not attend to the thing, yet it is quite manifest
that, when we say one man is more resenting or compassionate than
another, this does not necessarily imply that one has the principle of
resentment or of compassion stronger than the other.  For if the
proportion which resentment or compassion bears to other inward
principles is greater in one than in the other, this is itself sufficient
to denominate one more resenting or compassionate than the other.

Further, the whole system, as I may speak, of affections (including
rationality), which constitute the heart, as this word is used in
Scripture and on moral subjects, are each and all of them stronger in
some than in others.  Now the proportion which the two general
affections, benevolence and self-love, bear to each other, according to
this interpretation of the text, demonstrates men's character as to
virtue.  Suppose, then, one man to have the principle of benevolence in a
higher degree than another; it will not follow from hence that his
general temper or character or actions will be more benevolent than the
other's.  For he may have self-love in such a degree as quite to prevail
over benevolence, so that it may have no influence at all upon his
action, whereas benevolence in the other person, though in a lower
degree, may yet be the strongest principle in his heart, and strong
enough to be the guide of his actions, so as to denominate him a good and
virtuous man.  The case is here as in scales: it is not one weight
considered in itself, which determines whether the scale shall ascend or
descend, but this depends upon the proportion which that one weight hath
to the other.

It being thus manifest that the influence which benevolence has upon our
actions, and how far it goes towards forming our character, is not
determined by the degree itself of this principle in our mind, but by the
proportion it has to self-love and other principles: a comparison also
being made in the text between self-love and the love of our neighbour;
these joint considerations afforded sufficient occasion for treating here
of that proportion.  It plainly is implied in the precept, though it
should be questioned, whether it be the exact meaning of the words, as

Love of our neighbour, then, must bear some proportion to self-love, and
virtue, to be sure, consists in the due proportion.  What this due
proportion is, whether as a principle in the mind, or as exerted in
actions, can be judged of only from our nature and condition in this
world.  Of the degree in which affections and the principles of action,
considered in themselves, prevail, we have no measure: let us, then,
proceed to the course of behaviour, the actions they produce.

Both our nature and condition require that each particular man should
make particular provision for himself: and the inquiry, what proportion
benevolence should have to self-love, when brought down to practice, will
be, what is a competent care and provision for ourselves?  And how
certain soever it be that each man must determine this for himself, and
how ridiculous soever it would be for any to attempt to determine it for
another, yet it is to be observed that the proportion is real, and that a
competent provision has a bound, and that it cannot be all which we can
possibly get and keep within our grasp, without legal injustice.  Mankind
almost universally bring in vanity, supplies for what is called a life of
pleasure, covetousness, or imaginary notions of superiority over others,
to determine this question: but every one who desires to act a proper
part in society would do well to consider how far any of them come in to
determine it, in the way of moral consideration.  All that can be said
is, supposing what, as the world goes, is so much to be supposed that it
is scarce to be mentioned, that persons do not neglect what they really
owe to themselves; the more of their care and thought and of their
fortune they employ in doing good to their fellow-creatures the nearer
they come up to the law of perfection, _Thou shalt love thy neighbour as

Thirdly, if the words _as thyself_ were to be understood of an equality
of affection, it would not be attended with those consequences which
perhaps may be thought to follow from it.  Suppose a person to have the
same settled regard to others as to himself; that in every deliberate
scheme or pursuit he took their interest into the account in the same
degree as his own, so far as an equality of affection would produce this:
yet he would, in fact, and ought to be, much more taken up and employed
about himself, and his own concerns, than about others, and their
interests.  For, besides the one common affection toward himself and his
neighbour he would have several other particular affections, passions,
appetites, which he could not possibly feel in common both for himself
and others.  Now these sensations themselves very much employ us, and
have perhaps as great influence as self-love.  So far indeed as
self-love, and cool reflection upon what is for our interest, would set
us on work to gain a supply of our own several wants, so far the love of
our neighbour would make us do the same for him: but the degree in which
we are put upon seeking and making use of the means of gratification, by
the feeling of those affections, appetites, and passions, must
necessarily be peculiar to ourselves.

That there are particular passions (suppose shame, resentment) which men
seem to have, and feel in common, both for themselves and others, makes
no alteration in respect to those passions and appetites which cannot
possibly be thus felt in common.  From hence (and perhaps more things of
the like kind might be mentioned) it follows, that though there were an
equality of affection to both, yet regards to ourselves would be more
prevalent than attention to the concerns of others.

And from moral considerations it ought to be so, supposing still the
equality of affection commanded, because we are in a peculiar manner, as
I may speak, intrusted with ourselves, and therefore care of our own
interests, as well as of our conduct, particularly belongs to us.

To these things must be added, that moral obligations can extend no
further than to natural possibilities.  Now we have a perception of our
own interests, like consciousness of our own existence, which we always
carry about with us, and which, in its continuation, kind, and degree,
seems impossible to be felt in respect to the interests of others.

From all these things it fully appears that though we were to love our
neighbour in the same degree as we love ourselves, so far as this is
possible, yet the care of ourselves, of the individual, would not be
neglected, the apprehended danger of which seems to be the only objection
against understanding the precept in this strict sense.

III.  The general temper of mind which the due love of our neighbour
would form us to, and the influence it would have upon our behaviour in
life, is now to be considered.

The temper and behaviour of charity is explained at large in that known
passage of St. Paul: {27} _Charity suffereth long_, _and is kind_;
_charity envieth not_, _doth not behave itself unseemly_, _seeketh not
her own_, _thinketh no evil_, _beareth all things_, _believeth all
things_, _hopeth all things_.  As to the meaning of the expressions,
_seeketh not her own_, _thinketh no evil_, _believeth all things_;
however those expressions may be explained away, this meekness, and in
some degree easiness of temper, readiness to forego our right for the
sake of peace, as well as in the way of compassion, freedom from
mistrust, and disposition to believe well of our neighbour, this general
temper, I say, accompanies, and is plainly the effect of love and
goodwill.  And, though such is the world in which we live, that
experience and knowledge of it not only may, but must beget, in as
greater regard to ourselves, and doubtfulness of the characters of
others, than is natural to mankind, yet these ought not to be carried
further than the nature and course of things make necessary.  It is still
true, even in the present state of things, bad as it is, that a real good
man had rather be deceived than be suspicious; had rather forego his
known right, than run the venture of doing even a hard thing.  This is
the general temper of that charity, of which the apostle asserts, that if
he had it not, giving his _body to be burned would avail him nothing_;
and which he says _shall never fail_.

The happy influence of this temper extends to every different relation
and circumstance in human life.  It plainly renders a man better, more to
be desired, as to all the respects and relations we can stand in to each
other.  The benevolent man is disposed to make use of all external
advantages in such a manner as shall contribute to the good of others, as
well as to his own satisfaction.  His own satisfaction consists in this.
He will be easy and kind to his dependents, compassionate to the poor and
distressed, friendly to all with whom he has to do.  This includes the
good neighbour, parent, master, magistrate: and such a behaviour would
plainly make dependence, inferiority, and even servitude easy.  So that a
good or charitable man of superior rank in wisdom, fortune, authority, is
a common blessing to the place he lives in: happiness grows under his
influence.  This good principle in inferiors would discover itself in
paying respect, gratitude, obedience, as due.  It were therefore,
methinks, one just way of trying one's own character to ask ourselves, am
I in reality a better master or servant, a better friend, a better
neighbour, than such and such persons, whom, perhaps, I may think not to
deserve the character of virtue and religion so much as myself?

And as to the spirit of party, which unhappily prevails amongst mankind,
whatever are the distinctions which serve for a supply to it, some or
other of which have obtained in all ages and countries, one who is thus
friendly to his kind will immediately make due allowances for it, as what
cannot but be amongst such creatures as men, in such a world as this.  And
as wrath and fury and overbearing upon these occasions proceed, as I may
speak, from men's feeling only on their own side, so a common feeling,
for others as well as for ourselves, would render us sensible to this
truth, which it is strange can have so little influence, that we
ourselves differ from others, just as much as they do from us.  I put the
matter in this way, because it can scarce be expected that the generality
of men should see that those things which are made the occasions of
dissension and fomenting the party-spirit are really nothing at all: but
it may be expected from all people, how much soever they are in earnest
about their respective peculiarities, that humanity and common goodwill
to their fellow-creatures should moderate and restrain that wretched

This good temper of charity likewise would prevent strife and enmity
arising from other occasions: it would prevent our giving just cause of
offence, and our taking it without cause.  And in cases of real injury, a
good man will make all the allowances which are to be made, and, without
any attempts of retaliation, he will only consult his own and other men's
security for the future against injustice and wrong.

IV.  I proceed to consider, lastly, what is affirmed of the precept now
explained, that it comprehends in it all others, _i.e._, that to love our
neighbour as ourselves includes in it all virtues.

Now the way in which every maxim of conduct, or general speculative
assertion, when it is to be explained at large should be treated, is, to
show what are the particular truths which were designed to be
comprehended under such a general observation, how far it is strictly
true, and then the limitations, restrictions, and exceptions, if there be
exceptions, with which it is to be understood.  But it is only the former
of these, namely, how far the assertion in the text holds, and the ground
of the pre-eminence assigned to the precept of it, which in strictness
comes into our present consideration.

However, in almost everything that is said, there is somewhat to be
understood beyond what is explicitly laid down, and which we of course
supply, somewhat, I mean, which would not be commonly called a
restriction or limitation.  Thus, when benevolence is said to be the sum
of virtue, it is not spoken of as a blind propension, but a principle in
reasonable creatures, and so to be directed by their reason, for reason
and reflection comes into our notion of a moral agent.  And that will
lead us to consider distant consequences, as well as the immediate
tendency of an action.  It will teach us that the care of some persons,
suppose children and families, is particularly committed to our charge by
Nature and Providence, as also that there are other circumstances,
suppose friendship or former obligations, which require that we do good
to some, preferably to others.  Reason, considered merely as subservient
to benevolence, as assisting to produce the greatest good, will teach us
to have particular regard to these relations and circumstances, because
it is plainly for the good of the world that they should be regarded.  And
as there are numberless cases in which, notwithstanding appearances, we
are not competent judges, whether a particular action will upon the whole
do good or harm, reason in the same way will teach us to be cautious how
we act in these cases of uncertainty.  It will suggest to our
consideration which is the safer side; how liable we are to be led wrong
by passion and private interest; and what regard is due to laws, and the
judgment of mankind.  All these things must come into consideration, were
it only in order to determine which way of acting is likely to produce
the greatest good.  Thus, upon supposition that it were in the strictest
sense true, without limitation, that benevolence includes in it all
virtues, yet reason must come in as its guide and director, in order to
attain its own end, the end of benevolence, the greatest public good.
Reason, then, being thus included, let us now consider the truth of the
assertion itself.

First, It is manifest that nothing can be of consequence to mankind or
any creature but happiness.  This, then, is all which any person can, in
strictness of speaking, be said to have a right to.  We can therefore
_owe no man anything_, but only to farther and promote his happiness,
according to our abilities.  And therefore a disposition and endeavour to
do good to all with whom we have to do, in the degree and manner which
the different relations we stand in to them require, is a discharge of
all the obligations we are under to them.

As human nature is not one simple uniform thing but a composition of
various parts, body, spirit, appetites, particular passions, and
affections, for each of which reasonable self-love would lead men to have
due regard, and make suitable provision, so society consists of various
parts to which we stand in different respects and relations, and just
benevolence would as surely lead us to have due regard to each of these
and behave as the respective relations require.  Reasonable goodwill and
right behaviour towards our fellow-creatures are in a manner the same,
only that the former expresseth the principle as it is in the mind; the
latter, the principle as it were become external, _i.e._, exerted in

And so far as temperance, sobriety, and moderation in sensual pleasures,
and the contrary vices, have any respect to our fellow-creatures, any
influence upon their quiet, welfare, and happiness, as they always have a
real, and often a near influence upon it, so far it is manifest those
virtues may be produced by the love of our neighbour, and that the
contrary vices would be prevented by it.  Indeed, if men's regard to
themselves will not restrain them from excess, it may be thought little
probable that their love to others will be sufficient: but the reason is,
that their love to others is not, any more than their regard to
themselves, just, and in its due degree.  There are, however, manifest
instances of persons kept sober and temperate from regard to their
affairs, and the welfare of those who depend upon them.  And it is
obvious to every one that habitual excess, a dissolute course of life,
implies a general neglect of the duties we owe towards our friends, our
families, and our country.

From hence it is manifest that the common virtues and the common vices of
mankind may be traced up to benevolence, or the want of it.  And this
entitles the precept, _Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself_, to the
pre-eminence given to it, and is a justification of the apostle's
assertion, that all other commandments are comprehended in it, whatever
cautions and restrictions {28} there are, which might require to be
considered, if we were to state particularly and at length what is virtue
and right behaviour in mankind.  But,

Secondly, It might be added, that in a higher and more general way of
consideration, leaving out the particular nature of creatures, and the
particular circumstances in which they are placed, benevolence seems in
the strictest sense to include in it all that is good and worthy, all
that is good, which we have any distinct particular notion of.  We have
no clear conception of any position moral attribute in the Supreme Being,
but what may be resolved up into goodness.  And, if we consider a
reasonable creature or moral agent, without regard to the particular
relations and circumstances in which he is placed, we cannot conceive
anything else to come in towards determining whether he is to be ranked
in a higher or lower class of virtuous beings, but the higher or lower
degree in which that principle, and what is manifestly connected with it,
prevail in him.

That which we more strictly call piety, or the love of God, and which is
an essential part of a right temper, some may perhaps imagine no way
connected with benevolence: yet surely they must be connected, if there
be indeed in being an object infinitely good.  Human nature is so
constituted that every good affection implies the love of itself, _i.e._,
becomes the object of a new affection in the same person.  Thus, to be
righteous, implies in it the love of righteousness; to be benevolent, the
love of benevolence; to be good, the love of goodness; whether this
righteousness, benevolence, or goodness be viewed as in our own mind or
another's, and the love of God as a being perfectly good is the love of
perfect goodness contemplated in a being or person.  Thus morality and
religion, virtue and piety, will at last necessarily coincide, run up
into one and the same point, and _love_ will be in all senses _the end of
the commandment_.

* * * * *

_O Almighty God_, _inspire us with this divine principle_; _kill in us
all the seeds of envy and ill-will_; _and help us_, _by cultivating
within ourselves the love of our neighbour_, _to improve in the love of
Thee_.  _Thou hast placed us in various kindreds_, _friendships_, _and
relations_, _as the school of discipline for our affections_: _help us_,
_by the due exercise of them_, _to improve to perfection_; _till all
partial affection be lost in that entire universal one_, _and thou_, _O
God_, _shalt_ be all in all.


   MATTHEW xxii. 37.

   _Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart_, _and with all
   thy soul_, _and with all thy mind_.

Everybody knows, you therefore need only just be put in mind, that there
is such a thing as having so great horror of one extreme as to run
insensibly and of course into the contrary; and that a doctrine's having
been a shelter for enthusiasm, or made to serve the purposes of
superstition, is no proof of the falsity of it: truth or right being
somewhat real in itself, and so not to be judged of by its liableness to
abuse, or by its supposed distance from or nearness to error.  It may be
sufficient to have mentioned this in general, without taking notice of
the particular extravagances which have been vented under the pretence or
endeavour of explaining the love of God; or how manifestly we are got
into the contrary extreme, under the notion of a reasonable religion; so
very reasonable as to have nothing to do with the heart and affections,
if these words signify anything but the faculty by which we discern
speculative truth.

By the love of God I would understand all those regards, all those
affections of mind which are due immediately to Him from such a creature
as man, and which rest in Him as their end.  As this does not include
servile fear, so neither will any other regards, how reasonable soever,
which respect anything out of or besides the perfection of the Divine
nature, come into consideration here.  But all fear is not excluded,
because His displeasure is itself the natural proper object of fear.
Reverence, ambition of His love and approbation, delight in the hope or
consciousness of it, come likewise into this definition of the love of
God, because He is the natural object of all those affections or
movements of mind as really as He is the object of the affection, which
is in the strictest sense called love; and all of them equally rest in
Him as their end.  And they may all be understood to be implied in these
words of our Saviour, without putting any force upon them: for He is
speaking of the love of God and our neighbour as containing the whole of
piety and virtue.

It is plain that the nature of man is so constituted as to feel certain
affections upon the sight or contemplation of certain objects.  Now the
very notion of affection implies resting in its object as an end.  And
the particular affection to good characters, reverence and moral love of
them, is natural to all those who have any degree of real goodness in
themselves.  This will be illustrated by the description of a perfect
character in a creature; and by considering the manner in which a good
man in his presence would be affected towards such a character.  He would
of course feel the affections of love, reverence, desire of his
approbation, delight in the hope or consciousness of it.  And surely all
this is applicable, and may be brought up to that Being, who is
infinitely more than an adequate object of all those affections; whom we
are commanded to _love with all our heart_, _with all our soul_, _and
with all our mind_.  And of these regards towards Almighty God some are
more particularly suitable to and becoming so imperfect a creature as
man, in this mortal state we are passing through; and some of them, and
perhaps other exercises of the mind, will be the employment and happiness
of good men in a state of perfection.

This is a general view of what the following discourse will contain.  And
it is manifest the subject is a real one: there is nothing in it
enthusiastical or unreasonable.  And if it be indeed at all a subject, it
is one of the utmost importance.

As mankind have a faculty by which they discern speculative truth, so we
have various affections towards external objects.  Understanding and
temper, reason and affection, are as distinct ideas as reason and hunger,
and one would think could no more be confounded.  It is by reason that we
get the ideas of several objects of our affections; but in these cases
reason and affection are no more the same than sight of a particular
object, and the pleasure or uneasiness consequent thereupon, are the
same.  Now as reason tends to and rests in the discernment of truth, the
object of it, so the very nature of affection consists in tending
towards, and resting in, its objects as an end.  We do indeed often in
common language say that things are loved, desired, esteemed, not for
themselves, but for somewhat further, somewhat out of and beyond them;
yet, in these cases, whoever will attend will see that these things are
not in reality the objects of the affections, _i.e._ are not loved,
desired, esteemed, but the somewhat further and beyond them.  If we have
no affections which rest in what are called their objects, then what is
called affection, love, desire, hope, in human nature, is only an
uneasiness in being at rest; an unquiet disposition to action, progress,
pursuit, without end or meaning.  But if there be any such thing as
delight in the company of one person, rather than of another; whether in
the way of friendship, or mirth and entertainment, it is all one, if it
be without respect to fortune, honour, or increasing our stores of
knowledge, or anything beyond the present time; here is an instance of an
affection absolutely resting in its object as its end, and being
gratified in the same way as the appetite of hunger is satisfied with
food.  Yet nothing is more common than to hear it asked, what advantage a
man hath in such a course, suppose of study, particular friendships, or
in any other; nothing, I say, is more common than to hear such a question
put in a way which supposes no gain, advantage, or interest, but as a
means to somewhat further: and if so, then there is no such thing at all
as real interest, gain, or advantage.  This is the same absurdity with
respect to life as an infinite series of effects without a cause is in
speculation.  The gain, advantage, or interest consists in the delight
itself, arising from such a faculty's having its object: neither is there
any such thing as happiness or enjoyment but what arises from hence.  The
pleasures of hope and of reflection are not exceptions: the former being
only this happiness anticipated; the latter the same happiness enjoyed
over again after its time.  And even the general expectation of future
happiness can afford satisfaction only as it is a present object to the
principle of self-love.

It was doubtless intended that life should be very much a pursuit to the
gross of mankind.  But this is carried so much further than is reasonable
that what gives immediate satisfaction, _i.e._ our present interest, is
scarce considered as our interest at all.  It is inventions which have
only a remote tendency towards enjoyment, perhaps but a remote tendency
towards gaining the means only of enjoyment, which are chiefly spoken of
as useful to the world.  And though this way of thinking were just with
respect to the imperfect state we are now in, where we know so little of
satisfaction without satiety, yet it must be guarded against when we are
considering the happiness of a state of perfection; which happiness being
enjoyment and not hope, must necessarily consist in this, that our
affections have their objects, and rest in those objects as an end,
_i.e._ be satisfied with them.  This will further appear in the sequel of
this discourse.

Of the several affections, or inward sensations, which particular objects
excite in man, there are some, the having of which implies the love of
them, when they are reflected upon. {29}  This cannot be said of all our
affections, principles, and motives of action.  It were ridiculous to
assert that a man upon reflection hath the same kind of approbation of
the appetite of hunger or the passion of fear as he hath of goodwill to
his fellow-creatures.  To be a just, a good, a righteous man, plainly
carries with it a peculiar affection to or love of justice, goodness,
righteousness, when these principles are the objects of contemplation.

Now if a man approves of, or hath an affection to, any principle in and
for itself, incidental things allowed for, it will be the same whether he
views it in his own mind or in another; in himself or in his neighbour.
This is the account of our approbation of, or moral love and affection to
good characters; which cannot but be in those who have any degrees of
real goodness in themselves, and who discern and take notice of the same
principle in others.

From observation of what passes within ourselves, our own actions, and
the behaviour of others, the mind may carry on its reflections as far as
it pleases; much beyond what we experience in ourselves, or discern in
our fellow creatures.  It may go on and consider goodness as become a
uniform continued principle of action, as conducted by reason, and
forming a temper and character absolutely good and perfect, which is in a
higher sense excellent, and proportionably the object of love and

Let us then suppose a creature perfect according to his created
nature--let his form be human, and his capacities no more than equal to
those of the chief of men--goodness shall be his proper character, with
wisdom to direct it, and power within some certain determined sphere of
action to exert it: but goodness must be the simple actuating principle
within him; this being the moral quality which is amiable, or the
immediate object of love as distinct from other affections of
approbation.  Here then is a finite object for our mind to tend towards,
to exercise itself upon: a creature, perfect according to his capacity,
fixed, steady, equally unmoved by weak pity or more weak fury and
resentment; forming the justest scheme of conduct; going on undisturbed
in the execution of it, through the several methods of severity and
reward, towards his end, namely, the general happiness of all with whom
he hath to do, as in itself right and valuable.  This character, though
uniform in itself, in its principle, yet exerting itself in different
ways, or considered in different views, may by its appearing variety move
different affections.  Thus, the severity of justice would not affect us
in the same way as an act of mercy.  The adventitious qualities of wisdom
and power may be considered in themselves; and even the strength of mind
which this immovable goodness supposes may likewise be viewed as an
object of contemplation distinct from the goodness itself.  Superior
excellence of any kind, as well as superior wisdom and power, is the
object of awe and reverence to all creatures, whatever their moral
character be; but so far as creatures of the lowest rank were good, so
far the view of this character, as simply good, must appear amiable to
them, be the object of, or beget love.  Further suppose we were conscious
that this superior person so far approved of us that we had nothing
servilely to fear from him; that he was really our friend, and kind and
good to us in particular, as he had occasionally intercourse with us: we
must be other creatures than we are, or we could not but feel the same
kind of satisfaction and enjoyment (whatever would be the degree of it)
from this higher acquaintance and friendship as we feel from common ones,
the intercourse being real and the persons equally present in both cases.
We should have a more ardent desire to be approved by his better
judgment, and a satisfaction in that approbation of the same sort with
what would be felt in respect to common persons, or be wrought in us by
their presence.

Let us now raise the character, and suppose this creature, for we are
still going on with the supposition of a creature, our proper guardian
and governor; that we were in a progress of being towards somewhat
further; and that his scheme of government was too vast for our
capacities to comprehend: remembering still that he is perfectly good,
and our friend as well as our governor.  Wisdom, power, goodness,
accidentally viewed anywhere, would inspire reverence, awe, love; and as
these affections would be raised in higher or lower degrees in proportion
as we had occasionally more or less intercourse with the creature endued
with those qualities, so this further consideration and knowledge that he
was our proper guardian and governor would much more bring these objects
and qualities home to ourselves; teach us they had a greater respect to
us in particular, that we had a higher interest in that wisdom and power
and goodness.  We should, with joy, gratitude, reverence, love, trust,
and dependence, appropriate the character, as what we had a right in, and
make our boast in such our relation to it.  And the conclusion of the
whole would be that we should refer ourselves implicitly to him, and cast
ourselves entirely upon him.  As the whole attention of life should be to
obey his commands, so the highest enjoyment of it must arise from the
contemplation of this character, and our relation to it, from a
consciousness of his favour and approbation, and from the exercise of
those affections towards him which could not but be raised from his
presence.  A Being who hath these attributes, who stands in this
relation, and is thus sensibly present to the mind, must necessarily be
the object of these affections: there is as real a correspondence between
them as between the lowest appetite of sense and its object.

That this Being is not a creature, but the Almighty God; that He is of
infinite power and wisdom and goodness, does not render Him less the
object of reverence and love than He would be if He had those attributes
only in a limited degree.  The Being who made us, and upon whom we
entirely depend, is the object of some regards.  He hath given us certain
affections of mind, which correspond to wisdom, power, goodness, _i.e._
which are raised upon view of those qualities.  If then He be really
wise, powerful, good, He is the natural object of those affections which
He hath endued us with, and which correspond to those attributes.  That
He is infinite in power, perfect in wisdom and goodness, makes no
alteration, but only that He is the object of those affections raised to
the highest pitch.  He is not, indeed, to be discerned by any of our
senses.  _I go forward_, _but He is not there_; _and backward_, _but I
cannot perceive Him_: _on the left hand where He doth work_, _but I
cannot behold Him_: _He hideth Himself on the right hand_, _that I cannot
see Him_, _Oh that I knew where I might find Him_! _that I might come
even to His seat_! {30}  But is He then afar off? does He not fill heaven
and earth with His presence?  The presence of our fellow-creatures
affects our senses, and our senses give us the knowledge of their
presence; which hath different kinds of influence upon us--love, joy,
sorrow, restraint, encouragement, reverence.  However, this influence is
not immediately from our senses, but from that knowledge.  Thus suppose a
person neither to see nor hear another, not to know by any of his senses,
but yet certainly to know, that another was with him; this knowledge
might, and in many cases would, have one or more of the effects before
mentioned.  It is therefore not only reasonable, but also natural, to be
affected with a presence, though it be not the object of our senses;
whether it be, or be not, is merely an accidental circumstance, which
needs not come into consideration: it is the certainty that he is with
us, and we with him, which hath the influence.  We consider persons then
as present, not only when they are within reach of our senses, but also
when we are assured by any other means that they are within such a
nearness; nay, if they are not, we can recall them to our mind, and be
moved towards them as present; and must He, who is so much more
intimately with us, that _in Him we live and move and have our being_, be
thought too distant to be the object of our affections?  We own and feel
the force of amiable and worthy qualities in our fellow creatures; and
can we be insensible to the contemplation of perfect goodness?  Do we
reverence the shadows of greatness here below, are we solicitous about
honour and esteem and the opinion of the world, and shall we not feel the
same with respect to Him whose are wisdom and power in the original, who
_is the God of judgment by whom actions are weighed_?  Thus love,
reverence, desire of esteem, every faculty, every affection, tends
towards and is employed about its respective object in common cases: and
must the exercise of them be suspended with regard to Him alone who is an
object, an infinitely more than adequate object, to our most exalted
faculties; Him, _of whom_, _and through whom_, _and to whom are all

As we cannot remove from this earth, or change our general business on
it, so neither can we alter our real nature.  Therefore no exercise of
the mind can be recommended, but only the exercise of those faculties you
are conscious of.  Religion does not demand new affections, but only
claims the direction of those you already have, those affections you
daily feel; though unhappily confined to objects not altogether
unsuitable but altogether unequal to them.  We only represent to you the
higher, the adequate objects of those very faculties and affections.  Let
the man of ambition go on still to consider disgrace as the greatest
evil, honour as his chief good.  But disgrace in whose estimation?  Honour
in whose judgment?  This is the only question.  If shame, and delight in
esteem, be spoken of as real, as any settled ground of pain or pleasure,
both these must be in proportion to the supposed wisdom, and worth of him
by whom we are contemned or esteemed.  Must it then be thought
enthusiastical to speak of a sensibility of this sort which shall have
respect to an unerring judgment, to infinite wisdom, when we are assured
this unerring judgment, this infinite wisdom does observe upon our

It is the same with respect to the love of God in the strictest and most
confined sense.  We only offer and represent the highest object of an
affection supposed already in your mind.  Some degree of goodness must be
previously supposed; this always implies the love of itself, an affection
to goodness: the highest, the adequate object of this affection, is
perfect goodness; which therefore we are to _love with all our heart_,
_with all our soul_, _and with all our strength_.  "Must we then,
forgetting our own interest, as it were go out of ourselves, and love God
for His own sake?"  No more forget your own interest, no more go out of
yourselves, than when you prefer one place, one prospect, the
conversation of one man to that of another.  Does not every affection
necessarily imply that the object of it be itself loved?  If it be not it
is not the object of the affection.  You may, and ought if you can, but
it is a great mistake to think you can love or fear or hate anything,
from consideration that such love or fear or hatred may be a means of
obtaining good or avoiding evil.  But the question whether we ought to
love God for His sake or for our own being a mere mistake in language,
the real question which this is mistaken for will, I suppose, be answered
by observing that the goodness of God already exercised towards us, our
present dependence upon Him, and our expectation of future benefits,
ought, and have a natural tendency, to beget in us the affection of
gratitude, and greater love towards Him, than the same goodness exercised
towards others; were it only for this reason, that every affection is
moved in proportion to the sense we have of the object of it; and we
cannot but have a more lively sense of goodness when exercised towards
ourselves than when exercised towards others.  I added expectation of
future benefits because the ground of that expectation is present

Thus Almighty God is the natural object of the several affections, love,
reverence, fear, desire of approbation.  For though He is simply one, yet
we cannot but consider Him in partial and different views.  He is in
himself one uniform Being, and for ever the same without _variableness or
shadow of turning_; but His infinite greatness, His goodness, His wisdom,
are different objects to our mind.  To which is to be added, that from
the changes in our own characters, together with His unchangeableness, we
cannot but consider ourselves as more or less the objects of His
approbation, and really be so.  For if He approves what is good, He
cannot, merely from the unchangeableness of His nature, approve what is
evil.  Hence must arise more various movements of mind, more different
kinds of affections.  And this greater variety also is just and
reasonable in such creatures as we are, though it respects a Being simply
one, good and perfect.  As some of these actions are most particularly
suitable to so imperfect a creature as man in this mortal state we are
passing through, so there may be other exercises of mind, or some of
these in higher degrees, our employment and happiness in a state of


Consider then our ignorance, the imperfection of our nature, our virtue,
and our condition in this world, with respect to aim infinitely good and
just Being, our Creator and Governor, and you will see what religious
affections of mind are most particularly suitable to this mortal state we
are passing through.

Though we are not affected with anything so strongly as what we discern
with our senses, and though our nature and condition require that we be
much taken up about sensible things, yet our reason convinces us that God
is present with us, and we see and feel the effects of His goodness: He
is therefore the object of some regards.  The imperfection of our virtue,
joined with the consideration of His absolute rectitude or holiness, will
scarce permit that perfection of love which entirely casts out all fear:
yet goodness is the object of love to all creatures who have any degree
of it themselves; and consciousness of a real endeavour to approve
ourselves to Him, joined with the consideration of His goodness, as it
quite excludes servile dread and horror, so it is plainly a reasonable
ground for hope of His favour.  Neither fear nor hope nor love then are
excluded, and one or another of these will prevail, according to the
different views we have of God, and ought to prevail, according to the
changes we find in our own character.  There is a temper of mind made up
of, or which follows from all three, fear, hope, love--namely,
resignation to the Divine will, which is the general temper belonging to
this state; which ought to be the habitual frame of our mind and heart,
and to be exercised at proper seasons more distinctly, in acts of

Resignation to the will of God is the whole of piety.  It includes in it
all that is good, and is a source of the most settled quiet and composure
of mind.  There is the general principle of submission in our nature.  Man
is not so constituted as to desire things, and be uneasy in the want of
them, in proportion to their known value: many other considerations come
in to determine the degrees of desire; particularly whether the advantage
we take a view of be within the sphere of our rank.  Whoever felt
uneasiness upon observing any of the advantages brute creatures have over
us?  And yet it is plain they have several.  It is the same with respect
to advantages belonging to creatures of a superior order.  Thus, though
we see a thing to be highly valuable, yet that it does not belong to our
condition of being is sufficient to suspend our desires after it, to make
us rest satisfied without such advantage.  Now there is just the same
reason for quiet resignation in the want of everything equally
unattainable and out of our reach in particular, though others of our
species be possessed of it.  All this may be applied to the whole of
life; to positive inconveniences as well as wants, not indeed to the
sensations of pain and sorrow, but to all the uneasinesses of reflection,
murmuring, and discontent.  Thus is human nature formed to compliance,
yielding, submission of temper.  We find the principles of it within us;
and every one exercises it towards some objects or other, _i.e._ feels it
with regard to some persons and some circumstances.  Now this is an
excellent foundation of a reasonable and religious resignation.  Nature
teaches and inclines as to take up with our lot; the consideration that
the course of things is unalterable hath a tendency to quiet the mind
under it, to beget a submission of temper to it.  But when we can add
that this unalterable course is appointed and continued by infinite
wisdom and goodness, how absolute should be our submission, how entire
our trust and dependence!

This would reconcile us to our condition, prevent all the supernumerary
troubles arising from imagination, distant fears, impatience--all
uneasiness, except that which necessarily arises from the calamities
themselves we may be under.  How many of our cares should we by this
means be disburdened of!  Cares not properly our own, how apt soever they
may be to intrude upon us, and we to admit them; the anxieties of
expectation, solicitude about success and disappointment, which in truth
are none of our concern.  How open to every gratification would that mind
be which was clear of these encumbrances!

Our resignation to the will of God may be said to be perfect when our
will is lost and resolved up into His: when we rest in His will as our
end, as being itself most just and right and good.  And where is the
impossibility of such an affection to what is just, and right, and good,
such a loyalty of heart to the Governor of the universe as shall prevail
over all sinister indirect desires of our own?  Neither is this at bottom
anything more than faith and honesty and fairness of mind--in a more
enlarged sense indeed than those words are commonly used.  And as, in
common cases, fear and hope and other passions are raised in us by their
respective objects, so this submission of heart and soul and mind, this
religious resignation, would be as naturally produced by our having just
conceptions of Almighty God, and a real sense of His presence with us.  In
how low a degree soever this temper usually prevails amongst men, yet it
is a temper right in itself: it is what we owe to our Creator: it is
particularly suitable to our mortal condition, and what we should
endeavour after for our own sakes in our passage through such a world as
this, where is nothing upon which we can rest or depend, nothing but what
we are liable to be deceived and disappointed in.  Thus we might
_acquaint ourselves with God_, _and be at peace_.  This is piety an
religion in the strictest sense, considered as a habit of mind: an
habitual sense of God's presence with us; being affected towards Him, as
present, in the manner His superior nature requires from such a creature
as man: this is to _walk with God_.

Little more need be said of devotion or religious worship than that it is
this temper exerted into act.  The nature of it consists in the actual
exercise of those affections towards God which are supposed habitual in
good men.  He is always equally present with us: but we are so much taken
up with sensible things that, _Lo_, _He goeth by us_, _and we see Him
not_: _He passeth on also_, _but we perceive Him not_. {31}  Devotion is
retirement from the world He has made to Him alone: it is to withdraw
from the avocations of sense, to employ our attention wholly upon Him as
upon an object actually present, to yield ourselves up to the influence
of the Divine presence, and to give full scope to the affections of
gratitude, love, reverence, trust, and dependence; of which infinite
power, wisdom, and goodness is the natural and only adequate object.  We
may apply to the whole of devotion those words of the Son of Sirach,
_When you glorify the Lord_, _exalt Him as much as you can_; _for even
yet will He far exceed_: _and when you exalt Him_, _put forth all your
strength_, _and be not weary_; _for you can never go far enough_. {32}
Our most raised affections of every kind cannot but fall short and be
disproportionate when an infinite being is the object of them.  This is
the highest exercise and employment of mind that a creature is capable
of.  As this divine service and worship is itself absolutely due to God,
so also is it necessary in order to a further end, to keep alive upon our
minds a sense of His authority, a sense that in our ordinary behaviour
amongst men we act under him as our Governor and Judge.

Thus you see the temper of mind respecting God which is particularly
suitable to a state of imperfection, to creatures in a progress of being
towards somewhat further.

Suppose now this something further attained, that we were arrived at it,
what a perception will it be to see and know and feel that our trust was
not vain, our dependence not groundless?  That the issue, event, and
consummation came out such as fully to justify and answer that
resignation?  If the obscure view of the divine perfection which we have
in this world ought in just consequence to beget an entire resignation,
what will this resignation be exalted into when _we shall see face to
face_, _and know as we are known_?  If we cannot form any distinct notion
of that perfection of the love of God which _casts out all fear_, of that
enjoyment of Him which will be the happiness of good men hereafter, the
consideration of our wants and capacities of happiness, and that He will
be adequate supply to them, must serve us instead of such distinct
conception of the particular happiness itself.

Let us then suppose a man entirely disengaged from business and pleasure,
sitting down alone and at leisure, to reflect upon himself and his own
condition of being.  He would immediately feel that he was by no means
complete of himself, but totally insufficient for his own happiness.  One
may venture to affirm that every man hath felt this, whether he hath
again reflected upon it or not.  It is feeling this deficiency, that they
are unsatisfied with themselves, which makes men look out for assistance
from abroad, and which has given rise to various kinds of amusements,
altogether needless any otherwise than as they serve to fill up the blank
spaces of time, and so hinder their feeling this deficiency, and being
uneasy with themselves.  Now, if these external things we take up with
were really an adequate supply to this deficiency of human nature, if by
their means our capacities and desires were all satisfied and filled up,
then it might be truly said that we had found out the proper happiness of
man, and so might sit down satisfied, and be at rest in the enjoyment of
it.  But if it appears that the amusements which men usually pass their
time in are so far from coming up to or answering our notions and desires
of happiness or good that they are really no more than what they are
commonly called, somewhat to pass away the time, _i.e._ somewhat which
serves to turn us aside from, and prevent our attending to, this our
internal poverty and want; if they serve only, or chiefly, to suspend
instead of satisfying our conceptions and desires of happiness; if the
want remains, and we have found out little more than barely the means of
making it less sensible; then are we still to seek for somewhat to be an
adequate supply to it.  It is plain that there is a capacity in the
nature of man which neither riches nor honours nor sensual
gratifications, nor anything in this world, can perfectly fill up or
satisfy: there is a deeper and more essential want than any of these
things can be the supply of.  Yet surely there is a possibility of
somewhat which may fill up all our capacities of happiness, somewhat in
which our souls may find rest, somewhat which may be to us that
satisfactory good we are inquiring after.  But it cannot be anything
which is valuable only as it tends to some further end.  Those therefore
who have got this world so much into their hearts as not to be able to
consider happiness as consisting in anything but property and
possessions--which are only valuable as the means to somewhat else--cannot
have the least glimpse of the subject before us, which is the end, not
the means; the thing itself, not somewhat in order to it.  But if you can
lay aside that general, confused, undeterminate notion of happiness, as
consisting in such possessions, and fix in your thoughts that it really
can consist in nothing but in a faculty's having its proper object, you
will clearly see that in the coolest way of consideration, without either
the heat of fanciful enthusiasm or the warmth of real devotion, nothing
is more certain than that an infinite Being may Himself be, if He
pleases, the supply to all the capacities of our nature.  All the common
enjoyments of life are from the faculties He hath endued us with and the
objects He hath made suitable to them.  He may Himself be to us
infinitely more than all these; He may be to us all that we want.  As our
understanding can contemplate itself, and our affections be exercised
upon themselves by reflection, so may each be employed in the same manner
upon any other mind; and since the Supreme Mind, the Author and Cause of
all things, is the highest possible object to Himself, He may be an
adequate supply to all the faculties of our souls, a subject to our
understanding, and an object to our affections.

Consider then: when we shall have put off this mortal body, when we shall
be divested of sensual appetites, and those possessions which are now the
means of gratification shall be of no avail, when this restless scene of
business and vain pleasures, which now diverts us from ourselves, shall
be all over, we, our proper self, shall still remain: we shall still
continue the same creatures we are, with wants to be supplied and
capacities of happiness.  We must have faculties of perception, though
not sensitive ones; and pleasure or uneasiness from our perceptions, as
now we have.

There are certain ideas which we express by the words order, harmony,
proportion, beauty, the furthest removed from anything sensual.  Now what
is there in those intellectual images, forms, or ideas, which begets that
approbation, love, delight, and even rapture, which is seen in some
persons' faces upon having those objects present to their minds?--"Mere
enthusiasm!"--Be it what it will: there are objects, works of nature and
of art, which all mankind have delight from quite distinct from their
affording gratification to sensual appetites, and from quite another view
of them than as being for their interest and further advantage.  The
faculties from which we are capable of these pleasures, and the pleasures
themselves, are as natural, and as much to be accounted for, as any
sensual appetite whatever, and the pleasure from its gratification.  Words
to be sure are wanting upon this subject; to say that everything of grace
and beauty throughout the whole of nature, everything excellent and
amiable shared in differently lower degrees by the whole creation, meet
in the Author and Cause of all things, this is an inadequate and perhaps
improper way of speaking of the Divine nature; but it is manifest that
absolute rectitude, the perfection of being, must be in all senses, and
in every respect, the highest object to the mind.

In this world it is only the effects of wisdom and power and greatness
which we discern; it is not impossible that hereafter the qualities
themselves in the supreme Being may be the immediate object of
contemplation.  What amazing wonders are opened to view by late
improvements!  What an object is the universe to a creature, if there be
a creature who can comprehend its system!  But it must be an infinitely
higher exercise of the understanding to view the scheme of it in that
mind which projected it before its foundations were laid.  And surely we
have meaning to the words when we speak of going further, and viewing,
not only this system in His mind, but the wisdom and intelligence itself
from whence it proceeded.  The same may be said of power.  But since
wisdom and power are not God, He is a wise, a powerful Being; the divine
nature may therefore be a further object to the understanding.  It is
nothing to observe that our senses give us but an imperfect knowledge of
things: effects themselves, if we knew them thoroughly, would give us but
imperfect notions of wisdom and power; much less of His being in whom
they reside.  I am not speaking of any fanciful notion of seeing all
things in God, but only representing to you how much a higher object to
the understanding an infinite Being Himself is than the things which He
has made; and this is no more than saying that the Creator is superior to
the works of His hands.

This may be illustrated by a low example.  Suppose a machine, the sight
of which would raise, and discoveries in its contrivance gratify, our
curiosity: the real delight in this case would arise from its being the
effect of skill and contrivance.  This skill in the mind of the artificer
would be a higher object, if we had any senses or ways to discern it.
For, observe, the contemplation of that principle, faculty, or power
which produced any effect must be a higher exercise of the understanding
than the contemplation of the effect itself.  The cause must be a higher
object to the mind than the effect.

But whoever considers distinctly what the delight of knowledge is will
see reason to be satisfied that it cannot be the chief good of man: all
this, as it is applicable, so it was mentioned with regard to the
attribute of goodness.  I say goodness.  Our being and all our enjoyments
are the effects of it: just men bear its resemblance; but how little do
we know of the original, of what it is in itself?  Recall what was before
observed concerning the affection to moral characters--which, in how low
a degree soever, yet is plainly natural to man, and the most excellent
part of his nature.  Suppose this improved, as it may be improved, to any
degree whatever, in the _spirits of just men made perfect_; and then
suppose that they had a real view of that _righteousness which is an
everlasting righteousness_, of the conformity of the Divine will to _the
law of truth_ in which the moral attributes of God consist, of that
goodness in the sovereign Mind which gave birth to the universe.  Add,
what will be true of all good men hereafter, a consciousness of having an
interest in what they are contemplating--suppose them able to say, _This
God is our God for ever and ever_.  Would they be any longer to seek for
what was their chief happiness, their final good?  Could the utmost
stretch of their capacities look further?  Would not infinite perfect
goodness be their very end, the last end and object of their affections,
beyond which they could neither have nor desire, beyond which they could
not form a wish or thought?

Consider wherein that presence of a friend consists which has often so
strong an effect as wholly to possess the mind, and entirely suspend all
other affections and regards, and which itself affords the highest
satisfaction and enjoyment.  He is within reach of the senses.  Now as
our capacities of perception improve we shall have, perhaps by some
faculty entirely new, a perception of God's presence with us in a nearer
and stricter way, since it is certain He is more intimately present with
us than anything else can be.  Proof of the existence and presence of any
being is quite different from the immediate perception, the consciousness
of it.  What then will be the joy of heart which His presence and _the
light of His countenance_, who is the life of the universe, will inspire
good men with when they shall have a sensation that He is the sustainer
of their being, that they exist in Him; when they shall feel His
influence to cheer and enliven and support their frame, in a manner of
which we have now no conception?  He will be in a literal sense _their
strength and their portion for ever_.

When we speak of things so much above our comprehension as the employment
and happiness of a future state, doubtless it behoves us to speak with
all modesty and distrust of ourselves.  But the Scripture represents the
happiness of that state under the notions of _seeing God_, _seeing Him as
He is_, _knowing as we are known_, _and seeing face to face_.  These
words are not general or undetermined, but express a particular
determinate happiness.  And I will be bold to say that nothing can
account for or come up to these expressions but only this, that God
Himself will be an object to our faculties, that He Himself will be our
happiness as distinguished from the enjoyments of the present state,
which seem to arise not immediately from Him but from the objects He has
adapted to give us delight.

To conclude: Let us suppose a person tired with care and sorrow and the
repetition of vain delights which fill up the round of life; sensible
that everything here below in its best estate is altogether vanity.
Suppose him to feel that deficiency of human nature before taken notice
of, and to be convinced that God alone was the adequate supply to it.
What could be more applicable to a good man in this state of mind, or
better express his present wants and distant hopes, his passage through
this world as a progress towards a state of perfection, than the
following passages in the devotions of the royal prophet?  They are
plainly in a higher and more proper sense applicable to this than they
could be to anything else.  _I have seen an end of all perfection_.  _Whom
have I in heaven but Thee_?  _And there is none upon earth that I desire
in comparison of Thee_.  _My flesh and may heart faileth_: _but God is
the strength of my heart and my portion for ever_.  _Like as the hart
desireth the water-brooks_, _so longeth my soul after Thee_, _O God_.  _My
soul is athirst for God_, _yea_, _even for the living God_: _when shall I
come to appear before Him_?  _How excellent is Thy loving-kindness_, _O
God_! _and the children of men shall put their trust under the shadow of
Thy wings_.  _They shall be satisfied with the plenteousness of Thy
house_: _and Thou shalt give them drink of Thy pleasures_, _as out of the
river_.  _For with Thee is the well of life_: _and in Thy light shall we
see light_.  _Blessed is the man whom Thou choosest_, _and receivest unto
Thee_: _he shall dwell in Thy court_, _and shall be satisfied with the
pleasures of Thy house_, _even of Thy holy temple_.  _Blessed is the
people_, _O Lord_, _that can rejoice in Thee_: _they shall walk in the
light of Thy countenance_.  _Their delight shall be daily in Thy name_,
_and in Thy righteousness shall they make their boast_.  _For Thou art
the glory of their strength_: _and in Thy lovingkindness they shall be
exalted_.  _As for me_, _I will behold Thy presence in righteousness_:
_and when I awake up after Thy likeness_, _I shall be satisfied with it_.
_Thou shalt shew me the path of life_; _in Thy presence is the fulness of
joy_, _and at Thy right hand there is pleasure for evermore_.


{1}  1 Cor. xii

{2}  Suppose a man of learning to be writing a grave book upon _human
nature_, and to show in several parts of it that he had an insight into
the subject he was considering, amongst other things, the following one
would require to be accounted for--the appearance of benevolence or good-
will in men towards each other in the instances of natural relation, and
in others. {2a}  Cautions of being deceived with outward show, he retires
within himself to see exactly what that is in the mind of man from whence
this appearance proceeds; and, upon deep reflection, asserts the
principle in the mind to be only the love of power, and delight in the
exercise of it.  Would not everybody think here was a mistake of one word
for another--that the philosopher was contemplating and accounting for
some other _human actions_, some other behaviour of man to man?  And
could any one be thoroughly satisfied that what is commonly called
benevolence or good-will was really the affection meant, but only by
being made to understand that this learned person had a general
hypothesis, to which the appearance of good-will could no otherwise be
reconciled?  That what has this appearance is often nothing but ambition;
that delight in superiority often (suppose always) mixes itself with
benevolence, only makes it more specious to call it ambition than hunger,
of the two: but in reality that passion does no more account for the
whole appearances of good-will than this appetite does.  Is there not
often the appearance of one man's wishing that good to another, which he
knows himself unable to procure him; and rejoicing in it, though bestowed
by a third person?  And can love of power any way possibly come in to
account for this desire or delight?  Is there not often the appearance of
men's distinguishing between two or more persons, preferring one before
another, to do good to, in cases where love of power cannot in the least
account for the distinction and preference?  For this principle can no
otherwise distinguish between objects than as it is a greater instance
and exertion of power to do good to one rather than to another.  Again,
suppose good-will in the mind of man to be nothing but delight in the
exercise of power: men might indeed be restrained by distant and
accidental consideration; but these restraints being removed, they would
have a disposition to, and delight in, mischief as an exercise and proof
of power: and this disposition and delight would arise from, or be the
same principle in the mind, as a disposition to and delight in charity.
Thus cruelty, as distinct from envy and resentment, would be exactly the
same in the mind of man as good-will: that one tends to the happiness,
the other to the misery, of our fellow-creatures, is, it seems, merely an
accidental circumstance, which the mind has not the least regard to.
These are the absurdities which even men of capacity run into when they
have occasion to belie their nature, and will perversely disclaim that
image of God which was originally stamped upon it, the traces of which,
however faint, are plainly discernible upon the mind of man.

If any person can in earnest doubt whether there be such a thing as good-
will in one man towards another (for the question is not concerning
either the degree or extensiveness of it, but concerning the affection
itself), let it be observed that _whether man be thus_, _or otherwise
constituted_, _what is the inward frame in this particular_ is a mere
question of fact of natural history not provable immediately by reason.
It is therefore to be judged of and determined in the same way other
facts or matters of natural history are--by appealing to the external
senses, or inward perceptions respectively, as the matter under
consideration is cognisable by one or the other: by arguing from
acknowledged facts and actions for a great number of actions in the same
kind, in different circumstances, and respecting different objects, will
prove to a certainty what principles they do not, and to the greatest
probability what principles they do, proceed from: and, lastly, by the
testimony of mankind.  Now that there is some degree of benevolence
amongst men may be as strongly and plainly proved in all these ways, as
it could possibly be proved, supposing there was this affection in our
nature.  And should any one think fit to assert that resentment in the
mind of man was absolutely nothing but reasonable concern for our own
safety, the falsity of this, and what is the real nature of that passion,
could be shown in no other ways than those in which it may be shown that
there is such a thing in _some degree_ as real good-will in man towards
man.  It is sufficient that the seeds of it be implanted in our nature by
God.  There is, it is owned, much left for us to do upon our own heart
and temper; to cultivate, to improve, to call it forth, to exercise it in
a steady, uniform manner.  This is our work: this is virtue and religion.

{2a}  Hobbes, "Of Human Nature," c. ix. 7.

{3}  Everybody makes a distinction between self-love and the several
particular passions, appetites, and affections; and yet they are often
confounded again.  That they are totally different, will be seen by any
one who will distinguish between the passions and appetites _themselves_,
and _endeavouring_ after the means of their gratification.  Consider the
appetite of hunger, and the desire of esteem: these being the occasion
both of pleasure and pain, the coolest self-love, as well as the
appetites and passions themselves, may put us upon making use of the
_proper methods of obtaining_ that pleasure, and avoiding that pain; but
the _feelings_ themselves, the pain of hunger and shame, and the delight
from esteem, are no more self-love than they are anything in the world.
Though a man hated himself, he would as much feel the pain of hunger as
he would that of the gout; and it is plainly supposable there may be
creatures with self-love in them to the highest degree, who may be quite
insensible and indifferent (as men in some cases are) to the contempt and
esteem of those upon whom their happiness does not in some further
respects depend.  And as self-love and the several particular passions
and appetites are in themselves totally different, so that some actions
proceed from one and some from the other will be manifest to any who will
observe the two following very supposable cases.  One man rushes upon
certain ruin for the gratification of a present desire: nobody will call
the principle of this action self-love.  Suppose another man to go
through some laborious work upon promise of a great reward, without any
distinct knowledge what the reward will be: this course of action cannot
be ascribed to any particular passion.  The former of these actions is
plainly to be imputed to some particular passion or affection; the latter
as plainly to the general affection or principle of self-love.  That
there are some particular pursuits or actions concerning which we cannot
determine how far they are owing to one, and how far to the other,
proceeds from this, that the two principles are frequently mixed
together, and run up into each other.  This distinction is further
explained in the Eleventh Sermon.

{4}  If any desire to see this distinction and comparison made in a
particular instance, the appetite and passion now mentioned may serve for
one.  Hunger is to be considered as a private appetite, because the end
for which it was given us is the preservation of the individual.  Desire
of esteem is a public passion; because the end for which it was given us
is to regulate our behaviour towards society.  The respect which this has
to private good is as remote as the respect that has to public good; and
the appetite is no more self-love than the passion is benevolence.  The
object and end of the former is merely food; the object and end of the
latter is merely esteem; but the latter can no more be gratified without
contributing to the good of society, than the former can be gratified
without contributing to the preservation of the individual.

{5}  Emulation is merely the desire and hope of equality with or
superiority over others with whom we compare ourselves.  There does not
appear to be any other _grief_ in the natural passion, but only _that
want_ which is implied in desire.  However, this may be so strong as to
be the occasion of great _grief_.  To desire the attainment of this
equality or superiority by the _particular means_ of others being brought
down to our own level, or below it, is, I think, the distinct notion of
envy.  From whence it is easy to see that the real end, which the natural
passion emulation, and which the unlawful one envy aims at, is exactly
the same; namely, that equality or superiority: and consequently, that to
do mischief is not the end of envy, but merely the means it makes use of
to attain its end.  As to resentment, see the Eighth Sermon.

{6}  Ephes. ii. 3.

{7}  Every man in his physical nature is one individual single agent.  He
has likewise properties and principles, each of which may be considered
separately, and without regard to the respects which they have to each
other.  Neither of these is the nature we are taking a view of.  But it
is the inward frame of man considered as a _system_ or _constitution_:
whose several parts are united, not by a physical principle of
individuation, but by the respects they have to each other; the chief of
which is the subjection which the appetites, passions, and particular
affections have to the one supreme principle of reflection or conscience.
The system or constitution is formed by and consists in these respects
and this subjection.  Thus the body is a _system_ or _constitution_: so
is a tree: so is every machine.  Consider all the several parts of a tree
without the natural reselects they have to each other, and you have not
at all the idea of a tree; but add these respects, and this gives you the
idea.  This body may be impaired by sickness, a tree may decay, a machine
be out of order, and yet the system and constitution of them not totally
dissolved.  There is plainly somewhat which answers to all this in the
moral constitution of man.  Whoever will consider his own nature will see
that the several appetites, passions, and particular affections have
different respects amongst themselves.  They are restraints upon, and are
in a proportion to, each other.  This proportion is just and perfect,
when all those under principles are perfectly coincident with conscience,
so far as their nature permits, and in all cases under its absolute and
entire direction.  The least excess or defect, the least alteration of
the due proportions amongst themselves, or of their coincidence with
conscience, though not proceeding into action, is some degree of disorder
in the moral constitution.  But perfection, though plainly intelligible
and unsupportable, was never attained by any man.  If the higher
principle of reflection maintains its place, and as much as it can
corrects that disorder, and hinders it from breaking out into action,
this is all that can be expected in such a creature as man.  And though
the appetites and passions have not their exact due proportion to each
other, though they often strive for mastery with judgment or reflection,
yet, since the superiority of this principle to all others is the chief
respect which forms the constitution, so far as this superiority is
maintained, the character, the man, is good, worthy, virtuous.

{8}  Chap. iii., ver. 6.

{9}  Job xiii. 5.

{10}  Eccles. x. 3.

{11}  Prov. x. 19.

{12}  Mark xii. 38, 40.

{13}  There being manifestly this appearance of men's substituting others
for themselves, and being carried out and affected towards them as
towards themselves; some persons, who have a system which excludes every
affection of this sort, have taken a pleasant method to solve it; and
tell you it is _not another_ you are at all concerned about, but your
_self only_, when you feel the affection called compassion, _i.e._ Here
is a plain matter of fact, which men cannot reconcile with the general
account they think fit to give of things: they therefore, instead of that
manifest fact, substitute _another_, which is reconcilable to their own
scheme.  For does not everybody by compassion mean an affection, the
object of which is another in distress? instead of this, but designing to
have it mistaken for this, they speak of an affection or passion, the
object of which is ourselves, or danger to ourselves.  Hobbes defines
_pity_, _imagination_, _or fiction of future calamity to ourselves_,
_proceeding from the sense_ (he means sight or knowledge) _of another
man's calamity_.  Thus fear and compassion would be the same idea, and a
fearful and a compassionate man the same character, which every one
immediately sees are totally different.  Further, to those who give any
scope to their affections, there is no perception or inward feeling more
universal than this: that one who has been merciful and compassionate
throughout the course of his behaviour should himself be treated with
kindness, if he happens to fall into circumstances of distress.  Is fear,
then, or cowardice, so great a recommendation to the favour of the bulk
of mankind?  Or is it not plain that mere fearlessness (and therefore not
the contrary) is one of the most popular qualifications?  This shows that
mankind are not affected towards compassion as fear, but as somewhat
totally different.

Nothing would more expose such accounts as these of the affections which
are favourable and friendly to our fellow-creatures than to substitute
the definitions, which this author, and others who follow his steps, give
of such affections, instead of the words by which they are commonly
expressed.  Hobbes, after having laid down that pity or compassion is
only fear for ourselves, goes on to explain the reason why we pity our
friends in distress more than others.  Now substitute the word
_definition_ instead of the word _pity_ in this place, and the inquiry
will be, why we fear our friends, &c., which words (since he really does
not mean why we are afraid of them) make no question or sentence at all.
So that common language, the words _to compassionate_, _to pity_, cannot
be accommodated to his account of compassion.  The very joining of the
words to _pity our friends_ is a direct contradiction to his definition
of pity: because those words, so joined, necessarily express that our
friends are the objects of the passion; whereas his definition of it
asserts that ourselves (or danger to ourselves) are the only objects of
it.  He might indeed have avoided this absurdity, by plainly saying what
he is going to account for; namely, why the sight of the innocent, or of
our friends in distress, raises greater fear for ourselves than the sight
of other persons in distress.  But had he put the thing thus plainly, the
fact itself would have been doubted; that _the sight of our friends in
distress raises in us greater fear for ourselves than the sight of others
in distress_.  And in the next place it would immediately have occurred
to every one that the fact now mentioned, which at least is doubtful
whether, true or false, was not the same with this fact, which nobody
ever doubted, that _the sight of our friends in distress raises in us
greater compassion than the sight of others in distress_: every one, I
say, would have seen that these are not the same, but _two different_
inquiries; and, consequently, that fear and compassion are not the same.
Suppose a person to be in real danger, and by some means or other to have
forgot it; any trifling accident, any sound might alarm him, recall the
danger to his remembrance, and renew his fear; but it is almost too
grossly ridiculous (though it is to show an absurdity) to speak of that
sound or accident as an object of compassion; and yet, according to Mr.
Hobbes, our greatest friend in distress is no more to us, no more the
object of compassion, or of any affection in our heart: neither the one
nor the other raises any emotion in one mind, but only the thoughts of
our liableness to calamity, and the fear of it; and both equally do this.
It is fit such sort of accounts of human nature should be shown to be
what they really are, because there is raised upon them a general scheme,
which undermines the whole foundation of common justice and honesty.  See
_Hobbes of Human Nature_, c. 9. section 10.

There are often three distinct perceptions or inward feelings upon sight
of persons in distress: real sorrow and concern for the misery of our
fellow-creatures; some degree of satisfaction from a consciousness of our
freedom from that misery; and as the mind passes on from one thing to
another it is not unnatural from such an occasion to reflect upon our own
liableness to the same or other calamities.  The two last frequently
accompany the first, but it is the first _only_ which is properly
compassion, of which the distressed are the objects, and which directly
carries us with calmness and thought to their assistance.  Any one of
these, from various and complicated reasons, may in particular cases
prevail over the other two; and there are, I suppose, instances, where
the bare _sight_ of distress, without our feeling any compassion for it,
may be the occasion of either or both of the two latter perceptions.  One
might add that if there be really any such thing as the fiction or
imagination of danger to ourselves from sight of the miseries of others,
which Hobbes specks of, and which he has absurdly mistaken for the whole
of compassion; if there be anything of this sort common to mankind,
distinct from the reflection of reason, it would be a most remarkable
instance of what was furthest from his thoughts--namely, of a mutual
sympathy between each particular of the species, a fellow-feeling common
to mankind.  It would not indeed be an example of our substituting others
for ourselves, but it would be an example of user substituting ourselves
for others.  And as it would not be an instance of benevolence, so
neither would it be any instance of self-love: for this phantom of danger
to ourselves, naturally rising to view upon sight of the distresses of
others, would be no more an instance of love to ourselves than the pain
of hunger is.

{14}  Ecclus. xxxii. 28.

{15}  Ecclus. xlii. 24.

{16}  Ver. 4, 5.

{17}  Ver. 6.

{18}  Micah vi.

{19}  Chap. xxii. 12.

{20}  Ver. 21.

{21}  Chap. iv.

{22}  Chap. xxv.

{23}  Chap. xxxi.

{24}  Chap. ii.

{24a}  In the Cassell edition the sermons jump from sermon VII to XI with
no explanation as to where VIII, IX and X are.  I've left the numbering
as is in case there is a good reason for it.--DP.

{25}  P. 137.

{26}  Matt. v. 48.

{27}  1 Cor. xiii.

{28}  For instance as we are not competent judges, what is upon the whole
for the good of the world, there _may_ be other immediate ends appointed
us to pursue, besides that one of doing good or producing happiness.
Though the good of the Creation be the only end of the Author of it, yet
he may have laid us under particular obligations, which we may discern
and feel ourselves under, quite distinct from a perception, that the
observance or violation of them it for the happiness or misery of our
fellow-creatures.  And this is in fart the ease, for there are certain
dispositions of mind, and certain actions, which are in themselves
approved or disapproved by mankind, abstracted from the consideration of
their tendency to the happiness or misery of the world approved or
disapproved by reflection, by that principle within, whirls is the guile
of life, the judge of right and wrong.  Numberless instances of this kind
might be mentioned.  There are pieces of treachery, which in themselves
appear base and detestable to every one.  There are actions, which
perhaps can scarce have any other general name given them than
indecencies, which yet are odious and shocking to human nature.  There is
such a thing as meanness, a little mind, which as it is quite distinct
from incapacity, so it raises a dislike and disapprobation quite
different from that contempt, which men are too apt to have, of mere
folly.  On the other hand, what we call greatness of mind is the object
of another most of approbation, than superior understanding.  Fidelity,
honour, strict justice, are themselves approved in the highest degree,
abstracted from the consideration of their tendency.  Now, whether it be
thought that each of these are connected with benevolence in our nature,
amid so may he considered as the same thing with it, or whether some of
them he thought an inferior kind of virtues and vices, somewhat like
natural beauties and deformities, or lastly, plain exceptions to the
general rule, thus such however is certain, that the things now instanced
in, and numberless others, are approved or disapproved by mankind in
general, in quite another view than as conducive to the happiness or
misery of the world.

{29}  St. Austin observes, Amor ipse ordinate amandus est, quo bene
amatur quod amandum sit, ut sit in nobis virtue qua vivitur bene, _i.e._
_The affection which we rightly have for what is lovely must ordinate
justly_, _in due manner end proportion_, _become the object of a new
affection_, _or be itself beloved_, _in order to our being endued with
that virtue which is the principle of a good life_.  Civ. Dei, 1. xv. c.

{30}  Job xxii.

{31}  Job ix. 2.

{32}  Eccius. xliii. 50.

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