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that attach to those measures of fraud or force, a punishment, the risk of which would render the attempt too perilous, to obtain for it the approbation even of selfish prudence. But what innumerable actions are there, over which the laws, that cannot extend to the secret thoughts of man, or to half the possibilities of human action, must have as little controul, as it is in our power physically to exercise, over the unseen and unsuspected elements of future storms, which, long before the whirlwind has begun, are prepar. ing that desolation, which it is afterwards to produce. The force of open violence, the laws may check,—but they cannot check the still more powerful force of seduction,—the frauds of mere persuasion, which are never to be known to be frauds, but by the conscience of the deceiver, and which may be said to steal the very assent of the unsuspecting mind, as they afterwards steal the wealth, or the worldly honours, or voluptuous enjoyments, for which that assent was necessary. It is in these circumstances, that He, who formed and protects us, has provided a check for that injustice, which is beyond the restraining power of man, and has produced, what the whole united strength of nations could not produce,-by a few simple feelings,-a check and controul as mighty, as it is silent and invisible,—which he has placed within the mind of the very criminal himself, where it would most be needed, -or rather in the mind of bim, who, but for these feelings, would have been a criminal, and who, with them, is virtuous and happy. The voice within, which approves or disapproves,-long before action, and before even the very wish, that would lead to action, can be said to be fully formed-has in it a restraining force, more powerful than a thousand gibbets, and it is accompanied with the certainty, that, in every breast around, there is a similar voice, that would join its dreadful award to that which would be for ever felt within. The feelings of moral approbation and disapprobation are thus at once the security of virtue and its avengers,-its security in the happiness that is felt, and the happiness that is promised to every future year and hour of virtuous remembrance,-its avengers in that long period of earthly punishment, when its guilty injurer is to read in every eye tbat gazes on him, the reproach which is to be for ever sounding on his heart.
I have already said, however, that it is merely as a part of our mental constitution that I at present speak of our distinctive feelVOL. IT
ings of the moral differences of actions ;-as states or affections, or phenomena of the mind, and nothing more. The further illustration of them, in their most important light, as principles of conduct, 1 reserve for our future discussions of the nature and obligation of virtue.
The moral emotions, to which I next proceed, are those of love and hate,-words, which, as general terms, comprehend a great variety of affections, that have different names, according to their own intensity, and the notion which they involve of the qualities on which the love is founded, as when we speak of love or affection simply, or of regard, esteem, respect, veneration, and which have different names also, according to the objects to which they are directed, as love, friendship, patriotism, devotion,-to which, or, at least, to far the greater part of which there are corresponding terms of the varieties of the opposite emotion of hatred, which I need not waste your time with attempting to enumerate. Indeed, if we were to compare the two vocabularies of love and hate, I fear that we should find rather a mortifying proof of our disposition to discover imperfections more rapidly than the better qualities, since we are still richer in terms of contempt and dislike, than in terms of admiration and reverence.
The analysis of love, as a complex feeling, presents to us always, at least, two elements,-a vivid delight in the contemplation of the object, and a desire of good to that object. To love, then, it is essential that there should be some quality, in the object, which is capable of giving pleasure, since love, which is the consequence of this, is itself a pleasurable emotion. There is a feeling of beauty, external, moral, or intellectual, which affords the primary delight of loving, and continues to mingle with the kind desire which it has produced. In this sense, indeed, but in this sense only, the most disinterested love is selfish, though it is a sense in which selfishness may be said to be as little sordid as the most generous sacrifices which virtue can make. It loves, not because delight is to be felt in loving, but because it has been impressed with qualities which nature has rendered it impossible to view without delight. It must, therefore, have felt that delight which arises from the contemplation of objects worthy of being loved; yet the delight thus felt has not been valued for itself, but as indi
cative, like some sweet voice of nature, of those qualities to which affection may be safely given. Though we cannot, then, when there is no interfering passion, think of the virtues of others without pleasure, and must, therefore, in loving virtue, love what is by its own nature pleasing, the love of the virtue which cannot exist without the pleasure, is surely an affection very different from the love of the mere pleasure existing, if it had been possible for it to exist, without the virtue,-a pleasure, that accompanies the virtue, only as the soft or brilliant colouring of nature flows from the great orb above,-a gentle radiance, that is delightful to our eyes, indeed, and to our heart, but which leads our eye upward to the splendid source from which it flows, and our heart, still higher, to that Being by whom the sun was made.
The distinction of the love of that which is pleasing, but which is loved only for those intrinsic qualities which the pleasure accompanies, and of the love of mere pleasure, without any regard to the qualities which excite it, is surely a very obvious one ; and it is not more obvious, as thus defined, than in the heart of the virtuous,- in the generous friendships which he feels, and the generous sacrifices to which he readily submits. If, as is sometimes strangely contended, the love that animates such a heart be selfishness, it must be allowed, at least, that it is a selfishness, which, for the sake of others, can often prefer penury to wealth,which can hang, for many sleepless nights, unwearied and unconscious of any personal fear, over the bed of contagion, which can enter the dungeon, a voluntary prisoner, without the power even of giving any other comfort than that of the mere presence of an object beloved, or fling itself before the dagger which would pierce another breast, and rejoice in receiving the stroke. It is the selfishness which thinks not of itself—the selfishness of all that is generous and heroic in man, I would almost say, the selfishness which is most divine in God.
Obvious as the distinction is, however, it has not been made by many philosophers, or, at least, by many writers who assume that honourable name, the superficial but dazzling lovers of paradox, who prefer to truths that seem too simple to stand in need of defence, any errors, if only they be errors, that can be defended with ingenuity,—though, in the present case, even this small praise of ingenuity scarcely can be allowed ; and the errors which
would seduce men into the belief of general selfishness, from which their nature shrinks, are fortunately as revolting to our understanding as they are to our heart. The fuller discussion of these, however, I defer, till that part of the Course which treats of vir
I tue as a system of conduct. At present, I merely point out to you the fallacy which has arisen from the pleasing nature of the emotions in which love consists, or which precede love,-as if the pleasure in which love is necessarily presupposed were itself all to which the love owes its rise, and for the direct sake of which the love itself is felt.
the unfortunate effect of the poverty of our language, in aiding the illusion. The word selfishness, or, at least, self-love, has various meanings, some of which imply nothing that is reprehensible, while, in other senses, it is bighly so. It may mean either the satisfaction which we feel in our own enjoyment, which, when there is no duty violated, is far from being, even in the slightest degree, unworthy of the purest mind; or it means that exclusive regard to our own pleasures, at the expense of the happiness of others, which is as degrading to the individual as it is pernicious to society. All men, it may, indeed, be allowed, are selfish, in the first of these meanings of the term, but this is only one meaning of a word, which has also a very different sense. The difference, however, is afterwards for. gotten by us, because the same term is used; and we ascribe to self love, in the one sense, what is true of it only in the other.
Much of the obscurity and confusion of the moral system of Pope, in his Essay on Man, arises from this occasional transition from one of the senses of the term to the other, without perceiv. ing that a transition has been made. It is impossible to read some of the most beautiful passages of that poem, without feeling the wish, that we had some term to express the first of these senses, without any possibility of the suggestion of the other. It is not self-love, for example, which gives us to make our neighbour's blessing ours,-it scarcely even can be called felf-love which first stirs the peaceful mind-it is simply pleasure ; and the enjoyment may or must accompany all the delightful progress of our moral affections; it is not any self-love, reflecting on the enjoyments that are thus to be obtained.
Self-love but serves the virtuous mind to wake,
In all these cases there is a diffusion of love, indeed, but not of self-love,-a pleasure attending in every stage the progressive benevolence, but affording it only, not producing it; and without which, if it were possible for benevolence to exist without delight, it would still, as before, be the directing spirit of every generous breast.
* Ep. IV. v. 363.—372.