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sake. Avarice is the dead sea into which all the other passions disembogue. When a man has lost all relish for the enjoyments of sense, when his heart is become dead to the feelings of tenderness and friendship, when he has conceived a general distrust of mankind, and all his worldly prospects are closed; unless some supernatural light open to him a view into a better world, what remains for him but to cling closely to his wealth, to hug this idol in the dark, and to say unto gold, thou art my hope, and to fine gold, thou art my confidence !
This I take to be a just sketch of human nature in general; for there are doubtless many individual exceptions. All young men are not equally addicted to pleasure; some Jean more to ambition ; and we may now and then encounter, what seems most out of nature, a young griping miser. So in middle life, though this is eminently the season of ambition, it is not unfrequently either wasted by pleasure, or consumed by avarice. And we are sometimes shocked with a lewd, or ambitious, or thriftless old age. Yet, notwithstanding such exceptions,
the above representation, I think, is fairly drawn from life and experience.
Nor does religion itself totally extirpate the evils we have been considering; and if religion fail of this effect, it is in vain to expect it from human discipline. In the best of men some fibres of depravity remain, exhibiting melancholy proof of its stubborn inveteracy. But whatever be the influence of religion upon its true disciples, the number of such is too small materially to affect the present argument.. :
We may therefore conclude, without any danger of incurring the charge of libelling human nature, that the love of pleasure, the love of consequence, and the love of wealth, have been, and still are, the most prevailing passions amongst men; and are likely so to continue, until some happier period shall arrive, when (in prophetic language) the earth shall be filled with the "knowledge of God, and the people shall be all righteous*,
* Isaiah, ch. ii. ver. 6. 9. and ch. Ix. ver. 21.
SECTION II. Of the immediate Ends of Government, and
how far they are attainable.
Having thus premised a few general observations on man, the subject to be governed, it may be proper, before we proceed to our main design, briefly to consider the more immediate ends of government, and how far they are attainable.
Order is the beauty and strength of society; look at ten thousand men in the confusion of a mob, and after they are reduced into a well-disciplined army, and you will see a striking illustration of this position.
Among beings endued with liberty, no regular society can long subsist, if every one is left to his own direction : the diversity of their inclinations, and the limitation of their views, must produce perpetual interference, without some common rule by which to regulate their actions. - What form of society would have taken
Ends, 8c. 23 place in a state of innocence, of which such evident traces remain in the writings even of pagan antiquity, can be only matter of conjecture. As no crimes would have existed, there would have been no need of criminal jurisdiction; nor of coercive power, when every one stood prompt to the performance of his duty. This is beautifully represented by Ovid, in the following passage of bis Metamorphoses, which, though familiar to boys at school, deserves to be here recited:
“ Aurea prima sata est ætas, quæ vindice nullo,
* The golden age was first, when man yet new,
No rule but uncorrupted reason knew,
Yet some regulations, even in this state, might be necessary. We learn from scripture, whence probably many of the fables of heathen poets are a corrupt derivation, that the first man, pure as he came from the hands of his Maker, was placed in the garden of Eden to dress and to keep it ; which service, whatever it meant, must doubtless have belonged equally to his offspring; and we may probably suppose, that those portions of the soil upon which any of them had separately bestowed their care, would thereby have been rendered, in some degree, exclusive property. And if by the expression to dress and to keep is to be understood, besides mere embellishment, a degree of productive labour, there might be required, for the due distribution of the produce, some settled law or rule, which, as the earth at large grew more peopled, would appear to become still more necessary. And generally, in all the intercourse and transactions of such a state, where the law of nature was silent, or not express, some positive regulations might at least be expedient.