Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

bibits, and subdues and extirpates those of vice. Its oisice is, however, as difficult as it is honourable ; and has been more superficially attempted, than successfully performed.

[ocr errors]

Thus Moral Virtue is a compound of two ingredients Right Reason and Well-directed Appetite, which mix and incorporate together :" and when Ethical Truth is, by a virtuous determination of the Will, reduced to its just and proper Action ; when it is employed to regulate the practice, to form the babits, to influence the morals, and to purify the lives, of men, it flows in all the channels of Love to God and Good-will towards each other, and shines out in all the living portraits of active virtue, constituting that

TOXU

Eso do Tep iv diavolçı xatópases xai d'rópæsis, toūt' & opéen dow&us noi quyń, is incon nifinn agern, els wpoaspetizen, n di apozipois, opseus Beneutiken, der die ταύτα, τόν τε λόγον αληθή είναι, και την όρεξιν ορθών, εί περ η προαίρεσις σπεδαία και τα αυτα, τον μεν φάναι, την δε douxe, aitn pès av vi docevoise xai arin Jeroe apaxTinh. Ariftot. Eth. Nicom. lib. vi. cap. 2,

illustrious

illustrious branch of WISDOM, which has been distinguished by the name of ChaRITY.

[ocr errors]

Having endeavoured, by these prelimi. nary observations, to ascertain and define the proper boundaries of this branch of learning, which is of vast extent and comprehension, and which has been treated in general in a defultory and promiscuous way, by poets and orators, by moralists and divines, we shall descend with the greater precision to what is properly the Logic of Ethics.

• See the 4th page of this volume.

SECT.

Sect. I.

Of the Ethical PRINCIPLE.

T HAT native and original Evidence,

I which is the First PRINCIPLE of all morality, is an instin&t of our common nature, implanted in the human breast by the hand that formed it, interwoven in the very stamina of our constitution, and given, as all instincts are, to direct us to our good. This is another first and universal inlet of knowledge to the mind; and philosophers have very properly given it the name of InTERNAL or Moral Sense in contradistinction to Internal Sense, the other great and universal inlet of natural light :P which

P Notandum tamen lumen naturæ duplici fignificatione accipi. Primo quatenus oritur ex sensu, inductione, ratione, argumentis, secundum leges cæli ac terræ : Secundo, quatenus animæ humanæ interno effulget inftinetu, secundum legem confcientiæ; quæ scintilla quædam eft, et

tanquam

different Evidences or First Principles of knowledge, in their several operations upon things, form, indeed, the clearest and most philofopbical distinction between Theoretical and Practical truth. This Evidence of Internal Sense is the dictate of Conscience the Caftiche fiets, which reigns predominant in concerrado the human breast, as a remaining spark of its native light, and as an indelible witness of that consummate purity and perfection, in which it was originally designed.

This native and internal Sense is the immediate and involuntary criterion of a few general truths, which, in their joint operation upon the mind, lay the foundation of Moral Obligation, which is the source and spring of Moral Action.

One truth discovered by this Internal Sense, is an essential Difference in the quality of all moral thoughts and actions,

tanquam reliquiæ priftinæ et primitivæ puritatis. In quo posteriore sensu præcipue particeps est anima lucis nonnullæ, ad perfectionem intuendam et discernendam legis moralis. Baconus De Augm. Sc. lib. IX. cap. I.

and

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

and a general distinction of them into Good and Evil. And, in doing this, it is perfectly analogous to the External Senses ; for the discovery is made by the same immediate and intuitive discernment, by which they distinguish their respective objects : which analogy is strongly and pointedly expressed in the language of holy writ. As the carnal eye distinguishes “ darkness from light, and “ light from darkness," and the taste “bit“ ter from sweet, and sweet from bitter;" so does this mental eye distinguish “ evil from “ good, and good from evil,” by a native faculty as inherent and familiar, as those of seeing colours, hearing sounds, and distinguishing tastes are to their proper and refpective organs.

By the same instinctive impulse of its own, the mind is informed of another universal truth, the Existence of the WILL, that sublime and distinguishing prerogative of men, by which they are enabled to choose the good, and to avoid the evil. Long and subtle are the disquisitions which have spun by the refinement of modern metaphysicians on that

favourite

« FöregåendeFortsätt »