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But we apprehend that these words half, by directing our exclusive atcannot with any propriety be inter- tention to them we substitute a less preted in the sense for which our extensive for a more general preauthor contends. For what the cept. Reason is even still more opGospel says of motives is simply posed to the theory than Scripture, tbis : not only are you required to do because reason never suffers us to good actions, but you must also do assume a rule of moral conduct by them from good motives. You which men may be easily and fatally must give alms from charity, not misled. Mr. Penrose tells us refrom ostentation. You must pro- peatedly, that conscience must be Dote religion from piety, not from guided by the tendency of actions leve of power or popularity. You to yield the fruit of virtue; and he must worship God from devotion, states the objections to this propopot from ceremony or custom. There sition, and the answer by which he is nothing metaphysical or perplex. obviates it in the following passage: ing bere. We receive a great variety and the passage may be of very of consistent rules, to every part of great service in forming a proper which it is necessary that we should estimate of his book, because the attend; and although one or two same objection may be made to the of tbem may be said to embrace and whole system, and no other answer contain the rest, it would neverthe that we are aware of can be reless be bighly improper to lay the turned. rest aside, or to treat them as a mere matter of deduction and ipfer
“ But it may still be objected that I set
up a rule of an uncertain standard ; and ence, instead of substantial and posi
that, if the dictates of conscience may be tive precepts. The commands of erroneous, they ought to be guided by religion are delivered at one time in
some ulterior principle. Quis custodiet minute detail, and at another in com- ispos custodes ? prehensive summaries. Both have “ In answer to this question, the advotheir specific advantages : the for
cates for the different criterions of morals
bring in their different theories. Some mer being better suited for general
argue that we need not look beyond conand daily use, the latter being more
science itself, or the moral sense : some portable and more striking in con
contend for the fitness of things, others for troversy. If we can embrace the the rule of expediency. I do not deny general principle, without having that all these rules (not that the moral practised the particular duties, we sense can be supposed to operate as a rule shall advance so much the faster on
to itself) have their proper scope and seour road ; but it is evidently taken
veral uses, particularly in all general
schemes of the nature and divisions of for granted that few can do this, and moral science. In a prudental view, howother and plainer precepts are sup- ever, the rule by which conscience is to be plied for their direction. On these guided must be that of the tendency to grounds we conceive that there is improve the mind of the agent. It is cerno authority in Scripture for saying, tain, as bas been said, that by acting in any that the acquisition of good habits case in opposition to conscience, the moral is the object and the guide of life. feelings are debased and deteriorated * ;
and it is certain, also, that unless the deThe great object, as Mr. Penrose cisions of conscience itself are guided careadmits, is happiness, and we can- fully by the real tendency of the motives bot expect happiness on any other which it cherishes, and of the actions to conditions than those which the which it propels, the very obeying it must
serve to harden the mind in a course of Gospel rereals. These conditions
mischief or vice t. are to lead the best life that our
« The question still recurs : if constrength, circumstances, and assist. scieace is to be guided and defined by the ance, both natural and spiritual, tendency of the actions and motives to til permit; and since motives, and evea habits, are not the whole but
+ P. 156.
# P. 153.
which it prompts, in what way is this cri- as the test and touchstone of general terion to be applied? There is at first rules; and the sympathy of Adam sigbt, certainly, a vagueness in it, similar
Sunith is intended to teach us the to and probably neither greater nor less
outlines and great divisions of our than the vagueness so often objected to the principles of moral fitness or expediency.
duty. The latter, like other scepAll these principles may perhaps be so tical philosophers, was probably in limited as to secure from any essential search of a system which might error the philosopher or the divine, who supersede the necessity of revelasits apart from the crowd, and endeavours tion; and in spite of his great to adjust the balance of human actions talents, and amiable character, his with a steady hand. Bot is there pot im. minent danger, whenever any of these
attempt has met with the success principles are consulted by any man under
which it merited. But Paley had the influence of passion, of hope, for ex
no sinister purpose to serve; he ample, or fear, of envy or of desire, that he wrote with the sincerity of a Chriswill throw all these impulses into the tian teacher; and it is most astobalance, and thus, by the very test to nishing that a man of his acuteness which he resorts, find himself confirmed in and piety should not have perceived practical error? “ Undoubtedly, I admit it to be plain,
that in enumerating the answers that the tendency to moral excellence is that may be given to the question, inadequate, by reason of its vagueness, to “Why am I obliged to keep my be a direct check on the aberrations to v'ord ?" the last answer, “ Because which conscience is liable: nor is it only it is required by the will of God," the case that this tendency is likely to be
was a full, a sufficient, and the only mistaken, but also that the very applying of it must, in many cases, prove morally
proper answer, and that the expeinjurious. Where a man is prompted to diency which he afterwards substiexpose himself to danger, in order to save
tutes in its stead, is a fallacious and the life of a fellow-creature, it cannot or. a disputable rule. The utility of his dinarily be right to institute a calculation writings has been diminished at least of the effect of courage or of benevolence one half, by this unfortunate sacrion the mind: neither should a moral fice to theory and system; and the agent, on the principle of expediency, argument from inexpedience, may, pause to calculate the usefulness to society therefore, teach bis successors to of the life in peril. Nor, in a question which has given rise to some of the ingeni- pursue another course. But the ous follies of the schoolmen, should a man, lesson has unfortunately been thrown under the influence of hunger, call off his away upon Mr. Penrose, and he has attention from the carvings of appetite to given us another specimen of misthe physical and moral uses of food. In applied ingenuity, by adopting anothis case natural appetite, in the other ther theory and another test, which cases the love of God, or the love of our neighbour, are the proper and useful mo
is less objectionable than Paley's, tives, and prescribe the immediate rules of but is still incomplete. He admits action.
that his principle may be often mis“ In all particular cases, and of these applied, and that the rules which it the whole of life is made up, we must ne- helps him to construct must be cessarily have definite rules."
P. 159. implicitly followed by the many. In this passage the question is What, therefore, are the advantages fairly put; but we cannot add that of establishing the principle at all? it is satisfactorily answered. There
The foundation of morality being are the same objections to the theory obedience to the will of God, it is of motives, as to the theory of ex: the business of ethics to teach us pedience, of synupathy, of a moral what God's will requires ; and, persense, or of a moral fitness. And haps, we may say that the philosothe explanation will apply just as pher undertakes to shew what is rewell to all as to one. Expedi- quired in general cases, and the ency is only considered by Paley casuist to explain and defend the
particular exceptions. The former, race is exposed can make common therefore, is not only at liberty, cause with the principle under but is bound to avail himself of consideration, and succeed by its every means of judging, which he assistance in beguiling and destroypossesses or can acquire ; and to ing us. Religion and morals have surrender all means but one, and produced their due effect when they confine himself solely to that, is have made us as good as we can evidently improper. The sense of be; but it does not therefore follow right and wrong, the probable ge- that every thing is secure when our neral consequences, the particular feelings are as good as possible. consequences to ourselves, and At least many men will always think
more especially to our character that their feelings and motives are į and habits, and the true estimate as good as possible, when they are
which would be made by an im. far enough from an habitual dispartial person, all these, and many charge of their whole duty; and it more
, are means which have been may be doubted whether a continual given us by God for the purpose of attention to the state and progress enabling us to form correct notions of our motives and affections, will of his will and our duty. And not distract the attention from more though many distinguished moral important objects, will not monowriters have chosen to confine their polize our assiduity and mislead our attention to one single topic, we judgment. We are to be detercannot admit that their example is mined through life by considering, worthy of imitation, or that there not merely what is most likely to is any peculiar merit in the test se- improve our mind and our character, lected by Mr. Penrose, which ex- but generally by considering what empts it from the condemnation is right and what is wrong. The which all such tests deserve. He latter may be more easily and more has taken a part (an important part unerringly discovered than the forFe admit) for the whole : and he mer; and it will lead to all the good has substituted what is dark and consequences which the other prodifficult for the perspicuity of true mises to furnish, and to many more philosophy. If we are told that besides. we are to judge of the propriety of Having considered the leading actions by their tendency to improve argument of the volume at so much the disposition and character, mis- length, we are compelled to pass takes of the most grievous nature over the details much more rapidly will unavoidably occur. The calm, than we could have wisbed; for it the considerate, and the virtuous, is in the details that we consider may handle this keen weapon with- Mr. Penrose's strength principally out hurting themselves ; but in to consist, and we should have had the bustle and hurry of the world, great pleasure in making our readers continual accidents 'must happen; acquainted with the substance of
and even well meaning men will be many of his chapters, which esta. i
often led astray. Indiscreet and blish his claim to a high rank among irregular zeal appears to all who Christian moralists. The remarks are under its influence to be calcu- on the moral influence of the prinlated to make them better men. ciples of Christianity, and the Power, if not procured by wicked- answer to the objections which have ness, promises every one who courts been made to the doctrine of the it , that it will strengthen and enlarge Atonement, from its supposed inbis good dispositions, and confirm all terference with the formation of his virtuous affections by extending virtuous habits, are a proof that he their scope. And every other spe- has come out of the study of ethics cies of self-deception to which our with a full conviction of the superi
ority of revelation to natural reli- and fear are only different expressions of gion, and with an intimate know- the universal desire of happiness, and are ledge of the manner in which reve
pre-supposed as an essential part of our
nature in every inquiry into the particular lation proposes to improve us.
motives. And in depraved men, especiAnd the digressions upon friend- ally, I suppose fear to be the true prinship and sympathy, though we think ciple whicli
, in all cases, or nearly in all, is them a little misplaced in a work of best fitted to rouse the attention. which the fundamental principles “ But suppose it roused, and that it required more developement, and dictates to the depraved man the necessity of which the connection is not as
of reformation from vice, as the same visible as amplification might have principle in its more amiable form of liope made it, are agreeable specimens of trees the virtuous to perseverance in vir
Were the whole man merely a cal. Mr. Penrose's talents as an essayist, culating animal, this principle might be and exhibit a delicate sense of enough to determine him, that is, if the moral discrimination. The follow- rule be but sufficiently evident by which ing extract from the chapter upon certainly is much more than this
his actions ought to be guided. But man the love of God as a motive, has an immediate reference to the general frame rush in and destroy the balance,
specific motives which are natural to his theory, and also may be taken as a each having its peculiar object in view, specimen of the particular mode of sometimes of a good, sometimes of an evil, treating each subdivision of the sometimes of an indifferent, character. subject.
Appetite points to some pleasure of sense,
the desire of honour to some worldiy dis“ The superior efficacy of the generous tinction, benevolence to some object of motives, when compared with that of the charity, piety to some object of religion. more selfish, or the greater power which All these feelings come in and operate on they possess over the mind, is not, I be- beings, in whom the hope of happiness lieve, in nature less prominent or decisive and the fear of misery, and some appre. than the greater extent of the field which bension of the way to attain or avoid them, they occupy
And since this is true pre are, as has already been said, pre-suppoeminently of the love of God, the observa. sed, though in very various circumstances tiops which this position may call for may and degrees.--I believe then, that in all here be in a sufficiently proper place; ordinary cases, the motive of piety, if the though they will be found applicable to great things which God has done even for the whole theory of motives, since the sinners be but judiciously urged; and the nature of no motive can be thoroughly motive of benevolence, when proper known, nor yet its value as au ingredient methods are taken to excite the kindly of character, if we take not into account principles of our common nature, are hy its force or its weakness.
far the most powerful motives which can “ I admit freely that all the generous be brought to act on the mind ; that they motives, particularly the motive of the are calculated to have a more considerable love of God and the benevolent and sym- effect, not only than any arguinents for the pathetic affections, require a mind pre. beauty, and dignity, and reasonableness pared in some degree to expand beneath of virtue, which are rather factitious than their kindly influence * There may be natural principles, but even than reputamonsters, beings sunk in ignorance, or tion, or profit, or power, though some of sunk in savage hard-heartedness, who these, and reputation in particular, are while in that state are incapable of being perhaps most appealed to in the great pro. moved by them. I go farther, and allow, portion of cases. if it be desired, in any degree which may “ In the instance of men of habitual be thonglit supposable, that fear of punish- piety and benevolence this assertion will ment is with some men the sole, and with readily be allowed, but I mean also to afothers the chief motive to virtne ; and firm it in general. I do not say that in all that when this fear is Iulled or forgotten, cases the desire of reputation, or even less hope usually is the motive which springs powerful motives, fail to effect a reformanext. This admission, however, is far tion from vice. Indeed, I am well assured from being inconsistent with what I have of the coutrary. But what I say is, that stated of the generous motives. For hope in all natural cases, for I am not contend
ing that none are anomalous, wherever Chap. iii. sect. iii.
these motives do effect it, the moral
motiver, supposing them to be urged ceptions. And the explanation whicle | judiciously, for sometimes every thing may this writer ultimately adopts, and for
depend opon that, would effect it better, which he refers to the high authoand more easily, and that the inoral motives will also often effect it where the rity of Bishop Butler, is, that others will not." P. 64.
“ Every being who is conscious of
the distinction between right and The only remaining topics upon wrong, carries about with him a law which we have room for any remarks which he is bound to observe.” Now are those which are discussed in the Mr. Penrose appears to adopt both Appendix. Mr. Penrose, as we have this principle of which Mr. Stewart already seen, is an advocate for the approves, and the preceding one, prudential system, and maintains which, in our apprehension, he satisthat the desire of happiness is the factorily refutes; and the first which odly motive which obliges us to is dismissed with very little cerepractise virtue. For our own parts, mony, but is not refuted, and is fairly we confess that the words obliga- worth the other two, is totally lost tion and prudence appear to us so sight of.
distinct, that we cannot perceive How does it appear that the first I bow a man is obliged to pursue a principle is made out by reasoning
thing merely for his own benefit ; in a circle? It is self evident, from and therefore we consider the obli- the relation of the creature to the gation of prudence to be a contra- Creator, that the former ought to diction in terms. If our only motive conform to the will of the latter; for an action be our own advantage, and Mr. Stewart says it is likewise we must think that we are at liberty self evident that a man ought to fol. to sacrifice that advantage, if we
low the natural dictates of his con! please, and consequently, that we science. If, therefore, in the former
are not obliged, however strongly instance, he says that we argue in a we may be urged, to perform the circle from religion to morality, and action,
Mr. Peorose, on this sub from morality to religion, we may ject, disagrees with Mr. Dugald reply, that he is guilty of the very Stewart, on whom he often relies same offence, and argues from contoo much; but we are not satisfied science to morality, and from mothat the disagreement is consistent rality to conscience. The truth is, with other principles which they that both propositions are plain and
maintain in coinmon with each other. indisputable; but our's is of far more | The latter rejects both the religious value, and of far more extent than
and the prudential explanation of his. . Butler unquestionably has the meaning of the word obliged, and rested obligation upon conscience; says that we are not bound to prac but with all our deference for his tise morality from a moral fitness authority, we shall venture to conthat we should conform our will to tend that he would have adopted that of the Author and Governor of this principle with important qualithe Universe; because in this case fications, if he had not been arguing We reason in a circle, resolving our against Hobbes, and the atheists, to sense of moral obligation into our whom it would have been useless to sense of religion, and the sense of mention the will and authority of religion into that of moral obligation. God. And, indeed, this appears And the other system is also rejected pretty plainly in his preface, in is unsatisfactory, because it leads whicń be observes, that the circunius to conclude that the disbelief of stance of “ man being by nature a a future state absolves from all real law unto himself is of the utmost moral obligation, and that a being importance, because from it it will pericelly and independently happy follow, that though men should, can have no moral attributes or per- through stupidity or speculative REMEMBRANCER, No. 27,