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nearly a thousand years; and these all derived many of their moral sentiments from Adam, after reflection upon his opinions and practice, as he did from his Maker. In this manner every man has derived many of his moral sentiments, for there is no living, thinking, sensitive man, who has not been influenced by the precepts and exainples of those with whom he has lived, and especially by those of his parents, or of the guardians of his child. hood and youth.
Having begun to form moral sentiments, in consequence of instruction, we often proceed to the establishment of other rules in our minds, by reflecting on our own experience of pleasure and pain, whether they con. sist in sympathetic or other feelings; and by reasoning from the principles of action already received by us. Our feelings furnish some of the most frequently influential motives for willing to reason, judge, and legislate, on moral subjects; and since we can attend to such subjects as we will, and to them almost exclusively, and can lay down laws only concerning things of which we think, it is not wonderful that in multitudes of instances our moral judgments coincide with the state of our heart. Hence we learn the importance of either having right feelings, or else of banishing them as much as possible, when we resolve to form a rule of moral action, or to decide concerning our own, or our neighbour's conformity to our moral code.
The reason why men approve of some actions in themselves and their fellow-men, and disapprove of others, we take to be this; every man has a conscience, and judges every other man to have one; every man has formed at least some general rules, which he thinks every man ought to know and regard; and, while he remains of this opinion, he must necessarily, from the connection which God has established between the judgment and the conscience, approve of conformity, and disapprove of non-conformity to his own moral sentiments. It is as ndo tural to man to approve of what he judges to be morally right, good, fit, just, and benevolent, and to disapprove of what he judges to be morally wrong, unfit, evil, unjust and malevolent, as it is to will from a sufficient induce.
ment, or to act, so far as he has power, as he wills. If you ask, why it is natural to him, our answer is; that the infinitely wise God formed his nature; and he who made man a social, a voluntary, an intelligent agent, made him also, in his very constitution, a moral agent. This is our theory of moral sentiments. Whether it corresponds with the dictates of common sense, and the word of God, judge ye. If the Bible does not teach, that men have the faculty of conscience, which must be exercised to discerni between good and evil, which may be blinded, and even seared, or rectified, and good, we have read it in vain.
APPROBATION is considered by Dr. Cogan, (Philo. Treat. p. 67,) as both “a passion and an affection;" and we should not wonder if many should hesitate in attempt. ing to give this mental operation its place in the classifi. cation of mental phenomena; for every operation of conscience partakes of the nature of a judgment and a feeling. Hence some have called approbation an act of the judg. ment, and others an act of the heart. Dr. Reid, we think, has clearly shown, that it is neither the one nor the other, but a distinct mental act, that partakes of the nature of both. An act of the conscience is, in mental science, what the participle is, in the classification of the words of our language. Of approbation, however, Dr. Cogan says, “ the term has never been profaned by the applica, tion of it to guilty pursuits, dishonourable success, or un. worthy sentiments, however they may Aatter our vanity, or be the completion of our wishes." He observes also, that “approbation accompanies complacency.” We re. cord it, as a rule of mental operation, that the affection of complacency in a moral object cannot exist without some previous act of the conscience in approving of that object. In other words, men cannot feel the love of complacency for
any moral action, law, or character, without first approving of it as such. Could we proceed a little further and say, complacency in moral good is always con. sequent upon the approbation of it, in the minds of men, it would be a happiness indeed, for then the hearts of the sons of men would be as virtuous as their consciences. Let this animate us, that it shall be so, in every mind that is perfectly sanctified. We shall be like God, when we are Vol. I.
perfect; and he always feels complacency in all things which he approves.
It will follow, from what has just been said, that in regenerating a sinner, God rectifies his conscience before, (in the order of nature) he rectifies his heart. This is one part of the “enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ,” which is essential to the renewing of our wills, and the persuading of our hearts. Our consciences must be purged from dead works, before we can serve the living God.
Dr. Cogan, and many others, seem much at a loss to determine wherein happiness and misery, or pleasure and pain, consist. “Should it be asked,” says he, “in what do this good and evil consist? it would be difficult to give a satisfactory answer. To say that they consist in a certain consciousness of well-being, or of a comfortless existence, would be little more than to assert that happiness consists in being happy, and misery in being misera. ble.” Philo. Treat. p. 38. It became him to settle this point; for he represents all our passions and affections, except his “introductory emotions," as originating in the love of well-being, or the desire of obtaining happiness and avoiding misery. We have already given our opi. nion, that pleasure and pain are attributes of feeling. If we had no feelings we should be the subjects of neither
. Pain is more commonly applied to our sensations than to our emotions; but it is proper with either; and by misery is commonly intended some series of painful feelings
; while happiness is expressive of some series of grateful sensations and affections. We speak, indeed, of a happy thought, sentiment, expression, or action; but we always mean, a thought calculated to excite some happy feelings or a sentiment, expression, or action, that occasions some agrecable feelings in ourselves or others.
Since, therefore, all our happiness or unhappiness consists in our feelings, it is of peculiar importance to regu. late them in such a manner as to obtain, and
the highest felicity of which we are capable. Dr. Cogan's “ Ethical Treatise on the Passions," principally relates to this subject. It consists of three dissertations on well-being, or happiness:" in the first of which he treats
of “the beneficial and pernicious agency of the passions;" under which term he now includes all our emotions: in the second of which he considers “the intellectual pow. ers as guides and directors in the pursuit of well-being: and in the third, discourses “ on the nature and sources of well-being." His last dissertation, or at least that portion of it which respects the nature of happiness, should have been first. We agree with him, that it is very extraordinary that, although the possession of good be the incessant desire of every individual, mankind in general take so little pains to form adequate notions of this good; to examine minutely in what it consists, and by what specific means it can be obtained.” p. 269. It is very ex. traordinary moreover, that so acute a philosopher as Dr. Cogan should not be able, after all his researches, to state wherein happiness consists, even after he had stum. bled on the truth, that “where no feeling is excited, we are dead both to pleasure and pain.” p. 272.
The second of these Dissertations must receive some attention. In it the author uses intellectual powers, as synonymous with intellectual faculties. How the operations of these faculties affect our happiness he proposes to con. sider. We have already shown, that every emotion is dependent, for its existence, on some antecedent thought, or intellectual operation; and we add that the greater part of our thoughts are followed by some feelings, which, according to their nature, are either pleasing or painful. Our happiness, or unhappiness, depends ultimately, therefore, in a great measure, upon our thoughts. Would we be happy, we must regulate our thoughts according to the counsels of our Supreme Ruler, who has informed us what operations of the und rstanding will produce glad hearts. If our thoughts are holy, our emo. tions will be holy also.
“ The office of these powers,” or, we would say, of the seven faculties of the understanding, “is to instruct us," through divine assistance and revelation, " in the knowledge of ourselves, our real wants and our mental resources; and of the existence, modes of existence, characteristic properties, influence, connexions, of every thing, and every subject, with which we may have any concern; that we may discover on what to place our affections; the due degree of affection that each particular object may merit; and the due degree of hatred and aversion we should entertain towards those causes which endanger our wel. fare ; that we may be able to select the proper objects of our choicest affections, the indulgence of which constitutes so large a portion of our felicity; that we may be able uniformly to act in such a manner, as to procure to ourselves, and communicate to others, as large a portion of good, as the state of humanity will admit, and escape the numberless ills to which it is exposed. It is also their office to place before us the line of conduct most productive of the grand desideratum Happiness, both as individuals, and as connected and social beings; and render the mind familiar with such motives as may counteract and subdue its irregular propensities.” Ethical Treatise, p. 146.
We add, it is the office also of these faculties, to ascertain what God has revealed as the rule of our duty to ourselves, our fellow-men, our God and Saviour; to be conscious of what we are doing; to remember what we have learned concerning our own obligations, character and conduct, and thereby make the necessary preparation for repentance and future obedience; to sit in judg. ment upon our own actions, and the moral corduct of those with whom we have any concern; to regulate all our feelings; and to furnish, or present all the motives which govern our wills; that thus knowing the Supreme Good, we may glorify and enjoy him for ever.
It must be deemed a matter of some interest, to ascertain the nature and number of these intellectual faculties. Dr. Cogan seems to have thought, that there are as many faculties as we have powers, or modes of intellectual operation; and no wonder, for he has never distinguished be. tween a faculty and a power. Now the intellect has a power to do, every thing which it actually does perform; but some of its operations are simple, and others complex. There are as many faculties as there are modes of simple operation; but a complex operation is the result of two or more of the seven faculties which we have enume. rated, and not of a distinct faculty. Some of our powers of intellectual operation, of course imply the existence and energy of only one faculty, in conjunction with whatever else is requisite to produce the operation; while others imply the existence of two or more faculties, and