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a like native and essential wretchedness in moral depravity_insomuch that the one may be regarded, as its own reward, and the other as its own punishment. We do not always recollect that this happiness on the one hand, and this misery on the other, are each of them made up, severally of distinct ingredients; and that thus, by mental analysis, we might strengthen our argument both for the being and the character of God. When we discover, that, into this alleged happiness of the good there enter more enjoyments than one, we thereby obtain two or more testimonies of the Divine regard for virtue; and the proof is enhanced in the same peculiar way, that the evidence of design is, in any other department of creation, when we perceive the concurrence of so many separate and independent elements, which meet together for the production of some complex and beneficial result.
2. We have already spoken of one such ingredient. There is a felt satisfaction in the thought of having done what we know to be right; and, in counterpart to this complacency of self-approbation, there is a felt discomfort, amounting often to bitter and remorseful agony, in the thought of having done what conscience tells us to be wrong. This implies a sense of the rectitude of what is virtuous. But without thinking of its rectitude at all, without viewing it in reference either to the law of conscience or to the law of God, with no regard to jurisprudence in the matter—there is, in the virtuous affection itself, another and a distinct enjoyment. We ought to cherish and to exercise benevolence; and there is a pleasure in the consciousness of doing
what we ought: but beside this moral sentiment, and beside the peculiar pleasure appended to benevolence as moral, there is a sensation in the merely physical affection of benevolence; and that sensation, of itself, is in the highest degree pleasurable. The primary or instant gratification which there is in the direct and immediate feeling of benevolence is one thing: the secondary or reflex gratification which there is in the consciousness of benevolence as moral is another thing. The two are distinct of themselves; but the contingent union of them, in the case of every virtuous affection, gives a multiple force to the conclusion, that God is the lover, and, because so, the patron or the rewarder of virtue. He hath so constituted our nature, that, in the very flow and exercise of the good affections, there shall be the oil of gladness. There is instant delight in the first conception of benevolence. There is sustained delight in its continued exercise. There is consummated delight in the happy smiling and prosperous result of it. Kindness, and honesty, and truth, are, of themselves, and irrespective of their rightness, sweet unto the taste of the inner man. Malice, envy, falsehood, injustice, irrespective of their wrongness, have of themselves, the bitterness of gall and wormwood. The Deity hath annexed a high mental enjoyment, not to the consciousness only of good affections, but to the very sense and feeling of good affections. However closely these may follow on each other—nay, however implicated or blended together they may be at the same moment into one compourd state of foeling; they are not the less distinct on that account, of themselves. They form two pleasureable sensations, instead of one; and their apposition, in the case of every virtuous deed or virtuous desire, exhibits to us that very concurrence in the world of mind, which obtains with such frequency and fulness in the world of matter-affording, in every new part that is added, not a simply repeated only, but a vastly multiplied evidence for design, throughout all its combinations. There is a pleasure in the very sensation of virtue; and there is a pleasure attendant on the sense of its rectitude. These two phenomena are independent of each other. Let there be a certain number of chances against the first in a random economy of things, and also a certain number of chances against the second. In the actual economy of things, where there is the conjunction of both phenomena—it is the product of these two numbers which represents the amount of evidence afforded by them, for a moral government in the world, and a moral Governor over them.
3. In the calm satisfactions of virtue, this distinction may not be so palpable, as in the pungent and more vividly felt disquietudes which are attendant on the wrong affections of our nature. The perpetual corrosion of that heart, for example, which frets in unhappy peevishness all the day long, is plainly distinct from the bitterness of that remorse which is felt, in the recollection of its harsh and injurious outbreakings on the innocent sufferers within its reach. It is saying much for the moral character of God, that he has placed a conscience within us, which administers painful : rebuke on every indulgence of a wrong affection.
But it is saying still more for such being the character of our Maker-so to have framed our mental constitution, that, in the very working of these bad affections there should be the painfulness of a felt discomfort and discordancy. Such is the make or mechanism of our nature, that it is thwarted and put out of sorts, by rage and envy, and hatred; and this, irrespective of the adverse moral judgments which conscience passes upon them. Of themselves, they are unsavoury; and no sooner do they enter the heart, than they shed upon it an immediate distillation of bitterness. Just as the plaicd smile of benevolence bespeaks the felt comfort of benevolence; so, in the frown and tempest of an angry countenance, do we read the unhappiness of that man who is vexed and agitated by his own malignant affections—eating inwardly as they do on the vitals of his enjoyment. It is, therefore, that he is often styled, and truly, a self-tormentor; or, his own worst enemy. The delight of virtue in itself, is a separate thing from the delight of the conscience which approves it. And the pain of moral evil in itself, is a separate thing from the pain inflicted by conscience in the act of condemning it. They offer to our notice two distinct ingredients, both of the present reward attendant upon virtue, and of the present penalty attendant upon vice; and so, enhance the evidence that is before our eyes, for the moral character of that administration, under which the world has been placed by its Author. The appetite of hunger is rightly alleged, in evidence of the care, wherewith
the Deity hath provided for the well-being of our natural constitution; and the pleasurable taste of food is rightly alleged as an additional proof of the same. And so, if the urgent voice of conscience within, calling us to virtue, be alleged in evidence of the care, wherewith the Deity hath provided for the well-being of our moral constitution ; the pleasurable taste of virtue in itself, with the bitterness of its opposite, may well be alleged as additional evidence thereof. They alike afford the present and the sensible tokens of a righteous administration, and so of a righteous God.,
4. Our present argument is grounded, neither on the rectitude of virtue, nor on its utility in the grosser and more palpable sense of that term—but on the immediate sweetness of it. It is the office of conscience to tell us of its rectitude. It is by experience that we learn its utility. But the sweetness of it-the dulce of virtue, as distinguished from its utile, is a thing of instant sensation. It may be decomposed into two ingredients, with one of which conscience has to do—even the pleasure we have, when any deed or any affection of ours receives from her a favourable verdict. But it has another ingredient which forms the proper and the distinct argument that we are now urging—even the pleasure we have in the mere relish of the affection itself. If it be a proof of benevolence in God, that our external organs of taste should have been so framed, as to have a liking for wholesome food; it is no less the proof both of a benevolent and a righteous God, so to have framed our mental economy, as that right and wholesome morality