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government, already begun, shall be carried on the method of rewarding and punishing actions; and shall be carried on by a particular rule, which unavoidably appears to us, at first sight, more natural than any other, the rule which we call distributive justice. Nor,

II. Ought it to be entirely passed over, that tranquillity, satisfaction, and external advantages, being the natural consequences of prudent management of ourselves and our affairs; and rashuess, profligate negligence, and wilful folly, bringing after them many inconveniences and sufferings; these afford instances of a right constitution of nature: as the correction of children, for their own sakes, and by way of example, when they run into danger or hurt themselves, is a part of right education. And thus, that God governs the world by general fixed laws: that he has endued us with capacities of reflecting upon this constitution of things, and foreseeing the good and bad consequences of our behaviour, plainly implies some sort of moral government; since from such a constitution of things, it cannot but follow, that prudence and imprudence, which are of the nature of virtue and vice, * must be, as they are, respectively rewarded and punished.

III. From the natural course of things, vicious actions are, to a great degree, actually punished as mischievous to society; and besides punishment actually inflicted upon this account, there is also the fear and apprehension of it in those persons whose crimes have rendered them obnoxious to it, in case of a discovery; this state of fear being itself often a very considerable punishment. The natural fear and apprehension of it, too, which restrains from such crimes, is a declaration of nature against them. It is necessary to the very being of society, that vices destructive of it should be punished as being so; the vices of falsehood, injustice, cruelty : which punishment, therefore, is as natural as society; and so is an instance of a kind of moral government, naturally established and actually taking place. And, since the certain natural course of things is the conduct of Providence or the government of God, though carried on by the instrumentality of men, the observation here made amounts to this, that mankind find themselves placed by him in such circumstances, as that they are unavoidably accountable for their behaviour, and are often punished, and sometimes rewarded, under his government, in the view of their being mischievous or eminently beneficial to society.

* See Dissertation II.

If it be objected, that good actions, and such as are beneficial to society, are often punished, as in the case of persecution, and in other cases, and that ill and mischievous actions are often rewarded ; it may be answered distinctly,' first, that this is in no sort necessary, and consequently not natural, in the sense in which it is necessary, and therefore natural, that ill or mischievous actions should be punished ; and, in the next place, that good actions are never punished, considered as beneficial to society, nor ill actions rewarded, under the view of their being hurtful to it. So that it stands good, without any thing on the side of vice to be set over against it, that the Author of nature has as truly directed that vicious actions, considered as mischievous to society, should be punished, and put mankind under a necessity of thus punishing them, as he has directed and necessitated us to preserve our lives by food.

IV. In the natural course of things, virtue, as such, is actually rewarded, and vice, as such, punished; which seems to afford an instance, or example, not only of government, but of moral government, begun and established; moral in the strictest sense, though not in that perfection of degree which religion teaches us to expect. In order to see this more clearly, we must distinguish between actions themselves, and that quality ascribed to them, which we call virtuous or vicious. The gratification itself of every natural passion must be attended with delight; and acquisitions of fortune, however made, are acquisitions of the means or materials of enjoyment. An action, then, by which any natural passion is gratified, or fortune acquired, procures

delight or advantage, abstracted from all consideration of the morality of such action. Consequently, the pleasure or advantage in this case is gained by the action itself, not by the morality, the virtuousness, or viciousness of it, though it be, perhaps, virtuous or vicious. Thus, to say such an action or course of behaviour procured such pleasure or advantage, or brought on such inconvenience and pain, is quite a different thing from saying that such good or bad effect was owing to the virtue or vice of such action or behaviour. In one case, an action, abstracted from all moral consideration, produced its effect; in the other case, for it will appear that there are such cases, the morality of the action, the action under a moral consideration, i. e. the virtuousness or viciousness of it, produced the effect. Now, I say, virtue, as such, naturally procures considerable advantages to the virtuous, and vice, as such, naturally occasions great inconvenience, and even misery, to the vicious, in very many instances. The immediate effects of virtue and vice upon the mind and temper, are to be mentioned as instances of it. Vice, as such, is naturally attended with some sort of uneasiness, and not uncommonly with great disturbance and apprehension. That inward feeling, which, respecting lesser matters and in familiar speech, we call being vexed with one's self, and, in matters of importance and in more serious language, remorse, is an uneasiness naturally arising from an action of a man's own, reflected upon by himself as wrong, unreasonable, faulty, i. e. vicious in greater or less degrees; and this manifestly is a different feeling from that uneasiness which arises from a sense of mere loss or harm. What is more common than to hear a man lamenting an accident or event, and adding - But, however, he has the satisfaction that he cannot blame himself for it; or, on the contrary, that he has the uneasiness of being sensible it was his own doing? Thus, also, the disturbance and fear, which often follow upon a man's having done an injury, arise from a sense of his being blameworthy; otherwise there would, in many cases, be no ground of disturbance, nor any reason to


fear resentment or shame. On the other hand, inward security and peace, and a mind open to the several gratifications of life, are the natural attendants of innocence and virtue; to which must be added, the complacency, satisfaction, and even joy of heart, which accompany the exercise, the real exercise, of gratitude, friendship, benevolence.

And here, I think, ought to be mentioned, the fears of future punishment, and peaceful hopes of a better life, in those who fully believe or have any serious apprehension of religion ; because these hopes and fears are present uneasiness and satisfaction to the mind, and cannot be got rid of by great part of the world, even by men who have thought most thoroughly upon that subject of religion. And no one can say how considerable this uneasiness and satisfaction. may be, or what, upon the whole, it may amount to.

In the next place comes in the consideration, that all honest and good men are disposed to befriend honest and good men, as such, and to discountenance the vicious, as such, and do in some degree, indeed in a considerable degree ; from which favour and discouragement cannot but arise considerable advantage and inconvenience. And though the generality of the world have little regard to the morality of their own actions, and may be supposed to have less to that of others, when they themselves are not concerned ; yet, let any one be known to be a man of virtue, somehow or other he will be favoured, and good offices will be done him from regard to his character, without remote views, occasionally, and in some low degree, I think, by the generality of the world, as it happens to come in their way. Public honours, too, and advantages, are the natural consequences, are sometimes at least the consequences in fact, of virtuous actions, of eminent justice, fidelity, charity, love to our country, considered in the view of being virtuous. And sometimes even death itself, often infamy and external inconveniences, are the public consequences of vice, as vice. For instance, the sense which mankind have of tyranny, injustice, oppression, additional to the mere feeling or fear of misery, has doubtless

been instrumental in bringing about revolutions, which make a figure even in the history of the world. For it is plain, men resent injuries as implying faultiness, and retaliate, not merely under the notion of having received harm, but of having received wrong; and they have this resentment in behalf of others, as well as of themselves. So, likewise, even the generality are, in some degree, grateful and disposed to return good offices, not merely because such an one has been the occasion of good to them, but under the view that such good offices implied kind intention and good desert in the doer. To all this may be added two or three particular things, which many persons will think frivolous ; but to me nothing appears so, which at all comes in towards determining a question of such importance, as whether there be or be not a moral institution of government, in the strictest sense moral, visibly established and begun in nature. The particular things are these: That in domestic government, which is doubtless natural, children, and others also, are very generally punished for falsehood and injustice, and ill behaviour, as such, and rewarded for the contrary; which are instances where veracity, and justice, and right behaviour, as such, are naturally enforced by rewards and punishments, whether more or less considerable in degree: That though civil

government be supposed to take cognizance of actions in no other view than as prejudicial to society, without respect to the immorality of them; yet as such actions are immoral, so the sense which men have of the immorality of them very greatly contributes, in different ways, to bring offenders to justice: And that entire absence of all crime and guilt, in the moral sense, when plainly appearing, will almost of course procure, and circumstances of aggravated guilt prevent, a remission of the penalties annexed to civil crimes, in many cases, though by no means in all.

Upon the whole, then, besides the good and bad effects of virtue and vice upon men's own minds, the course of the world does, in some measure, turn upon the approbation and disapprobation of them, as such, in others. The sense of well

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