« AnteriorContinua »
of true virtue. Who will affirm, that a disposition to approve of the harmony of good music, or the beauty of a square, or equilateral triangle, is the same with true holiness, or a truly virtuous disposition of mind! It is a relish of uniformity and proportion, that determines the mind to approve these things. And if this be all, there is no need of any thing higher, or of any thing in any respect diverse, to determine the mind to approve and be pleased with equal uniformity and proportion among spiritual things which are equally discerned. It is virtuous to love true virtue, as that denotes an agreement of the heart with virtue. But it argues no virtue, for the heart to be pleased with that which is entirely distinct from it.
Though it be true, there is some analogy in it to spiritual and virtuous beauty, as much as material things can have analogy to things spiritual (of which they can have no more than a shadow) yet, as has been observed, men do not approve it because of any such analogy perceived.
And not only reason, but experience plainly shews, that men's approbation of this sort of beauty, does not spring from any virtuous temper, and has no connexion with virtue. For, otherwise,. men's delight in the beauty of squares, and cubes, and regular polygons, in the regularity of buildings, and the beautiful figures in a piece of embroidery, would increase in proportion to men’s virtue ; and would be raised to a great height in some eminently virtuous or holy men ; but would be almost wholly lost in some others that are very vicious and lewd. It is evident in fact, that a relish of these things does not depend on general benevolence, or any benevolence at all to any being whatsoever, any more than a man's loving the taste of honey, or his being pleased with the smell of a rose. A taste of this inferior beauty in things immaterial, is one thing which has been mistaken by some moralists, for a true virtuous principle, implanted naturally in the hearts of all mankind.
Or Self Love, and its various Influence, to cause
Love to others, or the contrary.
MAVY assert, that all love arises from self love. In order to determine this point, it should be clearly ascertained whať is meant by self love.
Self love, I think, is generally defined.....a man's love of his own happiness. Which is short, and may be thought very plain : But indeed is an ambiguous definition, as the pronoun, his own, is equivocal, and liable to be taken in two very different senses. For a man's own happiness may either bo taken universally, for all the happiness or pleasure which the mind is in any regard the subject of, or whatever is grateful and pleasing to men ; or it may be taken for the pleasure a man takes in his own proper, private, and separate good..... And so, self love may be taken two way3.
1. Self love may be taken for the same as his loving whatsoever is grateful or pleasing to him. Which comes only to this, that self love is a man's liking, and being suited and pleased in that which he likes, and which pleases him ; or, that it is a man's loving what he loves. For whatever a man Joves, that thing is grateful and pleasing to him, whether that be his own peculiar happiness, or the happiness of others. And if this be all that they mean by self love, no wonder they supposc that all love may be resolved into self love. For it is undoubtedly true, that whatever a man loves, his love may be resolved into his loving what he loves.....if that be proper speaking. If by self love is meant nothing else but a man's loving what is grateful or pleasing to him, and being averse to what is disagreeable, this is calling that self love, which is only a general capacity of loving, or hating; or a capacity of beirg either pleased or displeased ; which is the same thing as a man's having a faculty of will. For if nothing could be either pleasing or displeasing, agreeable or disagreeable to a than, then he could incline to nothing, and will nothing. But if he is capable of having inclination, will and choice, then what he inclines to, and chooses, is grateful to him ; whatever that be, whether it be his own private good, the good of his neighbors, or the glory of God. And so far as it is grateful or pleasing to him, so far it is a part of his pleasure, good, or happiness.
But if this be what is meant by self love, there is an impropriety and absurdity even in the putting of the question, Whether all our love, or our love to each particular object of our love, does not arise from self love? For that would be the same as to inquire, Whether the reason why our love is fixed on such and such particular objects, is not, that we have a capacity of loving some things? This may be a general reason why men love or hate any thing at all ; and therein differ from stones and trees, which love nothing, and hate nothing. But it can never be a reason why men's love is placed on such and such objects. That a man, in general, loves and is pleased with happiness, or (which is the same thing) has a capacity of enjoying happiness, cannot be the reason why such and such things become his happiness : As for instance, why the good of his neighbor, or the happiness and glory of God, is grateful and pleasing to him, and so becomes a part of his happiness.
Or if what they mean, who say that all love comes from self love, be not, that our loving such and such particular persons and things, arises from our love to happiness in general, but from a love to love our own happiness, which consists in these objects ; so, the reason why we love benevolence to our friends, or neighbors, is, because we love our happiness, consisting in their happiness, which we take pleasure in ...... Still the notion is absurd. For here the effect is made the cause of that, of which it is the effect : Our happiness, consisting in the happiness of the person beloved, is made the cause of our love to that person. Whereas, the truth plainly is, that our love to the person is the cause of our delighting, or being happy in his happiness. How comes our happiness to consist in the happiness of such as we love, but by our hearts being VOL. II.
first united to them in affection, so that we as it were, look ori them as ourselves, and so on their happiness as our own?
Men who have benevolence to others, have pleasure when they see others' happiness, because seeing their happiness gratifies some inclination that was in their hearts before... They before inclined to their happiness ;which was by benevolence or good will ; and therefore when they see their happiness, their inclination is suited, and they are pleased. But the Being of inclinations and appetites is prior to any pleasure in gratifying these appctites.
2. Self love, as the phrase is used in common speech, most commonly signifies a man's regard to his confined private self, or love to himself with respect to his private interest.
By private interest I mean that which most immediately consists in those pleasures, or pains, that are personal. For there is a comfort, and a grief, that some have in others pleasures, or pains; which are in others originally, but are derived to them, or in some measure become their's, by virtue of a benevolent union of heart with others. And there are other pleasures and pains that are originally our own, and not what we have by such a participation with others. Which consist in perceptions agreeable, or contrary, to certain personal inclinations implanted in our nature ; such as the sensitive appetites and aversions. Such also is the disposition or the determination of the mind to be pleased with external beauty, and with all inferior secondary beauty, consisting in uniformity, proportion, &c. whether in things external or internal, and to dislike the contrary deformity. Such also is the natural disposition in men to be pleased in a perception of their being the objects of the honor and love of others, and displeased with others hatred and contempt. For pleasures and uneasinesses of this kind are doubtless as much owing to an immediate determination of the mind by a fixed law of our nature, as any of the pleasures or pains of external sense. And these pleasures are properly of the private and personal kind; being not by any participation of the happiness or sorrow of others, through benevolence. It is evidently mere self love, that appears in this disposition. It is easy to see, that a man's love
to himself will make him love love to himself, and hate hatred to himself. And as God has constituted our nature, self love is exercised in no one dispositioii more than in this. Men, probably, are capable of much more pleasure and pain through this determination of the mind, than by any other personal inclination, or aversion, whatsoever. Though perhaps we do not so very often see instances of extreme suffering by this means, as by some others, yet we often see evidences of men's dreading the contempt of others more than death : And by such instances may conceive something what men would suffer, if universally hated and despised ; and may reasonably infer something of the greatness of the misery, that would arise under a sense of universal abhorrence, in a great view of intelligent Being in general, or in a clear view of the Deity, as incomprehensibly and immensely great, so that all other Beings are as nothing and vanity....together with a sense of his immediate continual presence, and an infinite concern with him and dependence upon him.....and living constantly in the midst of most clear and strong evidences and manifest ations of his hatred and contempt and wrath.
But to return..... These things may be sufficient to explain what I mean by private interest ; in regard to which, self
; love, most properly so called, is immediately exercised.
And here I would observe, that if we take self love in this sense, so love to some others may truly be the effect of self love ; i. e. according to the common method and order, which is maintained in the laws of nature. For no created thing has power to produce an effect any otherwise than by virtue of the laws of nature. Thus, that a man should love those that are of his party, when there are different parties contending one with another; and that are warmly engaged on his side, and promote his interest....this is the natural consequence of a private self love. Indeed there is no metaphysical necessity, in the nature of things, that because a man loves himself, and regards his own interest, he therefore should love those that love him, and promote his interest ; i. e. to suppose it to be otherwise, implies no contradiction. It will not follow from any absolute metaphysical necessity, that be