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justly demand a reason : which would be perfectly ridiculous and absurd, if they were innate, or so much as self-evident; which every innate principle must needs be, and not need any proof to ascertain its truth, nor want any reason to gain it approbation. He would be thought void of common sense, who asked on the one side, or on the other side went to give, a reason, why it is impossible for the same thing to be, and not to be. It carries its own light and evidence with it, and needs no other proof: he that understands the terms, assents to it for its own sake, or else nothing will ever be able to prevail with him to do it. But should that most unshaken rule of morality, and foundation of all social virtue, “ that one should do as he would be done unto," be proposed to one who never heard it before, but yet is of capacity to understand its meaning, might he not without any absurdity ask a reason why? And were not he that proposed it bound to make out the truth and reasonableness of it to him ? which plainly shows it not to be innate; for if it were, it could neither want nor receive any proof, but must needs (at least, as soon as heard and understood) be received and assented to as an unquestionable truth, which a man can by no means doubt of. So that the truth of all these moral rules plainly depends upon some other antecedent to them, and from which they must be deduced; which could not be, if either they were innate, or so much as self-evident.
$ 5. That men should keep their com- Instance in pacts is certainly a great and undeniable keeping
compacts. rule in morality. But yet, if a Christian, who has the view of happiness and misery in another life, be asked why a man must keep his word, he will give this as a reason ; because God, who has the power of eternal life and death, requires it of us. But if an Hobbist be asked why, he will answer, because the public requires it, and the Leviathan will punish you, if you do not. And if one of the old philosophers had been asked, he would have answered, because it was dishonest, below the dignity of a man, and opposite to virtue, the highest perfection of human nature, to do otherwise. Virtue gene $ 6. Hence naturally flows the great
variety of opinions concerning moral rules ved, not becauseinnate,
which are to be found among men, accordbut because ing to the different sorts of happiness they profitable. have a prospect of, or propose to themselves : which could not be if practical principles were innate, and imprinted in our minds immediately by the hand of God. I grant the existence of God is so many ways manifest, and the obedience we owe him so congruous to the light of reason, that a great part of mankind give testimony to the law of nature; but yet I think it must be allowed, that several moral rules may receive from mankind a very general approbation, without either knowing or admitting the true ground of morality; which can only be the will and law of a God, who sees men in the dark, has in his hand rewards and punishments, and power enough to call to account the proudest offender : for God having, by an inseparable connexion, joined virtue and public happiness together, and made the practice thereof necessary to the preservation of society, and visibly beneficial to all with whom the virtuous man has to do, it is no wonder that every one should not only allow, but recommend and magnify, those rules to others, from whose observance of them he is sure to reap advantage to himself. He may, out of interest as well as conviction, cry up that for sacred, which, if once trampled on and profaned, he himself cannot be safe nor secure. This, though it takes nothing from the moral and eternal obligation which these rules evidently have, yet it shows that the outward acknowledgment men pay to them in their words, proves not that they are innate principles ; nay, it proves not so much as that men assent to them inwardly in their own minds, as the inviolable rules of their own practice; since we find that self-interest, and the conveniences of this life, make many men own an outward profession and approbation of them, whose actions sufficiently prove that they very little consider the law-giver that prescribed these rules, nor the hell that he has ordained for the punishment of those that transgress them.
§ 7. For if we will not in civility, al- Men's aclow too much sincerity to the professions
one tions con
vince us that of most men, but think their actions to be the interpreters of their thoughts, we shall virtue is not find that they have no such internal ve- their interneration for these rules, nor so full a per- nalprinciple. suasion of their certainty and obligation. The great principle of morality, “ to do as one would be done to," is more commended than practised. But the breach of this rule cannot be a greater vice than to teach others that it is no moral rule, nor obligatory, would be thought madness, and contrary to that interest men sacrifice to, when they break it themselves. Perhaps conscience will be urged as checking us for such breaches, and so the internal obligation and establishment of the rule be preserved.
$ 8. To which I answer, that I doubt Conscience not but, without being written on their no proof of
any innate hearts, many men may, by the same way that they come to the knowledge of other things, come to assent to several moral rules, and be convinced of their obligation. Others also may come to be of the same mind, from their education, company, and customs of their country; which persuasion, however got, will serve to set conscience on work, which is nothing else but our own opinion or judgment of the moral rectitude or pravity of our own actions. And if conscience be a proof of innate principles, contraries may be innate principles; since some men, with the same bent of conscience, prosecute what others avoid.
$ 9. But I cannot see how any men Instances of should ever transgress those moral rules, enormities
practised with confidence and serenity, were they
it re- innate, and stamped upon their minds. morse.
View but an army at the sacking of a town, and see what observation or sense of moral principles, or what touch of conscience for all the outrages they do. Robberies, murders, rapes, are the sports of men set at liberty from punishment and censure. Have there not been whole nations, and those of the most civilised pcople, amongst whom the exposing their children, and leaving them in the fields to perish by want or wild beasts, has been the practice, as little condemned or scrupled as the begetting them? Do they not still, in some countries, put them into the same graves with their mothers, if they die in childbirth; or despatch them, if a pretended astrologer declares them to have unhappy stars? And are there not places where, at a certain age, they kill or expose their parents without any remorse at all? In a part of Asia, the sick, when their case comes to be thought desperate, are carried out and laid on the earth, before they are dead; and left there, exposed to wind and weather, to perish without assistance or pity (a). It is familiar among the Mingrelians, a people professing christianity, to bury their children alive without scruple (6). There are places where they eat their own children (c). The Caribbees were wont to geld their children, on purpose to fat and eat them (d). And Garcilasso de la Vega tells us of a people in Peru which were wont to fat and eat the children they got on their female captives, whom they kept as concubines for that purpose; and when they were past breeding, the mothers themselves were killed too and eaten (e). The virtues whereby the Tououpinambos believed they merited paradise were revenge, and eating abundance of their enemies. They have not
(a) Gruber apud Thevenot, part 4, p. 13. (6) Lambert apud Thevenot, p. 38.
(c) Vossius de Nili Origine, c. 18, 19, (d) P. Mart. Dec. 1. (e) Hist. des Incas, 1. 1. c. 12.
so much as a name for God (f), and have no religion, no worship. The saints who are canonised amongst the Turks lead lives which one cannot with modesty relate. A remarkable passage to this purpose, out of the voyage of Baumgarten, which is a book not every day to be met with, I shall set down at large in the language it is published in. “Ibi (sc. prope Belbes in Ægypto)vidimus sanctum unum Saracenicuminterarenarum cumulos, ita ut ex utero matris prodiit, nudum sedentem. Mos est, ut didicimus, Mahometistis, ut eos, qui amentes et sine ratione sunt, pro sanctis colant et venerentur. Insuper et eos, qui cum diu vitam egerint inquinatissimnam, voluntariam demum pænitentiam et paupertatem, sanctitate venerandos deputant. Ejusmodi verò genus hominum libertatem quandam effrænem habent, domos quas volunt intrandi, edendi, bibendi, et quod majus est, concumbendi ; ex quo concubitu si proles secuta fuerit, sancta similiter habetur. His ergo hominibus dum vivunt, magnos exhibent honores; mortuis verò vel templa vel monumenta extruunt amplissima, eosque contingere ac sepelire maximæ fortunæ ducunt loco. Audivimus hæc dicta et dicenda per interpretem à Mucrelo nostro. Insuper sanctum illum, quem eo loco vidimus, publicitus apprimé commendari, eum esse hominem sanctum, divinum ac integritate præcipuum; eo quod, nec faminarum unquam esset, nec puerorum, sed tantummodo asellarum concubitor atque mularum.” – Peregr. Baumgarten, 1.2. c. 1. p. 73. More of the same kind, concerning these precious saints amongst the Turks, may be seen in Pietro della Valle, in his letter of the 25th of January, 1616. Where then are those innate principles of justice, piety, gratitude, equity, chastity ? Or, where is that universal consent, that assures us there are such inbred rules ? Murders in duels, when fashion has made them honourable, are committed without remorse of conscience; nay, in many places,
(f) Lery, c. 16. 216. 231.