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this law it is, that men judge of the most considerable moral good or evil of their actions : that is, whether as duties or sins, they are like to procure them happi. ness or misery from the hands of the Almighty. Civillaw, the . 9. Secondly, the civil law, the rule measure of set by the commonwealth to the actions of crimes and those who belong to it, is another rule to innocence. which men refer their actions, to judge whether they be criminal or no. This law no-body overlooks, the rewards and punishments that enforce it being ready at hand, and suitable to the power that makes it; which is the force of the commonwealth, engaged to protect the lives, liberties, and possessions of those who live according to its law; and has power to take away life, liberty, or goods from him who disobeys : which is the punishment of offences committed against this law. Philosophical s. 10. Thirdly, the law of opinion or law the mea. reputation.. Virtue and vice are names sure of virtue pretended and supposed every where to and vice. stand for actions in their own nature right and wrong; and as far as they really are so applied, they so far are co-incident with the divine law above-mentioned. But yet whatever is pretended, this is visible, that these names virtue and vice, in the particular instances of their application, through the several nations and societies of men in the world, are constantly attributed only to such actions as in each country and society are in reputation or discredit. Nor is it to be thought strange, that men every-where should give the name of virtue to those actions, which amongst then are judged praise-worthy; and call that vice, which they account blaineable ; since otherwise they would condein themselves, if they should think any thing right, to which they allowed not commendation: any thing wrong, which they let pass without blame. Thus the measure of what is every-where called and esteemed virtue and vice, is the approbation or dislike, praise or blame, which by a secret and tacit consent establishes 19 itself in the several societies, tribes, and clubs of men in the world; whereby several actions come to find
credit or disgrace amongst them, according to the judgment, maxims, or fashion of that place. For though men uniting into politic societies have resigned up to the public the disposing of all their force, so that they cannot employ it against any fellow-citizens, any farther than the law of the country directs; yet they retain still the power of thinking well or ill, approving or disapproving of the actions of those whom they live amongst, and converse with: and by this approbation and dislike they establish amongst themselves what they will call virtue and vice.
§. 11. That this is the common measure of virtue and vice, will appear to any one who considers, that though that passes for vice in one country, which is counted a virtue, or at least not vice in another ; yet, every-where, virtue and praise, vice and blame go together. Virtue is every-where that which is thought praise-worthy; and nothing else but that which has the allowance of public esteem is called virtue * Vir
* Our author, in his preface to the fourth edition, taking notice how apt men have been to mistake him, added what here follows: Of this the ingenious author of the discourse concerning the nature of man has given me a late instance, to mention no other. For the civility of his expressions, and the candour chat belongs to his order, forbid me to think, that he would have closed his preface with an insinuation, as if in what I had said, book ii. chap. 28, concerning the third rule which men refer their actions to, I went about to make virtue vice, and vice virtue, unless he had mistaken my meaning; which he could not have done, if he had but given himself the trouble to consider what the argument was I was then upon, and what was the chief design of that chapter, plainly enough set down in the fourth section, and those following. For I was there not laying down moral rules, but showing the original and nature of moral ideas, and enumerating the rules men make use of in moral relations, whether those rules were true or false : and, pursuant thereunto, I tell what has every where that denomination, which in the language of that place answers to virtue, and vice in ours; which alters not the nature of things, though men do generally judge of, and denominate their actions according to the esteem and fashion of the place, or sect they are of.
If he had been at the pains to refect on what I had said, b.i. c. 3. 9. 18. and in this present chapter, §. 13, 14, 15, and 20, he would have known what I think of the eternal and unalterable nature of right and wrong, and what I call virtue and vice: and if he had observed, that, in the place he quotes, I only report as matter of fact what others call in the pla Bb 3
tue and praise are so united, that they are called often by the same name.' " Sunt sua præmia laudi," says Virgil; and so Cicero, “nihil habet natura præstantius, quam “ honestatem, quam laudem, quam dignitatem, quam “ dccus;" which, he tells you, are all names for the same thing, Tusc. lib. ii. This is the language of the heathen philosophers, who well understood wherein their notions of virtue and vice consisted, and though perhaps by the different temper, education, fashion, max
virtue and vice, he would not have found it liable to any great exception. For, I think, I am not much out in saying, that one of the rules made use of in the world for a ground or measure of a moral relation, is that esteem and reputation which several sorts of actions find variously in the several societies of men, according to which they are there called virtues or vices : and whatever authority the learned Mr. Lowde places in his old English dictionary, I dare say it no-where tells him (if I should appeal to it) that the same action is not in credit, called and counted a virtue in one place, which being in disrepute, passes for and under the name of vice in another. The taking notice that men bestow the names of virtue and vice according to this rule of reputation, is all I have done, or can be laid to my charge to have done, towards the making vice virtue, and virtue vice. But the good man does well, and as becomes his calling, to be watchful in such points, and to take the alarm, even at expressions, which standing alone by themselves might sound ill, and be suspected.
It is to this zeal, allowable in his function, that I forgive his citing, as he does, these words of mine, in g. 11. of this chapter: · The exhor. tations of inspired teachers have not feared to appeal to common repute : “ Whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, “ if there be any virtue, if there be any praise,” &c. Phil. iv. 8.'without taking notice of those immediately preceding, which introduce them, and run thus: 'whereby in the corruption of manners, the true boun. daries of the law of nature, which ought to be the rule of virtue and vice, were pretty well preserved; so that even the exhortations of inspired teachers, &c.' by which words, and the rest of that section, it is plain that I brought that passage of St. Paul, not to prove that the gene. ral measure of what men call virtue and vice, throughout the world, was the reputation and fashion of each particular society within itself; but to show, that though it were so, yet, for reasons I there give, men, in that way of denominating their actions, did not for the most part much
vary from the law of nature : which is that standing and unalterable rule, · by which they ought to judge of the moral rectitude and praxity of
their actions, and accordingly denominate them virtues or vices. Had Mr. Lowde considered this, he would have found it little to his porpose to have quoted that passage in a sense l used it not; and would, I imagine, have spared the explication he subjoins to it, as not very necessary. But I hope this second edition will give him satisfaction in the point, and
ims, or interests of different sorts of men, it fell out that what was thought praise-worthy in one place, escaped not censure in another; and so in different societies, virtues and vices were changed; yet, as to the main, they for the most part kept the same every-where, For since nothing can be more natural, than to encourage with esteem and reputation that wherein every one
that this matter is now so expressed, as to show him there was no cause of scruple,
Though I am forced to differ from him in those apprehensions he has expressed in the latter end of his preface, concerning what I had said about virtue and vice; yet we are better agreed than he thinks, in what he says in his third chapter, p. 78. concerning natural inscription and innate notions. I shall not deny him the privilege he claims, p. 52. to state che question as he pleases, especially when he states it so, as to leave nothing in it contrary to what I have said : for, according to him, innate notions being conditional things, depending upon the concurrence of several other circumstances, in order to the soul's exerting them; all that he says for innate, imprinted, impressed notions (for of innate ideas he says nothing at all) amounts at last only to this : that there are certain propositions, which though the soul from the beginning, or when a man is horn, does not know, yet by assistance from the outward senses, and the help of some previous cultivation, it may afterwards come certainly to know the truth of; which is no more than what I have affirmed in my first book. For I suppose by the soul's exerting them, he means its beginning to know them, or else the soul's exerting of notions will be to me a very unintelligible expression; and I think at best is a very unfit one in this case, it misleading men's thoughts by an insinuation, as if these notions were in the mind before the soul exerts them, i. e. before they are known: whereas truly before they are known, there is nothing of them in the mind, but a capacity to know them, when the concur. rence of those circumstances, which this ingenious author thinks necessary in order to the soul's exerting them, brings them into our knowledge:
P. 52. I find him express it thus ; ' these natural notions are not so imprinted upon the soul, as that they naturally and necessarily exert themselves (even in children and idiots) without any assistance from the outward senses, or without the help of some previous cultivation.' Here he says they exert themselves, as p. 78. that the soul exerts them. When he has explained to himself or others what he means by the soul's exerting innate notions, or their exerting themselves, and what that previous cultivation and circumstances, in order to their being exerted, are; he will, I suppose, find there is so little of controversy between him and me in the point, bating that he calls that exerting of notions, which I in a more vulgar style cail knowing, that I have reason to think he brought in my name upon this occasion only out of the pleasure he has to speak civilly
of me; which I must gratefully acknowledge he has done wherever he jeans mentions me, not without conferring on me, as some others have done, a title I have no right to. ВЪ4
finds his advantage, and to blame and discountenance
e $. 12. If any one shall imagine that I ments com have forgot my own notion of a law, when mendation I make the law, whereby men judge of viranddiscredit. tue and vice, to be nothing else but the consent of private men, who have not authority enough to make a law : especially wanting that, which is so necessary and essential to a law, a power to enforce it: 1 think I may say, that he who imagines commendation and disgrace not to be strong motives to men, to accommodate themselves to the opinions and rules of those with whom they converse, seeins little skilled in the nature or history of mankind : the greatest part whereof he shall find to govern themselves chiefly, it not solely, by this law of fashion; and so they do that which keeps thein in reputation with their company, little regard the laws of God, or the magistrate. The