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Of Self Love, and its various Influence, to cause
Love to others, or the contrary.
MANY assert, that all love arises from self love. In order to determine this point, it should be clearly ascertained what 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 be 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 ; ori ít 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 ways.
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 loves, 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 suppose 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 being 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
Inan, then he could incline to nothing, and will nothing. But
But if this be what is meant by self love, there is an im.
Or if what they mean; who say thầt 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 hy our hearts being VOL. II.
first united to them in affection, so that we as it were, look om
Men who have benevolence to others, have pleasure when
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 paips, 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 oår 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,
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 disposition 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 inay 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 conse.quence of a private self love. Indeed there is no metaphys. ical 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 hot follow from any absolute metaphysical necessity, that be,
cause bodies have solidity, cohesion, and gravitation towards the centre of the earth, therefore a weight suspended on the beam of a balance should have greater power to counter balance a weight on the other side, when at a distance from the fulcrum, than when it is 'near. It implies no contradiction, that it should be otherwise : But only as it contradicts that beautiful proportion and harmony, which the author of nature observes in the laws of nature he has established. Neither is there any absolute necessity, the contrary implying a cons tradiction, that because there is an internal mutual attraction of the parts of the earth, or any other sphere, whereby the whole becomes one solid coherent body, therefore other bodies, that are around it, should also be attracted by it, and those that are nearest, be attracted most. But according to the or: der and proportion generally observed in the laws of nature, one of these effects is connected with the other, so that it is justly looked upon as the same power of attraction in the globe of the earth, which draws bodies about the earth towards its centre, with that which attracts the parts of the earth themselves one to another ; only exerted under different circum, stances. By a like order of nature, a man's love to those that love him, is no more than a certain expression or effect of self love. No other principle is needful in order to the effect, if nothing intervenes to countervail the natural tendency of self love. Therefore there is no more true virtue in a man's thus loving his friends merely from self love, than there is in self love itself, the principle from whence it proceeds. So, a man's being disposed to hate those that hate him, or to resent injuries donę him, arises from self love in like manner as the loving those that love us, and being thankful for kindness shewii us.
But it is said by some, that it is apparent, there is some other principle concerned in exciting the passions of gratitude and anger, besides self love, viz. a moral sense, or sense of moral beauty and deformity, determining the minds of all mankind to approve of, and be pleased with virtue, and to dis, approve of vice, and behold it with displicence; and that their seeing or supposing this moral beauty or deformity, in the