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The former of these principles is private : The latter is pubfic and truly benevolent in the highest sense. The former (i.e. an inclination to agree with ourselves) is a natural prin: ciple : But the latter (i.e. an agreement or union of heart to the great system, and to God, the head of it, who is all in all in it) is a divine principle.
In that uneasiness now mentioned, consists very much of that inward trouble men have from reflections of conscience : And when they are free from this uneasiness, and are conscious to themselves, that in what they have acted towards others, they have done the same which they should have expected from them in the same case, then they have what is called peace of conscience, with respect to these actions.... And there is also an approbation of conscience, of the conduct of others towards ourselves. As when we are blamed, condemned, or punished by them, and are conscious to ourselves that if we were in their case, and they in ours, we should in like manner blame, condemn, and punish them. And thus men's consciences may justify God's anger and condemnation. When they have the ideas of God's greatness, their relation to him, the benefits they have received from him, the manifestations he has made of his will to them, &c. strongly impressed on their minds, a consciousness is excited within them of those resentments, which would be occasioned in themselves by an injurious treatment in any wise parallel.
There is such a consciousness as this oftentimes within men, implied in the thoughts and views of the mind, which perhaps on reflection they could hardly give an account of Unless '
men's consciences are greatly stupified, it is naturally and necessarily suggested ; and does habitually, spontane ously, instantaneously, and as it were insepsibly arise in the mind. And the more so for this reason, viz. that we have not, nor ever had from our infancy, any other way to conceive of any thing which other persons act or suffer, or of any thing about intelligent, moral agents, but by recalling and exciting the ideas of what we ourselves are conscious of in the acts, passions, sensations, volitions, &c. which we have found in our own minds ; and by putting the ideas which we obtain by
this means, in the place of another ; or as it were substituting
But though it be so, that men in thinking of others do, as
Natural conscience consists in these swo things : İ. In that which has now been spoken of: That disposition to approve or disapprove the moral treatment which passes between us and others, from a determination of the mind to be easy, or uneasy, in a consciousness of our being consistent, or inconsistent with ourselves. Hereby we have a disposition to approve our own treatment of another, when we are conscious to ourselves that we treat him so as we should expect to be treated by him, were he in our case and we in his ; and to disapprove of our own treatment of another, when we are conscious that we should be displeased, with the like treatment from him, if we were in his case. So we in our consciences approve of another's treatment of us, if are conscious to ourselves, that if we were in his case, and he in ours, we should think it just to treat him as he treats us ; and disapprove his treatment of us, when we are conscious that we should think it unjust, if we were in his case. Thus men's consciences approve or disapprove the sentence of their judge, by which they are acquitted or condemned..... But this is not all that is in natural conscience. Besides this approving or disapproving from uneasiness as being incona sistent with ourselves, there is another thing that must precede it, and be the foundation of it. As for instance, when my conscience disapproves my own treatment of another, bea ing conscious to myself that were I in his case, I should be displeased and angry with him for so treating me, the question might be asked, But what would be the ground of that supposed disapprobation, displeasure and anger, which I am conscious would be in me in that case ?..... That disapprobation must be on some other grounds. Therefore,
2. The other thing which belongs to the approbation or disapprobation of natural conscience, is the sense of desert, which was spoken of before ; consisting, as was observed, in a natural agreement, proportion and harmony between malevolence or injury, and resentment and punishment; or between loving and being loved, between shewing kindness and being rewarded, &c. Both these kinds of approving or disapprovVOL. II.
ing concur in the approbation or disapprobation of conscience; the one founded on the other. Thus, when a man's conscience disapproves of his treatment of his neighbor, in the first place he is conscious that if he were in his neighbor's stead, he should resent such treatment, from a sense of justice, or from a sense of uniformity and equality between such treatment and resentment and punishment, as before explained. And then in the next place he perceives, that therefore he is not consistent with himself, in doing what he himself should resent in that case ; and hence disapproves it, as being naturally averse to opposition to himself.
Approbation and disapprobation of conscience, in the sense now explained, will extend to all virtue and vice; to every thing whatsoever that is morally good or evil, in a mind which does not confine its view to a private sphere, but will take things in general into its consideration, and is free from speculative error. For, as all virtue or moral gond may be resolved into love to others, either God or creatures, so men easily see the uniformity and natural agreement there is between loving others, and being accepted and favored by others. And all vice, sin, or moral evil, summarily consisting in the want of this love to others, or in the contrary, viz. hatred or malevolence, so men easily see the natural agreement there is between hating and doing ill to others, and being hated by them and suffering ill from them, or from him that acts for all and has the care of the whole system. And as this sense of equality and natural agreement extends to all moral good and evil, so this lays a foundation of an equal extent with the other kind of approbation and disapprobation, which is grounded upon it, arising from an aversion to self inconsistence and opposition. For in all cases of benevolence or the contrary to wards others, we are capable of putting ourselves in the place of others, and are naturally led to do it, and so of reflecting, or being conscious to ourselves, how we should like or dislike such treatment from others. Thus natural conscience, if the understanding be properly enlightened, and errors and blind. ing stupifying prejudices are removed, concurs with the law
of God, and is of equal extent with it, and joins its voice with it in every article.
And thus; in particular, we may see in what respect this natural conscience that has been described, extends to true virtue, consisting in-union of heart to Being in general, and supreme love to God. For, although it sees not, ar rather does not taste its primary and essential beauty, i. e. it tastes no'sweetness in benevolence to Being in general, simply con. sidered, or loves it not for Being in general's sake (for noth: ing but general benevolence itself can do that) yet this natural conscience, common to mankind, may approve of it from that uniformity, equality and justice, which there is in it, and the demerit which is seen in the contrary, consisting in the natural agreement between the contrary and being hated of Being in general. Men by natural conscience may see the justice (or natural agreement) there is in yielding all to God, as we receive all from God ; and the justice there is in being his that has made us, and being willingly so, which is the same as being dependent on his will, and conformed to his will in the manner of our Being, as we are for our Being itself, and in the conformity of our will to his will, on whose will we are universally and most perfectly dependent; and also the justice there is in our supreme love to God, from his goodness....the natural agreement there is between our hav. ing supreme respect to him who exercises infinite goodness to us, and from whom we receive all well being....Besides that disagreement and discord appears worse to natural sense (as was observed before) in things nearly related and of great importance ; and therefore it must appear very ill, as it respects the infinite Being, and in that infinitely great relation which there is between the Creator and his creatures. And it is easy to conceive how that sense which is in natural conscience, should see the desert of punishment, which there is in the contrary of true virtue, viz. opposition and enmity to Being in general. For, this is only to see the natural agreement there is between opposing Being in general, and being opposed by Being in general ; with a consciousness how that if we were infinitely great, we should expect to be regarded