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PROP. sinful pleasures in the world; but also* that a man
ought without scruple to choose, if the case was proposed to him, rather to undergo all possible sufferings with virtue, than to obtain all possible worldly happiness by sin. And the suitable practice of some few of them, as of Regulus, for instance, who chose to die the cruelest death that could be invented, rather than break his faith with an enemy, is indeed very wonderful, and to be admired. But yet, after all this, it is plain that the general practice of virtue in the world can never be supported upon this foot. The discourse is admirable, but it seldom goes further than mere words : And the practice of those few who have acted accordingly, has not been imitated by the rest of the world. Men never will generally, and indeed it is not very reasonable to be expected they should, part with all the comforts of life, and even life itself, without expectation of any future recompense. So that, if we suppose no future state of rewards, it will fol. low, that God has indued men with such faculties, as put them under a necessity of approving and choosing virtue in the judgment of their own minds; and yet has not given them wherewith to support themselves in the suitable and constant practice of it. The consideration of which inexplicable difficulty ought to have led the philosophers to a firm belief and expectation of a future state of rewards and punishments, without which their whole scheme of morality cannot be supported. And because a thing of such necessity andimportanceto mankind was not more clear,
* Quæro si duo sint, quorum alter optimus vir, æquissimus, summa justitia, singulari fide, alter insigni scelere et audacia; et si in eo sit errore civitas, ut bonum illum virum, sceleratum, facinorosum, nefariuin putet ; contra autem qui sit improbissimus, existimet esse summa probitate ac fide ; proque hac opinione omnium civium, bonus ille vir vexetur, rapiatur, manus ei denique auferantur, effodiantur oculi, damnetur, vinciatur, uratur, exterminetur, egeat ; pose tremò, jure etiam optimo omnibus miserrimus esse videatur : Contra autem, ille improbus laudetur, colatur, ab omnibus diligatur, omnes ad eum honores, omnia imperia, omnes opes, omnes denique copiæ conferantur, vir denique optimus omnium æstimatione, et dignissimus omni fortuna judicetur ; Quis tandem erit tam demens qui dubitet utrum se esse malit ?-Idem. de Republ. lib. 3, fragment.
ly and directly and universally made known, it might PROP. naturally have led them to some farther consequences also, which I shall have occasion particularly to deduce hereafter.
Thus have I endevoured to deduce the original obligations of morality from the necessary and eternal reason and proportions of things. Some have chosen to found* all difference of good and evil, in the mere positive will and power of God : But the absurdity of this, I have shown elsewhere. Others have contended, that all difference of good and evil, and all obligations of morality, ought to be founded originally upon considerations of public utility. And true indeed it is, in the whole, that the good of the universal creation does always coincide with the necessary truth and reason of things. But otherwise, (and separate from this consideration, that God will certainly cause truth and right to terminate in happiness,) what is for the good of the whole creation, in very many cases, none but an infinite understanding can possibly judge. Public utility is one thing to one nation, and the contrary to another : And the governors of every nation will and must be judges of the public good: And by public good they will generally mean the private good of that particular nation. But truth and right (whether public or private) founded in the eternal and necessary reason of things, is what every man can judge of, when laid before him. It is necessarily one and the same, to every man's understanding, just as light is the same to every man's eyes.
He who thinks it right and just, upon account of public utility, to break faith (suppose) with a robber, let him consider that it is much more useful to do the same by a multitude of robbers, by tyrants, by a nation of robbers : And then all faith is evidently at an end. For, mutato nomine de te, &c. What fidelity and truth are, is understood by every man; but between two nations at war, who shall be judge which
* Cùm omnis ratio veri et boni ab ejus Omnipotentiâ dependeat.-Cartes. Epist. 6, partis secundæ.
PROP. of them are the robbers ? Besides : To rob a man of I.
truth and of eternal happiness, is worse than robbing him of his money and of his temporal happiness : And therefore it will be said that heretics may even more justly, and with much greater utility to the public, be deceived and destroyed by breach of truth and faith, than the most cruel robbers. Where does this terminate?
And now, from what has been said upon this head, fold absur- it is easy to see the falsity and weakness of Mr HobMr Hobbes's doctrines, that there is no such thing as just and besedoco unjust, right and wrong, originally in the nature of cerning things; that men in their natural state, antecedent the origin- to all compacts, are not obliged to universal benevoshown in lence, nor to any moral duty whatsoever ; but are particular. in a state of war, and have every one a right to do
whatever he has power to do; and that, in civil societies, it depends wholly upon positive laws or the will of governors to define what shall be just or unjust. The contrary to all which having been al
. ready fully demonstrated, there is no need of being large, in further disproving and confuting, particularly, these assertions themselves. I shall therefore only mention a few observations, from which some of the greatest and most obvious absurdities of the chief principles, upon which Mr Hobbes builds his whole doctrine in this matter, may most easily appear.
1. First, then, the ground and foundation of Mr Hobbes's scheme, is this * that all men being equal by nature, and naturally desiring the same things, havet every one a right to every thing, are every one desirous to have absolute dominion over all others; and may every one justly do whatever at
Ab æqualitate naturæ oritur unicuique ea, quæ cupit, acquirendi spes.- Leviath. c. 13.
† Natura dedit unicuique jus in omnia. Hoc est; in statu merè naturali, sive antequam homines ullis pactis sese invicem obstrinxissent, unicuique licebat facere quæcunque et in quoscunque libebat; et possidere, uti, frui omnibus, quæ volebat et poterat.-De Cive, c. 1. § 10.
any time is in his power, by violently taking from PROP. others either their possessions or lives, to gain to himself that absolute dominion. Now this is exact. ly the same thing as if a man should affirm that a part is equal to the whole, or that one body can be present in a thousand places at once. For to say that one man has a full right to the same individual things, which another man at the same time has a full right to, is saying that two rights may be* contradictory to each other ; that is, that a thing may be right, at the same time that it is confessed to be wrong. For instance ; if every man has a right to preserve his own life, thenf it is manifest I can have no right to take any man's life away from him, unless he has first forfeited his own right, by attempting to deprive me of mine. For otherwise, it might be right for me to do that which, at the same time, because it could not be done but in breach of another man's right, it could not be right for me to do; which is the greatest absurdity in the world. The true state of this case, therefore, is plainly this. In Mr Hobbes's state of nature and equality, every man having an equal right to preserve his own life, it is evident every man has a right to an equal proportion of all those things which are either necessary or useful to life. And consequently, so far is it from being true, that any one has an original right to possess all, that, on the contrary, whoever first attempts, without the consent of his fellows, and except it be for some public benefit, to take to himself more than his proportion, is the beginner of iniquity, and the author of all succeeding mischief.
2. To avoid this absurdity, therefore, Mr Hobbes is forced to assert, in the next place, that since every
* Si impossibile sit singulis, omnes et omnia sibimet subjicere ; ratio quæ hunc finem proponit singulis, qui uni tantum contingere potest, sæpius quam millies proponeret impossibile, et semel tantuin possibile.-Cumberl
, de Leg. Nat. page 217. + Nec potest cujus quam jus seu libertas ab ulla lege relicta eo extendere, ut liceat oppugnare ea, quæ aliis eadem lege imperantur facienda.--Id. p. 219.
PROP. man has confessedly a right to preserve his own life,
and consequently to do every thing that is necessary to preserve it, and since, in the state of nature, men will necessarily have* perpetual jealousies and suspicions of each other's encroaching, therefore just precaution gives every one a right to endeavour,t for his own security, to prevent, oppress, and destroy all others, either by secret artifice or open violence, as it shall happen at any time to be in his power, as being the only certain means of self-preservation.[ But this is even a plainer absurdity, if possible, than the former. For (besides that, according to Mr Hobbes's principles, men, before positive compacts, may justly do what mischief they please, even without the pretence of self-preservation,) what can be more ridiculous that to imagine a war of all men against all, the directest and certainest means of the preservation of all ? Yes, says he, because it leads men to a necessity of entering into compact for each other's security. But then to make these compacts obligatory, he is forced (as I shall presently observe more particularly) to recur to an|| antecedent law of nature, and this destroys all that he had before said. For the same law of nature which obliges men to fidelity, after having made a compact, will unavoidably, upon all the same accounts, be found to oblige thern before all compacts, to contentment and mutual benevolence, as the readiest and certainest means to the preservation and happiness of them all. It is true, men, by entering into compacts, and making Jaws, agree to compel one another to do what perhaps the mere sense of duty, however really obligatory in the highest degree, would not, without such
* Omnium adversus omnes, perpetuæ suspiciones, Bellum omnium in omnes.--De Cive, c. 1. § 12.
+ Spes unicuique securitatis conservationisque suæ in eo sita est, ut viribus artibusque propriis proximum suum, vel palam vel ex insidiis, præoccupare possit. Ibid. c. 5. § 1.
Securitatis viam meliorem habet nemo anticipatione.- Leviath C. 13.
ll See de Cive, c. 3. sec. 1.