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dent upon, one another; which affords a far nobler and more pleasing prospect to a person of an enlarged mind, and of a social and benevolent disposition, than he could have from supposing, that after death all our mutual connexions will be broken, and that every good man will be made transcendently happy within himself, having no intercourse, or, however, no necessary intercourse with any be. ing beside his maker.
By these arguments, which are drawn from facts that are obvious to every person who attends to the external circumstances of mankind, it is plain that no man can live of himself; and even that the rich are, in fact, more dependent upon others than the poor ; for, having more wants, they have occasion for more, and more frequent supplies. Now it will easily be allowed, that every reason why we cannot live of ourselves, is an argument why we ought not to live to ourselves : for certainly no person receives an obligation, but he ought to confer one. Every connexion must, in some measure, be mutual, And, indeed, the circulation of good offices would in a great measure cease, if the passage were not as open, and as free from obstruc. tion, in one part of the common channel as another. The rich, if they would receive the greatest advan
tages from society, must contribute to the happi. ness of it. If they act upon different maxims, and think to avail themselves of the pleasures of society without promoting the good of it, they will never know the true pleasures of society. And, in the end, they will be found to have enjoyed the least themselves, who have least contributed to the enjoyment of others. :
Thus it appears from a view of the external cir. cumstances of mankind, that man was not made to live to himself. The same truth may be in. ferred,
3. From a nearer inspection of the principles of human nature, and the springs of human actions.
. If any man look into himself, and consider the springs and motives of his own actions, he will find that there are principles in his nature which would be of no use, were the intercourse he has with his fellow-creatures cut off: for that both the efficient and final causes of their operations are without himself. They are views of mankind, and their situations, which call those principles into action. And if we trace the operation of them, we shall clearly see that, though they be strictly connected with private happiness, their ultimate and proper object is the happiness of society.
ini .. . . What
TO OURSELVES. 249 What other account can we give of that impulse, which we all, more or less, feel for society? And whence is that restless and painful dissatisfaction which a man feels when he is long exclud. ed from it, but that, if such a solitary condition, his faculties have not their proper exercise, and he is, as it were, out of his proper element?
Whence is that quick sensibility which we are conscious of with respect to both the joys and the sorrows of our fellow-creatures, if their happiness or misery were â matter of indifference to us? Can we feel what is sometimes called the contagion of thepassions, when we find that our minds contract a kind of gloom and heaviness in the company of the melancholy, and that this melancholy vanishes in company which is innocently chearful, and question the influence of social connexions? Much less can the reality or the power of the social principle be doubted when a fellow-creature in distress calls forth the most exquisite feelings of compassi. on, attended with instant and strong efforts towards his relief.
So essential a part of our nature are these social passions, that it is impossible for any man wholly to escape the influence of them; but if we would be witness of their strongest effects, and see them
branched out into that beautiful subordination which corresponds to all the varieties of our mutu. al relations, we must look into domestic life. There we shall clearly see that the most frequent and almost the only cause of a man's joys and sorrows are the joys and sorrows of others, and that the immediate aim of all his actions is the well-being and happiness of others. .. Doth not the sense of honour in the human breast derive all its force from the influence which social connexions have over us? Of what-use could it be but to beings formed for society? What do we infer from our dread of infamy, and from our being so strongly actuated by a passion for fame, and also from the universality and extent of this principle, but that our nature obliges us to keep up a regard to others in our whole conduct, and that the author of nature intended we should? And is it not a farther evidence of the ultimate de. sign of this principle, that, in general, the means of being distinguished, at least of gaining a solid and lasting reputation, among men, is to be useful to mankind; public utility being the most direct road to true fame?
Every noble and exalted faculty of our nature is either directly of a social nature, or tends to
. : strengthen
strengthen the social principle. Nothing can be more evident than that the dictates of conscience strongly enforce the practice of benevolence : and the pleasures of benevolence certainly constitute the greatest part of those pleasures which we refer to the moral sense. They must necessarily do so, while the foundation of all virtue and right conduct is the happiness of society.: for then every reflexi. on that we have done our duty must be the same thing as a reflexion that we have contributed what was in our power to the good of our fellow-creatures:
Lastly, of what doth devotion itself consist, but the exercise of the social affections? What are the dispositions of our minds which are called forth into action in private or public prayer, but revercnce for true greatness, humility, gratitude, love, and confidence in God, as the greatest and best of Beings; qualities of the most admirable use and effect in social life? . . .
I may add, that not only are the highest and the worthiest principles of human conduct either truly social, or a reinforcement of the social principle, but even the lowest appetites and passions of our nature are far from being indifferent to social connexions, considerations, and influences. That the