C‎ > ‎Chalmers, Thomas - 1780-1847‎ > ‎Volume 1‎ > ‎

Bk. 2. - Chap. 4. - "The Power and Operation of Habit."

§1.

We have as yet been occupied with what may be termed the instant sensations, wherewith morality is beset in the mind of man — with the voice of conscience which goes immediately before, or with the sentence whether of approval or condemnation, which comes immediately after it; and latterly, with those states of feeling which are experienced at the moment when under the power of those affections, to which any moral designation, be it of virtue or vice, is applicable — the pleasure which there is in the very presence and contact of the one, the distaste, the bitterness which there is in the presence and contact of the other.

§2.

These phenomena of juxtaposition, as they may be termed; these contiguous antecedents and consequents of the moral and the immoral in man, speak strongly the purpose of Him who ordained our mental constitution, in having inserted there such a constant power of command and encouragement on the side of the former, and a like constant operation of checks and discouragements against the latter. But, perhaps, something more may be collected of the design and character of God, by stretching forward our observation prospectively in the history of man, and so extending our regards to the more distant consequences of virtue or vice, both on the frame of his character and the state of {Page No. 384.} his enjoyments. By studying these posterior results, we approximate our views towards the final issues of that administration under which we are placed. That defensive apparatus, wherewith the embryo seed of plants is guarded and protected, might indicate a special care or design in the preserver of it. What that design particularly is comes to be clearly and certainly known, when, in the future history of the plant, we learn what the functions of the seed are, after it has come to maturity; and then observe, that, had it been suffered universally to perish, it would have led — not to the mortality of the individual, for that is already an inevitable law, but to the extinction and mortality of the species.

§3.

For tracing forward man’s moral history, or the changes which take place in his moral state, it is necessary that we should advert to the influence of habit. Yet it is not properly the philosophy of habit wherewith our argument is concerned, but with the leading facts of its practical operation. A beneficial effect might still remain an evidence of the divine goodness, by whatever steps it should be efficiently or physically brought about — its power in this way depending not on the question how it is, but on the fact that so it is. It were really, therefore, deviating from our own strict and pertinent line of inquiry, did we stop to discuss the philosophic theory of habit, or suspend our own independent reasoning till that theory was settled — beside most unwisely and unnecessarily attaching to our theme, all the discredit of an obscure or questionable speculation. It is with {Page No. 385.} palpable and sure results both in the material and mental world, more than with the recondite processes in either, that theism has chiefly to do; and it is by the former more than by the latter that the cause of theism is upholden.

§4.

We might only observe, in passing, that the modification introduced by Dr. Thomas Brown into the theory of habit, was perhaps uncalled for, even for the accomplishment of his own purpose, which was to demonstrate that it required no peculiar or original law of the human constitution to account for its phenomena. He resolves the whole operation of habit into the law of suggestion — only, he would extend that law to states of feelings, as well as to thoughts or states of thought. We are all aware that if two objects have been seen or thought of together on any former occasion, then the thought of one of them is apt to suggest the thought of the other, and the more apt the more frequently that the suggestion has taken place — insomuch, that, if the suggestion have taken place very often, {Page No. 386.} we shall find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to break the succession between the thought which suggests and the thought which is suggested by it. Now Dr. Brown has conceived it necessary to extend this principle to feelings as well as thoughts — insomuch, that, if on a former occasion a certain object have been followed up by a certain feeling, or even if one feeling have been followed up by another, then the thought of the object introduces the feeling, or the one feeling introduces the other feeling into the mind, on the same principle that thought introduces thought. Now we should rather be inclined to hold that thought introduces feeling, not in consequence of the same law of suggestion whereby thought introduces thought, but in virtue of the direct power which lies in the object of the thought to excite that feeling. When a voluptuous object awakens a voluptuous feeling, this is not by suggestion, but by a direct influence of its own. When the picture of that voluptuous object awakens the same voluptuous feeling, we would not ascribe it to suggestion, but still put it down to the power of the object, whether presented or only represented, to awaken certain emotions. And as little would we ascribe the excitement of the feeling to suggestion, but still to the direct and original power of the object — though it were pictured to us only in thought, instead of being pictured to us in visible imagery. In like manner, when the thought of an injury awakens in us anger, even as the injury itself did at the moment of its infliction, we should not ascribe this to that peculiar law which is termed the law of suggestion, and which undoubtedly {Page No. 387.} connects thought with thought. Bat we should ascribe it wholly to that law which connects an object with its appropriate emotion — whether that object be present to the senses, or have only been recalled by the memory and is present to the thoughts. We sustain an injury, and we feel resentment in consequence, without surely, the law of suggestion having had aught to do with the sequence. We see the aggressor afterwards, and our anger is revived against him, and with this particular succession the law of suggestion has certainly had to do — not, however, in the way of thought suggesting feeling, but only in the way of thought suggesting thought. In truth it is a succession of three terms. The sight of the man awakens a recollection of the injury; and the thought of the injury awakens the emotion. The first sequence, or that which obtains between the first and second term, is a pure instance of the suggestion of thought by thought, or, to speak in the old language, of the association of ideas. The second sequence, or that which obtains between the middle and last term, is still. Dr. Brown would say, not an instance of suggestion, but of thought suggesting the feeling wherewith it was formerly accompanied. Whereas, in our apprehension, it is due, not to the law of suggestion, but to the law which connects an object, whether present at the time or thought upon afterwards, with its counterpart emotion. Still the result is the same, however differently accounted for. One can think, surely, of the resentment which now occupies him, as well as he can think of a past resentment — indeed it is {Page No. 388.} difficult to imagine, how he can feel a resentment without thinking of it. Let some one thought, then, by the proper law of suggestion, have introduced the thought of an injury that had been done to us; this second thought introduces the feeling of resentment, not by the law of suggestion, but by the law which relates an object, whether present or thought upon, to its appropriate emotion; this emotion is thought upon, and, not the emotion, but the thought of the emotion recalls the thought of the first emotion that was felt at the original infliction of the injury; and this thought again recalls to us the thought of the injury itself, and perhaps the thought of other or similar injuries, which, as at the first, excites anew the feeling of anger, but, at this particular step, by means of a law different from that of suggestion, even the law of our emotions, in virtue of which, certain objects, when present in any way to the cognizance of the understanding, awaken certain sensibilities in the heart. It is thus that thoughts and feelings might reciprocally introduce each other, not by means of but one law of suggestion extending in common to them both, but by the intermingling of two laws in this repeating or circulating process, — even the law of suggestion, acting only upon the thoughts; and the law of emotion, by which certain objects, when presented to the senses or to the memory, have the power to awaken certain correspondent emotions. We in this way get quit of the mysticism which attaches to the notion of mere feelings either suggesting or being suggested by other feelings, separately from thoughts — more especially when, {Page No. 389.} by the association of thoughts or of ideas alone, and the direct power which lies in the objects of these ideas to awaken certain emotions, all the phenomena, as far as they depend on suggestion, are capable of being explained. A certain thought or object may suggest the thought of a former provocation; this thought might excite a feeling of resentment; the resentment, thus felt or thought upon, might send back the mind to a still more vivid impression of its original cause; and this again might prolong or awaken the resentment anew, and in greater freshness than before. The ultimate effect might be a fierce and fiery effervescence of irascible feeling. Yet not by the operation of one law, but of two distinct laws in the human constitution; the first that, in virtue of which, thoughts suggest thoughts; the second that, in virtue of which, the object thus thought upon awakens the emotion that is suited to it.

§5.

But while we have ventured to offer this correction on the language of Dr. Brown, we are far from being satisfied that the law of suggestion alone will account for the evergrowing inveteracy of habit. It supplies, we think, a strong auxiliary force; but is not the only force concerned in the operation. It accounts for the increased importunity of the solicitations from without; but, over and above this, we apprehend that the progress of repeated indulgence induces a subjective change upon the mind — in virtue of which, there is an increasing susceptibility, or rather a greater strength, if it may be so called, of inertia or passiveness within — so that the propensities become every day {Page No. 390.} more headlong, and that too with a less power of resistance than before.

§6.

But though for once we have thus adverted to the strict philosophy of the subject, it will be apparent, that, in this instance, it is of no practical necessity for the purposes of our argument; and it is truly the same in many other instances, where, if instead of reasoning theologically on the palpable operations of the mechanism, we should reason scientifically on the modus operandi, we would run into really irrelevant discussions. The theme of our present chapter is the effects of Habit, in as far as these effects serve to indicate the design or character of Him who is the author of our mental constitution. It matters not to any conclusion of ours, by what recondite, or, it may be, yet undiscovered process these effects are brought about; and whether the common theory, or that of Dr. Brown, or that again as modified and corrected by ourselves, is the just one. It is enough to know, that, if any given process of intermingled thought and feeling have been described by us once, there are laws at work, which, on the first step of that process again recurring, would incline us to describe the whole of the process over again; and with the greater power and certainty, the more frequently that process has been repeated. We are perfectly sure that the more frequently any particular sequence between thought and thought may have occurred, the more readily will it recur; — so that when once the first thought has entered the mind, we may all the more confidently reckon on its being followed up {Page No. 391.} by the second. This, so far at least as suggestion is concerned, we hold enough for explaining the ever recurring force and facility, wherewith feelings also will arise and be followed up by their indulgence — and that, just in proportion to the frequency wherewith in given circumstances they have been awakened and indulged formerly. In as far as the objects of gratification are the exciting causes which stimulate and awaken the desires of gratification, then, any process which ensures the presence and application of the causes, will also ensure the fulfilment of the effects which result from them. If it be the presence or perception of the wine that stands before us which stirs up the appetite; and if, instead of acting on the precept of looking not unto the wine when it is red, we continue to look till the appetite be so inflamed that the indulgence becomes inevitable — then, as we looked at it continuously when present, will we, by the law of suggestion, be apt to think of it continuously when absent. If the one continuity was not broken by any considerations of principle or prudence — so the less readily will the other continuity be broken in like manner. When we revisit the next social company, we shall probably resign ourselves to the very order of sensations that we did formerly; and the more surely, the oftener that that order has already been described by us. And as the order of objects with their sensations when present, so is the order of thoughts with their desires when absent. This order forces itself upon the mind with a strength proportional to the frequency of its repetition; and desires, when not evaded by {Page No. 392.} the mind shifting its attention away from the objects of them, can only be appeased by their indulgence.

§7.

It is thus that he who enters on a career of vice, enters on a career of headlong degeneracy. If even for once we have described that process of thought and feeling, which leads, whether through the imagination or the senses, from the first presentation of a tempting object to a guilty indulgence — this of itself establishes a probability, that, ou the recurrence of that object, we shall pass onward by the same steps to the same consummation. And it is a probability ever strengthening with every repetition of the process, till at length it advances towards the moral certainty of a helpless surrender to the tyranny of those evil passions, which we cannot resist, just because the will itself is in thraldom, and we choose not to resist them. It is thus that we might trace the progress of intemperance and licentiousness, and even of dishonesty, to whose respective solicitations we have yielded at the first — till by continuing to yield, we become the passive, the prostrate subjects of a force that is uncontrollable, only because we have seldom or never in good earnest tried to control it. It is not that we are struck of a sudden with moral impotency; but we are gradually benumbed into it. The power of temptation has not made instant seizure upon the faculties, or taken them by storm. It proceeds by an influence that is gentle and almost insensibly progressive — just as progressive in truth, as the association between particular ideas is strengthened by the frequency their succession.

{Page No. 393.}But even as that association may at length become inveterate, insomuch that when the first idea finds entry into the mind, we cannot withstand the importunity wherewith the second insists upon following it; so might the moral habit become alike inveterate — thoughts succeeding thoughts, and urging onward their counterpart desires, in that wonted order, which had hitherto connected, the beginning of a temptation with its full and final victory. At each repetition, would he find it more difficult to break this order, or to lay an arrest upon it — till at length, as the fruit of this wretched regimen, its unhappy patient is lorded over by a power of moral evil, which possesses the whole man, and wields an irresistible or rather an unresisted ascendancy over him. 

§8.

But this melancholy process, leading to a vicious indulgence, may be counteracted by an opposite process of resistance, though with far greater facility at the first — yet a facility ever augmenting, in proportion as the effectual resistance of temptation is persevered in. That balancing moment, at which pleasure would allure, and conscience is urging us to refrain, may be regarded as the point of departure or divergency, whence one or other of the two processes will take their commencement. Each of them consists in a particular succession of ideas with their attendant feelings; and whichever of them may happen to be described once, has, by the law of suggestion, the greater chance, in the same circumstances, of being described over again. Should the mind dwell on an object of allurement, and the consideration of a {Page No. 394.} principle not to be entertained — it will pass onward from the first incitement to the final and guilty indulgence by a series of stepping-stones, each of which will present itself more readily in future; and with less chance of arrest or interruption by the suggestions of conscience than before. But should these suggestions be admitted, and far more should they prevail — then, on the principle of association, will they be all the more apt to intervene, on the repetition of the same circumstances; and again break that line of continuity, which, but for this intervention, would have led from a temptation to a turpitude or a crime. If on the occurrence of a temptation formerly, conscience did interpose, and represent the evil of a compliance, and so impress the man with a sense of obligation, as led him to dismiss the fascinating object from the presence of his mind, or to hurry away from it — the likelihood is, that the recurrence of a similar temptation will suggest the same train of thoughts and feelings and lead to the same beneficial result; and this is a likelihood ever increasing with every repetition of the process. The train which would have terminated in a vicious indulgence, is dispossessed by the train which conducts to a resolution and an act of virtuous self-denial. The thoughts which tend to awaken emotions and purposes on the side of duty find readier entrance into the mind; and the thoughts which awaken and urge forward the desire of what is evil more readily give way. The positive force on the side of virtue is augmented, by every repetition of the train which leads to a {Page No. 395.} virtuous determination. The resistance to this force on the side of vice is weakened, in proportion to the frequency wherewith that train of suggestions which would have led to a vicious indulgence, is broken and discomfited. It is thus that when one is successfully resolute in his opposition to evil, the power of making the achievement and the facility of the achievement itself are both upon the increase; and virtue makes double gain to herself, by every separate conquest which she may have won. The humbler attainments of moral worth are first mastered and secured; and the aspiring disciple may pass onward in a career that is quite indefinite to nobler deeds and nobler sacrifices. 

§9.

And this law of habit when enlisted on the side of righteousness, not only strengthens and makes sure our resistance to vice, hut facilitates the most arduous performances of virtue. The man whose thoughts, with the purposes and doings to which they lead, are at the bidding of conscience, will, by frequent repetition, at length describe the same track almost spontaneously — even as in physical education, things laboriously learned at the first, come to be done at last without the feeling of an effort. And so, in moral education, every new achievement of principle smooths the way to future achievements of the same kind; and the precious fruit or purchase of each moral victory is to set us on higher and firmer vantage-ground for the conquests of principle in all time coming. He who resolutely bids away the suggestions of avarice, when they come into conflict with the incumbent generosity; or the suggestions of {Page No. 396.} voluptuousness, when they come into conflict with the incumbent self-denial; or the suggestions of anger, when they come into conflict with the incumbent act of magnanimity and forbearance — will at length obtain, not a respite only, but a final deliverance from their intrusion. Conscience, the longer it has made way over the obstacles of selfishness and passion — the less will it give way to these adverse forces, themselves weakened by the repeated defeats which they have sustained in warfare of moral discipline: Or, in other words, the oftener that conscience makes good the supremacy which she claims — the greater would be the work of violence, and less the strength for its accomplishment, to cast her down from that station of practical guidance and command which of right belongs to her. It is in great part because, in virtue of the law of suggestion, those trains of thought and feeling, which connect her first biddings with their final execution, are the less exposed at every new instance to be disturbed, and the more likely to be repeated over again, that every good principle is more strengthened by its exercise, and every good affection is more strengthened by its indulgence than before. The acts of virtue ripen into habits; and the goodly and permanent result is, the formation or establishment of a virtuous character. 

§10.

This then forms a distinct argument in the mental constitution for the virtuous character of Him who ordained it. The voice of authority within, bidding us to virtue; and the immediate delights attendant on obedience, certainly, speak strongly for the moral character of that administration {Page No. 397.} under which we are placed. But, by looking to posterior and permanent results, we have the advantage of viewing the system of that administration in progress. Instead of the insulated acts, we are led to regard the abiding and the accumulating consequences — and by stretching forward our observation through larger intervals and to more distant points in the moral history of men; we are in likelier circumstances for obtaining a glimpse of their final destination; and so of seizing on this mighty and mysterious secret — the reigning policy of the divine government, whence we might collect the character of Him who hath ordained it. And surely, it is of prime importance to be noted in this examination, that by every act of virtue we become more powerful for its service; and by every act of vice we become more helplessly its slaves. Or, in other words, were these respective moral regimens fully developed into their respective consummations, it would seem, as if by the one, we should be conducted to that state, where the faculty within, which is felt to be the rightful, would also become the reigning sovereign, and then we should have the full enjoyment of all the harmony and happiness attendant upon virtue — whereas, by the other, those passions of our nature felt to be inferior, would obtain the lawless ascendency, and subject their wretched bondsmen to the turbulence, and the agony, and the sense of degradation, which, by the very constitution of our being, are inseparable from the reign of moral evil. 

§11.

We might not fully comprehend the design or meaning of a process, till we have seen the end {Page No. 398.} of it. Had there been no death, the mystery of our present state might have been somewhat alleviated. We might then have seen, in bolder relief and indelible character, the respective consummations of vice and virtue — perhaps the world partitioned into distinct moral territories, where the habit of many centuries had given fixture and establishment, first, to a society of the upright, now in the firm possession of all goodness, as the well-earned result of that wholesome discipline through which they had passed; and, second, to a society of the reprobate, now hardened in all iniquity, and abandoned to the violence of evil passions no longer to be controlled and never to be eradicated. “We might then have witnessed the peace, the contentment, the universal confidence and love, the melody of soul, that reigned in the dwellings of the righteous; and contrasted these with the disquietudes, the strifes, the fell and fierce collisions of injustice and mutual disdain and hate implacable, the frantic bacchanalian excesses with their dreary intervals of remorse and lassitude, which kept the other region in perpetual anarchy, and which, constituted as we are, must trouble or dry up all the well-springs of enjoyment, whether in the hearts of individuals or in the bosom of families. We could have been at no loss, to have divined, from the history and state of such a world, the policy of its ruler. We should have recognised in that peculiar economy, by which every act, whether of virtue or vice, made its performer still more virtuous or more vicious than before, a moral remuneration on the one hand {Page No. 399.} and a moral penalty on the other — with an enhancement of all the consequences, whether good or evil, which flowed from each of them. We could not have mistaken the purposes and mind of the Deity — when we saw thus palpably, and through the demonstrations of experience, the ultimate effects of these respective processes; and, in this total diversity of character, with a like total diversity of condition, were made to perceive, that righteousness was its own eternal reward, and that wickedness was followed up, and that for ever, with the bitter fruit of its own ways. 

§12.

Death so far intercepts the view of this result, that it is not here the object of sight or of experience. Still, however, it remains the object of our likely anticipation. The truth is, that the process which we are now contemplating, the process by which character is formed and strengthened and perpetuated, suggests one of the strongest arguments within compass of the light of nature, for the immortality of the soul. In the system of the world we behold so many adaptations, not only between the faculties of sentient beings, and their counterpart objects in external nature; but between every historical progression in nature, and a fulfilment of corresponding interest or magnitude which it ultimately lands in — that we cannot believe of man’s moral history, as if it terminated in death. More especially when we think of tlie virtuous character, how laboriously it is reared, and how slowly it advances to perfection; but, at length, how indefinite its capabilities of power and of enjoyment are, after this education of habits has {Page No. 400.} been completed — it seems like the breach of a great and general analogy, if man is to be suddenly arrested on his way to the magnificent result, for which it might well be deemed that the whole of his life was but a preparation; having just reached the full capacity of an enjoyment, of which he had only been permitted, in this evanescent scene, a few brief and passing foretastes. It were like the infliction of a violence of the continuity of things, of which we behold no similar example, if a being so gifted were thus left to perish in the full maturity of his powers and moral acquisitions. The very eminence that he has won, we naturally look upon as the guarantee and the precursor of some great enlargement beyond it — warranting the hope, therefore, that Death but transforms without destroying him, or, that the present is only an embryo or rudimental state, the final development of which is in another and future state of existence. 

§13.

This is not the right place for a full exposition of this argument. We might only observe, that there is an evidence of man’s immortality, in the moral state and history of the bad upon earth, as well as of the good. The truth is, that nature’s most vivid anticipations of a conscious futurity on the other side of death, are the forebodings of guilty fear, not the bright anticipations of confident and rejoicing hope. We speak not merely of the un-redressed wrongs inflicted by the evil upon the righteous, and which seem to demand an after place of reparation and vengeance. Beside those unsettled questions between man and man, which death breaks off at the middle, and for the {Page No. 401.} adjustment of which one feels as if it were the cry of eternal justice that there should be a reckoning afterwards— beside these, there is felt, more directly and vividly still, the sense of a yet unsettled controversy, between the sinner and the God whom he has offended. The notion of immortality is far more powerfully and habitually suggested by the perpetual hauntings or misgivings of this sort of undefined terror, by the dread of a coming penalty— rather than by the consciousness of merit, or of a yet unsatisfied claim to a well-earned reward. Nor is the argument at all lessened by that observed phenomenon in the history of guilt, the decay of conscience; a hebetude, if it may be so termed, of the moral sensibilities, which keeps pace with the growth of a man’s wickedness, and, at tunes, becomes quite inveterate towards the termination of his mortal career. The very torpor and tranquillity of such a state, would only appear all the more emphatically to tell, that a day of account is yet to come, when, instead of rioting, as heretofore, in the impunity of a hardihood that shields him alike from reproach and fear, conscience will at length re-awaken to upbraid him for his misdoings; at once the asserter of its own cause, and the executioner of its own sentence. And even the most desperate in crime, do experience, at times, such gleams and resuscitations of moral light, as themselves feel to be the precursors of a revelation still more tremendous — when their own conscience, fully let loose upon them, shall, in the hands of an angry God, be a minister of fiercest vengeance. Certain it is, that, if death, instead {Page No. 402.} of an entire annihilation, be but a removal to another and a different scene of existence, we see in this, when combined with the known laws and processes of the mind, the possibility, at least, of such a consummation. There is much in the business, and entertainments, and converse, and day-light of that urgent and obtruding world by which we are surrounded, to carry off the attention of the mind from its own guiltiness, and so, to suspend that agony, which, when thrown back upon itself and dissevered from all its objects of gratification, will be felt, without mitigation and without respite. In the busy whirl of life, the mind, drawn upon in all directions, can find, outwardly and abroad, the relief of a constant diversion from the misery of its own internal processes. But a slight change in its locality or its circumstances, would deliver it up to the full burden and agony of these; nor can we imagine a more intense and intolerable wretchedness, than that which would ensue, simply by rescind me the connexion which obtains in this world between a depraved mind and its external means of gratification — when, forced inwardly on its own haunted tenement, it met with nothing there but revenge un-satiated; and raging appetites, that never rest from their unappeased fermentation; and withal, joined to this perpetual sense of want, a pungent and pervading sense of worthlessness. It is the constant testimony of criminals, that, in the horrors and the tedium of solitary imprisonment, they undergo the most appalling of all penalties — a penalty, therefore, made up of moral elements {Page No. 403.} alone; as neither pain, nor hunger, nor sickness, necessarily forms any of its ingredients. It strikingly demonstrates the character of Him who so constructed our moral nature, that from the workings of its mechanism alone, there should be evolved a suffering so tremendous on the children of iniquity, insomuch that a sinner meets with sorest vengeance when simply left to the fruit of his own ways — whether by the death which carries his disembodied spirit to its Tartarus; or by a resurrection to another scene of existence, where, in full possession of his earthly habits and earthly passions, he is nevertheless doomed to everlasting separation from their present counterpart and earthly enjoyments. 

§14.

There is a distinction sometimes made between the natural and arbitrary rewards of virtue, or between the natural and arbitrary punishments of vice. The arbitrary is exemplified in the enactments of human law; there in general being no natural or necessary connexion between the crimes which it denounces, and the penalties which it ordains for them — as between the fine, or the imprisonment, or the death, upon the one hand; and the act of violence, whether more or less outrageous, upon the other. The natural again is exemplified in the workings of the human constitution; there being a connexion, in necessity and nature, between the temper which prompted the act of violence, and the wretchedness which it inflicts on him who is the unhappy subject, in his own bosom, of its fierce and restless agitations. It is thus that not only is virtue termed its own {Page No. 404.} reward, but vice its own greatest plague or self-tormentor. We have no information of the arbitrary rewards or punishments in a future state, but from revelation alone. But of the natural, we have only to suppose that the existing constitution of man, and his existing habits, shall be borne with him to the land of eternity; and we may inform ourselves now of these, by the experience of our own felt and familiar nature. Our own experience can tell that the native delights of virtue, unaided by any high physical gratifications, and only if not disturbed by grievous physical annoyances, were enough of themselves to constitute an elysium of pure and perennial happiness; and again, that the native agonies of vice, unaided by any inflictions of physical suffering, and only if unalleviated by a perpetual round of physical enjoyments, were enough of themselves to constitute a dire and dreadful Pandemonium. They are not judicially awarded, but result from the workings of that constitution which God hath given to us; and they speak as decisively the purpose and character of Him who is the author of that constitution — as would any code of juris-prudence proclaimed from the sanctuary of heaven, and which assigned to virtue on the one hand, the honours and rewards of a blissful immortality, to vice on the other a place of anguish among the out-casts of a fiery condemnation. 

END OF VOLUME I.
Comments