« PreviousContinue »
are very powerful.” P. 85.
consos, appears to us a feeling radically bad, and productive of
ment, somewhat more plainly and distinctly than in envy, though both passions are founded on competition. There is an immediate pleasure in comparative success, and an immediate pain in comparative disappointment; both of which may be accounted good; for neither of them needs do any harm, and both may be made bemeficial. Pleasure itself is good, when not attended with any bad consequences; taken independently of the good which may be made to follow from a right use of it; and the pain is a spur to in
dustry and improvement; one which needs not be felt when a
greater evil would not arise from the want of it. And surely every thing should be esteemed a good which it is in our power to make one.—When we speak of reward and punishment, in the present case, we suppose the pleasure and pain to be seen beforehand, at a distance; and then they excite hope and fear: the hope of enjoying victory and triumph animates us to exert every faculty; and the fear of being conquered and mortified co-operates with it to the
same end.—As man was not likely to act so well without this prin
ciple as with it, we may say, that God gave it in his goodness; and the effects now mentioned as arising from it, when rightly used, cannot be otherwise than good. These, we say, are industry and exertion, and, according to the natural course of things, im
“But it should moreover be observed, that those who have the care of educating others, find themselves able to derive great benefit from this rejoicing in comparative success; as well as from mortification in a comparative failure. They can make the rejoicing, when seen beforehand, operate as a proposed reward; and the mortification as a threatened punishment. Discretion, no doubt, is
requisite in administering all rewards and punishments, to prevent abuse and particular inconveniences; but supposing these to be
administered discreetly, nothing can be more efficacious. It may here be useful to observe, that education is capable of a very extensive sense; it may include communicating useful knowledge of any sort, and at any time, and in any manner: also forming any kind of good habits, of body or mind, in another.— It may be well understood to comprehend the improvement of
the Apprentice by his master; and not improperly that which the
member of civil society receives under the protection of the Laws, and from the modes of conduct which they point out. Not to omit the edification which religious Societies receive from their
Instructors—Such are the good effects of that sentiment which in
Systems of Morals is called Malice: they may seem to come into a small compass; but they keep arising incessantly; and they
The reader will here observe, that in order to make out any case at all, Dr. Hey is forced to confine the idea of Malice to the feeling of pleasure at the failure of our rival ; which, we must
no one good consequence. The pleasure which we receive from
the failure of an enemy who is either plotting our destruction, or
the pleasure which we receive from contemplating our success.”
This sentiment is placed by a good Providence in our bosoms
from the justice of the retribution, the amendment of the indivi
dual, or the terror of the example.
Anger is considered by Dr. Hey, though sometimes synony
mous with Resentment, to be rather the sudden emotion, while
feelings, which is not so much agitated and offended by what im
mediately affects itself, as by what appears to be destructive of
the general happiness of mankind. -
beneficial effect of this sentiment upon mankind.
“Of such as are useful it may be said, in general, that they are to be considered as appointed by our all-wise Creator, being suited to our present condition: Resentment does even its good work
by some sort of evil, but that evil which prevents a greater evil, promotes good upon the whole. And the same is true if evil produce a positive good which overbalances it. When the Creator implanted resentment in our constitution, we say, as before, he did the same sort of kind act as a friend does when he supplies us with a sword, in order to enable us to resist the attacks of the robber, or assassin; and as the sword inflicts no wound when no robber
or assassin appears, so resentment would prompt to no punishment
were all appearance of injury to cease.
ately valuable. - - - • *
world, I conceive to be the grand check upon destructive vice:
though the resentment and displeasure of particular men, no doubt,
operate successfully, each in its own sphere, “But in whatsoever case men are hindered from doing evil, it
should be considered, that good arises, not only to him upon
whom the evil" would have been inflicted, but also to him who would
have been guilty of inflicting it. To preserve a man from the
commission of a vice or an injury, is to do him an important service. Thus resentment is sometimes beneficial even to its object. And it does not only influence a man after an offence, by deterring him from subsequent offences, but its appearance and threatning aspect will restrain evil imaginations and designs. The threatened anger of wicked men may perhaps excite only fear, though that is no bad guard; but in the disapproving and menacing frowns of good men there seems to be something more: the indignation of the virtuous, on the first appearance of a design to offend, especially when mixed with benignity and true wisdom, cooperate with the remonstrances of conscience in him who was meditating evil things: it points out duty, it intimates sanctions; and all this previous to actual offending.” P. 105.
In a subsequent part of this Chapter, the case between punish
ment and pardon is argued with much calmness and judgment, .
and such are the motives proposed for the general preference of
the former, that should the offended man so far command his re
sentment as to deliberate, he would be irresistibly, though almost imperceptibly carried on to a determination in its favour. The
next distinction is taken between public and private punishment;
the former being decreed by the wisdom of the legislature, ab
stractedly as it were, and without any reference to the particular
offence: the latter resulting from the feelings of the injured person, and liable to all the exacerbation and severity of that resentment which arises from the particular circumstances of the case.
Throughout the whole of this part of the work, which cannot be sufficiently read and studied, our author has considered the subject under the natural law, but in a subsequent chapter he proceeds to shew the agreement of the Scriptures upon this point, with the dictates of reason and of nature. In entering upon this part of the subject Dr. Hey most judiciously observes,that the
language of Scripture is popular, not philosophical language,
such as was best calculated not only for the instruction of the first converts, but of the great mass of mankind. This sort of language has its imperfections, as after a length of time, it may require to be interpreted by circumstances; but scientific language,
as Dr. Hey observes, would generally have given wrong ideas:
when at least it gave any at all. The sacred writers were no theorists nor system makers; their philosophy was the philosophy
not of words but of things, not of speculation but of practice;
and its end was not the glory of the writer, but the salvation of the hearer, o The same method is pursued in this as in the former parts, and with the same success; the laws of Scripture are clearly demonstrated to be in perfect consonance with the law of nature, they are distinguished only from the latter, as they propose those motives for benevolence,which the reason or the philosophy of man could never disclose, and as they inculcate their exhortations by examples, which our unassisted nature could never have extended. The following recapitulation, though sufficiently plain and simple, will nevertheless have its full weight with every Christian mind.
“Seeming injuries which we are inclined to punish, may be no injuries. Let us not deserve to have it said of us, ‘Behold be, findeth occasions against me; he counteth me for his enemy.” Job. xxxiii. 10, let us rather take the advice of Solomon, “Strive not with a man without a cause, if he have done thee no harm.” Prov. iii. 30. And suppose harm done, yet if not meant, let us accept the same kind of Apology which St. Paul offered; “I wist not, Brethren, that he was the High Priest.” For it is written, ‘Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy o Acts xxiii. 5. He who will cite authorities against himself, merits our indulgence.
“If we are convinced that we suffer, yet if there is room for
doubt whether we suffer wrongfully let us remember the Householder who hired labourers into his vineyard; ‘Friend, I do thee no wrong.” Matt. xx. 13. This plea was in all reason sufficient to secure peace; though we are too apt to imagine, that we are injured if we receive less from free bounty than other men: and to look upon that as an injury, which is only a deprivation of a benefit. that we had been long accustomed to enjoy. “Should a man have injured us beyond dispute, and should he shew strong marks of sincere contrition; let us remember the Servant-Debtor: let us by all means avoid that cutting reproach of the Lord, to whom the debt was owing; ‘O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desirest me ; shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow-servant, even as I had pity on thee?” Matt. xviii. 32, 33. Let this excellent parable make us cautious of over-rating any injury offered to us, and earnest, when we think, it necessary to punish, in chusing the punishment most likely to do good. And after all our caution, let us be aware, that the best punishment we can chuse may not answer the good purpose intended; such is the ‘hardness and impenitent heart.” Rom. ii. 5, of some men :-nay, that a punishment strictly just, may be cruel, according to the passage of the Parable now quoted, and therefore unbecoming when inflicted by fail and fallible beings. And not only cruelty may prompt us to punish, but, what seems less obvious, cowardice; that the merciful may be brave, cannot be doubted by those who contemplate our - - blessed