Page images
[ocr errors]

St. John says,

66 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer,” he probably has the idea of hatred producing, or produced by, enmity, and compounded with it; which, in a common course of things, naturally produces violence and bitter contentions, sometimes terminating in actual murder. He seems also to have that idea when 1 John ii. 9. he condemns hatred in general terms.

19. Moral disapprobation, or abhorrence of an action as wrong or vicious, is often compounded with hatred; because though these sentiments are in their nature distinct, many viccs are the occasion of their being both excited at the same time, or jointly. Thus when we see instances of pride, arrogance, falshood, selfishness, cruelty, we both feel moral abhorrence of the conduct, and dislike, or hatred, of the persons who are guilty of it. And our compound sentiment may take either name.

The Psalmist uses both. " As for lies, I hate and abhor them," cxix. 163. Elsewhere he says,

ye that love the Lord, see that ye hate the thing which is evil,” xcvii. 10. Whereas St Paul says, Rom. xii. 9. “ Abhor that which is evil.” And in the same Epistle he seems to use moral condemnation and hatred promiscuously. Rom. vii. 15. “ that which I do, I allow not,”—“ but what I hate, that do I.” The expressions of Solomon in the character of Wisdom must hence appear easy and natural. " The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth do I hate,” Prov. viii. 13. The Son of Sirach says, Ecclus. xxv. 2.

66 Three sorts of men my soul hateth, and I am greatly offended at their Life: a poor man that is proud, a rich man that is a liar, and an old adulterer that doteth.” Here are qualities at the same time odious and vicious: and hatred is directed to persons, and disapprobation to conduct. When the Deity is said to hate sin, hatred may perhaps be conceived to belong to the present head. It now only remains, that we briefly exemplify what has been called hating comparatively, and hating in effect.

20. In the expression “ Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated," Rom. ix. 13. Mal. i. 2, 3. nothing seems really to be signified but a preference of the younger brother to the elder. This preference might possibly have been otherwise expressed, had not a series

of blessings been conferred, for many successive ages, on the descendants of the younger brother, which were witheld from those of the elder. When blessings were so continued, it was natural to conceive them as the effects of love in the gracious and bountiful giver. As well as to call the laying waste of the mountains of Esau, and of his heritage, acts or effects of his hatred : especially in a poetical composition. Malachi, i. 2, 3. We find in the Law of Moses, Deut. xxi. 15. “If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated," I should doubt whether this meant any thing but that one wife was more beloved than the other. For in St. Luke's Gospel we find the expression; “ If any man come to me, and hate not his father and mother;" (Luke xiv. 26 ;) And in St. Matthew's Gospel the same thing according to this form ; “ He that loveth Father or Mother more than me, is not worthy of me. Matt. x. 37.

21. Lastly, What we have called hating in effect is so little liable to abuse, or even to be misunderstood, that it will be sufficient to mention an instance or two. “ Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul:” Prov. xxix. 24. And Prov. xiii. 24. “ He that spareth his rod hateth his son;" hateth him in effect: doth that, perhaps from a mistaken tenderness, which is as pernicious as if he had acted from principles of hatred.

22. Having now considered the Nature of hatred, and the language of scripture in relation to it ; I proceed to the second thing proposed ; ($4) which was to examine into its Effects, good and evil. For of its effects some are beneficial, though those which are hurtful are the more commonly noticed. We will begin with the beneficial effects of hatred.

23. In considering any part of our constitution we may have two different views; the one to justify the ways of God ; the other to find out the best conduct for man.

When we, in any degree, put ourselves in the place of the Governor of men, we conceive how men are likely to act; to what motives they are likely to yield ; on such expectations all rules of Government are founded. And maxims of Government, neglecting


particular excepted cascs, speak as if men were constantly impelled by certain motives; but when we point out the best sort of conduct to men, we suppose each man to be free to choose in every instance. Thus when a rule or law is made about admitting evidence, men are supposed to be influenced by private interest ; and therefore it is a maxim, that no one shall be a witness, and the same of a judge, in his own cause : but when a man is exhorted not on any account whatsoever, to bear false witness against his neighbour, no such thing is supposed; he is addressed as one who is, what he really feels himself to be, perfectly at liberty to give either false testimony or true. Nor is there any real contradiction or inconsistency between these two modes of speaking: each is natural in the circumstances in which it is used; but if men are not aware of the two different situations in which two such different forms of expression naturally arise, they will be apt to suspect inconsistency when in reality there is none. This being premised, we may proceed with the greater security.

24. Hatred, like other malevolent sentiments, when considered as a good, or as the work of our Creator, must be classed with those remedies for evils, (for it is impossible but that evils will come) which are not in themselves perfectly free from evil. Poisons which are antidotes to poisons, medicines or operations whichi cause bodily pain in order to diminish bodily pain upon the whole, are of this class : And indeed so are all

punishments, which are painful methods of preventing evils ; of preventing hurtful attacks on person and property. And so is War, since that must be estimated as good which lessens evil; all these are good, so long as evil is lessened by them. (e) This was before obseryed of the Sword (33)

25. Each of the remedies which produce good by evil, has its peculiar manner of operation, and its own consequences. Our question is, what are the good consequences of hatred ? I could wish to be permitted to answer, that they have not yet been studied and arranged with accuracy sufficient to make our account of them as satisfactory as other accounts may be hereafter. But we may say, in short, that hatred does good by

checking all odious qualities. If it be asked, what need of a passion for that purpose, since without hatred nothing could have been odions; we answer, it seems highly probable, that every thing which is odious to a well-formed mind, is of such a nature, as would, if not checked, prevent happiness, or promote misery, in one way or other. Either it would burt the bodily health, or obstruct the pleasures of the imagination, cr choke up that love of decency and order which is so powerful a support of Virtue : or contaminate that cleanliness which seems greatly instrumental to inward purity of heart, or prevent social happiness, especially that of the best kind, from diffusing itself through the mind of the meek and humble, the delicate and refined, or lessen the production, or the effect, or the utility, of things calculated to promote and embellish civilized life. It seems highly probable, in short, that whatever a good man, of an improved mind, hates, or is disgusted with, is something which, if suffered to run wild, and spread without restraint, would tend to impair, or to check the growth, or the enjoyment, of those perceptions and feelings, that are peculiar to human nature ; those by which man is most eminently distinguished from the brute creation. (8)

26. Nor must it be thought trilling or unimportant to found the utility of hatred upon its tendency to civilize mankind, and polish human nature ; It is as mnch the design of Providence that Man should be improved and refined, as that he should subsist, or continue his species. Were not this the case, numberless provisions of Providence would be wholly thrown away. When we say that odious qualities probably tend to injure health, it should at the same time be understood, that every disorder of our bodily frame affects the mind, and therefore hurts or impedes our finer faculties and per-, ceptions, to an extent beyond any limits which we can assign. And these are parts of man, as niuch as his bodily members. In this sense it is true, that “ Man shall not live by bread, alone." Indeed the lowest classes amongst us are allowed to consider many accommodations as necessaries of life, to which an uncivilized human being is an utter stranger.

[ocr errors]

27. Now if things which ought to be odious, or which would be odious to the best regulated mind, are really of the nature of noxious weeds, or hurtful luxuriances, it is easy to see, that it is much better for mankind to have their growth checked by means of a sentiment, than by mere reason and experience. A sentiment acts instantaneously, whereas the deductions of reason and experience are slow. (g) Sentiment can repel any attack upon the finer parts of our Nature before they are thoroughly understood, and so lead us to study and esteem them; whereas if reason and experience alone inform us when we should restrain what would corrupt our nobler enjoyments, we must wait till our taste for virtue, and the fine arts has been reduced to a regular theory: a thing not very near now, but which would be at a much greater distance than it now is, if we never had any guide but what was purely intellectual. Not that hatred is a mere blind instinct : although it acts, or makes us act, instantaneously, it is subject to the correction of reason : its operations are examined, judged, regulated by our superior faculties ; and after regulation it acquires the prudence, as it were, of calm judgment, at the same time that it retains the quickness, versatility, and energy of sentiment,

28. Still you may urge, that what has been said may all be called general, and that in some particulars it is not easy to see what good end can be answered by our hating some things usually accounted odious. Where, for instance, is the good, you may say, of men's hating deformity? You will not, I fear, state the question, Where is the good of men's loving beauty? because pleasing forms and graceful motions (h) cause a considerable part of human happiness; and there is no more incontrovertible proof of the Divine Benevolence than that we in some things enjoy happiness which may be called gratuitous : Happiness without which it seems if all the ends of God's government might be answered: and yet our hatred of deformity seems to be a part of our love of beauty : It seems to be occasioned by the shock given to our habitual feelings and expectations, when they are disappointed by deviations from those forms or motions, which are inost pleasing to the eye.

« PreviousContinue »