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the character of benevolence: and what is second causes, and which on that account benevolence at all, must in him be infinite are removed to a greater distance from us. benevolence, by reason of the infinite, that The doctrine of imperfections, or, as it is is to say, the incalculably great, number of called, of evils of imperfection, furnishes an objects, upon which it is exercised.
account, founded, like the former, in views March 187
of universal nature. The doctrine is briefly
this :-It is probable, that creation may be Op the ORIGIN OF Evil, no universal better replenished by sensitive beings of solution has been discovered; I mean, no different sorts, than by sensitive beings all solution which reaches to all cases of com- of one sort. It is likewise probable, that plaint. The most comprehensive is that it may be better replenished by different which arises from the consideration of orders of beings rising one above another in general rules. We may, I think, without gradation, than by beings possessed of equal much difficulty, be brought to admit the degrees of perfection. Now, a gradation of four following points: first, that important such beings, implies a gradation of imperadvantages may accrue to the universe from fections. No class can justly complain of the order of nature proceeding according to the imperfections which belong to its place general laws: secondly, that general laws, in the scale, unless it were allowable for it however well set and constituted, often to complain, that a scale of being was thwart and cross one another: thirdly, that appointed in nature ; for which appointment from these thwartings and crossings, frequent there appear to be reasons of wisdom and particular inconveniencies will arise : and, goodness. fourthly, that it agrees with our observation In like manner, finiteness, or what is to suppose, that some degree of these incon- resolvable into finiteness, in inanimate veniencies takes place in the works of subjects, can never be a just subject of comnature. These points may be allowed ; and plaint; because if it were ever so, it would it may also be asserted, that the general be always so: we mean, that we can never laws with which we are acquainted, are reasonably demand that things should be directed to beneficial ends. On the other larger or more, when the same demand hand, with many of these laws we are not might be made, whatever the quantity or acquainted at all, or we are totally unable number was. to trace them in their branches, and in their And to me it seems, that the sense of operation ; the effect of which ignorance is, mankind has so far acquiesced in these that they cannot be of importance to us as reasons, as that we seldom complain of evils measures by which to regulate our conduct. of this class, when we clearly perceive them The conservation of them may be of im- to be such. What I have to add, therefore, portance in other respects, or to other beings, is, that we ought not to complain of some but we are uninformed of their value or use; other evils, which stand upon the same foot uninformed, consequently, when, and how of vindication as evils of confessed imperfar, they may or may not be suspended, or fection. We never complain, that the globe their effects turned aside, by a presiding of our earth is too small: nor should we and benevolent will, without incurring complain, if it were even much smaller. greater evils than those which would be But where is the difference to us, between a avoided. The consideration, therefore, of less globe, and part of the present being general laws, although it may concern the uninhabitable? The inhabitants of an question of the origin evil very nearly island may be apt enough to murmur at the (which I think it does), rests in views sterility of some parts of it, against its rocks, disproportionate to our faculties, and in a or sands, or swamps: but no one thinks knowledge which we do not possess. It himself authorized to murmur, simply serves rather to account for the obscurity of because the island is not larger than it is. the subject, than to supply us with distinct Yet these are the same griefs. answers to our difficulties. However, whilst The above are the two metaphysical we assent to the above-stated propositions as answers which have been given to this principles, whatever uncertainty we may great question. They are not the worse for find in the application, we lay a ground for being metaphysical, provided they be believing, that cases of apparent evil, for founded (which I think they are) in right which we can suggest no particular reason, reasoning: but they are of a nature too are governed by reasons, which are more wide to be brought under our survey, and it general, which lie deeper in the order of is often difficult to apply them in the detail.
Our speculations, therefore, are perhaps sure, that a man is not a gainer by suffering better employed when they confine them- a moderate interruption of bodily ease for a selves within a narrower circle.
couple of hours out of the four-and-twenty. The observations which follow, are of Two very common observations favour this this more limited, but more determinate, opinion: one is, that remissions of pain call kind.
forth, from those who experience them, Of bodily pain, the principal observation, stronger expressions of satisfaction and of no doubt, is that which we have already gratitude towards both the author and the made, and already dwelt upon, viz. “ that instruments of their relief, than are excited it is seldom the object of contrivance; that by advantages of any other kind: the second when it is so, the contrivance rests ultimately is, that the spirits of sick men do not sink in in good.”
proportion to the acuteness of their sufferings; To which, however, may be added, that but rather appear to be roused and supthe annexing of pain to the means of ported, not by pain, but by the high degree destruction is a salutary provision ; inasmuch of comfort which they derive from
its cessaas it teaches vigilance and caution ; both tion, or even its subsidency, whenever that gives notice of danger, and excites those occurs; and which they taste with a relish, endeavours which may be necessary to that diffuses some portion of mental complapreservation. The evil consequence, which cency over the whole of that mixed state of sometimes arises from the want of that sensations in which disease has placed timely intimation of danger which pain them. gives, is known to the inhabitants of cold In connection with bodily pain may be countries by the example of frost-bitten considered bodily disease, whether painful limbs. I have conversed with patients who or not. Few diseases are fatal. I have had lost toes and fingers by this cause. before me the account of a dispensary in They have in general told me, that they the neighbourhood, which states six years' were totally unconscious of any local experience as follows: uneasiness at the time. Some I have heard
Admitted declare, that, whilst they were about their
5,476 employment, neither their situation, nor the state of the air, was unpleasant. They felt no pain ; they suspected no mischief; till, And this I suppose nearly to agree with by the application of warmth, they dis- what other similar institutions exhibit. covered, too late, the fatal injury "which Now, in all these cases, some disorder must some of their extremities had suffered. I have been felt, or the patients would not say that this shows the use of pain, and have applied for a remedy; yet we see how that we stand in need of such a monitor. large a proportion of the maladies which I believe also that the use extends farther were brought forward, have either yielded to than we suppose, or can now trace; that to proper treatment, or, what is more probable, disagreeable sensations we, and all animals, ceased of their own accord. We owe these owe, or have owed, many habits of action frequent recoveries, and, where recovery which are salutary, but which are become does not take place, this patience of the so familiar, as not easily to be referred to human constitution under many of the their origin.
distempers by which it is visited, to two Pain aiso itse.i is not without its allevia- benefactions of our nature. One is, that tions. It may be violent and frequent; but she works within certain limits; allows of a it is seldom both violent and long-continued: certain latitude within which health may be and its pauses and intermissions become preserved, and within the confines of which positive pleasures. It has the power of it only suffers a graduated diminution. shedding a satisfaction over intervals of Different quantities of food, different degrees ease, which, I believe, few enjoyments of exercise, different portions of sleep, exceed. A man resting from a fit of the different states of the atmosphere, are comstone or gout, is, for the time, in possession patible with the possession of health. So of feelings which undisturbed health cannot likewise it is with the secretions and excreimpart. They may be dearly bought, but tions, with many internal functions of the still they are to be set against the price. body, and with the state, probably, of most And, indeed, it depends upon the duration of its internal organs. They may vary and urgency of the pain, whether they be considerably, not only without destroying dearly bought or not. I am far from being life, but without occasioning any high degree
of inconveniency. The other property of with pain. To the brute creation, nature our nature, to which we are still more seems to have stepped in with some secret beholden, is its constant endeavour to restore provision for their relief, under the rupture itself, when disordered, to its regular course. of their attachments. In their instincts The fluids of the body appear to possess a towards their offspring, and of their offspring power of separating and expelling any to them, I have often been surprised to noxious substance which may have mixed observe how ardently they love, and how itself with them. This they do, in eruptive soon they forget. The pertinacity of human fevers, by a kind of despumation, as Sydenham sorrow (upon which, tíme also, at length, calls it, analogous in some measure to the lays its softening hand) is probably, thereintestine action by which fermenting liquors fore, in some manner connected with the work the yest to the surface. The solids, on qualities of our rational or moral nature. their part, when their action is obstructed, One thing however is clear, viz. that it is not only resume that action, as soon as the better that we should possess affections, the obstruction is removed, but they struggle sources of so many virtues, and so many with the impediment. They take an action joys, although they be exposed to the as near to the true one, as the difficulty and incidents of life, as well as the interruptions the disorganization, with which they have to of mortality, than, by the want of them, be contend, will allow of.
reduced to a state of selfishness, apathy, and Of mortal diseases, the great use is to quietism. reconcile us to death. The horror of death Of other external evils (still confining proves the value of life. But it is in the ourselves to what are called physical or power of disease to abate, or even extinguish, natural evils), a considerable part come this horror; which it does in a wonderful within the scope of the following observmanner, and, oftentimes, by a mild and ation :-The great principle of human imperceptible gradation. Every man who satisfaction is engagement. It is a most has been placed in a situation to observe it, just distinction, which the late Mr. Tucker is surprised with the change which has been has dwelt upon so largely in his works, wrought in himself, when he compares the between pleasures in which we are passive, view which he entertains of death upou a and pleasures in which we are active. And, sick-bed, with the heart-sinking dismay with I believe, every attentive observer of human which he should some time ago have met it life will assent to his position, that, however in health. There is no similitude between grateful the sensations may occasionally be the sensations of a man led to execution, and in which we are passive, it is not these, but the calm expiring of a patient at the close of the latter class of our pleasures, which conhis disease. Death to him is only the last stitute satisfaction ; which supply that of a long train of changes; in his progress regular stream of moderate and miscellaneous through which, it is possible that he may enjoyments, in which happiness, as distinexperience no shocks or sudden transitions." guished from voluptuousness, consists. Now
Death itself, as a mode of removal and of for rational occupation, which is, in other. succession, is so connected with the whole words, for the very material of contented order of our animal world, that almost every existence, there would be no place left, if thing in that world must be changed, to be either the things with which we had to do able
to do without it. It may seem likewise were absolutely impracticable to our endeaimpossible to separate the fear of death from vours, or if they were too obedient to our the enjoyment of life, or the perception of uses. A world, furnished with advantages that fear from rational natures.
on one side, and beset with difficulties, in a great measure delivered from all anxiety wants, and inconveniences on the other, is on this account by the inferiority of their the proper abode of free, rational, and active faculties ; or rather they seem to be armed natures, being the fittest to stimulate and with the apprehension of death just sufficiently exercise their faculties. The very refractoto put them upon the means of preservation, riness of the objects they have to deal .with, and no farther. But would a human being contributes to this purpose. A world in wish to purchase this immunity at the which nothing depended upon ourselves, expense of those mental powers which enable however it might have suited an imaginary him to look forward to the future ?
race of beings, would not have suited manDeath implies separation : and the loss kind. Their skill, prudence, industry ; their of those whom we love, must necessarily, so various arts, and their best attainments, from far as we can conceive, be accompanied the application of which they draw, if not
their highest, their most permanent gratifica- most easily produced. And this in fact, tions, would be insignificant, if things could describes the condition of the mass of the be either moulded by our volitions, or, of community in all countries: a condition their own accord, conformed themselves to unavoidably, as it should seem, resulting our views and wishes. Now it is in this from the provision which is made in the refractoriness that we discern the seed and human, in common with all animal constiprinciple of physical evil, as far as it arises tutions, for the perpetuity and multiplication from that which is external to us.
of the species. Civil evils, or the evils of civil life, are It need not however dishearten any endeamuch more easily disposed of, than physical vours for the public service, to know that evils; because they are, in truth, of much population naturally treads upon the heels less magnitude, and also because they result, of improvement. If the condition of a by a kind of necessity, not only from the people be meliorated, the consequence will constitution of our nature, but from a part be, either that the mean happiness will be of that constitution, which no one would increased, or a greater number partake of it; wish to see altered. The case is this : or, which is most likely to happen, that Mankind will in every country breed up to both effects will take place together. There a certain point of distress. That point may may be limits fixed by nature to both, but be different in different countries or ages, they are limits not yet attained, nor even according to the established usages of life in approached, in any country of the world. each. It will also shift upon the scale, su And when we speak of limits at all, we as to admit of a greater or less number of have respect only to provisions for animal inhabitants, according, as the quantity of wants. There are sources, and means, and provision, which is either produced in the auxiliaries, and augmentations of human country, or supplied to it from other coun- happiness, communicable without restriction tries, may happen to vary. But there must of numbers; as capable of being possessed always be such a point, and the species will by a thousand persons as by one.
Such are always breed up to it. The order of those, which flow from a mild, contrasted generation proceeds by something like a with a tyrannic government, whether civil geometrical progression. The increase of or domestic; those which spring from reliprovision, under circumstances even the gion; those which grow out of a sense of most advantageous, can only assume the security; those which depend upon habits of form of an arithmetic series. Whence it virtue, sobriety, moderation, order; those, follows, that the population will always lastly, which are found in the possession of overtake the provision, will pass beyond the well-directed tastes and desires, compared line of plenty, and will continue to increase with the dominion of tormenting, pernicious, till checked by the difficulty of procuring contradictory, unsatisfied, and unsatisfiable subsistence.* Such difficulty therefore, passions. along with its attendant circumstances, must The distinctions of civil life are apt enough be found in every old country: and these to be regarded as evils, by those who sit circumstances constitute what we call under them; but, in my opinion, with very poverty, which, necessarily, imposes labour, little reason. servitude, restraint.
In the first place, the advantages which It seems impossible to people a country the higher conditions of life are supposed to with inhabitants who shall be all easy in confer, bear no proportion in value to the circumstances. For suppose the thing to be advantages which are bestowed by nature. done, there would be such marrying and The gifts of nature always surpass the gifts giving in marriage amongst them, as would of fortune. How much, for example, is in a few years change the face of affairs activity better than attendance; beauty than entirely: i. e. as would increase the con- dress; appetite, digestion, and tranquil sumption of those articles, which supplied bowels, than all the studies of cookery, or the natural or habitual wants of the country, than the most costly compilation of forced, to such a degree of scarcity, as must leave or far-fetched dainties ! the greatest part of the inhabitants unable Nature has a strong tendency to equalizato procure them without toilsome endeavours, tion. Habit, the instrument of nature, is a or, out of the different kinds of these articles, great leveller; the familiarity which it to procure any kind except that which was induces, taking off the edge both of our
* See a statement of this subject, in a late pleasures and our sufferings. Indulgences troatise upon population.
which are habitual, keep us in ease, and cannot be carried much farther. So that, submission painful. In the general course with respect to the gratifications of which of human affairs, the very reverse of this is the senses are capable, the difference is by nearer to the truth. Command is anxiety, no means proportionable to the apparatus. obedience ease. Nay, so far as superfluity generates fastidi
Artificial distinctions sometimes promote ousness, the difference is on the wrong side. real equality. Whether they be hereditary,
It is not necessary to contend, that the or be the homage paid to office, or the advantages derived from wealth are none respect attached by public opinion to parti(under due regulations they are certainly cular professions, they serve to confront considerable), but that they are not greater that grand and unavoidable distinction which than they ought to be. Money is the arises from property, and which is most sweetener of human toil; the substitute for overbearing where there is no other. It is coercion; the reconciler of labour with of the nature of property, not only to be liberty. It is, moreover, the stimulant of irregularly distributed, but to run into large euterprise in all projects and undertakings, masses. Public laws should be so constructed as well as of diligence in the most beneficial as to favour its diffusion as much as they arts and employments. Now did affluence, can. But all that can be done by laws, when possessed, contribute nothing to hap- consistently with that degree of government piness, or nothing beyond the mere supply of his property which ought to be left to the of necessaries; and the secret should come subject, will not be sufficient to counteract to be discovered; we might be in danger of this tendency. There must always therefore losing great part of the uses, which are, at be the difference between rich and poor: present, derived to us through this important and this difference will be the more grinding, medium. Not only would the tranquillity when no pretension is allowed to be set up of social life be put in peril by the want of a against it. motive to attach men to their private con- So that the evils, if evils they must be cerns; but the satisfaction which all men called, which spring either from the necesreceive from success in their respective sary subordinations of civil life, or from the occupations, which collectively constitutes distinctions which have, naturally, though the great mass of human comfort, would be not necessarily, grown up in most societies, done away in its very principle.
so long as they are unaccompanied by priviWith respect to station, as it is distin- leges injurious or oppressive to the rest of guished from riches, whether it confer the community, are such, as may, even by authority over others, or be invested with the most depressed ranks, be endured with honours which apply solely to sentiment and very little prejudice to their comfort. imagination, the truth is, that what is gained The mischiefs to which mankind are the by rising through the ranks of life, is not occasion to one another, by their private more than sufficient to draw forth the wickednesses and cruelties, by tyrannical exertions of those who are engaged in the exercises of power; by rebellions against pursuits which lead to advancement, and just authority; by wars; by national jeawhich, in general, are such as ought to be lousies and competitions operating to the encouraged. Distinctions of this sort are destruction of third countries; or by other subjects much more of competition than of instances of misconduct either in individuals enjoyment: and in that competition their or societies, are all to be resolved into use consists. It is not, as hath been rightly the character of man as a free agent. Free observed, by what the Lord Mayor feels in agency in its very essence contains liability his coach, but by what the apprentice feels to abuse. Yet, if you deprive man of his who gazes at him, that the public is served. free agency, you subvert his nature. You
As we approach the summits of human may have order from him and regularity, greatness, the comparison of good and evil, as you may from the tides or the tradewith respect to personal comfort, becomes winds, but you put an end to his moral still more problematical; even allowing to character, to virtue, to merit, to accountambition all its pleasures. The poet asks, ableness, to the use indeed of reason. To "What is grandeur, what is power?”. The which must be added the observation, that philosopher answers, “Constraint and plague: even the bad qualities of mankind have an et in maximâ quâque fortuna minimum origin in their good ones. The case is this: licere.” One very common error misleads Human passions are either necessary to the opinion of mankind on this head, viz. human welfare, or-capable of being made, that, universally, authority is pleasant, and, in a great majority of instances, in fact