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33. Public authority is as much weakened by rash disgust and hatred, as are private friendship and affection. With what difficulty is it that any magistrate, or any person entrusted with any sort of power for the benefit of others, can keep himself from the odium even of those for whose advantage he acts! Whenever it becomes necessary to curb licentiousness, to combat prejudices, and interfere with private interests, what clamour, what disgust, what bitterness arises ! yet to do these things, for the public good, is the very essence of the duty of men in public stations. The best friends of mankind, when in power, must submit sometimes to be hated as the worst enemies : this some are too weak to bear ; they want resolution to stem the torrent of popular hatred ; and so either temporize, and abandon the cause of the public, or retire from their station, and are succeeded by those, who have recourse to every mean artifice, in order to prevent the same humiliation. But here we speak of things as they are, not as they ought to be; we are describing facts, not inculcating duties. (Art. 23.) The regulation of hatred, as well as the conduct of those who suffer by it, remains to be considered hereafter.
34. The man who is easily disgusted, does harm not only to those with whom he is connected, but to persons who are in a great measure strangers to him. If he sees one only at a distance, and very imperfectly, when
any dislike arises, he ventures to make an unfavourable estimate of his character. And every uncandid opinion, taken up in a malignant humour, promotes an unkind disposition, and unfriendly behaviour. Are men his superiors ? they make him feel insignificant ; he hates their ease and their insolence: are they his inferiors ? he is disgusted with their meanness and vulgarity; or with their sordid appearance and manners, or with their wants, importunities, refusal to join in his pursuits. And thus do the powerful and worthy sentiments of respect and esteem, as well as those of pity and condescension, lose all their salutary influence upon his heart and actions. Nor does his indulging his disgusts do harm only by the loss of what he rejects, but by the interference of those whom he encourages ; some men he must countenance; and a specious exterior, with insinuating manners, will often be the means of introducing to his patronage a false heart, and an unprincipled conduct. He never considers, never endeavours to correct his first judgment, if judgment it may be called; never recollects, that the more intelli. gent may have less the appearance of acuteness; nay that the more polite may
have less the appearance of politeness. For a man of a truly amiable disposition may not have acquired those external manners, which are settled by arbitrary custom as expressive of politeness, in a particular place, and at a particular time, and yet he may have all those delicate attentions, those generous sympathies, from which the fashionable laws of politeness have really derived their origin.
35. Thus we see how the indulgence of hatred may discourage virtue, and corrupt our most valuable enjoyments. When we say this, we speak of such enjoyments aś are seeni, and in some degree experienced; but we have reason to think that it wholly prevents the existence of many, which, but for its baneful influence, would have sprung up to bless and embellish human life. When men associate
candid and benevolent principles, they soon perceive a copious increase of friendship and happiness : nay let them only live together, and give no offence, that is sufficient to engender mutual affection : this is so generally felt, that the same word consuetudo, which signifies custom, or the habit of living together, has been used to express mutual attatchment. We are naturally attracted to each other; and when we associate, we must partake of the same pleasures ; we must have in common an interest, a tender fellow-feeling in many objects: pleasing recollections grow upon us, and multiply perpetually; and every advancement in kindness makes an addition to our good offices and our enjoyments, Faults may remain ; but “ Love covereth all sins.” Prov. x. 12. Now suppose men to form large societies in this manner, their enia joyments must he very abundant; but the smallest knots of friends, so united, could not fail to produce a continual increase of good ; and that of such a sort as would make a constituent part of more public good :
such as would serve to swell the aggregate of general happiness. The hurtful effects of hatred then extend far beyond the positive mischiefs which can distinctly be marked out, as its undoubted offspring.
36. Since the stronger hatred is, the greater are the mischiefs arising from it, the manner of its growth is a material part of our subject. And if it has once taken root, its increase is by no means slow. When you shew disgust and aversion towards any man, you naturally excite in him aversion towards yourself; which will, in some manner,
dislike to him. And thus you display to each other only your unpleasing qualities, whilst your pleasing ones are entirely unseen and unknown. Whereas each of you to his own friends shews only those qualities, those looks, manners, actions, which are adapted to conciliate esteem and love. The consequence is, that your friends think the object of your hatred unreasonably malevolent, and his friends think you the same ; the disgust and ill. will increases and spreads; and in the end supplies the seeds of lasting enmity : and that between numbers of beings intended to love and cherish each other ; and to raise a fund of comfort and enjoyment improving and enlarging itself beyond any assignable limits, and continuing till time shall be no more.
37. The third thing proposed, after considering the nature of hatred, and its effects, good and evil, was to suggest something tending towards the discipline and regulation of that dangerous sentiment.
Some men may think that such a sentiment cannot be too much weakened ; that wholly to extinguish it would be best. And some moralists, not only profane but sacred, have condenined it in such terms as would, if followed in their literal sense, reduce it to nothing. But moral precepts are seldom or never to be taken in a literal sense, when delivered occasionally, or in familiar language. They may reasonably, and in perfect conformity to custom, which gives the law in ali language, be couched in general terins, without any exceptions or limitations, in all circumstances where exceptions would be entirely useless. Where the persons taught want impelling only one way. What utility could possibly result from advising men to eat and drink freely, whose principal fault was carrying indulgence to excess? And if a precept be addressed to mankind at large, enjoining them to avoid an evil which can be only avoided by avoiding the occasions of it, would it follow, that, till the occasions can be avoided, such evil is forbidden? Go not to Law, says a friend, be sure to avoid law-suits ; that is, keep at a distance froin all occasions of legal contention; but does such advice imply, that when such occasions cannot be warded off, a man is never to call in the protection of the Magistrate ? why then is he a member of civil Society? That man, says another, is most comfortable who has nothing to do with medicine ; true ; that man is blessed indeed who always enjoys good health. Let the sword rest in its scabbard, says a third ; an excellent precept, if understood as discouraging all occasions of war ; but it is grossly misunderstood if it be taken as a prohibition of all self-defence, Now all this applies to hatred ; which is generally found in an excessive and very rarely in a defective state : those therefore who give moral instructions, see and feel, that they have very great need to discourage, and little or none to encourage it. And the less systematical any set of precepts is, or the more artlessly arising from particular circumstances, the less likely are they to specify limitations and exceptions. Now no practical directions are so little systematical as those of the scriptures ; none owe their origin more to particular incidents ; it is therefore by no means natter of surprize if we find hatred there forbidden, in some passages, in general terms, and ranked amongst the works of the flesh, amongst the vicious passions of barbarous heathens, as opposed to the gentle and benevolent affecticns of true Christians: nor can we wonder if our church prays to be delivered from hatred. But we must not conclude from thence that every emotion of disgust is sinful.
" Do not I hate them,” says the Psalmist, cxxxix. 21." that hate thee? I hate them with perfect hatred, “I count them mine enemies.”' " Ye that love the Lord, hate cvil,” Although therefore we ought to keep our minds pure from that kind and degree of hatred which St. Paul reckons amongst the works of the flesh, and describes as unworthy of a Christian, yet we must not pretend to be more than men whilst we live amongst men. As it is no excel. lence to be slow in distinguishing between good and evil, so is it no way meritorious to be insensible to the difference when it is perceived; or to the qualities com. monly called odious. Whilst we are liable to be incommoded by such qualities, we should judge ill to lay aside that defence which the author of nature hath graciously provided. Suppose hatred in its best state, not to be recommended in Scripture ; neither is parental love : (Ogden Ser. xii. on Commandments.) If hatred, in its ordinary state, be forbidden in Scripture, so is killing, so is swearing, so is drinking wine, ; yet none of these universally ; though they are forbidden in general terms, and no exceptions are mentioned. The gratification of our animal appetites is not the subject of scriptural exhortation: and yet the scripture wishes not either the individual man or his species to be extinct; nor could any man be accounted the more perfect for wanting animal appetites. Hereafter, we shall be “ as the angels which are in heaven;" but in this life we are not angels; we are men.
(i.) Mark xii. 25.
Again ; suppose some heavenly being were to address us, saying, "Let there be no more hatred amongst you;' though we should not understand him of any particular kind or degree of hatred, yet we should conceive his true mcáning to be, . Let all occasions of hatred entirely cease. It is indeed desirable that those qualities should cease which commonly excite hatred, in which case our hatred would die away, and soon vanish from the earth ; but it is not desirable that the qualities should continue to corrupt our finest enjoyments, and we be deprived of that sentiment, by which we are enabled quickly to discern and forcibly to counteract them.
Thus much may be necessary in order to clear our way, and furnish us with distinct ideas of the subject before us. We may now proceed to some practical