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him in his journies; and such was his cruelty, that to this day it continues proverbial; to all which were added the most extravagant and unnatural lusts. A similar depravation of character is noted in Caligula, Caracalla, and others of that imperial race; which seems to have been raised up by Providence to teach the world of what dreadful enormities our nature is capable, when left without control, and abandoned to its own propensities. But there is no necessity of recurring to former periods to show, that those who have been least under the government of others are generally least able to govern themselves; and that power, when it falls into such hands, is commonly converted into an instrument of sensuality and injustice. We need only to take a view of our own times, to be supplied with too many examples to this purpose.
Nor is an unrestrained indulgence of the passions more unfavourable to virtue, than it is to enjoyment. This will evidently appear, if we attend only to their encroaching and insatiable nature when left without fere and clash with one another, which, separate from every moral consideration, and what hereafter may take place under the righteous government of God, can hardly fail to breed much disquiet in the bosom where they are suffered to reign uncontrolled. Of this, the wise monarch of the Jews had full experience, which he entered upon record for the warning and instruction of all future ages. He sought in his heart, as he tells us, to give himself unto wine, and to lay hold on folly; he made great works, built houses, and planted vineyards; he gathered silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and provinces; gat men-singers and women-singers, and the delights of the sons of men: whatsoever his eyes desired he kept ?iot from them, nor withheld his heart from any joy. And what was the result of all this toilsome forecast and provision? Then, says he, / looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do; and behold all was vanity and vexation of spirit. From such a trial, made with every possible advantage, we may there
fore conclude with certainty, that to make theJ most of the passions, even as to this world, is not to allow them full scope, but to subdue their natural wildness, and inure them to a ready submission to the just authority of law, both divine and human.
On Moral Libert]/.
There is another species of liberty, on which 1 am willing to bestow a few strictures in this place, although its connection with civil government is less direct and immediate. Should the reader think it a digression, it is one which I hope he will excuse, on account of the importance of the subject.
The liberty I here intend is moral, and consists in a power of acting in all cases with an habitual and prevalent regard to what is morally right.
That this is a liberty pre-eminent to all others needs little illustration. What would it avail a man to climb the Alps or the Ancles; to visit the pyramids of Egypt, or the great wall of China; or, more wisely perhaps, sit at home, under the protection of equal laws, and quietly enjoy his portion would it avail him to range through all the arts and sciences, and traverse the intellectual world; if he is held within invisible chains, fettered with guilt/and tyrannized by his passions*?
Instead therefore of insisting upon a topic sufficiently evident of itself, let us proceed to consider briefly, whether this liberty is now a part of our natural inheritance; and, jf not, in what way we may acquire it.
\. Whether we place moral virtue in a conformity to the reason and fitness of things, or to the truth of things, or to their intrinsic worth and excellence; it will appear that the bulk of mankind are without the im
* The above remark was perhaps never more strikingly exemplified than in the late M. de Voltaire, whose versatility of genius could pass with facility and vigour from poetry to mathematics, from history to philosophy, from physics to metaphysics: this, however, although it gave variety and extent to his intellectual acquisitions, rendered them superficial and trifling, by preventing a regular and steady application to any one subject. Every difficulty apparently giving way before him, he seems to have satisfied himself with the idea of what he could have accomplished, and to have assumed the praise of