« AnteriorContinuar »
and cleanliness in our houses and
An Animal, whatever it be, or wherever it is placed in the great Scale of Being, is such, and is lo placed by the great Creator and Father of the Universe, At the Top of the scale of terrestrial animals we suppose MAN; and, when we contemplate the Pers fections of Body, and the Endowments of Mind, which, we prefumé, He poffeffes above all the other animals, we justly suppose, Him there conftituted by his Maker. But, in this bighest rank, we may observe degrees and differences, not only as to ftature, beauty, strength, and complexion, þut also as to thofe very Powers
of the Mind, which so eminently distinguish Men from brutes. Yet, in one particular we: agree alike, from the most
per fect to the most dull and deformed of men, and from him down to the vileft brute, that we are all fufceptible and sensible of the misery of Pain ; an evil, which though necessary in itself, and wisely intended as the spur to incite
us to self-preservation, and to the avoidance of destruction, we nevertheless are naturally averse to, and shrink back at the apprehension of it. Superiority of rank or station exempts no creature from the sensibility of pain, nor does inferiority render the feelings thereof the less exquisite. Pain is pain, whether it be indicted on man or on beast; and
the creature that foffers it, whether man. or.beast, being fenfible of the misery of it whilft:it lasts, fuffers Evil; and the Sufferance of evil, unmeritedly, unprovokedly, where no offence has been given, and no good end can possibly be answered by it, but merely to exhibit power or gratify malice, is Cruelty and Injustice in him that occasions it.
I presume there is no Man of feeling, that has any idea of Juftice, but would confess upon the principles of reason and common Sense, that if he were to be put to unnecessary and unmerited pain by another man, his tormentor would do him an act of injustice; and from a sense of the injustice
in his own cafe, now that He is the sufferer, he must naturally infer, that if he were to put another man of feeling to the fame unnecessary and unmerited pain which He now suffers, the injuftice in himself to the other would be exactly the same as the injustice in his tormentor to Him. Therefore the man of feeling and justice will not put another man to unmerited pain, because he will not do that to another, which he is unwilling should be done to himself. Nor 'will he take any advantage of his own superiority of Arength, or of the accidents of fortune, to abuse them to the oppression of his inferior; because he knows that in the article of feeling all men are equal; and
that the differences of strength or Station are as much the gifts and appointments of ĠOD, as the differences of understanding, colour, or stature. ' Superiority of tank or station may give ability to communicate happiness, (and feetns so intended ;) but it can give no right to infli& unnecessary or unmerited pain. A wise man would impeach his own wisdom, and be unworthy of the blessing of a good understanding, if he were to infer from thence that he had a right to despise or make game of a fool, or put him to any degree of pain. The folly of the fool ought rather to excite his compassion, and demands the wise man's care and attention to one that cannot take care of himself.