Excerpt from Encyclopedia Britannica, or a Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Miscellaneous Literature, Vol. 14 of 18: Constructed on a Plan, by Which the Different Sciences and Arts Are Digested Into the Form of Distinct Treatises or Systems, Comprehending the History, Theory, and Practice, of Each, According to the Latest Discoveries and Improvements
But it is in accounting for the paﬂions which are dilintereﬂed that the advocates for innate principles fecm molt completely to triumph. As it is impoflible not to feel the pallion of pity upon the profpeet Of a fellow-creature in dillrefs, they argue, that the bafis of that pallion mull be innate; becaufe pity, being at all times more or lefs painful to the perion by whom it is felt, and frequently of no ufe to the perfon who is its object, it cannot in foch inflances be the rcl-llllt of deliberation, but merely the exertion Ofan original inllinﬂ. The fame kind of reafoning is employed to prove that gratitude is the exercife of an innate prin ciple. That good offices are, by the very conllitution of our nature, apt to produce good will towards the benefactor, in good and bad men, in the favage and in. The civilized, cannot furely be denied by any one in the leaft acquainted with human nature. We are grate ful not only to the benefaetors of ourfelves as indivi' duals, but alfo to the benefactors of our country and I/mt, too, when we are confcious that from our grati tude neither they nor we can reap any advantage. Nay, we are impelled to be grateful even when we have reafon to believe that the objefis Of our gratitude know not our exillcnce. This paﬂion cannot be the effeet of reafoning, or of affociation founded on rea foning; for, in foch cafes as thofe mentioned, there are no principles from which reafon can infer the pro. Priety or ufefulnefs of the feeling. That pus/fr [pit-ii, or the aﬂeelion which we bear to our country, or to any fubordinate community of which we are members, is founded on inﬂinet is deemed fo certain, that the man deltitute of this affeetion, if there be any fuch, has been pronounced as great a monfler as he who has two heads.
All the dillintereﬂed pallions are founded on what philofophers have termed benevolent ofiﬂion. Inﬂead therefore of enquiring into the origin of each pallion feparately, which would fwell this article to no pur pofe, let us liften to one of the fiuell writers as well as ablelt reafoners of the age, treating of the origin of benevolent affection, We.may lay it down as a.
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