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morality upon the basis of mathematical de monstration, I should, as it were, annihilate at once the source of all vice, and therefore of all moral evil and misery, I was consequently enraptured with the captivating prospect of my own imagination *, and resolved to execute my project on the first opportunity; and in the mean time, most diligently to prosecute my mathematical studies, and the views which arose continually from them relative to, and illustrative of the correspondent truths of morality and religion.
Stimulated in the highest degree by these motives, I was completely avaricious with respect to time; and even when I was detached on picquets and outposts, always had my algebra or some such book with me, that I might not lose a moment. Yet such was the constant occupation of my attention and time by the course of the campaign, that I had no leisure to enter upon the pleasing task which I meditated, until after the return of the army from our first, and unsuccessful, attempt against Seringapatam.
hated vice and selfishness; and who would certainly reward the one, and punish the other, at least after death: who was continually present to superintend the course of the world, and all mens' thoughts as well as deeds.
* My Christian reader will smile here, at the darkness and shortness of my spiritual or religious views; for I was so ignorant, at that time, of the human heart in general, and of my own heart in particular, as to suppose that the knowledge of the truth would be fully sufficient to ensure the practice of it, by all persons of common honesty. Perhaps, this may appear
almost incredible to some; but it is never. theless true, and only proves how completely I was deceived by my own heart! " The heart is deceitful above all things, “and desperately wicked: who can know it?--Jeremiah, xvii.
I had by this time been removed into a battalion of volunteers commanded by an old friend, which battalion was thrown into winter quarters in the Fort of Oussore, lately taken from Tippoo Sultan. It was during the time of my residing in this place, that, finding a considerable degree of leisure on my hands, I began to enter upon the execution of the great plan which I had so long projected in my imagination. My first efforts were very feeble ; and I plainly felt all the disadvantages that I laboured under from the want of a solid foundation of erudition, which I had so much neglected at school, and the value of which I was now enabled to estimate, by the importance of the subjects that I wished to demonstrate and recommend, and my deep felt inability to do them justice.
Nevertheless, it was necessary to make a beginning ; I therefore, at last, came to a determination to set off with an examination of all the duties of morality: first, their absolute necessity even to the consistence of human society, and still more to its purity and felicity; and secondly, of their entire connexion
with, and dependence upon, religion; that is to say, their divine origin, revealed in and to man, by the voice of reason and conscience; thirdly, their resemblance to, and agreement with, the nature of the Deity, as was manifest from the testimony of those His witnesses in us, and from his otherwise glorious display of his divine attributes, in the works of nature, and the laws of natural science. All these appeared to me to speak the language of religion and morality, in different modes and forms, but in one and the same spirit of truth; clear, rational, sentimental, and mathematical truth !
From hence, I deduced the following obvious conclusion: that as all the works of God, both animate and inanimate, expressed the very same things, though in a thousand different tongues, some positively, and some negatively; and as they all with one voice pointed from EARTH to HEAVEN, in a regular and connected scale of gradual ascent, from grossest matter to spiritual essence: that therefore this testimony of universal nature, was in a figure, and in truth, the voice of God, and to be considered as a revelation truly divine. That as this revelation, this innumerable host of witnesses for God, all declared that He loved truth, and all the moral virtues; and that He equally hated all the opposite vices; so it was clear to demonstration, that, being omnipotent, He would certainly reward what He loved, and punish what He hated as enemies to truth and goodness, and happiness. I also naturally inferred from the frequent prosperity of vice, and the oppression of virtue, in this world, that God being the principle, the fountain of truth and goodness, was, as it were, bound by the law of his own nature, which was immutably perfect, to bring all things to a proper level in the world to conne; and, therefore, that a future judgment was equally demonstrated with the being and attributes of the Almighty.
Such were the outlines of my first plan, which wholly excluded all particular systems of religion, all partial revelations, as fables and human fabrications; and which I proposed to bring to the perfection of mathematical demonstration, through the sole paths of pure deism. Full then of my subject, down I sat and wrote my thoughts and sentiments upon the moral duties of man, feeling clearly in my own mind, as I went on, their necessary descent from, and relation to, GOD; and their reasonableness as well as self-evident beauty ; the first being DEMONSTRABLE, the latter SENTIMENTAL, or by feeling
Hence, I clearly distinguished the different modes of operation of these two great witnesses for GOD, viz. REASON and SENTIMENT, LIGHT and HEAT, the HEAD and the
HEART; the first proceeding by the way of speculative demonstration, through the gradual medium of the understanding ; the second, and more rapid (as being more independent of man), appearing to be an inmate and inherent capability in the heart, (bestowed by the fountain of goodness and beauty) to distinguish in an instant, yet passively, or by perception of feeling, apparent good from apparent evil, beauty from deformity, symmetry from disproportion, both natural and moral; the first being shadow, the latter being substance. Because, from the original * perfect construction of all things in truth, it was necessary that all evil should excite antipathy; that is, appear deformed, and feel painful to a good and pure sentiment; and all good, by the same law, was necessarily sympathy; that is, appeared beautiful and proportionate, and felt pleasing to the same good and pure sentiment.
I then endeavoured to show by various examples and cases, which I thought in point, particularly with respect to the human form, that the natural cases of beauty, or deformity,
* By original is not meant here, the original creation of all things; but the original, unsophisticated, undebauched, genuine sentiments of the heart of every individual, before he is corrupted and vitiated by communication with a selfish and meretricious world: I did not then believe'any other fall of man.