Excerpt from The Moralist, Vol. 1
It is proposed, then, in this work, to analyse the moral powers of the human race, to exhibit their propensities find capacities; and, it is hoped, to establish morality as a science, that, in relation to the happiness of mankind, shall not be less useful than the science of chemistry.
Morality is defined to be that principle in human action which delights to do good, and is pained at the thought of giving pain to others: hence it is an axiom, that human happiness can only be extended with individual and general morality; and that the first principle, in all reform, must be, first to reform ourselves. - As a multitude of individuals make up society, so a general increase of morality must arise from individual increase; and as in physics, a knowledge of the disease is half its cure; so, in morals, a knowledge of our vices and their effects is half an abandonment: under this impression, The Moralist will teach morality, by an exposure of all existing vices, and by a demonstration of their effects.
Morals differ from customs, in so far as the former is strictly the science of human happiness, while the latter is the result of habit and example, often formed we know not how, and as often unwholesome as wholesome. Custom goes far to lessen the force of our feelings, upon bad habits and bad examples, but the amount of evil, arising from unwholesome customs, nothing can expiate, no excuse can justify; therefore, the abrogation is clearly called for by morality. The force of custom will be continually enlarged upon in this work; and the nature of existing customs forcibly displayed, with an encouragement to hold on to those which are good, and to break from off those which are bad.
Liberty, with all its high sounding definitions, to be correct, must be recognized as the offspring of morality; and a truly moral people can never be an enslaved people. We every where see a truly moral man emerge from a low condition, and obtain some honourable and confidential post: so with the mass in society, the more moral, the higher will be their condition - the greater the amount of their liberty.
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