Page:Essay on Crimes and Punishments (1775).djvu/46

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
34
AN ESSAY ON

cise, or fixed idea. How miserable is the condition of the human mind, to which the most distant and least essential matters, the revolutions of the heavenly bodies, are more distinctly known, than the most interesting truths of morality, which are always confused and fluctuating, as they happen to be driven by the gales of passion, or received and transmitted by ignorance! But this will cease to appear strange, if it be considered, that as objects, when too near the eye, appear confused, so the too great vicinity of the ideas of morality, is the reason why the simple ideas, of which they are composed, are easily confounded; but which must be separated, before we can investigate the phenomena of human sensibility; and the intelligent observer of human nature will cease to be surprised, that so many ties, and such an apparatus of morality, are necessary to the security, and happiness of mankind.

Honour, then, is one of those complex ideas, which are an aggregate not