Page:Vocation of Man (1848).djvu/38

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is a virtuous Will, and the course of action resulting from it is virtue. The triumph of the former unassociated with the latter is vice; such a triumph over the latter, and despite its opposition, is crime.

The power which, on each individual occasion, proves triumphant, triumphs of necessity; its superiority is determined by the whole connexion of the universe; and hence by the same connexion is the vice or crime of each individual irrevocably determined. Give to Nature, once more, the course of a muscle, the turn of a hair, in any particular individual, and had she the power of universal thought, and could answer thee, she would be able to declare all the good and evil deeds of his life from the beginning to the end of it. But still virtue does not cease to be virtue, nor vice to be vice. The virtuous man is a noble product of nature; the vicious, an ignoble and contemptible one:—although both are necessary results of the connected system of the universe.

Repentance is the consciousness of the continued effort of humanity within me, even after it has been overcome, associated with the disagreeable sense of having been subdued; a disquieting but still precious pledge of our nobler nature. From this consciousness of the fundamental impulse of our nature, arises the sense which has been called ‘conscience,’ and its greater or less strictness and susceptibility, down to the absolute want of it, in many individuals. The ignoble man is incapable of repentance, for in him humanity has at no time sufficient strength to contend with lower impulses. Reward and punishment are the natural consequences of virtue and vice for the production of new virtue and new vice. By frequent and important vic-