Sometimes too we have occasion to defend the propriety ofobserving the general rules of justice by the consideration oftheir necessity to the support of society. We frequently hear theyoung and the licentious ridiculing the most sacred rules ofmorality, and professing, sometimes from the corruption, but morefrequently from the vanity of their hearts, the most abominablemaxims of conduct. Our indignation rouses, and we are eager torefute and expose such detestable principles. But though it istheir intrinsic hatefulness and detestableness, which originallyinflames us against them, we are unwilling to assign this as thesole reason why we condemn them, or to pretend that it is merelybecause we ourselves hate and detest them. The reason, we think,would not appear to be conclusive. Yet why should it not; if wehate and detest them because they are the natural and properobjects of hatred and detestation? But when we are asked why weshould not act in such or such a manner, the very question seemsto suppose that, to those who ask it, this manner of acting doesnot appear to be for its own sake the natural and proper objectof those sentiments. We must show them, therefore, that it oughtto be so for the sake of something else. Upon this account wegenerally cast about for other arguments, and the considerationwhich first occurs to us, is the disorder and confusion ofsociety which would result from the universal prevalence of suchpractices. We seldom fail, therefore, to insist upon this topic.
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We may here too, upon many different occasions, plainlydistinguish those two different emotions combining and unitingtogether in our sense of the ill desert of a particular characteror action. When we read in history concerning the perfidy andcruelty of a Borgia or a Nero, our heart rises up against thedetestable sentiments which influenced their conduct, andrenounces with horror and abomination all fellow-feeling withsuch execrable motives. So far our sentiments are founded uponthe direct antipathy to the affections of the agent: and theindirect sympathy with the resentment of the sufferers is stillmore sensibly felt. When we bring home to ourselves the situationof the persons whom those scourges of mankind insulted, murdered,or betrayed, what indignation do we not feel against suchinsolent and inhuman oppressors of the earth? Our sympathy withthe unavoidable distress of the innocent sufferers is not morereal nor more lively, than our fellow-feeling with their just andnatural resentment: The former sentiment only heightens thelatter, and the idea of their distress serves only to inflame andblow up our animosity against those who occasioned it. When wethink of the anguish of the sufferers, we take part with themmore earnestly against their oppressors; we enter with moreeagerness into all their schemes of vengeance, and feel ourselvesevery moment wreaking, in imagination, upon such violators of thelaws of society, that punishment which our sympatheticindignation tells us is due to their crimes. Our sense of thehorror and dreadful atrocity of such conduct, the delight whichwe take in hearing that it was properly punished, the indignationwhich we feel when it escapes this due retaliation, our wholesense and feeling, in short, of its ill desert, of the proprietyand fitness of inflicting evil upon the person who is guilty ofit, and of making him grieve in his turn, arises from thesympathetic indignation which naturally boils up in the breast ofthe spectator, whenever he thoroughly brings home to himself thecase of the sufferer.
soda debate, but the South undoubtedly takes the cake
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