— 68 —
Vertue generally approved, not because innate, but because profitable       §6. Hence naturally flows the great variety of Opinions, con-
— 69 —
cerning Moral Rules, which are to be found amongst Men, accord-
ing to the different sorts of Happiness, they have a Prospect of, or
propose to themselves: Which could not be, if practical Principles
were innate, and imprinted in our Minds immediately by the Hand
of God. I grant the existence of God, is so many ways manifest, and
the Obedience we owe him, so congruous to the Light of Reason,
that a great part of Mankind give Testimony to the Law of Nature:
But yet I think it must be allowed, That several Moral Rules, may
receive, from Mankind, a very general Approbation, without either
knowing, or admitting the true ground of Morality; which can only
be the Will and Law of a God, who sees Men in the dark, has in his
Hand Rewards and Punishments, and Power enough to call to
account the Proudest Offender. For God, having, by an inseparable
connexion, joined Virtue and publick Happiness together; and made
the Practice thereof, necessary to the preservation of Society, and
visibly beneficial to all, with whom the Virtuous Man has to do; it is
no wonder, that every one should, not only allow, but recommend,
and magnifie those Rules to others, from whose observance of
them, he is sure to reap Advantage to himself. He may, out of
Interest, as well as Conviction, cry up that for Sacred; which if once
trampled on, and prophaned, he himself cannot be safe nor secure.
This, though it takes nothing from the Moral and Eternal Obli-
gation, which these Rules evidently have; yet it shews, that the
outward acknowledgment Men pay to them in their Words, proves
not that they are innate Principles: Nay, it proves not so much, as,
that Men assent to them inwardly in their own Minds, as the in-
violable Rules of their own Practice: Since we find that self-interest
and the Conveniences of this Life, make many Men, own an outward
Profession and Approbation of them, whose Actions sufficiently
prove, that they very little consider the Law-giver, that prescribed
these Rules; nor the Hell he has ordain’d for the Punishment of
those that transgress them.
Locke Hum I, 3, §6, pp. 68-69