BOOK IV. CONTAINING THE TIME OF A YEAR.
4. Chapter iv. Containing such very deep and grave matters
Containing such very deep and grave matters, that some readers,
perhaps, may not relish it.
Square had no sooner lighted his pipe, than, addressing himself to
Allworthy, he thus began: "Sir, I cannot help congratulating you on
your nephew; who, at an age when few lads have any ideas but of
sensible objects, is arrived at a capacity of distinguishing right
from wrong. To confine anything, seems to me against the law of
nature, by which everything hath a right to liberty. These were his
words; and the impression they have made on me is never to be
eradicated. Can any man have a higher notion of the rule of right, and
the eternal fitness of things? I cannot help promising myself, from
such a dawn, that the meridian of this youth will be equal to that of
either the elder or the younger Brutus."
Here Thwackum hastily interrupted, and spilling some of his wine, and
swallowing the rest with great eagerness, answered, "From another
expression he made use of, I hope he will resemble much better men.
The law of nature is a jargon of words, which means nothing. I know
not of any such law, nor of any right which can be derived from it. To
do as we would be done by, is indeed a Christian motive, as the boy
well expressed himself; and I am glad to find my instructions have
borne such good fruit."
"If vanity was a thing fit," says Square, "I might indulge some on the
same occasion; for whence only he can have learnt his notions of right
or wrong, I think is pretty apparent. If there be no law of nature,
there is no right nor wrong."
"How!" says the parson, "do you then banish revelation? Am I talking
with a deist or an atheist?"
"Drink about," says Western. "Pox of your laws of nature! I don't know
what you mean, either of you, by right and wrong. To take away my
girl's bird was wrong, in my opinion; and my neighbour Allworthy may
do as he pleases; but to encourage boys in such practices, is to breed
them up to the gallows."