Adam Smith's Simplified Theory of Moral Sentiments, Part 3, Chapter 5: The Rules of Morality As The Laws of the Deity

Chapter 5a: The Authority of the General Moral Rules properly seen as the Laws of the Deity

100 The sense of duty is the regard to the general rules of conduct.

Only those of the happiest mould can:

The coarse clay of which the bulk of mankind are formed, cannot be wrought up to such perfection.


101Without this sacred regard to general rules, no one's conduct can be much depended on.


102  This reverence is still further enhanced by an opinion which is first impressed by nature.


103 This opinion or apprehension seems first to be impressed by nature.

These natural hopes, fears, and suspicions, were propagated by sympathy and confirmed by education.


104 However, these researches confirmed those original anticipations of nature.

Some have pretended wrongly that our moral faculties:

No other faculty or principle of action judges of any other.


105 These were plainly intended to be the governing principles of human nature

All general rules are commonly denominated laws.

Those deputies of God within us, never fail to:

106 There are innumerable other considerations which serve to confirm the same conclusion.

By acting according to the dictates of our moral faculties, we necessarily pursue the most effective means for promoting mankind's happiness.


107 There are many other reasons and natural principles which confirm and inculcate the same salutary doctrine.

A very extraordinary concurrence of circumstances is required to entirely disappoint it.

The practice of truth, justice, and humanity chiefly aim at the confidence and love of those we live with.

An innocent man may be believed to have done wrong.

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Next: Chapter 5b: How Nature balances the distribution of prosperity