Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Spontaneous Impulse of Gratitude

It may be observed in the second place, that the natural sentiment of Gratitude conducts us to God. To be grateful for benefits is the instinctive prompting of our nature. To receive kindness, favors, benefits from our fellow-beings, and yet to feel no emotion of gratitude, is by common consent to be a monster.

Now we are surrounded with blessings which we cannot refer to our fellow-beings. Existence, with innumerable capacities and sources of good, is and must be felt by us to be a gift. While enjoying the bounties of nature, the sentiment of gratitude spontaneously rises up in the unperverted heart. "In moments when the sensibility of our moral feelings is most acute and active; when we are surrounded by nature arrayed in all her beauties, and feel the calm, serene enjoyment of existence; we feel within us the conviction that we ought to be grateful to some being for these blessings."

William Whewell, "The Moral Argument for the Existence of God", On the Foundations of Morals, (pp. 140-141). The quotation is from Kant's Critique of Judgment sect. 86; the particular translation and quotation is actually from Schmucker's translation of Storr and Flatt, An Elementary Course of Biblical Theology.

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