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SCIENCE

OF

MORAL PHILOSOPHY;

BY REV. ASA MAHAN, A. M.,

PRESIDENT OF THE OBERLIN COLLEGIATE INSTITUTE.

AUTHOR OF "A SYSTEM OF INTELLECTUAL PHILOSOPHY;" "DOCTRINE OF THE WILL," &C.

WITH A RESPONSE BY CHARLES G. FINNEY
TO THE OBJECTIONS TO HIS THEORY.

OBERLIN:
JAMES M. FITCH.
1848.

REPUBLISHED BY THE EDITOR.

RICHARD FRIEDRICH OF

ALETHEA IN HEART MINISTRIES,

8071 Main St. Fenwick, MI 48834

http://truthinheart.com

(989) 637-4179

2004.

ISBN 0-932370-37-4

First Alethea In Heart edition published in 2004.

Republished from the edition of 1848, Oberlin, without altering anything but format and page numbers.

Copyright © 2004

Richard M. Friedrich

All Rights Reserved.

SCIENCE

OF

MORAL PHILOSOPHY;

BY REV. ASA MAHAN,

PRESIDENT OF THE OBERLIN COLLEGIATE INSTITUTE:

AUTHOR OF "A SYSTEM OF INTELLECTUAL PHILOSOPHY;"

"DOCTRINE OF THE WILL," &C.

_____

OBERLIN:
JAMES M. FITCH.
____

1848.

Entered according to act of Congress in the year 1848 by

ASA MAHAN,

in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Ohio.

FORWARD BY THE EDITOR.

Asa Mahan must be considered one of the greatest philosophers of all time. He spent a lifetime carefully researching the various departments of philosophy and left us authoritative works in the most important areas. Each volume shows a mastery of the subject, with both a wonderful sense of manly independence of thought and a humility in giving due recognition to worthy thinkers gone before. But his greatness is not limited to realistic accuracy of thought and skill of communication and development, but equally so in a life lived consistently with the principles he discovered and related. Of the great minds in history, few have offered such a volume of their lives as this author. He was well known not just as the first President of Oberlin College, Cleveland University, and Adrian College, but also as a successful pastor, evangelist, professor and reformer. As such he suffered many years under the oppression of popular opinion while he maintained the principles developed in this volume. Eventually popular opinion caught up in some points, and discovered the truth of what he previously taught in the same. None of these being so obvious than the evils of slavery.

The details of his life may be more fully noticed in the previous works we have reproduced: Autobiography, and Out of Darkness Into Light. The common sense realism in his philosophical works is also equally wonderful in his spiritual works on holiness. Philosophy and spirituality should not be so antagonistic to each other, as is the case in the minds of most people. The two subjects are often thought of as opposite or antagonistic to each other. The author shows not only in his many works in both areas, but in his own life, that they intimately relate to each other. 'As a man thinks, so will he live.' And as a man wills and worships, so will his mind be thus focused. If a man thinks incorrectly, he will generally live accordingly. If a man lives unspiritually, he will generally be greatly mistaken in his understanding of our nature and relations in this grand universe. But with our author we can hardly recommend a more worthy example of both wisdom and virtue.

All this being said, we will add that this particular branch of philosophy is the most difficult to conclude in, even as the author shares in his Preface below. And we feel, as seems to be indicated in the same, that the liability to err is all the greater in this volume than in every other work produced by this author. Where almost every other volume published will command the near entire agreement of most candid readers, this volume may not come as close. Part of that is owing to the fact that every person is necessitated to focus on different ethical issues than other persons. And thus different issues are mastered or neglected in different proportions by different people. And such leads to a variety of opinions on moral subjects. Added to this is the fact that while people may be agreed about a general conclusion on a issue, with more and more insight into the matter itself, and as it relates to other issues, some people gain further developments about that truth, which others who have not traveled so far in may not yet see and agree with. Such facts of experience will no doubt be some reason for disagreement with some of the conclusions of this volume, which perhaps a later perusal after more mature investigations may clear up.

We wish the reader to consider the tremendous difficulty of the task of writing such a book of this nature; and distinctly remember the humble admissions of the author in his Preface while reading every part. We wish to ensure the reader that even if the author may be thought to be wrong in a number of places, the exercise of carefully studying his perspective and methods with a candid heart and mind will most definitely advance any reader. One of the most important principles our author promoted was manly independence of thought that can learn from any circumstance.

Our friend James Hamilton, the biographer of Mahan, has shared his agreement with our stated perspective of the author and this volume in particular. That is, due to the above mentioned limitations in the study of this subject, it is with difficulty that one can decide who is more correct in the matters where the author differed from his close associate Charles G. Finney; who shared so much resemblance in philosophy, theology, spirituality, and morals. In all their writings and history there can be found very little differences between these men. In fact, during the time this book was being worked on they were both professors at Oberlin College, and both editors of the theological Oberlin Quarterly Review.

The difference above mentioned was pertaining to defining the process involved in what object or objects impose the duty or basis for all of our choices in life. How should we define the process of what is the ultimate reason(s) for every morally binding choice we make? What are the objects that are the highest or deepest reasons for why we act? Not so much why should we act the way we do, but deeper: What are the objects that are the only real reason for action? Finney answered simply that all beings capable of happiness were objects of value in themselves, and that the collective value of each individual in the universe imposed the duty to choose such individual and collective values as the foundation of all our motivation. We love and obey God because it is seen as an irresistible good to Him and to all rational beings capable of happiness. Also because it is the highest good we can accomplish to all such beings. The idea is therefore simple even though it is profound.

Mahan on the other hand, supposed that some of what Finney called conditions in that process, were also grounds, or fundamental reasons for our deepest motivations. Such, for example, would be not only that a person's value compelled us to action, but that their good character called for fundamental obligation or responses.

James Hamilton wrote his thesis on the difference of theories between these great reformers on the subject of the foundation of moral obligation. The editor also found it difficult to decide who was more correct in the matter. He finally concluded that there was in fact more resemblance than Mahan supposed; and that Finney displayed the clearest, most consistent, and accurate position. Finney responded to this detailed critique of his first edition of his Systematic Theology in the second and final London 1851 edition (which we have also reproduced for the first time since its publication). We have added the response in the Appendix of this volume. We are not aware of a published response by Mahan to that work besides a few statements in his Logic text of 1855. Thus it is advisable that the reader not conclude in his understanding of Finney's theology before he reads the response (found in the first 200 or so pages of that book). We observe that much of the difference was owing to differing categorizations, definitions, or as mentioned, inconsistency of definition. Notice what Mahan admits in this respect:

"I am happy also to be able to show, as I have shown above, that Professor Finney is with me in this doctrine, though in palpable inconsistency with his theory. 'It is a demand,' he says, 'of the intelligence of every moral being, that we should esteem and treat as worthy of confidence those whose character entitles them to this confidence.'"

Finney likewise returned the compliment many more times in his response. Thus it is evident that they had great respect for each other as spiritual persons and philosophers. And if such minds differed in form while remaining the same in spirit, it is a worthy example for lesser minds to consider while they differ with others in the finer points of theology. With such before his mind, the author exclaimed: "How difficult it is, even for the wisest, to be consistent in error!" Yet in this case it seems that it was true of himself. And as the editor sees it, he did hold the correct theory, but added to it by confounding certain conditions as grounds. If this is true it is a category mistake which is often made in both philosophy and theology as he so often pointed out in other matters. It was also a difference of defining the whole process of ultimate intentions. One side carefully defines the differences between the conditions and grounds for the deepest virtuous motivations of the Will or heart, while the other calls some of those conditions grounds or reasons as well. Both sides acknowledged the stated elements in the other position as part of the real process, and as creating the same results: a duty to choose a valuable object. But they differed in how they defined that process. Both claimed that the other was inconsistent. It remains for the reader to see who really was, and to realize that communication is not always perfect in this life.

We will attempt to add footnotes to show where page numbers were given of the quotes found in the original publications, so that the reader can find them in our new publication of these works, which regretfully have different numbering due to the fact that both volumes contained major page numbering errors.

Once again, we wish to commend the careful study of this work after studying the more foundational philosophical works of the author. Such books as Mental Philosophy, Intellectual Philosophy, and Doctrine of the Will will prepare the reader to better understand this book, and to appreciate his mature perspective. It will also help the reader to be more careful in their research and to be more candid in their judgments. The volume on Logic, though fairly advanced, would also be very worthy to study before this work. The remainder of the philosophical works would be recommended to follow these; and the spiritual works alongside any of the philosophical works.

The master copy used for this volume was photocopied from the microfilm copy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids. As with all of our reproductions, it is completely true to the original in spelling, italics, and nothing is added or removed from the text. Nothing is changed but a few typos.

PREFACE.

EVERY one is fully aware of the fact, that of all subjects which it concerns man to investigate, that involved in these two questions is of paramount importance, namely, What ought I to be? and, How ought I to act? The scientific solution and elucidation of these questions, constitutes the peculiar sphere of the science of Moral Philosophy, a science which will never attain to a full development, till it has done all for the solution, and elucidation of these questions which any particular science can do for the subject to which it pertains.

The proper development of any science is, of necessity, conditioned, in the first instance, upon the proper definition and elucidation of its fundamental principles, and in the next upon an exemplification of the true method of applying such principles to all practical questions which fall within the appropriate sphere of that science. The full conviction that such an end yet needs to be attained in respect to the science of Moral Philosophy, notwithstanding all that has hitherto been written upon the subject, has given rise to the following treatise. How far the author has realized so desirable an end, it now remains with the public to decide. One thing he will freely confess, and that is, that he has not yet fully realized his own ideal of what such a treatise might be in the hands of individuals of higher wisdom than he possesses. He has, however, made as near an approach to that ideal, as, after years of patient investigation, and under the circumstances in which he was necessitated to think and write, it was possible for him to make; and he entertains the internal assurance, that whoever will give the work a careful perusal, will find, that as a consequence, he better understands the law of right and duty, than he might have done before.

PREFACE.

A treatise on Moral Philosophy that does justice to its subject, will, of course, tax to the utmost the powers of the hardest student who attempts fully to fathom the depths, and ascend the heights of thought to which it attains; and at the same time, it will so elucidate that subject, that the ordinary reader who will devote adequate time and attention to its perusal, will study it with much interest and profit. Such it has been the fixed aim of the author to render the following treatise. He designed to render it a book for the student, and at the same time, a book for the people. Let not the common reader, then, be startled at the intricate questions which open upon him, as he proceeds. If he masters the subjects discussed, he will never regret the loss of his labor, and let him remember, that he can master them, if he will.

This treatise was not prepared for the thoughtless, who take up such a work, glance, it may be, at its contents, and then lay it aside, as too deep for them, individuals whose minds float at random upon the surface of things, without looking seriously into the depths beneath, or to the heights above for the purpose of understanding the great realities within and around them, realities among which they are to have their eternal dwelling place, and who especially never ponder the questions, What am I? Where am I? and Whither am I bound? What ought I to be? What ought I to do? and What will be my destiny, as the consequence of being and doing what I ought, or ought not? It was prepared, on the other hand, for thinkers, into whose hearts wisdom has entered, and unto whose souls knowledge is pleasant. To such it is now commended, with the earnest hope, that they may find the same interest and profit in its study, that the author has found in its preparation.

MISTAKES.

In consequence of the absence of the author, at the time, the second section of Chapter XVI, Part I, was not inserted. Its omission, however, is not material, as section 1, contains a discussion of the subject sufficiently full. For the same reason, chapters XVII and XVIII were wrongly located. Chapter XVIII was designed to be placed before chapter XVII. The printing had proceeded too far to make the corrections when these mistakes were discovered.

CONTENTS.

____

PART FIRST.

CHAPTER I.

THE SCIENCE DEFINED.

CHAPTER IV.

IDEA OF UNIVERSAL MORAL RESPONSIBILITY.

Ideas dependent upon those of Right and Wrong—The Peculiar Sentiment which always attends the Affirmations of Conscience accounts for the Fact that Conscience has so often been regarded as the Spirit of God in the Soul—Universal Moral Harmony, Attraction, Repellency—Boldness of Virtue, Timidity of Vice—Future Functions of the Pure in Heart—Ground of the Universal Fear with which Conscious Guilt enters upon a Disembodied State,

CHAPTER V.

MORAL ACTION.

Terms defined—Intentions alone are Moral Actions—Position verified—Conclusions from the Positions above established—Ultimate Intentions defined—Defective Definition,

CHAPTER. VI.

UNIVERSAL TEST OF THE MORAL CHARACTER OF ULTIMATE INTENTIONS.

When an Intention is right—Meaning of the Term Love—Meaning of the Term Selfishness—The Manifest Error of many in their Efforts at Self-Justification,

CHAPTER VII.

A MORAL AGENT.

Moral Agent defined—Necessary Characteristics of such Agent—Moral Law must sustain to him an objective and subjective relation—He must possess a Will whose Determinations are free—Appropriate and Exclusive Sphere of Moral Law—Ability always commensurate with Obligation—Common Error—Obligation can not transcend the Possible Reach of the Subject—Standard by which the Demerit of Wrong Actions is to be estimated,

CHAPTER VIII.

NECESSARY AND CONTINGENT PRINCIPLES OF MORALITY.

A Fact for Elucidation—The Distinctions made of Universal Application—Reasons for the Unsatisfactoriness of Common Treatises on Moral Philosophy—The True Standard of Judgment in respect to Moral Character—A Prevalent Mistake—Moral Principles and Prudential Maxims —Remarks,

CHAPTER IX.

FOUNDATION OF OBLIGATION.

Question defined—Only Two Answers to this Question possible—The Question which is the True Theory, how answered—The Convictions of the Race—The Direct Testimony of Consciousness—The Doctrine of Utility contrary to Consciousness—When impossible for us to act or intend morally—Obligation to will, how affirmed a priori—A Fact of Experience—Last Resort of the Utilitarian—Real Foundation distinctly stated—Conclusions necessarily resulting from these Positions—The Selfish System—The Will of God—Doctrine of General Consequenees,

CHAPTER X.

NEW THEORY PERTAINING TO THE FOUNDATION OF MORAL OBLIGATION.

Theory as held by Prof. Finney—The Opposite Theory stated—Prof. Finney's Theory in its Logical Consequences tends to the Doctrine of Utility—In consistency with this Theory we can not account for certain distinctions which he himself Makes—Prof. Finney contradicts his own Theory—Prof. Finney's Argument based upon a Psychological Error—Universal Consciousness opposed to Prof. Finney's Theory—There are Forms of Real Good, obligations to confer which rest exclusively upon Moral Character—Unanswerable Argument against this Theory in the Relations of the Universal Intelligence to the Moral Government of God Theory cannot be so explained as to involve all the Duties we are conscious of owing to God—Another Fundamental Objection to Prof. Finney's Theory—The Scriptures as well as Universal Intelligence opposed to Prof. Finney's Theory—General Remarks,

CHAPTER XI.

MORAL ACTION NEVER OF A MIXED CHARACTER.

Can Contradictory and Opposite Elements enter into one and the same Intention?—Actions Right in themselves can not be faulty on the score of Intensity—Intentions in themselves Pure can not co-exist in the Mind with Executive Volitions of an opposite character—The Will can not be in a Right State and the Subject be guilty for Necessary and Unavoidable States of the Sensibility—Conclusions necessarily resulting from the Doctrine above established,

CHAPTER XII.

MORAL RELATIONS--NATURE OF VIRTUE--CHARACTER.

Character—Relations—Nature of Virtue as defined by Dr. Paley—According to this Definition, Moral Character depends upon the spring from which it arises—In what Sense character may and may not be mixed,

CHAPTER XIII.

ERRORS ARISING FROM THE APPLICATION OF CERTAIN PRUDENTIAL MAXIMS AND MORAL PRINCIPLES IN THEIR ABSTRACT AND UNIVERSAL FORMS.

Do right for the sake of the Right—Whatever is Expedient is Right—The End sanctifies the Means—Acting Conscientiously—Acting from Love,

CHAPTER XIV.

IDEA OF RETRIBUTION.

Import of the Idea of Retribution—Doctrine of Natural Consequences—Doctrine that Punishment should be inflicted only as a Means of Reformation—True Theory—What it is that distinguishes the Idea of Moral Law from all other Ideas—Doctrine of Eternal Retributions—Important Fact—Idea of Retribution in Harmony with the Laws of Rational Existence,

CHAPTER XV.

EXTERNAL ACTIONS.

What Actions are to be regarded as forbidden—What External Actions are required by the Moral Law as the Necessary Cousequents or Appropriate Indexes of those Determinations of the Will which are confined to the Law—Rules of Judgment in respect to Moral Character from External Conduct—Application of Principles,

CHAPTER XVI.

THE SCRIPTURES AS A SOURCE OF KNOWLEDGE OF MORAL OBLIGATION.

The Moral Law as revealed in the Scriptures—Prescription of Formal Rules for any Question of Duty—Method in which those Universal Principles are expressed which include and imply All Particular and Specific Precepts of Moral Obligation—A Method combining all that is comprehended in the Second and to some extent in the First above mentioned—Diligent Study of the System of Duty revealed in the Scriptures imposed upon us—The Light in which the Great Mass of the Precepts of the Bible should be regarded—An Error to which Honest Minds are liable—A Large Portion of the Particular Precepts of the Bible not to be regarded as Formal Rule—Are none of the Precepts of the Moral Law as given in the Bible, to be regarded as Rules of Action, demanding Formal Obedience?—Manner in which Dishonest Minds free themselves from Forms of Duty which they are determined not to discharge—Meaning of Certain Declaration One Great Object of the Most High in revealing the Law of Duty in a Certain Manner—Another Important Principle—Meaning of the Savior in Certain Declarations—Grounds of charging a Want of Circumspection in inquiring after Duty, as a Crime—Real Distinction between Formalism and Spiritual Religion,

CHAPTER XVII.

GOVERNMENTITS GROUNDS.

Foundation of Government—The Will of God—Family Government—Civil Government--Divine Government—Real Foundation stated—Government is a Necessity—Under what circumstances Government ought to exist—In what Sense has Civil Government its Foundation in the Social Compact—In what Sense under Civil Governments the Majority ought to rule—A Common Mistake—Bearing of the Existence of Government upon Human Society—An Important Error—The appropriate Characteristics of Tyranny—Slavery not a Government—Civil Government a Demand of Human Nature,

CHAPTER XVIII.

OTHER SOURCES OF INFORMATION ASIDE FROM THE SCRIPTURES IN RESPECT TO THE LAW OF DUTY.

A knowledge of the Law of our Mental and Physical Constitution—A Careful Study of our Relations in Life—A Careful Analysis of our own Moral Judgments—A Careful and Judicious Observation of Public Opinion—The Counsel and Works of Individuals whom God has specially gifted,

CHAPTER XIX.

IDEA OF RIGHTS.

Terms defined—Foundation of Rights—Relation of Right and Duty—Remarks,


PART SECOND.

PRACTICAL ETHICS.


CHAPTER I.


PIETY, OR OUR DUTIES TO GOD.

Duties included in these Words when understood in their most Extensive Sense—Piety in its more Restricted Sense,

CHAPTER II.

PRAYER.

Term defined—Mental Exercises included in Prayer—Characteristics of Acceptable Prayer—Prayer Reasonable—Importance attached to Prayer in the Scriptures—Common Objections to Prayer—Times and Seasons when Prayer is required—Remarks,

CHAPTER III.

THE LORD'S DAY, OR TILE CHRISTIAN SABBATH.

General Considerations—Objections—Argument summarily stated—Manner in which the Sabbath should be kept,

CHAPTER IV.

SUBJECTIVE DUTIES, OR THE DUTIES WE OWE TO OURSELVES.

To stand approved at the Bar of Conscience—Self-Control—Mental Independence—Harmonious Development of all our Powers—Esteem of others—Self-Knowledge—Correction of Evil Habits,

CHAPTER V.

SUBJECTIVE DUTIESCONTINUED.

Humility and Pride—Ambition—Contentment—Covetousness—Envy—Moral Courage and Fortitude—Internal Rectitude—Moral Purity and Impurity pertaining to the Government of the Thoughts and Feelings,

CHAPTER VI.

SUBJECTIVE DUTIESCONTINUED.

Government of Appetites—Remarks—Moral Principles pertaining to Dress—Compliance with Custom,

CHAPTER VII.

DUTIES WHICH WE OWE TO MAN AS MAN.

General Relations—Duties resulting from such Relations —Duties growing out of Moral Character—Remarks,

CHAPTER VIII.

LIBERTY AND SERVITUDE.

Terms defined—Incorrect Definitions—Fundamental Necessities to which the Idea of Liberty pertains—Forms in which Liberty may be invaded—Subjective Servitude —Tyranny of Public Opinion—Tyranny of Party Organization—Government Oppressions—Slavery—Bible Argument—Laws of Moses—Bearing of the New Testament upon this subject—Conclusions necessarily arising from the facts above adduced—Remarks,

CHAPTER IX.

THE RIGHT OF PROPERTY, AND THE DUTIES THENCE RESULTING.

Terms defined—Objects which may sustain the Relation of Property—Extent and Limits of this Right—Means by which Property may be lawfully acquired—States of Mind Right or Wrong relative to Property—Forms of Duty binding us relatively to the Property of others—Modes in which the Right of Property may be violated,

CHAPTER X.

DUTY AS IT RESPECTS CHARACTER.

Idea of Perfection—Character defined—Our Duty in respect to Character—Guilt of violating these Duties—Remarks,

CHAPTER XI.

DUTY IN RESPECT TO REPUTATION.

Term defined—Guilt of unjustly depriving one of a good Reputation—Law which binds us in respect to Character—Remarks—Forms in which Duty in respect to Reputation is violated in judging of Character—Manner in which we are bound to judge others relatively to Character or Reputation—Law of Duty respecting the Disclosure of Facts bearing upon the Reputation of others—Circumstances under which the Law of Duty pertaining to the Disclosure of facts bearing upon Reputation is violated Remarks,

CHAPTER XII.


LAW AND DUTY OF VERACITY.

Terms defined—Form in which the law of veracity binds us—Veracity in the statement of facts—Law of veracity when violated—Is all intentional deception lying?—Promises and Contracts—Promises, when not binding--Of Oaths—Nature of an Oath—Lawfulness of Oaths—podiency of the Oath—Obligations imposed by the Oath,

CHAPTER XIII.

DUTIES ARISING FROM THE CONSTITUTION OF THE SEXES.

Duties of the unmarried—Duties of the married—Law of Chastity—Law of Divorce,

CHAPTER XIV.

FORMS OF DUTY ARISING FROM THE PARENTAL AND FILIAL RELATIONS.

Duties of Parents to children—Violations of Parental Obligation—Duties of Children to their Parents—Remarks—Use of the Rod in Family Government—Duties in respect to individuals incidentally connected with Families as Domestics, &c.—Duties of Domestics—Duties of Employers,

CHAPTER XV.

PATRIOTISM AND PHILANTHROPY.

Philanthropy and Patriotism defined—Forms of Duty imposed by the law of Patriotism—Our Duty as Patriots when violated,

CHAPTER XVI.

DUTIES ARISING FROM THE CONTINGENT RELATIONS OF LIFE.

Law of Self-Defence—Anger, Wrath, Malice, and a Righteous Indignation at Wrong-Doing—Duty of Meekness –Gratitude,

MORAL PHILOSOPHY.

CHAPTER I.


THE SCIENCE DEFINED.

THE common definition of Ethics or Moral Philosophy is this. It is the science of the Moral Law. Few persons, however, obtain any definite conception of the subject from such a definition, for the obvious reason, that the idea designated by the term science is not distinctly developed in their minds. This idea, therefore, must be elucidated before any particular definition of any specific science can be appreciated.

In the volume on Intellectual Philosophy, the idea of science is defined as "knowledge reduced to fundamental ideas and principles; or the properties and relations of objects systematically evolved in the light of such ideas and principles." The following perhaps would be a definition still more distinct and definite. Science is the presentation and elucidation of universal rules and formulas, in the light of which particular facts and problems may be explained and solved.

The above definitions present the idea in a strictly universal form. A particular science would accordingly be the presentation and elucidation, of those universal rules and formulas in the light of which all particular facts and problems falling within the appropriate sphere of such science may he explained and solved. Any particular scientific Treatise realizing the above idea, will not itself explain and solve such facts and questions: but will furnish the rules and principles in the light of which they may be solved, and will so familiarize the mind of the student with the application of the formulas given, that he, in their light, will be able to answer such questions for himself. An individual who has fully mastered a scientific Treatise on common Arithmetic, for example, will find himself in possession of a specific answer to no one question falling within the sphere of such science, that he meets with in the ordinary transactions of life. He will find himself familiarized with the nature and application of universal formulas, or rules and principles, however, in the light of which he can readily solve such questions for himself. The same holds true of all particular scientific Treatises developed according to the true idea of science.

Application of the above to the science of Moral Philosophy.

The application of the idea above elucidated to the subject of the present Treatise will be readily apprehended. The idea of duty is to the Intelligence under all circumstances of conscious existence, an omnipresent reality. It is the only idea, in any intelligence, human or divine, which has authority; and every where that authority is absolute. Though in itself, as we shall see hereafter, perfectly simple, its applications are illimitable and endlessly diversified, and present, in the varied circumstances and relations of rational existence, an endless diversity of questions, involving moral obligation, that need to be solved. The object of a Treatise on Moral Philosophy scientifically developed, will be to present and elucidate all those universal principles and formulas, in the light of which all such questions may be solved, and so to familiarize the student with the application of such principles, that he will be able to solve them for himself. Such Treatise will not be to the student relatively to such particular questions, what a Table of Interest is to the merchant relatively to his pecuniary transactions, that is, it will not present a particular specific solution of all or perhaps any particular questions of moral obligation which he may meet with, in the course of his existence. It will, if it accomplishes its object, however, familiarize him with the nature and application of those principles in the light of which he may solve all such questions for himself. Such, as I suppose, is the true idea of Moral Philosophy, an idea in conformity to which the science will be intentionally developed in the present Treatise.

REMARKS.

With two general remarks, the present chapter will be closed.

1. If the view of the subject presented above be admitted as correct, certain defects in the common Treatises on the subject will be manifest. We find, for example, that after the discussion of certain fundamental questions, they are mainly occupied in direct arguments to prove that such and such particular states of mind, or courses of conduct are right or wrong, instead of giving and elucidating by appropriate examples, as in all other scientific Treatises, those universal principles in the light of which it will be clearly seen that such actions cannot but be right or wrong. This is obviously owing to the want of well developed ideas of what the Science of Moral Philosophy really is.

Another defect equally noticeable is the general absence of definitions scientifically definite and accurate. If Moral Philosophy is considered as mainly designed to specify a system of moral duties, this would not be regarded as an important defect. If, on the other hand, it is contemplated as chiefly designed to define and elucidate fundamental principles in the light of which specific duties stand revealed to the mind as such, then very much depends, as in all other scientific Treatises upon the precision and accuracy of definitions.

2. We now have an obvious explanation of the uncertainty which commonly attends disquisitions in Moral Philosophy. It is owing, as it appears to me, to the reason stated above—the want of well settled ideas of the true end and aim of such science. Let it once be understood, that its sphere is, not to specify in a formal manner, the varied duties of man, not to decide whether such and such particular courses of conduct are right or wrong, but to furnish and elucidate universal formulas or principles, in the light of which all such questions may be answered by the student for himself, and then Moral Philosophy will take its place, not among the uncertain, but certain sciences.

CHAPTER II.

POSTULATES AND AXIOMS IN MORAL PHILOSOPHY.

EACH particular science has a sphere peculiar to itself. It has its basis, therefore, in axioms, deriving their special form from the nature of the science to which they pertain, and in postulates which pertain to no other science. The student who will turn to the work on Intellectual Philosophy, pp. 190—1, will find the above principles clearly elucidated. No one attempts to prove the truth of any axioms and postulates which he assumes as the basis of the science which he is attempting to elucidate. He assumes them as universally admitted truths, and proceeds to construct his treatise upon them. The object of the present chapter is to state some of the facts and principles which the Moral Philosopher assumes as the basis of his peculiar science.

1. It is no part of the business of the moral philosopher to prove the existence of God, or that of moral accountable agents of any kind. These are assumed as postulates or first truths. His single inquiry on the other hand is, what are the duties of such beings, supposing them to exist? It is a part of his inquiry, what are the elements necessary to moral agency? It belongs to an intellectual, and not to a moral philosopher, however, to determine whether these elements exist in man, or any other being or class of beings. Hence I remark,

2. That the moral philosopher does not prove, but assumes the existence of man, and the existence in him of the essential elements of moral agency. His inquiries are, what are the particular duties, and the ground of moral obligation in respect to these duties, arising from the existence of these elements in man.

3. It is no part of the business of the moral philosopher to prove the existence of those relations, the apprehension of which give rise to moral obligation. For example: he spends no time in proving the existence of beings sustaining to each other the relations of creator and creature, parent and child, ruler and subject. These he assumes as the basis of his inquiries, which exclusively relate to the duties arising out of these relations, and the reasons of our obligation to comply with them.

4. It is no part of the moral philosopher's business to prove the validity of conscience, any more than it is the business of the natural philosopher to prove the validity of the eye in determining colors. The moral philosopher assumes the validity of this faculty in two respects:

(I.) The capability of the intellectual faculties to determine the relations actually existing among creatures, and that of the conscience to affirm the duties arising out of these relations when determined; and,

(2.) That what the conscience necessarily affirms to be right or wrong, is so in fact.

5. The moral philosopher assumes the identity of the moral faculty in all moral agents in this sense, that when the same conditions are fulfilled, the affirmations of conscience in all moral agents will be identical. This is what is assumed in every science in respect to the human intelligence. If any one is disposed to question the principle, and ask with the sceptic: How do I know that the reason of all men is identical? how do I know that all mean the same thing by the terms right and wrong? I can only reply that for one, I shall not stop to "bray such a man with a pestle in a mortar among wheat," for sure I am, that by this or any other means, his "folly will not depart from him."

6. When a particular relation is before the mind in view of which the moral faculty affirms a particular obligation, it is no part of the business of the moral philosopher to show why the reason makes that affirmation, or why that relation gives rise to that particular duty. The necessary affirmation of the moral faculty is assumed as the reason of that obligation. When the particular relation in view of which a particular duty is affirmed, is pointed out, all the reason that can be assigned has been given, why that duty is binding upon us. We have then discovered the foundation, and the only foundation of moral obligation.

    7. It is not the business of the moral philosopher to prove that the Bible is a revelation from God. This he assumes as the basis of his inquiries. He assumes the divine existence and attributes, the existance of man as a moral agent, &c., and then inquires what are the duties arising out of the various relations which man sustains to himself and to intellignces around him?

CHAPTER III.

IDEA OF MORAL LAW.

Terms defined.

MORAL PHILOSOPHY has been defined as the science of the Moral Law. We are now prepared for a consideration of the question, What is Moral Law?

Law, in its most general signification, is a rule of action. Physical law is the rule in conformity with which the physical powers of the universe act. The law of attraction, for example, is not the fact that bodies attract each other, not the power in them which attracts; but the rule in conformity with which this power acts. Newton discovered this rule, not the fact, nor the power in bodies indicated by the fact. These had been known ages before he existed.

Moral Law is the rule in conformity with which moral agents are required to act. It is not the rule in conformity with which they, in all instances do act; for some refuse such conformity. But it is the rule in conformity to which, I repeat, they are required to act.

Physical law then is a rule of action, Moral Law, a rule for action.

Dr. Wayland's Definitions.

Law, as defined by Dr. Wayland, is "a mode of existence, or order of sequence." Moral Law he defines as "an order of sequence established between the moral quality of actions and their results." This definition of Moral Law is fundamentally defective, inasmuch as it makes the existence of moral action antecedent to that of Moral Law, without which, as its chronological and logical antecedent both, no such action is possible. It is a dictate of reason and revelation, that "where there is no law there is no transgression," or obedience either, and consequently no moral qualities in actions of any kind.

The "connection also between Moral Actions and their results," is rather the sanction of Moral Law, than the law itself. In the definition under consideration, the antecedent is put for the consequent.

Law objectively and subjectively considered.

Law, as shown in the volume on Intellectual Philosophy, may be contemplated in two points of light, to wit, objectively and subjectively. Viewed in the relation first-named, it may be defined as the action of particular substances or powers in conformity to certain rules: in the latter as an idea in some intelligent mind. A person listens to a choir of singers whose entire performance is in conformity with certain rules. Why does the question spontaneously arise in his mind, Who taught this choir? a question not put as a mere conjecture that some person may or may not have conformed the action of these powers to a given arrangement; but with the absolute affirmation of the Reason that somebody must have done it. The answer is obvious. It is impossible to conceive of the action of powers in conformity with a given rule, without the affirmation that that rule exists as an idea or law of the Reason in some intelligent mind. This is true of all laws, physical and moral. The physical powers of the universe are the objects of laws existing subjectively as ideas in the mind of God. In other words: God has so constituted these powers, and placed them in such relations to each other that their mutual action and re-action shall be in conformity with a rule existing as an idea in his own mind. The law exists objectively in the powers, but subjectively in the supreme Intelligence.

Law exists objectively in the brute, but subjectively and objectively both, in man.

As with the physical powers of the universe, so with all sentient beings, excepting rational moral agents. The former, that is, the brute creation, always act in conformity with laws. These laws, however, exist in them only objectively. All their actions are necessary, and necessarily conformed to laws, of the existence of which they have no knowledge, laws which they obey in the absence of all consciousness of the fact, and which exist subjectively in the Intelligence of the universal Law Giver.

Now in man, (and here lies as I suppose, one great and fundamental difference between man and the brute) law exists, not only objectively but subjectively. All his actions are necessarily in conformity to laws of some kind, laws ultimately referable to the eternal reason, but originating immediately in his own Reason. Man is his own law-giver, or in the language of inspiration, he is a "law unto himself." This fact, the existence of law subjectively in man, as I shall in subsequent chapters endeavor to show, is an essential element of moral agency. My object now is to establish the fact, the existence of law not only objectively but subjectively in man.

Observe a company of children together who are a about to engage in sport. Before their play is begun, what is always done? Some rule or law is adopted in conformity with which their sports shall be conducted. Whenever rational beings act in concert this fact will be found true. It holds also, not only in respect to communities, but in respect to individuals. No man can enter upon any kind of business, without proposing to himself, and adopting, either consciously or unconsciously, some rules in conformity with which that business shall be conducted.

The fact under consideration is especially true of rules, or laws of moral obligation. In all the varied circumstances and relations of conscious existence, certain ideas or rules of action necessarily suggest themselves, rules to which we cannot but affirm ourselves bound to conform. Our course of conduct must have a continual reference to such ideas, in the relation to them of conformity, or non-conformity. On this account, the scriptures affirm of man, as remarked above, that he is "a law [law giver] unto himself." In other words, in the varied relations of his existence, he necessarily imposes upon himself laws or rules of action.

THE IDEAS OF RIGHT AND WRONG.

As Moral Law, subjectively considered, is an idea of Reason, it has hence been denominated the idea of right and wrong. The sentiment of obligation relatively to it is expressed by the words ought and ought not.

Characteristics of these ideas.

We will now notice some of the fundamental characteristics of the above-mentioned ideas.

1. They are perfectly simple ideas—simple as opposed to complex. The laws, considered as rules of action, which represent these ideas are of course simple. So must be the ideas; else the laws would not represent them. The idea of right and wrong, like those of space, time, cause and effect, cannot be resolved into other elements or ideas more simple.

2. They are primitive. Before they are developed, certain conditions must be fulfilled, certain relations must be apprehended. Then these ideas, and all others dependent upon them, are necessarily developed in the primitive spontaneity of the Reason. No man can contemplate moral excellence without the judgment that it ought to be loved. Nor can any man date the origin of these ideas in his own mind, any more than he can date that of the idea of his own existence.

3. These ideas are identical with that of fitness when applied to moral relations. This last is more extensive in its application, but becomes identical with them, when applied to the relations above referred to.

4. The ideas of right and wrong, of obligation, and all others depending upon them, are necessary. From those relations out of which particular forms of duty are seen to arise, we cannot but know that they must arise, and that from them duties of an opposite nature cannot, by any possibility, arise. Actions affirmed to be right or wrong we can no more conceive that they are not what we affirm them to be, or conceive of them as possessed of the opposite characteristics, than we can conceive of the annihilation of space. We conceive, for example, of an individual, as actually conforming to the great command, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Can we conceive such conformity to be otherwise than right? Do we not as necessarily affirm the opposite state to be wrong? Do we not make these affirmations with a consciousness of the impossibility of attributing to one of these states the characteristics of the others? Certainly we do. These ideas are necessary and absolute in the same sense, and for the same reasons that those of time and space are.

4. They are also universal. Universality must be affirmed of them in three important respects.

(I.) They exist alike in all intelligent minds. "There is no tribe so rude," says Sir James Mackintosh, "as to be without a faint perception of a difference between right and wrong. There is no subject on which men of all ages and nations coincide in so many points as in the general rules of conduct, and in the qualities of the human character which deserve esteem." This is strikingly illustrated by the manner in which heathen nations justify criminal actions. This they do by referring them to principles right in themselves and more general; as in the cases where infanticide is justified by the plea that the child is thereby freed from the evils of life. All such references clearly evince, not only the existence of such ideas in all minds, but their existence there in the same essential forms. Men differ, not in their ideas of what is right and wrong, but in their application of these ideas to specific acts and courses of conduct.

(2.) In another sense the ideas of right and wrong are universal. Moral law knows of no exceptions. It is very commonly said that there are exceptions to all general rules. A law, however, admitting of exceptions is not a law. Facts presenting apparent exceptions to a given law, come under another principle. Though in appearance like those included under such a law, they are, in their essential elements, totally unlike such facts. Every moral law supposes the existence of certain relations, and results from those relations. While those relations exist, the law remains of course and admits of no exceptions. Apparent exceptions belong to other relations, and of course fall under different principles. For example: a parent is bound to provide for his child while he has the ability to do it, and the child remains dependent upon him. If such parent is freed from such obligation, it must be in consequence of his ceasing to be able to make provision for the child, or of the child's ceasing to be dependent upon him. A change of relations produces a corresponding change of responsibilities, and the apparent exception to the rule above referred to comes under another and a different rule.

3. Whenever we conceive of an action as right in itself, we cannot but erect the motive or intention which prompted the act into a law for all intelligent beings. An act of disinterested benevolence, for example, perform from a corresponding intention, stands revealed to our minds. The intention which prompted the act we cannot but affirm, ought to govern ourselves and all other intelligents in all moral acts whatever. So also when we contemplate a wrong act, we cannot but affirm, that the motive which prompted the act is prohibited to all moral agents, to all circumstances actual and conceivable. In this important sense then, the ideas of right and wrong are also strictly universal.

Conclusions from the above.

1. As the ideas of right and wrong exist in all rational minds, as in all minds they have the same characteristics, those of absolute universality and necessity, and as each moral agent cannot but affirm that the same law, which binds himself, does and must bind all other intelligents, it follows, as a necessary consequence, that the same law not only does bind all intelligents, but stands revealed as law to all intelligents. What evidence can we have that the same idea does and must exist in all minds? This and this only, the consciousness that in the presence of given facts, that idea does and must arise in our minds, as the necessary law of our intelligence. In this consciousness the necessary law of the universal intelligence stands revealed with perfect distinctness, and we may know with absolute certainty, that in all Minds to whom the facts referred to are known, the same idea, in the same essential form, is developed. We may take in illustration, the principle of causality. How do we know that in all rational minds the idea, that every event has a cause, is developed in the same essential form in which it exists in our own? We are conscious of the fact, that in the presence of an event, we do and cannot but conceive of and affirm a cause, as the necessary condition of the occurrence of the event. In this consciousness we cannot but know, that to all Intelligents who have had any perceptions of events at all, this principle, in the same essential form in which it exists in our own minds, is and must be known.

'When, therefore, in the presence of certain facts and relations, we find that we do and cannot but conceive of and affirm a law which, as we know absolutely, does and must bind not only ourselves, but all other moral agents, we cannot but know, that as these facts and relations are known to all such agents, the same law, in the same essential forms, must not only bind such agents, but must be known to them as law. I know of no truth more demonstrably evident than this.

2. On the assumption that the scriptures are a revelation from God, what we now assume to be true, it will follow as a necessary consequence of the truths above established, that the Moral Law revealed in the Sacred Word is perfectly identical with the ideas of right and wrong as they actually exist in the human mind. Were this not so, two revelations proceeding from the same source would stand in palpable contradiction to each other. He who revealed the law, created the human Intelligence. The necessary affirmations of that Intelligence are His productions as much so as the Intelligence itself, or the results of any other of his works, and are consequently a revelation from Him as well as the scriptures themselves. To deny this we must assume that a necessary intended result of what God has produced, is not a revelation of God Himself. This identity also is verified by the fact, that the Moral Law revealed to any man or race of men on earth will commend itself to their consciences as perfectly right and just. This could not be true on an other supposition than that under consideration. When a heathen, on hearing the Law for the first time, pronounces it right and just, as he will not, and in his own conscience, cannot fail to do, he does and must compare that law with an idea pre-existing in his own mind, and it is on the perceived identity of the two, that this judgment is based. This renders undeniably evident the perfect identity of which I am speaking.

This same identity also is every where assumed and asserted in the scriptures. When the ancient patriarch put the question "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" God expressed no disapprobation of the judgment thus passed upon what would be right in Him. Yet this judgment had its basis exclusively in the idea of right previously existing in the patriarch's mind. How often also does the Most High bring the fundamental principles of his own government to the bar of the human conscience, thus testifying to the perfect identity between the ideas of right and wrong developed in that conscience and the fundamental principles of his own eternal moral government.

The same truth also is affirmed in all the declarations we meet with in the scriptures pertaining to the perfection and rectitude of the Divine Law. All such judgments imply the conscious correspondence between the idea of right and perfection in the interior of the mind itself and the revelation without. The whole argument for the truth of the scriptures based upon internal evidence, rests upon this one principle, and is wholly void of force on any other principle, to wit, the perfect correspondence between the fundamental truths and principles of inspiration, and the ideas of fundamental truth and morality pre-existing in the mind itself. I might also refer to passages in which the truth which I am endeavoring to establish is directly asserted. But sufficient has already been said for the purpose I now have in view.

I would simply add in this place, that the objection urged against this position, that it renders a revelation of moral duty unnecessary, is evidently without weight. Though the ideas of right and wrong do exist in all minds, they yet need a distinctness of development which an external revelation alone can impart to them. There are many specific applications of these ideas also which need to be specified, applications which the unaided intellect of man would never discover. A revelation, finally, imparts a solemn and impressive interest to the idea of duty which it could not otherwise possess. They certainly take a very unwise course, who would magnify the importance of a revelation by denying the possibility of men's knowing their duty without it. They thus present the highest possible justification of the depravity of the heathen. For what better excuse can exist for any course of conduct, than the fact, that he who pursued it could not possibly know it to be wrong. Such, by no means, is the teaching of inspiration on this point. It affirms, that while the heathen perpetrate the crimes charged upon them, and take pleasure in those who do the same, they know well that they "who do such things are guilty [deserving] of death." It is not unavoidable ignorance, but a love of error instead of truth, that renders a revelation of the great principles of moral obligation necessary.

CHAPTER IV.


IDEA OF UNIVERSAL MORAL RESPONSIBILITY.

Ideas dependent upon those of right and wrong.

BEFORE proceeding directly to an elucidation of the subject of the present chapter, it may be important to notice certain fundamental moral ideas which have their ultimate basis in those of right and wrong. I refer to such as those of obligation, merit and demerit, and of retributions, or of moral order as it is expressed by some. We are all aware that in the presence of the ideas of right and wrong, a conviction of obligation, expressed, as I have before said, by the words ought and ought not, arises. The conception of obligation complied, or not complied with, suggests other ideas, those of merit and demerit, or the desert of reward and punishment. These last ideas suggest that of moral retributions, or a state of moral order. This, then, is the order of these ideas relatively to each other. The ideas of right and wrong are the foundation of that of obligation: this again, of that of moral desert, or reward and punishment, and these finally of that of moral retributions, or of a state of moral order. Each of these classes of ideas is, relatively to its appropriate sphere, strictly universal and necessary.

Idea of Universal Moral Responsibility.

The idea of universal moral responsibility now claims our attention. The words used hardly convey my meaning. It will be fully understood, however, as we proceed. In the preceding chapter, it has been shown, that in all moral judgments, the mind legislates, that is, affirms obligation, not for itself merely, but for all intelligents. The motives or intentions which it prescribes or prohibits for itself, it of necessity, prescribes or prohibits for all moral agents in existence. When it is conscious to itself, of having really obeyed or disobeyed the law of right, it knows absolutely, that it will and must be the object of the corresponding approbation or disapprobation of the conscience of every moral agent in existence, to whom its conduct may be known. The reason is, that each moral agent cannot but be aware, that his own moral judgments are but the echo of the conscience of the moral universe.

Now as the conscience of each moral agent thus legislates not merely for himself, but for all intelligents, and he cannot but be aware that such is the character of the conscience of every other such agent, we have in this great fact, an explanation of the universal conviction and sentiment of moral accountability on the part of each moral agent, not only at the bar of his own conscience, but that of every other such agent in existence. Every man knows, and cannot but recognize himself as accountable not only at the bar of his own conscience, but of that of every other intelligent, for his moral conduct. Every where he recognizes the right in every other Intelligent to inquire into his moral character and conduct, and to esteem and treat him accordingly. Thus every moral agent is to every other, in very important respects, a moral legislator, a judge, and an executer of Moral Law. The principle of moral accountability universally obtains, on the part of each moral agent relatively to all others.

As God is recognized by the universal Intelligence, not only as the Creator of all things, but as possessed in a degree absolutely infinite, of all possible perfections, as having, consequently, an acquaintance absolutely perfect with the character and deserts of all Intelligents, He is accordingly recognized by universal mind, as the supreme lawgiver, governor, and "judge of all." Yet moral agents are not accountable to God alone; but each is, in the sense above explained, accountable to all, and all to each. Nor does even God Himself claim an exemption from an adjudication at the bar of the universal conscience. To be sure, He will not pass, like creatures, a formal trial there. In this sense, "He gives none account of any of his matters." Yet He has so constituted all moral agents that they cannot but judge of the rectitude of his laws and principles of administration, and judge of them by a standard which He has Himself erected in the interior of their minds, to wit, the ideas of right and wrong, of which we have been speaking. This is what is meant by the Idea of universal moral accountability expressed at the head of this chapter.

REMARKS.

1. We are now prepared to explain the peculiar sentiment which universally attends the affirmations of conscience. As conscience, in its absolute mandates, legislates, not for the particular subject, but for all Intelligents, it really issues its mandates as from the conscience of the moral universe. It is on this principle, that in receiving the mandates of his own conscience, each moral agent feels himself accountable to all for his obedience or disobedience.

2. We now readily account for the fact, that conscience has so often been recognized, as the Spirit of God in the soul of man. Thus says Marcus Antonius, "He that is well disposed will do every thing dictated by the Divinity, a particle or portion of Himself, which God has given to each of us, as a guide and a leader." "The mind of man," says Aristotle, "has a near affinity to God. There is a divine ruler in him." "There is," says Seneca, "a holy spirit in us." Hieron says that "the universal light shining in the conscience is a domestic God, a God within the hearts and souls of men." "God," says Epictetus, "has assigned to each man a director, his own genius, a guardian whose vigilance no slumbers interrupt, and whom no false reasonings can deceive. So that when you have shut your door, say not that you are alone, for your God is within." I might also, to almost any extent, quote sentiments not unlike the above from Christian authors. The above, however, is sufficient for my purpose. Why do men thus regard conscience as the Spirit of God in the interior of their minds? The reason is, that the conscience of each moral agent really, as above shown, utters its mandates as from the throne of the universal conscience, and especially from that of God. Its voice is, and cannot but be recognized as the voice of God in the soul.

Because God has thus placed conscience within us as his Umpire, and its mandates can not but be recognized as the voice of God within us, hence the impression under consideration.

3. The thought above illustrated discloses to us the principle of universal moral harmony and attraction, together with that of repellency among all moral agents, one toward another. All such agents who conform to the law of righteousness, cannot but approve and delight in their own character. At the same time they cannot but know in themselves, that their characters must, when revealed, be fully approved at the bar of universal conscience, and also be the object of the approbation and delight of all the truly virtuous. Hence each individual of such a character prefers to have that character stand in the clearest light of his own, and of the universal conscience. Here too is the universal bond of brotherhood between all the really pure in existence.

On the other hand, all who disobey this law fear the adjudication of their own and of the universal conscience. They cannot but have a continued consciousness that they have a solemn account to render at the bar of their own and of the conscience of all other Intelligents, which they are by no means prepared to meet. Hence between all such agents and all others, there is the universal principle of repellency, and especially between those who are truly virtuous and those who are not. Among those who live in violation of the law of duty, there may for a time, on account of the strong action of other principles of their nature, be an apparent heart unanimity. Yet at the basis of such union there can not but be the elements of perpetual discord and repellency. What is said above is but an explanation of the declaration of our Savior. John iii. 20-21. "For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doethtruth, cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."

4. The truth above elucidated presents alone an explanation of the natural boldness and consequent strength of virtue, and timidity and weakness of vice. He certainly can have little to fear from any being, who is conscious of standing approved at the bar of the universal conscience. He certainly cannot but know that he has all to fear, who recognizes himself as accountable to all, and is at the same time aware that when he shall be known as he is, he must be condemned at that tribunal. There is not a moral agent in existence of whom such a person does not stand in fear, and in whose presence he would not tremble at the thought of a full disclosure of his character.

5. In the light of the great truth under consideration, the real meaning of certain important declarations of scripture pertaining to the future functions of the pure in heart becomes manifest. We read of the righteous that they shall not only judge the world, but even the angels of God. If such declarations be understood as indicating that such individuals shall be seated upon thrones of judgment before which the moral universe shall formally pass for adjudication, the whole cannot but appear to a reflecting mind as a meaningless farce. But if they be understood as they were designed to be, to reveal the fact, that eternal retributions will rest not merely upon the adjudication of God the judge of all, but also upon that of the universal Conscience, they then shadow forth a great truth, one of the greatest of which the human mind can conceive. This, as I said, is the idea which the sacred writer designed to express. He is reproving Christians, for adjudicating their civil causes before wicked men, instead of among themselves. He informs them that they have always a standard of judgment erected in their own minds, a standard of judgment, in the light of which they would hereafter pass judgment upon the character and deserts of men and angels too. Why then should they regard themselves as disqualified to adjudicate cases in difference among themselves, pertaining to the affairs of this life?

6. The ground of the universal fear with which conscious guilt contemplates an entrance upon a future disembodied state, admits in the light of the great truth before us, of a ready explanation. Human character is here consciously to a great extent, under a mask. When men think of dropping this "mortal coil" and standing disembodied spirits in the unveiled presence of the Eternal one, they cannot but suppose that in the dropping of this coil, the mask from character will also fall off, and that that unveiled vision of God, will be the time for moral scrutiny and adjudication. The natural and necessary fear of that adjudication in the mind of the guilty has its origin in the immutable principles and fundamental laws of universal mind, and points with absolute certainty to a solemn reality lying before us in the future, to wit, Retributions. This idea rightly apprehended, based as it is, upon that of universal accountability above elucidated, is the foundation of all that is pure and great, and noble in character. Without it, man is either a moral negation, or a moral monster.

CHAPTER V.


MORAL ACTIONS.

Terms defined.

ACTION is the putting forth or exertion of power. The nature of the action is of course as the nature of the power exerted, and must be compared with a corresponding law. Physical action is the exertion of physical power, and can be compared only with a physical law. A moral action being the exertion of moral power, is an action which can be compared with the moral law, or with the ideas of right and wrong. It is an action of which the Reason affirms that it ought or ought not to be done, and in the doing of which, merit or demerit is necessarily attributed to the agent. This definition is not only distinct in itself, but distinguishes its object from all other actions real and conceivable. This definition is equally applicable to complex actions, and the elements which constitute them. Of complex actions, that element, and that only, has a moral quality which is capable of being compared with the moral law, and of which we affirm directly that it ought or ought not to be. A deliberate action is always more or less complex.

Intentions alone are moral actions.

An important question here arises, to wit, what kind of actions, and what element of complex actions, are capable of being compared with the Moral Law, or with the fundamental ideas of right and wrong? In other words, to what principle or power of our nature does the Moral Law directly address its precepts and its sanctions? An individual, we will suppose, has put forth some moral act. We consequently affirm that he ought or ought not to have performed it, and that for having done so, he merits approbation or disapprobation. The act we will suppose to have been a complex one, as the putting of money or food into the hands of another. There is an element in this act to which, in the judgment of all men, its praise or blameworthiness attaches, and attaches exclusively. The question is, what is this element? The united spontaneous answer of all Intelligents whose minds have not been warped by false philosophy, (and such will be theirs also, when they forget for a moment their theories,) the united and spontaneous answer of the moral universe, I say, would be, the motive or intention of the agent in performing the act. We may refer to the act as useful or hurtful, as wise or unwise, and our judgments of it will vary according to the different points of view from which we contemplate it. But when we refer to that element in view of which we do and can not but assert it to be morally right or wrong, we do and can take but one consideration into the account, the intention of the agent in the act. That this is the correct view of the subject is evident from the following considerations:

Position Verified.

1. All mankind agree in this, in justifying or condemning themselves or others, in all moral actions, by a reference to their intentions in the performance of such acts. If they wish to know the character of any such act, their only inquiry is, what was the motive or intention of the agent in its performance. This one fact being fully and certainly known, all men unite in pronouncing judgment upon the act irrespective of all other considerations, and that with the absolute assurance, that in such judgment they cannot be wrong. If a man would justify himself in any act, he always does it by a reference to his intentions. So when men would condemn individuals in any moral act, they always do it by impeaching their motives or intentions. There is no one point in which all intelligents, Christian and heathen, civilized and savage, more absolutely agree, than in this. Such an agreement undeniably evinces that in the spontaneous and reflective judgment of the universal intelligence, the moral quality of all actions is found in the intention alone; in other words, that intentions alone are in reality moral acts,

2. Our judgments of the moral character of all particular acts, necessarily vary with our knowledge of the real intentions of the agent in their performance, and while our judgments of the intentions of the agent remain fixed, our affirmations pertaining to the character of the acts proceeding from them, cannot undergo the least "variableness or shadow of turning." As our knowledge of this one quality varies, so will our judgment of the moral character of the agent. If, for example, we admit that the intentions of a surgeon, in a given operation, were in all respects what they ought to be, we cannot but acquit him of moral guilt, whatever the results may be. If on the other hand, we assume that he intended to destroy the life of the subject in the operation, we cannot but attribute to him the guilt of murder, even though we learn that the course actually taken, was the only one by which the life of the patient could be preserved. Since then the relations between our judgments of intentions and moral character are and must be fixed, it follows, as a necessary conclusion, that the moral character of all acts and states of mind is found in intentions alone, in other words, that intentions alone are moral acts.

3. It is in respect to intentions alone, that virtuous and vicious agents in many instances really differ. Their external actions, their judgments, their volitions, and their feelings, excepting so far as they depend upon their intentions, may be alike. It is only in respect to intentions, and feelings and judgments necessarily resulting from them, that they differ.

    4. It is absolutely impossible for us to impute guilt to an agent, when we judge his intentions to be in all respects right; or to impute virtue to him, whatever he may be in other respects, when we judge his intentions to he wrong. The truth of the above propositions is fully attested by universal consciousness. In the truth of this assertion, I am pleased to find myself sustained most fully by such authority as Edwards. "As to such motions of body, or exercises and alterations of mind, which do not consist in the imminent acts or states of the will itself, but are supposed to be required as effects of the will; I say, in such supposed effects of the will, in cases wherein there is no want of a capacity of understanding, that inability, and that only excuses, which consists in want of connection between them and the will. If the will fully complies, and the proposed effect does not prove, according to the laws of nature, to be connected with his volition, the man is perfectly excused; he has a natural inability to do the thing required. For the will itself, as has been observed, is all that can be directly and immediately required by command; and other things only indirectly, as connected with the will. If, therefore, there be full compliance of the will, the person has done his duty; and if other things do not prove to be connected with his volition, that is not owing to him."

5. In favor of the doctrine under consideration, I may also cite the almost universal testimony of moral philosophers ancient and modern. From the writings of such authors, I cite the following:

"When the will consents to the performance of an action," says President Wayland, "though the act be not done, the Omniscient Deity justly considers us as either virtuous or vicious."

"The moral quality does not belong to the external act, nor to the resolution to carry that conception into effect. It must then reside in the intention."

"And universally," says Prof. Tappan, "the merit and demerit of an agent is as his actual choice or intention. His volition depends upon his choice, and hence all the sequents of his volition, as far as he can be responsible for them, depend upon his choice. However he may be judged by beings who have no other way of estimating the principles by which he regulates himself, than the sequents which appear in connexion with his volitions; in the court of his own conscience, and in the court of all-seeing truth and justice, he shall be judged according to his choices or intentions—according to that which he determined and aimed to do."

The following from Edwards is equally to the point:

"The will only itself, and not those actions which are the effects of the will, is the proper object of precept or command."

"The motions or state of the body are matters of command, only as they are subject to the soul, and connected with its acts. But now the soul has no other faculty whereby it can, in the most direct and proper sense, consent, yield to, or comply with any command, but the faculty of the will; and it is by this faculty only, that the soul can directly disobey or refuse compliance: for the very notions of consenting, yielding, accepting, complying, refusing, rejecting, &c., are, according to the meaning of the terms, nothing but certain acts of the will. Obedience, in the primary nature of it, is the submitting and yielding of the will of one to the will of another. Disobedience is the not consenting, not complying of the will of the commanded to the manifested will of the commander. Other acts that are not the acts of the will, as certain Motions of the body and alterations in the soul, are obedience or disobedience only indirectly, as they are connected with the state or actions of the will, according to an established law of nature. So that it is manifest, the will itself may be required: and the being of a good will is the most proper, direct and immediate subject of command; and if this cannot be prescribed or required by command or precept, nothing can; for other things can be no otherwise than as they depend upon, and are the fruits of a good will."

"Corol. 1. If there be several acts of the will, or a series of acts, one following another, and one the effect of another, the first and determining act is properly the subject of command, and not only the consequent acts which are dependent upon it. Yea, it is this more especially, which is that which command or precept has respect to: because it is this act that determines the whole affair; in this act the obedience or disobedience lies, in a peculiar manner; the consequent acts being all subject to it, and governed and determined by it. This determining, governing act, must be the proper object of precept, or none."

"Coral. 2. It also follows, from what has been observed, that if there be any sort of act, or exertion of the soul, prior to all free acts of the will or acts of choice in the case, directing and determining what that act of the will shall be; that act or exertion of the soul cannot properly be subject to any command or precept, in any respect whatsoever, either directly or indirectly, immediately or remotely. Such acts can not be subject to commands directly, because they are no acts of the will; being by the supposition prior to all acts of the will, determining and giving rise to all its acts: they not being acts of the will, there can be in them no consent to, or compliance with any command. Neither can they be subject to any command indirectly or remotely; for they are not so much as the effects or consequences of the will, being prior to all its acts. So that if there be any obedience in that original act of the soul determining all volitions, it is an act of obedience wherein the will has no concern at all; it preceding every act of the will. And therefore, if the soul either obeys or disobeys in this act, it is wholly involuntarily; there is no willing obedience or rebellion, no compliance or opposition of the will in the affair: and what sort of obedience or rebellion is this?"

That Edwards, in the above extracts, designed to assert the doctrine that moral obligation, and consequently, moral character, pertains to intentions only, is evident from two considerations.

(1.) He denies moral character wholly of all mental and physical states but those of the will.

(2.) He distinguishes between all ultimate acts of will, and dependent executive volitions proceeding from them, and attributes all moral qualities that do exist to such ultimate acts or intentions alone.

"There are," says Kant, the founder of the modern Transcendental school in philosophy, "qualities which greatly aid and strengthen a good will; but they have not any inward worth of their own, and will be found always to presuppose a good will, which limits the praise they deservedly carry.

"A good will is esteemed to be so, not by the effects which it produces, nor by its fitness for accomplishing any given end, but by its mere good volition, that is, it is good in itself; and is therefore to be prized incomparably higher for its own sake, than any thing whatsoever which can be produced at the call of appetite or inclination. Even if it should happen, that, owing to an unhappy conjuncture of events, this good will were deprived of power to execute its benign intent, still this good will, (by which is not meant a wish) would, like a diamond, shine in itself, and by virtue of its native lustre. Utility or uselessness could neither enhance nor prejudice this internal splendor: they resemble the setting of a gem, whereby the brilliant is more easily taken in the hand, and offered to the attention of those not otherwise judges, but which would not be required by any skilled lapidary, to enable him to form his opinion of its worth."

"It is thus without all question, that we are to understand those passages of scripture, where it is ordained that we love our neighbor, even our enemy; for, as an affection, love cannot be commanded or enforced; but to act kindly from a principle of duty can, not only where there is no natural desire, but also where aversion irresistibly thrusts itself upon the mind; and this would be a practical, not a pathological liking, and would consist in the original volition, and not in any emotion of the sensory." "The consequences of an action," says Cousin, "whatever they may be, do not render it either morally good or bad; the intention is every thing. Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as a moral action; nothing but moral intentions."

I forbear further quotations which might be multiplied to almost any extent.

6. Equally explicit, on the point, are the teachings of Inspiration. Take a single example in illustration. The guilt of the king of Assyria, in his bloody wars, is affirmed to depend not on his external acts, but exclusively upon his motives or intentions in performing them. "Nevertheless, he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think [intend] so." In conformity to this principle, it is affirmed, that "As a man thinketh, [intendeth] in his heart, so is he." God also in judging of moral character is represented, as looking not at the outward acts, but at the heart, the motives or intentions by which such acts are put forth.

7. As a final reason for the truth of the doctrine under consideration, I remark that it is only in reference to intentions, that moral agents are free, and not subject wholly to the law of necessity. An act or state of mind is free, when, at the time and in the circumstances of its existence, it may be different from what it is. It is necessary when, at the time and in the circumstances of its occurrence, it can not but be in all respects what it is, nor by any possibility be, in any respect, different from what it is. To say that an agent, all of whose acts and states are subject to the law of necessity, ought in any given circumstances, to be or to do in any respect different from what he is or does, and can not but be and do in those circumstances, is equivalent to the affirmation, that an event ought to exist for which there is no cause. Can the intelligence affirm, that any such thing ought to be? What meaning can attach to the word ought when it is asserted that an event without a cause ought to exist? We venture to affirm, that no man, in the possession of reason, would have the effrontery to look the proposition directly in the face, and then affirm that in any conceivable circumstances, an event ought to occur, and that the subject is guilty for its non-occurrence, when its occurrence in those circumstances, would be an event without a cause. Obligation cannot be affirmed of any agent, or of any department of his nature, when its affirmation would involve such a contradiction as that. Now, it is universally admitted by philosophers of all schools, that in respect to all states and acts of the physical system, and also in respect to all mental states, intentions excepted, in respect to all states of the sensibility and intelligence, for example, man is wholly subject to the law of necessity. In respect to intention only is he free. As moral obligation consists only with freedom, and as man is free only in respect to his intentions, intentions are the only acts or mental states of which obligation can be directly affirmed. The sense in which it may be affirmed of other acts and states, will be considered hereafter. Intentions, then, and moral actions are synonymous terms.

Conclusions from the propositions above established.

    1. Intentions are exclusively phenomena of the will. They, pertain neither to the intelligence, nor Sensibility. This all will admit.

    2. No motion of the physical organization, no state of the intelligence or sensibility does or can, in itself, possess any moral character. The truth of this proposition has been already established beyond controversy. A few additional considerations, designed to render its truth if possible still more evident, demand a passing consideration.

    (1.) In respect to all phenomena of these faculties, excepting so far forth as their character depends upon the action of the will, individuals of moral character, in all respects the direct opposites, may perfectly resemble each other. All the external acts performed by the purest men that ever lived, might, as far as mere physical motion is concerned, be performed by fallen spirits, their character remaining unchanged, if they were to be become incarnate. The same holds equally true of all states of the intelligence. The same thoughts and convictions are common to the worst and best of creatures. Moral character surely can, in no sense, consist in any such phenomena as these. Equally manifest is the applicability of the same principle to all the states of the sensibility not dependent upon the action of the will, such sensations, emotions and desires are common to creatures of the worst and the best of moral characters. How can moral character in any form, depend upon such phenomena?

(2.) No individual subject to such phenomena himself can affirm that all moral agents, under all circumstances, are bound to experience the same phenomena without modification. This, as we have seen, would be the case, were such states to be regarded as moral acts or states. The same law which morally binds one, binds all. A given thought or feeling arises in our minds. Can we affirm, that any other agent, who, whatever the state of his will may be, cannot but have, or cannot, by any possibility, experience such phenomena, is, in any way, responsible for their existence or non-existence in himself? We can no more make such affirmations than we can affirm any other palpable contradiction. If not, we can not hold ourselves responsible for the existence or non-existence of any such phenomena in ourselves, phenomena which we cannot experience, though we will it ever so strongly, or cannot but experience them, all possible efforts on our part, to the contrary notwithstanding. An idea more totally subversive of all correct conceptions of moral obligation, was never broached, than the position that moral agents are responsible for such phenomena as these.

(3.) No idea of God is more absurd in itself, or more dishonorable to the divine character, than the supposition, that He has legislated morally in respect to such phenomena. Suppose that God has hung out before the moral universe, a law in which thoughts, feelings, or physical acts or states, are required of or prohibited to his creatures, phenomena, the existence of which, by no efforts of their wills they can either produce or prevent or modify in themselves. How must He stand before the universe, as a moral legislator? This is the precise light in which all present the moral law and God its administrator, who predicate moral character of such phenomena.

(4.) The dogma that moral agents are directly morally responsible for the existence or non-existence of such phenomena, implies, as we have seen, that events without causes are required of creatures. All such phenomena are exclusively subject to the law of necessity. In the circumstances of their existence, they cannot but exist as they are. To suppose that the law requires them to be different from what they are, is to suppose that it requires events without a cause. That which in the circumstances of its existence, cannot but be what it is, and by no possibility be otherwise, (which is the case of all phenomena subject to the law of necessity,) cannot in those circumstances, be in any respects other than it is, unless there is an event without a cause. Those then, who maintain, that the law requires of creatures the existence of thoughts, feelings, or physical phenomena, which, by no efforts of theirs they can produce in themselves, or to prevent the existence of such phenomena the occurrence of which no efforts of theirs can, in any degree avail to prevent, all such persons, I say, maintain, that the divine law requires of creatures, events without causes, and dooms them to death for not producing results which when produced shall be results not produced at all. How utterly incapable must a person, who can maintain such a dogma, be to reason profoundly upon any question of fundamental morality.

3. It follows as a necessary consequence from what has been established above, that moral agents are responsible for physical acts or states, as also for the phenomena of the intelligence and sensibility, so far forth only as their existence and character depend either directly or indirectly on their wills, or Intentions. So far they may with all propriety, and in every system of righteous moral legislation, will be held responsible for such phenomena. Beyond these limits moral responsibility wholly ceases.

4. Equally manifest is it that moral agents are responsible directly and immediately for those acts of will only denominated ultimate intentions. Whenever there is a series of acts all depending for their existence and entire character upon some one causative, pre-determining, and controlling act, it is self-evident, that moral obligation must directly pertain to this one act alone. "This determining, governing act," as Edwards well observes, "must be the proper object of precept or none." Now, this is the precise relation which ultimate intention sustains to all subordinate executive volitions. To it they sustain the relation exclusively of effects to cause. The intention being given, the subordinate volitions cannot but be, with all existing characteristics. Moral law has to do with such phenomena therefore, only as dependent for their existence and entire characteristics upon ultimate intentions. These last are the only phenomena over which it directly legislates. Much is done for the science of Moral Philosophy, when its appropriate and primary objects of investigation are thus rendered clear and distinct.

Ultimate Intentions Defined.

As ultimate intentions are the only phenomena over which moral law directly legislates, and as all obligation and moral desert finally terminate in these, the correct scientific definition of such phenomena becomes an object of fundamental importance. What then are ultimate intentions? They are, of course, ultimate determinations, or acts of will, that is, acts which are caused by, subordinated to, and determined in their characteristics by, none others. Ultimate intentions, therefore, may be thus defined. Whenever the will acts, and the reasons for such action are found in some object and in nothing extraneous to it, those acts which refer directly to such object, and determine the character of the series of acts ultimately referring to it, are ultimate. This is what we mean by ultimate intentions. Whenever we ash for the motives or ultimate intentions of an individual, we always inquire for the object relatively to which that final act is put forth, the act which gives existence to and determines the character of the whole series of subordinate acts under consideration.

Defective Definition.

Ultimate Intentions have been sometimes defined as the choice of an end. "The choice of an ultimate end," says my respected associate, Professor Finney, "is an ultimate intention." This definition is to my mind, defective, for the following reasons.

    1. It is by no means intuitively certain, (the fundamental characteristic of all correct definitions,) that it includes all ultimate acts of will. It admits, at least of a doubt, whether there may not be such acts which cannot properly be denominated the choice of an end.

    2. There are ultimate acts of will which cannot, properly, be denominated the choice of an end. To choose any thing as an end, implies, according to the proper signification of the words, that we choose it, as something which we are to promote by appropriate executive acts. There are objects which present ultimate reasons for acts of will which we cannot, in the sense above explained, will as an end. God, for example, we can, by no acts of our wills, render better or more happy than He is, his holiness and happiness both being revealed to us, as absolute infinite quantities wholly incapable consequently of increase or diminution from any finite cause. We therefore cannot will either of them as ultimate ends, that is, as ends to he secured by appropriate executive acts. But the revelation of the divine existence and perfections, does present ultimate reasons for many ultimate acts of will. The definition under consideration therefore is defective.

3. The one proposed above is free from all such objections. It intuitively includes all ultimate acts of will, whether falling under the choice of an ultimate end, or whether such acts suppose subordinate volitions, or not. It therefore clearly meets all the exigencies of a correct definition.

    1. We notice the meaning of the term love when used to express all forms of virtue; as when it is said that "love is the fulfilling of the law." Love as moral virtue, in distinction from mere feeling, is action from respect to the intrinsic character and relative worth of all objects of moral action, as apprehended by the intelligence. When the will is actually in this state in respect to all objects involving moral obligation, all that moral law does or can require is fully discharged.

    2. We notice also the meaning of the term selfishness when used to express all forms of sin or wrong doing. It does not then mean merely and exclusively preferring our own to the interest of another, but voluntary conformity to impulse or feeling irrespective of the idea of duty. All such action, whatever its form or direction, and whatever the feeling in which it has its spring, is selfishness. No other actions do or can exist between actions or intentions right and wrong than those now under consideration.

3. The manifest error of many in their attempts at self-justification, in respect to acts manifestly wrong, now admits of a ready explanation. The plea set up is, "We intended no wrong," "Our intentions were good," &c. Such individuals assume that their intentions are good, excepting when evil is intended as an end. It may be doubted whether such intentions are ever put forth. It is actually denied by many that the will can intend known evil as an end, that is, for its own sake. Individuals who adduce such pleas in self-justification for wrong doing, need to be reminded, that the essence of all wrong-doing is action from impulse irrespective of a supreme regard for duty. The law requires us not only not to intend evil, but actually to intend good, and holds us transgressors when acting froth any ether principles.

    1. They have their basis in ideas and principles of our nature totally distinct. Prudential maxims have their basis in self-love, or utility, or the idea of the useful. Moral principles, in the ideas of right and wrong, or duty.

    2. Motives for obedience to prudential maxims and moral principles as such, are in their nature distinct and unlike. The motives for obedience to the former are drawn from a consideration of the consequences of the action, and of the consequences to ourselves, especially. Motives to obedience to the other class, are drawn exclusively from a consideration of the nature or moral character of the action itself.

    3. Transgression of a prudential maxim as such is a crime when the principle is understood: while obedience to it merely as a prudential maxim, is in no sense virtuous, or meritorious. To take arsenic, knowing its qualities, is sin. To abstain from taking arsenic, however, through fear of consequences, is no virtue. On the other hand, disobedience to moral principles is not only sinful, but obedience is meritorious.

    4. Moral principles when presented as prudential maxims, lose their nature as moral principles, and obedience to them if it were possible, would not be meritorious. The same is true of prudential maxims, when considered as moral principles. They lose their character as prudential principles, and disobedience to them, not only becomes sinful, but obedience becomes meritorious.

    5. When we have obeyed a moral principle as such, it is absolutely impossible not to erect the immediate motive for the act into a principle or law of universal obligation. It is not so in respect to maxims of prudence. We pity, but do not blame persons who do no know and do not adhere to these principles. The man who strictly adheres to the prudential maxims, either in respect to his temporal or eternal interest, we praise merely as "one who doeth well unto himself." The many that conforms his conduct to the principles of the moral law, simply because he ought to do it, him, and him alone, we admire as virtuous.

    1. Systems of prudential maxims and moral principles, are in their nature, object, and influence, wholly unlike.

    1. The object of the moral philosopher is, to develop and arrange the principles of morals as such, and to urge obedience to them as duties. His object is, to render his hearers and readers not prudent merely, but virtuous, and prudent only so far as prudence is a necessary consequent of real virtue.

    2. A person may be very prudent, in the common acceptation of the term, while destitute of all real virtue; but he can not become virtuous, without in the same measure becoming really prudent, and that in the highest sense of the term. "I wisdom dwell with prudence." "He that saveth his life shall lose it."

CHAPTER IX.

"Now, in what, you will ask, does the difference consist? inasmuch, as, according to our account of the matter, both in the one case and the other, in acts of duty as well as acts of prudence, we consider solely what we ourselves shall gain or lose by the act.

The difference, and the only difference, is this:

That in the one case, we consider what we shall gain or lose in the present world; in the other case, we consider also what we shall gain or lose in the world to come."

The Will of God.

2. The second theory that I notice resolves all obligation, or rather the measure and ground of it, into the will of God. The command of God, according to this theory, does not reveal to us what is right and wrong, but constitutes it. We are bound, for example, to love excellence, to be grateful to a benefactor, and to will the good of being, not on account of any thing intrinsic in the objects themselves, nor on account of our relations to them; but simply, and exclusively because God requires it. The question now to be decided is, not whether the known will of God is absolute law to us, but why it is. In regard to the theory under consideration, I remark:

1. That if admitted to be true, we have no means at all of judging of the divine conduct or law. To say of God, that He is a "God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He," to ask the question, "shall not the Judge of all the earth do right," or to say of the divine law, "it is perfect," is to use words without meaning. If God's will is the standard of right, how can we judge of the intrinsic rectitude of the divine will itself? But such judgment all men do and must pass, a fact showing clearly that the will of God reveals what is right in itself, but does not constitute the right.

    2. God himself appeals to the reason of his creatures as proof the rectitude of his administration. If the will of God is the standard of right and the foundation of obligation, this of course would be the only standard to which God could appeal in such cases. Such appeals then show that in the mind of God and all rational creatures, there is a common standard of right and wrong, that standard to which all alike do and must appeal, as the ground of moral obligation.

    3. If the above theory is correct, without a direct revelation, men would be free from all obligation, and without any standard of right and wrong. They have, on that supposition, no other standard by which they can determine what is right or wrong, or agreeable to the will of God, than the nature, or intrinsic character of the things themselves. But this is not the standard of right and wrong, and consequently no indication of conformity to the will of God according to this theory. Such persons are of necessity without law of any kind.

    4. If we could make the absurd supposition that God does not exist, still, we should recognize the distinction between virtue and vice, right and wrong, and should recognize our obligation to avoid the latter and practice the former. In the absence also of all expectation of reward or punishment in a future state, we should recognize our obligation to live in such a manner as to promote the peace and tranquility of ourselves and others.

    5. Free will is universally the subject, and not itself the source or foundation of law. Law originates with intelligence and not with mere will. Virtue in God consists in the absolute subjection of his will to the dictates of his own intelligence. In creatures, it consists in voluntary harmony with the divine will, as thus subject to the dictates of the divine intelligence. Implicit obedience to the divine will for such a reason, certainly indicates deeper and more becoming reverence for the Divinity, than similar subjection to mere arbitrary will as such. Such obedience can neither be intelligent, nor virtuous.

    6. If the divine will were divorced from its present subjection to the divine intelligence, the commands of God would not be law to moral agents, as they now are. This shows demonstratively that the foundation of obligation does not lie in the mere will of God; but that the reason why the will of God binds all intelligents as law, is the fact universally recognized of the absolute subjection of the divine will to the dictates of infinite knowledge and wisdom.

    7. In conformity with the above representation. the intelligences in heaven are represented as praising God, for the perceived conformity of his administration to what is intrinsically wise, right and just. Rev. 16: 5; 19: 2.

Doctrine of General Consequences.

3. The third theory that demands consideration, is that which bases obligation upon a consideration of the consequences of the action if generally permitted.

According to this theory, we are not to look at the intentions and relations of the agent, in any particular act, to determine the merit or demerit of the act. That question is to be determined by conceiving the act indefinitely multiplied, and contemplating its effects on that supposition. See Paley's works, Vol. 2, p.59:

"The general consequence of any action may be estimated, by asking what would be the consequence if the same sort of actions were generally permitted. But suppose they were, and a thousand such actions perpetrated under this permission; is it just to charge a single action with the collected guilt and mischief of the whole thousand? I answer, that the reason for prohibiting and punishing an action, (and this reason may be called the guilt of the action, if you please,) will always be in proportion to the whole mischief that would arise from the general impunity and toleration of actions of the same sort.

'Whatever is expedient, is right.' But then it must be expedient on the whole, at the long run, in all its effects, collateral and remote, as well as in those which are immediate and direct; as it is obvious, that in computing consequences, it makes no difference in what way or at what distance they ensue."

In reference to this theory it is enough to say, that if an action be not an evil in itself, its indefinite multiplication would not be an evil. If it is an evil, or a good of an indefinite value, its indefinite multiplication cannot give us a definite result; since it is the multiplication of an unknown quantity. If it has a definite value in itself, the conception of its indefinite enlargement can give us no clearer insight into its real character. The doctrine of general consequences, gives us purely an indefinite and imaginary standard by which to determine the value of unknown quantities. The unknown quantity is also compared with consequences which are never likely to occur, and which under the government of God will never occur. In view of this standard also, we should judge it much more criminal to break the laws of a bad than of a good government, because that under the former, such consequences are much more likely to occur. Now, obligation to obey the laws of any government is proportioned to the rectitude and efficiency of the government which sustains them.

CHAPTER X.

NEW THEORY PERTAINING TO THE FOUNDATION OF MORAL OBLIGATION.

I HAVE reserved for a separate chapter, the consideration of a new theory pertaining to the foundation of moral obligation, a theory broached some years since by my much respected associate, Prof. Finney, and argued at great length in his second volume on Systematic Theology. After long and mature consideration, I am constrained to differ from the principles on the subject set forth in this work. As my object is truth, and as the interests of truth are, in my judgment, not a little concerned in a full and correct understanding of this subject, I shall, notwithstanding my great reluctance to appear before the public in opposition to any of the principles advocated in that excellent treatise, proceed to state my objections to the theory therein set forth on the subject under consideration.

Theory stated.

To attain the object in view, the first thing to be done is to ascertain clearly what this theory is, as distinguished from that maintained in this treatise. Prof. Finney fully agrees with myself in rejecting the doctrine of utility. "The teachings of a consistent utilitarian," he says, "must of necessity abound with pernicious error." Again, "consistent utilitarianism inculcates fundamentally false ideas of the nature of virtue." Of course, he will agree with me in the statement made in the last chapter, that any theory (his own not excepted,) that, in its logical consequences necessarily lands us in this doctrine, must be false. What then is this theory?

1. He maintains that the only ultimate reason in view of which obligation is ever affirmed, is happiness as a good in itself. "It is then the intrinsic and infinite value," he says, "of the highest good of God and of the universe, that constitutes the true foundation of moral obligation."

2. He maintains that obligation in no form or degree is ever affirmed in view of what is perceived to be intrinsic in moral character, holiness or sin, virtue or vice, merit or demerit. None of these contain any ultimate reason for any acts of will whatever. "The highest well-being of God and of the universe of sentient creatures is the end on which preference, choice, intention, ought to terminate."

3. Holiness or sin, moral character, &c., are esteemed by the mind for no other reason than as a condition or a means of happiness:

"Obedience must be a means or condition, and that which law and obedience are intended to secure, is and must be the ultimate end of obedience. The law or the lawgiver aims to promote the highest good or blessedness of the universe. This must be the end of moral law and moral government. Law and obedience must be the means or conditions of this end. It is absurd to deny this."

Again, speaking of virtue, moral worth, &c., he says,

"Were it not for the fact that it meets a demand of the intelligence and thus produces satisfaction, it could not so much as be thought of as a good in itself, any more than any thing else that is a pure conception of the reason, such, for instance, as a mathematical line."

Further on, he adds,

"The willing and the worthiness of willing are valuable only as the end willed is valuable. Were it not that the end is intrinsically valuable, the willing would not be so much as relatively valuable. It would have no value whatever."

4. The intelligence does not require ultimate intentions, in other words, does not affirm obligation in respect to them, as a condition or a means of happiness; but simply and exclusively because happiness is a good in itself. This sentiment is often repeated in the work before us. A single quotation, however, is all that is necessary to show that I have rightly expounded the view therein set forth on this point.

"Ultimate intention is right or wrong in itself, and no questions of utility, expediency or tendency have any thing to do with the obligation to put forth ultimate intention, there being only one reason for this, namely, the intrinsic value of the end to be intended. It is true that whatever is expedient is right, not for that reason, but only upon that condition. The inquiry then, is it expedient? in respect to outward action, is always proper; for upon this condition does obligation to outward action turn. But in respect to ultimate intention or the choice of an ultimate end, an inquiry into the expediency of this choice or intention is never proper, the obligation being founded alone upon the perceived and intrinsic value of the end, and the obligation being without any condition whatever, except the possession of the powers of moral agency, with the perception of the end upon which intention ought to terminate, namely the good of universal being."

5. While obligation to put forth ultimate intentions is in no sense conditioned upon their perceived tendency to promote happiness, the necessary condition of obligation to put forth executive volitions and outward actions is their perceived tendency to promote happiness.

" I said in a former lecture, that the obligation to put forth volitions or outward actions to secure an end must be conditionated upon the perceived tendency of such volitions and actions to secure that end; but while this tendency is the condition of the obligation to executive volition, or outward action, the obligation is founded upon the intrinsic value of the end, to secure which such volitions tend."

The Opposite Theory stated.

Such is the doctrine set forth in the treatise on Systematic Theology. Let us now attend to a statement of the opposite theory.

    1. The advocates of this theory agree with Professor Finney in the doctrine, that the good of being is an ultimate reason for ultimate intentions of a certain class, to wit, all intentions included in the words, willing the good of being.

    2. On the other hand, they affirm, that there are other objects, such as virtue and sin, moral character, moral desert, &c., which contain ultimate reasons for certain acts of will or ultimate intentions, besides happiness as a good in itself. Here and here only, is there a difference of opinion. The doctrine maintained by this class of philosophers may be thus stated. Whenever an object is present to the mind, which on account of what is intrinsic in the object itself, necessitates the will to act, two or more distinct and opposite acts are always possible relatively to such object. The intelligence can never be indifferent in respect to the acts or intentions put forth under such circumstances. In its judgment that act and that act only can be right, which corresponds with the apprehended intrinsic character of the object. All other acts must be wrong. The sphere of moral obligation must be as extensive as the objects the apprehension of which intrinsically necessitate acts of will of some kind, and relatively to which distinct and opposite acts are possible. According to Professor Finney, there is but one object in existence the apprehension of which intrinsically necessitates acts of will, to wit, the good of being. According to this class of philosophers, there are other objects aside from this, the apprehension of which also necessitates acts of will, and relatively to which therefore obligation does and must pertain. We are now prepared for a distinct statement of the arguments which lie against the theory of Professor Finney, and in favor of the opposite theory.

1. The theory of Professor Finney, in its logical consequences, necessarily lands us in the doctrine of Utility, and can lead to no other results. The affirmation of obligation, as all admit, pertains exclusively to the intelligence. The intelligence, according to Professor Finney, esteems nothing whatever as worthy of regard for its own sake, but happiness, or the good of being. Nothing else is esteemed by it, for its own sake, but exclusively as "a condition or a means to this end." Now if the intelligence does not regard an intention for any other reason than as a condition or a means, in other words, if for no other reason does it care whether such acts do or do not exist at all, how can it require or prohibit such acts for any other reason? To suppose the opposite, would be to suppose that the intelligence commands and prohibits intentions for reasons for which it in no sense regards them. This would suppose an event without a cause, an intelligent affirmation without a reason. If the intelligence does require or prohibit intentions for no other reasons than as a condition or a means of happiness, this is the doctrine of Utility, as maintained by all its advocates. We are necessitated then, either to admit that there is something besides happiness which the intelligence does regard for its own sake, something, the apprehension which consequently may itself be an object of ultimate choice or intention, or take the doctrine of Utility, as the only true doctrine. No other alternative is or can be left us. To be sure, Professsor Finney denies, and that very truly, that his theory is identical with that of Utility. The reason and the only reason, however, why he is not an Utilitarian entire, is a palpable contradiction of his own fundamental assertions. In no other light can I possibly view the subject.

Further, Professor Finney has himself assumed the truth of the doctrine of Utility as the ground and the only ground of explanation of certain forms of moral obligation. A palpable instance of this kind is found on page 63:

"An example is brought forward of moral obligation to do that which does not imply the choice of the highest good of being. It is said we are under obligation to esteem and treat as worthy of confidence those whose known veracity entitles them to our confidence. This, let it be observed, is an example or an instance in which it is said that we are under obligation where no reference is had to the good of being. Now, let it be remembered, that the theory to overthrow which this example is brought forward is, that the satisfaction of the mind arising from the fact that every demand of his being is met is that in which the ultimate good of being consists. Now it is a demand of the intelligence of every moral being that we should esteem and treat as worthy of confidence those whose character entitles them to this confidence. Thus, then, to esteem and treat all that are truthful, is one of the demands of the universal intelligence of moral agents. Unless this demand be met by a being he cannot be satisfied with himself. His intelligence and conscience are not satisfied.

2. In consistency with the fundamental principles of this theory, we can never account for the difference which he himself makes and must make between ultimate intentions and subordinate executive volition. Both alike, as we have seen above, are, according to his theory, esteemed and regarded by the intelligence for no other reasons, than as a condition or a means of happiness. Yet he asserts that the obligation to put forth ultimate intentions is affirmed without any reference whatever to their being apprehended as a condition or a means of happiness; while the affirmation of obligation to put forth executive acts is conditioned wholly upon their being perceived to be such a condition or means. Now how can the intelligence make any such difference between objects esteemed and regarded, as far as anything intrinsic in the objects themselves is concerned, as absolutely alike. Is not this an event without a cause, an intellectual discrimination without a difference? How can that which in the mind's estimation is, for its own sake, of no account whatever, and which is regarded only as a condition or a means, be nevertheless required or prohibited wholly on its own account, that is, "as right or wrong in itself," and not at all as a condition or means; while another thing occupying precisely the same place in the mind's estimation, is regarded or prohibited not at all as "right or wrong in itself," but wholly on condition, that it is perceived to be a condition or a means? Is not here not only a discrimination without a difference, but a direct acknowledgment that there is something besides happiness which the mind regards for its own sake, and which may therefore itself be an ultimate ground of certain forms of moral obligation? For myself, I have no conception that this theory can, by any possibility, be rescued from such difficulties.

3. Professor Finney has himself directly and palpably contradicted his own theory. Take an example found on page 94:

"The intelligence of every moral agent, from its nature and laws affirms, that the ultimate good and blessedness of moral beings is, and ought to be conditionated upon their holiness and good desert. This being a demand of reason, reason can never affirm moral obligation to will the actual blessedness of moral agents, but upon condition of their virtue and consequent good desert, or merit. The intelligence affirms, that it is fit, suitable, proper, that virtue, good desert, merit, holiness, should be rewarded with blessedness."

Again, on page 47, he says of virtue, "It is intrinsically meritorious or deserving of good, but not identical with the ultimate good."

The fundamental principle of his theory is, that oughtness is never affirmed in view of what is intrinsic in any thing but happiness. Yet here we are told, in the first instance, that the "intelligence of every moral agent, from its nature and laws affirms" oughtness in view of something else, to wit, that upon which "good or blessedness is and ought to be conditionated." In the second instance, we are told that virtue "is intrinsically deserving of good." Now desert and obligation are correlative terms. That it which intrinsically deserves good, must, for what it is in itself devolve upon all who have the power to confer the good, the obligation to cofer it. Words have no meaning, if this is not the case. To deny the statement that virtue is intrinsically deserving of good, is to deny a universal intuition of the intelligence. To admit the fact that it intrinsically deserves good, and yet to affirm that for nothing intrinsic in itself, it involves moral obligation, is to deny a necessary logical consequent of that intuition.

4. The entire argument of Professor Finney, is based upon a manifest psychological error. I refer to the use made throughout the argument of the term satisfaction, which he has substituted for that of happiness, good, and well-being. According to his use of the term, man has in fact three sensibilities, the general sensibility, that of the intelligence, and also that of the will. "By the term satisfaction," he says, "I mean more than is generally understood by the term happiness. This term is generally used to express merely the satisfaction of the sensibility. There is, however, such a thing as intellectual satisfaction, the satisfaction of conscience. In other words, there is a natural, and if I may so speak, a moral satisfaction. The demands of the intelligence and of the heart and of the sensibility are all fully met. This results in a state of universal and entire mental satisfaction. It is a state perhaps well and fully expressed by the term BLESSEDNESS. Every power and susceptibility is full, is satisfied. The mind can say, it is enough,—I have no want. This state must be the ultimate and the absolute good."

The psychological error involved in the above passage will appear manifest at once, if we substitute for the term satisfaction, that of happiness. What if we should speak of the happiness of the sensibility, the happiness of the intellect, and of the will, or heart? To say that satisfaction in the sense above explained, is the end on which all intentions should terminate, is a very different thing from saying that happiness, or the satisfaction of the sensibility is that thing.

Now it is by availing himself of this use of the term satisfaction, that Professor Finney rids himself of the most important objections urged against his theory. Take in illustration one or two examples:

"It is objected, 'That if this be the sole foundation of moral obligation, it follows that if all the good now in existence were connected with sin, and all the misery connected with holiness, we should be just as well satisfied as we now are.'

To this I answer, We are satisfied only when the demands of our being are met. One demand of our being is, that all moral agents should be holy, and that they should be actually and perfectly happy only on the condition that they are holy. Now if our constitution only demanded their happiness irrespective of their holiness, then were they perfectly happy, we should be satisfied whether they were holy or not. But our constitution being what it is, we should not be and can not be satisfied with their happiness unless they are holy: for their holiness, as a condition of their actual blessedness, is an unalterable demand of our intelligence. Now, therefore, although we are to regard their universal satisfaction as the ultimate good, yet we also know, and cannot but affirm that their universal satisfaction or blessedness is naturally impossible, and that it ought to be, except on condition of their perfect holiness. Therefore the supposition is impossible and inadmissible."

Why does not our constitution demand happiness irrespective of holiness, and why is "holiness as a condition of actual blessedness, an unalterable demand of our, intelligence?" Why can neither be satisfied with mere happiness irrespective of the conditions on which it exists, as far as moral agents are concerned? Simply and exclusively, because both alike regard something else for its own sake besides happiness. In other words, because the theory of Professor Finney does not accord with the facts of human nature and consciousness.

In answering the argument based upon the principle, that it is an intuition of the universal intelligence that there is as much virtue in esteeming and treating an individual as worthy of confidence, on the ground of ascertained character for veracity, as there is in willing his happiness, on the ground of perceived capacities for good, we have another resort to the same expedient:

"It is not only a demand of my being that I should treat one who is worthy of confidence as worthy, but it also is a demand of his being and intelligence that I should thus treat him. If I would aim, therefore, at his highest good, or at meeting the demands of his being for the sake of promoting his entire and perfect satisfaction, I must treat him as worthy of confidence. So that his highest good and my highest good, and the highest good of all beings, demand that I should thus treat him. For the intelligence of God and of every intelligent being in the universe, demands that I should treat a being with confidence who is worthy of confidence. So that I do not really meet the demands of my own being, nor of the intelligence of any being unless I do thus treat him. Therefore, thus esteeming and treating him is indispensable to the highest good of being. And if I am under an obligation to choose the highest satisfaction or good of universal being as an end, I must be under an obligation to treat every being so as to meet the demands of my own intelligence, and the intelligence of the universe. This I can not do, without esteeming the holy as holy, the truthful as truthful, &c."

Now why is it, that in order to "meet the demands of my own intelligence and the intelligence of the universe," I must "esteem the holy as holy, the truthful as truthful, &c.?" Simply and exclusively, I answer again, because the universal intelligence does and must regard for its own sake, something besides happiness; in other words, because there are other objects than happiness upon which some ultimate intentions or acts of will must terminate. I ask no more than what Professor Finney has himself written upon the subject, to demonstrate the falsity of his own theory.

5. I now adduce against the theory of Professor Finney, and in favor of the opposite theory, the direct and positive testimony of universal consciousness. Let us suppose, for example, that the character of God as possessed of absolute omniscience, and veracity, is before the mind, on the one hand, and his capacity for infinite happiness, on the other. I put it to the consciousness of every intelligent being, whether God's character for knowledge and veracity does not present reasons just as ultimate for esteeming and treating Him as worthy, instead of unworthy of confidence, as his susceptibilities for happiness do for willing his blessedness, instead of putting forth contradictory acts? We no more go beyond the object presented for the one class of affirmations than for the other. We can not affirm obligation to esteem and treat Him as worthy, instead of unworthy of confidence, in view of his capacities for happiness, any more than we can affirm obligation to will his good in view of his character, irrespective of his capacities.

Further, God's known character for veracity and for what is intrinsic in that character itself, necessitates the will to assume relatively to it, the attitude of trust or practical distrust, just as much as his known susceptibilities do to assume that of willing his good, or some opposite state. In the presence of the former truth, and for no other reasons, than what is presented in the truth itself, the will, from its nature and laws, is as much necessitated to act in some direction, as it is in the presence of the latter. Nor can the intelligence any more avoid the affirmation that of the classes of acts the one or the other of which the will must put forth in the presence of the former of these truths, that the one is morally right and the other wrong, any more than it can, in respect to those one or the other of which it must put forth in view of the latter truth. Of this, every one must be as conscious, as he is of any other mental state whatever, and whatever his theory may be, he will, as soon as he begins to reason about moral obligation, assume the principle under consideration as true. This fact shows clearly, that the doctrine which I now maintain is a first truth of the universal intelligence.

I am happy also to be able to show, as I have shown above, that Professor Finney is with me in this doctrine, though in palpable inconsistency with his theory. "It is a demand," he says, "of the intelligence of every moral being, that we should esteem and treat as worthy of confidence those whose character entitles them to this confidence." If, in the judgment of the universal intelligence, as is here asserted, character for veracity entitles to confidence, such character does and must present an ultimate reason why such confidence should be rendered.

6. There are forms of real good to moral agents, obligations to confer which rest exclusively upon moral character. That I should, for example, be regarded and treated by moral agents around me as worthy of confidence, is one of the fundamental necessities of my nature. On what condition or grounds can I require them to render me this good? Not on the ground that it is a good in itself to me. Such fact makes no appeal whatever to the conscience relatively to the good of which I am speaking. There is one and only one consideration that can, by any possibility, reach the conscience on this subject, to wit, revealed trust-worthiness. No claim to confidence can be sustained on any other ground whatever.

Here the nature of the good which our constitution claims, under such circumstances, demands special attention. It is not that we should will the happiness of an individual, and then treat him as worthy of confidence, simply as a means to this end, but that we should render confidence from regard to what is intrinsic in his character for trustworthiness. Suppose one should say to an individual, "I do not regard your character for veracity as any reason in itself why I should repose confidence in you. I will your happiness, on the other hand, and as a means to this end, esteem and treat you as trust-worthy." The prompt and indignant reply would be, "You have not at all met my real wants. In view of my capacities for good, my nature requires you to will my good, and in view of my revealed character for veracity, and that exclusively, it requires you to esteem and treat me as worthy of confidence. If you would meet all the demands of my nature, you must regard my character for what is intrinsic in itself, as well as my capacities for good." I certainly have interpreted the demands of my own nature very imperfectly, if the above is not a true interpretation of the fundamental wants of universal humanity. Nor can I meet the fundamental demands of my own nature upon any other conditions. If I do not repose confidence exclusively from respect to what is intrinsic in revealed trustworthiness, I do not, and can not meet the demands of my own conscience, and the fundamental wants of my own being.

7. I find an unanswerable argument against this theory, also, in the relations of the universal intelligence to the moral government of God. All men do, as a matter of fact, reason from the connection between holiness and happiness, and sin and misery, under that government, to the moral character of God. In the scriptures also, the same principle is continually appealed to. These statements no one will call in question, and from them, the following conclusions necessarily arise:

    (1.) The connection above referred to, so far forth as it is taken by reason and inspiration as proof that the moral rectitude of the divine administration, is contingent and not necessary, that is, it depends wholly upon the will of God. If the connection was a necessary one, and not dependent upon the divine will, it would present no more evidence of the divine rectitude, than the principle that every event has a cause, and all that is said in the scriptures about God's establishing this connection, would be false.

    (2.) Virtue and vice are in their own nature absolute, and would be what they now are, did not the connection under consideration exist. If they were in their own nature variable, and wholly depending for their character upon their relations to something else, in its own nature absolute, to wit, happiness, the mere connection established between that which has no worthiness in itself, and that which alone has such worth, could afford no evidence whatever of the moral character of God. The truth of this principle is self-evident. Before we can affirm merit of God, for connecting any two things together, we must perceive that they ought to be connected. But this is impossible, except on one condition, to wit, that each object has in itself a character alike absolute.

(3.) In the establishment of this connection, God has done his duty, or realized the idea of oughtness. Good desert can be asserted only on the condition of perceived compliance with affirmed obligation. God, then, in establishing the relation now existing between holiness and happiness, and sin and misery, has realized the idea of oughtness.

    8. The theory under 'consideration can not be so explained as to involve all the duties which we are conscious of owing to God. If we suppose the moral character of God to be in all respects the opposite of what it now is, we should still be under obligation, in view of his infinite capacities for good, to will his happiness with all the conditions and means thereof. Now this is, and must be ALL that we do or can owe to Him, as far as willing his good is concerned, his known character being what it is. As all the duties which we do or can owe to God, according to this theory, consist simply and exclusively in willing his good with all the conditions and means therof, then we really and truly owe no more to Him now, than we should were his moral character in all respects the reverse of what it is. No one can possibly escape this conclusion, who holds the theory under consideration. Now every one can not but know, that any theory that necessarily involves such consequences, must be false. All mankind do and must agree in referring to the moral character of God as the ultimate reason or ground, not for all, but a majority of the duties which they are conscious of owing to God. This they do with a consciousness, that but for his moral perfections, such duties would not bind them in any form. In his attempt to answer the above argument, Professor Finney does not meet it at all. The character of God being what it is, we are bound, he says, to "will his infinite happiness as a fact." Were it the opposite of what it is, we should be bound to "will the same thing as a possible good, but not as a fact." Neither of these phrases, nor both together mean any thing more nor less than willing his infinite happiness with all the conditions and means therof, which, he will admit, we are bound to do, God's moral character being what it may. So the argument is not met at all. Besides, if the phrases willing "happiness as a possible good," and "as fact," do not differ fundamentally from each other in their meaning, then they have nothing to do with the question. If they do fundamentally differ, the ultimate ground of this difference is found in moral character alone, which is thus shown to be an ultimate reason for particular forms of moral obligation, and the theory to sustain which this difference is adduced, falls to the ground. The reply of Professor Finney, however, does not meet the argument above stated, for this reason. Neither the words "willing God's happiness as a possible result," nor "as a fact," by any means express all the duties we are conscious of owing to Him, duties which we should not owe, were his character the opposite of what it is, and which consequently must have their ultimate foundation in moral character. Were any person to affirm that our duties to God, would not in their fundamental form be different from what they are, were his known character in all respects the opposite of what it is, he would contradict the necessary intuitions of the universal intelligence. Any theory, which, like the one under consideration, compels us, in its adoption, to make such an affirmation, must be false, or universal intuitions are no criterions of truth.

9. Another fundamental objection to this theory, in my judgment, is this. As far as its legitimate influence is concerned, it necessarily tends to prevent the development of a well proportioned moral character. I would by no means be understood as intimating, that none who hold this theory, possess such a character. Far from it. But this I do hold, that they possess such character in spite of their theory, not in consequence of it. No man, for example, can possess such a character, who does not venerate, for its own sake, what is intrinsically deserving of such veneration. Now suppose I adopt a theory, which requires me to say, as this does, and what some of its advocates have said to me, that holiness, even the infinite holiness of God, is, as far as any thing intrinsic in the object itself is concerned, of no account whatever, any more than the blowing of the wind, or the mere motion of one's hand. If a man's moral character is really and truly what such a theory tends to make it, the sentiment of veneration, a sentiment in the absence of which moral character must receive a monstrous development, can have no place in it. Veneration can have no place in connection with mere apprehended susceptibilities for happiness, however vast they may be. Its object is superior moral worth alone. He that does not venerate that, can venerate nothing, and we must venerate moral worth for what it is in itself, or not at all. I might mention other virtues, the development of which is necessary to the highest beauty and perfection of moral character, virtues which this theory tends to annihilate. But the above is sufficient for my present purpose.

10. The scriptures are no less palpably against this theory than the dictates of the universal intelligence. For example, "Praise God, for He is good." The inquiry which presents itself here, is not what praise is, but what is the fundamental reason here assigned why it should be rendered? This reason is found wholly in the moral character of God. The question put by Abraham also, "Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?" has exclusive reference, not to happiness or misery as a good or evil in itself, but wholly to the connection which the patriarch affirms, God ought to establish between holiness and good, and sin and misery. The doing right refers to the establishment of this connection exclusively, and the obligation to form it is affirmed to have its ultimate basis in the relative and intrinsic fitness between moral desert and happiness or misery.

1. The first consideration perhaps that will strike the mind of the reader, in the perusal of what he has written upon the subject, is, that he has conducted the argument with almost no reference whatever to the only proper tribunal in such a case, to wit, human consciousness. The question what is the foundation of obligation, must be almost exclusively a psychological question. In the presence of certain relations, we do, in fact, affirm obligation. How can the question, in view of what considerations are such affirmations made, be answered, excepting by an appeal to consciousness? A priori we can not tell in view of what such affirmations are made. Suppose we demonstrate the fact, that happiness is the only good, which is in fact nothing more than proving the truth of an identical proposition. It by no means follows from this, that good, that is, happiness, is the only thing which the mind regards for its own sake, much less, that it is the only consideration in view of which obligation is in any case affirmed. How can such a question be properly answered? It is purely a psychological question, and can properly be answered only by an appeal to consciousness. The reader of Professor Finney's work will search almost, if not quite in vain, for an appeal to consciousness throughout his entire argument. This I can not but regard as an important mistake.

In view of this fact, we readily account for the attitude of mind in which the reflective student, who has been convinced by Professor Finney's argument, finds himself. He experiences an almost continued conflict between the principles of his theory, and the testimony of his consciousness, between the logical and spontaneous convictions of his own mind. If he follows his spontaneous convictions, he can not but recognize the fact, that there is as much virtue in esteeming and treating a being as worthy of confidence, on the ground of ascertained character for veracity, as there is in willing happiness in view of perceived susceptibilities for good. His theory, however, leads to precisely opposite conclusions. According to the same convictions also, the relations of a benefactor, in themselves involve obligations to gratitude, as sacredly, as revealed susceptibilities for good do to will happiness. Precisely opposite, however, are his logical conclusions.

In assigning ultimate reasons for certain forms of obligation too, he as spontaneously assigns moral character as involving them, as he does susceptibilities for good, as the ground of obligation to will good. Yet his theory condemns all such reasoning as false. The reason for this internal conflict is, that he has been led to settle a question purely psychological, by abstract reasoning. The result is just what might have been anticipated. His theoretical and psychological convictions are in palpable contradiction to each other. If he had investigated the subject as he should have done, psychologically, no such conflict would have occurred.

2. Another prominent error of Prof. Finney is this, throughout the discussion, he has confounded the question, what we are required to will, with the question, why are we bound to will it? When, for example, he meets with the argument, that the relation of a benefactor, is and must be an ultimate reason for the particular form of duty denominated gratitude, his reply is this. Gratitude when a duty, must imply the obligation to will something to the benefactor. But what can we be bound to will to him but happiness? Happiness therefore, is the only foundation of moral obligation. Now who does not see, that this is a manifest, though wholly undesigned evasion of the real question at issue? The question with which we started was, not what we are bound to will to a benefactor, but why is gratitude a duty? To the latter question, the only question under consideration, but one answer can be given. It is this. The only consideration which does or can involve obligation to exercise the form of duty denominated gratitude, is not mere susceptibilities for good, but the relation of a benefactor. The same principle holds true in many other instances. Now it is, by confounding these two entirely distinct questions, to wit, what we are bound to will, and why we are bound to will it, that Prof. Finney fails, in instances not a few, to meet the real question presented.

3. The reader is now fully prepared to apprehend the fallacy involved in the form of the appeal which Professor Finney often makes to the scriptures. His argument may be thus stated. All duty is, in the Bible, expressed by one word—love: All forms of duty therefore, must consist in willing one and the same thin g. Now there is a most manifest want of connection between the premise and conclusion in this instance. All that can be inferred from the admitted fact under consideration, is this: There must be some one formula, by which all forms of duty whatever may be expressed. This is readily granted. It by no means, follows from this however, that willing happiness or any one thing is that formula. According to the theory maintained in this treatise, we have a formula also absolutely universal in its application, to wit, all acts of will are right or wrong, as they are conformed, or not conformed to the apprehended intrinsic character of their objects. Now I cannot but regard this, as having a more proper claim to be considered a universal formula, than the one above named. That love, then, which is the fulfilling of the law, may be synonymous with the former formula, instead of the latter. But the former, by no means implies that all right willing consists in willing some one thing for its own sake. If the will, at various times, should act ultimately with reference to ten thousand things, and such action should always be conformed to the apprehended character of its objects, its acts would fall under the formula before us, and would all be consequently properly expressed by one word, love. Professor Finney's theory, therefore, by no means follows from the admitted fact, that all duty is expressed in the scriptures, by one word. The love, there referred to, may include more forms of willing, than willing happiness for its own sake.

4. The argument of Professor Finney, that virtue can not itself be an ultimate reason, or foundation for any form of obligation, next claims our attention. Virtue, he rightly argues, consists in right ultimate intention. To say that virtue is itself a foundation of obligation in any form is to affirm, he says, that it ought to be chosen for its own sake. But this is saying that we ought to choose to choose, to intend to intend, &c. "To do duty is to form and cherish an ultimate intention. To intend to do duty is merely to intend to intend." This, it is argued, is absurd. For myself, I can not see the absurdity here, that Professor Finney imagines that he himself perceives. The idea, or a conception of a character supremely selfish and wicked, on the one hand, and supremely benevolent and pure on the other, is before the mind. Is it irrational for the mind to choose to possess the one and not the other? Here the election is between holiness and sin, or different classes of intentions. All who choose the former, and reject the latter, the Son of God pronounced blessed. "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness."—Righteousness itself also He positively commands us to seek. "Seek first the kingdom of God, and its righteousness."

Nor are choices which thus terminate on righteousness and unrighteousness, less ultimate than those which terminate on happiness. When the mind says let me be pure instead of impure, righteous, instead of wicked, it thinks only of what is intrinsic in the objects, just as it does in other instances, when its choices terminate on happiness. I can place no confidence whatever, in the testimony of my consciousness in respect to any mental states, if the above is not true in my own experience, however the case may be with others.

True conversion from sin to holiness, in my judgment, uniformly takes place, not in a mere choice of happiness for its own sake, but in a choice which, in the sense above explained, terminates on choice. The will, in all such instances, does in reality elect the law of its own future activity. The language of the heart is, let all my activity be in harmony with the law of right, and benevolence, instead of that of selfishness. This, in the language of Kant, is, the will's making the moral law its maxim. In all deliberate, rational action, the mind elects the law of its own activity. This is specially true of all actions morally right. Such action commences in a choice between conformity or non-conformity to the moral law, as the law of all voluntary activity. There is therefore no absurdity in a moral agent's intending to intend, and choosing to choose, when the subject is rightly understood. Indeed there is, and can be no real virtue without it.

5. My next remark is, that the argument of Professor Finney to establish his theory consists wholly in deducing a universal from a particular, when the former is in no sense necessarily contained in the latter. I will give his entire argument, in his own words. Under the division of his subject in which he proposes to "show from nature and revelation what must be the foundation of moral obligation," he lays down the following proposition, and sustains it with the argument annexed:

"The highest well-being of God and the universe of sentient existences is the end on which ultimate preference, choice, intention ought to terminate. In other words, the well-being of God and the universe, is the absolute and ultimate good, and therefore it should be chosen by every moral agent.

It is certain that the highest well-being of God and of the universe of sentient existences must be intrinsically and infinitely valuable in itself. It is a first truth of reason that whatever is intrinsically valuable should be chosen for that reason, or as an end. It is and must be a first truth of reason, that whatever is intrinsically and infinitely valuable ought be chosen as the ultimate end of existence by every moral agent. To say that a thing is intrinsically and infinitely valuable, is the same as to say that it is intrinsically and infinitely worthy or deserving of being chosen for what it is in and of itself. Therefore to admit or affirm that a thing is intrinsically and infinitely valuable, is the same as to affirm that every moral agent who has the knowledge of this intrinsically and infinitely valuable thing is under an obligation of infinite weight to choose it for the reason that it is intrinsically and infinitely valuable, or in other words to choose it as an ultimate end. It is then the intrinsic and infinite value of the highest good or well-being of God and of the universe that constitutes the true foundation of moral obligation. The moral law then, must require moral agents to will good or that which is intrinsically valuable to God and the universe of sentient existences for its own sake or as an ultimate end. Be it remembered, that moral obligation respects, strictly speaking, the ultimate intention only. It must follow that the highest well-being of God and of the universe, is the intrinsically valuable end on which ultimate choice ought to terminate."

What follows under this head consists simply in explanation of terms. The only professed proof of his proposition is contained in the above extract. The scriptures are not either directly or indirectly appealed to. Now who does not see that in the above argument, from an admitted particular fact, a conclusion absolutely universal is deduced, when the fact presented does not either necessarily or logically involve that conclusion? It is admitted by all, that the highest well-being of God and of the sentient universe is a good infinitely valuable in itself, and that it ought to be chosen by all moral agents for its own sake. But from this universally admitted fact, it by no means follows, that this is the only object worthy of regard for its own sake, and which therefore, may in itself involve ultimate reasons for certain forms of moral obligation. Yet this is the argument of Professor Finney, the only argument which he adduces, to sustain his theory. His premise utterly fails to sustain his conclusion.

9. With one additional remark I close this extended chapter. Professor Finney very properly distinguishes between a condition and ground of obligation. He makes however an erroneous use of this distinction, for the establishment of his own theory. When constrained to admit that other considerations than those of happiness as a good in itself, are in fact taken into the account in the affirmation of certain forms of obligation, his reply is, that such considerations are referred to by the intelligence as conditions merely, and not as the ground of such affirmations. In this way he disposes of many of the most important objections to his theory. Now before we can know with certainty whether he has rightly applied this distinction in any or in all instances in which he has applied it, we must have some sure test which we may apply in each given instance, to determine whether the intelligence refers to the consideration in question, as a condition or ground of obligation. As Professor Finney has not even attempted to give us such a test, I will endeavor to do it myself. Existence and the possession of the powers of moral agency, for example, are, as all admit, the condition, but not the ground of our obligation to will good, to one who is capable of enjoying it. Perceived susceptibility for the good is the ground of this form of obligation. Now, why do we refer to the former facts as the condition, and to that last named as the ground of this form of obligation? But one answer can be given. That which the universal intelligence concurs in assigning as a reason for a particular form of obligation, when it would assign such reason, is the real reason or ground of the form of obligation referred to. That, on the other hand, which must be admitted as true, or obligation in no form or degree can exist at all, but which the intelligence does not refer to, as the reason for any particular form of obligation whatever, is a condition, but not a ground of obligation. It is for these very reasons that we affirm existence and the possession of the powers of moral agency to be the conditions merely, while perceived susceptibilities for good are the ground of our obligation to will the good of the subject of such susceptibilities. This test will be admitted as of universal application.

Let us now apply this test to a few obvious forms of moral obligation. What does the universal intelligence agree in assigning as the reason of the obligation of gratitude when such obligation is perceived to, exist? This and this alone, the relation of a benefactor. Such relation, then, is not, as Professor Finney affirms, a mere condition, but, in opposition to his theory, it is the ground of such form of obligation. For the same reason, we affirm, that perceived trust-worthiness is not a mere condition, but the ground of obligation to the exercise of confidence. The moral perfections of God are not a mere condition but the ground of our obligation to esteem, venerate and praise Him. When Professor Finney therefore assigns as the mere condition, what the universal intelligence, in its spontaneous affirmations, assigns, not as the mere condition but as the ground of such forms of obligation his error is manifest, as soon as we have a sure test by which to determine its character. Now as his whole theory, in reality, rests upon the misapplication of the distinction under consideration, it must, of course fall to the ground.

CHAPTER XI.

MORAL ACTION NEVER OF A MIXED CHARACTER.

WE are now prepared to enter upon an investigation of a question, a right understanding of which is of fundamental importance to a proper elucidation of the science of Moral Philosophy. I refer to the question whether all the moral acts of a moral agent are, or are not, from the necessity of the case, of a purely unmixed character, that is, wholly right, or wholly wrong. To an investigation of this question special attention is now invited.

In the preceding chapters the two following principles have been fully established. 1. Moral obligation, merit, demerit, &c., pertain immediately to acts of will, or voluntary states of mind only. No state of the physical organization, nor of the intelligence, or sensibility can, with any truth or propriety, be denominated a moral action. 2. Of acts of will, ultimate intentions only possess a moral character, or can properly be denominated moral actions. The question before us then is legitimately reduced to this one single inquiry, namely, can any one given ultimate intention be of a mixed moral character; in other words, can such distinct, contradictory, and opposite elements as sin and holiness, selfishness and benevolence, voluntary obedience and disobedience to known duty, enter into one and the same ultimate act of will, or intention? Instead of taking up the question in this simple form, I propose to argue it in connection with the following considerations, on account of which the doctrine of mixed moral action is held by its advocates. By the different classes of advocates of this doctrine its truth has been argued from the following considerations, and these are the only grounds on which its truth has been, or can be urged.

I. Contradictory and opposite elements may enter into one and the same ultimate intention.

II. An intention perfectly pure in itself, may be faulty on the score of intensity, and thereby be properly regarded as of a mixed moral character.

III. In connection with an ultimate intention perfectly right, an executive act or volition of an opposite nature may be put forth, and thus the whole moral act be of a mixed character.

IV. In connection with ultimate intentions and executive acts perfectly right, states of the intelligence or sensibility morally wrong may exist, and thus the whole moral state be of a mixed moral character. If, as said above, a mixed moral action is possible, it must be for one or the other of these reasons. I ask, then,

I. Can contradictory and opposite elements enter into one and the same ultimate intention? To this question I answer, no, for the following reasons:

1. The dogma of mixed moral action, in the sense now under consideration, is in palpable contradiction to all our fundamental conceptions of an ultimate intention. Such intention implies not only the election of its object for its own sake, but a corresponding rejection of everything of an opposite nature. Suppose the question is before my mind, shall I go to this place or that? I can by no possibility go to but one of the places named, and to one or the other I must go. Now a determination to go to one place implies of necessity a determination not to go to the other. The same does and must hold true in respect to all ultimate intentions. The question before the mind is, shall I, for example, serve God, or mammon? A determination to serve one, implies and necessarily involves a corresponding determination not to serve the other; the demands of each being directly opposite and contradictory to the other. An ultimate intention then embracing the contradictory and opposite elements of voluntary obedience and disobedience, would imply, in one and the same act, a determination to serve and not to serve God, and a determination not to serve and actually to serve mammon. This is a palpable absurdity, as great as the supposition that the same body may move in opposite directions at one and the same time. So Edwards himself affirms. "It is absurd," he says, "to suppose the same individual will to oppose itself in its present act: or the present choice to be opposite to and resisting present choice; as absurd as it is to talk of two contrary motions in the same moving body at the same time." According to Kant it would imply a universal with a particular opposed to it; that is, it would imply a determination to obey the moral law universally, and at the same time not to obey it in certain particulars. No absurdity greater than this ever was or can be conceived of. Yet it is the very absurdity embraced by all who maintain the doctrine of mixed moral action in the form now under consideration.

2. The presence of two such elements as voluntary obedience and disobedience to known duty, in one and the same intention, would of necessity imply another ultimate intention from which these contradictory elements proceed. In other words, the determination containing such elements would not be an ultimate intention, but an executive subordinate volition. A man may form a determination, for example, as many do, to serve God and mammon, or to obey God in certain particulars and to disobey Him in others. Such determination, however, must be put forth as a means to an end previously elected, to wit, a determination to secure, at one and the same time, the rewards of obedience and disobedience. This last then and not the other would be ultimate, and would be characterized by the purest selfishness conceivable. Any intention then embodying a purpose to yield to the call of duty in certain particulars, and to refuse to yield in others, would not be an ultimate, but a subordinate intention, an intention originating in another which is ultimate and characterized by the most unmingled depravity. For what form of selfishness can by any possibility be more supreme and aggravated than that which aims to secure the rewards of obedience and disobedience at one and the same time?

3. An intention, to be ultimate, must be supreme, that is, it must involve the supreme preference of the mind. The supposition of two distinct and ultimate intentions in the mind at one and the same time, or of one involving the contradictory elements under consideration, which would in fact be equivalent to two, implies of necessity that neither is supreme, that is, that neither or both together are in reality an ultimate intention. The idea of two such intentions, then, or of two contradictory elements in one and the same intention, implies a palpable contradiction and impossibility.

4. If two such intentions may co-exist in the mind, or if two such contradictory elements may enter into one and the same intention, a thousand may, all, and consequently none, supreme, and all contradictory to each other. What can be more absurd than a principle involving such consequences?

5. The general if not universal agreement of theologians and metaphysicians of note in respect to the absolute impossibility of the co-existence of two contradictory ultimate intentions in the mind, or of contradictory elements in the same intention, which, as I have sad, amounts to the same thing, deserves notice as an important corroborative argument in favor of the doctrine which I am endeavoring to establish. I have already alluded to the sentiments of Edwards and Kant on the subject. I will here adduce one or two additional quotations from the former as deserving special regard. "The strength of the will," he says, " let it be never so great, does not at all enable it to act one way and the contrary way both at the same time. It gives it no such sovereignty and command, as to cause itself to prefer and not to prefer at the same time, or to choose contrary to its own present choice." Again, "Will and endeavor against, or diverse from present acts of the will, are in no case supposable, whether those acts be occasional or habitual; for that would be to suppose the will, at present, to be otherwise than at present it is."

    2. All external actions are prohibited by the moral law, which, in the judgment of the agent, are of a doubtful character. Such doubt may respect,

(l.) The fact whether the action be not contrary to the requirements of scripture, or,

    6. All actions are prohibited by the moral law which justly subjects the agent to the imputation of wrong intentions, or the absence of right ones. Every moral agent is, as we have seen, under obligation to will the good of others. A simple revelation of such a state of mind often has the highest influence to secure the result willed; while the inference that the opposite is willed, or that good is not willed, has a powerful tendency to a different result. We are bound then, not only to will the good of others, but to avoid all actions from which the inference may be properly drawn, that the good required is not willed or that the opposite is willed. Example: all actions in the ordinary intercourse of life which are the proper indexes of unkindness, or of the absence of good will are of this class.

II. We will now inquire what external actions are required by the moral law as the necessary consequents or appropriate indexes of those determinations of the will which are conformed to the law.

    5. The question has no doubt risen in the minds of not a few of my readers, are none of the precepts of the moral law, as given in the Bible, to be regarded as rules of action demanding formal obedience in strict and literal conformity to such precepts interpreted according to the obvious import of the language in which they are expressed? I answer, there are many such precepts recorded in the scriptures. Among these I notice as examples, the numerous class of prohibitions. Such precepts generally mark out and limit certain spheres of action, all access to which is designed to be barred. Strict literal conformity to them is therefore demanded of us. So when the observance of special ordinances is required, such as baptism and the Lord's supper, literal conformity to such precepts, as far as conformity is specified, is of course required. Similar conformity also to the spirit of all inspired precepts of every kind, together with all forms of duty seen to be such in the light of such precepts, all honest minds will regard as sacredly binding upon the conscience. Whether, and how far any particular precept is to be regarded as an external rule to which formal obedience is required, or a principle in the light of which the particular forms of duty demanded in particular relations and circumstances are revealed, the mind, under the influence of heart-integrity will seldom be at a loss to determine.

    6. It may not be unimportant, nor uninstructive, to notice here the manner in which dishonest minds, who still acknowledge themselves bound to yield obedience to what God requires of them in the scriptures, free themselves from the pressure of conviction in respect to forms of duty which they are determined not to discharge. They shelter themselves at once behind the Bible, and demand a specific command naming the particular act, and requiring it of all men as a duty. It is perfectly vain to show them that the spirit of every precept of the moral law demands it of them. No, they say, show us the particular precept, naming this identical thing as duty, and we are ready to perform it. In connection with such demand, they will very likely profess great reverence for the Bible, and a hearty willingness to do all that it requires. This they refuse to perform, for the exclusive reason that it is no where required of them in the sacred volume. Now what such persons need to convince them of duty, and as a consequence, to induce them to perform it, is not the revelation of a specific command, but the possession of an honest heart. In their present state, if such precept should be presented, they would then show as reckless a disregard for the letter, as they now do for the spirit of the divine law. The world presents no other exhibitions of more manifest, deep-seated and heartless depravity, than is visible in such examples as these. The demand of a specific precept, as the condition of obedience, is the common shield for the conscience, on the part of all apostates from the law of duty.

7. I am now prepared to explain more particularly than has yet been done, the meaning of such declarations as the following, declarations which we meet with in the scriptures in relation to the divine law. "Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." "By thy precepts I get understanding." "I have more understanding than all my teachers, for thy testimonies are my meditation," &c. No individual regulates his conduct by the light, but by the objects revealed to his mind by the light. What light is to all objects revealed to the mind by it, the law of God, when rightly apprehended, is to all particular forms of duty devolved upon us in the varied circumstances and relations of life. As an indwelling light in the intelligence, it reveals and makes manifest such forms, as the circumstances and relations involving them come before the mind. But the law becomes such a light to that mind only which profoundly meditates upon its nature and endlessly diversified applications. As it is by a profound study of the principles of any science, that the mind acquires a facility in solving every variety of problems and practical questions, the solution of which depends upon the application of those principles, so wisdom and understanding, in solving questions of practical duty, can be obtained only by meditation deep and profound upon the divine statutes and judgments, in other words, upon the principles of the law of duty revealed in the scriptures. In meditating more profoundly than others upon the divine testimonies, the Psalmist acquired greater theoretical and practical understanding of the law of duty than all his teachers, yes than the ancients even, who had gone before him. The highest form of wisdom and knowledge, as I have before said, to which an intelligent being can attain, is an enlarged understanding of the nature and applications of the great law of duty. The individual, however, that would attain to an "understanding of the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God," that would "understand righteousness and judgment, and equity, yea, every good path," must "cry after knowledge, and lift up his voice for understanding," He must "seek for her as silver, and search for her as for hid treasures." He must "look into the perfect law of liberty, and continue therein." He must make the study of that law the hallowed dwelling-place of his soul.

    8. Another very important thought, as it appears to me, here presents itself, to wit: one great object of the Most High, in revealing the law of duty in such a manner that it should become to the mind who rightly apprehends it, an indwelling light, in the sense above explained. It is to render the subject wise to discern what is in itself fit and proper, in other words, duty, in the varied circumstances and relations in which himself and other intelligent beings may be placed, or in the language of inspiration, to render the children of God every where, "a wise and understanding people," and that in reference to the highest form of wisdom possible to intelligent beings. Had the law been given in the form of mere rules, no light would be shed from it, upon what is in itself "just, lovely, and of good report." But now its hallowed influence upon the mind is chiefly visible in rendering it of "quick understanding," to discern, in any given circumstances and relations, what is intrinsically demanded therein by equity, justice, truth and benevolence.

    9. Hence I notice another principle of equal importance to that above suggested. It is the direction which questions of duty should take in the varied circumstances and relations in which from time to time we find ourselves. The solution of such questions is, as I have already remarked, commonly sought, if reference is had to the Bible at all, by referring to the scriptures for some particular precept giving us specific directions in each particular case. Now this, as it appears to me is a great mistake. God designs that intelligent beings shalt act from a sacred regard to what is in itself fit, proper, just, and benevolent in given circumstances and relations. He has given his law, as we have seen, as an internal light to render the mind quick to discern what, in such circumstances, and relations is demanded by "righteousness, and judgment, and equity." The direction, then, which all ordinary questions of duty should take is this. What, in the circumstances and relations supposed, is intrinsically demanded by righteousness, judgment, and equity?" Reference should be had to the Bible, not for specific precepts formally prescribing what is duty in the particular case, but for light on this one great question. Every question of duty thus solved will, ever after, be to the mind, an additional light in the solution of other, and similar, or even different questions. "To understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity," it should be remembered, is not to know merely what is commanded, but what is in itself right, just, and equitable. To be righteous ourselves, implies action from respect to what is in itself right, just and equitable. In the solution of all ordinary questions of duty, therefore, it should be our fundamental aim to understand what in the circumstances, is demanded by the great law of rectitude, as in itself right and just.

10. The real meaning of our Savior, in the declaration, "If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light," will now very readily occur to our readers. The single eye implies a state of full and entire voluntary harmony with the great law of duty, in other words, that the supreme controlling intention of the mind, in respect to all subjects, is to understand perfectly what our duty is, for the purpose of fully meeting its demands. The important truth taught by our Savior, is, that wherever this state of mind exists, all particular forms of action devolved upon us as duties, will then be distinctly perceived by the mind. The extent and limits of moral obligation, is what the individual, in such a state, may and will perceive and affirm to be his duty. To possess that state is to be all that duty requires. For what can justly be required of any being more than this, a sincere choice and intention, to know duty in all its forms, and to its utmost limits, for the purpose of rendering full and perfect obedience? Any form of action, which if known, would be devolved upon the subject as duty, but which for the time being, is not, and can not be known to him, can not, while he does and must sustain this relation to it, justly be devolved upon him as duty. But all such forms of action which can possibly be known to the subject, will be apprehended, when the individual is possessed of the "single eye" as above defined. To a mind in such a state, then, the sphere of duty, can never, at any moment, extend beyond that of the intellectual and moral vision at the same moment of time.

Foundation of Government.

An important question here arises: What are the relations, which, when apprehended by the reason, demand the existence of government, reasons which confer the right of control on the one hand, and impose the duty of obedience on the other? Various theories have been started upon this subject, some of which demand a passing consideration, before presenting what I regard as the true theory.

The Will of God.

1. Subordinate authorities have been resolved into the will of God. Civil government for example, has, a right to exist, it is said, as a divine institution simply. That civil, as well as family government, is sanctioned by divine authority, and that such sanction binds all subjects to obey, is readily admitted. It may be questioned, however, whether any government has its foundation in mere arbitrary will. Every government which exists as a divine institution, is demanded by the relations of the ruler and subject, as apprehended by the divine intelligence. A revelation of these relations, and not a reference to the mere will of God, justifies the divine conduct in requiring the institution itself.

If the duty of obedience in these cases rests upon the revealed will of God merely, till it is known that such institutions are required by the divine will, the duty of obedience can not be recognized. It is recognized however, as in the case of the child, long before the fact is known.

2. Family government has been resolved into the relation of parent and child. Parental relations determine in general to what particular persons the right of control belongs. They do not, however, create the right itself. If so, till the relation is recognized by the child, his obligation to obey would not and could not be recognized. Nor would the right of control on the part of the parent, nor the duty of obedience on the part of the child, ever cease, while the relations continue. The child on the other hand, does recognize the right of the parent to control, and his duty to obey, long before his relations as a child are known; and when he has arrived at a certain age, the right and duty under consideration cease altogether. Reason necessarily affirms their unfitness. Those rights and duties, then, have some other foundation than the mere relation of parent and child.

Civil Government.

    1. Civil government has, by many, been resolved into what is called the "social compact," the consent of individuals, not merely that the government shall exist, but determining the form which shall exist. From this theory the following consequences necessarily result:

(1.) No obligation exists on the part of any community to institute a government of any kind, and the "powers that be," are in no sense, "ordained of God." This implies that government ought to be. The obligation also on the part of communities to give existence to government is affirmed by universal reason.

    (2.) All governments may, whatever their character or influence, be dissolved by mere popular will, and that without guilt. Whatever exists as the result of mere will, may be dissolved by the same power when it chooses.

    (3.) Before a person has consented to submit to government, obedience is not binding upon him, and consequently government has no right to punish him for any crime whatever.

    (4.) If a community of one hundred existed, and fifty-one should choose not to have a government, and forty-nine to have one, universal anarchy must be permitted, notwithstanding the power and the will on the part of the minority to institute such a government as the public good demands. Now universal reason affirms that the minority under such circumstances ought to compel the majority to submit to such regulations as the public good demands.

Divine Government.

4. The right of God to control his creatures, has been commonly explained by a reference to his relations to them as their Creator, and to his perfect wisdom, goodness and power. Let us suppose that their wisdom, power and goodness are as perfect as his. Would the relation of Creator and creature, together with the perfections above mentioned, confer on Him the right of control? Why, it might be asked, should infinite wisdom control infinite wisdom? Why then should parental authority cease when an equality exists between the parent and child? That moral character merely, does not give the right of control, is evident from the fact that the obligation of the child does not depend upon the moral character of the parent, but upon the intrinsic rectitude of parental requirements. So God's right to command his creatures does not depend upon his moral character; but upon the rectitude of the commands themselves, and certain natural relations hereafter to be specified. Moral character, in many instances, determines what particular commands government has a right to impose. But it does not confer the right of commanding what is in itself proper.

Real Foundation stated.

We now come to the inquiry, what are the relations, in view of which reason affirms the right of control on the one hand, and the duty of obedience on the other. These relations are and must be in all instances one and identical; because the same things are always affirmed, to wit: right on the one hand and duty on the other. Government of every kind, it should be borne in mind, is in all instances a means to an end. The moral rectitude and well-being of the subject is the end; government is the means to that end. Whenever and wherever government is seen to be a necessary means to the end above specified, its existence is demanded by the reason, and the obligation rests upon those who have the power to do it to give existence to government. Government then, has in all instances, its foundation in one relation, and in that one exclusively. What is that relation? I answer: The relation of dependence. Whenever one being sustains such a relation to another, (no matter how the relation came to exist,) that without controlling him, he can not do him the good which benevolence demands, the right and duty of control exists on the part of the former, and the duty of obedience on the part of the latter. These rights and duties are necessarily affirmed by the reason of the ruler and subject, whenever these relations are apprehended. This I infer from the following considerations:

    1. Every person is bound to will his own highest well-being, and the means necessary to that end. Of course he must, when authority is seen to be that means, affirm the duty of those who have the power to use it, and his own duty to submit.

    2. Whenever and wherever this relation is apprehended, the rights and duties under consideration are, as a matter of fact, affirmed. The child for example, when it has apprehended merely this one relation, recognizes in the parent, the right of control, and in itself the duty of obedience.

    3. Wherever these relations are perceived, these rights and duties are affirmed, not only in the perceived absence of moral goodness, but in connection with the worst moral character. Whatever the moral character of the parent may be, the child recognizes its obligation to respect his authority as a parent, and to render obedience as such, whenever it is perceived to be consistent with what is in itself morally right.

    4. These rights and duties vary as this one relation varies. The child remains subject to parental authority, while this relation continues, and ceases to be thus subject when this relation ceases. Should the parent become dependent, so that his highest good requires that the child should exercise control, the right of control would, according to the dictates of the universal conscience, rest in the child. Such facts undeniably evince, that, in this one relation all government has its foundation.

5. If the well-being of the universe could be (a thing impossible,) better secured without the divine government, than with it, reason would affirm, that it ought not to be exercised, notwithstanding all the other relations existing between God and his creatures. The government of God is not an end, but a means. God does not govern merely for the sake of governing, but for the highest good of the universe. If the exercise of government was incompatible with this end, God would not exercise it. To suppose the opposite would imply the absence of wisdom and goodness both, in God, as sovereign of the universe. Because the universe hangs in entire dependence upon Him for the accomplishment of the wisest and best ends, therefore He has instituted the government He now exercises over it. It is the perception of this great truth on the part of all beings morally pure, which occasions the universal acclaim, "Alleluia, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."

6. I may add, that whenever this relation is not supposed, these rights and duties are never affirmed, whatever other relations may exist. However wise and good and powerful any being may be, no reason can be adduced from these perfections why beings equally wise and good and powerful, should be subjected to his authority.

REMARKS.

Some reflections arising from the principles thus illustrated, here demand our attention.

1. My first remark is that such is the constitution of human nature, that government is a necessity. It is necessary in two respects.

(I.) It is impossible for rational beings to act in concert without instituting government of some kind. In one instance it may be formally instituted with the relations of ruler and subject definitely marked out. In other instances the spontaneous and concurrent dictates of the general reason are the rule, and a controlling public sentiment, the sanction. In all instances, however, government of some kind is the necessary result of concurrent action.

(2.) Government is necessary as a means to an end: the moral rectitude and well being of mankind. It is only under such circumstances that virtue flourishes, and general and individual tranquillity is felt. A man would feel as safe when herded with wolves and tigers, as in a community without laws, and a government to force subjection.

    2. We see under what circumstances, and to what extent, and in what form, government ought to exist. Wherever the relation of dependence in any form exists, there is a demand for government in some form. The nature, form, and limits of the government are to be determined by the nature and extent of the relation. Here we have the meaning and application of the command, "Yea, all of you, be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility."

    3. In what sense has civil government its foundation in the "social compact?" In the first place, no government actually existing, had its origin entirely in such a compact. Nor does the right of government to exist depend upon the popular will. Nor is the right to institute any particular form of government, with reference to the end of government, based upon the same will. God however, has thrown upon human beings the responsibility of instituting governments, and moulding them with a view to the end required, holding them at the same time accountable to Him for the manner in which this responsibility is discharged. In this sense only, is government based upon the social compact.

    4. We see in what sense, under civil governments, the majority ought to rule. It is only when the end of government can be best advanced by this means. Suppose the majority should will the existence of universal anarchy, or the existence of a government which would defeat, in its legitimate action, the end of all government. The minority in that case would have the right, and supposing them to possess the power, it would be their duty to compel the majority to submit to such regulations and to such a government as the public good demands. Misrule has no right to exist as law because the greater number will it.

    5. We notice a common mistake, to wit: that the command of government is the foundation of obligation. The command of God, it is said, is not the index of what is right in itself, or of what is demanded by the relations of creatures. It creates the right. That this position is wholly wrong I argue,

    (1.) From the fact that on this supposition we have no standard by which to determine the propriety of any command but the command itself. With what propriety could the affirmation be made, "The law of the Lord is perfect?" If the mere will of God not only makes the law, but makes it right, such an affirmation is without meaning.

    (2.) When we suppose any authority to command what we judge, and necessarily judge to be wrong, disobedience becomes a duty in the judgment of all rational beings.

(3.) The character of every government is necessarily determined by the nature of its laws. The government of God is no exception to this principle. This shows undeniably that the mere will of God does not make the right, for in that case we should have no standard whatever, by which to determine whether the divine government is wise and best or not.

(4.) God submits his own laws to this test.

6. We see when it is that the commands of any lawful authority are binding upon us.

    (1.) When it requires what is right in itself.

    (2.) When it requires that which it is not wrong for us to do, and the evil of obedience is less than that of resistance. Example: Christ paying taxes.

7. We see the bearing of the existence of government upon human liberty. Every government which in the best manner, answers its end, secures to the same extent the perfect freedom of all its subjects who submit to its authority. That man, and he only, is perfectly free, who does at all times what his own reason tells him to be right. He is a slave, who obeys any other impulse in opposition to his reason. When the reason affirms the necessity of government, and the duty of subjection to its authority, such subjection is the perfection of freedom. The opposite is servitude or subjection to blind impulse.

8. We notice the common error that in the institution of governments, some rights are given up for the purpose of securing others more important. Thy object of all lawful government is to protect rights of every kind, not to annihilate any. No right can be named which is not secured by a government instituted upon proper principles.

9. The appropriate characteristics of tyranny. A government which exists not for the good of the governed but of the ruler, is tyranny. Subjects cease to be subjects. They become things.

    10. Slavery for example, is not a government. It has no rulers nor subjects. It has simply owners and things. It is therefore the perfection of tyranny. There are no redeeming qualities in it.

    11. Civil government is a demand of human nature, sanctioned by the universal intelligence. This I have intimated in a remark made above. Some additional remarks may be demanded on this point, however, on account of certain existing tendencies of the human mind.

    (1.) It is as natural to man, as a social being, to organize civil government, as it is to form marriage alliances. It would, therefore, be just as manifest a war upon the changeless laws and principles of human nature, to oppose the former, as it would be to oppose the latter. We have just as much evidence that one is agreeable to the will of God, as we have that the other is.

    (2.) The relation of ruler and subject, whenever, and to whatever extent the relation of dependence exists, is sanctioned by the demands of universal reason. I am sick, and in a state of total ignorance in respect to the nature of my disease and the appropriate remedy. A friend is by, who understands both. What relation does reason affirm ought to exist between us under such circumstances? Certainly this: ignorance ought to be controlled by wisdom. The more perfect the subjection, the more perfect the conformity to the demands of the reason. So also of the well-being of the subject. Inasmuch, as not only health will be sacrificed, but peace of mind, by the opposition of the will to the reason. The above illustration is equally applicable to every case coming under the relation of dependence, actual and conceivable.

    (3.) In all governments founded upon the above relations, and conformed in their action to its demands, there is the highest security given to all the rights and interests of the subject. Hence the universal tranquillity which results under such institutions. The annihilation of government is the destruction of this tranquillity.

    (4.) The existence of such government secures the public peace, by securing the universal love of, and respect for justice and order itself. When justice is unprotected, it is always confounded with the opposite of justice; or rather, all distinction between right and wrong seems to be annihilated. But when government throws its broad aegis around justice and purity, then, and then only it is, that justice and purity become visible and distinct to all minds, and are loved for their own sake.

    (5.) The perfect adaptation of government founded upon this principle, to meet the necessary demands of the reason, is strikingly seen in this fact, that the more perfect the control and subjection, the more strong the mutual affection and esteem between the ruler and subject, and that the strongest attachment and esteem ever engendered, are induced under such circumstances. The love between parents and children is always in proportion to the control of the parent and the subjection of the child—control exercised in the spirit of subjection and for the ends which benevolence demands. Now mutual affection never results from a relation unsanctioned by reason. What stronger evidence can we have that government is a demand of the reason?

What has been said of family government holds equally true of civil. Whenever such government is exercised for the ends of justice and benevolence, the more perfect its control the stronger is the mutual affection and esteem universally generated between the ruler and the subject. The ruler who even compels the subject to render obedience to laws recognized as right and benevolent, is loved and esteemed by the subject, just as the parent, who subjects the child to wholesome discipline, is endeared to the child by that very means. Such facts obtain universally. What do they indicate? This surely, that civil government is a demand of human nature, as universal and fundamental as family government, or any other institution whatever.

12. My last remark is, that the use of whatever means is requisite to the existence and most healthy exercise of government, must not only be sanctioned by the universal conscience, but must be agreeable to the will of God. This is a necessary consequence of the admission of the right of government to exist at all.

CHAPTER XVIII.

OTHER SOURCES OF INFORMATION ASIDE FROM THE SCRIPTURES IN RESPECT TO THE LAW OF DUTY.

THE idea of duty is to man, as a rational being, an omnipresent reality. All objects, all events, when apprehended by the mind, reveal and impose it upon us. Hence all inquiries with man culminate in this, What ought I to be, and what ought I to do? As all particular and specific forms of duty grow out of our relations to various beings and objects around us, as they become to us objects of knowledge, an important inquiry arises, Whence are the sources of information to which we should especially resort, aside from the Holy Scriptures, to obtain an answer to the great inquiry before us? Among such sources, the following may be specified as of special importance.

1. The first that I notice is a knowledge of the laws of our mental and physical constitution. All our powers, mental and physical, were intrusted to us as sacred treasures, to be employed by us, in harmony with the laws which control their action, to meet the ends of benevolence. How can we wisely employ these powers, unless we study the laws of their most perfect development and activity? This then should be one of the prime studies of man as a rational being.

    2. Another source of information to which we should resort, is a careful study of our relations in life, as parents and children, instructors and pupils, members of particular churches and communities, of some one particular nation, and of the family of man. Man was made to know himself in his peculiar relations to existences around him, and in the possession of this knowledge, to answer the great questions, what ought I to be, and what ought I to do? He that distinctly contemplates himself in these various relations, for the purpose of obtaining distinct answers to these various questions, will uniformly possess full distinctness of vision in respect to such questions.

    3. A careful analysis of our own moral judgments is another important source of knowledge on this subject.

We often find ourselves, for example, in circumstances in which our convictions of duty, are perfectly clear and distinct, in reference to given subjects. Now if under such circumstances, we would carefully reflect upon and analyze such judgments, till we have ascertained clearly and distinctly the reasons why we affirm obligation in such instances, we should find ourselves in the possession of principles which will guide us to correct judgments in doubtful cases. We shall often perceive that the clear and doubtful have common elements, on which alone the question of duty does and must turn.

We often find ourselves too, passing judgments upon others, when perfectly impartial spectators of their conduct. By carefully and distinctly marking the judgments we then pass, we shall obtain principles which will guide us in cases where feeling or interest would otherwise be likely to induce false assumptions.

When other persons also come into certain relations to us, we are continually, in our own minds, imposing certain courses of conduct upon them as duties. By carefully marking such judgments, we may obtain answers to questions of personal duty, when we come into similar relations to others.

4. A careful and judicious observation of public opinion also may often be to us an important source of information relatively to the subject under consideration.

In this department of inquiry, the first thing to be done is to distinguish carefully between the decisions of the public conscience and of the public will. We often notice men who oppose important measures, prefacing their opposition with affirmations of love and respect for the principle on which the measures are based. In the opposition referred to, is the expression of the popular will. In the affirmation of respect and esteem, we find the decision of the public conscience, and there for us, almost universally, lies the path of duty.

When men also are impartial spectators of the conduct of others, they generally agree in their judgment of such conduct. By marking carefully their judgments under such circumstances, together with their reasons for the same, we may commonly obtain important principles for the solution of cases of conscience ourselves.

When men also are in certain relations to others, they uniformly impose upon them certain courses of conduct. relatively to themselves, as duties. If an individual is in affliction, for example, he holds all who are aware of the fact, as bound in duty, to sympathize with him, and if necessity requires it, to extend the hand of relief. Now by marking the duties thus universally imposed, we may find for ourselves, important principles of moral conduct.

    5. The counsel and works of individuals whom God had specially gifted, as instructors of mankind, in respect to the law of duty, should also be sought as a source of knowledge on the subject under consideration. Then our special inquiry should be, not merely what duty is, but why is one course of conduct right and another wrong. Here and here alone, we obtain important principles for moral judgments.

    6. Finally, all questions of duty should be solved under a sense of accountability to God, and with supplication for divine teaching. The former preserves the mind from improper biases, and the latter secures the promised divine illumination which to all minds is the chief source of wisdom and knowledge.

CHAPTER XIX.


IDEA OF RIGHTS.

Terms Defined.

WE are all familiar with the expressions that individuals and communities have rights, that such rights are invaded or trampled upon, and that rights ought to be respected, and guarded from invasion. The question is, what is the meaning of the term rights when thus used? I answer, When an individual comes to sustain such a relation to any object or interest that it can not be withheld, or taken from him without guilt on the part of the perpetrator, such individual has a right to such object or interest. This is what we mean by the term rights.

Foundation of Rights.

The foundation of such rights next demands consideration. All things in the universe around us exist as a means to an end, the good of sentient existences. The simple fact of the existence, in any creature of any want or susceptibility to good, entitles him to the possession, and enjoyment of the object or objects adapted to meet that demand of his nature, unless higher interests in himself or others extinguish that right. Life, for example, is to man a good. This fact entitles him to the means of existence in the universe around him, and to such means in the best possible forms consistent with higher interests.

Relation of Right and Duty.

The existence of a right in any individual creates an obligation on the part of other beings, not only to refrain from its violation, but to use all proper means to put the subject in possession of the good to which he is entitled. Right and duty are correlative terms, and mutually imply each other. That which we are in duty bound to render to others, they may claim of us as a right. That to which by right we are entitled from others, they owe to us as duties.

REMARKS.

    1. We are now prepared for a distinct statement of the object of government, in all its legitimate forms. I use the term in its universal sense, as including all legitimate forms of government, human and divine. The end of government is to enforce duty, guard and protect rights, and advance the individual and public weal, by all lawful and practicable means. Each special form of government has a sphere peculiar to itself. The end, in all its forms is one and the same. Government, in none of its legitimate forms, extinguishes any one right of any one individual, but guards and protects all alike.

    2. The true idea of tyranny and oppression next claims our attention. Any form or measure of government which deprives the subject of any form or degree of good, to which, by right, he is entitled, is tyranny and oppression. Government, in all such instances, is not only perverted from its true ends and aims, but has placed itself in the relation of direct antagonism to them. It is then one of the most terrible curses that can possibly be inflicted upon humanity.

3. The distinction between legal, (using the term in its civil sense,) and moral rights, next claims our attention. An individual has a legal right to that, in the enjoyment of which the laws and government of his country will protect him. He has a moral right to that only to which he is entitled by the principles of intrinsic justice, principles which, from its necessary imperfections, human government can not always enforce. The individual who violates legal rights is answerable to the tribunals of his country. The individual who violates moral rights is amenable to the tribunal of Jehovah.

PART II.

MORAL PHILOSOPHY.

________

PRACTICAL ETHICS.

CHAPTER I.

PIETY, OR OUR DUTIES TO GOD.

ALL forms of duty, as we have seen, rest upon one and the same principle, to wit, that every object known to a moral agent shall be esteemed and treated by him according to their apprehended intrinsic and relative worth. All particular duties are only specific applications of this one universal principle. What makes any specific act right or wrong is its manifest conformity or non-conformity to this principle. One important object of the preceding investigations has been to prepare the way for our present inquiries, in the department of practical ethics. Of all the principles of moral obligation, those which first demand our attention are such as are included under the term piety, or our duties to God.

Duties included under these words when understood
in their mot extensive sense.

According to the most extensive signification of the word, the term piety would include all duties of every kind. The conscience of each individual, as we have seen, utters all its mandates in all their varied forms, in the name of the universal intelligence. Each specific duty is required of us, as demanded by the Most High, and by the universal conscience. He who is truly virtuous, therefore, will regard each duty, to whomsoever and to whatsoever it directly pertains, as thus commanded, and will perform it as a subject of divine legislation, and in obedience to the divine authority. To such a person, every duty will, in reality, be an act of piety. In all departments of moral obligation, divine legislation will be specifically acknowledged, and submitted to as such. The idea of solemn accountability to the divine tribunal, will be the great idea in the light of which all particular "cases of conscience will be solved." The individual whose piety is not thus universal has no proper claims certainly to real piety or virtue either. Morality and religion, when rightly understood, are not, as far as duty is concerned, different departments of action, but one and the same. All duty, when rightly performed, has its spring and source in the spirit of allegiance to God. All sin, all wrong-doing, in every form, is direct and open disloyalty to his authority.

The idea of a truly pious man, then, in other words, of a true worshipper of God, may be thus announced. He is one, the supreme law of whose existence and activity is, the law of duty; who elevates all duty in every form directly into the light of divine legislation, and performs it as a matter of allegiance to God, the Universal Lawgiver. "He endured as seeing Him who is invisible."

Piety in its more restricted sense.

There are forms of duty, however, which pertain immediately and directly to God, those included more particularly under the first and great commandment of the moral law. The term piety is often used to express this class of duties. It is in this sense that the subject will now be contemplated.

In the human intelligence God stands revealed as the Author of all other existences, as the unconditioned and absolute cause of all that conditionally exists, and as possessed of every possible attribute involved in the idea of infinity and perfection. The idea of the infinity and perfection of God is always associated in the human mind with a consciousness of personal finiteness and consequent imperfection. In the relations of infinity and perfection on the one hand, and finiteness and imperfection on the other, God and humanity are revealed in the universal consciousness.

As man also is in his nature and constitution, a religious being, the conception of God in some form, as it ever has been, so it ever will be, the great leading idea of his existence, the idea under the influence of which his character will be chiefly moulded. Such is his nature, that should he even deny the divine existence, still the idea will be almost equally present to his mind, and will exert hardly less influence in the formation of his character, an influence in that case altogether disastrous, but for that reason none the less powerful. Humanity without religion is as much out of its natural native sphere of thought and activity, as is the caged eagle or lion—humanity, that was created to rise to an intimate and endearing inter-communion with Infinity and Perfection, and through such intercommunion to form and develop its character.

In respect to this infinite and Eternal Being, also, man finds himself in the relation of profound and universal dependence. To Him we are indebted for our existence; and the continuance of that existence, with all the good or ill which may attend it, depends entirely upon his will.

There is another relation still more solemn which we are continuously conscious of sustaining to God. I refer to that of moral accountability. To our minds He stands revealed, as through our own consciences, and under the most impressive sanctions, commanding what is right and prohibiting what is wrong. Conscience also, in its inward heaven illumined revelations, continually directs the mind to the divine tribunal, with the certain and all impressive indication, that there appropriate retributions await us for all acts of obedience or disobedience to its sacred behests. God, the Moral Legislator, and "God the Judge of all," is the revealed divinity of the universal conscience.

While God stands thus revealed to the human mind, man continually carries in the depths of his own consciousness, the solemn conviction, that in consequence of having transgressed the law of God, he is amenable at the divine tribunal, as a violator of the claims of infinite and eternal weight. The conviction of personal sinfulness and ill-desert, and of consequent exposure to the penalty of the divine law, lies upon the conscience of universal humanity.

In the sacred scriptures God has revealed Himself in full and special adaptation to the necessities of man as a sinner, as having provided a remedial system through which the impure may be recovered to rectitude, the guilty pardoned, and the lost restored to hope, and blessedness.

Such are the relations recognized by man, as existing between himself and his Maker.

We will now contemplate some of the duties involved in these relations, as constituting essential elements of the idea of piety in the form in which we are now contemplating the term.

1. The first that I notice is this. As creatures, we should ever carefully cherish, in the depths of our own minds, a deep and pervading sentiment of our own finiteness and imperfection, as contrasted with the divine Infinity and Perfection. This we should do as a sacred duty to God, to ourselves, and the world around us. Without this sentiment we can make no proper approaches to God, or render any becoming and acceptable services to Him. Nor can we duly understand or appreciate the duties which we owe to ourselves or the world around us. He that contemplates himself in his own finiteness, as ever acting in the presence and under the immediate legislation of Infinity and Perfection, will contemplate his own nature and destiny, together with his responsibilities to himself and other beings, in a very different light from what he otherwise would.

We shall also be to ourselves, and all other objects will be to us, very much as the ideas with which we compare them. If we habitually compare ourselves with others, we shall naturally think of ourselves or of them more highly than we ought to think. If, on the other hand, ourselves and all other things are contemplated, in the light of our common relations to Infinity and Perfection, all things will naturally assume their appropriate place in our estimation. The profoundest wisdom to which the finite can attain is found in the depths of voluntary self-humiliation. To this we attain, only as we habitually place our own finiteness and consequent natural imperfection, in the light of the divine Infinity and Perfection.

    2. One of the chief aims of our existence should be to develop and perfect in our own minds, our conceptions of the being and perfections of Deity. The idea of God must be in the finite intelligence, an endlessly growing idea. To develop and perfect it, will be the lesson of eternity. One of the first and most sacred duties devolved upon us by our own consciences is to perfect, in the use of all appropriate means, our knowledge of that Eternal Being to whom we owe our existence, and upon whom that existence, with all its infinite interests, depends. No individual can have a proper respect for the idea of duty in any form, who does not meet the demands of his conscience in respect to the acquirement of the fullest possible knowledge of the character of God, and the principles of his government.

    3. The supreme law of our existence should be the ascertained will of God, in whatever manner it may be communicated to us. While we do and must recognize ourselves as finite, imperfect and dependent, and the Author of our being as in all respects infinite, perfect, and independent, we necessarily recognize in Him the right of unlimited control, and in ourselves, the duty of universal and implicit obedience. It is a first truth of the universal intelligence, that the finite should voluntarily surrender itself to the control of the infinite, the imperfect to that of the perfect, and the dependent to that on which it does and must depend. The will of God, standing before us as it does, in revealed absolute harmony with the dictates of infinite wisdom, knowledge, rectitude, and benevolence, the first duty which conscience devolves upon the creature is a distinct and unlimited surrendry of his own to the control of the will of his Creator. As the actual providences of God are a continual revelation of his will to us, the submission of our will to his always includes a cordial acquiescence in the divine dispensations, as on the whole, wisest and best, whatever their present aspect may be.

4. All questions of duty should be solved by us, by a direct and immediate reference to divine adjudication. To stand in all respects approved and accepted with the Infinite and Perfect should be the supreme law of our existence and entire activity. The ascertainment of the law of duty, in other words, of the will of God, relatively to ourselves, depends upon perfect rectitude of intention in us, in respect to the obtaining a knowledge of that law. Now nothing can tend so powerfully to perfect and perpetuate this rectitude of intention, and consequently to secure a knowledge of our duty, as the direct and continued recognition of the omnipresent and omniscient inspection of a being who views all questions with absolute impartiality, and who never errs in judgment, together with a filial awe and fear of judging or doing any thing contrary to his will. A young statesman inquired of a friend for some maxim which he might safely adopt in his future life, as the law of his political action. "Always act," was the reply, "as you judge the individual whom you most revere for wisdom and integrity, such a man as Washington, for example, would advise you to act, were all the circumstances of your case submitted to his adjudication." Who does not perceive the wisdom of such counsel? The decisions of all important questions in the light of the adjudication of such persons, tends most powerfully to free the mind from the influence of all biases and temptations to selfishness, and to perfect and preserve that rectitude of intention which is indispensable to wise and correct judgments of truth and duty. What then must be the influence of a continued reference, in all our moral judgments to divine legislation and adjudication, to preserve us from all temptations to selfishness in the midst of which we are continually necessitated to judge and act, temptations which tend so powerfully to darken and pervert the moral vision. To live, judge and act, as "seeing Him who is invisible," is one of the first and most sacred duties devolved upon us by the conscience.

5. He that would meet the demands of his conscience relatively to the special duties of piety towards God, will carefully cherish in his own mind, a sentiment of profound and universal dependence on the one hand, and also a tenderly affectionate remembrance of God's relations to him as an infinite and boundless benefactor, on the other. The chief relations which beings morally pure will ever sustain to God, will be that of dependent recipients to an independent infinite benefactor. The exercise of gratitude, therefore, with its appropriate manifestations, will always be the form of duty mainly devolved upon them relatively to the Author of' their existence. To be a constant recipient of good, without recognizing the fact, to exercise and manifest ingratitude to an infinite benefactor, is one of the darkest forms which crime ever puts on.

6. The next form of duty that claims our attention, is that of unlimited trust or confidence in God, as a God of absolute wisdom, knowledge and veracity, and at the same time able and willing to meet all our necessities, as we appreciate his trustworthiness, and confide in Him accordingly. To us He has revealed Himself, not only as possessed of infinite excellence, as the universal moral legislator, and "the judge of all," but also as a Father entertaining and cherishing towards us a more than paternal tenderness. Such manifestations certainly ought to meet a most grateful response on our part. The duty of faith unlimited and absolute is a first truth of universal reason.

    7. The exercise of filial confidence in God on our part, should ever be mingled with sentiments of cherished fear, reverence and awe, which his revealed Infinity demand. "Reverence and godly fear," are sentiments surely with which the finite should approach the Infinite, and creatures should mention the name of their Creator.

    8. The sentiments above referred to, internally cherished and manifested by appropriate external action, constitutes worship, the duty of rendering which is recognized by the universal conscience. Wherever a human being exists, we find him entertaining conceptions of God in some form, and those conceptions also prompting him to some forms of worship. The idea of worship and the corresponding instinct is absolutely universal. By all then, it should be recognized as a sacred duty.

    9. I come now to speak of those special duties devolved upon us, in consequence of our relations to God, as sinners, and of his to us through the revealed remedial system. The conviction of personal sinfulness and consequent ill-desert, lies, as we have seen, upon the universal consciousness of humanity. Every where also we find the conviction, in some form, that God has placed man, not under a dispensation of strict retributive justice, but of mercy, in other words, under a remedial system. The question that now arises is, What are the duties which such convictions must sacredly impose upon us?

    (1.) The first that I notice is a distinct voluntary recognition of the fact of our sinfulness and ill-desert, on the one hand, and of God's relations to us, through the remedial system, on the other. To have the conviction lie upon the consciousness, that we are sinners, and voluntarily to meet that fact with all the fearful consequences which hang upon it, is quite another. This is the form of duty which the conscience devolves upon every man.

    (2.) An act of deep voluntary self-humiliation in the presence of offended infinite justice and goodness, is another form of duty, which the conviction under consideration devolves upon us. The individual upon whose consciousness the conviction of guilt before and against God has long lain, and who has never been induced thereby, in deep humiliation, to bow the knee to the Father of mercies, in confession of guilt, and as a suppliant for pardon, will vainly claim respect for the idea of duty, or moral virtue in any form whatever.

    (3.) A most cordial and humble reliance upon the grace proffered to us through the remedial system, for our recovery from the power of sin, for its unlimited pardon, and our restoration to the favor of God. To man, whatever his human eminence may be, there is no royal road to life eternal. Here universal humanity meets upon a common level, and walks in the same "highway of holiness," a way which human pride contemns to its own destruction. No individual, however, meets the solemn behests of conscience, relatively to himself as a sinner, and God as the Author of the remedial system, who does not thus accept of the grace of God. To escape the power and consequences of sin is the first and great duty of the transgressor. No individual does or can attain this end, in any other way than an act of self-humiliation and dependence upon divine grace such as we are now contemplating.

    (4.) The last form of duty devolved upon us by the convictions under consideration, is a life of gratitude, humility, faith and obedience, corresponding to the grace of which we have been the recipients. To possess ourselves, and put the race of man in possession of this infinite grace in all its fullness, should be the great end of our existence.

Such are the principles which constitute the essential elements of the idea of piety, in the sense in which we are now contemplating the term. To realize this idea is with man the "beginning of wisdom." With what beautiful impressiveness this thought is expressed by the Prince of Poets. Our great progenitor, restored to penitence and love, through the instruction of a heavenly visitant, thus announces the sentiments with which piety had inspired him:

"Greatly instructed I shall hence depart;

Greatly in peace of thought, and have my fill

Of knowledge, what this vessel can contain;

Beyond which was my folly to aspire.

Henceforth I learn, that to obey is best,

And love with fear the only God; to walk

As in his presence; ever to observe

His providence; and on Him sole depend,

Merciful over all his works, with good

Still overcoming evil, and by small

Accomplishing great things, by things deemed weak

Subverting worldly strong, and worldly wise

By simply meek: that suffering for truth's sake

Is fortitude to highest victory,

And, to the faithful, death the gate of life;

Taught this by his example, whom I now

Acknowledge my Redeemer ever blest."

"To whom time also the angel last replied.

'This having learned, thou hast attained the sum

Of wisdom; hope no higher, though all the stars

Thou knewest by name, and all the ethereal powers.

All secrets of the deep, all Nature's works,

Or works of God in heaven, air, earth; or sea,

And all the riches of the world enjoyedst,

And all the rule, one empire; only add

Deeds to thy knowledge answerable; add faith,

Add virtue, patience, temperance; add love,

By name to come called charity, the soul

If all the rest; then wilt thou not be loath

To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess

A Paradise within thee, happier far."'

CHAPTER II.

PRAYER.

Term defined.

ONE of the essential elements of the idea of piety, I have reserved for a separate chapter, to wit, prayer. In treating upon this subject, the first thing which claims our attention is a definition of the duty itself. That which distinguishes prayer in all its forms from every other exercise is this. Prayer is a direct expression, either verbal or mental, of our thoughts, feelings, desires, or purposes, to God. Desire in itself is not prayer. Desire expressed to God is.

Mental Exercises included in prayer.

Four distinct classes of mental exercises are included in prayer, when the term is taken in its widest acceptation, to wit,

    1. Adoration and praise, of which the following may serve as an example: "O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth."

    2. Thanksgiving for mercies received, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits."

    3. Confession. "I acknowledge my sin, and my transgression is ever before me."

4. Petition. "Give us this day our daily bread." This last is prayer in its most appropriate, and restricted signification. Commonly, however, it is understood as including the mental exercises above presented. The characteristics of prayer at particular seasons, will of course depend upon the particular state of the individual, and the particular aspects of truth which are before the mind at the time. Praise, thanksgiving, or petition, may either of them constitute the prominent characteristics of a given exercise, with equal acceptance to God.

Characteristics of Acceptable Prayer.

Prayer, as presented in the scriptures, to be acceptable and prevalent with God, especially in the form of petition, must be attended with the following characteristics:

1. A sense of need, and a consciousness of utter helplessness in ourselves.

    2. Confidence, filial and affectionate, in God, as a hearer of prayer. "He that cometh unto God, must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him."

    3. A belief that the blessing asked, will be granted, if it is known to be agreeable to the will of God. "This is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him."

    4. Cordial submission to the divine will, when this is not known.

    5. Faith in Christ, as the only medium through which our petitions can come up with acceptance before God.

    6. The motive in asking, must be in accordance with the divine will. "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."

    7. Urgent importunity, till our petitions are granted, or it is known that the blessing asked is not agreeable to the divine will.—"Men ought always to pray, and not to faint."

8. A spirit of implicit obedience to Cod. "If ye abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." "The effectual fervent prayer of the righteous man availeth much."

9. Such a temper of mind towards our fellow men, as we desire God to cherish towards us. " When ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any."

Prayer reasonable.

Such are the nature and characteristics of acceptable prayer, as presented in the scriptures of truth. The following considerations will fully establish the fact, that prayer is no less a dictate of the intelligence than of revelation.

1. Wherever the belief of God exists, some form of address to him has been invariably adopted. This shows clearly, that the duty is universally intuitively affirmed, wherever the relation of Creator and creature is apprehended.

    2. Under sudden and unexpected calamities, there is universally a spontaneous appeal to God for counsel or aid, a fact undeniably indicating that prayer is a necessary instinct of universal humanity.

    3. All acts of prayer, performed in the spirit above described, commend themselves to every man's reason. Under such circumstances, our reason necessarily affirms such acts to be fit and proper.

    4. The importance of the duty of prayer necessarily arises from the contemplation of the parental relations of God to us. That a child should express, to its parent, its love and gratitude, confess its faults, and make known its wants, and present its requests, is a necessary affirmation of the reason, in view of the parental and filial relations. When we contemplate ourselves as the offspring of God, and Him, as the Father of our spirits, how plain is the duty and fitness of prayer to Him.

    5. Prayer is the appropriate expression and almost necessary result of those affections of filial love, and obedience, which our reason affirms that we ought to cherish towards God. Let those affirmations exist, and prayer can not be restrained without an effort, and such an effort as would powerfully tend to suppress the affections themselves.

    6. Prayer devoutly performed tends most powerfully to induce and perpetuate the strong exercise of all right affections and sentiments. To give expression to any affection or sentiment, as all are aware, tends to strengthen the principle upon which it depends. The same must, in a pre-eminent degree, be true of prayer devoutly and reverentially performed.

Importance attached to Prayer in the scriptures.

The light in which God regards the duty of prayer, as manifested in the scriptures, will be seen in the following considerations:

1. Few duties are so frequently and peremptorily commanded. "Pray without ceasing." "Men ought always to pray." "In all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God."

    2. To no duty are more precious promises attached. "Ask, and it shall be given you." "Every one that asketh receiveth."

    3. The scriptures abound with examples of the power of prayer.

    4. Prayer is always presented as one of the most distinguishing characteristics of holy men, whose histories are recorded in the Bible, and especially of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    5. Prayer is presented as one of the fundamental characteristics which distinguish the righteous from the wicked. One of the appellations which distinguish Christians from others, is this: "those that call upon the name of the Lord." Of the hypocrite it is asked: "will he always call upon the Lord?" "The wicked, it is said, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God."

    6. In the vision which the inspired evangelist had of heaven, the prayers of the saints are represented as sweet incense which comes up before God.—"And when he had taken the book, the four beasts, and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand."

Common Objections to Prayer.

The above considerations render it quite evident, that to no form of duty is greater importance attached in the scriptures, than to that of prayer. It is equally evident also, that prayer is a medium though which blessings both temporal and spiritual descend to men, blessings which would not be received, but for the acceptable performance of this duty. To such an idea of prayer, the following objections have been urged—objections deserving a passing notice.

1. The absolute omniscience and benevolence of God. He knows perfectly all our necessities, and needs no information from us pertaining to them. His benevolence also is such, that no importunities on the part of creatures are requisite to excite his compassion, or to persuade Him to grant them all real good. It is an impeachment of the divine knowledge and goodness both to suppose that He needs any importunities on our part to render Him propitious to us. To this objection I reply,

(1.) If it has any weight at all, it lies equally against the supposition, that the bestowment of any blessing whatever is conditionated on the performance of any duty of any kind on the part of the creature. Notwithstanding the possession of these perfections, God does not bestow the blessing of pardon without the repentance of the transgressor. God knows perfectly the transgressor's need of pardon, and is so inclined to bestow it, that no relentings in the creature are requisite to excite his compassion. Yet infinite knowledge and goodness do not induce God to pardon the transgressor without repentance. Why then should these perfections induce Him to bestow other blessings, without prayer on the part of the recipient?

    (2.) Prayer is a duty as manifestly growing out of the relations of a creature, as a dependent recipient of good, as repentance is, on account of his relations as a sinner. The one, therefore, may as properly be made a condition of the bestowment of special good as the other. Those who object to prayer overlook the fact, that it is the condition of the reception of special favors, in the same sense, and for the same reasons that other duties are, duties necessarily resulting from our varied relations.

    (3.) The great want of man is not merely to know that God exists, not merely to attain a true knowledge of his being and perfections; but with this acquaintance, to be rendered distinctly sensible of the fact, that we are the direct and immediate objects of his special regard. What means could He adopt so well adapted to secure this result, as the bestowment of special blessings in answer to special requests on our part. In asking, and receiving, as I ask, I become sensible, as I otherwise could not be, of the direct personal relations which I sustain to the Author of my existence. His being and perfections also, as they otherwise could not be, become distinct and omnipresent realities to my mind. Prayer then, has its basis in other reasons than those supposed in the objection under consideration.

    2. Another objection urged is the eternity and immutability of the divine purposes. All that God will
    ever do, it is urged, is eternally and immutably preordained. It is folly and impiety in us to expect to change these purposes by prayer. The purposes of God, it should be borne in mind, are conformed to facts eternally foreseen, and are in full and perfect harmony with these facts. If special prayer exists, it exists, as a fact thus foreseen, and with God's purposes eternally and immutably in conformity to them. It stands revealed, as a fixed and immutable purpose of God, that "every one that asketh shall receive." The descent of special blessing, therefore, in answer to special prayer is implied in the immutability of God's purposes, instead of being inconsistent with them. The objection under consideration really assumes that the purposes of God are formed with no reference to facts as they occur, and consequently that prevalent prayer implies a change of such purposes.

3. The third form of objection to prayer is drawn from the established order or laws of nature. The entire arrangements of Divine Providence, especially in the material universe, are carried on, it is said, according to fixed and immutable laws. As prayer can not avail to change these laws, it must be wholly unavailing to the procurement of blessings which would not otherwise descend to us. It is therefore, as far as any such end is concerned, a meaningless, useless service. To this objection I reply,

(l.) That it manifestly can have no weight against the idea of special spiritual blessings being obtained in answer to prayer. As these comprise the great mass of human necessities, all things working together for our good when these are supplied, and as these are granted only through the special influences of the Spirit and grace of God, the objection under consideration, even if it be admitted to hold in respect to physical blessings, can have no weight at all against prayer, as far as its main objects are concerned.

    (2.) As far as temporal, physical blessings are concerned, this objection rests upon nothing else than an assumption which has no other basis than sheer ignorance. Whether God does or does not, by special interpositions, so change the order of providence as to meet the physical necessities, and especially the fervent prayers of the righteous, who can tell? That he does not, I feel quite safe in asserting is neither an ascertained truth of revelation, reason, philosophy, or common sense.

    (3.) This objection also assumes, that the unvarying direction of a necessary instinct of universal humanity is towards the unreal, than which no assumption is more contrary to reason and sound philosophy. In all sudden and special exigencies, it is a universal instinct of humanity, to appeal to God for a special interposition for deliverance. No law of nature is more fixed and universal than this. To suppose, as this objection does, that the fixed direction of a necessary and universal law existing in that for which all other laws of the universe were established, to wit, mind, is towards the unreal, is surely a most unreasonable and unphilosophical assumption.

    (4.) Even if we suppose, that the laws of nature are fixed and immutable, the objection under consideration is without weight. It may still be true, that even temporal blessings will descend to us if we pray, which would not otherwise descend. The entire providence of God, is undeniably arranged with a changeless reference to the good of mind, at the various stages of its existence. All the facts pertaining to the conduct of creatures, and prayer not among the least, were taken into account in that arrangement. All things are so ordered as to meet such exigencies and especially the requests of the pure in heart. Whether the laws of providence are fixed and immutable or not, whether God interposes to change them, or not, it still remains true, that special blessings may descend to the morally pure, in consequence of fervent prayer on their part blessings which would not otherwise descend to them.

Times and seasons when prayer is required.

In the scriptures, as we have seen, prayer is required: but no particular form, posture or seasons when the duty is to be performed, are prescribed. These we are to infer from the known relations existing between us and God, and from the examples recorded for our instruction and imitation. A contemplation of these relations, with a sincere desire to know the will of God, renders our duty in these respects as plain, and as sacredly binding, as if enjoined by a special revelation. For example:

    1. Individual or private prayer. Who can contemplate his peculiar relations to God, without recognizing the propriety of the command, "when thou prayest, enter into thy closet?"

    2. Domestic prayer. If God is to be acknowledged at all, in any relations of life, how manifest is it, that He should be acknowledged in the domestic circle, and by the appointed head and guardian of that circle.

    3. Social or public prayer. The same reasons that sanction the duty of prayer in the private and domestic relations, sanction it in all the social relations, especially in those relations existing between the members of the "body of Christ," the Church.

In regard to the periods when prayer is demanded, the following may be specified: morning and evening, at our meals, at the beginning and close of public worship, and when engaging in new and important enterprises.

If God had done no more than reveal Himself to us as a hearer of prayer, and had enjoined the duty upon us, no revelation would be necessary to designate the above as among the seasons when this duty ought to be performed.

Prayer at any particular time should have a special relation to the existing state of the individual or circle, domestic or social, engaging in this employment.

REMARKS.

    1. The moral state of the individual who leads a prayerless life, becomes quite obvious in the light of the principles above elucidated. He must surely be wholly destitute of proper sentiments in respect to his own weakness, dependence and necessities, as a creature, and equally so of any proper respect for the duties growing out of his relations to his Creator.

    2. The excuse so often urged by individuals who neglect this duty, that "they pray in heart," demands a passing notice. It is a changeless law of our existence, that strong affection of every kind will manifest itself in appropriate words and actions. The existence of a true spirit of prayer in the heart is no exception to this law.

    3. Any system of religion which overlooks or undervalues the duty, the utility, and power of prayer, is alike opposed to reason and revelation both.

CHAPTER III.

THE LORD'S DAY, OR THE CHRISTIAN SABBATH.

THE question in respect to the keeping of a Sabbath is one of special revelation. It is only, as such, that its observance can be regarded as morally binding. It is in this light therefore, that I shall regard and treat the subject in the present chapter.

"The Sabbath," says our Savior, "was made for man;" that is, it was instituted to meet the demands of our nature. As it was originally given, not to any one particular people or age, but to the race, we are bound to conclude that the keeping of the day in accordance with the divine requisitions respecting it, is demanded by the fundamental laws of our being. The same principle applies to all particular precepts respecting the day. If any particular duties are enjoined, or any particular employments forbidden, we are bound to conclude that such precepts are, based upon the fundamental demands of our physical or moral constitution, or both united.

General Considerations.

In the further consideration of this subject, I will first direct attention to certain general considerations bearing upon the institution, and designed especially to establish the fact of its being perpetually binding upon us, as the recipients of divine revelation. On this point I remark,

1. That the Sabbath was originally given, not to one people, but to the race. In the scriptures, the account of its establishment is connected with that of the creation, and of the first origin of the race. "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day, God ended his work which He had made: and He rested on the seventh day from all the work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it He had rested from all his work which God created and made.—Gen. 2:1—3. The term blessed, as here used, can mean nothing less than this, that God ordained the institution of the Sabbath as a day of special blessings to all who would duly observe it. To sanctify the day, means to set it apart from secular to religious uses. This is the fixed and exclusive meaning of the term sanctify, when connected with any common object. The fact that the account of the origin of the institution is connected with that of the creation itself, is sufficient evidence, that its origin is coeval with that of the race, and of the fact, that it was designed not for any one people alone, but for the entire race of man. How strange this account appears, when placed in the light of the idea entertained by some, that the Sabbath was designed only for one people, and merely as an institution of temporary obligation relatively to them. To connect the account of the origin of such an Institution with that of the creation itself, without any intimation whatever of its real subsequent date, would be absurd even in an author uninspired. Then the reason assigned for the institution marks it as designed for the race. What if the Most High had said, I finished the work of creation in six days, and rested on the seventh. For this reason, I now, thousands of years after the creation, sanctify this day, as an institution of temporary obligation for one, the least almost of all the branches of the human race! No man, having any proper respect for the scriptures, can put such a construction upon such a passage. Yet the idea under consideration compels us to do it.

The day also was introduced by Moses to the children of Israel, not as a new, but as an institution already existing. "And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man; and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. And he said unto them This is that which the Lord hath said, To-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord."—Exodus 16: 22, 28. This was a considerable period before the arrival of the Israelites at Sinai, where the Sabbath was formally prescribed to the people. Yet it was presented to them, as a day, the observance of which had previously been commanded by the Most High. It certainly had not been commanded to the Jews, as a people. It must have been given to the race, and to them only as a part of it. We might then, with the some propriety argue, that any of the other of the ten commandments was given to the Jews alone, and given as precepts of temporary obligation even unto them, as to affirm that the Sabbath was thus given.

The almost universal division of time into weeks of seven days among the ancients, and the equally extensive observance of the seventh as a sacred day, clearly evinces also, that the Sabbath, with the division of time which it implies, was not originally given to one people, but to the race. "Sacred" says Hesiod, "in the first place, is the day of the New Moon. Sacred also are the fourth and the seventh days." "Again came the seventh day, the illustrious light of the sun." "The seventh day then arrived," says Homer, "a sacred day." Again he says," The seventh [day] is among good things. The seventh is the birth [day.] The seventh is among the chief things. The seventh is perfect." Hesiod and Homer, as the reader is well aware, are among the most ancient of the Greek writers. Philo, the Jew who was cotemporary with our Savior, says of the Sabbath, "For it is a holy day, not of one city, or place only, but of all the world, a holy day which alone can be described as universal, the birth-day of the world." "Neither is there any city of the Greeks or among foreigners," says Josephus, "not even one nation in the which the custom of observing the seventh day, on which we rest, has not found its way." I might adduce many other testimonies equally to the purpose. But this is sufficient. Such coincidences must have had a common origin, the giving of the Sabbath originally, not to any one people, but to the race.

2. The reason originally assigned for the Institution requires to be specially notice "And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it; because that in it He rested from all his works which God had created and made." The reason here assigned, as well as that assigned by our Savior, designates the institution, as of changeless obligation. As long as creation should stand before the creatures of God, as his grand work, the reason for observing the institution on the seventh, instead of any other day, would remain unchanged. If, on the other hand, the time should come when, God should perform a work infinitely more important than the creation, such an occurrence would demand, not a destruction of the institution but a change from the seventh to the day on which this last and crowning work of God was completed. Such an occurrence as the above however, instead of being a reason for the abrogation of the Sabbath itself, would be an additional reason of infinite weight for its continued observance, on a different day.

3. Another fact presented in the scriptures designates the institution as of perpetual obligation. It is presented as an emblem of that rest which remains for the people of God in a future state. See Heb. chapters 3 and 4. If this is a reason why one nation in one age should observe the institution, it is a reason equally strong why every nation in every age, should observe it.

4. Another consideration of considerable weight to my mind is this, the fact that the precept requiring the observance of the institution, is placed among nine other precepts of changeless obligation, and which are separate from all other laws, precepts, and institutions, given at the time, as of fundamental importance. The particular phraseology in which the command is given, is adapted with perfect propriety to the institution as then existing, just as the first commandment is conformed in its phraseology to the existing tendencies of the nation and world. Those facts however do not at all diminish the weight of the consideration above stated, in respect to the relation not of the particular day, but of the institution to the changeless laws of our being.

5. The institution of a Sabbath is a manifest demand of our spiritual, religious and social nature. As a spiritual, religious, and social being, worship, individual and social, is a universal instinctive necessity of that nature with which man is endowed. Social worship requires stated days for its performance. As Christianity is designed to be the religion of universal humanity, and as social worship is one of its fundamental elements, a Sabbath is required to perfect its adaptation, as a universal religion, to meet the ends for which it wits given to man. The idea of a Sabbath, that is, of stated days for social worship, is not only a revealed truth, but a necessary demand of the human intelligence. To say, that there should be no Sabbath, is equivalent to the affirmation, that there should be no universal religion an essential element of which is social worship. This is equivalent to the affirmation, that the great want of man growing out of his spiritual, religious and social nature, shall never be met.

More General Considerations.

Such are some of the reasons, intrinsic in the institution itself, in favor of its perpetuity. Some other considerations of a more general nature now require a passing notice.

l. All the commands of the Old and New Testaments requiring public worship demand such a day. Public worship cannot be maintained without some stated day on which it is observed. Had God required his people not to "forget the assembling of themselves together," and not appointed seasons for this purpose, a blank would have been left in the divine institutions, which the necessities of the church must and would have supplied even without the divine sanction. Can we suppose that God appointed and threw such awful sanctions around an institution in one dispensation, and then dropped it in the other, when the same commands of his, and necessities of our nature which demanded it in the former, demand it in the latter?

2. No reasons can be assigned for the institution before Christ, which do not demand it with increasing weight after his ascension.

3. God has invariably set the seal of his approbation to the strict observance of the day. No community can be named, the purity, virtue, intelligence, and general prosperity of which do not bear an almost exact correspondence to the strictness with which the Sabbath is kept. The opposite is true of all Sabbath-breaking communities. Has God thus set his seal to the observance of a day which He has Himself abrogated? If God's providences and Spirit give us any indication of his voice, both distinctly point to the command, "Remember the Sabbath-day to keep it holy," as of universal and of perpetual obligation.

4. The most extensive observation and experience demonstrate, as far as induction can do it, that such a day is demanded by the physical as well as the moral constitution of man.

5. The main objections brought against the Sabbath are based upon a supposed cessation of the relations noticed above, which so obviously demand a Sabbath. Example: the supposition that saints have entered into their rest in such a manner that they have nothing more to do for God, but simply to enjoy peace, that public and private worship are not demanded, and the necessity of receiving mutual instruction and admonition, has been superseded by the light and teachings of the Spirit. As these are all total misapprehensions of the condition and relation of the Christian, the conclusions based upon them fall of course.

The conclusion which forces itself upon every mind is this: either the seventh day is the Sabbath for us, or some other day has been substituted in its place. The last is the position which I shall now endeavor to establish. If the day has been changed, such change may have been made known to us in one of two ways, either of which would equally indicate the divine will to us:

1. By a direct command.

2. By the example of those directly inspired by the Holy Spirit.

To the church to whom they ministered, they would indicate the change by precept and example both. To us however, may be left simply the example of these inspired men, as recorded in the Bible, and of the church under their guidance as recorded in her memorials.

We will now consider the amount of evidence left us in the New Testament, in favor of an existing Sabbath under the new dispensation, and of the fact that the day now observed by Christians is that Sabbath. In remarking upon this day, I remark,

1. That the seventh day, as the day on which the institution is to be observed, has been abolished, by the direct authority of inspiration. In proof of this assertion I adduce a single passage bearing directly upon the subject: "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy-day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath-days.—Col. 2: 16. The obvious meaning of this passage may be thus expressed. Never admit that you are under obligation to observe any of the institutions or days referred to, so that men may condemn you as guilty of sin for their non-observance. As these institutions and days were instituted directly by divine authority, they can cease to be binding only by the same authority. That they are all alike thus abolished, is in this passage directly asserted. Now if the term "Sabbath," here employed, refers to the seventh day, or to the Jewish sabbath, the keeping of that day as the Sabbath has been superseded by the direct authority of God. That this is the meaning of the term I argue,

(1.) From the fact, that all the other sacred days instituted under the old dispensation were included under the words, "holy day" and "new moon."

(2.) If the term sabbath does include more days than the seventh, no reason can be assigned, why it should not be understood to include this day also, but the strongest reasons to the contrary. The apostle evidently intended to include every thing understood at the time, as included under this term. That the seventh day was included by universal usage no one can doubt. It is a violation of all the laws of interpretation, therefore, to suppose that this day was not included under the term in the passage before us.

(3.) The term sabbath is never, in a solitary instance, used by any of the writers of the New Testament, to designate any of the Jewish sacred days excepting the seventh day. We have then the highest evidence we possibly can have, that this is the day referred to in the passage, and consequently, that the observance of the institution on that day has been formally discontinued by divine authority.

The objection urged by some, that the Jewish feast days must be referred to in this place, from the fact, that in the original, the plural form of the word is used, is without any weight whatever, from the obvious fact, that this is the form most commonly used in the New Testament, to distinguish the seventh day.

2. We have direct and positive evidence, that the observance of the first day of the week was instituted by divine authority as the Christian Sabbath.

In establishing this proposition I will, in the first place, direct attention to Rev. 1: 10. "I was in the spirit on the Lord's day." From this passage I affirm, that there is under the present dispensation, a sabbath, and that the one now regarded by Christians generally, as such, is that day.

The term "Lord's" has a fixed and definite meaning in the scriptures. When applied to any of the common objects of life, it designates some thing set apart from a secular to a sacred use. Thus, the "Lord's Supper," 1 Cor. 11: 20, designates a meal distinguished from common meals, by being observed, as a memorial of the death of Christ, or in honor of Him. So the expression "the Sabbath of the Lord thy God," designates a day separated from all secular pursuits, and devoted to religious worship. What then does the apostle mean by the phrase, "the Lord's day," but a day thus separated, and thus consecrated? There is then such a day under the present dispensation, a day established and recognized as such by inspiration. Else an apostle would not have been inspired of God thus to speak of it.

This could not have been the seventh day of the week, or the Jewish sabbath. This is evident from the fact that that day is always designated by the term sabbath, and was also previously declared by inspiration itself, as we have seen, Col. 2: 16, to have been abolished.

The phrase "the Lord's day," on the other hand, was understood by the entire church at the time, in the very sense attributed to it, to wit, to designate it a day sacred in the sense explained, and the first day of the week as that day. The manner in which the apostle uses the phrase, shows clearly, that it had a fixed and definite meaning, as universally understood at the time in the churches, and that he intended to be understood as using it according to its universal acceptation. What then was the meaning universally attached to the phrase at the time in the churches?

The testimony of Christian writers cotemporary with the apostle, and immediately succeeding him, is perfectly conclusive on that point. Says Barnabas, the companion of Paul, "we keep the eighth as a joyful day, on which day also, Jesus rose from the dead." Ignatius, a cotemporary with the apostle, contrasts the practice of sabbatizing, "with living according to the Lord's day, the day on which our life arose, the day consecrated to the resurrection, and the queen and prince of all days." Again he says "Let every friend of Christ celebrate the Lord's day." Pliny the younger, says of Christians in his letter as governor, to the Emperor Trajan: "That they are accustomed, on a stated day, to meet before day-light, and to repeat among themselves, a hymn to Christ, as to God." This was A. D. 107. That this was the Christian Sabbath, is evident from what has been said above, as well as from the fact that one of the standing questions put to martyrs by Roman persecutors, was, "Have you kept the Lord's day?" The answer usually returned in substance was, "I am a Christian, I can not omit it." To be a Christian, and to observe as the sabbath of the Lord our God, the "Lord's day," that is, the first day of the week, was by them considered as synonymous.

From the time of the apostles onward, the phrase was employed in this same sense, by the church universal. They not only observed the day as a Sabbath, but designated it by the same words. They sometimes used other forms of expression to distinguish the same thing. This, however, was the common designation of the day, and the meaning universally attached to it. To show this I will here present the following extract from the excellent work of "Gurney on the Sabbath."

"An unquestionable evidence on this point is afforded us by Justin Martyr, who in his Apology addressed to the Emperor Antonius (A. D. 147,) gives a lively account of the Christian day of worship. 'On the day called Sunday,' he says, 'there is a meeting in one place of all the Christians who live either in the towns or in the country, and the Memoirs of the Apostles (supposed to mean the four Gospels) or the writings of the prophets, are read to them as long as is suitable. When the reader stops, the president announces the admonition, and exhorts to the imitation of these noble examples; after which we all arise and begin to pray.' Justin then describes the eucharistical meal, and the collection made for the poor, and concludes by explaining why this day of the week was chosen for their public worship. 'We all meet together on the Sunday because it is the first day—on which God turned the darkness [into light,] gave shape to the chaos, and made the world; and on the same day Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead.'

Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth (A. D. 170,) when writing to the Romans, informs them that the epistle of Clement their late bishop, had been read in the church at Corinth, while they were keeping the Lord's holy day; an incidental allusion, which proves that the practice of observing that day was familiar both to the writer, and to those persons whom he was addressing.

After the destruction of Jerusalem, and with it of the whole Jewish polity, and during the first two or three centuries of the Christian era, it is probable that the Lord's day was universally recognized as the only Christian sabbath. Ignatius, as we have already remarked, contrasts this day with the old sabbath of the Jews; and while abundant evidence is afforded by the other authors whom we have now cited, that the first day of the week was kept as a solemn day of worship, no mention is made by any of them of the seventh day, as claiming any peculiar honors from Christians. Accordingly Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, (A. D. 167,) expressly asserts that the Lord's day was their sabbath. "On the Lord's day every one of us Christians keeps the sabbath, meditating on the law, and rejoicing in the works of God." So also Turtullian (A. D. 192,) while he makes frequent mention of the keeping of the Lord's day, speaks of the Jewish sabbath as foreign to believers in Jesus. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, (A. D. 250,) takes no notice of the old sabbath, but repeatedly alludes to the Lord's day, as that which was kept holy among Christians."

I have adduced the above extracts, as full demonstration of the sense in which inspiration itself employs the phrase, "the Lord's day," in the passage under consideration. Inspiration then directly recognizes the day as thus sacred, and as nothing but inspiration could have rendered it such, the keeping of the day as the sabbath of God, was by divine authority introduced into the Christian church, and is consequently binding upon us as such. As a believer in the inspiration of the scriptures, I know not how to get rid of the above argument.

Special attention is now invited to the following passages of scripture: "And we sailed away from Phillippi, after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, (ready to depart on the morrow) and continued his speech until midnight."—Acts 20: 6, 7. "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.—1 Cor. 16: 1, 2. It is quite evident from the manner in which these facts are here recorded, that the custom referred to, the custom of assembling for worship on the "Lord's day," or the first day of the week, was established and universal, at least in the churches at Corinth and Troas. Equally evident is the fact, that this custom was introduced by the apostles themselves, in other words, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This is rendered certain from two considerations.

(1.) The direct testimony of inspiration. "Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you."—1 Cor. 11: 2. Here the apostle affirms, that the church at Corinth were keeping "the ordinances as he delivered them unto them." In a subsequent chapter he refers, as seen above, to the observance of the "Lord's day" as a day of stated worship, as an ordinance established and observed by that church. What is this but a direct affirmation, that he himself had delivered this ordinance unto them? No other conclusion can be legitimately drawn from this palpable fact. We have then the positive testimony of inspiration, that the keeping of the Lord's day was introduced into the churches by divine authority.

(2.) The universal observance of this day in all the churches, as a day sacred in the sense under consideration, and that under the immediate supervision of the apostles, renders it demonstrably evident, that the ordinance must have been introduced by them, that is, by the inspiration of the Spirit of God, through them. A custom absolutely universal in all parts of the world, must have had a common cause for its existence. A custom that did obtain thus universally among churches established by the apostles, and acting under their immediate supervision and control, could have originated from no other cause, than their direction and authoritative dictation. That this was the case among the churches sustaining such a relation to the inspired apostles of Christ in respect to the keeping of the Lord's day, has already been rendered undeniably evident. Additional evidence to any required extent might be adduced, did my limits permit. We can hardly conceive of a case more clearly made out, than is the fact, that the observance of this day as the Christian sabbath, was introduced by the authority of inspiration itself. With those who deny the fact, that the apostles did teach and write under the inspiration of God, in other words, that the New Testament, as well as the Old, is of divine authority, the above argument has nothing to do. As Christians, among whom it is my joy and highest glory to number myself, I see not how to avoid the force of the evidence adduced in favor of the keeping of this day.

As an argument confirmatory of that already adduced from scripture, I now direct attention to the manner in which the first day of the week is referred to by the apostles. Let us suppose that they were inspired by the Holy Spirit to establish this day as the Christian sabbath. The manner in which it is referred to by them, readily falls in with this supposition, and with no other. Why are they so particular in recording the most signal manifestations of divine grace, as having occurred on that particular day? It is needless to adduce examples on this point. The reader, who is familiar with his Bible, is already sufficiently informed on the subject.

To conclude the argument from the direct testimony of scripture, I adduce the fact that the change of the ordinance from the seventh to the first day of the week, is positively foretold by an inspired prophet. "Seven days shall they purge the altar and purify it; and they shall consecrate themselves. And when these days are expired, it shall be, that upon the eighth day, and so forward, the priests shall make your burnt-offerings upon the altar, and you peace-offerings: and I will accept you, saith the Lord God."—Eze. 43: 26, 27.

Under the image of a mystical temple, and of a corresponding arrangement of the church, the prophet shadows forth the glories of the new dispensation. In this passage he affirms that from the time when the work of completing the temple and purifying the altar was consummated, an event to occur on the eighth day, that is on the day after the Jewish sabbath, or the first day of the week, the usual services performed on the seventh day should be performed on the eighth. The meaning of the prophecy can be nothing else than this, that from the time in which the work of redemption was consummated, the eighth, that is the first day of the week, instead of the seventh, should be the day on which public worship should be observed. The change of the sabbath, therefore, from the seventh to the first day of the week is a subject of direct prophecy.

3. As a third and last argument in favor of a change of the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week, I notice the intrinsic reasonableness of such a change. The new dispensation is represented as so far surpassing, as a manifestation of the divine glory, all that God had previously done, that such works, in the comparison, should cease to be "remembered, or to come into mind." Surely the Sabbath should now represent the consummation of "the new heavens and of the new earth," and not that of the old. The change of the day is in itself so reasonable, so accordant with the usual dispensations of Providence, that all who fully enter into the spirit of inspiration would naturally expect it.

OBJECTIONS.

Some objections often adduced against the arguments above presented in favor of an existing Sabbath, as well as against those adduced to prove a change of the day, demand a passing notice in this place.

1. We have no direct and positive command for keeping the Christian Sabbath. I have two remarks to make in reply to this objection:

(1.) It assumes that the will of God is never indicated to us in any other way than by positive command, an hypothesis manifestly false.

(2.) It also assumes that the declaration of an inspired apostle, that a church keeps the ordinances as he delivered them to that church, and a reference to the keeping of the Christian Sabbath, as one of the established customs or ordinances of that and other churches, does not amount to a command. Such an assumption surely is not only without foundation, but untrue.

2. All the ordinances ceased at the destruction of Jerusalem. To this objection I reply,

(1.) This is assumed without a shadow of proof.

(2.) The supposition that the Sabbath was instituted for a period of about thirty or forty years, is intrinsically absurd.

(3.) For such an abrogation, we may at least ask a "thus saith the Lord" or, apostolic example.

(4.) The apostle John probably wrote the Revelation, and certainly lived long after that event. Yet the practice continued in the churches under his immediate inspection, and that without the least interruption.

3. In Rom. 14: 5, and Gal. 2: 16, the apostle does away with the keeping of the Sabbath altogether. Answer:

(1) Such language is to be construed consistently with the ordinances established by the apostle himself, of which the keeping of the Christian Sabbath, we have seen, is one.

(2.) The apostle is evidently speaking of Jewish customs, and consequently of the Jewish Sabbath, and not of Christian ordinances, or of the Christian Sabbath.

4. The Sabbath is a part of the Mosaic ritual.

(1.) This we have seen to be false.

(2.) If so, the Lord's day is none the less binding upon us.

5. The Jewish Sabbath is a type of the rest under the new dispensation. This does not touch "the Lord's day."

6. All days are equally holy to the Christian. True, but not in the same sense. All kinds of employments may not therefore be equally lawful on every day.

7. The divine command, requiring the observance of the seventh day as the Sabbath, has never been repealed. Till repealed, it is binding upon us. The conclusion is admitted; but the principle on which it rests is positively denied. The ground of this denial has been fully shown in the remarks made above on Col. 2: 16.

Argument summarily stated.

The entire argument in favor of the Christian Sabbath, stands before us in this light:

1. That there is, under the present dispensation, a Sabbath, is incontrovertible.

2. That the seventh day, as such a Sabbath, has been repealed by divine authority expressed and implied, is equally certain.

3. The first day of the week is that day, as is evident,

(1.) From express declarations of scripture, as understood by the whole primitive church.

(2.) By the example of the church directly under the control of inspired apostles.

(3.) By the declaration of such an apostle, that the ordinances were kept by at least one of these churches, as he delivered them to that church.

(4.) From the fact that such is the nature of the ordinance of the Sabbath, that the directions of the apostles respecting it could not have been misapprehended.

(5.) The action of the church under the direction of the apostles, together with the facts and declarations recorded in the Bible, can not be accounted for, only on the supposition that the keeping of the first day of the week, as the Christian Sabbath, was an ordinance delivered by them to the churches.

Manner in which the Sabbath should be kept.

One inquiry remains to be answered, to wit, the manner in which the Sabbath should be kept, in order to realize the benefits designed to be conferred upon the race by the institution. In accomplishing this object, we will

1. Inquire into the obligations imposed upon men by the law, respecting the original Sabbath. To understand this subject, we must

(1.) Distinguish between the institution as given to the race, and the same institution as adapted to a particular people, located in one particular part of the world.

(2.) We must distinguish between the particular precepts, respecting the institution as given to that people, and that one precept which presents it as a part of the moral law.

(3.) We must keep in view the two-fold design of the institution: the spiritual interest of man by appropriate religious observances, and the health of his physical system, by an entire suspension of secular labor.

(4.) As the main object of the institution was the advancement of the spiritual interest of man, the apprehension of any means, whether prescribed or not, adapted to that end, will enable us to determine the meaning of the precept, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy."

(5) To understand the duties appropriate to this day, we must not only determine what is positively required, but what is prohibited. The prohibition is thus expressed: "In it thou shalt not do any work." Every thing properly called work, is positively prohibited. What then, are the kinds of employment which come under this term "work?" I answer,

[I.] Nothing is called work, which is necessary to securing the end of the Sabbath—spiritual good, and physical rest; and securing these objects in the best possible manner.

[2.] Nothing is called work, which is a necessary manifestation of the spirit which we are required to cherish, and which the Sabbath is designed to secure. "It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath day."

[3.] Every thing, not included under either of the above particulars, is comprehended under the head work, and is of course forbidden.

(6.) But as the keeping of the Sabbath has a primary reference to the state of mind, our thoughts, reading and conversation should of course be employed on things sacred and divine. They should also be dissociated from things about which our hands are forbidden to be employed. Such would be the original Sabbath, if its revealed law as given to the race, was binding upon us.

2. The inquiry which now arises is this. Should the Christian Sabbath be kept by us in conformity with the above principles? To this inquiry I answer,

(I.) The Sabbath was made for man. All the above precepts are demanded by his moral and physical constitution.

(2.) Here we have God's judgment respecting the manner in which the Sabbath should be kept. Such a revelation surely is law to us.

(3.) No reason can be assigned why the present should be kept less sacred. On the other hand, all the reasons lie on the opposite side.

(4.) All the indications of providence favor this supposition. The virtue, order, intelligence, and prosperity of every community is, as its observance of the Sabbath.

(5.) No reason can be assigned why a Sabbath, if kept at all, should not be kept in accordance with the principles above elucidated.

CHAPTER IV.

SUBJECTIVE DUTIES, OR THE DUTIES WHICH WE OWE TO OURSELVES.

"MAN" says Kant, "as a part of the physical system (homo phenomenon, animal rationale,) is an animal of very little moment, and has but a common value with beasts, and the other products of the soil. Even that he is superior to those by force of his understanding, gives him only a higher external value in exchange, when brought to the market along with other cattle, and sold as wares.

"But man considered as a person, that is, as the subject of ethico-active reason, is exalted beyond all price: for as such (homo noumenon,) he can not be taken for a bare means, conducive either to his own or to other persons' ends, but must be esteemed an end in himself; that is to say, he is invested with an internal dignity (an absolute worth,) in name of which, he extorts reverence for his person, from every other finite intelligent throughout the universe, and is entitled to compare himself with all such, and to deem himself their equal."

The great idea presented in the above passage is this: man, as an intelligent being, is not a means, but an end. In this light each individual of the race is to be contemplated.

That which distinguishes a rational being from all others is, that he may, and should be to himself an end, in the same sense that any other, and every other such being is. Man, for example, may make his own character, his own nature, and his own well-being an end, in the same sense that he can that of any other being; in other words, he may elect, and use means to secure the perfecting of his own character, his own confirmation in virtue, and his own well-being, in the same sense, and in the same manner, that he can those of intelligent beings around him. Hence it is that all duty, with a moral agent, does not pertain to other beings. There are, on the other hand, duties peculiar and specific, which he owes to himself, duties which would devolve upon him, did no other being than himself exist. There are duties also which he owes to himself consequent on his existence, as an inhabitant of a realm of ends. To a consideration of such duties, the present chapter will be devoted.

1. I remark, then, in the first place, that every moral agent should propose to himself as an end, relatively to himself, to stand fully approved, in regard to all acts and mental states of a moral character, and that in respect to himself, and all other beings, at the bar of his own, and consequently at that of the universal conscience. "And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men." Never was a greater or better thought, or rather intention announced by a rational being. The idea which overshadows all others, in the human intelligence, is the idea of duty. Hence to stand fully approved, at the bar of conscience, is the great want of all rational existences. To stand thus approved, relatively to himself, every man should propose to himself, as the law of his existence and entire activity.

    2. To establish and confirm in ourselves the principle and habit of self-control, is another end which every individual should propose to himself as an end of his existence relatively to himself. Each department of our mental constitution has its appropriate sphere relatively to every other. The intellect presents those ends towards which all mental activity should be directed. The appropriate sphere of the will is to hold all departments of our nature in subordination to those ends, while it devotes the entire energies of our being to their realization. In the varied states of the sensibility, all good or ill, happiness or misery consists. The various states of the sensibility, are excited spontaneously in, the presence of their appropriate objects, and impel the will to seek present gratification irrespective of all consequences, natural or moral. When the ends which the intelligence affirms we ought to pursue are present to the mind, it often finds itself strongly impelled in the opposite direction, by the impulses of the sensibility demanding immediate and present gratification. Self-control implies the continued subjection of all such impulses to the ends under consideration. He that most fully realizes this idea attains to the highest elevation to which humanity does or can reach. "He that ruleth his own spirit is greater than he that taketh a city." To attain this high prerogative should be one of the first and great ends of our existence.

    3.Another subjective end which every rational being should propose to himself, is the full realization in his own character of the idea of mental independence.

In all our opinions, judgments, and courses of conduct, we are continuously subjected to two distinct, and opposite classes of influence—respect for what is in itself right and true—and feelings of prejudice in ourselves, and considerations of worldly interest, together with public sentiment without ourselves. Mental independence consists in the fixed habit of determining all our judgments, on all subjects alike, and in ordering all our conduct, from internal respect for what is in itself true, and good, and right, irrespective of all other considerations and influences. To generate and confirm such a habit for the purpose of fully realizing in himself such a great idea, should be one of the first subjective ends which every rational being should propose to himself. In the opposite state, humanity realizes its lowest forms of mental degradation.

4. The harmonious development of all our powers, mental and physical, as a means of accomplishing the purposes of our existence, is another end which every one should propose relatively to himself. Each intelligent was created for a particular sphere of activity. To the appropriate occupancy of that sphere, a continued and harmonious development of all our powers, mental and physical, is demanded. Through the intelligence, mind was made to converse with universal truth. Through the sensibility it may become a blissful partaker of the blessedness which the knowledge of the truth was designed to impart. Through the will it may direct its immortal energies for the realization of those high ends, in the accomplishment of which it realizes its destiny. The physical organization was designed to be the basis of all these operations. No department of our nature answers its end, but upon one condition, that it receives its appropriate development. Self-cultivation then should be an end which every one should propose to himself, as one of the great ends of his existence.

5. Another object which every one should propose to himself as an end, is to render himself in all respects, to himself, and consequently to others, worthy of esteem. To make it an object to acquire esteem is one thing. To aim to render ourselves truly deserving of it, and that as a sacred duty which, as rational beings, we owe to ourselves, to God, and to the world, is quite another. The attainment of this end will be an object which every wise man will propose to himself, as one of the essential aims of his existence.

7. Self-knowledge should also be one of the fixed subjective ends of every intelligent being. To know what we are, what we have been, and what we ought to be, to understand distinctly to what our powers are adapted, and to what they are adequate, are indispensable to the appropriate occupancy of the spheres of existence and activity to which Providence has assigned, or may assign us. Thus to know ourselves will be our steady aim, if we follow the dictates of true wisdom.

8. The correction of all habits and tendencies in ourselves which incline us to the evil and from the good, together with the development and confirmation of others of an opposite character, should command our special regard, in all our subjective ends and aims. In all, strong tendencies to evil do exist, and happy is he whose will has not generated, and to a great extent confirmed the habit of subjection to such tendencies. Self-correction and emendation, consequently, become one of the first duties which we owe to ourselves. Then to develop and confirm in ourselves all tendencies and habits of an opposite nature, should command an equal regard.

9. Finally, in all our personal ends and aims, we should contemplate ourselves as the sons and daughters, not merely of time, but eternity, and educate ourselves accordingly. This indeed should be the supreme subjective end of life.

CHAPTER V.

SUBJECTIVE DUTIES CONTINUED. PARTICULAR FORMS OF SUBJECTIVE DUTIES, TOGETHER WITH THE VICES TO WHICH THEY STAND OPPOSED.

THE application" of the principles and subjective ends stated and elucidated in the last chapter are many and important. To some of these, attention will now be directed, in the present and succeeding chapter. The forms of subjective duties, together with the vices to which they stand opposed, claiming our attention, present themselves to our consideration under two classes—those which pertain directly and exclusively to the mind—and those which stand related more especially to external actions. The former will be the subject of elucidation in the present chapter. Among these we will consider in the first place,

HUMILITY AND PRIDE.

God has so constituted us that we not only derive happiness from the conscious possession of mental and moral worth, but also from the esteem which the possession of such characteristics excites in the minds of spectators. Such esteem is in itself a good, and as such, it should be reckoned among the rewards which a beneficent and righteous Providence has added to well-doing. On the other hand, the universal disesteem which a want of moral rectitude excites, is one among the many retributions which God has annexed to evil-doing. There are three reasons, then, why a person of moral worth would desire to know himself, and would be willing to be known to the world—a love of truth—a wish to correct whatever in himself might be wrong—the happiness arising from a conscious possession of a virtuous character, and the consequent esteem of others. His love of truth, his moral rectitude, would induce in him a willingness to be subject to all the disesteem justly due to evil-doing, when he is conscious of having erred from the path of rectitude.

For opposite reasons a vicious person chooses to be unknown to himself and others, as far as moral character is concerned. He rather chooses to be esteemed the opposite of what he is.

We are now prepared to define humility, and pride its opposite, and to show the merit of the former, and the demerit of the latter.

Humility.

This virtue does not consist in any intellectual convictions relative to ourselves, nor in any mere involuntary emotions necessarily consequent on such convictions. Such phenomena are common to all rationals, whether virtuous or not. Humility, on the other hand, as moral virtue, pertains exclusively to the will. The term expresses a certain attitude of the will relative to ourselves. As a moral virtue, it consists in a cordial consent and choice of the will, to know ourselves and be known by others as we are, to esteem ourselves, and be esteemed by others in perfect accordance with our real intrinsic and relative physical, mental and moral worth. It implies also a similar state relative to all other beings. Hence an individual endued with this spirit is not displeased or offended at the thought that other beings possess higher worth, and consequently deserve, and may command more esteem than himself. He is fully satisfied with the measure of esteem which his real worth ought to command, and which, in the arrangements of Providence, it does, or will command. Such is the virtue of humility. Its full possession is necessary to a consciousness of internal worth, as well as a conscious claim to the esteem of others. The moment a moral agent becomes unwilling to be to himself, to God, and the universe, what he really is, he can not but be conscious to himself of a forfeiture of a right to the esteem of any being. The revelation of this virtue, on the other hand, to the eye of consciousness, or to public recognition, at once commands universal esteem and veneration. "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted." To the above maxim there are no exceptions. Let an individual who has been guilty of any act however criminal in itself, reveal a state of genuine, voluntary humiliation in respect to it, in other words, let him, in his own inner being, esteem the act, and his own deserts on account of it, as he ought, let this state of mind be distinctly revealed to the eye of his own consciousness, and to public recognition, and he is instantly restored to the esteem of himself, and of all to whom the revelation is made.

Pride.

The opposite of humility is pride, which consists, not in any intellectual convictions in respect to our intrinsic or relative worth, nor in any mere involuntary emotions connected by a law of necessity with such convictions, but in supreme voluntary devotion to the love of esteem and admiration. An individual under the influence of this spirit, is not willing to be to himself and the world what he really is. His aim, on the other hand, is to be regarded, whatever his real and relative worth may be, as possessed of that which will command admiration, whether the thing be in reality possessed or not, or whether its possession be lawful or unlawful. The end is self-exaltation. All things are regarded as sanctified which present themselves as a means requisite to the attainment of that end.

Such is pride. To be in such a state, with a consciousness of the fact, necessarily involves a real and conscious forfeiture of all claim to the admiration and esteem of any being. The revelation of this spirit necessarily degrades the subject in universal estimation. Thus to exalt ourselves, by a law of necessity as well as by the fixed arrangement of Providence, results in ultimate abasement. All men reprobate this spirit in all but themselves, and are unwilling, even when fully subject to its influence, to recognize its existence in themselves. Hence it is that pride naturally arrays against itself every power in existence, and thus assures ultimate abasement. If therefore, we would be at peace not only with Providence without, but would preserve internal quiet in the interior of our own being, we owe it to ourselves, not to "think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think."

REMARK.

A consciousness of personal worth, and a deep sense of its value, is no element of pride, and their absence is no part of true humility. All this, on the other hand, is implied in moral rectitude. To know ourselves as we are when truly virtuous, implies the recognition of the existence of real worth in ourselves. Nor will its mere subjective existence render it of any the less or greater value in our esteem. Real virtue regards things as they are to whomsoever they pertain.

Ambition, and the Love of Power subjected to the Law
of Benevolence.

The appropriate exercise of all the faculties of our being, and of their various functions, is a good to the mind. As the right and duty of control, under certain circumstances, is one of those functions, we have implanted among the laws of our being, the love of power—a principle of our nature which renders the exercise of authority a source of pleasure or happiness. Ambition is the subjection of our being to the influence of this principle irrespective of the good to others to be secured by its exercise. Moral rectitude demands that authority be exercised, and its exercise desired when, and only when, benevolence or the good of the subject demands it. Thus to exercise this principle is moral virtue. Ambition willingly sacrifices the good of the subject to the gratification of the love of power. To enjoy this gratification, it regards not the evils to which creatures are thereby subjected, however intolerable or interminable. He who would enjoy the blessedness of conscious rectitude must wholly crucify this principle in himself. To be ambitious is to be vicious in the highest sense possible. To admire the character and applaud the deeds of the ambitious, is to render ourselves partakers of their abominations. To excite this principle in the young, is to implant the seeds of death in their deathless spirits. To regard the exercise of authority as a good when its exercise is consistent with, and especially a means to the ends of benevolence, is but to respect the laws of our own being. To choose its exercise for any other reasons, is to render it impossible for us to know ourselves as we are, without being to ourselves objects of the deepest disesteem and reprobation. My design has been to speak of the spirit of ambition as a subjective moral state, and not of it in reference to any external acts in which it may be embodied and expressed.

Contentment, Covetousness.

The spirit of contentment, or satisfaction with and acquiescence in the actual allotments of Providence, is a form of duty sacredly binding upon us, not only relatively to God, but to ourselves. We cannot contemplate ourselves as unwilling to be in the circumstances which infinite wisdom and love order, without being to ourselves the objects of self-disesteem, and disapprobation. Especially if we would be to ourselves objects of self-approbation, we must never cherish in ourselves the desire that afflictions allotted to us should be laid upon others, or that blessings allotted to them should be transferred to ourselves. To cherish such a spirit is

Covetousness.

It is a state of mind which consists in cherishing the desire and wish that the blessings allotted by providence to others may be transferred to ourselves.

To indulge such sentiments is not only criminal, but self-degreding. Benevolence rejoices in the good possessed by others, as if it were our own. Covetousness would deprive others of what by right is theirs, and that for purposes of more subjective gratification. To preserve ourselves wholly free from such a spirit is one of the first forms of duty which we owe to ourselves. The natural result of covetousness is

Envy.

This form of vice consists in the indulgence of feelings and sentiments of uneasiness, mortification and discontent, in view of the superior excellence, reputation, or sources of enjoyment possessed by others. In the consciousness of such a state of mind, no one can enjoy internal peace, or self-approbation. Its necessary attendant is internal agony and conscious moral and mental self-degradation.

Moral Courage and Fortitude.

To no one, in the present sphere of existence, does Providence commend the cup of unmingled pleasure or happiness. With the pressure of affliction, and the bitterness of sorrow, all are and must be more or less acquainted. Nor is the discipline of affliction an arbitrary arrangement of Providence. It is indispensable, on the other hand, to the most perfect forms of mental and moral development, and especially as a preparative to the exigencies of a future state of being. True wisdom does not regard afflictive dispensations with angry contempt, or proud disdain. It readily bends under the pressure, and is not ashamed to drop a tear over the grave of departed worth. "Jesus wept." At the same time, it never loses its quietness and assurance under such circumstances. It never exercises sorrow without hope. It endures trouble without despondency, and perplexity without despair. In the same spirit it anticipates the pressure of future trials. It perceives the darkened cloud gathering in the distance, without internal disaffection with Providence, despondency, or disquietude. In the calm expectancy of approaching afflictions, and in the peaceful assurance of their final results, it anticipates the future without fear, and endures the present with patience and assured hope. This is what is meant by mental courage and fortitude, considered as moral virtue. The development and preservation of such a habit of mind, relative to the arrangements of Providence, should be the continued aim of every moral agent. The conscious possession of this form of virtue is one of the highest and purest sources of self-satisfaction. Happy in the conscious possession of one of the highest forms of virtue is he, who even "counts it all joy, when he falls into divers temptations."

There are two states of mind, in themselves of equal moral turpitude, which stand opposed to the forms of virtue above elucidated. The one consists in meeting the pressure of affliction with a spirit of defiance and proud disdain, with a fixed purpose neither to bend nor break under it. The other consists in anticipating the future with continued fear and perplexity, and in desponding and indulging sentiments of dissatisfaction with the arrangements of Providence, when the cup of affliction is commended to our lips. Each of these states of mind are at an equal remove from moral rectitude, and equally unbecoming the creatures of God. As creatures finite and dependent we should ever recognize our own natural feebleness, and as creatures subject to the guardianship of infinite goodness and love, we should never "despise the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when rebuked of Him." When conscious of being in either of the above states of mind, we cannot but be to ourselves, objects of deep reprobation or disesteem.

Internal rectitude.

To the intelligence of man all realities within and around him are objects of knowledge. One of the first duties which he owes to himself is to acquaint himself, by all available means, with such realities. The law which binds the mind morally, relatively to all its researches, is the honest intention to know such realities as they are, and to esteem and treat them accordingly. To suffer ourselves to be influenced in our researches after truth, or our assumptions or judgments, or conduct in respect to it, by any other considerations than respect for truth itself, considerations such as a fear of consequences to our reputation, or worldly interests in any form, renders us subjects of mental cowardice and imbecility on the one hand, and involves a forfeiture of all claim to self-approbation and esteem on the other. He that parts with a sacred internal respect for truth, for any considerations whatever, barters away, for that which, in such a case, can be of no real value to him, a far nobler birthright, than that which was sold by the profane son of the ancient patriarch. " Buy the truth and sell it not." This must be our undeviating maxim, if we would possess mental strength and moral courage, or preserve to ourselves the blessedness of conscious rectitude and self-respect. This idea received perhaps sufficient elucidation in the preceeding chapter. Its importance however, will justify a recurrence to it in this.

Moral Purity and Impurity pertaining to the government of the Thoughts and Feelings.

No one is or can be accountable for any thoughts or feelings existing in his mind in opposition to his own choice. Moral character, however, depends fundamentally upon the thoughts and feelings which we voluntarily cherish. In a mind morally pure, an impure thought never arises only to be instantly abhorred and suppressed. The conception of an impure act is entertained only as an object of the deepest reprobation. The fundamental aim of such an individual will be, not only to order all his voluntary activity in perfect harmony with the law of duty, but to render the entire current of thought and feeling within of a corresponding purity.

It should be borne in mind here, that to think and speak of what is morally impure, does not of itself imply moral impurity. If it be thought and spoken of with no other sentiments than deep reprobation, it implies the opposite state of mind. It is an essential element of moral purity, to bear testimony against all forms of moral impurity. Such testimony implies that the thing testified against has itself been the object of thought. It is no part of moral virtue to live in the midst of moral impurity without knowing it, or attempting its correction. He whose mind is the chosen dwelling place of pure thoughts and feelings, and never thinks of what is impure but to reprobate, reprove and correct it, he is the individual who can be to himself an object of moral esteem and approbation.

CHAPTER VI.

SUBJECTIVE DUTIES, CONTINUED. DUTIES HAVING A MORE IMMEDIATE RELATION TO EXTERNAL ACTION.

Government of the appetites.

THE forms of duty included in the class now under consideration, which claim our first attention, are those which refer to the government of the appetites, especially in reference to food and drink. With the specific articles to be used, or not to be used, as well as with reference to the time and manner of their use, we, of course in a treatise on Moral Philosophy, have nothing to do. All such questions pertain exclusively to another department of science. The object now before us is to determine the moral principles which bind us relatively to the use to be made of such articles.

Man has a physical as well as a mental and moral nature. The former as well as the latter has its demands. The state of each also greatly affects that of the other. The proper regulation of our physical propensities therefore, and especially the right control of our appetites pertaining to food and drink, should be regarded as an essential element of moral duty.

The universal law of temperance contemplated as a moral principle may be thus announced. It shall be the honest intention of every individual to eat and drink such articles only, and at such times, and in such quantities, as will best conduce to the end of eating and drinking, to wit, physical and mental health and energy. Of two or more kinds of food or drink all believed to be equally conducive to this end, those should be preferred of course, which are most agreeable to the individual. To eat and drink in obedience to the above principle, for the purpose of meeting the ends of benevolence, is morally virtuous, as much so, as to put forth any other form of moral action, in harmony with the law of benevolence.

The law of temperance, as a moral principle is or may be violated in the following forms:

    1. When the pleasure of indulgence, instead of mental and physical health, becomes the end and controlling principle of eating and drinking, whether actual indulgence is carried to that extent in which mental or physical vigor is prevented or not. As health is in itself more valuable than the mere pleasure of eating and drinking, and the objects of benevolence, for which health itself should be sought as a means, are of more importance than both together, when the pleasure of indulgence becomes the end, to the disregard either of health or the objects of benevolence, as the controlling motive of action, there is and must be a departure from moral rectitude.

    2. When such subjection to appetite induces the use of articles known or supposed to be in their nature, hurtful to the physical system.

    3. When it induces the use of articles, whether in their nature hurtful or not, at such times and in such quantities as may be known or supposed to violate the laws of life and health.

4. When this subjection, as is commonly the case, induces an unwillingness to enquire into the character of articles of food and drink, together with their appropriate use, lest such knowledge should constrain the individual to restrain and control indulgence.

No one can retain "a conscience void of offence," or his own self-respect, who remains subject to appetite in any of the forms above named. The following considerations may help us to appreciate the sinfulness of such indulgences:

1. Servitude to appetite, in whatever form it exists, is the lowest conceivable form of moral and mental degradation. In it, man makes the nearest conceivable approach to the brute. Such is the universal sense of degradation connected with such servitude, that the last thing that individuals are willing to confess to themselves or to the world, is its actual existence in their own case. Every individual cannot but disesteem and despise his own moral and mental image, who is necessitated to confess to himself the fact, that he is a slave to his appetites.

2. The fact that an individual, in such subjection is and must be conscious to himself, of sacrificing, for a momentary indulgence, the approbation of his own conscience, as well as his own self-respect, together with the approbation and esteem of God and all intelligents who know his state, may also help us to conceive of the guilt and degradation of the slave of appetite. There is no occasion to multiply words on this point.

3. For a momentary gratification also, infinite interests, the well-being of the subject here and hereafter, are voluntarily put in jeopardy. What fearful criminality must attach to such forms of sin.

    4. Equally reckless is such an individual of the interests of others, of those especially, who are dependent upon him and whom he is consequently under the highest obligation to protect and provide for.

    5. Finally, in such indulgence, the end aimed at, to wit, subjective pleasure, is sacrificed. He whose appetites are, in all respects, well regulated, enjoys the highest present gratification, even in eating and drinking. It is a fixed law of excessive and unlawful indulgence, that the propensity is continually strengthened, while the pleasure of indulgence is, in a corresponding degree, diminished. Such is the penalty of violated law.

REMARKS.

    1. The observations above made, admit of a direct and manifest application to all forms of unlawful sensual indulgence, criminal sexual indulgence for example, of which I shall have occasion to speak hereafter.

    2. A very common fact deserves a passing notice here. It is this. While servitude to appetite is most common among men, it is one of the last forms of servitude which they overcome. The reason is obviously this. No degrading habit is ever overcome, till the subject distinctly acknowledges to himself its existence. The consciousness of servitude to appetite is attended with such a sense of self-degradation, that few possess the humility to be willing to know themselves in that state, though they actually are there, and can not, from time to time, escape the revelation of the fact.

Moral Principles pertaining to Dress.

The end of dress is the same as that of eating and drinking, physical and mental health and vigor. As health itself, however, should be sought not merely as a good in itself, but as means also to a higher end, the objects of the law of love, these objects should of course be the ultimate end in dress, as well as in every thing else. As pleasure is incidental to the end of eating and drinking, so it is in respect to dress. Other things are incidental to the end proposed. While all the articles of dress may be arranged so as to secure its object, health, &c., it may also be arranged in reference to other principles of our nature—the idea of the beautiful, the comely, or of fitness. The latter are as much principles of our nature as the former, and when these laws of our being can be conformed to, in consistency with other and higher laws, such conformity is binding upon us. It should be regarded not only as a privilege, but a duty. When vulgarity and comeliness are equally compatible with health, why should the former be preferred to the latter? Why should not the latter be regarded as a good in itself, and preferred for that reason? Such preference is demanded by the law of rectitude. But when the things thus incidental to dress, and the consequent admiration of men, becomes the end and controlling principle, to the exclusion of a supreme respect for health, and the objects of benevolence, then there is the first departure from moral rectitude.

The following may be mentioned as the most important transgressions of the moral principles which respect this subject:

    1. When that which is incidental, as above explained, becomes the end and controlling principle.

    2. When to accomplish this object expenditures are made which could be laid out so as to secure more effectually the ends of benevolence. The individual that will stop his ear at the cry of the needy and perishing, and lay out the Lord's treasures, of which he is the appointed steward, for the gratification of vanity, or pride, or ambition, will, in the great day of final reckoning, be regarded and treated as a robber.

    3. When subjection to the above principle induces individuals to dress in such a manner as to violate any of the laws of their physical system.

    4. When dress is so arranged as to be adapted to excite lust in the spectators. Persons who do this, deserve the unmingled reprobation of God and the universe.

Compliance with Custom.

Some suggestions pertaining to our duty relatively to a compliance with custom on this subject, demand special attention in this connection. The following principles will command the regard of all who would be in harmony with the idea of duty in respect to this as well as all other subjects.

1. Absolute and continued uniformity in dress is not either wise or desirable. To attempt it is a violation of the laws of our mental constitution. Uniformity blended with variety is what our nature demands, on this as well as on other subjects. All attempts, therefore, to stereotype forms of dress should be regarded with disapprobation. No one should oppose the idea, that a given form of dress should, in due time, be superseded by others, in themselves equally or more useful and comely.

    2. All individuals are most sacredly bound, not only not to adopt, but to set their faces against every form of dress, in itself uncomely, unchaste, or which involves a violation of the laws of life, and health, however sanctioned by custom such forms maybe. Compliance, under such circumstances, can never be rendered without sin.

    3. Whenever an individual has a garment to be made, and existing custom is not faulty in any of the respects above named, no reasons whatever exist why such garment should not be made in conformity thereto. The opposite course would imply the influence of a dissocial spirit which is never to be commended.

5. The custom of spending much time and laying out large expenditures to alter existing garments to a conformity to new forms recently introduced, cannot be sanctioned by the wise and good. It is a waste of time and means which may be more wisely laid out in some other direction. It also betrays a servitude to custom inconsistent with a state of moral rectitude.

CHAPTER VII.

DUTIES WHICH WE OWE TO MAN AS MAN.

THE duties which we owe to our follow men are general and particular; duties which we owe to man as man considered merely as a rational being, and those which arise from the particular and specific relations existing among different members of the human family. To the former class attention will be directed in the present chapter.

Contemplated merely as a rational being, each member of the human family has claims upon us of infinite weight. In elucidating such claims, we, will consider the relations which each member of the human family sustains to us, contemplated simply as a man—the general duties resulting from these relations—and certain forms of duty which grow out of moral character, considered merely as virtuous or the opposite.

General Relations.

I. In regard to the general relations existing between us and our fellow men, the following may be specified as of fundamental importance.

1. The fact that every member of the human family is destined to an immortal existence after the termination of this earthly scene, a state in which there will no doubt be an endless progression of his faculties and susceptibilities.

    2. That every such being is destined in that state to the enjoyment or endurance of an inconceivable amount of happiness or misery, consequent on the present possession of a virtuous or vicious character.

    3. That the natural character of man while unchanged, renders it impossible for him to enjoy the reward and happiness of virtue, and exposes him to the endless wretchedness of vice.

    4. That men are now under a remedial system, designed to renovate their moral character, free them from the consequences of past guilt, and introduce them into that state in which they may enjoy the rewards and blessedness of moral purity.

    5. That their eternal destiny depends upon their being brought under the renovating influence of the remedial system during their present state.

    6. That we are placed in such relations to our fellow men, that we are exerting, and must exert an important influence in the formation of that character upon which their eternal destiny depends.

    7. That each individual of our race is presented to our contemplation, as capable, in his present sphere of existence, of a vast amount of both mental and physical enjoyment, as capable of the same good in kind, as we ourselves are. Good to them of every kind, we cannot but recognize as just as valuable in itself, and consequently as demanding the same regard from us, as good to ourselves. Such are some of the general relations existing between us and our fellow men.

Duties resulting from such relations.

II. We will now consider some of the duties growing out of these relations.

    1. The object of chief and supreme regard with us, in respect to each individual of the race, should be the idea of immortality, which it is his high and solemn destiny to realize. The conscious presence of powers and susceptibilities destined to endless growth and expansion, in a state of moral retribution, a state of inconceivable blessedness or misery, demands of us an interest which we have no right to indulge towards any other object. All our plans and purposes relative to our fellow men should have a supreme reference to this overshadowing reality.

    2. It should be our fixed and controlling intention, to exert our influence to the utmost extent, to prepare each individual to realize his high destiny in a state of perfect moral purity and blessedness. " That we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." This an inspired apostle announces as having been the supreme law of his entire activity, an end which no one can fail to render a similar law of his own existence, without infinite guilt.

    3. It should be a fixed intention with us, never, for any considerations whatever, to corrupt the virtue, or perpetuate the moral corruption of any human being. No evil, actual or conceivable, is so great an evil in itself as sin. Nor is any evil so great and fearful in its consequences. This is a fact which every moral agent can not but recognize. To induce an individual to violate the law of duty, is to induce in him, as we can not but know, the consummation and sum of all evil.

    4. As we are bound to value the virtue and consequent blessedness of man, above all finite considerations, the same estimate precisely should be placed upon all instrumentalities of virtue within our reach. Every person would be guilty of infinite wrong, who should fail to use the means of preventing vice, or advancing virtue, within his reach.

    5. The idea of the future in respect to man should, by no means, command our exclusive regard. In respect to all necessities alike, physical and mental, we should regard ourselves as consecrated to one end, the filling up of the entire measure of human happiness. Benevolence manifested in respect to the physical or temporal necessities of creatures, does not terminate with such necessities, but should always also be regarded as a means of spiritual good. Kindness to the needy, relative to present necessities, is one of the strongest influences that can be exerted to win them to virtue.

    6. All our intercourse with our fellow men should have its basis in the principles of the most perfect reciprocity. To place any human being out of this circle, is to affirm of him the absence of the essential elements of humanity. In other words, it is to affirm that he is not a human being. Hence we are never to permit ourselves to do any thing to him which we may not properly will that all men should do to us, in similar circumstances. This is to be the law of our entire activity relatively to our fellow men.

Duties growing out of Moral Character.

III. We will now consider the duties which grow out of the revelation of moral character, contemplated simply as virtuous or vicious.

As nothing in itself is of so great importance as moral character, it is self-evident that nothing else should be to us, in respect to moral agents, whatever they may be in other respects, an object of equal regard. Duties which respect moral character may be contemplated relatively to the following classes of individuals.

1. Those who stand revealed to us as possessed of characters truly virtuous. In respect to this class of persons I remark,

    (1.) That virtue does not imply of necessity, in the subject, the possession of great mental endowments, superior external attractions, high intellectual attainments, or uncommon correctness of judgment in respect to universal truth, or to what is expedient or inexpedient, in the ordinary transactions of life. Hence virtue revealed devolves upon us in itself no obligation whatever to esteem the subject for any such excellencies.

    (2.) Virtue revealed, on the other hand, does devolve upon us the duty of moral esteem. To know individuals as entertaining no intentions towards us, but those demanded by pure benevolence, as possessed of perfect integrity, and as intentionally harmonizing with all forms of duty involved in the varied relations which they sustain to us and other intelligents, is to know them in relations higher and more sacred, than can otherwise exist between moral agents. This great truth we are bound to recognize and make manifest in our actual treatment of such individuals.

    (3.) In all those relations where the necessary limitations of the human faculties create a liability to error, virtue demands of us a sacred respect for the intentions of the subject, but not implicit confidence in the actual truth of his judgments, or opinions. In those relations where such necessary liability does not exist, the character of a virtuous person in itself devolves upon us obligations of implicit confidence in his testimony.

    (4.) As we are bound to entertain sentiments of deep veneration and esteem for the virtuous ourselves, so we are under obligation to aim to render them objects of similar regard, on the part of others.

    (5.) In all our associations with our fellow men, virtue should visibly command a higher regard with us, than any characteristics whatever, which may coexist with its absence.

2. We will now consider the principles of action which bind as relatively to individuals destitute of moral virtue.

    (1.) Their character should be to us an object of deep reprobation and abhorrence. A want of regard for the idea of duty, voluntary alienation from infinite excellence, and subjection to present momentary gratification, to the neglect of the infinite interests of themselves and others entrusted to their care, what should be to us objects of reprobation and abhorrence, if these are not?

    (2.) We are bound to cherish a deep solicitude in view of the prospect of endless vice and misery which is before such a person, in consequence of the possession of such a character.

    (3.) We are bound to will his return to virtue, and to seek it by every instrumentality within our reach.

    (4.) All our intercourse with him should be adapted to manifest these feelings, and that as a means of advancing his highest interest. No compassion for his present and prospective wretchedness, and no desire for his future well-being, should prevent a full expression of our estimate of his past and present character and deserts; nor should any sense of moral delinquency perceived in the individual, prevent the full expression of our regard for his eternal interest. The highest efficiency of the remedial system in the hands of the friends of righteousness, depends upon the union of the above expressions.

3. We will now contemplate the duties devolved upon us in respect to persons not only vicious themselves, but who employ their influence directly in rendering others so. Such persons are willing, for a momentary gratification of their own propensities, that others should become outcasts from God's favor —that they should lose all claim to the complacency of their fellow creatures, and be involved in eternal wretchedness. How should we regard such persons?

(l.) We should esteem them as involved in infinite guilt.

    (2.) A regard to the well-being of the tempted, should excite in us strong sentiments of disapprobation, abhorrence, and indignation, towards the tempter. "I would that they were even cut off which trouble you," says an inspired apostle, of such persons.

    (3.) These sentiments of abhorrence and indignation should in no way diminish our regard for their deathless spirits, though their present character be thus odious. Their immortal powers and suceptibilities are in themselves none the less valuable, because now connected with infinite guilt and prospective eternal wretchedness.

    (4.) Their redemption to virtue and prospective blessedness, through the remedial system, should be sought by us with none the less earnestness on account of present character.

(5.) In all our intercourse with them there should be a distinct manifestation of all the above mentioned sentiments. In withdrawing our friendly intercourse from them, it should be apparent that such withdrawment is prompted by an exclusive regard to justice, to moral purity, to the well-being of community, and of the individuals. In seeking their reformation, there should be a full manifestation of our sentiments respecting their moral character. Else the reasons urged for their reformation will not appear applicable. Duty to the individuals, as well as to the public, requires such a manifestation of our sentiments.

4. Our duties towards vicious persons of the above-named classes when reformed, and when they have given us full evidence of the fact.

    (1.) Such reformation should be to us a matter of the highest joy, both on account of their restoration to virtue, and the revolution in their present condition and prospects.

    (2.) The same affection and confidence should be placed in them that we should have had, had they never transgressed. This is demanded by the fact that on account of their present character, they are really as worthy of our affection and confidence, as if they had never sinned.

    (3.) Special pains should be taken to manifest the above feelings; because the relations of the individual are such as to lead him, in the absence of such manifestations, to infer the absence of the feelings and sentiments required. It is due to community, as a necessary expression of our benevolence, and value of moral purity, under whatsoever circumstances it may exist. The well-being of the vicious demands it also, as an efficient motive to their reformation.

    REMARKS.

    We see the distinction between what is called the love of benevolence and the love of complacency. The former is benevolence towards its object in view simply of its powers and susceptibilities for virtue and happiness, vice and misery. The latter is the same love associated with those feelings and sentiments consequent on the contemplation of the object as possessed of moral excellence, as in itself intrinsically beautiful and lovely.

    2. We are prepared to appreciate the maxim so common in society: We hate the character, but love the person of vicious individuals. Under this maxim, the most intimate friendships and associations with vicious persons are justified. Now there is no such thing as separating between persons and character. Character in the abstract, that is, separated from individuals, has no existence. We cannot in the sense above explained, love persons without loving their character.

    3. We may also distinguish between moral character and external appearance, and intellectual endowments and acquirements. These may be admired as intrinsically beautiful, while the character is abhorred. Persons however, who form intimate friendships for such reasons, with individuals whose characters are vicious, choose to place themselves under the strongest possible temptations. When they have done this, they are not far from being as morally vicious as their chosen associates.

CHAPTER VIII.

LIBERTY AND SERVITUDE.

Terms Defined.

THE term liberty is used, among others, in two senses entirely distinct from each other—to wit—as opposed to necessity—and as opposed to servitude. It is in this last sense, that the term will be used in the present chapter. Of all ideas in the human mind under the influence of which humanity is led to the performance of deeds truly great and noble, two, as all, who are acquainted with the history of our race, will admit, have exerted greater influence in inducing the performance of such deeds, than all others combined. I refer to those of religion and of liberty. Of the former, I have treated in preceding chapters. Of the latter I am to speak in this. The first inquiry which arises in respect to this subject is, what is this idea? What are the essential elements which constitute it? Of no idea, perhaps, do we need to acquire conceptions more distinct and well defined, in order to a proper understanding of our rights on the one hand, and of our duties, on the other. What then is the idea of liberty as opposed to servitude?

As constituted by our Creator, each individual is possessed of certain fundamental necessities, necessities which must be met, or misery is the result. When these necessities are met, mind is in a state of blessedness, or of well-being. In the universe within and around us, realities exist adapted to meet these necessities. For this end alone, they exist and are brought within the sphere of the mind's activities. To act freely and without restraint for the attainment of such sources of good, is the inalienable right of universal humanity. Now when the mind is permitted, without forcible impediment or restraint, to exert its powers for the attainment of such ends, it is then in the enjoyment of freedom or liberty, according to the true idea of the term, as we are now considering it. Whenever it is forcibly restrained from the use of its activities for the realization of such ends, then its liberty is invaded. It is in a state of servitude.

The right of man to liberty then, is synonymous and co-extensive with his right to direct his activities, without forcible restraint, for the attainment of the good for the possession and enjoyment of which he was created. Any power, aside from providential limitations, which acts to restrain such activities when directed to the attainment of such ends, is oppression, or tyranny. When man falls under the control of such power, whether in conformity or in opposition to his own choice, he is then in a state of servitude.

Incorrect Definitions.

If the above definitions be admitted as correct, the element of error in the common definitions of liberty becomes manifest at once. So long, says Dr. Wayland, as an individual uses his powers so as not to interfere with the rights of others, "he has a right so far as his fellow-man is concerned, to use them in the most unlimited sense, suo arbitrio, at his own discretion. His will is a sufficient and ultimate reason. He need assign no other reason for his conduct than his own free choice." Again, "a man has an entire right to use his own body as he will, provided he does not so use it as to interfere with the rights of his neighbor." If the above principle be admitted, then whatever a man does, however flagrant his crimes in themselves, his fellow-men, provided, he has not, in such crimes, infringed upon their rights, have no authority whatever, to inflict any form or degree of punishment upon him for his misdeeds. He has assigned to them for his conduct, "a sufficient and ultimate reason." Having received such a reason, they of course have no right to subject him even to the ordeal of a retributive public sentiment, the most terrible form of punishment, to which in many instances, moral agents can be subjected. Now for all acts morally wrong, whether they pertain to the subject or not, all moral agents are, and are in fact, held responsible, in some form or other, as shown in a preceding chapter, to all other moral agents, and especially at the tribunal of a retributive public sentiment. No individual has a right to make his own "will a sufficient and ultimate reason" to himself or others for any moral act whatever. When he does this, when he makes his will, instead of the moral law, his law of action, he renders himself amenable at the bar of his own, and of the universal conscience. No moral agent enjoys any such form of liberty as the author here affirms of all. All the liberty which any such agents enjoy, is to seek, in conformity to the law of duty, to use their powers, without restraint from others, for the attainment of the sources of good which exist as the objects of their activities.

It is quite common also for society, and most justly too, to restrain individuals from and to punish them for, the perpetration of crimes which terminate only on themselves, such crimes, for example, as suicide and bestiality.

Nor does any act morally wrong, whatever its form may be, in reality terminate upon the subject alone. It is a deed of violence perpetrated upon the moral nature of every moral agent in existence. Every such agent is shocked, when he witnesses, or hears of an act of gross wrong, whatever its form, or upon whomsoever it may directly terminate. For this act of moral violence, the perpetrator is accountable at the bar of the universal conscience, and may justly be subjected to any form and degree of punishment which justice, and the public good thus outraged demand.

Fundamental Necessities to which the Idea of Liberty pertains.

The appropriate sphere of human liberty, as we have seen, is as extensive as the entire circle of interests to the attainment of which human activity should be directed. Among these interests the following may be specified as of fundamental importance.

1. The full possession and enjoyment of the prerogative of self-control. Mind exists in a tri-unity of the intellect, sensibility and will. The sphere of the activity of each of these departments of our nature relative to each of the others, has been explained in a preceding chapter. The law of all voluntary activity also, relative to all objects to which such action pertains, has been stated, to wit, that the action of the will in respect to such objects shall always be in full harmony with their intrinsic and relative importance, as apprehended by the intelligence, all impulses of the sensibility, to the contrary notwithstanding. When the will thus acts, and all impulses of the sensibility are held in full subjection, then the mind enjoys liberty in the fullest and best sense of the term. That the mind should be thus free is one of the fundamental demands of our nature. Almost no feeling of wretchedness is more deep and pervading than that which results from that sense of mental and moral degradation which attends a conscious enthrallment of the will with the propensities. When any propensity thus subordinates the activity of the will to its own impulses, then it has reduced the voluntary power to a state the opposite of liberty, that of servitude.

    2. Mental independence is another fundamental demand of universal mind requiring attention in connection with our present investigations. That mind should freely and without restraint, exercise the functions of thought for the discovery of truth in all its forms, and that it should be free to avow its honest convictions on all subjects when thus formed, is one of the inalienable rights, and changeless necessities of our immortal nature. In the actual exercise of such functions, mind is free. Any power or influence tending to enchain or trammel thought in its researches for truth, or to suppress the full and free expression of all honest convictions in respect to it, is the foe of liberty, and acts only to reduce humanity to the most degrading forms of servitude.

    3. That each moral agent should possess the right to enjoy and control the fruits of his own activity is another fundamental demand of the nature of all such agents. There is almost no conceivable condition in which mind experiences more deeply, a sense of personal degradation, or feels more crushingly the weight of the grinding heel of oppression, than when, in any form or degree, forced into the relation of "labor without wages." "Man's inhumanity to man" can hardly devise more odious forms of invasion of inalienable rights than this.

    4. Another demand of universal mind is, that when its activities are confined to their appropriate sphere, and directed to their appropriate ends, such action shall be to the subject a source of public esteem and regard. Each creature of God was created and originally adapted for some one or more particular spheres of action. The combined action of all, in their appropriate spheres, is requisite to the highest individual and public good. The moral agent that properly occupies his appropriate sphere of activity, is not only an individual, but in reality, a public benefactor. That he should be esteemed and regarded as such for such activity, is an inalienable and sacred right of his. When he is in the full enjoyment of that right, he is free. Any arrangements of society, any form of public sentiment, which renders any form of useful activity a cause of disesteem and degradation to the subject, is oppression.

    5. There are universal necessities, and consequently sacred rights, which pertain to the material creation around us. It is a manifest truth of revelation, as well as an intuition of the universal intelligence, that the entire material universe, with all the elements of which it is constituted, was created for one end, the highest interests of creatures, and especially of rational existences. The appropriate direction of human activity relative to such objects, is to draw from them all the sources of good adapted to meet, in the highest degree, the necessities of creatures. Now when universal mind is in such a relation to these powers, that its activities may be freely directed to such ends, it is then so far forth free. When displaced from that relation, it is so far in a state of servitude. It is a fundamental necessity and sacred right of each individual mind to know that itself, and all others are in this relation to the powers under consideration. Hence the universal uneasiness felt by the masses throughout the world, under the pressure of those artificial and arbitrary arrangements of society, by which the productions of nature which Providence designed for all, are diverted from the many, to the few, and thus rendered, as they must be in that case, a curse and not a blessing to humanity, even to that portion of it who receive them. Of this form of oppression I shall have occasion to speak again in another place.

6. I remark finally, that there are fundamental necessities and rights of universal mind pertaining to government and the arrangements of civil society. Government, with all the arrangements of society pertaining to it, exists, as we have seen, simply and exclusively as a means to an end, the highest good of the subjects. Government then, in all its forms and arrangements, should be determined by one reason and one only, the common and highest good of all the subjects. Under such a government the subjects are free. Under every opposite form they are in a state of servitude. This one great idea is now laboring in universal mind, and it will never rest till it witnesses the full realization of that idea. Wherever the conviction obtains that any arrangement of society exists for any other end, the subject knows and can not but know, that his sacred rights are outraged, and this sense of personal wrong and outrage will ever stir him to action, till those rights are vindicated.

FORMS IN WHICH LIBERTY MAY BE INVADED.

The above enumeration of the fundamental necessities and rights of man, which of course is not universal, is sufficiently extended to constitute the basis for the subject which next demands attention, to wit, the forms in which liberty is, or may be invaded.

Subjective Servitude.

Among these, the first form of servitude which claims attention may be denominated subjective, and consists in the enslavement of the will to the propensities. In its activities, the will elects for itself a law to which such activities shall be subjected in relation to their objects. This law, of necessity, will take its rise, either in the intelligence or sensibility. If in the former, then the action of will in respect to the objects of its activities, will be as their intrinsic and relative importance, as apprehended by the intelligence. Action will then be rational, and consequently free, free in the high and sacred sense in which we are now considering the term. If, on the other hand, the law of voluntary activity takes its rise in the sensibility, the action of the will in respect to its objects will be, whatever their apprehended real intrinsic and relative worth, as their immediate effect merely upon the feelings, the sensitive or emotive department of our nature. In this state, mind is reduced to the lowest form of degrading servitude. Action is no longer rational. Impulse is its law. The subject though still free, as opposed to the idea of necessity, and therefore morally accountable, has practically lost the power of self-emancipation. The good that he approves, and in his sober moments resolve to do, he must not do. The propensity that has chained the voluntary power to its bloody car prohibits it. The evil which his conscience condemns, and his better nature abhors, and which considerations of prudence pertaining to time and eternity both bid him avoid, he must perpetrate. The tyrant that holds his will under his power has issued his behests, and he must obey. What power has the miser to open his treasures and draw from them the good which they were designed to confer upon their possessor? Of what use is the gift of reason to him relative to any such ends? What liberty has the drunkard, the glutton, or the debauchee to do the biddings of conscience, honor or prudence, in opposition to the demands of the propensities that tyrannize over them? The voice of conscience, the admonitions of religion, the pleading of the spiritual nature, and considerations of prudence, all seem to exert no other influence than to arouse the Tyrant passion to a tenfold energy, and to perfect his sway over the will. Similar remarks might be made in respect to the love of wealth, the spirit of ambition, and devotion to fashion, when they have attained an ascendency over the will. Real moral virtue, it should be borne in mind, can, by no possibility, coexist in the mind, with voluntary self-subjection to any propensity, whatever its nature, subjection in opposition to the call of duty, or the dictates of the intelligence.

Tyranny of Public Opinion.

Public opinion often presents itself as the foe of liberty. Each moral agent stands responsible for himself at the bar of the universal conscience, and especially at the great judgment, for his opinions and conduct. The decision there, will not turn upon the question what his opinions were, but what was the spirit under the influence of which they were acquired and held. To realize that divine ideal of character, the consummation of which the poet truly pronounces

"the noblest work of God,"

an individual must enter into converse with realities within and around him, for the simple purpose of knowing them as they are, of having his internal convictions all determined by this sacred respect for truth, and of reporting to the world his honest convictions just as they lie in the interior of his own mind. His aim will be not to think with, or against the public, but to think truth itself. No dogma will be received or rejected because it is old, or because it is new, because it is in favor or disfavor with the public. One consideration and one only will determine his convictions in respect to any proposition submitted to his adjudication, the weight of the evidence by which it is sustained.

Now public opinion ought to demand of all, supreme subjection to the principles above stated, and to censure none for holding or avowing any opinions which do not imply the absence of heart-integrity in their formation. But how often does this tribunal, instead of vindicating the rights of all thus to think and judge and speak, manifest itself as a more deadly foe to free independent thought than the Inquisition, or the Star Chamber. A man must endorse what has come to be received truth, "asking no questions for conscience sake," or be marked as the enemy of truth itself. Such is the tyranny of public opinion. The individual who bends to its sway, subjects himself to a form of bondage in reality more servile than he suffers who, against his will, bows to the degradation of "labor without wages," and what is worse, submits himself (what the so-called slave does not,) to such degradation, with the loss of his virtue.

Tyranny of Party Organizations.

The remarks made above, in respect to the tyranny of public sentiment, admit of such a ready application to that of party organizations, that little in addition need be said on the subject. Each party in church and state is commonly ruled by a public sentiment within itself. The standard of worth and of preferment among them, is not free independent thought, but the most absolute submission to party dogmas and measures whether right or wrong. Such influences tend to but one result, the annihilation of independent thought and action, the divorcement of mind from the principles of truth, justice, and real expediency, and its subjection to the most degrading servitude. The richest boon which the "Old Man Eloquent" has left to posterity, is the great fact, that during his eventful life, no party dared to claim him, as all their own, that the paramount question with him in respect to any given measure was, not what party has adopted it as an article of their creed, but what are its intrinsic merits. The individual that would prefer real worth to place, that would stand approved at the bar of his own, and that of the universal conscience, and would pass unscathed the great ordeal, must adopt a similar maxim as the undeviating law of his entire activity.

Governmental Oppressions.

Any form, arrangement, or measure of civil government, which deprives any one individual of any sacred right, which cuts him off from any source of good which is the appropriate object of human activity, or which is not demanded by the common rights and interests of the entire body politic, is, as we have seen, oppression. Among the various forms of governmental oppression, the following may be referred to as demanding special attention.

1. Laws and arrangements which interfere with, or tend in any form to suppress the exercise of free thought and free speech, in respect to all subjects pertaining to human interests, rights, or duties, civil or religious. No man has a right to form his opinions on any subject under the influence of a dishonest heart. With the motives of men in the search of truth, however, it is not the prerogative of civil government to interfere. Any thought which government has no right to suppress in the inner being of the subject, it has no right to prohibit the free utterance of, when such utterance does not infringe upon the sacred rights and interests of others. This can never be the case relative to the utterance of thought pertaining to universal truth, or the rights and interests of humanity. If government should attempt the suppression of certain forms of religious or political opinions, if it should place individuals holding such opinions under civil disabilities, or should confer special privileges upon, or confirm its gifts to those holding other opinions, what is this but persecution for, or an oppressive tax upon, thought itself? If there is any thing which mankind have a right to enjoy without pains and penalties, or taxation even, it is the prerogative of thought and speech.

    2. Another form of governmental oppression is the making of mere descent, instead of intellectual and moral worth, together with manifested superior qualifications for the management of the affairs of state, a ground of title to special civil honors and offices. That an individual who stands before the world, the visible embodiment of nothing pertaining to his ancestors, but their concentrated follies and corruptions, should, simply on account of his birth, be regarded as having inherited a title to the throne of a kingdom, or to any privilege or immunity whatever, will ere long no doubt, be regarded as one of the strangest forms of human ignorance, guilt and oppression.

    3. Whenever government generates, or favors the existence of monopolies, of which wealth may avail itself for the injury of the masses of society, it incurs the guilt of tyranny and oppression. Government, as we have seen, exists for the common good of all. It should therefore set its face as a flint against any arrangements of society by which the many may be oppressed by the few.

Slavery.

    1. But the form of governmental oppression which demands special attention is slavery. In discussing this subject our first enquiry of course will be, What Is slavery? What are the essential elements of the system?

(1.) The fundamental element of the system is property in man, the reducing of a rational Moral agent to a "chattel personal, to all intents, purposes, and constructions whatsoever."

(2.) As property, the slave is denied all right to acquire or possess property in any form himself, or to any remuneration whatever for his labor.

(3.) The system of slavery requires the master to make no more provisions for the comfort of his slave than for that of his horse or ox, that is, such provisions only as will make the latter most profitable to the former.

    (4.) Whatever cruelties the master may choose to inflict upon the slave, the slave himself can obtain, in law, no redress whatever. Others, if they choose, may interpose in his behalf, just as they may in behalf of the owner's ox. But the slave himself can not be known in law as complainant for any injuries, actual or conceivable, perpetrated upon him.

    (5.) The system secures to the slave none of the comforts of the domestic relations. It gives the master unlimited power to sunder at will all these ties, a power which is being constantly exercised under the system.

    (6.) The system confers upon the master more unlimited control over freedom of thought and of speech in the slave, than is ever exercised under any other system of arbitrary rule, a control which is sure to be exercised with the most terrible effect, if the slave is detected in the utterance of thoughts pertaining to his own inalienable rights.

    (7.) The system, from its intrinsic essential nature, places the moral purity of the entire female portion of the slave population, in the most complete subjection to the lust of the master, rendering it no dishonor in them voluntarily to yield subjection, and no crime in him to force it when refused. By practically annihilating the marriage relation among slaves, it also, as far as any system can do it, annihilates the law of chastity, and with it all forms of virtue. For, this one form of virtue having disappeared, all others will, in fact, disappear with it.

    (8.) It is also an essential element of the system, that the slave should be kept, as far as may be, wholly dispossessed of all that mental cultivation which constitutes the main source of the happiness and glory of humanity. An intelligent, educated slave population can not exist.

    (9.) The fundamental aim of government embracing the slave system is, to perpetuate this power in the hands of the master, and this state of subjection in the slave.

In the above statements, I have presented no elements not actually embraced in the slave system, and which are not essential to its existence. What shall we think of such a system? I answer,

    1. No individual can possibly will that a human being shall sustain such a relation as that to himself, from any other than the most purely selfish motives conceivable, from any respect whatever to the principle which requires us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Let us once become aware that another person entertains the same intention relatively to ourselves; our wives, or children, and we could not but pronounce him as totally destitute of moral virtue, as any pirate or highway robber can be.

    2. We can not conceive that any community acting from respect to the most sacred rights of man, and honestly aiming at the common good, as all righteous legislation must, should organize a government, and adopt a code of laws having one of its essential or subordinate aims the establishment or perpetuity of such a system. If any proposition is or can be self-evident, this must be.

    3. If human legislation can render it morally right for an individual to sustain this one relation to another, there is no conceivable form of wrong and outrage which such legislation may not render morally right: What is theft, highway robbery, or piracy upon the high seas, compared with the outrage upon the rights and interests of humanity involved and necessarily so, in this system? If slavery is right or can be made so by legislation, there is nothing right or wrong in itself, and all forms and principles of fundamental morality are mere conventional rules, which may be abolished, or rendered binding, by human legislation. It would be idle to attempt to prove any proposition whatever to an individual who will not admit the truth of these statements as self-evident.

    4. If individuals can be justified in voluntarily sustaining such relations to one another as this, if legislators can be justified in making laws for the establishment or perpetuity of this system, there are no moral rules by which we can determine whether any form or phase of human conduct, or of human legislation, is right or wrong, righteous or unrighteous.

5. Any considerations which would justify an individual in continuing in the relations above named to a human being, would justify him in continuing in any species of crime that can be named or conceived of. If I may voluntarily continue to stand between a man and his right to the free use of his own body or mind both, if I may withhold from him the fruits of his own labor, and all the rights and blessings of the domestic relations, if I may withhold from him the key of knowledge, and set him up for sale among my own beasts, if I may continue to do all this and not transgress the law, "thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," what may I not continue to do and still be innocent?

6. The remarks above made are not applicable to those who are in these relations against their wills, as minors, for example. Nor do they apply to any who may pay money for slaves for the purpose of giving them their liberty. They apply to those only who are voluntary in this relation, and who actually hold and treat human beings as "chattels personal."

Bible Argument.

In reply to all that has been urged upon the subject, it is affirmed, that slavery can not be intrinsically wrong, nor, in all cases, inexpedient; because it has the express sanction of the Bible. We are constrained then to admit, either that slavery is right, or the Bible not of God. If I felt myself forced to take one or the other of these positions, I freely confess that for one, I should take the latter. No considerations possible could induce me to admit that inspiration ever did or can affirm that to be right which the universal reason and conscience can not but recognize as the "sum of all villainies," a form of wrong which comprehends all others, and in comparison with which every particular form of outrage upon humanity that can be named or conceived of, dwindles into absolute insignificance. But, to my mind, no such alternative presents itself. I fully and unqualifiedly believe in the inspiration of the Bible, and I as fully believe, that not a solitary ordinance, principle, or intimation can be found on its sacred pages, which affords the least sanction to modern slavery. I have not space, of course, to discuss the subject at full length in such a treatise as this. I shall therefore content myself with an allusion to a few facts and principles which have a bearing perfectly decisive upon this subject.

Laws of Moses.

In the Mosaic code, it is supposed by many that the principle of property in man, and of consequence, of labor without wages, is directly and positively sanctioned. A right understanding and application of a single ordinance will evince clearly that this could not have been the case. I refer to the ordinance cited by Paul, 1 Cor. 9: 9, 10, from Exodus 25: 4. I will give the ordinance as quoted by the apostle, together with his explanation of its design, "For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith He it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope, and that he that thresheth in hope should be a partaker of his hope." The above, I believe, is the only ordinance or precept in any of the laws of Moses, in which we are required to provide for the beast. The apostle rightly concludes, then, that it was not on account of the ox, but for a much higher and different purpose that this ordinance was prescribed. What then was its design? To announce and impress upon the entire people of God, this one principle, that labor without wages should never, under any circumstances, be permitted among them. "That he that ploweth should plow in hope," that is, that all laborers, of every class whatever, should perform their task with the assurance of receiving their reward when their work is done. This was the express and exclusive design of the ordinance, as inspiration positively affirms, to wit, to guard the rights of all laborers alike, to guard them against the oppression of "labor without wages."

As this was the exclusive design of the ordinance, so no form of oppression appears to have been more horrible in the estimation of inspired prophets, who entered fully into the spirit of the ancient dispensation that this "labor without wages." " Cursed is he," was their language, "that useth his neighbor's service without wages."

But while the principle of "labor without wages" was not permitted to obtain in any form, under that dispensation, no individual was permitted to let himself to another, as a laborer, even though receiving an equivalent for service rendered, but for a specified term of years. At the close of such periods, the relation of master and servant, in every form, was to cease, and individuals were to be left perfectly free to enter into new arrangements with each other, such as they chose, with the exception that no relation should exist involving the principle of "labor without wages." Under such a system, the principle of property in man, the fundamental element of modern slavery, could never have a legitimate existence in any form whatever. Under the Mosaic economy, there were indeed masters and servants, as there may be under the most righteous system conceivable; but there were no individuals sustaining to others the relations of "chattels personal," nor forced into the relations of servants, or continued in them, against their will, and none who labored without being cheered with the assurance of receiving their wages, when their work was done. In other words, nothing in the form of modern slavery had an existence among the institutions of Moses. This will appear self-evident, if all that is there written in respect to the relation of master and servant, be placed, as it should be, in the light of the ordinance above elucidated.

Bearing of the New Testament upon the subject.

To understand the bearing of the New Testament upon the subject, the following facts and principles therein presented, need to be especially considered.

    1. Christ opened his ministry with the distinct enunciation that the precept, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," binds each member of the human family relatively to every other. This was the express object of the parable of the good Samaritan.

    2. At the same time He reaffirmed, with equal positiveness, the great law, prohibiting, in all its forms, the principle of "labor without wages." "The laborer is worthy of his reward."

    3. His apostles, as shown above, (1 Cor. 9: 9, 10,) under the immediate inspiration of the Holy Spirit, affirmed the same prohibition, as law universal relative to all laborers and their employers. "He that ploweth shall plow in hope," that is, all who labor for others shall labor with the expectation of receiving the due reward for service rendered, is the law of the New Testament which guards the rights of every son and daughter of Adam, sustaining to others the relation of laborers.

    4. While masters and servants in the church were expressly declared to be, and were expressly required to regard each other "as brethren," the former were solemnly commanded to give to the latter for service rendered, all that intrinsic justice demands. Col. 4: 1. "Masters give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven."

    5. The only relation of master and servant permitted in the church, was a relation analogous to that which God sustains to his rational offspring. "Knowing that ye have a Master in heaven." God holds no such beings as "chattels personal." He uses the services of no one without rendering to him "according to his work."

    6. While those who were held in bondage by unbelieving masters upon other principles, were required to obey them, "that the word of God and his doctrine might not be blasphemed," all such servants were expressly required to emancipate themselves, if they could. "If thou mayest be free, use it rather. Be ye not the servants of men."

    7. The inspired apostles, like the ancient prophets, denounced the heaviest judgments of God upon all who were using the services of others without rendering them a "just and equal" equivalent. James 5: 1-4.

Conclusions necessarily arising from the facts above
adduced.

1. Were all slaves throughout the world brought into such relations to their masters, as that expressly specified in the New Testament, as a condition of a standing in the church, it would be equivalent to an act of universal emancipation. There would not be a slave on earth, not one held as a "chattel personal," not one individual laboring for another, without receiving "a just and equal" reward for the service rendered. Let each individual recognize his fellowman, of every clime and color, as a man and a brother, as the Bible expressly requires of all, let each recognize the binding force of the inspired principle by which each is required to render to all and to every other, a full equivalent for service or labor performed, and where is the place for the principle of property in man? Where is the place for any thing but liberty, equality, disinterested love, and equal justice between man and man?

    2. The attitude of the primitive church, as established by Christ and his inspired apostles, was not one of neutrality, or toleration, but of direct antagonism in respect to the essential principle of slavery, that without which it does not and can not exist, to wit, property in man, or "labor without wages,"—the only attitude of effectual resistance in which she could be placed, under the then circumstances of her existence. With the organization, and arrangements, and laws of the existing government, she could have had nothing to do. But she could form a divine government within herself, through which every form of oppression should be excluded from that sacred circle, and which, at every step of its progress to universal dominion, should establish the reign of universal peace and good-will on earth, and banish slavery and every other form of evil from it. All this was done in the primitive church, as established by her Divine Author.

    3. From no passage or portion of the Old or New Testament does modern slavery find the least countenance; but every where meets its sternest rebukes and denunciations, where its divine teachings are rightly interpreted.

    4. No principles of interpretation can be more false or of more fatal tendency than those which represent any of the laws, institutions or teachings of the Bible, as giving the least countenance to slavery. We had far better admit, that it countenances any particular form of wrong that can be named, than that it countenances one which consummates in itself every species of outrage and crime against humanity actual or conceivable.

    5. The form in which slavery was assaulted originally by Christianity was the wisest and best conceivable; inasmuch as it, as far as it attained influence not only induced the destruction of slavery, but induced its destruction from moral considerations, an internal respect for the rights of man. All true reforms must proceed upon a similar basis, internal respect for principle, or not advance at all the real virtue of community.

REMARKS.

    1. The relation of primitive as contrasted with that of modern Christianity to slavery, now claims our special attention. The former required as a condition of good standing in the church, a distinct recognition of, and respect for the fundamental rights of man, rights respects for which, of necessity, involve a total renunciation of the chattel principle, together with that of "service without wages." The latter recognizes the principle of property in man, and of "using a neighbor's service without wages," as not inconsistent with the heart and soul of Christianity itself, and as compatible with the full and free enjoyment of its most sacred privileges.

    2. Quite obvious also is the reason of the undeniable fact, that the former every where operated as an antagonistic principle to slavery, and secured, as far as it progressed, its dissolution; while the latter has for centuries, been its strongest bulwark. How can a religion sustain any other relation than that of a tower of defence to any system of iniquity, while such system is held to be consistent with the fundamental teachings of that religion?

3. We see also how vain are the expectations of many, that Christianity, while it is believed to sustain such a relation to slavery, shall yet secure its overthrow. It must stand as the strongest conceivable bulwark of the system, while it is supposed to sustain such a relation to it.

CHAPTER IX.

THE RIGHT OF PROPERTY, AND THE DUTIES THENCE RESULTING.

Terms Defined.

THE possession of rationality renders man a prudential being, that is, renders him capable, and consequently devolves upon him the obligation of present action relative to the supply of future necessities. The right and the duty thus to act, in other words, to make present provisions for future exigencies, is the foundation of the right of property. An object sustains to an individual the relation of property, when he has a right to hold, retain and use it to meet his own necessities, and when he cannot be deprived of that right by others, against his consent, without moral wrong on their part. There is no idea with which mankind are universally more familiar, than with this. There is no individual possessed of common Intelligence, and who has attained to its exercise, who does not claim some objects as his own, and does not regard them as his in such a sense that no one knowing his relations to them can intentionally deprive him of them without guilt. The ground of this right has already been sufficiently indicated. It has its basis in the nature of man as a prudential being. If it is my right and duty, a truth universally recognized as such, to make present provisions for the supply of future necessities, then it becomes a sacred right of mine, to retain and use the provisions thus made for that in other words, to hold them as property. As parents are bound to provide not merely for themselves but their offspring, so they have a right to hold what they have acquired, as property, for the supply of their necessities, as well as their own. As each individual, finally, is bound by the law of love, to make provision as far as practicable, not for himself and offspring merely, but to meet the demands of general benevolence, so he has a right to dictate the use which shall be made of what he has acquired, and by any means lawfully holds, to meet these ends. The inquiry which next arises pertains to the objects, the extent and limits of this right.

Objects which may sustain the relation of Property.

In respect to certain objects, all mankind recognize in individuals the right to appropriate them to their further use as property. In regard to others, this right is as universally denied. The question which here arises is: what are the objects in respect to which this right is affirmed or denied? How shall we distinguish the one class from the other? To place the subject distinctly before our minds, take the following suppositions. We meet a person with a pitcher of water. The water in the pitcher he calls his own. We recognize it as his, and deny to ourselves the right of taking it from him without his consent. The water in the fountain, however, we refuge to recognize as his, or the property of any individual. It belongs to the race. The question is, why this difference, recognized by the universal intelligence, between the water in the pitcher and that in the fountain? Again: we meet a man who has in his hand a piece of ore, say of gold, which he picked up when wandering in the desert. Before this man had found the ore and appropriated it to himself, it was ours, it was every body's, as well as his. A man also has taken a stick from the forest and formed it into a staff. It is his property. No one has a right to take it from him without his consent.

The question now arises, why this difference between the water in the pitcher and in the fountain? &c. This distinction we shall see is demanded by the law of benevolence, and will present us with a universal principle by which we may distinguish objects which may belong to individuals as property, from those which belong to the race.

That which God has given in exhaustless profusion and without any connection with, or dependence upon human effort, can never be the property of individuals; as fountains, rivers, lakes, the ocean, the air, &c. When any individual has drawn from this fountain that which is necessary to supply the demand of his being, and adapted it by personal effort to meet those demands, no person, without a violation of the law of benevolence, can take that object from him without his consent. It is his, his property. The powers of nature belong alike to all men. They are the servants of the race. When any individual has shaped any of these powers by his own labor so as to meet the demands of his constitution, he has a right to the action of those powers to meet the necessities for which he has adapted them. This principle will enable us to distinguish between things which are to be regarded as belonging to individuals, and to the race.

A man wandering in a trackless forest, discovers a fountain, clear, cool, and exhaustless. Would benevolence lead him to seal up that fountain for private use? Suppose, on the other hand that he has turned a portion of this wild and unproductive waste into a fruitful field, for the supply of his own, and the necessities of his family. What but selfishness could deprive him of the result of his labors?

A few passing considerations may be demanded to show why, in the two instances, the powers of nature, in such cases, are regarded as the property of individuals, or of particular communities.

Take the piece of gold found by an individual. Why does universal reason regard it now as the property of this one individual?

    1. Because, to be of any use at all, it must become private property. From its nature, it is incapable of general diffusion.

    2. The fact that it has been thrown into the possession of this individual, is a manifest indication of the will of Providence that it should be his.

    3. No other individual can set up a claim as strong as his.

    4. The principle that he who finds shall possess such objects, is the most effectual spur to industry.

The same remarks apply with much greater force to those powers of nature which are unproductive in their native state, but which have been rendered productive by the efforts of individuals. The powers of nature susceptible of such a change are given to the race in exhaustless profusion, and are given for the express purpose of being rendered productive by human effort. In their native state, they are alike the property of each and all. He who takes a portion of these powers, and by his own efforts renders them capable of meeting his necessities, has robbed no one of his rights. Similar powers lie around, which others may adapt in a similar manner to meet their necessities. The individual has left the fountain undiminished, after his own vessel is filled. To whom then should the action of these powers thus adapted belong, but to the individual by whom they have been subdued? Universal reason sanctions his right, and forbids all interference with it on the part of others.

Extent and Limits of this Right.

In respect to but very few objects is the right of property vested in individuals, absolute. As governmental protection, for example, renders property secure, and consequently really valuable to the possessor, so he holds it liable to such taxation as is requisite to the existence and most healthy action of government. As the powers of nature also were created to meet the necessities of mankind, and as each individual has consequently, a right to their productions, so far forth as is necessary to existence, property vested in individuals is held under a liability to such taxation as is requisite to meet the necessities of those who can not, for any reasons, provide for themselves.

It is, further, only when duly cultivated that these powers are, to any great extent, productive to meet the necessities of man. This fact most undeniably indicates the design of Providence, and the existence of a natural inviolable right in man, that such powers should be cultivated, and consequently held liable to cultivation, so far forth as the real necessities of the race demand. No individual, therefore, can by any means acquire a right to any portion of the earth's surface capable of being rendered productive by cultivation, a right of such a nature that he can pervert it from its original design, when the imperious necessities of mankind demand that it should be cultivated for that end, the supply of the necessary wants of the race. If individuals do possess such rights, the question would arise, whence did they acquire them? Not surely from the consent of mankind. Such consent could not have been obtained, and if it had been, it ought to be withdrawn, as the original grant was a violation of natural right, which can not be alienated. Nor could it have been derived from the laws of the land; as natural right is above all human enactments, and demand the repeal and not the perpetuation of all enactments by which such rights are invaded. Nor can priority of possession confer such right; because the powers of nature, made to be cultivated, but which never have been, have not, in reality, been possessed. Nor, finally, can they possess it by natural right, such possession being an invasion of such rights. If these principles be correct, the following conclusions necessarily result, as binding individuals and the community.

1. Savages living merely upon the spontaneous productions of the countries which they inhabit, can not, by mere prior existence in those countries, existence without occupancy properly speaking, acquire an exclusive right to such countries, when the imperious necessities of the race require their occupancy for purposes of cultivation. Original inhabitants have a right to such portions of their native country, as is requisite to their most ample subsistence, as cultivators of the soil, and to a proper remuneration for the inconveniences to them resulting from a change of their former mode of existence. But continents or countries which they, have never cultivated, they can not have a right to hold in a state of perpetual unproductiveness when the imperious exigencies of the race require their cultivation. The earth was created to be inhabited, and as a means to this end, to be cultivated. No individuals, or class of men can acquire a right to any portion of the earth, a right by which they are permitted to pervert it from its original design.

    2. In all countries where individuals are permitted to hold large tracts of country in an unproductive state, either for purposes of speculation or pleasure, when the necessities of the community require their cultivation, the laws permitting such misdeeds, as well as the acts of the individuals in perpetrating them, are an invasion of the natural and inalienable rights of man. It is the right and duty of government to compel such individuals to part, for reasonable remunerations, with such possessions, whenever the ascertained interests of mankind demand it.

    3. The common practice in this country, of getting early possession of the most eligible portions of the lands held by government for sale, and holding them till they are rendered immensely valuable by the hard labors of actual settlers in bringing the surrounding country into a state of cultivation, is a practice of most immoral and oppressive character, and ought to be wholly restrained by government.

    4. One of the most sacred duties which the present generation owes to posterity, is to adopt immediate and effective measures to prevent the accumulation of overgrown landed estates, estates through which the many may be oppressed for the gratification of the few.

Means by which property may be lawfully acquired.

The means by which property may be lawfully acquired or possessed, are manifest, and need only to be specified to render their lawfulness self-evident. For example, the appropriate results of our own labor—what we have rightfully obtained by purchase or exchange—what is conferred upon us as a gift, by those who lawfully hold it—and what we receive by legacy or inheritance from individuals who rightly possessed it, is ours, ours to hold or use as the interests of benevolence demand. Property acquired by other, and morally prohibited means, is not, and can not be ours; but should, as soon as possible, be restored to those whose by right it is.

States of mind right or wrong relative to property.

Property, in all its forms, is exclusively, not an end, but a means. As such it should ever be regarded. The individual that fully consecrates his entire powers to the ends of benevolence, his own, and the highest good of universal mind, and who acquires, holds, uses, and dispenses property, simply and exclusively as a means to this end, he alone is in an attitude of mind relative to this subject, morally right. All other states, contrary to this in any form or degree, are morally wrong. Attitudes of mind, then, relative to property, morally wrong, are the following:

1. When the love of acquiring and holding property becomes the controlling principle of action, a state of mind fully consummated in the miser.

    2. When the desire of acquisition induces the use of means to this end prohibited by the moral law; or when the love of property induces individuals to withhold from others what by right belongs to them.

    3. When property is retained for personal gratification, when it may be known, that if it was dispensed in a different manner, the greater good would result.

    4. When it is dispensed, not to promote the ends which the moral law demands, but to gratify the appetites, pride or vanity, of ourselves or families. In all such instances, that which was exclusively given to meet the ends of benevolence, becomes a means equally exclusive of defeating those ends.

Forms of Duty binding us relatively to the Property
of Others.

The forms of duty, or the principles of action which bind us relatively to the property of others, next demand our attention. Of these the following may be specified as among the most important:

1. The rights of our neighbor relative to what pertains to him as property, should be internally regarded, and externally intentionally treated by us as sacred, so sacred that we should hold ourselves as criminal even to entertain the secret desire that he should be deprived of what he possesses, for our gratification, or to obtain any of his possessions upon any other than the principles of the purest justice and benevolence. One of the first duties which we owe to ourselves and others, is to cherish this internal and sacred respect for the rights of others, in regard to whatever they lawfully hold as property.

    2. In all transactions pertaining to purchase and exchange of property, this respect for the rights of our neighbor should induce and perpetuate in us, the honest intention to convey to him a full equivalent for whatever we thus obtain from him.

    3. We should hold ourselves in continued readiness to correct any mistakes occurring in such transactions, mistakes the correction of which is demanded by justice and benevolence.

    4. When the laws of the land, as is not unfrequently the case, confer upon us the power to take or withhold from others what by right in reality belongs to them, the moral and not the civil law should be our invariable rule of conduct under such circumstances. Nothing but pure injustice could induce any other course in us, in such relations. We cannot possibly conceive an individual as in full conformity to the law of duty, as all are bound to be, without apprehending him as in perfect harmony with all the principles above named relative to the entire possessions of his neighbor.

Modes in which the Right of Property may be violated.

The law which binds us relatively to the reception or use of our neighbor's property, in whatever form it may be received, whether by purchase, exchange, hire, or loan, is really one and the same, to wit, that we honestly intend to render to him a full equivalent for whatever we receive from him, an equivalent of such a nature, that when he comes to a full understanding of the whole transaction, he will perceive that it has been conducted throughout upon principles of the purest integrity and benevolence. If mistakes occur, they should be cheerfully corrected, when it can be done without injury. If they can not be thus corrected, he of course must bear the loss who has occasioned the mistake. It is a necessary intuition of the universal intelligence, that in all societies morally perfect, what all societies of moral agents are bound to be, business transactions must be conducted in conformity to this principle, and can, by no possibility, be conducted upon any other. We can not but know, that no individual can transact business relatively to the property of his neighbor, upon any different or opposite principle, without guilt.

The modes, then, in which the rights of property may be violated, are obvious. Among these the following may be specified as of special importance:

    1. When we entertain the secret wish to possess, or internally form the purpose or intention to obtain, the property of a neighbor upon any other principle or condition than that above stated. The entertaining the wish referred to is covetousness, which, together with the purpose or intention resulting from it, comprehends the sum and substance of all wrong relative to the property or possessions of a neighbor. All actual perpetrations upon the rights of property, are only the external embodiment of this internal wrong.

    2. The rights of property are violated, when a direct personal influence is exerted to persuade individuals to purchase, sell, or lend property, when it is, or may be supposed, that they would not do it, if left to the dictates of their deliberate, better judgment. Such influence can never be exerted without crime.

    3. When advantage is intentionally taken of the ignorance of a neighbor, to obtain his property or labor, in any form, without a proper equivalent. This may be done by direct misrepresentation, or by withholding from him the information we are bound to communicate, before the transaction is consummated. This is the form of crime denominated fraud. No sale or exchange of property is, or can be conducted upon principles morally right, in which there is not a mutual choice and intention, on the part of all the parties concerned, that the whole transaction shall be based upon a full mutual understanding of all the circumstances of the case requisite to an enlightened judgment.

    4. A violation of the right of property equally manifest is the practice, too common among men, of taking advantage of the necessities of a neighbor, to obtain his labor, money, or other property, without a just equivalent. If a neighbor is necessitous, we are bound to be his benefactors, and not his oppressors. Under the Jewish code, individuals were required to lend to the necessitous in the first instance, and in the next, to do it without interest, a law most benign in its design and influence.

    5. Another form of violation of the right of property, is obtaining a neighbor's goods or money on false pretences, as by pretending to be necessitous when we are not, or by means of false signatures to notes, drafts, bills of exchange, &c. This last is the crime of forgery.

    6. Theft is another form in which the right of property is violated, a crime which consists in intentionally taking the property of another without his knowledge, or clandestinely, and that in circumstances in which he has a right to prohibit its being taken, and when the individual taking it, presumes that the owner would, if he were aware of the fact, prohibit its being taken. Sometimes individuals will take things clandestinely which they are well aware the owner would readily confer upon them as a gift if asked to do it, and will do this rather than endure the mortification of appearing as petitioners. Such acts always involve the crime of theft, because it can not but be known that the owner, though willing to bestow the objects as a gift, would and has a right to prohibit their being taken clandestinely. The following, then, are the elements which distinguish theft from all other forms of crime: 1. It must be the intention of the perpetrator to take the object clandestinely. 2. The individual from whom it is taken must be presumed to have a right to prohibit its being taken at all, or its being taken secretly. Otherwise no rights would be violated in the act. 3. It must be presumed that the taking of the object is contrary to the will of the owner.

Such being the nature of this crime, it will be seen, at once, that where the general consent of community permits, and sanctions the use in any form of a neighbor's property, without formal leave obtained, its use in such form, without formal leave obtained, is not theft. In such case no concealment is intended, and the leave of the owner thus to use the article may be safely presumed.

When individuals also are in sudden jeopardy of their lives, as for example, pursued by assassins, or by wild or rabid animals, any use of a neighbor's property, deemed requisite to the preservation of life, is not theft, nor indeed crime in any form. The reason is obvious. The consent of the owner may be safely presumed, in the first instance, and in the next, it can not but be known, that he has no right to prohibit its use for such a purpose, were he disposed to do it. No man does or can hold property by a tenure which confers upon him the right to prohibit its use for such an end.

    7. Robbery is another form in which the rights of property may be violated. The element which distinguishes this form of crime from all others, is the obtaining the property of others by force. The act of violence may be perpetrated directly upon the person of the owner, or upon the house or thing containing the articles taken. Robbery upon the high seas is called piracy. Nocturnal house-breaking is called burglary.

    8. Monopolies, by which individuals, either by engrossing given articles in the market by purchase, or by a license from government conferring this privilege, are enabled, first, by withholding the articles for a time, to create a scarcity, and then to demand an exorbitant price for the articles thus held, is still another form in which the most sacred rights of property are violated. Individuals who will perpetrate such outrages upon the public are robbers of the worst character, robbers inducing public necessities by their oppressions, in the first instance, and then taking advantage of the necessities thus created, to prey upon the possessions of the public thus outraged.

    9. Finally, all governmental arrangements by which the many are taxed for the ease or luxury of the few, as shown in a preceding chapter, a violation, not only of the liberties of mankind, but also of the rights of property. On this topic, sufficient has been said, in the chapter referred to.

CHAPTER X.

DUTY AS IT RESPECTS CHARACTER.

Idea of Perfection.

ONE of the peculiar characteristics of man as a rational being, is, that his judgments of objects, and his voluntary activity relatively to them, has a reference to fundamental ideas, such as the idea of the beautiful, the right, the just, the true and the good, together with their opposites. There is one such regulative idea, which comprehends all others of the class first named. I refer to the idea of perfection. When we speak of an object as beautiful, true, right or good, we always speak of it as perfectly, or imperfectly so, that is, we contemplate it relatively to the idea of perfection. This is the great comprehensive idea of all rational intelligences. In order to a correct and intelligent application of this idea, a full and correct definition of term perfection is requisite. What then are the essential elements which enter into the idea designated by this term? Every being and object around us, was created for a certain sphere of existence and action, and is endowed accordingly with certain internal capabilities which perfectly adapt it, when these capabilities are fully developed, to that sphere. When such being or object is subject to such influences, that all these internal capabilities receive the most full and harmonious development possible, then such creature or object is in a state of perfection. If such capabilities are adapted to a state of progressive development, and such development is, at each successive moment, the most full and harmonious possible, then the idea of perfection is completely realized, as far as the particular subject, whatever it may be, is concerned.

Man, for example, is created for a certain sphere of existence and activity, and is endowed with certain powers mental and physical, which, when properly developed, fully adapt him to that sphere, a sphere of endlessly progressive activity, as far as his Mental powers especially are concerned. Now when man, at each stage of his existence, is all that he ought, and that his powers, mental and physical, render it possible for him to be, he is then relatively to himself, in a state of perfection.

The term is applicable to him in various senses. He is morally or ethically perfect, when his entire voluntary moral activities are in full harmony with the moral law, or the idea of duty. He is mentally or physically perfect, when, as a mental or physical being, he is all that his capabilities render it possible for him to become.

One being relatively to others, may be capable of higher forms of perfection than they. In this sense absolute perfection can he predicated only of Deity. Each being is perfect however, relatively to his own sphere of existence and activity, when his entire powers and susceptibilities are developed as above stated.

Character Defined.

Character ethically considered was defined in a preceding chapter. Taken in its widest and most comprehensive sense, it expresses the state of the entire powers and susceptibilities of any being or object relative to the idea of perfection. The character of man morally, mentally and physically is as the actual state of his powers relatively to this one idea. The same holds true in respect to all other beings and objects. From whatever point of view character is contemplated, whether in reference to the whole man, or in respect to some particular aspect, in reference to moral, intellectual, or physical characteristics, we always speak of, or refer to it relatively to this one idea. Thus we speak of a given countenance, for example, as perfectly or imperfectly beautiful. So in all other particulars in which character is spoken of.

Our Duty in respect to Character.

As perfection is the standard in view of which character is tested, so it is the only standard at which we are permitted to aim in its formation. No one surely can aim at any lower standard, without crime. In respect to moral or ethical perfection, inasmuch as this, at all times, falls with the compass of our actual ability at each successive moment, the moral precept, is consequently, always absolute, "Be perfect." In respect to other forms of perfection intellectual and physical, inasmuch as this standard is not thus practicable to us, on account of our necessary ignorance to a great extent of our real capabilities, and of the means of their most perfect development, the moral precept is not absolute, as in the other instance, but relative, to wit, aim at perfection.

This principle, it should always be borne in mind, does not require us to aim, relatively to ourselves, or others, at those forms of perfection practicable to beings constituted with higher capabilities. We may not, for example, be bound, even to aim to attain to the physical strength of a Goliah, at the personal beauty of a Rebecca or Absalom, nor at the possession of the intellectual powers of a Newton. We are required, on the other hand, to aim, in respect to ourselves and others, at all those forms of perfection rendered practicable by our or their particular capabilities.

The particular forms of duty devolved upon us by the general principle under consideration, may now be readily pointed out.

Subjectively considered, the idea of perfection requires us, 1. To will, as an end, our own complete perfection in all possible respects, relatively to our own personal capabilities; 2. To aim to understand most fully, such capabilities and the means of their most complete and perfect development; 3. For no considerations whatever, to consent to do any thing to mar the perfection of our character, character morally considered, never, nor intellectually or physically, unless the highest good might demand it; 4. To aim at our full and complete perfection, in all respects, in the use of the best means in our knowledge and power relative to that end.

It is also self-evident, that the same principles bind us relatively to others. No individual, surely, without crime, can will, that any other being should become any thing else than all that he is capable of becoming, or be indifferent in respect to his actual capabilities, or do any thing intentionally to mar the perfection of his character, or fail to use any means in his power known or supposed to be best adapted to this end. This great law sacredly binds us in all these forms, relatively to all intelligents around us. No principle opposed to this in any of its legitimate applications, does or can bind us. No such principle can become a maxim, that is a rule of action with us, without conscious guilt.

Forms of duty, also, precisely similar, bind us relatively to all social organizations domestic and civil. We are bound to will, as an end, that all such organizations should be, in all respects, perfect, that is, that they should be absolutely free from all principles and influences adapted to defeat their proper and exclusive ends, and that they should embrace every principle and influence by which all shall be done through them for humanity, that can possibly be done, through such organizations. As a means to this end, we are bound to inform ourselves, (a subject hitherto almost wholly neglected,) in respect to the good which humanity may realize through such organizations, in respect to the evils connected with such organizations as they now exist, and the elements which must be introduced into them, to render them what they were designed to be; and then to devote ourselves, in the use of all practicable means adapted to the end, to their complete perfection. For no considerations should we entertain the thought for a moment, of doing any thing whatever, to mar the perfection of such organizations, or to perpetuate any evils now existing in them.

Guilt of violating these Duties.

The guilt of those who violate the duties which respect character will be rendered obvious from two considerations.

    1. Nothing is so important to moral agents, as character. The greatest evil that can possibly be inflicted upon humanity is to mar character. It is in itself the consummation of all evil.

    2. Such wrongs cannot be perpetrated from any other than the most sordid and criminal motives conceivable, as, for example, motives of pure malice, or reckless self-gratification.

REMARKS.

1. The real basis of the great reforms of the pres. ant age, now meets with a ready explanation. It is the idea of perfection laboring for development; and demanding an external realization, in the public mind. Under the influence of this idea, the spirit of reform is abroad, and it will never rest, until all evils in the institutions and organization of society are corrected and removed, and till all the elements are introduced into them requisite to their perfection. A necessary accident attendant on such a movement will be the throwing up upon the public mind of many wild and impracticable schemes. Yet the movement itself has a fixed direction, and under the guidance of a beneficent Providence, will be conducted on to a glorious consummation. The voice of duty to us under such circumstances is, to understand the spirit of the age, and lend our influence to impart to it a right and healthful direction.

    2. One of the dangers also attendant on the progress of reform demands a passing notice in this place. Reformers are in great danger of fixing upon some particular forms of evil in existing institutions, as the only evils, or rather the exclusive source of all the evils with which humanity is afflicted, and upon some particular combinations of the elements of society, as all that is requisite to its perfection. In other words, partialism is the great peril to which the spirit of reform is exposed. Of this fact, all who would "serve their generation according to the will of God," should be aware.

3. Finally, the institution of slavery appears in its true colors, in the light of the principles above elucidated. Take two characteristics of the institution in illustration.

Wherever slavery exists, with the female portion of the slave population, even chastity is no honor, and its known absence no disgrace. From the nature of the institution, it can not be otherwise.

Again, suppose we met with a slave who has the intellect of Newton or Milton. In many of the states and countries where it exists, it is one of the highest crimes known to attempt the development of those powers. What must we think of an institution that thus, instead of aiming at the perfection, tends only to the utmost conceivable degradation of humanity? Such is slavery in all its forms and tendencies, essential and incidental.

CHAPTER XI.

DUTY IN RESPECT TO REPUTATION.

Term defined.

CHARACTER revealed, generates in the individual and public mind, in respect to the subject, sentiments of admiration, approbation, esteem, and veneration, or sentiments of an opposite nature, as character is or may be supposed to be. This sentiment, obtaining in the individual or public mind, constitutes reputation, which is denominated good or bad, according to the nature of that which constitutes its basis and source. As character is and must be, to a considerable extent, owing to the necessary limitations of the human faculties, presented to the public eye under a veil, and as facts are not unfrequently presented, which indicate character the opposite of what it really is, reputation is, by no means, always as character; but, in many instances, the direct reverse.

Reputation for excellence having its basis in conscious worth, is to an individual a great good in many important respects. The conscious possession of the admiration and esteem of the public, is, from the necessary laws of our being, a direct and high source of blessedness to the possessor. The reputation for moral worth, for skill in any employment in life, and for trustworthiness, is a basis broad and sure for numberless facilities for conducting all forms of proper intercourse, of a social, civil, and business nature, with our fellow men. A good reputation, with a corresponding character for its basis, is wealth, wealth in the highest and best sense of the term.

A reputation for excellence, on the other hand, based upon a character intrinsically bad, is wholly an evil. It can not be a source of happiness directly to the possessor, because that with it, the consciousness that the opposite is deserved must always oppress the mind. Then it will ever be a source of strong temptation to perseverance in those acts of dissimulation by which a good reputation has veiled from the public a bad character. And finally, when the veil has dropped from character, as it ultimately must, the fall of the subject in public estimation will be in proportion to the height from which he descended.

Guilt of unjustly depriving one of a Good Reputation.

Such being the value of a good reputation to its possessor, the guilt of one who unjustly deprives him of such a good is manifest. Next to him who intentionally mars character itself, is the guilt of him who filches from a neighbor a good name. The chief source of influence, or the condition, sine qua non, of a good man, for example, to promote goodness, (the great object of all the activity of such an individual,) is his reputation for personal goodness. As far as this is destroyed, as far as the belief, that he is the opposite of what he really is, obtains, so far is his goodness utterly powerless to the production of good. So far as a man's reputation in [???] respects is destroyed, so far is he cut off from the possibility of enjoying the good which would otherwise accrue to him, as well as from the power of serving the public. The guilt, then, involved in a want of respect for well-earned reputation, and especially in any attempts to defraud its possessor out of its priceless benefits, can hardly be estimated. The question also, what is the law of justice and duty in respect to reputation, is a question of the first importance. My object now will be to announce this law. In elucidating this subject we will consider,

I. The law which binds us in judging of character.

Reputation is the mirror of character real or supposed, that is, it represents individual and public estimation of what character really is. We have fulfilled the law of duty in respect to the reputation of an individual, when and only when the place he occupies in our esteem, that is, the reputation which he has with us, is based wholly upon an honest and careful estimate of his real character, whether that estimate be in itself right or wrong. But what is the principle by which character is to be tested? Our Savior has given the answer. "By their fruits ye shall know them." Character is revealed by the external manifestations which the subject makes to the world, through his avowed sentiments, and principles of action, and visible conduct. These are the tests and the only tests by which character is to be determined. When our estimate of character is the pure intentional result of an honest application of these tests, than we have done our entire duty as far as reputation is concerned. The particular forms which the law of duty in respect to reputation assumes may be thus announced.

1. It shall be our sincere choice to know character in all its forms and elements as it is, for the for the purpose of esteeming and treating the subject accordingly.

2. Our actual, estimate of character shall, at all times, and under all circumstances, be the exclusive result of an honest, careful induction of all the manifestations through which character stands revealed, to our minds, and this unbiased by prejudice, or any judgments formerly entertained in view of facts as then revealed to us.

3. The place which the subject occupies in our esteem, and our actual treatment of him shall be as their estimate above referred to.

REMARKS.

1. No individuals have any right to take offence, as is commonly the case, at any just and true estimate of their character, though the result to them is a bad reputation and a corresponding treatment. We can not esteem and treat a known vicious man as virtuous, without forfeiting all right to a good reputation ourselves.

2. All persons deserve our commendation, even for false estimates of our character, when those estimates are, as we have evidence to believe, the pure result of honest intention to know us as we are. If we would know whether persons deserve our esteem or not, for the reputation, whether good or bad, we have with them, we must not ask merely what their opinions of us are, but how those opinions were formed. Pure error in judgment in respect to character, no more implies dishonesty of heart, than error upon other subjects. We can not require all men to think well of us; but we can to think honestly, and that is all that we can require, in this one respect.

II. Forms in which duty in respect to reputation is violated in judging of character.

The topic which next claims our attention is the forms in which the law of duty in respect to reputation, may be violated in the formation of judgments pertaining to character. Among these I deem it important simply to allude to the following. This principle is violated when,

1. The mind is biased in favor of a judgment either creditable or discreditable to an individual. The influences which tend to bias our judgments are, among others, our natural relations, party, sectional, and personal interest, &c.

2. When a judgment, either true or false in itself, is based upon facts not authenticated.

3. When similar judgments are based upon a partial induction of facts, when it is or may be known that other and important facts exist which ought to be taken into the account in our estimate of character.

4. When similar judgments are based upon facts of a doubtful character, that is, facts equally consistent with a favorable or unfavorable conclusion in respect to the character of the individual.

Here permit me to notice a very common mistake in respect to this subject. Benevolence or love it is said will lead an individual to refer actions of a doubtful character to correct intentions. This is true of love considered as natural affection, but not as a rational principle of action, and of judgment..

III. Manner we are bound to treat others relatively to character or reputation.

Our duty in this respect may be contemplated in two points of light—while we are ignorant of their real character—and when their character has been ascertained.

1. Individuals whose character has not yet been revealed to us have and can have with us, properly speaking, no reputation either good or bad While individuals are in such relations to us, our treatment of them should indicate, in the first instance, the total absence of what may be termed a suspicious state of mind, a disposition to discover and impute real faults, or to infer the absence of, truth worth. On the other hand, it should indicate the hope that real worth will be revealed. Nothing is justly more offensive than the former manifestation, and nothing more attractive and influential to virtue in others than the latter.

Our treatment also should fully manifest a disposition to "judge righteous judgment," a disposition to know individuals as they are, and to give them that precise position in our affection and esteem which their real worth, when ascertained, demands.

In short, our treatment of individuals, in such relations, should correspond with facts as they are. They are not to be esteemed and treated, as if possessed of ascertained worth; nor treated as objects of positive trust.

2. When the real characters of individuals have been ascertained, one principle is to guide us in our treatment of them. Such treatment should constitute a perfect reflection, as far as possible, of such judgments. Here, in a special sense, light is not to be put for darkness, nor darkness for light. But to be particular,

(1.) In all our treatment of individuals, we are to manifest the highest regard to moral character. We are to show that all other possessions and accomplishments are, in our esteem, of little worth when compared with this. Hence,

(2.) In all alliances with individuals, the highest respect is to be shown to moral excellence.

(3.) On no account is an intimate alliance to be formed with a person of an immoral character.

(4.) All this is to be done in such a manner as to reflect the benevolence of our hearts towards the highest interest of the individual.

IV. Law of duty respecting the disclosure of facts bearing upon the reputation of others.

The law which binds us relatively to our own reputation, as we have seen, is this; that it be our sincere choice to know ourselves, and to be known to the world as we are, and to be esteemed and treated accordingly. As it would be morally wrong in us to will to "think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think," so it would be equally wrong to choose to possess a reputation with the public, which a revelation of our character, as it is, would not fully justify. It follows as a necessary consequence form this self-evident principle, that whosoever presents to the public, any perfectly authenticated facts relatively to ourselves, facts which reveal our character as it is, and thus occasions a perfect adjustment between our reputation and character, has done us no wrong, on the one hand, and has done an act of pure justice and beneficence to the public, on the other, whatever the bearing of such disclosure may be upon our reputation. This, then, is the law which binds relatively to all communications bearing upon the reputation of others. When we come into possession of well authenticated facts, the disclosure of which will reveal character as it is, without doing any injustice to the subject, and when we have come into possession of such facts under circumstances which do not positively bind us to without them, it is a duty which we owe to the public to disclose the facts, whenever we have occasion to speak of the individual to whom they pertain. No man has, or can have a right to pass with the public for any thing else than what he actually is, when well-authenticated facts exist, the disclosure of which will perfectly adjust his reputation to his real character. Any facts know to us, the disclosure of which we have reason to believe would not reveal character as it is, and would thus do injustice to the subject, we are bound to withhold, when necessity does not compel us to disclose them, as for example, the obligation of oaths in courts of justice. None but those whose characters are consciously bad, would object to the strictest application of this principle in their own case, and these, last of all, have a right to object. One of the means also appointed by Providence of rewarding the virtuous and punishing the vicious, is public approbation or disapprobation. The disclosure of no facts which bring to any individual his due award at that tribunal can properly be a subject of complaint. There are three relations especially which demand of us the disclosure of such facts when possessed of them.

1. When properly called upon to give a reason for our treatment of individuals, and when such disclosures are requisite to that end.

2. When the public good, or the ends of public justice demand it of us, such disclosures, for example, as are requisite to bring offenders to justice, or guard the public against imposition.

3. When the protection of the innocent or helpless from outrage demands it at our hands. To refrain from speaking under any such circumstances would involve us in all the guilt of the perpetrator himself.

V. Circumstances under which the law of duty pertaining to the disclosure of facts bearing upon reputation, is violated.

This law is transgressed,

1. By what is called the abuse of the tongue, that is, in making conversation upon the character of others a mere pastime. In such instances, although there is generally the absence of positive malice, there is the presence of a spirit equally criminal, an utter disregard of truth and justice. The object of the individual is to pass away the time, by entertaining his companions. Hence any thing and every thing, whether good or bad, is said, and the speaker is equally indifferent which, that will only render conversation agreeable. Few states of mind can be more criminal. Never is any mode of social intercourse attended with greater evils especially to the subject themselves.

2. When mere suspicions are presented as positive judgments based upon ascertained facts, or when disclosed under circumstances in which they are likely to be thus received.

3. When facts are disclosed and judgments expressed which present a mixed character as wholly good or wholly bad. The expression of the facts and judgments whether in themselves, true or false, renders the guilt of the individuals expressing them, the same.

4. When a part of the facts bearing upon a given case, are withheld, and when the disclosure of the whole is necessary to a correct judgment. The character of the speaker is in this case the same, whether the facts stated are true or false.

5. When individuals are classed together on the ground of certain facts common to each, while other facts equally or more essential exist, in which they widely differ, and in view of which a totally different classification should be made. Thus individuals, for example, are often, in theological controversies, denounced as Arians, Pelagians, etc., on the ground of common views merely on some non-essential point; while, in all that is essential, there is fundamental diversity of sentiment. The appeal to prejudice, the argumentum ad invidiam, the giving an individual a bad name, is among the most flagrant forms of injustice ever perpetrated upon reputation.

6. When positive judgments are expressed which are based upon doubtful facts. The guilt of a speaker in such a case, is the same, whether his judgment chance to be true or false, and it makes but little difference whether good or bad qualities are attributed to the individual spoken of.

7. When the object in disclosing facts and expressing judgments is to gratify some unhallowed feelings on the part the subject, feelings of resentment, ill will, or envy, for example. The guilt in this case is equally great, whether what is affirmed be true or false.

8. When currency is given to statements which may be known or supposed to be unauthenticated or false. No excuse or palliation can be found for such an abuse of the power of speech as this.

9. When publicity is given to private offences under circumstances in which the good of the public does not demand such disclosures, and before proper efforts have been made to reclaim the offender.

10. When good actions are attributed to bad intentions, thus reversing the rule of our Savior: "By their fruits ye shall know them."

11. When testimony is withheld in favor of the innocent, in cases in which such individuals are charged with error or crime. Silence then sanctions slander.

12. When vague and indefinite rumors are circulated, rumors adapted to awaken the imaginations of the public. There is hardly any more fruitful source of defamation than this.

13. One additional form of violation of the law of duty under consideration yet remains to be noticed, that which the scriptures denominate "tale-bearing," and which consists in a breach of the law of confidence, or revealing secrets. "A tale-bearer revealeth secrets."

In all the varied relations of life, there are circles within which facts occur which belong, not to the world, but to those circles alone. This is true especially of the domestic relations. There are facts also which pertain only to individuals, and to "Him who seeth in secret." Such are the relations of mankind, however, that individuals out of particular circles often come to be possessed of such facts, sometimes through confidential communications, and at others, by accidental occurrences. All such facts are guarded form public disclosure by the law of confidence. The individual who comes to be possessed of such facts, and discloses them to the world, is a violator of the most sacred claims which do or can exist between man and man. There are classes of persons whose main aim seems to be to seek out, and then disclose just such facts as these. Their tongues are (the very class to whom an inspired apostle refers when he speaks of the unbridled tongue,) the tongues of such persons an "unruly evil, setting on fire the course of nature, and are themselves set on fire of hell." There is not peace in any community where such persons reside.

REMARKS.

1. We are now prepared for a clear and distinct understanding of the scripture precept, "Speak evil of no man." This precept does not prohibit our referring to, or speaking of the known actions of men which are really wrong, as being what they are. If this is evil speaking, Christ himself, and his people, in "testifying of the world, that the deeds thereof are evil," are guilty of continual violates of the precept under consideration. Evil speaking, on the other hand, consists simply and exclusively, in affirming that of individuals which we are not authorized to affirm, and in doing this from unauthorized or malicious intentions.

2. The maxim which some professedly adopt, to wit, "never to speak of their neighbors unless to say something good of them," next claims a moment's attention. No man acts in conformity to such a maxim, after professedly adopting it. Nor can any one act in conformity to it, without sin. We are under as sacred obligation to speak in terms of strong reprobation of deeds of wrong, and of the character of wrong doers, as we are to commend the good deeds of the truly virtuous, and the characters of those who perform them. The only true maxim to adopt is this. "I will never speak any thing of others but what I am authorized to affirm, and will never utter any thing from any intention not required by the law of benevolence." "Judge righteous judgment," and then express such judgments, as you honestly believe the law of duty requires or permits, is the scriptural rule of judging and speaking of others.

3. The manner in which the sacred writers have, and throughout the scriptures, exemplified the law of duty under consideration, requires a passing notice. Every where we mark the sternest faithfulness in recording acts of a public nature, however the otherwise fairest reputations may be tarnished thereby. Yet we find nowhere in the Bible the record of a single fact covered by the law of confidence. David committed the crimes of seduction and murder. The sacred penman records the deeds as they occurred to the everlasting shame of the perpetrator. But what do we know of the interior transactions of David's domestic circle? Absolutely nothing. These same principles obtain throughout the Bible. What is the law of duty revealed to us in this peculiar and hallowed characteristic of the Bible? It is this. Of the public acts of men, and of their ascertained character, we may freely speak, only with a benevolent intention. Le the world know, that wrong doers, and bad characters ascertained and revealed, shall be openly rebuked and reprobated. But we are never to disclose facts sanctified to individuals, or the circles to whom alone they pertain, by the law of confidence, while that law binds us.

4. The manner in which Christ Himself exemplified in his own conduct, the law which He imposed upon us, to wit, "By their fruits ye shall know them," now claims our attention, as revealing to us a rule of duty of fundamental importance. In the family of Christ was "a devil," and Christ knew it, and knew the individual too. Yet He treated that individual as a good man, till his own visible acts disclosed his character to the world. Why this apparently singular course of conduct on the part of the Savior? The reason is obvious. As a man, Christ was bound, in his treatment of men, by his own law, to wit, that treatment shall be as character revealed by visible conduct. While, therefore, the visible conduct of Judas was that of a good man, He treated him as such, though, as the Searcher of hearts, He know him to be a traitor. The law revealed to us in this divine example is this. Whatever our opinions about individuals may be, we have no right to proclaim such views, till we can verify them before the public by veritable and authenticated facts.

5. The true idea of slander may now be readily announce. It consists not in the utterance of truth, as the friends of truth, in respect to individuals, whatever the bearing of such disclosures may be. It does consist, on the other hand, in the utterance of what is, or may be supposed to be, false, or of real facts, so as to make a false impression, and this with a malicious intent. This and this alone is slander.

CHAPTER XII.

LAW AND DUTY OF VERACITY.

Terms Defined.

INTEGRITY, as we have seen, consists in an honest choice and intention to know all objects and events which it concerns us to know as they are, and to esteem and trust them accordingly. The term veracity expresses the relations of such internal integrity to other moral agents in all the varied communications of the subject with them. It consists in the pure intention to be to others all that truth demands; and nothing else, to communicate to all in respect to whom the law of veracity binds us, nothing but our honest convictions in respect to what is truth, and to announce, whether by word or deed, or both united, those convictions just as they lie in the interior of our, own minds. In this relation to our neighbor, we meet fully all our duty to him, as far as the law of veracity is concerned, and that whether what is communicated accords with facts or not, and whether he rightly or wrongly apprehends our real intentions. We can not beheld responsible for any unavoidable results of the necessary limitations of our faculties. Integrity requires proper carefulness and perfect, candor in the formation of our convictions, and similar care in communicating them to others. When these conditions, in honest sincerity, are fulfilled, we have perfectly met the demands of the law of veracity, in our communications with our neighbor. The law of veracity, which our own conscience thus imposes upon us, we of course do, and by a law of our intelligence must impose upon others relatively to ourselves. The law and the only law which binds them in their communications with us, we should ever bear in mind, is the law of integrity and veracity. In all such communications, there is a liability to mistakes and errors of greater or less importance. Whether we have been mistaken or not, and whatever consequences may arise to us, they have a sacred claim upon our esteem and commendation, when, from maternal respect to truth, they have fully obeyed the law of integrity and veracity. On the other hand, we should quietly submit to and acquiesce in any evils which may thus accrue to us. How much unrighteous heart-burning and bitter recrimination would be prevented in this world, by a strict adherence to the above self-evident principles.

FORMS IN WHICH THE LAW OF VERACITY BINDS US.

There are various forms in which the law of integrity and veracity binds us, forms demanding special attention in such a treatise as this, as, for example—veracity in the statement of our knowledge of facts—and veracity in respect to promises, contracts, and oaths. To a consideration of these, special attention is now invited.

Veracity in the Statement of Facts.

Knowledge with us pertains to particular facts lying within and around us, and to general principles in the light of which such facts may be explained. In our communications with others in respect to such subjects, what we really profess to communicate, is the actual relations of our intelligence to those subjects. What we entertain as confident belief, or what we hold as more conjecture or opinion, this, and this only, we profess to communicate. The law which binds us morally under such circumstances is this: honestly intend, in all communications with all individuals in respect to whom the law of veracity binds you, to communicate the real relations of your intelligence, just as they are, to the objects to which such communications pertain. On the other hand, let it never be your intention to deceive or mislead such individuals in such communications, in the relations supposed.

It is not our duty, always, in speaking upon a given subject, even to intend to communicate all that we know, this often being impracticable; but all that, in the circumstances, is demanded by the law of duty. The opposite principle would require us to be, at all times, wholly silent upon every subject, in respect to which we can not, when we speak at all, tell all that we know about it. Such a principle, surely, is dictated neither by scripture nor reason. In making, as we are often, and always almost, to a greater or less degree, necessitated to do, partial communications, there is always an incidental liability to the communication of error, of greater or less importance, errors arising, 1. From a misunderstanding of our real meaning. 2. From erroneous inferences in respect to what we have not communicated. 3. Wrong uses made of the truth actually communicated, on account of erroneous principles in the hearer's mind. When Christ, for example, proclaimed the gospel, he did it with a certain knowledge that errors from all these sources were actually incidental to its communication. Yet He uttered the truth, notwithstanding those incidental evils. The question here arises, When would, it be our duty to utter truth, when we are aware that such evils will attend its communication? I answer,

1. It must be our intention to communicate only what is true.

2. It must be our honest intention to guard, by the best means in our power, against all such incidental evils.

3. In our honest judgment, the good resulting must far overbalance the evils. In such circumstances, we are justified, in speaking, though the evils referred to, in any amount should arises. In other circumstances, when the incidental evils would, in our judgment, overbalance the good direct and indirect, duty demands our silence.

Law of Veracity—when violated.

Such is the law of veracity. The question which now arises is, When is this law violated? The various forms of violation, may all perhaps be comprehended under one term, lying. What then is lying defined as moral evil? It is this, the intentional deception of an individual, under circumstances where the law of veracity binds us, in other words, where, we are bound to intend to communicate the truth and nothing else. The deception must be intentional; or it falls under some other law than that of veracity. It must also be in circumstances where we are bound to intend to communicate the truth and that only; else, as no obligations are violated; no moral wrong is committed, that is, the act is not a lie. Concealment is one thing; lying is quite another. It may be, and often is a duty to conceal what we know; but never to deceive any one to whom we are bound by the law of veracity. When language is used, as we often have occasion to use it, equally consistent with knowledge or ignorance of the subject to which the discourse pertains, in such cases we do not even deceive the hearer. We simply conceal from him the relations of our intelligence to the object referred to. The question put by our Savior to the two young men, on the way to Emmaus, is of this character. The question simply concealed, without affirming any thing, in respect to Christ's real knowledge on the subject. His object in putting the question was well understood, to wit, to draw from them a full statement of the case. All beyond this was simply concealed. All such forms of speech, therefore, make no approach whatever, to deceiving or lying either.

When individuals have a variety of particular objects to accomplish in a given transaction, and they disclose a part of these, without affirming or denying any thing in respect to what remains, these last are simply concealed. Deception in no form is practised upon the hearer. To constitute the communication a lie, the speaker must have communicated a part, professing at the same time to have communicated the whole. The appearing of Samuel at Bethlehem, as divinely directed, at the time when David was anointed king, is a case of this kind.

Individuals having also some ulterior design demanded by the law of benevolence, are necessitated to put forth subordinate acts which occasion momentary misconceptions of their real intentions, and that as a means to the end referred to. A painter, for example, had nearly completed a painting in the cupola of a church, some hundred feet or more from the ground. While surveying his work, his attention became so absorbed, that he had unconsciously stepped backward, till another step would have precipitated him from the scaffolding on which he was standing. His associate, perceiving that to warn his friend of the peril would only render his death certain, as the only means of saving him, seized a brush and made towards the painting, with an apparent design to mar it. The painter leaped forward to prevent the catastrophe, and thus his life was saved. No one would regard the occasioning a momentary misconception such as that, a lie. The confidence of no one in the integrity of him who occasioned it, would be weakened by a knowledge of such a fact. That which weakens the confidence of no one in the veracity of the subject, is not a lie.

Lying, on the other hand, is the intentional inducing of false judgments in others, when and where we are bound to intend to induce none but what are true.

The following may be specified as the most important forms in which this vice appears.

1. Making statements as true which are known or supposed to be false.

2. Making statements as true which are not known or sincerely supposed to be true. Whether such statements turn out to be true or false, makes no difference whatever with the character of him who makes them. When we state things as true, we are bound to know whereof we affirm.

3. Stating a part of the facts as they are, and withholding others, with the intention of inducing a false judgment; or magnifying some and extenuating others, and that as a means to the same end.

4. Individuals may also so arrange real facts, as naturally to induce false impressions upon the hearer, and that with the design of producing such results. This is also lying. Any thing, in short, said or done, in the relations supposed, with the intention of inducing false judgments, is lying.

Is all intentional deception lying?

The definition above given would seem to imply, that it is not at least an ascertained truth, that intentional deception, in every form, is morally wrong, that is, lying. We are now prepared to answer the inquiry which naturally arises in this connection on this subject. If there is any form of such deception, the knowledge of which does not, in the least degree weaken our confidence in the veracity of an individual in those relations which he recognizes as imposing the law of veracity upon him, such forms of deception, all must admit, are not lying, the peculiar characteristic of which is, that the knowledge of it destroys confidence, of necessity, in the veracity of the subject. Does, or can such a case exist? Take a single fact in reply. It is a well known fact of history, that General Washington, as a means of capturing Lord Cornwallis, intentionally deceived Sir Henry Clinton, in respect to his, General Washington's ulterior designs. This he did by means of letters sent with a design that they should be intercepted, and thereby produce that result. The world has been familiar with that fact ever since it occurred, and yet it has not, in the least degree, weakened confidence in the absolute veracity of General Washington in all the relations in which it is acknowledged that the law of veracity binds moral agents. That form of intentional deception therefore, is not lying.

There are relations then in which intentional deception is not lying. What are those relations? A man, we will suppose, is pursued by a beast of prey. By an act of intentional deception upon the animal, the man escapes with his life. Was that act a moral wrong, a lie? No, is the reply. The creature deceived is a brute. But suppose that the creature pursuing was not a brute, but a man, a man pursuing with the known and single purpose of taking the life of the pursued. By the identical act, by which the brute was, the man is deceived, and the pursued escapes accordingly. Did the law of veracity bind the individual any more relatively to the man, the human assassin, than the brute? If so, why? My honest convictions are that this law binds an individual, under such circumstances, no more relatively to one than the other. The principle which I lay down as law universal on the subject is this. When individuals voluntarily outlaw themselves from all the ties which bind man to man in social and civil life, when they choose to sustain to society no other relations than beasts of prey, such as pirates, assassins, and robbers, such individuals, by their own acts have outlawed themselves from those relations where the law of veracity binds man to man. When they are deceived as a means of self-defence and protection, no rights are violated, and consequently, no moral is committed. For this reason deception like that affected by Washington, between belligerent powers, is not considered as lying, each party being in a state of outlawry relatively to the other. On the other hand, in cases of treaties, flags of truce, &c., the law of veracity binds; because the parties then are replaced under the control of that law. In accordance with this principle, God required Joshua to deceive the inhabitants of Ai, and required the Israelites to observe the treaty made with the inhabitants of Gibeon.

With the exception of those who are outlawed in the sense, explained, all men are within the circle where the law of veracity binds us. Intentional deception of them is lying. There are many things which it may be and is our duty to conceal from, or not to reveal them; but what we can not conceal without deception, ought not to be concealed at all. Without the most sacred respect for truth, virtue has no place in human character. Such is the law of veracity. We will now contemplate the applications of this law to

Promises and Contracts.

Promises and contracts differ only in this: the latter is a mutual promise based upon conditions agreed upon, between different individuals. As the same principles apply to each, they will be treated in the same connection. In a promise, certain expectations have been voluntarily excited by the promiser in the promisee, expectations which the former pledges himself to meet. The form in which a promise binds the promiser is plain. It is this, as shown by Dr. Paley. The expectations which he intentionally excited and supposed the promisee to understand him to pledge himself to meet, he is bound, under the conditions hereafter to be specified, to meet.

The importance of observing most strictly the law of veracity in respect to promises, is as great as subjective integrity, on the one hand, and the preservation of all the bonds of social, domestic, and civil life, on the other.

Promises when not binding.

The only question which demands special attention on this subject is this. When is a promise not binding upon the promiser? A promise is not binding,

1. When the performance is impossible. "The moral character of such a promise however, will," is the language of Dr. Wayland, "vary with the circumstances under which the promise was made. If I knew nothing of the impossibility, and honestly expressed an intention which I designed to fulfill, I am at "bar of conscience, acquitted." The fulfillment of promises may be, from the nature of the case, impossible, or providential occurrences may render them so, or they may have been rendered so, by the voluntary act of the promiser. In the latter instance the promiser is guilty, and punishable for his misdeed. But in all the instances above specified, he is alike freed from obligation to fulfill his promise.

2. When the promise pledges the promiser to do what in itself is unlawful. No being can bring himself under obligation to sin, or break a command of God. For this, in the language of Dr. Wayland, would be to "suppose a man guilty for not being guilty."

3. When the promise was based upon a condition known to both parties at the time, which condition is subsequently found not to exist. I promise, for example, to give money to one soliciting alms as a beggar. I subsequently, before fulfilling the promise, discover that he is an impostor. This discovery releases me, for the reasons stated, from all obligation to fulfill the promise

4. When the promisee fails to fulfill the conditions upon the fulfillment of which the promise was suspended. This principle has a special reference to contracts.

5. The promiser may, in certain instances, be released from obligation, by the consent of the promisee. If that release, however, has been obtained by the guilt of the promiser, the latter will have a solemn account to render to the Judge of all the earth.

These are the only instances that I have been able to find, in which the fulfillment of a promise is not binding. I would here remark that instances often occur, in which a promise can be in part fulfilled. The promiser is of course bound to the full extent of his ability. Also the promiser, in many instances, is not able to fulfill his promise at the time specified. Whenever he becomes able, such fulfillment is of course binding upon him. This is the rule which should bind insolvent debtors.

With the consequences resulting from the fulfillment of promises, we have nothing to do. These must always be submitted to, with cheerful resignation, as dispensations of providence.

Of Oaths.

The topics which claim our attention in discussing this department of our subject are the following—the nature of oaths—their lawfulness—their expediency—and the obligations they really impose upon the individual who takes them.

Nature of an Oath.

The design of the oath is to secure, in the individual upon whom it is imposed, a strict adherence to the law of veracity, in respect to the subject pertaining to which he is to speak or act, and to secure this result, by inducing, in him, a distinct recognition of his accountability to God, and of a special amenability, at the bar of his country, for a faithful discharge of the obligation imposed, on the one hand, and assumed, on the other. The individual taking an oath, simply pledges himself to discharge the responsibilities assumed, and gives this pledge with a distinct and avowed recognition of amenability in the transaction, amenability in the sense above explained. This, as I understand it, is the true and real nature of the oath. Oaths are properly imposed in those cases only, in which interests solemn and important are concerned, such as the administration of justice, and the filling of stations of great trust and responsibility.

Lawfulness of Oaths.

The lawfulness of oaths, under circumstances like those above named, may be argued from the following considerations:

1. The universal intelligence has sanctioned their use, in the circumstances named. In all ages and nations, oaths, for the attainment of certain ends, have been imposed. This would seem to intimate most clearly their conformity to the natural reason of man.

2. God Himself has sanctioned its use, by imposing it upon Himself. "Because He could swear by no greater, He sware by Himself." God surely would not sanction a practice wrong in itself.

3. "Oaths for confirmation" were directly required, under the ancient dispensation. With this fact all are familiar.

4. Christ Himself, the author of the new dispensation, received the oath and answered under it. "And the high priest answered and said, I adjure Thee by the living God," that is, I put Thee upon Thy oath, as in the presence of the living God. Till then Christ had refused to answer questions put to Him. But now being put under oath, He gave answer, as a witness, to the truth. If He had deemed the oath a thing unlawful and wrong, He certainly would not have answered under it.

5. The use of the oath has the direct sanction of inspired apostolic example. How often does the apostle Paul, for example, speak, under the express solemnity of an oath. "I call God to record on my soul." "God is my witness." "Behold, before God I lie not," &c.

6. In Rev. 10: 6, an angel of God is represented, as affirming truth, under the express solemnity of an oath. Inspiration then, under both dispensations alike, as well as the common intelligence of all nations in all ages, sanctions the use of the oath, on occasions of special solemnity.

7. Those passages of scripture which are supposed by some to prohibit oaths, have no reference whatever to judicial oaths. When we read, for example, the commands of our Savior, "swear not at all," we should remember, that the word rendered swear has two entirely distinct meanings, one referring to the oath judicially taken, and the other to a profane use of it, in ordinary conversation. The circumstances in which the prohibition was given, evince most clearly, that the latter is the sense, and the only sense in which it is used, in the prohibition under consideration. In our social "communications" we are not to use any form of oath. This is the form of the oath also prohibited through the Apostle James.

Expediency of the Oath.

The considerations presented above, render sufficiently evident the lawfulness of the oath. The question which next arises is, whether its use, though in itself proper, is ever expedient. Two considerations only need to he adduced, to render the expediency of the ordinance sufficiently evident. 1. There are circumstances of marked solemnity and interest, such as the administration of justice, in which men upon whose evidence the scales of justice must turn, should act with a distinct and special recognition of their accountability to God, and to the tribunals of their country. Oaths are, in a special manner, adapted to secure this result. They may therefore, very properly be resorted to on such occasions. 2. The sacredness which the public attaches to the oath renders its use, on the occasions referred to, obviously expedient. This sacredness is clearly evinced in the atrociousness of the crime of perjury in public estimation. This shows the adaptation of the oath to secure the objects for which it was instituted, to wit, the ends of justice.

Obligations imposed by the Oath.

The obligations imposed by the oath are simply those, that the mind be wholly abstracted from all considerations but one, to wit, the solemn honest intention to speak or act, as the case may be, in strict conformity to truth. The witness under oath, for example, has nothing to do with the consequences which may result from his testimony, nor with his relations to the individuals to whom it relates. His simple and exclusive office is to relate the facts of which he has a personal knowledge, bearing upon the case. The obligation imposed upon him by the oath, is the honest intention to tell all that he knows upon the subject, and no more nor less.

Such is the law of veracity in its varied applications. Happy is he who carries in his inner being the consciousness, that that law is the fixed and changeless law of his voluntary activity.

CHAPTER XII.

DUTIES ARISING FROM THE CONSTITUTION OF THE SEXES.

In the remarks which I design to make upon this subject, I shall assume the following propositions as first truths:

1. Marriage is agreeable to the will of God, being not only permitted, but presented as divinely constituted in the scriptures, and being manifestly demanded by the human constitution.

2. This institution demands an exclusive union between one man and one woman.

3. This union is in all instances to be a union for life.

As contracts for marriage are also commonly entered into, at longer or shorter periods, before the union of the parties is consummated, I shall consider the duties of individuals in the following relations:

I. The duties of individuals in single life towards those in respect to whom no such connection is anticipated.

II. The duties of those who have contracted marriage, while they remain unmarried.

III. Duties of those who have entered into the married relation.

IV. The law of chastity.

V. The law of divorce.

I. Duties of individuals in single life, towards those in respect to whom no such relation is anticipated.

1. As the marriage relation is to be confined, in all instances, to two individuals, one of each sex, every person is under the highest obligation not to will or desire the existence of that affection, on which the relation in question is founded, excepting in respect to one individual—the one individual with whom that union is desired.

2. The existence of such affection in other individuals should be regarded as a positive evil, inasmuch as the unhappiness arising from disappointed hope, or ungratified desire, will always be in proportion to the strength of the affection excited. Hence,

3. Every means, and every influence, adapted to excite such affection, and such expectation, should not only be avoided, but regarded as in the highest degree criminal. The pride of conquest, and the love of power in such a relation, is one of the most purely selfish and bad passions ever indulged in by man or woman. The individual who is not perfectly satisfied with the affection and esteem of one individual of the other sex—that affection and esteem peculiar to the married relation, deserves the affection and esteem of no person on earth.

II. We will now consider the duties of individuals in contracting marriage, and while the union is not consummated. Here I would remark,

1. That such contracts should be sought only for the following reasons:

(1.) To meet more effectually the demands of general benevolence.

(2.) The mutual usefulness and happiness of the parties concerned, in some particular sphere in life. Hence,

(3.) Such relations should not be sought when the demands of benevolence can be better met by remaining in single life; as is no doubt not unfrequently the case, Nor,

(4.) Should they be sought by individuals whose relations in life, habits, education, &c., disqualify them for being mutual aids to each other, in the particular spheres in which they are expecting to move.

2. The following are among the duties devolved upon individuals on entering into this relation.

(1.) Each should frankly disclose to the other all the facts in respect to personal feelings, desires, expectations, &c., which may properly be demanded, in order to render such an alliance a matter of judgment, and not the mere impulse of feeling.

(2.) Any secret personal defects, &c., which would, on becoming known, tend to influence unfavorably the feelings of the other party, should also be frankly disclosed.

(3.) The mutual advice of parents and friends should, in all ordinary circumstances, be sought.

3. We will now consider the duties of the parties to each other and to the public, after such an engagement had been consummated.

(1.) All attempts at secrecy, in respect to the fact of such engagement, should, under all ordinary circumstances, be avoided. The public have a right to know the relation of the parties, in order that they may know how to treat them. A denial of such engagement, when it really exists, is lying, inasmuch as it is withholding the truth when it ought to be known.

(2.) The engagement once formed should be regarded by each of the parties as sacred. Each is now in a state of voluntary divorcement from all desire, or intention of forming such contracts with any other individuals, and should regard even the voluntarily cherished entertainment of the thought of doing it as highly criminal. If in any relation, next to that of marriage itself, parties ought to regard mutual pledges as inviolably sacred, it is in such a relation as this.

(3.) Any proposals from others to violate such engagements, should be reprobated and repelled at once, as solicitations to perpetrate a most immoral act.

(4.) The entertaining of any affection, such as that designed to constitute the basis of the marriage union, towards any other individuals, or any attempts to excite such affections in them towards either of the parties, on the part of the same, should be regarded as an aggravated crime.

(5.) The parties are now morally bound to use all diligence to qualify themselves for the occupancy of the particular spheres of action in which they are expecting to move, when their union is consummated. The period intervening between the engagement and its consummation, should be mutually regarded as the season of mutual diligent preparation for the discharge of the ensuing responsibilities.

4. One additional inquiry in this connection, remains to be answered, to wit, under what circumstances may either party refuse to fulfill a marriage contract? I believe, that there is but one reason, that can justify such an act. It is this. A refusal or criminal neglect on the part of the other, to fulfill the conditions on which the contract was based. The discovery of intentional deception in the original contract, of any acts of licentiousness, or gross immorality, of any unfaithfulness in the affections, or any inexcusable failure to fulfill any conditions mutually agreed upon, wholly frees the party offended against, from obligation to fulfill the marriage contract. The party sinning, on the other hand, cannot; without guilt, make his or her own crime, such as subjective alienated affection, any reason for such refusal, or any just ground for any proposals to the other for a mutual dissolution of the contract. In no transaction whatever, much less in one of this nature, can an offending party avail himself of his own wrong, as a basis of seeking to be freed from obligations to fulfill a solemn engagement.

III. Duties arising from the married relation when consummated.

Among the duties imposed by this relation, the following may be specified as among the most important:

1. Each is under the most sacred obligation to preserve inviolate towards the other, that cordial and exclusive affection and esteem, that conjugal fidelity and chastity, pledged in the marriage vow. "Love itself," says Coleridge, "in its highest earthly bearing as the ground of the marriage union, becomes love by an inward fiat of the will, by a completing and sealing act of moral election, and lays claim to permanence, only under the form of duty." By such a fiat of their mutual wills, the parties have imposed upon themselves mutual and exclusive affection, as a sacred duty. The absence of such affection, and especially its bestowment upon any foreign object; is, and is to be regarded by them, as a heinous crime.

2. The marriage relation imposes upon the parties the duty of preserving that personal purity and propriety, of cultivating such manners and habits, and of making such improvements in knowledge and virtue, that each shall ever appear to the other, worthy of that affection and esteem, the exercise and preservation of which they have imposed upon themselves as a duty. To love in the absence of perceived worth, and especially where its presence was expected, is a hard task, truly. Such a task, no one individual can impose upon another without crime.

3. The marriage relation imposes upon the parties the duty of mutual assistance. It is the special duty of the husband to make provision for the maintenance of the family; and of the wife to take charge of the domestic affairs. Now each is bound, in the first instance, to make every proper effort to manage the concerns of his or her particular department in such a manner as to meet all the reasonable expectations of the other. In the second instance, by every appropriate exertion they are bound to assist each other in their several departments.

4. The marriage relation imposes upon each of the parties, the duty of studiously accommodating him or herself to the natural temperament and habits of the other, and of mutual forbearance on the part of each, in respect to the frailties of the other. Without such a course of conduct on the part of each of the parties concerned, domestic bliss will be a stranger to their habitation.

5. The marriage relation devolves upon each of the parties concerned, the special duty of meeting with cheerfulness the dispensations of Providence in respect to their common lot, and especially when those dispensations fall within the particular sphere of one of the parties.

6. The marriage relation constitutes the husband the head of the family, and devolves upon him the right and the duty of control, and upon the wife the duty of obedience. This is evident from the following considerations:

(1.) The order of creation. "The man was first formed, then the woman." "The man was not created for the woman; but the woman for the man."

(2.) The positive teachings and requirements of inspiration. "The head of every man is Christ; and the head of every woman is the man." "Likewise wives, be in subjection to your own husbands."

(3.) As the weaker vessel the wife sustains to the husband the relation of dependence. He is her natural guardian and protector.

(4.) The position of the parties in society is naturally determined by the relations of the husband to community, and not by those of the wife. Her position, therefore, in respect to the husband, is that of subornation, and both parties are most happy, when she acknowledges it. In all such relations, subjection, on the one hand, and kind control on the other is demanded by the mutual happiness of each. The husband should of course consider the wife as his companion and associate. Her counsel should be sought in all instances, when it can be usefully employed, and especially when their mutual interests are concerned. Authority should always be exercised, on the part of the husband with the spirit of forbearance and affection, and as cheerfully and affectionately submitted to by the wife.

7. The marriage relation devolves upon the parties the duty of mutual confidence, and of course the duty of exhibiting such a character that each shall always be, and appear to the other to be, worthy of the confidence demanded by the relation existing between them.

IV. The Law of Chastity.

If we consult the teachings of reason and revelation both, we shall not fail to be deeply impressed with the conviction that there is no forms, of duty relative to finite moral agents, to which greater sacredness and importance attaches, than to the laws of chastity, and, that no form of crime is more heinous in itself, nor of more destructive tendency, then the violation of this law. What is woman, when she has surrendered herself to this form of crime? In her body, she is a mass of contagious rottenness. One might with as much safety lie down with the dead, in their corruptions, as to approach her. In her mind, all is of a corresponding darkness and desolation. Not a solitary principle or sentiment remains there turning in any other direction, than to death and corruption. From all domestic ties, domestic bliss, and domestic hopes, she is in a state of total dissociation. From society she has nothing to hope, but its neglect and contempt. She can now, by no possibility, perpetrate any crime by which she can be disgraced. In what she has done, and in what she is, she has sunk far below the possibility of additional infamy. All of ignominy that she can receive, has already received its full consummation in her character. What has she to do with anything that improves humanity, or kindles human hope? What additional infamy has she to fear, from any crime she may choose to perpetrate? Life presents to her but one office, to receive in herself, and do to society, all the evil she can, and in thus receiving and doing, to make her descent as speedily as possible down to death. As she looks forward to the future, nothing awaits her there but eternally to rot in the charnel-house of the universe.

Such is woman, when she has surrendered herself to this of crime. And what is man, when, for a momentary gratification, he will deliberately reduce woman to such a state?

A licentious man, though not as wholly lost to hope, (such being the unjust moral state of public sentiment) is, nevertheless, as utterly destitute of any internal respect for moral principle, in any form, as a dissolute woman. He may in his visible conduct before the world, manifest more respect for the external decencies of society; but all within him is hardened and petrified into as total recklessness of any form of real virtue, excepting when restrained by influences from without, as in her. He that will prey upon the virtue of, and sacrifice all that is valuable to one half of the human race, that portion especially given to men to cherish and protect, and all this for a momentary gratification of his own lust, can surely have no internal respect for any of the rights of humanity.

Duties required by the Law of Chastity.

Such being the importance of this law, the question, what are the principles or the forms of duty which it imposes upon us, demand special attention. To this inquiry I answer,

1. The law of chastity imposes upon us the sacred duty of divorcing our minds wholly from all, even momentarily cherished, desires, purposes, or intentions for sexual gratification, excepting strictly within the married relation. The crime is actually committed morally, when for a single moment, such desire or intentions is, even approvingly or pleasingly, entertained, or not held in utter reprobation, in the secret recesses of the soul.

2. It requires an equally sacred divorcement of the mind from all causes which naturally lead to an actual violation of this law—such, for example, as indulging a wanton imagination in respect to such scenes, licentious reading or conversation. In all such indulgence, the fountain of moral purity within is wholly corrupted.

3. It requires a similar avoidance of all scenes of external temptation, such as visiting places where such crimes are perpetrated, or conversing with licentious persons, out of curiosity. Such conduct is wholly incompatible with internal purity.

4. It requires also an equally sacred avoidance of all familiarities with individuals of the other sex, familiarities not sanctioned by the strictest principles of purity and propriety. Let woman repel, with instant reprobation, the very first approach over the line of strict propriety, on the part of any individual of the other sex, and let man entertain the sentiment, as the fixed law of his activity, that all such approaches are crimes of most aggravated character, and then we may hope that society may be preserved pure, as far as the law of chastity is concerned.

5. The law of chastity binds every individual to use his influence to generate a public sentiment which will render licentiousness as dishonorable in man as in woman. Never will this crime be held in reprobation for what it is in itself, till this sentiment is generated and confirmed. Nothing is more immoral and unjust than that form of public sentiment, which casts off, as hopelessly lost, the seduced, and then cherishes the seducer, under the avowed fear of otherwise rendering him desperate.

6. Finally, this law binds all to exert their influence to render the crime of licentiousness the subject of such governmental penalties as its intrinsic criminality demands.

Forms in which the Law of Chastity is violated.

In respect to this department of our subject, the following specifications are all that need to be said. The law of chastity is violated,

1. By any external acts of sexual intercourse in any form, excepting between individuals honestly regarding each other, as sacredly united as husband and wife.

2. When the internal purpose is formed, or the desire is secretly cherished, to put forth such acts, in any form, out of that sacred relation, then also this law is, morally speaking, violated.

3. This law is also morally violated, when the minds of adult persons are in any other state than that of utter reprobation of the crime of licentiousness, as crime. It is one thing to avoid the external act. It is quite another voluntarily to entertain proper sentiments in respect to its criminality. In no other state is the mind in real harmony with the laws of chastity.

4. Finally, this law is violated, when any thoughts or feelings are internally entertained, tending in the direction of licentiousness, or any scenes of external temptation to the commission of the crime are visited for purposes of curiosity, or when the mind allows itself to be subject to any influences naturally leading in that direction.

THE LAW OF DIVORCE.

There seems to be a quite common impression among Christians, that but for one reason only is an act of divorce now permitted in the scriptures, to wit, the crime of licentiousness in one of the parties. The passage in which this law is supposed to be announced, is found in Matt. 19: 9: "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away, doth commit adultery." There are two mistakes, as it appears to me, in the explanations commonly given of the instructions of our Savior in this chapter, mistakes which need to be corrected. The first pertains to his declaration, that "Moses, for the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives." The common supposition is, that Moses, as an inspired legislator, knowing that husbands, whether permitted or not, would, from time to time, put away their wives, in accommodation to the hardness of their hearts, permitted them to do the thing; but to protect wives from injury, required them, should they put them away, to give a writing of divorcement. Now any one who will carefully consult Deut. 24: 1, will perceive that this is wholly a mistake. "When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favor in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house." The ordinance of Moses was given, not in accommodation to the hardness of the husband's heart, but for the express purpose of guarding him against imposition in the marriage contract, an imposition to which, owing to the existing moral state of the nation, and the relations of females to the public, he was liable. If the husband, after marriage, should find "uncleanness" upon the wife that rendered her an object of disgust to him, then he was permitted to put her away, because he had been imposed upon in the marriage contract.

The other mistake is this, the supposition that our Savior here designs to announce the reasons for divorce, for acts committed after marriage; when his object is to assign those acts committed prior to marriage, which may be made a reason for divorce subsequently to its consummation. That reason is licentiousness. The question agitated among the Jews was, not for what causes occurring after marriage is divorce justifiable, but for what reasons existing prior, but discovered subsequently to marriage, may a man put away his wife. It was with the last inquiry, only, that they came to Christ, and to this therefore is his answer directly applicable.

Now it by no means follows, as a necessary consequence, that because but one form of crime committed before marriage, justifies the party offended against, in seeking a divorce, that but that one form perpetrated after its consummation, justifies the same thing. As far as the past is concerned, but one thing fundamental to the relation is really pledged in the marriage contract, to wit, chastity. A breach of the law of chastity prior to marriage, and discovered subsequently to that event, is therefore the only form of crime which can properly, in the present state of society, and as it was at the time when our Savior spake, be a ground of divorce, as far as any acts prior to marriage are concerned.

In respect to the future, the virtue of chastity not only is pledged, but a faithful discharge of the various duties involved in the married relation. The laws of Ohio make a gross breach of the marriage covenant, in either of these particulars, a ground of divorce. Is this in accordance with reason and scripture both?

The principle involved in the law of divorce, as announced by our Savior, decides the case, as far as a breach of the law of chastity is concerned. If licentiousness committed prior to marriage, and subsequently to that event discovered is a ground of divorce, the same crime in a worse form perpetrated after marriage must be of course.

But what are the teachings of inspiration in respect to a breach of the marriage covenant in the other particular? To this question, inspiration, as it appears to me, has given a direct and positive answer. 1 Cor. 7: 15. "But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases." The term "cases" is not in the original. The passage may be thus rendered, "But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or sister is not under bonds in respect to such individuals" But what are the bonds to which the apostle refers in this case? The marriage bonds surely. These are the only bonds of which he is speaking in the context. In the verses preceding, he affirms that the believer is bound by the marriage covenant even to the unbeliever, when the latter chooses to remain with the former. In verse 15, he affirms that when the unbeliever abandons the party remaining faithful to the marriage vow, the latter is freed from the bonds which would otherwise bind him or her to the other, that is, from the marriage bonds. So Calvin, Grotius, and Rosenmuller understand the passage, and so do the laws of interpretation compel us to understand it, the express object of the apostle being to affirm when the marriage bonds do or do not, in the circumstances supposed, bind the Christian.

The principle involved in the passage is this; when one party willfully, without any just cause, abandons the other, or wholly refuses to fulfill the duties involved in the marriage covenant, the party sinned against is freed from those bonds, and of course may properly seek a legal recognition of the fact. There are two, and I may add only two revealed reasons for divorce—licentiousness—and a willful refusal to fulfill the duties involved in the marriage relation. With these causes reason fully accords. It is a universal principle in respect to all law human or divine, that when an individual wantonly tramples upon a given law, he forfeits all claim to the protection of that law, and to the interests which it was designed to promote. No reasons can be assigned why the law of marriage should be an exception to this principle. In the act of licentiousness, and in all wanton refusals, on the part of one party, to live with the other, as the marriage relation requires, this law is thus trampled upon, and the party sinned against is not morally, and ought not to be legally held bound to the other, in such cases.

To understand fully the law of divorce, as announced by our Savior, it should be borne in mind, that individuals transgressing, in the sense above explained, and for such reasons, separated from the married relation, are separated finally and forever. No person can live with them in this relation, without incurring the guilt of adultery. "Whosoever marrieth her that is put away, committeth adultery." This applies, of course, to all persons divorced for crime.

CHAPTER XIV.

FORMS OF DUTY ARISING FROM

THE PARENTAL AND FILIAL RELATIONS.

From the fixed laws of our constitution, as moral agents, action in harmony with the law of duty, is not only a good to those upon whom such action directly terminates, but is to ourselves also the highest source of subjective good. Hence the great truth announced in the scriptures, that it is a source of higher blessedness to ourselves, to act benevolently towards others, than to be the objects of such action from them. This holds in a special sense, in respect to benevolent activity in the domestic relations, and not the least in such action on the part of parents towards their offspring. The parent has been voluntarily instrumental in the existence of the child, and when the latter was first entrusted to the care of the former, he received it in a state of the most profound helplessness and dependence. Its entire mortal and immortal powers were all received as a sacred trust to be developed and educated under his fostering care. In the constitution of both parent and child is laid the foundation, when the mutual duties of each toward the other, are fully met, for the strongest mutual affection and esteem. In the child, the parent sees himself projected and represented, and what he does for his offspring, he cannot but feel that he is doing in a pre-eminent degree for himself. In the parent too, the child, with feelings of the deepest veneration, contemplates the continual representation of his future self. How the heart of the child bounds at the thought of attaining to the dignity and prerogatives of manhood, as represented in the character of a venerated parent.

Nor is there any form of virtue more beautiful and attractive than that which is developed, through parental care prompted by affection, and controlled by the idea of duty, on the one hand, and by sanctified filial love, respect and obedience, on the other.

For these reasons, no form of duty results in greater objective good, and subjective blessedness. Domestic bliss next to that derived from a union with the infinite and eternal mind, is one of the purest sources of happiness of which even sanctified humanity participates.

In no department of activity, however, is impulse to be our law. Even the exercises and manifestations of the domestic affections are to be regulated by the idea of duty. The questions, then, which I shall now endeavor to answer, are, what are the duties of parents to children, on the one hand, and of children to parents, on the other?

Duties of Parents to Children.

1. The parent should contemplate himself as the educator of the child. The powers of the child were entrusted to his care for the great end of receiving, under his fostering and plastic control, a full and harmonious development. This is the great duty involved in the parental relation, to give the powers of the child, physical and mental, the most full and perfect development possible. This every parent who would realize the idea or law of parental duty, will definitely present to himself, as the end of all his cares and efforts relative to the child.

2. As a means of attaining the great end of parental influence, the parent should aim to be in himself and before the child, a living exemplification of what the child should aim to become in his own character. The child, especially, is more influenced by example than by precept, example in one occupying the sphere and dignity of manhood. How important then that parental example especially, should exemplify before the child all those forms of virtue and excellence which he is required to embody in his own character.

3. Early and implicit subjection to wholesome authority is also one of the first and most important habits which a parent is bound to generate in the child. If there is a failure here, there is little hope in respect to the future existence of the child. Due respect for all forms of authority lawfully existing and wisely and justly administered, is one of the cardinal elements of all real virtue, it should be a cardinal aim of every parent, therefore, to induce this internal respect, in the mind, and to secure that of habitual subjection in the conduct of the child.

4. Another fundamental aim of the parent should be, to generate, confirm, and establish in the child the principle of self-control. Next to the fear of God, "the beginning of wisdom" in man, is the dominion of his own spirit. When passion rules, ruin, total and remediless, is the inevitable result. A parent has not attained to the very first idea of parental responsibility, whose fixed fundamental aim is not to induce in the child the principle and habit of self-control, the government of his temper, his appetites, and various propensities.

5. The habit of self-reliance is another principle which the parent should aim to generate in the child. The child should early be made sensible of the great truth, that under God, his standing in society, as well as his destiny hereafter, depends upon himself. The parent should make it a primary aim to induce in the child the spirit of manly independence, and to prepare him to form his own destiny in life, on the principles of self-support and self-reliance. A child that is suffered to grow up a stranger to the principle of sustaining the weight of personal responsibilities in respect to thought, speech, and action, has not received the very first rudiments of an education properly so called. A child should be early habituated to the personal management of important interests, the management of which is adapted to his capacities.

6. To induce in the mind a sacred respect for the idea of duty in all its forms, should be the supreme object of a parent, in the education of a child. This idea the child should be taught to render the fixed and undeviating law of his entire activity, in all the varied circumstances of his existence.

7. All parents who would realize the idea of duty in the parental relations, will make it their first and leading object, in all departments of education, to develop and give the religions sentiment a supreme control over the entire existence and activity of the child.

8. Another aim of the parent should be to qualify the child to occupy some particular sphere of activity in which he may accomplish his destiny. Here respect should be had to the special adaptations of the child, and to the special indications of providence. It is worse than useless to attempt to force a child into any one particular sphere contrary to his natural adaptations and the fixed inclinations of his mind.

9. It should be a fixed aim of the parent so to enlighten the mind of the child in respect to the principle of moral obligation, and then to exercise authority upon such principles, that, in obeying the parent, the child shall ever obey, at the same time, the dictates of his own intelligence. Nothing is more destructive of all the best interests of the child than mere arbitrary rule.

10. Lastly, in the final disposal of his estate, the parent is bound to regard himself as the special guardian of the interests of the child.

Violations of Parental Obligation.

Among the varied forms of violation of parental obligation, the following only need be specified in this connection.

1. Subjecting the child to arbitrary tyrannical rule on the one hand, or leaving him to the dominion of his own passions and propensities, without subjection to wholesome restraint, on the other. It is difficult to say which of these extremes is most destructive to morals. Each alike tends in but one direction, and that is ruin. "A child left to itself," or broken and crushed in spirit by parental oppression, will, with almost absolute certainty, "bring his mother to shame."

2. Permitting children to grow up without the formation of confirmed habits of mental improvement, on the one hand, and of useful industry, on the other, is another form of violation of parental duty too common in community, especially among the wealthy portions of society. To qualify children only for a state of utter uselessness to themselves or mankind, to disqualify them, as far as possible, for self-support, or active usefulness, seems to be the great aim of many parents, as far as they have any aims at all, in the education of their offspring. Among the principles which all parents should feel themselves most sacredly bound, as early as possible, to instill into the minds of children, is the sentiment that idleness, and the want of habits of active, useful, productive industry, is the disgrace of humanity, whatever its external condition may be, and that the practice and care of useful activity is its highest honor. A mother in New England, whose husband was possessed of great wealth, made it a fixed law of her household, that each of her three daughters, when they came to years, should, every third week, take her place in the kitchen, and there do the appropriate duties of that department of household industry. The other two weeks were to be spent in mental cultivation, and in different forms of useful activity. I need not add that the hands of those daughters were early sought by the first men in their state, and that their "husbands were known in the gates when sitting among the elders of the land." Thrice happy would it be for all the daughters of this land, and for our country too, if they were educated by such mothers.

3. Another too common form of violation of parental duty, is permitting children to grow up in the unrestrained indulgence of their appetites. While it should be the object of the parent to meet fully and in the best manner, all the real wants of the child, he should continually bear in mind, that the control of all the propensities, especially the appetites, is one of the first habits which he should aim to form in the child. Early habits of sensual indulgence lay the foundation for all forms of vice in subsequent years. Respect for law, in all its forms, and not the least for the laws of our physical constitution, is one of the earliest sentiments which a parent is bound to instill into the mind of a child.

4. Leaving a child to the influence of vicious associates, or to select his associates at his own will, is another form of parental neglect of most ruinous tendency. A parent is bound to understand the character of the associates of his child, associates who will hardly fail to instill their own principles and mental associations, to a greater or less extent, into his mind.

5. Leaving the care of the education of children to others, without a direct superintendence of it himself, is another too common form of parental neglect. A parent should know who the educators of his children are, and what are the habits and principles which they are forming, in all the varied stages of their education. Parents are bound to consider themselves as the appropriate educators of their own offspring, and to choose as co-laborers in this sacred employment, those only in whose fidelity reasonable confidence can be wisely reposed.

6. Parents also, whose example before, and influence over their children tend to generate in their minds a higher respect for external show than for internal worth, for wealth and station than for character, will find themselves at last to have been most fearfully wanting on the score of parental faithfulness.

7. The parent also who has not made the idea of immortality the leading, all-controlling principle in the education of his children, will find that he has been wholly wanting in his duty as a parent. There is nothing which has, or can have its proper place in the mind of a child, till this idea becomes the controlling law of his existence. All forms of right education must have a fundamental reference to it.

8. The parent, also, who has failed to exemplify in his own example the varied forms of excellence which the child is required to possess, whatever else such parent may have done, has wholly failed in his duty as an educator of his offspring.

9. Finally, I hardly need to add, that the intentional generation in the child of any vicious or immoral habit or principle, is the consummation of all violation of parental duty.

Duties of Children their Parents.

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth."—Eph. 6: 1-3. "Cursed be he that setteth light by [dishonors] his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen."—Deut. 27: 16. "A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent."—Prov. 15: 5. "The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it."—Prov. 30: 17.

Such is the character of the teachings of inspiration on this subject, teachings sanctioned by the united sentiments of the race, wherever human depravity and guilt have not extinguished natural affection. Among the specific forms of duty devolving upon the child through the parental and filial relations, I will barely specify the following:

1. Cherishing an internal, sacred respect for the rights of a parent, rights growing out of the parental relations—such for example, as the right to the cherished affection, esteem, gratitude, and obedience of the child. The whole duty of the child to his parent is really comprehended in this internal respect. To cherish and preserve incorrupt, inviolate, and sacred, this respect, is one of the first duties of the child. Without it no form of virtue can have a dwelling place in his mind. A child void of respect for the rights and venerable name of parent, presents one of the darkest forms of depravity that sin has ever generated.

2. Another form of duty devolved upon a child is an intentional external manifestation of this internal respect, in appropriate acts relative to the parent, especially in all acts of proper and cheerful obedience to all specific commands of the parent, commands not requiring what is morally wrong. Prompt, cheerful obedience in all the circumstances supposed, should be the fixed law of all the child's activities, relatively to the express will of the parent. So also, to study, for the purpose of manifesting, all the appropriate expressions of internal respect for the parental relations, should be regarded as a sacred duty on the part of the child. How beautiful in a child, for example, is manifested independence of thought associated with proper deference for the opinions of a parent.

3. Sacred respect for the honor of the parent in his intercourse with the world, is another form of duty binding the child relatively to the parent. Filial affection is never to bias the judgment of the child, in respect to the parent. Yet the honor really due to the parent, should be as dear to the child as the apple of his eye.

4. Cheerful submission to any restraints imposed by parental authority is another most sacred duty, which the child owes to the parent. Never does filial duty manifest itself in a more beautiful and attractive form than in this.

5. Respect for the rights of property in the parent is another special form of filial duty. Filial purloining is an odious form of theft, and the fruitful source of all other forms of crime. The child should never entertain the secret wish to appropriate to himself any of the property of the parent, without his full approbation and consent. Character perfected here will usually put on the perfection of beauty in all its other manifestations.

When the parent arrives to the era of second childhood, the child should regard it not merely as a duty, but as the highest privilege to receive him under his roof for protection and support. No form of right in the parent, or duty in the child is more sacred than this, and no call of duty should be more joyfully responded to on the part of the child.

REMARKS.

The use of the Rod in Family Government.

If we may credit the testimony of inspiration, the use of the rod will always to a greater or less extent, obtain in all well regulated families. Some in modern times, however, profess to have discovered that its use is wholly tyrannical and pernicious. For myself I hold with ancient, inspired wisdom on this subject, and hold thus for the following considerations, among others:

1. The best forms of filial character have ever been developed under its prudent and faithful use. This, I believe to be an undeniable fact in the history of humanity.

2. No other form of influence is so perfectly adapted to secure in the child, in its very early years, the great end of parental discipline, self-control. A parent meets a child when it is in a fit of passion. What the child now needs is some influence which shall induce him to assume, at once, the reigns of self-government, and bring and hold that excited temper in complete subjection. Now, no influence in many instances, is so immediate and effective in its operations, under such circumstances, as the stern command of the parent, and the application of the rod, when the former fails of it desired effect. The parent that foregoes this influence at such a crisis, often does the child a fatal injury. Shutting of a child, as is often done, in a room by itself where it may rave and stamp with its feet, till its temper passes off, and it then appears subdued, is of most fatal tendency, a tendency to strengthen the dominion of passion rather than subdue it. Self-control must be secured at the moment when passion is excited, or the opportunity to benefit the child is forever lost.

3. Equally effectual is the rod in many instances, in subduing the will, when the child has erected it into the attitude of direct resistance to parental authority. When a child refuses obedience to some specific command of the parent, some expedient like that above referred to, may often be resorted to with great benefit, instead of the rod. In such case, perhaps, excepting where the opposition of the will is induced by excited passion, the rod had better not, in most instances, be used. When the determination not to obey is deliberate, forms of punishment which will certainly secure submission in a deliberate form are generally best, as they tend most effectually to prevent the recurrence of such acts in future.

4. As a symbol of parental reprobation of crime, when committed by the child, the rod is often most efficient in its influence in preventing the future recurrence of such acts. To use the rod in anger is one thing. To use it deliberately as a symbol of deep reprobation of the guilt of wrong-doing in the child is quite another. Here its use is often indispensable.

5. The feelings of the child towards the parent when the rod has been properly and effectually applied, shows its perfect adaptation to the laws of human nature, in childhood. The moment self-government or voluntary obedience to authority has been secured, under its influence, do the warmest and strongest affections of the child spontaneously flow out towards the parent. This is a known universal fact, a fact most undeniably indicating the adaptation of the influence exerted on the nature of the child. "I am happy now," said a little child, as it looked up with the sweetest affection into its mother's face. "What makes you happy, my child?" "Because I have been whipped." What must we think of a philosophy that would hold up the use of the rod in inducing self-government in that child, the very end for which it had been effectually used, as a violation of its nature.

    Of course, the rod should be used sparingly, and never in anger. And when used, there must be no sparing till the end is fully accomplished.

Duties in respect to individuals incidentally connected with Families, as domestics, &c.

In families, foreign help is often needed, and its proper use is a great benefit both to employers and to those who render service. A few remarks are deemed requisite pertaining to the mutual duties of individuals in such relations.

Duties of Domestics.

    1. The first duty devolved upon a domestic is a sacred respect for the property of the employer. All acts of purloining or waste should be regarded as most flagrant crimes.

    2. Cheerful obedience to all proper directions of the employer should also be regarded as a sacred duty on the part of the domestic. The use of the property of the employer, in full conformity to his expressed wishes, is the special form of duty which the domestic has voluntarily assumed.

    3. Faithfulness in the use of his powers for the good of the employer, is another special duty of all domestics, a duty sacredly pledged, in entering into this relation.

    4. A sacred adherence to the law of confidence in respect to the family of the employer, is another special duty of all domestics. The reporting of any family secrets which may chance to come to the knowledge of a domestic, is a betrayal of a most sacred trust.

Duties of Employers.

1. The employer is bound to refrain from laying unnecessarily heavy burdens upon domestics. On the other hand, he should aim to afford them reasonable opportunities for rest, private reading, and inter-communion with Him who seeth in secret, and for kindly greetings with friends, and external religious and intellectual privileges. No one can act benevolently towards others who wishes, for personal benefit or gratification, to deprive them of such sources of good.

2. The forms of treatment adopted towards domestics should be all adapted to impress them with the conviction, that their sphere of activity is one of usefulness and respectability, and not of servility and degradation. True benevolence permits no form of service which is a source of degradation to him who faithfully renders it.

3. The employer is bound, whatever an oppressive public usage may permit, to aim to render to domestics a full equivalent for service rendered. No form of covetousness is more criminal than that which oppresses the poor and helpless in their wages.

4. Finally, it should be the object of all families in which domestics are employed, to render their connection with such families, a source not merely of pecuniary profit, but of intellectual and moral improvement to the domestics themselves. True benevolence can dictate no other course of treatment of individuals in such relation.

The remarks above made, admit of such a direct and manifest application to all persons related as employers and employed, that nothing further need be said on this subject.

CHAPTER XV.

PATRIOTISM AND PHILANTHROPY

THE relations which man sustains to existences around him, are widely diversified and involve a corresponding diversity of forms of obligation. As a creature of God he sustains relations of infinite moment to his Creator, and out of these relations duties of corresponding sacredness and importance arise. As a rational moral agent he sustains important relations to himself, relations out of which a diversity of subjective duties arise. In the domestic relations, too, he finds himself subject to forms of duty peculiar and distinct from all others. The same holds true of man in his civil relations, as the inhabitant of some particular country. He owes duties to his country which he owes to no other, and which, as far as the form is concerned, grow out of no other relations. Equally distinct are the relations, which, as a member of the family of man, he sustains to man as man, and the duties which grow out of these relations. Now man is constituted with original propensities, which fully and perfectly fit him for action in all these relations, and relatively to all the varied forms of duty arising out of them. He has propensities which naturally attach him to God, to himself, to his kindred, his country, and to the family of man. Action in harmony with these propensities, action controlled and regulated by the idea of duty, is moral virtue. We ought, for example, to love our country as our country, when all our sentiments and actions under the influence of this propensity are determined and controlled by respect for the principles of moral obligation. No feeling thus controlled, and no action in harmony with it, can be too strong. We can not love our country too much, for example, if that love does not render us unjust to humanity, or to any other interest. Duties, it should also be borne in mind, arising out of any one of these relations, can never be in opposition to any duties arising out of any other. The duties which I owe to myself can never conflict with those which I owe to my country. Nor can those which I owe to my country conflict with those which I owe to myself, on the one hand, or to humanity, on the other. The law of duty, in any one form or application, must be in harmony with itself in every other.

Wrong, or immoral action, on the other hand, consists in action under the influence of some one propensity, to the disregard or sacrifice of rights and interests which are the objects of some other propensity and which consequently are guarded from such violation by the law of duty, as, for example, when an individual seeks his own gratification to the disregard of the rights of God, on the one hand, or of his neighbor, the other, or when he seeks the advancement of his country to the sacrifice of the rights and interests of other nations, or of humanity. Moral rectitude contemplates all rights and all interests alike, to whomsoever and to whatsoever they pertain, with perfect impartiality. It asks not for self, for kindred, or country, any good, to the sacrifice of a single right of any other being or class of beings.

Philanthropy and Patriotism defined.

We are now prepared for a definition of these terms when defined so as to imply moral virtue. Philanthropy is good will to humanity, irrespective of clime, condition, or color, a sacred respect for, and disinterested devotion to, the rights and interests of man as man, contemplated simply as possessed of rights and as capable of good. To the heart of the true philanthropist, every member of the human family is a man and a brother, a being of common blood, common rights and interests, and advancing on to a common destiny with himself. This law transcends all bounds of kindred, country, clime and condition, and fixes upon what is essential in humanity itself, comprehending in one impartial embrace all its rights and real interests, near and remote. Such is philanthropy. Without it, real virtue, in no form or degree, can have a dwelling place in human character.

Patriotism is the same spirit of good will acting in connection with that original propensity of our nature which renders our country an object of tender endearment, and yet acting in full harmony with, and in subjection to, a sacred and impartial respect for the entire rights and interests of universal humanity. True patriotism rises wholly above all individual and sectional feelings and prepossessions, and acts with a supreme and impartial reference to the common good. Humanity seldom puts on a form of greater beauty and sublimity, than is consummated in the character of one who has personally realized the ideal of a true patriot.

Partyism, on the other hand, is, as a means of self-aggrandizement or gratification, devotion to the success of one's party, irrespective of individual rights, or our country's real good, and this under the loudest professions of pure patriotic devotion to our country's highest interests. The worst forms of character which the seethings of human depravity throw up upon the surface of society, are realized in the mere partizan.

Forms of Duty imposed by the Law of Patriotism.

The duties which, as philanthropists, we owe to humanity have been considered in a preceding chapter. It remains to specify some of the forms of duty which, as patriots, we owe to our country.

1. The fundamental aim of the true patriot will be, to render his entire country, in the highest possible degree intelligent, and in connection with intelligence, to secure the universal reign of justice, truth and virtue.

2. Another fixed aim will be to give to his country the best possible form of government administered in the best possible manner.

    3. To develop the entire resources of the country for the highest common good.

    4. These high ends he will endeavor to realize in the use of the best means in his knowledge and power, and this irrespective of all party ties, or sectional prejudices. No man surely can realize his own ideal of what, as a patriot, he ought to be, whose aims, in respect to his country, are any other than these.

Our Duties as Patriots when violated.

1. Our duties, as patriots, are violated, when the will of party, sectional interests, or prejudice is our law, instead of supreme respect for the common good.

    2. When the advancement of our country is sought, at the sacrifice of the rights and real interests of other nations, then also this law is violated. He that wills that his country should act unjustly, or that she should prosper in the practice of injustice, is her worst enemy. The maxim, "Our country, right or wrong," might do for pirates or robbers; but can have no place in the heart or aims of the true patriot. I have heard a tariff for revenue urged on the ground, that thereby the people of other nations would be compelled to pay the expenses of supporting our government, instead of our own people. A government might, with just as little real criminality, attempt to raise such means by piracy upon the high seas, as through a tariff, with the intent here specified. I speak not at all of the expediency or rectitude of the measure, in itself, but of the particular motive assigned for it.

    3. Our duty, as patriots, is violated, in the next place, when our own individual advancement is sought or willed, through any other means, than a strong and inflexible adherence to the law of patriotism as above announced.

    4. We wholly violate our duty as patriots, when, in our visible example before the nation, we are any thing else than we can properly will the entire nation to become. He, for example, who will riot upon the virtue of any portion of the nation, carries in his own bosom none of the real elements of a true patriot's heart.

    5. We wholly fail in our duty to our country, when we lend our influence indirectly as citizens, in the exercise of the elective franchise, or directly as legislators in enacting any laws known or supposed to require or sanction what is in itself unjust, or when as judges, or executive officers, we will lend our agency to administer or execute such laws, or finally, when, in obedience to the call of our country, we will consent to do ourselves what our consciences or the will of God revealed in his word, prohibit as morally wrong. When "mischief has been framed by law," we can not, as citizens, yield obedience, as judges administer, or as executive officers, execute such laws, without breaking our allegiance to God, to our own consciences, and to our country alike. If we would maintain our moral integrity, and stand as true lovers of our country before the world, we must place in our estimation, the law of right above all human enactments. If human legislation can make one form of wrong right to us, it may every other.

CHAPTER XVI.

DUTIES ARISING FROM THE CONTINGENT RELATIONS OF LIFE.

THE forms of duty which we have hitherto considered, are mostly those which necessarily attach to us, as rational human beings, duties which grow out of the fixed and permanent relations of life. There are forms of duty, on the other hand, which grow out of what may be called contingent, or accidental relations. That man, for example, shall sustain certain domestic, civil and religious relations, and, consequently, be the subject of corresponding duties, pertains to him, as a rational human being. That he shall be the subject of injuries, or of special benefactions from others, does not pertain to his condition as a man; but is incidental to his present existence. Such relations, therefore, are properly denominated contingent, and the duties thence arising should be elucidated in a distinct and separate chapter.

The Law of Self-defence.

Among the various forms of right and duty arising out of the relations under consideration, that to which attention is first invited is the law, or principle of self-defence. It is that principle of our nature which impels us, when violently assaulted, to protect ourselves from injury, by violently repelling the assailant, if that is deemed requisite, as a means of self-protection. On this principle, I remark,

    1. It is a principle of our nature absolutely universal, a principle which we possess in common with all sentient existences, rational and irrational, existences capable of perceiving themselves the objects of violent assaults from other beings. This fact none will deny.

    2. This principle differs wholly and fundamentally from revenge, which is evil intentionally inflicted, after an injury real or supposed has been received, or inflicted, not at all as a means of self-protection, but to gratify feelings and sentiments of hate and ill will, which the remembrance of the injury excites. Revenge, according to this sense of the term, is, in all circumstances actual or conceivable, morally wrong and wholly so.

    2. All scripture prohibitions pertaining to revenge, such as "avenge not yourselves," "resist not evil," "be not overcome of evil," &c. have no reference whatever to self-defence. They refer to an entirely distinct and opposite thing, and are wholly misapplied when adduced against the principle of self-defence. It is also very singular that they should ever be so applied, when they are presented by Christ and by his apostles, in almost every instance, as literal quotations from the Old Testament in which the right of self-defence is expressly sanctioned. As they stand in that portion of holy writ, they certainly do not contradict this right. How can they contradict it then, when quoted in the New Testament, as having authority in consequence of being found in the Old?

    3. It follows, as a necessary consequence, from the universal fact above stated, that self-defence, to wit, the repelling of force by force, when violently assaulted, is a sacred right of man. It the existence of a universal principle, in all sentient beings rational or irrational, indicates a universal right, (and if this does not indicate it, nothing does or can do it,) then does the right under consideration pertain to man, in the circumstances supposed.

5. The question and the only one arising out of this subject, pertaining to the idea or law of duty, is this. What are the extent and limits of this right? What is the law which morally binds us under the circumstances supposed? I lay it down, as a necessary intuition of the universal intelligence, that whenever a propensity absolutely universal exists, as it truly and undeniably is in the present case, action in harmony with that propensity, within certain limits, is lawful and right. The existence of the propensity determines the right itself. It is the business of the moral philosopher to determine its extent and limits. What then are the extent and limits of the right of self-defence? The principle which I lay down as law universal on this subject is this. Never intentionally put in jeopardy, for self-protection, higher interest than those assailed. Any injury within these limits, intentionally inflicted upon an assailant, who unlawfully and violently assaults us, is right and proper, when this is done strictly and exclusively, as a means of self-protection. That this is the true and the only true principle, I argue from the following considerations.

(1.) Its truth is intuitively evident, if the right of self-defence be admitted as valid at all, in any instance and in any form whatever. If I may put in jeopardy any interest whatever of my neighbor, as a means of protecting my own, which he may be violently assailing, it is self-evident that I may put in jeopardy as great an interest as that which is assailed. To deny this principle, then, is equivalent to a denial of the right of self-defence, in any form or degree whatever.

    (2.) If this principle be denied, no definite limits can be assigned to the right under consideration. If we affirm that greater or less interests than those assailed may be put in jeopardy, as a means of self-protection, such questions as these would immediately arise on the subject. How much greater or less shall this interest be? And why shall this particular line, above or below the principle under consideration, be fixed upon rather than any other? No intelligent answers can be given to such questions.

    (3.) Intrinsic justice sanctions this principle. No injustice surely is done to the assailant. If he, by crime, has placed himself in such relations to me, that his or my interests must be sacrificed, does justice require that the innocent shall suffer instead of the guilty? Can the guilty complain of injustice, if his own violent dealings simply come down upon his own head, instead of that of another? Certainly not.

We must, then, admit the validity of the principle under consideration, or deny the validity of a universal law of sentient existences, as the foundation of rights, and thus annihilate all rights whatever.

The principle above elucidated applies to communities and nations, as well as to individuals. Under it, nations, for example, have no right to use force, in any form, for purposes of revenge, conquest, glory, or self aggrandizement. Even divine legislation cannot render the use of force for any such ends right, the ends themselves being intrinsically and necessarily immoral. But governments lawful and right in themselves, have the right to use any degree of force requisite to perpetuate their own existence, and most healthy action, to put down unlawful violence, promote the ends of justice, and preserve law and order. If an individual resists lawful authority for any cause, government may enforce obedience by any requisite means, although the interest immediately concerned be ever so small in itself, and do it for this reason. The value of law and order, which are, in this case, really assailed, is greater than any individual interests can be.

Anger, Wrath, Malice, and a Righteous Indignation at Wrong Doing.

God has so constituted us, that when acts of flagrant wrong and outrage, real or supposed, are revealed to us, feelings of indignation, and reprobation of corresponding strength and intensity, arise in our minds. To suppress these feelings altogether is impossible. To attempt their suppression would be war upon the constitution which God has Himself established. To represent such feeling, as morally wrong would be to condemn feelings common to all rationals, and of which God himself is represented as a partaker. Such feelings belong to that department of our sensibility, which are correlated to the ideas of justice and moral retribution. When they are wanting in the presence of their appropriate objects, their absence would indicate the want of a proper balance and adjustment of our mental powers.

The question now returns upon us, what is anger in its prohibited form, as distinguished from a righteous indignation entertained and expressed against wrong doing? This question, in the light of the principles which we have already elucidated, admits of a ready answer. When an individual yields himself to the control of the feelings of indignation excited by the apprehension of wrong doing, and wills the gratification of such feelings, to the disregard of the ends of benevolence, or the dictates of his intelligence, when such feelings are suffered to control the will, instead of being controlled by it in subordination to the ends under consideration, then anger, in its prohibited form, exists and is exercised. The moral wrong, it should be borne in mind, does not consist in the feelings naturally and necessarily arising under the circumstances supposed but in the action of the will, in respect to such feelings. The terms hatred, wrath, malice, &c., express this state of mind in the various forms in which it develops itself—hatred, designating anger in its more settled, deliberate, and permanent—wrath in its more tempestuous—and malice in its more embittered form. Anger, as above defined, is, and must be, in all its forms, and in all degrees alike morally wrong. The will can not be in subjection to impulse irrespective of and in opposition to the dictates of conscience, in any form or degree, without criminality. This must be especially true of the malign emotions.

When, on the other hand, the feeling of indignation against wrong doing is cherished, from simple regard to what is intrinsic in the act itself, when such feelings are held in strict subjection to the dictates of conscience, and the judgment, and when all action and forms of expression relative to the feelings under consideration are controlled with a sacred regard to the idea of duty and the ends of benevolence, then we have a form of anger, which is moral virtue in one of its most sublime and perfect forms, a form pertaining alike to God, and all pure and holy intelligents, in the circumstances supposed. In this form, hatred, and even wrath, are attributed to such beings.

The feeling of anger thus excited and controlled, can never be too strong. The stronger the feeling, on the other hand, the greater the virtue in controlling it and giving it form and expression, for the ends of benevolence. Wrong doers are never so strongly influenced, as when they are met with such forms of reprobation of their conduct. Nor does any other influence tend more strongly to deter the innocent from the commission of crime, when subject to strong temptation. Much and careful discrimination is requisite to distinguish in ourselves and others, between anger in the two forms above elucidated. Such discrimination, however, and action in harmony with the true idea of anger, as moral virtue, is most sacredly binding upon us.

Revenge in its Required and Prohibited Forms.

The idea of justice, as we have already seen, is one of the fundamental ideas of reason. To this idea, our sensibility is so correlated, that in the presence of wrong doing, especially when we are ourselves subjects of it, feelings of indignation strongly impel us to will the execution of punishment upon the offender. Under the influence of such feelings, individuals often seek to execute vengeance, as a means of gratifying such feelings, and that, irrespective of what real justice requires, or of the ends of benevolence, to which all such action should be subordinated. This is revenge in its prohibited form, a form of action necessarily and wholly wrong in itself. When, on the other hand, all such feelings are held in strict and absolute subjection to what justice and the ends of benevolence demand, and when the punishment of the criminal is willed and sought only as a means to such ends, this is revenge in its required form. In this form it exists in all beings truly good, as an essential element of moral virtue. It is one of the glorious attributes of God Himself. "Vengeance is mine," that is, it is an attribute of mine, "I will repay, saith the Lord."

Duty of Forbearance, and Forgiveness of Injuries.

When we have received injuries from others, the ends of benevolence often require us, to seek, not the infliction of deserved retribution upon the offenders, but their repentance and consequent emancipation from the consequences of their crimes. To respect simply their susceptibilities for happiness under such circumstances, and to seek their return to virtue as a means to this end, and that with all the earnestness and sincerity that we should have done, had we not been the objects of any ill-treatment from them whatever, this is the virtue of forbearance. To be as kind and well-wishing towards the most wicked as the most virtuous, towards our worst enemies, as our best friends, and actually to seek equally the good of all in the use of all the means in our power, excepting when intrinsic justice, and the general good imperiously demand the descent of merited retributions, and then to breathe the sentiment, let the sword of justice descend without interruption, and that from no promptings of ill-will, this is the essential characteristic of all the truly virtuous. Without these two apparently opposite principles harmoniously blended in the formation of character, there can be no real virtue. Every one knows himself as now being or having been the object of infinite forbearance, and can not but know that he deserves to have "judgment without mercy" himself, unless he exercises the same spirit toward others.

When an individual has violated the law of duty in respect to others, he is, till repentance is manifested, properly excluded from those endearing and friendly relations which he would otherwise sustain to those against whom he has offended. To restore him fully and heartily to those friendly relations, on the manifestation of repentance on his part, this is the virtue of forgiveness. Forbearance we may exercise toward all, however guilty and incorrigible. Forgiveness, as distinguished from forbearance, can be exercised only toward those who have manifested repentance. The term forgiveness is sometimes used as including both these forms of virtue. When used in a strictly philosophical sense, however, it is restoring to the endearing or friendly relations before existing, on the condition of manifested repentance. The duty of forgiveness, unlimited and whole-hearted, on such conditions, is a necessary intuition of the universal intelligence. In its absence, the hope of forgiveness, on our part, is vain.

Duty of Condescension.

Two elements characterize this form of virtue. 1. A deep and tender interest in the necessities of all beings capable of good, how far soever they may be beneath us, in rank, capacities, or condition. 2. A ready adaptation of ourselves to their capacities and circumstances, for the purpose of doing them all the good in our power. To a truly good man, all creatures are objects of benevolent regard, and no act of condescension is too low, which is deemed requisite to accomplish the ends of benevolence. The opposite spirit, to wit, pride of rank, place, or condition, a spirit which looks down with contempt or cold indifference upon the least of all the family of man, has no place whatever in a truly virtuous mind. With it, real virtue, in no form whatever, can possibly co-exist.

Kindness and Beneficence to the Afflicted.

Every person when afflicted, devolves it upon every other knowing the fact, as a sacred duty, to sympathize with him in his sufferings, and when practicable, to extend relief. Every person, in such circumstances, also, deprecates, as a foul crime, any advantage taken of his necessities, to deprive him of any of his possessions, without a fair equivalent. The following principles may be laid down as binding us in our relations to the afflicted:

    1. It should be regarded by us as one of the first duties of life to extend relief when able, to individuals in such circumstances.

    2. Gifts which are bestowed, when it can be done, so as to enable the necessitous to relieve themselves by their own efforts, are most wisely conferred.

    3. Any benefactions which are so conferred as to encourage indolence or imposition are far worse than useless.

    4. Such should be the attitude of all who are able to afford relief to the really helpless, toward that class of individuals, that they may not only have relief, but may be assured that they will not be left to suffer. The fear of what is to come is the great source of unhappiness to persons thus reduced.

    5. Gifts should be so conferred, as to indicate, in their bestowment, a deep sympathy with the condition of the sufferer. This sympathy attending the gift, often confers far more lasting good than the gift itself.

Duty of Meekness.

This form of virtue has reference to the manner in which forbearance, condescension, forgiveness, &c., should be exercised, to the kind, gentle and bland spirit with which injuries are to be endured, the repentance of offenders sought, benefactions conferred upon the needy, and wrath turned away, by the return of a "soft answer." Few forms of virtue are spoken of with more commendation in the scriptures than this. Eph. 4: 2: "That ye walk with all lowliness and meekness." 2 Cor. 10: 1: "We beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ." Col. 3: 12: "Put on therefore, meekness, long-suffering." 2 Tim. 2: 25: " In meekness instructing those who oppose themselves." Tit. 3: 2: "But gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men." Real greatness blended with meekness presents one of the most beautiful and sublime forms of virtue which sanctified humanity even ever puts on.

Gratitude.

That gratitude to a benefactor is a sacred duty, and the want of it one of the most odious forms of depravity ever witnessed, all will readily admit. To know our duty in the relations of recipients of good from others, we need to understand the essential elements of this form of virtue. Among them I notice the following:

    1. A cherished remembrance of the act itself. In a truly grateful mind, the act referred to lies embalmed as one of the heart's priceless treasures.

    2. The exercise of gratitude also implies the cherishing of all those sentiments and feelings which unite the heart, in the tenderest bonds, to the benefactor himself.

    3. A tender and affectionate recognition of all other existing claims of the benefactor upon us, is another important element of true gratitude. How sacred, in the estimation of a grateful child, are all parental claims rendered, by a remembrance of the continued acts of parental kindness. A violation of any sacred claim of any kind whatever, which a benefactor has upon us, is, in universal estimation, one of the most flagrant forms of crime conceivable.

    4. Another important element of the state of mind of which I am speaking—an element deserving special notice, is, a disposition to disclose to others, the kindness of a benefactor, as a means of revealing his character and goodness to them. An individual, under the influence of true gratitude, never tires in speaking of his benefactor.

    5. One other element of this mental state, deserves special notice, to wit, a disposition to reward the benefactor on the one hand, and to perform similar acts of beneficence to the necessitous, on the other. A truly grateful man is of course, and of necessity, a universal philanthropist. Such is gratitude. To cherish it, and regulate its exercise under the all-controlling idea of duty, is one of the most beautiful forms of moral virtue.

    THE END.

    APPENDIX.

    RESPONSE

    OF

    CHARLES G. FINNEY

    TO THE CRITICISMS OF HIS THEORY OF

    THE FOUNDATION OF

    MORAL OBLIGATION

    AS ARGUED

    IN THIS VOLUME.

    FROM HIS FINAL EDITION OF

    HIS SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY.

    London.

    1851.

LECTURE V.

FOUNDATION OF MORAL OBLIGATION.

In the discussion of this question, I will—

I. STATE WHAT IS INTENDED BY THE FOUNDATION, OR GROUND OF OBLIGATION.

II. REMIND YOU OF THE DISTINCTION, ALREADY POINTED OUT, BETWEEN THE GROUND AND CONDITIONS OF OBLIGATION.

III. CALL ATTENTION TO THE POINTS OF GENERAL AGREEMENT AMONG VARIOUS CLASSES OF PHILOSOPHERS AND THEOLOGIANS.

IV. SHOW WHEREIN THEY INCONSISTENTLY, DISAGREE.

V. POINT OUT THE INTRINSIC ABSURDITY OF THE VARIOUS CONFLICTING THEORIES.

VI. LASTLY. SHOW THE PRACTICAL TENDENCY OF THE VARIOUS THEORIES.

I. State what is intended by the foundation, or ground of obligation.

I shall use the terms ground and foundation, as synonymous. Obligation must be founded on some good and sufficient reason. Be it remembered, that moral obligation respects moral action. That moral action, is voluntary action. That properly speaking, obligation respects intentions only. That still more strictly, obligation respects only the ultimate intention. That ultimate intention or choice, which terms I use as synonymous, consists in choosing an object for its own sake, i.e. for what is intrinsic in the object, and for no reason that is not intrinsic in that object. That every object of ultimate choice, must, and does possess that in its own nature, the perception or knowledge of which necessitates the rational affirmation, that it ought to be universally chosen, by moral agents, for its own sake, or, which is the same thing, because it is what it is, or, in other words still, because it is intrinsically valuable to being, and not on account of its relations.

The ground of obligation, then, is that reason, or consideration, intrinsic in, or belonging to, the nature of an object, which necessitates the rational affirmation, that it ought to be chosen for its own sake. It is that reason, intrinsic in the object, which thus creates obligation by necessitating this affirmation. For example, such is the nature of the good of being, that it necessitates the affirmation, that benevolence is a universal duty.

II. I must remind you of the distinction, already pointed out, between the ground and conditions of obligation.

I will not repeat, but refer the reader to the distinctions, as defined in a former lecture.1

III. Call attention to the points of general agreement among various classes of philosophers and theologians.

I shall not fill my pages with quotations from authors, showing in what there is a general agreement, as this would occupy much space, and besides I regard it as wholly unnecessary, since every intelligent reader, will, upon the bare statement of those points, see, at a glance, that thus far moral agents must agree. In saying that in the points I am about to name, there is, and must be, a general agreement, I do not mean that the various authors, who have written upon this subject, have been consistent throughout, and that they have taught nothing inconsistent with those generally and necessarily admitted truths. What I intend is, that upon those points men have held and affirmed alike, although they have often inconsistently held and stated opposing theories. To their inconsistencies we shall attend in due season. Our object just now is to state the points of general agreement.

1. They agree that in the most strict and proper sense, moral obligation extends to moral actions only.

2. That, strictly speaking, involuntary states of mind are not moral actions.

3. That intentions alone are, properly, moral actions.

4. That, in the most strict and proper sense, ultimate intentions, alone, are moral actions.

5. They agree in their definition of ultimate intention, namely that it is the choice of an object for its own sake, or for what is intrinsic in the object. That ultimate choice, or intention, must find its reasons exclusively in the object chosen, and not in the relations of the object to something else.

6. In their definition of the ground of obligation, namely, that it is that reason or consideration intrinsic in the object of ultimate choice, which necessitates the affirmation of obligation to choose it, for this reason, i.e. for its own sake.

7. That while, in the strictest sense, obligation respects only the ultimate intention, yet, that, in a less strict and proper sense, obligation extends to the choice of the conditions and means of securing an intrinsically valuable end, and also to executive acts put forth with design to secure such end. Hence—

8. They agree, that there are different forms of obligation. For example, obligation to put forth ultimate choice. To choose the known necessary conditions and means. To put forth executive volitions, &c.

9. They agree, that there are conditions of obligation.

10. That a condition is a sine quà non of obligation, but not the ground, or fundamental reason of the obligation. For example, susceptibility for happiness must be a condition of obligation, to will and endeavour to promote the happiness of a being. But the intrinsic value of the happiness to the being, is and must be the ground of the obligation. For mere susceptibility for happiness would of itself no more impose obligation to will happiness; than susceptibility for misery would impose obligation to will misery.

11. They agree, that different forms of obligation, must have different conditions. For example, moral agency, including the possession of the requisite powers, together with the developement of the ideas of the intrinsically valuable, of obligation, of right and wrong, are conditions of obligation in its universal form, namely obligation to will the good of being in general for its own sake.

12. They must agree, that obligation to will the existence of the conditions and means to the above end, and to put forth executive efforts to secure that end, have not only the conditions above named, but obligation in these forms must be conditional, also, upon the knowledge that there are conditions and means, and what they are, and also that executive efforts are necessary, possible, and useful.

13. That any thing may be a condition, as distinct from a ground of obligation, in a given form, which is a sine quà non, and yet not the fundamental reason of obligation, in that form.

14. They also agree that the well-being of God, and of the universe, of sentient existences, and especially of moral agents, is intrinsically important, or valuable, and that all moral agents are under obligation to choose it for its own sake.

15. That entire, universal, uninterrupted consecration to this end, is the universal duty of all moral agents.

16. That this consecration is identical with disinterested benevolence.

17. That this consecration is really demanded by the law of God, as revealed in the two great precepts laid down by Christ, and that this benevolence, when perfect, is in fact a compliance with the entire spirit of the law.

18. That this is always right in itself, and consequently is always duty and always right, and that in all possible circumstances; and, of course, that no obligation inconsistent with this can ever, in any case, exist.

19. That reason and revelation agree in this; that the law of benevolence is the law of right; and that it is the law of nature, and of course, that no moral law, inconsistent with this, can exist.

20. That holiness, or obedience to moral law, or, in other words still, that disinterested benevolence is a natural, and of course necessary condition of the existence of that blessedness which is an ultimate or intrinsic good to moral agents.

21. That it ought to be chosen for that reason, i.e. that is a sufficient reason.

22. Of course, that the ground of obligation to choose holiness, and to endeavour to promote it in others, as a condition of the highest well-being of the universe, is the intrinsic nature of that good or well-being, and that the relation of holiness to this end is a condition of the obligation to choose it, as a means to this end.

23. That truth, and conformity of heart and life, to all known and practical truths, are conditions and means of the highest good of being.

24. Of course, that obligation to conform to such truths is universal, because of this relation of truth, and of conformity to truth, to the highest good.

25. That the intrinsic value of the good must be the ground, and the relation only a condition, of the obligation.

26. That God's ultimate end, in all he does, or omits, is the highest well-being of himself, and of the universe, and that, in all his acts and dispensations, his ultimate object is the promotion of this end.

27. That all moral agents ought to do the same, and that this comprises their whole duty.

28. That the intrinsic value of the end creates, or imposes, and of course, is the ground of the obligation to choose it, and endeavour to promote it, for its own sake.

29. That hence, this intention or consecration to the intrinsically and infinitely valuable end, is virtue, or holiness, in God and in all moral agents.

30. That God is infinitely and equally holy in all things, because he does all things for the same ultimate reason, namely, to promote the highest good of being.

31. That all God's moral attributes are only so many attributes of love or of disinterested benevolence; that is, that they are only benevolence existing and contemplated in different relations.

32. That creation and moral government, including both law and gospel, together with the infliction of penal sanctions, are only efforts of benevolence, to secure the highest good.

33. That God has but one ultimate end; of course, but one object of ultimate choice. Of course, but one ground of obligation; and this obligation is imposed upon him through his own reason by the intrinsic and infinite value of the good of universal being.

34. That he requires, both in his law and gospel, that all moral agents should choose the same end, and do whatever they do, for its promotion: that is, that this should be the ultimate reason for all they do.

35. Consequently, and of course, that all obligation resolves itself into an obligation to choose the highest good of God, and of being in general, for its own sake, and to choose all the known conditions and means of this end, for the sake of the end.

36. That the intrinsic value of this end is the ground of this obligation, both as it respects God and all moral agents in all worlds.

37. That the intrinsic value of this end, rendered it fit, or right, that God should require moral agents, to choose it, for its own sake, and of course.

38. That its intrinsic value, and not any arbitrary sovereignty, was, and is, his reason for requiring moral agents to choose it for its own sake.

39. That its known intrinsic value would, of itself, impose obligation on moral agents, to choose it, for its own sake, even had God never required it; or, if such a supposition were possible, he had forbidden it.

Observe, then, it is agreed and must be agreed, by a necessary law of the universal reason, that disinterested benevolence is a universal and an invariable duty. That this benevolence consists in willing the highest good of being, in general, for its own sake, or, in other words, in entire consecration to this good as the end of life. That the intrinsic value of this good does, of its own nature, impose obligation upon all moral agents, to will it for its own sake, and consecrate the whole being, without intermission, to its promotion.

Now it is self-evident, and is agreed, that moral character belongs to the ultimate intention, and that a man's character is as the end is for which he lives, and moves, and has his being. The present inquiry respects this end; it is, therefore, all-important. What is virtue? It consists in consecration to the right end; to the end to which God is consecrated. This end, whatever it is, is, and must be, by virtue of its own nature, the ground of obligation. That is, the nature of this end is such as to compel the reason of every moral agent to affirm, that it ought to be chosen for its own sake. It is agreed that this end is the good of being, and that therefore disinterested benevolence, or good will, is a universal duty.

Now, with these universally admitted facts, distinctly kept in mind, let us proceed to the examination of the various conflicting and inconsistent theories of the ground of obligation.

IV. I am to show wherein they, inconsistently, disagree.

1. I will first consider the theory of those who hold that the sovereign will of God is the ground, or ultimate reason, of obligation.

[This section is removed to as it does not pertain to Mahan and Finney's differences.] . . . .

2. I now proceed to state and examine a second theory.

For convenience' sake I shall call it the theory of Paley. His theory, as every reader of Paley knows, makes self-interest the ground of moral obligation.

[This section is removed to as it does not pertain to Mahan and Finney's differences.] . . . .

3. I will in the next place consider the utilitarian philosophy.

This maintains that the utility of an act or choice renders it obligatory. That is, utility is the foundation of moral obligation; that the tendency of an act, choice, or intention, to secure a good or valuable end, is the foundation of the obligation to put forth that choice or intention. Upon this theory I remark—

(1.) That utilitarians hold, in common with others, that it is our duty to will the good of God and our neighbour, for its own sake; and that the intrinsic value of this good creates obligation to will it, and to endeavour to promote it; that the tendency of choosing it, to promote it, would be neither useful nor obligatory, but for its intrinsic value. How, then, can they hold that the tendency of choosing to secure its object, instead of the intrinsic value of the object, should be a ground of obligation. But—

(2.) It is absurd to say, the foundation of the obligation to choose a certain end is to be found, not in the value of the end itself, but in the tendency of the intention to secure the end. The tendency is valuable or otherwise, as the end is valuable or otherwise. It is, and must be, the value of the end, and not the tendency of an intention to secure the end, that constitutes the foundation of the obligation to intend.

(3.) We have seen that the foundation of obligation to will or choose any end as such, that is, on its own account, must consist in the intrinsic value of the end, and that nothing else whatever can impose obligation to choose any thing as an ultimate end, but its intrinsic value. To affirm the contrary is to affirm a contradiction. It is the same as if to say, that I ought to choose a thing as an end, and yet not as an end, that is, for its own sake, but for some other reason, to wit, the tendency of my choice to secure that end. Here I affirm at the same breath, that the thing intended is to be an end, that is, chosen for its own intrinsic value, and yet not as an end or for its intrinsic value, but for an entirely different reason, to wit, the tendency of the choice to secure it.

(4.) But we have also seen that the end chosen and the reason for the choice are identical. If utility be the foundation of moral obligation, then utility is the end to be chosen. That is, the tendency of the choice to secure its end is the end to be chosen. This is absurd.

(5.) But the very announcement of this theory implies its absurdity. A choice is obligatory, because it tends to secure good. But why secure good rather than evil? The answer is, because good is valuable. Ah! here then we have another reason, and one which must be the true reason, to wit, the value of the good which the choice tends to secure. Obligation to use means to do good may, and must, be conditionated upon the tendency of those means to secure the end, but the obligation to use them is founded solely in the value of the end.

But let us examine this philosophy in the light of the oracles of God. What say the scriptures?

(1.) The law. Does this require us to love God and our neighbour, because loving God and our neighbour tends to the well-being either of God, our neighbour, or ourselves? Is it the tendency or utility of love that makes it obligatory upon us to exercise it? What! will good, not from regard to its value, but because willing good will do good! But why do good? What is this love? Here let it be distinctly remembered that the love required by the law of God is not a mere emotion or feeling, but willing, choosing, intending, in a word, that this love is nothing else than ultimate intention. What, then, is to be intended as an end or for its own sake? Is it the tendency of love, or the utility of ultimate intention, that is the end to be intended? It must be the latter, if utilitarianism is true.

According to this theory, when the law requires supreme love to God, and equal love to our neighbour, the meaning is, not that we are to will, choose, intend the well-being of God and our neighbour for its own sake or because of its intrinsic value; but because of the tendency of the intention to promote the good of God, our neighbour, and ourselves. But suppose the tendency of love or intention to be what it may, the utility of it depends upon the intrinsic value of that which it tends to promote. Suppose love or intention tends to promote its end, this is a useful tendency only because the end is valuable in itself. It is nonsense then to say that love to God and man, or an intention to promote their good is required, not because of the value of their well-being, but because love tends to promote their well-being.

But the supposition that the law of God requires love to God and man, or the choice of their good, on account of the tendency of love to promote their well-being, is absurd. It is to represent the law as requiring love, not to God and our neighbour as an end, but to tendency as an end. The law in this case should read thus: "Thou shalt love the utility or tendency of love with all thy heart," &c.

If the theory under consideration is true, this is the spirit and meaning of the law: "Thou shalt love the Lord and thy neighbour, that is, thou shalt choose their good, not for its own sake or as an end, but because choosing it tends to promote it." This is absurd; for, I ask again, why promote it but for its own value?

Again, this theory is absurd, because if the law of God requires ultimate intention, it is a contradiction to affirm that the intention ought to terminate on its own tendency as an end.

(2.) Again, let us examine this theory in the light of the precepts of the gospel. "Do all to the glory of God." The spirit of this requirement, as is admitted, is: Intend, choose the glory of God. But why choose the glory of God? Why, if utilitarianism be true, not because of the value of God's glory, but because choosing it tends to promote it. But again, I ask why promote it, if it be not valuable? And if it be valuable, why not will it for that reason?

(3.) But it is said that we are conscious of affirming obligation to do many things, on the ground, that those things are useful, or tend to promote good.

I answer, that we are conscious of affirming obligation to do many things upon condition of their tendency to promote good, but that we never affirm obligation to be founded on this tendency. Such an affirmation would be a downright absurdity. I am under an obligation to use the means to promote good, not for the sake of its intrinsic value, but for the sake of the tendency of the means to promote it! This is absurd.

I say again, the obligation to use means may and must be conditionated upon perceived tendency, but never founded in this tendency. Ultimate intention has no such condition. The perceived intrinsic value imposes obligation without any reference to the tendency of the intention.

(4.) But suppose any utilitarian should deny that moral obligation respects ultimate intention only, and maintain that it also respects those volitions and actions that sustain to the ultimate end the relation of means, and therefore assert that the foundation of moral obligation in respect to all those volitions and actions, is their tendency to secure a valuable end. This would not at all relieve the difficulty of utilitarianism, for in this case tendency could only be a condition of the obligation, while the fundamental reason of the obligation would and must be, the intrinsic value of the end which these may have a tendency to promote. Tendency to promote an end can impose no obligation. The end must be intrinsically valuable and this alone imposes obligation to choose the end, and to use the means to promote it. Upon condition that anything is perceived to sustain to this end the relation of a necessary means, we are, for the sake of the end alone, under obligation to use the means.

LECTURE VI.

FOUNDATION OF MORAL OBLIGATION.

4. RIGHTARIANISM.—I now pass to the consideration of the theory that regards right as the foundation of moral obligation.

In the examination of this philosophy I must begin by defining terms. What is right? The primary signification of the term is straight. When used in a moral sense it means fit, suitable, agreeable to the nature and relations of moral agents. Right, in a moral sense, belongs to choice, intention, and is an intention straight with, or conformed to, moral law. The inquiry before us is, what is the ground of obligation to put forth choice or intention. Rightarians say that right is the ground of such obligation. This is the answer given to this question by a large school of philosophers and theologians. But what does this assertion mean? It is generally held by this school, that right, in a moral sense, pertains primarily and strictly, to intentions only. They maintain, as I do, that obligation pertains primarily and strictly to ultimate choice or intentions, and less strictly to executive volitions, and to choices of the conditions and means of securing the object of ultimate choice. Now in what sense of the term right do they regard it as the ground of obligation.

Right is objective and subjective. Right, in the objective sense of the term, has been recently defined to consist in the relation of intrinsic fitness existing between ultimate choice and its object.2 For example, the nature or intrinsic value of the highest well-being of God and of the universe, creates the relation of intrinsic fitness between it and choice, and this relation, it is insisted, creates, or is the ground of, obligation.

Subjective right is synonymous with righteousness, uprightness, virtue. It consists in, or is an attribute of, that state of the will, which is conformed to objective right, or to moral law. It is a term that expresses the moral quality, element, or attribute of that ultimate intention which the law of God requires. In other words still, it is conformity of heart to the law of objective right, or, as I just said, it is more strictly the term that designates the moral character of that state of heart. Some choose to regard subjective right as consisting in this state of heart, and others insist that it is only an element, attribute, or quality of this state of heart, or of this ultimate intention. I shall not contend about words, but shall show that it matters not, so far as the question we are about to examine is concerned, in which of these lights subjective right is regarded, whether as consisting in ultimate intention conformed to law, or, as being an attribute, element, or quality of this intention.

The theory under consideration was held by the ancient Greek and Roman philosophers. It was the theory of Kant, and is now the theory of the transcendental school in Europe and America. Cousin, in manifest accordance with the views of Kant, states the theory in these words; "Do right for the sake of the right, or rather, will the right for the sake of the right. Morality has to do with the intentions."—(Enunciation of Moral Law—Elements of Psychology, p. 162.) Those who follow Kant, Cousin, and Coleridge state the theory either in the same words, or in words that amount to the same thing. They regard right as the foundation of moral obligation. "Will the right for the sake of the right." This, if it has any meaning, means; will the right as an ultimate end, that is, for its own sake. Let us examine this very popular philosophy, first, in the light of its own principles, and secondly in the light of revelation.

The writer, first above alluded to, has professedly given a critical definition of the exact position and teaching of rightarians. They hold, according to him, and I suppose he has rightly defined the position of that school, that objective right is the ground of obligation. We shall see, in another lecture, that subjective right, or righteousness, can never be a ground of moral obligation. We will here attend to the critically defined position of the rightarian who holds that the relation of intrinsic fitness existing between choice and an intrinsically valuable object, is the ground of obligation to choose that object.

Now observe—

(1.) This same writer holds that, strictly speaking, obligation pertains only to the ultimate choice or intention.

(2.) He also strenuously maintains, that the reason for ultimate choice must be found exclusively in the object of such choice, in other words, that ultimate choice, is the choice of its object for its own sake, or for what is intrinsic in the object itself. To this I agree.

(3.) He also affirms repeatedly, that the ground of obligation is, and must be, found exclusively in the object of ultimate choice.

(4.) He often affirms that the ground of obligation is the consideration, intrinsic in the object of choice, which compels the reason to affirm the obligation to choose it for its own sake. To this I also agree. But all this as flatly as possible contradicts his rightarian theory, as above stated. If the ground of obligation to put forth ultimate choice is to be found, as it certainly must be, in the nature of the object of choice, and in nothing extrinsic to it, as he often affirms, how can it consist in the relation of intrinsic fitness existing between the choice and its object? Plainly it cannot. This relation is not intrinsic in the object of choice.

Observe. The obligation is to choose the object of ultimate choice, not for the sake of the relation existing between the choice and its object, but exclusively for the sake of what is intrinsic in the object itself. The relation is not the object of choice, but the relation is created by the object of choice. Choice being what it is, the intrinsic nature or value of the object, as the good of being for example, creates both the relation of rightness and the obligation to choose the object for its own sake. That which creates the relation of objective rightness must, for the same reason, create the obligation, for it is absurd to say that the intrinsic value of the object creates the relation of rightness between itself and choice, and yet that it does not impose or create obligation to choose itself for its own sake. The supposition of the rightarian is, that the intrinsic nature of the object creates the relation of rightness between itself and choice, and that this relation creates the obligation to choose the object. But this is absurd.

Observe again. The obligation is to choose the object for its own sake, and not for the sake of the relation in question. But the ground of obligation is that intrinsic in the object, for the sake of which the object ought to be chosen.

It is self-evident then, that since the object ought to be chosen for the sake of its own nature, or for what is intrinsic in it, and not for the sake of the relation in question, the nature of the object, and not the relation, is, and must be, the ground of obligation.

But, the writer who has given the above defined position of the rightarians, says that "the intelligence, in judging an act to be right or wrong, does not take into the account the object nor the act by itself, but both together, in their intrinsic relations, as the ground of its affirmation."

Here then, we learn that the ground of obligation is neither what is intrinsic in the object of choice, nor in the choice itself, but both together in their intrinsic relations. But how is this? This same writer has asserted, over and over again, and that with truth, that the ground of obligation must be intrinsic in the object of choice, and in nothing extraneous to it. This he has often postulated, as a universal truth. He has also postulated, as a universal truth, that the character of the choice itself, is the sole ground of obligation. So, as we shall see in its proper place, he has affirmed sundry other universal, contradictory, and exclusive grounds of obligation.

But let us now attend to the assertion just above quoted, namely, that the nature of the object of choice, the nature of the choice itself, with their intrinsic relations, together, form the ground of obligation. Here, as is almost universal with this writer, the ground is confounded with the condition of obligation. Had he said that in affirming obligation to choose an ultimate object, as the good of being, for example, the intelligence regards the nature of the object, the nature of the choice, and their intrinsic relations, as conditions of the affirmation of obligation, he would have stated a truth. But to represent these three as together comprising the ground of obligation, is, not only absurd in itself, but as emphatically as possible contradicts what he has elsewhere so repeatedly and critically affirmed, namely, that ultimate choice must always and necessarily find the ground of its obligation, in its object and in nothing extraneous to it.

But let us attend to the intrinsic absurdity of the above statement of rightarianism. The statement is, that the nature of ultimate choice, and the nature of its object, the good of being, for example, with their intrinsic relations to each other, form a ground of obligation to choose—what? the choice—the object; and their intrinsic relations? No, but simply and only to choose the good for its own sake, or solely for the sake of what is intrinsic in it.

Now observe, it is, and must be agreed, and is often affirmed by this writer, that ultimate choice is the choice of an object for its own sake, or for what is intrinsic in the object itself. That the ground of obligation to put forth ultimate choice, must, in every case, be intrinsic in the object of choice.

Now the object of choice in this case is the good of being, and not the nature of the choice, and of the good of being, together with the intrinsic relation of rightness existing between them. The form of the obligation discloses the ground of it. The form of the obligation is to choose the good of being, i.e. the object of choice, for what is intrinsic in it. Then, the ground of the obligation must be, the intrinsic nature of the good, i.e. of the object of choice. The nature of choice, and the intrinsic relations of the choice, and the good, are conditions, but not the ground, of the obligation. Had this writer only kept in mind his own most critical definition of ultimate intention, his often repeated assertions that the ground of obligation must be, in every case, found intrinsically in the object of ultimate choice, and in nothing extraneous to it, he never could have made the statement we have just examined. We shall be obliged to advert in another place, to a large number of contradictory statements, on this subject, by this same author.

The duty of universal disinterested benevolence is universally and necessarily affirmed and admitted. But if the rightarian be the true theory then disinterested benevolence is sin. According to this scheme, the right, and not the good of being is the end to, and for which, God and all moral agents ought to live. According to this theory, disinterested benevolence can never be duty, can never be right, but always and necessarily wrong. I do not mean that the advocates of this theory see and avow this conclusion. But it is wonderful that they do not, for nothing is more self-evident. If moral agents ought to will the right for the sake of the right, or will good, not for the sake of the good, but for the sake of the relation of rightness existing between the choice and the good, then to will the good for its own sake is sin. It is not willing the right end. It is willing the good and not the right as an ultimate end. These are opposing theories. Both cannot be true. Which is the right to will, the good for its own sake, or the right. Let universal reason answer.

But let us examine this philosophy in the light of the oracles of God.

(1.) In the light of the moral law. The whole law is expressed by the great Teacher thus: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, with all thy might, and with all thy strength; and thy neighbour as thyself." Paul says: "All the law is fulfilled in one word—love: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." Now it is admitted by this philosophy, that the love required by the law is not a mere emotion, but that it consists in willing, choice, intention; that it consists in the choice of an ultimate end, or in the choice of something for its own sake, or, which is the same thing, for its intrinsic value. What is this which the law requires us to will to God and our neighbour? Is it to will something to, or respecting, God and our neighbour, not for the sake of the intrinsic value of that something to them, but for the sake of the relation of rightness existing between choice and that something? This were absurd. Besides, what has this to do with loving God and our neighbour? To will the something, the good, for example, of God, and our neighbour, for the sake of the relation in question, is not the same as to love God and our neighbour, as it is not willing the good, for its own sake. It is not willing their good out of any regard to them, but solely out of regard to the relation of fitness existing between the willing and the object willed. Suppose it be said, that the law requires us to will the good, or highest blessedness of God and our neighbour, because it is right. This is a contradiction and an impossibility. To will the blessedness of God and our neighbour, in any proper sense, is to will it for its own sake, or as an ultimate end. But this is not to will it because it is right. To will the good of God and our neighbour for its own sake, or for its intrinsic value, is right. But to will it, not for the sake of its intrinsic value to them, but for the sake of the relations in question, is not right. To will the good because it is good, or the valuable because it is valuable, is right, because it is willing it for the right reason. But to will it, not for its value, but for the sake of the relation of fitness between the willing and the object, is not right, because it is not willing it for the right reason. The law of God does not, cannot, require us to love right more than God and our neighbour. What! right of greater value than the highest well being of God and of the universe? Impossible. It is impossible that the moral law should require anything else than to will the highest good of universal being as an ultimate end, i.e. for its own sake. It is a first truth of reason, that this is the most valuable thing possible or conceivable; and that could by no possibility be law, that should require anything else to be chosen as an ultimate end. According to this philosophy, the revealed law should read: "Thou shalt love the right for its own sake, with all thy heart and with all thy soul." The fact is, the law requires the supreme love of God, and the equal love of our neighbour. It says nothing, and implies nothing, about doing right for the sake of the right. Rightarianism is a rejection of the divine revealed law, and a substituting in its stead an entirely different rule of moral obligation: a rule that deifies right, that rejects the claims of God, and exalts right to the throne.

(2.) "Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." Does this precept require us to will the glory of God for its intrinsic or relative value, or for the sake of the relation of intrinsic fitness between the willing and its object? The glory or renown of God, is of infinite value to him, and to the universe, and for this reason it should be promoted. The thing required here is doing, an executive act. The spirit of the requisition is this: Aim to spread abroad the renown or glory of God, as a means of securing the highest well-being of the universe. Why? I answer: for the sake of the intrinsic value of this well-being, and not for the sake of the relation of fitness existing between the willing and the object.

(3.) "Do good unto all men, as ye have opportunity." Here again, are we required to do the good, for the sake of the good, or for the sake of the relation of rightness, between the doing and the good. I answer: we are to do the good for the sake of the good.

(4.) Take the commands to pray and labour for the salvation of souls. Do such commandments require us to go forth to will or do the right for the sake of the right, or to will the salvation of souls for the intrinsic value of their salvation? When we pray and preach and converse, must we aim at right, must the love of right, and not the love of God and of souls influence us? When I am engaged in prayer, and travail night and day for souls, and have an eye so single to the good of souls and to the glory of God, and am so swallowed up with my subject as not so much as to think of the right, am I all wrong? Must I pray because it is right, and do all I do, and suffer all I suffer, not from good-will to God and man, but because it is right? Who does not know, that to intend the right for the sake of the right in all these things, instead of having an eye single to the good of being, would and must be anything rather than true religion?

(5.) Examine this philosophy in the light of scriptural declarations. "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, might not perish, but have everlasting life." Now, are we to understand that God gave his Son, not from any regard to the good of souls for its own sake, but for the sake of the right? Did he will the right for the sake of the right? Did he give his Son to die for the right for the sake of the right, or to die to render the salvation of souls possible, and for the sake of the souls?

(6.) Did Christ give Himself to labour and die for the right for the sake of the right, or for souls from love to souls? Did prophets, and apostles, and martyrs, and have the saints in all ages, willed the right for the sake of the right, or have they laboured and suffered and died for God and souls, from love to them?

(7.) How infinitely strange would the Bible read, if it adopted this philosophy. The law, as has been said, would read thus: "Thou shalt love the right with all thy heart;" "Whatsoever ye do, do all for the sake of the right;" "Do the right unto all men for the sake of the right;" "God so loved the world for the sake of the right, that he gave his only begotten Son to die for the world, not for the sake of the world, but for the sake of the relation of intrinsic rightness existing between his giving and the world." Should we interrogate the holy men of all ages, and ask why they do and suffer as they do, with this philosophy, they must answer, We are willing and doing the right for the sake of the right. We have no ultimate regard to God or to the good of any being, but only to the right.

(8.) But take another passage which is quoted in support of this philosophy: "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." Now what is the spirit of this requirement? What is it to obey parents? Why, if as this philosophy holds, it must resolve itself into ultimate intention, what must the child intend for its own sake? Must he will good to God and his parents, and obey his parents as a means of securing the highest good, or must he will the right as an end for the sake of the right, regardless of the good of God or of the universe? Would it be right to will the right for the sake of the right, rather than to will the good of the universe for the sake of the good, and obey his parents as a means of securing the highest good?

It is right to will the highest good of God and of the universe, and to use all the necessary means, and fulfil all the necessary conditions of this highest well-being. For children to obey their parents is one of the means, and for this reason it is right, and upon no other condition can it be required. But it is said that children affirm their obligation to obey their parents, entirely irrespective of the obedience having any reference, or sustaining any relation, to the good of being. This is a mistake. The child, if he is a moral agent, and does really affirm moral obligation, not only does, but must, perceive the end upon which his choice or intention ought to terminate. If he really makes an intelligent affirmation, it is and must be, that he ought to will an end, that this end is not, and cannot be the right, as has been shown. He knows that he ought to will his parents' happiness, and his own happiness, and the happiness of the world, and of God; and he knows that obedience to his parents sustains the relation of a means to this end. The fact is, it is a first truth of reason, that he ought to will the good of his parents and the good of every body. He also knows that obedience to his parents is a necessary means to this end. If he does not know these things, it is impossible for him to be a moral agent, or to make any intelligent affirmation at all; and if he has any idea of obedience, it is, and must be, only such as animals have who are actuated wholly by hope, fear and instinct. As well might we say, that an ox or a dog, who gives indication of knowing in some sense, that he ought to obey us, affirms moral obligation of himself, as to say this of a child in whose mind the idea of the good, or valuable to being is not developed. What! does moral obligation respect ultimate intention only; and does ultimate intention consist in the choice of something for its own intrinsic value, and yet is it true that children affirm moral obligation before the idea of the intrinsically valuable is at all developed? Impossible! But this objection assumes that children have the idea of right developed before the idea of the valuable. This cannot be. The end to be chosen must be apprehended by the mind, before the mind can have the idea of moral obligation to chose an end, or of the right or wrong of choosing or not choosing it. The developement of the idea of the good or valuable, must precede the developement of the ideas or right and of moral obligation.

Take this philosophy on its own ground, and suppose the relation of rightness existing between choice and its object to be the ground of obligation, it is plain that the intrinsically valuable object must be perceived, before this relation can be perceived. So that the idea of the intrinsically valuable must be developed, as a condition of the existence of the idea of the relation in question.

The law of God, then, is not, and cannot be, developed in the mind of a child who has no knowledge or idea of the valuable, and who has, and can have, no reference to the good of any being, in obedience to his parents.

It is one thing to intend that, the intending of which is right, and quite another to intend the right as an end. For example, to choose my own gratification as an end, is wrong. But this is not choosing the wrong, as an end. A drunkard chooses to gratify his appetite for strong drink, as an end, that is, for its own sake. This is wrong. But the choice does not terminate on the wrong, but on the gratification. The thing intended is not the wrong. The liquor is not chosen, the gratification is not intended, because it is wrong, but notwithstanding it is wrong. To love God is right, but to suppose that God is loved because it is right, is absurd. It is to suppose that God is loved, not from any regard to God, but from a regard to right. This is an absurdity and a contradiction. To love or will the good of my neighbour, is right. But to will the right, instead of the good of my neighbour, is not right. It is loving right instead of my neighbour; but this is not right.

(1.) But, it is objected, that I am conscious of affirming to myself that I ought to will the right. This is a mistake. I am conscious of affirming to myself, that I ought to will that, the willing of which is right, to wit, to will the good of God and of being. This is right. But this is not choosing the right as an end.

But it is still insisted, that we are conscious of affirming obligation to will, and do, many things, simply and only because it is right thus to will, and do, and in view of this rightness.

To this I reply, that the immediate reason for the act, thought of at the time, and immediately present to the mind, may be the rightness of the act, but in such cases the rightness is only regarded by the mind as a condition and never as the ground of obligation. The act must be ultimate choice, or the choice of conditions and means. In ultimate choice surely, the mind can never affirm, or think of the relation of rightness between the choice and its object, instead of the intrinsic value of the object, as the ground of obligation. Nor can the mind think of the relation of rightness between the choice of conditions and means, and its object, as the ground of the obligation to choose them. It does, and must, assume the value of the end, as creating both the obligation to choose, and the relation in question. The fact is, the mind necessarily assumes, without always thinking of this assumption, its obligation to will the good, for its own sake, together with all the known conditions and means. Whenever therefore it perceives a condition, or a means of good, it instantly and necessarily affirms obligation to choose it, or, which is the same thing, it affirms the rightness of such choice. The rightness of the choice may be, and often is the thing immediately thought of, but the assumption is, and must be, in the mind, that this obligation, and hence the rightness, is created by the nature of the object to which this thing sustains the relation of a condition or a means.

(2.) But it is said again, "I am conscious of affirming to myself that I ought to will the good of being, because it is right." That is, to will the good of being, as a means, and the right as an end! which is making right the supreme good, and the good of being a means to that end. This is absurd. But to say, that I am conscious of affirming to myself my obligation to love or will the good of God and my neighbour, because it is right, is a contradiction. It is the same as to say, I ought to love, or intend the good of God and my neighbour, as an ultimate end, and yet not to intend the good of God and my neighbour, but intend the right.

(3.) But it is said, that "I ought to love God in compliance with, and out of respect to my obligation; that I ought to will it, because and for the reason that I am bound to will it." That is, that in loving God and my neighbour, I must intend to discharge or comply with my obligation; and this, it is said, is identical with intending the right. But ought my supreme object to be to discharge my duty—to meet obligation instead of willing the well-being of God and my neighbour for its own sake? If my end is to do my duty, I do not do it. For what is my obligation? Why, to love, or will the good of God and my neighbour, that is, as an end, or for its own value. To discharge my obligation, then, I must intend the good of God and my neighbour, as an end. That is, I must intend that which I am under an obligation to intend. But I am not under an obligation to intend the right, because it is right, nor to do my duty because it is duty, but to intend the good of God and of my neighbour, because it is good. Therefore, to discharge my obligation, I must intend the good, and not the right—the good of God and my neighbour, and not to do my duty. I say again, to intend the good, or valuable, is right; but to intend the right is not right.

(4.) But it is said, that in very many instances, at least, I am conscious of affirming my moral obligation to do the right, without any reference to the good of being, when I can assign no other reason for the affirmation of obligation than the right. For example, I behold virtue, I affirm spontaneously and necessarily, that I ought to love that virtue. And this, it is said, has no reference to the good of being. Is willing the right for the sake of the right, and loving virtue, the same thing? But what is it to love virtue? not a mere feeling of delight or complacency in it? It is agreed that moral obligation, strictly speaking, respects the ultimate intention only. What, then, do I mean by the affirmation that I ought to love virtue? What is virtue? It is ultimate intention, or an attribute of ultimate intention. But what is loving virtue? It consists in willing its existence. But it is said that I affirm my obligation to love virtue as an end, or for its own sake, and not from any regard to the good of being. This is absurd, and a contradiction. To love virtue, it is said, is to will its existence as an end. But virtue consists in intending an end. Now, to love virtue, it is said, is to will, intend its existence as an end, for its own sake. Then, according to this theory, I affirm my obligation to intend the intention of a virtuous being as an end, instead of intending the same end that he does. This is absurd; his intention is of no value, is neither naturally good nor morally good, irrespective of the end intended. It is neither right nor wrong, irrespective of the end chosen. It is therefore impossible to will, choose, intend the intention as an end, without reference to the end intended. To love virtue, then, is to love or will the end upon which virtuous intention terminates, namely, the good of being, or, in other words, to love virtue, is to will its existence, for the sake of the end it has in view, which is the same thing as to will the same end. Virtue is intending, choosing an end. Loving virtue is willing that the virtuous intention should exist for the sake of its end. Take away the end, and who would or could will the intention? Without the end, the virtue, or intention, would not or could not exist. It is not true, therefore, that in the case supposed, I affirm my obligation to will, or intend, without any reference to the good of being.

(5.) But again, it is said, that when I contemplate the moral excellence of God, I affirm my obligation to love him solely for his goodness, without any reference to the good of being, and for no other reason than because it is right. But to love God because of his moral excellence, and because it is right, are not the same thing. It is a gross contradiction to talk of loving God for his moral excellence, because it is right. It is the same as to say, I love God for the reason that he is morally excellent, or worthy, yet not at all for this reason, but for the reason that it is right. To love God for his moral worth, is to will good to him for its own sake upon condition that he deserves it. But to will his moral worth because it is right, is to will the right as an ultimate end, to have supreme regard to right, instead of the moral worth, or the well-being of God.

But it may reasonably be asked, why should rightarians bring forward these objections? They all assume that moral obligation may respect something else than ultimate intention. Why, I repeat it, should rightarians affirm that the moral excellence of God is the foundation of moral obligation, since they hold that right is the foundation of moral obligation? Why should the advocates of the theory that the moral excellence of God is the foundation of moral obligation, affirm that right is the foundation, or that we are bound to love God for his moral excellence, because this is right? These are gross contradictions. Rightarians hold that disinterested benevolence is a universal duty; that this benevolence consists in willing the highest good of being in general, for its own sake; that this good, by virtue of its own nature, imposes obligation to choose it, for its own sake, and therefore and for this reason, it is right thus to choose it. But notwithstanding all this, they most inconsistently affirm that right is universally the ground of obligation. Consistency must compel them to deny that disinterested benevolence ever is, or can be, duty, and right, or to abandon the nonsensical dogma, that right is the ground of obligation. There is no end to the absurdities in which error involves its advocates, and it is singular to see the advocates of the different theories, each in his turn, abandon his own and affirm some other, as an objection to the true theory. It has also been, and still is, common for writers to confound different theories with each other, and to affirm, in the compass of a few pages, several different theories. At least this has been done in some instances.

Consistent rightarianism is a godless, Christless, loveless philosophy. This Kant saw and acknowledged. He calls it pure legality, that is, he understands the law as imposing obligation by virtue of its own nature, instead of the intrinsic value of the end, which the law requires moral agents to choose. He loses sight of the end, and does not recognize any end whatever. He makes a broad distinction between morality and religion. Morality consists, according to him in the adoption of the maxim, "Do right for the sake of the right," or, "Act at all times upon a maxim fit for law universal." The adoption of this maxim is morality. But now, having adopted this maxim, the mind goes abroad to carry its maxim into practice. It finds God and being to exist, and sees it to be right to intend their good. This intending the good is religion, according to him. Thus, he says, ethics lead to or result in religion.—(See Kant, on Religion.) But we feel prompted to inquire, whether, when we apprehend God and being, we are to will their well-being as an end, or for its own sake, or because it is right? If for its own sake, where then is the maxim, "Will the right for the sake of the right?" for if we are to will the good, not as an ultimate end, but for the sake of the right, then right is the end that is preferred to the highest well-being of God and of the universe. It is impossible that this should be religion. Indeed Kant himself admits that this is not religion.

But enough of this cold and loveless philosophy. As it exalts right above all that is called God, and subverts all the teachings of the Bible, it cannot be a light thing to be deluded by it. But it is remarkable and interesting to see Christian rightarians, without being sensible of their inconsistency, so often confound this philosophy with that which teaches that good-will to being constitutes virtue. Numerous examples of it occur everywhere in their writings, which demonstrate that rightarianism is with them only a theory that "plays round the head but comes not near the heart."

LECTURE VII.

FOUNDATION OF MORAL OBLIGATION.

DIVINE MORAL EXCELLENCE THEORY.

5. I NOW ENTER UPON THE DISCUSSION OF THE THEORY, THAT THE GOODNESS, OR MORAL EXCELLENCE, OF GOD IS THE FOUNDATION OF MORAL OBLIGATION.

[This section is removed to as it does not pertain to Mahan and Finney's differences.] . . . .

LECTURE VIII.

FOUNDATION OF MORAL OBLIGATION.

6. THEORY OF MORAL ORDER.

7. THEORY OF NATURE AND RELATIONS.

8. THEORY THAT THE IDEA OF DUTY IS THE FOUNDATION OF MORAL OBLIGATION.

9. COMPLEX THEORY.

6. I now come to consider the philosophy which teaches that moral order is the foundation of moral obligation.

But what is moral order? The advocates of this theory define it to be identical with the fit, proper, suitable. It is, then, according to them, synonymous with the right. Moral order must be, in their view, either identical with law or with virtue. It must be either an idea of the fit, the right, the proper, the suitable, which is the same as objective right; or it must consist in conformity of the will to this idea or law, which is virtue. It has been repeatedly shown that right, whether objective or subjective, cannot by any possibility be the end at which a moral agent ought to aim, and to which he ought to consecrate himself. If moral order be not synonymous with right in one of these senses, I do not know what it is; and all that I can say is, that if it be not identical with the highest well-being of God and of the universe, it cannot be the end at which moral agents ought to aim, and cannot be the foundation of moral obligation. But if by moral order, as the phraseology of some would seem to indicate, be meant that state of the universe in which all law is universally obeyed, and, as a consequence, a state of universal well-being, this theory is only another name for the true one. It is the same as willing the highest well-being of the universe with the conditions and means thereof.

Or if it be meant, as other phraseology would seem to indicate, that moral order is a state of things in which either all law is obeyed, or in which the disobedient are punished for the sake of promoting the public good;—if this be what is meant by moral order—it is only another name for the true theory. Willing moral order is only willing the highest good of the universe for its own sake, with the condition and means thereof.

But if by moral order be meant the fit, suitable, in the sense of law, physical or moral, it is absurd to represent moral order as the foundation of moral obligation. If moral order is the ground of obligation, it is identical with the object of ultimate choice. Does God require us to love moral order for its own sake? Is this identical with loving God and our neighbour? "Thou shalt will moral order with all thy heart, and with all thy soul!" Is this the meaning of the moral law? If this theory is right, benevolence is sin. It is not living to the right end.

7. I will next consider the theory that maintains that the nature and relations of moral beings are the true foundation of moral obligation.

(1.) The advocates of this theory confound the conditions of moral obligation with the foundation of obligation. The nature and relations of moral agents to each other, and to the universe, are conditions of their obligation to will the good of being, but not the foundation of the obligation. What! the nature and relations of moral beings the foundation of their obligation to choose an ultimate end. Then this end must be their nature and relations. This is absurd. Their nature and relations, being what they are, their highest well-being is known to them to be of infinite and intrinsic value. But it is and must be the intrinsic value of the end, and not their nature and relations, that imposes obligation to will the highest good of the universe as an ultimate end.

(2.) If their nature and relations be the ground of obligation, then their nature and relations are the great object of ultimate choice, and should be willed for their own sakes, and not for the sake of any good resulting from their natures and relations. For, be it remembered, the ground of obligation to put forth ultimate choice must be identical with the object of this choice, which object imposes obligation by virtue of its own nature.

(3.) The natures and relations of moral beings are a condition of obligation to fulfil to each other certain duties. For example, the relation of parent and child is a condition of obligation to endeavour to promote each other's particular well-being, to govern and provide for, on the part of the parent, and to obey, &c., on the part of the child. But the intrinsic value of the good to be sought by both parent and child must be the ground, and their relation only the condition, of those particular forms of obligation. So in every possible case. Relations can never be a ground of obligation to choose unless the relations be the object of the choice. The various duties of life are executive and not ultimate acts. Obligation to perform them is founded in the intrinsic nature of the good resulting from their performance. The various relations of life are only conditions of obligation to promote particular forms of good, and the good of particular individuals.

If this theory is true, benevolence is sin. Why do not its advocates see this?

Writers upon this subject are often falling into the mistake of confounding the conditions with the foundation of moral obligation. Moral agency is a condition, but not the foundation of obligation. Light, or the knowledge of the intrinsically valuable to being, is a condition, but not the foundation of moral obligation. The intrinsically valuable is the foundation of the obligation; and light, or the perception of the intrinsically valuable, is only a condition of the obligation. So the nature and relations of moral beings is a condition of their obligation to will each other's good, and so is light, or a knowledge of the intrinsic value of their blessedness; but the intrinsic value is alone the foundation of the obligation. It is, therefore, a great mistake to affirm "that the known nature and relations of moral agents is the true foundation of moral obligation."

8. The next theory that demands attention is that which teaches that moral obligation is founded in the idea of duty.

According to this philosophy, the end at which a moral agent ought to aim, is duty. He must in all things "aim at doing his duty." Or, in other words, he must always have respect to his obligation, and aim at discharging it.

Then disinterested benevolence is, and must be, sin. It is not living to the right end.

It is plain that this theory is only another form of stating the rightarian theory. By aiming, intending, to do duty, we must understand the advocates of this theory to mean the adoption of a resolution or maxim, by which to regulate their lives—the formation of a resolve to obey God—to serve God—to do at all times what appears to be right—to meet the demands of conscience—to obey the law—to discharge obligation, &c. I have expressed the thing intended in all these ways because it is common to hear this theory expressed in all these terms, and in others like them. Especially in giving instruction to inquiring sinners, nothing is more common than for those who profess to be spiritual guides to assume the truth of this philosophy, and give instructions accordingly. These philosophers, or theologians, will say to sinners: Make up your mind to serve the Lord; resolve to do your whole duty, and do it at all times; resolve to obey God in all things—to keep all his commandments; resolve to deny yourselves—to forsake all sin—to love the Lord with all your heart and your neighbour as yourself. They often represent regeneration as consisting in this resolution or purpose.

Such-like phraseology, which is very common and almost universal among rightarian philosophers, demonstrates that they regard virtue or obedience to God as consisting in the adoption of a maxim of life. With them, duty is the great idea to be realized. All these modes of expression mean the same thing, and amount to just Kant's morality, which he admits does not necessarily imply religion, namely; "act upon a maxim at all times fit for law universal," and to Cousin's, which is the same thing, namely, "will the right for the sake of the right." Now I cannot but regard this philosophy on the one hand, and utilitarianism on the other, as equally wide from the truth, and as lying at the foundation of much of the spurious religion with which the church and the world are cursed. Utilitarianism begets one type of selfishness, which it calls religion, and this philosophy begets another, in some respects more specious, but not a whit the less selfish, God-dishonouring and soul-destroying. The nearest that this philosophy can be said to approach either to true morality or religion, is, that if the one who forms the resolution understood himself he would resolve to become truly moral instead of really becoming so. But this is in fact an absurdity and an impossibility, and the resolution-maker does not understand what he is about, when he supposes himself to be forming or cherishing a resolution to do his duty. Observe: he intends to do his duty. But to do his duty is to form and cherish an ultimate intention. To intend to do his duty is merely to intend to intend. But this is not doing his duty, as will be shown. He intends to serve God, but this is not serving God, as will also be shown. Whatever he intends, he is neither truly moral nor religious, until he really intends the same end that God does; and this is not to do his duty, nor to do right, nor to comply with obligation, nor to keep a conscience void of offence, nor to deny himself, nor any such-like things. God aims at, and intends, the highest well-being of himself and the universe, as an ultimate end, and this is doing his duty. It is not resolving or intending to do his duty, but is doing it. It is not resolving to do right for the sake of the right, but it is doing right. It is not resolving to serve himself and the universe, but is actually rendering that service. It is not resolving to obey the moral law, but is actually obeying it. It is not resolving to love, but actually loving his neighbour as himself. It is not, in other words, resolving to be benevolent, but is being so. It is not resolving to deny self, but is actually denying self.

A man may resolve to serve God without any just idea of what it is to serve him. If he had the idea of what the law of God requires him to choose, clearly before his mind—if he perceived that to serve God, was nothing less than to consecrate himself to the same end to which God consecrates himself, to love God with all his heart and his neighbour as himself, that is, to will or choose the highest well-being of God and of the universe, as an ultimate end—to devote all his being, substance, time, and influence to this end;—I say, if this idea were clearly before his mind, he would not talk of resolving to consecrate himself to God—resolving to do his duty, to do right—to serve God—to keep a conscience void of offence, and such-like things. He would see that such resolutions were totally absurd and a mere evasion of the claims of God. It has been repeatedly shown, that all virtue resolves itself into the intending of an ultimate end, or of the highest well-being of God and the universe. This is true morality, and nothing else is. This is identical with that love to God and man which the law of God requires. This then is duty. This is serving God. This is keeping a conscience void of offence. This is right, and nothing else is. But to intend or resolve to do this is only to intend to intend, instead of at once intending what God requires. It is resolving to love God and his neighbour, instead of really loving him; choosing to choose the highest well-being of God and of the universe, instead of really choosing it. Now this is totally absurd, and when examined to the bottom will be seen to be nothing else than a most perverse postponement of duty and a most God-provoking evasion of his claims. To intend to do duty is gross nonsense. To do duty is to love God with all the heart, and our neighbour as ourselves, that is, to choose, will, intend the highest well-being of God and our neighbour for its own sake. To intend to do duty, to aim at doing duty, at doing right, at discharging obligation, &c. is to intend to intend, to choose to choose, and such-like nonsense. Moral obligation respects the ultimate intention. It requires that the intrinsically valuable to being shall be willed for its own sake. To comply with moral obligation is not to intend or aim at this compliance as an end, but to will, choose, intend that which moral law or moral obligation requires me to intend, namely, the highest good of being. To intend obedience to law is not obedience to law, for the reason that obedience is not that which the law requires me to intend. To aim at discharging obligation is not discharging it, just for the reason that I am under no obligation to intend this as an end. Nay, it is totally absurd and nonsensical to talk of resolving, aiming, intending to do duty—to serve the Lord, &c. &c. All such resolutions imply an entire overlooking of that in which true religion consists. Such resolutions and intentions from their very nature must respect outward actions in which is no moral character, and not the ultimate intention, in which all virtue and vice consist. A man may resolve or intend to do this or that. But to intend to intend an ultimate end, or to intend to choose it for its intrinsic value, instead of willing and at once intending or choosing that end, is grossly absurd, self-contradictory, and naturally impossible. Therefore this philosophy does not give a true definition and account of virtue. It is self-evident that it does not conceive rightly of it. And it cannot be that those who give such instructions, or those who receive and comply with them, have the true idea of religion in their minds. Such teaching is radically false, and such a philosophy leads only to bewilder, and dazzles to blind.

It is one thing for a man who actually loves God with all his heart and his neighbour as himself, to resolve to regulate all his outward life by the law of God, and a totally different thing to intend to love God or to intend his highest glory and well-being. Resolutions may respect outward action, but it is totally absurd to intend or resolve to form an ultimate intention. But be it remembered, that morality and religion do not belong to outward action, but to ultimate intentions. It is amazing and afflicting to witness the alarming extent to which spurious philosophy has corrupted and is corrupting the church of God. Kant and Cousin and Coleridge have adopted a phraseology, and manifestly have conceived in idea, a philosophy subversive of all true love to God and man, and teach a religion of maxims and resolutions instead of a religion of love. It is a philosophy, as we shall see in a future lecture, which teaches that the moral law or law of right, is entirely distinct from and may be opposite to the law of benevolence or love. The fact is, this philosophy conceives of duty and right as belonging to mere outward action. This must be, for it cannot be confused enough to talk of resolving or intending to form an ultimate intention. Let but the truth of this philosophy be assumed in giving instructions to the anxious sinner, and it will immediately dry off his tears, and in all probability lead him to settle down in a religion of resolutions instead of a religion of love. Indeed this philosophy will immediately dry off, (if I may be allowed the expression,) the most genuine and powerful revival of religion, and run it down into a mere revival of a heartless, Christless, loveless philosophy. It is much easier to persuade anxious sinners to resolve to do their duty, to resolve to love God, than it is to persuade them really to do their duty, and really to love God with all their heart and with all their soul, and their neighbour as themselves.

9. We now come to the consideration of that philosophy which teaches the complexity of the foundation of moral obligation.

This theory maintains that there are several distinct grounds of moral obligation; that the highest good of being is only one of the grounds of moral obligation, while right, moral order, the nature and relations of moral agents, merit and demerit, truth, duty, and many such like things, are distinct grounds of moral obligation; that these are not merely conditions of moral obligation, but that each one of them can by itself impose moral obligation. The advocates of this theory, perceiving its inconsistency with the doctrine that moral obligation respects the ultimate choice or intention only, seem disposed to relinquish the position that obligation respects strictly only the choice of an ultimate end, and to maintain that moral obligation respects the ultimate action of the will. By ultimate action of the will they mean, if I understand them, the will's treatment of every thing according to its intrinsic nature and character; that is, treating every thing, or taking that attitude in respect to every thing known to the mind, that is exactly suited to what it is in and of itself. For example, right ought to be regarded and treated by the will as right, because it is right. Truth ought to be regarded and treated as truth for its own sake, virtue as virtue, merit as merit, demerit as demerit, the useful as useful, the beautiful as beautiful, the good or valuable as valuable, each for its own sake; that in each case the action of the will is ultimate, in the sense that its action terminates on these objects as ultimates; in other words, that all those actions of the will are ultimates that treat things according to their nature and character, or according to what they are in and of themselves.—See Moral Philosophy. Now in respect to this theory I would inquire:—

(1.) What is intended by the will's treating a thing, or taking that attitude in respect to it that is suited to its nature and character? Are there any other actions of will than volitions, choice, preference, intention,—are not all the actions of the will comprehended in these? If there are any other actions than these, are they intelligent actions? If so, what are those actions of will that consist neither in the choice of ends nor means, nor in volitions or efforts to secure an end? Can there be intelligent acts of will that neither respect ends nor means? Can there be moral acts of will when there is no choice or intention? If there is choice or intention, must not these respect an end or means? What then can be meant by ultimate action of will as distinguished from ultimate choice or intention? Can there be choice without there is an object of choice? If there is an object of choice, must not this object be chosen either as an end or as a means? If as an ultimate end, how does this differ from ultimate intention? If as a means, how can this be regarded as an ultimate action of the will? What can be intended by actions of will that are not acts of choice nor volition? I can conceive of no other. But if all acts of will must of necessity consist in willing or nilling, that is in choosing or refusing, which is the same as willing one way or another, in respect to all objects of choice apprehended by the mind, how can there be any intelligent act of the will that does not consist in, or that may not and must not, in its last analysis be resolvable into, and be properly considered as the choice of an end, or of means, or in executive efforts to secure an end? Can moral law require any other action of will than choice and volition? What other actions of will are possible to us? Whatever moral law does require, it must and can only require choices and volitions. It can only require us to choose ends or means. It cannot require us to choose as an ultimate end any thing that is not intrinsically worthy of choice—nor as a means any thing that does not sustain that relation.

(2.) Secondly, let us examine this theory in the light of the revealed law of God. The whole law is fulfilled in one word—love.

Now we have seen that the will of God cannot be the foundation of moral obligation. Moral obligation must be founded in the nature of that which moral law requires us to choose. Unless there be something in the nature of that which moral law require us to will that renders it worthy or deserving of choice, we can be under no obligation to will or choose it. It is admitted that the love required by the law of God must consist in an act of the will, and not in mere emotions. Now, does this love, willing, choice, embrace several distinct ultimates? If so, how can they all be expressed in one word—love? Observe, the law requires only love to God and our neighbour as an ultimate. This love or willing must respect and terminate on God and our neighbour. The law says nothing about willing right for the sake of the right, or truth for the sake of the truth, or beauty for the sake of beauty, or virtue for the sake of virtue, or moral order for its own sake, or the nature and relations of moral agents for their own sake; nor is, nor can any such thing be implied in the command to love God and our neighbour. All these and innumerable other things are, and must be, conditions and means of the highest well-being of God and our neighbour. As such, the law may, and doubtless does, in requiring us to will the highest well-being of God and our neighbour as an ultimate end, require us to will all these as the necessary conditions and means. The end which the revealed law requires us to will is undeniably simple as opposed to complex. It requires only love to God and our neighbour. One word expresses the whole of moral obligation. Now certainly this word cannot have a complex signification in such a sense as to include several distinct and ultimate objects of love, or of choice. This love is to terminate on God and our neighbour, and not on abstractions, nor on inanimate and insentient existences. I protest against any philosophy that contradicts the revealed law of God, and that teaches that anything else than God and our neighbour is to be loved for its own sake, or that anything else is to be chosen as an ultimate end than the highest well-being of God and our neighbour. In other words, I utterly object to any philosophy that makes anything obligatory upon a moral agent that is not expressed or implied in perfect good will to God, and to the universe of sentient existences. "To the word and to the testimony; if any philosophy agree not therewith, it is because there is no light in it." The revealed law of God knows but one ground or foundation of moral obligation. It requires but one thing, and that is just that attitude of the will toward God and our neighbour that accords with the intrinsic value of their highest well-being; that God's moral worth shall be willed as of infinite value, as a condition of his own well-being, and that his actual and perfect blessedness shall be willed for its own sake, and because, or upon condition, that he is worthy; that our neighbour's moral worth shall be willed as an indispensable condition of his blessedness, and that if our neighbour is worthy of happiness, his actual and highest happiness shall be willed. The fact is, that all ultimate acts of will must consist in ultimate choices and intentions, and the revealed law requires that our ultimate choice, intention, should terminate on the good of God and our neighbour, thus making the foundation of moral obligation simple, moral action simple, and all true morality to be summed up in one word—love. It is impossible, with our eye upon the revealed law, to make more than one foundation of moral obligation; and it is utterly inadmissible to subvert this foundation by any philosophisings whatever. This law knows but one end which moral agents are under obligation to seek, and sets at nought all so-called ultimate actions of will that do not terminate on the good of God and our neighbour. The ultimate choice with the choice of all the conditions and means of the highest well-being of God and the universe, is all that the revealed law recognizes as coming within the pale of its legislation. It requires nothing more and nothing less.

But there is another form of the complex theory of moral obligation that I must notice before I dismiss this subject. In the examination of it I shall be obliged to repeat some things which have been in substance said before. Indeed, there has been so much confusion upon the subject of the nature of virtue, or of the foundation of moral obligation, as to render it indispensable in the examination of the various false theories and in removing objections to the true one, frequently to repeat the same thought in different connections. This I have found to be unavoidable, if I would render the subject at all intelligible to the common reader.

LECTURE IX.

FOUNDATION OF OBLIGATION.

9. COMPLEX THEORY.

I PASS NOW to the consideration of another form of the theory that affirms the complexity of the foundation of moral obligation; complex, however, only in a certain sense.

[This section is removed to as it does not pertain to Mahan and Finney's differences.] . . . .

LECTURE X.

FOUNDATION OF OBLIGATION.

V. POINT OUT THE INTRINSIC ABSURDITY OF THE VARIOUS CONFLICTING THEORIES.

The discussion under this head has been in a great measure anticipated, as we have proceeded in the examination of the theories to which we have attended. But before I dismiss this subject, I will, in accordance with a former suggestion, notice some more instances in which the conditions have been confounded with, and mistaken for, the ground of obligation, which has resulted in much confusion and absurdity. The instances which I shall mention are all to be found in the same author,3 whose rightarian views we have examined. He fully admits, and often affirms, that, strictly speaking, ultimate intentions alone are moral actions. That an ultimate intention must necessarily, and always, find the ground of its obligation exclusively in its object, and in nothing not intrinsic in its object. This he postulates and affirms, as critically as possible. Yet, strange to tell, he goes on to affirm the following, as exclusive grounds of obligation. For the sake of perspicuity I will state his various propositions without quoting them, as to do so would occupy too much space.

1. Strictly speaking, ultimate intentions alone are moral actions.4

2. Ultimate intentions consist in choosing an object for its own sake, or for what is intrinsic in that object, and for no reason not intrinsic in it.5

3. Ultimate intentions must find their reasons, or the grounds of obligation, exclusively in their objects.6

4. The foundation of obligation must universally be intrinsic in the object of choice.7 This is his fundamental position. Thus far we agree.

5. Foundation of obligation, is not only what is intrinsic, but also in the relations of its object.8 But this contradicts the last assertion.

6. All obligation is founded exclusively in the relations of our being to another.9 Here, a mere condition of obligation, to fulfil to those around us certain forms of duty, is confounded with, and even asserted to be, the sole ground of obligation. We have seen in a former lecture, that the various relations of life, are only conditions of certain forms of obligation, while the good connected with the performance of these duties, is the ground of all such forms of obligation. Here he again contradicts No. 4.

7. Again, he asserts that the affirmation of obligation by the moral faculty, is the ground of obligation.10 Here again a condition is asserted to be the ground of obligation. The affirmation of obligation by the reason is, no doubt, a sine quà non of the obligation, but it cannot be the ground of it. What, has the moral faculty no reason for affirming obligation to choose the good of being, but the affirmation itself? Is the affirmation of obligation to choose, identical with the object of that choice? Another contradiction of No. 4.

8. Again, he says, the foundation of obligation is found exclusively in the relation of choice to its object.11 Here again a condition is confounded with, and asserted to be, the exclusive ground of obligation. Contradiction again of No. 4.

9. Again, he says that the foundation of obligation is found exclusively in the character of the choice itself.12 But the character of the choice is determined by the object on which it terminates. The nature of the object must create obligation to choose it for its own sake, or the choice of it is not right. Here, it is plain, that a condition is again asserted to be the universal ground of obligation. Were it not right to choose an object, for its own sake, the choice of it would have no right character, and there could be no obligation. But it is as absurd as possible to make the character of the choice the ground of the obligation. This also contradicts No. 4.

10. Again, he affirms, that the idea of duty is the exclusive ground of obligation.13 This theory we have before examined. Here it is plain, that a condition is made the exclusive ground of obligation. If we had not the idea of duty, we, of course, should not have the idea of obligation, for, in fact, these ideas are identical: but it is totally absurd to say that this idea is the ground of obligation. This also contradicts No. 4.

11. Again, he asserts, that the relation of intrinsic fitness, existing between choice and its object, is the exclusive ground of obligation.14 This theory we have examined, as that of the rightarian. All I need say here is, that this is another instance in which a condition is made the sole ground of obligation. Did not this relation exist, the obligation could not exist, but it is impossible, as has been shown, that the relation should be the ground of this obligation. This also contradicts No. 4. He says, again—

12. That obligation is sometimes founded, exclusively, in the moral character of the being to whom we are under obligation.15 To this theory we have alluded; I only remark here, that this is another instance of confounding a condition with the ground of certain forms of obligation. This we have seen in the preceding pages. This contradicts No. 4.

13. That the ground of obligation is found, partly in the nature of choice, partly in the nature of the object, and partly in the relation of fitness existing between choice and its object.16 Here, again, a condition is made the universal ground of obligation. Were not choice what it is, and good what it is, and did not the relation of fitness exist between choice and its object, obligation could not exist. But, we have seen, that it is impossible that anything but the intrinsic nature of the good should be the ground of the obligation. This contradicts No. 4.

14. Again, he affirms, that the ground of obligation is identical with the reason, or consideration, in view of which the intellect affirms obligation: but this cannot be true. The vast majority of cases, in which we are conscious of affirming obligation, respect executive acts, or volitions, and in nearly all such cases the consideration in the immediate view of the mind, when it affirms the obligation, is some other than the ultimate reason, or ground of the obligation, and which is only a condition of obligation in that particular form. For example, the revealed will of God, the utility of the act, as preaching the gospel, or the rightness of the act, either of these may be, and often is, the reason immediately before the mind, and the reason thought of at the time, the question of duty is settled and the affirmation of obligation to perform an act of benevolence is made. But who does not know, and admit, that neither of the above reasons can be the ground of obligation to will or to do good? The writer who makes the assertion we are examining, has elsewhere and often affirmed that, in all acts of benevolence, or of willing the good of being, the intrinsic nature of the good is the ground of the obligation. It is absurd to deny this, as we have abundantly seen. The facts are these: we necessarily assume our obligation to will, and do good for its own sake. This is a necessarily-assumed and omnipresent truth with every moral agent. We go forth with this assumption in our minds; we therefore only need to know that any act, or course of action on our part, is demanded to promote the highest good; and we therefore, and in view thereof, affirm obligation to perform that act, or to pursue that course of action. Suppose a young man to be inquiring after the path of duty in regard to his future course of life; he seeks to know the will of God respecting it; he inquires after the probabilities of greater or less usefulness. If he can get clear light upon either of these points, he regards the question as settled. He has now ascertained what is right, and affirms his obligation accordingly. Now, should you ask him what had settled his convictions, and in view of what considerations he has affirmed his obligation, to preach the gospel, for example, he would naturally refer either to the will of God, to the utility of that course of life, or, perhaps, to the rightness of it. But would he, in thus doing, assign, or even suppose himself to assign, the fundamental reason or ground of the obligation? No, indeed, he cannot but know that the good to be secured by this course of life, is the ground of the obligation to pursue it; that but for the intrinsic value of the good, such a course of life would not be useful. But for the intrinsic value of the good, God would not will that he should pursue that course of life; that but for the intrinsic value of the good, such a course would not be right. God's willing that he should preach the gospel; the utility of this course of life, and of course its rightness, all depend upon the intrinsic value of the good, to which this course of life sustains the relation of a means. The will of God, the useful tendency, or the rightness of the course, might either or all of them be thought of as reasons in view of which the obligation was affirmed, while it is self-evident that neither of them can be the ground of the obligation. In regard to executive acts, or the use of means to secure good, we almost never decide what is duty by reference to, or in view of, the fundamental reason, or ground of obligation which invariably must be the intrinsic nature of the good, but only in view of a mere condition of the obligation. Whenever the will of God reveals the path of usefulness, it reveals the path of right and of duty, and is a condition of the obligation in the sense that, without such revelation, we should not know what course to pursue to secure the highest good. The utility of any course of executive acts is a condition of its rightness, and, of course, of obligation to pursue that course. The ultimate reason, or ground of obligation to will and do good, is, and must be, in the mind, and must have its influence in the decision of every question of duty; but this is not generally the reason thought of, when the affirmed obligation respects executive acts merely. I say, the intrinsic nature of the ultimate end, for the sake of which the executive acts are demanded, must be in the mind as the ground of the obligation, and as the condition of the affirmation of the obligation to put forth executive acts to secure that end, although this fundamental reason is not in the immediate view of the mind, as the object of conscious attentions at the time. We necessarily assume our obligation to will good for its own sake; all our inquiries after diverse forms of obligation, respect ways, and means, and conditions, of securing the highest good. Whatever reveals to us the best ways and means, reveals the path of duty. We always affirm those best ways and means to be the right course of action, and assign the utility, or the rightness, or the will of God, which has required, and thus revealed them, as the reasons in view of which we have decided upon the path of duty. But, in no such case do we ever intend to assign the ultimate reason, or ground, of the obligation; and if we did, we should be under an evident mistake. In every affirmation of obligation, we do, without noticing it, assume the first truths of reason—our own liberty or ability; that every event must have a cause; that the good of universal being ought to be chosen and promoted because of its intrinsic value; that whatever sustains to that good the relation of a necessary means, ought to be chosen for the sake of the good; that God's revealed will always discloses the best ways and means of securing the highest good, and therefore reveals universal law. These first truths are at the bottom of the mind in all affirmations of obligation, and are, universally, conditions of the affirmation of obligation. But these assumptions, or first truths, are not, in general, the truths immediately thought of when obligation to put forth executive acts is affirmed. It is, therefore, a great mistake to say that whatever consideration is in the immediate view of the mind at the time, is the ground of the obligation.

15. With respect to obligation to will the good of being, he asserts—

(1.) That happiness is the only ultimate good.17

(2.) That all obligation to will good, in any form, is founded exclusively in the intrinsic value or nature of the good.18 To this I agree.

(3.) Again, he asserts repeatedly, that susceptibility of good is the sole ground of obligation to will good to a being.19 Here, again, it is plain that a mere condition is asserted to be the universal ground of obligation to will good. Were there no susceptibility of good, we should be under no obligation to will good to a being, but susceptibility for good is of itself no better reason for willing good than evil to a being. If susceptibility were a ground of obligation, then a susceptibility of evil would be a ground of obligation to will evil. This has been abundantly shown. This contradicts Nos. 4 and 2.

(4.) Again: holiness, he asserts, is a ground of obligation to will good to its possessor.20 We have seen that holiness is only a condition of obligation, in the form of willing the actual enjoyment of good by a particular individual, while in every possible instance, the nature of the good, and not the character of the individual, is the ground of the obligation. This contradicts Nos. 4 and 2.

(5.) He affirms that holiness is never a ground of obligation to will good to any being; and that so far as willing the good of any being is concerned, our obligation is the same, whatever the character may be.21 This as flatly as possible contradicts what he elsewhere affirms. The several positions of this writer contradict his fundamental position, and also each other, as flatly as possible. They are but a tissue of absurdities.

Some writers have held that the moral perfection of moral agents is the great end of creation, and that to which all such agents ought to consecrate themselves, and of course that the intrinsic nature of moral perfection is the ground of obligation. To this I reply,

It is true that the mind of a moral agent cannot rest and be satisfied short of moral perfection. When that state is attained by any mind, so far as respects its own present state, that mind is satisfied, but the satisfaction, and not the moral perfection, is the ultimate good. Moral perfection results in happiness, or mental satisfaction, and this satisfaction is and must be the ultimate good.

Observe, I do not say that our own happiness is the great end at which we ought to aim, or that the intrinsic value of our own enjoyment is the ground of obligation. But I do say that the highest good, or blessedness of the universe, is the ultimate good, and its nature or intrinsic value is the ground of obligation.

LECTURE XI.

SUMMING UP.

I HAVE now examined, I believe, all the various theories of the ground of obligation. I have still further to remark upon the practical influence of these various theories, for the purpose of showing the fundamental importance of a right understanding of this question. The question lies at the very foundation of all morality and religion. A mistake here is fatal to any consistent system either of moral philosophy or theology. But before I dismiss this part of the subject, I must sum up the foregoing discussion, and place, in a distinct light, the points of universal agreement among those who have agitated this question, and then state a few plain corrolaries that must follow from such premises. I think I may say that all parties will, and do, agree in the following particulars. These have been named before, but I briefly recapitulate in this summing up. The points of agreement, which I now need to mention, are only these—

1. Moral obligation respects moral actions only.

2. Involuntary states of mind are not, strictly speaking, moral actions.

3. Intentions alone are, strictly speaking, moral actions.

4. Still more strictly, ultimate intentions alone are moral actions.

5. An ultimate choice or intention is the choice of an object for its own sake, or for what is intrinsic in the nature of the object, and for nothing which is not intrinsic in such object.

6. The true foundation of obligation to choose an object of ultimate choice is that in the nature of the object, for the sake of which the reason affirms obligation to choose it.

7. Ultimate choice or intention is alone right or wrong, per se, and all executive acts are right or wrong as they proceed from a right or wrong ultimate intention.

Now, in the above premises we are agreed. It would seem that a moderate degree of logical consistency ought to make us at one in our conclusions. Let us proceed carefully, and see if we cannot detect the logical error that brings us to such diverse conclusions.

From the above premises it must follow—

1. That the utility of ultimate choice cannot be a foundation of obligation to choose, for this would be to transfer the ground of obligation from what is intrinsic in the object chosen to the useful tendency of the choice itself. As I have said, utility is a condition of obligation to put forth an executive act, but can never be a foundation of obligation, for the utility of the choice is not a reason found exclusively, or at all, in the object of choice.

2. From the above premises it also follows, that the moral character of the choice cannot be a foundation of obligation to choose, for this reason is not intrinsic in the object of choice. To affirm that the character of choice is the ground of obligation to choose, is to transfer the ground of obligation to choose, from the object chosen to the character of the choice itself; but this is a contradiction of the premises.

3. The relation of one being to another cannot be the ground of obligation to will good to that other, for the ground of obligation to will good to another must be the intrinsic nature of the good, and not the relations of one being to another. Relations may be conditions of obligation to seek to promote the good of particular individuals; but in every case the nature of the good is the ground of the obligation.

4. Neither the relation of utility, nor that of moral fitness or right, as existing between choice and its object, can be a ground of obligation, for both these relations depend, for their very existence, upon the intrinsic importance of the object of choice; and besides, neither of these relations is intrinsic in the object of choice, which, according to the premises, it must be to be a ground of obligation.

5. The relative importance or value of an object of choice, can never be a ground of obligation to choose that object, for its relative importance is not intrinsic in the object. The relative importance, or value, of an object may be a condition of obligation to choose it, as a condition of securing an intrinsically valuable object, to which it sustains the relation of a means, but it is a contradiction of the premises to affirm that the relations of an object can be a ground of obligation to choose that object.

6. The idea of duty cannot be a ground of obligation; this idea is a condition, but never a foundation, of obligation, for this idea is not intrinsic in the object which we affirm it our duty to choose.

7. The perception of certain relations existing between individuals cannot be a ground, although it is a condition of obligation, to fulfil to them certain duties. Neither the relation itself nor the perception of the relation, is intrinsic in that which we affirm ourselves to be under obligation to will or do to them; of course, neither of them can be a ground of obligation.

8. The affirmation of obligation by the reason, cannot be a ground, though it is a condition of obligation. The obligation is affirmed, upon the ground of the intrinsic importance of the object, and not in view of the affirmation itself.

9. The sovereign will of God, is never the foundation, though it often is a condition, of certain forms of obligation. Did we know the intrinsic or relative value of an object, we should be under obligation to choose it, whether God required it or not.

The revealed will of God is always a condition of obligation, whenever such revelation is indispensable to our understanding the intrinsic or relative importance of any object of choice. The will of God is not intrinsic in the object, which he commands us to will, and of course cannot, according to the premises, be a ground of obligation.

10. The moral excellence of a being can never be a foundation of obligation to will his good, for his character is not intrinsic in the good we ought to will to him. The intrinsic value of that good must be the ground of the obligation, and his good character only a condition of obligation to will his enjoyment of good in particular.

11. Good character can never be a ground of obligation to choose anything which is not itself; for the reasons of ultimate choice must, according to the premises, be found exclusively in the object of choice. Therefore, if character is a ground of obligation to put forth an ultimate choice, it must be the object of that choice.

12. Right can never be a ground of obligation, unless right be itself the object which we are under obligation to choose for its own sake.

13. Susceptibility for good can never be a ground, though it is a condition, of obligation to will good to a being. The susceptibility is not intrinsic in the good which we ought to will, and therefore cannot be a ground of obligation.

14. It also follows from the foregoing premises that no one thing can be a ground of obligation to choose any other thing, as an ultimate; for the reasons for choosing anything, as an ultimate, must be found in itself, and in nothing extraneous to itself.

15. From the admitted fact, that none but ultimate choice or intention is right or wrong per se, and that all executive volitions, or acts, derive their character from the ultimate intention to which they owe their existence, it follows:—

(a.) That if executive volitions are put forth with the intention to secure an intrinsically valuable end, they are right; otherwise, they are wrong.

(b.) It also follows, that obligation to put forth executive acts is conditioned, not founded, upon the assumed utility of such acts. Again—

(c.) It also follows, of course, that all outward acts are right or wrong, as they proceed from a right or wrong intention.

(d.) It also follows that the rightness of any executive volition or outward act depends upon the supposed and intended utility of that volition, or act. Then utility must be assumed as a condition of obligation to put them forth, and, of course, their intended utility is a condition of their being right.

(e.) It also follows that, whenever we decide it to be duty to put forth any outward act whatever, irrespective of its supposed utility, and because we think it right, we deceive ourselves, for it is impossible that outward acts or volitions, which from their nature are always executive, should be either obligatory or right, irrespective of their assumed utility, or tendency to promote an intrinsically valuable end.

(f.) Not only must all such acts be supposed to have this tendency, but they must proceed from an intention, to secure the end for its own sake, as conditions of their being right.

(g.) It follows also, that it is a gross error to affirm the rightness of an executive act, as a reason for putting it forth, even assuming that its tendency is to do evil rather than good. With this assumption no executive act can possibly be right. When God has required certain executive acts, we know that they do tend to secure the highest good, and that, if put forth to secure that good, they are right. But in no case, where God has not revealed the path of duty, as it respects executive acts, or courses of life, are we to decide upon such questions in view of the rightness, irrespective of the good tendency of such acts or courses of life; for their rightness depends upon their assumed good tendency.

Objections.—1. But to this doctrine it has been objected, that it amounts to the papal dogma, that the end sanctifies the means. I will give the objection and my reply.—See Appendix. Reply to the Princeton Review.

2. That if the highest good, or well-being of God and of the universe, be the sole foundation of moral obligation, it follows that we are not under obligation to will anything except this end, with the necessary conditions and means thereof. That everything but this end, which we are bound to will, must be willed as a means to this end, or because of its tendency to promote this end. And this, it is said, is the doctrine of utility.

To this I answer—

The doctrine of utility is, that the foundation of the obligation to will both the end and the means is the tendency of the willing to promote the end. But this is absurd. The doctrine of these discourses is not, as utilitarians say, that the foundation of the obligation to will the end or the means is the tendency of the willing to promote that end, but that the foundation of the obligation to will both the end and the means, is the intrinsic value of end. And the condition of the obligation to will the means is the perceived tendency of the means to promote the end.

Again, the objection that this doctrine is identical with that of the utilitarian is urged in the following form:—

"The theory of Professor Finney, in its logical consequences, necessarily lands us in the doctrine of utility, and can lead to no other results. The affirmation of obligation, as all admit, pertains exclusively to the intelligence. The intelligence, according to Professor Finney, esteems nothing whatever as worthy of regard for its own sake, but happiness, or the good of being. Nothing else is esteemed by it, for its own sake, but exclusively as 'a condition or a means to this end.' Now, if the intelligence does not regard an intention for any other reason than as a condition or a means, in other words, if for no other reason does it care whether such acts do or do not exist at all, how can it require or prohibit such acts for any other reason? If the intelligence does require or prohibit intentions for no other reasons than as a condition or a means of happiness, this is the doctrine of utility, as maintained by all its advocates."22

To this I reply, 1. That I do not hold that the intelligence demands the choice of an ultimate end, as a condition or a means of securing this end, but exactly the reverse of this. I hold that the intelligence does "care" whether ultimate choice or intention exists, for an entirely different reason, than as a condition or means of securing the end chosen. My doctrine is, and this objector has often asserted the same, that the intelligence demands the choice of an ultimate end for its own sake, and not because the choice tends to secure the end. What does this objector mean? Only so far back as the next page he says, in a distinct head:—"The advocates of this (his own) theory agree with Professor Finney in the doctrine that the good of being is an ultimate reason for ultimate intentions of a certain class, to wit, all intentions included in the words, willing the good of being."23 Thus he expressly asserts that I hold, and that he agrees with me, that the good of being is an ultimate reason for all ultimate intentions included in the words, willing the good of being. Now, what a marvel, that on the next page, he should state as an objection, that I hold that the reason does not demand the choice of the good of being for its own sake, but only as a condition of securing the good. We agree that an ultimate reason, is a ground of obligation, and that the nature of the good renders it obligatory to choose it for its own sake; and yet this objector strangely assumes, and asserts, that the nature of the good does not impose obligation to choose it for its own sake, and that there is no reason for choosing it, but either the rightness or the utility of the choice itself. This is passing strange. Why the choice is neither right nor useful, only as the end chosen is intrinsically valuable, and for this value demands choice. He says, "Whenever an object is present to the mind, which, on account of what is intrinsic in the object itself, necessitates the will to act, two or more distinct and opposite acts are always possible relatively to such object. That act, and that act only can be right, which corresponds with the apprehended intrinsic character of the object."24

Now, just fifteen lines below, he states that there is no reason whatever for choosing an object, but the intrinsic nature or the utility of the choice itself. Marvellous. What, almost at the same breath, affirm that no choice, but that which consists in choosing an object for its own sake, can be right, and yet that no object should be chosen for its own sake, and that the intelligence can assign no reason whatever, for the choice of an object, except the rightness or utility of the choice itself. Now, he insists, that if I deny that the rightness of the choice is the ground of the obligation to choose the good of being, I must hold that the utility of the choice is the ground of the obligation, since, as he says, there can be no other reasons for the choice. Thus I am, he thinks, convicted of utilitarianism!!

But he still says,25 "In consistency with the fundamental principles of this theory, we can never account for the difference which he himself makes, and must make, between ultimate intentions and subordinate executive volitions. Both alike, as we have seen above, are, according to his theory, esteemed and regarded by the intelligence, for no other reasons than as a condition or a means of happiness. Yet he asserts that the obligation to put forth ultimate intentions is affirmed without any reference whatever to their being apprehended as a condition or a means of happiness; while the affirmation of obligation to put forth executive acts is conditioned wholly upon their being perceived to be such a condition or means. Now how can the intelligence make any such difference between objects esteemed and regarded, as far as anything intrinsic in the objects themselves is concerned, as absolutely alike?"26

To this I reply, that the forms of obligation to put forth an ultimate and an executive act, are widely different. The intelligence demands that the good be chosen for its own sake, and this choice is not to be put forth as an executive act, or with design, to secure its object. Obligation to put forth ultimate choice is, therefore, not conditioned upon the supposed utility of the choice. But an executive act is to be put forth with design to secure its ends, and therefore obligation to put forth such acts is conditioned upon their supposed utility, or tendency to secure their end. There is, then, a plain difference between obligation to put forth ultimate and executive acts. What difficulty is there, then, in reconciling this distinction with my views, stated in these lectures?

3. It is said "that if the sole foundation of moral obligation be the highest good of universal being, all obligation pertaining to God would respect his susceptibilities and the means necessary to this result. When we have willed God's highest well-being with the means necessary to that result, we have fulfilled all our duty to him."

To this I reply; certainly, when we have willed the highest well-being of God and of the universe with the necessary conditions and means thereof, we have done our whole duty to him: for this is loving him with all our heart, and our neighbour as ourselves. Willing the highest well-being of God, and of the universe, implies worship, obedience, and the performance of every duty, as executive acts. The necessary conditions of the highest well-being of the universe are, that every moral being should be perfectly virtuous, and that every demand of the intelligence and of the whole being of God and of the universe of creatures be perfectly met, so that universal mind shall be in a state of perfect and universal satisfaction. To will this is all that the law of God does or can require.

4. It is objected, "That if this be the sole foundation of moral obligation, it follows, that if all the good now in existence were connected with sin, and all the misery connected with holiness, we should be just as well satisfied as we now are."

I answer: this objection is based upon an impossible supposition, and therefore good for nothing. That happiness should be connected with sin, and holiness with misery, is impossible, without a reversal of the powers and laws of moral agency. If our being were so changed that happiness were naturally connected with sin, and misery with holiness, there would, of necessity, be a corresponding change in the law of nature, or of moral law: in which case, we should be as well satisfied as we now are. But no such change is possible, and the supposition is inadmissible. But it has been demanded,—

"Why does not our constitution demand happiness irrespective of holiness? and why is holiness as a condition of actual blessedness an unalterable demand of our intelligence? Why can neither be satisfied with mere happiness, irrespective of the conditions on which it exists, as far as moral agents are concerned? Simply and exclusively, because both alike regard something else for its own sake besides happiness."27

The exact point of this argument is this: our nature demands that holiness should exist in connection with happiness, and sin with misery: now, does not this fact prove that we necessarily regard holiness as valuable in itself, or as an object to be chosen for its own sake? I answer, no. It only proves that holiness is regarded as right in itself, and therefore as the fit condition and means of happiness. But it does not prove, that we regard holiness as an object to be chosen for its own sake, or as an ultimate, for this would involve an absurdity. Holiness, or righteousness, is only the moral quality of choice. It is impossible that the quality of a choice should be the object of the choice. Besides, this quality of righteousness, or holiness, is created by the fact, that the choice terminates on some intrinsically valuable thing besides the choice itself. Thus, if our reason did affirm that holiness ought to be chosen for its own sake, it would affirm an absurdity and a contradiction.

Should it be still asked, why our nature affirms that that which is right in itself is the fit condition of happiness, I answer, certainly not because we necessarily regard holiness, or that which is right in itself, as an object of ultimate choice or intention, for this, as we have just seen, involves an absurdity. The true and only answer to the question just supposed is, that such is our nature, as constituted by the Creator, that it necessarily affirms as it does, and no other reason need or can be given. The difficulty with the objector is, that he confounds right with good, and insists that what is right in itself is as really an object of ultimate choice, as that which is a good in itself. But this cannot be true. What is right? Why, according to this objector, it is the relation of intrinsic fitness that exists between choice and an object intrinsically worthy of choice. This relation of fitness, or rightness, is not and cannot be the object of the choice. The intrinsic nature or value of the object creates this relation of rightness or fitness between the choice and the object. But this rightness is not, cannot be, an object of ultimate choice. When will writers cease to confound what is right in itself with what is a good in itself, and cease to regard the intrinsically right, and the intrinsically valuable, as equally objects of ultimate choice? The thing is impossible and absurd.

5. But it is said, that a moral agent may sometimes be under obligation to will evil instead of good to others. I answer:—

It can never be the duty of a moral agent to will evil to any being for its own sake, or as an ultimate end. The character and governmental relations of a being may be such that it may be duty to will his punishment to promote the public good. But in this case good is the end willed, and misery only a means. So it may be the duty of a moral agent to will the temporal misery of even a holy being to promote the public interests. Such was the case with the sufferings of Christ. The Father willed his temporary misery to promote the public good. But in all cases when it is duty to will misery, it is only as a means or condition of good to the public, or to the individual, and not as an ultimate end.

6. It has been said, "I find an unanswerable argument against this theory, also, in the relations of the universal intelligence to the moral government of God. All men do, as a matter of fact, reason from the connection between holiness and happiness, and sin and misery, under that government, to the moral character of God. In the scriptures, also, the same principle is continually appealed to. If the connection was a necessary one, and not dependent upon the divine will, it would present no more evidence of the divine rectitude, than the principle that every event has a cause, and all that is said in the scriptures about God's establishing this connection, would be false. Virtue and vice are in their own nature absolute, and would be what they now are, did not the connection under consideration exist."28

(1.) This objection is based upon the absurd assumption, that moral law would remain the same, though the nature of moral agents were so changed that benevolence should naturally and necessarily produce misery, and selfishness produce happiness. But this is absurd. Moral law is, and must be, the law of nature. If the natures of moral agents were changed, there must of necessity be a corresponding change of the law. Virtue and vice are fixed and unchangeable only because moral agency is so.

(2.) The objection assumes that moral agents might have been so created as to affirm their obligation to be benevolent, though it were a fact that benevolence is necessarily connected with misery, and selfishness with happiness. But such a reversal of the nature would necessarily either destroy moral agency, and consequently moral law, or it would reverse the nature of virtue and vice. This objection overlooks, and indeed contradicts, the nature, both of moral agency and moral law.

(3.) We infer the goodness of God from the present constitution of things, not because God could possibly have created moral agents, and imposed on them the duty of benevolence, although benevolence had been necessarily connected with misery, and selfishness with happiness; for no such thing is, or was, possible. But we infer his benevolence from the fact, that he has created moral agents, and subjected them to moral law, and thus procured an indefinite amount of good, when he might have abstained from such a work. His choice was between creating moral agents and not creating, and not between creating moral agents with a nature such as they now have, or creating them moral agents, and putting them under the same law they now have, but with a nature the reverse of what they now have. This last were absurd, and naturally impossible. Yet this objection is based upon the assumption that it was possible.

7. It is said, that if any moral act can be conceived of which has not the element of willing the good of being in it, this theory is false. As an instance of such an act, it is insisted that revealed veracity as really imposes obligation to treat a veracious being as worthy of confidence, as susceptibility for happiness imposes obligation to will the happiness of such a being.

To this I reply,—

1. That it is a contradiction to say, that veracity should be the ground of an obligation to choose anything whatever but the veracity itself as an ultimate object, or for its own sake; for, be it remembered, the identical object, whose nature and intrinsic value imposes obligation, must be the object chosen for its own sake. This veracity imposes obligation to—what? Choose his veracity for its own sake? Is this what he is worthy of? O no, he is worthy of confidence. Then to treat him as worthy of confidence is not to will his veracity for its own sake, but to confide in him. But why confide in him? Let us hear this author himself answer this question:—

"There are forms of real good to moral agents, obligation to confer which rests exclusively upon moral character. That I should, for example, be regarded and treated by moral agents around me as worthy of confidence, is one of the fundamental necessities of my nature. On what condition or grounds can I require them to render me this good? Not on the ground that it is a good in itself to me. Such fact makes no appeal whatever to the conscience relatively to the good of which I am speaking. There is one and only one consideration that can, by any possibility, reach the conscience on this subject, to wit, revealed trust-worthiness. No claim to confidence can be sustained on any other ground whatever."29

Indeed, but how perfectly manifest is it that here a condition is confounded with, or rather mistaken for, the ground of obligation. This writer started with the assertion that confiding in a being had not "the element of willing good in it." But here he asserts that confidence is a good to him, which we are bound to confer, and asserts that the ground of the obligation to confer this good, is not the intrinsic value of the good, but his revealed veracity. Here then, it is admitted, that to confide in a being has "the element of willing good in it." So the objection with which he started is given up, so far as to admit that this confidence is only a particular form of "good willing," and the only question remaining here is, whether the nature of the good, or the revealed veracity, is the ground of the obligation "to confer this form of good." This question has been answered already. Why "confer" good rather than evil upon him? Why, because good is good and evil is evil. The intrinsic value of the good is the ground, and his veracity only a condition, of obligation to will his particular and actual enjoyment of good. He says, "no claim to confidence can be sustained on any other ground than that of revealed veracity." I answer, that no such claim can be sustained except upon condition of revealed veracity. But if this confidence is the conferring of a good upon the individual, it is absurd to say that we are bound to confer this good, not because it is of value to him, but solely because of his veracity. Thus, this objector has replied to his own objection.

But let us put this objection in the strongest form, and suppose it to be asserted that revealed veracity always necessitates an act of confidence, or its opposite, and that we necessarily affirm obligation to put forth an act of confidence in revealed veracity, entirely irrespective of this confidence, or this veracity, sustaining any relation whatever to the good of any being in existence. Let us examine this. We often overlook the assumptions and certain knowledges which are in our own minds, and upon which we make certain affirmations. For example, in every effort we affirm ourselves under obligation to make, to secure the good of being, we assume our moral agency and the intrinsic value of the good to being; and generally these assumptions are not thought of, when we make such affirmations of obligation. But they are in the mind: their presence then, is the condition of our making the affirmation of obligation, although they are not noticed, nor thought of at the time. Now let us see if the affirmation of obligation to put forth an act of confidence, in view of revealed truth or revealed veracity, is not conditioned upon the assumption that the revealed truth or veracity, and consequently confidence in it, does sustain some relation to, and is a condition of, the highest good of being. Suppose, for example, that I assume that a truth, or a veracity, sustains no possible relation to the good of any being in existence, and that I regard the truth or the veracity revealed, as relating wholly and only, to complete abstractions, sustaining no relation whatever to the good or ill of any being; would such a truth, or such a veracity, either necessitate action, when revealed to the mind, or would the intellect affirm obligation to act in view of it? I say, no. Nor could the intelligence so much as conceive of obligation to act in this case. It could neither see nor assume any possible reason for action. The mind in this case must be, and remain, in a state of entire indifference to such a truth and such veracity. Although the fact may be overlooked, in the sense of not thought of, yet it is a fact, that obligation to confide in truth and in revealed veracity is affirmed by reason of the assumption which lies in the intellect, as a first truth, that to confide in, or to be influenced by, truth and veracity, is a condition of the highest good of being, and the value of the good is assumed as the ground, and the relation of the truth and the veracity, and of the confidence as the condition of the obligation. Faith, or confidence in an act, as distinguished from an attribute, of benevolence, is a subordinate and not an ultimate choice. God has so constituted the mind of moral agents, that they know, by a necessary law of the intelligence, that truth is a demand of their intellectual, as really as food is of their physical nature; that truth is the natural aliment of the mind, and that conformity of heart and life to it is the indispensable condition of our highest well-being. With this intuitive knowledge in the mind, it naturally affirms its obligations to confide in revealed veracity and truth. But suppose the mind to be entirely destitute of the conception that truth, or confidence in truth, sustained any relation whatever to the good of any being;—suppose truth was to the mind a mere abstraction, with no practical relations, any more than a point in space, or a mathematical line; it seems plain that no conception of obligation to confide in it, or to act in view of it, could possibly exist in this case. If this is so, it follows that obligation to confide in truth, or in revealed veracity, is conditioned upon its assumed relations to the good of being. And if this is so, the good to which truth sustains the relation of a means, must be the ground, and the relation only the condition, of the obligation.

But to silence all debate, the objector appeals to the universal consciousness:—

"I now adduce against the theory of Professor Finney, and in favour of the opposite theory, the direct and positive testimony of universal consciousness. Let us suppose, for example, that the character of God, as possessed of absolute omniscience, and veracity, is before the mind, on the one hand, and his capacity for infinite happiness, on the other. I put it to the consciousness of every intelligent being, whether God's character for knowledge and veracity does not present reasons just as ultimate for esteeming and treating him as worthy, instead of unworthy of confidence, as his susceptibilities for happiness do for willing his blessedness, instead of putting forth contradictory acts?"— Moral Philosophy, p. 106.

Yes, I answer. But why does not this objector see that susceptibility for happiness is not the ground, but only a condition, of obligation to will the happiness of a being. Susceptibility for happiness, is in itself, no better reason for willing happiness, than susceptibility for misery is for willing misery. It is the nature of happiness that constitutes the ground, while susceptibility for happiness is only a condition of the obligation to will it, to any being. Without the susceptibility happiness were impossible, and hence there could be no obligation. But, the susceptibility existing, we are, upon this condition, under obligation to will the happiness of such a being for its own sake. The writer who makes this objection, has repeatedly fallen into the strange error of assuming and affirming that susceptibility for happiness is a ground of obligation to will happiness, and here he reiterates the assertion, and lays great stress upon it, and appeals to the universal consciousness in support of the proposition, that "revealed veracity presents reasons just as ultimate, for esteeming and treating a veracious being as worthy of confidence, as susceptibilities for good do for willing good." Yes, I say again: but neither of these presents ultimate reasons, and, of course, neither of them is a ground of obligation. Why does not this writer see that, according to his own most solemn definition of an ultimate act, this esteeming and treating a veracious being as worthy of confidence, cannot be ultimate acts? According to his own repeated showing, if veracity be a ground of obligation, that obligation must be to choose veracity for its own sake. But he says, the obligation is to esteem and treat him as worthy of confidence, and that this is "a real good which we are bound to render to him." What, the whole point and force of the objection is that this esteeming and treating are moral acts, that have no relation to the good of any being. This is strange. But stranger still, his veracity is not only a condition, but the ground, of obligation to render this good to him. We are to will his good, or to do him good, or to render to him the good which our confidence is to him, not because it is of any value to him, but because he is truthful.

It is perfectly plain that vast confusion reigns in the mind of that writer upon this subject, and that this objection is only a reiteration of the theory that moral excellence is a ground of obligation, which we have seen to be false.

LECTURE XII.

FOUNDATION OF MORAL OBLIGATION.

VI. LASTLY, SHOW THE PRACTICAL TENDENCY OF THE VARIOUS THEORIES.

It has already been observed that this is a highly practical question, and one of surpassing interest and importance. I have gone through the discussion and examination of the several principal theories, for the purpose of preparing the way to expose the practical results of those various theories, and to show that they legitimately result in some of the most soul-destroying errors that cripple the church and curse the world. I have slightly touched already upon this subject, but so slightly, however, as to forbid its being left until we have looked more stedfastly, and thoroughly, into it.

1. I will begin with the theory that regards the sovereign will of God as the foundation of moral obligation.

[This section is removed to as it does not pertain to Mahan and Finney's differences.] . . . .

2. I will next glance at the legitimate results of the theory of the selfish school.

This theory teaches that our own interest is the foundation of moral obligation.

[This section is removed to as it does not pertain to Mahan and Finney's differences.] . . . .

3. Let us in the next place look into the natural and, if its advocates are consistent, necessary results of utilitarianism.

This theory, you know, teaches that the utility of an action or of a choice, renders it obligatory. That is, I am bound to will good, not for the intrinsic value of the good; but because willing good tends to produce good—to choose an end, not because of the intrinsic value of the end, but because the willing of it tends to secure it. The absurdity of this theory has been sufficiently exposed. It only remains to notice its legitimate practical results.

(1.) It naturally, and, I may say, necessarily diverts the attention from that in which all morality consists, namely, the ultimate intention. Indeed, it seems that the abettors of this scheme must have in mind only outward action, or at most executive volitions, when they assert, that the tendency of an action is the reason of the obligation to put it forth. It seems impossible that they should assert that the reason for choosing an ultimate end should or could be the tendency of choice to secure it. This is so palpable a contradiction, that it is difficult to believe that they have ultimate intention in mind when they make the assertion. An ultimate end is ever chosen for its intrinsic value, and not because choice tends to secure it. How, then, is it possible for them to hold that the tendency of choice to secure an ultimate end is the reason of an obligation to make that choice? But if they have not their eye upon ultimate intention, when they speak of moral obligation, they are discoursing of that which is strictly without the pale of morality. I said in a former lecture, that the obligation to put forth volitions or outward actions to secure an ultimate end, must be conditionated upon the perceived tendency of such volitions and actions to secure that end, but while this tendency is the condition of the obligation to executive volition, or outward action, the obligation is founded in the intrinsic value of the end to secure which such volitions tend. So that utilitarianism gives a radically false account of the reason of moral obligation. A consistent utilitarian therefore cannot conceive rightly of the nature of morality or virtue. He cannot consistently hold that virtue consists in willing the highest well-being of God and of the universe as an ultimate end or for its own sake, but must, on the contrary, confine his ideas of moral obligation to volitions and outward actions, in which there is strictly no morality, and withal assign an entirely false reason for these, to wit, their tendency to secure an end, rather than the value of the end which they tend to secure.

This is the proper place to speak of the doctrine of expediency, a doctrine strenuously maintained by utilitarians, and as strenuously opposed by rightarians. It is this, that whatever is expedient is right, for the reason, that the expediency of an action or measure is the foundation of the obligation to put forth that action, or adopt that measure. It is easy to see that this is just equivalent to saying, that the utility of an action or measure is the reason of the obligation to put forth that action or adopt that measure. But, as we have seen, utility, tendency, expediency, is only a condition of the obligation, to put forth outward action or executive volition, but never the foundation of the obligation,—that always being the intrinsic value of the end to which the volition, action, or measure, sustains the relation of a means. I do not wonder that rightarians object to this, although I do wonder at the reason which, if consistent, they must assign for this obligation, to wit, that any action or volition, (ultimate intention excepted,) can be right or wrong in itself, irrespective of its expediency or utility. This is absurd enough, and flatly contradicts the doctrine of rightarians themselves, that moral obligation strictly belongs only to ultimate intention. If moral obligation belongs only to ultimate intention, then nothing but ultimate intention can be right or wrong in itself. And every thing else, that is, all executive volitions and outward actions must be right or wrong, (in the only sense in which moral character can be predicated of them,) as they proceed from a right or wrong ultimate intention. This is the only form in which rightarians can consistently admit the doctrine of expediency, viz., that it relates exclusively to executive volitions and outward actions. And this they can admit only upon the assumption, that executive volitions and outward actions have strictly no moral character in themselves, but are right or wrong only as, and because, they proceed necessarily from a right or wrong ultimate intention. All schools that hold this doctrine, to wit, that moral obligation respects the ultimate intention only, must, if consistent, deny that any thing can be either right or wrong per se, but ultimate intention. Further, they must maintain, that utility, expediency, or tendency to promote the ultimate end upon which ultimate intention terminates, is always a condition of the obligation to put forth those volitions and actions that sustain to this end the relation of means. And still further, they must maintain, that the obligation to use those means must be founded in the value of the end, and not in the tendency of the means to secure it; for unless the end be intrinsically valuable, the tendency of means to secure it can impose no obligation to use them. Tendency, utility, expediency, then, are only conditions of the obligation to use any given means, but never the foundation of obligation. An action or executive volition is not obligatory, as utilitarians say, because, and for the reason, that it is useful or expedient, but merely upon condition that it is so. The obligation in respect to outward action is always founded in the value of the end to which this action sustains the relation of a means, and the obligation is conditionated upon the perceived tendency of the means to secure that end. Expediency can never have respect to the choice of an ultimate end, or to that in which moral character consists, to wit, ultimate intention. The end is to be chosen for its own sake. Ultimate intention is right or wrong in itself, and no questions of utility, expediency, or tendency, have any thing to do with the obligation to put forth ultimate intention, there being only one ultimate reason for this, namely, the intrinsic value of the end itself. It is true, then, that whatever is expedient is right, not for that reason, but only upon that condition. The inquiry then, is it expedient? in respect to outward action, is always proper; for upon this condition does obligation to outward action turn. But in respect to ultimate intention, or the choice of an ultimate end, an inquiry into the expediency of this choice or intention is never proper, the obligation being founded alone upon the perceived and intrinsic value of the end, and the obligation being without any condition whatever, except the possession of the powers of moral agency, with the perception of the end upon which intention ought to terminate, namely, the good of universal being. But the mistake of the utilitarian, that expediency is the foundation of moral obligation, is fundamental, for, in fact, it cannot be so in any case whatever. I have said, and here repeat, that all schools that hold that moral obligation respects ultimate intention only, must, if consistent, maintain that perceived utility, expediency, &c., is a condition of obligation to put forth any outward action, or, which is the same thing, to use any means to secure the end of benevolence. Therefore, in practice or in daily life, the true doctrine of expediency must of necessity have a place. The railers against expediency, therefore, know not what they say nor whereof they affirm. It is, however, impossible to proceed in practice upon the utilitarian philosophy. This teaches that the tendency of an action to secure good, and not the intrinsic value of the good, is the foundation of the obligation to put forth that action. But this is too absurd for practice. For, unless the intrinsic value of the end be assumed as the foundation of the obligation to choose it, it is impossible to affirm obligation to put forth an action to secure that end. The folly and the danger of utilitarianism is, that it overlooks the true foundation of moral obligation, and consequently the true nature of virtue or holiness. A consistent utilitarian cannot conceive rightly of either.

The teachings of a consistent utilitarian must of necessity abound with pernicious error. Instead of representing virtue as consisting in disinterested benevolence, or in the consecration of the soul to the highest good of being in general, for its own sake, it must represent it as consisting wholly in using means to promote good:—that is, as consisting wholly in executing volitions and outward actions, which, strictly speaking, have no moral character in them. Thus consistent utilitarianism inculcates fundamentally false ideas of the nature of virtue. Of course it must teach equally erroneous ideas respecting the character of God—the spirit and the meaning of his law—the nature of repentance—of sin—of regeneration—and, in short, of every practical doctrine of the Bible.

LECTURE XIII.

FOUNDATION OF MORAL OBLIGATION.

PRACTICAL BEARINGS OF DIFFERENT THEORIES.

4. Practical bearings and tendency of rightarianism.

It will be recollected that this philosophy teaches that right is the foundation of moral obligation. With its advocates, virtue consists in willing the right for the sake of the right, instead of willing the good for the sake of the good, or, more strictly, in willing the good for the sake of the right, and not for the sake of the good; or, as we have seen, the foundation of obligation consists in the relation of intrinsic fitness existing between the choice and the good. The right is the ultimate end to be aimed at in all things, instead of the highest good of being for its own sake. From such a theory the following consequences must flow. I speak only of consistent rightarianism.

(1.) The law of benevolence undeniably requires the good of being to be willed for its own sake. But this theory is directly opposed to this, and maintains that the good should be chosen because it is right, and not because of the nature of the good. It overlooks the fact, that the choice of the good would not be right, did not the nature of the good create the obligation to choose it for its own sake, and consequently originate the relation of fitness or rightness between the choice and the good.

But if the rightarian theory is true, there is a law of right entirely distinct from, and opposed to, the law of love or benevolence. The advocates of this theory often assume, perhaps unwittingly, the existence of such a law. They speak of multitudes of things as being right or wrong in themselves, entirely independent of the law of benevolence. Nay, they go so far as to affirm it conceivable that doing right might necessarily tend to, and result in, universal misery; and that, in such a case, we should be under obligation to do right, or will right, or intend right, although universal misery should be the necessary result. This assumes and affirms that right has no necessary relation to willing the highest good of being for its own sake, or, what is the same thing, that the law of right is not only distinct from the law of benevolence, but is directly opposed to it; that a moral agent may be under obligation to will as an ultimate end that which he knows will and must, by a law of necessity, promote and secure universal misery. Rightarians sternly maintain that right would be right, and that virtue would be virtue, although this result were a necessary consequence. What is this but maintaining that moral law may require moral agents to set their hearts upon and consecrate themselves to that which is necessarily subversive of the well-being of the entire universe? And what is this but assuming that that may be moral law that requires a course of willing and acting entirely inconsistent with the nature and relations of moral agents? Thus virtue and benevolence not only may be different but opposite things; of course, according to this, benevolence may be sin. This is not only opposed to our reason, but a more capital or mischievous error in morals or philosophy can hardly be conceived.

Nothing is or can be right, as an ultimate choice, but benevolence. Nothing is or can be moral law but that which requires that course of willing and acting that tends to secure the highest well-being of God and the universe. Nothing can be moral law but that which requires that the highest well-being of God and of the universe should be chosen as an ultimate end. If benevolence is right, this must be self-evident. Rightarianism overlooks and misrepresents the very nature of moral law. Let any one contemplate the grossness of the absurdity that maintains, that moral law may require a course of willing that necessarily results in universal and perfect misery. What then, it may be asked, has moral law to do with the nature and relations of moral agents, except to mock, insult, and trample them under foot? Moral law is, and must be, the law of nature, that is, suited to the nature and relations of moral agents. But can that law be suited to the nature and relations of moral agents that requires a course of action necessarily resulting in universal misery? Rightarianism then, not only overlooks, but flatly contradicts, the very nature of moral law, and sets up a law of right in direct opposition to the law of nature.

(2.) This philosophy tends naturally to fanaticism. Conceiving as it does of right as distinct from, and often opposed to, benevolence, it scoffs or rails at the idea of inquiring what the highest good evidently demands. It insists that such and such things are right or wrong in themselves, entirely irrespective of what the highest good demands. Having thus in mind a law of right distinct from, and perhaps, opposed to benevolence, what frightful conduct may not this philosophy lead to? This is indeed the law of fanaticism. The tendency of this philosophy is illustrated in the spirit of many reformers, who are bitterly contending for the right, which, after all, is to do nobody any good.

(3.) This philosophy teaches a false morality and a false religion. It exalts right above God, and represents virtue as consisting in the love of right instead of the love of God. It exhorts men to will the right for the sake of the right, instead of the good of being for the sake of the good, or for the sake of being. It teaches us to inquire, How shall I do right? instead of, How shall I do good? What is right? instead of, What will most promote the good of the universe? Now that which is most promotive of the highest good of being, is right. To intend the highest well-being of God and of the universe, is right. To use the necessary means to promote this end, is right; and whatever in the use of means or in outward action is right, is so for this reason, namely, that it is designed to promote the highest well-being of God and of the universe. To ascertain, then, what is right, we must inquire, not into a mere abstraction, but what is intended. Or if we would know what is duty, or what would be right in us, we must understand that to intend the highest well-being of the universe as an end, is right and duty; and that in practice every thing is duty or right that is honestly intended to secure this. Thus and thus only can we ascertain what is right in intention, and what is right in the outward life. But rightarianism points out an opposite course. It says: Will the right for the sake of the right, that is, as an end; and in respect to means, inquire not what is manifestly for the highest good of being, for with this you have nothing to do; your business is to will the right for the sake of the right. If you inquire how you are to know what is right, it does not direct you to the law of benevolence as the only standard, but it directs you to an abstract idea of right, as an ultimate rule, having no regard to the law of benevolence or love. It tells you that right is right, because it is right; and not that right is conformity to the law of benevolence, and right for this reason. The truth is that subjective right, or right in practice, is only a quality of disinterested benevolence. But the philosophy in question denies this, and holds that, so far from being a quality of benevolence, it must consist in willing the good for the sake of the right. Now certainly such teaching is radically false, and subversive of all sound morality and true religion.

(4.) As we have formerly seen, this philosophy does not represent virtue as consisting in the love of God, or of Christ, or our neighbour. Consistency must require the abettors of this scheme to give fundamentally false instructions to inquiring sinners. Instead of representing God and all holy beings as devoted to the public good, and instead of exhorting sinners to love God and their neighbour, this philosophy must represent God and holy beings as consecrated to right for the sake of the right; and must exhort sinners, who ask what they shall do to be saved, to will the right for the sake of the right, to love the right, to deify right, and fall down and worship it. There is much of this false morality and religion in the world and in the church. Infidels are great sticklers for this religion, and often exhibit as much of it as do some rightarian professors of religion. It is a severe, stern, loveless, Godless, Christless philosophy, and nothing but happy inconsistency prevents its advocates from manifesting it in this light to the world. I have already, in a former lecture, shown that this theory is identical with that which represents the idea of duty as the foundation of moral obligation, and that it gives the same instructions to inquiring sinners. It exhorts them to resolve to do duty, to resolve to serve the Lord, to make up their minds at all times to do right, to resolve to give their hearts to God, to resolve to conform in all things to right, &c. The absurdity and danger of such instructions were sufficiently exposed in the lecture referred to.30 The law of right, when conceived of as distinct from, or opposed to, the law of benevolence, is a perfect strait-jacket, an iron collar, a snare of death.

This philosophy represents all war, all slavery, and many things as wrong per se, without insisting upon such a definition of those things as necessarily implies selfishness. Any thing whatever is wrong in itself that includes and implies selfishness, and nothing else is or can be. All war waged for selfish purposes is wrong per se. But war waged for benevolent purposes, or war required by the law of benevolence, and engaged in with a benevolent design, is neither wrong in itself, nor wrong in any proper sense. All holding men in bondage from selfish motives is wrong in itself, but holding men in bondage in obedience to the law of benevolence is not wrong but right. And so it is with every thing else. Therefore, where it is insisted that all war and all slavery, or any thing else is wrong in itself, such a definition of things must be insisted on as necessarily implies selfishness. But consistent rightarianism will insist that all war, all slavery, and all of many other things, is wrong in itself, without regard to its being a violation of the law of benevolence. This is consistent with such philosophy, but it is most false and absurd in fact. Indeed, any philosophy that assumes the existence of a law of right distinct from, and possibly opposed to, the law of benevolence, must teach many doctrines at war with both reason and revelation. It sets men in chase of a philosophical abstraction as the supreme end of life, instead of the concrete reality of the highest well-being of God and the universe. It preys upon the human soul, and turns into solid iron all the tender sensibilities of our being. Do but contemplate a human being supremely devoted to an abstraction, as the end of human life. He wills the right for the sake of the right. Or, more strictly, he wills the good of being, not from any regard to being, but because of the relation of intrinsic fitness or rightness existing between choice and its object. For this he lives, and moves, and has his being. What sort of religion is this? I wish not to be understood as holding, or insinuating, that professed rightarians universally, or even generally, pursue their theory to its legitimate boundary, and that they manifest the spirit that it naturally begets. No. I am most happy in acknowledging that with many, and perhaps with most of them, it is so purely a theory, that they are not greatly influenced by it in practice. Many of them I regard as the excellent of the earth, and I am happy to count them among my dearest and most valued friends. But I speak of the philosophy, with its natural results when embraced, not merely as a theory, but when adopted by the heart as the rule of life. It is only in such cases that its natural and legitimate fruits appear. Only let it be borne in mind that right is conformity to moral law, that moral law is the law of nature, or the law founded in the nature and relations of moral agents, the law that requires just that course of willing and action that tends naturally to secure the highest well-being of all moral agents, that requires this course of willing and acting for the sake of the end in which it naturally and governmentally results—and requires that this end shall be aimed at or intended by all moral agents as the supreme good and the only ultimate end of life;—I say, only let these truths be borne in mind, and you will never talk of a right, or a virtue, or a law, obedience to which necessarily results in universal misery; nor will you conceive that such a thing is possible.

5. The philosophy that comes next under review is that which teaches that the divine goodness, or moral excellence, is the foundation of moral obligation.

[This section is removed to as it does not pertain to Mahan and Finney's differences.] . . . .

6. The next theory to be noticed is that which teaches that moral order is the foundation of moral obligation.

The practical objection to this theory is, that it presents a totally wrong end as the great object of life. According to the teachings of this school, moral order is that intrinsically valuable end at which all moral agents ought to aim, and to which they are bound to consecrate themselves. If by moral order the highest good of being is intended, this philosophy is only another name for the true one. But if, as I suppose is the fact, by moral order no such thing as the highest good of God and the universe is intended, then the theory is false, and cannot teach other than pernicious error. It must misrepresent God, his law and government, and of course must hold radically false views in respect to the nature of holiness and sin. It holds up an abstraction as the end of life, and exalts moral order above all that is called God. It teaches that men ought to love moral order with all the heart, and with all the soul. But the theory is sheer nonsense, as was shown in its place. Its practical bearing is only to bewilder and confuse the mind. The idea that benevolence is true religion, can have no practical influence on a mind that has consistently embraced this theory of moral order. Any philosophy that obscures this idea of benevolence, and confuses the mind in respect to the true end of life, is fatal to virtue and to salvation.

Again: The theory must overlook or deny the fact that moral obligation respects the ultimate intention; for it seems impossible that any one possessing reason can suppose, that moral order can be the end to which moral beings ought to consecrate themselves. The absurdity of the theory itself was sufficiently exposed in a former lecture. Its practical bearings and tendency are only to introduce confusion into all our ideas of moral law and moral government.

7. We next come to the theory that moral obligation is founded in the nature and relations of moral agents.

The first objection to this theory is, that it confounds the conditions of moral obligation with its foundation. The nature and relations of moral beings are certainly conditions of their obligation to will each other's good. But it is absolutely childish to affirm that the obligation to will each other's good is not founded in the value of the good, but in the nature and relations of moral beings. But for the intrinsic value of their good, their nature and relations would be no reason at all why they should will good rather than evil to each other. To represent the nature and relations of moral agents as the foundation of moral obligation, is to mystify and misrepresent the whole subject of moral law, moral government, moral obligation, the nature of sin and holiness, and produce confusion in all our thoughts on moral subjects. What but grossest error can find a lodgment in that mind that consistently regards the nature and relations of moral beings as the foundation of moral obligation? If this be the true theory, then the nature and relations of moral agents is the ultimate end to which moral agents are bound to consecrate themselves. Their nature and relations is the intrinsically valuable end which we are bound to choose for its own sake. This is absurd. But if this philosophy misrepresents the foundation of moral obligation, it can consistently teach absolutely nothing but error on the whole subject of morals and religion. If it mistakes the end to be intended by moral agents, it errs on the fundamental principle of all morals and religion. As all true morality and true religion consist exclusively in willing the right end, if this end be mistaken, the error is fatal. It is, then, no light thing to hold that moral obligation is founded in the nature and relations of moral beings. Such statements are a great deal worse than nonsense—they are radical error on the most important subject in the world. What consistency can there be in the views of one who holds this theory? What ideas must he have of moral law, and of everything else connected with practical theology? Instead of willing the highest good of God and of being, he must hold himself under obligation to will the nature and relations of moral beings as an ultimate end.

8. The next theory in order is that which teaches that the idea of duty is the foundation of moral obligation.

But as I sufficiently exposed the tendency and practical bearings of this theory in a former lecture, I will not repeat here, but pass to the consideration of another theory.

9. The complexity of the foundation of moral obligation.

In respect to the practical bearings of this theory, I remark,—

(1.) The reason that induces choice is the real object chosen. If, for example, the value of an object induce the choice of that object, the valuable is the real object chosen. If the rightness of a choice of an object induce choice, then the right is the real object chosen. If the virtuousness of an object induce choice, then virtue is the real object chosen.

(2.) Whatever really influences the mind in choosing must be an object chosen. Thus if the mind have various reasons for a choice, it will choose various ends or objects.

(3.) If the foundation of moral obligation be not a unit, moral action or intention cannot be simple. If anything else than the intrinsically valuable to being is, or can be, the foundation of moral obligation, then this thing, whatever it is, is to be chosen for its own sake. If right, justice, truth, virtue, or anything else is to be chosen as an end, then just so much regard must be had to them, as their nature and importance demand. If the good or valuable to being be an ultimate good, and truth, and justice, and virtue are also to be chosen each for its own sake, here we meet with this difficulty, namely, that the good or valuable is one end to be chosen, and right another, and virtue another, and truth another, and justice another, and the beautiful another, and so on. Now if this be so, moral obligation cannot be a unit, nor can moral action be simple. If there be more ultimate considerations than one that ought to have influence in deciding choice, the choice is not right, unless each consideration that ought to have weight, really has the influence due to it in deciding choice. If each consideration has not its due regard, the choice certainly is not what it ought to be. In other words, all the things that ought to be chosen for their own sakes are not chosen. Indeed, it is self-evident that, if there is complexity in the ultimate end or end to be chosen, there must be the same complexity in the choice, or the choice is not what it ought to be; and if several considerations ought to influence ultimate choice, then there are so many distinct ultimate ends. If this is so, then each of them must have its due regard in every case of virtuous intention. But who then could ever tell whether he allowed to each exactly the relative influence it ought to have? This would confound and stultify the whole subject of moral obligation. This theory virtually and flatly contradicts the law of God and the repeated declaration that love to God and our neighbour is the whole of virtue. What! does God say that all the law is fulfilled in one word—love, that is, love to God and our neighbour? and shall a Christian philosopher overlook this, and insist that we ought to love not only God and our neighbour, but to will the right, and the true, and the just, and the beautiful, and multitudes of such like things for their own sake? The law of God makes and know only one ultimate end, and shall this philosophy be allowed to confuse us by teaching that there are many ultimate ends, that we ought to will each for its own sake?

10. Lastly, I come to the consideration of the practical bearings of what I regard as the true theory of the foundation of moral obligation, namely, that the intrinsic nature and value of the highest well-being of God and of the universe is the sole foundation of moral obligation.

Upon this philosophy I remark—

1. That if this be true, the whole subject of moral obligation is perfectly simple and intelligible; so plain, indeed, that "the wayfaring man, though a fool, cannot err therein."

(1.) Upon this theory, moral obligation respects the choice of an ultimate end.

(2.) This end is a clear, simple unit.

(3.) It is necessarily known to every moral agent.

(4.) The choice of this end is the whole of virtue.

(5.) It is impossible to sin while this end is sincerely intended with all the heart and with all the soul.

(6.) Upon this theory, every moral agent knows in every possible instance what is right, and can never mistake his real duty.

We may state it thus—

His duty is to will this end with all the known conditions and means thereof. Intending this end with a single eye, and doing what appears to him, with all the light he can obtain, to be in the highest degree calculated to secure this end, he really does his duty. If in this case he is mistaken in regard to what is the best means of securing this end, still, with a benevolent intention, he does not sin. He has done right, for he has intended as he ought, and acted outwardly as he thought was the path of duty, under the best light he could obtain. This, then, was his duty. He did not mistake his duty; because it was duty to intend as he intended, and under the circumstances, to act as he acted. How else should he have acted?

(7.) This ultimate intention is right, and nothing else is right, more or less.

(8.) Right and wrong respect ultimate intention only, and are always the same. Right can be predicated only of good will, and wrong only of selfishness. These are fixed and permanent. If a moral agent can know what end he aims at or lives for, he can know, and cannot but know, at all times, whether he is right or wrong. All that upon this theory a moral agent needs to be certain of is, whether he lives for the right end, and this, if at all honest, or if dishonest, he really cannot but know. If he would ask, what is right or what is duty at any time, he need not wait for a reply. It is right for him to intend the highest good of being as an end. If he honestly does this, he cannot mistake his duty, for in doing this he really performs the whole of duty. With this honest intention, it is impossible that he should not use the means to promote this end, according to the best light he has; and this is right. A single eye to the highest good of God and the universe, is the whole of morality, strictly considered; and, upon this theory, moral law, moral government, moral obligation, virtue, vice, and the whole subject of morals and religion are the perfection of simplicity. If this theory be true, no honest mind ever mistook the path of duty. To intend the highest good of being is right and is duty. No mind is honest that is not steadily pursuing this end. But in the honest pursuit of this end there can be no sin, no mistaking the path of duty. That is and must be the path of duty that really appears to a benevolent mind to be so. That is, it must be his duty to act in conformity with his honest convictions. This is duty, this is right. So, upon this theory, no one who is truly honest in pursuing the highest good of being, ever did or can mistake his duty in any such sense as to commit sin. I have spoken with great plainness, and perhaps with some severity, of the several systems of error, as I cannot but regard them upon the most fundamental and important of subjects; not certainly from any want of love to those who hold them, but from a concern, long cherished and growing upon me, for the honour of truth and for the good of being. Should any of you ever take the trouble to look into this subject, in its length and breadth, and read the various systems, and take the trouble to trace out their practical results, as actually developed in the opinions and practices of men, you certainly would not be at a loss to account for the theological and philosophical fogs that so bewilder the world. How can it be otherwise, while such confusion of opinion prevails upon the fundamental question of morals and religion?

How is it, that there is so much profession and so little real practical benevolence in the world? Multitudes of professed Christians seem to have no conception that benevolence constitutes true religion; that nothing else does; and that selfishness is sin, and totally incompatible with religion. They live on in their self-indulgences, and dream of heaven. This could not be, if the true idea of religion, as consisting in sympathy with the benevolence of God, was fully developed in their minds.

I need not dwell upon the practical bearings of the other theories, which I have examined; what I have said may suffice, as an illustration of the importance of being well-established in this fundamental truth. It is affecting to see what conceptions multitudes entertain in regard to the real spirit and meaning of the law and gospel of God, and, consequently, of the nature of holiness.

In dismissing this subject, I would remark, that any system of moral philosophy that does not correctly define a moral action, and the real ground of obligation, must be fundamentally defective. Nay, if consistent, it must be highly pernicious and dangerous. But let moral action be clearly and correctly defined, let the true ground of obligation be clearly and correctly stated; and let both these be kept constantly in view, and such a system would be of incalculable value. It would be throughout intelligible, and force conviction upon every intelligent reader. But I am not aware that any such system exists. So far as I know, they are all faulty, either in their definition of a moral action, and do not fasten the eye upon the ultimate intention, and keep it there as being the seat of moral character, and that from which the character of all our actions is derived; or they soon forget this, and treat mere executive acts as right or wrong, without reference to the ultimate intention. I believe they have all failed in not clearly defining the true ground of obligation, and, consequently, are faulty in their definition of virtue. It is truly wonderful, that those who hold with President Edwards, that virtue consists in disinterested benevolence, should also insist that right is the ground of obligation. This is a contradiction. If right be the true ground of obligation, then benevolence can never be right. Benevolence consists in willing the good of being for the sake of the good; in consecration to the good of being in general, for its own sake. But if right be the ground of obligation, it is universally duty to will right instead of the good of being as an end.

According to this theory, benevolence is sin. It is consecration to the wrong end. Nay, if any other theory than the one I have endeavoured to maintain be the true one, then disinterested benevolence is sin. But if the benevolence theory be the true one, then conformity to every other theory is sin. It is undeniable, that virtue must belong to the ultimate intention or choice of the end of life. The character must be as the end is for which a moral agent lives. The inquiry, then, must be fundamental, What is the right end of life? A mistake here is fatal to virtue.

[The rest of the Systematic Theology does not pertain to Mahan and Finney's differences. See our publication of that work for the full presentation of this subject.]
1 Lecture iii.

2 Mahan's Moral Philosophy.

3 Mahan's Moral Philosophy.

4 Ibid. pp. 55, 124. [In this volume page: ]

5 Ibid. pp. 117, 125. [In this volume page: ]

6 Ibid. pp. 55, 56. [In this volume page: ]

7 Ibid., pp. 56, 81, 85. [In this volume page: ]

8 Ibid. pp. 85, 142. [In this volume page: ]

9 Ibid., pp. 23, 143. [In this volume page: ]

10 Mahan's Moral Philosophy. p. 23. [In this volume page: ]

11 Ibid. pp. 79, 86. [In this volume page: ]

12 Ibid. pp. 76. [In this volume page: ]

13 Ibid. pp. 62, 63. [In this volume page: ]

14 Ibid. p. 86. [In this volume page: ]

15 Ibid. p. 86. [In this volume page: ]

16 Mahan's Moral Philosophy. pp. 106, 107, 108. [In this volume page: ]

17 Mahan's Moral Philosophy. pp. 114, 115. [In this volume page: ]

18 Ibid. p. 97. [In this volume page: ]

19 Mahan's Moral Philosophy. pp. 106, 107, 115, 116, 122. [In this volume page: ]

20 Ibid. pp. 102, 107. [In this volume page: ]

21 Ibid. p. 111. [In this volume page: ]

22 Mahan's Moral Philosophy, pp. 98, 99. [In this volume page: ]

23 Mahan's Moral Philosophy. p. 97. [In this volume page: ]

24 Ibid. p. 98. [In this volume page: ]

25 Ibid. pp. 100, 101. [In this volume page: ]

26 Ibid. pp. 100, 101. [In this volume page: ]

27 Mahan's Moral Philosophy. p. 104. [In this volume page: ]

28 Mahan's Moral Philosophy. p. 109. [In this volume page: ]

29 Mahan's Moral Philosophy. pp. 107, 108. [In this volume page: ]

30 See Lecture viii.

Copyright 2002, 2004 Alethea In Heart Ministries

Science of Moral Philosophy. By Asa Mahan