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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 can not be the foundation of moral obligation. Moral obligation must be founded in the nature of that which moral law requires. Unless there be something in the nature of that which moral law requires 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 neighbor as an ultimate. This love or willing must respect and terminate on God and our neighbor. 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 neighbor. All these and innumerable other things are and may be conditions and means of the highest well-being of God and our neighbor. As such, the law may, and doubtless does, in requiring us to will the highest well-being of God and our neighbor 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 neighbor. One word expresses the whole of moral obligation. Now certainly this word can not 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 neighbor, 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 any thing else than God and our neighbor, is to be loved for its own sake, or that any thing else is to be chosen as an ultimate end than the highest well-being of God and our neighbor. In other words, I object utterly to any philosophy that makes any thing 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 neighbor 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 neighbor's moral worth shall be willed as an indispensable condition of his blessedness, and that if our neighbor 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 neighbor, 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 neighbor. 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, to frequently 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.
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 philosophy admits and maintains that the good, that is, the valuable to being, is the only ground of moral obligation,
and that in every possible case the valuable to being, or the good, must be intended as an end as a condition of the intention being virtuous. In this respect it maintains that the foundation of moral obligation is simple, a unit. But it also maintains that there are several ultimate goods or several ultimates or things which are intrinsically good or valuable in themselves, and are therefore to be chosen for their own sake or as an ultimate end; that to choose either of these as an ultimate end or for its own sake is virtue.
It admits that happiness or blessedness is a good, and should be willed for its own sake, or as an ultimate end, but it maintains that virtue is an ultimate good; that right is an ultimate good; that the just and the true are ultimate goods; in short that the realization of the ideas of the reason, or the carrying out into concrete existence any idea of the reason is an ultimate good. For instance: there were in the Divine mind from eternity, certain ideas of the good or valuable; the right, the just, the beautiful, the true, the useful, the holy. The realization of these ideas of the Divine reason, according to this theory, was the end which God aimed at or intended in creation; He aimed at their realization as ultimates or for its own sake, and regarded the concrete realization of every one of these ideas as a separate and ultimate good; and so certain as God is virtuous, so certain it is, says this theory, that an intention to realize these ideas for their own sake, or for the sake of the realization is virtue. Therefore the intention on our part to realize these ideas for the sake of the realization is virtue. Then the foundation of moral obligation is complex in the sense that to will either the good or valuable, the right, the true, the just, the virtuous, the beautiful, the useful, &c., for its own sake, or as an ultimate end, is virtue; that there is more than one virtuous ultimate choice or intention. Thus any one of several distinct things may be intended as an ultimate end with equal propriety and with equal virtuousness. The soul may at one moment be wholly consecrated to one end, that is, to one ultimate good, and sometimes to another, that is, sometimes it may will one good and sometimes another good as an ultimate end and still be equally virtuous.
In the discussion of this subject I will,
1. State again the exact question to be discussed.
2. Define again the different senses of the term good.
3. Show in what sense of the term good it can be an ultimate.
4. That satisfaction or enjoyment is the only ultimate good.
1. The exact question. It is this: In what does the supreme and ultimate good consist?
2. The different senses of the term good. (1.) Good may be natural or moral. Natural good is synonymous with valuable. Moral good is synonymous with virtue. Moral good is in a certain sense a natural good, that is, it is valuable as a means of natural good; and the advocates of this theory affirm that moral good is valuable in itself.
(2.) Good, as has formerly been said, may be absolute and relative. Absolute good is that which is intrinsically valuable. Relative good is that which is valuable as a means. It is not valuable in itself, but valuable because it sustains to absolute good the relation of a means to an end. Absolute good may also be a relative good, that is, it may tend to perpetuate and augment itself.
Good may also be ultimate.
Ultimate good is that intrinsically valuable or absolute good in which all relative good, whether natural or moral, terminates. It is that absolute good to which all relative good sustains the relation of a means or condition.
3. In what sense of the term good, it can be an ultimate. (1.) Not in the sense of moral good or virtue. This has been so often shown that it needs not be repeated here. I will only say that virtue belongs to intention. It is impossible that intention should be an ultimate. The thing intended must be the ultimate of the intention. We have seen that to make virtue an ultimate, the intention must terminate on itself, or on a quality of itself, which is absurd. Good can not be an ultimate in the sense of relative good. To suppose that it could, were to suppose a contradiction; for relative good is not intrinsically valuable, but only valuable on account of its relations.
(2.) Good can be an ultimate only in the sense of the natural and absolute, that is, that only can be an ultimate good, which is naturally and intrinsically valuable to being. This only can be an end or an ultimate good, namely, that which sustains such a relation to sentient existences as to be by reason of their own natures intrinsically valuable to them. And we shall soon inquire whether any thing can be intrinsically vuluable to them but enjoyment, mental satisfaction, or blessedness.
I come now to state the point upon which issue is taken, to wit: That enjoyment, blessedness, or mental satisfaction is the only ultimate good.
(1.) It has been before remarked and should be repeated" here that the intrinsically valuable must not only belong to and be inseparable from sentient beings, but that the ultimate or intrinsic absolute good of moral agents must consist in a state of mind. It must be something to be found in the field of consciousness. Nothing can be affirmed by a moral agent to be an intrinsic, absolute, ultimate good, but a state of mind. Take away mind, and what can be a good per se; or, what can be a good in any sense?
(2.) Again, it should be said that the ultimate and absolute good cannot consist in a choice or in a voluntary state of mind. The thing chosen is and must be the ultimate of the choice. Choice can never be chosen as an ultimate end. Benevolence then, or the love required by the law can never be the ultimate and absolute good. It is admitted that blessedness, enjoyment, mental satisfaction, is a good, an absolute and ultimate good. This is a first truth of reason. All men assume it. All men seek enjoyment either selfishly or disinterestedly, that is, they seek their own good supremely, or the general good of being. That it is the only absolute and ultimate good is also a first truth. But for this there could be no activity-no motive to action-no object of choice. Enjoyment is in fact the ultimate good. It is in fact the result of existence and of action. It results to God from his existence, his attributes, his activity, and his virtue, by a law of necessity. His powers are so correlated that blessedness can not but be the state of his mind, as resulting from the exercise of his attributes and the activity of his will. Happiness or enjoyment results both naturally and governmentally from obedience to law both physical and moral. This shows that government is not an end, but a means. It also shows that the end is blessedness and the means obedience to law. Obedience to law can not be the ultimate end of government, for,
[1.] Obedience to moral law consists in the love of God and our neighbor, that is, in willing good to God and our neighbor. The good and not the willing must be the end of government.
 The sanctions of government or of law in the widest sense of the term, must be the ultimate of obedience and the end of government. The sanctions of moral government must be the ultimate good and evil. That is, they must promise and threaten that which is in its own nature an ultimate good or evil. Virtue must consist in the impartial