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at the position taken by Dr. Wilson, to which I have alluded, and said he did not believe that "many men could be found, who could march up without winking to the maintenance of such a proposition as that." But to be consistent, I do not see but that my brethren, with or without winking," are driven to the necessity, either of "marching up" to maintaining the same proposition, or they must admit, that this objectionable paragraph in my lecture is the truth of God.
11. An eleventh attribute of Moral Law is Unity. Moral Law proposes but one ultimate end of pursuit to God, and to all moral agents. The whole of its requisitions in their spirit and last analysis, are summed up and expressed in one word, love or benevolence. This I only announce here. It will more fully appear hereafter. Law is a pure and simple idea of the reaIt is the idea of perfect, universal and constant consecration of the whole being, to the highest good of being. Just this is, and nothing more nor less, can be Moral Law; for just this, and nothing more nor less, is a state of heart and a course of life exactly suited to the nature and relations of moral agents, which is the only true definition of Moral Law.
To suppose, that under any possible or conceivable circumstances, the Moral Law should require any thing more or less, were to make a supposition contrary to the very nature of Moral Law. It were to overlook the proper definition of Moral Law, as has been said before.
12. Equity is another attribute of Moral Law. Equity is equality. That only is equitable which is equal. The interest and well-being of every sentient existence and especially of every moral agent, is of some value in comparison with the interests of others and of the whole universe of creatures. Moral Law, by a necessity of its own nature, demands that the interest and well-being of every member of the universal family shall be regarded according to its relative or comparative value, and that in no case shall it be sacrificed or wholly neglected without his forfeiture to whom it belongs. The distinc tion allowed by human tribunals between law and equity does not pertain to Moral Law, nor does or can it strictly pertain to any law. For it is impossible that that should be law, in the sense of imposing obligation to obey, of which equity is not an attribute. An inequitable law cannot be. The requirements of law must be equal. A moral agent may, by transgression, forfeit the protection of law and may come into such governmental relations by trampling on the Law, that Moral Law may demand that he be made a public example-that his interest
and well-being be laid upon the altar, and that he be offered a sacrifice to public justice as a preventive of crime in others. It may happen also that sacrifices may be demanded by Moral Law of innocent beings for the promotion of a greater amount of good than that sacrificed by the innocent. Such was the case with the atonement of Christ, and such is the case with the missionary and with all who are called by the Law of Love to practice self-denial for the good of others. But let it be remembered that Moral Law never requires or allows any degree of self-denial and self-sacrifice that relinquishes a good of greater value than that gained by the sacrifice. Nor does it in any case demand or permit that any interest not forfeited by its possessor, shall be relinquished or finally neglected without adequate ultimate compensation. As has been said, every interest is of some comparative value; and ought to be esteemed just in proportion to its comparative value. Moral Law demands and must demand that it shall be so regarded by all moral agents to whom it is known. "THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF" is its unalterable language. It can absolutely utter no other language than this, and nothing can be Moral Law or Law in any sense that ought to be obeyed, or that can innocently be obeyed which holds any other language. Law is not and cannot be an arbitrary enactment of any being or number of beings. Unequal Law is a misnomer. That is, that which is unequal in its demands is not and cannot be Law. Law must respect the interests and the rights of all and of each member of the universal family. It is impossible that it should be otherwise, and still be Law.
13. Expediency is another attribute of Moral Law.
That which is upon whole wise, is expedient,-that which is upon the whole expedient is demanded by Moral Law. True expediency and the spirit of Moral Law are always identical. Expediency may be inconsistent with the letter, but never with the spirit of Moral Law. Law in the form of commandment is a revelation or declaration of that course which is expedient. It is expediency revealed, as in the case of the commandments of the decalogue, and the same is true of every precept of the Bible, it reveals to us what is expedient. A revealed law or commandment is never to be set aside by any considerations of expediency. We may know with certainty that what is required is expedient. The command is the expressed judgment of God in the case and reveals with unerring certainty the true path of expediency. When Paul says, "All things are lawful unto me but all things
are not expedient," we must not understand him as meaning that all things in the absolute sense were lawful to him, or that any thing was in this sense lawful to him that was not expedient. But he doubtless intended that many things were inexpedient that are not expressly prohibited by the letter of the law, that the spirit of the law prohibited many things not expressly forbidden by the letter. It should never be forgotten that that which is plainly demanded by the highest good of the universe is Law. It is expedient. It is wise. The true spirit of the Moral Law does and must demand it. So, on the other hand, whatever is plainly inconsistent with the highest good of the universe is illegal, unwise, inexpedient, and must be prohibited by the spirit of Moral Law. But let the thought be repeated, that the Bible precepts always reveal that which is truly expedient, and in no case are we at liberty to set aside the spirit of any commandment upon the supposition that expediency requires it. Some have denounced the doctrine of expediency altogether as at all times inconsistent with the Law of Right. These philosophers proceed upon the assumption that the Law of Right and the Law of Benevolence are not identical but inconsistent with each other. This is a common but fundamental mistake, which leads me to remark that,
14. Exclusiveness is another attribute of Moral Law. That is, Moral Law is the only possible rule of Moral Obligation. A distinction is usually made between Moral, Ceremonial, Civil, and Positive Laws. This distinction is in some respects convenient, but is liable to mislead and to create an impression that a law can be obligatory, or in other words that that can be Law that has not the attributes of Moral Law. Nothing can be Law in any proper sense of the term that is not and would not be universally obligatory upon moral agents under the same circumstances. It is Law because and only because that under all the circumstances of the case the course prescribed is fit, proper, suitable to their natures, relations and circumstances. There can be no Law as a rule of action for moral agents but Moral Law, or the Law of Benevolence. Every other rule is absolutely excluded by the very nature of Moral Law. Surely there can be no Law that is or can be obligatory upon moral agents but one suited to and founded in their nature, relations and circumstances. This is and must be the Law of Love or Benevolence. This is the Law of Right and nothing else is or can be. Every thing else that claims to be Law and to impose obligation upon moral agents, from what
ever source it emanates, is not and cannot be a Law, but must be an imposition and "a thing of nought."
15. Utility is also an attribute of Moral Law. Law proposes the highest good of universal being as its end and requires all moral agents to consecrate themselves to the promotion of this end. Consequently Utility must be one of its attributes. That which is upon the whole in the highest degree useful to the universe must be demanded by Moral Law. Moral Law must, from its own nature, require just that course of willing and acting that is upon the whole in the highest degree promotive of the public good,-in other words, that which is upon the whole in the highest degree useful. It has been strangely and absurdly maintained that right would be obligatory if it necessarily tended to and resulted in universal and perfect misery. Than which a more nonsensical affirmation was never made. The affirmation assumes that the Law of Right and of GoodWill are not only distinct, but may be antagonistic. It also assumes that that can be Law that is not suited to the nature and relations of moral agents. Certainly it will not be pretended that that course of willing and acting that necessarily tends to and results in universal misery can be consistent with the nature and relations of moral agents. Nothing is or can be suited to their nature and relations that is not upon the whole promotive of their highest well-being. Utility and Right are always and necessarily at one. They can never be inconsistent. That which is upon the whole most useful is right, and that which is right is upon the whole useful.
I. TERM GOVERNMENT DEFINED.
II. DISTINCTION BETWEEN MORAL AND PHYSICAL GOVERN
III. FUNDAMENTAL Reason of Moral Government.
IV. WHOSE RIGHT IT IS TO GOVERN.
V. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN THE RIGHT TO GOVERN.
VI. LIMITS OF THE RIGHT TO GOVERN.
VII. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN MORAL GOVERNMENT.
VIII. MORAL OBLIGATION DEFINED.
IX. CONDITIONS OF MORAL OBLIGATION.
I. Define the term government.
The primary idea of government, is that of direction, guidance, control, by, or in accordance with rule, or law. seems to be the generic signification of the term government; but it appears not to be sufficiently broad in its meaning, to express all that properly belongs to moral government, as we shall see. This leads me,
II. To distinguish between moral and physical government. All government, as we shall see, is, and must be either moral or physical; that is, all guidance and control must be exercised in accordance with either moral or physical Law; for there can be no Laws that are not either moral or physical. Physical government, is control, exercised by a law of necessity or force, as distinguished from the law of free will, or liberty. It is the control of substance, as opposed to Free Will. The only government of which substance, as distinguished from free will, is capable,is and must be physical. This is true, whether the substance be material or immaterial, whether matter or mind. States and changes, whether of matter or mind, that do not consist in the actions of free will, must be subject to the law of necessity. In no other way can they be accounted for. They must therefore belong to the department of physical government. Physical government, then, is the administration of physical law, or the law of force.
Thus, the states and changes of our Intellect and Sensibility, come under the department of physical government. These states and changes are effected by a law of necessity, as opposed to the law of liberty, or free will. The Intellect and Sensibility, as we shall abundantly see hereafter, are so correlated to the will, that its free actions produce certain changes in them, by a law of force, or necessity. Thoughts and feelings are not, strictly moral actions, for the reason that