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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, I say again, is only the condition 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 reason for this, namely, the intrinsic value of the end to be intended. 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 is fundamental, that expediency is the foundation of moral obligation, 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, it 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 practice upon the utilitarian philosophy. This
teaches that the tendency of an action to secure good instead of 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 can not 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 executive 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 meaning of His law-the nature of repentance of sin-of regeneration-and in short of every practical doctrine of the Bible.
FOUNDATION OF MORAL OBLIGATION.
PRACTICAL BEARINGS OF DIFFERENT THEORIES.
IV. 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. The right is the ultimate end to be aimed at in all things instead of the highest good of being. From such a theory the following consequences must flow. I speak only of consistent Rightarianism.
1. If this theory is true, there is a law of right entirely distinct from the law of love or benevolence. The advocates of this theory often, perhaps unwittingly, assume 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 that it is conceivable that virtue 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 may be 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 things but opposite things, in case virtue or right and not benevolence is obligatory. This is not only ab
surd, but it is the grossest nonsense; and a more capital error in morals or philosophy can hardly be conceived.
Nothing is or can be right 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. Nay, 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. Rightarianism overlooks and misrepresents the very nature of moral law. Do but contemplate the grossness of that absurdity that maintains that that can be moral law that requires a course of willing that necessarily results in universal and perfect misery; that that may be right, and virtue, and obligatory that thus necesarily results in universal 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? The fact is that rightarianism not only overlooks, but flatly contradicts the very nature of moral law and sets up a law of right that is the direct opposite of 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. "Justitia fiat, ruat coelum," is its motto-Do right, if it ruins the universe; thus assuming that that can be right which shall ruin God and the universe. 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.
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. 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? in
stead 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, it is designed, not that it tends 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 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 this you have nothing to do with; 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 right 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 neighbor. 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 neighbor, 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. Who