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to consecrate themselves to the promotion of the great end of government, with a single and steady aim.
8. It implies obligation, both on the part of the ruler and ruled, to be always ready, and when occasion offers, actually to make any personal and private sacrifice demanded by the higher public good-to cheerfully meet any emergency, and exercise any degree of self-denial that can and will result in a good of greater value to the public, than that sacrificed by the individual, or by any number of individuals, it always being understood, that present voluntary sacrifices shall have an ultimate reward.
9. It implies the right and duty to employ any degree of force which is indispensable to the maintenance of order, the execution of wholesome laws, the suppression of insurrections, the punishment of rebels and disorganizers, and sustaining the supremacy of Moral Law. It is impossible that the right to govern should not imply this; and to deny this right is to deny the right to govern. Should an emergency occur, in which a ruler had no right to use the indispensable means of securing order, and the supremacy of Law, the moment this emergency occurred, his right to govern would, and must cease: for it is impossible that it should be his right to govern, unless it be at the same time, and for the same reason, his duty to govern: but it is absurd to say, that it is his right and duty to govern, and yet at the same time, that he has not a right to use the indispensable means of government. It is the same absurdity, as to say, that he has, and has not the right to govern at the same time. If it be asked, whether an emergency like the one under consideration is possible, and if so, what might justly be regarded as such an emergency, I answer, that should circumstances occur under which the sacrifice necessary to sustain, would overbalance the good to be derived from the prevalence of government, this would create the emergency under consideration, in which the right to govern would cease.
VI. Point out the limits of this right.
The right to govern is, and must be, just co-extensive with the necessity of government. We have seen, that the right to govern is founded in the necessities of moral beings. In other words, the right to govern, is founded upon the fact, that the highest good of moral agents cannot be secured, but by means of government.
It is a first truth of Reason, that what is good or valuable in itself, should be chosen for its own sake, and that it must therefore be the duty of moral agents to aim at securing, and so far
as in them lies, to use the means of securing the highest good of the universe for its own sake, or on account of its intrinsic value. If moral government is the only means by which this end can be secured, then government is a necessity of the universe, thence a duty. But under this head, to avoid mistake, and to correct erroneous impressions which are sometimes entertained, I must show what is not the foundation of the right to govern. The boundary of the right must, as will be seen, depend upon the foundation of the right. The right must be as broad as the reason for it. If the reason of the right be mistaken, then the limits of the right cannot be ascertained, and must necessarily be mistaken also.
1. Hence the right to govern the universe, for instance, cannot be found in the fact, that God sustains to it the relation of Creator. This is by itself no reason why He should govern it, unless it needs to be governed-unless some good will result from government. Unless there is some necessity for government, the fact that God created the universe, can give Him no right to govern it.
2. The fact that God is the Owner and Sole Proprietor of the universe, is no reason why he should govern it. Unless either his own good, or the good of the universe, or of both together, demands government, the relation of Owner cannot confer the right to govern. Neither God, nor any other being, can own moral beings, in such a sense as to have a right togovern them, when government is wholly unnecessary, and can result in no good whatever to God, or to his creatures. Government, in such a case, would be perfectly arbitrary and unreasonable, and consequently an unjust, tyrannical and wicked act. God has no such right. No such right cap, by possibility in any case exist.
3. The right to govern cannot be founded in the fact, that God possesses all the attributes, natural and moral, that are requisite to the administration of Moral Government. This fact is no doubt a condition of the right; for without these qualifications He could have no right, however necessary government might be. But the possession of these attributes cannot confer the right independently of the necessity of government: for however well qualified He may be to govern, still, unless government is necessary to securing his own glory and the highest well-being of the universe, he has no right to govern it. Possessing the requisite qualifications is the condition, and the necessity of government is the foundation of the right to govern. More strictly, the right is founded in the intrinsic
value of the interests to be secured by government, and conditionated upon the fact, that government is the necessary means or condition of securing the end.
4. Nor is the right to govern conferred by the value of the interests to be secured, nor by the circumstance of the necessity of government merely, without respect to the condition just above mentioned. Did not God's natural and moral attributes qualify Him to sustain that relation better than any one else, the right could not be conferred on Him by any other fact or relation.
5. The right to govern is not, and cannot be an abstract right based on no reason whatever. The idea of this right is not an ultimate idea in such a sense, that our intelligence affirms the right without assigning any reason on which it is founded. The human intelligence cannot say that God has a right to govern, because he has such a right; and that this is reason enough, and all the reason that can be given. Our Reason does not affirm that government is right, because it is right, and that this is a first truth, and an ultimate idea. If this were so, then God's arbitrary will would be law, and no bounds possibly could be assigned to the right to govern. If God's right to govern be a first truth, an ultimate truth, fact and idea, founded in no assignable reason, then He has the right to legislate as little, and as much, and as arbitrarily, as unnecessarily, as absurdly, and injuriously as possible; and no injustice is, or can be done; for he has, by the supposition, a right to govern, founded in no reason, and of course without any end. Assign any other reason as the foundation of the right to govern than the value of the interests to be secured and conditionated upon the necessity of government, and you may search in vain for any limit to the right. But the moment the foundation and the condition of the right are discovered, we see instantly, that the right must be co-extensive with the reason upon which it is founded, or in other words, must be limited by, and only by the fact, that thus far, and no farther, government is necessary to the highest good of the universe. No legislation can be valid in heaven or earth-no enactments can impose obligation, except upon the condition, that such legislation is demanded by the highest good of the Governor and the Governed. Unnecessary legislation is invalid legislation. Unnecessary government is tyranny. It can in no case be founded in right. It should, however, be observed, that it is often, and in the government of God, universally true, that the Sovereign, and not the subject, is to be the Judge
of what is necessary legislation and government. Under no government, therefore, are laws to be despised or rejected because we are unable to see at once their necessity, and hence their wisdom. Unless they are palpably unnecessary, and therefore unwise and unjust, they are to be respected and obeyed as a less evil than contempt and disobedience, though at present we are unable to see their wisdom. Under the government of God there can never be any doubt, and of course any ground for distrust and hesitancy, as it respects the duty of obedience.
VII. What is implied in Moral Government.
1. Moral Government implies a Moral Governor.
2. It implies the existence of Moral Law.
3. It implies the existence of Moral Agents as the subjects of Moral Government.
4. It implies the existence of Moral Obligation to obey Moral Law.
5. It implies the fact of Moral Character, that is, of praise or blame-worthiness in the subjects of Moral Government. A Moral Agent must be under Moral Obligation, and one who is under Moral Obligation, must have Moral Character. If he complies with obligation, he must be holy and praise-worthy; if he refuse to comply with Moral Obligation, he must be sinful and blame-worthy.
VIII. Definition of Moral Obligation.
Obligation is a bond, or that which binds. Moral Obligation is the bond, ligament, or tie that binds a moral agent to Moral Law. Moral Obligation is oughtness. It is a responsibility imposed on the moral agent by his own reason. It is a first truth of Reason that he ought to will the valuable for its own sake.
Moral Law is the rule in conformity with which he ought to act, or more strictly, to will.
Obligation we express by the term ought, and say that a moral agent ought to obey Moral Law, or that he ought to choose that which Moral Law requires him to will.
IX. The conditions of Moral Obligation.
1. Moral Agency. The conditions of Moral Agency are the attributes of Intelligence, Sensibility, and Free Will; or in other words power or capacity to know, to feel, and to will in conformity or disconformity with knowledge or with moral obligation. There must be Intelligence or the faculty of knowing the valuable or the good, and that the valuable or the good exists or is possible, that something exists or.
may exist which is a good in itself, or valuable on its own account. There must be reason to affirm Moral Obligation, to will the valuable because it is valuable. Moral Obligation cannot exist where there is no knowledge of moral relations, of the valuable, the good, where there is no Intellect to affirm Oughtness or Moral Obligation-to affirm the rightness of willing good or the valuable, and the wrongness of willing evil or of selfish willing.
It is generally agreed that Moral Obligation respects strict-ly only the ultimate intention or choice of an end for its own sake. Hence it follows that the idea of this end must be developed as a condition of Moral Obligation. The end must be first known or perceived. This perception must develop the idea or affirmation of obligation to choose or will it. The development of the idea of obligation necessitates the development of the ideas of right and wrong as its correlatives. The development of these last must necessitate the affirmation of praise and blame-worthiness as their correlatives.
The conditions of moral obligation, strictly speaking, are the powers of moral agency with the development of the ideas of the intrinsically valuable, of moral obligation and of right and wrong. It implies the development also of the ideas of praise and blame-worthiness.
2. Sensibility, or the power or susceptibility of feeling. Without this faculty the knowledge of the good or the valuable would not be possible. This faculty supplies the chronological condition of the idea of the good or valuable. Feeling pleasure or pain in the sensibility suggests and develops the idea of the good or the valuable in the intelligence, just as the perception of body suggests and develops the idea of space, or just as beholding succession suggests and develops the idea of time. Perceiving body or succession, is the chronological condition of the idea of space or time. So the feeling of pleasure in like manner suggests or develops the idea of the valuable. The existence then of the Sensibility or of a susceptibility to pleasure or pain must be a condition of Moral Agency and hence of Moral Obligation.
3. Moral Agency implies the possession of Free Will. By Free Will is intended the power of choosing or refusing to choose in compliance with moral obligation in every instance. Free Will implies the power of originating and deciding our own choices and of exercising our own sovereignty. in every instance of choice upon moral questions-of deciding or choos ing in conformity with duty or otherwise in all cases of moral