« السابقةمتابعة »
tends to the ultimate intention only, or to the choice of an ultimate end, or of something for its own sake.
5. They agree in holding that an ultimate end is one chosen for what it is in and of itself, or for its own intrinsic value, and not as a condition or means of securing any other end.
6. They hold in common that the moral law as revealed in the Bible covers the whole ground of moral obligation-that is, that the Law of God as revealed in the Bible requires al! that is obligatory on moral agents.
7. They agree also that the sum of the requirements of the Moral Law is expressed in one word, Love; that the term love is comprehensive of all that the true spirit of the Moral Law requires.
8. They agree also that this love is not an emotion or mere involuntary feeling of any kind, but that it consists in ultimate choice, preference, intention, or in the choice of an ultimate end, that is, of something for its own sake, or for what it is in and of itself.
9. They agree that the fundamental reason of the obligation to choose an ultimate end must be found in the end itself, and that this reason, or that in the end which imposes obligation to choose it as an end, must be identical with the end itself. The fundamental reason for choosing a thing, is that in the thing which renders it obligatory to choose it. This reason is the end on which the choice ought to and must terminate, or the true end is not chosen. This brings me,.
VI. To show wherein they differ.
From the foregoing it must be plain that they must differ only in respect to the end on which choice, preference, intention, ought to terminate; that is, they differ in respect to that which moral agents ought to choose as an ultimate end. This is the true point of difference. The question on which they differ is this: What is the ultimate end to which moral agents are under obligation to consecrate their whole being?
VII. I am to show from Reason and Revelation what must be the Foundation of Moral Obligation.
This inquiry, as will be seen, resolves itself into an inquiry concerning the true spirit and meaning of the Law of God. What does the Moral Law mean? What does it require? What is the end which it commands moral agents to choose, will, intend, for its own sake? Let it be remembered that it is agreed that moral obligation cannot exist in respect to the choice of an ultimate end, unless there be something in the end itself that renders it worthy or deserving of being chosen
for its own sake. It is plainly impossible to choose any thing as an ultimate end or for its own sake, except as it is chosen for what it is in and of itself. And it is just as plain that there can be no obligation to choose it for what it is in and of itself except there be in it that which renders it worthy of choice. This brings me to lay down the following proposition:
The highest Well Being of God and of 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 of 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 to 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.
And here let it be observed that good may be willed for its own sake; that is, because it is good or valuable on condition that it belongs to or can be enjoyed by self. This may be the condition on which a moral agent chooses its existence. He may refuse to choose it because it is valuable, except on the condition that it belongs to self. Its relation to self may with him be the condition on which he will choose it. To choose thus is Selfishness.
Good may be chosen disinterestedly, that is, for its own intrinsic value to being in general, that is, the highest well be ing of being in general may be chosen for its own sake or on account of its intrinsic value. This is what is called disinter
It should be observed that all the actions of the Will consist in choices or willings. These actions are generally regarded as consisting in Choice and Volition. By choice is intended the selection or choice of an end. By volition is intended the executive efforts of the Will to secure the end intended.
The Nilling or refusing of the will is only choice in an opposite direction. In Nilling, the will as really chooses as in any other acts of will. If it refuses one end, it in the very act chooses another. If it refuses one means, it is only because it seeks another.
It should further be observed in this place that all intelligent choices or actions of the Will, must consist either in the choice of an end or of means to secure an end. To deny this is the same as to deny that there is any object of choice. If the Will acts at all, it wills, chooses. Ifit chooses, it chooses something-there is some object of choice. In other words, it chooses something for some reason, and that reason is truly the object of the choice. Or at least, the fundamental reason for choosing a thing is the object chosen. Now whenever the Will chooses, it chooses something for its own sake or for what it is in and of itself, or as a means or condition of securing that which is chosen for its own sake. To say that there can be an intelligent action of the Will that does not consist either in the choice of an end or of means to secure an end, is the same thing as to say that there is an action of the Will, when nothing whatever is willed, or chosen; which is absurd.
It should further be observed that the choice of an end implies the choice of all the known, necessary conditions and means of securing that end; that the choice of an end, secures and even necessitates, while the choice of the end continues, the choice of the known necessary conditions and
VIII. I am to show wherein that consists which constitutes the true Foundation of Moral Obligation; in other words, in what the highest Well-Being or Ultimate Good of sentient beings con
In discussing this question I will endeavor to show,
1. Wherein it can not consist.
2. Show wherein it must consist.
But first I must define the different sense of the term good. Good may be natural or moral. Natural good is synonymous with valuable. Moral good is synonymous with virtue. Moral good may be a natural good in the sense that it may be a means or condition of natural good. Good may be Absolute and Relative. Absolute good is that which is valuable in itself or intrinsically valuable. Relative good is that which is valuable as a means. Absolute good may also be a relative good, that is, it may be a means of perpetuating and augmenting itself. Good may also be Ultimate. Ultimate good is that absolute good in which all relative good terminates or results. It is that absolute good to which all relative good sustains the relation of conditions or means.
I would here remark also that there is a broad distinction between the conditions and means of the highest good of being and that which constitutes the absolute and ultimate good of being.
1. Wherein the ultimate and absolute good can not consist. By an ultimate good is intended that which is intrinsically valuable. Relative good is that which is valuable as a means of ultimate good. I here remark,
(1.) That the ultimate and absolute good must belong to being or to sentient existences. It must be inseparable from beings that have a conscious existence. It is nonsense to speak of an insentient or unconscious existence as being capable of or as being a subject of the absolute and ultimate good. Nothing can be a good or intrinsically valuable to such a being. A block of marble can not be the subject of good. To it nothing is good or evil. Let it be distinctly understood that none but a sentient being can know or possibly be a subject of good in the sense of the valuable. Iremark,
(2.) That with moral agents at least the ultimate good must consist in a state of mind. It must consist in something that must be sought and found, if found at all, within the field of consciousness.
[1.] The ultimate and absolute good in the sense of the intrinsically valuable, can not be identical with Moral Law. Moral Law as we have seen, is an Idea of the Reason. Moral Law and Moral Government must propose some end to be secured by means of law. Law can not be its own end. It can not require the subject to seek itself as an ultimate end. This were absurd. The Moral Law is nothing else than the Reason's Idea, or Conception of that course of willing and acting that is fit, proper, suitable to, and demanded by the nature, rela
tions, necessities, and circumstances of moral agents. Their nature, relations, circumstances and wants being perceived, the Reason necessarily affirms that they ought to propose to themselves a certain end, and to consecrate themselves to the promotion of this end for its own sake, or for its own intrinsic value. This end can not be law itself. The law is a simple and pure idea of the Reason and can never be in itself the supreme, intrinsic, absolute and ultimate good..
[2.] Nor can obedience, or the course of acting or willing required by the law, be the ultimate end aimed at by the law or the lawgiver. The law requires action in reference to an end, or that an end should be willed; but the willing and the end to be willed can not be identical. The action required and the end to which it is to be directed can not be the same. To affirm that it can, is absurd. It is to affirm that obe dience to law is the ultimate end proposed by Law or Government. The obedience is one thing, the end to be secured by obedience is and must be another. 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. To deny this is to deny the very nature of Moral Law and to lose sight of the true and only end of Moral Government. Nothing can be Moral Law and nothing can be Moral Government that does not propose the highest good of moral beings as its ultimate end. But if this is the end of law and the end of government it must be the end to be aimed at or intended by the ruler and the subject. And this end must be the foundation of moral obligation. The end proposed to be secured must be intrinsically valuable or that would not be Moral Law that proposed to secure it. The end must be good or valuable, per se, or there can be no Moral Law requiring it to be sought or chosen as an ultimate end, nor any obligation to choose it as an ultimate end.
It must be true, then, that the end proposed by Moral Law can neither be the law itself nor obedience to law. Obedience consists in the choice of an end. It is impossible that choice should be an ultimate end. To make choice an ultimate end were to choose choice, and to intend intention as an ultimate end-this is plainly impossible.
[3.] The absolute and ultimate good of being can not con