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benevolent mind is not seeking merely self-satisfaction, for this is not what Reason demands. But it seeks the satisfaction of being in general, including its own, and in willing the general good is sure to secure its own.
This brings me to remark again, that those objects external to the mind itself after which the mind struggles and which, when obtained, meet the demands of the constitution and satisfy the mind are not the ultimate good of the mind, but the satisfaction resulting from the possession of those objects is the ultimate good.
It appears to me that this must be self-evident. If the mind is perfectly satisfied, the satisfaction itself is to the mind a perfect, an ultimate, and an absolute good. For example, God possesses a self-existent and infinite nature. Certain things were demanded by the constitution and laws of his own being; such as that his will should be conformed to the Law of his Intelligence, or in other words that he should be virtuous. Now when this demand was met, and the heart or Will was conformed to the law of the Intelligence, which was from eternity with him, this demand of his Being was met-his Conscience, and his Intelligence were satisfied. They are so. His Intelligence is in a state of infinite and eternal satisfaction, or in other words, he possesses necessarily what we call an intellectual pleasure or delight or satisfaction in the state of his Will, or in other words, in the Will's conformity to the law of his Intelligence. Now mark: the virtue that meets this demand is to Him a good, because it meets a demand of his Being. But it is not the ultimate good, but the satisfaction which he has in that state of his Willis the ultimate good. So there were many other ideas of the Divine Reason, such as the idea of the Just, of the Right, the Beautiful, the Useful, the Merciful, and such like. Now the Intelligence demanded that these ideas should be realized, and the Sensibility also desires the realization of these ideas. In other words still, the realization of these ideas was not anly demanded by the Intelligence, but their realization was an object of rational desire.
When creative power went forth for the realization of these ideas, when the universe sprang into existence as the archetype or living expression and exemplification of these ideas, the Divine Mind was satisfied. He is represented as having looked upon all that He had made, and pronounced it "very good." That is, He was satisfied with the work of his hands. He beheld the realization of the ideas of his own Reason, and saw that these demands of his being were met. Now
observe: from eternity these things were present to God in such a sense that He was from eternity satisfied with or enjoyed the realization of all these ideas. In other words, every demand of his Being was from eternity met-since from eternity all things that are or will be have been present to the Divine Omniscience.
Now I inquire what must be the ultimate good of God? Certainly not these created things, not any thing created or uncreated that is so correlated to Him as to meet a demand of his Being with the exception of this one thing—the infinite satisfaction of the Divine Mind. God can say, I have no want. All the demands of his infinite mind are fully met. The ideas of his Reason are realized. His desires are, upon the whole, fulfilled, and every power and susceptibility is full. His satisfaction is perfect and infinite. When I say all the demands of his nature are met, I mean that his Omniscience embraces all events, and to Him all things that will be, are already to Him in such a sense as to satisfy the Divine Mind. He pronounces it all very good, in the sense that, upon the whole, he is satisfied.
That state of mind, the Satisfaction, the perfect and infinite Rest of the Divine Mind, in having every demand of His being met, is His ultimate good.
Now, it is self-evident, that this must also be the ultimate good of every being in existence. That which meets the demands of His being is not its ultimate good, with the single exception of the satisfaction that results from having all the other demands of every department of the being fully met and satisfied. This satisfaction is the ultimate demand of our being. That is, it is that which is ultimately demanded, and for the sake of which all the other things are demanded. This is an ultimate good. But that which meets no other demand of our being, can be the ultimate good; for all these things, whatever they are, only result in satisfaction, but do not constitute it. Satisfaction is, and must be, the ultimate good; and whatever produces this result must be only a relative good. The highest well-being of God and of the universe, then, or the highest good of universal being must consist in a state of entire satisfaction. Whenever a mind is in a state in which it can affirm, I have no wants that are unsupplied, my whole being is satisfied-that state of satisfaction that results from the meeting of all the demands of the constitution, is, and it seems to me must be, the ultimate good of the being.
Here let it be observed, that Satisfaction of mind, in the
sense in which I have explained it, is the ultimate good of being, whether any one possesses it or not. The Reason af firms, that it is an ultimate and an absolute good, for any mind to be perfectly and universally satisfied. This is the thing which ought to be willed for its own sake, whether any one ever possesses it or not. Every Moral Agent ought to will the perfect satisfaction of God and of all beings, for the sake of the intrinsic value of that state of mind.
They only, of Moral Agents, will possess this ultimate Good, whose heart and life are conformed to the dictates of their Intelligence, and every want or demand of whose being is met and fully satisfied.
Just so far as any mind is entirely satisfied, just so far it possesses that which belongs to or constitutes the ultimate good. Suppose my heart to be entirely conformed to the Law of my Intelligence-thus far my Conscience, my Intelligence and my Sensibility are satisfied. My Sensibility is satisfied thus far, for the conformity of my Will to the Law of my Intelligence is not only a demand of my Intelligence, but of my Sensibility. So that if I am virtuous, thus far I am satisfied whether any body else is virtuous or not. Thus far I possess that satisfaction which constitutes the ultimate good. But as yet, I may not possess this in perfection. All the demands of my being, in respect to myself and others, may not be met, and consequently my satisfaction may not be perfect and universal. But so far as I have it, it is in kind of the ultimate good. I shall never possess it in a perfect degree, until every demand of my constitution is met-until I can say, I have no want that is not supplied.
By the term satisfaction, I mean more than is generally understood by the term happiness. This term is generally used to express merely the satisfaction of the Sensibility. There is, however, such a thing as intellectual satisfaction, the satisfaction of Conscience. In other words, there is a natural, and if I may so speak, a moral satisfaction. The demands of the Intelligence and of the Heart and of the Sensibility, are all fully met. This results in a state of universal and entire mental satisfaction. It is a state perhaps well and fully expressed by the term BLESSEDNESS. Every power and susceptibility is full, is satisfied. The mind can say, it is enough, I have no want. This state must be the ultimate and the absolute good. Whatever conduces to this state, whatever meets any demand of any power or susceptibility, is a means, or condition of this
state, and is in this sense a good. It is not an absolute, but a relative good. This appears to be self-evident. When I can say that every demand of my being is met, then I possess the ultimate good in a degree that is unmixed with any alloy. If the demands of my Intelligence, or of any power of my being are enlarged, if I come into relations where my constitution demands more, when these demands are all met, my satisfaction will increase. But so long as my satisfaction is universal and complete, my blessedness is perfect in the sense that I have no want that is not fully met. This satisfaction, let it be repeated, is, and must be the ultimate good of being.
The Intelligence of a Moral Agent demands moral order. But Moral Order itself is not the ultimate good. But the satisfaction which the mind has in contemplating a state of Moral Order is an ultimate good.
Here again let me observe that it has been insisted that those things demanded by the Intelligence must be affirmed to be a good in themselves, or we should not have pleasure in them, or in other words, we should not be satisfied with them. I perceive beauty. Now it is said that unless I affirm that beauty is a good in itself it would afford me no satisfaction to behold it. But this is certainly a mistake. As I have ob served before, the ultimate good belongs to sentient beings and must certainly be inseparable from them; that is, none but a sentient being can be the subject of ultimate good. The ultimate good of all beings must of necessity be subjective; that is, it must belong to themselves. As moral agents the ultimate good must consist in a state of mind. This should always be borne in mind. Now if it be objected that when we behold beauty for example, the Intelligence must pronounce it to be a good in itself as a condition of its producing satisfaction in us, I answer: To whom or what is beauty, as separate from sentient existences a good? I behold this archetype of my idea of beauty. Now in what sense can it be a good in itself? Can it be a good to itself? If not in what sense can it be a good in itself? Good as I have said, belongs to sentient beings. But in the case supposed, this beauty does not belong to any sentient existence. It is an object of contemplation distinct from all being. It is not a state of mind. To whom or to what then is it a good in itself? It is and must be a relative good to every beholder that has the idea of beauty. But it can by no means be a good in itself. The same is and must be true of all those archetypes of the Reason that do not consist in a state of mind.
They belong to no being. They can be in no sense a good in themselves, unless they are a good to themselves, which is absurd. They are good only relatively to those who have the idea whose archetype they are. This class of beings are satisfied or gratified with beholding them, not because they are good in themselves, but because being archetypes of the ideas of their own Reason, they necessarily take pleasure in them. Now it is not the archetype itself which I affirm to be an ultimate good, but I am so constituted that beholding the archetype of my idea affords me satisfaction, and this satisfaction is an ultimate good. It is a state of blessedness.
That which remains at present, is to examine this Philosophy in the light of Revelation; to see whether it recognizes the highest well being, blessedness, or satisfaction of God and of the Universe as the Foundation of Moral Obligation. And here I observe that it is agreed that the Law of God demands that that should be chosen which ought to be chosen; that the identical end which Moral Agents are required to choose is proposed as the ultimate end on which choice ought to terminate, by the Law of God. We will inquire then,
What is the true spirit and meaning of the Moral Law as revealed in the Bible? Its two great precepts are, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy Heart, with all thy Soul, with all thy Mind, and with all thy strength; and thy neighbor as thyself." Now it is agreed that this love is not a mere emotion or feeling, but that it consists in willing, choosing, intending an end. I observe again that it requires that something should be willed to God and our neighbor, or which is the same, to God and the universe of creatures. But what is this something that is to be willed to them? What is this love but good will, willing the good of God and of the Universe? What is of equal value to this? Nay what is of any intrinsic value but this? The highest well being of God and of the Universe must be that which we ought to will. And this must be the love which we are commanded to exercise. This implies the willing of the universal satisfaction of the Divine Mind with all the necessary means and conditions of this result; this satisfaction being the ultimate end both in respect to God and our neighbor, and the conditions and means as relatively valuable.
And here let me remark that it is very plain that the Law recognizes but one Foundation of Moral Obligation.
"The whole law" it is said "is fulfilled in one word-Love." "Therefore love is the fulfilling of the Law." And this love