صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

thing, to do it to secure my own interest is an entirely different and opposite thing. To do it for the glory of God, is to make his glory my end. But to do it to secure my own interest, is to make my own interest the end.

6. But let us look at this theory in the light of the revealed conditions of salvation. "Except a man forsake all that he hath he can not be my disciple." If the theory under consideration be true, it should read: Except a man make his own interest the supreme end of pursuit, he can not be my disciple. Again; "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross," &c. This, in conformity with the theory in question, should read: "If any man will come after me let him not deny himself, but cherish and supremely seek his own interest. A multitude of such passages might be quoted, as every reader of the Bible knows.

7. But let us examine this theory in the light of Scripture declarations. "It is more blessed to give than to receive." This, according to the theory we are opposing, should read: It is more blessed to receive than to give. "Charity, (love) seeketh not her own." This should read: Charity seeketh her own. "No man (that is no righteous man,) liveth to himself." This should read: Every (righteous man) liveth to himself.

8. Let this theory be examined in the light of the spirit and example of Christ. "Even Christ pleased not himself." This should read, if Christ was holy and did his duty: Even Christ pleased himself, or which is the same thing, sought his own interest.

"I seek not mine own glory but the glory of Him who sent. me." This should read: I seek not the glory of Him who sent me, but mine own glory.

But enough; you can not fail to see that this is a selfish' Philosophy, and the exact opposite of the truth of God.

But let us examine this Philosophy in the light of the admission that Moral Obligation respects ultimate intention only. I ought to choose the good of God and my neighbor for its own intrinsic value; That is, as an ultimate end, and yet not as an ultimate end for its intrinsic value, but only as a means of promoting my own interest! This is a plain contradiction. What! I am to love, that is, will good to God and my neighbor as an ultimate end or for its own sake, merely to promote my own happiness!

III. I will in the next place consider the Utilitarian Philosophy.
This maintains that the utility of an act or choice renders

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

it obligatory. That is, Utility is the Foundation of Moral Obligation that the tendency of an act, choice, or intention, to secure a good or valuable end is the foundation of the obligation to put forth that choice or intention. Upon this theory I remark,

1. That it is absurd to say the foundation of the obliga tion to choose a certain end is to be found not in the value of the end itself, but in the tendency of the intention to secure the end. The tendency is valuable or otherwise, as the end is valuable or otherwise. It is and must be the value of the end and not the tendency of an intention to secure the end, that constitutes the foundation of the obligation to intend.

2. We have seen that the foundation of obligation to will or choose any end as such, that is, on its own account, must consist in the intrinsic value of the end, and that nothing else whatever can impose obligation to choose any thing as an ultimate end, but its intrinsic value. To affirm the contrary is to affirm a contradiction. It is the same as to say that I ought to choose a thing as an end, and yet not as an end, that is, for its own sake, but for some other reason, to wit, the tendency of my choice to secure that end. Here I affirm at the same breath that the thing intended is to be an end, that is, chosen for its own intrinsic value, and yet not as an end or for its intrinsic value, but for entirely a different reason, to wit, the tendency of the choice to secure it.

3. But we have also seen that the end chosen and the reaon for the choice are identical. If Utility be the foundation of Moral Obligation, then Utility is the end to be chosen. That is, the tendency of the choice to secure its end is the end to be chosen. This is absurd.

4. But the very announcement of this theory implies its absurdity. A choice is obligatory because it tends to secure good. But why secure good rather than evil? The answer is because good is valuable. Ah! 'here then we have another reason, and one which must be the true reason, to wit, the value of the good which the choice tends to secure. Obligation to use means to do good may and must be conditionated upon the tendency of those means to secure the end, but the obligation to use them is founded solely in the value of

the end.

But let us examine this philosophy in the light of the ora cles of God. What say the Scriptures?

1. The Law. Does this require us to love God and our neighbor because loving God and our neighbor tends to the

well-being either of God, our neighbor, or ourselves? Is it the tendency or utility of love that makes it obligatory upon us to exercise it? What! will good, not from regard to its value, but because willing good will do good! But why do good? What is this love? Here let it be distinctly remembered that the love required by the law of God is not a mere emotion or feeling, but willing, choosing, intending, in a word, that this love is nothing else than ultimate intention. What, then, is to be intended as an end or for its own sake? Is it the tendency of love or the utility of ultimate intention that is the end to be intended? It must be the latter if Utilitarianism is true.

According to this theory, when the law requires supreme love to God, and equal love to our neighbor, the meaning is, not that we are to will, choose, intend the well-being of God and our neighbor for its own sake or because of its intrinsic value, but because of the tendency of the intention to promote the good of God, our neighbor and ourselves. But suppose the tendency of love or intention to be what it may, the utility of it depends upon the intrinsic value of that which it tends to promote. Suppose love or intention tends to promote its end, this is a useful tendency only because the end is valuable in itself. It is nonsense then to say that love to God and man, or an intention to promote their good is required, not because of the value of their well-being, but because love tends to promote their well-being.

But the supposition that the Law of God requires love to God and man or the choice of their good on account of the tendency of love to promote their well-being, is absurd. It is to represent the law as requiring love, not to God and our neighbor as an end, but to tendency as an end. The law in this case should read thus: Thou shalt love the utility or tendency of Love with all thy heart, &c.

If the theory under consideration is true, this is the spirit and meaning of the Law: Thou shalt love the Lord and thy neighbor, that is, thou shall choose their good,not for its own sake or as an end, but because choosing it tends to promote it. This is absurd; for I ask again, why promote it but for its

own value?

Again this theory is absurd, because if the Law of God requires ultimate intention, it is a contradiction to affirm that the intention ought to terminate on its own tendency as an end. 2. Again, let us examine this theory in the light of the precepts of the gospel. "Do all to the glory of God." The

[ocr errors]

spirit of this requirement, as is admitted, is, intend, choose the glory of God. But why choose the glory of God? Why, if Utilitarianism be true, not because of the value of God's glory, but because choosing it tends to promote it. But again, I ask why promote it if it be not valuable? And if it be valuable, why not will it for that reason?

3. But it is said that we are conscious of affirming obligation to do many things on the ground that those things are useful or tend to promote good.

I answer that we are conscious of affirming obligation to do many things upon condition of their tendency to promote good, but that we never affirm obligation to be founded on this tendency. Such an affirmation would be a down-right absurdity. I am under an obligation to use the means to promote good, not for the sake of its intrinsic value, but for the sake of the tendency of the means to promote it! This is absurd.

I say again, the obligation to outward action or to use means may and must be conditionated upon perceived tendency, but never founded in this tendency. Ultimate intention has no such condition. The perceived intrinsic value imposes obligation without any reference to the tendency of the inten

tion.

4. But suppose any utilitarian should deny that moral obligation respects ultimate intention only, and maintain that it also respects those volitions and actions that sustain to the ultimate end the relation of means, and therefore assert that the foundation of moral obligation in respect to all those volitions and actions, is their tendency to secure a valuable end. This would not at all relieve the difficulty of Utilitarianism, for in this case tendency could only be a condition of the obligation, while the fundamental reason of the obligation would and must be the intrinsic value of the end which these may have a tendency to promote. Tendency to promote an end can impose no obligation. The end must be intrinsically valua ble and this alone imposes obligation to choose the end, and to use the means to promote it. Upon condition that any thing is perceived to sustain to this end the relation of a necessary means, we are for the sake of the end alone under obligation to use the means.

FOUNDATION OF MORAL OBLIGATION.

IV. RIGHTARIANISM.

IV. I now pass to the consideration of the theory that regards RIGHT as the foundation of Moral Obligation.

In the examination of this Philosophy I must begin by defining terms. What is Right? The primary signification of the term is straight. When used in a moral sense it means fit, suitable, agreeable to the nature and relations of moral agents. Right is objective and subjective. Objective right is an idea of the fit, the suitable, the agreeable to the nature and relations of moral beings. It is an idea of that choice or ultimate intention, and of the consequent course of life which is befitting to or obligatory upon moral agents. Objective right is moral law. It is the rule of moral action as it lies revealed in the ideas of the reason of every moral agent. Thus, strictly speaking, objective right is subjective law. This idea or law of reason is subjective as it lies in the mind of the subject of it. But as a rule of action or rather of ultimate intention, in other words, regarded as a rule or law of right, it is objective right and subjective law.

Subjective right is synonymous with righteousness, uprightness, virtue. It consists in or is an attribute of that state of the will which is conformed to objective right, or to moral law. It is a term that expresses the moral quality, element, or attribute of that ultimate intention which the law of God requires. In other words still, it is conformity of heart to the law of objective right, or, as I just said, it is more strictly the term that designates the moral character of that state of heart. Some choose to regard subjective right as consisting in this state of heart, and others insist that it is only an element, attribute, or quality of this state of heart, or of this ultimate intention. I shall not contend about words, but shall show that it matters not, so far as the question we are about to examine is concerned, in which of these lights subjective right is regarded, whether as consisting in ultimate intention conformed to law, or, as an attribute, element, or quality of this intention.

I would here repeat a remark made on a former occasion, that since moral obligation respects the ultimate intention, that is, the choice of an end for its intrinsic value, moral obligation must imply the perception or idea of the valuable. Until the mind perceives or has the idea of the valuable developed, it cannot have the idea of

« السابقةمتابعة »