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mind to produce an external choice to obey the laws of God, than two objects, one virtuous, and the other vicious, have to produce the internal choice of the virtuous object; and this I have shewed to be impossible.
We then ought to thank God, that he has bestowed on depraved man a desire of happiness: Without it, I believe man would usually will and act according to the internal choice he has in objects. But God having bestowed on man this desire, future rewards, and punishments have their influence to produce in his mind an external choice to perform virtuous voluntary actions. This choice produces a moral necessity of willing, and acting; and in this way, his voluntary actions do in some measure conform to the moral law.
I have said that moral necessity, and external obligation to do good, are imposed on the vicious mind by an external choice; and that choice has a kind of measure; it can be increased in strength by presenting additional motives to the understanding, or weakened by subtraction of motives. This being the case, I believe it is the duty of every hu. man government to enact penal laws, that will be powerful enough to influence the most vicious understanding to a clear and decided choice of virtuous voluntary actions. Then there will be strength in his moral necessity, and external obligations to
obey the laws; and then there will be safety in luman society; but penal laws should be proportioned to offences, or they will not be just.
III. Natural Law. The observations of Cicero on this subject are beautifully expressed; thougin I think they are not expressed with accuracy. This philosopher says, “ Right reason is indeed a true law, agreeable to nature, common to all men, constant, iminutable, eternal. It prompts inen to their duty by its commands, and deters them from evil by its prohibitions. It is not allowed to retrenchi any part of this law, or to make any alteration. therein, much less lo abolish it entirely, Neither the Senate nor people can dispense with it; nor does it require any interpretation, being clear of itself and intelligible. It is the same at Rome and Athens; the same to day and tomorrow. It is the same eternal and invariable law, given at all. times and places, to all nations; because God who is the author thereof, and has published it himself is always the sole master and sovereign of mankind. Whosoever violates this law, renounces, his own nature, divests himnself of humanity, and will be vigorously chastised for his disobedience, though he were to escape what is commonly dis. tinguished by the name of punishment."
Right Reason discovers the law, but it is not the: las itself. more modern philosopher, Judge
Wilson, has, in my opinion, come nigher the truth. He
says, 6 That law which God has made for man in his present state ; that law, which is communi. cated to us by reason and conscience, the divine monitors within us, and by the sacred oracles, che divine monitors without us. This law has undergone several divisions, and has been known by distinct appellations, according to the different ways in which it has been promulgated, and the different objects, which it respects.
“As promulgated by reason, and the moral sense, it has been called natural; as promulgated by the holy scriptures, it has been called revealed law.
« As addressed to man it bas been denominated the law of nature ; as addressed to political societies, it has been denominated the law of nations,
" But it should always be remeinbered, that this law, natural or revealed, made for man or for nations, flows from the same divine source: it is the law of God.
“Nature, or to speak more properly, the Author of nature, has done much for us; but it is his gra-_ cious appointment, and will, that we should also do much for ourselves. What we do, indeed, must be founded on what he has done; and the deficiencies of our laws must be supplied by the perfections of his. Human law must rest its authority, ultiinately, upon the authority of that law, which is divine.
66 Of that law the following are maxims--that no injury should be done that a lawlui engagement, voluntarily made, should be faithfully fulfilled. We now see the deep and solid foundations of human law." I Wilson's Works, 104.
There have been many ingenious systems of natural law inferred from the works of God ; but I see no necessity of this labour, as long as we have the Bible in our hands. This book will give us a more perfect knowledge of natural law, than we could possibly allain without it. It brings life, and immortality to light, and clearly expresses the will of God concerning us. The precepts contained in the
. scriptures, taken collectively, make a most perfect system of rules, which are enforced by the offer of rewards, and the commination of punishments, Some of these rules are to govern the understanding, and others, the will. The precepts that require, or forbid certain exercises of the affections*
* The word, affections, supposes a power or capacity in the mind to be affected, when acted upon by objects without the mind. I call this power, or capacity to be affected, a pas. sive power, or capacity, because its operations are effects pro. duced by objects acting upon the mind: Thus, I taste of fruit, and love it; but I should not love it, unless there was a power, or capacity in the mind to love it; this power or ca. pacity is put into the exercise of loving by the operation of fruit upon the mind, which exercise is an effect produced by the fruit, Sometime after tasting the fruit, I may think of of the mind, such as loving, and hating objects are to govern the understanding; but the precepts that require, or forbid voluntary actions, such as, Thou shalt uot kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, &c. are to govern the will. The law requires nothing of our wills that we are not naturally able to perform or omit; but it requires certain operations of the understanding, that we are not naturally able to perform, and the will cannot assist, because these are exercises of the affectious, and do not belong to the will.
To illustrate this, let us consider some precept, that requires the exercise of some affection of the mind. The law says “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart." Here loving God is required, which is an exercise of the affection, called love. To love an object there must be a relish of mind for that object; the object in itself considered must be pleasing or agreeable to the mind, or the
its flavour, and the same passive power will again be put im to the exercise of loving the fruit, which exercise seems to be an effect produced by thought. I can make no distinction between the mind having an affection for spiritual objects, and a relish for spiritual objects. In scripture, the beart is considered the seat of our affections ; but as their exercises are all effects, I consider them as belonging to the u'werstand. ing, or passive power of the mind; and we should be care. ful to distinguish them from volitions, which are not effects..