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This, then, is the operation of that part of our nature which performs so important a function in determining our duty, and which enables us to develop from our nature a system of moral action.



EFORE proceeding to show the actions which


are suitable to such a nature as that which has been delineated, we must pause to view this nature in its defective, sinful state. I propose, then, to inquire into the nature of sin, and the effect which it has produced on human nature, and the influence which it has on the actions which that nature prompts man to perform.

In ancient times the Stoics, and in modern times Bishop Butler, proposed to deduce a system of morality from the nature of man. Butler says in his "Dissertation on Virtue," that "we are so formed as to reflect very severely upon the greater instances of imprudent neglects and foolish rashness, both in ourselves and in others;" he says again, that "we are constituted so as to condemn falsehood, unprovoked violence, injustice, and to approve of benevolence," etc.; and he says also, that there "arises a proper application of the epithets incongruous, unsuitable, disproportionate, unfit, to actions which our moral

faculty determines to be vicious." Dr. Wardlaw, in his "Lectures on Christian Ethics," has called this in question, and thinks that a system of morals cannot be deduced from the present condition of human nature. He says of Butler, "We are certainly in a great degree allowed to lose sight of the present character of human nature, and are left to suppose it, in its present state, such as it was designed, by the Author of its constitution, to be" (p. 114). So Sir Alexander Grant, in his "Essays on the Ethics of Aristotle," objects to Butler's doctrine, and says, "We would ask him to define more accurately his idea of life according to nature.' Is the life of the saints and martyrs to be called a life according to nature? If not, is it better, or worse? . . . and if better, is not man to aim at the better?" (p. 257). The reference here, "of life according to nature," is to the Stoical formula' preserved by Cicero. Bishop Butler has anticipated the objection, because it was made in his day by Wollaston; and he has shown

Bishop Butler says, in the Preface to his Sermons, "that the ancient moralists had some inward feeling or other, which they chose to express in this manner, that man is born to virtue, that it consists in following nature, and that vice is more contrary to this nature than torture or death, their works in our hands are instances." This is what Cicero, in the De Officiis, lib. 3, chap. v., says: "Redeo ad formulam. Detrahere aliquid alteri, et hominem hominis incommodo suum augere commodum magis est contra naturam quam mors, quam paupertas, quam dolor, quam cætera quæ possunt aut corpori accidere aut rebus externis."

2 Butler says, "A late author of great and deserved reputation says that to place virtue in following nature is at best a loose way of talking." Reference is to Wollaston's Religion of Nature Delineated, p. 35.

in his "First Sermon on Human Nature," that there are three senses in which the word nature is used in the scriptures, and he has made it plain which one he receives, and on which he constructs his doctrine. Both Wardlaw and Grant acknowledge the force of his limitation of the meaning of the word, but they do not seem to appreciate the manner in which he thinks a system of morals can be deduced from it.

It may be well, then, to examine the nature of man as it is affected or changed by sin. The scriptures say that "sin is the transgression of the law." This is sin objectively viewed. But there is something behind this. There is some defect which causes man to transgress the law. This is sin subjectively viewed. It is this that we must now look at. What we want to get at is, what effect did the fall produce in man's nature? How was that nature different after the fall from what it was before the fall? Did the perpetration of sin introduce into the nature of man any new principle, or did it eliminate any principle that was already there? We say that the functions which the soul performs are its nature; that if we put together all that the soul can do, all the functions that it can perform, we shall have its nature. Did the first disobedience take from the soul the ability to perform any of its original functions? Is there now wanting in the soul the power of performing a function which it then, before the fall, could perform? This is the

real question which we must answer, when we propose to construct a system of morality from the nature of man. When we speak of morality springing from the nature of man, do we mean that nature as it was when it came from the hands of the Creator, or from that nature as it has manifested itself in all the ages down from the time of the fall? We may say sin is the will of man raised against the divine will. But this will not materially help us. That would not imply a disarrangement of the nature of man. It would not imply a new arrangement of the appetites, desires, passions, and sentiments, or that they would produce actions different from what they did produce. If nothing more was involved in sin than the setting man's will up against the divine will, then the breach might be conceived as being capable of being healed. The rebellion might be conceived as being laid aside, and the former relations being established; notwithstanding extraordinary and superhuman means might be required in order to remove the consequences of the transgression. There is something more in sin. We may call it a disease, and imply that the functions of the soul are not now performed as they were performed at the first. We may call it a disarrangement of the parts, of the relation of the appetites to the desires, or of the feelings to the intellect, or of the feelings to the will, or of numerous other relations. There is an effect

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