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that one may do what he will with his own.


is the very quality of honesty, and the principle of justice.' So the apostle joins "not slothful in business" with "fervent in spirit; serving the Lord" (Rom. xii. 11). The ninth commandment is referred to in what our Lord says in the Sermon on the Mount in regard to oaths, which seems to recommend that tender regard for the truth, for testimony concerning our brother, which shall carry with a mere declaration all the weight which may be necessary.

All the virtues and all the sins mentioned in the New Testament may be classified under these commandments. There is no new species of sin, or any new species of virtue, mentioned in the Christian revelation, but the application of the generic principle only is made more accurately and more severely. But it is the morality of the Old Testament, and of the race from the beginning. There is no other classification which it is possible to make. It is the rights of the person, the rights of property, the rights of family, and the rights of society, which may be violated, and which will constitute sin. And it is the highest virtue that we can exercise that we observe and protect those rights.

Our moral progress, the moral progress of the in

The definition of justice in the Roman law is, justicia est constans et perpetua voluntas jus suum cuique tribuendi. The Institutes of Justinian, lib. 1, tit. i. 3.

dividual and of the nation, consists in the more careful definition of those rights, and the more accurate application of the principles to each individual case.

This is clearly to be seen in our Lord's teaching. He attributes their false doctrines on the virtues to their vain traditions. It was not the commandments that He called in question, but it was their interpretation and application of them. This is visible in the application of the principle of what is called the Lex Talionis,' - the Law of Retaliation, — the Law of Retributive Justice. This principle had, no doubt, been carried to excess, and He therefore quotes it from Exod. xxi. 24: "Ye have heard that it hath

A different explanation has been given by the Rev. J. B. Mozley, D.D., Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford, in his Lectures on the "Ruling Ideas in Early Ages." The object of the lectures is to show that the morality of the early times, of the Patriarchs, of the Israelites, and of the Psalms, is a defective morality. It is not the morality of the New Testament. Of course, the doctrine is put in the most lucid and powerful manner, as indeed the learned professor put every thing that he wrote. But it has the appearance of an ingenious explanation in order to get rid of difficulties. It might, however, be better to confess that there are difficulties which we cannot remove. Bishop Butler gives a different solution (The Analogy, part ii. chap. iii.), which carries with it nothing which may not be allowed. Dr. Mozley's doctrine does not seem to be in accordance with the principles on which our Lord explained the law of divorce (St. Matt. xix. 8). He said that Moses suffered them to put away their wives on account of the "hardness of their hearts," and that it was "not so in the beginning." God gave a law, and revealed a principle which was set aside by their circumstances: our Lord professes only to recall them to the original meaning and intent of the institution of matrimony. He gives the explanation of the law, and applies it to the individual cases as they then existed.

been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth" (St. Matt. v. 38). This is the principle for the law of punishment of crime, and for trespass. It is certainly a right principle which must guide the administration of law, and which has guided it in all ages. No doubt, this principle was carried out as a literal command in some nations. No doubt, the Hebrew people may have carried to excess the principle. It is recorded (Judg. i. 6, 7) that punishment was inflicted on Adoni-bezek on this principle. So that what he had done to others, was now literally done to him. But it was not the spirit of the Levitical law, as it was not the spirit of the Christian law. Our Lord makes the proper application and limitation of the principle. He says, "Resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." As a principle of law and of punishment, the principle contained in the Mosaic injunction, "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," was a right and merciful one; but it was not to be the principle of action in the ordinary intercourse of society, or of man with man. The principle, then, is forbearance and the suffering of wrong.

So, again, in the nineteenth chapter of the Book of Leviticus, after many injunctions as to trespass are laid down, there is the precept which indicates the spirit that is to reign in all these laws, — “Thou

shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. I am the Lord." No doubt, in our Lord's time, and often before, the precept was perverted, and an addition made which was to be repudiated. The addition was, "and hate thine enemy." Here is where the teaching of our Lord gives light on the real relations of men. He shows the application of the principle in reference to the universal brotherhood of man. "I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you." He did not accuse the law of imperfection, much less of a bitter spirit; but it was the pharisaical interpretation of it which He repudiated. It was what He called their "traditions" (St. Matt. xv. 3, 6, 9) and "the commandments of men." There is no evidence of such interpretations in the administration of Jewish law, even in the beginning. Interpretations grew up which were human, and were not the law, nor in accordance with the spirit of the law.

The law of morality in the Bible, then, from the very beginning of the human race, when first there. were human relations in the family and in a commu nity, was the same which has prevailed in all ages and in all nations. The moral nature of man is the witness of a just and benevolent Being to whom we are responsible. It is this moral nature that the grace of Christian redemption develops and forms and matures in holiness here in this life in order to fit man for an immortal life with God in heaven.




TRUST that it has been shown that man is a moral being by nature, and that he can only fulfil the purposes of his nature by exhibiting in his life the virtues which we call morality. His nature is, as Butler says, a prior obligation to the virtuous and moral life; but the Christian faith may present a stronger claim on him for this life, because it comes to regenerate that nature, to give it divine light, and the help of grace to fulfil its destiny.

When the Christian religion comes to man, it does not ignore his nature, but, taking it into account, it purposes to refashion it and reconstruct it in the image of God. The Christian religion makes no proposal to eliminate any part of human nature, or to suppress any appetite, desire, passion, or sentiment. It only proposes to bring them into harmony, and to re-establish the order and subordination which originally belonged to it. It is God only who can do this. It is only the original Creator of man who can re-create and refashion man, and bring him into

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