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kingdom, unless it is influenced and characterized by both.
We study in our books, in Whewell and in Butler, the origin of morality, how we come to consider a certain course of conduct as virtuous. We endeavor to answer the question as Paley' puts it in the opening of his "Moral Philosophy," "Why am I obliged to keep my word?" The Bible does not reveal to us this origin any more than it reveals to us the science of astronomy, or of geology. It takes the facts as they are visible to all the world. It speaks of them simply as any intelligent observer may speak of them. And it does the same with the science of morality. It is a fact from the beginning, which was visible to any observer. It is seen on every page of Revelation. But we are nowhere told in the Bible why benevolence, or justice, or truth, or purity, or obedience to order, is a virtue, or a moral obligation. You see it recognized; but you hear nothing of its philosophy, why man is thus bound. You do not see the question answered in the New Testament. You do not see it referred to. But you everywhere find it taken for granted. It is a fact mentioned everywhere in the Bible. If we wish to know why man is bound to the moral life, we must inquire of the principles of his nature, just as we inquire of the
1 Moral and Political Philosophy, book 2, chap. i. By William Paley, D.D.
facts of the solar system why the bodies of that system maintain their relations to each other. It is a study outside of the Bible, and independent of the Bible. This is what we have been studying in Whewell, and what you may study in any treatise on the science of morality. This is what Bishop Butler treats of in his "Ethical Discourses," and in his "Essay on Virtue," and in some parts of the "Analogy." The study of the constitution of man, as I shall endeavor to point out, reveals to you not only his intellectual nature, but also, as Reid styles them, "the active powers" of that nature; that is, the manner in which, under the operation of will, he acts as You will get the answer to Paley's question, only in the investigation of that nature. You will find in that nature the cardinal virtues. And you will find them there, because God so made that nature that it must develop them. Man is a benevolent being, because God gave him a nature which develops that virtue. It is not a simple command. It is not a determination of the human will on any principles of utility. But it is the result of principles in man, just as the attraction of the bodies of the solar system is the result of the principle of gravitation with which the Creator has endowed matter. I shall endeavor to point out to you how the study of the elements of human nature, of the human constitution, must reveal to us a system of morality.
You ought to see in this study the necessity of an intimate acquaintance with the nature of man.
And you will also see in this study that our prejudice against natural morality is not well founded, because morality, as it will thus appear, is the work of God. It is the image in which He created man. Morality is not independent of God. It is the creation of God, just as force is the creation of God. It is morality which gives character to the creation of God. And our study of the human constitution ought constantly to reveal God. And this will show you what Bishop Butler' means when he says that "it cannot possibly be denied, that our being God's creatures, and virtue being the natural law we are born under, and the whole constitution of man being adapted to it, are prior obligations to piety and virtue." That God has made benevolence a part of our constitution, one of the characteristics of our nature, is the first reason why we should be benevolent. It is manifestly His purpose, and we are under obligation to carry out that purpose. If "the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handy work," no less does the human constitution.
When, then, we are studying natural morality, we are studying that morality which God constituted and formed, and made the character of man.
This is just as far as your natural science takes
1 Bishop Butler's First Sermon on Human Nature.
you. It investigates the principles of your nature; it classifies those principles; it names them; and it places them in their rational relations to each other. But here it stops. It can go no farther. And it is here where we shall now commence our study, so that we may find out more distinctly what the moral life has to do with our condition as responsible beings, and with our hopes as the children of one Creator. We must not only, then, study the moral constitution as it came from the hands of the Creator, but we must study it in its fallen state as it is infected by sin. We must see what sin is, and what sin has done to our moral constitution. If we would study morality, then we must also study the defects of that nature, its failures, its weakness, its disorganized condition.
And then we must study its relation to redemption and grace, which can bring it the only help and the only strength which will restore its harmony, which will reconstruct it, which will bring it back to its original condition, which will place the superior principle on the throne, and which will regulate and keep in their place the inferior parts. It is not revealed religion which gives to us morality. It is not the gospel. The gospel in relation to morality is the spiritual power which re-creates us, reconstructs us, restores us, putting us back into our original state.
We are to learn, then, in the study of the relation of morality to redemption and grace, that the perfect character embraces the moral life as well as the life of devotion. There can be no perfect life in which all the natural virtues do not belong to the human character, and form part of it. man, regenerated and renewed, sanctified and made holy in Christ, must be benevolent, just, truthful, pure, and obedient, as well as a worshipper of God. The regeneration, renewal, and sanctification give the strength and life to the moral virtues, as well as to those which are called devotional virtues. The study of practical religion, then, must embrace a study of morality, because it embraces a study of the constitution of man, and of the duties and obligations which pertain to him.
This, then, is the great doctrine which we need to learn, so that we shall be able to instruct men in the duties of every-day life. It is necessary to draw out the moral life, and show its relation to the redemption and grace of the gospel, so that we shall not attempt to rely on the moral life without the grace of regeneration and renewal, even after we have been redeemed, and have been made partakers of the divine nature. We must see, if we study morality to any purpose, the relation of the one to the other, and that their union only can give us that character which will be acceptable in the sight of God.