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it. A rich man has a right to destroy the harvest of his fields, but to do so would not be right.”.
"To a right on one side corresponds an obligation on the other. If a man has a right to my horse, I have an obligation to let him have it. If a man has a right to the fruit of a certain tree, all other persons are under an obligation to abstain from appropriating it. Men are obliged to respect each other's rights."—(pp. 43, 44.)
Moral rules must be necessary truths flowing from the moral nature of man, and like other necessary truths, must be universal and unchangeable. Again ; moral rules exist necessarily, because they are necessary to the action of man as man; and they also arise, and of necessity, from the possession and exercise of reason. But moral rules must be expressed by reference to men's rights, and thus they depend upon rights actually existing-and these rights are determined by positive law, by the law of each community ; but these laws differ, for the determination of different states varies; and thus it appears that morality which depends on the laws, prescribes different rules in different states. How are these opposite doctrines to be reconciled ?
“ They are thus reconciled. The conceptions of the fundamental rights of men are universal, and flow necessarily from the moral nature of man : the definitions of these rights are diverse, and are determined by the laws of each state. The conceptions of personal security, property, contract, family, exist everywhere; and man cannot be conceived to exist as a moral being, in a social condition, without them. The rules by which personal safety, property, contract, families, are maintained and protected, are different in different communities, and will differ according to the needs and purposes of each community. The rules of morality are universal and immutable, so far as they are expressed in terms of these conceptions in their general form : it is always our duty to respect the personal safety, the property, the contracts, and family ties, of others. But if we go into those details of law by which these conceptions are in different communities differently defined, the rules of morality may differ. In one country the wayfarer may morally pluck the fruits of the earth as he passes, and in another he may not; because when so plucked, in one place they are, and in another they are not, the property of him on whose field they grew. The precept, Do not steal, is universal; the law, To pluck is to steal, is partial."'--" All truths include an idea and a fact. The idea is derived from the mind within, the fact from the world without. In the instance of rights, of which we are now speaking, the idea, or conception of the right, is supplied by our consciousness of our moral nature and its conditions; the fact, or definition of the right is supplied by the law of the society in which we live, and the train of events which have made that law what it is. The moral nature of man is moulded into shape by the history of each nation; and thus, though we have in different places different laws, we have everywhere the same morality.”--(pp. 50, 51.)
The existence of rights give rise to a sentiment of rights and a sentiment of wrongs. We have a regard for our own rights; we recognize this right in others,—and as a sentiment which binds us to all men, and all men to us. So also wrongs, the violation of those rights, are considered not only as an individual assault, but as an aggression upon mankind; and
“We not only entertain our wrath, we cling to it as something good, and admire it as something laudable. We deem our indignation to be virtuous." " This sentiment of wrongs, along with the sentiment of rights, operate powerfully in supporting rights when they are once established, and in maintaining that peace and order of society, which are the proper atmosphere of man's moral nature. For these sentiments give force and energy to the exertions with which men resist any violation of established rules; and they fill with fear and shame those who know themselves to be violators of such rules. The man who has rights on his side, is bold and vigorous; the conscious wrong doer is, by that very circumstance, deprived of courage and energy. Men will not willingly expose themselves to the indignation, as well as resist. ance and punishment, with which the perpetrators of wrongs are received ; and thus rights are, for the most part, observed and treated with respect.” -(p. 52.)
Man thus recognises moral rules as the necessary conditions of his being, and punishment as the method of enforcing and giving reality to those rules : and he is conscious to himself (to use a redundancy) that he is liable to punishment for transgression of moral rules.
“The moral sentiments are further unfolded and expanded by action, habit, and thought; and this process is the moral cultivation or moral education of man. This cultivation and education depend upon various conditions, and are promoted or extended by various causes. Among these we may notice the influence of one inan upon another, in affecting his moral sentiments, or the application of them to actions. We have already spoken of the influence exercised by the parents upon the child, in educing his moral nature. But in many other ways, as well as in this, men exercise an influence in modifying each other's moral sentiments and convictions. Men may, by speaking, by writing, by all the modes of the intercourse of life, direct the course of other men's thoughts; and thus affect their judgment of what is right and what is wrong, and their feelings with regard to actions and persons. And the exercise of such influence, by one man upon another, is an important kind of action ; and one for which the agent is responsible, as well as for any actions which directly affect his primary rights." -- (p. 52.)
Rights are, in every particular case, determined by actual law and history: they are also to be conformable to the supreme rule of human action : the law assigns to each person his rights, but at the same time aims at giving to each what it is right he should have. That which is legally, should be and is intended by law to be- morally right. Morality thus depends on law, but yet law must be regulated by those moral rules emanating from, and controlled by, the supreme rule.
Of the systems of law actually established in the world, two especially deserve notice,- the system of the ancient world, and that of our own country,—the Roman and the English law.
"These two systems of law are those in which we are most interested, as past and present realities. They are laws of two nations, both of them eminent for the clearness of their jural perceptions, and their vigorous habits of jural action.”—(p. 58.)
Some examples also may be taken from the laws of the Jews.
The division and arrangement of rights are different in the various codes of which jurists treat: the following is the classification of Professor Whewell :—the rights of personal security, of property, contract, marriage, and government. The consideration of these heads form the subject of the second book : morality, virtue, and duties are discussed in the third book.
“ By the constitution of our human nature, we are necessarily led to assume and refer to a supreme rule of human action; and to conceive human actions, our own and those of other men, to be absolutely right, when they are conformable to this rule. In order that such a rule may have a definite form in human society, men must have rights; and must also have their obligations, corresponding in each man to the rights of others. The real existence of rights and obligations is a condition requisite for the definite application of the supreme rule of human action ; for, by the existence of rights and obligations, the objects of human desire and affection assume such a general and abstract form, that they may be made the subjects of rules of action."—(p. 131.)
Rights and obligations, it has been stated, are regulated by laws and customs. Laws regard external actions only, but external are the result of internal actions, -of the will and intentions of the mental desires and affections.
“The reason is the faculty by which we conceive general rules, and special cases as conformable to general rules. It is therefore the faculty by which we conceive actions as right or wrong. The moral sentiments, approval of what is right, condemnation of what is wrong, are powerful springs of action, and thus impel us to carry into effect the judgments formed by the reason. When we intentionally conform to the supreme rule, we speak of our actions as rightly directed by our reason. Actions to which we are rightly directed by our reason are duties. The habits and dispositions by which we perform our duties are virtues. Morality is the doctrine of duties and virtues.”—(p. 132.)
And since the laws which define obligations relate to natural mental impulses, each principle, affection, or desire will be regulated by a corresponding rule or moral precept. Thus, since rights of property arise from natural propensities, and necessarily from them obligations,—all are bound by law not to appropriate that which is not their own. The moral precept (which is anterior to the law in its effect) will be a restraint upon the thought, and before that thought has resolved itself into action. The law would be, “ Thou shalt not steal,” the prohibition of a material action ;—the moral precept, the prohibition of a mental action, “Thou shalt not covet.” Each class of obligations has its moral precept, the law enforcing the performance, or prohibiting the doing of an act; the moral precept forbidding the thought, which carried out and acted upon by the will, would be a transgression. Moral precepts like these are negative; but if one class of thought and action is to be shunned, there must also be another to be sought after and pursued.
To avoid deceit is a negative good; to strive to attain truth for its own sake is a positive good.
“But negative precepts and repulsive forces cannot suffice to express the character of morality. The supreme law of human action must be positive. It must command as well as prohibit. It must direct us what to tend to, as well as from. It must not merely repress and control the affections, desires, and intentions,-it must direct them to their proper objects, and enjoin steadiness and energy in them, thus directed. The supreme law of our actions must be a law for all the powers of action. It must include the whole of our nature.”-)p. 136.)
As morality draws us from deceit, so morality impels us in the direction of truth : and as in deceit, so in anger, malice, and all vice, does morality attracting in one direction from that which is contrary to itself, impels us to opposite qualities-truthfulness, humanity, mildness, and temperance. All these qualities are included in the supreme rule, they are points to which all lines of duty tend.
“ The supreme law of human action must be found in the point to which all such lines converge. It may be conceived as the ideal centre of such special moral tendencies as we have spoken of; and thus, as the idea of morality."--(p. 137.)
A simile savouring somewhat of a senior wrangler. But to proceed further in finding and determining this ideal centre :
“ The supreme law of human action must be a law which belongs to man as man; a thing in which all men sympathize, and which binds together man and man by the tie of their common humanity.”—(p. 137.)
Thus, evidently, all desires which tend exclusively to centre in the individual, and repel others, producing an isolating selfishness, cannot be otherwise than diametrically opposed to the main principles of nature, which would rather bring mankind into one family, exclude malice and anger, and extend the power and influence of a gentle spirit. The absence of those dispositions which engender this centrifugal force (to resort to the mathematical simile) and the presence and activity of those which constitute the centripetal power, is most in accordance with natural principles. This gravitation of amiabilities to one point, this aggregation of the affections which unite mankind into one family, is included in the idea of morality.
“ The idea of a complete and universal benevolence is a point in the direction of the ideal centre, or a part of the idea of morality of which we have spoken."-(p. 138.)
And this universal benevolence does not interfere with the other natural feelings : thus the desire of property, without which communities could scarcely be imagined to have an existence, does not
militate against benevolence; for though each desires property for himself, morality directs liberality in opposition to selfish covetousness. Again, justice and the love of truth are necessary conditions of a rule of human action : so that with integrity among the members of a community, each relying on each, social life and social action shall be in harmony. The agreement of the mind with the act,—of the verbal expression, with the thought. So also the definite conception of rights and obligations, which is the object of laws, requires permanency. The moral rule is perpetual : its exposition by the law must be permanent. It therefore becomes a duty to uphold this durability; and not only to conform obediently, but to promote by our acts, uniformity of conduct to fixed rules. “ This disposition may be denoted by the term order, understood in a large and comprehensive sense." And, again, as part “of the ideal morality.” The control of the appetites by the “ moral sentiments and the reason is recommended to us by morality, under the conceptions of temperance and chastity.”
“We may express this control and government in the most general and comprehensive way, by the term purity; and the idea of purity, thus completely and comprehensively understood, is a part of the ideal centre, or idea of morality.” “Thus we have five ideas,-benevolence, justice, truth, purity, and order, which may be considered as the elements of the central idea of morality, or, as the cardinal points of the supreme rule of human action. We are not to conceive these ideas as distinct and separable, but rather as connected and combined in a fundamental and intimate manner. Thus, we have already mentioned moral qualities which partake of more than one, as liberality partakes of benevolence and justice,-honesty, of justice and truth. And all these dispositions-benevolence, justice, truth, purity, order, may be conceived to be included in a love of goodness. The disposition enjoined by the supreme law of human action is the love of moral good as good, and the desire to advance towards it as the ultimate and only real object of action. To this object, all special affections, all external objects, and the desires of such objects, all intercourse of men, all institutions of society, are considered as subordinate and instrumental. And thus this love of good includes, excites, nourishes, and directs to their proper ends, those more special affections and dispositions of which we have spoken.”——(pp. 139, 140.)
These dispositions, viz. benevolence, justice, truth, purity, order, tend to produce abstract mental objects or ideas : thus benevolence has for its object the good of all mankind; this object is commonly termed humanity, and is the ideal object of benevolence : or if the term humanity be used to express both the natural tendency and its object, two significations will apply to the word,-an objective and a subjective meaning. And so of truth, the subjective, the disposition, or our natural tendency to respect truth; and the objective truth, which is the agreement between the reality of things and our own conception of those things. Subjective order is obedience; objective order is law. These five dispositions being conformable to the supreme law are called virtues : they are different