صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

of Divine institution--Coeval with man.-

1.-Man's nature answering to it, and

it answering to man's nature.—The fiction of a Social Contract examined and refuted.

The right of the child to a Spiritual training, from its being always a moral being, and

from the needs of its nature.—That right extends to, 1st, Direct instruction as to its pature
and position, i. e., Ethical Teaching.--20, As to the nature of God, i. e., Religious Teach-
ing --3d, Personal Sanctity in the Father and Mother.-4th, Practical Guidance and
Governance.—6th, Baptism or Covenant with God. The perfection of the Home is Love.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]








Is naa's nature 'good or evil'?— There is a nature perfectly indifferent as to

good or evil.-It is that of the brutes, not of man.—Man's nature is not partly good and partly evil.—It is not essentially evil. This proved by the monstrous conclusions which would follow.—It is then essentially a nature good in itself, not evil in itself-but fallen.

[ocr errors]

As I have defined Ethics to be the Science of Man's Naturo and Position, it is manifest that the whole subject, scientifically treated, must embrace, at least in effect, all questions that concern his nature and its relation to external things. But as this is a thing plainly impossible, for what scientific system details all its applications, consequences and deductions? And as the purpose of Science is to render such tediousness unnecessary, by giving principles and propositions that will imply all consequences, it seems to me that such should be the course with a true science of Ethics. And therefore I shall try to establish, in regular order, such conclusions as shall be the most natural, and the most fruitful in consequences; so that if possible, I may be able, principle after principle, and conclusion after conclusion, to give a system at once practical and scientific.

This being my intention, the question which naturally comes first in a science of man's nature and position is this“ What is Man's Nature ? Every man having the idea of good


and evil-what is it with regard to good, and with regard to evil ? IS IT GOOD, OR IS IT EVIL ?”

I am aware the question will sound preposterous and absurd to many; but still it is a deeply important question. There are three modes in which man may have a moral quality, in which what he does may be described as good or evil,his thoughts, his words, his actions. Let the reader mark this. The question is not, are man's thoughts good or evil? are his words good or evil ? are his actions good or evil? That is not the question; that can be plainly answered. His thoughts, words and actions are not his nature. They come from it, certainly, but they are no more his nature than buds, flowers and fruits are the tree from which they come. то decide, then, about thoughts, words and actions, this is quite a different thing from deciding upon the quality of his nature.

I have said that this question is an important one; I say that it is more, it is the central and primary one of Natural Ethics ; one without which there can be no science of Ethics, no knowledge of it. It is not a high theoretic question which we may live in the world without discussing, and be better not discussing than entering upon it, as is the question of the “Origin of Evil," the question “Whence did evil come into the world, since God is all good and Almighty ?” But it is a wholly practical one,--the question, “Is this nature, this which I have, this which is my nature as a man, good or evil ?”

Now, manifestly all the possible answers that may be given to this question are contained in a few words. I may say that “it is good”—I may say that “it is evil”—I may say that “it is partly good and partly evil”—or I may say that it is “perfectly indifferent to either." These four embrace all the possible answers that can be given to the question, and the calm consideration of them all, and the decision of it aright, is absolutely necessary to any progress at all in true Ethical Science. He that will study any science must first master the first principles, and without the complete and accurate knowledge of them he can make no progress ; it is to him an utter impossibility. This question is the first principle in the science of which we treat. Decide it aright, and there is only one right answer of the four, and you shall be able to advance further onward. Take to yourself either of the three that are wrong, and the very foundation of religion and morality shall be astray with you; and only by God's grace against

« السابقةمتابعة »