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that the foundation of all excellence must be laid; and the moral precepts of the law begin here--begin with the inculcation of a virtue which is the parent and the presage of every other. “Honour thy father and thy mother:" and as to the duty of parents, those sons and daughters who obey this law we will trust to be the fathers and mothers of another generation.

“Thou shalt not kill.” Here is respect for life. It forbids, I imagine, suicide, murder, the oppressive labour of dependants, duelling, unjust war, cruel and tyrannical laws, inattention to the poverty and the distresses of others, by which death might ensue. It inculcates, of course, the preservation of our own life and the lives of others. It aims, like the other precepts, at the extinction of selfishness, and seeks to infuse into the mind that principle of love of which the whole law is but an extended exposition. It forbids also what might lead to the infraction and violation of the law, the indulgence of irascible and vindictive feelings, and drunkenness, by which man loses the control of himself, and becomes subject to all that is infuri. ated and murderous, violent and bad.

“ Thou shalt not commit adultery." Here is reverence for purity; the hallowed source of all the charities that adorn and decorate hu. manity. Whatever may be a person's virtues in other respects, all observation testifies that habitual licentiousness, more than anything else, hardens the heart and debases the character. “Thou shalt not commit adultery." Adultery, in its literal acceptation, is the greatest injustice that one man can inflict upon another—robbing him of the affections of his wife, and imposing upon him a spurious offspring. The command forbids also other forms of impurity—impurity of mind, impurity of speech, impurity of publication ; everything in dress, look, or gesture, that would corrupt the imagination or inflame the passions. “Thou shalt not commit adultery." Let the general principle of this one precept be universal, and that of itself would be a vast accession to the virtues of humanity.

“Thou shalt not steal.” Here is respect for property. “Thou shalt not positively commit theft, thou shalt not deprive thy neighbour of what is his ; but, neither shalt thou do anything that has in it the principle of dishonesty or fraud; thou shalt not overreach in thy dealings; thou shalt not aim at an excessive and dishonourable profit; thou shalt cautiously make, and faithfully fulfil, promises on which others depend upon thee in the transaction of business; thou shalt avoid in all respects whatever would injure another in his property, or destroy the confidence of man and man, so necessary to the happiness of society.” And, of course, if you are not to steal what is another's, you are not to steal himthe case, therefore, forbids slavery; the reducing, by robbery and wrong, the persons of our brethren to bondage and chains.

"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” Here is respect for reputation. Not only that, in formal cases, thou shalt not bear false witness in a court of justice, but the grand principle of regard for character shall be preserved,—thy testimony and thy tongue shall not go against thy neighbour. Thou shalt, therefore, not indulge in scandal, improper judgments, detraction; thou shalt not do that which may, in any way, without foundation, reduce the character and standing of thy neighbour in the society in which he moves, 1 lose the respect of which is to lose happiness to himself. Regard fi reputation, which is much needed in a world in which we live in societi the order and movements of which depend, not only upon our opinia of each other, but upon the testimony by which that opinion is former modified, and maintained.

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“ Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not cove thy neighbour's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nc his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbour's.” Here i respect and regard to the source of all virtue-thine own heart. Her the hand of the Lawgiver is laid upon character in its very fountai: and in its very germ. Not only art thou not to do the things whici are here forbidden, but thou art to watch over thy wishes and thy feelings, which, if indulged, might expand into positive accomplish ment. The object and tendency of this law, taken in connexion wit] all the rest, is, that a man shall not only not do the things that ari forbidden, but that he shall not desire to do them; in other words that he who obeys the whole law, this along with the rest, having his eye directed to all the internal machinery, everything that impels and leads to action will not only appear to be virtuous, but he will be what he appears.

Such is the law, very briefly and very imperfectly exhibited, -the law found in an old book, and given to the world a long time ago. 1 now proceed, in the next place, to make one or two observations tending to show that this law, as we have it here, is suited to THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF MAN, AND OF UNIVERSAL ADAPTATION.

I have necessarily, or perhaps I should say inadvertently, suggested observations as I have gone along, tending to elucidate this truth. The advantage may be, that as I have dropped many hints already in proof of the point in question, I need not go so minutely into detail as might otherwise have been necessary; but I observe, first, that it is suited to humanity, inasmuch as it meets what are the essential capacities and elements of human nature, as man is an intelligent being, capable of religious feeling and of moral action.

Now I want to observe here, that in this respect man agrees with all intelligences of whom we can form any conception. The whole law, in its essence, observe, is merely a development, an expansion, of the two great principles-“ Thou shalt love God with all thy heart, and thy neighbour as thyself.” Now, these two principles, we think, meet rational and intelligent beings wherever they are simply considered as such. We can easily see that, supposing there are other beings in the universe who possess essentially the principles and capacities of a religious and intelligent nature, they must be under this law; they cannot do more, and they ought not to do less; they ought to love God with all their heart, and kindred beings as themselves. Man, as essentially one of this great intelligent family, finds the essential principles of this law suited to his nature.

But I observe, secondly, that the law is suited to man, not only in its essence, but in its accidents; that is to say, not only in its principles, but in the mode in which these principles are to be carried out. Man is not only an intelligent, religious, moral being, but he is such a being dwelling in a body. And we can easily conceive, on the principles of a just philosophy, that it is not necessary for the actual existence of such

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as a world, a moral intelligence modified in all my obliga. od dates by these accidental circumstances, I find this law

harmonising with them all, coming down with its grand, pe essential principles, the rule for moral intelligence as such, e gard adapting them to me as a man. I feel this ; and the 20: I redect upon the law itself, upon our capacities and perceptions, ad poo the results which, experience prores, flow respectively from watch or obedience, both to the individual and to society, the more 3 the cariction deepened that a perfect conformity to this rule would Best sore whatever can be considered the final cause of human tristance, and that, so wisely does it suit its precepts to our nature, that obedience to them is happiness to ourselves.

Its adapted to unirersality. I think that results from the principle * laid down; but I will say, still further, that, in its principles, it is adapted to universality in spite of the accidental and peculiar lopies which are here and there introduced into it. The second Commandment, for instance, may have had a particular reference to the Elistence of idolatry generally at the time, and to the idolatry of the gyptians in particular; yet we know, from the whole history of manEind that the absurdity of idolatry, so obvious to us, has been by no means so evident as to render an express prohibition unnecessary. The phrase "jealous God," and what immediately follows, may have an immediate and particular regard to the Jewish nation, and God's corenant in connexion with it, but it can be separated entirely from the principle of the law, and it is the principle of the law that we are davocating as of universal adaptation ; besides, even what is addiLonal and peculiar in the second commandment, may carry with it, uiversally, a profound and necessary lesson on the evil of idolatry in the sight of God.

and standing of thy neighbour in the society in which he moves, to lose the respect of which is to lose happiness to himself. Regard for reputation, which is much needed in a world in which we live in society, the order and movements of which depend, not only upon our opinion of each other, but upon the testimony by which that opinion is formed, modified, and maintained.

“ Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbour's." Here is respect and regard to the source of all virtue-thine own heart. Here the hand of the Lawgiver is laid upon character in its very fountain and in its very germ. Not only art thou not to do the things which are here forbidden, but thou art to watch over thy wishes and thy feelings, which, if indulged, might expand into positive accomplishment. The object and tendency of this law, taken in connexion with all the rest, is, that a man shall not only not do the things that are forbidden, but that he shall not desire to do them; in other words, that he who obeys the whole law, this along with the rest, having his eye directed to all the internal machinery, everything that impels and leads to action will not only appear to be virtuous, but he will be what he appears.

Such is the law, very briefly and very imperfectly exhibited,—the law found in an old book, and given to the world a long time ago. I now proceed, in the next place, to make one or two observations tending to show that this law, as we have it here, is suited to THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF MAN, AND OF UNIVERSAL ADAPTATION.

I have necessarily, or perhaps I should say inadvertently, suggested observations as I have gone along, tending to elucidate this truth. The advantage may be, that as I have dropped many hints already in proof of the point in question, I need not go so minutely into detail as might otherwise have been necessary; but I observe, first, that it is suited to humanity, inasmuch as it meets what are the essential capacities and elements of human nature, as man is an intelligent being, capable of religious feeling and of moral action.

Now I want to observe here, that in this respect man agrees with all intelligences of whom we can form any conception. The whole law, in its essence, observe, is merely a development, an expansion, of the two great principles—“ Thou shalt love God with all thy heart, and thy neighbour as thyself.” Now, these two principles, we think, meet rational and intelligent beings wherever they are simply considered as such. We can easily see that, supposing there are other beings in the universe who possess essentially the principles and capacities of a religious and intelligent nature, they must be under this law; they cannot do more, and they ought not to do less; they ought to love God with all their heart, and kindred beings as themselves. Man, as essentially one of this great intelligent family, finds the essential principles of this law suited to his nature.

But I observe, secondly, that the law is suited to man, not only in its essence, but in its accidents ; that is to say, not only in its principles, but in the mode in which these principles are to be carried out. Man is not only an intelligent, religious, moral being, but he is such a being dwelling in a body. And we can easily conceive, on the principles of a just philosophy, that it is not necessary for the actual existence of such

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a being that it shall be associated with matter-matter in the form of a man-matter sustaining all the relations which man does sustain in consequence of being in the body. We can easily conceive that there may be moral beings altogether distinct from this, and yet, as we have seen, they may, and must be, under the essential and the general principles of this law. But I say that this law is adapted to us in our accidents, and that its principles are so developed and modified in relation to our peculiar condition that we find it is adapted to us in all the circumstances that distinguish it. As a spiritual intelligence, associated with matter and with a material world, having therefore to conceive of the Supreme Nature by faith, and having to get aids and images from physical nature, being therefore very liable to rest just upon that upon which my senses rest, and which my intellect and my imagination must use, in order to give me vivid perceptions of spiritual truth, the law meets me, elevates me above all that, and tells me I must take care to keep my mind fixed on the pure spirituality of the Being beyond it. As a creature occupying a world in which there is the difference of sexin which there are all the relations that spring from “marrying and giving in marriage"—where there is the power of possessing private property—where there is such a thing as death, and where therefore life can be extinguished—where there is a dependence upon testimony and mutual estimation for the harmony and happiness of lifeLiving in such a world, a moral intelligence modified in all my obligations and duties by these accidental circumstances, I find this law beautifully harmonising with them all, coming down with its grand, general, essential principles, the rule for moral intelligence as such, modifying and adapting them to me as a man. I feel this, and the more I reflect upon the law itself, upon our capacities and perceptions, and upon the results which, experience proves, flow respectively from violation or obedience, both to the individual and to society, the more is the conviction deepened that a perfect conformity to this rule would best secure whatever can be considered the final cause of human existence, and that, so wisely does it suit its precepts to our nature, that obedience to them is happiness to ourselves.

It is adapted to universality. I think that results from the principle just laid down, but I will say, still further, that, in its principles, it is adapted to universality in spite of the accidental and peculiar topics which are here and there introduced into it. The second commandment, for instance, may have had a particular reference to the existence of idolatry generally at the time, and to the idolatry of the Egyptians in particular; yet we know, from the whole history of mankind, that the absurdity of idolatry, so obvious to us, has been by no means so evident as to render an express prohibition unnecessary. The phrase "jealous God," and what immediately follows, may have an immediate and particular regard to the Jewish nation, and God's covenant in connexion with it, but it can be separated entirely from the principle of the law, and it is the principle of the law that we are advocating as of universal adaptation; besides, even what is additional and peculiar in the second commandment, may carry with it, universally, a profound and necessary lesson on the evil of idolatry in the sight of God.

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