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morally wrong, then the principle is false. Even if we could not detect its fallacy, we should know it could not be true. But we have already said the fallacy lies in applying a principle which is true in reference to physical incapacity, such as want of sight, to an inability which, though natural in one sense, is as to its character moral, i.e., arises out of the moral state of the soul; a fallacy just as gross as it would be to argue that because two portions of matter cannot occupy at one time the same portion of space, therefore two thoughts cannot co-exist in the same mind.

A SECOND doctrine which flows from Mr Finney's principles, and which characterises his whole system, concerns the foundation of moral obligation. We have seen that he holds that obligation is limited to intention; but on what does that obligation rest? why is a man bound to intend one thing rather than another? Mr Finney answers this question by denying, 1st, That the will of God is the foundation of this obligation. Against this doctrine he urges such reasons as the following:1. "This theory makes God's willing, commanding, the foundation of the obligation to choice or intent, an ultimate end. If this is so, then the willing of God is the end to be intended; for the end to be intended and the reason of the obligation are identical." 2. God himself is under moral obligation, and therefore there is some reason independent of his own will, which imposes upon him the obligation to will as he does. 3. If the will of God is the foundation of obligation, he can by willing it change virtue into vice. 4. If the will of God is the foundation of moral obligation, we have no standard by which to judge of the moral character of his acts. 5. The will of no being can be law. Moral law is an idea of the reason.

Mr Finney's book is made up of half-truths. It is true that the will of God, divorced from his infinite wisdom and excellence, mere arbitrary will, is not the foundation of moral obligation. But the preceptive will of God is but the revelation of his nature, the expression of what that nature is, sees to be right and approves. It is also true that some things are right because God wills or commands them, and that he wills other things because they are right. Some of his precepts, therefore, are founded on his own immutable nature, others on the peculiar relations of man, and others again upon his simple command. We can have no higher evidence that a thing is right than the command of God, and his command creates an obligation to obedience, whether we can see the reason of the precept or not, or whether it have any reason apart from his good pleasure. Mr Finney is right so far as saying that the will of God, considered as irrational, groundless volition, is not the ultimate foundation of moral obligation, but his will, as the

revelation of the infinitely perfect nature of God, is not merely the rule, but ground of obligation to his creatures; so that their obedience does not terminate on the universe, nor on reason in the abstract, but upon God, the personal reason, the infinitely perfect, and because he is the infinitely perfect.

2d, Our author denies that the divine moral excellence is the ground of moral obligation. This he pronounces to be absurd. Moral obligation respects the choice of an ultimate end. The reason of the obligation and the end chosen must be identical. Therefore, what is chosen as an end must be chosen for its own sake. But virtue being chosen as a means to an end, viz., enjoyment, cannot be the end chosen. This of course follows from the principle that enjoyment is the only intrinsic good, the only thing that should be chosen for its own sake, and other things only as they are the means or conditions of attaining that end.

We should like to ask, however, how Mr Finney knows that happiness is a good, and a good in itself to be chosen for its own sake? If he should answer that is a first truth of reason, is it not a first truth of reason that moral excellence is a good, and a far higher good, to be chosen for its own sake? It is degraded and denied if it be chosen simply as a means of enjoyment. If the moral idea of excellence is not a primary, independent one, then we have no moral nature; we have a sentient and rational nature,-a capacity for enjoyment, and the power of perceiving and adapting means to its attainment. We may be wise or foolish; but the ideas of wrong as wrong, and right as right, are lost,-they are merged into those of wise and unwise. If God and reason affirm obligation, they affirm that virtue and vice are not terms to express the relations of certain things to enjoyment. They affirm that the one is a good in itself and the other an evil in itself; and this is the loudest affirmation in the human soul, and wo to the man in whom it ceases to be heard. No sophistry can render the conscience permanently insensible to the authority of God asserting that virtue is to be chosen for its own sake, and that it is not chosen at all unless it be so chosen. Let this not be supposed to conflict with the assertion that the will of God is also the ground of obligation; for what is the will of God! what is God, but the sum of all excellence, almighty self-conscious reason and holiness? In choosing virtue for its own sake, we choose God. It is one of Mr Finney's hobbies that the ground of obligation must be one and simple. If it is the will of God, it is not his moral excellence; if his moral excellence, it is not his will. This, however, may be safely referred to the common judgment of men. They are conscious that even entirely distinct grounds of obligation may concur; as the nature

of the thing commanded, the authority of him who gives the command, and the tendency of what is enjoined. If these are considerations which affect the reason, they bind the conscience. They are the bond or ligament which "binds a moral agent to the moral law."

3d, Mr Finney's own theory of the foundation of moral obligation is of course involved in his principle that enjoyment is the only intrinsic good. The fourth lecture is devoted to the consideration of this subject. In that lecture, after arguing to prove that the highest well-being of God and the universe is the ultimate and absolute good, and that their highest good must be natural good or happiness, and not moral good or virtue, he comes to the conclusion that the intrinsic value of happiness is the sole foundation of the obligation to will it as the ultimate end. The conclusions from this doctrine, as stated on p. 148, are,--“ 1. Upon this theory moral obligation respects the choice of an ultimate end. 2. This end is an unit. 3. It is necessarily known to every moral agent. 4. The choice of this end is the whole of virtue. 5. It is impossible to sin while this end is intended with all the heart and all the soul. 6. Upon this theory, every moral agent knows in every possible instance what is right, and can never mistake his real duty. 7. This ultimate intention is right, and nothing else is right, more or less. 8. Right and wrong respect ultimate intention only, and are always the same. Right can be predicated only of good will, and wrong only of selfishness."

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In his whole

We briefly remark on this theory, that it changes the whole nature of religion. Our whole and sole obligation is to the universe, and to God only as one of the constituent members of universal being. There is and can be no allegiance to God as God, and hence Mr Finney substitutes perpetually, "obedience to the intelligence," to an "idea of the reason, nymous with obedience to God, or the moral law. system, and of necessity, God is subordinate to the universe. Again, it is of the essence of religion that love to God should include congeniality, complacency, reverence, and delight in his divine perfections; in other words, that his moral excellence should be loved and chosen for its own sake. Mr Finney's system will not allow him to attach any other meaning to love than "good will," i. e. willing good or happiness to any one. Love of God, therefore, can, according to his doctrine, be nothing more than willing his happiness; and this obligation is entirely independent of his moral excellence. He admits that his moral goodness is the condition of our willing his actual happiness, but it is not the ground of our obligation to love him, or to will his good. As far as our feelings are concerned, there ought to be no difference between God and Satan; we are bound to

will the happiness of each according to its intrinsic value. Good will being the whole of virtue, and good will having no respect to the moral character of its object, there is no more virtue in loving God (willing his good) than in loving Satan.* No one, of course, denies that benevolence is a virtue; but the slavery to system, to the miserable logic of the understanding, consists in asserting that it is the only virtue, that love to Christ does not differ in its nature from benevolence to the devil, nor the love of the brotherhood from benevolence to the wicked. As the essential nature of religion is changed, perverted, and destroyed by this theory, so also of course is the nature of sin. But this may be more appropriately noticed under the following head.

A THIRD doctrine which flows from the two radical principles of this book is, that there is no moral character in the feelings or affections. This, indeed, is necessarily involved in what has already been said, but it is in itself so important and so characteristic a part of the system, that it deserves a more distinct exhibition. If obligation is limited by ability, and therefore confined to acts of the will, and if the affections are neither acts of the will nor under its immediate control, it follows, of course, that we cannot be responsible for them; they lie "without the pale of legislation and morality." Again, if enjoyment is the only intrinsic good, then all virtue consists in benevolence, or in willing the happiness of sentient beings, and consequently there is no virtue in any state of the affections. So the same conclusion is reached in two different ways.

This consequence of his principles Mr Finney presents on almost every page of his book. Moral obligation, he says, cannot directly extend to any "states of the sensibility. I have already remarked that we are conscious that our feelings are not voluntary but involuntary states of the mind. Moral

* In answer to the objection that we are under obligation " to love God because he is good, and that this affirmation has no reference to the good of God," he answers, "Such an affirmation, if it is made, is most nonsensical. What is it to love God? Why, as is agreed, it is not to exercise a mere emotion of complacency in him. It is to will something to him," which of course is happiness.-(P. 64.) "Should it be said that God's holiness is the foundation of our obligation to love him, I ask in what sense it can be so? It cannot be a mere emotion of complacency, for emotions being involuntary states of mind and mere phenomena of the sensibility are without the pale of legislation and morality,"-(P. 91.) The moral perfections of God do not even increase our obligation to love him. "We are under infinite obligation to love God and will his good with all our power because of the intrinsic value of his wellbeing, whether he is sinful or holy. Upon condition that he is holy, we are under obligation to will his actual blessedness, but certainly we are under obligation to will it with no more than all our heart, and soul, and mind, and strength. But this we are required to do because of the intrinsic value of his blessedness, whatever his character may be."-(P. 99.)

Hence Mr Finney says, "The command is, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. This says nothing about the character of my neighbour. It is the value of his interests, of his well-being, that the law requires me to regard. It does not require me to love my righteous neighbour merely, nor to love my righteous neighbour better than I do my wicked neighbour."-(P. 95.)

obligation, therefore, cannot directly extend to them."-(P.35.) They have no more of a moral nature than outward actions. A man is responsible for his outward acts only as they are determined by the will, and in like manner he is responsible for his feelings only as they are produced or cherished by the will, or rather as the will yields to them. The whole of sin consists in allowing the will to be determined by them. In the feelings themselves there is nothing good or bad. "If any outward action or state of the feeling exists in opposition to the intention or choice of the mind, it cannot by possibility have moral character. Whatever is beyond the control of a moral agent, he cannot be responsible for."-(P. 164.) And therefore, "if from exhaustion, or any cause beyond our control, the emotion does not arise from the consideration of the subject which is calculated to produce it, we are no more responsible for the weakness or absence of the emotion, than we should be for the want or weakness of motion in our muscles when we willed to move them.”—(P. 165.) Of course, all self-condemnation for coldness, or hardness of heart, or want of right affections towards God, rests on a false philosophy, that is, arises from overlooking" that in which moral character consists." "Love may, and often does exist, as every one knows, in the form of a mere feeling or emotion. . . This emotion or feeling, as we are aware, is purely an involuntary state of the mind; because it is a phenomenon of the sensibility, and of course a passive state of mind, it has in itself no moral character."(P. 213.) Gratitude, as a mere feeling or phenomenon of the sensibility, has no moral character."-(P. 278.) The same thing is said of benevolence, compassion, mercy, conscientiousness, &c., &c. The doctrine is, "That no state of the sensibility has any moral character in itself.”—(P. 521.)


On this subject we would remark, 1. That there is a form of truth in this as in most other parts of this system; but a half-truth when presented as the whole, and especially when accompanied with the denial of the other elements which enter into the proposition, becomes a dangerous error. It is true that character depends more upon fixed purposes and principles than it does on feelings. It is also true that the tenor of a man's life, as evincing his governing principles, is a better test of his character than mere emotions. But then, what determines these fixed purposes of the soul? Unless they are determined by moral and religious considerations, they are not themselves either moral or religious. Unless our fixed determination to obey God, to devote ourselves to the promotion of his glory, flows from a due appreciation of his excellence, and from a sense of our obligations to him, it is not a religious purpose. And unless our determination that it shall be Christ

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