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grounded, if possible, in that part of our nature which in all men may and ought to be the same,-in the conscience and the common sense. Secondly : this criterion confounds morality with law; and when the author adds, that in all probability the divine Justice will be regulated in the final judgment by a similar rule, he draws away the attention from the will, that is, from the inward motives and impulses which constitute the essence of morality, to the outward act; and thus changes the virtue commanded by the gospel into the mere legality, which was to be enlivened by it. One of the most persuasive, if not one of the strongest, arguments for a future state, rests on the belief, that although by the necessity of things our outward and temporal welfare must be regulated by our outward actions, which alone can be the objects and guides of human law, there must yet needs come a juster and more appropriate sentence hereafter, in which our intentions will be considered, and our happiness and misery made to accord with the grounds of our actions. Our fellow-creatures can only judge what we are by what we do; but in the eye of our Maker what we do is of no worth, except as it flows from what we are. Though the fig-tree should produce no visible fruit, yet if the living sap is in it, and if it has struggled to put forth buds and blossoms which have been prevented from maturing by inevitable contingencies of tempests or untimely frosts, the virtuous sap will be accounted as fruit; and the curse of barrenness will light on many a tree from the boughs of which hundreds have been satisfied, because the omniscient judge knows that the fruits were threaded to the boughs artificially by the outward working of base fear and selfish hopes, and were neither nourished by the love of God or of man, nor grew out of the graces engrafted on
the stock by religion. This is not, indeed, all that is meant in the Apostle's use of the word, faith, as the sole principle of justification, but it is included in his meaning and forms an essential part of it; and I can conceive nothing more groundless, than the alarm, that this doctrine may be prejudicial to outward utility and active well-doing. To suppose that a man should cease to be beneficent by becoming benevolent, seems to me scarcely less absurd, than to fear that a fire may prevent heat, or that a perennial fountain may prove the occasion of drought. Just and generous actions may proceed from bad motives, and both may, and often do, originate in parts, and, as it were, fragments of our nature. A lascivious man may sacrifice half his estate to rescue his friend from prison, for he is constitutionally sympathetic, and the better part of his nature happened to be uppermost. The same man shall afterwards exert the same disregard of money in an attempt to seduce that friend's wife or daughter. But faith is a total act of the soul : it is the whole state of the mind, or it is not at all; and in this consists its power, as well as its exclusive worth.
This subject is of such immense importance to the welfare of all men, and the understanding of it to the present tranquillity of many thousands at this time and in this country, that should there be one only of all my readers, who should receive conviction or an additional light from what is here written, I dare hope that a great majority of the rest would in consideration of that solitary effect think these paragraphs neither wholly uninteresting nor altogether without value. For this cause I will endeavour so to explain this principle, that it may be intelligible to the simplest capacity. The Apostle tells those who would substitute obedience for faith (addressing the man as obedience personified), Know that thou bearest not the root, but the root thee*- -a sentence which, methinks, should have rendered all disputes concerning faith and good works impossible among those who profess to take the Scriptures for their guide. It would appear incredible, if the fact were not notorious, that two sects should ground and justify their opposition to each other, the one on the words of the Apostle, that we are justified by faith, that is, the inward and absolute ground of our actions; and the other on the declaration of Christ, that he will judge us according to our actions. As if an action could be either good or bad disjoined from its principle! As if it could be, in the Christian and only proper sense of the word, an action at all, and not rather a mechanic series of lucky or unlucky motions! Yet it may be well worth the while to show the beauty and harmony of these twin truths, or rather of this one great truth considered in its two principal bearings. God will judge each man before all men: consequently he will judge us relatively to man. But man knows not the heart of man ; scarcely does anyone know his own. There must therefore be outward and visible signs, by which men may be able to judge of the inward state; and thereby justify the ways of God to their own spirits, in the reward or punishment of themselves and their fellow-men. Now good works are these signs, and as such become necessary. In short there are two parties, God and the human race ;—and both are to be satisfied. First, God, who seeth the root and knoweth the heart: therefore there must be faith, or the entire and absolute principle. Then man, who can judge only by the fruits : therefore that faith must bear fruits of righteousness, that principle must manifest itself by actions. But that which God sees, that alone justifies. What man sees, does in this life shew that the justifying principle may be the root of the thing seen ; but in the final judgment God's acceptance of these actions will shew, that this principle actually was the root. In this world a good life is a presumption of a good man: his virtuous actions are the only possible, though still ambiguous, manifestations of his virtue: but the absence of a good life is not only a presumption, but a proof of the contrary, as long as it continues. Good works may exist without saving principles, and therefore cannot contain in themselves the principle of salvation ; but saving principles never did, never can, exist without good works. On a subject of such infinite importance, I have feared prolixity less than obscurity. Men often talk against faith, and make strange monsters in their imagination of those who profess to abide by the words of the Apostle interpreted literally: and yet in their ordinary feelings they themselves judge and act by a similar principle. For what is love without kind offices, wherever they are possible ;(and they are always possible, if not by actions commonly so called, yet by kind words, by kind looks; and, where even these are out of our power, by kind thoughts and fervent prayers)—yet what noble mind would not be offended, if he were supposed to value the serviceable offices equally with the love that produced them; or if he were thought to value the love for the sake of the services, and not the services for the sake of the love?
* Rom. xi. 18. But remember—a yet deeper and more momentous sense is conveyed in these words. Christ, the Logos, Deitas objectiva, centered humanity (always pre-existing in the Plerona) in his life, and so became the light, that is, the reason, of mankind. This eternal, (that is, timeless) act he manifested in time-oàpg éyéveto, and dwelt among men, an individual man, in order that he might dwell in all his elect, as the root of the divine bumanity in them.-1825.
I return to the question of general consequences, considered as the criterion of moral actions. The admirer of Paley's system is required to suspend for a short time the objection, which, I doubt not, he has already made, that general consequences are stated by Paley as the criterion of the action, not of the agent. I will endeavour to satisfy him on this point, when I have completed my present chain of argument. It has been shewn, that this criterion is no less ideal than that of any
former system; that is, it is no less incapable of receiving any external experimental proof, compulsory on the understandings of all men, such as are the criteria exhibited in chemistry. Yet, unlike the elder systems of morality, it remains in the world of the senses, without deriving any evidence therefrom. The agent's mind is compelled to go out of itself in order to bring back conjectures, the probability of which will vary with the shrewdness of the individual. But this criterion is not only ideal ;
it is likewise imaginary. If we believe in a scheme of Providence, all actions alike work for good. There is not the least ground for supposing that the crimes of Nero were less instrumental in bringing about our present advantages, than the virtues of the Antonines. Lastly; the criterion is either ntigatory or false. It is demonstrated, that the only real consequences cannot be meant. The individual is to imagine what the general consequences would be, all other things remaining the same, if all men were to act as he is about to act. I scarcely need remind the reader, what a source of selfdelusion and sophistry is here opened to a mind in a state of temptation. Will it not say to itself, I know that all men will not act so; and the immediate good consequences, which I shall obtain, are real, while the bad consequences are imaginary and improbable? When the foundations of morality have once been laid in outward consequences, it will be in vain to recall to the