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ing. Like the Rhodian Colossus standing on the two moles of the harbor, this giant Law—an idea, a cognition, and a feeling-stands astride and threatening, on the broadest and deepest foundations of the soul.

Right and wrong enter, as subject matter, into the whole sphere of rational activity, not less deeply, constantly, and inevitably, than truth and falsehood.

This is where the Law is found. Can anything be more essential and fundamental in the soul? Is there an element in our being more original than this ?

Consider, now, what it is.

It has been called an affirmation of the reason, and moral sense. It is more than this, as already shown. It is a law, or regulative principle of thought and feeling, without which the general activity of the reason could not be carried on, nor the sensibilities freely play. It is doubtful whether the ideas of truth and falsehood could exist, without those of right and wrong. It would be, perhaps, as easy to drop from the mind the idea of rectus, in the realm of matter, (straight), as in the realm of morals. Imagine the reason undertaking to work through its functions, for a single day, or in any affair of life, without entertaining, and acting upon, the reality of right and wrong! So closely do these ideas, more or less modified and mingled, unite themselves with every fundamental law of thought. The reality of right and wrong, then, is more than an affirmation of the reason. Particulars under the law-that a child should reverence its parent, for example—are affirmations. But the idea of the distinction between right and wrong, is a fundamental law of thought, below, and before all affirmations.

The distinction here suggested is important. Affirmations may often be erroneous. When deep, spontaneous, and uni- . versal, they may indeed rise above reasonable suspicion. But a law, or regulative principle, according to which affirmations are made, lies deeper. To deny this is not merely to charge that faculty of the soul with mistake; it is to break up, and destroy the faculty itself.


The Law of Right is thus an integral part of the soul itself, and not a mere product of the soul's activity.

And even more clearly does this appear in the light of urely moral consciousness; which not merely involves the law of right as fundamental to all its activity, but is the law, affirmed, and revealed; so that if the law be taken away, the faculty no longer remains, even as a vestige. The moral reason is the faculty of right and wrong; and without it, man descends, so far as virtue and vice, praise and blame are concerned, to the level of the brute.

The Law of Right, then, once more, is an integral part of the human soul, in the full sense and power of that phrase ; and when you stand upon it, you stand upon the deepest, firmest, broadest rock of truth which the mind can conceive. For what is sure in human thought, if not the constitution of the being itself that thinks !

In harmony with, and resultant from this—the ground and nature of the Law of Right-we notice certain characteristics of that law, sufficient of themselves to establish its position and significance, as all that is here claimed. To

say that it is universal, found in every human soul, ineradicable, and innate, is to repeat what is necessarily implied in its forming a part of the soul itself. And yet, crude observations are sometimes made, to the effect, that in certain lowest specimens of humanity the idea is wanting. No such statement can properly be regarded as well founded. Almost everything like culture, development, or truth, in the form of the idea may be wanting; but there never yet lived a man, with a whole and normal rational soul, destitute of the idea and the feeling of right and wrong. Nor can any smothering incubus of ignorance, stupidity, or begnilement, extinguish it, while reason's lamp still burns.

But other characteristics, not so immediately involved in the ground of the Law, are almost of greater significance. The absolute, regal tone with which it asserts itself, sounds like the voice of conscious fate. It claims absolute authority; and mocks at all question, condition, or compromise. When once its fiat is heard, all considerations, or objections, which the wit


of man can conceive, are swept from before its throne, like chaff by the autumn wind. There is that in the tone of the Law, that declares, that though the destinies of a thousand worlds were laid in the scale, they should weigh less than dust against its single voice. The more we gaze and reflect on this giant Law, the more imperial and portentous its bearing appears. It is monarch, or it is nothing.

And over this sublime prerogative, and hallowing its awful front, brood the cherub wings of sacredness; in the presence of which the proudest brow, in the hour of serious thought, will bend, uncovered. The Law is priest as well as king. It claims a sacrifice on every altar. The mellow hue of reverence and holy fear surround it, as robes of celestial glory the forms of angels hovering in the sky. Were the Law of Right to be imaged forth on canvas, it would be as some grey patriarch of years, with nerves yet strung, and eye undimmed with age; or as Melchizedek,—“king of righteousness,—without beginning of life or end of days,--to whom the father of the faithful gave tithes."

The unbounded scope and reign of this great law, both in time and space, is most remarkable, most wonderful; and yet more wonderful perhaps the means by which we know it. Should we question any rational mind, the highest or the lowest, whether anywhere in remotest space, on any farthest star, or in obscurest corner of the universe, in height or depth beyond creation's verge or space imaginary, there be a spot where the Law of Right does not reign, the answer will be unhesitatingly, No! He will not need to search those distant realms ; he will ask no venturous pilgrim for information. There is an eye in his own soul that sees, and an ear that hears; and beyond all shadow of doubt, in every one of a thousand cases, the answer is thundered, No! Were the inquiry whether in all time, or all eternity, past or future, back to the beginning, and before, when God sat alone in the universe, or onward, we had almost said when he shall sit alone again, as long as eternity endures, there was or will be a moment when the Law of Right did not or shall not reign, supreme, awful, and sacred as now; in like unhesitating tone, the answer will still be, No!

No need to search the moldering records of the past; no want of prophet's eye to scan the horizon of the future; no angel, seraph, or revelator's voice affords us information. Standing here alone, midway along the great arc of duration, we know by the living light within, that though some great archangel standing upon the earth and sea might swear “that time shall be no longer;" no archangel, nay, nor archangel's Lord upon the throne, has ever said, “let right begin to be," or ever shall say, “right shall be no longer.” “Heaven and earth

. might pass away,” but one jot or tittle of that eternal Law could never perish.

Finally, the Law of Right, in its essential principles, is everywhere and forever the same. Grant the infinite diversity in the moral judgments of men. Grant the matchless perversions to which the moral sense is liable. It is still true that the general principles of right and wrong are everywhere not only recognized, but recognized the same; just as, notwithstanding the conflicting processes and conclusions of reasoning, when from the same data, the fundamental principles of logic are in every mind identical. Nay, not only is this true of the principles, or ideas of right and wrong, it is even true of whatever specific moral judgments lie proximate to those principles. The same acts, if contemplated in a light near enough to their ground, are seen everywhere alike to be right or wrong. Is there a living man who, if falsely accused, or robbed of his treasure or his wife, does not feel the sense of injustice piercing like a knife his soul ? Reason has been characterized as impersonal. In whatever sense the conception may be regarded as just, it is so in the moral, not less than in the speculative element. What is thus true now, and in the realm of our own minds, no man can doubt is true everywhere, has been always, and will be forever. No need, as before said, to search the records of the past, or scan with prophetic gaze the future; no need to explore with adventurous step the utmost realm of space. The living light within,—that spark from central, creative fire, shows us the truth,-a truth which defies the power of mind to gainsay. The Law of Right is everywhere, and forever, substantially identical.


Such is the Law of Right as it is found in the human soul. Look at it! Consider it! Tell us if it lacks one conceivable element of the firmest, most absolute certainty, the loftiest grandeur and strength! Is not here a basis capable of sustaining any structure that human thought can raise? Can another broader, deeper, or more sure be imagined ? What does he gain who questions it? Only the destruction of the sole rock on which his own foot can rest, in all the rational activity of the soul. If a principle, such as we have shown the Law of Right to be, is questionable, nothing in the soul is trustworthy. The foundation here laid is not merely the validity of our most fundamental thoughts, it is the reality and genuineness of the being himself who thinks !

Such is the basis—the first grand premise of the system of religious truth-which it is proposed to raise.

The next step in order will be, to consider the Contents of this Law.

These are, of course, the proximate principles, with their branches springing from the fundamental Law. It is not essential to our present purpose that the analysis should be elaborate, or faultless. It would suffice, indeed, merely to say,

that here comes in an analysis of the great Law of Right; and that whatever its elementary principles may be shown to be, and whatever its secondary and minor rules thence derived, these constitute the contents of the Law; and these, in a full development of the system, should be drawn out, and exhibited. We suggest our own analysis, for the sake of completeness, with the distinct understanding that the reader may substitute another without disturbing our general method or course of thought. Indeed, views differing from ours, respecting the ultimate ground of moral distinctions, might be substituted with equal facility.

We make then, four proximate principles, or rather four elements of the fundamental principle of Right, viz: Justice, Truth, Love, and Purity. By the latter term we understand the opposite of whatever is foul, or base, or low, or mean, or degraded,-a kind of moral beauty, grace, and sweetness, distinguished from the more manly attributes before named, as

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