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But strong as this instinct and sentiment are, they do no more than correspond to the magnitude of the interests which they are intended to secure. The general allegiance of the human mind to truth is the basis of most of our knowledge. Were it not for this, the history of the past, which is now to us an accumulated treasure of wisdom, would be altogether useless. As it is now, in spite of the bias of interest, passion, and prejudice, it is mainly a representation of facts as they were. Men have felt in all ages that speech was given them to utter the thing that was true, and not the thing that was false; and, however feeling may have inclined the historian to misrepresent, the instinct and the sentiment of truth would not allow him materially to distort the transactions of past ages.

Truth is absolutely necessary for the general management of the business of society. It is by this alone that the most distant nations are able to carry on commerce with each other. They are able to do so only because they can depend on their mutual representations. Indeed it is the instinct of truth, which enables man to be a social

being at all. Were this instinct at any moment to cease, society would be broken up. The merchant when he opened his letters would be no wiser as to his business than he was before, he could do nothing in consequence of their contents. The newspaper, wet from the printing press, would be thrown away, for there would be no security that every article in it was not false. The stranger would ask no question of the citizen, because he would probably be misinformed.

It is this primitive and universal instinct of the obligation of truth, which lies at the foundation of the sanctity of an oath, an usage so universal that it may be considered as an institution of Nature. The ceremony and formality of an oath can put nothing into the soul of man which was not there before. It can only call up and put in exercise principles that were already there. These principles, and they both may be considered instinctive, are the absolute obligation of truth, and the existence of an Omniscient and Omnipotent Being to vindicate it. The universal existence and use of oaths

proves incontestibly that man is by nature not only a moral but a religious being.

It may be said, by those who deny that there are any such things as moral instincts, that the feeling of obligation to speak the truth arises from the foresight of the evil consequences which would spring from violating it, in short that men speak the truth only because it is their interest to do so. But every human being is conscious, if he watches the operations of his own mind, that this is not the fact. Obligation and interest are not identical in the human mind. The interest is an after thought. Just as truly might you say that the mother embraces her babe with transports of tenderness, because she sees how necessary it will be for her support in her old age. That this may be the purpose of the Deity in implanting the love that is stronger than death, we do not deny, but that it is the cause of the affection is altogether preposterous. That reason may afterwards give steadiness to the instinct we allow, that foresight may afterwards and in some degree add a new motive to parental assiduity may be a fact. So, that the conviction of the utility of truth may affect some

minds, and make them more scrupulous in its utterance, may be equally true, but that it is the original ground of obligation is totally false.

The next moral instinct which is developed is that of property. It was necessary for the individual and social well being of man, that each individual should appropriate certain things to himself. Were not this the case we could never take any interest in any thing. That we ought to enjoy the fruits of our own labor, is an ultimate conviction, for which no reason can be given but that such is the will of God. The same principle applies to our persons, our faculties, our liberty, our labor. God has given us certain things, hence we feel that we have a right to them. Let a parent give each of his children a piece of bread. The instinctive feeling of each one is, that the instant it is given, he has a right to it. If one wrests away from another his piece, he feels himself not only robbed, but wronged. His outcries will develope his moral sentiments. His sorrow for the loss will be touched and modified by grief and indignation at the injustice that is done him. All we can say of it is, that such

is the will of God. He has implanted in the human mind an instinct of property, a sense of right to certain things, which he gives to each individual. So let one of these children make a babyhouse, she feels that it is hers, just as much as an estate or an empire. Let another attempt to tear it down, she stands up in its defence, borne out by this instinct of property, which justifies her in the use of almost any means of resistance. If she is vanquished she feels wronged, so strong and instinctive is the feeling of property. But her own mind is not the only one which develops a moral instinct, and declares that she has been wronged. It is impossible for the assailant to view the matter in any other light. The same instinct which told the builder that the babyhouse was hers, likewise told the destroyer that it was not hers, and that she violated a right when she destroyed it. Let one of these children attempt to force the other to do any thing, merely by the exercise of will, without reason and without authority, and the attempt is resisted not merely on the ground of will, but on the ground of right. Thus the same instinct which teaches me what is mine,

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