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first case affirmed, in total ignorance of such tendency. It must be affirmed, in view of other considerations exclusively, Perceived tendency, or utility, therefore, is not the exclusive reason in view of which obligation is aflirmed. It is not the element which enters at all into original and primary affirmations of this nature. Utility, then, is not the exclusive ground of right.
Argument Expanded. The above argument is as susceptible of absolute demonstration, as any proposition in mathematics. To show this, let A represent a moral action, B its results, the results which A tends to produce. As A is the cause of B, the relation of A as cause to B as effect, must be learned exclusively from experience. For the same reason, A must be, in the mind, the chronological antecedent of B. Now as A is willing in view of atfirmed obligation, it implies two things, obligation affirmed, and action or willing, in view of it. Let then represent the former, that is, obligation affirmed, and D the latter, or willing in view of such affirmation. Now C must have been in the mind prior to D, because D is action or willing in view of C. But B is known subsequently to the existence of D, the former being an effect of the latter, an effect learned by experience alone. Now as D is known prior to B, much more must C have been known and affirmed prior to all knowledge of B. Because C is affirmed prior to the existence even of D, which is the chronological antecedent of B. Obligation, therefore, is in all instances, first affirmed in view of totally different considerations than the perceived tendency of action in view of such affirmation, and the theory of the Utilitarian falls to the ground.
Additional Considerations. The nature of willing may be contemplated and known in another and different point of light sti}l, not in relation to the phenomena of the Sensibility, but of the Intelligence. A mountain, we will suppose, is before the mind. Prior to experience, we cannot know, but that such is the correlation between our Wills and the mountain, that willing its removal to a certain place will cause its removal. In total ignorance of this relation, we may conceive of the removal of the mountain, and know what would be the effects of such an event, and understand perfectly what it is to will it. Our knowledge of the nature of willing in this respect, cannot be increased or diminished, by our knowledge of the tendency of willing in the other respect above mentioned. Now the question arises, whether, in total ignorance of the tendency of Willing to produce this result, the Intelligence may not affirm, and affirm absolutely, that it is proper or improper, right or wrong, for us to will the removal of the mountain ? Suppose we know, that the removal of the mountain would occasion the death of a thousand individuals; but we do not know at all, whether our willing it has any tendency to produce the result. Would not the Intelligence under such circumstances affirm absolutely our obligation not to will the removal of the mountain ? Who does not know, that it would make this affirmation ? Obligation to right willing is therefore affirmed, in view of considerations entirely distinct and separate from the perceived tendencies of thus willing to promote happiness.
Argument stated in View of another Example. God, we will suppose, is present to the contemplation of a rational being as capable of an infinite amount of happiness or misery. . Before we can know whether willing God's happiness or misery has any tendency to produce the one or the other, we must understand the correlation between the nature of our Will and the divine Sensibility. In total absence of this knowledge, however, we can understand perfectly the nature of willing in another respect, that is, what it is, to will the infinite happiness, instead of misery of God. Now in total ignorance of the tendency of willing, to produce the result, and in view exclusively of its nature, in the other respect named, may not the Intelligence affirm absolutely the obligation of the creature referred to, to will the infinite happiness, instead of the infinite misery of God? If so (and who will deny, that the Intelligence would, under the circumstances supposed, make the affirmation under consideration), we have demonstrative evidence, that utility, or the perceived tendency of right willing, is not the reason in view of which obligation thus to will, is affirmed.
To bring this question to a final issue, let us suppose the being of God present, in the sense above explained, to the contemplation of one of his rational offspring, and that no other creature but this exists. In view of the divine capacities, this creature affirms absolutely his obligation to will God's infinite happiness, instead of his misery. In view of God's infinite excellence he affirms his obligation to love him. Now the question is, in view of the nature of willing, In which of the senses above named has this affirmation been made ? In answering this question I remark, that the happiness of God may be assumed as an infinite quantity, incapable of any increase or diminution from any finite cause ; or it may be assumed as a finite quantity, capable of increase or diminution from such a cause. Or (the only remaining supposition conceivable) the mind may be in doubt which of the above positions is true. Of these positions, the first, as I suppose, is the general impression of the race, and it certainly accords with the Bible.
Now, in whichsoever of these states the mind is, it affirms with equal absoluteness its obligation to will the infinite happiness, instead of misery, of God. When it holds that the happiness of God cannot be increased or dininished by any act of any finite will, still it affirms its obligation to will the infinite happiness of God, instead of his infinite misery. Now an affirmation made in the absence of a certain element cannot be based upon that element.
Further, the thing which this creature asfirms himself bound to will, under the circumstances supposed, is the infinite happiness of God. Now it is demonstrably evident, that our willing cannot have any tendency to produce this result, a cause in its nature finite, having no tendency to produce an effect that is infinite. The utmost that can be said of the tendency of willing is, that it is adapted to effect the happiness of God in a finite degree. Now is it in view of such a result that we affirm our obligation to will a result that is infinite ? Willing an infinite good derives, in our judgment, all its obligation from the perceived tendency of such willing to produce a finite good. Such is the doctrine of Utility.
Result of the Discussion thus far. The result of the discussion thus far, is this. The perceived adaptation of willing the infinite happiness of God to promote that end, cannot be the reason of the affirmation that we are bound to will his infinite happiness,
1. Because this affirmation is, as a matter of fact, made with the most perfect absoluteness, in the full belief that such willing has no tendency to effect his happiness at all.
2. Because that this affirmation is made with equal absoluteness, while the mind is in perfect suspense in respect to the fact whether our willing has any tendency to affect at all the happiness of God.
3. Suppose we adopt the conclusion that our willing has such tendency, this conclusion we can adopt only as the result of a process of reasoning. Before we have arrived at this result, the above affirmation was made with perfect absoluteness, and could not, therefore, have been based upon such conclusion.
4. When this conclusion is arrived at, the absoluteness of the affirmation under consideration is neither increased nor diminished.
5. To suppose that the obligation to will the infinite happiness of God is based upon the perceived tendency of thus willing to affect his happiness in a finite degree, is to abandon entirely the position that intentions, or what-a man wills, determines moral character.
Other important Considerations. Other considerations, bearing upon this point, now demand our consideration.
1. No one is conscious of a reference at all to the tendency of our willing to affect the happiness of God, as the ground of the affirmation that we ought to will it.
2. When this tendency is pointed out and proved to exist, no one recognizes it as the reason of the affirmation under consideration.
3. No one who attempts to assign to others the reason why they are bound to love God, or to will his happiness, ever assigns this as the reason. Assuming the position, on the other hand, that we affirm ourselves bound to love God, or to will his happiness, for the sole and exclusive reason that the character of God is intrinsically excellent, and that his happiness is a thing in itself of infinite value; this assumption I affirm to be correct.
1. Because universal Consciousness affirms its truth.
2. When this fact is pointed out, universal Reason responds to it, as the real ground of the affirmation under consideration, and as an all-sufficient ground.
3. This fact is invariably referred to, when we attempt to convince others of their obligation to love God, or to will his happiness, and of their guilt in not doing it.
4. Upon this ground Utilitarians, as well as others, found their affirmations of obligation to will what is right, whenever their theory is not distinctly before their minds.
5. The more perfectly the mind is abstracted from all considerations but the simple relation of willing to what is intrinsic in the object presented, the more distinct and vivid will be the affirmations of Reason in respect to the moral character of our determinations. Of this every one is conscious.
The above Argument of universal Application. The argument thus far has been based mainly upon one example, willing the happiness instead of the misery of God. It will readily be perceived, however, that this example is of universal application in respect to all duties which, as creatures, we owe to God. If obligation to will God's happiness is not based upon perceived tendencies of willing it, to produce that result, no more surely can obligation to love him, submit to his authority, or be grateful for his mercies, be based upon perceived tendencies of yielding to such claims to produce the same result.
Obligation not affirmed in view of the subjective Tendencies of
Right or Wrong Willing. Suppose the Utilitarian shifts his ground, and assumes the position that we affirm our obligation to will the happiness of God, or to love him, in view of the perceived tendencies of such willing to advance our own or the happiness of others. I reply,
1. That, as shown above, obligation must have been perceived, affirmed, and complied with, or transgressed, prior to the perception of any such tendencies. Such perceptions, therefore, cannot have been the basis of such affirmations.
2. The testimony of universal Consciousness is opposed to this supposition. When we affirm our obligation to love God, for example, nothing is further from our views than the thought, that this affirmation is based upon the perceived tendencies to make us happy.
3. No person ever assigns this as the reason why we are bound to will the happiness of God.
Another General Consideration. I have one consideration further, of a general nature, in