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of accuracy in narrative, sincerity in conduct, and fidelity to engagements. Commentators have even gone so far as to maintain that the apostle, in the words before us, had his eye only upon that species of truth, which relates to the social intercourse of men; taking it for granted that this is the only kind of truth to which an ethical character pertains. One* represents him as describing "moral characters and the duties of a Christian," and accordingly restricts his meaning to "integrity and uprightness in opposition to hypocrisy, insincerity, or moral falsehood." The conviction seems to be common, that the operations of the understanding are not immediately under the cognizance of conscience, and that of the processes by which we form our speculative opinions, virtue and vice can neither be affirmed nor denied. These speculations are often directed to subjects in their own. nature indifferent, and it is confidently inferred, that because the objects of our thoughts have nothing to do with the distinctions of

* Dr. Watts. Sermon on this text.

morality, our thoughts themselves are equally exempt from a moral character. Hence has arisen the dogma that we are not responsible for our opinions. The understanding is treated as a series of faculties, subject to its own laws, moving in a peculiar and restricted sphere, having no other connection with conscience than as it analyzes and applies the rules of morality to the cases of practice, which are constantly occurring in the business of the world. It may study, arrange and digest the moral code, but the laws which it acknowledges have no reference to its own processes, but only to the conduct of life.

This, however, is not the doctrine of the Scriptures. They represent the domain of morality as extending to the whole nature of


Whatever directly or indirectly falls under the jurisdiction of the will possesses an ethical character, and may be the occasion to us of praise or blame, according to the principles and habits by which we have been governed. The morality does not attach to the processes or faculties themselves, but to

the spirit and temper, the motives and purposes, which have shaped and determined their operations. There is a general sense in which all the elements of our spiritual nature are in subjection to the will. The springs of action, in our appetites, affections and desires, with which we are endowed, all act blindly; they simply impel, but they do not direct. They cannot regulate their own motions; they cannot prescribe the extent or circumstances of their gratification, or determine the relative value of the objects which elicit them. They rouse the will; and that must consult the conscience and the understanding as to the course to be pursued. Corresponding to all these springs of action there are moral laws, in obedience to which the will must control them. These laws, ingrained into the nature, and invested with the supremacy which belongs to them, are so many habits of virtue, the complement of which makes up integrity of character. In the springs of action themselves there is nothing directly virtuous or vicious-they are simply indifferent.

It is when they have put the man in the attitude of motion that responsibility begins, and according to the principles upon which he treats them he is entitled to praise or blame. These motive impulses are adjusted to the whole nature of man. Some spring from the body and operate at periodic intervals such as hunger and thirst, the appetite of sex, and the desire of repose. There is nothing virtuous or vicious in any of the naked appetites; but virtue and vice may attach to the methods of their gratification. There may be excess, as in gluttony and drunkenness, food may be unlawfully procured, or may consist of materials prejudicial to the health of the system. Other springs of action are directed to the mind-among which one of the most prominent is curiosity, or the desire of knowledge. In this, also, there is nothing directly moral; but an ethical character ensues, the very moment the will pronounces upon the manner, the ends, and the extent of its gratification. When the question arises, how shall this desire of knowledge be gratified? there

are moral laws in conformity with which the will is compelled to decide. Other springs

of action are directed to the nurture and cultivation of the finer affections of the heart; and like those already enumerated, are indifferent in themselves, though the modes, and measure, and objects of their indulgence are equally subject to the jurisdiction of the conscience. As, then, there are principles of action designed to stimulate every department of our nature, and as the method, end and extent of their operation are to be determined by the moral understanding, every department of man's nature is brought under the cognizance of moral law, and he may be virtuous, or vicious on account of his opinions and sentiments as well as on account of his conduct. The law in conformity with which we are bound to regulate the impulses of curiosity, is the love of truth. This law, written upon the heart, incorporated into the nature, strengthened into a habit, constitutes the measure of the morality of intellect. It is not merely an accomplishment, an excel

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