D. S Gregory.

Christian ethics : or, The true moral manhood and life of duty : a text-book for schools and colleges online

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Christian Ethics ;


True Moral Manhood and Life of Duty.


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Eldredge & Brother,

17 North Seventh Street. */-" / /

1881. "'— '





R 1923 L



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1875, by

in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at AVashington.


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Xj ^'^ J- FAGAN & BON,




rpHIS volume had its origin in the demands of the class-room. It
-*- seeks to present that most important of all sciences, — the science
of right and noble living, — from the point of view of the enlightened
Christian conscience, so as to set before the youthful mind the highest
attainable human life and mission. It aims to embody the great prin-
ciples concerning the nature of the true moral manhood and work, and
the mode of attaining the former and performing the latter, in such a
form that they may be understood by students of average intel-
ligence in our schools and colleges ; and to give to the whole such a
unity and natural order that the entire system may be most readily
retained in the memory and made a life-long possession and guide.
While no truths have been excluded simply because they are old, and
no statements introduced merely because they are new, and while no
effort has been spared to make the presentation of the subject such as
is warranted by the moral facts of man's nature and of the world, it has
still been the constant endeavor to present the old truths in new aspects
and relations, so as to awaken mental activity, to fix the attention, to
arouse enthusiasm, and to incite the student by this practical and living
interest to the formation of the noblest character and the accom-
plishment of the highest work of life.

A glance at the printed page will show the intelligent teacher that
the aid of the compositor has been freely invoked to remedy the defect
— so common in the texi-books on this and kindred subjects — of cov-
ering up the main truths in the mass of details and obscuring the con-
nections of the parts by want of proper and logical division and


arrangement. By reason of this defect, the student is often required
to spend the greater portion of his valuable time in trying to ascertain
what are the main points in the discussion, and what is the connection
existing between them, and even after he has succeeded in this profit-
less task finds himself unable to retain the subject permanently in the
memory. To remedy this defect, the type has been made to perform an
important office, in giving to the various divisions and subdivisions
their proper relative degrees of prominence, in bringing out the con-
nections of the subject, and thus preparing the very page to do a work
of discrimination and instruction.

It is hoped that the features which have been introduced to adapt
the volume to the class-room, may likewise commend it to the profes-
sional man and the man of business, who equally with the student need
to keep freshly in mind, in this busy age, the science of the best and
noblest life of duty.

The writer would acknowledge his obligation to the various authors
whose names are mentioned, or whose works are cited, in the pages of
this volume, — a debt often the greatest to those from whom he has felt
constrained to difier most widely. Especially is his grateful acknowl-
edgment due to the able men — now venerable or sainted — who led
him, in his student years, in the higher walks of science and theology ;
and most of all to his college instructor in metaphysics and ethics,
whose valuable counsel, generous encouragement, and unselfish friend-
ship have always been of the highest service. D. S. G.



r, 0., April, 1875. J




I, Definition of Ethics, 13

II. Relation to Psychology, 15

III. Relation to Theology, 17

IV. Divisions of the Science, 19

Part I


The Nature of the Moral Agent.


General Vie\Ar of the Personal Agent.

SECTION I.— The Active Being.

Topic 1. Man a Self-Active Spirit, 25

Topic 2. Man a Spirit Embodied, 32

Topic 3. Man Consciously Linked with God, 35

SECTION II.— The Springs of Action.

Topic 1. The Good as the Motive Object in Action, . . . ' . . .42

Topic 2. The Motive Cause in Action, 44

1* V


SECTION III.— The Arbiter and Executor of Action.


Topic 1. Power of Choice 00

Topic 2. Power of Volition, 62

SECTION IV. —The Guides of Action.'

Topic 1. Prudence as a Guide, 65

Topic 2. Tlie Ideal, or Perfect, as a Guide, Go

Topic 3. Conscience as a Guide, 68

Special View of the Moral Agent.

SECTION I. — Elements of the Moral Nature froni the Theories
of the Moralist.

Topic 1. The View of the Experientialists 73

Topic 2. The View of the Intuitionalists. 75

SECTION II.— Elements of the Moral Nature from Con-

Topic 1. The Experiential Facts of Moral Consciousness, 79

Topic 2. The Intuitional Facts of Moral Consciousness, 82


The Nature of Virtue, or the Dutiful in


The Supreme End of Virtuous Action.

SECTION I.— Theories of the Supreme End.

Topic 1. First General Theory : Utilitarianism, 96

Topic 2. Second General Theorj' : Perfectionism, V8

Topic 3. Third General Theory : the Rectitude Theory 99

SECTION II. — The True Theory Established.


The Supreme Rule of Rightness.

SECTION I.— Unsatisfactory Theories of the Supreme Rule.

Topicl. First General Theory: Authority of the State 109

Topic 2. Second General Theory : the Nature of Things 110

Topic 3. Third General Theory : the Nature of Man, Ill


SECTION II.— True Theory of the Supreme Rule: the "Will

of Ood.


Topic 1. The Theory Confirmed, 112

Topic 2. The Three Revelations Considered, 115


The Ultimate Ground of Rightness, or Moral

SECTION I. — Incorrect Theories of the Ground of Moral

Topic 1. First General Theory : the Nature of Things, 120

Topic 2. Second General Theory : the Arbitrary Will of God, ... 121

SECTION II.— Correct Theory of the Ground of Obligation.

The Philosophy of the Life of Duty.


The True Conception of Human Duty.

SECTION I.— The True Idea of a Virtuous Action.

Topic 1. A Virtuous Action must be Materially Right 125

Topic 2. A Virtuous Action must be Intentionally, or Formally Right, . 127

SECTION II.— The True Idea of the Life of Duty.

Topic 1. The Moral Task or Life of Duty 129

Topic 2. The Complete Moral Manhood, 130


The Natural Requisites for the Life of Duty.

SECTION I. — The Broad Intelligence and the Moral Task.

Topic 1. Intelligence before Responsibility, 132

Topic 2. Broad Intelligence before the Complete Life Task, .... 133

SECTION II. —The Cultivated Conscience and the Moral Task.

Topic 1. Conscience before Responsibility . . .131

Topic 2. Cultivated Conscience before the Complete Life Task, . . . 135

SECTION III.— The Free and Holy Will and the Moral Task.

Topic 1. Free Will before Responsibility 137

Topic 2. Holy Free Will before the Complete Life Task 146


The Requisite Moral Reconstruction.

SECTION I.— The Moral Disorder of Man's Nature.


Topic 1. Condition of the Moral Nature, 149

Topic 2, Workings of the Moral Nature, 149

Topic 3. Consequences of the Moral Disorder, 150

SECTION II. — The True Scheme of Moral Reeonstruetion.

Topic 1. Inadequate Solutions of the Moral Problem, 1G0

Topic 2. Christianity the only Adequate Solution 166

Part II.


Individual Ethics. Duties to^ward Self.


Duty of Self-Conservation.

SECTION I.— Self- Preservation.— Life.

Topic 1. Preservation of Bodily Life, 176

Topic 2. Preservation of Spirit's Life, 179

SECTION II. — Self-Care. — Health,

Topic 1. Care of the Body, 179

Topic 2. Care of the Spirit, 184

SECTION III. — Self-Support. —Well-Being.

Topic 1. Support of the Body 186

Topic 2. Support of the Spirit, 188



Duty of Self-Culture.

SECTION I.— Physical Self-Culture.


Topic 1. General Physical Culture 192

Topic 2. Special Physical Culture, 194

SECTION II. — Spiritual Self-Culture.

Topicl. Knowledge of the Individual Spirit, 199

Topic 2. Correct Theory of Education 200

Topic 3. Application of the Theory to Self-Culture, 20-1


Duty of Self-Conduct.

SECTION I.— Self-Control.

Topic 1. Government of the Active Propensities 212

Topic 2. Balance of the Powers, 214

SECTION II.— Self-Direction.

Topic 1. The True and Noblest Purpose, 216

Topic 2. The Execution of the Purpose, . 221




General Ethics. Duties toward Men in General.

SECTION I.— Duty of Social Conservation.

Topic 1. Duties pertaining to Life, 236

Topic 2, Duties pertaining to Liberty, 240

Topic 3. Duties pertaining to Property, 242

Topic 4. Duties pertaining to Truthfulness 245

Topic 5. Duties pertaining to Human Brotherhood, 254

SECTION II. — Duty of Social Improvement.

Topic 1. General Principles of Social Improvement, 261

Topic 2. Special Principles of Social Improvement, 262

SECTION III. — Duty of Social Direction.

Topic 1. Special Duties of Social Control, 265

Topic 2. Special Duties of Social Direction, 268



Economical Ethics. Duties in the Household.

SECTION I. — Duties of the Marriage Relation.


Topic 1. The Nature of Marriage, 271

Topic 2. The Origin of Marriage 274

Topic 3. The Design of Marriage, 276

Topic 4. Duties Imposed by Marriage, 277

SECTION II. — Duties of the Parental Relation.

Topic 1. Duties of Parents toward Children, 281

Topic 2. Duties of Children toward Parents, 284

SECTION III.— Duties of Master and Servant.

Topic 1. Duties of Masters toward Servants, 288

Topic 2. Duties of Servants toward Masters 290


Civil Ethics. Duties in the State.

SECTION I.— Duties of the State.

Topic 1. Duties of the State toward its Citizens, 293

Topic 2. Duties of the State toward Itself and other States, .... 301
Topic 3. Duties of the State toward God, 305

SECTION II.— Duties of the Citizen.

Topic 1. The Citizen as Protected in Freedom, 308

Topic 2. The Citizen and the National Mission 310

Theistie Ethics. Duties toward God.

Supreme Devotion of the Intellect to God.

SECTION I,— The Binding Force of the Duty.

Topic 1. The Obligation Self-Evident 315

Topic 2. The Obligation begins with Knowledge, 315

Topic 3. The Obligation Universal, 316


SECTION II. — The Range of the Duty.


Topic 1. Study of the Material System, 317

Topic 2. Study of the Human System, 318

Topic 3. Study of the Christian System, 318

Topic 4. The Aim of the Study, 320


Supreme Devotion of the Heart to God.

SECTION I.— The Binding Force of the Duty.
SECTION II.— The Range of the Duty.


Supreme Devotion of the Will to God.

SECTION I.— Obedience toward God.

Topic 1. The Nature of the Obedience, 328

Topic 2. The Grounds of the Obedience, 328

SECTION II. — Worship of God.

Topic 1. The Duty of Prayer 331

Topic 2. The Duty of Sabbath Observance 337

SECTION III.— Acceptance of the Divine Sehenne of Moral Re-

Topic 1. Personal Acceptance and Devotion 345

Topic 2. Acceptance and Devotion for Mankind, 346


TT is suggested that the teacher may use this volume in any of the
-^ three following ways :

First, omitting Theoretical Ethics, or the theory of human duty, he
may take his pupils over Practical Ethics, with its view of the practical
duties of life. This will meet the wants of the younger and less ma-
ture pupils who may attempt the study of the subject.

Secondly, with a more mature class of pupils, he may use the whole
work, with the view of having them master the entire system of Ethics,
Theoretical and Practical, and make it their own for life. In such use
of the text-book, the attention should be especially directed to the
paragraphs in the larger type, as containing the substance of the whole,
and to the connection of all the parts in one complete system.

Thirdly, for the advanced classes, the teacher may, if he has the
leisure, use the matter printed in the larger type as a syllabus in con-
nection with which to deliver lectures of his own.




I. Definition.

Ethics, or Moral Science, is the science of man's life of duty,
or of what man ought to do in this present world.

Ethics is a Science. — Ethics belongs to the genus, or class, Science,
since its aim is to ascertain, classify, and rationally explain a certain
group or range of facts. The statement of its aim shows it to be in its
method an inductive science, in the same sense in which psychology
and the physical sciences are inductive. In all these sciences an
element of deduction is always joined with the prevailing and fun-
damental element of induction before the complete scientific result is

Ethics is the Science of Man's Life of Duty. — That which distin-
guishes the facts of this science from those of all other sciences is, that
they are the facts of human duty, or obligation ; in short, everything in
the nature, relations, and actions of man, of which either ought or ought
not can be predicated.

The science of morals finds its one great subject in the life-task, or
mission of duty, appointed for man to fulfil in this world. It investi-
gates and treats all the facts of human duty as they are connected with
this appointed task. Theoretically, it aims to ascertain tlie principles
of the true moral manhood and the complete moral task ; practically,
it aims to direct men to the attainment of the true moral manhood and
to the accomplishment of the complete moral task. It is, therefore, evi-
dently a science the knowledge of which is of the utmost practical im-
portance to every man.

2 13


Other Definitions Tested. — Ethical writers have defined this science
from various points of view. The science which treats of morals,
the science of right. Haveru The science of moral law. Waylarul,
The systematic application of the ultimate rule of right to all concep-
tions of moral conduct. Hickoh. The science which teaches men their
supreme end, and how to attain it. Hopkins. That science which
teaches men their duty, and the reasons of it. Paley. A code of rules
for the regulation of conduct among men as they should be. Herbert
Spencer, The science which proposes to direct and regulate human
actions as right or wrong. Fleming. The science of the moraL Wuiike.
The scientific presentation of himian action. ScMeiermacher. The
rational explanation of our moral actions, moral nature, and moral rela-
tions. OaJdenrood. Some of these various definitions may, with proper
explanation, be made to cover the exact groimd of the science of morals ;
but most of them, as will appear by examination, are too general, or in-
complete, or tautological ; some too gerieral, as Schleiermacher's, which
ignores the differentia of the science ; others incompleU, as Dr. Hickok's
and Herbert Spencer s, which cover only the ground of practical moral-
ity ; still others tautological, as the comprehensive one of Calderwood.

The Name Selected. — The science of human duty has been variously
designated: Ethics, Moral Philosophy, Moral Science. According to
the best usage these names are equivalent. Ethics has been selected
for convenience, and will be used interchangeably with the others.

Ethics is of Greek origin ('HStci from v^og^ custom, habit, disposition),
and originally applied only to individual conduct or manners ; but its
application has been extended by usage to the whole range of morals
private and public.

Moral FMlosophy is of Latin origin (Moral is Philosophia), and the
designation Moral moralis from mores, manners, customs,) was limited,
like the corresponding Greek expression, to individual conduct, and has
been extended in like manner in its application.

Moral Science is perhaps the name most in accordance with the pres-
ent modes of English thought- Moral PhUosopuy was used by the early
English writers to denote the science of mind as distinguished from the
physical sciences; but the prevailing tendency among later writers was
to confine it to its own proper sphere of morals. In past usage a still
later tendency has been to name the mental and spiritual sciences,
PfiUosopky, and to confine Science rather to the sciences of material na-
ture ; to say intellectual philosophy, moral philosophy, etc. ; and
a.=tronomical science, geological science, etc. The present tendency
is to apply Science to both these departments of being, since the sciences
of spirit and of matter are now both regarded as equally sciences cj obser-


vatum; to say mental science or moral science, as freely as science of
optics or astronomical science.

II. Relation to Psychology.

^ 1st. Place in the Scheme of Psychological Sciences. — The
facts of human duty from which the science of ethics is con-
structed are chiefly drawn from the examination of conscience,
or the moral faculty, and of virtue, or the right in conduct.
So far as ethics treats of conscience it is therefore a psycho-
logical science ; so far as it treats of the right it is not a psy-
chological science. In view of its twofold subject and nature,
ethics may be classed with aesthetics as a Mixed Psychological
. Its relations to the other sciences of the soul may be seen
from the following Scheme of Psychological Sciences:

A. The Pure Psycho- (Science of Lite^e^, 1 On Simple

logical Sciences. 1 „ Will "^ I ^'acuities,

■R TVio ^ri7ro/^ p-f- If -I^hetics, or the Science of Taste and of "i On Com-
choloS^S-l the Beautiful. [plexwork-

c^-noas° 1 Ethics, or the Science of Conscience and of ( ine of Fac-

ences. ^ the KighL j nines.

Pure Psychological Sciences. — Psychology, or the science of the
human soul, often ambiguously styled mental philosophy,Jtreats of the
soul in its three fiiculties : the Intellect, the Feelings, and the "Will.
Upon these faculties are founded the three psychological sciences : the
Science of the Intellect, the Science of the Feelings, and the Science of
the "SVill. All the facts out of which these three sciences are con.structed l
are drawn from the soul itself, and they are therefore designated the]
Pure Psychological Sciences.

Mixed Psychological Sciences. — The two sciences of aesthetics and
ethics are not purely psychological. .Esthetics is the science of the
faculty of taste, or of man's sesthetic nature, which is a complex of
intellect and feeling, and is so far psychological; but it is also the
science of the beautiful, as a quality in objects, and is so jfar not
psychological. Ethics is the science of the moral faculty, or of man's
moral nature, and is so far psychological ; but it is also the science
of virtue, or the right in conduct, and is so far not psychol(^caL In


their second aspect both these sciences are termed Metaphysical, because
they aim to treat in a scientific way the principles or laws which under-
lie and condition the phenomena of the beautiful and the right. They
may therefore be properly termed mixed psychological sciences.

'— 2d. Demand for Correct Psyeholog^y. — It is obvious,
from the foregoing considerations, that a science of morals
is impossible without a correct knowledge of psychology in
general, and a correct knowledge of the psychology of man's
moral nature in particular.

The psychology of the moral nature has been so imper-
fectly treated, or so entirely neglected in the text-books on
psychology, that undue prominence must necessarily be given
it in any treatise on morals which aims to be at all intelligible
and satisfactory.

The Imperfect Treatment of the psychology of the moral nature
will hardly be denied. In the many valuable works on general and
special psychology accessible to American students, there is scarcely
to be found a complete and satisfactory discussion of the phenomena of
conscience and of the feelings and will, so intimately connected with
moral action.

The Denial of the Moral Nature with its intuitions of right and
duty has in certain quarters been still more fatal to scientific ethics.
It is a well-known fact that the empirical school of philosophy — which
has of late numbered among its adherents the boldest, if not the ablest,
speculative minds of the day in the British Islands, and among them
John Stuart Mill — begins with denying all the intuitions of the soul, i
and declaring that all so-called intuitions in every department of/
knowledge are derived solely from experience. It persistently refuses
to recognize the nobler and more important part of man, and by so
doing eventually blots the idea of right out of its system of things and
puts expediency or utility in its place.

If there is to be any solid basis for ethical science, it becomes neces-
sary to investigate carefully the main facts of conscience, and of the feel-
ings and will in their relations to human action in general, and to moral
action in particular.

3d. Correct Psychological Method. — As an inductive
science, ethics must observe, systematize, and explain the facts
of man's moral consciousness. The mode of inquiry, so far
as ethics respects these facts of consciousness, is the intro-


spective, or reflective. Internal perception, or the power by
which the soul takes cognizance of its own acts and states, is
the instrument of observation in this science, as external per-
ception is in the physical sciences.

The Facts of Consciousness. — It is to be noted that the facts of
consciousness, from which the inductions of ethical science are made,
may be found not only in the present mental state of the investigator
himself, and in his past mental states as recalled by memory, but also
and more especially in what he discovers of other men's thoughts and
feelings as expressed in their words and actions.

To be Studied in the Complete Man. — As man's reason may be studied
best not in the idiot nor in the undeveloped child, but in the man
of fully developed intellectual power, so man's moral nature may
be studied best not in the brutalized or undeveloped man, but in the
man of fully developed moral power and character. In this view the
Sacred Scriptures, irrespective of their inspiration, may have for the
moralist the highest value as giving expression to human consciousness
when morally enlightened in the highest degree. Paul's testimony con-
cerning any principle of morals is of vastly greater value, irrespective
of his inspiration, than the testimony of Cicero, and that for the sim-
ple reason that Paul's moral condition was vastly higher than that of

By the Scientific Method. — A rigid application of the scientific method
of psychology to all these facts of the moral consciousness is necessary
in order to arrive at the truth concerning man's moral constitution.

III. Pelation to Theology.

1st. Distinction between Ethics and Theology. — Ethics is
the science of human duty : Theology is the science of God
and the mutual relations of God and man. If the two sciences
are constructed from the facts of nature, we have Natural
Ethics and Natural Theology: if from the facts of divine
revelation, we have Revealed, or Theological, Ethics and Be-
vealed Theology. By comparing the definitions of the two
sciences, it appears that the sphere of ethics is much narrower
than that of theology, covering the single relation of man to
God as his lawgiver and governor. Comparing the practical


fruits of the two, theology aims to produce religion ; ethics,

The Different Spheres. — Revealed theology, according to Dr. Hodge,
is "the science of the facts of divine revelation, so far as those facts
concern the nature of God and our relation to him, as his creatures,

Online LibraryD. S GregoryChristian ethics : or, The true moral manhood and life of duty : a text-book for schools and colleges → online text (page 1 of 34)