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§ 1. Preliminary Principles.

The Personality of God involved in the Idea of Law; and, therefore, all Morality is founded on Religion.

The principal meanings of the word law are, (1.) An established order in the sequence of events. A law, in this sense, is a mere fact. That the planets are distant from the sun according to a determined proportion; that the leaves of a plant are arranged in a regular spiral around the stem; and that one idea by association suggests another, are simple facts. Yet they are properly called laws, in the sense of established orders of sequence or relation. So also what are called the laws of light, of sound, and of chemical affinity, are, for the most part, mere facts. (2.) A uniformly acting force which determines the regular sequence of events. In this sense the physical forces which we see in operation around us, are called the laws of nature. Gravitation, light, heat, electricity, and magnetism, are such forces. The fact that they act uniformly gives them the character of laws. Thus the Apostle speaks also of a law of sin in his members which wars against the law of the mind. (3.) Law is that which binds the conscience. It imposes the obligation of conformity to its demands upon all rational creatures. This is true of the moral law in its widest sense. It is also true of human laws within the sphere of their legitimate operation.

In all these senses of the word, law implies a law-giver; that is, an intelligence acting voluntarily for the attainment of an end. The irregular, or unregulated action of physical forces produces chaos; their ordered action produces the cosmos. But ordered action is action preëstablished, sustained, and directed for the accomplishment of a purpose.

This is still more obviously true with regard to moral laws. The slightest analysis of our feelings is sufficient to show that moral obligation is the obligation to conform our character and conduct to the will of an infinitely perfect Being, who has the 260authority to make his will imperative, and who has the power and the right to punish disobedience. The sense of guilt especially resolves itself into a consciousness of being amenable to a moral governor. The moral law, therefore, is in its nature the revelation of the will of God so far as that will concerns the conduct of his creatures. It has no other authority and no other sanction than that which it derives from Him.

The same is true with regard to the laws of men. They have no power or authority unless they have a moral foundation. And if they have a moral basis, so that they bind the conscience, that basis must be the divine will. The authority of civil rulers, the rights of property, of marriage, and all other civil rights, do not rest on abstractions, nor on general principles of expediency. They might be disregarded without guilt, were they not sustained by the authority of God. All moral obligation, therefore, resolves itself into the obligation of conformity to the will of God. And all human rights are founded on the ordinance of God. So that theism is the basis of jurisprudence as well as of morality. This doctrine is taught by Stahl, perhaps the greatest living authority on the philosophy of law. “Every philosophical science,” he says, “must begin with the first principle of all things, that is, with the Absolute. It must, therefore, decide between Theism and Pantheism, between the doctrine that the first cause or principle is the personal, extramundane, self-revealing God, and the doctrine that the first principle is an impersonal power immanent in the world.”253253Die Philosophie des Rechts, von Friedrich Jullus Stahl; Rechts und Staatslehre, I. i. 1, § 1; 4th edit. Heidelberg, 1870, vol. ii. part 1, p. 7. It is not pantheism, but fetichism to make all things God. The real question is, Whether the Absolute has personality and self-consciousness or not? Stahl had previously said to the same effect, that every philosophy, and every religion, and especially the Christian, must proceed on a theory of the universe (a Weltanschauung). It is the Christian doctrine of God and of this relation to the world, that he makes the foundation of legal and political science (of Rechts- und Staatslehre).254254Einleitung, § 5, ut supra, p. 4. He therefore calls his system “theological” in so far as it makes the nature and will of God the foundation of all duties and the source of all rights.

He recognizes, however, the distinction between morality and religion. “Morality,” he says, “is the perfection (Vollendung) of man in himself (so far as the will is concerned); or the revelation 261of the divine being in man. Man is the image of God, and therefore in his nature is like God, perfect or complete in himself; and conformity to the divine image is for him the goal and command. (Matt. v. 45). Religion, on the other hand, is the bond between man and God, or what binds men to God, so that we should know and will only in Hun, refer everything to Him, entire consecration, the personal union with God. Thus, love of our neighbour, courage, spirituality (the opposite of sensuality), may be simply moral virtues; whereas faith and the love of God are purely religious. The courage of Napoleon’s guard was a moral virtue (a state of the will); the courage of Luther was religious (a power derived from his relation to God).”255255Stahl, ut supra, I. ii. 1, § 24; Ibid. p. 71.

Religion and morality, although thus different, are not independent. They are but different phases of our relation to God. Stahl, therefore, controverts the doctrine of Grotius, that there would be a jus naturale if there were no God; which is really equivalent to saying that there would be an obligation to goodness if there were no such thing as goodness. Moral excellence is of the very essence of God. He is concrete goodness; infinite reason, excellence, knowledge, and power in a personal form; so that there can be no obligation to virtue which does not involve obligation to God. Wolf carried out the doctrine of Grotius to the length of saying that an Atheist, if consistent, would act just as the Christian acts. This principle of Grotius, says Stahl, contained the germ of separation from religion, which unfolded itself with Kant into an ignoring, and, with those who followed him, into the denial of God.256256Ibid. pp. 73, 74.

“The primary idea of goodness, is the essential, not the creative, will of God. The divine will in its essence is infinite love, mercy, patience, truth, faithfulness, rectitude, spirituality, and all that is included in holiness, which constitutes the inmost nature of sod. The holiness of God, therefore, neither precedes his will ‘sanctitas antecedens voluntatem’ of the Schoolmen), nor follows it, but is his will itself. The good is not a law for the divine will (so that God wills it because it is good); neither is it a creation of his will (so that it becomes good because He wills it); but it is the nature (das Urwollen) of God from everlasting to everlasting.”257257Ibid. I. ii. 2, § 29; Ibid. pp. 84, 85. Again it is said, “Hence it follows that moral goodness is concrete, specific, . . . . absolute, original, as little determined by logical laws as by a relation to external ends. . . . 262This is not the doctrine of modern ethics. According to the eudaimonistic view adopted by the English philosophers, by Thomasius, and others, the good is good because it tends to produce happiness. According to the rationalists, the good is conformity with the laws of thought (Denkrichtigkeit). . . . . This was the real doctrine of Wolf, who made morality to consist in order (Regelmässigkeit); still more decidedly was it the doctrine of Kant, with whom the moral law is a consequence of the laws of thought. He says, expressly, that the idea of moral good must be derived from preceding law, that is, the law of reason.”258258Stahl, ut supra, p. 87.

These two principles, then, are to be taken for granted; first, that moral good is good in its own nature, and not because of its tendencies, or because of its conformity to the laws of reason and, second, that all law has its foundation in the nature and will of God. These principles are very comprehensive. They are of special importance in the exposition of the law in its aspect as the revealed will of God designed to regulate human character and conduct.

Protestant Principles limiting Obedience to Human Laws.

There is another principle regarded as fundamental by all Protestants, and that is, that the Bible contains the whole rule of duty for men in their present state of existence. Nothing can legitimately bind the conscience that is not commanded or forbidden by the Word of God. This principle is the safeguard of that liberty wherewith Christ has made his people free. If it be renounced, we are at the mercy of the external Church, of the State, or of public opinion. This is simply the principle that it is right to obey God rather than man. Our obligation to render obedience to human enactments in any form, rests upon our obligation to obey God; and, therefore, whenever human laws are in conflict with the law of God we are bound to disobey them. When heathen emperors commanded Christians to worship idols, tne martyrs refused. When popes and councils commanded Protestants to worship the Virgin Mary, and to acknowledge the supremacy of the bishop of Rome, the Protestant martyrs refused. When the Presbyterians of Scotland were required by their rulers in Church and State to submit themselves to the authority of prelatical bishops, they refused. When the Puritans of England were called upon to recognize the doctrine of “passive obedience,” they again refused. And it is to the stand thus taken 263by those martyrs and confessors that the world is indebted for all of the religious and civil liberty it now enjoys.

Whether any enactment of the Church or State conflicts with the truth or law of God, is a question which every man must decide for himself. On him individually rests the responsibility, and therefore to him, as an individual, belongs the right of judgment.

Although these principles, when stated in in thesi, are universally recognized among Protestants, they are nevertheless very frequently disregarded. This is true not only of the past when the Church and State both openly claimed the right to make laws to bind the conscience. It is true at the present time. Men still insist on the right of making that sin which God does not forbid; and that obligatory which God has not commanded. They proscribe rules of conduct and terms of church fellowship, which have no sanction in the Word of God. It is just as much a duty for the people of God to resist such usurpations, as it was for the early Christians to resist the authority of the Roman Emperors in matters of religion, or for the early Protestants to refuse to recognize the right of the Pope to determine for them what they were to believe, and what they were to do. The essence of infidelity consists in a man’s putting his own convictions on matters of truth and duty above the Bible. This may be done by fanatics in the cause of benevolence, as well as by fanatics in any other cause. It is infidelity in either case. And as such it should be denounced and resisted unless we are willing to renounce our allegiance to God, and make ourselves the servants of men.

Christian Liberty in Matters of Indifference.

It is perfectly consistent with the principle above stated, that a thing may be right or wrong according to circumstances, and, therefore, it may often be wrong for a man to do what the Bible does not condemn. Paul himself circumcised Timothy; yet he told the Galatians that if they allowed themselves to be circumcised, Christ would profit them nothing. Eating meat offered in sacrifice to idols was a matter of indifference. Yet the Apostle said, “If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.”

There are two important principles involved in these Scriptural facts. The first is, that a thing indifferent in itself may become even fatally wrong if done with a wrong intention. Circumcision was nothing, and uncircumcision was nothing. It mattered little 264whether a man was circumcised or not. But if any one submitted to circumcision as an act of legal obedience, and as the necessary condition of his justification before God, he thereby rejected the Gospel, or, as the Apostle expressed it, he fell from grace. He renounced the gratuitous method of justification, and Christ became of no effect to him. In like manner, eating meat which had been offered in sacrifice to an idol, was a matter of indifference. “Meat,” says Paul, “commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.” Yet if a man ate such meat as an act of reverence to the idol, or under circumstances which implied that it was an act of worship, he was guilty of idolatry. And, therefore, the Apostle taught that participation in feasts held within the precincts of an idol’s temple, was idolatry.

The other principle is that, no matter what our intention may be, we sin against Christ when we make such use of our liberty, in matters of indifference, as causes others to offend. In the first of these cases the sin was not in being circumcised, but in making circumcision a condition of our justification. In the second case, the idolatry consisted not in eating meat offered in sacrifice to idols, but in eating it as an act of worship to the idol. And in the third case, the sin was not in asserting our liberty in matters of indifference, but in causing others to offend.

The rules which the Scriptures clearly lay down on this subject are: (1.) That no man or body of men has the right to pronounce that to be sinful which God does not forbid. There was no sin in being circumcised, or in eating meat, or in keeping the sacred days of the Hebrews. (2.) That it is a violation of the law of love, and therefore a sin against Christ, to make such use of our liberty as to cause others to sin. “Take heed,” says the Apostle, “lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak.” “When ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.” (1 Cor. viii. 9, 12.) “It is good (i.e., morally obligatory) neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.” “All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. (Rom. xiv. 21, 20.) (3). Nothing in itself indifferent can be made the ground of permanent and universal obligation. Because it was wrong in Galatia to submit to circumcision, it does not follow that it was wrong in Paul to circumcise Timothy. Because it was wrong in Corinth to eat meat, it does not follow that it is wrong 265always and everywhere. An obligation arising out of circumstances must vary with circumstances. (4.) When it is obligatory to abstain from the use of things indifferent, is a matter of private judgment. No man has the right to decide that question for other men. No bishop, priest, or church court has the right to decide it. Otherwise it would not be a matter of liberty. Paul constantly recognized the right (ἐξουσία) of Christians to judge in such cases for themselves. He does this not by implication only, but he also expressly asserts it, and condemns those who would call it in question. “Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth.” “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” (Rom. xiv. 3, 4, 5.) It is a common saying that every man has a pope in his own bosom. That is, the disposition to lord it over God’s heritage is almost universal. Men wish to have their opinions on moral questions made into laws to bind the consciences of their brethren. This is just as much a usurpation of a divine prerogative when done by a private Christian or by a church court, as when done by the Bishop of Rome. We are as much bound to resist it in the one case as in the other. (5.) It is involved in what has been said that the use which a man makes of his Christian liberty can never be legitimately made the ground of church censure, or a term of Christian communion.

Scriptural Usage of the Word Law.

The Scriptures uniformly understand by law a manifestation of the will of God. All the operations of nature are ordered by laws of his appointment. And his will is represented as the ultimate foundation of moral obligation. In Hebrew it is called תּוֹרָה, instruction, because it is, as the Apostle says, “the form of knowledge and of the truth.” It is the standard of right and wrong. In Greek it is called νόμος, custom, and then, as custom or usage regulates the conduct of men, whatever has that authority does in fact control action, is called νόμος. In the New Testament it is constantly used in this wide sense. It is sometimes applied to a rule of conduct however revealed; sometimes to the Scriptures as the supernaturally revealed will of God, as the rule of faith and practice; sometimes to the Pentateuch or Law of Moses; and sometimes specifically to the moral law. It 266is here to be taken to mean that revelation of the will of God which is designed to bind the conscience and to regulate the conduct of men.

How the Law is revealed.

This law is revealed in the constitution of our nature, and more fully and clearly in the written Word of God. That there is a binding revelation of the law, independently of any supernatural external revelation, is expressly taught in the Bible. Paul says of the heathen that they are a law unto themselves. They have the law written on their hearts. This is proved, he tells us, because they do, φύσει, by nature, i.e., in virtue of the constitution of their nature, the things of the law. The same moral acts which the written law prescribes, the conduct of the heathen shows that they know to be obligatory. Hence their conscience approves or disapproves, as they obey or disobey this inwardly revealed law. What is thus taught in Scripture is confirmed by consciousness and experience. Every man is conscious of a knowledge of right and wrong, and of a sense of obligation, which are independent of all external revelation. He may be unable to determine whence that knowledge comes. He knows, however, that it has been in him coeval with the dawn of reason, and has enlarged and strengthened just as his reason unfolded. His consciousness tells him that the rule is within, and would be there though no positive or external revelation of duty existed. In other words, we do not refer the sense of moral obligation to an externally revealed law, as its source, but to the constitution of our nature. This is not the experience of any class of men exclusively, but the common experience of the race. Wherever there are men, there is the sense of moral obligation, and a knowledge of right and wrong.

It is frequently objected to this doctrine that men differ widely in their moral judgments. What men of one age or country regard as virtues, men of other ages or countries denounce as crimes. But this very diversity proves the existence of the moral sense. Men could not differ in judgments about beauty, if the æsthetic element did not belong to their nature. Neither could they differ on questions of morality unless the sense of right and wrong were innate and universal. The diversity in question is not greater than in regard to rational truths. That men differ in their judgments as to what is true, is no proof that reason is not a natural and essential element of their constitution. As there are certain truths of the reason which are intuitive and perceived 267by all men, so there are moral truths so simple that they are universally recognized. As beyond these narrow limits there is diversity of knowledge, so there must be diversity of judgment. But this is not inconsistent with the Scriptural doctrine that even the most degraded heathen are a law unto themselves, and show the work of the law written on their hearts. As the revelation which God has made of his eternal power and Godhead in his works is true and trustworthy, and sufficient to render ignorance or denial of his existence inexcusable, while it does not supersede the necessity of a clearer revelation in his word; so there is an imperfect revelation of the law made in the very constitution of our nature, by which those who have no other revelation are to be judged, but which does not render unnecessary the clearer teachings of the Scriptures.

Different Kinds of Laws.

In looking into the Bible as containing a revelation of the will of God, the first thing which arrests attention is the great diversity of precepts therein contained. This difference concerns the nature of the precepts, and the ground on which they rest, or the reason why they are obligatory.

1. There are laws which are founded on the nature of God. To this class belong the command to love God supremely, to be just, merciful, and kind. Love must everywhere and always be obligatory. Pride, envy, and malice must everywhere and always be evil. Such laws bind all rational creatures, angels as well as men. The criterion of these laws is that they are absolutely immutable and indispensable. Any change in them would imply, not merely a change in the relations of men, but in the very nature of God.

2. A second class of laws includes those which are founded on the permanent relations of men in their present state of existence. Such are the moral, as opposed to mere statute laws, concerning property, marriage, and the duties of parents and children, or superiors and inferiors. Such laws concern men only in their present state of being. They are, however, permanent so long as the relations which they contemplate continue. Some of these laws bind men as men; others husbands as husbands, wives as wives, and parents and children as such, and consequently they bind all men who sustain these several relations. They are founded on the nature of things, as it is called; that is, upon the institution which God has seen fit to ordain. This constitution 268might have been different, and then these laws would have had no place. The right of property need not have existed. God might have made all things as common as sun-light or air. Men might have been as angels, neither marrying nor giving in marriage. Under such a constitution there would be no room for a multitude of laws which are now of universal and necessary obligation.

3. A third class of laws have their foundation in certain temporary relations of men, or conditions of society, and are enforced by the authority of God. To this class belong many of the judicial or civil laws of the ancient theocracy; laws regulating the distribution of property, the duties of husbands and wives, the punishment of crimes, etc. These laws were the application of general principles of justice and right to the peculiar circumstances of the Hebrew people. Such enactments bind only those who are in the circumstances contemplated, and cease to be obligatory when those circumstances change. It is always and everywhere right that crime should be punished, but the kind or degree of punishment may vary with the varying condition of society. It is always right that the poor should be supported, but one mode of discharging that duty may be proper in one age and country, and another preferable in other times and places. All those laws, therefore, in the Old Testament, which had their foundation in the peculiar circumstances of the Hebrews, ceased to be binding when the old dispensation passed away.

It is often difficult to determine to which of the last two classes certain laws of the Old Testament belong; and therefore, to decide whether they are still obligatory or not. Deplorable evils have flowed from mistakes as to this point. The theories of the union of Church and State, of the right of the magistrate to interfere authoritatively in matters of religion, and of the duty of persecution, so far as Scriptural authority is concerned, rest on the transfer of laws founded on the temporary relations of the Hebrews to the altered relations of Christians. Because the Hebrew kings were the guardians of both tables of the Law, and were required to suppress idolatry and all false religion, it was inferred that such is still the duty of the Christian magistrate. Because Samuel hewed Agag to pieces, it was inferred to be right to deal in like manner with heretics. No one can read the history of the Church without being impressed with the dreadful evils which have flowed from this mistake. On the other hand, there are some of the judicial laws of the Old Testament which were really 269founded on the permanent relations of men, and therefore, were intended to be of perpetual obligation, which many have repudiated as peculiar to the old dispensation. Such are some of the laws relating to marriage, and to the infliction of capital punishment for the crime of murder. lf it be asked, How are we to determine whether any judicial law of the Old Testament is still in force? the answer is first, When the continued authority of such law is recognized in the New Testament. That for Christians is decisive. And secondly, If the reason or ground for a given law is permanent, the law itself is permanent.

4. The fourth class of laws are those called positive, which derive all their authority from the explicit command of God. Such are external rites and ceremonies, as circumcision, sacrifices, and the distinction between clean and unclean meats, and between months, days, and years. The criterion of such laws is that they would not be binding unless positively enacted; and that they bind those only to whom they are given, and only so long as they continue in force by the appointment of God. Such laws may have answered important ends, and valid reasons doubtless existed why they were imposed; still they are specifically different from those commands which are in their own nature morally obligatory. The obligation to obey such laws does not arise from their fitness for the end for which they have been given, but solely from the divine command.

How far may the Laws contained in the Bible be dispensed with?

This is a question much discussed between Protestants and Romanists. Protestants contended that the Church had not the power claimed by Romanists, to relieve men from the obligation of an oath, and to render marriages lawful which without the sanction of the Church would be invalid. The Church has neither the authority to set aside any law of God, nor to decide the circumstances under which a divine law ceases to be obligatory, so that it continues in force until the Church declares the parties free frum its obligation. On this subject it is plain, (1.) That none but God can free men from the obligation of any divine law, which He has imposed upon them. (2.) That with regard to the positive laws of the Old Testament, and such judicial enactments as were designed exclusively for the Hebrews living under the theocracy, they were all abolished by the introduction of the new dispensation. We are no longer under obligation to circumcise our children, to keep the Passover, or feast of tabernacles or to go up 270three times in the year to Jerusalem, or to exact an eye for an eye, or a tooth for a tooth. (3.) With regard to those laws which are founded on the permanent relations of men, such as the laws of property, of marriage, and of obedience to parents, they can be set aside by the authority of God. It was not wrong for the Hebrews to spoil the Egyptians or to dispossess the Canaanites, because He whose is the earth and the fulness thereof, authorized those acts. He had a right to take the property of one people and give it to another. The extermination of the idolatrous inhabitants of the promised land at the command of Joshua, was as much an act of God as though it had been effected by pestilence or famine. It was a judicial execution by the Supreme Ruler. In like manner, although marriage as instituted by God was and is an indissoluble covenant between one man and one woman, yet He saw fit to allow, under the Mosaic Law, within certain limitations, both polygamy and divorce. While that permission continued, those things were lawful; when it was withdrawn, they ceased to be allowable.

When one Divine Law is superseded by another.

The above classification of the divine laws, which is the one usually adopted, shows that they differ in their relative dignity and importance. Hence when they come into conflict the lower must yield to the higher. This we are taught when God says, “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.” And our Lord also says, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath,” and, therefore, the Sabbath might be violated when the duties of mercy rendered it necessary. Throughout the Scriptures we find positive laws subordinated to those of moral obligation. Christ approved of the lawyer who said that to love God with all the heart, and our neighbour as ourselves, “is more than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices.”

Perfection of the Law.

The perfection of the moral law as revealed in the Scriptures, includes the points already considered, — (1.) That everything that the Bible pronounces to be wrong, is wrong; that everything which it declares to be right, is right. (2.) That nothing is sinful which the Bible does not condemn; and nothing is obligatory on the conscience which it does not enjoin. (3.) That the Scriptures are a complete rule of duty, not only in the sense just stated, but also in the sense that there is and can be no higher standard of 271moral excellence. Romanists, on the contrary, teach that a man can do more than the law requires. There are certain things which are commanded, and therefore absolutely obligatory; and others which are recommended, but not enjoined, such as voluntary poverty, celibacy, and monastic obedience. These are held to be virtues of a higher grade than obedience to explicit commands. This doctrine is founded on the erroneous views of the Church of Rome on the nature of sin, and the grounds of moral obligation. If nothing is sinful but voluntary, i.e., deliberate transgression of known law; and if the law is satisfied by voluntary action in this sense of the terms, then it is conceivable that a man may in this life render perfect obedience to the law, and even go beyond its demands. This is also connected with the distinction which Romanists make between mortal and venial sins. The former are those which forfeit baptismal grace, and reduce the soul to its original state of spiritual death and condemnation. The latter are sins which have not this deadly effect, but can be fully atoned for by confession and penance. But if the law of God be spiritual, extending to the thoughts and feelings whether impulsive or cherished; and if it demands all kinds and degrees of moral excellence, or complete congeniality with God, and conformity to his image, then there is no room for these distinctions, and no higher rule of moral conduct. The law of the Lord, therefore, is perfect in every sense of the word.

The Decalogue.

The question whether the decalogue is a perfect rule of duty is, in one sense, to be answered in the affirmative. (1.) Because it enjoins love to God and man, which, our Saviour teaches, includes every other duty. (2.) Because our Lord held it up as a perfect code, when he said to the young man in the Gospel, “This do and thou shalt live.” (3.) Every specific command elsewhere recorded may be referred to some one of its several commands. So that perfect obedience to the decalogue in its spirit, would be perfect obedience to the law. Nevertheless, there are many things obligatory on us, which without a further revelation of the will of God than is contained in the decalogue, we never should have known to be obligatory. The great duty of men under the Gospel, is faith in Christ. This our Lord teaches when He says, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath went.” This comprehends or produces all that is required of us either as to faith or practice. Hence he that believeth shall be saved.

272

Rules of Interpretation.

Theologians are accustomed to lay down numerous rules for the proper interpretation of the divine law, such as that negative precepts are to be understood as including positive, and positive, negative; that, in forbidding an act, everything which naturally leads to it is comprehended; that, in condemning one offence, all others of a like kind are forbidden, and the like. All such rules resolve themselves into one. The decalogue is not to be interpreted as the laws of men, which take cognizance only of external acts, but as the law of God, which extends to the thoughts and intents of the heart. In all cases it will be found that the several commandments contain some comprehensive principle of duty, under which a multitude of subordinate specific duties are included.


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