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the sanction of conscience will be found opposed to its real decisions.
It is necessary to keep in mind that conscience is an integral part of our nature, and cannot in any wise be regarded as an appendage only. Man can never lose his relation to God as a creature, nor to man as a mutually dependent brother. His life would fail if these relations failed. But they carry obligations and duties which by his nature he is bound to observe, and to secure their observance such a regulative power as conscience is necessary in beings who are essentially selfdeterminative. The benefit of such a rule established in the nature is plain, as its normal operation is a source of joy from every right action, and thus is a means of strength to right disposition, rendering all virtue easy. And as all improvement and elevation of character can only be in the direction of the nature, so it tends to the perfection of the nature in all honour and enjoyment. But, while working on the same lines, in all cases of violations of its judgments, conscience becomes a source of condemnation and remorse, and so of weakness, from the impossibility of bringing the whole nature into any act which
it forbids. But when it has become perverted, so that it carries on its work of judgment on false assumptions, then it becomes a power of pollution and degradation, which perpetuates false judgment and unrighteous action. Thus it is that only in actions of inadvertence, in which a genuine remorse and condemnation immediately follow the perception of the true character of the action, can we conceive of any power of recovery in the nature itself; and this will be seen to be in cases in which the whole nature has not acted, but only the non-regal part.
For it must be remembered that the judicial office of conscience is by no means confined to decisions after the fact, but also, and especially, as the president in all the councils which precede action, in which every emotion is subject to its scrutiny and is defined by its determination. Where, therefore, this prior examination has taken place, inadvertence is impossible. So far, therefore, as we can see from the nature itself, it lacks the power of self-restoration, and this lack comes from the perversion or suppression of that side which is naturally the highest, and in which we are brought into most direct contact with our Divine Father.
WHAT KIND OF REVELATION IS NECESSARY
We have now to ascertain what kind of revelation is necessary to meet human need, and to carry within itself sufficient evidence of its authenticity.
It will be impossible to come to any conclusion which ought to satisfy us, without a consideration of the nature of the threefold life of man, and the conditions of his existence.
In common with the brutes, we have a bodily life, by which we are immediately connected with and form part of the visible universe, and through its senses we become acquainted with material properties. By it also we are able to give expression to our own character, and fulfil our own purposes.
This is the basal life, and in this world is necessary to all other. As this life presents nothing distinctively human, it need not be further considered.
Besides the bodily or animal life, man is capable also of an intellectual life, which is quickened and developed by the physical universe, of whose existence our bodily senses inform us. By this life man is able to explore the universe, to perceive, analyze, arrange, classify, and combine its contents, and thus discover the principles of their construction and the forces by which they are moved. Within the sphere of this life is all that knowledge which has been gathered from visible things, and which is appropriated to the improvement of present conditions and the invigoration of the life itself.
This side of our nature cannot carry us beyond the visible universe. It leads us by unfaltering steps to the beginning, and by the knowledge it has acquired in the course upward is able to tell us that there must be a Beginner, whose mark is on all His work; but beyond this it cannot proceed. While the possibility of this life exists in all men, yet the degree in which it is possible depends upon the measure of native capacity, the extent of culture, and the opportunities of observing the facts of the universe, and of reflection thereon. Nothing beyond the visible universe, the
nature of the human soul itself as it is revealed in these intellectual operations, and the revelations which they both give of the operations of the intellect of the Author of all, is within the range of this life.
Its food is facts, and its means of assurance as to the facts are the testimony of the senses and the individual consciousness. This accounts for the diversity in measure and form of this life which we see in divers persons; and it also shows that it is in vital union with the lower animal side of our nature,' inasmuch as it requires sensation as its initial prompter, and as its servant all through.
Beyond the life of the intellect, there is another,—the moral or spiritual life,—of which also every man is capable to the full extent of his nature. The sphere of this life is the relations in which we stand to the Creator and to our fellow-creatures; and its outward expression, those virtues of reverence, submission, obedience, love, and trust towards God, and brotherly sympathy and love towards men, which these various relations require, and every one of which is necessary to our individual education or development, and for the improvement and happiness of the whole.