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is now in circumstances to repay—or of the one that he is an injured party, and of the other that he is now a prostrate offender honestly offering every reparation, and pouring out from the sincerity of a contrite bosom the acknowledgments and the vows of a deep-felt repentance: these are the facts of so many distinct cases presented to view either by our own observation or by the credible testimony of others; and it is not by means of any further observation, it is not by the aid of any additional facts that we learn what be the moralities which belong to each of them. Observation, whether in Natural or in Moral Philosophy, furnishes only the data. It is by a mathematics in the one case, and by an ethics in the other that we draw our conclusions from these data. The gratitude that we should render to a benefactor, the fidelity that we should observe with a creditor, the forgiveness that we should award to a penitent: these are not the lessons of observation any more than the axioms or the demonstrated truths of geometry. And as in Natural Philosophy we should distinguish between the facts of every question and its mathematics; so is there a similar distinction to be observed between the facts and the ethics of every question in Moral Philosophy. *
* While impressing the distinction between the ethics and the objects of Theology, it may be asked whence did our knowledge of the ethics originate--and how is it that they differ in respect of origination from our knowledge of the objects? We have already remarked that some rudimental, some obscurely initial process of observation, may, for aught we know, have been concerned in the first evolution whether of our ethical or our mathematical conceptions ; but that after these conceptions had been formed, there was no further observation necessary on our part
21. This helps us to understand what the precise nature of the transition is, when we pass from the terrestrial to the celestial of moral science, We pass to other data; but we have the same
for the completion of the respective systems of these two sciences. It is very likely that had we never been in converse either by touch or sight with external substances, we might never have attained our present notions of position or direction or quantity; and so the principles of our mathematical nature might have lain in dormancy and never been evolved. And it is just as likely that, had we never been in converse with other sentient creatures like ourselves, we might never have attained our present notions of equity or of other moral relations; and so the principles of our moral nature might have lain in dormancy too and never been evolved. These principles are ultimate facts in the human constitution, not communicated to us from external objects, but called forth into actual and sensible exercise by the contact as it were and excitement of these objects. It was not the observation of things without us which deposited them in our minds; though, apart from the observation of things without us, the principles, whether ethical or mathematical, might never have been wakened into action and have never been recognised. But whether obser. vation gave these principles at the first or only evolved them, it truly affects not either the reality or the importance of the distinction on which we have been insisting Enough, that, some how or other, there be a mathematics in Natural Philosophy, which, without the aid of further observation, can, by a peculiar light of its own, guide the investigating spirit from one truth and discovery to another, and elicit doctrines that admit of application to thousands of the known objects in nature, and to an infinity of objects that are yet unknown; and it is in like manner enough, that, some how or other, there be an ethics in Moral Philosophy, which, without the aid of further observation, can, by a peculiar light of its own, guide us from one moral doctrine to another, applicable alike to the existent beings that lie within the sphere of our knowledge, and to those, who, though at present without this sphere, may, on coming forth by revelation to our notice, call out the very regards and moral recognitions that already had long been familiar to us. The difference established by Dr. Whately between the truths which we receive by information and those which we receive by instruction, so far from being placed in opposition to these views, just serves to illustrate and confirm them. The truths of mere information have no logical dependence, the one upon the other; and each is made known to us on a distinct and separate evidence of its own. It follows not because
ethics-just as when in physical science we elevate our regards from the earth we tread upon to the sublime movements of astronomy, we pass to other data but have the same mathematics. He who can resolve a triangle whose angles are indivisible points on the parchment that lies before him, can resolve a triangle whose angles are planets in the firmament—and all that he requires to know are the facts or the objects of the celestial physics, to make his mathematics as available in that Natural Philosophy whose field is the heavens, as he may have already made them in that Natural Philosophy whose field is this lower world. In like manner he who can assign the proprieties of that relation which subsists between a dependent family and their earthly benefactor, can assign the proprieties of that relation which subsists between our whole species and their heavenly Benefactor. For this purpose he has no new ethics to learn; and all that he requires to know are the facts or the objects of
there is a Jupiter that there must be a Georgium Sidus; and it requires an additional and independent act of observation to ascertain the existence of the latter. These informational truths, as they may be termed, form the proper objects of the Inductive Philosophy; whereas the truths of instruction are come at, not by separate observations, but by development and deduction from certain primary and comprehensive propositions which virtually contain them; but in which they lie wrapped and uneduced, till, by the processes whether of moral or mathematical reasoning, they are brought out in their own distinct individuality to view. And thus it is, that though it needs a new observation to tell urs of that before unknown and existent object the Georgium Sidus - it needs not a new mathematics, to tell either the period of its revolution or the form of its orbit. Thus too though it be by an altogether new information that we come to know of the existent Being Jesus Christ; it is not by a new ethics that we came to acknowledge the services which we owe, or the reverence and gratis tude which of right belong to Ilim.
this higher relationship to make the ethics which he already has as available in that Moral Philosophy whose field is the heaven above, as he has already made them in that Moral Philosophy whose field is the earth below.
22. The celestial physics form a more transcendental theme than the terrestrial. But this character of the more transcendental lies only in the facts, and not at all in the mathematics. And so the celestial in Moral Philosophy is a more transcendental theme than the terrestrial--but this too lies only in the facts, and not at all in the ethics. To obtain the facts and data of the former science, a new and peculiar mode of discovery was struck out. The telescope was invented. Many of the objects were beyond the reach of our natural vision; and nature was provided with an assistance—else there had been much of the celestial physics that would have remained for ever unknown. The same may, perhaps, hold of the celestial ethics also. Perhaps, there are many of its data that never could have been ascertained but by a peculiar mode of discovery. Perhaps the unaided faculties of man were incompetent to the task—and what the telescope hath done for us in respect of the material heavens, a living messenger may have done for us in respect of their moral and spiritual economy. It is a very wide transition when we pass from those distances in a terrestrial survey which can be measured by the chain, or at the farther extremities of which we can descry some floating signal that has been erected by human hands—when we pass from these through the mighty voids of im
mensity; and across that interval which separates the rolling worlds from each other, can now by the aid of the telescope look on moons and planets that eye had not seen, nor ear heard of, neither had it entered into the heart of man to conceive. And it is also a wide transition when we pass from the terrestrial to the celestial objects of Moral Philosophy—from the living society around us, to the Great Unseen who is above us; and of whom perhaps we could not have known save by the voice of a messenger from the pavilion of his special residence, who in reference to the celestial ethics, hath done what the telescope hath done in reference to the celestial mechanics, hath brought out from the obscurity in which for ages they had lain, objects of which the world was before unconscious; but to which when made known she is already furnished with a morality by which she can respond to them—even as when the new facts of astronomy were presented to her view, she already had the mathematics by which she could draw from them the just and important applications. The telescope gave her no geometry, though it gave her the data of many a geometrical exercise. And thus it is that a teacher from heaven, even though he should confine himself to the revelation of such facts and objects as had been before wrapt from human eye in the depths of their own mysteriousness—though he should simply lift the veil from that which was before unseen; or by the notices that he brought with him from the Upper Sanctuary, should bring forward into view a spiritual landscape, which by its remoteness, was