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"When Saint Paul's cathedral was erected, the architect willed and wished the excellence of the edifice. Therefore the method which it was right for the workmen individually to pursue, if they were at any time without specific instructions, in order to ascertain his will respecting any proceeding, was, to inquire into the tendency of that proceeding to promote or diminish the excellence of the structure. If one of the masons had reasoned in this manner, and, in conformity to his rule, had commenced, at his own discretion, an arch in one place, and formed the rudiments of a dome in another; would his arguments have been acquitted of presumption, and accepted by the architect as a defence of his conduct? Would he have been allowed to be capable of ascertaining the will of Sir Christopher Wren from his own crude ideas of architectural expediency *."

But as Dr. Paley maintains that utility is the rule of moral conduct, and the sole ground of obligation, not only in those cases in which revelation is silent, but in which it gives the most positive commands, it is necessary, in order to shew, how untenable and inconclusive his argument is, to suppose that the mason has not only commenced an arch and projected a dome without instructions, but has done this contrary to his instructions; that he vindicates his conduct by a repetition of his former defence, and justifies himself in the words, mutatis mutandis, in which Dr. Paley pursues his reasoning at the commencement of his chapter on UTILITY. My proceedings are to be estimated by their tendency. Whatever is expedient


* Gisbourne's Principles of Moral Philosophy, p. 20.

is right. It is the utility alone of any one of your orders which constitutes the obligation of it. Every man is to judge of them for himself. Consequently your directions respecting the arch and the dome, appearing to me inexpedient, I was at liberty, and even obliged in conscience, to disobey them."



Ir is not enough that we shew the incapability of man, arising from his very limited faculties, and his comparative ignorance, to make utility the sole rule of his conduct. We shall find, that by recalling to our recollection what has been already noticed concerning his moral powers and principles, we shall be led to the same conclusion.

We are so formed that we approve or disapprove of actions as right or as wrong, as praiseworthy or blameworthy, before a thought has entered our mind as to their tendency. The deed of heroism which calls forth our approval before we have time to reflect on the ground on which our approbation is bestowed, and the act of self-devotion by which the martyr to pure religion does homage to his God and his conscience, immediately commend themselves to our hearts. Who has ever withheld his admiration from Leonidas and his chosen band, till he has thought of the good which their example in all coming ages was to confer

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By the will of God, we understand the determination or the pleasure of Him who is holy, and just, and good, and whose determinations and enactments, therefore, are founded in justice and in judgment. Few will deny that his will is the measure or rule of obligation to all intelligent and accountable creatures. While this is manifested to us in various ways, it is comprehensively and definitely expressed in that perfect law which he has given us, as the measure of virtue and the rule of conduct.

Before proceeding to point out the perfection of this law, arising from its intrinsic excellency, and the universality of its application, and to prove that it is the only infallible rule to man, I shall make a few observations on the doctrine of expediency, which, according to some, furnishes the rule and the standard of moral 'conduct.

According to this doctrine, the sole measure of the right or the wrong of every action, is utility, while, at the same time, the agent is the sole judge of that utility. In modern times it has been maintained, if not first, at least, with the greatest ability, by Mr. Hume, and afterwards by Dr. Paley. It is but just, however, to remark, that while they are agreed as to the principle, they greatly differ as to the source from whence it is derived, and the grounds on which its

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