She JHonthlg libing*: A REPERTORY OF CHRISTIAN THOUGHT & A RECORD OF CHRISTIAN WORK AMONG THE CALYINISTIC METHODISTS or PRESBYTERIANS of WALES. Vol. V. No. 5.] MAY, 1889. Price One Penny. <§tf)tcs anb ©fyrtstictmtp. Lectures delivered to the Students in the year 1865, by the late Rev. L. Edwards, M.A., D.D., Principal of Bala College. Written by R. Leigh Roose. Lecture V. VIRTUE. We are now coming to the second Book, which may be called the objective, to distinguish it from the former which we call the subjective. The faculties of which we have been speaking render man a moral being; and it is evident at once that the faculties must have their object: their object may be called Virtue. And now the question we have to consider is, What is Virtue ? or in other words, What is the rule and essence of morality ? Many answers have been given to the question. There are some, as you are aware, who resolve the whole of morality into selfishness. According to them man has no rule to go by except what is advantageous to himself. This is the doctrine of Hobbes, and we find that it has in some small degree tinged the theological views of •certain authors ; for it is important that we should keep in mind that morality is intimately connected with theology. If self is to be the moving power in morals, it follows that we ought not to seek any higher motive in theology. A sufficient answer to all these selfish views is the argument that it makes the whole of morality utterly baseless; It destroys the very idea of duty and conscience, and consequently strikes at the root of everything spiritual both in morality and theology. And if we wanted any further argument I might appeal to your own feelings, and ask you if any mixture of selfishness in any act whatever does not go, as far as it extends, to annihilate the virtue of that act ? Before an act can be virtuous it must be disinterested. There are two things confounded which ought to be distinguished in reference to this subject. We ought to love God and our neighbour from a feeling of gratitude, in consequence of what we may have received from them : but there is the greatest possible difference between selfishness and gratitude. To do an act of kindness out of gratitude is a virtue ; but to do it for the sake of some future advantage to ourselves, is so far from being virtuous that it destroys the worth and value of the whole service from a moral point of view. We must, therefore, seek for something more permanent,—some rule of conduct that does not depend upon our feelings, and the views we may have of our own advantage.