I. Name, Concept, Encyclopedic Position, and Method.
III. New Testament Ethics.
Ethics is that branch of philosophy which treats of the theory and nature of moral obligation, and which determines the rules of right conduct, setting forth the moral relation of man to self and others, and aiming to give a philosophical and practical basis of discrimination between right and wrong.
I. Name, Concept, Encyclopedic Position, and method:
1. Name. The term "ethics" is derived from the Greek ēthos (Sanskrit svadhā "self-determination"), which connotes individual peculiarity as well as the individual customs of a person or a community. Originally ēthos, as the Ionic form of ethos, shared this meaning with the latter, but gradually a distinction was evolved between the two forms, ethos denoting rather external habits, ēthos spiritual attitude, or character. According to Sextus Empiricus ("Against the Dogmaticians," i. 16) the word "ethics " was first used by Xenocrates, though Aristotle was the pioneer in giving the term a rigid connotation. Thenceforth the word was frequently used in Greek philosophy, especially by the Stoics. Later it occurs in the works of Melanchthon and his pupils, and then in Spinoza; while in recent times the term has been affected especially by Evangelical theologians of the speculative type. The term "morals " is derived from the Latin mos, which, related to modus, denotes order, both in the sense of "command" and of "habit." Accordingly Cicero used the adjective moralis to translate the Greek ethikos, and Christian theological terminology adopted the phrase disciplina (or theologia) moralis in the sense defined by Cicero and Seneca. In Roman Catholic theology the term "morals " remained by far the more customary, but even in the older Protestant philosophy and theology it shared its honors with the name "ethics." "Morals" was also a favorite term with the rationalists and the followers of Kant, although it is also employed by theologians of altogether different schools. See MORALITY AND MORAL LAW.
2. Relation to Religion. The right to existence of a special Christian or theological ethics is justified only on the basis of a recognition of the essential connection between religion and morality. Denial of such a view is the result of an extreme modern ethical empiricism, the principles of which the societies for ethical culture, founded on the basis of nonreligious morality, seek to carry out (see ETHICAL CULTURE, SOCIETIES FOR). However, a certain independence must be granted to morality in its relations to religion; for moral consciousness is wrongly considered dependent on religion when all moral good is regarded as good solely because God commands it. It should rather be said that God can command only what is intrinsically good, and what has its basis in his own ethical being. In like manner, a certain degree of independence of religion must be allowed the moral life, since morality draws its material in great part from the manifold relations of human life, which result from the natural, moral, and spiritual nature of the individual, as well as from his relations to his fellow men and to nature. Nevertheless, theoretical and practical attempts to establish a non-religious morality must be rejected. Here the source of the moral law is sought in external experience, with the result that pleasure is necessarily made the sole motive of conduct. But, since each individual must decide for himself the measure of his pleasure or pain, all objective ethical norms vanish and the moral law loses its essential characteristic of unconditional validity. In opposition to Kant's exaggerated principle of the independence of the moral law, it should be said that the unconditioned basis of this moral law can be found only in an unconditioned moral will and a divine personality. The unconditional character of moral demands presupposes, however, that the end of moral activity is unconditioned and infinite, while only conditioned finite ends can proceed from the natural relations of human life. Consequently, if these ends are to be moral, they must be subordinate to an unconditioned end, which can be attained only when man rises in religion above the finite to the supermundane. It likewise follows that only religion gives the necessary power in fullest measure for moral activity, since to call forth this power there must be a collaboration of the two factors which religion alone renders absolutely sure, the consciousness of unconditioned moral obligation, and that relation to the unconditioned supreme moral end which transforms duty into personal inclination. Moreover, the desire for moral activity can exist only if there is a belief in the divine government of the world which establishes and maintains a harmony between the natural conditions of human life and the supreme moral end. These statements concerning the dependence of morality on religion, however, apply perfectly only to a religion in which the all-powerful ruler of the world is at the same time the sum total of all good, while the highest good is a supernatural gift of God which binds man to moral activity. Such a religion is Christianity alone, which, as a perfectly moral religion in the midst of a morally faulty world, can have proceeded only from a revelation of God.
3. Dogmatics and Ethics. In its position in the Encyclopedia of Christian Theology, between the two chief divisions of theoretical and practical, ethics belongs not to the latter, which lays down rules for ecclesiastical practise, but to the former, which has as its aim the scientific comprehension of Christianity as a given quantity. Behind the changing external forms of Christianity there is a permanent and definite content of truth; and it is to this ideal side of Christianity that systematic theology devotes itself, while historical theology concerns itself with the history of revelation and with the historical development of the Christian Church. Since the content of Christian truth is religious and moral, the religious elements fall within the scope of dogmatics, the moral within the domain of ethics. Accordingly, it is incorrect to regard dogmatics and ethics, the two components of systematic theology, as a section of historical theology. Dogmatics and ethics should not, as Schleiermacher assumed (Kurze Darstellung des theologischen Studiums, 2d ed., Berlin, 1830), merely present historically the doctrines now prevailing in the Church, but should establish as valid truth the permanent religious and moral content of all historical Christianity, especially on the basis of its records of revelation.
The peculiar bond between dogmatics and ethics must be judged by the relation in which the subjects of the two departments, the religious and moral elements of Christianity, stand to each other. It becomes necessary, therefore, to avoid any such sharp demarcation between the two as was carried out especially by certain theologians of the school of Kant, who regarded morality as founded simply in man himself and as autonomous, and therefore independent of religion. Christian morality, however, is absolutely ruled by belief in God, revealed through Christ as holy love; and, on the other hand, Christian belief is morally conditioned in that it is connected with repentance and centered on the good and holy God. Consequently, not only are dogmatics and ethics by no means independent of each other, but they have much in common. They must not, however, be confused, as has been done by C. I. Nitzsch (System der christlichen Lehre, Bonn, 1829), E. Sartorius (Die Lehre von der heiligen Liebe, Stuttgart, 1861), and others; for both departments of theology have distinctive characteristics, in that dogmatics must proceed from the religious side of the Christian life (in other words, from Christian faith) to God, revealed in his works of salvation ; while it is the province of ethics, considering the ethical side of the Christian life (i.e., Christian morality), to set forth moral good, which is realized in the form of human freedom.
4. Relation of Theological to Philosophical Ethics. Theological ethics is essentially different from philosophical ethics in that it does not seek to further general human knowledge for the benefit of the whole race, but serves first and foremost the Christian Church. It investigates not human morality as a whole, but the ideal content of truth in historical Christianity; and it postulates not merely intellectual capacity, but also the possession of Christian piety to comprehend the life which proceeds from Christian faith. However, within certain limits, the two systems of ethics must approach each other, in proportion as theological ethics becomes more scientific, and philosophical ethics more morally earnest. Such points of contact between theological and philosophical ethics will justify the use of the latter by the former, although there must be an avoidance of any dependence of theological ethics on philosophical, such as appeared in early Christian theology in relation to the Platonic and especially to the Stoic philosophy, since it would be detrimental to Christian morality; while there must be an equal effort to shun any mechanical mixture, such as prevailed in the theology of the Middle Ages between Aristotelian and Christian ethics, since it would be subversive of the unity of the moral life.
5. Sources of Ethics. From this determination of the relations of theological ethics to the other departments of theology and to philosophical ethics arise certain points of view decisive for the choice of its sources. It is evident, from the close bond between historical and systematic theology, that the history of Christianity makes accessible essential sources for the history of ethics. Out of the entire history of Christianity, the history of the Church is most important here, in that it extends to the present time; and, since the Church has become a collection of religious bodies divided by their creeds, ethics can not disregard these diversities of sect. It is true that the science need not consider all divergencies, such as those between the Lutherans and the Reformed; but since the difference between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism is a basal one even in the domain of morals, ethics must here assume a confessional character. It must employ the Protestant creeds as the classical expression of Reformation principles, as also other Protestant ecclesiastical literature; but the Bible, as the history of special divine revelation, remains the chief source of all. Theology must consider exhaustively all the various steps by which the component parts of the Bible are connected, both historically and essentially, with the true revelation of salvation, and with its cardinal point, the reconciling and redeeming revelation of God as holy love in Jesus Christ; and it must also weigh the processes whereby these components, connected with the factors just mentioned, receive their divine origin. Thus there arises the need of critical investigation of the Bible itself, as well as of all other portions of historical Christianity, to discover the universally valid concepts of Christianity. The more important, then, does personal Christian consciousness become as a source of ethics. It is, however, incorrect to regard this as the primary source, as does J. C. K. von Hofmann (Theologische Ethik, Nördlingen, 1878), for the objectivity of Christianity finds in the experience of the individual Christian only an expression which is circumscribed and obscured. Nevertheless, this experience is important in the critical search for Christian doctrine in the Bible, since it facilitates the selection of the permanent religious and moral elements of the Bible, and renders possible their spiritual comprehension. On the other hand, for those elements of theological ethics which it shares with its philosophical counterpart, it must, like the latter, avail itself of a purely intellectual observation of the nature, social life, and history of mankind, as well as of a scientific preparation for these observations by means of psychology, political economy, and practical philosophy.
6. Method of Presentation. In the matter of method the first question that arises is, whether the presentation should be dogmatic or descriptive. While the ethics of earlier Protestantism, rationalism, and the philosophy of Kant, like their contemporary supernaturalism, set forth its subject in the form of moral requirements that is, in dogmatic fashion, Schleiermacher declared that Christian ethics was a description of that course of conduct which arises from the domination of religious consciousness as determined by Christianity. Among those who followed him in this descriptive method, special mention may be made of J. C. K. von Hofmann. This method has a sort of justification as opposed to a purely dogmatic treatment. The latter has somewhat of an Old Testament stripe, and corresponds to the character of Roman Catholic ethics, which is invariably inclined to separate the moral life from the central root of belief and dissolve it into a multitude of duties individually commanded. But the purely descriptive method is inadequate; for the moral law is not, as Schleiermacher supposed, merely a higher form of the natural law, whose operations can be described with absolute certainty, but is specifically distinguished from it in that it does not work with mechanical necessity, but counts on the freedom of the human will. Since the normal development of the Christian life does not appear absolutely unimpaired in any Christian, normal Christian morality is, in part, simply a matter of moral obligation.
A second, and not unimportant, methodological problem is the arrangement of ethics (cf. J. Köstlin, TSK, 1879, p. 622). Formerly ethics was frequently divided into three parts: ethics (the theory of Christian morality), ascetical theology (general practical rules), and casuistics (considerations of individual problems of difficulty). Casuistics must, however, be excluded as opposed to Evangelical principles; while the Kantian division into pure and applied ethics results in empty abstractions for the first part. Many theologians, including R. Rothe, P. C. Marheineke, C. Werner, J. P. Lange, and Krarup, have applied to Christian ethics Schleiermacher's division of philosophical ethics into three main categories based on the three ethical principles of moral good, virtue, and duty. This scheme is, however, peculiarly unsuited for Christian ethics, since these three basal principles can not be developed independently of each other in a Christian sense. To proceed from the concept of salvation, as does G. C. A. Harless, who makes the threefold division of the boon of salvation, the possession of salvation, and the assurance of salvation, corresponds in no wise to the character of ethics; nor does a division according to the different forms of human activity harmonize with the essential nature of Christian morality. It is equally inadequate to make a distinction between internal and external, as does Hofmann (similarly C. E. Luthardt, who distinguishes the person, the intention, and the works of the Christian); or as does Köstlin, who makes the classification on the basis of (1) the life of the inner man, and (2) his external activity. F. H. R. Frank's division, which distinguishes the development of the man of God as related to himself, to the spiritual world, and to the natural world, is influenced too one-sidedly by the concept of becoming. Far better is H. Weiss's division into (1) premises or factors, (2) the process of formation of Christian morality, and (3) the manifold phenomena of Christian personality both in the life of virtue led by the individual and in the most important relations of social life. The first two divisions, however, are far more closely connected with each other than with the third, so that it is better to combine them into a first general division, to which corresponds the second special division with its two subdivisions of individual and social Christian morality.
[Ethics is the science of conduct. As such it is concerned with the ideal as it has been developed through individual and social custom (see CONSCIENCE, §7). Its function is twofold; first to ascertain the highest word on the nature of the goal of human life; second, to indicate how this may be reached. If the summum bonum is conceived as the common good, then the end is social and the individual is both means and end for its realization. Ethics passes by imperceptible gradations into political science and sociology. In distinction from esthetics, which deals with judgments of feeling, ethics is concerned with judgments of ends realized by the will. It depends upon psychology in its analysis of the processes through which motives are constituted and the freedom of the will disclosed, and upon metaphysics for a view of the world in which the human ideal takes its place as a constituent part of reality. Until recently the term "moral philosophy" was used to characterize this discipline in Great Britain and America. Of late, however, the term "ethics" has rapidly gained ground, and is now almost universally employed to designate this subject. C. A. B.]
1. The Early Church. The history of ethics as a science can here be sketched only in outline. In the theology of the early Church ethics found no strictly systematic presentation, while the fundamental views of ethics were frequently at variance with the spirit of the Gospel. Together with a morally debasing concept of belief as the receiving of traditional teaching, the tendency arose to enact external legal regulations for the moral life which had thus been robbed of its religious basis. To make matters worse, this legalism was sought only in an ascetic life which renounced the world, so that a double morality, a higher and a lower, was evolved. For the preservation of the moral laws, as well as of traditional doctrine as a whole, a hierarchic organization, united with external authority, was deemed necessary, so that all Christianity was considered essentially a new law. In the West this legalistic tendency was imprinted on the Church under the influence of the Roman spirit. This is first very characteristically shown in the numerous writings of Tertullian, who had received a legal training, and whose harsh nature drove him to an extreme ethical rigor; while his views were developed by Cyprian in the direction of a hierarchic ecclesiastical organization. A certain deepening of ethics was then introduced by Augustine, who, in opposition to the superficial and atomistic concept of morality as a whole, and of sin as well, based everything in Christianity on the grace of God. From the hierarchic Church with its outward signs he distinguished the invisible communion of saints as the Church to which the promises of God apply, although he did this in a sense and context which made it possible for him to hark back to popular Catholicism. For him also faith was merely the maintenance of the doctrine of revelation as true, so that it became a ground of righteousness in the sight of God only when proved by hope through love; while the essential work of grace was the magic inflowing of this love, or vindication in the sense of justification, whereby it became possible for man to perform works of righteousness, to follow the supererogatory counsels of monastic asceticism, and thus to merit eternal blessedness. These ethical views of Augustine were accepted by ecclesiastical theology, and appear tolerably complete, although slightly coarsened in the Moralia of Gregory the Great. They were likewise of fundamental importance for the ethics of scholastic theology and the later Roman Catholic Church. Since, however, it was necessary to prove that Augustine's doctrine of absolute predestination, together with the premises which led to his conclusions, could not be reconciled in the long run with the monastic and hierarchic principles represented by Augustine himself and further developed after him, these elements were interpreted in a Semi-Pelagian sense. The tendency toward an atomistic ethical point of view was favored, moreover, by the establishment of the confessional, which, after the seventh and eighth centuries, called forth the rich literature of the penitentiaries (Libri pænitentiales ; see PENITENTIAL BOOKS), together with a casuistic ethics. Among the few systematic ethical treatises written during this period, special mention should be made of those of Alcuin (De virtutibus et vitiis and De animæ ratione).
2. Scholastic Ethics. The age of scholasticism, at its very beginning, sent forth the first works on ethics as a separate science under its own name treatises which were philosophical rather than theological, such as the Philosophia moralis of Hildebert of Tours and the Ethica of Abelard. Of fundamental importance for later scholastic ethics was the ethical portion of Peter Lombard's great treatise on dogmatics, the Sententiæ. The second book treats of freedom, virtue, sin, the will, the seven deadly sins, and the sin against the Holy Ghost; while the third book includes the theological virtues; faith, love, hope, the four cardinal virtues, the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost, the ten commandments, and the distinction between the Law and the Gospel. Among the many followers of Peter Lombard by far the most important was Thomas Aquinas, who discussed ethics in systematic form in the second part of his Summa, treating of general ethical problems in the first section, and of specifically Christian morality in the second. The scheme of the concepts and the basis of this system, a mighty one of its kind, is Aristotelian; the superstructure contains essentially the ethics of Augustine. Thomas was opposed, in a sense, even in ethics, by Duns Scotus (Quæst. iv. 49), who emphasized as the basis of morality not, like Thomas, the cognizable inner necessity of reason, but rather the divine and human freedom of the will in an entirely abstract sense. With scholastic ethics the moral system of medieval mysticism stood, generally speaking, not in opposition, but in close kinship. Both centered in Augustine and were influenced by Neo-Platonic concepts; so that both inclined toward a non-ethical concept of God; both served the Roman Catholic Church, except for certain thoroughly heretical divergencies; both were cultivated especially in the mendicant orders. They were even blended, as by Hugo of St. Victor; or were united in the same individual, as in Meister Eckhart, whose Latin writings reveal him as a scholastic, and his German as a mystic. Even where the representatives of mysticism laid aside scholastic dialectics, as did Johannes Tauler and Thomas à Kempis, their mysticism was but the popular and edifying amplification of the thought which forms the climax of scholasticism the conception that the supreme end of man, which leads beyond Christian belief, Christian morality, and Christian knowledge, is that form of union with God which is gained through emancipation from the finite and negation of the ego. Only in the influence of mysticism on the religious life, which it rendered internally and actively pious, was there any preparation for the Reformation in the sphere of ethics.
3. Early Lutheran Ethics. Early Protestant ethics was dominated by the principles of the Reformation, which regarded the blessed conviction of justification by faith as the center of all Christian truth, the Scriptures as the proper norm of Christian doctrine, and the communion of believers united by the Word of God and the Sacraments as the essence of the Church. Accordingly, proceeding on these principles, which here stand in intimate connection with each other, it sought to purify Christian ethics from the disturbing elements introduced by Roman Catholicism. Belief was now changed from an acceptance of ecclesiastical doctrine to a penitent, blessed trust in God, revealed as holy love in Christ. Thus faith became the centralized and morally powerful source of all Christian life. At the same time, the Roman Catholic concept of a purely magical foundation of Christian morality as legalism and justification by works was discarded. Instead of an external command, the source of ethical knowledge now became the ideal life as set forth in the Bible, adopted by the Christian conscience, and modified according to the individual. At the same time the distinction between a higher and a lower morality, and especially the commendation of the monastic life, was rejected. Since, moreover, the ethical significance of secular toil and of the natural relations of human society was now recognized, their subjection to the visible Church became a thing of the past. None of the Reformers, however, developed these views into a comprehensive system, although Luther often used them in their basal generality and with strong stress on their religious aspect. His Von der Freiheit eines Christenmenschen (1520) contains important fundamentals of ethics, while in the discussion of the decalogue in his Catechism he makes naive statements on individual ethical matters.
A stronger and more specific interest in ethics was shown by Melanchthon, not only in his great work on dogmatics, the Loci, but also in his university lectures on Proverbs and in brief individual treatises on ethical subjects. Nevertheless, he gave a systematic presentation only of philosophical ethics, discussing natural law as given by God. His Epitome philosophiæ moralis (Strasburg, 1538) and Ethicæ doctrinæ elementa (1550) long formed the basis of instruction in ethics in the Lutheran Church. Melanchthon's school produced the first treatise on Christian ethics in Thomas Venatorius' De virtute Christiana libri tres (1529), which emphasized the moral power of justification by faith. To the same school belong the Regulæ vitæ of David Chytræus (1555) and the Ethicæ doctrinæ libri quattuor of P. von Eitzen (1572), both, strictly speaking, only exegeses of the decalogue. The transfer from Lutheran to Reformed ethics was made by the Enchiridion theologicum of the Dane Niels Hemmingsen (Leipsic, 1568), who was inclined toward Calvinism.
4. Early Reformed Ethics. With this school of Melanchthon Reformed theology shared a deep ethical interest, although it was sharply opposed to that school in regard to the problem of the freedom of the human will because of its doctrine of predestination. This community of interest was shown even by Zwingli, who developed his ethical views, especially in his Commentarius de vera et falsa religione (Zurich, 1525). Much distinguishes him from Calvin in the sphere of ethics, such as his concept of the Church as a community at once religious and civil, his national patriotism, and his joyously human type of piety. Nevertheless, Calvin practically coincides with Zwingli in his general views of ethics. Calvin's ethics is chiefly to be found in the third book of his Institutio religionis Christianæ (Basel, 1536), where he regards the Christian life as divine service, or, more specifically, as a sacrifice in the Christian denial of self, dividing the demonstration of the latter, on the basis of Titus ii. 12, into three parts. This basal concept gives his ethics a certain ascetic appearance, while the concept of love is thrust into the background. The first fairly complete system of Christian ethics that came from the Reformed Church was the Ethica Christiana of Lambert Daneau (Geneva, 1577). In his Systema ethicæ (in Opera, Geneva, 1614) another Reformed theologian, Bartholomæus Keckermann, sought to give simply a philosophical ethics. On the other hand, Amandus Polanus, in his Syntagma theologiæ (Geneva, 1610), divided systematic theology into dogmatics proper and ethics; and Keckermann was more explicitly assailed by the Medulla theologica (Amsterdam, 1623) of the Puritan William Ames, who declared that there could be no ethics except what was strictly theological. A mediating tendency was shown by M. Amyraut, of the Academy of Saumur, in his Morale chrestienne (6 vols., Saumur, 1652-1660); but the majority of Reformed ethicists followed Ames in their monotonous exegesis of the decalogue, from which was developed even here a casuistic system (cf. J. H. Alsted's Theologia casuum, Hanau, 1621).
5. Later Protestant Ethics. In post-Reformation theology orthodoxy soon became supreme, laying stress on correct dogmatic opinion rather than on a living faith of moral efficacy. Ethics accordingly declined sharply and was scarcely cultivated, except in the barren form of ascetical theology. An independent scientific system of ethics in the Lutheran Church was first revived by the Helmstädt theologian Georg Calixtus, who, in his Epitome theolgiæ moralis (1634), described the Christian life as the preservation of salvation which had been won, thus bringing upon himself the charge of orthodoxy that he had, in Roman Catholic fashion, asserted that good works were necessary to salvation. Calixtus was followed by Dürr, Theodor Maier, Rixner, and Johann Andreas Schmidt, while J. W. Baler's Compendium theologiæ moralis (Jena, 1698) was conducted more in the traditional channels of orthodoxy. The ethics of the eighteenth century was dominated in great part by the rationalism of the Enlightenment (q.v.); although Pietism early gave a fresh impulse to ethics in its practical aspect by laying stress upon the moral fruitfulness of Christian belief. The influence of this tendency on orthodox theology is seen in J. F. Buddeus' Institutiones theologiæ moralis (1711). Pietism, however, gave but a scanty scientific contribution to ethics; and the offshoots of the Pietistic movement led to unnatural distortions of the Christian life and to an intensification of the claim of nature to the sphere of ethics. The attempt was accordingly made to formulate a purely human ethics from the philosophical side, positing as the supreme moral requirement the furtherance of the welfare of society (Hugo Grotius, Pufendorf), or of perfection (Christian Wolf) . Gradually these tendencies found their way into theology. In his Theologische Moral (1738) Siegmund Baumgarten still retained a supernatural point of view, but gave it a philosophical basis; while in his comprehensive Sittenlehre der heiligen Schrift (5 vols., Helmstädt, 1735-53) J. L. von Mosheim earnestly sought to prove that Biblical and Christian ethics correspond to reason and nature. This interest in the reasonableness of ethics soon became dominant in theology; while, despite the endeavors of Biblically minded theologians, such as C. A. Crusius (Moraltheologie, Leipsic, 1772) and J. F. Reuss (Elementa theologiæ moralis, Tübingen, 1767), an ethical eudemonism spread through German theology under the influence of English deism and French materialism. The representatives of this movement included J. P. Miller, Gottfried Less, and K. F. Bahrdt. J. D. Michaelis followed a similar course in his Moral (3 parts, Göttingen, 1792-1802), while F. V. Reinhard defended a rationalistic supernaturalism in his System der christlichen Moral (5 vols., Sulzbach, 1788-1815).
6. Kant's School. A new trend in the history of ethics was introduced by Immanuel Kant, among whose works bearing upon this subject special mention may be made of the Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten (Riga, 1785), Kritik der praktischen Vernunft (1788), and Metaphysische Anfangsgründe der Tugendlehre ( Königsberg, 1797). Through Kant's energetic emphasis on the unconditional necessity of the moral law, which transcended all empiricism, the dominant eudemonism was refuted, and a deeper knowledge of evil became possible than had been within the capabilities of the ethics of the Enlightenment. Kant was also in the right in his view of the autonomy of the moral law as opposed to external interpretations of moral authority, even though they be based upon the Bible; but the harshness with which he defended his attitude destroyed the proper dependence of ethics on religion and resulted in a legalistic rigorism. Despite such faults, Kant's basal ethical views were widely accepted in the theology of his period, not only by rationalistic ethicists, but also by such supernaturalists as K. F. Stäudlin and J. H. Tieftrunk; although some, like J. F. Flatt of Tübingen, modified them. Through anthropological investigations, F. H. Jacobi and J. F. Fries endeavored further to develop the Kantian ethics, and they were followed by De Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, and L. A. Kähler. A distinct step in advance of Kant was marked by J. G. Fichte's Sittenlehre (Jena, 1798), especially in its demand for a desire of the good, and through its establishment of ethics upon the belief in the moral governance of the world. Still stronger was the reaction against the subjectivity of the period of the Enlightenment in favor of a recognition of objectivity in the ethics of Schelling and Hegel. The former, in his System des transcendentalen Idealismus (Tübingen, 1800) and his Untersuchungen über das Wesen der menschlichen Freiheit (1809), laid down the principle: "Become a being, and cease to be merely a phenomenon." He failed, however, to distinguish the ethical domain from the province of law, and thus ascribed too much importance to the State. Still more one-sided was the view of Hegel, expressed in his Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts (Berlin, 1833), since he discovered ethics, as the realization of the rational processes of the world in general, preeminently in the ordinances of natural human society, but left the Church no secure position. In opposition to such metaphysical bases of ethics, Herbart, in his Allgemeine praktische Philosophie (Göttingen, 1808) and Analytische Beleuchtung des Naturrechts and der Moral (1836), sought to establish the science solely on the facts of experience. According to him, ethics, as a division of esthetics, is to posit the simplest relations which, as being morally beautiful, evoke pleasure, but whose sources are not to be investigated. Herein Herbart doubtless intended to recognize both the unconditionality and the unity of the ethical, but the former quality was threatened by his fundamentally esthetic point of view, and the latter by the division into individual concepts of relation.
7. Schleiermacher. In consideration of these defects of philosophical ethics, it was the more momentous that theological ethics won its independent importance. The most powerful incentive to this development was given by Friedrich Schleiermacher, who, in his Monologen (Berlin, 1800), emphasized the significance of individuality, and in his Grundlinien einer Kritik der bisherigen Sittenlehre (1803) laid stress on the concept of moral good. Beginning with 1819, he published a series of treatises of ethical content, while after his death his philosophical ethics was edited on the basis of his lectures (Berlin, 1835), followed by his Christliche Sitte (1843). Although the first-named is divided into the theory of the good, the theory of virtue, and the theory of duty, it discusses only the first part in detail. Here Schleiermacher, influenced by Spinoza and Schelling, considers the good as a union of nature and reason; while the corresponding acts are either organizing (employing nature as a tool) or symbolizing (transforming all into a symbol of reason). This antithesis, however, is crossed by the classification of all activity into general and individual, so that both activity and the resultant good become fourfold. The theological ethics of Schleiermacher is distinguished from his philosophical system especially by the fact that it is based not on reason, but on the Christian consciousness, since it seeks to describe activity arising from the domination of such consciousness, and also explicitly considers sin. This attempt, carried out with masterly skill, to permeate the entire sphere of human activity with the principles of Christian ethics has exerted an influence far and wide. Among more recent theological ethicists, Schleiermacher has been very closely followed by K. A. Rütenick in his Sittenlehre (Berlin, 1832), which forms the second part of his Christliche Lehre für Konfirmanden. The influence of Schleiermacher and Hegel is likewise manifest, despite the supernaturalistic spirit of the work, in the admirable Theologische Ethik of R. Rothe (3 vols., Wittenberg, 1845-48), which seeks to transform material nature into a spiritual personality from the point of view of Christian conscience.
8. Recent Manuals. An attitude closely akin to the mediating theology is represented by H. Martensen, in his Christelige Ethik (3 vols., Copenhagen, 1871- 1878), I. A. Dorner, in his System der christlichen Sittenlehre (Berlin, 1885), and J. Köstlin, in his Christliche Ethik (Berlin, 1899). A more conservative and Biblical position appears in C. F. Schmid's Christliche Sittenlehre (Stuttgart, 1861), C. Palmer's Moral des Christentums (Stuttgart, 1864), J. T. Beck's Vorlesungen über christliche Ethik (3 vols., Gütersloh, 1882-83), the third (ethical) part of M. Kähler's Wissenschaft der christlichen Lehre (Erlangen, 1883), and R. Kübel's Christliche Ethik (2 parts, Munich, 1896). Strictly Lutheran are G. C. A. Harless' Christliche Ethik (Stuttgart, 1842; 8th ed., 1893), A. Wuttke's Handbuch der christlichen Sittenlehre (2 vols., Berlin, 1862), A. F. C. Vilmar's Theologische Moral (3 parts, Gütersloh, 1871), the second part of A. von Oettingen's Socialethik (2 vols., Erlangen, 1873-74; 3d ed., 1882); J. C. K. von Hofmann's Theologische Ethik (Nördlingen, 1878), F. . R. Frank's System der christlichen Sittlichkeit (2 vols., Leipsic, 1884-1887), and C. E. Luthardt's Kompendium der theologischen Ethik (Leipsic, 1896). The Neo-Kantianism of A. Ritschl is represented, more or less closely, by W. Bornemann's Unterricht im Christentum (Göttingen, 1891), . Schultz's Grundriss der evangelischen Ethik (Göttingen, 1891), W. Herrmann's Ethik (Tübingen, 1900), Theodor Häring's Christliches Leben (Stuttgart, 1900), and J. Gottchick's Ethik (Tübingen, 1907). J. Pfleiderer's Grundriss der Glaubens und Sittenlehre (3d ed., Berlin, 1886) belongs to the school of liberal and speculative theology.
Among the more recent philosophical ethicists an idealism friendly to Christianity is represented by H. M. Chalybæus' System der spekulativen Ethik (2 vols., Leipsic, 1850), I. H. Fichte's System der Ethik (2 vols., Leipsic, 1850-53), C. Sigwart's Vorfragen der Ethik (Freiburg, 1886), G. Class's Ideale und Güter (Leipsic, 1886), F. Harms's Ethik (Leipsic, 1889), and A. Dorner's Das menschliche Handeln, philosophische Ethik (Berlin, 1895). The influence of Kant is shown in A. Trendelenburg's Naturrecht auf dem Grunde der Ethik (Leipsic, 1860), H. Lotze's Grundzüge der praktischen Philosophie (Leipsic, 1884), Theodor Lipps's Ethische Grundfragen (Hamburg, 1899), and M. Wentscher's Ethik (2 vols., Leipsic, 1901-05). Herbart's point of view is represented by J. W. Nahlowsky's Allgemeine praktische Philosophie (Leipsic, 1871; 2d ed., 1885), T. Ziller's Allgemeine philosophische Ethik (Langensalza, 1880; 2d ed., 1886), H. Steinthal's Allgemeine Ethik (Berlin, 1885), and W. Rein's Grundriss der Ethik (Osterwald, 1902). W. Wundt, Ethik (Stuttgart, 1886), and F. Paulsen, System der Ethik (2 vols., Berlin, 1890), show the influence of Positivism and Utilitarianism (qq.v.), and also reflect the teachings of the theory of evolution, as elaborated especially by Charles Darwin, and an ethical relativism conditioned by this theory and represented by H. Spencer's Data of Ethics (London, 1879) and Leslie Stephen's Science of Ethics (1882). Under such influences there has been a widespread tendency, even in German thought, to trace ethical requirements simply to conditions of culture, tradition, inheritance, and utilitarian motives, and to regard them as purely relative. This tendency is represented by Feuerbach's Ueber Spiritualismus und Materialismus (Leipsic, 1866), E. Laas's Idealismus und Positivismus (3 parts, Berlin, 1879-84), and G. von Gizycki's Grundzüge der Moral (Leipsic, 1883). This eudemonism has found its antipodal pessimism in J. Frauenstädt's Sittliches Leben (Leipsic, 1866) and E. von Hartmann's Phänomenologie des sittlichen Bewusstseins (Berlin, 1878) and Ethische Studien (Leipsic, 1898); while a degenerate offshoot of both tendencies is Friedrich Nietzsche's ethics of the "superman" (Jenseits von Gut and Böse, Leipsic, 1886), which overleaps all moral bounds.
9. Roman Catholic Ethics. In post-Reformation Roman Catholic ethics casuistics first bloomed again through the instrumentality of the Jesuits, who cultivated ethics diligently that they might utilize it for advice in cases of conscience. Among the most important ethical treatises of the Jesuits special mention should be made of the works of F. Toletus, Thomas Sanchez, Antonio de Escobar, Busenbaum, Alfonso Liguori, and J. P. Gury. Their ethics seeks to render itself indispensable through its subtly developed casuistry, and to become popular by its extreme adaptation to human weaknesses. The latter end is served by the well-known Jesuit doctrines of probabilism, intention and mental reservation. This elasticity of Jesuit ethics, together with its Pelagianizing tendency, was assailed within the Roman Catholic Church especially by Jansenism, as represented in Pascal's Pensées sur la religion (Paris, 1670) and Quesnel's Réflexions morales (1687). The Jansenists regarded the love of God, evoked by the operation of divine grace, as the one root of moral action, but they were led into gloomy mysticism and asceticism by their faulty comprehension of the Pauline doctrine of justification by faith. Still more visionary and passive was the ascetic mysticism of quietism, set forth by the Spaniard M. de Molinos (q.v.) in his Guida spirituale (Rome, 1675) and modified by Fénelon, but attacked in both forms by the Jesuits.
With the end of the eighteenth century Roman Catholic ethics also came under the influence of philosophy. The Jesuit B. Stattler, in his Vollständige christliche Sittenlehre (2 vols., Augsburg, 1791), adopted the philosophical method of C. Wolff; while his pupil, S. Mutschelle, in his Moraltheologie (2 parts, Munich, 1801-03), followed Kant, as did F. G. Wanker, G. Hermes, and others. On the other hand, M. Sailer, in his Handbuch der christlichen Moral (Munich, 1818), set forth a Pietistic mystic eudemonism, a similar tendency being shown in J. B. von Hirscher's more scientific Christliche Moral (5th ed., Tübingen, 1851). Some traces of Schleiermacher's influence are discernible in H. Klee's System der katholischen Moral (Mainz, 1847), K. Martin's Lehrbuch der katholischen Moral (Mainz, 1850), and C. Werner's System der christlichen Ethik (Regensburg, 1850); while a more traditional character is maintained in the ethical manuals of H. T. Simar (Freiburg, 1877), F. X. Linsenmann (1879), J. Schwane (1878-85), and Rappenhöner (1889).
10. Ethics in England and America. [English ethics dates from Francis Bacon (q.v.), who by an empirical method presented the good as the useful. To Thomas Hobbes (d. 1679) the summum bonum was self-preservation. In the natural condition every man's hand was against his neighbor; the state is therefore necessary. The two factors of his ethics were egoistic hedonism and absolute social authority. Since Hobbes ethical thought has taken several directions. (1) Intuitionalism, of which there is an earlier and a later school. According to the Cambridge Platonists, Ralph Cudworth (q.v.; Eternal and Immutable Morality, London, 1731), Henry More (q.v.; Enchiridion Ethicum, 2 parts, London, 1667), and Samuel Clarke (q.v.; Being and Attributes of God, 2 vols., London, 1704), the intuitional philosophy was applied to ethics (see CAMBRIDGE PLATONISTS). Good and evil are referred to eternal moral ideas a priori. This type of thought was followed by Richard Price (d. 1791; Review of the Principal Questions of Morals, London, 1758), by Thomas Reid (q.v.; Essays on the Active Powers of the Human Mind, Edinburgh, 1788), by Dugald Stewart (q.v.; Philosophy of the Active and Moral Powers of Man, 1828), and by William Whewell (q.v.; Elements of Morality, London, 1846). To these must be added Henry Calderwood (q.v.; Handbook of Moral Philosophy, London, 1888) and James Martineau (q.v.; Types of Ethical Theory, Oxford, 1885). (2) Utilitarianism or hedonism, deriving from Bacon and Hobbes, does not flow in a straight course, but in general to it belongs John Locke (see DEISM), who held that happiness was the ultimate motive of moral action. His great contribution to ethics was his doctrine on power (Essay concerning Human Understanding, book II., chap. xxi., London, 1690) which profoundly influenced Jonathan Edwards (q.v.) in his discussion of the will (A Careful and Strict Enquiry into . . . Freedom of the Will, Boston, 1754). David Hume (q.v.) in his Inquiry into the Principles of Morals (London, 1751) and Adam Smith (d. 1770) in his Theory of Moral Sentiments (London, 1759) resolve the motives to moral action into either utility or pleasure, and find in sympathy the ultimate quality of the moral sentiments. Closely allied with this movement was David Hartley (d. 1757; Observations on Man, London, 1749), who by a physiological and psychological method explained the ethical consciousness by the association of ideas, and showed how from the pleasures and pains of sensation are derived the higher pleasures and pains of imagination, ambition, self-interest, sympathy, theopathy, and, finally, the moral sense. Somewhere between the intuitionalists and the utilitarians must be placed Bishop Joseph Butler (q.v.), who in his Sermons on Human Nature alleges three principles of action: self-love; benevolence; and conscience, which adjudicates between the claims of the other two. Later echoes of this teaching are heard in America in Nathaniel William Taylor's (q.v.) doctrine of self-love, in Noah Porter (q.v.; Elements of Moral Science, New York, 1885), Mark Hopkins (q.v.; The Law of Love and Love as Law, New York, 1869), and James Henry Fairchild (Moral Philosophy, Oberlin, 1869). The more modern advocates of thoroughgoing utilitarianism are William Paley (q.v.; Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy, London, 1785), who derived obligation from the command of another to which one is urged by a violent motive; Jeremy Bentham (d. 1832; Principles of Morals and Legislation, London, 1789) , who holds the summum bonum to be the greatest good of the greatest number, and John Stuart Mill (d. 1873; Utilitarianism, London, 1861), who makes the end to be the greatest amount of happiness altogether. According to Bentham, the sanctions of morality are physical, political, social, religious; according to Mill, they are external or internal. Other writers of this school are Henry Sidgwick (Methods of Ethics, London, 1890) and A. Bain (Moral Science, New York, 1869). (3) Evolutionary Ethics-- a form of hedonism affirms in general that society is a developing social organism, the end of which is according to Herbert Spencer (Data of Ethics, London, 1879) happiness, according to Leslie Stephens (Science of Ethics, London, 1882) health or efficiency, according to Samuel Alexander (Moral Order and Progress, London, 1889) equilibrium. Progress is determined by continuous adjustment of internal to external relations (Spencer) or by conflict of idols (Alexander). (4) Idealistic Ethics relates conduct to a rational ideal from the point of view of the source, evolution, sanctions, and principles of action. The rational ideal is that of a moral self in social union with other selves in a kingdom of personal ends. Representatives of this view in Great Britain are Thomas Hill Green (Prolegomena to Ethics, Oxford, 1883), Edward Caird (Critical Philosophy of Kant, London, 1877), Francis Herbert Bradley (Ethical Studies, London, 1876), John Henry Muirhead (Elements of Ethics, New York, 1892), William Ritchie Sorley (Ethics of Naturalism, London, 1885), John Stewart Mackenzie (Manual of Ethics, New York, 1901) ; and in America George Trumbull Ladd (Philosophy of Conduct, New York, 1902), George Herbert Palmer (Field of Ethics, Boston, 1901; and Nature of Goodness, ib. 1903), J. Royce (Philosophy of Loyalty, New York, 1908), and A. E. Taylor (Problem of Conduct, London, 1901). (5) Teleological Ethics--a combination of hedonistic and idealistic ethics in which the will to live the life which belongs to man is the summum bonum is advocated by Frederick Thilly (Introduction to the Study of Ethics, New York, 1900) in reliance upon Friedrich Paulsen's System of Ethics (New York, 1899, Eng. transl. of System der Ethik) . Allied with this is William James's Will to Believe (New York, 1897) resting upon the premises of pragmatism. (6) As distinguished from Germany, in Great Britain and America Christian as compared with philosophical ethics has received less attention. The subject has been treated under the title Christian Ethics by Thomas Banks Strong in the Bampton Lectures for 1895 (London, 1896), by Newman Smyth (New York, 1896), and by William Leslie Davidson (London, 1899). C. A. B.]
III. New Testament Ethics: There is no system of ethics in the New Testament, not even a conscious suggestion of the need for system. The clearest evidence of this is given in the lack of unity in Rom. xii.-xv., the most considerable body of ethical teaching found in the New Testament outside the Gospels. But the conscious need of system belongs to the speculative individual, detached in some degree both from religious emotion and from corporate obligation; and while there is nothing in New Testament resembling the Greek systems ethics, there is none the less a unity in New Testament ethics which lies deeper than the unities of reflection, due to a creative age which was flushed with religious feeling and moral passion.
New Testament ethics, the standard and mold of Christian ethics, is religious to an even greater degree than the ethics of the Old Testament. For the Wisdom literature is in some places deeply tinged with Hellenism; but the Wisdom mood is notably lacking in the New Testament literature, the apocalyptic and prophetic mood being in complete control. Yet the controlling element of Biblical ethics as a whole is the fact and experience of divine revelation. The power and wisdom and goodness of God invade human consciousness, save man from all his doubts and fears, determine the direction and aim of moral passion. The monotheism of the prophet is ethical monotheism. It reveals and defines itself in distinction from Levitical ethics. The essence of Levitical ethics is a fusion of ritual and custom and fixed convention. In its results it gave an appearance of finality to false or imperfect standards of moral value. Against this view prophetism set itself in moral opposition (Isa. lviii. 3-7; Micah vi. 1-8). The pith of experience is the self-revelation of the divine unity within human consciousness and in history. It expresses itself in an increasing emphasis on character. While, therefore, Biblical ethics is necessarily a religious ethics, it casts itself in the mold of a supreme moral purpose. Moreover, the personal and the corporate elements of ethics are inseparable so that the experience of the divine unity draws after it a solid confidence in the ultimate triumph of Israel.
The prophetism of the New Testament is also in debt to Judaism. The unit of thought and feeling in Hebrew prophetism was the nation (Ezek. xxxvii., the resurrection of the nation). Judaism in a measure shifted the center of gravity. In the Wisdom literature the mood and mind of the individual seek expression. In the Psalter the individual finds satisfaction and relief in lyrical poetry. In Phariseeism the belief in individual immortality became a working motive. But along with these gains went a serious loss. Levitical ethics reasserted itself. Insistence on rigid religious conformity became the order of the day. And the pride of orthodoxy joined forces with it in order to chain the moral genius of Hebrew prophetism to the chariot of legalism and externalism. John the Baptist ushered in the revival of prophetism (Matt. xi. 7-11) . He put himself in moral opposition to the Levitical ethics of Judaism (Matt. iii. 7-10; Luke iii. 7 sqq.). Christ continued and completed John's work. He took up into his mind and plan the gains of Judaism, but transcended its spirit and its range. The community founded by him was a prophetic community (Acts ii. 14 sqq.; Joel ii. 28-32). It was distinguished by intense corporate consciousness (adelphos, adelphoi, in N. T. outside the Gospels 251 times; hapanta koina, Acts ii. 44, iv. 32). Hence it was also distinguished by an impassioned eschatology. Thought and feeling set with tidal force toward the triumph of Christ's community (parousia). Emotion, wherever found on its high levels, manifests itself in ecstatic visions of the impending kingdom of God (I Cor. ii. 9 sqq.; Speaking with Tongues, Acts ii. 4 sqq.). It is a help to clear thinking to contrast the beginnings and the genesis of New Testament ethics with the development of philosophic ethics in Greece. The work and the position of Aristotle is typical. He was never a citizen of Athens. This typifies the fact that the systematic moralizing of the Greeks does not appear until the state (polis) is in process of decay. Hence Aristotle has a marked tendency toward reflective individualism, toward detachment from corporate interests and ends (cf. his discussion of Friendship in the Nicomachean Ethics; also his definition of God, in terms of the speculative reason, as "thinking on thinking," Metaphysics, xii. 9). Christian prophetism, on the contrary, is like Hebrew prophetism, though on a higher level. It is instinctively corporate and eschatologic.
Inevitably, the keyword is hope. In the prophetic ethics of the New Testament hope is not a virtue, but the spring of all virtues. Through Jesus Christ men are born again into a living hope (I Pet. i. 3) . They are saved by being brought into quickening touch with the hope of the kingdom of God (Rom. viii. 24). Christ is God's affirmation of the promises made through the Prophets (II Cor. ii. 20). Through him the redeemed mind and heart utter a decisive assent to God's purpose and plan (ib.). The frame and constitution of New Testament ethics is a solid and glowing conviction regarding the religion and moral issues of history. The foundations of Christian hope are laid in faith (cf. Heb. xi. 1; Acts xv. 9). Spiritual and moral efficiency springs from faith (Rom. i. 17). Faith, however, is not primarily an act of the mind; it is perception, appropriation, assent, all in one; and the man redeemed through Christ by faith affirms and proclaims the kingdom of God to be the ultimate reality (see FAITH). This aspect of faith makes it the root of love. It is a significant fact that the Pauline trilogy went through two recensions. In I Thess. i. 3 occurs the order faith, love, hope; but in I Cor. xiii. 13 is found faith, hope, love. The Pauline congregations in the midst of Judaism and heathenism are threatened with disintegration, so the unity of the congregation is the tactical unit of the army of the Lord. Love is the constructive power and will that makes deep corporate unity and fellowship possible (cf. Rom. xii.-xv., I Cor. xii.-xiv., Philippians i. 27-28). In the First Epistle of John this view is wrought into the fiber of Christian consciousness. Faith, hope, and love are the rootstock of New Testament ethics out of which grow the specific virtues. Thus, humility is the necessary mood of the redeemed mind looking in upon God in his measureless power and mercy, and looking out upon the immense task of realizing God's kingdom (Matt. v. 3; I Pet. v. 5; I Cor. iv. 7, viii. 16). It is the mood of all profound Christian experience. Joy is the inherent quality of all thoroughly Christian action, because the will of the redeemed man is held within the will of God (Phil. ii. 12 sqq.) and is strenuously working toward a supreme end (Phil, iii. 14). So it becomes a necessary quality in Christian expression (Jas. i. 2; Phil. iii. 1, iv. 4; cf. Acts as a Christian epic).
The enduring moral quality of action is expressed in the virtue of hypomonē, happily called by Chrysostom "queen of the virtues." The "patientia" of the Latin and the "patience " of the English version are a poor equivalent for the New Testament Greek. "Steadfast waiting"--for the supreme end, the kingdom of God--comes nearer to it. Since the imminence of that kingdom dominates the prophetic consciousness, the supreme specific virtue is steadfastness in waiting and working for that supreme end (James i. 4; I Thess. i. 3; Rom. v. 4, viii. 25) . The words of Jesus (Luke xxi. 19) sum up the matter. The followers of Jesus, through large-hearted devotion to the kingdom of God and through steadfastness in doing and bearing, shall enter into perfect self-possession and eternal life.
HENRY S. NASH.