And though such antinomianism has always been sternly repudiated by the moral consciousness of Christendom, it has never been forgotten that " inwardness," rightness of heart or spirit, is the preeminent characteristic of Christian goodness.
The rightness of H a is confirmed by T.
Rightness of purpose, preference of virtue for its own sake, suppression of vicious desires, were made essential points by the - Aristotelians, who attached the most importance to outward circumstances in their view of virtue, no less than by the Stoics, to whom all outward things were indifferent.
At the time, we felt so infallible in our rightness we grabbed the proverbial bull by the horns exposing ourselves to a wealth of trouble.
Upon whatsoever principle the rightness of an action depends, its performance is right for the agent.
This knowledge, as Aristotle held, might be permanently precluded by vicious habits, or temporarily obliterated by passion, but if present in the mind it must produce rightness of purpose.
The fundamental differences between pagan and Christian ethics depend not on any difference in the value set on rightness of heart, but on different views of the essential form or conditions of this inward rightness.
Without this grace it is impossible for man to obey the " first greatest commandment " of love to God; and, this unfulfilled, he is guilty of the whole law, and is only free to choose between degrees of sin; his apparent external virtues have no moral value, since inner rightness of intention is wanting.
With a similar stress on the self-conscious side of moral action, he argues that rightness of conduct depends solely on the intention, at one time pushing this doctrine to the paradoxical assertion that all outward acts as such are indifferent.'
As regards the moral faculty itself, Reid's statement coincides in the main with Price's; it is both intellectual and active, not merely perceiving the " rightness " or " moral obligation " of actions (which Reid conceives as a simple unanalysable relation between act and agent), but also impelling the will to the performance of what is seen to be right.
Sometimes they consider moral intuition as determining the comparative excellence of conflicting motives (James Martineau), or the comparative quality of pleasures chosen (Laurie), which seems to be the same view in a hedonistic garb; others hold that what is intuitively perceived is the rightness or wrongness of individual acts - a view which obviously renders ethical reasoning practically superfluous.
With Price, again, he holds that rightness of intention and motive is not only an indispensable condition or element of the rightness of an action, but actually the sole determinant of its moral worth; but with more philosophical consistency he draws the inference - of which the English moralist does not seem to have dreamt - that there can be no separate rational principles for determining the " material " rightness of conduct, as distinct from its " formal " rightness; and therefore that all rules of duty, so far as universally binding, must admit of being exhibited as applications of the one general principle that duty ought to be done for duty's sake.