The Unfailing Moral Standard

- from "Toleration" by John Bigelow

CHAPTER V - Part 1
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THE real motive, or final purpose of an act, is not only all of it that is important, but is all of an act that we can with any propriety call our own. We have in ourselves no power to execute, though for wise purposes we cannot divest ourselves of the impression that we have such power. We are in point of fact as in. capable of lifting a finger or of opening or closing our eyes as of creating a universe. The very breath of life is supplied to us without interruption, from the beginning to the end of our days, from the Source of all life. The power that sustains us at every successive moment is equivalent to a new creation. To do anything involving our control over the material world, or over any part of it for a single instant, would imply the possibility of more than one omnipotence, which is an absurdity.

The lesson here taught has been admirably condensed in a line of the most eminent of the French poets : Faites votre devoir et laissez faire aux Dieux. (Corneille's "Horace," Act II, Scene 8. "Do your duty and leave the gods to do theirs.")


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