„The facts of man's history do not fully represent the faculties of his nature as the history of matter represents the qualities of matter.“
— Theodore Parker abolitionist 1810 - 1860
Ten Sermons of Religion (1853), III : Of Justice and the Conscience https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Ten_Sermons_of_Religion/Of_Justice_and_the_Conscience, Context: The facts of man's history do not fully represent the faculties of his nature as the history of matter represents the qualities of matter. Man, though finite, is indefinitely progressive, continually unfolding the qualities of his nature; his history, therefore, is not the whole book of man, but only the portion thereof which has been opened and publicly read. So the history of man never completely represents his nature; and a law derived merely from the facts of observation by no means describes the normal rule of action which belongs to his nature. The laws of matter are known to us because they are kept; there the ideal and actual are the same; but man has in his nature a rule of conduct higher than what he has come up to, — an ideal of nature which shames his actual of history. Observation and reflection only give us the actual of morals; conscience, by gradual and successive intuition, presents us the ideal of morals.