7. Duty is a moral obligation, firstly to ourselves and then to others. Duty is a law of life encountered in the smallest details as well as in the most elevated acts. Now I wish to speak only of moral duty and not of that duty which refers to the professions.
Within the order of sentiments, duty is a very difficult one to fulfill because it finds itself in antagonism with the seductions of interest and of the heart. Its victories have no witnesses and its failures suffer no repressions. Man's intimate duty is left to his free-will. The pressure of Man's conscience, this guardian of interior integrity, alerts and sustains him, but shows itself frequently impotent against the deceptions of passion. Duty of the heart, when faithfully observed, elevates Man, but how can we define it with exactitude? Where does duty begin? Where does it end? Duty begins exactly at the point where the happiness or tranquility of our neighbour is threatened, and therefore terminates at the limit we would not wish to be passed in relation to ourselves.
God has created all men equal in relation to pain; whether we be small or great, ignorant or educated, we all suffer for the same motives so that each one may judge in clear consciousness the evil that can be done. With reference to goodness, in its infinite variety of expressions, the criterion is not the same. Equality in the face of pain is God's sublime providence. He desires that all of His children, being instructed through their common experiences, should not practise evil with the excuse of not knowing its effects.
Duty is a practical summary of all moral speculation; it is the bravery of the soul which faces the anguishes of battle. It is both austere and mild, ready to adapt itself to the most diverse complications while maintaining inflexibility before temptations. The man who fulfils his duty loves God more than his fellow beings and loves his fellow beings more than himself It is at one and the same time judge and slave in its own cause.
Duty is the most beautiful laurel of reason, and is born of it as a child is born of its mother. Man should love duty, not because it protects him from the evils of life from which humanity cannot escape, but because it transmits vigour to the soul, which it needs so as to be able to develop.
Duty grows and irradiates under a constantly more elevated form in each of the superior stages of humanity. A person's moral obligations towards God never cease, They must reflect the eternal virtues, which do not accept imperfect outlines, because He wishes the grandeur of His work always to be resplendent before their eyes. - LAZARUS (Paris, 1863).