Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

´╗┐Title: Doctrine of the Will
Author: Mahan, Asa
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Doctrine of the Will" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



Contents
Dedicatory Preface
Footnotes

DOCTRINE

OF

THE WILL.

BY REV. A. MAHAN,

PRESIDENT OF THE OBERLIN COLLEGIATE INSTITUTE.

   "Not man alone, all rationals Heaven arms
   With an illustrious, but tremendous power,
   To counteract its own most gracious ends;
   And this, of strict necessity, not choice;
   That power denied, men, angels, were no more
   But passive engines void of praise or blame.
   A nature rational implies the power
   Of being blest, or wretched, as we please.

   Man falls by man, if finally he falls;
   And fall he must, who learns from death alone,
   The dreadful secret--That he lives for ever."
                                             YOUNG.

NEW YORK:

MARK H. NEWMAN, 199 BROADWAY.

OBERLIN; OHIO: R. E. GILLET.

1845.



Entered according to an Act of Congress, in the year 1844, by

ASA MAHAN,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for
the Southern District of New York.

S. W. BENEDICT & CO., STER. & PRINT.,

16 Spruce street.



CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS.--Importance of the Subject--True and
false Methods of Inquiry--Common Fault--Proper Method of Reasoning
from Revelation to the System of Mental Philosophy therein
pre-supposed--Errors of Method

CHAPTER II.

CLASSIFICATION OF THE MENTAL FACULTIES.--Classification verified

CHAPTER III.

LIBERTY AND NECESSITY.--Terms defined--Characteristics of the
above Definitions--Motive defined--Liberty as opposed to Necessity,
the Characteristic of the Will--Objections to Doctrine of
Necessity--Doctrine of Liberty, direct Argument--Objection to an Appeal
to Consciousness--Doctrine of Liberty argued from the existence of the
idea of Liberty in all Minds--The Doctrine of Liberty, the Doctrine of
the Bible--Necessity as held by Necessitarians--The term Certainty, as
used by them--Doctrine of Ability, according to the Necessitarian
Scheme--Sinful inclinations--Necessitarian Doctrine of Liberty--Ground
which Necessitarians are bound to take in respect to the Doctrine of
Ability--Doctrine of Necessity, as regarded by Necessitarians of
different Schools

CHAPTER IV.

EXTENT AND LIMITS OF THE LIBERTY OF THE WILL.--Strongest
Motive--Reasoning in a Circle

CHAPTER V.

GREATEST APPARENT GOOD.--Phrase defined--Its meaning according to
Edwards--The Will not always as the Dictates of the Intelligence--Not
always as the strongest desire--Nor as the Intelligence and Sensibility
combined--Necessitarian Argument--Motives cause acts of the Will, in
what sense--Particular Volitions, how accounted for--Facts wrongly
accounted for--Choosing between Objects known to be equal, how treated
by Necessitarians--Palpable Mistake

CHAPTER VI.

DOCTRINE OF LIBERTY AND THE DIVINE PRESCIENCE.--Dangers to be
avoided--Mistake respecting Divine Prescience--Inconsistency of
Necessitarians--Necessitarian Objection

CHAPTER VII.

DOCTRINE OF LIBERTY AND THE DIVINE PURPOSES AND AGENCY.--God's Purposes
consistent with the Liberty of Creatures--Senses in which God purposed
moral Good and Evil--Death of the Incorrigible preordained, but not
willed--God not responsible for their Death--Sin a Mystery--Conclusion
from the above

CHAPTER VIII.

OBLIGATION PREDICABLE ONLY OF THE WILL.--Men not responsible for the Sin
of their progenitors--Constitutional Ill-desert--Present Impossibilities
not required

CHAPTER IX.

STANDARD OF MORAL CHARACTER.--Sincerity, and not Intensity, the true
Standard

CHAPTER X.

MORAL ACTS NEVER OF A MIXED CHARACTER.--Acts of Will resulting from a
variety of Motives--Loving with a greater Intensity at one time than
another--Momentary Revolutions of Character

CHAPTER XI.

RELATIONS OF THE WILL TO THE INTELLIGENCE AND SENSIBILITY, IN STATES
MORALLY RIGHT, OR WRONG.--Those who are and are not virtuous, how
distinguished--Selfishness and Benevolence--Common Mistake--Defective
forms of Virtue--Test of Conformity to Moral Principle--Common
Mistake--Love as required by the Moral Law--Identity of Character among
all Beings morally Virtuous

CHAPTER XII.

ELEMENT OF THE WILL IN COMPLEX PHENOMENA.--Natural
Propensities--Sensation, Emotion, Desire, and Wish defined--Anger,
Pride, Ambition, &c.--Religious Affections--Repentance--Love--Faith--
Convictions, Feelings and external Actions, why required or prohibited--
Our Responsibility in respect to such Phenomena--Feelings how controlled
by the Will--Relation of Faith to other Exercises morally right

CHAPTER XIII.

INFLUENCE OF THE WILL IN INTELLECTUAL JUDGMENTS.--Men often voluntary in
their Opinions--Error not from the Intelligence, but Will--Primary
Faculties cannot err--So of the secondary Faculties--Assumptions--
Pre-judgments--Intellect not deceived in Pre-judgments--Mind, how
influenced by them--Influences which induce false Assumptions--Cases
in which we are apparently, though not really, misled by the Intelligence

CHAPTER XIV.

LIBERTY AND SERVITUDE.--Liberty as opposed to moral Servitude--Mistake
of German Metaphysicians--Moral Servitude of the race

CHAPTER XV.

LIBERTY AND DEPENDENCE.--Common Impression--Spirit of
Dependence--Doctrine of Necessity tends not to induce this
Spirit--Doctrine of Liberty does--God controls all Influences under
which Creatures act--Dependence on account of moral Servitude

CHAPTER XVI.

FORMATION OF CHARACTER.--Commonly how accounted for--The voluntary
element to be taken into the account--Example in Illustration--
Diversities of Character

CHAPTER XVII.

CONCLUDING REFLECTIONS.--Objection, The Will has its Laws--Objection,
God dethroned from his Supremacy if the Doctrine of Liberty is
true--Great and good Men have held the doctrine of Necessity--Last
Resort--Willing and aiming to perform impossibilities--Thought at
Parting



DEDICATORY PREFACE.

To one whose aim is, to "serve his generation according to the Will of
God," but two reasons would seem to justify an individual in claiming
the attention of the public in the capacity of an author--the existence
in the public mind of a want which needs to be met, and the full belief,
that the Work which he has produced is adapted to meet that want. Under
the influence of these two considerations, the following Treatise is
presented to the public. Whether the author has judged rightly or not,
it is not for him to decide. The decision of that question is left with
the public, to whom the Work is now presented. It is doubtful, whether
any work, prepared with much thought and pains-taking, was ever
published with the conviction, on the part of the author, that it was
unworthy of public regard. The community, however, may differ from him
entirely on the subject; and, as a consequence, a work which he regards
as so imperiously demanded by the public interest, falls dead from the
press. Many an author, thus disappointed, has had occasion to be
reminded of the admonition, "Ye have need of patience." Whether the
following Treatise shall succeed in gaining the public ear, or not, one
consolation will remain with the writer, the publication of the work has
satisfied his sense of duty. To his respected Associates in the
Institution over which he presides, Associates with whose approbation
and counsel the work was prepared, the Author would take this occasion
publicly to express his grateful acknowledgments for the many important
suggestions which he received from them, during the progress of its
preparation.

Having said thus much, he would simply add, that, TO THE LOVERS OF
TRUTH, THE WORK IS NOW RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED, WITH THE KIND REGARDS OF

      THE AUTHOR.



CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS.

IMPORTANCE OF THE SUBJECT.

THE doctrine of the Will is a cardinal doctrine of theology, as well as
of mental philosophy. This doctrine, to say the least, is one of the
great central points, from which the various different and conflicting
systems of theological, mental, and moral science, take their departure.
To determine a man's sentiments in respect to the Will, is to determine
his position, in most important respects, as a theologian, and mental
and moral philosopher. If we turn our thoughts inward, for the purpose
of knowing what we are, what we ought to do, and to be, and what we
shall become, as the result of being and doing what we ought or ought
not, this doctrine presents itself at once, as one of the great pivots
on which the resolution of all these questions turns.

If, on the other hand, we turn our thoughts from ourselves, to a study
of the character of God, and of the nature and character of the
government which He exercises over rational beings, all our
apprehensions here, all our notions in respect to the nature and desert
of sin and holiness, will, in many fundamental particulars, be
determined by our notions in respect to the Will. In other words, our
apprehensions of the nature and character of the Divine government, must
be determined, in most important respects, by our conceptions of the
nature and powers of the subjects of that government. I have no wish to
conceal from the reader the true bearing of our present inquiries. I
wish him distinctly to understand, that in fixing his notions in respect
to the doctrine of the Will, he is determining a point of observation
from which, and a medium through which, he shall contemplate his own
character and deserts as a moral agent, and the nature and character of
that Divine government, under which he must ever "live, and move, and
have his being."

TRUE AND FALSE METHODS OF INQUIRY.

Such being the bearing of our present inquiries, an important question
arises, to wit: What should be the influence of such considerations upon
our investigations in this department of mental science It should not
surely induce us, as appears to be true in the case of many divines and
philosophers even, first to form our system of theology, and then, in
the light of that, to determine our theory of the Will. The true science
of the Will, as well as that of all ether departments of mental
philosophy, "does not come by observation," but by internal reflection.
Because our doctrine of the Will, whether true or false, will have a
controlling influence in determining the character of our theology, and
the meaning which we shall attach to large portions of the Bible, that
doctrine does not, for that reason, lose its exclusively psychological
character. Every legitimate question pertaining to it, still remains
purely and exclusively a psychological question. The mind has but one
eye by which it can see itself, and that is the eye of consciousness.
This, then, is the organ of vision to be exclusively employed in all our
inquiries in every department of mental science, and in none more
exclusively than in that of the Will. We know very well, for example,
that the science of optics has a fundamental bearing upon that of
Astronomy. What if a philosopher, for that reason, should form his
theory of optics by looking at the stars? This would be perfectly
analogous to the conduct of a divine or philosopher who should determine
his theory of the Will, not by psychological reflection, but by a system
of theology formed without such reflection. Suppose again, that the
science of Geometry had the same influence in theology, that that of the
Will now has. This fact would not change at all the nature of that
science, nor the mode proper in conducting our investigations in respect
to it. It would still remain a science of demonstration, with all its
principles and rules of investigation unchanged. So with the doctrine of
the Will. Whatever its bearings upon other sciences may be, it still
remains no less exclusively a psychological science. It has its own
principles and laws of investigation, principles and laws as independent
of systems of theology, as the principles and laws of the science of
optics are of those of Astronomy. In pursuing our investigations in all
other departments of mental science, we, for the time being, cease to be
theologians. We become mental philosophers. Why should the study of the
Will be an exception?

The question now returns--what should be the bearing of the fact, that
our theory of the Will, whether right or wrong, will have an important
influence in determining our system of theology? This surely should be
its influence. It should induce in us great care and caution in our
investigations in this department of mental science. We are laying the
foundation of the most important edifice of which it ever entered into
the heart of man to conceive--an edifice, all the parts, dimensions, and
proportions of which, we are required most sedulously to conform to the
"pattern shown us in the mount." Under such circumstances, who should
not be admonished, that he should "dig deep, and lay his foundation upon
a rock?" I will therefore, in view of what has been said above,
earnestly bespeak four things of the reader of the following treatise.

1. That he read it as an honest, earnest inquirer after truth.

2. That he give that degree of attention to the work, that is requisite
to an _understanding_ of it.

3. That when he dissents from any of its fundamental principles, he will
distinctly state to his own mind the reason and ground of that dissent,
and carefully investigate its validity. If these principles are wrong,
such an investigation will render the truth more conspicuous to the
mind, confirm the mind in the truth, and furnish it with means to
overturn the opposite error.

4. That he pursue his investigations with _implicit confidence in the
distinct affirmations of his own consciousness in respect to this
subject_. Such a suggestion would appear truly singular, if made in
respect to any other department of mental science but that of the Will.
Here it is imperiously called for so long have philosophers and divines
been accustomed to look without, to determine the characteristics of
phenomena which appear exclusively within, and which are revealed to the
eye of consciousness only. Having been so long under the influence of
this pernicious habit, it will require somewhat of an effort for the
mind to turn its organ of self-vision in upon itself, for the purpose of
correctly reporting to itself, what is really passing in that inner
sanctuary. Especially will it require an effort to do this, with a fixed
determination to abandon all theories formed from external observation,
and to follow implicitly the results of observations made internally.
This method we must adopt, however, or there is at once an end of all
real science, not only in respect to the Will, but to all other
departments of the mind. Suppose an individual to commence a treatise on
_colors_, for example, with a denial of the validity of all affirmations
of the Intelligence through the eye, in respect to the phenomena about
which he is to treat. What would be thought of such a treatise? The
moment we deny the validity of the affirmations of any of our faculties,
in respect to the appropriate objects of those faculties, all reasoning
about those objects becomes the height of absurdity. So in respect to
the mind. If we doubt or deny the validity of the affirmations of
consciousness in respect to the nature and characteristics of all mental
operations, mental philosophy becomes impossible, and all reasoning in
respect to the mind perfectly absurd. Implicit confidence in the
distinct affirmations of consciousness, is a fundamental law of all
correct philosophizing in every department of mental science. Permit me
most earnestly to bespeak this confidence, as we pursue our
investigations in respect to the Will.

COMMON FAULT.

It may be important here to notice a common fault in the method
frequently adopted by philosophers in their investigations in this
department of mental science. In the most celebrated treatise that has
ever appeared upon this subject, the writer does not recollect to have
met with a single appeal to _consciousness_, the only adequate witness
in the case. The whole treatise, almost, consists of a series of
syllogisms, linked together with apparent perfectness, syllogisms
pertaining to an abstract something called Will. Throughout the whole,
the facts of consciousness are never appealed to. In fact, in instances
not a few, among writers of the same school, the right to make such an
appeal, on the ground of the total inadequacy of consciousness to give
testimony in the case, has been formally denied. Would it be at all
strange, if it should turn out that all the fundamental results of
investigations conducted after such a method, should be wholly
inapplicable to _the_ Will, the phenomena of which lie under the eye of
consciousness, or to stand in plain contradiction to the phenomena thus
affirmed? What, from the method adopted, we see is very likely to take
place, we find, from experience, to be actually true of the treatise
above referred to. This is noticed by the distinguished author of The
Natural History of Enthusiasm, in an Essay introductory to Edwards on
the Will. "Even the reader," he says, "who is scarcely at all familiar
with abstruse science, will, if he follow our author attentively, be
perpetually conscious of a vague dissatisfaction, or latent suspicion,
that some fallacy has passed into the train of propositions, although
the linking of syllogisms seems perfect. This suspicion will increase in
strength as he proceeds, and will at length condense itself into the
form of a protest against certain conclusions, notwithstanding their
apparently necessary connection with the premises." What should we
expect from a treatise on mental science, from which the affirmations of
consciousness should be formally excluded, as grounds of any important
conclusions? Just what we find to be true, in fact, of the above named
treatise on the Will; to wit: all its fundamental conclusions positively
contradicted by such affirmations. What if the decisions of our courts
of justice were based upon data from which the testimony of all material
witnesses has been formally excluded? Who would look to such decisions
as the exponents of truth and justice? Yet all the elements in those
decisions may be the necessary logical consequents of the data actually
assumed. Such decisions may be all wrong, however, from the fact that
the data which ought to be assumed in the case, were excluded. The same
will, almost of necessity, be true of all treatises, in every department
of mental science, which are not based upon the facts of consciousness.

PROPER METHOD OF REASONING FROM REVELATION TO THE SYSTEM OF MENTAL
PHILOSOPHY THEREIN PRE-SUPPOSED.

By what has been said, the reader will not understand me as denying the
propriety of comparing our conclusions in mental science with the Bible.
Though no system of mental philosophy is directly revealed in the Bible,
some one system is therein pre-supposed, and assuming, as we do, that
the Scriptures are a revelation from God, we must suppose that the
system of mental science assumed in the sacred writings, is the true
system. If we could find the system pre-supposed in the Bible, we should
have an infallible standard by which to test the validity of any
conclusions to which we have arrived, as the results of psychological
investigation. It is therefore a very legitimate, interesting, and
profitable inquiry--what is the system of mental science assumed as true
in the Bible? We may very properly turn our attention to the solution of
such a question. In doing this, however, two things should be kept
distinctly in mind.

1. In such inquiries, we leave the domain of mental philosophy entirely,
and enter that of theology. In the latter we are to be guided by
principles entirely distinct from those demanded in the former.

2. In reasoning from the Bible to the system of mental philosophy
pre-supposed in the Scriptures, we are in danger of assuming wrong data
as the basis of our conclusions that is, we are in danger of drawing our
inferences from those truths of Scripture which have no legitimate
bearing upon the subject, and of overlooking those which do have such a
bearing. While there are truths of inspiration from which we may
properly reason to the theory of the Will, pre-supposed in the Bible,
there are other truths from which we cannot legitimately thus reason.
Now suppose that we have drawn our conclusions from truths of
inspiration which have no legitimate bearing upon the subject, truths
which, if we do reason from them in the case, will lead us to wrong
conclusions; suppose that in the light of such conclusions we have
explained the facts of consciousness, assuming that such must be their
true character, else we deny the Bible. Shall we not then have almost
inextricably lost ourselves in the labyrinth of error?

The following principles may be laid down as universally binding, if we
would reason correctly, as philosophers and theologians, on the subject
under consideration.

1. In the domain of philosophy, we must confine ourselves strictly and
exclusively to the laws of psychological investigation, without
reference to any system of theology.

2. In the domain of theology, when we would reason from the truths of
inspiration to the theory of the Will pre-supposed in the Bible, we
should be exceedingly careful to reason from those truths only which
have a direct and decisive bearing upon the subject, and not from those
which have no such bearing.

3. We should carefully compare the conclusions to which we have arrived
in each of these domains, assuming that if they do not harmonize, we
have erred either as philosophers or theologians.

4. In case of disagreement, we should renew our independent
investigations in each domain, for the purpose of detecting the error
into which we have fallen.

In conducting an investigation upon such principles, we shall, with
almost absolute certainty, find ourselves in each domain, following rays
of light, which will converge together in the true theory of the Will.

ERRORS OF METHOD.

Two errors into which philosophers and divines of a certain class have
fallen in their method of treating the department of our subject now
under consideration, here demand a passing notice.

1. The two methods above referred to, the psychological and theological,
which should at all times be kept entirely distinct and separate, have
unhappily been mingled together. Thus the subject has failed to receive
a proper investigation in the domain, either of theology or of
philosophy.

2. In reasoning from the Scriptures to the theory of the Will
pre-supposed in the same, _the wrong truth_ has been adduced as the
basis of such reasoning, to wit: _the fact of the Divine foreknowledge_.
As all events yet future are foreknown to God, they are in themselves,
it is said, alike certain. This certainty necessitates the adoption of a
particular theory of the Will. Now before we can draw any such
conclusion from the truth before us, the following things pertaining to
it we need to know with absolute certainty, things which God has not
revealed, and which we never can know, until He has revealed them, to
wit: the _mode_, the _nature_, and the _degree_ of the Divine
foreknowledge. Suppose that God should impart to us apprehensions
perfectly full and distinct, of the mode, nature and degree of His
foreknowledge of human conduct. How do we know but that we should then
see with the most perfect clearness, that this foreknowledge is just as
consistent with the theory of the Will, denied by the philosophers and
divines under consideration, as with that which they suppose necessarily
to result from the Divine foreknowledge? This, then, is not the truth
from which we should reason to the theory of the Will pre-supposed in
the Bible.

There are truths of inspiration, however, which appear to me to have a
direct and decisive bearing upon this subject, and upon which we may
therefore safely base our conclusions. In the Scriptures, man is
addressed as a moral agent, the subject of commands and prohibitions, of
obligation, of merit and demerit, and consequently of reward and
punishment. Now when we have determined the powers which an agent must
possess, to render him a proper subject of command and prohibition, of
obligation, of merit and demerit, and consequently of reward and
punishment, we have determined the philosophy of the Will, really
pre-supposed in the Scriptures. Beneath these truths, therefore, and not
beneath that of the divine foreknowledge, that philosophy is to be
sought for. This I argue--

1. Because the former has a _direct_, while the latter has only an
_indirect_ bearing upon the subject.

2. Of the former our ideas are perfectly clear and distinct, while of
the mode, the degree, and the nature of the Divine foreknowledge we are
profoundly ignorant. To all eternity, our ideas of the nature of
commands and prohibitions, of obligations, of merit and demerit, and of
reward and punishment grounded on moral desert, can never be more clear
and distinct than they now are. From such truths, then, and not from
those that we do not understand, and which at the utmost have only an
indirect bearing upon the subject, we ought to reason, if we reason at
all, to the philosophy of the Will pre-supposed in the Scriptures. The
reader is now put in possession of the _method_ that will be pursued in
the following treatise, and is consequently prepared to enter upon the
investigation of the subject before us.



CHAPTER II.

CLASSIFICATION OF THE MENTAL FACULTIES.

EVERY individual who has reflected with any degree of interest upon the
operations of his own mind, cannot have failed to notice three classes
of mental phenomena, each of which is entirely distinct from either of
the others. These phenomena, which comprehend the entire operations of
the mind, and which may be expressed by the terms _thinking_, _feeling_,
and _willing_, clearly indicate in the mind three faculties equally
distinct from one another. These faculties are denominated the
Intellect, the Sensibility or Sensitivity, and the Will. To the first,
all intellectual operations, such as perceiving, thinking, judging,
knowing, &c., are referred. To the second, we refer all sensitive
states, all feelings, such as sensations, emotions, desires, &c. To the
Will, or the active voluntary faculty, are referred all mental
determinations, such as purposes, intentions, resolutions, choices and
volitions.

CLASSIFICATION VERIFIED.

1. The classes of phenomena, by which this tri-unity of the mental
powers is indicated, differ from one another, not in _degree_, but in
_kind_. Thought, whether clear or obscure, in all degrees, remains
equally distinct, in its nature, from feelings and determinations of
every class. So of feelings. Sensations, emotions, desires, all the
phenomena of the Sensibility, in all degrees and modifications, remain,
in their nature and essential characteristics, equally distinct from
thought on the one hand, and the action of the Will on the other. The
same holds true of the phenomena of the Will. A resolution, for example,
in one degree, is not a thought in another, a sensation, emotion, or
desire and in another a choice, purpose, intention, or volition. In all
degrees and modifications, the phenomena of the Will, in their nature
and essential characteristics, remain equally distinct from the
operations of the Intelligence on the one hand, and of the Sensibility
on the other.

2. This distinction is recognized by universal consciousness. When, for
example, one speaks of _thinking_ of any particular object, then of
_desiring_ it, and subsequently of _determining_ to obtain the object,
for the purpose of gratifying that desire, all mankind most clearly
recognize his meaning in each of the above-named affirmations, and
understand him as speaking of three entirely distinct classes of mental
operations. No person, under such circumstances, ever confounds one of
these states with either of the others. So clearly marked and
distinguished is the three-fold classification of mental phenomena under
consideration, in the spontaneous affirmations of universal
consciousness.

3. In all languages, also, there are distinct _terms_ appropriated to
the expression of these three classes of phenomena, and of the mental
power indicated by the same. In the English language, for example, we
have the terms _thinking_, _feeling_, and _willing_, each of which is
applied to one particular class of these mental phenomena, and never to
either of the others. We have also the terms Intellect, Sensibility, and
Will, appropriated, in a similar manner, to designate the mental powers
indicated by these phenomena. In all other languages, especially among
nations of any considerable advancement in mental culture, we find terms
of precisely similar designation. What do such facts indicate? They
clearly show, that in the development of the universal Intelligence, the
different classes of phenomena under consideration have been distinctly
marked, and distinguished from one another, together with the three-fold
division of the mental powers indicated by the same phenomena.

4. The clearness and particularity with which the universal intelligence
has marked the distinction under consideration, is strikingly indicated
by the fact, that there are _qualifying terms_ in common use which are
applied to each of these classes of phenomena, and never to either of
the others. It is true that there are such terms which are promiscuously
applied to all classes of mental phenomena. There are terms, however,
which are never applied to but one class. Thus we speak of _clear
thoughts_, but never of clear feelings or determinations. We speak of
_irrepressible feelings and desires_, but never of irrepressible
thoughts or resolutions. We also speak of _inflexible determinations_,
but never of inflexible feelings or conceptions. With what perfect
distinctness, then, must universal consciousness have marked thoughts,
feelings, and determinations of the Will, as phenomena entirely distinct
from one another--phenomena differing not in _degree_, but in _kind_,
and as most clearly indicating the three-fold division of the mental
powers under consideration.

5. So familiar are mankind with this distinction, so distinctly marked
is it in their minds, that in familiar intercourse, when no particular
theory of the mental powers is in contemplation, they are accustomed to
speak of the Intellect, Sensibility, and Will, and of their respective
phenomena, as entirely distinct from one another. Take a single example
from Scripture. "What I shall _choose_, I wot not--having a _desire_ to
depart." Here the Apostle evidently speaks of _desire_ and _choice_ as
phenomena differing in kind, and not in degree. "If you engage his
heart" [his feelings], says Lord Chesterfield, speaking of a foreign
minister, "you have a fair chance of imposing upon his _understanding_,
and determining his Will." "_His Will_," says another writer, speaking
of the insane, "is no longer restrained by his _Judgment_, but driven
madly on by his passions."

   "When wit is overruled by _Will_,
   And Will is led by fond _Desire_,
   Then _Reason_ may as well be still,
   As speaking, kindle greater fire."[1]

In all the above extracts the tri-unity of the mental powers, as
consisting of the Intellect, Sensibility, and Will, is distinctly
recognized. Yet the writers had, at the time, no particular theory of
mental philosophy in contemplation. They speak of a distinction of the
mental faculties which all understand and recognize as real, as soon as
suggested to their minds.

The above considerations are abundantly sufficient to verify the
three-fold distinction above made, of mental phenomena and powers. Two
suggestions arise here which demand special attention.

1. To confound either of these distinct powers of the mind with either
of the others, as has been done by several philosophers of eminence, in
respect to the Will and Sensibility, is a capital error in mental
science. If one faculty is confounded with another, the fundamental
characteristics of the former will of course be confounded with the same
characteristics of the latter. Thus the worst forms of error will be
introduced not only into philosophy, but theology, too, as far as the
latter science is influenced by the former. What would be thought of a
treatise on mental science, in which the Will should be confounded with
the Intelligence, and in which _thinking_ and _willing_ would be
consequently represented as phenomena identical in kind? This would be
an error no more capital, no more glaring, no more distinctly
contradicted by fundamental phenomena, than the confounding of the Will
with the Sensibility.

2. We are now prepared to contemplate one of the great errors of Edwards
in his immortal work on the Will--an error which we meet with in the
commencement of that work, and which lays a broad foundation for the
false conclusions subsequently found in it. He has confounded the Will
with the Sensibility. Of course, we should expect to find that he has
subsequently confounded the fundamental characteristics of the phenomena
of the former faculty, with the same characteristics of the latter.

"God has endowed the soul," he says, "with two faculties: One is that by
which it is capable of perception and speculation, or by which it
discerns, and views, and judges of things; which is called the
_understanding_. The other faculty is that by which the soul does not
merely perceive and view things, but is some way inclined _to_ them, or
is disinclined and averse _from_ them; or is the faculty by which the
soul does not behold things as an indifferent, unaffected spectator; but
either as liking or disliking, pleased or displeased, approving or
rejecting. This faculty, as it has respect to the actions that are
determined by it, is called the Will."

From his work on the Affections, I cite the following to the same
import:

"The Affections of the soul," he observes, "are not properly
distinguished from the Will, as though they were two faculties of the
soul. All acts of the Affections of the soul are, in some sense, acts of
the Will, and all acts of the Will are acts of the affections. All
exercises of the Will are, in some degree or other, exercises of the
soul's appetition or aversion; or which is the same thing, of its love
or hatred. The soul wills one thing rather than another, or chooses one
thing rather than another, no otherwise than as it loves one thing more
than another." "The Affections are only certain modes of the exercise of
the Will." "The Affections are no other than the more vigorous and
sensible exercises of the inclination and will of the soul."

Whether he has or has not subsequently confounded the fundamental
characteristics of the phenomena of the Will with those of the phenomena
of the Sensibility will be seen in the progress of the present treatise.



CHAPTER III.

LIBERTY AND NECESSITY.

WE come now to consider the great and fundamental characteristic of the
Will, that by which it is, in a special sense, distinguished from each
of the other mental faculties, to wit: that of Liberty.

SEC. I. TERMS DEFINED.

Our first inquiry respects the meaning of the term Liberty as
distinguished from that of Necessity. These terms do not differ, as
expressing genus and species; that is, Liberty does not designate a
species of which Necessity expresses the genus. On the other hand, they
differ by way of _opposition_. All correct definitions of terms thus
related, will possess these two characteristics. 1. They will mutually
exclude each other that is, what is affirmed of one, will, in reality,
be denied of the other. 2. They will be so defined as to be universal in
their application. The terms _right_ and _wrong_, for example, thus
differ from each other. In the light of all correct definitions of these
terms, it will be seen with perfect distinctness, 1st, that to affirm of
an action that it is right, is equivalent to an affirmation that it is
not wrong; and to affirm that it is wrong, is to affirm that it is not
right; 2d, that all moral actions, actual and conceivable, must be
either right or wrong. So of all other terms thus related.

The meaning of the terms Liberty and Necessity, as distinguished the one
from the other, may be designated by a reference to two relations
perfectly distinct and opposite, which may be supposed to exist between
an _antecedent_ and its _consequent_.

1. The antecedent being given, one, and only one, consequent can
possibly arise, and that consequent _must_ arise. This relation we
designate by the term Necessity. I place my finger, for example,
constituted as my physical system now is, in the flame of a burning
candle, and hold it there for a given time. The two substances in
contact is the antecedent. The feeling of intense pain which succeeds is
the consequent. Now such is universally believed to be the correlation
between the nature of these substances, that under the circumstances
supposed, but one consequent can possibly arise, and that consequent
must arise; to wit--the feeling of pain referred to. The relation
between such an antecedent and its consequent, therefore, we, in all
instances, designate by the term Necessity. When the relation of
Necessity is pre-supposed, in the presence of a new consequent, we affirm
absolutely that of a new antecedent.

2. The second relation is this. The antecedent being given, either of
two or more consequents is equally possible, and therefore, when one
consequent does arise, we affirm that either of the others might have
arisen in its stead. When this relation is pre-supposed, from the
appearance of a new consequent, we do not necessarily affirm the
presence of a new antecedent. This relation we designate by the term
Liberty.

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ABOVE DEFINITIONS.

On the above definitions I remark:

1. That they mutually exclude each other. To predicate Liberty of any
phenomenon is to affirm that it is not necessary. To predicate Necessity
of it, is equivalent to an affirmation that it is not free.

2. They are strictly and absolutely universal in their application. All
antecedents and consequents, whatever the nature of the subjects thus
connected may be, must fall under one or the other of these relations.
As the terms right and wrong, when correctly defined, will express the
nature of all moral actions, actual and conceivable, so the terms
Liberty and Necessity, as above defined, clearly indicate the nature of
the relation between all antecedents and consequents, real and
supposable. Take any antecedent and consequent we please, real or
conceivable, and we know absolutely, that they must sustain to each
other one or the other of these relations. Either in connection with
this antecedent, but this one consequent is possible, and this must
arise, or in connection with the same antecedent, either this, or one or
more different consequents are possible, and consequently equally so:
for possibility has, in reality, no degrees.

3. All the phenomena of the Will, sustaining, as they do, the relation
of _consequents_ to motives considered as antecedents, must fall under
one or the other of these relations. If we say, that the relation
between motives and acts of Will is that of _certainty_, still this
certainty must arise from a necessary relation between the antecedent
and its consequent, or it must be of such a nature as consists with the
relation of Liberty, in the sense of the term Liberty as above defined.

4. The above definitions have this great advantage in our present
investigations. They at once free the subject from the obscurity and
perplexity in which it is often involved by the definitions of
philosophers. They are accustomed, in many instances, to speak of moral
necessity and physical necessity, as if these are in reality different
kinds of necessity: whereas the terms moral and physical, in such
connections, express the nature of the _subjects_ sustaining to each
other the relations of antecedents and consequents, and not at all that
of the _relation_ existing between them. This is exclusively expressed
by the term Necessity--a term which designates a relation which is
always one and the same, whatever the nature of the subjects thus
related may be. An individual in a treatise on natural science, might,
if he should choose, in speaking of the relations of antecedents and
consequents among solid, fluid, and aeriform substances, use the words,
solid necessity, fluid necessity, and aeriform necessity. He might use
as many qualifying terms as there are different subjects sustaining to
each other the relation under consideration. In all such instances no
error will arise, if these qualifying terms are distinctly understood to
designate, not the nature of the _relation_ of antecedent and consequent
in any given case (as if there were as many different kinds of necessity
as there are qualifying terms used), but to designate the nature of the
_subjects_ sustaining this relation. If, on the other hand, the
impression should be made, that each of these qualifying terms
designates a necessity of a peculiar kind, and if, as a consequence, the
belief should be induced, that there are in reality so many different
kinds of necessity, errors of the gravest character would arise--errors
no more important, however, than actually do arise from the impression
often induced, that moral necessity differs in kind from physical
necessity.

5. I mention another very decisive advantage which the above definitions
have in our present investigations. In the light of the terms Liberty
and Necessity, as above defined, the two great schools in philosophy and
theology are obliged to join issue directly upon the real question in
difference between them, without the possibility on the part of either,
of escaping under a fog of definitions about moral necessity, physical
necessity, moral certainty, &c., and then claiming a victory over their
opponents. These terms, as above defined, stand out with perfect
clearness and distinctness to all reflecting minds. Every one must see,
that the phenomena of the Will cannot but fall under the one or the
other of the relations designated by these terms inasmuch as no third
relation differing in _kind_ from both of these, is conceivable. The
question therefore may be fairly put to every individual, without the
possibility of misapprehension or evasion--Do you believe, whenever a
man puts forth an act of Will, that in those circumstances, this one act
only is possible, and that this act cannot but arise? In all prohibited
acts, for example, do you believe that an individual, by the resistless
providence of God, is placed in circumstances in which this one act only
is possible, and this cannot but result, that in these identical
circumstances, another and a different act is required of him, and that
for not putting forth this last act, he is justly held as infinitely
guilty in the sight of God, and of the moral universe? To these
questions every one must give an affirmative or negative answer. If he
gives the former, he holds the doctrine of Necessity, and must take that
doctrine with all its consequences. If he gives the latter, he holds the
doctrine of Liberty in the sense of the term as above defined. He must
hold, that in the identical circumstances in which a given act of Will
is put forth, another and different act might have been put forth; and
that for this reason, in all prohibited acts, a moral agent is held
justly responsible for different and opposite acts. Much is gained to
the cause of truth, when, as in the present instance, the different
schools are obliged to join issue directly upon the real question in
difference between them, and that without the possibility of
misapprehension or evasion in respect to the nature of that question.

MOTIVE DEFINED.

Having settled the meaning of the terms Liberty and Necessity, as
designating two distinct and opposite relations, the only relations
conceivable between an antecedent and its consequent, one other term
which may not unfrequently be used in the following treatise, remains to
be defined; to wit--_motive_--a term which designates that which
sustains to the phenomena of the Will, the relation of antecedent.
Volition, choice, preference, intention, all the phenomena of the Will,
are considered as the consequent. Whatever within the mind itself may be
supposed to influence its determinations, whether called
susceptibilities, biases, or anything else; and all influences acting
upon it as incentives from without, are regarded as the antecedent. I
use the term motive as synonymous with antecedent as above defined. It
designates _all the circumstances and influences_ from within or without
the mind, which operate upon it to produce any given act of Will.

The term antecedent in the case before us, in strictness of speech, has
this difference of meaning from that of motive as above defined: The
former includes all that is designated by the latter, together with the
_Will_ itself. No difficulty or obscurity, however, will result from the
use of these terms as synonymous, in the sense explained.

SEC. II. LIBERTY, AS OPPOSED TO NECESSITY, THE CHARACTERISTIC OF THE
WILL.

We are now prepared to meet the question, To which of the relations
above defined shall we refer the phenomena of the Will? If these
phenomena are subject to the law of necessity, then, whenever a
particular antecedent (motive) is given, but one consequent (act of
Will) is possible, and that consequent must arise. It cannot possibly
but take place. If, on the other hand, these phenomena fall under the
relation of Liberty, whenever any particular motive is present, either
of two or more acts of Will is equally possible; and when any particular
consequent (act of Will) does arise, either of the other consequents
might have arisen in its stead.

Before proceeding directly to argue the question before us, one
consideration of a general nature demands a passing notice. It is this.
The simple statement of the question, in the light of the above
relations, settles it, and must settle it, in the judgment of all
candid, uncommitted inquirers after the truth. Let any individual
contemplate the action of his voluntary powers in the light of the
relations of Liberty and Necessity as above defined, and he will
spontaneously affirm the fact, that he is a free and not a necessary
agent, and affirm it as absolutely as he affirms his own existence.
Wherever he is, while he retains the consciousness of rational being,
this conviction will and must be to him an omnipresent reality. To
escape it, he must transcend the bounds of conscious existence.

OBJECTIONS TO THE DOCTRINE OF NECESSITY.

Such is the importance of the subject, however, that a more extended and
particular consideration of it is demanded. In the further prosecution
of the argument upon the subject, we will--

I. In the first place, contemplate the position, that the phenomena of
the Will are subject to the laws of Necessity. In taking this position
we are at once met with the following palpable and insuperable
difficulties.

1. The conviction above referred to--a conviction which remains proof
against all apparent demonstrations to the contrary. We may pile
demonstration upon demonstration in favor of the doctrine of Necessity,
still, as the mind falls back upon the spontaneous affirmations of its
own Intelligence, it finds, in the depths of its inner being, a higher
demonstration of the fact, that that doctrine is and must be false--that
man is not the agent which that doctrine affirms him to be. In the
passage already cited, and which I will take occasion here to repeat,
the writer has, with singular correctness, mapped out the unvarying
experience of the readers of Edwards on the Will. "Even the reader," he
says, "who is scarcely at all familiar with abstruse science, will, if
he follow our author attentively, be perpetually conscious of a vague
dissatisfaction, or latent suspicion, that some fallacy has passed into
the train of propositions, although the linking of syllogisms seems
perfect. This suspicion will increase in strength as he proceeds, and
will at length condense itself into the form of a protest against
certain conclusions, notwithstanding their apparently necessary
connection with the premises." What higher evidence can we have that
that treatise gives a false interpretation of the facts of universal
consciousness pertaining to the Will, than is here presented? Any theory
which gives a distinct and true explanation of the facts of
consciousness, will be met by the Intelligence with the response,
"That's true; I have found it." Any theory apparently supported by
adequate evidence, but which still gives a false interpretation of such
facts, will induce the internal conflict above described--a conflict
which, as the force of apparent demonstration increases, will, in the
very centre of the Intelligence, "condense itself into the form of a
protest against the conclusions presented, notwithstanding their
apparently necessary connection with the premises." The falsity of the
doctrine of Necessity is a first truth of the universal Intelligence.

2. If this doctrine is true, it is demonstrably evident, that in no
instance, real or supposable, have men any power whatever to will or to
act differently from what they do. The connection between the
determinations of the Will, and their consequents, external and
internal, is absolutely necessary. Constituted as I now am, if I will,
for example, a particular motion of my hand or arm, no other movement,
in these circumstances, was possible, and this movement could not but
take place. The same holds true of all consequents, external and
internal, of all acts of Will. Let us now suppose that these acts
themselves are the necessary consequents of the circumstances in which
they originate. In what conceivable sense have men, in the circumstances
in which Providence places them, power either to will or to act
differently from what they do? The doctrine of ability to will or to do
differently from what we do is, in every sense, false, if the doctrine
of Necessity is true. Men, when they transgress the moral law, always
sin, without the possibility of doing right. From this position the
Necessitarian cannot escape.

3. On this theory, God only is responsible for all human volitions
together with their effects. The relation between all antecedents and
their consequents was established by him. If that relation be in all
instances a necessary one, his Will surely is the sole responsible
antecedent of all consequents.

4. The idea of obligation, of merit and demerit, and of the consequent
propriety of reward and punishment, are chimeras. To conceive of a being
deserving praise or blame, for volitions or actions which occurred under
circumstances in which none others were possible, and in which these
could not possibly but happen, is an absolute impossibility. To conceive
him under obligation to have given existence, under such circumstances,
to different consequents, is equally impossible. It is to suppose an
agent under obligation to perform that to which Omnipotence is
inadequate. For Omnipotence cannot perform impossibilities. It cannot
reverse the law of Necessity. Let any individual conceive of creatures
placed by Divine Providence in circumstances in which but one act, or
series of acts of Will, can arise, and these cannot but arise--let him,
then, attempt to conceive of these creatures as under obligation, in
these same circumstances, to give existence to different and opposite
acts, and as deserving of punishment for not doing so. He will find it
as impossible to pass such a judgment as to conceive of the annihilation
of space, or of an event without a cause. To conceive of necessity and
obligation as fundamental elements of the same act, is an absolute
impossibility. The human Intelligence is incapable of affirming such
contradictions.

5. As an additional consideration, to show the absolute incompatibility
of the idea of moral obligation with the doctrine of Necessity, permit
me to direct the attention of the reader to this striking fact. While no
man, holding the doctrine of Liberty as above defined, was ever known to
deny moral obligation, such denial has, without exception, in every age
and nation, been avowedly based upon the assumption of the truth of the
doctrine of Necessity. In every age and nation, in every solitary mind
in which the idea of obligation has been denied, this doctrine has been
the great maelstrom in which this idea has been swallowed up and lost.
How can the Necessitarian account for such facts in consistency with his
theory?

6. The commands of God addressed to men as sinners and requiring them in
all cases of transgression of the moral law, to choose and to act
differently from what they do, are, if this doctrine is true, the
perfection of tyranny. In all such cases men are required--

(1.) To perform absolute impossibilities; to reverse the law of
necessity.

(2.) To do that to which Omnipotence is inadequate. For Omnipotence, as
we have seen, cannot reverse the law of necessity. Not only so, but--

(3.) Men in all such instances are required, as a matter of fact, to
resist and overcome Omnipotence. To require us to reverse the relation
established by Omnipotence, between antecedents and consequents, is
certainly to require us to resist and overcome Omnipotence, and that in
the absence of all power, even to attempt the accomplishment of that
which we are required to accomplish.

7. If this doctrine is true, at the final Judgment the conscience and
intelligence of the universe will and must be on the side of the
condemned. Suppose that when the conduct of the wicked shall be revealed
at that Day, another fact shall stand out with equal conspicuousness, to
wit, that God himself had placed these beings where but one course of
conduct was possible to them, and that course they could not but pursue,
to wit, the course which they did pursue, and that for having pursued
this course, the only one possible, they are now to be "punished with
everlasting destruction from the presence of God and the glory of his
power," must not the intelligence of the universe pronounce such a
sentence unjust? All this must be true, or the doctrine of Necessity is
false. Who can believe, that the pillars of God's eternal government
rest upon such a doctrine?

8. On this supposition, probation is an infinite absurdity. We might
with the same propriety represent the specimens in the laboratory of the
chemist, as on probation, as men, if their actions are the necessary
result of the circumstances in which Omnipotence has placed them. What
must intelligent beings think of probation for a state of eternal
retribution, probation based on such a principle?

9. The doctrine of Necessity is, in all essential particulars, identical
with _Fatalism_ in its worst form. All that Fatalism ever has
maintained, or now maintains, is, that men, by a power which they cannot
control nor resist, are placed in circumstances in which they cannot but
pursue the course of conduct which they actually are pursuing. This
doctrine has never affirmed, that, in the Necessitarian sense, men
cannot "do as they please." All that it maintains is, that they cannot
but please to do as they do. Thus this doctrine differs not one "jot or
tittle," from Necessity. No man can show the want of perfect identity
between them. Fatalists and Necessitarians may differ in regard to the
origin of this Necessity. In regard to its nature, the only thing
material, as far as present inquiries are concerned, they do not differ
at all.

10. In maintaining the Necessity of all acts of the Will of _man_, we
must maintain, that the Will of _God_ is subject to the same law. This
is universally admitted by Necessitarians themselves. Now in maintaining
the necessity of all acts of the Divine Will, the following conclusions
force themselves upon us:

(1.) MOTIVES which necessitate the determinations of the Divine Will,
are the sole originating and efficient causes in existence. God is not
the first cause of anything.

(2.) To motives, which of course exist independently of the Divine Will,
we must ascribe the origin of all created existences. The glory of
originating "all things visible and invisible," belongs not to Him, but
to motives.

(3.) In all cases in which creatures are required to act differently
from what they do, as in all acts of sin, they are in reality required
not only to resist and overcome the omnipotent determinations of the
Divine Will, but also the _motives_ by which the action of God's Will is
necessitated. We ask Necessitarians to look these consequences in the
face, and then say, whether they are prepared to deny, or to meet them.

11. Finally, if the doctrine under consideration is true, in all
instances of the transgression of the moral law, men are, in reality,
required to produce an event which, when it does exist, shall exist
without a cause. In circumstances where but one event is possible, and
that cannot but arise, if a different event should arise, it would
undeniably be an event without a cause. To require such an event under
such circumstances, is to require an event without a cause, the most
palpable contradiction conceivable. Now just such a requirement as this
is laid upon men, in all cases of disobedience of the moral law, if the
doctrine of Necessity is true. In all such cases, according to this
doctrine men are placed in circumstances in which but one act is
possible, and that must arise, to wit: the act of disobedience which is
put forth. If, in these circumstances, an act of obedience should be put
forth, it would be an event without a cause, and in opposition also to
the action of a necessary cause. In these identical circumstances, the
act of obedience is required, that is, an act is required of creatures,
which, if it should be put forth, would be an event without a cause. Has
a God of truth and justice ever laid upon men such a requisition as
that? How, I ask, can the doctrine of Necessity be extricated from such
a difficulty?

DOCTRINE OF LIBERTY--DIRECT ARGUMENT.

II. We will now, as a second general argument, consider the position,
that the Will is subject in its determinations to the relation of
Liberty, in opposition to that of Necessity. Here I would remark, that
as the phenomena of the Will must fall under one or the other of these
relations, and as it has been shown, that they cannot fall under that of
Necessity, but one supposition remains. They must fall under that of
Liberty, as opposed to Necessity. The intrinsic absurdity of supposing
that a being, all of whose actions are necessary, is still accountable
for such actions, is sufficient to overthrow the doctrine of Necessity
for ever. A few additional considerations are deemed requisite, in order
to present the evidence in favor of the Liberty of the Will.

1. The first that I present is this. As soon as the doctrine of Liberty,
as above defined, is distinctly apprehended, it is spontaneously
recognized by every mind, as the true, and only true exposition of the
facts of its own consciousness pertaining to the phenomena of the Will.
This doctrine is simply an announcement of the spontaneous affirmations
of the universal Intelligence. This is the highest possible evidence of
the truth of the doctrine.

2. The universal conviction of mankind, that their former course of
conduct might have been different from what it was. I will venture to
affirm, that there is not a person on earth, who has not this conviction
resting upon his mind in respect to his own past life. It is important
to analyze this conviction, in order to mark distinctly its bearing upon
our present inquiries. This conviction is not the belief, that if our
circumstances had been different, we might have acted differently from
what we did. A man, for example, says to himself--"At such a time, and
in such circumstances, I determined upon a particular course of conduct.
I might have determined upon a different and opposite course. Why did I
not?" These affirmations are not based upon the conviction, that, in
different circumstances, we might have done differently. In all such
affirmations we take into account nothing but the particular
circumstances in which our determinations were formed. It is in view of
these circumstances exclusively, that we affirm that our determinations
might have been different from what they were. Let the appeal be made to
any individual whatever, whose mind is not at the time under the
influence of any particular theory of the Will. You say, that at such a
time, and under such circumstances, you determined upon a particular
course, that you might then have resolved upon a different and opposite
course, and that you blame yourself for not having done so. Is not this
your real meaning? "If my circumstances had been different, I might have
resolved upon a different course." No, he would reply. That is not my
meaning. I was not thinking at all of a change of circumstances, when I
made this affirmation. What I mean is, that in the circumstances in
which I was, I might have done differently from what I did. This is the
reason why I blame myself for not having done so. The same conviction,
to wit: that without any change of circumstances our past course of life
might have been different from what it was, rests upon every mind on
earth in which the remembrance of the past dwells. Now this universal
conviction is totally false, if the doctrine of Necessity is true. The
doctrine of the Liberty of the Will must be true, or the universal
Intelligence is a perpetual falsehood.

3. In favor of the doctrine of Liberty, I next appeal to the direct,
deliberate, and universal testimony of consciousness. This testimony is
given in three ways.

(1.) In the general conviction above referred to, that without any
change of circumstances, our course of conduct might have been the
opposite of what it was. Nothing but a universal consciousness of the
Liberty of the Will, can account for this conviction.

(2.) Whenever any object of choice is submitted to the mind,
consciousness affirms, directly and positively, that, under these
identical circumstances, either of two or more acts of Will is equally
possible. Every man in such circumstances is as conscious of such power
as he is of his own existence. In confirmation of these affirmations,
let any one make the appeal to his own consciousness, when about to put
forth any act of Will. He will be just as conscious that either of two
or more different determinations is, in the same circumstances, equally
possible, as he is of any mental state whatever.

(3.) In reference to all deliberate determinations of Will in time past,
the remembrance of them is attended with a consciousness the most
positive, that, in the same identical circumstances, determinations
precisely opposite might have been originated. Let any one recall any
such determination, and the consciousness of a power to have determined
differently will be just as distinctly recalled as the act itself. He
cannot be more sure that he acted at all, than he will be, that he might
have acted [determined] differently. All these affirmations of
consciousness are false, if the doctrine of Liberty is not true.

4. A fundamental distinction which all mankind make between the
phenomena of the Will, and those of the other faculties, the Sensibility
for example, is a full confirmation of the doctrine of Liberty, as a
truth of universal consciousness. A man is taken out of a burning
furnace, with his physical system greatly injured by the fire. As a
consequence, he subsequently experiences much suffering and
inconvenience. For the injury done him by the fire, and for the pain
subsequently experienced, he never blames or reproaches himself. With
self-reproach he never says, Why, instead of being thus injured, did I
not come out of the furnace as the three worthies did from that of
Nebuchadnezzar? Why do I not now experience pleasure instead of pain, as
a consequence of that injury? Suppose, now, that his fall into the
furnace was the result of a determination formed for the purpose of
self-murder. For that determination, and for not having, in the same
circumstances, determined differently, he will ever after reproach
himself, as most guilty in the sight of God and man. How shall we
account for the absence of self-reproach in the former instance, and for
its presence in the latter? If the appeal should be made to the subject,
his answer would be ready. In respect to the injury and pain, in the
circumstances supposed, they could not but be experienced. Such
phenomena, therefore, can never be the occasion of self-reproach. In the
condition in which the determination referred to was formed, a different
and opposite resolution might have been originated. That particular
determination, therefore, is the occasion of self-reproach. How shall we
account for this distinction, which all mankind agree in making, between
the phenomena of the Sensibility on the one hand, and of the Will on the
other? But one supposition accounts for this fact, the universal
consciousness, that the former are necessary, and the latter free that
in the circumstances of their occurrence the former may not, and the
latter may, be different from what they are.

5. On any other theory than that of Liberty, the words, obligation,
merit and demerit, &c., are words without meaning. A man is, we will
suppose, by Divine Providence, placed in circumstances in which he
cannot possibly but pursue one given course, or, which is the same
thing, put forth given determinations. When it is said that, in these
identical circumstances, he ought to pursue a different and opposite
course, or to put forth different and opposite determinations, what
conceivable meaning can we attach to the word _ought_, here? There is
nothing, in the circumstances supposed, which the word, _ought_, or
obligation, can represent. If we predicate merit or demerit of an
individual thus circumstanced, we use words equally without meaning.
Obligation and moral desert, in such a case, rest upon "airy nothing,"
without a "local habitation or a name."

On the other hand, if we suppose that the right and the wrong are at all
times equally possible to an individual; that when he chooses the one,
he might, in the same identical circumstances, choose the other;
infinite meaning attaches to the words, ought, obligation, merit and
demerit, when it is said that an individual thus circumstanced ought to
do the right and avoid the wrong, and that he merits reward or
punishment, when he does the one, or does not do the other. The ideas of
obligation, merit and demerit, reward and punishment, and probation with
reference to a state of moral retribution, are all chimeras, on any
other supposition than that of the Liberty of the Will. With this
doctrine, they all perfectly harmonize.

6. All moral government, all laws, human and Divine, have their basis in
the doctrine of Liberty; and are the perfection of tyranny, on any other
supposition. To place creatures in circumstances which necessitate a
given course of conduct, and render every other course impossible, and
then to require of them, under the heaviest sanctions, a different and
opposite course--what can be tyranny if this is not?

OBJECTION IN BAR OF AN APPEAL TO CONSCIOUSNESS.

An objection which is brought by Necessitarians, in perpetual bar of an
appeal to consciousness, to determine the fact whether the phenomena of
the Will fall under the relation of Liberty or Necessity, here demands
special attention. Consciousness, it is said, simply affirms, that, in
given circumstances, we do, in fact, put forth certain acts of Will. But
whether we can or cannot, in these circumstances, put forth other and
opposite determinations, it does not and cannot make any affirmation at
all. It does not, therefore, fall within the province of Consciousness
to determine whether the phenomena of the Will are subject to the
relation of Liberty or Necessity; and it is unphilosophical to appeal to
that faculty to decide such a question. This objection, if valid,
renders null and void much of what has been said upon this subject; and
as it constitutes a stronghold of the Necessitarian, it becomes us to
examine it with great care. In reply, I remark,

1. That if this objection holds in respect to the phenomena of the Will,
it must hold equally in respect of those of the other faculties the
Intelligence, for example. We will, therefore, bring the objection to a
test, by applying it to certain intellectual phenomena. We will take, as
an example, the universal and necessary affirmation, that "it is
impossible for the same thing, at the same time, to be and not to be."
Every one is conscious, in certain circumstances, of making this and
other kindred affirmations. Now, if the objection under consideration is
valid, all that we should be conscious of is the fact, that, under the
circumstances supposed, we do, in reality, make particular affirmations;
while, in reference to the question, whether, in the same circumstances,
we can or cannot make different and opposite affirmations, we should
have no consciousness at all. Now, I appeal to every man, whether, when
he is conscious of making the affirmation, that it is impossible for the
same thing, at the same time, to be and not to be, he is not equally
conscious of the fact, that it is impossible for him to make the
opposite affirmation whether, when he affirms that three and two make
five, he is not conscious that it is impossible for him to affirm that
three and two are six? In other words, when we are conscious of making
certain intellectual affirmations, are we not equally conscious of an
impossibility of making different and opposite affirmations? Every man
is just as conscious of the fact, that the phenomena of his Intelligence
fall under the relation of Necessity, as he is of making any
affirmations at all. If this is not so, we cannot know but that it is
possible for us to affirm and believe perceived contradictions. All that
we could say is, that, as a matter of fact, we do not do it. But whether
we can or cannot do it, we can never know. Do we not know, however, as
absolutely as we know anything, that we _cannot_ affirm perceived
contradictions? In other words, we do and can know absolutely, that our
Intelligence is subject to the law of Necessity. We do know by
consciousness, with absolute certainty, that the phenomena of the
Intelligence, and I may add, of the Sensibility too, do fall under the
relation of Necessity. Why may we not know, with equal certainty,
whether the phenomena of the Will do or do not fall under the relation
of Liberty? What then becomes of the objection under consideration?

2. But while we are conscious of the fact, that the Intellect is under
the law of Necessity, we are equally conscious that Will is under that
of Liberty. We make intellectual affirmations; such, for example, as the
propositions, Things equal to the same things are equal to one another,
There can be no event without a cause, &c., with a consciousness of an
utter impossibility of making different and opposite affirmations. We
put forth acts of Will with a consciousness equally distinct and
absolute, of a possibility, in the same circumstances, of putting forth
different and opposite determinations. Even Necessitarians admit and
affirm the validity of the testimony of consciousness in the former
instance. Why should we doubt or deny it in the latter?

3. The question, whether Consciousness can or cannot give us not only
mental phenomena, but also the fundamental characteristics of such
phenomena, cannot be determined by any pre-formed theory, in respect to
what Consciousness can or cannot affirm. If we wish to know to what a
witness is able to testify, we must not first determine what he can or
cannot say, and then refuse to hear anything from him, except in
conformity to such decisions. We must first give him a full and
attentive hearing, and then judge of his capabilities. So in respect to
Consciousness. If we wish to know what it does or does not, what it can
or cannot affirm, we must let it give its full testimony, untrammelled
by any pre-formed theories. Now, when the appeal is thus made, we find,
that, in the circumstances in which we do originate given
determinations, it affirms distinctly and absolutely, that, in the same
identical circumstances, we might originate different and opposite
determinations. From what Consciousness does affirm, we ought surely to
determine the sphere of its legitimate affirmations.

4. The universal solicitude of Necessitarians to take the question under
consideration from the bar of Consciousness is, in fact, a most decisive
acknowledgment, on their part, that at that tribunal the cause will go
against them. Let us suppose that all men were as conscious that their
Will is subject to the law of Necessity, as they are that their
Intelligence is. Can we conceive that Necessitarians would not be as
solicitous to carry the question directly to the tribunal of
Consciousness, as they now are to take it from that tribunal? When all
men are as conscious that their Will is under the law of Liberty, as
they are that their other faculties are under the relation of Necessity,
no wonder that Necessitarians anticipate the ruin of their cause, when
the question is to be submitted to the bar of Consciousness. No wonder
that they so solemnly protest against an appeal to that tribunal. Let
the reader remember, however, that the moment the validity of the
affirmations of Consciousness is denied, in respect to any question in
mental science, it becomes infinite folly in us to reason at all on the
subject; a folly just as great as it would be for a natural philosopher
to reason about colors, after denying the validity of all affirmations
of the eye, in respect to the phenomena about which he is to reason.

DOCTRINE OF LIBERTY ARGUED FROM THE EXISTENCE OF THE IDEA OF LIBERTY IN
ALL MINDS.

III. I will present a third general argument in favor of the doctrine of
Liberty; an argument, which, to my mind, is perfectly conclusive, but
which differs somewhat from either of the forms of argumentation above
presented. I argue the Liberty of the Will _from the existence of the
idea of Liberty in the human mind, in the form in which it is there
found_.

If the Will is not free, the idea of Liberty is wholly inapplicable to
any phenomenon in existence whatever. Yet this idea is in the mind. The
action of the Will in conformity to it is just as conceivable as its
action in conformity to the idea of Necessity. It remains with the
Necessitarian to account for the existence of this idea in the human
mind, in consistency with his own theory. Here the following
considerations present themselves demanding special attention.

1. The idea of Liberty, like that of Necessity, is a _simple_, and not a
_complex_ idea. This all will admit.

2. It could not have come into the mind from observation or reflection
because all phenomena, external and internal, all the objects of
observation and reflection, are, according to the doctrine of Necessity,
not free, but necessary.

3. It could not have originated, as _necessary_ ideas do, as the logical
antecedents of the truths given by observation and reflection. For
example, the idea of space, time, substance, and cause, are given in the
Intelligence, as the logical antecedents of the ideas of body,
succession, phenomena, and events, all of which are truths derived from
observation or reflection. Now the idea of Liberty, if the doctrine of
Necessity is true, cannot have arisen in this way because all the
objects of observation and reflection are, according to this doctrine,
necessary, and therefore their logical antecedents must be. How shall we
account, in consistency with this theory, for the existence of this idea
in the mind? It came not from perception external, nor internal, nor as
the logical antecedent or consequent of any truth thus perceived. Now if
we admit the doctrine of Liberty as a truth of universal consciousness,
we can give a philosophical account of the existence of the idea of
Liberty in all minds. If we deny this doctrine, and consequently affirm
that of Necessity, we may safely challenge any theologian or philosopher
to give such an account of the existence of that idea in the mind. For
all ideas, in the mind, do and must come from observation or reflection,
or as the logical antecedents or consequents of ideas thus obtained. We
have here an event without a cause, if the doctrine of Necessity is
true.

4. All _simple_ ideas, with the exception of that of Liberty, have
realities within or around us, corresponding to them. If the doctrine of
Necessity is true, we have one solitary idea of this character, that of
Liberty, to which no reality corresponds. Whence this solitary intruder
in the human mind?

The existence of this idea in the mind is proof demonstrative, that a
reality corresponding to it does and must exist, and as this reality is
found nowhere but in the Will, there it must be found. Almost all
Necessitarians are, in philosophy, the disciples of Locke. With him,
they maintain, that all ideas in the mind come from observation and
reflection. Yet they maintain that there is in the mind one idea, that
of Liberty, which never could thus have originated; because, according
to their theory, no objects corresponding do or can exist, either as
realities, or as the objects of observation or reflection. We have again
an event without a cause, if the doctrine of Liberty is not true.

5. The relation of the ideas of Liberty and Necessity to those of
obligation, merit and demerit, &c., next demand our attention. If the
doctrine of Necessity is true, the idea of Liberty is, as we have seen,
a chimera. With it the idea of obligation can have no connection or
alliance; but must rest exclusively upon that of Necessity. Now, how
happens it, that no man holding the doctrine of Liberty was ever known
to deny that of obligation, or of merit and demerit? How happens it,
that the validity of neither of these ideas has ever, in any age or
nation, been denied, except on the avowed authority of the doctrine of
Necessity? Sceptics of the class who deny moral obligation, are
universally avowed Necessitarians. We may safely challenge the world to
produce a single exception to this statement. We may challenge the world
to produce an individual in ancient or modern times who holds the
doctrine of Liberty, and denies moral obligation, or an individual who
denies moral obligation on any other ground than that of Necessity. Now,
how can this fact be accounted for, that the ideas of obligation, merit
and demerit, &c., universally attach themselves to a chimera, the idea
of Liberty, and stand in such irreconcilable hostility to the only idea
by which, as Necessitarians will have it, their validity is affirmed?

6. Finally, If the doctrine of Necessity is true, the phenomena of the
Intelligence, Sensibility, and the Will, are given in Consciousness as
alike necessary. The idea of Liberty, then, if it does exist in the
mind, would not be likely to attach itself to either of these classes of
phenomena; and if to either, it would be just as likely to attach itself
to one class as to another. Now, how shall we account for the fact, that
this idea always attaches itself to one of these classes of phenomena,
those of the Will, and never to either of the others? How is it that all
men agree in holding, that, in the circumstances of their occurrence,
the phenomena of the Intelligence and Sensibility cannot but be what
they are, while those of the Will may be otherwise than they are? Why,
if this chimera, the idea of Liberty, attaches itself to either of these
classes, does it not sometimes attach itself to the phenomena of the
Intelligence or Sensibility, as well as to those of the Will? Here, once
again, we have an event without a cause, a distinction without a
difference, if the doctrine of Necessity is true. The facts before us
can be accounted for only on the supposition, that the phenomena of the
Intelligence and Sensibility are given in Consciousness as necessary,
while those of the Will are given as free.

THE DOCTRINE OF LIBERTY, THE DOCTRINE OF THE BIBLE.

IV. We will now, in the fourth place, raise the inquiry, an inquiry very
appropriate in its place, and having an important bearing upon our
present investigations, whether the doctrine of the Will, above
established, is the doctrine pre-supposed in the Bible? The following
considerations will enable us to give a decisive answer to this inquiry.

1. If the doctrine of the Will here maintained is not, and consequently
that of Necessity is, the doctrine pre-supposed in the Scriptures, then
we have two revelations from God, the external and internal, in palpable
contradiction to each other. As the _works_ of God (see Rom. 1: 19, 20)
are as real a revelation from him as the Bible, so are the necessary
affirmations of our Intelligence. Now, in our inner being, in the depths
of our Intelligence, the fact is perpetually revealed and affirmed--a
fact which we cannot disbelieve, if we would--that we are not
_necessary_ but _free_ agents. Suppose that, in the external revelation,
the Scriptures, the fact is revealed and affirmed that we are _not free_
but _necessary_ agents. Has not God himself affirmed in one revelation
what he has denied in another? Of what use can the internal revelation
be, but to render us necessarily sceptical in respect to the external?
Has the Most High given two such revelations as this?

2. In the Scriptures, man is presented as the subject, and, of course,
as possessing those powers which render him the proper subject of
command and prohibition, of obligation, of merit and demerit, and
consequently of reward and punishment. Let us suppose that God has
imparted to a being a certain constitution, and then placed him in a
condition in which, in consequence of the necessary correlation between
his constitution and circumstances, but one series of determinations are
possible to him, and that series cannot but result. Can we conceive it
proper in the Most High to prohibit that creature from pursuing the
course which God himself has rendered it impossible for him not to
pursue, and require him, under the heaviest sanctions, to pursue, under
these identical circumstances, a different and opposite course--a course
which the Creator has rendered it impossible for him to pursue? Is this
the philosophy pre-supposed in the Bible? Does the Bible imply a system
of mental philosophy which renders the terms, obligation, merit and
demerit, void of all conceivable meaning, and which lays no other
foundation for moral retributions but injustice and tyranny?

3. Let us now contemplate the doings of the Great Day revealed in the
Scriptures, in the light of these two opposite theories. Let us suppose
that, as the righteous and the wicked stand in distinct and separate
masses before the Eternal One, the Most High says to the one class,
"You, I myself placed in circumstances in which nothing but obedience
was possible, and that you could not but render; and you, I placed in a
condition in which nothing but disobedience was possible to you, and
that you could not but perpetrate. In consequence of these distinct and
opposite courses, each of which I myself rendered unavoidable, _you_
deserve and shall receive my eternal smiles; and _you_ as richly deserve
and shall therefore endure my eternal frowns." What would be the
response of an assembled universe to a division based upon such a
principle? Is this the principle on which the decisions of that Day are
based? It must be so, if the doctrine of Liberty is not, and that of
Necessity is, the doctrine of the Bible?

4. We will now contemplate another class of passages which have a
bearing equally decisive upon our present inquiries. I refer to that
class in which God expresses the deepest regret at the course which
transgressors have pursued, and are still pursuing, and the most
decisive unwillingness that they should pursue that course and perish.
He takes a solemn oath, that he is not willing that they should take the
course of disobedience and death, but that they should pursue a
different and opposite course. God expresses no regret that they are in
the _circumstances_ in which they are, but that in those circumstances
they should take the path of disobedience, and not that of obedience.
Now, can we suppose, what must be true, if the doctrine of Necessity is
the doctrine pre-supposed in the Bible, that God places his creatures in
circumstances in which obedience is to them an impossibility, and in
which they cannot but disobey, and then takes a solemn oath that he is
not willing that they should disobey and perish, "but that they should
turn from their evil way and live?" What is the meaning of the
exclamation, "O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandment," if God
himself had so conditioned the sinner as to render obedience an
impossibility to him? Is this the philosophy of the Will pre-supposed in
the Bible? On the other hand, how perfectly in place are all the
passages under consideration, on the supposition that the doctrine of
Liberty is the doctrine therein pre-supposed, and that consequently the
obedience which God affirms Himself desirous that sinners should render,
and his regret that they do not render, is always possible to them! One
of the seven pillars of the Gospel is this very doctrine. Take it from
the Bible, and we have "another Gospel."

5. One other class of passages claims special attention here. In the
Scriptures, the Most High expresses the greatest _astonishment_ that men
should sin under the influences to which he has subjected them. He calls
upon heaven and earth to unite with him in astonishment at the conduct
of men under those influences. "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth,"
he exclaims, "for the Lord hath spoken; I have nourished and brought up
children, and they have rebelled against me." Now, let us suppose, as
the doctrine of Necessity affirms, that God has placed sinners under
influences under which they cannot but sin. What must we think of his
conduct in calling upon the universe to unite with him in astonishment,
that under these influences they should sin--that is, take the only
course possible to them, the course which they cannot but take? With the
same propriety, he might place a mass of water on an inclined plane, and
then call upon heaven and earth to unite with him in astonishment at the
downward flow of the fluid. Is this the philosophy pre-supposed in the
Bible?

SEC. 3. VIEWS OF NECESSITARIANS.

We are now prepared for a consideration of certain miscellaneous
questions which have an important bearing upon our present inquiries.

NECESSITY AS HELD BY NECESSITARIANS.

I. The first inquiry that presents itself is this: Do Necessitarians
hold the doctrine of Necessity as defined in this chapter? Do they
really hold, in respect to every act of will, that, in the circumstances
of its occurrence, that one act only is possible, and that cannot but
arise? Is this, for example, the doctrine of Edwards? Is it the doctrine
really held by those who professedly agree with him? I argue that it is:

1. Because they unanimously repudiate the doctrine of Liberty as here
defined. They must, therefore, hold that of Necessity; inasmuch as no
third relation is even conceivable or possible. If they deny that the
phenomena of the Will fall under either of these relations, and still
call themselves Necessitarians, they most hold to an inconceivable
something, which themselves even do not understand and cannot define,
and which has and can have no real existence.

2. Edwards has confounded the phenomena of the Will with those of the
Sensibility which are necessary in the sense here defined. He must,
therefore, hold that the characteristics of the latter class belong to
those of the former.

3. Edwards represents the relation between motives and acts of Will, as
being the same in _kind_ as that which exists between _causes_ and
_effects_ among external material substances. The former relation he
designates by the words _moral necessity_; the latter, by that of
natural, or _philosophical_, or _physical necessity_. Yet he says
himself, that the difference expressed by these words "does not lie so
much in the nature of the _connection_ as in the two terms _connected_."
The qualifying terms used, then, designate merely the nature of the
antecedents and consequents, while the nature of the connection between
them is, in all instances, the same, that of naked necessity.

4. Edwards himself represents moral necessity as just as absolute as
physical, or natural necessity. "Moral necessity may be," he says, "as
absolute as natural necessity. That is, the effect may be as perfectly
connected with its moral cause as a natural necessary effect is with its
natural cause."

5. Necessitarians represent the relation between motives and acts of
Will as that of _cause_ and _effect_; and for this reason necessary.
"If," says Edwards, "every act of Will is excited by some motive, then
that motive is the _cause_ of that act of Will." "And if volitions are
properly the effects of their motives, then they are _necessarily_
connected with their motives." Now as the relation of cause and effect
is necessary, in the sense of the term Necessity as above defined,
Edwards must hold, and design to teach, that all acts of Will are
necessary in this sense.

6. Necessitarians represent the connection between motives and acts of
Will as being, in all instances, the same in kind as that which exists
between volitions and external actions. "As external actions," says
President Day, "are directed by the Will, so the Will itself is directed
by influence." Now all admit, that the connection between volitions and
external actions is necessary in this sense, that when we will such
action it cannot but take place. No other act is, in the circumstances,
possible. In the same sense, according to Necessitarians, is every act
of Will necessarily connected with influence, or motives. We do
Necessitarians no wrong, therefore, when we impute to them the doctrine
of Necessity as here defined. In all cases of sin, they hold, that an
individual is in circumstances in which none but sinful acts of Will are
possible, and these he cannot but put forth; and that in these identical
circumstances the sinner is under obligation infinite to put forth
different and opposite acts.

THE TERM, CERTAINTY, AS USED BY NECESSITARIANS.

II. We are prepared for another important inquiry, to wit: whether the
words, _certainty_, _moral certainty_, &c., as used by Necessitarians,
are identical in their meaning with that of Necessity as above defined?
The doctrine of Necessity would never be received by the public at all,
but for the language in which it is clothed, language which prevents the
public seeing it as it is. At one time it is called Moral, in
distinction from Natural Necessity. At another, it is said to be nothing
but Certainty, or moral Certainty, &c. Now the question arises, what is
this Certainty? Is it or is it not, real Necessity, and nothing else?
That it is, I argue,

1. From the fact, as shown above, that there can possibly be no
Certainty, which does not fall either under the relation of Liberty or
Necessity as above defined. The Certainty of Necessitarians does not,
according to their own showing, fall under the former relation: it must,
therefore, fall under the latter. It must be naked Necessity, and
nothing else.

2. While they have defined the term Necessity, and have not that of
Certainty, they use the latter term as avowedly synonymous with the
former. The latter, therefore, must be explained by the former, and not
the former by the latter.

3. The Certainty which they hold is a certainty which avowedly excludes
the possibility of different and opposite acts of Will under the
influences, or motives, under which particular acts are put forth. The
Certainty under consideration, therefore, is not necessity of a
particular kind, a necessity consistent with liberty and moral
obligation. It is the Necessity above defined, in all its naked
deformity.

III. We are now prepared for a distinct statement of the doctrine of
Ability, according to the Necessitarian scheme. Even the Necessitarians,
with very few exceptions, admit, that in the absence of all power to do
right or wrong, we can be under no obligation to do the one or avoid the
other. "A man," says Pres. Day, "is not responsible for remaining in his
place if he has no power to move. He is not culpable for omitting to
walk, if he has no strength to walk. He is not under obligation to do
anything for which he has not what Edwards calls _natural_ power." It is
very important for us to understand the _nature_ of this ability, which
lies at the foundation of moral obligation; to understand, I repeat,
what this Ability is, according to the theory under consideration. This
Ability, according to the doctrine of Liberty, has been well stated by
Cousin, to wit: "The moment we take the resolution to do an action, we
take it with a consciousness of being able to take a contrary
resolution;" and by Dr. Dwight, who says of a man's sin, that it is
"chosen by him unnecessarily, _while possessed of a power to choose
otherwise_." The nature of this Ability, according to the Necessitarian
scheme, has been stated with equal distinctness in the Christian
Spectator. "If we take this term [Ability or Power] in the absolute
sense, as including _all_ the antecedents to a given volition, there is
plainly no such thing as power to the contrary; for in this sense of the
term," as President Day states, "a man never has power to do anything but
what he actually performs." "In this comprehensive, though rather
unusual sense of the word," says President Day, "a man has not power to
do anything which he does not do." The meaning of the above extracts
cannot be mistaken. Nor can any one deny that they contain a true
exposition of the doctrine of Necessity, to wit: that under the
influences under which men do will, and consequently act, it is
absolutely impossible for them to will and act differently from what
they do. In what sense, then, have they power to will and act
differently according to this doctrine? To this question President Day
has given a correct and definite answer. "The man who wills in a
particular way, under the influence of particular feelings, might will
differently under a different influence."

Now, what is the doctrine of Ability, according to this scheme? A man,
for example, commits an act of sin. He ought, in the stead of that act,
to have put forth an act of obedience. Without the power to render this
obedience, as President Day admits, there can be no obligation to do it.
When the Necessitarian says, that the creature, when he sins, has power
to obey, he means, not that under the influence under which the act of
sin is committed, the creature has power to obey; but that _under a
different influence he might obey_. But mark, it is under the identical
influence under which a man does sin, and under which, according to the
doctrine of Necessity, he cannot but sin, that he is required not to
sin. Now how can a man's ability, and obligation not to sin under a
given influence, grow out of the fact, that, under a different
influence, an influence under which he cannot but do right, he might not
sin? This is all the ability and ground of obligation as far as Ability,
Natural Ability as it is called, is concerned, which the doctrine of
Necessity admits. A man is, by a power absolutely irresistible, placed
in circumstances in which he cannot possibly but sin. In these
circumstances, it is said, that he has _natural ability_ not to sin, and
consequently ought not to do it. Why? Because, to his acting
differently, no change in his nature or powers is required. These are
"perfect and entire, wanting nothing." All that is required is, that his
_circumstances_ be changed, and then he might not sin. "In what sense,"
asks President Day, "is it true, that a man has power to will the
contrary of what he actually wills? He has such power that, with a
_sufficient inducement_, he will make an opposite choice." Is not this
the strangest idea of Natural Ability as constituting the foundation of
obligation, of which the human mind ever tried to conceive? In
illustration, let us suppose that a man, placed in the city of New York,
cannot but sin; placed in that of Boston, he cannot but be holy, and
that the fact whether he is in the one or the other city depends upon
the irresistible providence of God. He is placed in New York where he
cannot but sin. He is told that he ought not to do it, and that he is
highly guilty for not being perfectly holy. It is also asserted that he
has all the powers of moral agency, all the ability requisite to lay the
foundation for the highest conceivable obligation to be holy. What is
the evidence? he asks. Is it possible for me, in my present
circumstances, to avoid sin? and in my present circumstances, you know,
I cannot but be. I acknowledge, the Necessitarian says, that under
present influences, you cannot but sin, and that you cannot but be
subject to these influences. Still, I affirm, that you have all the
powers of moral agency, all the natural ability requisite to obedience,
and to the highest conceivable obligation to obedience. Because, in the
first place, even in New York, you could obey if you chose. You have,
therefore, _natural_, though not _moral_, power to obey. But stop,
friend, right here. When you say that I might obey, if I chose, I would
ask, if choosing, as in the command, "choose life," is not the very
thing required of me? When, therefore, you affirm that I might obey, if
I chose, does it not mean, in reality, that I might choose, if I should
choose? Is not your Natural Ability this, that I might obey if I did
obey?[2] I cannot deny, the Necessitarian replies, that you have
correctly stated this doctrine. Permit me to proceed in argument,
however. In the next place, all that you need in order to be holy as
required, is a change, not of your _powers_, but of the _influences_
which control the _action_ of those powers. With no change in your
constitution or powers, you need only to be placed in Boston instead of
New York, and there you cannot but be holy. Is it not as clear as light,
therefore, that you have now all the powers of moral agency, all the
ability requisite to the highest conceivable obligation to be holy
instead of sinful?

I fully understand you, the sinner replies. But remember, that it is not
in Boston, where, as you acknowledge, I cannot be, that I am required
not to sin; but here, in New York, where I cannot but be, and cannot
possibly but sin. It is here, and not somewhere else, that I am required
not to sin. How can the fact, that if I were in Boston, where I could
not but be holy, I might not sin, prove, that here, in New York, I have
any ability, either natural or moral--am under any obligation
whatever--not to sin? These are the difficulties which press upon me.
How do you remove them according to your theory?

I can give no other answer, the Necessitarian replies, than that already
given. If that does not silence for ever every excuse for sin in your
mind, it is wholly owing to the perverseness of your heart, to its
bitter hostility to the truth. I may safely appeal to the Necessitarian
himself, whether I have not here given an uncaricatured expose of his
theory.

SINFUL INCLINATIONS.

IV. When pressed with such appalling difficulties as these, the
Necessitarian falls back, in self-justification, upon the _reason why_
the sinner cannot be holy. The only reason, it is said, why the sinner
does not do as he ought is, not the want of power, but the strength of
his sinful inclinations. Shall he plead these in excuse for sin? By no
means. They constitute the very essence of the sinner's guilt. Let it be
borne in mind, that, according to the doctrine of Necessity, such is the
connection between the nature, or constitution of the sinner's mind--a
nature which God has given him, and the influences under which he is
placed by Divine Providence--that none but these very inclinations are
possible to him, and these cannot but exist. From these inclinations,
sinful acts of Will cannot but arise. How is the matter helped, as far
as ability and obligation, on the part of the sinner, are concerned, by
throwing the guilt back from acts of Will upon inclinations equally
necessary?

NECESSARIAN DOCTRINE OF LIBERTY.

The real liberty of the Will, according to the Necessitarian scheme,
next demands our attention. All admit that Liberty is an essential
condition of moral obligation. In what sense, then, is or is not, man
free, according to the doctrine of Necessity?

"The plain and obvious meaning of the words Freedom and Liberty," says
President Edwards, "is power, opportunity, or advantage, that any one
has to do as he pleases. Or, in other words, his being free from
hinderance or impediment in the way of doing or conducting in any
respect as he wills. And the contrary to Liberty, whatever name we
please to call that by, is a person's being hindered, or unable to
conduct as he will, or being necessitated to do otherwise." "The only
idea, indeed, that we can form of free-agency, or of freedom of Will,"
says Abercrombie, "is, that it consists in a man's being able to do what
he wills, or to abstain from doing what he will not. Necessary agency,
on the other hand, would consist in a man's being compelled, by a force
from without, to do what he will not, or prevented from doing what he
wills."

With these definitions all Necessitarians agree. This is all the Liberty
known, or conceivable, according to their theory. Liberty does not
consist in the power to choose in one or the other of two or more
different and opposite directions, under the same influence. It is found
wholly and exclusively in the connection between the act of Will,
considered as the antecedent, and the effort, external or internal,
considered as the consequent. On this definition I remark,

1. That it presents the idea of Liberty as distinguished from
_Servitude_, rather than Liberty as distinguished from Necessity. A man
is free, in the first sense of the term, when no external restraints
hinder the carrying out of the choice within. This, however, has nothing
to do with Liberty, as distinguished from Necessity.

2. If this is the only sense in which a man is free, then, in the
language of a very distinguished philosopher, "if you cut off a man's
little finger, you thereby annihilate so much of his free agency;"
because, in that case, you abridge so much his power to do as he
chooses. Is this Liberty, the only liberty of man, a liberty which may
be destroyed by chains, bolts, and bars? Is this Liberty as
distinguished from Necessity the liberty which lays the foundation of
moral obligation?

3. If this is the only sense in which man is free, then dire Necessity
reigns throughout the entire domain of human agency. If all acts of Will
are the necessary consequents of the influences to which the mind is at
the time subjected, much more must a like necessity exist between all
acts of Will and their consequents, external and internal. This has been
already shown. The mind, then, with all its acts and states, exists in a
chain of antecedents and consequents, causes and effects, linked
together in every part and department by a dire necessity. This is all
the Liberty that this doctrine knows or allows us; a Liberty to choose
as influences necessitate us to choose, and to have such acts of Will
followed by certain necessary consequents, external and internal. In
this scheme, the idea of Liberty, which all admit must have a location
somewhere, or obligation, is a chimera; this idea, I say, after
"wandering through dry places, seeking rest and finding none," at length
is driven to a location where it finds its grave, and not a living
habitation.

4. It is to me a very strange thing, that Liberty, as the foundation of
moral obligation, should be located here. Because that acts of Will are
followed by certain corresponding necessary consequents external and
internal, therefore we are bound to put forth given acts of Will,
whatever the influences acting upon us may be, and however impossible it
may be to put forth those acts under those influences! Did ever a
greater absurdity dance in the brain of a philosopher or theologian?

5. The public are entirely deceived by this definition, and because they
are deceived as to the theory intended by it, do they admit it as true?
Suppose any man in the common walks of life were asked what he means,
when he says, he can do as he pleases, act as he chooses, &c. Does this
express your meaning? When you will to walk, rather than sit, for
example, no other volition is at the time possible, and this you must
put forth, and that when you have put forth this volition, you cannot
but walk. Is this your idea, when you say, you can do as you please? No,
he would say. That is not my idea at all. If that is true, man is not a
free agent at all. What men in general really mean when they say, they
can do as they please, and are therefore free, is, that when they put
forth a given act of Will, and for this reason conduct in a given
manner, they may in the same circumstances put forth different and
opposite determinations, and consequently act in a different and
opposite manner from what they do.

VI. The argument of Necessitarians in respect to the _practical
tendencies_ of their doctrine demands a passing notice. All acts of the
Will, they say, are indeed necessary under the circumstances in which
they occur; but then we should learn the practical lesson not to place
ourselves in the circumstances where we shall be liable to act wrong. To
this I reply:

1. That on the hypothesis before us, our being in the circumstances
which originate a given choice, is as necessary as the choice itself.
For I am in those circumstances either by an overruling Providence over
which I have no control, or by previous acts of the Will rendered
necessary by such Providence. Hence the difficulty remains in all its
force.

2. The solution assumes the very principle denied, that is, that our
being in circumstances which originate particular acts of choice is not
necessary. Else why tell an individual he is to blame for being in such
circumstances, and not to place himself there again?

GROUND WHICH NECESSITARIANS ARE BOUND TO TAKE IN RESPECT TO THE DOCTRINE
OF ABILITY.

VII. We are now fully prepared to state the ground which Necessitarians
of every school are bound to take in respect to the doctrine of Ability.
It is to deny that doctrine wholly, to take the open and broad ground,
that, according to any appropriate signification of the words, it is
absolutely impossible for men to will, and consequently to act,
differently from what they do; that when they do wrong, they always do
it, with the absolute impossibility of doing right; and that when they
do right, there is always an equal impossibility of their doing wrong.
If men have not power to _will_ differently from what they do, it is
undeniably evident that they have no power whatever to act differently:
because there is an absolutely necessary connection between volitions
and their consequents, external actions. The doctrine of Necessity takes
away wholly all ability from the creature to will differently from what
he does. It therefore totally annihilates his ability to _act_
differently. What, then, according to the theory of Necessity, becomes
of the doctrine of Ability? It is annihilated. It is impossible for us
to find for it a "local habitation or a name." As honest men,
Necessitarians are bound to proclaim the fact. They are bound to
proclaim the doctrine, that, in requiring men to be holy, under
influences under which they do sin, and cannot but sin (as it is true of
all sinful acts according to their theory), God requires of them
absolute impossibilities, and then dooms them to perdition for not
performing such impossibilities.

The subterfuge to which Necessitarians resort here, will not avail them
at all, to wit: that men are to blame for not doing right, because, they
might do it if they chose. To will right is the thing, and the only
thing really required of them. The above maxim therefore amounts, as we
have already seen, to this: Men are bound to do, that is, to will, what
is right, because if they should will what is right, they would will
what is right.

DOCTRINE OF NECESSITY, AS REGARDED BY NECESSITARIANS OF DIFFERENT
SCHOOLS.

VIII. Two schools divide the advocates of Necessity. According to one
class, God produces in men all their volitions and acts, both sinful and
holy, by the direct exertion of his own omnipotence. Without the Divine
agency, men, they hold, are wholly incapable of all volitions and
actions of every kind. With it, none but those which God produces can
arise, and these cannot but arise. This is the scheme of Divine
efficiency, as advocated by Dr. Emmons and others.

According to the other school, God does not, in all instances, produce
volitions and actions by his own direct agency, but by creating in
creatures a certain nature or constitution, and then subjecting them to
influences from which none but particular volitions and acts which they
do put forth can result, and these must result. According to a large
portion of this school, God, either by his own direct agency, or by
sustaining their laws of natural generation, produces in men the
peculiar nature which they do possess, and then imputes to them infinite
guilt, not only for this nature, but for its necessary results, sinful
feelings, volitions, and actions.

Such are these two schemes. In the two following particulars, they
perfectly harmonize. 1. All acts of Will, together with their effects,
external and internal, in the circumstances of their occurrence, cannot
but be what they are. 2. The ground of this necessity is the agency of
God, in the one instance producing these effects directly and
immediately, and in the other producing the same results, mediately, by
giving existence to a constitution and influences from which such
results cannot but arise. They differ only in respect to the _immediate_
ground of this necessity, the power of God, according to the former,
producing the effects directly, and according to the latter, indirectly.
According to both, all our actions sustain the same essential relation
to the Divine Will, that of Necessity.

Now while these two theories so perfectly harmonize, in all essential
particulars, strange to tell, the advocates of one regard the other as
involving the most monstrous absurdities conceivable. For God to
produce, through the energies of his own omnipotence, human volitions,
and then to impute infinite guilt to men for what he himself has
produced in them, what a horrid sentiment that is, exclaims the advocate
of constitutional depravity. For God to create in men a sinful nature,
and then impute to them infinite guilt for what he has himself created,
together with its unavoidable results, what horrid tyranny such a
sentiment imputes to the Most High, exclaims the advocate of Divine
efficiency, in his turn.

The impartial, uncommitted spectator, on the other hand, perceives most
distinctly the same identical absurdities in both these theories. He
knows perfectly, that it can make no essential difference, whether God
produces a result directly, or by giving existence to a constitution and
influences from which it cannot but arise. If one theory involves
injustice and tyranny, the other must involve the same. Let me here add,
that the reprobation with which each of the classes above named regards
the sentiments of the other, is a sentence of reprobation passed
(unconsciously to be sure) upon the doctrine of Necessity itself which
is common to both. For if this one element is taken out of either
theory, there is nothing left to render it abhorrent to any mind. It is
thus that Necessitarians themselves, without exception, pass sentence of
condemnation upon their own theory, by condemning it, in every system in
which they meet with it except their own. There is not a man on earth,
that has not in some form or other passed sentence of reprobation upon
this system. Let any man, whatever, contemplate any theory but the one
he has himself adopted, any theory that involves this element, and he
will instantly fasten upon this one feature as the characteristic which
vitiates the whole theory, and renders it deserving of universal
reprobation. It is thus that unsophisticated Nature expresses her
universal horror at a system which

   "Binding nature fast in fate,
   Enslaves the human Will."

Unsophisticated Nature abhors this doctrine infinitely more than she was
ever conceived to abhor a vacuum. Can a theory which the universal
Intelligence thus agrees in reprobating, as involving the most horrid
absurdity and tyranny conceivable, be the only true one?



CHAPTER IV.

EXTENT AND LIMITS OF THE LIBERTY OF THE WILL.

WHILE it is maintained, that, in the sense defined in the preceding
chapter, the Will is free, it is also affirmed that, in other respects,
it is not free at all. It should be borne distinctly in mind, that, in
the respects in which the Will is subject to the law of Liberty, its
liberty is absolute. It is in no sense subject to the law of Necessity.
So far, also, as it is subject to the law of Necessity, it is in no
sense free. What then are the extent and limits of the Liberty of the
Will?

1. In the absence of Motives, the Will cannot act at all. To suppose the
opposite would involve a contradiction. It would suppose the action of
the Will in the direction of some object, in the absence of all objects
towards which such action can be directed.

2. The Will is not free in regard to what the Motives presented shall
be, in view of which its determinations shall be formed. Motives exist
wholly independent of the Will. Nor does it depend at all upon the Will,
what Motives shall be presented for its election. It is free only in
respect to the particular determinations it shall put forth, in
reference to the Motives actually presented.

3. Whenever a Motive, or object of choice, is presented to the mind, the
Will is necessitated, by the presentation of the object, to act in some
direction. It must yield or refuse to yield to the Motive. But such
refusal is itself a positive act. So far, therefore, the Will is wholly
subject to the law of Necessity. It is free, not in respect to whether
it shall, or shall not, choose at all when a Motive is presented; but in
respect to _what_ it shall choose. I, for example, offer a merchant a
certain sum, for a piece of goods. Now while it is equally possible for
him to receive or reject the offer, one or the other determination he
_must_ form. In the first respect, he is wholly free. In the latter, he
is not free in any sense whatever. The same holds true in respect to all
objects of choice presented to the mind. Motive necessitates the Will to
act in some direction; while, in all deliberate Moral Acts at least, it
leaves either of two or more different and opposite determinations
equally possible to the mind.

4. Certain particular volitions may be rendered necessary by other, and
what may be termed _general_, determinations. For example, a
determination to pursue a particular course of conduct, may render
necessary all particular volitions requisite to carry this general
purpose into accomplishment. It renders them necessary in this sense,
that if the former does exist, the latter must exist. A man, for
example, determines to pass from Boston to New York with all possible
expedition. This determination remaining unchanged, all the particular
volitions requisite to its accomplishment cannot but exist. The general
and controlling determination, however, may, at any moment, be
suspended. To perpetuate or suspend it, is always in the power of the
Will.

5. I will here state a conjecture, viz.: that there are in the primitive
developments of mind, as well as in all primary acts of attention,
certain necessary spontaneities of the Will, as well as of other powers
of the mind. Is it not in consequence of such actions, that the mind
becomes first conscious of the power of volition, and is it not now
necessary for us under certain circumstances to give a certain degree of
attention to phenomena which appear within and around us? My own
convictions are, that such circumstances often do occur. Nor is such a
supposition inconsistent with the great principle maintained in this
Treatise. This principle is, that Liberty and Accountability, in other
words, Free, and Moral Agency, are co-extensive.

6. Nor does Liberty, as here defined, imply, that the mind, antecedently
to all acts of Will, shall be in a state of _indifference_, unimpelled
by feeling, or the affirmations of the Intelligence, more strongly in
one direction than another. The Will exists in a tri-unity with the
Intelligence and Sensibility. Its determinations may be in harmony with
the Sensibility, in opposition to Intelligence, or with the Intelligence
in opposition to the Sensibility. But while it follows either in
distinction from the other, under the same identical influences,
different and opposite determinations are equally possible. However the
Will may be influenced, whether its determinations are in the direction
of the strongest impulse, or opposed to it, it never, in deliberate
moral determination, puts forth particular acts, because, that in these
circumstances, no others are possible. In instances comparatively few,
can we suppose that the mind, antecedently to acts of Will, is in a
state of indifference, unimpelled in one direction in distinction from
others, or equally impelled in the direction of different and opposite
determinations. Indifference is in no such sense an essential or
material condition of Liberty. How ever strongly the Will may be
impelled in the direction of particular determinations, it is still in
the possession of the highest conceivable freedom, if it is not thereby
_necessitated_ to act in one direction in distinction from all others.

7. I now refer to one other fixed law under the influence of which the
Will is always necessitated to act. It is the law of _habit_. Action in
any one direction always generates a tendency to subsequent action in
the same direction under similar influences. This tendency may be
increased, till it becomes so strong as to render action in the same
direction in all future time really, although contingently, certain. The
certainty thus granted will always be of such a nature as consists fully
with the relation of Liberty. It can never, while moral agency
continues, come under the relation of Necessity. Still the certainty is
real. Thus the mind, by a continued course of well or ill doing, may
generate such fixed habits, as to render subsequent action in the same
direction perfectly certain, during the entire progress of its future
being. Every man, while conscious of freedom, should be fully aware of
the existence of this law, and it should surely lead him to walk
thoughtfully along the borders of "the undiscovered country," his
location in which he is determining by the habits of thought, feeling,
and action, he is now generating.

STRONGEST MOTIVE--REASONING IN A CIRCLE.

A singular instance of reasoning in a circle on the part of
Necessitarians, in respect to what they call the _strongest Motive_,
demands a passing notice here. One of their main arguments in support of
their doctrine is based upon the assumption, that the action of the Will
is always in the direction of the strongest Motive. When, however, we
ask them, which is the strongest Motive, their reply in reality is, that
it is the Motive in the direction of which the Will does act. "The
strength of a _Motive_," says President Day, "is not its prevailing, but
the power by which it prevails. Yet we may very properly _measure_ this
power by the actual result." Again, "We may measure the comparative
strength of Motives of different kinds, from the results to which they
lead; just as we learn the power of different causes, from the effects
which they produce:" that is, we are not to determine, _a priori_, nor
by an appeal to consciousness, which of two or more Motives presented is
the strongest. We are to wait till the Will does act, and then assume
that the Motive, in the direction of which it acts, is the strongest.
From the action of the Will in the direction of that particular Motive,
we are finally to infer the truth of the doctrine of Necessity. The
strongest Motive, according to the above definition, is the motive to
which the Will does yield. The argument based upon the truism, that the
Will always acts in the direction of this Motive, that is, the Motive
towards which it does act, the argument, I say, put into a logical form,
would stand thus. If the action of the Will is always in the direction
of the strongest Motive, that is, if it always follows the Motive it
does follow, it is governed by the law of Necessity. Its action is
always in the direction of this Motive, that is, it always follows the
Motive it does follow. The Will is therefore governed by the law of
Necessity. How many philosophers and theologians have become "rooted and
grounded" in the belief of this doctrine, under the influence of this
sophism, a sophism which, in the first instance, assumes the doctrine as
true, and then moves round in a vicious circle to demonstrate its truth.



CHAPTER V.

THE GREATEST APPARENT GOOD.

SECTION I.

WE now come to a consideration of one of the great questions bearing
upon our personal investigations--the proposition maintained by
Necessitarians, as a chief pillar of their theory, that "_the Will
always is as the greatest apparent good_."

PHRASE DEFINED.

The first inquiry which naturally arises here is What is the proper
meaning of this proposition?

In reply, I answer, that it must mean one of these three things.

1. That the Will is always, in all its determinations, conformed to the
dictates of the Intelligence, choosing those things only which the
Intelligence affirms to be best. Or,

2. That the determinations of the Will are always in conformity to the
impulse of the Sensibility, that is, that its action is always in the
direction of the strongest feeling. Or,

3. In conformity to the dictates of the Intelligence, and the impulse of
the Sensibility combined, that is that the Will never acts at all,
except when impelled by the Intelligence and Sensibility both in the
same direction.

MEANING OF THIS PHRASE ACCORDING TO EDWARDS.

The following passage leaves no room for doubt in respect to the meaning
which Edwards attaches to the phrase, "the greatest apparent good." "I
have chosen," he says, "rather to express myself thus, that the Will
always is as the greatest apparent good, or as what appears most
agreeable, than to say, that the Will is _determined_ by the greatest
apparent good, or by what seems most agreeable; because an appearing
most agreeable or pleasing to the mind, and the mind's preferring and
choosing, seem hardly to be properly and perfectly distinct." Here
undeniably, the words, choosing, preferring, "appearing most agreeable
or pleasing," and "the greatest apparent good," are defined as identical
in their meaning. Hence in another place, he adds, "If strict propriety
of speech be insisted on, it may more properly be said, that the
_voluntary action_ which is the immediate consequence and fruit of the
mind's volition and choice, is determined by that which appears most
agreeable, than by the preference or choice itself." The reason is
obvious. Appearing most agreeable or pleasing, and preference or choice,
had been defined as synonymous in their meaning. To say, therefore, that
preference or choice is determined by "what appears most agreeable or
pleasing," would be equivalent to the affirmation, that choice
determines choice. "The act of volition itself," he adds, "is always
determined by that in or about the mind's view of an object, which
causes it to appear most agreeable," or what is by definition the same
thing, causes it to be chosen. The phrases, "the greatest apparent
good," and "appearing most agreeable or pleasing to the mind," and the
words, choosing, preferring, &c., are therefore, according to Edwards,
identical in their meaning. The proposition, "the Will is always as the
greatest apparent good," really means nothing more nor less than this,
that Will always chooses as it chooses. The famous argument based upon
this proposition in favor of the doctrine of Necessity may be thus
expressed. If the Will always is as the greatest apparent good, that is,
if the Will always chooses as it chooses, it is governed by the law of
Necessity. The Will is as the greatest apparent good, that is, it always
chooses as it chooses. Therefore it is governed by this law. By this
very syllogism, multitudes have supposed that the doctrine of Necessity
has been established with all the distinctness and force of
demonstration.

The question now returns, Is "the Will always as the greatest apparent
good," in either of the senses of the phrase as above defined?

THE WILL NOT ALWAYS AS THE DICTATES OF THE INTELLIGENCE.

I. Is the Will then as the greatest apparent good in this sense, that
all its determinations are in conformity to the dictates of the
Intelligence. Does the Will never harmonize with the Sensibility in
opposition to the Intelligence? Has no intelligent being, whether sinful
or holy, ever done that which his Intellect affirmed at the time, that
he ought not to do, and that it was best for him not to do? I answer,

1. Every man who has ever violated moral obligation knows, that he has
followed the impulse of desire, in opposition to the dictates of his
Intelligence. What individual that has ever perpetrated such deeds has
not said, and cannot say with truth, "I know the good, and approve it;
yet follow the bad?" Take a matter of fact. A Spanish nobleman during
the early progress of the Reformation, became fully convinced, that the
faith of the Reformers was true, and his own false, and that his
salvation depended upon his embracing the one and rejecting the other.
Yet martyrdom would be the result of such a change. While balancing this
question, in the depths of his own mind, he trembled with the greatest
agitation. His sovereign who was present, asked the cause. The reply
was, "the martyr's crown is before me, and I have not Christian
fortitude enough to take it." He died a few weeks subsequent, without
confessing the truth. Did he obey his Intelligence, or Sensibility
there? Was not the conflict between the two, and did not the latter
prevail? In John 12: 42, 43, we have a fact revealed, in which men were
convinced of the truth, and yet, because "they loved the praise of men
more than the praise of God," they did not confess, but denied the
truth, a case therefore in which they followed the impulse of desire, in
opposition to the dictates of the Intelligence. The Will then is not
"always as the greatest apparent good," in this sense, that its action
is always in the direction of the dictates of the Intelligence.

2. If this is so, sin, in all instances, is a mere blunder, a necessary
result of a necessary misjudgment of the Intelligence? Is it so? Can the
Intelligence affirm that a state of moral impurity is better than a
state of moral rectitude? How easy it would be, in every instance, to
"convert a sinner from the error of his way," if all that is requisite
is to carry his Intellect in favor of truth and righteousness? Who does
not know, that the great difficulty lies in the enslavement of the Will
to a depraved Sensibility?

3. If the Will of all Intelligents is always in harmony with the
Intellect, then I affirm that there is not, and never has been, any such
thing as sin, or ill desert, in the universe. What more can be said of
God, or of any being ever so pure, than that he has always done what his
Intellect affirmed to be best? What if the devil, and all creatures
called sinners, had always done the same thing? Where is the conceivable
ground for the imputation of moral guilt to them?

4. If all acts of Will are always in perfect harmony with the
Intelligence, and in this sense, "as the greatest apparent good," then,
when the Intellect affirms absolutely that there can be no ground of
preference between two objects, there can be no choice between them. But
we are, in fact, putting forth every day just such acts of Will,
selecting one object in distinction from another, when the Intellect
affirms their perfect equality, or affirms absolutely, that there is and
can be no perceived ground of preference between them. I receive a
letter, I will suppose, from a friend, informing me that he has just
taken from a bank two notes, perfectly new and of the same value, that
one now lies in the east and the other in the west corner of his drawer,
that I may have one and only one of them, the one that I shall name by
return of mail, and that I must designate one or the other, or have
neither. Here are present to my Intelligence two objects absolutely
equal. Their location is a matter of indifference, equally absolute. Now
if as the proposition "the Will is _always_ as the greatest apparent
good," affirms, I cannot select one object in distinction from another,
without a perceived ground for such selection, I could not possibly, in
the case supposed, say which bill I would have. Yet I make the selection
without the least conceivable embarrassment. I might mention numberless
cases, of daily occurrence, of a nature precisely similar. Every child
that ever played at "odd or even," knows perfectly the possibility of
selecting between objects which are, to the Intelligence, absolutely
equal.

I will now select a case about which there can possibly be no mistake.
Space we know perfectly to be absolutely infinite. Space in itself is in
all parts alike. So must it appear to the mind of God. Now when God
determined to create the universe, he must have resolved to locate its
centre in some one point of space in distinction from all others. At
that moment, there was present to the Divine Intelligence an infinite
number of points, all and each absolutely equally eligible. Neither
point could have been selected, because it was better than any other:
for all were equal. So they must have appeared to God. Now if the "Will
is always as the greatest apparent good," in the sense under
consideration, God could not in this case make the selection, and
consequently could not create the universe. He did make the selection,
and did create. The Will, therefore, is not, in this sense, "always as
the greatest apparent good."

THE WILL NOT ALWAYS AS THE STRONGEST DESIRE.

II. Is the "Will always as the greatest apparent good" in this sense,
that it is always as the strongest desire, or as the strongest impulse
of the Sensibility? Does the Will never harmonize with the Intelligence,
in opposition to the Sensibility, as well as with the Sensibility in
opposition to the Intelligence? If this is not so, then--

1. It would be difficult to define self-denial according to the ordinary
acceptation of the term. What is self-denial but placing the Will with
the Intelligence, in opposition to the Sensibility? How often in moral
reformations do we find almost nothing else but this, an inflexible
purpose placed directly before an almost crushing and overwhelming tide
of feeling and desire?

2. When the Will is impelled in different directions, by conflicting
feelings, it could not for a moment be in a state of indecision, unless
we suppose these conflicting feelings to be absolutely equal in strength
up to the moment of decision. Who believes that? Who believes that his
feelings are in all instances in a state of perfect equilibrium up to
the moment of fixed determination between two distinct and opposite
courses? This _must_ be the case, if the action of the Will is always as
the strongest feeling, and in this sense as the "greatest apparent
good." How can Necessitarians meet this argument? Will they pretend
that, in all instances, up to the moment of decisive action, the
feelings impelling the Will in different directions are always
absolutely equal in strength? This must be, if the Will is always as the
strongest feeling.

3. When the feelings are in a state of perfect equilibrium, there can
possibly, on this supposition, be no choice at all. The feelings often
are, and must be, in this state, even when we are necessitated to act in
some direction. The case of the bank notes above referred to, presents
an example of this kind. As the objects are in the mind's eye absolutely
equal, to suppose that the feelings should, in such a case, impel the
Will more strongly in the direction of the one than the other, is to
suppose an event without a cause, inasmuch as the Sensibility is
governed by the law of Necessity. If A and B are to the Intelligence, in
all respects, absolutely equal, how can the Sensibility impel the Will
towards A instead of B? What is an event without a cause, if this is
not? Contemplate the case in respect to the location of the universe
above supposed. Each point of space was equally present to God, and was
in itself, and was perceived and affirmed to be, equally eligible with
all the others. How could a stronger feeling arise in the direction of
one point in distinction from others, unless we suppose that God's
Sensibility is not subject to the law of Necessity, a position which
none will assume, or that here was an event without a cause? When,
therefore, God did select this one point in distinction from all the
others, that determination could not have been either in the direction
of what the Intelligence affirmed to be best, nor of the strongest
feeling. The proposition, therefore, that "the Will _always_ is as the
greatest apparent good," is in both the senses above defined
demonstrably false.

4. Of the truth of this every one is aware when he appeals to his own
Consciousness. In the amputation of a limb, for example, who does not
know that if an individual, at the moment when the operation commences,
should yield to the strongest feeling, he would refuse to endure it? He
can pass through the scene, only by placing an inflexible purpose
directly across the current of feeling. How often do we hear individuals
affirm, "If I should follow my _feelings_, I should do this; if I should
follow my _judgment_, I should do that." In all such instances, we have
the direct testimony of consciousness, that the action of the Will is
not always in the direction of the strongest feeling: because its action
is sometimes consciously in the direction of the Intelligence, in
opposition to such feelings; and at others, in the conscious presence of
such feelings, the Will remains, for periods longer or shorter,
undecided in respect to the particular course which shall be pursued.

THE WILL NOT ALWAYS AS THE INTELLIGENCE AND SENSIBILITY COMBINED.

III. Is not the Will always as the greatest apparent good in this sense,
that its determinations are always as the affirmations of the
Intelligence and the impulse of the Sensibility combined? That it is
not, I argue for two reasons.

1. If this was the case, when the Intelligence and Sensibility are
opposed to each other--a fact of very frequent occurrence,--there could
be no acts of Will in either direction. The Will must remain in a state
of absolute inaction, till these belligerent powers settle their
differences, and unite in impelling the Will in some particular
direction. But we know that the Will can, and often does, act in the
direction of the Intelligence or Sensibility, when the affirmations of
one and the impulses of the other are in direct opposition to each
other.

2. When both the Intellect and Sensibility, as in the cases above cited,
are alike indifferent, there can be, on the present hypothesis, no acts
of Will whatever. Under these identical circumstances, however, the Will
does act. The hypothesis, therefore, falls to the ground.

I conclude, then, that the proposition, "the Will is always as the
greatest apparent good," is either a mere truism, having no bearing at
all upon our present inquiries, or that it is false.

In the discussion of the above propositions, the doctrine of Liberty has
received a full and distinct illustration. The action of the Will is
sometimes in the direction of the Intelligence, in opposition to the
Sensibility, and sometimes in the direction of the Sensibility, in
opposition to the Intelligence, and never in the direction of either,
because it must be. Sometimes it acts where the Sensibility and
Intelligence both harmonize, or are alike indifferent. When also the
Will acts in the direction of the Intelligence or Sensibility, it is not
necessitated to follow, in all instances, the highest affirmation, nor
the strongest desire.

SEC. II--MISCLLANEOUS TOPICS.

NECESSITARIAN ARGUMENT.

I. We are now prepared to appreciate the Necessitarian argument, based
upon the assumption, that "the Will always is as the greatest apparent
good." This assumption is the great pillar on which that doctrine rests.
Yet the whole argument based upon it is a perpetual reasoning in a
circle. Ask the Necessitarian to give the grand argument in favor of his
doctrine. His answer is, because "the Will _always_ is as the greatest
apparent good." Cite now such facts as those stated above in
contradiction of his assumption, and his answer is ready. There must be,
in all such cases, some perceived or felt ground of preference, or there
could be no act of Will in the case. There must have been, for example,
some point in space more eligible than any other for the location of the
universe, and this must have been the reason why God selected the one he
did. Ask him why he makes this declaration? His reply is, because "the
Will is always as the greatest apparent good." Thus this assumption
becomes premise or conclusion, just as the exigence of the theory based
upon it demands. Nothing is so convenient and serviceable as such an
assumption, when one has a very difficult and false position to sustain.
But who does not see, that it is a most vicious reasoning in a circle?
To assume the proposition, "the Will always is as the greatest apparent
good," in the first instance, as the basis of a universal theory, and
then to assume the truth of that proposition as the basis of the
explanation of particular facts, which contradict that theory, what is
reasoning in a circle if this is not? No one has a right to assume this
proposition as true at all, until he has first shown that it is affirmed
by all the phenomena of the Will. On its authority he has no right to
explain a solitary phenomenon. To do it is not only to reason in a
circle, but to beg the question at issue.

MOTIVES CAUSE ACTS OF WILL, IN WHAT SENSE.

II. We are also prepared to notice another assumption of President
Edwards, which, if admitted in the sense in which he assumes it as true,
necessitates the admission of the Necessitarian scheme, to wit: that the
determination of the Will is always _caused_ by the Motive present to
the mind for putting forth that determination. "It is that motive," he
says, "which, as it stands in the view of the mind, is the strongest
which determines the Will." Again, "that every act of the Will has some
cause, and consequently (by what has been already proved) has a
necessary connection with its cause, and so is necessary by a necessity
of connection and consequence, is evident by this, that every act of
Will, whatsoever, is excited by some motive." "But if every act of the
Will is excited by some motive, then that motive is the cause of that
act of the Will." "And if volitions are properly the effects of their
motives, then they are necessarily connected with their motives."

If we grant the principle here assumed, the conclusion follows of
necessity. But let us inquire in what sense motive and volition sustain
to each other the relation of cause and effect. _The presence and action
of one power causes the action of another, so far, and so far only, as
it necessitates such action; and causes its action in a particular
direction, so far only as it necessitates its action in that direction,
in opposition to every other_. Now the action of one power may cause the
action of another, in one or both these ways.

1. It may necessitate its action, and necessitate it in one direction in
opposition to any and every other. In this sense, fire causes the
sensation of pain. It necessitates the action of the Sensibility, and in
that one direction. Or,

2. One power may necessitate the _action_ of another power, but not
necessitate its action in one direction in opposition to any or all
others. We have seen, in a former chapter, that the Motive causes the
action of the Will in this sense only, that it necessitates the Will to
act in some direction, but not in one direction in distinction from
another. Now the error of President Edwards lies in confounding these
two senses of the word _cause_. He assumes that when one power causes
the action of another in any sense, it must in every sense. It is
readily admitted, that in one sense the Motive causes the action of the
Will. But when we ask for the reason or cause of any one particular
choice in distinction from another, we find it, not in the motive, but
in the power of willing itself.

OBJECTION--PARTICULAR VOLITION, HOW ACCOUNTED FOR.

III. We are also prepared to notice the great objection of
Necessitarians to the doctrine of Liberty as here maintained. How, it is
asked, shall we account, on this theory, for _particular_ volitions? The
power to will only accounts for acts of Will in _some_ direction, but
not for one act in distinction from another. This distinction must be
accounted for, or we have an event without a cause. To this argument I
reply,

1. It assumes the position in debate, to wit: that there cannot be
consequents which are not necessarily connected with particular
antecedents, which antecedents necessitate these particular consequents
in distinction from all others.

2. To account for any effect, all that can properly be required is, to
assign the existence and operation of a cause adequate to the production
of such effects. Free-agency itself is such a cause in the case now
under consideration. We have here given the existence and operation of a
cause which must produce one of two effects, and is equally capable,
under the circumstances, of producing either. Such a cause accounts for
the existence of such an effect, just as much as the assignment of an
antecedent necessarily producing certain consequents, accounts for those
consequents.

3. If, as this objection affirms, an act of Will, when there is no
perceived or felt reason for that act in distinction from every other,
is equivalent to an event without a cause; then it would be as
impossible for us to _conceive_ of the former as of the latter. We
cannot even conceive of an event without a cause. But we can conceive of
an act of Will when no reason, but the power of willing, exists for that
particular act in distinction from others. We cannot conceive of an
event without a cause. But we _can_ conceive of the mind's selecting
odd, for example, instead of even, without the Intellect or Sensibility
impelling the Will to that act in distinction from others. Such act,
therefore, is not equivalent to an event without a cause. The objection
under consideration is consequently wholly baseless.

FACTS LIKE THE ABOVE WRONGLY ACCOUNTED FOR.

IV. The manner in which Necessitarians sometimes endeavor to account for
acts of Will in which a selection is made between objects perceived and
felt to be perfectly equal, requires attention. Suppose that A and B are
before the mind. One or the other is to be selected, or no selection at
all is to be made. These objects are present to the mind as perfectly
equal. The Intelligence and Sensibility are in a state of entire
equilibrium between them. Now when one of these objects is selected in
distinction from the other, this act of Will is to be accounted for, it
is said, by referring back to the determination to make the selection
instead of not making it. The Will does not choose between A and B, at
all. The choice is between choosing and not choosing. But mark: To
determine to select A or B is one thing. To select one in distinction
from the other, is quite another. The former act does not determine the
Will towards either in distinction from the other. This last act remains
to be accounted for. When we attempt to account for it, we cannot do it,
by referring to the Intelligence or Sensibility for these are in a state
of perfect equilibrium between the objects. We can account for it only
by falling back upon the power of willing itself, and admitting that the
Will is free, and not subject to the law of Necessity.

CHOOSING BETWEEN OBJECTS KNOWN TO BE EQUAL--HOW TREATED BY
NECESSITARIANS.

V. The manner in which Necessitarians treat facts of this kind, to wit,
choosing between things perceived and felt to be equal, also demands a
passing notice. Such facts are of very little importance, one way or the
other, they say, in mental science. It is the height of folly to appeal
to them to determine questions of such moment as the doctrine of Liberty
and Necessity. I answer: Such facts are just as important in mental
science, as the fall of a piece of gold and a feather, in an exhausted
receiver, is in Natural Philosophy. The latter reveals with perfect
clearness the great law of attraction in the material universe. The
former reveals with equal conspicuousness the great law of Liberty in
the realm of mind. The Necessitarian affirms, that no act of Will is
possible, only in the direction of the dictates of the Intelligence, or
of the strongest impulse of the Sensibility. Facts are adduced in which,
from the necessity of the case, both Faculties must be in a state of
perfect equilibrium. Neither can impel the Will in one direction, in
distinction from the other. In such circumstances, if the doctrine of
Necessity is true, no acts of Will are possible. In precisely these
circumstances acts of Will do arise. The doctrine of Necessity therefore
is overthrown, and the truth of that Liberty is demonstrated. So
important are those facts which Necessitarians affect to despise. True
philosophy, it should be remembered, never looks contemptuously upon
facts of any kind.

PALPABLE MISTAKE.

VI. We are prepared to notice a palpable mistake into which
Necessitarians have fallen in respect to the use which the advocates of
the doctrine of Liberty design to make of the fact, that the Will can
and does select between objects perceived and felt to be equal.

"The reason why some metaphysical writers," says President Day, "have
laid so much stress upon this apparently insignificant point, is
probably the _inference_ which they propose to draw from the position
which they assume. If it be conceded that the mind decides one way or
the other indifferently, when the motives on each side are perfectly
equal, they infer that this may be the fact, in all _other_ cases, even
though the motives to opposite choices may be ever so unequal. But on
what ground is this conclusion warranted? If a man is entirely
indifferent which of two barley-corns to take, does it follow that he
will be indifferent whether to accept of a guinea or a farthing; whether
to possess an estate or a trinket?" The advocates of the doctrine of
Liberty design to make, and do make, no such use of the facts under
consideration, as is here attributed to them. They never argue that,
because the Will can select between A and B, when they are perceived and
felt to be equal, therefore, when the Will acts in one direction, in
distinction from another, it is always, up to the moment of such action,
impelled in different directions by feelings and judgments equally
strong. What they do argue from such facts is, that the Will is subject
to the law of Liberty and not to that of Necessity. If the Will is
subject to the latter, then, when impelled in different directions by
Motives equally strong (as in the cases above cited), it could no more
act in the direction of one in distinction from the other, than a heavy
body can move east instead of west, when drawn in each direction by
forces perfectly equal. If the Will is subject to the law of Necessity,
then, in all instances of selection between objects known and felt to be
equal, we have an event without a cause. Even the Necessitarians, many
of them at least, dare not deny that, under these very circumstances,
selection does take place. They must, therefore, abandon their theory,
or admit the dogma, of events without causes.



CHAPTER VI.

CONNECTION OF THE DOCTRINE OF LIBERTY WITH THE DIVINE PRESCIENCE.

THE argument on which Necessitarians chiefly rely, against the doctrine
of Liberty, and in support of that of Necessity, is based upon the
Divine prescience of human conduct. The argument runs thus: all acts of
the Will, however remote in the distant future, are foreknown to God.
This fact necessitates the conclusion, that such acts are in themselves
certain, and, consequently, not free, but necessary. Either God cannot
foreknow acts of Will, or they are necessary. The reply to this argument
has already been anticipated in the Introduction. The Divine prescience
is not the truth to which the appeal should be made, to determine the
philosophy of the Will pre-supposed in the Bible. This I argue, for the
obvious reason, that of the _mode_, _nature_, and _degree_, of the
Divine prescience of human conduct we are profoundly ignorant. These we
must know with perfect clearness, before we can affirm, with any
certainty, whether this prescience is or is not consistent with the
doctrine of Liberty. The Divine prescience is a truth of inspiration,
and therefore a fact. The doctrine of Liberty is, as we have seen, a
truth of inspiration, and therefore a fact. It is also a fact, as
affirmed by the universal consciousness of man. How do we know that
these two facts are not perfectly consistent with each other? How do we
know but that, if we understood the _mode_, to say nothing of the nature
and degree of the Divine prescience, we should not perceive with the
utmost clearness, that this truth consists as perfectly with the
doctrine of Liberty, as with that of Necessity.

If God foresees events, he foreknows them as they are, and not as they
are not. If they are free and not necessary, as free and not necessary
he foresees them. Having ascertained by consciousness that the acts of
the Will are free, and having, from reason and revelation, determined,
that God foreknows such acts, the great truth stands revealed to our
mind, that God does and can foreknow human conduct, and yet man in such
conduct be free; and that the mode, nature, and degree, of the former
are such as most perfectly to consist with the latter.

I know with perfect distinctness, that I am now putting forth certain
acts of Will. With equal distinctness I know, that such acts are not
necessary, but free. My present knowledge is perfectly consistent with
present freedom. How do I know but that God's foreknowledge of future
acts is equally consistent with the most perfect freedom of such acts.

Perhaps a better presentation of this whole subject cannot be found than
in the following extract from Jouffroy's "Introduction to Ethics." The
extract, though somewhat lengthy, will well repay a most attentive
perusal.

DANGER IN REASONING FROM THE MANNER IN WHICH WE FOREKNOW EVENTS TO THAT
OF DIVINE PRESCIENCE.

"To begin, then, with a very simple remark: if we conceive that
foreknowledge in the Divine Being acts as it does in us, we run the risk
of forming a most incorrect notion of it, and consequently, of seeing a
contradiction between it and liberty, that would disappear altogether
had we a truer notion. Let us consider that we have not the same faculty
for foreseeing the future as we have of reviewing the past; and even in
cases where we do anticipate it, it is by an induction from the past.
This induction may amount either to certainty, or merely to probability.
It will amount to certainty when we are perfectly acquainted with
necessary causes, and their law of operation. The effects of such causes
in given circumstances having been determined by experience, we can
predict the return of similar effects under similar circumstances with
entire certainty, so long at least as the present laws of nature remain
in force. It is in this way that we foresee, in most cases, the physical
occurrences, whose law of operation is known to us; and such foresight
would extend much further, were it not for unexpected circumstances
which come in to modify the result. This induction can never go beyond
probability, however, when we consider the acts of free causes; and for
the very reason that they are free, and that the effects which arise
from such causes are not of necessary occurrence, and do not invariably
follow the same antecedent circumstances. Where the question is, then,
as to the acts of any free cause, we are never able to foresee it with
certainty, and induction is limited to conjectures of probability.

Such is the operation, and such are the limits of human foresight. Our
minds foresee the future by induction from the past; this foresight can
never attain certainty except in the case of causes and effects
connected by necessary dependence; when the effects of free causes are
to be anticipated, as all such effects are contingent, our foresight
must be merely conjecture."

MISTAKE RESPECTING THE DIVINE PRESCIENCE.

"If, now, we attempt to attribute to the Deity the same mode of
foresight of which human beings are capable, it will follow, as a strict
consequence, that, as God must know exactly and completely the laws to
which all the necessary causes in nature are subject--laws which change
only according to his will,--he can foresee with absolute certainty all
events which will take place in future. The certain foresight of
effects, therefore, which is to us possible only in particular cases,
and which, even then, is always liable to the limitation that the actual
laws of nature are not modified,--this foresight, which, even when most
sure, is limited and contingent, must be complete and absolute certainty
in God, supposing his foreknowledge to be of like kind with ours.

But it is evident that, according to this hypothesis, the Deity cannot
foresee with certainty the volitions of free causes any more than we
can; for, as his foresight is founded, as ours is, upon the knowledge of
the laws which govern causes, and as the law of free causes is precisely
this, that their volitions are not necessary, God cannot calculate, any
more than a human being can, the influence of motives, which, in any
given case, may act upon such causes. Even his intelligence can lead no
further than to conjectures, more probable, indeed, than ours, but never
amounting to certainty. According to this hypothesis, we must,
therefore, say either that God can foresee, certainly, the future
volitions of men, and that man, therefore, is not a free being, or that
man is free, and that God, therefore, cannot, any more than we can,
foresee his volitions with certainty; and thus Divine prescience and
human free-will are brought into direct contradiction.

But, gentlemen, why must there be this contradiction? Merely because we
suppose that God foresees the future in the same way in which we foresee
it; that his foreknowledge operates like our own. Now, is this, I ask,
such an idea as we ought to form of Divine prescience, or such an idea
as even the partisans of this system, which I am opposing, form? Have we
any reason for thus imposing upon the Deity the limitation of our own
feebleness? I think not.

Unendowed as we are, with any faculty of foreseeing the future, it may
be difficult for us to conceive of such a faculty in God. But yet can we
not from analogy form such an idea? We have now two faculties of
perception--of the past by memory, of the present by observation; can we
not imagine a third to exist in God--the faculty of perceiving the
future, as we perceive the past? What would be the consequence? This:
that God, instead of conjecturing, by induction, the acts of human
beings from the laws of the causes operating upon them, would see them
simply as the results of the free determinations of the will. Such
perception of future acts no more implies the necessity of those
actions, than the perception of similar acts in the past. To see that
effects arise from certain causes is not to force causes to produce
them; neither is it to compel these effects to follow. It matters not
whether such a perception refers to the past, present, or future; it is
merely a perception; and, therefore, far from producing the effect
perceived, it even presupposes this effect already produced.

I do not pretend that this vision of what is to be is an operation of
which our minds easily conceive. It is difficult to form an image of
what we have never experienced; but I do assert, that the power of
seeing what no longer exists is full as remarkable as that of seeing
what has as yet no being, and that the reason of our readily conceiving
of the former is only the fact that we are endowed with such a power: to
my reason, the mystery is the same.

But whatever may or may not be in reality the mode of Divine
foreknowledge, or however exact may be the image which we attempt to
form of it, it always, I say,--and this is the only point I am desirous
of proving,--it always remains a matter of uncertainty, which cannot be
removed, whether the Divine foreknowledge is of a kind like our own, or
not; and as, in the one case, there would not be the same contradiction
that there is in the other, between our belief in Divine foreknowledge
and human freedom, it is proved true, I think, that no one has a right
to assert the existence of such a contradiction, and the necessity that
human reason should choose between them."

SINGULAR INCONSISTENCY OF NECESSITARIANS.

There is no class of men who dwell with more frequency and apparent
reverence, upon the truth, that "secret things belong to God," and those
and those only, "that are revealed to us;" that "none by searching can
find out God;" that "as the heavens are high above the earth, so are His
ways above our ways, and His thoughts above our thoughts;" and that it
is the height of presumption in us, to pretend to understand God's mode
of knowing and acting. None are more ready to talk of mysteries in
religion than they. Yet, strange as it may appear, it is nevertheless
true, that their whole argument, drawn from the Divine foreknowledge,
against the doctrine of Liberty, and in favor of that of Necessity, is
based entirely upon the assumption that they have found out and fully
understand the _mode_ of the Divine prescience of human conduct; that
they have so measured and determined the "ways and thoughts" of God,
that they _know_ that he cannot foresee any but _necessary_ events; that
among many events, all in themselves equally possible, and none of them
necessary in distinction from others, he cannot foreknow which, in fact,
will arise. We may properly ask the Necessitarian whence he obtained
this knowledge, so vast and deep; whence he has thus "found out the
Almighty to perfection?" To me, the pretension to such knowledge appears
more like presumption than that deep self-distrust and humiliation which
becomes the Finite in the presence of the Infinite. This knowledge has
not been obtained from revelation. God has never told us that He can
foresee none but necessary events. Whether He can or cannot foresee
events free as well as necessary, is certainly one of the "secret
things" which God has not revealed. If we admit ourselves ignorant of
the _mode_ of God's fore-knowledge of future events (and who will dare
deny the existence of such ignorance in his own case?), the entire
argument of the Necessitarian, based upon that fore-knowledge, in favor
of his doctrine, falls to the ground at once.

NECESSITARIAN OBJECTION TO THE ABOVE ARGUMENT.

To all that has been said above, the Necessitarian brings an objection
which he deems perfectly unanswerable. It is this: If actions are free
in the sense maintained in this treatise, then in themselves they are
uncertain. If they are still certainly known to God, they are both
certain and uncertain, at the same time. True, I answer, but not in the
same sense. As far as the _powers_ of the agent are concerned, the
action may be uncertain, while God at the same time may know certainly
how he will exert his powers. In reference merely to the _powers_ of the
agent, the event is uncertain. In reference to the mind of God, who
knows instinctively how he will exert these powers, the event is
certain.



CHAPTER VII.

BEARING OF THE DOCTRINE OF LIBERTY UPON THE PURPOSES AND AGENCY OF GOD,
IN RESPECT TO HUMAN CONDUCT.

ALL truth is in harmony with itself. Every particular truth is, and must
be, in harmony with every other truth. If the doctrine of Necessity be
assumed as true, we must take one view of the relation of God's purposes
and agency in respect to the conduct of moral agents. If, on the other
hand, we assume as true the doctrine of Liberty, quite another and a
different view, in respect to this whole subject, must be taken. In the
remarks which I have to make upon this subject, I shall assume the truth
of the doctrine of Liberty, together with those of the perfect Divine
Omniscience, Wisdom, and Benevolence. The question now arises, in the
light of all these great truths, What relation do the Divine purposes
and agency sustain to human action? In what sense does God purpose,
preordain, and bring to pass, the voluntary conduct of moral agents? To
this question but one answer can be given, in the light of the truths
before us. God purposes human action in this sense only: He determines
himself to act in a given manner, because it is wisest and best for him
to act in that manner, and in that manner only. He determines this,
knowing how intelligent beings will act under the influence brought to
bear upon them by the Divine conduct. He purposes and brings about, or
causes human action in this sense only, that in the counsels of
eternity, He, in the exercise of infinite wisdom and goodness,
preordains, and at the time appointed, gives existence to the _motives_
and _influences_ under which moral agents do act, and in the light of
which they voluntarily determine their own character and conduct.

CONCLUSIONS FROM THE ABOVE.

GODS PURPOSES CONSISTENT WITH THE LIBERTY OF CREATURES.

1. We perceive the perfect consistency of God's purposes and agency with
human liberty. If the motives and influences in view of which men do
act, do not destroy their free agency,--a fact which must be true from
the nature of the Will,--then God's purposes to give existence, and his
agency in giving existence, to these motives and influences, cannot in
any sense destroy, or interfere with such agency. This is a self-evident
truth.

SENSES IN WHICH GOD PURPOSED MORAL GOOD AND EVIL.

2. We also perceive the senses in which God purposed the existence of
moral good and evil, in the universe. He purposed the existence of the
motives, in view of which He knew that a part of His subjects would
render themselves holy, and a part would render themselves sinful. But
when we contemplate all the holiness and consequent happiness which do
exist, we then perceive the reason why God gave existence to these
motives. The sin consequent, in the sense above explained, constitutes
no part of the reason for their existence, but was always, in the Divine
Mind, a reason against their existence; which reason, however, was
overpowered by infinitely more important reasons on the other side. The
good which results from creation and providence is the great and
exclusive object of creation and providence. The evil, God always
regretted, and would have prevented, if possible, i. e. if compatible
with the existence of the best possible system.

DEATH OF THE INCORRIGIBLE PREORDAINED BUT NOT WILLED.

3. We also perceive the perfect consistency of those Scriptures which
represent God as, on the whole, _purposing_ the death of incorrigible
transgressors, and yet as not _willing_ it, but as willing the opposite.
The purpose to destroy is based upon the foreseen incorrigibleness of
the transgressor,--a purpose demanded by perfect wisdom and benevolence,
in view of that foreseen incorrigibleness. The incorrigibleness itself,
however, and the perdition consequent, are evils, the existence of which
God never willed; but are the opposite of what he willed, are evils
which a being of perfect wisdom and goodness never could, and never can
will. It is with perfect consistency, therefore, that the Scriptures
represent God, in view of incorrigibleness foreseen, as purposing the
death of the transgressor, and at the same time, in view of the fact
that such incorrigibleness is the opposite of what He wills the creature
to do, as affirming, that He is not "willing that any should perish, but
that all should come to a knowledge of the truth."

GOD NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATH OF THE INCORRIGIBLE.

4. We see, also, how it is, that, while God does that, and eternally
purposed to do that, in view of which he eternally knew that certain of
his creatures would for ever destroy themselves, none but themselves are
in fault for such destruction. The reasons are these:

(1.) God never did anything in view of which men ought to act thus, nor
which did not lay them under obligations infinite, to act differently,
and which was not best adapted to secure that end.

(2.) Their destruction constituted no part of the _object_ of God in
creation and providence, the opposite of this being true.

(3.) The great object of God in creation and providence was and is, to
produce the greatest possible amount of holiness and consequent
happiness, and to prevent, in every possible way consistent with this
end, the existence of sin, and consequently of misery.--Now if creatures
perish under such an influence, they perish by their own fault.

SIN A MYSTERY.

5. I have a single remark to make upon those phenomena of the Will, in
which evil is chosen instead of good, or sin instead of holiness. That
all intelligent beings possess the power to make such a choice, is a
fact affirmed by universal consciousness. But that any being, under any
circumstances, should make such a choice, and that he should for ever
refuse to return to the paths of virtue, notwithstanding his experience
of the consequences of sin, is an abuse of human liberty, which must for
ever remain an inexplicable mystery. When a being assigns the real
reason in view of which right is chosen, we are always satisfied with
such reason. But we are never satisfied with the reason for the opposite
course.

CONCLUSION FROM THE ABOVE.

One conclusion forces itself upon us, from that view of the Divine
government which consists with the doctrine of Liberty. The aspect of
that government which results from this view of the subject commends
itself to the reason and conscience of the intelligent universe.
_Mysteries_ we do and must find in it; but _absurdities_ and
_contradictions_, never. Under such a Government, no being is condemned
for what he cannot avoid, nor rewarded for what he could but do. While

   "God sits on no precarious throne,
   Nor borrows leave to be,"

the destiny of the creature turns upon his own deserts, his own choice
of good or evil. The elucidation of the principles of such a government
"commends itself to every man's conscience in the sight of God."



CHAPTER VIII.

OBLIGATION PREDICABLE ONLY OF THE WILL.

SECTION I.

THE Will, as I have already said, exists in a trinity with the
Intelligence and Sensibility. In respect to the operations of the
different departments of our mental being, I lay down the two following
propositions:

1. Obligation, moral desert, &c., are directly predicable only of the
action of the Will.

2. For the operations of the other faculties we are accountable so far
forth only as the existence and character of such operations depend upon
the Will. In other words, it is for voluntary acts and states only that
we are accountable. This I argue because,

1. Obligation, as we have seen, consists only with Liberty. All the
phenomena of the Intelligence and Sensibility, in the circumstances of
their occurrence, are not free, but necessary. Accountability,
therefore, cannot be predicated of such phenomena. We may be, and are,
accountable for such phenomena, so far forth as their existence and
character depend upon the Will: in other words, so far forth as they are
voluntary, and not involuntary, states of mind.

2. The truth of the above proposition, and of that only, really
corresponds with the universal conviction of the race. This conviction
is expressed in two ways.

(1.) When blame is affirmed of the operations of the Intelligence or
Sensibility, it is invariably thus affirmed: "You have no right to
_entertain_ such thoughts or sentiments. You have no right _indulge_
such feeling's." In other words, praise or blame is never directly
predicated of these operations themselves, but of the action of the Will
relatively to them.

(2.) All men agree, that the moral character of all actions, of all
states of mind whatever; depends upon _intention_. In no point is there
a more universal harmony among moral philosophers than in respect to
this. But intention is undeniably a phenomenon of the Will, and of that
exclusively. We must therefore admit, that moral obligation is
predicable of the Will only, or deny the fundamental convictions of the
race.

3. The truth of the above propositions is intuitively evident, the
moment the mind apprehends their real import. A man, as he steps out of
a warm room, amid the external frosts of winter, feels an involuntary
chill over his whole system. We might with the same propriety attribute
blame to him for such feelings, as for any other feelings, thoughts, or
perceptions which exist alike independent of his Will, and especially in
opposition to its determinations.

4. If we suppose all the voluntary acts and states of a moral agent to
be, and always to have been, in perfect conformity to moral rectitude,
it is impossible for us to impute moral guilt to him for any feelings or
thoughts which may have risen in his mind independently of his Will. We
can no more conceive him to have incurred ill desert, than we can
conceive of the annihilation of space. We may safely put it to the
consciousness of every man whether this is not the case. This renders
demonstrably evident the truth, that moral obligation is predicable only
of the Will.

5. With the above perfectly harmonize the positive teachings of
Inspiration. For example. "Lust, when it is _conceived_, bringeth forth
sin." The involuntary feeling does not constitute the sin, but the
action of the Will in harmony with that feeling.

6. A single supposition will place this whole subject in a light
perfectly conspicuous before the mind. We can readily conceive that the
Will, or voluntary states of the mind, are in perfect harmony with the
moral law, while the Sensibility, or involuntary states, are opposed to
it. We can also with equal readiness make the opposite supposition, to
wit, that the Sensibility, or involuntary states, are in harmony with
the law, while the determinations of the Will are all opposed to it.
What shall we think of these two states? Let us suppose a case of no
unfrequent occurrence, that the feelings, or involuntary state of the
mind, are in perfect harmony with the law, while the action of this
Will, or the voluntary states, are in determined opposition to the law,
the individual being inflexibly determined to quench such feelings, and
act in opposition to them. Is there any virtue at all in such a state of
mind? Who would dare to say that there is? Is not the guilt of the
individual aggravated in proportion to the depth and intensity of the
feeling which he is endeavoring to suppress? Now if, as all will admit,
there is no virtue at all, when the states of the Sensibility are in
harmony with the law, and the determinations of the Will, or voluntary
states of the mind, are opposed to it, how can there be guilt when the
Will, or voluntary states, are in perfect harmony with the law, and the
Sensibility or involuntary states, opposed to it? This renders it
demonstrably evident that obligation and moral desert of praise or blame
are predicable only of the Will, or voluntary states of mind.

7. We will make another supposition; one, if possible, still more to the
point. The tiger, we well know, has received from his Maker, either
directly or through the laws of natural generation sustained by the Most
High, a ferocious nature. Why do we not blame the animal for this
nature? The answer, perhaps, would be, that he is not a rational being,
and is therefore not responsible for anything.

Let us suppose, then, that with this nature, God had associated
Intelligence and Free-Will, such as man possesses. Why should the animal
now be held responsible for the bare existence of this nature, any more
than in the first instance, when the effect, in both instances, exists,
alike independent of his knowledge, choice, and agency? A greater
absurdity than this never lay upon the brain of a Theologian, that the
mere existence of rationality renders the subject properly responsible
for what God himself produces in connection with that rationality, and
produces wholly independent of the knowledge, choice, and agency of that
subject.

Let us suppose, further, that the animal under consideration, as soon as
he becomes aware of the existence and tendencies of this nature, holds
all its impulses in perfect subjection to the law of love, and never
suffers them, in a single instance, to induce a voluntary act contrary
to that law. Is it in the power of the Intelligence to affirm guilt of
that creature? Do we not necessarily affirm his virtue to be great in
proportion to the strength of the propensity thus perfectly subjected to
the Moral law? The above illustration renders two conclusions
demonstrably evident:

1. For the mere _existence_ of any constitutional propensity whatever,
the creature is not and cannot be responsible.

2. When all the actions of the Will, or voluntary power, are in perfect
harmony with the moral law, and all the propensities are held in full
subjection to that law, the creature stands perfect and complete in the
discharge of his duty to God and Man. For the involuntary and necessary
actings of those propensities, he cannot be responsible.

It is no part of my object to prove that men have not derived from their
progenitors, propensities which impel and induce them to sin; but that,
for the mere _existence_ of these propensities, together with their
necessary involuntary action, they are not guilty.

SEC. II. DOGMAS IN THEOLOGY.

Certain dogmas in Theology connected with the subject above illustrated
here claim our attention.

MEN NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SIN OF THEIR PROGENITORS.

I. The first that I notice is the position, that creatures are now held
responsible, even as "deserving God's wrath and curse, not only in this
life, but in that which is to come," not merely for their own voluntary
acts of disobedience, nor for their involuntary exercises, but for the
act of a progenitor, performed when they had no existence. If God holds
creatures responsible for such an act, we may safely affirm that it is
absolutely impossible for them to conceive of the justice of such a
principle; and that God has so constituted them, as to render it
impossible for them to form such a conception. Can a being who is not a
_moral_ agent sin? Is not _existence_ necessary to moral agency? How
then can creatures "sin _in_ and _through_ another" six thousand years
before their own existence commenced? We cannot conceive of creatures as
guilty for the involuntary and necessary exercises of their own minds.
How can we conceive of them as guilty for the act of another being,--an
act of which they had, and could have, no knowledge, choice, or agency
whatever? How can intelligent beings hold such a dogma, and hold it as a
revelation from Him who has declared with an oath, that the "son shall
not bear the iniquity of the father," but that "every man shall die for
his own sins?"

CONSTITUTIONAL ILL-DESERT.

II. The next dogma deserving attention is the position, that mankind
derive from our first progenitor a corrupt nature, which renders
obedience to the commands of God impossible, and disobedience necessary,
and that for the mere _existence_ of this nature, men "deserve God's
wrath and curse, not only in this world, but in that which is to come."

If the above dogma is true, it is demonstrably evident, that this
corrupt nature comes into existence without the knowledge, choice, or
agency of the creature, who, for its existence, is pronounced deserving
of, and "bound over to the wrath of God." Equally evident is it, that
this corrupt nature exists as the result of the direct agency of God. He
proclaims himself the Maker of "every soul of man." As its Maker, He
must have imparted to that soul the constitution or nature which it
actually possesses. It does not help the matter at all, to say, that
this nature is derived from our progenitor: for the laws of generation,
by which this corrupt nature is derived from that progenitor, are
sustained and continued by God himself. It is a truth of reason as well
as of revelation, that, even in respect to plants, derived "by ordinary
generation" from the seed of those previously existing, it is GOD who
"giveth them a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed its own
body." If this is true of plants, much more must it be so of the soul of
man.

If, then, the above dogma is true, man, in the first place, is held as
deserving of eternal punishment for that which exists wholly independent
of his knowledge, choice, or agency, in any sense, direct or indirect.
He is also held responsible for the result, not of his own agency, but
for that which results from the agency of God. On this dogma, I remark,

1. It is impossible for the Intelligence to affirm, or even to conceive
it to be true, that a creature deserves eternal punishment for that
which exists wholly independent of his knowledge, choice, or agency; for
that which results, not from his own agency, but from that of another.
The Intelligence can no more affirm the truth of such propositions, than
it can conceive of an event without a cause.

2. This dogma is opposed to the intuitive convictions of the race.
Present the proposition to any mind, that, under the Divine government,
the creature is held responsible for his own voluntary acts and states
of minds only, and such a principle "commends itself to every man's
conscience in the sight of God." Present the dogma, on the other hand,
that for a nature which renders actual obedience impossible, a nature
which exists as the exclusive result of the agency of God himself,
independently of the knowledge, choice, or agency of the creature, such
creature is justly "bound over to the wrath of God, and curse of the
law, and so made subject to death, with all miseries, spiritual,
temporal, and eternal," and there is not a conscience in the universe
which will not reprobate with perfect horror such a principle. The
intuitive convictions of the race are irreconcilably opposed to it.

3. If mankind, as this dogma affirms, have a nature from which voluntary
acts of a given character necessarily result, to talk of real _growth_
or _confirmation_ in holiness or sin, is to use words without meaning.
All that influence, or voluntary acts, can do in such a case, is to
develope the nature already in existence. They can do nothing to confirm
the soul in its tendencies, one way or the other. What should we think
of the proposition, that a certain tree had formed and confirmed the
habit of bearing particular kinds of fruits, when it commenced bearing,
with the necessity of bearing this kind only, and with the absolute
impossibility of bearing any other? So the soul, according to this
dogma, commences action with the absolute impossibility of any but
sinful acts, and with the equal necessity of putting forth sinful ones.
Now, Necessity and Impossibility know and can know no degrees. How then
can a mind, thus constituted, generate and confirm the habit of sinning?
What, on this supposition, is the meaning of the declaration, "How can
ye, who are _accustomed_ to do evil, learn to do well?" All such
declarations are without meaning, if this dogma is true.

4. If God imputes guilt to the creature, for the existence of the nature
under consideration, he must have required the creature to prevent its
existence. For it is a positive truth of reason and inspiration both,
that as "sin is a transgression of the law;" that "where there is no law,
there is no transgression;" and that "sin is not imputed where there is
no law," that is, where nothing is required, no obligation does or can
exist, and consequently no guilt is imputed. The existence of the nature
under consideration, then, is not and cannot be sin to the creature,
unless it is a transgression of the law; and it cannot be a
transgression of the law, unless the law required the creature to
prevent its existence, and prevent it when that existence was the
exclusive result of God's agency, and when the creature could have no
knowledge, choice, or agency, in respect to what God was to produce. Can
we conceive of a greater absurdity than that? God is about to produce a
certain nature by his own creative act, or by sustaining the laws of
natural generation. He imputes infinite guilt to the creature for not
preventing the result of that act, and inducing a result precisely
opposite, and that in the absence of all knowledge of what was required
of him, and of the possibility of any agency in respect to it. Is this a
true exposition of the Government of God?

PRESENT IMPOSSIBILITIES REQUIRED.

III. The last dogma that I notice is the position, that the Moral law
demands of us, as sinners, not what is now possible to us on the ground
of natural powers and proffered grace, but what would be possible, had
we never sinned. It is admitted by all, that we have not now a capacity
for that degree of virtue which would be possible to us, had we always
developed our moral powers in harmony with the Divine law. Still it is
maintained, that this degree of virtue, notwithstanding our present
total incapacity to exercise it, is demanded of us. For not rendering
it, we are justly bound over to the wrath and curse of God. In reply, I
remark:

1. That this dogma, which is professedly founded on the express
teachings of Inspiration, has not even the shadow of a foundation in any
direct or implied affirmation of the Bible. I may safely challenge the
world to adduce a single passage of Holy Writ, that either directly or
indirectly asserts any such thing.

2. This dogma is opposed not only to the _spirit_, but to the _letter_
of the _law_. The law, addressing men, enfeebled as their powers now
are, in consequence of sin previously committed, requires them to love
God with all their "mind and strength," that is, not with the power they
would have possessed, had they never sinned, but with the power they now
actually possess. On what authority does any Theologian affirm, when the
law expressly makes one demand upon men, that it, in reality, makes
another, and different demand? In such an assertion, is he not wise, not
only _above_, but _against_ what is written?

3. This dogma is opposed to the express and positive teachings of
Inspiration. The Scriptures expressly affirm, Rom. xiii. 8, that every
one that exercises love, "hath fulfilled the law," hath done all that
the law requires of him. This would not be true, did the law require a
degree of love not now practicable to the creature. Again, in Deut. x.
12, it is positively affirmed, that God requires nothing of his
creatures but to "love him with all the heart and with all the soul,"
that is, with all the powers they actually possess. This could not be
true, if the dogma under consideration is true.

4. If we conceive an individual to yield a voluntary conformity to moral
obligations of every kind, to the full extent of his present capacities,
it is impossible for us to conceive that he is not now doing all that he
really ought to do. No person would ever think of exhorting him to do
more, nor of charging him with guilt for not doing it. We may properly
blame him for the past, but as far as the present is concerned, he
stands guiltless in the eye of reason and revelation both.

5. Let us suppose that an individual continues for fifty years in sin.
He is then truly converted, and immediately after dies. All admit that
he enters heaven in a state of perfect holiness. Yet no one supposes
that he now exercises, or has the capacity to exercise, as high a degree
of holiness, as he would, had he spent those fifty years in obedience,
instead of disobedience to God. This shows that even those who
theoretically hold the dogma under consideration do not practically
believe it themselves.

The conclusion to which our inquiries lead us is this: Holiness is a
voluntary conformity to all perceivable obligation. Sin is a similar
violation of such obligation. Nothing else is or can be holiness.
Nothing else is or can be sin.



CHAPTER IX.

THE STANDARD BY WHICH THE MORAL CHARACTER OF VOLUNTARY STATES OF MIND,
OR ACTS OF WILL, SHOULD BE DETERMINED.

IN the remarks which I have to make in elucidation of this subject, I
shall, on the authority of evidence already presented, take two
positions for granted:

1. Moral obligation and moral desert are predicable only of acts of
Will.

2. It is only of those acts of Will denominated _Intentions_, and of
course ultimate intentions, that obligation, merit and demerit, are
predicable.

In this last position, as I have already said, there is a universal
agreement among moral philosophers. We may also safely assume the same
as a first truth of the universal Intelligence. The child, the
philosopher, the peasant, men of all classes, ages, and conditions,
agree in predicating obligation and moral desert of intention, and of
ultimate intention only. By ultimate intention, I, of course, refer to
those acts, choices, or determinations of the Will, to which all other
mental determinations are subordinate, and by which they are controlled.
Thus, when an individual chooses, on the one hand, the Divine glory, and
the highest good of universal being, as the end of his existence; or, on
the other, his own personal gratification; and subordinates to one or
the other of these acts of choice all the law of his being, here we find
his ultimate intention. In this exclusively all mankind agree in finding
the moral character of all mental acts and states.

Now an important question arises, By what _standard_ shall we judge of
the moral character of intentions? Of course, they are to be placed in
the light of the two great precepts of the Moral law by which we are
required to love God with all our powers, and our neighbor as ourselves.
But two distinct and opposite explanations have been given of the above
precepts, presenting entirely different standards of moral judgment.
According to one, the precept requiring us to love God with _all our
heart and strength_, requires a certain degree of _intensity_ of
intention and feeling. On no other condition, it is said, do we love God
with _all_ the heart.

According to the other explanation, the precept requiring us to love God
with _all_ the heart, &c., means, that we devote our entire powers and
interests to the glory of God and the good of his creatures, with the
sincere intention to employ these powers and interests for the
accomplishment of these objects in the _best possible manner_. When all
our powers are under the exclusive control of such an intention as this,
we then, it is affirmed, love God according to the letter and spirit of
the above precept, "with all our heart, and with all our strength."

SINCERITY, AND NOT INTENSITY, THE TRUE STANDARD.

My object now is to show, that this last is the right exposition, and
presents the only true standard by which to judge of all moral acts and
states of mind. This I argue from the following considerations.

1. If _intensity_ be fixed upon as the standard, no one can define it,
so as to tell us what he means. The command requiring us to love with
_all_ the heart, if understood as requiring a certain degree of
intensity of intention, may mean the highest degree of tension of which
our nature is susceptible. Or it may mean the highest possible degree,
consistent with our existence in this body; or the highest degree
consistent with the most perfect health; or some inconceivable
indefinable degree, nobody knows what. It cannot include all, and may
and must mean some one of the above-named dogmas. Yet no one would dare
to tell us which. Has God given, or does our own reason give us, a
standard of moral judgment of which no one can form a conception, or
give us a definition?

2. No one could practically apply this standard, if he could define it,
as a test of moral action. The reason is obvious. No one, but
Omniscience, can possibly know what degree of tensity our nature is
capable of; nor precisely what degree is compatible with life, or with
the most perfect health. If intensity, then, is the standard by which we
are required to determine definitely the character of moral actions, we
are in reality required to fix definitely the value of an unknown
quantity, to wit: moral action, by a standard of which we are, and of
necessity must be, most profoundly ignorant. We are required to find the
definite by means of the indefinite; the plain by means of the "palpable
obscure." Has God, or our own reason, placed us in such a predicament as
this, in respect to the most momentous of all questions, the
determination of our true moral character and deserts?

3. While the standard under consideration is, and must be, unknown to
us, it is perpetually varying, and never fixed. The degree of intensity
of mental effort of which we are capable at one moment, differs from
that which is possible to us at another. The same holds equally of that
which is compatible with life and health. Can we believe that "the judge
of all the earth" requires us to conform, and holds us responsible for
not conforming to a standard located we cannot possibly know where, and
which is always movable, and never for a moment remaining fixed?

4. The absurdity of attempting to act in conformity to this principle,
in reference to particular duties, will show clearly that it cannot be
the standard of moral obligations in any instance. Suppose an individual
becomes convinced that it is his duty, that is, that God requires him to
walk or travel a given distance, or for a time to compose himself for
the purpose of sleeping. Now he must will with all his heart to perform
the duty before him. What if he should judge himself bound to will to
sleep, for example, and to will it with all possible intensity, or with
as great an intensity as consists with his health? How long would it
take him to compose himself to sleep in this manner? What if he should
with all possible intensity will to walk? What if, when with all
sincerity, he had intended to perform, in the best manner, the duty
devolved upon him, he should inquire whether the intention possessed the
requisite intensity? It would be just as rational to apply this standard
in the instances under consideration, as in any other.

5. That _Sincerity_, and not intensity of intention, presents the true
standard of moral judgment, is evident from the fact, that the former
commends itself to every man's conscience as perfectly intelligible, of
ready definition in itself, and of consequently ready application, in
determining the character and moral desert of all moral actions. We can
readily conceive what it is to yield all our powers and interests to the
Will of God, and to do it with the sincere intention of employing them
in the wisest and best manner for the accomplishment of the highest
good. We can conceive, too, what it is to employ our powers and
interests under the control of such an intention. We can also perceive
with perfect distinctness our obligation to live and act under the
supreme control of such an intention. If we are bound to yield to God at
all, we are bound to yield our entire being to his supreme control. If
we are bound to will and employ our powers and resources to produce any
good at all, we are bound to will and aim to produce the highest good.

This principle also is equally applicable in, determining the character
and deserts of all moral actions. Every honest mind can readily
determine the fact, whether it is or is not acting under the supreme
control of the intention under consideration. If we adopt this
principle, as expressing the meaning of the command requiring us to love
with _all_ the heart, perfect sunlight rests upon the Divine law. If we
adopt any other standard, perfect midnight hangs over that law.

6. If we conceive a moral agent really to live and act in full harmony
with the intention under consideration, it is impossible for us to
conceive, or affirm, that he has not done his entire duty. What more
ought a moral agent to intend than the highest good he can accomplish?
Should it be said, that he ought to intend this with a certain degree of
intensity, the reply is, that Sincerity implies an intention to will and
act, at all times, with that degree of intensity best adapted to the end
to be accomplished. What more can properly or wisely be demanded? Is not
this loving with all the heart?

7. On this principle, a much greater degree of intensity, and consequent
energy of action, will be secured, than on the other principle. Nothing
tends more effectually to palsy the energies of the mind, than the
attempt always to act with the greatest intensity. It is precisely like
the attempt of some orators, to speak, on all subjects alike, with the
greatest possible pathos and sublimity. On the other hand, let an
individual throw his whole being under the control of the grand
principle of doing all the good he can, and his powers will energize
with the greatest freedom, intensity, and effect. If, therefore, the
standard of moral obligation and moral desert has been wisely fixed,
Sincerity, and nothing else, is that standard.

8. I remark, once more, that Sincerity is the standard fixed in the
Scriptures of truth. In Jer. iii. 16, the Jews are accused of not
"turning to the Lord with _the whole heart_, but feignedly," that is,
with insincerity. If they had turned sincerely, they would, according to
this passage, have done it with the _whole heart_. The whole heart,
then, according to the express teachings of the Bible, is synonymous
with Sincerity and Sincerity according to the above definition of the
term. This is the true standard, according to revelation as well as
reason. I have other arguments, equally conclusive as the above, to
present, but these are sufficient. The importance of the subject,
together with its decisive bearing upon the momentous question to be
discussed in the next Chapter, is my apology for dwelling thus long upon
it.



CHAPTER X.

INTUITIONS, OR MORAL ACTS, NEVER OF A MIXED CHARACTER; THAT IS, PARTLY
RIGHT AND PARTLY WRONG.

WE are now prepared to consider the question, whether each moral act, or
exercise, is not always of a character purely unmixed? In other words,
whether every such act, or intention, is not always perfectly right or
perfectly wrong I would here be understood to speak of single acts, or
intuitions, in distinction from a series, which continues through some
definite period, as an hour or a day. Such series of acts may, of
course, be of a mixed character; that is, it may be made up of
individual acts, some of which are right and some wrong. But the
question is, can distinct, opposite, and contradictory elements, such as
sin and holiness, right and wrong, selfishness and benevolence, enter
into one and the same act No one will pretend that an individual is
virtuous at all, unless he _intends_ obedience to the moral law. The
question is, can an individual intend to obey and to disobey the law, in
one and the same act? On this question I remark,

1. That the principle established in the last Chapter really settles the
question. No one, to my knowledge, pretends, that, as far as sincerity
is concerned, the same moral act can be of a mixed character. Very few,
if any, will be guilty of the folly of maintaining, that an individual
can sincerely intend to obey and to disobey the law at one and the same
time. When such act is contemplated in this point of light, it is almost
universally admitted that it cannot be of a mixed character. But then
another test is applied--that of intensity. It is conceivable, at least,
it is said, that the intention might possess a higher degree of
intensity than it does possess. It is, therefore, pronounced defective.
On the same supposition, every moral act in existence might be
pronounced defective. For we can, at least, conceive, that it might
possess a higher degree of intensity. It has been abundantly established
in the last Chapter, however, that there is no such test of moral
actions as this, a test authorized either by reason or revelation.
Sincerity is the only standard by which to determine the character and
deserts of all moral acts and states. In the light of this standard, it
is intuitively evident, that no one act can combine such contradictory
and opposite elements as sin and holiness, right and wrong, an intention
to obey and to disobey the moral law.

2. The opinions and reasonings of distinguished philosophers and
theologians on the subject may be adduced in confirmation of the
doctrine under consideration. Let it be borne in mind, that if the same
act embraces such contradictory and opposite elements as sin and
holiness, it must be, in reality, opposed to itself, one element
constituting the act, being in harmony with the law, and in opposition
to the other element which is opposed to the law.

Now the remark of Edwards upon this subject demands our special
attention. "It is absurd," he says, "to suppose the same individual Will
to oppose itself in its present act; or the present choice to be
opposite to and resisting present choice; as absurd as it is to talk of
two contrary motions in the same moving body at the same time." Does not
the common sense of the race affirm the truth of this statement Sin and
holiness cannot enter into the same act, unless it embraces a serious
intention to obey and not to obey the moral law at the same time. Is not
this, in the language of Edwards, as "absurd as it is to talk of two
contrary motions in the same moving body at the same time."

Equally conclusive is the argument of Kant upon the same subject. Having
shown that mankind are divided into two classes, the morally good and
the morally evil; that the distinguishing characteristic of the former
is, that they have adopted the Moral law as their maxim, that is, that
it is their serious intention to comply with all the claims of the law;
and of the latter, that they have not adopted the law as their maxim; he
adds, "The sentiment of mankind is, therefore, never indifferent
relatively to the law, and he never can be neither good nor evil." Then
follows the paragraph to which special attention is invited. "In like
manner, mankind cannot be, in some points of character, morally good,
while he is, at the same time, in others evil; for, is he in any point
good, then the moral law is his maxim (that is, it is his serious
intention to obey the law in the length and breadth of its claims); but
is he likewise, at the same time, in some points bad, then quoad [as to]
these, the Moral law is not his maxim, (that is, in these particulars,
it is his intention not to obey the law). But since the law is one and
universal, and as it commands in one act of life, so in all, then the
maxim referring to it would be, at the same time universal and
particular, which is a contradiction;" (that is, it would be his
intention to obey the law universally, and at the same time, not to obey
it in certain particulars, one of the most palpable contradictions
conceivable.) To my mind the above argument has all the force of
demonstration. Let it be borne in mind, that no man is morally good at
all, unless it is his intention to obey the Moral law universally. This
being his intention, the law has no higher claims upon him. Its full
demands are, and must be, met in that intention. For what can the law
require more, than that the voluntary powers shall be in full harmony
with its demands, which is always true, when there is a sincere
intention to obey the law universally. Now, with this intention, there
can be nothing in the individual morally evil; unless there is, at the
same time, an intention not to obey the law in certain particulars; that
is, not to obey it universally. A mixed moral act, or intention,
therefore, is possible, only on this condition, that it shall embrace
these two contradictory elements--a serious determination to obey the
law universally, and a determination equally decisive, at the same time,
to disobey it in certain particulars; that is, not to obey it
universally. I leave it with the advocates of the doctrine of Mixed
Moral Action to dispose of this difficulty as they can.

3. If we could conceive of a moral act of a mixed character, the Moral
law could not recognize it as holy at all. It presents but one scale by
which to determine the character of moral acts, the command requiring us
to love with all the heart. It knows such acts only as conformed, or not
conformed, to this command. The mixed action, if it could exist, would,
in the light of the Moral law, be placed among the not-conformed, just
as much as those which are exclusively sinful. The Moral law does not
present two scales, according to one of which actions are classed as
conformed or not-conformed, and according to the other, as partly
conformed and partly not-conformed. Such a scale as this last is unknown
in the circle of revealed truth. The Moral law presents us but one
scale. Those acts which are in full conformity to its demands, it puts
down as holy. Those not thus conformed, it puts down as sinful; as holy
or sinful is the only light in which actions stand according to the law.

4. Mixed actions, if they could exist, are as positively prohibited by
the law, and must therefore be placed under the category of total
disobedience, just as much as those which are in themselves entirely
sinful. While the law requires us to love with _all_ the heart, it
positively prohibits everything short of this. The individual,
therefore, who puts forth an act of a mixed character, puts forth an act
as totally and positively prohibited as the man who puts forth a totally
sinful one. Both alike must be placed under the category of total
disobedience. A father requires his two sons to go to the distance of
ten rods, and positively prohibits their stopping short of the distance
required. One determines to go nine rods, and there to stop. The other
determines not to move at all. One has put forth an act of total
disobedience just as much as the other. So of all moral acts which stop
short of loving with all the heart.

5. A moral act of a mixed character cannot possibly proceed from that
regard to moral obligation which is an essential condition of the
existence of any degree of virtue at all. Virtue, in no degree, can
exist, except from a sacred regard to moral obligation. The individual
who thus regards moral obligation in one degree, will regard it equally
in all degrees. The individual, therefore, who, from such regard, yields
to the claims of the law at all, will and must conform to the full
measure of its demands. He cannot be in voluntary opposition to any one
demand of that law. A mixed moral act, then, cannot possibly proceed
from that regard to moral obligation which is the essential condition of
holiness in any degree. This leads me to remark,

6. That a moral act of a mixed character, if it could exist, could arise
from none other than the most purely selfish and wicked intention
conceivable. Three positions, we will suppose, are before the mind--a
state of perfect conformity to the law, a state of total disobedience,
and a third state combining the elements of obedience and disobedience.
By a voluntary act of moral election, an individual places himself in
the last state, in distinction from each of the others. What must have
been his intention in so doing? He cannot have acted from a regard to
moral rectitude. In that case, he would have elected the state of total
obedience. His intention must have been to secure, at the same time, the
reward of holiness and the "pleasures of sin"--a most selfish and wicked
state surely. The supposition of a moral act, that is, intention
combining the elements of holiness and sin--is as great an absurdity as
the supposition, that a circle has become a square, without losing any
of its properties as a circle.

7. I remark again that the doctrine of mixed moral action is
contradicted by the express teachings of inspiration. "Whosoever cometh
after me," says Christ, "and forsaketh not _all_ that he hath, he cannot
be my disciple." The Bible knows men only as the disciples, or not
disciples, of Christ. All who really comply with the condition above
named are His disciples. All others, however near their compliance, are
not His disciples, any more than those who have not conformed in any
degree. If an individual has really conformed to this condition, he has
surely done his entire duty. He has loved with all his heart. What other
meaning can we attach to the phrase, "forsaketh all that he hath?" All
persons who have not complied with this principle are declared to be
wholly without the circle of discipleship. What is this, but a positive
assertion, that a moral action of a mixed character is an impossibility?

Again. "No man can serve two masters." "Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
Let us suppose that we can put forth intentions of a mixed
character--intentions partly sinful and partly holy. So far as they are
in harmony with the law, we serve God. So far as they are not in harmony
with the law, we serve Mammon. Now, if all our moral exercises can be of
a mixed character, then it is true that, at every period of our lives,
we can serve God and Mammon. The service which we can render also to
each, may be in every conceivable degree. We may render, for example,
ninety-nine degrees of service to God and one to Mammon, or ninety-nine
to Mammon and one to God. Or our service may be equally divided between
the two. Can we conceive of a greater absurdity than this?

What also is the meaning of such declarations as this, "no fountain can
send forth both sweet water and bitter," if the heart of man may
exercise intentions combining such elements as sin and holiness?
Declarations of a similar kind abound in the Bible. They are surely
without meaning, if the doctrine of Mixed Moral Actions is true.

8. Finally. It may be questioned whether the whole range of error
presents a dogma of more pernicious tendency than the doctrine of Mixed
Moral Actions. It teaches moral agents that they may be selfish in all
their moral exercises, and yet have enough of moral purity mingled with
them to secure acceptance with the "Judge of all the earth." A man who
has adopted such a principle will almost never, whatever his course of
life may be, seem to himself to be destitute of real virtue. He will
always seem to himself to possess enough of it, to render his acceptance
with God certain. The kind of virtue which can mingle itself with
selfishness and sin in individual intentions or moral acts, may be
possessed, in different degrees, by the worst men on earth. If this be
assumed as real holiness--that holiness which will stand the ordeal of
eternity, who will, who should conceive himself destitute of a title to
heaven? Here is the fatal rock on which myriads of minds are wrecked for
ever. Let it ever be borne in mind, that the same fountain cannot, at
the same time and place, "send forth both sweet water and bitter." "Ye
cannot serve God and Mammon."

OBJECTIONS.

Two or three objections to the doctrine above established demand a
passing notice here.

AN ACT OF WILL MAY RESULT FROM A VARIETY OF MOTIVES.

1. It is said that the mind may act under the influence of a great
variety of motives at one and the same time. The same intention,
therefore, may be the result of different and opposite motives, and as a
consequence, combine the elements of good and evil. In reply, I remark,
that when the Will is in harmony with the Moral law, it respects the
good and rejects the bad, alike in _all_ the motives presented. The
opposite is true when it is not in harmony with the law. The same regard
or disregard for moral obligation which will induce an individual to
reject the evil and choose the good, or to make an opposite choice, in
respect to one motive, will induce the same in respect to all other
motives present at the same time. A mixed moral act can no more result
from a combination of motives, than different and opposite motions can
result in the same body at the same time, from forces acting upon it
from different directions.

LOVING WITH GREATER INTENSITY AT ONE TIME THAN ANOTHER.

2. It is said that we are conscious of loving our friends, and serving
God, with greater strength and intensity at one time than at another.
Yet our love, in all such instances, is real. Love, therefore, may be
real, and yet be greatly defective--that is, it may be real, and embrace
elements morally wrong. It is true, that love may exist in different
degrees, as far as the action of the Sensibility is concerned. It is not
so, however, with love in the form of intention--intention in harmony
with moral obligation, the only form of love demanded by the moral law.
Such intention, in view of the same degrees of light, and under the same
identical influences, cannot possess different degrees of intensity. The
Will always yields, when it really does yield at all to moral
obligation, with all the intensity it is, for the time being, capable
of, or the nature of the case demands.

MOMENTARY REVOLUTIONS OF CHARACTER.

3. On this theory, it is said, an individual may become perfectly good
and perfectly bad, for any indefinite number of instances, in any
definite period of time. This consequence, to say nothing of what is
likely to take place in fact, does, as far as possibility is concerned,
follow from this theory. But let us contemplate it, for a moment, in the
light of an example or two. An individual, from regard to moral
obligation, maintains perfect integrity of character, up to a given
period of time. Then, under the influence of temptation, he tells a
deliberate falsehood. Did his previous integrity so fuse itself into
that lie, as to make it partly good and partly bad?--as to make it
anything else than a _total_ falsehood? Did the prior goodness of David
make his acts of adultery and murder partly good and partly bad? Let the
advocate of mixed moral action extract the elements of moral goodness
from these acts if he can. He can just as well find these elements here,
as in any other acts of disobedience to the Moral law. "The
righteousness of the righteous cannot save him" from total sinfulness,
any more than from condemnation "in the day of his transgression."



CHAPTER XI.

RELATION OF THE WILL TO THE INTELLIGENCE AND SENSIBILITY, IN ALL ACTS OR
STATES, MORALLY RIGHT OR WRONG.

THE Will, sustaining the relation it does to the Intelligence and
Sensibility, must yield itself to the control of one or the other of
these departments of our nature. In all acts and states morally right,
the Will is in harmony with the Intelligence, from respect to moral
obligation or duty; and all the desires and propensities, all the
impulses of the Sensibility, are held in strict subordination. In all
acts morally wrong, the Will is controlled by the Sensibility,
irrespective of the dictates of the Intelligence. Impulse, and not a
regard to the just, the right, the true and the good, is the law of its
action. In all such cases, as the impulses which control the Will are
various, the external forms through which the internal acts, or
intentions, will manifest themselves, will be equally diversified. Yet
the _spring_ of action is in all instances one and the same, impulse
instead of a regard to duty. Virtue does not consist in being controlled
by _amiable_, instead of _dissocial_ and _malign_ impulses, and in a
consequent exterior of a corresponding beauty and loveliness. It
consists in a voluntary harmony of intention with the just, the right,
the true and the good from a sacred respect to moral obligation, instead
of being controlled by mere impulse of any kind whatever. On the
principle above illustrated, I remark:

THOSE WHO ARE OR ARE NOT TRULY VIRTUOUS, HOW DISTINGUISHED.

1. That the real distinction between those who are truly virtuous, and
those who are not, now becomes apparent. It does not consist, in all
instances, in the mere exterior _form_ of action, but in the _spring_ or
_intention_ from which all such action proceeds. In most persons, and in
all, at different periods, the amiable and social propensities
predominate over the dissocial and malign. Hence much of the exterior
will be characterized by much that is truly beautiful and lovely. In
many, also, the impulsive power of conscience--that department of the
Sensibility which is correlated to the idea of right and wrong, and
impels to obedience to the Moral law--is strongly developed, and may
consequently take its turn in controlling the Will. In all such
instances, there will be the external forms of real virtue. It is one
thing, however, to put on the exterior of virtue from mere impulse, and
quite another, to do the same thing from an internal respect and sacred
regard for duty.

How many individuals, who may be now wearing the fairest forms of
virtue, will find within them, as soon as present impulses are
supplanted by the strong action of others, in opposition to rectitude,
no maxims of Will, in harmony with the law of goodness, to resist and
subject such impulses. Their conduct is in conformity to the
requirements of virtue, not from any internal intention to be in
universal harmony with moral obligation, but simply because, for the
time being, the strongest impulse happens to be in that direction. No
individual, it should ever be kept in mind, makes any approach to real
virtue, whatever impulses he may be controlled by, till, by a sealing
act of moral election, the Will is placed in harmony with the universal
law of duty, and all external action of a moral character proceeds from
this internal, all-controlling intention. Here we find the broad and
fundamental distinction between those who are truly virtuous, and those
who are not.

SELFISHNESS AND BENEVOLENCE.

2. We are also prepared to explain the real difference between
_Selfishness_ and _Benevolence_. The latter expresses and comprehends
all the forms of real virtue of every kind and degree. The former
comprehends and expresses the forms of vice or sin. Benevolence consists
in the full harmony of the Will or intention with the just, the right,
the true, and the good, from a regard to moral obligation. Selfishness
consists in voluntary subjection to _impulse_, irrespective of such
obligation. Whenever self-gratification is the law of action, there is
pure selfishness, whatever the character or direction of the impulse may
be. Selfishness has sometimes been very incorrectly defined, as a
supreme regard to our own interest or happiness. If this is a correct
definition, the drunkard is not selfish at all; for he sacrifices his
present and future happiness, to gratify a beastly appetite, and
destroys present peace in the act of self-gratification. If selfishness,
however, consists in mere subjection to impulse, how supreme his
selfishness at once appears! A mother who does not act from moral
obligation, when under the strong influence of maternal affection,
appears most distinguished in her assiduous care of her offspring. Now
let this affection be crossed by some plain question of duty, so that
she must violate the latter, or subject the former, and how soon will
selfishness manifest itself, in the triumph of impulse over duty! A gift
is not more effectual in blinding the eyes, than natural affection
uncontrolled by a regard to moral obligation. Men are just as selfish,
that is, as perfectly subject to the law of self-gratification, when
under the influence of the social and amiable propensities, as when
under that of the dissocial and malign, when, in both instances alike,
impulse is the law of action. Moral agents were made, and are required
to be, social and amiable, from higher principles than mere impulse.

COMMON MISTAKE.

3. I notice a mistake of fundamental importance into which many appear
to have fallen, in judging of the moral character of individuals. As we
have seen, when the Will is wholly controlled by the Sensibility
irrespective of moral obligation, the impulsive department of conscience
takes its turn, among the other propensities, in controlling the action
of the voluntary power. Now because, in all such instances, there are
the exterior forms of virtue, together with an apparently sincere
internal regard for the same, the presence of real virtue is
consequently inferred. Now before such a conclusion can be authorized,
one question needs to be determined, the _spring_ from which such
apparent virtues originate. They may arise from that regard to moral
obligation which constitutes real virtue. Or they may be the result
purely of excited Sensibility, which, in such instances happens to be in
the direction of the forms of virtue.

DEFECTIVE FORMS OF VIRTUE.

4. Another very frequent mistake bearing upon moral character deserves a
passing notice here. Men sometimes manifest, and doubtless with a
consciousness of inward sincerity, a very high regard for some one or
more particular principles of virtue, while they manifest an equal
disregard of all other principles. Every real reform, for example, has
its basis in some great principle of morality. Men often advocate, with
great zeal, such reforms, together with the principle on which they
rest. They talk of virtue, when called to defend that principle, of a
regard to moral obligation, together with the necessity of
self-sacrifice at the shrine of duty, as if respect for universal
rectitude commanded the entire powers of their being. Yet but a slight
observation will most clearly evince, that their regard for the right,
the true, and the good, is wholly circumscribed by this one principle.
Still, such persons are very likely to regard themselves as virtuous in
a very high degree. In reality, however, they have not made the first
approach to real virtue. Their respect for this one principle, together
with its specific applications, has its spring in some other department
of their nature, than a regard for what is right in itself. Otherwise
their respect for what is right, would be co-extensive with the entire
range of moral obligation.

SEC. II. TEST OF CONFORMITY TO MORAL PRINCIPLE.

In preceding chapters, the great truth has been fully established, that
the Moral law addresses its commands and prohibitions to the Will only,
and that moral obligation is predicable only of the action of the
voluntary power, other states being required, only as their existence
and character are conditioned on the right exercise of that power. From
this, it undeniably follows, that the Moral law, in all the length and
breadth of its requirements, finds its entire fulfilment within the
sphere of the Will. A question of great importance here presents itself:
By what test shall we determine whether the Will is, or is not, in full
harmony with the law? In the investigation of this question, we may
perhaps be thought to be intruding somewhat into the domain of Moral
Philosophy. Reasons of great importance, in the judgment of the writer,
however, demand its introduction here.

The Moral law is presented to us through two comprehensive precepts.
Yet, a moment's reflection will convince us that both these precepts
have their basis in one common principle, and are, in reality, the
enunciation of that one principle. The identical reason why we are bound
to love God with all the heart, requires us to love our neighbors as
ourselves. So the subject is presented by our Saviour himself. After
speaking of the first and great commandment, He adds, "the second is
like unto it," that is, it rests upon the same principle as the first.

Now the question is, What is this great principle, obedience to which
implies a full discharge of all obligation, actual and conceivable; the
principle which comprehends all other principles of the Moral law, and
of which each particular precept is only the enunciation of this one
common principle in its endlessly diversified applications? This
principle has been announced in forms somewhat different, by different
philosophers. I will present two or three of these forms. The first that
I notice is this.

_It shall be the serious intention of all moral agents to esteem and
treat all persons, interests, and objects according to their perceived
intrinsic and relative importance, and out of respect for their
intrinsic worth, or in obedience to the idea of duty, or moral
obligation._

Every one will readily apprehend, that the above is a correct
enunciation of the principle under consideration. It expresses the
fundamental reason why obedience to each and every moral principle is
binding upon us. The reason and only reason why we are bound to love God
with _all the heart_, is the intrinsic and relative importance of the
object presented to the mind in the contemplation of the Infinite and
Perfect. The reason why we are bound to love our neighbor as ourselves,
is the fact, that his rights and interests are apprehended, as of the
same value and sacredness as our own. In the intention under
consideration, all obligation, actual and conceivable, is really met.
God will occupy his appropriate place in the heart, and the creature
his. No real right or interest will be dis-esteemed, and each will
intentionally command that attention and regard which its intrinsic and
relative importance demands. Every moral agent is under obligation
infinite ever to be under the supreme control of such an intention, and
no such agent can be under obligation to be or to do anything more than
this.

The same principle has been announced in a form somewhat different by
Kant, to wit: "So act that thy maxim of Will (intention) might become
law in a system of universal moral obligation"--that is, let your
controlling intention be always such, that all Intelligents may properly
be required ever to be under the supreme control of the same intention.

By Cousin, the same principle is thus announced: "The moral principle
being universal, the sign, the external type by which a resolution may
be recognized as conformed to this principle, is the impossibility of
not erecting the immediate motive (intention) of the particular act or
resolution, into a maxim of universal legislation"--that is, we cannot
but affirm that every moral agent in existence is bound to act from the
same motive or intention.

It will readily be perceived, that each of these forms is really
identical with that above announced and illustrated. It is only when we
are conscious of the supreme control of the intention, to esteem and
treat all persons and interests according to their intrinsic and
relative importance, from respect to the idea of duty, that, in
conformity with the principle as announced by Kant, our maxim of Will
might become law in a system of universal legislation. When we are
conscious of the control of such an intention, it is impossible for us
not to affirm, according to the principle, as announced by Cousin, that
all Intelligents are bound always to be under the control of the same
intention. Two or three suggestions will close what I have to say on
this point.

COMMON MISTAKE.

1. We notice the fundamental mistake of many philosophers and divines in
treating of moral exercises, or states of mind. Such exercises are very
commonly represented as consisting wholly in excited states of the
Sensibility. Thus Dr. Brown represents all moral exercises and states as
consisting in emotions of a given character. One of the most
distinguished Professors of Theology in this country laid down this
proposition, as the basis of a course of lectures on Moral Philosophy,
that "everything right or wrong in a moral agent, consists exclusively
of right or wrong _feelings_"--feelings as distinguished from volitions
as phenomena of Will. Now precisely the reverse of the above proposition
is true, to wit: that _nothing_ right or wrong, in a moral agent,
consists in any states of the Sensibility irrespective of the action of
the Will. Who would dare to say, when he has particular emotions,
desires, or involuntary feelings, that the Moral law has no further
claim upon him, that all its demands are fully met in those feelings?
Who would dare to affirm, when he has any particular emotions, that all
moral agents in existence are bound to have those identical feelings? If
the demands of the Moral law are fully met in any states of the
Sensibility--which would be true, if everything right or wrong, in moral
agents, consists of right or wrong feelings--then all moral agents, at
all times, and under all circumstances, are bound to have these same
feelings. For what the law demands, at one time, it demands at all
times. All the foundations of moral obligation are swept away by the
theory under consideration.

LOVE AS REQUIRED BY THE MORAL LAW.

2. We are now prepared to state distinctly the _nature_ of that _love_
which is the "fulfilling of the law." It does not, as all admit, consist
in the mere external act. Nor does it consist, for reasons equally
obvious and universally admitted, in any mere _convictions_ of the
Intelligence. For reasons above assigned, it does not consist in any
states of the Sensibility. No man, when he is conscious of such
feelings, can affirm that all Intelligents are bound, under all
circumstances, to have the same feelings that he now has. This would be
true, if the love under consideration consists of such feelings. But
when, from, a regard to the idea of duty, the whole being is voluntarily
consecrated to the promotion, in the highest degree, of universal good
and when, in the pursuit of this end, there is a serious intention to
esteem and treat all beings and interests according to their intrinsic
and relative importance; _here_ is the love which is the fulfilling of
the law. Here is the intention by which all intelligents, in reference
to all interests and objects, are, at all times, bound to be controlled,
and which must be imposed, as universal law, upon such Intelligents in
every system of righteous moral legislation. Here is the intention, in
the exercise of which all obligation is fully met. Here, consequently,
is that love which is the fulfilling of the law. In a subsequent
Chapter, my design is to show that this is the view of the subject
presented in the Scriptures of truth. I now present it merely as a
necessary truth of the universal Intelligence.

IDENTITY OF CHARACTER AMONG ALL BEINGS MORALLY VIRTUOUS.

3. We now perceive clearly in what consists the real identity of moral
character, in all Intelligents of true moral rectitude. Their
occupations, forms of external deportment, and their internal
convictions and feelings, may be endlessly diversified. Yet one
omnipresent, all-controlling intention, an intention which is ever one
and identical, directs all their moral movements. It is the intention,
in the promotion of the highest good of universal being, to esteem and
treat all persons and interests according to their intrinsic and
relative importance, from regard to moral obligation. Thus moral virtue,
in all Intelligents possessed of it, is perfectly one and identical. In
this sense only are all moral agents capable of perfect identity of
character. They cannot all have, at all times, or perhaps at any time,
precisely the same thoughts and feelings. But they can all have, at all
times, one and the same intention. The omnipresent influence and control
of the intention above illustrated, constitutes a perfect identity of
character in God and all beings morally pure in existence. For this
reason, the supreme control of this intention implies, in all moral
agents alike, a perfect fulfilment of the law, a full discharge of all
obligation of every kind.



CHAPTER XII.

THE ELEMENT OF THE WILL IN COMPLEX PHENOMENA.

SECTION I.

EVERY perception, every judgment, every thought, which appears within
the entire sphere of the Intelligence; every sensation, every emotion,
every desire, all the states of the Sensibility, present objects for the
action of the Will in one direction or another. The sphere of the Will's
activity, therefore, is as extensive as the vast and almost boundless
range of the Intelligence and Sensibility both. Now while all the
phenomena of these two last named faculties are, in themselves, wholly
destitute of moral character, the action of the Will, in the direction
of such phenomena, constitutes _complex_ states of mind, which have a
positive moral character. In all instances, the _moral_ and _voluntary_
elements are one and identical. As the distinction under consideration
has been overlooked by the great mass of philosophers and theologians,
and as very great errors have thereby arisen, not only in philosophy,
but in theology and morals both, I will dwell at more length upon the
subject than I otherwise should have done. My remarks will be confined
to the action of the Will in the direction of the _natural propensities_
and _religious affections_.

ACTION OF THE WILL IN THE DIRECTION OF THE NATURAL
PROPENSITIES.--EMOTION, DESIRE, AND WISH DEFINED.

1. In respect to the action of the Will in the direction of the natural
propensities, such as the appetites, the love of esteem, of power, &c.,
I would remark, that the complex states thence resulting, are commonly
explained as simple feelings or states of the Sensibility. In presenting
this subject in a proper light, the following explanations are deemed
necessary. When any physical power operates upon any of the organs of
sense, or when any thought is present in the Intelligence, the state of
the Sensibility immediately and necessarily resulting is called a
_sensation_ or _emotion_. When any feeling arises impelling the Will to
seek or avoid the object of that sensation or emotion, this impulsive
state of the Sensibility is called a _desire_. When the Will concurs
with the desire, a complex state of mind results, called a _wish_. Wish
is distinguished from Desire in this, that in the former, the desire is
cherished and perpetuated by the concurrence of the Will with the
desire. When the Desire impels the Will towards a prohibited object, the
action of the Will, in concurrence with the desire, constitutes a wish
morally wrong. When the Desire impels the Will in a required direction,
and the Will, from a respect to the idea of duty, concurs with the
desire, a wish arises which is morally virtuous. This principle holds
true in regard to the action of all the propensities. The excitement of
the propensity, as a state of the Sensibility, constitutes desire--a
feeling in itself destitute of all moral qualities. The action of the
Will in concurrence with, or opposition to, this feeling, constitutes a
complex state of mind morally right or wrong.

ANGER, PRIDE, AMBITION, &c.

Anger, for example, as prohibited by the moral law, is not a mere
_feeling_ of displeasure awakened by some injury, real or supposed,
perpetrated by another. This state, on the other hand, consists in the
surrendering of the Will to the control of that feeling, and thus acting
from malign impulse. Pride also is not the mere _desire_ of esteem. It
consists in voluntary subjection to that propensity, seeking esteem and
admiration as the great end of existence. Ambition, too, is not mere
desire of power, but the voluntary surrendering of our being to the
control of that propensity. The same, I repeat, holds true in respect to
all the propensities. No mere excitement of the Sensibility,
irrespective of the action of the Will, has any moral character. In the
action of the Will in respect to such states--action which must arise in
some direction under such circumstances--moral guilt, or
praiseworthiness, arises.

I might here adduce other cases in illustration of the same principle;
as, for example, the fact that intemperance in food and drink does not
consist, as a moral act or state, in the mere strength of the
appetite--that is, in the degree in which it is excited in the presence
of its appropriate objects. Nor does it consist in mere excess in the
quantity partaken of--excess considered as an external act. It consists,
on the other hand, in the surrendering of the voluntary power to the
control of the appetite. The excess referred to is the _consequent_ and
_index_ of such voluntary subjection. The above examples, however, are
abundantly sufficient to illustrate the principle.

RELIGIOUS AFFECTIONS.

2. We will now contemplate the element of the Will in those complex
phenomena denominated _religious affections_. The position which I here
assume is this, that whatever in such affections is morally right and
praiseworthy, that which is directly referred to, where such affections
are required of us, is the voluntary element to be found in them. The
voluntary element is directly required. Other elements are required only
on the ground that their existence is conditioned upon, and necessarily
results from, that of the voluntary element. This must be admitted, or
we must deny the position established in the last Chapter, to wit: that
all the requirements of the Moral law are fully met in the right action
of the Will.

SCRIPTURE TESTIMONY.

My object now is to show, that this is the light in which the subject is
really presented in the Scriptures. I will cite, as examples, the three
cardinal virtues of Christianity, Repentance, Love, and Faith. The
question is, Are these virtues or affections, presented in the Bible as
mere convictions of the Intelligence, or states of the Sensibility? Are
they not, on the other hand, presented as voluntary states of mind, or
as acts of Will? Are not the commands requiring them fully met in such
acts?

REPENTANCE.

In regard to Repentance, I would remark, that the term is scarcely used
at all in the Old Testament. Other terms and phrases are there employed
to express the same thing; as for example, "Turn ye;" "Let the wicked
forsake his way;" "Let him turn unto the Lord;" "He that confesseth and
forsaketh his sins shall find mercy," &c. In all such passages
repentance is most clearly presented as consisting exclusively of
voluntary acts or intentions. The commands requiring it are, therefore,
fully met in such acts. In the New Testament this virtue is
distinguished from Godly Sorrow, the state of the Sensibility which
accompanies its exercise. As distinguished from the action of the
Sensibility, what can it be, but a voluntary state, as presented in the
Old Testament? When the mind places itself in voluntary harmony with
those convictions and feelings which attend a consciousness of sin as
committed against God and man, this is the repentance recognized and
required as such in the Bible. It does not consist in the mere
_conviction_ of sin; for then the worst of men, and even devils, would
be truly repentant. Nor does it consist in the states of the Sensibility
which attend such convictions; else Repentance would be Godly Sorrow,
from which the Bible, as stated above, definitely distinguishes it. It
must consist in a voluntary act, in which, in accordance with those
convictions and feelings, the mind turns from sin to holiness, from
selfishness to benevolence, from the paths of disobedience to the
service of God.

LOVE.

A single passage will distinctly set before us the nature of _Love_ as
required in the Bible--that love which comprehends all other virtues,
and the exercise of which is the "fulfilling of the law." "Hereby," says
the sacred writer, "we perceive the love of God." The phrase "_of God_"
is not found in the original. The passage, as it there stands, reads
thus: "By this we know _love;_" that is, we know the nature of the love
which the Scriptures require, when they affirm, that "love is the
fulfilling of the law." What is that in which, according to the express
teaching of inspiration, we learn the nature of this love? "Because he
laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the
brethren." In the act of "laying down his life for us," we are here
told, that the love required of us is embodied and revealed. What is the
nature of this love? I answer,

1. It is not a conviction of the Intelligence, nor any excited state of
the Sensibility. No such thing is here referred to.

2. It does and must consist exclusively in a voluntary act, or
intention. "He laid down his life for us." What is this but a voluntary
act? Yet this is love, the "love which is the fulfilling of the law."

3. As an act of Will, love must consist exclusively in a voluntary
devotion of our entire powers to one end, the highest good of universal
being, from a regard to the idea of duty. "He laid down his life for
us." "We _ought_ to lay down our lives for the brethren." In each
particular here presented, a universal principle is expressed and
revealed. Christ "laid down his life for us," because he was in a state
of voluntary consecration to the good of universal being. The particular
act was put forth, as a means to this end. In a voluntary consecration
to the same end, and as a means to this end, it is declared, that "we
ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." When, therefore, the
Scriptures require love of us, they do not demand the existence of
particular convictions of the Intelligence, nor certain states of the
Sensibility. They require the voluntary consecration of our entire being
and interests to the great end of universal good. In this act of
consecration, and in the employment of all our powers and interests,
under the control of this one intention, we fulfil the Law. We fully
discharge all obligations, actual and conceivable, that are devolved
upon us. The exercise of love, like that of repentance, is attended with
particular convictions and feelings. These feelings are indirectly
required in the precepts demanding love, and required, because when the
latter does exist, the former will of course exist.

OF FAITH.

But little need be said in explanation of the nature of Faith. It is
everywhere presented in the Bible, as synonymous with _trust_, reposing
confidence, committing our interests to God as to a "faithful Creator."
Now Trust is undeniably a voluntary state of mind. "I know," says Paul,
"in whom I have believed," that is, exercised faith, "that he is able to
keep that which I have _committed_ to him against that day." Here the
act of committing to the care of another, which can be nothing else than
an act of Will, is presented as synonymous with Faith. Faith, then, does
not consist in conviction, nor in any excited feelings. It is a
voluntary act, _entrusting_ our interests to God as to a faithful
Creator. The principle above established must apply to all religious
affections of every kind.

SEC. II. GENERAL TOPICS SUGGESTED BY THE TRUTH ILLUSTRATED IN THE
PRECEDING SECTION.

Few truths are of greater practical moment than that illustrated in the
preceding section. My object, now, is to apply it to the elucidation of
certain important questions which require elucidation.

CONVICTIONS, FEELINGS AND EXTERNAL ACTIONS--WHY REQUIRED, OR PROHIBITED.

1. We see why it is, that, while no mere external action, no state of
the Intelligence or Sensibility, has any moral character in itself,
irrespective of the action of the Will, still such acts and states are
specifically and formally required or prohibited in the Bible. In such
precepts the _effect_ is put for the _cause_. These acts and states are
required, or prohibited, as the natural and necessary results of right
or wrong intentions. The thing really referred to, in such commands and
prohibitions, is not the acts or states specified, but the _cause_ of
such acts and states, to wit: the right or wrong action of the Will.
Suppose, that a certain loathsome disease of the body would necessarily
result from certain intentions, or acts of Will. Now God might prohibit
the intention which causes that disease, in either of two ways. He might
specify the intention and directly prohibit that; or he might prohibit
the same thing, in such a form as this: Thou shalt not have this
disease. Every one will perceive that, in both prohibitions, the same
thing, precisely, would be referred to and intended, to wit: the
intention which sustains to the evil designed to be prevented, the
relation of a cause. The same principle, precisely, holds true in
respect to all external actions and states of the Intelligence and
Sensibility, which are specifically required or prohibited.

OUR RESPONSIBILITY IN RESPECT TO SUCH PHENOMENA.

2. We also distinctly perceive the ground of our responsibility for the
existence of external actions, and internal convictions and feelings.
Whatever effects, external or internal, necessarily result, and are or
may be known to result, from the right or wrong action of the Will, we
may properly be held responsible for. Now, all external actions and
internal convictions and feelings which are required of or prohibited to
us, sustain precisely this relation to the right or wrong action of the
Will. The intention being given, the effect follows as a consequence.
For this reason we are held responsible for the effect.

FEELINGS HOW CONTROLLED BY THE WILL.

3. We now notice the _power of control_ which the Will has over the
feelings.

(1.) In one respect its control is unlimited. It may yield itself to the
control of the feelings, or wholly withhold its concurrence.

(2.) In respect to all feelings, especially those which impel to violent
or unlawful action, the Will may exert a direct influence which will
either greatly modify, or totally suppress the feeling. For example,
when there is an inflexible purpose of Will not to yield to angry
feelings, if they should arise, and to suppress them, as soon as they
appear, feelings of a violent character will not result to any great
extent, whatever provocations the mind may be subject to. The same holds
true of almost all feelings of every kind. Whenever they appear, if they
are directly and strongly willed down, they will either be greatly
modified, or totally disappear.

(3.) Over the action and states of the Sensibility the Will may exert an
indirect influence which is all-powerful. If, for example, the Will is
in full harmony with the infinite, the eternal, the just, the right, the
true and the good, the Intelligence will, of course, be occupied with
"whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good
report," and the Sensibility, continually acted upon by such objects,
will mirror forth, in pure emotions and desires, the pure thoughts of
the Intelligence, and the hallowed purposes of the Will. The Sensibility
will be wholly isolated from all feelings gross and sensual. On the
other hand, let the Will be yielded to the control of impure and sensual
impulse, and how gross and impure the thoughts and feelings will become.
In yielding, or refusing to yield, to the supreme control of the law of
Goodness, the Will really, though indirectly, determines the action of
the Intelligence and Sensibility both.

(4.) To present the whole subject in a proper light, a fixed law of the
_affections_ demands special attention. A husband, for example, has
pledged to his wife, not only kind intentions, but the exclusive control
of those peculiar affections which constitute the basis of the marriage
union. Let him cherish a proper regard for the sacredness of that
pledge, and the wife will so completely and exclusively fill and command
her appropriate sphere in the affections, that, under no circumstances
whatever, will there be a tendency towards any other individual. The
same holds true of every department of the affections, not only in
respect to those which connect us with the creature, but also with the
Creator. The affections the Will may control by a fixed and changeless
law.

Such being the relation of the Will to the Sensibility, while it is true
that there is nothing right or wrong in any feelings, irrespective of
the action of the Will, still the presence of feelings impure and
sensual, may be a certain indication of the wrong action of the
voluntary power. In such a light their presence should always be
regarded.

RELATION OF FAITH TO OTHER EXERCISES MORALLY RIGHT.

4. In the preceding Section it has been fully shown, that love,
repentance, faith, and all other religious exercises, are, in their
fundamental and characteristic elements, phenomena of the Will. We will
now, for a few moments, contemplate the relations of these different
exercises to one another, especially the relation of _Faith_ to other
exercises of a kindred character. While it is true, as has been
demonstrated in a preceding Chapter, that the Will cannot at the same
time put forth intentions of a contradictory character, such as sin and
holiness, it is equally true, that it may simultaneously put forth acts
of a homogeneous character. In view of our obligations to yield implicit
obedience to God, we may purpose such obedience. In view of the fact,
that, in the Gospel, grace is proffered to perfect us in our obedience,
at the same time that we purpose obedience with all the heart, we may
exercise implicit trust, or faith for "grace whereby we may serve God
acceptably with reverence and godly fear." Now, such is our condition as
sinners, that without a revelation of this grace, we should never
purpose obedience in the first instance. Without the continued influence
of that grace, this purpose would not subsequently be perfected and
perpetuated. The purpose is first formed in reliance upon Divine grace;
and but for this grace and consequent reliance, would never have been
formed. In consequence of the influence of this grace relied upon, and
received by faith, this same purpose is afterwards perfected and
perpetuated. Thus, we see, that the purpose of obedience is really
conditioned for its existence and perpetuity upon the act of reliance
upon Divine grace. The same holds true of the relation of Faith to all
acts or intentions morally right or holy. One act of Will, in itself
perfectly pure, is really conditioned upon another in itself equally
pure. This is the doctrine of Moral Purification, or Sanctification by
faith, a doctrine which is no less true, as a fact in philosophy, than
as a revealed truth of inspiration.



CHAPTER XIII.

INFLUENCE OF THE WILL IN INTELLECTUAL JUDGMENTS.

MEN OFTEN VOLUNTARY IN THEIR OPINIONS.

IT is an old maxim, that the Will governs the understanding. It becomes
a very important inquiry with us, To what extent, and in what sense, is
this maxim true? It is undeniable, that, in many important respects,
mankind are voluntary in their opinions and judgments, and therefore,
responsible for them. We often hear the declaration, "You ought, or
ought not, to entertain such and such opinions, to form such and such
judgments." "You are bound to admit, or have no right to admit, such and
such things as true." Men often speak, also, of _pre-judging_ particular
cases, and thus incurring guilt. A question may very properly be asked
here, what are these opinions, judgments, admissions, pre-judgments,
&c.? Are they real affirmations of the Intelligence, or are they
exclusively phenomena of the Will?

ERROR NOT FROM THE INTELLIGENCE, BUT THE WILL.

The proposition which I lay down is this, _that the Intelligence, in its
appropriate exercise, can seldom if ever, make wrong affirmations; that
wrong opinions, admissions, pre-judgments, &c., are in most, if not all
instances, nothing else than phenomena, or assumptions of Will_. If the
Intelligence can make wrong affirmations, it is important to determine
in what department of its action such affirmations may be found.

PRIMARY FACULTIES CANNOT ERR.

Let us first contemplate the action of the _primary_ intellectual
faculties--Sense, or the faculty of _external_ perception;
Consciousness, the faculty of _internal_ observation; and Reason, the
faculty which gives us _necessary_ and _universal truths_. The two
former faculties give us phenomena external and internal. The latter
gives us the logical antecedents of phenomena, thus perceived and
affirmed, to wit: the ideas of substance, cause, space, time, &c. In the
action of these faculties, surely, real error is impossible.

SO OF THE SECONDARY FACULTIES.

Let us now contemplate the action of the secondary faculties, the
Understanding and Judgment. The former unites the elements given by the
three primary faculties into _notions_ of particular objects. The latter
classifies these notions according to qualities perceived. Here, also,
we find no place for wrong affirmations. The understanding can only
combine the elements actually given by the primary faculties. The
Judgment can classify only according to qualities actually perceived.
Thus I might go over the entire range of the Intelligence, and show,
that seldom, if ever, in its appropriate action, it can make wrong
affirmations.

ERROR, WHERE FOUND.--ASSUMPTION.

Where then is the place for error, for wrong opinions, and
pre-judgments? Let us suppose, that a number of individuals are
observing some object at a distance from them. No qualities are given
but those common to a variety of objects, such as a man, horse, ox, &c.
The perceptive faculty has deceived no one in this case. It has given
nothing but real qualities. The Understanding can only form a notion of
it, as an object possessing these particular qualities. The Judgment can
only affirm, that the qualities perceived are common to different
classes of objects, and consequently, that no affirmations can be made
as to what class the object perceived does belong. The Intelligence,
therefore, makes no false affirmations. Still the inquiry goes round.
"What is it?" One answers, "It is a man." That is my opinion. Another:
"It is a horse." That is my judgment. Another still says, "I differ from
you all. It is an ox." That is my notion. Now, what are these opinions,
judgments, and notions? Are they real affirmations of the Intelligence?
By no means. The Intelligence cannot affirm at all, under such
circumstances. They are nothing in reality, but mere _assumptions_ of
the Will. A vast majority of the so called opinions, beliefs, judgments,
and notions among men, and all where _error_ is found, are nothing but
assumptions of the Will.

Assumptions are sometimes based upon real affirmations of the
Intelligence, and sometimes not. Suppose the individuals above referred
to approach the object, till qualities are given which are peculiar to
the horse. The Judgment at once classifies the object accordingly. As
soon as this takes place, they all exclaim, "well, it is a horse." Here
are assumptions again, but assumptions based upon real affirmations of
the Intelligence. In the former instance we had assumptions based upon
no such affirmations.

False assumptions do not always imply moral guilt. Much of the necessary
business of life has no other basis than prudent or imprudent
_guessing_. When the farmer, for example, casts any particular seed into
the ground, it is only by balance of probabilities that he often
determines, as far as he does or can determine, what is best; and not
unfrequently is he necessitated to assume and act, when all
probabilities are so perfectly balanced, that he can find no reasons at
all for taking one course in distinction from another. Yet no moral
guilt is incurred when one is necessitated to act in some direction, and
when all available light has been sought and employed to determine the
direction which is best.

As false assumptions, however, often involve very great moral guilt, it
may be important to develope some of the distinguishing characteristics
of assumptions of this class.

1. All assumptions involve moral guilt, which are in opposition to the
real and positive affirmations of the Intelligence. As the Will may
assume in the absence of such affirmations, and in the direction of
them, so it may in opposition to them. When you have carried a man's
Intellect in favor of a given proposition, it is by no means certain
that you have gained his assent to its truth. He may still assume, that
all the evidence presented is inadequate, and consequently refuse to
admit its truth. When the Will thus divorces itself from the
Intelligence, guilt of no ordinary character is incurred. Men often
express their convictions of the guilt thus incurred, by saying to
individuals, "You are bound to admit that fact or proposition as true.
You are already convinced. What excuse have you for not yielding to that
conviction?" Yet individuals will often do fatal violence to their
intellectual and moral nature, by holding on to assumptions, in reality
known to be false.

2. Assumptions involve moral guilt which are formed without availing
ourselves of all the light within our reach as the basis of our
assumptions. For us to assume any proposition, or statement, to be true
or false, in the absence of affirmations of the Intelligence, as the
basis of such assumptions, when adequate light is available, involves
the same criminality, as assumptions in opposition to the Intelligence.
Hence we often have the expression in common life, "You had no right to
form a judgment under such circumstances. You were bound, before doing
it, to avail yourself of all the light within your reach."

3. _Positive_ assumptions, without intellectual affirmations as their
basis, equally positive, involve moral guilt of no ordinary character.
As remarked above, we are often placed in circumstances in which we are
necessitated to act in some direction, and to select some particular
course without any perceived reasons in favor of that one course in
distinction from another. Now while _action_ is proper in such a
condition, it is not proper to make a positive assumption that the
course selected is the best. Suppose, that all the facts before my mind
bearing upon the character of a neighbor, are equally consistent with
the possession, on his part, of a character either good or bad. I do
violence to my intellectual and moral nature, if, under such
circumstances, I make the assumption that his character is either the
one or the other, and especially, that it is the latter instead of the
former. How often do flagrant transgressions of moral rectitude occur in
such instances!

PRE-JUDGMENTS.

A few remarks are deemed requisite on this topic. A pre-judgment is an
assumption, that a proposition or statement is true or false, before the
facts, bearing upon the case, have been heard. Such assumptions are
generally classed under the term prejudice. Thus it is said of
individuals, that they are prejudiced in favor or against certain
persons, sentiments, or causes. The real meaning of such statements is,
that individuals have made assumptions in one direction or another,
prior to a hearing of the facts of the case, and irrespective of such
facts.

INTELLECT NOT DECEIVED IN PRE-JUDGMENTS.

It is commonly said, that such prejudices, or pre-judgments, blind the
mind to facts of one class, and render it quick to discern those of the
other, and thus lead to a real mis-direction of the Intelligence. This I
think is not a correct statement of the case. Pre-judgments may, and
often do, prevent all proper investigation of a subject. In this case,
the Intelligence is not deceived at all. In the absence of real data, it
can make no positive affirmations whatever.

So far also as pre-judgments direct attention from facts bearing upon
one side of a question, and to those bearing upon the other, the
Intelligence is not thereby deceived. All that it can affirm is the true
bearing of the facts actually presented. In respect to those not
presented, and consequently in respect to the real merits of the whole
case, it makes no affirmations. If an individual forms an opinion from a
partial hearing, that opinion is a mere assumption of Will, and nothing
else.

THE MIND HOW INFLUENCED BY PRE-JUDGMENTS.

But the manner in which pre-judgments chiefly affect the mind in the
hearing of a cause, still remains to be stated. In such pre-judgments,
or assumptions, an assumption of this kind is almost invariably
included, to wit: that all facts of whatever character bearing upon one
side of the question, are wholly indecisive, while all others bearing
upon the other side are equally decisive. In pre-judging, individuals do
not merely pre-judge the real merits of the case, but the character of
all the facts bearing upon it. They enter upon the investigation of a
given subject, with an inflexible determination to treat all the facts
and arguments they shall meet with, according to previous assumptions.
Let the clearest light poured upon one side of the question, and the
reply is, "After all, I am not convinced," while the most trivial
circumstances conceivable bearing upon the other side, will be seized
upon as perfectly decisive. In all this, we do not meet with the
operations of a deceived Intelligence, but of a "deceived heart," that
is, of a depraved Will, stubbornly bent upon verifying its own
unauthorized, pre-formed assumptions. Such assumptions can withstand any
degree of evidence whatever. The Intelligence did not give them
existence, and it cannot annihilate them. They are exclusively creatures
of Will, and by an act of Will, they must be dissolved, or they will
remain proof against all the evidence which the tide of time can roll
against them.

INFLUENCES WHICH INDUCE FALSE ASSUMPTIONS.

The influences which induce false and unauthorized assumptions, are
found in the strong action of the Sensibility, in the direction of the
appetites, natural affections, and the different propensities, as the
love of gain, ambition, party spirit, pride of character, of opinion,
&c. When the Will has long been habituated to act in the direction of a
particular propensity, how difficult it is to induce the admission, or
assumption, that action in that direction is wrong! The difficulty, in
such cases, does not, in most instances, lie in convincing the
Intelligence, but in inducing the Will to admit as true what the
Intelligence really affirms.

CASES IN WHICH WE ARE APPARENTLY, THOUGH NOT REALLY, MISLED BY THE
INTELLIGENCE.

As there are cases of this kind, it is important to mark some of their
characteristics. Among these I cite the following:

1. The qualities of a particular object, actually perceived, as in the
case above cited, may be common to a variety of classes which we know,
and also to others which we do not know. On the perception of such
qualities, the Intelligence will suggest those classes only which we
know, while the particular object perceived may belong to a class
unknown. If, in such circumstances, a positive assumption, as to what
class it does belong, is made, a wrong assumption must of necessity be
made. The _Intelligence_ in this case is not deceived. It places the
Will, however, in such a relation to the object, that if a positive
assumption is made, it must necessarily be a wrong one. In this manner,
multitudes of wrong assumptions arise.

2. When facts are before the mind, an _explanation_ of them is often
desired. In such circumstances, the Intelligence may suggest, in
explanation, a number of hypotheses, which hypotheses may be all alike
false. If a positive assumption is made in such a case, it must of
necessity be a false one; because it must be in the direction of some
one hypothesis before the mind at the time. Here, also, the Intelligence
necessitates a wrong assumption, if any is made. Yet it is not itself
deceived; because it gives no positive affirmations as the basis of
positive assumptions. In such circumstances, error very frequently
arises.

3. _Experience_ often occasions wrong assumptions, which are attributed
incorrectly to real affirmations of the Intelligence. A friend, for
example, saw an object which presented the external appearance of the
apple. He had never before seen those qualities, except in connection
with that class of objects. He assumed, at once, that it was a real
apple; but subsequently found that it was an artificial, and not a real
one. Was the Intelligence deceived in this instance? By no means. That
faculty had never affirmed, that those qualities which the apple
presents to the eye, never exist in connection with any other object,
and consequently, that the apple must have been present in the instance
given. _Experience_, and not a positive affirmation of the Intelligence,
led to the wrong assumption in this instance. The same principle holds
true, in respect to a vast number of instances that might be named.

4. Finally, the Intelligence may not only make positive affirmations in
the presence of qualities perceived, but it may affirm _hypothetically_,
that is, when a given proposition is _assumed_ as true, the Intelligence
may and will present the logical _antecedents_ and _consequents_ of that
assumption. If the assumption is false, such will be the character of
the antecedents and consequents following from it. An individual, in
tracing out these antecedents and consequents, however, may mistake the
hypothetical, for the real, affirmations of the Intelligence. One wrong
assumption in theology or philosophy, for example, may give an entire
system, all of the leading principles of which are likewise false. In
tracing out, and perfecting that system, how natural the assumption,
that one is following the _real_, and not the _hypothetical_,
affirmations of the Intelligence! From this one source an infinity of
error exists among men.

In an enlarged Treatise on mental science, the subject of the present
chapter should receive a much more extensive elucidation than could be
given to it in this connection. Few subjects would throw more clear
light over the domains of truth and error than this, if fully and
distinctly elucidated.

In conclusion, I would simply remark, that one of the highest
attainments in virtue which we can conceive an intelligent being to
make, consists in a continued and vigorous employment of the
Intelligence in search of the right, the just, the true, and the good,
in all departments of human investigation; and in a rigid discipline of
the Will, to receive and treat, as true and sacred, whatever the
Intelligence may present, as possessed of such characteristics, to the
full subjection of all impulses in the direction of unauthorized
assumptions.



CHAPTER XIV.

LIBERTY AND SERVITUDE.

LIBERTY OF WILL AS OPPOSED TO MORAL SERVITUDE.

THERE are, among others, two senses of the term Liberty, which ought to
be carefully distinguished from each other. In the first sense, it
stands opposed to Necessity; in the second, to what is called Moral
Servitude. It is in the last sense that I propose to consider the
subject in the present Chapter. What, then, is Liberty as opposed to
Moral Servitude? _It is that state in which the action of Will is in
harmony with the Moral Law, with the idea of the right, the just, the
true, and the good, while all the propensities are held in perfect
subordination--a state in which the mind may purpose obedience to the
law of right with the rational hope of carrying that determination into
accomplishment_. This state all mankind agree in calling a state of
moral freedom. The individual who has attained to it, is not in
servitude to any propensity whatever. He "rules his own spirit." He is
the master of himself. He purposes the good, and performs it. He
resolves against the evil, and avoids it. "Greater," says the maxim of
ancient wisdom, "is such a man than he that taketh a city."

Moral Servitude, on the other hand, is _a state in which the Will is so
ensnared by the Sensibility, so habituated to subjection to the
propensities, that it has so lost the prerogative of self-control, that
it cannot resolve upon action in the direction of the law of right, with
any rational expectation of keeping that resolution_. The individual in
this condition "knows the good, and approves of it, yet follows the
bad." "The good that he would (purposes to do), he does not, but the
evil that he would not (purposes not to do), that he does." All men
agree in denominating this a state of Moral Servitude. Whenever an
individual is manifestly governed by appetite, or any other propensity,
by common consent, he is said to be a slave in respect to his
propensities.

The reason why the former state is denominated Liberty, and the latter
Servitude, is obvious. Liberty, as opposed to Servitude, is universally
regarded as a good in itself. As such, it is desired and chosen.
Servitude, on the other hand, may be submitted to, as the least of two
evils. Yet it can never be desired and chosen, as a good in itself.
Every man who is in a state of servitude, is there, in an important
sense, against his Will. The _state_ in which he is, is regarded as in
itself the greatest of evils, excepting those which would arise from a
vain attempt at a vindication of personal freedom.

The same principle holds true in respect to Moral Liberty and Servitude.
When any individual contemplates the idea of the voluntary power rising
to full dominion over impulse of every kind, and acting in sublime
harmony with the pure and perfect law of rectitude, as revealed in the
Intelligence, every one regards this as a state, of all others, the most
to be desired and chosen as a good in itself. To enter upon this state,
and to continue in it, is therefore regarded as a realization of the
idea of Liberty in the highest and best sense of the term. Subjection to
impulse, in opposition to the pure dictates of the Intelligence, to the
loss of the high prerogative of "ruling our own spirits," on the other
hand, is regarded by all men as in itself a state the most abject, and
least to be desired conceivable. The individual that is there, cannot
but despise his own image. He, of necessity, loathes and abhors himself.
Yet he submits to self-degradation rather than endure the pain and
effort of self-emancipation. No term but Servitude, together with others
of a kindred import, expresses the true conception of this state. No man
is in a state of Moral Servitude from choice--that is, from choice of
the state as a good in itself. The _state_ he regards as an evil in
itself. Yet, in the exercise of free choice, he is there, because he
submits to self-degradation rather than vindicate his right to freedom.

REMARKS.

MISTAKE OF GERMAN METAPHYSICIANS.

1. We notice a prominent and important mistake common to metaphysicians,
especially of the German school, in their Treatises on the Will. Liberty
of Will with them is Liberty as distinguished from Moral Servitude, and
not as distinguished from Necessity. Hence, in all their works, very
little light is thrown upon the great idea of Liberty, which lies at the
foundation of moral obligation, to wit: Liberty as distinguished from
Necessity. "A free Will," says Kant, "and a Will subjected to the Moral
Law, are one and identical." A more capital error in philosophy is not
often met with than this.

MORAL SERVITUDE OF THE RACE.

2. In the state of Moral Servitude above described, the Bible affirms
all men to be, until they are emancipated by the influence of the
Remedial System therein revealed--a truth affirmed by what every man
experiences in himself, and by the entire mass of facts which the
history of the race presents. Where is the individual that, unaided by
an influence out of himself, has ever attained to a dominion over his
own spirit? Where is the individual that, without such an influence, can
resolve upon acting in harmony with the law of pure benevolence, with
any rational hope of success? To meet this great want of human nature;
to provide an influence adequate to its redemption, from what the
Scriptures, with great propriety, call the "bondage of corruption," is a
fundamental design of the Remedial System.



CHAPTER XV.

LIBERTY AND DEPENDENCE.

COMMON IMPRESSION.

A VERY common impression exists,--an impression universal among those
who hold the doctrine of Necessity,--that the doctrine of Liberty, as
maintained in this Treatise, renders man, really, in most important
respects, independent of his Creator, and therefore, tends to induce in
the mind, that spirit of haughty independence which is totally opposite
and antagonistic to that spirit of humility and dependence which lies at
the basis of all true piety and virtue. If this is the real tendency of
this doctrine, it certainly constitutes an important objection against
it. If, on the other hand, we find in the nature of this doctrine,
essential elements totally destructive of the spirit of pride and
self-confidence, and tending most strongly to induce the opposite
spirit,--a spirit of humility and dependence upon the grace proffered in
the Remedial System; if we find, also, that the doctrine of Necessity,
in many fundamental particulars, lacks these benign tendencies, we have,
in such a case, the strongest evidence in favor of the former doctrine,
and against the latter. The object of the present Chapter, therefore, is
to _elucidate the tendency of the doctrine of Liberty to destroy the
spirit of pride, haughtiness, and self-dependence, and to induce the
spirit of humility and dependence upon Divine Grace_.

SPIRIT OF DEPENDENCE DEFINED.

Before proceeding directly to argue this question, we need to settle
definitely the meaning of the phrase _spirit of dependence_. The
_conviction_ of our dependence is one thing. The _spirit_ of dependence
is quite another. What is this spirit? In its exercise, the mind _rests
in voluntary dependence upon the grace of God_. The heart is fully set
upon doing the right, and avoiding the wrong, while the mind is in the
voluntary exercise of _trust_ in God for "grace whereby we may serve Him
acceptably." The _spirit_ of dependence, then, implies obedience
actually commenced. The question is, does the belief of the doctrine of
Liberty tend intrinsically to induce the exercise of this spirit? In
this respect, has it altogether a superiority over the doctrine of
Necessity?

DOCTRINE OF NECESSITY TENDS NOT TO INDUCE THE SPIRIT OF DEPENDENCE.

1. In accomplishing my object, I will first consider the tendency, in
this one respect, of the doctrine of Necessity. An individual, we will
suppose, finds himself under influences which induce him to sin, and
which consequently, if this doctrine is true, render it impossible for
him, without the interposition of Divine power, not to sin. A
consideration of his condition tends to _convince_ him, that is, to
induce the intellectual conviction, of his entire dependence upon Divine
grace. But the intellectual _conviction_ of our dependence, as above
shown, is one thing. The _spirit_ of dependence, which, as there stated,
consists in actually trusting the Most High for grace to do what he
requires, and implies actual obedience already commenced, is quite
another thing. Now the doctrine of Necessity has a tendency to produce
this _conviction_, but none to induce the _spirit_ of dependence:
inasmuch as with this conviction, it produces another equally strong, to
wit: that the creature, without a Divine interposition, will not, and
cannot, exercise the _spirit_ of dependence. In thus producing the
conviction, that, under present influences, the subject does not, and
cannot exercise that spirit, this doctrine tends exclusively to the
annihilation of that Spirit.

When an individual is in a state of actual obedience, the tendency of
this doctrine upon him is no better; since it produces the conviction,
that while a Divine influence, independently of ourselves, produces in
us a spirit of dependence, we shall and must exercise it; and that while
it does not produce that spirit, we do not and cannot exercise it. Where
is the tendency to induce a spirit of dependence, in such a conviction?
According to the doctrine of Necessity, nothing but the actual
interposition of Divine grace has any tendency to induce a spirit of
dependence. The _belief_ of this doctrine has no such tendency whatever.
The grand mistake of the Necessitarian here, consists in the assumption,
that, because his _doctrine has a manifest tendency to produce the_
CONVICTION _of dependence, it has a tendency equally manifest to induce
the_ SPIRIT _of dependence;_ when, in fact, it has no such tendency
whatever.

2. We will now contemplate the intrinsic tendencies of the doctrine of
Liberty to induce the spirit of humility and dependence. Every one will
see, at once, that the consciousness of Liberty cannot itself be a
ground of dependence, in respect to action, in favor of the right and in
opposition to the wrong: for the possession of such Liberty, as far as
the power itself is concerned, leaves us, at all times, equally liable
to do the one as the other. How can an equal liability to two distinct
and opposite courses, be a ground of assurance, that we shall choose the
one, and avoid the other? Thus the consciousness of Liberty tends
directly and intrinsically to a total annihilation of the spirit of
self-dependence.

Let us now contemplate our relation to the Most High. He knows perfectly
in what direction we shall, in our self-determination, exert our powers
under any influence and system of influences brought to bear upon us. It
is also in His power to subject us to any system of influences he
pleases. He has revealed to us the great truth, that if, in the exercise
of the spirit of dependence, we will trust Him for grace to do the good
and avoid the evil which He requires us to do and avoid, He will subject
us to a Divine influence, which shall for ever secure us in the one, and
against the other. The conviction, therefore, rises with full and
perfect distinctness in the mind, that, in the exercise of the spirit of
dependence, action in all future time, in the direction of purity and
bliss, is secure; and that, in the absence of this spirit, action, in
the opposite direction, is equally certain. In the belief of the
doctrine of Liberty, another truth becomes an omnipresent reality to our
minds, that the _exercise_ of this spirit, thus rendering our "calling
and election sure," is, at all times, practicable to us. What then is
the exclusive tendency of this doctrine? To destroy the spirit of
self-dependence, on the one hand, and to induce the exercise of the
opposite spirit, on the other. The doctrine of Necessity reveals the
_fact_ of dependence, but destroys the _spirit_, by the production of
the annihilating conviction, that we neither shall nor can exercise that
spirit, till God, in his sovereign dispensations, shall subject us to an
influence which renders it impossible for us not to exercise it. The
doctrine of Liberty reveals, with equal distinctness, the _fact_ of
dependence; and then, while it produces the hallowed conviction of the
perfect practicability of the exercise of the _spirit_ of dependence,
presents motives infinitely strong, not only to induce its exercise, but
to empty the mind wholly of everything opposed to it.

GOD CONTROLS ALL INFLUENCES UNDER WHICH CREATURES DO ACT.

3. While the existence and continuance of our powers of moral agency
depend wholly upon the Divine Will, and while the Most High knows, with
entire certainty, in what direction we shall exert our powers, under all
influences, and systems of influences, brought to bear upon us, all
these influences are entirely at his disposal. What tendency have such
convictions, together with the consciousness of Liberty, and ability to
exercise, or not to exercise, the spirit of dependence, but to induce
us, in the exercise of that spirit, to throw our whole being into the
petition, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil?" If
God knows perfectly under what influences action in us shall be in the
direction of the right, or the wrong, and holds all such influences at
his own control, what attitude becomes us in the presence of the "High
and lofty One," but dependence and prayer?

DEPENDENCE ON ACCOUNT OF THE MORAL SERVITUDE OF THE WILL.

4. Finally, a consciousness of a state of Moral Servitude, together with
the conviction, that in the exercise of the spirit of dependence, we can
rise to the "Glorious Liberty of the Sons of God;" that in the absence
of this spirit, our Moral Servitude is perfectly certain; all these,
together with the conviction which the belief of the doctrine of Liberty
induces (to wit: that the exercise of the spirit of dependence is always
practicable to us), tends only to one result, to induce the exercise of
that spirit, and to the total annihilation of the opposite spirit.

While, therefore, the doctrine of Liberty sanctifies, in the mind, the
feeling of obligation to do the right and avoid the wrong, a feeling
which the doctrine of Necessity tends to annihilate, the former (an
effect which the latter cannot produce) tends only to the annihilation
of the spirit of pride and self-confidence, and to induce that spirit of
filial dependence which cries "Abba, Father!"



CHAPTER XVI.

FORMATION OF CHARACTER.

ELEMENT OF WILL IN FORMATION OF CHARACTER.

CHARACTER COMMONLY HOW ACCOUNTED FOR.

IN accounting for the existence and formation of peculiarities of
character, individual, social, and national, two elements only are
commonly taken into consideration, the _natural propensities_, and the
_circumstances and influences_ under which those propensities are
developed and controlled. The doctrine of Necessity permits us to take
nothing else into the account. Undoubtedly, these elements have very
great efficacy in determining character. In many instances, little else
need to be taken into consideration, in accounting for peculiarities of
character, as they exist around us, in individuals, communities, and
nations.

THE VOLUNTARY ELEMENT TO BE TAKEN INTO THE ACCOUNT.

In a vast majority of cases, however, another, and altogether a
different element, that of the Will, or voluntary element, must be taken
into the reckoning, or we shall find ourselves wholly unable to account
for peculiarities of mental and moral development, everywhere visible
around us. It is an old maxim, that "every man is the arbiter of his own
destiny." As character determines destiny, so the Will determines
character; and man is the arbiter of his own destiny, only as he is the
arbiter of his own character. The element of Free Will, therefore, must
be taken into the reckoning, if we would adequately account for the
peculiarities of character which the individual, social, and national
history of the race presents. Even where mental and moral developments
are as the propensities and external influences, still the voluntary
element must be reckoned in, if we would account for facts as they
exist. In a majority of instances, however, if the two elements under
consideration, and these only, are taken into the account, we shall find
our conclusions very wide from the truth.

AN EXAMPLE IN ILLUSTRATION.

I will take, in illustration of the above remarks, a single example--a
case with which I became so familiarly acquainted, that I feel perfectly
safe in vouching for the truth of the statements which I am about to
make. I knew a boy who, up to the age of ten or twelve years, was under
the influence of a most ungovernable temper--a temper easily and quickly
excited, and which, when excited, rendered him perfectly desperate.
Seldom, if ever, was he known to yield in a conflict, however superior
in strength his antagonist might be. Death was always deliberately
preferred to submission. During this period, he often reflected upon his
condition, and frequently wished that it was otherwise. Still, with
melancholy deliberation, he as often said to himself, I never can and
never shall subdue this temper. At the close of this period, as he was
reflecting upon the subject again, he made up his mind, with perfect
fixedness of purpose, that, to the control of that temper, he would
never more yield. The Will rose up in the majesty of its power, and
assumed the reins of self-government, in the respect under
consideration. From that moment, that temper almost never, even under
the highest provocations, obtained the control of the child. A total
revolution of mental developments resulted. He afterwards became as
distinguished for natural amiability and self-control, in respect to his
temper, as before he had been for the opposite spirit. This total
revolution took place from mere prudential considerations, without any
respect whatever to moral obligation.

Now suppose we attempt to account for these distinct and opposite
developments of character--developments exhibited by the same
individual, in these two periods--by an exclusive reference to natural
propensities and external influences. What a totally inadequate and
false account should we give of the facts presented! That individual is
just as conscious, that it was the element of Free Will that produced
this revolution, and that when he formed the determination which
resulted in that revolution, he might have determined differently, as he
is, or ever has been, of any mental states whatever. All the facts,
also, as they lie out before us, clearly indicate, that if we leave out
of the account the voluntary element, those facts must remain wholly
unexplained, or a totally wrong explanation of them must be given.

The same principle holds true in all other instances. Though natural
propensities and external influences greatly _modify_ mental
developments, still, the _distinguishing_ peculiarities of character, in
all instances, receive their form and coloring from the action of the
voluntary power. This is true, of the peculiarities of character
exhibited, not only by individuals, but communities and nations. We can
never account for facts as they are, until we contemplate man, not only
as possessed of Intelligence and Sensibility, but also of Free Will. All
the powers and susceptibilities must be taken into the account, if men
would know man as he is.

DIVERSITIES OF CHARACTER.

A few important definitions will close this Chapter.

A _decisive_ character exists, where the Will acts in harmony with
propensities strongly developed. When a number of propensities of this
kind exist, action, and consequently character, may be changeable, and
yet decisive.

_Unity_ and _decision_ of character result, when the Will steadily acts
in harmony with some one over-shadowing propensity.

Character is _fluctuating_ and _changeable_, when the Will surrenders
itself to the control of different propensities, each easily and highly
excited in the presence of its appropriate objects, and yet the
excitement but temporary. Thus, different propensities, in rapid
succession, take their turn in controlling the Will.

_Indecision_ and _feebleness_ of character result, when the Will
uniformly acts under the influence of the principle of _fear_ and
_caution_. To such a mind, in all important enterprises especially,
there is always "a lion in the way." Such a mind, therefore, is
continually in a state of distressing indecision when energetic action
is necessary to success.



CHAPTER XVII.

CONCLUDING REFLECTIONS.

A FEW reflections of a general nature will conclude this Treatise.

OBJECTION. THE WILL HAS ITS LAWS.

1. An objection, often adduced, to the entire view of the subject
presented in this Treatise, demands a passing notice here. All things in
existence, it is said, and the Will among the rest, are governed by
_Laws_. It is readily admitted, that all things have their laws, and
that the Will is not without law. It is jumping a very long distance to
a conclusion, however, to infer from such a fact, that Necessity is the
only law throughout the entire domain of existence, physical and mental.
What if, from the fact, that the Will has its law, it should be assumed
that Liberty is that law? This assumption would be just as legitimate as
the one under consideration.

OBJECTION. GOD DETHRONED FROM HIS SUPREMACY, IF THE DOCTRINE OF LIBERTY
IS TRUE.

2. Another objection of a general nature, is the assumption, that the
doctrine of Liberty destroys the Divine supremacy in the realm of mind.
"If man," says Dr. Chalmers, "is not a necessary agent, God is a
degraded sovereign." A sentiment more dishonorable to God, more fraught
with fatal error, more revolting to a virtuous mind, when unperverted by
a false theory, could scarcely be uttered. Let us, for a moment,
contemplate the question, whether the doctrine of Liberty admits a
Divine government in the realm of mind. The existence and perpetuity, as
stated in a former Chapter, of free and moral agency in creatures,
depend wholly upon the Divine Will. With a perfect knowledge of the
direction in which they will exert their powers, under every kind and
degree of influence to which they may be subjected, He holds all these
influences at his sovereign disposal. With such knowledge and resources,
can God exercise no government, but that of a degraded sovereignty in
the realm of mind? Can He not exercise the very sovereignty which
infinite wisdom and love desire? Who would dare affirm the contrary? If
the doctrine of Liberty is true, God certainly does not sit upon the
throne of iron destiny, swaying the sceptre of stern fate over myriads
of subjects, miscalled moral agents; subjects, all of whom are
commanded, under infinite sanctions, to do the right and avoid the
wrong, while subjected to influences by the Most High himself, which
render obedience in some, and disobedience in others, absolute
impossibilities. Still, in the light of this doctrine, God has a
government in the domain of mind, a government wisely adapted to the
nature of moral agents--agents capable of incurring the desert of praise
or blame; a government which all approve, and under the benign influence
of which, all who have not forfeited its protection by crime, may find
"quietness and assurance for ever."

OBJECTION. GREAT AND GOOD MEN HAVE HELD THE DOCTRINE OF NECESSITY.

3. In reply to what has been said in respect to the _tendencies_ of the
doctrine of Necessity, the fact will doubtless be adduced, that the
greatest and best of men have held this doctrine, without a development
of these tendencies in their experience. My answer is, that the goodness
of such men, their sense of moral obligation, &c., did not result from
their theory, but existed in spite of its intrinsic tendencies. They
held this doctrine in theory, and yet, from a _consciousness_ of
Liberty, they practically adopted the opposite doctrine. Here, we have
the source of the deep feeling of obligation in their minds, while the
intrinsic and exclusive tendency of their _Theory_, even in them, was to
weaken and annihilate this hallowed feeling. The difference between such
men and sceptics is this: The piety of the former prevents their
carrying out their theory to its legitimate results; while the impiety
of the latter leads them to march boldly up to those results--a fearless
denial of moral obligation in every form.

LAST RESORT.

4. The final resort of certain Necessitarians, who may feel themselves
wholly unable to meet the arguments adduced against their own and in
favor of the opposite theory, and are determined to remain fixed in
their opinions, may be readily anticipated. It is an assumption which
may be expressed in language somewhat like the following: "After all,
the immortal work of Edwards still lives, and will live, when those of
his opponents will be lost in oblivion. That work still remains
unanswered." A sweeping assumption is a very easy and summary way of
disposing of a difficulty, which we might not otherwise know what to do
with. Let us for a moment contemplate some of the facts which have been
undeniably established in reference to this immortal work.

(1.) At the outset, Edwards stands convicted of a fundamental error in
philosophy, an error which gives form and character to his whole
work--the confounding of the Will with the Sensibility, and thus
confounding the characteristics of the phenomena of the former faculty
with those of the phenomena of the latter.

(2.) His whole work is constructed without an appeal to Consciousness,
the only proper and authoritative tribunal of appeal in the case. Thus
his reasonings have only an accidental bearing upon his subject.

(3.) All his fundamental conclusions have been shown to stand in direct
contradiction to the plainest and most positive testimony of universal
Consciousness.

(4.) His main arguments have been shown to be nothing else but reasoning
in a circle. He defines, for example, the phrase "Greatest apparent
good," as synonymous with _choosing_, and then argues, from the fact
that the "Will always is as the greatest apparent good," that is, that
it always chooses as it chooses, that it is subject to the law of
Necessity.

So in respect to the argument from the Strongest Motive, which, by
definition, is fixed upon as the Motive in the direction of which the
Will, in each particular instance, acts. From the fact that the action
of the Will is always in the direction of this Motive, that is, in the
direction of the Motive towards which it does act, the conclusion is
gravely drawn, that the Will is and must be subject, in all its
determinations, to the law of Necessity. I find my mind acted upon by
two opposite Motives. I cannot tell which is the strongest, from a
contemplation of what is intrinsic in the Motives themselves, nor from
their effects upon my Intelligence or Sensibility. I must wait till my
Will has acted. From the fact of its action in the direction of one
Motive, in distinction from the other, I must then draw two important
conclusions. 1. The Motive, in the direction of which my Will did act,
is the strongest. The evidence is, the _fact_ of its action in that
direction. 2. The Will must be subject to the law of Necessity. The
proof is, the action of the Will in the direction of the Strongest
Motive, that is, the Motive in the direction of which it did act. Sage
argument to be regarded by Philosophers and Theologians of the 19th
century, as possessing the elements of immortality!

(5.) His argument from the Divine fore-knowledge has been shown to be
wholly based upon an _assumption_ unauthorized by reason, or revelation
either, to wit: that he understands the _mode_ of that Fore-knowledge,--
an assumption which cannot be made except through ignorance, as was true
in his case, without the greatest impiety and presumption.

(6.) The theory which Edwards opposes has been shown to render sacred,
in all minds that hold it, the great idea of _duty_, of moral
obligation; while the validity of that idea has never, in any age or
nation, been denied, excepting on the avowed authority of his Theory.

(7.) All the arguments in proof of the doctrine of Necessity, with the
single exception of that from the Divine Fore-knowledge--an argument
resting, as we have seen, upon an assumption equally baseless,--involve
a begging of the question at issue. Take any argument we please, with
this one exception, and it will be seen at once that it has no force at
all, unless the truth of the doctrine designed to be established by it,
be assumed as the basis of that argument. Shall we pretend that a
Theory, that has been fully demonstrated to involve, fundamentally, the
errors, absurdities, and contradictions above named, has not been
answered?

WILLING, AND AIMING TO PERFORM IMPOSSIBILITIES.

5. We are now prepared to answer a question about which philosophers
have been somewhat divided in opinion--the question, whether the Will
can act in the direction of perceived and affirmed impossibilities? The
true answer to this question, doubtless is, that the Mind may _will_ the
occurrence of a known impossibility, but it can never _aim_ to produce
such an occurrence.

The Mind, for example, while it regards the non-existence of God as that
which cannot possibly occur, may come into such a relation to the Most
High, that the _desire_ shall arise that God were not. With this desire,
the Will may concur, in the _wish_, that there were no God. Here the
Mind wills a known impossibility. In a similar manner, the Mind may will
its own non-existence, while it regards its occurrence, on account of
its relation to the Divine Will, as impossible.

But while the Mind may thus _will_ the occurrence of an impossibility,
it never can, nor will aim, that is, intend, to produce what it regards
as an impossibility. A creature may will the non-existence of God; but
even a fallen Spirit, regarding the occurrence as an absolute
impossibility, never did, nor will aim to annihilate the Most High. To
suppose the Will to set itself to produce an occurrence regarded as
impossible, involves a contradiction.

For the same reason, the Will will never set itself upon the
accomplishment of that which it is perfectly assured it never shall
accomplish, however sincere its efforts towards the result may be. All
such results are, to the Mind, _practical_ impossibilities. Extinguish
totally in the Mind the _hope_ of obtaining the Divine favor, and the
Divine favor will never be sought. Produce in the Mind the conviction,
that should it aim at the attainment of a certain end, there is an
infallible certainty that it will not attain it, and the subject of that
conviction will no more aim to attain that end, than he will aim to
cause the same thing, at the same time, to be and not to be.

In reply, it is sometimes said, that men often aim at what they regard
even as an impossible attainment. The painter, for example, aims to
produce a _perfect_ picture, while he knows well that he cannot produce
one. I answer, the painter is really aiming at no such thing. He is not
aiming to produce a perfect picture, which he knows he cannot, and will
not produce, but to produce one as _nearly_ perfect as he can. This is
what he is really aiming at. Question the individual critically, and he
will confirm what is here affirmed. Remind him of the fact, that he
cannot produce a perfect picture. I know that, he replies. I am
determined, however, to produce one as _nearly_ perfect as possible.
Here his real aim stands revealed. The same principle holds true in all
other instances.

THOUGHT AT PARTING.

6. In taking leave of the reader, I would simply say, that if he has
distinctly apprehended the great doctrine designed to be established in
this Work, and has happily come to an agreement with the author in
respect to it, the following hallowed impression has been left very
distinctly upon his mind. While he finds himself in a state of profound
and most pleasing dependence upon the Author of his being, in the Holy
of Holies of the inner sanctuary of his mind, one idea, the great
over-shadowing idea of the human Intelligence, has been fully
sanctified--the idea of _duty_, of _moral obligation_. With the
consciousness of Liberty, that idea must be to the mind an omnipresent
reality. From it we can never escape and in all states, and in all
worlds, it must and will be to us, as a guardian angel, or an avenging
fiend. But one thing remains, and that is, through the grace proffered
in the Remedial System, to "live and move, and have our being," in
harmony with that idea, thus securing everlasting "quietness and
assurance" in the sanctuary of our minds, and ever enduring peace and
protection under, the over-shadowing perfections of the Author of our
existence, and amid all the arrangements and movements of his eternal
government.



FOOTNOTES

[1] See Upham on the Will, pp. 32-35.

[2] The above is a perfectly correct statement of the famous distinction
between natural and moral ability made by Necessitarians. The sinner is
under obligation to do right, they say, because he might do what is
required of him, if he chose to do it. He has, therefore, _natural_ but
not _moral_ power to obedience. But the choice which the sinner wants,
the absence of which constitutes his moral inability, is the very thing
required of him. When, therefore, the Necessitarian says, that the
sinner is under obligation to obey, because he might obey if he chose to
do it, the real meaning is, that the sinner is under obligation to
obedience, because if he should choose to obey he would choose to obey.
In other words he is under obligation to obedience, because, if he did
obey, he would obey.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Doctrine of the Will" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home