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as far as it is active, so far it is free in choosing. But in treating of the powers and faculties of the mind, I do not use the word, choice, in its vulgar sense, but divide the complex idea vulgarly represented by the word choice; and the simple ideas embraced in it, which are represented by the words, attention, examen, and comparision, I call volitions, because the mind is active in them; and what remains of the complex idea, I call choice; that is, the mind's seeing, that one object in the comparison, is more pleasing or agreeable to the mind, than the otker, or others.
This seeing, is an operation of the understanding, or passive power of the mind; it is a particnlar kind of perception, and in receiving it, the mind is as passive, as in any perception whatever. In this sense, I use the word choice, and hope that this explanation will satisfy the reader as to the distinction I make between willing and chwosing,
I apprehend that the difficulty respecting the liberty of the mind in willing, which attends the reasoning of Mr. Locke, and Mr. Edwards, on this subject, is to be attributed to their using the word choice, sometimes, perhaps, in the sense I do, sometimes in the vulgar sense, and sometimes as meaning precisely the same, as volition.
Mr. Locke says " such is the difficulty of explaining and giving clear notions of internal ac
tions by sounds, that I here warn the reader, that ordering, choosing, prefering, &c. which I have made use of, will not distinctly enough express volition, unless he will reflect on what he himself does when he wills. For example, prefering, which seems perhaps best to express the act of volition, does it not precisely.”—1 Essay, 165.
Prefering means the same as choosing, and why Mr. Locke selected the word, prefering, as being best to express the act of volition, I cannot tell, When it is considered, that the mind must be wholly active in ordering and directing, and must be passive as well as active in prefering, according to the vulgar notion of the word, I should suppose, that the word, ordering or directing, would precisely express an act of volition, while prefering would not. But Mr. Locke uses prefering, choosing, and willing, as synonymous words.
Mr. Edwards says, "that whatever names we call the act of the will by, choosing, refusing, approving, disapproving, liking, disliking, embracing, rejecting, determining, directing, commanding, forbidding, inclining, or being averse, or being pleased, or displeased with; all may be reduced to this, of choosing For the soul to act voluntarily is evermore to act electively." (Free Will, 2.) I ask, in what way the words, directing, and commanding can be reduced to choosing? To deter
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word can be reduced to choosing; we must attentively consider whether it represents an idea of passiveness in the mind: If the word does not represent such an idea, it cannot be reduced to choosing. I apprehend that in directing and commanding, the inind is wholly active ; therefore, these words, according to their general acceptation, cannot be reduced to choosing:
The words, liking, disliking, being pleased, or displeased with, do most clearly represent ideas of pussiveness in the mind; and, perhaps may be reduced to choosing. But, I ask, do these words ev. er represent ideas of volitions in the mind ? I taste of honey, and like it'; I taste of wormwood, and dislike it; I smell a rosy, and am pleased with it; I smell something else, and am displeased; now, do the words, like, dislike, pleased and displeased, as here used, represent ideas of volitions in my mind? They do not, but they represent the perceptions of certain impressions made upon the understanding; they cannot be reduced to volition, any more than the words, directing and command. ing, which belong to the will, can be reduced to chousing, which belongs to the understanding. The assertion, that “For the soul to act voluntarily is evermore to act electively:" is wholly without proof;. but I shall consider this more fully, when I come to inquire after the cause of our volitions.
II. Choice may be either internal, or external; right, or wrong. By internal choice, I mean that which arises from the comparison of two objects, after the mind has carefully examined them, and understands the good there is in the one ob. ject, and the evil there is in the other, as they have relation to the mind. I use the word object in an extensive sense, as siguifying any thing, mode of existence, action, or non-action. The foundation of every such choice is the nature of the mind, and the nature of the objects in the comparison, which produce the choice. I call it internal, because nothing external, or foreign from the nature of the objects, is taken into consideration in coming to the choice. If the nature of the mind be virtuous, it will have a relish for virtuous objects, and á disrelish for vicious objects; so that when two objects are presented to its view for an internal choice, if one object be good, and the other evil, the mind is under a physical necessiiy to choose the good object; for this is more pleasing or agreeable to the mind; the mind has a relish for the good object and has no relish for the evil cbject: To say the mind, can choose the evil object, is to say the mind can choose that object in the comparison, which is less pleasing or agreeable to the mind, and for which it has no relish. For the mind to do this, would be to work a contradiction, that is, to choose an ols ject, which at the same time it did not choose. I trust no body will be so absurd as to say this of the mind; I certainly know of no such principle in human nature. Where the nature of the mind is virtuous, its internal choice, in objects. must of necessity be virtuous, and this is what I. call a right choice. But if the nature of the mind be not in some degree virtuous; but is altogether vicious, it will have a relish for vicious objects, and its internal choice must be accordingly. This I. call a wrong choice.
By external choice, I do not mean that, which a-. rises from the nature of the two objects in themselves : considered, as above explained; but that choice, , which arises from the will of God, respecting our conduct, as to the two objects. To illustrate this, let us suppose, it is the will of God, that I should pray to him ; and if I do, God promsises to be. slow on me a future reward ; and if I do not, he
; threatens to inflict on me a future punishment.-. Now if the nature of my mind is altogether vicious, and prayer is a virtuous act, it is evident my mind cannot relish prayer: therefore, when I come to. compare the act of praying, with not praying, I cannot choose to pray; it is more pleas.. ing or agreeable to my mind, not to pray;