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is this, but to say necessity and freedom can consist together as they respect the same volition; and in the exercise of it, a man can be free, and bound at once? Sure I am, if he could suspend his desire, and keep it from determining his Will, he was under no necessity of willing the act, but was free.

Mr. Locke's uneasiness of desire, which he makes the cause of all our volitions, that produce voluntary actions, seems to be a harmless, and inoffensive thing; especially, when we consider it cannot act independent of our minds, and is always under our controul, and we can prevent its operation to produce volitions whenever we please. This we can do, "if we are endowed with a power to suspend any particular desire, and keep it from determining the will." Mr. Locke makes uneasiness of desire a kind of go-between, which the mind by a volition suspends, and then lets it down, and it produces a volition, that causes a voluntary action. I have no idea of this working of our minds: I believe the last volition is no more the effect of uneasiness of desire than the suspending volition, which is not pretended to be. If the mind be free, and at liberty in its volitions, when it suspends, examines, compares, looks about, considers, &c. why is it not free in all its volitions? Why does Mr. Locke assign a cause for a part, and leave the rest without any assignable cause? Why should he make us free in

some volitions, and under a necessity in others? I see no reason for the distinction.

III. President Edwards, in his treatise on the Freedom of the Will, page 68, says, "The plain and obvious meaning of the words freedom and liberty, in common speech, 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." It is obvious, that this definition does not reach the mind, so as to have it free or at liberty in willing: it comprehends only those actions of the man, that are consecutive to volition. To use freedom and liberty in this sense may answer the purpose of those, who hold that the mind cannot will only as it is acted upon, and made to will. I however believe we are not so restricted in our liberty; but we are as free in willing as in doing what we will.

IV. But if any one should inquire which are those acts wherein liberty displays itself? We answer, that they are easily known, by attending to what passes within us, and to the manner in which the mind conducts itself in the several cases that daily occur as, in the first place, in our judgments concerning true and false; secondly, in our determinations in relation to good and evil; and finally, in indifferent matters. These particulars are ne

cessary, in order to be acquainted with the nature, use, and extent of liberty.

With regard to truth, we are formed in such a manner, that so soon as evidence strikes the mind, we are no longer at liberty to suspend our judgment. Vain would be the attempt to resist this sparkling light; it absolutely forces our assent. Who, for example, could pretend to deny that the whole is greater than its part, or that harmony and peace are preferable, either in a family or state, to discord, tumults, and war?

The same cannot be affirmed in regard to things that have less perspicuity and evidence; for in these the use of liberty displays itself in its full extent. It is true our mind inclines naturally to that side which seems the most probable; but this does not debar it from suspending its assent, in order to seek for new proofs, or to refer the whole inquiry to another opportunity. The obscurer things are, the more we are at liberty to hesitate, to suspend, or defer our determination. This is a point sufficiently evinced by experience. Every day, and at every step, as it were, disputes arise, in which the arguments on both sides leave us, by reason of our limited capacity, in a kind of doubt and equilibrium, which permits us to suspend our judgment, to examine the thing anew, and to incline the balance at length to one side more than the other. We

find, for example, that the mind can hesitate a long time, and forbear determining itself, even after a mature inquiry, in respect to the following ques tions: Whether an oath extorted by violence is obligatory? Whether the murder of Cæsar was lawful? Whether the Roman senate could with justice refuse to confirm the promise made by the Consuls to the Samnites, in order to extricate themselves from the Caudine Forks; or whether they ought to have ratified and given it the force of a public treaty? &c.

V. Though there is no exercise of liberty in our judgment, when things present themselves to us in a clear and distinct manner; still we must not imagine that the intire use of this faculty ceases in respect to things that are evident. For in the first place, it is always in our power to apply our minds to the consideration of those things, or else to divert them from thence, by transfering somewhere else our attention. This first determination of the will, by which it is led to consider or not to consider the objects that occur to us, merits particular notice, because of the natural influence it must have on the very determination, by which we conclude to act or not to act, in consequence of our reflection and judgment. Secondly, we have it likewise in our power to create, as it were, evidence in some cases, by dint of attention, and inquiry; whereas

at first setting out, we had only some glimmerings, insufficient to give us an adequate knowledge of the state of things. In fine, when we have attained this evidence, we are still at liberty to dwell more or less on the consideration thereof; which is also of great consequence, because on this depends its greater or lesser degree of impression.

These remarks lead us to an important reflection which may serve for answer to an objection raised against liberty. "It is not in our power (say they) to perceive things otherwise than as they offer themselves to our mind; now our judgments are formed on this perception of things; and it is by these judgments that the will is determined; the whole is therefore necessary and independent of liberty."

But this difficulty carries little more with it than an empty appearance. Let people say what they will, we are always at liberty to open or to shut our eyes to the light; to exert, or relax our attention. Experience shews, that when we view an object in different lights, and determine to search into the botom of matters, we descry several things that escaped us at first sight. This is sufficient to prove that there is an exercise of liberty about the operations of the understanding.


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