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the conclusion must be as he states it; viz. that ' man is not a free, but a necessary agent." But are his premises true? What evidence does he show us, that volitions are effects, produced by motives? There is no evidence of the fact, and from what has been said, we have reason to believe his premises are false ; volitions are not effects, but free actions of the mind. Therefore, before we admit the conclusion of this fatalist, let us call on him to prove his premises. There is a great difference in the reasoning of President Edwards, and Mr. Hume on moral subjects, but they both agree, that volitions are effects produced by motives; and in my opinion, it does as clearly follow from Mr. Edwards' scheme, of motives governing the will, as it does from Mr. Hume's, that between physical and moral necessity, there is no difference; that if we feel liberty, the feeling is a deceitful one; and that man is not a free, but a necessary agent.
Mr. Hume would be understood, that man is not a free but a necessary agent, in willing; and the same conclusion follows from Mr. Edwards' scheme. Mr. Edwards would have man a free agent, if there be nothing to impede, or hinder his doing as he wills; and Mr. Hume does not deny this freedom to his necessary agent; which as well as Mr. Edwards' free agent, can enjoy this kind of liberty. Mr. Hume's necessary agent can will only as it is 833796
acted upon by motives, and made to will; and Mr. Edwards' free agent can do no more. Then wherein does the necessary agent of Mr. Hume, differ from the free agent of Mr. Edwards? As it respects the freedom, or liberty of the agents, themselves, I see no difference; both are necessary agents in willing; and both are equally free in doing. But is there no difference in the two schemes ? There is a difference in length of chain: Mr. Edwards would have only two or three links to his chain, while Mr. Hume would have an infinite series of causes and effects. They however agree in this, that the human mind has no will, but is all understanding; or, in other words, it has no active power, but it is passive in all its operations.
III. But for a moment, let us attend to Voltaire and Dr. Beattie, on this subject:
Voltaire says, "There is nothing without a cause. An effect without a cause are words without meaning. Every time I have a will, this can only be in consequence of my judgment, good or bad; this judgment is necessary; therefore so is my will. In effect, it would be very singular that all nature, all the planets, should obey external laws, and that there should be a little animal, five feet high, who in contempt of these laws, could act as he pleased, solely according to his caprice."
Dr. Beattie replies-" Singular! aye, singular in
deed. So very singular, that yours, Sir, if I mistake not, is the first human brain, that ever conceived such a notion. If man be free, nobody ever dreamed that he made himself so in contempt of the laws of nature; it is in consequence of a law of nature that he is a free agent. But passing this, let us attend to the reasoning. The planets are not free agents;-therefore, it would be very singular, that man should be one. Not a whit more singular, than that this same animal of five feet. should perceive, and think, and read, and write, and speak; which no astronomer of my acquaintance has ever supposed to belong to the planets,. notwithstanding their brilliant appearance, and stupendous magnitude."
I agree with Voltaire that "an effect without a cause, are words without meaning." But is volition an effect? If it be an effect it must have a cause. I have defined volition to be an action of the mind, which tends to the production of an ef fect, or actually produces one. Now is this action of the mind an effect? I have said nothing. acts on the mind, so as therein to produce, or prevent volition: if this be true, then it is a law of nature, that the mind shall be free in willing, and volition is not an effect. Does Voltaire provė vo lition to be an effect? His assertion there is noth-. ing without a cause,' does not prove it nor do D
admit the assertion to be true. If volition be something, and it is a law of our nature, that the mind shall be free in willing, then volition exists without a cause. Let infidels prove, if they can, that the mind is not free in willing. When they have done this, they will have a cloak for their sins.
AN INQUIRY WHETHER GOD BE THE ACTIVE CAUSE OF ALL HUMAN VOLITIONS, PRODUCING THEM RY HIS IMMEDIATE INFLUENCE, OR BY THE INTERVENTION OF PASSIVE CAUSES.
Ir we attentively consider what consequences follow from God's being the active cause of all human volitions, and compare these consquences with our internal sense, or feelings, we can judge whether he produces our sinful volitions or not.— By sinful volitions, I mean, the mind's willing that, which is forbidden; or not willing that, which is required by God.
The first consequence that follows from his being the active cause of all human volitions is, that there never can be sinful volitions. For, I think it is evident, that whatever human volitions God produces, he requires in the strictest sense; and if he produces all, he requires all, and all are precisely as he would have them to be.