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purposes and decrees of the Almighty. If, on the other hand, I fully conceive and apprehend the Christian doctrine of the Word, I must cast aside the idea that a predestination system is to this world the executor of God's will. One idea destroys the other. I cannot hold them both. I therefore hold to the peculiarly Christian doctrine, and reject that taken by St. Augustine from the Stoics.
Again, if the way wherein our thoughts are subdued unto Christ, be conceived to be by the infinite power of the Almighty crushing them into conformity with his will by an overwhelming force, this is one idea,-a solution for the problem which cuts the knot instead of untying it. And manifestly by this there is no agent can interfere between our thoughts and the power of the Infinite Decree. It is the agent that subdues the soul. Here then again, the idea of Doom is substituted for the Christian idea. The Christian idea is, that a personal being, the Holy Spirit, the Lord, (that is Jehovah,) proceeding from the bosom of the Father, as God from God, and receiving from the Son Life and Light for men, that he, the Love of the Father, the Free Gift of the Son, the Spirit of grace undeserved, and all-embracing, is the agent that works upon our thoughts and turns them to God. HE and not Doom. If I hold, then, in its fulness, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit and His office with regard to men, I cannot hold that other predestination doctrine. If I should hold that doctrine of Doom, I make the Spirit of God,—if I admit His existence,a subordinate agent working in consequence of the decree, and only its instrument, and therefore, I am, by my very doctrine, tempted to deny that he is God of God. In the mystery of the Trinity, as I have said, not in any pagan philosophy of fatalism, is to be sought the solution of the problems of Grace. Happy had the church been if Augustine had never united these two ideas together, so discordant as they are, in their sources, in their effects upon the mind and temper of man, and in their consequences.
Happy, too, for modern Christianity, had men been content with the humble and calm views of Hooker, as given a few pages back, but, in both cases, so far from taking this moderate view, they attempted to systematize the admitted facts of God's omnipotence and of man's subjection, into a rigorous logical theory, and thereby, as the natural consequence of the system, they
changed the Almighty and Omnipresent “Father of Mercies," into a Lord of rigorous and unbending destiny, predestinating to heaven and reprobating to hell independently of all the laws of his own being, save that of almighty power. The external world, the great school of Probation, whereby, in its various forms, man is taught by a living and present God, they made a machine driven by an eternal Fate, and man so crushed within its wheels, as to be externally bound by infrangible chains, and internally driven by an irresistible Will, not his own.
This is the issue of the argument for “Slave-will."
And then the opponents of this fatalistic system, in attacking it, argued just as unfairly upon the other side. Instead of abstaining from the attempt to measure the Infinite by the Finite, to systematize by man's puny reasoning, the power and the acts of the Eternal God; they, too, had their system by which God made the world; their reasons why he did every thing; they, too, could penetrate into the motives upon which, before time was, he decreed; and “being His counsellors, they had instructed Him.” And so the end of the one system, as well as the other, came to be false philosophy with reference to the Being and Attributes of God, the uses of the external world, and the nature of man; and presumptuous dogmatism flying away from all living faith into absurd and unpractical speculation.*
* The author will, perhaps, be asked, what there is in your own doctrine, seeing you count one scheme to be harsh and unsuitable to the doctrines of the Gospel, and the other, that of Predestination upon foresight of good works, to be presumptuous and evil in its tendencies,—what then is your scheme?
I answer, that which I think to be the doctrine of the standard of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, to which I belong. That is the doctrine of Original Sin and Grace, upon which, as I have dwelt upon them so plainly I need not enlarge. In reference to the Decrees of God, the doctrine of Hooker, that we cannot know any thing of them, only that they are, and that they are not against the revelations of His nature that he has given us. And with regard to the Election, that every man in this world who is within the church of God, in the visible covenant, he is Elect, predestinated to those privileges, to an opportunity that is, of all the means of grace, and therefore bound “to make his calling and Election sure." Upon this last point I would refer my readers to Faber on the doctrine of Election.
I think that the Church is not Calvinist, much less is it Arminian :--upor. Grace and Original Sin, Her doctrine is that of St. Augustine; upon the decrees of God and the nature of Election, that of the Greek church; and upon the whole subject, her desire is due reverence and freedom from the bondage of systematizing dogmatists.
How much better than Calvinistic or Arminian controversialism it is to say, with Hooker and Beveridge, that “His Decrees are secret and infinite, and therefore by no exercise of mental power in us to be ascertained or expounded—and that they are according to the unchangeable laws of his being, mercy, goodness, truth, and therefore only by living faith to be contemplated and believed in!”—How much better to impute no evil to God, no good to ourselves, but to bow before him in silent adoration and acquiescence in his Will!
The reader, then, may consider that we purpose not to take either the one side or the other of these thorny questions. The above resolution of Hooker's is all we shall give upon the pointa resolution which excludes the one side as well as the other. Calvinistic and Arminian controversies we meddle not with, as, upon the grounds taken, being profitless and idle. The practical truths of God's Power and of Man's Freedom* we shall not be slow to argue and expound in a practical way; but these other thorny verbal argumentations we shall, we hope, ever eschew.
But although a subject may have been abused, still this is no argument against its rational discussion. Although Calvinists or their opponents have talked nonsense about the Human Will, that is no reason why the subject should be neglected—no reason why it cannot be treated rationally. And, indeed, that persons have falsely and foolishly discussed any subject, especially if it be of the importance of this one, is a very strong reason why it should be set in a true and sober light before men. This subject, therefore, of the Will of man, we shall take the liberty of rescuing from the position it hitherto has had as a part of Theology, and vindicating unto it its own proper place in Philosophy-an element, and a most important one, in the Philosophy of Human Nature, which is Ethics. We shall, therefore, as I have said, omit all consideration of the will of God and his decrees, as belonging to Theology, contenting ourselves with the resolution of Hooker that we have given upon this point, and hoping that it will content our readers. But, in the ensuing chapter, we shall
* A very important distinction must be noted here. The Will is the faculty of freedom, whose function it is to act freely—in that sense the will is free. The question of fact, “ How far it is actually capable of acting, in the race or in any individual,” is a different one. The eye is the organ of sight—and yet I may be blind. But of this more further on.
examine the Will of man, as a faculty of his being, and a most important one, --in fact, one of the highest of his moral natare. This shall be the subject of our next chapter.
Definitions of the Will: Three given.-Objections answered.-Lugical and
Real Examination of the sophism, “The Will is determined by Motives, and therefore is not free.”—Motives are of two kinds: Spiritual and Temporal.— The first frees the Will; the last-mentioned enslaves it.--Two Powers that combine in every IIuman Action: the Will of the Man, and the Effect of Circumstance. From this fact, a new ground taken upon the subject of the Will.
Our readers will remember that in the last chapter we announced our intention, as far as possible, to keep clear of the Theological questions upon the Will of God, and confine ourselves to the examination of the Human Will as a faculty of man's nature. In conformity with this intention, we ask, What is the Will ? “It is the internal power of self-guidance in reference to action.” This is one definition.—Another, and a very good one, is that of the Greek church universally—that “the Will is the faculty of Autexousia, or Self-Power.”—A third is, that “the Will is the faculty of voluntary choice in man.”
One may say, "If these definitions be true, there is no further need of dispute, for they all take for granted and imply the Freedom of the Will.” “And so," we say, “they do.” The question is not to be decided verbally, at all, but actually—by the experience of Human Nature. And we say to each of our readers to decide it so. Let a man read the definitions of the Will, and see whether there be in him in his nature, that is a power answering to them. If he finds in himself existing “an internal power of self-guidance in reference to action"__"a faculty of self-power”-or “a faculty of voluntary choice, whereby he can choose to do or not to do,"if he experience this in his own nature;—and if this be the universal experience of man in gene
ral,—all logic and all systems to the contrary notwithstanding, the definitions above given are true.
Let us see what these imply. First, that the power is internal, proceeding from the inward nature of the man--therein originating, in the inward faculty, and not from external circumstances : in other words, a part and faculty of the Spiritual Nature of the man.
Secondly, “self-guiding”—the power, that is, of guiding the “ Self”—the person—the man. This implies three things: first, the possibility of choice between one act and another; secondly, the power of determining, or making permanent in the Will, that choice; and thirdly, the ability, more or less, to carry out into action that choice and that determination.
If a man tell us that he has felt no internal power of choice, of decision, of action,---we say, “Very well; it is possible in extraordinary cases of malformation of mind,”-and we do not intermeddle with him, any more than, in writing a treatise upon light and colours, we should with a man born blind. But the mass of men, in all ages, have, in language and in fact, acknowledged a power internal, that is not Conscience or Affection or Reason, to which these qualities belong, and which they have called the Will. All, therefore, we can do, is to describe it-to ask our readers to look within, and if they see it there, as they shall do, to go on with us to examine it practically, and practically to apply the doctrine to their own moral culture. The full proof of the facts of this science, as we have before said, is the self-knowledge of the reader; and the writer who truly describes the facts of nature so that his readers can recognise and confess their truth, and who then applies them to practical purposes,--he is right, and not the best arguer and debater. It is too late in the day to fill books with such babillations as have been perpetrated in reference to this subject of the Will. If a man have felt no such internal power, we pity him: if, more than this, he prove, or try to prove that no one else has, we leave him to the enjoyment of his ingenuity-and say no more about it.
Of like character are such other asseverations as this: “I acknowledge a Will to exist, but the Will is not free.” That is, the man acknowledges a Will that is not a Will--for the very notion of Will implies freedom, in faculty, at least, and function,