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them, no physical law embrace them: they show the personal action of a moral agent who is ever present, acting voluntarily upon me.
Such is the moral interpretation of “Circumstance, an interpretation which men put naturally and easily, which agrees with the express words of Scripture, and only by a false philosophy can be put aside from the persuasion of any human being.
If this explanation be true, then it may be said, “Man is not free-for of the two forces that determine any act, and from which it results, one is the finite Will of man,--the other, the infinite Will of God;--the Finite must ever be overpowered by the Infinite."
In answer to this, we say that the force put forth by a being of Infinite Power is not necessarily infinite. God has infinite power, but in his dealings with man, of his own will he modifies his power. When my finite will comes in contact with an obstacle and overcomes it, such an amount of hindrance has been put in my way as I can overcome; and I can easily conceive, that for wise purposes the infinite God might have put only such an amount,--and yet it certainly is not the less an exertion of
Again, he may put such an amount as will be insuperable ; according then to His measure, which is His wisdom, He may direct his influences upon us, so that in various ways our actions shall be modified. But in each circumstance the influence of the finite Will is seen, and the influence of the Infinite.
This then is the result:--Central amid a sphere of Circumstances, man feels that external things and actions he can modify by an internal power. He feels, too, that they can and do modify his action. These two forces he is conscious of in each action of life, and the sum total of life is made up of the results of these two. He, therefore, by his constitution feels these both to exist; he feels that one does not annihilate the other, but that both coexist, the Free-will of Man, the Power of God.
This he knows by his own knowledge, and his own feeling of his actions both singly and in the mass, and it is in vain to argue the non-existence of the one or the other. Such arguments to all men are mere verbal knots that touch not the reality of things. The question is a simple one: “Do I, by action springing from an internal, self-guiding power, modify external circumstance ?” If a man knows this to be so, according to his own experience, then argument against it is mere babbling, mere talk. For the thing must be decided by man's consciousness of the fact, and not by metaphysics. If a man be conscious that it is so, and the race generally have the same consciousness, millions of treatises are unavailing against the fact of such self-knowledge.
The question of the existence of Free-will is sometimes confused with another, as to the extent of its results. “Have I the power, according to internal choice, to modify external circumstances more or less ?”—this is the question of Free-will. “What is the extent of that modification ?" is a different question. “Can I do what I will, uncontrolled by any outward power ?" This does not ask "Am I free?” but “Am I omnipotent?”
The question as to the extent of the power of a Free agent is quite a different one from the question of his Freedom. God may grant me such a power of Will, that all external circumstances that come in contact with me shall be ruled, swayed, and governed by it. He may grant me no such power of Will, and yet make the outward Circumstances to yield to my weakness. And so in manifold ways may modify, guide, govern, direct, teach, rule; but all this action is according to the laws of his infinite being. And if evil is brought about, it is not of God's action upon man,
but by his permission that it exists.
The rules of his action are the laws of his eternal being. Thus “God cannot lie,” the Scripture tells us : this we shall take for a law of his being, --no power of God, then, can make man lie. “God cannot sin ;"—God's Almighty power, then, cannot pre-doom man to sin, and so forth.
And again, God is of himself infinitely free; he has made mani free; it is a part of his constitution established by God; God, then, cannot make man un-free, save by annihilating the constitution he has made. In like manner, he cannot make two bodies at once to occupy the same space, because it is a fact of the constitution of body, that it cannot be so. So it is a part of the constitution of man that he shall be free, that of each action, one force should be the power of man's Will, and the other a portion of external power, brought to operate upon him by the Will of God, for his most holy and most secret purposes.
This, then, I conceive to be the interpretation of “Circumstance;" that it shows neither Chance, nor yet Fate, but a Personal and Ever-present Being, Almighty, All-just, and All-holy, directing, according to his wisdom, a portion of his power upon us.
And from that external power and our internal power, both existing in each act, all our acts do come.
And the relative proportions of these two forces we know not, only that they both exist, and that the power of God works upon us, not according to caprice, but according to the Laws of His Being, and according to the Constitution wherewith he has framed us.
These are practical decisions, which the experience and knowledge of our race has a thousand times affirmed, and which only false philosophy as to the nature of God, the being of this world, and the constitution of man could deny.
We have placed them here because, so placed, they will enable us, in their light, more fully to examine the internal power which thus acts along with the external power of God. We shall go on, then, in the next chapter, to examine the nature of the internal power which we call the Will, as to the modes of its action, which we before have enumerated.
The Will has a Power of Resistance to Motive.—Motives upon the Will do
not act necessarily. The evil Results of Fatalism.—Analogy to the Will and its Motives of the Concurrence of Forces, Mechanical, Chemical, and Vital.—Brute Animals are really and truly what the Fatalist thinks Man to be.—Man has a Will: Brutes have properly no Will.—The question of Free-will is a practical one.--As a matter of fact, there are Men whose Will is not free.- The Two Wills: The “Will of the Flesh," and the Spiritual Will.—Society trains the Will.—The Spiritual Law sets the Will de facto free.—Examples from Conscience, the Reason, the Heart.
HAVING thus examined the nature of Circumstance, and shown that herein the power of man meets with and is united with the power of God, we go forward to examine the nature of the Will in itself.
The Will is “inward and spiritual:” this is the first part of our definition. By this we mean that the faculty, as far as it is
a faculty of our nature, is one that belongs to man as a Spiritual being.
The answer is not hard to this question :—“Admit that your Will is capable of being influenced by external motives—has it yet such a power that all these, by its own internal force, it can reject, and go contrary to the course they indicate ?" If this be so, it is internal, and, at the same time, Spiritual.
Is there an inward power by which, giving riches their full value, and on certain occasions pursuing them, -upon certain other occasions I shall permit the desire of them to have no power over my actions ? Is there an inward force by which, desiring food, I shall, at certain times and upon certain occasions,-abstain from it? desiring pleasure,-I shall resist it? being tempted to evil, --I shall oppose the temptation ? being excited unto anger,--I shall yet quell it? Certainly: every child feels within himself this power of resistance. He may not feel it to a perfect degree; but a power he does feel whose faculty this is, and which
be brought to greater perfection by exercise. It is a testimony of all men, that there exists in all this internal power of resistance to external inducements to action.
We shall put the question again, in this way :-“Cause and Effect," we shall say, “in Physical Science, is a law absolute and certain. In consequence of this, it is in Physics a true axiom, “Like causes produce like effects,' and therefore, without exception, when you find the identity of cause, from it invariably follows the identity of effect in physical science.” This we believe to be invariably true. Now, “Motive” we shall define to be an “ 66 external cause of action." Is the law of 66 cause and effect” true in reference to human actions? If it be, the same amount of external cause shall always produce the same effect--the Will shall always be determined by motives, and shall not be free in any way.
But each man's reason can tell him that it is not so-that although Motives to action are upon the will as “causes" in Physical Philosophy, still there is an internal power of resistance, by which the "effect" of motives is limited in a very exceeding degree, so that no amount of “motive” shall compel or force or determine, physically, the Will of any, if it freely from within resist. And so the law of 66 cause and effect," however well it
may in Physics, has no power in Ethics. No external motives compel
or necessarily determine the “Will of man.” Apart from religion, we shall say, even the weakest and the most vicious knows that his acts are uncompelled—that the external temptation may have been very strong, but yet never so strong as to necessitate his action upon it.
So would it seem that man has an inward force, which, even while he is in the world, sets him free, by a faculty dwelling in him, from the general laws of Physics, and puts his action upon a loftier ground, -an inward power of resistance to the causation of outward motives. This is a fact of our knowledge; we see it with regard to ourselves, and we see it in our intercourse with our fellow men. And they who deny it, either do so out of vicious motives, that they may be enabled to cast the blame of their vices upon external circumstances, as the woman and the man, our first parents, in paradise, did, or else they do so under a false notion that by applying the doctrine .of “Cause and Effect” to the Spiritual part of man, in the shape of “ motive” and “determination,” they thereby do honour to God's power, by making man's acts, all of them, to be determined and doomed of God. A false philosophy this, and one that would be immoral, but for the fact that the very men that preach it do not act upon it, but in their every act of life proclaim that they believe it
And yet, as Mohammed and Gengis and Bonaparte bear witness, not without its danger is this dogma. For never in the course of history has military and religious frenzy been united, that it has not for its fulcrum had this doctrine, that human action is predoomed by an irresistible chain of external motive. This is that force that urged the swarthy Saracen over half the world, until the larger frames and sterner souls of the Frankish war-king and his Germans flung back from France and Europe the tide of Mohammedan invasion, and the light limbs and slender sabre of the Arab were crushed by the iron mace of Charles Martel.* This that doctrine that drove the count
* Charles the Hammerman, so called from his weapon and his exploits in the great battle at Poitiers, against the host of the Arab general Abderrhame. But for this victory, Europe, historians say, had been Mohammedan. But men are made for their times; and if a Mohammed is sent to wreak God's vengeance against a corrupt church and a degenerate nation, again a Charles Martel is raised up to turn back the scourge.