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have the power of resistance to enslaving circumstance, in a degree greater or less, just in proportion as his Will is sò actuated.
The Will is like the other Spiritual faculties: it is not a law to itself ; it seeks not its perfection in itself, but by an influence from without is it perfected.
And if a man, the most having the control over himself,-if he looks at it clearly, he shall find that to be steadily under the Law of Conscience, this gives freedom,—this sets a man apart from the enslaving influence of external things. It tells the man- “Thou art no slave to gold; for, under the law of Conscience, the Will so actuated can resist all amount of treasure rather than do evil, rather than break through the checks of the conscience, rather than incur the Stain and the Guilt written down by it, or bear its Fear and Shame.” Conscience, in its action upon the Will, sets a man free from a multitude of evils, from the strength of a multitude of appetites and lusts.
It avails not that men, with vain babble and idle logic, say, “Then you are not free, for you are governed.” Certainly, governed; but, as certainly, by an inward power, which is my own highest and loftiest faculty. And, as certainly, by this freed from the heavy dominion of external circumstance and the hard and unhealthy rule of the lower parts of nature.
Certainly free,—for when, under the sway of .Conscience, the Will is determined by it, then is it determined by the highest and most perfect faculty of my nature. And, according to a similar harmony, the rule, that is, of His Infinite Perfections, is God's Will determined. And therefore, as He, being Infinite, is free, so am I, in like proportion, free, according to my finite nature. So that in vain shall men, with verbal quibbling, argue, since the Will is determined by the Conscience, then it is not free;"—seeing that men whose will is determined by appetite, know and feel that then the Will is certainly not free. And most certainly do we and all men know by experience, and feel, that determined and ruled by the conscience, it is then free, and enables the man to resist all enslaving circumstances.
In like manner, if we look at the Spiritual Reason, and see the man under its guidance, each fact and attribute of the nature of the Most Holy God that by it he receives and applies, in the shape of Moral Principle and Moral Habit,-_each one of these frees the Will,-each one of these sets and places man apart from
the possibility of a heavy burthen and grievous yoke, which many have borne and groaned beneath. He in whose life the feeling and sentiment of Justice reigns as a Principle, or of Benevolence, or of Purity, or of Holiness, that man, by the Spiritual Principle so upheld, is freed from a multitude of heavy burthens and grievous sorrows that are laid upon the unjust, the cruel, the impure, the unholy, besides that greatest burthen of all, the internal strife, the inward agony of self-reproach, the despair of a nature feeling the sinfulness of sin, and repugnant to it, and wrestling against it, and yet, by the chain of appetite and outward temptation, tied down and bound beneath the burthen !*
Tell me not “that for the Will to be determined by Moral Principle is a proof that it is not free! just as much as when it is determined by appetite !" when I see that one is Spiritual, according to the height and perfect harmony of the whole nature, and the other, Animal, and against its perfection,--when I see that the one is a state such as is that of God, Willing according to the perfection of his attributes, and the other makes a man a beast, and ruled, as the beasts are, by Circumstance and Appetite!
And, lastly, that the “Will" should be determined by the Affections, this frees from Slavery, that instead of being determined by Selfishness, it be by Unselfish Motives,-instead of being ruled by Froward desires, it be obedient unto law,-instead of being Sensual, it be Pure. Manifestly, when we look upon the evils brought upon man by Concupiscence, or Evil Desire, ('Excbruia it is called by the apostle,) embracing these three, “Sensuality, Selfishness, and Self-will,” and see how opposite *the Affections are to these, it is the highest degree of freedom that the Will should be by the Affections determined, instead of by Concupiscence.
* Perhaps the great Stoic poet, Persius, espresses more distinctly than any Heathen the despair and agony of being conquered in that Life-struggle, the strife which each man has to undergo, between the “Will of the Flesh” and the Spiritual Will, when he makes it for the highest criminals tho greatest punishment:
Magne Pater Divom, saevos punire tyrannos
His prayer for them is, “When the poison of evil desires fires the soul,then let them in despair look back with longing to the virtue they have deserted—then let them, in their certainty of utter and unavoidable ruin, cry, 'We fall, we fall, and there is no help for us.'” This, in the opinion of the Stoic, is the most agonizing torture of life. And truly, I must think that he is right. I have been told so, in so many words, by those in whom the will was habitually enslaved by appetite.
This, then, is that which enables the faculty of Freedom to be in action and effect most free, that its action be determined by internal Motive,--that motive, namely, that is Spiritual, arises from the Spiritual part of man's being.
Let a man draw the line between the good of the animal being, body as well as mind, let him suppose the highest object and aim of a man to be without and below the line of Spiritual Good, then, how lofty soever it may seem in the eyes of the World, it confers no Freedom. But let the motive be Spiritual, from the Spiritual nature,--then at once Freedom is manifested, and we see it and feel it to be so. The power of resistance is given by this, of emancipation from appetite and external circumstance. Whatsoever men may talk in their logical and verbal way, the man of Conscience, of Moral Principle, of pure Heart, knows and feels in this his freedom to exist; and freedom just so far as he has perfection in and of his Spiritual Nature. He, and he alone, has that inward power that enables the man to resist the external action of that law of Cause and Effect under which the animals are bound, and to be, according to his limited nature, as God is--free! And it is manifest that this shall take place only when the measure according to which these inner faculties determine the Will, shall be the Will and Law of God. “Not my will, but thine be done,” was the prayer of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ unto the Father. And, secondly, the means of bringing this result about, the agency that shall subdue our Will unto the will of the Father, this is only Grace ---Grace given through all the means of Grace, and Grace given without means, according to the Will of God. But if we despise the first, we may be certain that in the last we shall have no share.
The Second Power of the Will that of Purpose ; illustrated by a comparison
of cases :-1. Sets its object in the Future.—2. Prescribes a law to the Will.—A rebuke of the Ileathen Morality that tells us not to look to the Future: we must, by our being, look towards it.---This fact interpreted.True Christian Hope, 1st, looking steadily to Christ, and, 2dly, imposing voluntarily the Law of God upon the action, is that only which perfects Purpose of Will.
In the last chapter we have examined the first part of the power of the Will the liberty, that is, of choice; and we have shown its relation to human life and action. In this chapter, we enter upon the consideration of the second power of the Will, the power of Purpose, as we have defined it, “ the power of fixing and determining choice.
This we consider a separate and distinct power altogether from that of liberty of choice; the one consisting in the ability of resistance to motive, however strong, and, consequently, of the admitting voluntarily of it, however weak—and the other, the motive being received, of a determination of the will, or a fixation of purpose, subsequent in time to the admittance of the motive, and distinct from it. In fact, the word, “I will,” embraces, when you examine it closely, the two ideas—the first, of choice, in which “I will” is equivalent to “I wish,” “I desire,” or “I choose,' --the second, that of determination or purpose, “I am fixed and set in that choice which I have made." “Will you go to the city ?” is equivalent to, “Is it your wish,” or “desire," or “choice, so to do?” “I will,” the answer, expresses determination or purpose.
This would, perhaps, make the idea plain enough, and sufficiently show that the power of Choice in the Will is different from the power of Purpose; but perhaps we may be able to illustrate it still more, and to make it still clearer. When we look at men in life, we see some men whose Wills are at the moment vehemently impressible by motives both internal and external,
and their action thereupon correspondingly energetic, who, in a little time, are just as vehemently excited in an opposite direction. The Will is impressed now by one motive, then it is again impressed by another; and no impression seems to have the power of lasting, or of enduring for any time. Others there are, who, when they come under the influence of motive, seem to have the power of fixing that motive in their Will as a future guide, of stamping, as it were, the immediate volition* in the Will, and sealing it therein, as a set decree and law of future action. This power of determinate Purpose, this capacity of ordaining a present decree, upon present motives, that shall be an inward law and rule for future action, is manifestly quite a different thing from that other of admitting or not admitting motive. We can distinguish them in the action of our own minds; we can see them as distinctly in other men's actions; and we mark them by a variety of words, implying the difference: the words “freedom," “choice," "liberty,” express the one action of the will; “purpose," “determination," "fixedness,” “ decision,” the other.
Nay, this fact of Purpose you shall see manifest itself in every department of life. Enter into a school, and you shall find one class sent there by their parents, and there for that reason ; rising in the morning at the appointed hour, because of another external circumstance, studying because there are lessons set, and there are tutors that teach,---obeying for the reason that obedience is the law of the place ---and so making circumstance their law, and never once looking forward beyond the day, never troubling themselves for any thing beyond the circumstance immediate to them in time and place. What is their Purpose ? they have no Purpose ;-they mean to get through. What their determination ?---they have no determination: they let Chance and Circumstance, Position, and the Will of any that think it worth while to rule them, decide for them. Such persons I have seen in all states and conditions of life, in schools, in colleges, in professions, in trades, in society, in whom the faculty and power of Purpose and predetermination either had never been trained to action, or else had perished; floating weeds upon the waves of circumstance; ships, with sails and helm, but unprovided with chart and compass, or hand to hold the helm, -such are men without the power of Purpose.
* Volition means an act of the Will.