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capability of governance of the Will by a fixed Law, and the duty of looking to the future with a fixed object; and he shall have done more for that youth than by giving him the knowledge of twenty books of science or art.* And, then, if having his confidence, and thence knowing his deficiencies, mentally or morally, he shall teach him how to apply this knowledge-he shall realize his instruction, and make the youth feel it as true and precious.
For, as regards talents or mental power, when we look at the history of men celebrated for this, in nine cases out of ten we shall find that it was some circumstance apparently fortuitous that called into vehement action and vehemently developed some one of those that we have called the Governing Powers,—the Conscience, the Heart, the Spiritual Reason, or the Will. And that this, then, has awakened to action and developed the Mental Powers ;-especially manifest is this with regard to the Will. Let any teacher, then, who is in doubt about the general principle, let him take the most stupid, seemingly, of all his scholars, get his confidence, instruct him practically with regard to the power of the law of Purpose,-teach him to apply it, and he soon shall see, under its influence, mental power developing and acting that perhaps he had not dreamed to exist. This I have seen myself, in reference to many pupils who have come under my care, and I believe others that try it will find it true, and thence perhaps may be encouraged to test the assertion, and, finding it true, to act upon it systematically.
* There has been, in this country, a great deal of good done, and a great deal of harm, by “Foster's Essay upon Decision of Character.” A great deal of good, because in that essay he manifested, to many who had not before known it, the power of a fixed and determined Will, and showed practically, by very interesting narratives, what such a Will can effect.
A great deal of harm, because he taught the bare power of Will apart from any law, and making itself its own law; and, therefore, by the third general principle of the governing powers, being in that evil. For the Will that is ruled by itself, when it should be governed by Conscience, the Reason, the Affections, is a curse. And to be taught merely the power of Will, apart from its connection with these, is no advantage, but harm.
However, making this exception, I would advise all students of Ethical Science, to read and think upon that essay. They will find it a most important contribution to the Science of Morality. But, without this exception, I recommend the book to no one; and, to a certain character of mind, I conceive it is capable of doing great and permanent inji ry.
I have shown how the law of Purpose fixes for a man an object in the Future, and how its leading and tendency is only satisfied by an object in Eternity. I have shown, also, how naturally and easily, through the same power, the man imposes upon his Will a law and rule of action, internal and spiritual, which is a Law. And yet, in it is freedom,-in that very Law, -and in being ruled by it.
Now, the Christian who steadily looks at this power and instinct of the inner man, he in it shall see how the faculties of nature answer to the gospel privileges. Tht Unseen World, with its joys and its crown of Life Eternal, held out for us to look towards with the eyes of Faith ;--this is that object upon which the Purpose that is truly perfect must be fixed. And, so directed, so guided, the action of the natural faculty is changed into the Christian grace of Ilope, fixing its sight upon the throne and mount of God, and upon our Lord and Saviour Christ, there sitting and making intercession for us.
Perfected then is Purpose of Will, when, illumined by the light of heaven, it pierces through all the temporal things of this visible world, glories alike and clouds, and sees through them all the effulgence of Eternity. Then is the path of the vessel directed across the waters, then it is guided aright by the chart, steadied by the helmsman's hand, when Purpose is transmuted into Christian Hope, by means of faith, which, as the Apostle tells us, is “the substance of things hoped for.”
And then the Law of faith,—the royal law of liberty,--the inward grace of the Holy Spirit, reigning and ruling in the heart,—this becomes the law of action that the Will imposes upon itself. And, so governing itself by an inward Law, in accordance with the inward faith, the Will is entirely under subjection to the Law of Christ, and, by this, rules and guides itself. By this, the natural faculty of Purpose, through the inward law of a living faith, becomes the “assurance of (Christian) Hope,”— the “anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil."'*
This is that alone which can render our Purpose perfect, both in the object upon which it is fixed and in the Law self-imposed. This only can make the Will perfect in this part of its faculties. And this will do it. This is that sure hope which “looks to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,” and thus finds in Him alone its object in Eternity, and its rule and inward law for the Will. So the inward faculty of Purpose of Will, this is converted into a living Hope, looking immovably unto Christ the Saviour, and as immovably ruling the man by the “law of the liberty of the Gospel.”
* IIeb. vi. 19.
Purpose of Will becomes not Christian Hope of itself, by any effort or struggle of its own; but it is so crowned and perfected by the influence of the Holy Spirit. Earthly faculties are changed into heavenly powers and gifts, not of themselves, but only by the “engrafted Word" and the “grace of the Spirit.”
To him, therefore, who is regenerated, to him we would say, to cease not to improve the grace of faith already possessed, by ruling the Will inwardly, according to the “ Law of Love, the perfect law of liberty,”—the “royal law” of our King, making this, with the most inward earnestness of the Heart, the rule of all purposes, and by all means of meditation and prayer and inward thought, fixing the eye of faith steadily upon Christ our Lord.
Thus shall the faculty and power of Purpose of Will be completed and perfected, and this world, which to the unstable is a delusive and unsteady wilderness of changing objects, bewildering and confusing this shall be seen with the “Mind of the traveller.” And, neither desirous to hasten our course nor yet to loiter by the wayside, we shall travel onward with clear views and distinct hopes until we reach our home; for there is nothing that so directs our course and so clears our views as 66 true Christian Hope:"_this alone is that which perfects the faculty of Purpose, and enables is 'a be complete, both in its action and in its objects.
The question of Power.—Man's Will originates Power, and is not merely
an agent of it.—The evils of Fatalism, exemplified in a quotation from Diderot.--Man's Will is free in act and fact, when it coincides completely with the Will of God, in Choice, in Purpose, in Power.
We come now to the third prerogative of the Will, that of Power; a very difficult question, we admit, but still, one that may be made, we believe, sufficiently plain, if first we clear away the thorns and brambles of pertinacious and self-centred controversy; the arguments of men who uphold various modifications of the fatalistic system, under the idea that such a scheme is absolutely necessary for religion, and the counter arguments of others, who cared nothing for truth, but only wished to be free from restraint. Such, we think, are, on either side, the arguments that have perplexed, not decided, this question.
Strange arguments! of which the one side proves, that man has no power, can do absolutely nothing ! and the other, that he can do any thing he pleases ! is absolutely omnipotent !—and both unite in relying upon abstract and verbal argument, and agree in considering human nature and man's experience as generally delusive! We put these argumentations aside, and go straight to the question, “Is there Power in the Will of Man ?"
Now, we have shown the vainness of the argument, with reference to “Cause and Effect," upon Choice and Liberty; manifesting, in reference to that power of the Will, that while the Physical World of the mere animals is bound up in a Causal system, which, from without, predetermines their choice,--man, because he is a spiritual being, is free. And that this freedom consists in this, that, as a spiritual being, man has the power of resisting or admitting the motives which, so far as he is merely an animal, would absolutely determine his Will. Again, the Power of Purpose, which we have treated of in the last chapter, may be seen to belong to man peculiarly as à spiritual being, inasmuch as no
animal has Purpose. This, too, will set man apart from “the great external system of Physical Causation.
In the same manner, by self-experience, we know, that we, under certain conditions, exert Power, which originates from ourselves, and is not under a physical law of causation in its origin, or an absolute law of doom in its operation; both of which theories leave to man only an appearance of doing, and a selfdelusion by which he vainly imagines he does that which he only seems to do. And both theories employ as their argument the Law of Causation, the assertion that the system of the world is driven by it, and that man is a mere part of that system or machine. A mechanical system of the universe, in other words, that asserts, that in His world, God does nothing, and is absent himself, and that the only thing present is Power exerted according to fixed law.
These three theories, viz.: first, of a Mechanical System of the universe; secondly, of an Absent God; and, thirdly, of Mere Power; these are the premises that deny the Freedom of the Will, whatever talk men may make about other matters and other motives. Get men to believe in a Present God, a Father, a Governor, a holy God, to be worshipped and loved, “upholding all things by the Word of his power,” “in whom we live and move and have our being,” and the fatalistic arguments soon vanish. And then there is no difficulty in admitting of Free-will or free Power in man.
But take these three vile and abominable notions, and the man who takes them as true, consciously or unconsciously, must be a physical and mechanical atheist, (so far as atheism is possible to man,) or else an absolute Fatalist. *
* We speak advisedly, for such they are, being contradictory to the express declaration of the Scriptures, to the truths of God's nature and being, and to man's experience of his own inward constitution, and of the outward face of the world, and the course of events. We say, then, that they are vile and abominable, and their vileness consists in this, that the man who holds them has no escape from a Pantheistic Atheism, save in a system of Fatalistic Doom. For, if God be absent, I have no proof in the outward world, and in my experience of a God. If I meet only power, I cannot argue for a father most gracious, or for a moral governor, but only for one maker, working on one plan, or twenty makers working on the same plan. And not for an Almighty maker, but only for one sufficient in power to the work of this material world. If it be only a mechanical system, this, with the other