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3. Physical freedom involves no responsibility, unless the moral have been lost by abuse.
4. Men are not, by nature, morally free. The death of Christ and coming of the Spirit are the basis of man's moral freedom.
III. Of the will.
The will and the action of the other powers are so intimately connected that it is not possible to form a correct view of the one without the other. The remarks under the first head all refer to the mind's power of self-regulation, which is but another name for the voluntary power. We might, therefore, so far as accuracy is concerned, have classed them together. But, for certain reasons, we have not chosen to do so.
The caption of our article will show that Professor Upham has discussed this branch of mental philosophy in two separate works ; the one being the system of Intellectual Philosophy, already noticed ; the other a separate treatise, of about one-third the dimensions of the former.
I was aware of the existence of both treatises when I commenced writing; but, supposing the latter work rather a confirmation than otherwise of the doctrines of the former, I did not read it until my thoughts were arranged. Upon taking it up, however, in connection with the topic now under consideration, in order to a fuller view of the author's doctrine and mode of illustration, I find a very great divergency of the one from the other. In the latter, not only farther illustrations are adduced, but Professor Upham on the Will, refutes Professor Upham on the Desires.
As the case is, I will only briefly point out the different positions of the two works, and then remark upon some statements of the latter.
In the former work, there are but two classes of mental states; viz., intellectual and sentient. The sentient are again divided into emotions and desires. Under the genus desires is included volition, as a species. Volition, therefore, is a modified desire. In the latter work all this is laid aside, and the mental states are threefold : --intellectual, sentient, and voluntary. A large part, also, is occupied in showing the difference between volitions and desires; the latter being considered as without sentience. The author distinctly informs us, that no satisfactory progress can be made in delineating the will, until it is established as a fundamental principle, that desires and volitions are essentially different. See Essay, p. 85.
In the former work it is plainly asserted, “ the will is always in accordance with the strongest motive ;" “ in other words, the will always is, as the greatest apparent good.” To this doctrine the definition of liberty is accommodated. See vol. ii, p. 379.
The futility of the assertion might be made apparent from the remarks of the writer himself; but, as he has informed us, in the Treatise on the Will, that the proposition, that the will is governed by the strongest motive, is, in many cases, identical, we need not delay upon it.
Whether the latter publication was intended to neutralize the former, so far as this subject is concerned, one can hardly determine. Certainly, I did not concur with all the positions of the one: with those of the other, in most respects, I did. The differences between
VOL. VII.— July, 1836. 35
the two, as already pointed out, are certainly material. If it was not so intended, it would be well for some one else to intend it; if it were, the necessity of remodelling the former publication into consistency with the latter, and with truth, still remains, both as concerns the doctrine of the will and the other points specified. Whether the course actually pursued by our author, in thus laying before the public contradictory conclusions, without any note of difference, be as ingenuous as one that might have been pursued, must be left to every one's judgment. . An author is not always bound to make formal retraction when favored with increasing light. Retraction, however, may at times be the nobler policy.
It is not necessary to characterize the Essay as indicating great judgment and industry. These qualities always show themselves in the productions of this author.
With it, as a whole, I find but one fault, though that be a material one.
I am not able to sum up the doctrine, and determine precisely the truths evolved, and how much they include.
The following paragraphs contain remarks on one particular and prominent part of the work.
The author is giving us an analysis of the basis on which rests the fabric of our voluntary operations. So far as the argument is concerned, there are three great propositions :-1. The will is subject to law. 2. The will is free. 3. The will has power.
With the former only are we concerned at present. First of all, it is to be ascertained in what sense of law the will is subject.
Mr. Upham, himself, nowhere defines the word law, unless when he calls it, in the Philosophy, "a designation of the circumstances, under which the mental action presents itself.” Whether this defi. nition be correct or not, it does not serve our purpose. Under which of the three kinds of law is that here spoken of to be included ? It is not moral; it is human; it is physical. Mr. Upham evidently means the rules by which volitions are governed, and governed by a power extrinsic to the willing principle. I am not tenacious of the word physical. I use it as the best I have. The idea alone is essential. That includes two things. An actual and efficient causation from an extrinsic source.
The reader will please notice the precise sense of that word, extrinsic. It does not mean external to the mind, but to the will. Though it be a motive, and motive be defined a mental conception, or mode of conceiving, still it is external to the will. It is not doubted but that will governs the mental action; but, in governing, is the will itself governed ?
The entire current of the argument and illustration evinces this to be the kind of law here spoken of.
Instead of saying, the will is subject to law, I would say, the will has a certain sphere, within which alone it can act; and there are certain circumstances, which must be present, in order that it may act. It is under restriction. But the term is not worthy of contention. To a certain extent, will is subject to law. This seems indisputable. The objection made to the Essay will be distinctly seen in a few remarks.
(1.) The first argument, in maintaining the position mentioned, is from analogy. We meet with law everywhere; therefore, we may expect it here. See Essay, p. 109.
Such an argument is not demonstrative. It is plain that, unless responsibility be denied, we must at last come to a point at which the argument halts; at which we are released from the domination of physical law.
We find some law everywhere; but, it is not of course a physical law.
This argument is variously modified in the Essay. It is said, if there be a God, he must govern. If he governs, it must be by law. This is granted. But, must it be by such law as the argument contends for? May it not be moral law? Do not legislators govern? They certainly do. Yet not by physical laws.
Will Mr. Upham say, that man, so far as subject to moral law only, is free from control? I think not. If not, then the necessity of control does not argue the necessity of physical law,
Mr. Upham confounds supervision with constraint. The objection to this argument is, that it pushes subjection to law into fatalism.
(2.) The primary law of causality is brought in to support the same conclusion. "Every change must have a cause." Essay, p. 121.
That causality is affirmed of volitions, in the same sense as of other things, is made plain by the illustrations.
The operations of the will, by this showing, follow certain external influences, as motion follows impulse. External—the reader will observe—not to mind, necessarily, but to the will.
It is true, Mr. Upham remarks, at the conclusion, that he does not specify the precise nature of the cause. “We use the term cause, here,” he observes, “as we have done in all that has been said in its broadest sense, as meaning, according to the nature of the subject spoken of, either the mere antecedent occasion, or the antecedent combined with power ;"_" as expressing either the effective cause which truly makes the sequence, or the preparative cause, which is merely a condition of the existence of such sequence." The reader is requested to turn to this singular passage, at p. 133.
Observe here, 1. That while the word cause will bear two significations, widely different from each other, we are not informed in which of the two it is used. In the language of the author, he "does not specify the precise nature of the cause.” This is mystification. It has the appearance of a disposition to resort to either sense, as the case may require. I do not mean, even by implication, that that was intended. But an enemy might suspect it.
2. If, in the argument, the term cause is not used in the same sense as in other cases, particularly in that great doctrine which constitutes a law of belief, of what avail is it to the conclusion ?
The belief in the causation of voluntary states arises from the notion of “God's omniscience and superintendence.” Şee p. 132.
Here, omniscience is used to include foreknowledge proper, and superintendence, in Mr. Upham's view, is constraining influence, See above, and Essay, pp. 117, 148, 149.
But, if the causes do not compel the results, how do they sustain these attributes ?
I think, again, that the author carries out subjection to law until it becomes fatalism.
(3.) The argument from the Divine prescience presents the same objectionable feature in several aspects. See p. 160.
In this passage Mr. Upham presents himself as a believer in the “ Eternal Now." With God, there are no relations of past, present, and future.
Instead of God's foreknowledge furnishing the basis of this doctrine, this furnishes the basis of the foreknowledge. See foot of p. 162. Foreknowledge there is attributed to God in an improper sense. And yet, strange to tell! from foreknowledge, as if proper, is argued subjection to law. I hope the reader perceives the delusion. I believe it is not peculiar to Mr. Upham.
His argument appears to stand thus :-God knows all things ; future as well as present. He, therefore, foreknows volitions yet to' arise. But, he can foreknow volitions only as they are the effects of present causes, by running his mind down the chain of sequences to the ultimate result. Essay, p. 166.
Therefore, volition must be subject to law. A stranger medley could not be produced. Manifestly, if men define the foreknowledge to be improperly so called, in condescension to human capacity, they should argue from it as such ; in which case, there can be no foundation for the inference of the Essay.
I mention this in order to arrest the conclusion following from it. For, if subjection to law be inferred from foreknowledge, then it must be inferred without limit. The foreknowledge being of every volition, and of every form and degree of it, every form and degree must be the effect of a Divinely appointed law. The will, in that case, is mechanical-it is governed by physical laws, like the ascent and descent of vapors. Behind such an argument as this, fatalism is securely sheltered, though unseen.
The occurrence of these arguments indicates that the author is scarcely prepared to follow the doctrines which he himself has laid down to their fair conclusion.
Other arguments, in support of the proposition, that the will is subject to law, are less objectionable.
(4.) The will's subjection to law having been proved, it becomes a question, how this subjection may be reconciled with its admitted freedom? See p. 244. The difficulty of reconciling them is virtually admitted. I know it is affirmed that the contradiction is only apparent; but this is affirmed, not because their compatibility is apparent, but, because each is supposed to be proved true. This is the method by which foreordination of all things is reconciled with freedom of some things.
The reader is requested to notice the connection between the subject of defining simple terms, particularly freedom, and that before us. By his mode of treating these terms, and by considering freedom as simple, he renders any attempt to show the compatibility of law and freedom impossible. For, in order to show this compatibility, freedom must be detined, or, at least, in some way circumscribed.
It is true, when we reach the fact that the will is free, we reach
an ultimate fact. Nevertheless, we do not reach one which is contrary to others of the same class.
A few remarks on this topic may not be out of place.
An illustration presents itself from a kindred subject, which, as it is important in itself, is also calculated to throw light upon the present inquiry.
The immutability of God is a grand doctrine of Scripture; a postulate in argument with all enlightened men. Should I affirm that God repents, some critic might call me to account with the assertion, that God is immutable-eternally, essentially immutable. I answer, because he is immutable, therefore he is, in a sense, mutable. The louder you cry up his immutability, the louder do you cry up his mutability, in the sense designed. That there is change of some kind, in the Divine Being, is certain ; for, an inspired prophet exclaims, " Though thou wast angry with me, yet thine anger is turned away." He himself declares that, with the froward he will show himself froward; with the pure, pure. He thus looks variously upon saint and sinner; and, if so, he looks upon the same man, when holy, differently from what he does when sinful. Immutability of character implies mutability of active manifestation.
Hence, if you affirm God to be immutable in his regard for individuals, you make him mutable in character. For, as individuals vary, God can only remain the same in his character by varying in his conduct toward them,
By this case our subject may be somewhat cleared up. Perhaps, using the strong terms of Professor Upham,—subjection to lar there is a difficulty. But, if we say the will is restricted to a certain sphere, and its action impossible, except under certain circumstances, there seems to be less difficulty. It has been noticed that power is necessary to freedom.
But there can be no power except as a thing acts within a definite limit, and under certain circumstances. God only is an unrestricted agent. In this sense, limitation is necessary to freedom.
Suppose, for a moment, the will to be unrestricted in its sphere, and unbounded as to circumstances, we would soon have a verification of the illustration which has been brought forward; viz., of the ass dying between two bundles of hay, for lack of ability to determine which presented the strongest motive to devour it.
Let us now sum up on the matter of the present topic.
The author is giving an analysis of the will. In doing so, he presents us with three great points,-1. The will is subject to law. 2. The will is free. 3. The will has power.
On the two last points he presents what may be considered a fair view of the case. The will bas freedom, and that which is necessary to it; viz., power. But, he not only gives no definition of freedom, he attempts in noway to circumscribe the notion of it. He goes the length of admitting, that we have no means of testing an individual's sense of it. This is altogether too indefinite. In accordance with these views, one should be a believer in actual freedom; he might be a fatalist. When arguing, however, for the will's subjection to law, a doctrine easily established within proper limits, he establishes too much. So much as to destroy the very freedom for which he afterwards contends.