Puslapio vaizdai

To these very powerful and cogent arguarguments the advocates for philofophical liberty, viz. Clarke, Beattie, Butler, Price, Law, Bryant, Wollafton, Horfley, &c. reply to the following purpose: As all mankind have an internal consciousness of freedom, and as it is impoffible for any metaphysical fubtilties fo totally to overpower the original and genuine dictates of nature, as to excite a real belief in the mind of any rational being that he is not mafter of his own actions, but that he is a mere machine, and as incapable of controlling the events of his life, or the determinations of his will, as a puppet to refift the impulfe of the wires by which he is put in motion, it might seem sufficient to appeal to common sense for the refutation of affertions fo extravagant and abfurd; but in order more completely to expose the fallacy and detect the fophiftry of those arguments by which their antagonists attempt to reafon men out of their reafon, it is proper, fay they, to enter into a more full and accurate investigation of them; and with respect to the fo much boasted argument from the neceffary operation of causes and effects, they profess their readiness to acknowledge the neceffity of a caufe to the production of any effect, but they can by no means admit the application of this axiom to the fupport of the hypothefis in queftion, nor by any means allow that motives are to be confidered as the efficient caufes of volition: The man alone is the agent, and forms the volition, upon the view and confideration of motives indeed which

B 3

which may be, and ufually are, the occafion of the volition, but which cannot with any degree of propriety be ftiled the impellers or the true and phyfical causes of it. To fet this propofition in a clearer light, they obferve, that amongst other wonderful and incomprehenfible powers with which it has pleased God to endow the human mind, is the faculty of felf-determination, of beginning motion, of putting itself in action; and though no reasonable perfon will exert this power in a total difregard to motives, yet must the power indifputably be allowed to exift independent of the motive; and fhould two different volitions be supposed to take place in the fame precife fituation, they cannot furely, with any fhadow of justice, be represented as exifting without any adequate cause, when the felf-determining power is itself the cause of each volition.

In various inftances the different motives prefented to the mind appear equally forcible: at other times we cannot with the utmost attention perceive our minds to be influenced, previous to the act of chufing, by any motive whatever, to a definite choice. In fuch cafes can any one be so abfurd as to imagine that the man is not at liberty to act at all. Has not a man a power of walking, because he is not incited by any particular motive to turn either to the right or to the left? Or is a traveller incapable of proceeding to the place of his destination till he has come to a formal determination whether the fhorter and rougher, or the farther

farther and easier road will be more eligible? No; doubtless he has a power of inftant determination, notwithstanding the impoffibility of afcertaining the preponderance, or even the existence of any motive which could in any manner influence the volition. Even in thofe cafes where the preponderance of any motive is vifible and notorious, no man can truly fay that the action confequent upon it was, ftrictly speaking, neceffary: for great as the weight of the motive may be fuppofed, if it was not actually of a violent or compulfive kind, the felf-determining power might have decided in opposition to that, or any other motive whatever.-So that the weaknefs and fallacy of that reasoning must be apparent to every unprejudiced enquirer, by which it is pretended, that the mind will be neceffarily and invariably influenced by the strongest motive. In the multifarious and eventful business of life it perpetually happens, that the mind is agitated and perplexed by a conflict of oppofite and contending motives; and we too frequently find virtue and reafon ranged on one fide, paffion and inclination on the other. In this unhappy fituation what is to be done? Are men quietly and paffively to submit to the strong and violent impulse of paffion, and refuse to listen to the ftill and feeble call of reafon? No; they must exert their own inherent power of felf-determination, and form their refolutions in fpite of the fuperior force of thofe inclinations which they know to be highly culpable and unworthy. If it is fufficient to say, in B 4 vindication

vindication of a vicious action, that the motives which influenced us to the perpetration of it were at the time predominant in the mind, no villainy could ever want an adequate apology; the very foundations of virtue would be fubverted, the ideas of virtue and vice would be totally confounded, and the moral character of the Deity himself, as the author of a conftitution of things which neceffarily and inevitably led to the commiffion of every fpecies of immorality, would be highly reflected upon, and most injuriously, not to fay profanely traduced, and mifrepresented. And in regard to the collateral argument deduced from the divine prefcience, it may be faid, in the language of fcripture, that as the heavens are high above the earth, fo are God's ways higher than our ways, and his thoughts than our thoughts; and it would be most unreasonable and prefumptuous to expect that men fhould be able to comprehend or explain the mode in which the divine attributes exift or operate. We know by intuition, as well as induction, that the will of man is free; and we know, by the accomplishment of prophecies, as well as by the exprefs claims and declarations of the Divine Being, that all futurity lies open to his immenfe furvey: and these truths, if feparately proved, muft undoubtedly be confiftent with each other, however inconfiftent or irreconcilable they may appear to our weak and limited capacities. But even if it fhould be allowed that the free-will of man, and the fore-knowledge of Deity, when understood in its utmost latitude, are exprefs


contradictions, it would furely be much lefs derogatory to the honour and glory of Almighty God, to acknowledge that the attribute of prescience is not, abfolutely and strictly speaking, without limitation; than to affert the existence of it in such a sense as to imply the impoffibility of imparting to man freedom of agency, the glorious and inestimable privilege of felf-determination. If it is in the nature of things impoffible, that the attribute of prefcience can fubfift in its fullest extent, without depriving men of that faculty which can alone render them moral or accountable agents, with profound fubmiffion and reverence we may venture to affirm, that in this fenfe, and to this extent, it does not fubfist; though doubtless that Almighty Being, to whom all hearts are open and all defires known, cannot fail to judge, with a degree of precision to us wholly incomprehenfible, concerning the effects which will arife from caufes actually exifting. His forefight extends to every poffible contingency, and his power and wisdom will infallibly make every event fubfervient to the moft glorious and falutary purposes.

The Neceffarians, far from being filenced by these popular and fpecious reafonings, with great ardour and confidence thus refume the argument:It is acknowledged, fay they, by our opponents,then, that nothing can come into existence without a cause. All the affections, emotions, and feelings of the mind, however modified and however diftinguished, are the real and genuine effects of fome


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