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as cause is; to denote the certainty of those events which are said to be necessary. The words, however, are frequently misunderstood; and the more so, because President Edwards uses them sometimes in their common ac. ceptation, instead of invariably attributing to them, what he has explained to be their philosophical meaning.
It is this philosophical necessity, which he asserts to be perfectly consistent with, and indeed essential to moral agency; for were there no necessary connexion between motives and volition, men would never will as rational, intelligent agents. His doctrine is true, but his sentiments . might have been expressed in a more faultless, and profitable manner.
In our exhibition of the nature of moral agency we would shun that use of the words cause and necessity which is uncommon, however philosophical may be the meaning which may be definitely attributed to them, because few will read with philosophical eyes and attention. Let us express the doctrines of President Edwards so as to defy all opposition, from men of common sense and candour.
1. No intelligent being wills, in any case, without some motive.
2. There is a sure connexion between every volition and the motive for that volition; so that he who could foreknow what motives a man would have, might be certain what would be his volitions.
3. This certainty that a man will always choose, purpose, determine, or will, according to motives, is not inconsistent with free agency.
4. Should a man will without motive, his volitions would not be the volitions of an intelligent agent.
5. God foreknows what will be the thoughts and feelings of every man, in every given situation; and equally what will be his volitions, consequent upon such of those thoughts and feelings, as will be the occasion of any volitions. This foreknowledge implies the actual and certain connexion between those motives, or mental operations, which will induce certain volitions, and those volitions.
6. The connexion is not of the same nature with that which subsists between physical causes and physical effects; but it is as infallible; for it is no more certain, that
God has established some laws of physical operations, than that he has made it a law of mental operation, that there shall be no volition without some motive; and that a man, if he will at all, shall will from such motives as he has.
This is the sum and substance of President Edwards' Inquiry.
The common clamour of Arminians against this celebrated work is, that it represents moral agents to be mere machines, destitute of any actual efficiency in producing their own mental operations; and yet it expressly declares, that
THE ACTIVITY OF THE SOUL MAY ENABLE IT
THE CAUSE OF EFFECTS.” p. 67. The great point in dispute between President Edwards and all Arminians, is not whether man is the efficient cause of all his own volitions, but whether the will has in itself the power of determining its own volitions. He affirms that it has not, and they maintain that it has. If the faculty of the will, he argues, correctly, determines to produce a certain volition, it must be by a volition to produce that volition; and that previous volition must exist in consequence of some act of the will anterior to itself, or it must exist in consequence of the operation of some other faculty, in which case volition depends on something besides a selfdetermining power of the will. The Arminians, therefore, must admit an infinite series of volitions, or relinquish their favourite thesis.
Yet, President Edwards, we think, has gone too far, in maintaining that a volition is in no case the result of a previous volition.
“ I can conceive of nothing else,” he says," that can be meant by the soul's having power to cause and determine its own volitions, as a being to whom God has given a power of action, but this ; that God has given power to the soul, sometimes at least, to excite volitions at its pleasure, or according as it chooses. And this certainly supposes, in all such cases, a choice preceding all volitions which are thus caused, even the first of them. Which runs into the fore-mentioned great absurdity.”' p. 71.
Every man will find upon reflection, that he is not conscious of ever producing immediately one volition by another. But every man may be conscious, we think, of approving in his conscience, of a virtuous course of con. duct, and of resolving, or willing, from that approbation, to pursue it. He may will, or choose, or resolve too, (and these are all volitions,) that he will choose the same course of conduct to-morrow; and may purpose then to attend to the same considerations which induced him to approve and will to-day, that he may repeat his volition. When tomorrow arrives, he may remember his choice, purpose, or intention to choose the same course of virtuous conduct, which he pursued yesterday, and from the remembrance of his previous purpose, together with a reconsideration of his ground of approbation, may actually will as he intended to will. In this case one volition produces another, through the purposed interposition of some of the faculties of the understanding: and yet, we are not reduced to the absurdity of a choice preceding all volitions, or of a series of volitions without end. The first volition of which we have spoken, in the supposed case, had for its motive an act of the conscience; and that volition secured the existence of the second, similar volition, on the ensuing day. Very frequently the recollection, or the remembrance, of a former volition, is a motive for another volition; and by will. ing in consequence of some previous purpose, (and every act of the mind in purposing is a volition,) we form habits of continued operation. If the recalling of a previous volition did not in some cases induce a subsequent volition, there could be no intentional fulfilment of promises ; for when we sincerely promise to do something at a future time, we intend at that time to will the performance of it, or else we are so absurd as to expect to perform our promises without any volition to do it, at the time of perform
Although one volition cannot, therefore, induce immediately another volition; yet mediately it can, through those intellectual faculties, which obey the will in recalling the motives which have once induced volition and are likely to do it again ; or which recollect some previous purpose to will, in a certain manner, at some subsequent time. We fearlessly assert, therefore, that God has ) given power to the soul of man, sometimes at least, to excite volitions according to its pleasure ; and indeed very
frequently as it chooses. And on this power depends all that consistency of religious character, which we discover in some intelligent Christians ; for having come to a deliberate choice of Jehovah for their God, and of his service for their employment, they resolve, that is, they will, to renew their choice of him, and their volitions to serve him, daily ; so that in the inner man they are, through divine blessing on the operations of their own minds, renewed day by day. In this way, to a considerable extent, the soul determines what its future volitions shall be.
Freedom, or Liberty, President Edwards predicates of a moral agent, when he is “ free from hinderance or impediment in the way of doing, or conducting in any respect, as he wills.” p. 38. Such an agent we agree with him is free. But he maintains that liberty cannot be predicated of the will itself, (p. 39,) because the existence of the faculty of the will is essential to the idea of liberty in any being; and it would not be good sense to say that the will acts according to its will. It may be deemed presumption to oppose this eminent divine in any thing; but we would that our understanding should bow only to conviction. We cannot think it nonsense to affirm, that the faculty of volition is free to will, from the recollection of some previous volition, when there is no impediment in the way, and no extraneous energy exerted to prevent the operation. A moral agent to be free in his moral actions must have a will, we allow; but we see no impropriety in saying, that every faculty of the soul has a natural freedom in its operations, when no constraint, force, compulsion, or coaction is exerted to prevent it from operating according to, or to make it act contrary to, the constitution of the human mind, and the divinely established laws of mental operation. Our readers will permit us to quote, what we have elsewhere published, as an exhibition of moral liberty.
“ LIBERTY OF Action consists in such a connexion between the faculties of volition and efficiency, that a man may perform what he wills. So far as a man may effect what he wills, so far he is free in his agency.-LIBERTY OF VOLITION, or freedom of will, consists in such a connexion be
tween the will and a sufficient inducement to volition, that a man may will upon the presentation of the motive. Hence man has no such freedom of will that he can choose without motives, or independently of all knowledge, judgment, conscience, and feeling. Hence, also, a man cannot will from such thoughts and feelings, whether they be holy or unholy, as he has not; any more than he can see what is not to be seen. LIBERTY OF THOUGHT is predicated of any faculty of the understanding, precisely so far as a connexion is established between that faculty and our voluntary efficiency."
Both kinds of liberty, of which we have spoken, namely, a natural freedom from the physical compulsion of any faculty; and the moral liberty of thought, volition, and action ; seem absolutely essential to the constitution of a moral agent; and the continuance of his moral
agency. Should the divine energy physically constrain the mind to any act, that act would be a work of God, and not an act of any human efficient being, or agent. Should man be the efficient of mental operations, and yet be prevented from exercising some voluntary government over his own thoughts, feelings, volitions, and actions, he would not be A FRI
MORAL AGENT. Had President Edwards avoided the use of the word cause, when he did not intend an efficient cause ; and of the word necessity, when he meant certainty, the Rev. James DANA, Ď. D. would probably never have written “ An Examination of the late Rev. President Edwards's Inquiry on Freedom of Will.” Boston, A. D. 1760. pp. 138. 12mo.
Dr. Dana says, “ we readily grant, that there can be no act of choice without some motive or inducement.'
This is one great point which the President laboured to establish : but he unfortunately said, that there is a necessary connexion between every volition and the motive which is the occasion of it. That there is a necessary connexion Dr. Dana denies, and asserts that if every volition be necessary, man is not accountable for necessary volitions, or the actions that necessarily flow from them. President E. informs us, that he means a moral, or taphysical, or a philosophical necessity ; but this Dr. D. overlooks, and insists upon it, that necessity is necessity, of whatever kind it may be. Had President E. asserted,