« PoprzedniaDalej »
under the term tempers, then we assent to his statement; for the sinner is the author of his own sinful thoughts, feelings, volitions and agency. He is the efficient cause of every thing sinful which his mind performs. While he is not “self-existent," but dependent on God for his be. ing every moment, he has, therefore, a faculty, and a power, of “self-action,” which Mr. A. denies him to have. p. 5. At the same time, we know of no persons called Calvinists, who hold “that man has a self-determining power of will.” p. 5.
If by heart Mr. Ai means the faculty of feeling and the faculty of volition, we deny that all sin consists in the exercises of the heart, used in this sense, for sin is predicated of an intelligent, sensitive, voluntary agent; and not merely of his volitions and feelings. The Conscience, Me. mory, Judgment, and Reason may be as justly charged with moral evil, as any other faculties of the soul. A be. ing that should feel, without any thoughts, or will with. out either thought or feeling, or act without volition, could be charged with no moral turpitude; could not sin; could not be holy.
Mr. A. proceeds to inform us, that “every thing, ex. istence and events may be arranged under the two grand genera, cause and effect. The mind of man cannot conceive of a thing that does not belong to one or other of these.” We conclude there may be different species under each genus; or if all things are divided into two classes, these may be subdivided; for unquestionably there are different species of causes and effects. We have uncreated and created efficient causes; as well mechanical, instrumental, meritorious, chemical, and moral causes; and we have effects material, spiritual, physical, and moral. But what would Mr. A. do with his division of things, after he has made it? Our readers will soon know. “ Then thinking and willing are either cause, or effect.” Thinking is an act, or an effect, of a thinking being, and the being who thinks is the cause of the effect, denomi. nated a thought. Willing is an act of some being that has a faculty of volition, and the being who wills is the cause of the effect called a volition. Man is a finite efficient
cause of his own thoughts and volitions: and thinking man himself is an effect produced by his Creator.
This reasoning suits not our author. If thinking and willing, says he, can with truth be ranged under cause, then are they uncaused.” How does this follow? Has Mr. A. proved, that, there are no created, secondary causes? He implies, or seems to think it self-evident, that no cause can be caused. If this is true, there is but one cause in existence; and this must be the self-existent First Cause of all things. Every man, but Mr. Anderson, of whom we have ever read, seems to think, that God has produced many effects, that, being produced, are causes of many events. For instance, they think the Sun an effect of God's creative power, and the cause of light and heat to our world. If every cause is uncaused, then the cause of sin must be uncaused; and since there is no uncaused cause of things but God, our God must be the sole cause of sin. To this conclusion Mr. A. appears to have no objection, for he subjoins, “whatever is uncaused is self-existent, eternal, independent, and every where present. Then thinking and willing (if they can with truth be ranged under cause) wherever found, are self-existent, eternal, &c. But these words express exclusively the attributes of Deity; then, thinking and willing, wherever they exist are really and truly God.” Now suppose thinking and willing, which are unquestionably effects of some ihinking, voluntary agent, to be also the cause of some voluntary and intelligent moral action: they must of course, because they are a cause, and Mr. Anderson teaches that every cause is self-existent and eternal, be the Almighty God!
“ Then thinking and willing in creatures, are effects. Effects of what? Of the providential agency of God. Adam had a first perception, and a first volition, with which his mental existence commenced. It will be admitted that God directly and immediately created his spirit; that is, his divine creative agency produced a thinking, willing existence. The first perception could not produce a second, without assigning to it creative power; nor, indeed, could any thing else, except the almighty energy of Jehovah.”
A spirit is a subsistence which can think, feel, will,
and act. God created Adam such a spirit. Thinking and willing, his first perception, his first volition, and overy other mental operation which he ever periormed, were effects, of which Adam was the created efficient cause. At the same time the providence of God extended to every one of his faculties, and to all their operations, in such a manner that Adam was the author of all that he did. Adam's mind existed before he had a first perception, and a first volition, for these were mental effects, and his mind was their mental cause; and no effect can exist before its cause. There was no need that the first perception of his mind should produce a second; for God made him a being capable of beginning and of continu. ing to perceive such objects as divine providence placed before him. The assertion, that nothing “else, except the almighty energy of Jehovah” could produce a per. ception in Adam's mind, if it means any thing, must mean this, that Jehovah did not, and could not make a man that was capable, from any naiure or faculty produced in his constitution, of perceiving any thing. According to this account, it is Jehovah's energy, and not a creature produced by his wisdom, that sees a cloud, hears thunder, smells a rose, touches a pen, and tastes an apple. Had not his Maker formed him capable of perception, we admit Adain could not have perceived at all: but we would as soon affirm that God cannot create any thing, as to affirm that he could not create a think. ing, sensitive, voluntary agent, who should really from himself think, feel, will, and exert a finite efficiency, in the sphere in which he is placed.
Mr. A. thinks man incapable of causing any thing, for he says, “according to scripture and sound philosophy, to God alone belongs causation, and he alone is uncaused. While he is the holy efficient cause of all our thoughts and volitions. There is no agent between him and these effects, causing them and producing them. But before God could be the author of sin, his agency and causation must include an approbation of sin, and so be sinful; to suppose which would be blasphemy." p. 8. After all this, we shall undoubtedly be told that Mr. A. does not make God the author of sin; and that to charge him with such a doctrine is calumny and misrepresenta.
tion. Any common man would think the efficient cause of a sinful volition, and the author of a sinful volition to amount to the same thing; but Mr. A. says “no, the efficient cause of a sinful volition is not the author of it, unless he approves of it;" so that if God produce in us vo. litions to commit rape, murder, and suicide, he is not the author of our volitions, unless he approves of the volitions to perpetrate these crimes! Is this logic? Can any body think Mr. A. versed in the science of metaphysics?
“ Yet sin,” says he, “is in the exercises of the heart, and belongs exclusively to the heart;" it consists in “exercises, volitions, or tempers,” and “there can be no agency between the exercise of the human heart and sin, to produce sin.” p. 4, 5. Yet, God, he tells us, is “the holy efficient cause of all our thoughts and volitions. There is no agent between him, (God) and these effects, causing them and producing them.” p. 8. Which of these assertions would the author of them have us be. lieve? He first tells us, that the human heart is chargeable with certain sinful exercises, volitions, and tempers which are sinful, which are its own acts and deeds; and between which and the heart there is no agency to produce them: then in the second place he informs us, that God is the efficient cause of all these exercises, that he produces them, and that there is no agent between him and these effects. If this is not a contradiction, it must be a Hopkinsian peculiarity.
Still, our reverend brother would not be thought to approve of the expression, “God is the author of sin.” He has made a distinction to help him out of his difficulıy.
" It may be satisfactory here to introduce and establish a distinction of some importance; namely, that volition as existence or being, is distinct from its sinfulness or holiness. The one is real being or entity, the others are the qualities of being, or predicates necessarily belonging to an existence of a particular kind under particular circumstances. If the distinction just made be not admitted, no reasonable doctrine of mental identity can be maintained. A being consisting of several constituents is the same. But if one of the cunstituents be taken away, it destroys the sameness of the being; or if one be taken
away and another substituted directly opposite in its nature, the sameness is destroyed.-Volition is an exercise or act of the will which has its whole existence in successive volitions. But each volition has the same entity or essential being that the will has; and if sinfulness be the very being of the volition, holiness being an existence the very opposite of sinfulness, when the volitions of the singer become holy, there would be a total change of the being, and these opposite existences cannot constitute the same individual will.-If sin be the very being of volition, then sin is as much a natural existence, as any other existence.--It will be necessary, however, to guard against inferring from this distinction, that volition may exist without sinfulness or holiness. Volition is a necessary existence. It is also necessarily sinful or holy, because they all take place under moral law, and can no more exist without one or the other, than matter can exist without some shape or figure.God may create matter and determine under what figure it shall exist, but he cannot create matter existing under no shape. He may likewise produce volitions and determine whether they shall be sinful or holy; but a rational creature cannot have volitions that are neither sinful nor holy," p. 6, 7, 8.
Here we have some sense, and some nonsense, but all of it is insufficient to prove, that God is the efficient cause of a sinful volition, and at the same time not of the sinfulness of it.
Here too, we have a piece of Hopkinsianism set forth, with all the skill of its great Champion in Tennessee. Let us examine it. In the proposition, “God is the efficient cause of a sinful volition,” sinful is an attribute of volition, and intimates that the volition in question is contrary to the moral law. Any sinful volition is a sin, or a transgression of the law. According to the above statement, God produced the volition, and determined that it should be sinful. If then a sinful volition is a sin, is not God, according to Mr. Anderson's theory, the efficient cause of sin?
We can voluntarily abstract from the consideration of a volition its relation to a moral law, and think of it only as an act of the will in a voluntary being. In this case we conceive of an act of the mind without any regard to some one or more of its attributes. The volition, let us con. ceive of it as we will, is a thing which existed. The moment before the mind willed, it was not, and the mo