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he a power which ever will avail, even in the most favorable circumstances? In regard to this, we can agree. Let us look at the question respecting the power of the unrenewed to repent and believe, without the regenerating influence of the Spirit. We inquire then, whether any sinner, any one of the human race, has actually repented and believed, without that influence. Whatever motives may have acted upon him, and whatever efforts he may have made in his natural state, has he ever done this ? And has he power, in himself, which will prove to be sufficient in future time, so that he will, in any instance, actually obey the gospel, without any special divine influence? If now it is an obvious fact, that no sinner ever did, or ever will truly repent, without the renewing of the Holy Spirit, do we not find here what may be called a principle or law of our moral nature in our present fallen state ? For what is a law, understood in this sense, but the invariable manner in which events take place, or in which effects are produced ? The same may be applied to volitions. If we find what is the influence which motives have always had and now have upon them, or the uniform manner in which we put them forth, we find what is the law of the mind in regard to them.
Inquirer refers again to the fact which I had stated, “ that good beings invariably have good affections in view of moral objects, and wicked beings invariably have wrong affections ;” and he asks : “ Does it then actually belong to the nature of free agency in a state of probation, to produce invariably one and only one set of emotions ? Is there any example of such a uniformity in heaven or earth ?”
It must, I think, be obvious to Inquirer, that the nature of moral agency, and every thing essential to it, is the same in a state of retribution as“ in a state of probation.” Doubtless the inhabitants of heaven are free moral agents as truly and completely, as men on earth. My position is, that a good being, that is, a being entirely good, invariably has right feelings, and a bad being invariably has wrong feelings, in view of moral objects. This, as I have said before, does not imply that a good being may not become bad, nor that a bad being may not become good. But when a good being has become bad, the position that a good being uniformly has right feelings, does not apply to him; for he is not a good being, though he was so once. And when a bad being has become good, the position that a bad being uniformly has wrong feelings, does not apply to him; as he is not now a bad being.
But I have nowhere said, that a moral agent has “ uniformly and invariably, one and only one set of emotions." I maintain that we have many sets of emotions, a great variety of them ; though they are all holy or unholy, according to the state of our minds. · Inquirer presses the question, whether there is, in heaven or earth, any example of the uniformity or invariableness of moral affections, which I have spoken of. Undoubtedly there is. The holy angels were once in a state of probation ; and during that probation, their affections were invariably right. This is an example in heaven. Jesus, as a man, was in a state of trial while on earth; and his affections were uniformly right. This is an example on earth of the most exalted kind. And all who die impenitent, are examples of the opposite character. From the beginning to the end of their probation, their moral affections are evil, only evil, and that continually. Indeed, all men are examples of the uniformity spoken af, so long as they are unregenerate.
Inquirer cannot accede to the statement, that, because motives of some kind are necessary to volition, therefore volition is as much the subject of an active, efficient control, as the emotions and desires are. To me it is evident, that our being actuated and governed by motives from without and from within, is essential to our rational and accountable agency. No one, acting as a rational, moral agent, can will, or choose, or act, in any other way. And this is a circumstance, which clearly indicates the exalted nature of man, as a rational, accountable being. If this principle is rightly directed and applied, all is well. If it is misapplied, it carries ruin in its train.
Inquirer thinks, that I make “man a simple passive recipient in his affections and emotions.” If passive is used to denote what is not active, it is far from expressing my opinion on this subject. I maintain that the mind acts as really and powerfully, in loving and hating and desiring, as in willing or choosing. Wax is a passive recipient of the impression made upon it. In receiving the impression, as we speak, it has no activity. It is an inactive subject of what is done by an active being. But it is not so with the mind. It is indeed the subject of an influence from without; but it is an intelligent, active subject. It is not properly a recipient of its affections, but an agent in them.
I had said, “volition depends as much cn motives, as the passions and feelings on their appropriate exciting objects.” Inquirer asks, whether it depends “ on motives drawn from things
re, state or conotice : « SuppiesInquirert depends chiefly
ant truththe first apprehens and part of the it be oluntarily this
ab extra only ?" I answer, by no means. It depends chiefly and ultimately on inward motives. Inquirer then says what deserves special notice : “ Suppose that the soul from its own nature, state or condition wills or chooses this or that; is this to be put on par with desires necessarily and involuntarily excited in us by objects without the soul ?” Let it be remembered, that the language in the closing part of the above quoted sentence, is not my language, and the thing implied in it is not according to my apprehension. But that which Inquirer suggests in the first part of the sentence, is, in my view, an important truth; namely, that the soul wills or chooses from its own nature, state or condition ; in other words, that volitions or choices result from the nature, state, or condition of the soul. In this I agree with Inquirer. Whatever may be the motives presented from without, it is a well-known fact, that a man's inward disposition, or the character and state of his mind does in reality determine his choices, and his voluntary actions. And is not this equally true of the affections and desires ? Do not the unholy affections of an unregenerate man, his enmity against God, and his desires after forbidden objects proceed from the state of his heart? If he had a sanctified heart, a holy state of mind, would not his affections be different? When Paul was brought, by the renewing of the Holy Spirit, into a state of communion with God; did not the character or condition of his soul give character to his emotions ? Now if the fact that “the mind wills and chooses from its own nature, state or condition,” makes our choices free, and makes us justly accountable for them; why does not the same fact concerning the affections and desires make them free, and make us justly accountable for them? That the affections do come from the state of the heart is made clear from the word of God, and from our own consciousness. Christ declares that “ from within, out of the heart, proceed evil thoughts, covetousness, lasciviousness, an evil eye and pride,” as well as “ adulteries, murders, thefts and blasphemies." The former are emotions, affections and desires, as evidently as the last are volitions or voluntary actions. And they all proceed alike from the heart, and from the heart in its depraved state. This Inquirer holds, so far as relates to volitions. But the affections and desires he regards as necessary, and on this account he thinks we are not accountable for them. And yet there is no more necessity in respect to the affections, than in respect to the volitions. For as Inquirer suggests, “the soul
SECOND SERIES, VOL. VII. NO. I.
wills and chooses from its own nature, state or condition.” And this is what I maintain in regard to the affections. They proceed “from the nature, state and condition of the soul.” They proceed out of the heart. And it is this circumstance which seems to lead Inquirer, and many others, to think that they are not morally good or evil, praiseworthy or blameworthy. "The emotions and desires arise in the mind, they say, by necessity ; and by a necessity which precludes freedom and accountableness. But our volitions and choices take place by the same necessity; that is, they proceed “from the nature, state and condition of the soul.” So Inquirer thinks. How, then, I would ask him, can we be accountable for them ? And if not accountable either for our volitions, or our affections, how can we be accountable for any thing ?
Inquirer says: “If God has made free agents, has he not given them the power of choice, after all the motives which the nature of the case admits, are placed before them.” Certainly we have such a power; and we exercise it every day. But in what way? Let Inquirer tell how he exercises this power of choice. In all his more important and deliberate choices, does he not carefully weigh the motives or reasons which come before him, and then decide in accordance with those which appear to him the strongest ? And does he not feel that he is a free and accountable agent when he uses his power of choice in this way? In cases where our power of choosing has its most free and perfect exercise, do we ever choose in any other way? And if at any time we will and act suddenly, without deliberation, and from the impulse of some strongly excited passion ; is not this very impulse of passion the motive which governs us? I predict that Inquirer, and all other men, in the free exercise of the power of choice, will, in all future time, determine, will, or choose, either according to what appear to them the strongest reasons, after deliberation, or under the influence of some strongly excited affection or passion, which leaves them no time for deliberation. How, in any case, the governing motives come to be so, is a very interesting question. But this is not the place to consider it.
At page 466, Inquirer speaks thus : “ Dr. Woods will see, on looking over page 191, that he has made a singularly incorrect statement of the orthodox doctrine respecting the influence of Adam's sin. As the words now stand, they represent the orthodox as maintaining, that native depravity and all our sinful actions and volitions, which are the invariable consequence of Adam's sin, are fatalism, entirely precluding free, accountable agency.” One and another have said to me: How could Inquirer make such a mistake? I ascribe it not to any intention of his to misrepresent, but to his hasty attention to the paragraph referred to. In the closing part of my remarks on cause and effect, it was my object to point out the consequences of adopting the theory of the Essay. This object was pursued in the passage referred to by Inquirer, which any one may read for himself, p. 191. First, I state the orthodox doctrine as to the invariable connection between Adam's sin and the sinful volitions and actions of his posterity. Having done this, I turn to the Essay, which maintains, that such an invariable connection of antecedent and consequent proves the existence of such a “ producing cause,” as “excludes free agency.” I then show what must follow from the theory of the Essay; namely, either that the orthodox doctrine on this subject is true, and so, according to the theory of the Essay, that our depravity and all our sinful volitions and actions, being the invariable consequence of Adam's sin, are matters of fatalism, entirely precluding free, accountable agency; or else that there is no such connection, and that the orthodox doctrine is false. Thus, what I expressly represent as a consequence of the theory which I oppose, Inquirer thinks I represent as the doctrine of the orthodox.
After closing his remarks very candidly and kindly, Inquirer returns to the general subject in a postscript, and advances some things, to which he doubtless expects me to reply. He says: “ Dr. Woods makes us mere passive recipients in all our passions and desires.” But these are his words, not mine. I always avoid them, because they are ambiguous. To the word passive, as explained by Edwards and Day, and as generally used by the older divines, I have no objection. A man is passive in this sense of the word, when he is the subject of an influence from another, or is acted upon by another, how active soever he himself may be. Thus a man is said to be both passive and active in his repentance and obedience. He is the subject of the divine influence, or is acted upon by the Spirit; and he himself acts, that is, repents and obeys, in consequence of that influence. God works in believers, and, in consequence, they work. But Inquirer doubtless uses the word passive as opposite to active, and recipient as opposite to agent. Now, as every reader will see, I have taken great pains to show that, in this