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* That the existence of moral evil must be referred to the will of the Deity, is acknowledged by the author quoted below. “I believe,” he says, “there is no person of good understanding who will venture to say he is certain that it is impossible it should be best, taking in the whole compass and extent of existence and all consequences in the endless series of events, that there should be such a thing as moral evil in the world. And if so, it will certainly follow that an infinitely wise Being who always chooses what is best, must choose that there be such a thing. * * Whether the will be invariably determined by motive, and cannot possibly choose otherwise than it does, all the previous circumstances remaining the same; or whether it be a self-moving power, capable “ of choosing or not choosing in any given case, naturally independent of any mediate or immediate, external or internal force, compulsion, influence or necessity, and physically determined neither by bodily sensations, appetites, &c., nor mental perceptions, reason, nor judgment;” t in a word, a proper self-deter
thing evil, though it be his pleasure so to order things that, he permitting, sin will come to pass, for the sake of the great good that by his disposal shall be the consequence.” Edwards on the Will, Part iv. Sect. ix. p. 371, ed. 3rd. * Ibid. pp. 369,370. . . . . ... ... ----> *** ** t Note 58, by the Bishop of Carlisle, in King's Origin of Evil, p. 290, ed. 5th. - - - -
mining power, capable “ of choosing with a motive, contrary to a motive, or without any motive at all : * in either case the existence of moral evil must alike be traced to God. According to the former hypothesis, from that constitution of things of which the great First Cause is the author, arise certain appearances, those appearances cause certain perceptions, these perceptions form a judgment, this judgment determines the will, and this will produces action. That action, therefore, the fixed, certain and intended result of all the preceding causes, must be referred to the appointment of the First Cause. According to the latter hypothesis, free-will, a self-moving, self-determining power was bestowed upon man by the Creator. The nature of this faculty and all the effects of which it would be the agent he perfectly knew. He made the faculty what it is, and communicated it to man such as it is, with a perfect fore-knowledge that man would certainly so use it as to produce moral evil. This is distinctly admitted by the best writers on this subject. Moral evil, they grant, is the effect of wrong volition; but the only true and proper cause of volition and action they contend is free-will, this self-moving power, and the only cause of this “ is the Creator who communi
* Dr. James Gregory's Philosophical Essays, Sect. i. p. 3.
cated it.” If, therefore, there be any truth in the maxim, that the cause of the cause is the cause of the thing caused,t it follows inevitably that God is the author of moral evil, inasmuch as he is the sole cause of that which he certainly knew would be the cause of it. Hence, according to the doctrine of free-will, as much as according to the doctrine of necessity, the Deity is the cause of moral evil in as real and strict a sense as he is of natural evil. In truth, he is alike the cause of both, and he has appointed both for the same wise and benevolent reason, namely, because he saw that they would produce the greatest sum of good.:
* King's Origin of Evil.
t Quod est causa causae, est etiam causa causati.
f That this is the actual effect of moral evil, and that it was appointed by God for this purpose, is not only admitted, but contended for by Edwards. He maintains that God may hate a thing considered simply as evil, and yet may will that it should come to pass, considering all consequences; that, taking in the whole extent and compass of existence, and all causes in the series of events, it is best that moral evil should exist; that, therefore, God, who is infinitely wise and always chooses what is best, must choose it; yet, that he does not choose it for the sake of evil, but, “for the sake of the great good that by his disposal shall be the consequence.” Edwards on the JWill, p. 371. Again he says, “"Tis not of a bad tendency for the Supreme Being thus to order and permit that moral evil to be which it is best should come to pass; for that it is of good tendency is the very thing supposed in the point now in question.” Ibid, p. 375. And again, “Nor is there any
Though natural evil is so obviously, in some cases, the means of producing a preponderance
need of supposing it (moral evil) proceeds from any evil disposition or aim; for by the supposition, what is aimed at is good, and good is the actual issue in the final result of things.” Ibid. p. 376. These quotations ought to have been inserted at p. 75, at the end of the proof that evil is the means of producing good. They establish, beyond doubt, the fact, that the position there contended for was believed by this writer, and that he asserts and defends it in that very work, the study of which the Eclectic Reviewer so earnestly recommends, and which he considers as so decisive an authority. The Reviewer says, —“The argument à priori in favour of the doctrine of Universal Restoration is not only specious but satisfactory, if the one thing which requires to be proved is taken for granted—if it be allowed that Evil is a branch of the Divine contrivance for the production of a higher ultimate good to the creature.” If, then, there be any truth or authority in the opinion of Jonathan Edwards, this doctrine must be admitted to be established. The passages already cited are in Edwards' own words, but he quotes with approbation the following passages from the work of an American author:— “If the Author and Governor of all things be infinitely perfect, then whatever is, is right; of all possible systems he has chosen the best, and, consequently, there is no absolute evil in the universe. If we own the existence of evil in the world in an absolute sense, we diametrically contradict what has been just now proved of God. He intends and pursues the universal good of his creation; and the evil which happens is not permitted for its own sake, or through any pleasure in evil, but because it is requisite to the greater good pursued.” The words in italics are so printed in Edwards. Freedom of the JWill, pp. 370, 371. These passages are quoted from Turnbull's Principles of Moral Philosophy.
of good, and though we have the fullest assurance from the best established analogy that it is so in all, yet, on account of our total ignorance of many parts of nature and our inability to comprehend the great whole, there are numerous instances in which we cannot see how it will have this issue. . . . . . Of the moral world we are still more ignorant. Mind, its operations, the laws by which it is governed, its relation to other minds, and to the great Eternal Mind, its volitions, and the actions that depend upon its volitions, in a word, the whole of this vast system appears to us much more obscure and complicated even than the relations of physical objects to each other, and the manner in which each promotes the order and harmony of the whole. That we should find a proportionally greater difficulty in explaining how a preponderance of good should be the result of the prevalence of moral evil, is therefore to be expected ; but whatever difficulty we may have in explaining the manner of the fact, of the fact itself we cannot doubt. For it has been shown that moral evil is evil only as it is the cause of natural evil: that were moral evil without any tendency to produce natural evil, it would be no longer moral evil; it would be no longer evil of any kind. Since, then, natural evil is universally acknowledged to be the means of producing good, moral evil