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nian, that offences will take place. There is a necessity for this. So the original word arayun signifies. See Matt. 18: 7. But can we conclude that this necessity is of the same nature with physical necessity ? Or can we conclude that the offences which flow from it are destitute of a moral na. ture, and deserve no blame, because this is the case with the effects of a physical necessity? Here is the great mistake. And if any one falls into this mistake, he will be likely to go wrong on the whole subject. It certainly is a mistake. It is not true, that if the influence of moral causes is as certain and invariable, as the influence of physical causes, the effects must be of the same nature with physical effects. li certainly is not true, that because the strong and unquenchable love of Paul's heart had as certain an influence to lead hiin to preach the gospel, as the power of steam has to propel an engine, therefore he was no more praiseworthy for preaching, than an engine is for moving. Because the infinite perfection of God does as certainly and invariably result in holy and benevolent action, as the power of gravitation produces its appropriate effect, and because it is as really impossible for God to lie, as it is for gravitation to produce an effect contrary to its nature,—it certainly does not follow from this, that holy action in God has no more excellence or praise worthiness, than the effect of gravitation in material bodies. It is rot the high degree or the constancy of the influence which a moral cause exerts, that gives character to its effects. Nor is it the high degree or the constancy of the influence of a physical cause, that gives character to its effects. Moral and physical causes are in their nature entirely different. The fact that they are all causes, does not make them the same causes, or like causes. If moral causes have an influence which is equally powerful with physical causes, and hich equally prevents or takes away all resistance, this does not alter the nature of the causes, nor the nature of their influence, nor the nature of the effects produced. To suppose that it does is the great mistake. If any one makes this mistake, he may easily correct it, if he will lay aside the technical language which occasions the difficulty, and will speak of cases, where moral causes exist and operate, in plain, common language, and for practical purposes -if, instead of saying that God acts under the influence of moral necessity, he will say, his actions certainly and invariably flow from his infinite wisdom and goodness—if instead of saying, that Christians are influenced by a moral necessity, he will say, their love and gratitude to Christ, and their benevolence to their fellow men, are motives which certainly influence them to pious and benevolent actionsand if, instead of saying, that sinners act as they do, from a moral necessity, he will say, they act froin the selfishness, the pride, the covetousness and desperate wickedness of their hearts. By contemplating these common and wellknown facts, as expressed in common language, it would seem that all unprejudiced men may become satisfied. And why should not scientific men be equally satisfied, when the same facts are expressed in scientific language? But if any of us have a dislike to the scientific language of Edwards and others on the present subject, let us take care that we do not impute to them a meaning which never entered their ininds, and that we do not deny or overlook what is equally a matter of fact, whether it is expressed in common or in scientific language.
So far as the present subject is concerned, the word Fatalism, which is often used in a very vague sense, is evidently intended to denote the opposite of the doctrine, that we are free, moral, accountable beings—the proper subjects of law under the government of a wise, righteous and benevolent God and praiseworthy or blameworthy according to our conduct. Fatalism then must imply, that we are not free, moral, accountable beings; that we are not the proper subjects of law; that we are not under the government of a wise, righteous and benevolent God; and that we are neither praiseworthy nor blameworthy for our conduct. Fatalism may be set forth in a variety of forms; but in all its forms, it must imply what is stated above. It may be proper and useful then, to consider it as including these several points, which are here expressed in language which is perfectly unambiguous and plain. Now in order to satisfy ourselves whether the doctrine of moral necessity involves or leads to Fatalism, we must have a clear conception of what moral necessity is. And it will be just and right to consider it to be what its most intelligent advocates represent it to be; that is, the certain and invariable connection of moral causes and moral effects. The doctrine implies that all the external voluntary actions of men, and all their inward affections, purposes, etc., result
from motives operating in or upon the mind. Now, does moral necessity, thus explained, involve Fatalism, or lead to it? or, in other and plainer words, does it imply all or any of the particulars above mentioned, which go to make up Fatalism? This is now the subject of inquiry.
Does then the doctrine of Edwards imply, that we are not free agents ? I answer; according to that doctrine, we are not indeed free in all respects. We are not free from the influence of motives, whether taken objectively or subjectively. To be free from this influence, would be the same as to be free from the most essential condition of a rational being. Indeed, till better informed, I must hold that acting without motives is impossible. According to the doctrine of moral necessity, we are not free from the established laws of the mind. It would be easy to show that, if we were free from the operation of these laws, we should not know what to do, nor how to accomplish any desirable object, and should be totally unfit to be the subjects of a moral government. Again; we are not free from the sovereign, controlling influence of the Creator and Governor of the world. To be free from this influence, would be to be free from the condition of a created, dependent being; which is surely a freedom that no good man can desire. But according to the doctrine of moral necessity, we are, in all our moral actions, free from every thing of the nature of physical force or compulsion, and from whatever would hinder us from being the fit subjects of divine law, and justly. commendable or culpable for our conduct. Moral necessity, as above explained, leaves us in possession of all this freedom, and of all the freedom which would be desirable or useful to us. According to the doctrine of moral necessity, we have liberty to act according to our choice, and liberty to choose according to our predominant inclinations and desires, and as, in view of all the circumstances, we judge to be best. Who could ask for more freedom than this? Surely we could not wish for a freedom to act contrary to our choice, or to choose contrary to what is most agreeable to our inclinations and desires, and what, all things considered, we think to be best. Such freedom as this, possessed and exercised, would take away all order from our mental operations, and unhinge our rational existence.
I inquire next, whether moral necessity is inconsistent
with our being
moral agents ? That necessity which is moral is widely different from that which is physical. It plainly implies that those to whom it belongs are moral agents. It can belong to no other. So that moral agency, instead of being excluded by moral necessity, is directly implied in it. Those who are not moral agents can no more be the subjects of moral necessity, than they can be the subjects of moral relations and moral affections. Moral necessity is found only where moral causes operate, and moral actions are performed. Take the case of St. Paul. Who ever acted more entirely under a moral necessity than he did in preaching the gospel ? (See 1 Cor. 9: 16.) And yet, who ever exhibited a nature and performed actions more evidently moral? Take the case of those mentioned Matt. 18: 7. There was a necessity that offences should come; but those who committed them most certainly performed actions which were morally wrong; that is, they were sinful moral agents, and deserved the wo pronounced against them.
Again. Is inoral necessity inconsistent with our being justly accountable for our conduct ? Now, if, under the influence of a moral necessity, we possess all the freedom which can belong to intelligent beings, and put forth an agency which is altogether of a moral nature, then surely we must be accountable for our actions. The examples above mentioned, and others of the same kind, fully illustrate this. Were not those who were chargeable with the offences which Christ said must come, accountable to God for them? A necessity was laid upon Paul to preach the gospel. And was he not accountable to God for his preaching? According to the Scriptures, there was a necessity that Christ should be put to death. But were not those, who had an agency in that event, justly accountable to God?
Is moral necessity inconsistent with our being the proper subjects of law? The answer is much the same as before given.
my apprehension, no beings, except those who act under a moral necessity, in other words, those who are influenced by moral causes, can be proper subjects of law. All agents must act under the influence of physical causes, or moral causes. Now so far as any agents act under the influence of physicul causes, they cannot be regarded as the subjects of a moral law. The two things are incompatible. But to act under the influence of moral causes, is the same as to act rationally and morally; which is the only mode of acting, suited to those who are placed under a moral law.
And why should any think that moral necessity implies, that we are not under the government of a wise, righteous and benevolent God, and are not worthy of praise or blame for our conduct? which is another point of fatalisin. May not such a being create moral agents ;-agents who act under the influence of moral causes? We shall find that the very circumstance upon which conscience fixes, as that which renders us praise worthy or blanieworthy, is the circumstance, that we are influenced by moral causes or motives.
I acknowledge this to be one of the cases, in which direct, formal proof is difficult; not because the point to be proved is obscure or doubtful, but because there is nothing more evident. All that belongs to the doctrine of moral necessity, as stated by Edwards, appears to me to be a matter of direct consciousness. I am sure that I act in the manner described ; and I am sure that I am a free, moral, accountable being, because I do act in this manner. I want no support for the doctrine, but my own consciousness. And whenever I have been embarrassed in my reflections respecting the doctrine of moral necessity, it has been the consequence of my mistaking the import of the terms by which the doctrine is expressed, or of my suffering speculative reasoning, not at all adapted to the subject, to interfere with the decision of con. sciousness. If we disregard the plain decision of consciousness, it is in vain that we seek for evidence from other sources.
I ask those for proof, who affirm, that the theory of moral necessity is incompatible with free, moral, accountable agency. Let them show in what respects it is incompatible. Let them bring forward some instance in which a free moral agent ever did deliberately act otherwise than according to that theory. They say indeed, that whenever they choose, they have the power of a contrary choice. But do they pretend that they ever, in any case, exercised that power? Do they pretend that they can exercise it?
As the charge of Fatalism has been so seriously urged against the doctrine of Edwards, I am desirous of making another free quotation from President Day's book on the Will. He cites the remark of Cousin, that " the theory of Locke concerning freedom tended to Fatalism;" and then