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world which he appoints, and which is necessary to carry on his purposes with regard to his animal and moral creation.
The animal and moral world he governs by laws equally fixed and invariable ; but being of a nature different from that of the material world, they require to be governed by different laws. By different laws, therefore, they are governed : by laws admirably and exactly suited to its nature, each is guided to its destined end.
The material world being without sensation and thought, is governed by a particular set of laws. The animal world possessing sensation and thought, is governed by another set. By sensation and thought an animal is induced to act. Every animal possesses a fixed and determinate constitution, according to which, sensation and thought are excited in it in a particular, determinate manner. agent in inducing sensation and thought in the animal, is the material world. A certain state of the material world will inevitably produce a certain sensation in an animal, possessing a particular constitution: that sensation will produce a particular volition, and that volition will lead, certainly, to a particular action.
It only requires, therefore, an exact knowledge of the constitution of the animal world to render its state at all times precisely what may be required:
for he who perfectly understands the constitution of the material and the animal worlds, and has a sovereign control over both, has only to adapt the state of the one to that of the other, to make both at any and at all periods, exactly what he wishes. While
While every animal goes on regularly to exercise its different functions, he may at all times maintain the whole animal world in the condition he pleases : for he may so modify the operation of the material world upon it, as inevitably to bring it into the state he wishes. Thus a sovereign control may be exercised over the material and animal worlds, while both invariably act according to the settled principles of their nature.
If we ascend in the scale of creation, we shall find that the principle of the Divine administration is exactly the same. Man is endowed not only with the faculties of sensation and thought, but with the power of distinguishing between the rectitude and immorality of conduct. He is capable of understanding his obligations and the grounds of them. Certain actions appear to him to be good : others he regards as evil. The performance of the one is attended with a consciousness that he has acted right, and excites the sensation of happiness ; the performance of the other is attended with an inward conviction that he has acted wrong, and produces misery.
All this takes place in a fixed and invariable manner according to certain laws which are termed principles of his nature, and the faculty on which this discrimination and feeling depends, is termed, his moral nature.
Now it is obvious, that to a certain extent, a being thus endowed, may be governed exactly in the same manner as a creature who possesses only an animal nature. In him, as well as in the mere animal, sensations will be excited by the external circumstances in which he is placed. In him too, a particular sensation will excite a particular volition; but the exercise of this voli., tion will be attended with a result which is never found in the animal: with a consciousness that he has acted well or ill: with a feeling of approbation or of disapprobation : with a sensation of happiness or misery, arising purely from the action itself. This train of sensation becomes itself a new source of action ; but it arises according to certain fixed laws, and operates as steadily as any other principle of his nature, or as any law of the material world. He, therefore, who perfectly understands this nature, who knows how every circumstance will affect this moral agent, and who has a sovereign control over events, can govern him with the same steadiness with which he regulates the animal or the material world: can make him at all times
feel, and think, and act, as may be
necessary to carry on the great designs of his administration, without violating any principle of his nature. By adapting the particular situation in which he is placed, to the particular state of his mind, he can excite whatever volition, and secure whatever action he pleases. What is maintained, then, is, that with respect to every individual in the world, there is this exact adaptation of circumstances to his temper, his habits, his wants, so that while he is left to the full and free exercise of every faculty he possesses, he can feel and act only as the Sovereign of the Universe appoints ; because the circumstances which excite his sensations and volitions, are determined by him. It is not just to suppose that the Deity exercises any such control over his creatures, as to force them to act contrary to their will, or to violate any principle of their nature: they always act, and must act, according to their will, and in conformity to their nature; but, at the same time, he secures his own purpose, by placing them in circumstances which so operate upon their nature, as certainly to induce the conduct he requires. *
* It has been argued by almost all who have hitherto written on the origin of Evil, that its existence could not have been prevented, unless an absolute restraint had been placed upon the
Volition cannot arise, as is often imagined, at the pleasure of the mind. The term volition, expresses that state of the mind which is im
will. This is not true : for there might have been given to mankind a knowledge of their welfare so clear and strong, as effectually to have secured their choice of it. In other words, they might have been brought under the influence of motives so powerfully determining them to the choice of good, that it would not have been possible for them, their circumstances remaining the same, to have chosen evil. This has been distinctly admitted by a late writer, who, though he has labored to reconcile, and sometimes very successfully, the evil which actually exists, with the wisdom and goodness of the Deity, yet has carefully avoided opposing or even alluding to those theological opinions which involve this subject in great and insurmountable difficulty. “ It is a position wholly untenable that according to our view of the subject, the degree of moral evil must necesarily have been as great as it is, unless an absolute restraint had been laid upon the will of man. Without entering into metaphysical discussions, it may be safely assumed, that the will is determined by the greater apparent good, and that when it makes a bad election, in defiance of reason and judgment, the dismission of some present uneasiness, or the
possession of some present gratification, is the greatest apparent good for the time being. Had, then, their real interest, upon a full view of their present and future condition, been placed before all mankind with a clear distinctness which we can certainly conceive, because we have examples of it on record; free-will, though exposed to less chance of error, would not have been annihilated ; and yet it would have been as morally impossible for man to choose evil in opposition to good, as we imagine it to be for the glorified inheritors of a future state; as it proved to