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ject, therefore, that Pres. Day chiefly directs his attention ; though he occasionally adverts to the other scheme of self-determination, and enters into the general consideration of voluntary agency.
In the first section, he prepares the way for the discussion on which he is about to enter, by defining some of the principal terms to be used. Cause is one of these terms, and he explains it, like Edwards, in its broadest sense. It is “an antecedent on which something depends.” “One thing depends on another when the one exists on account of the other; and when without the other, or something equivalent, it would not exist.” The latitude thus given to the word cause, must be distinctly kept in view throughout the discussion, or the statements of Pres. Day will be liable to be misunderstood. When he speaks of volition, for instance, as being caused or produced, or the will as determined by an external influence, he means simply, that this influence is an antecedent " on account of which the volition is put forth.
Power is next defined, with the same extent of meaning, to be " that belonging to a cause upon which the effects depend.” It is, therefore, as here spoken of, an attribute equally of animate and inanimate beings, of matter and of mind. A kind of "absolute sense” has been given by some writers to the word power, which Pres. Day speaks of as rare, and which certainly is not its appropriate meaning. They consider the power to do anything, as including “all the antecedents, the whole aggregate of circumstances on which the effect depends." “ In this comprehensive, though rather unusual sense of the word, a man has not power to do anything which he does not do." Such a sense of the term is contrary to the practice of most writers, and is adapted to mislead unless used with great care.
Pres. Day next remarks briefly on the classification of the mental powers, and then proceeds to a consideration of the Will. This he represents as embracing three things : Ist. Executive or Imperative Volitions. These are transient exercises of the voluntary faculty, "determining to do something." " In such cases the act which is willed immediately follows the volition." It is to this sense of the term, that the European writers generally limit the word will. 2dly. Purposes, or Generic Volitions. These are permanent states of the will, controlling to a considerable extent the executive volitions. Thus " a man determines to devote himself to the acquisition of property, to gaining applause, to sensual gratification, or to a life of benevolent effort." p. 38.
Other names given to this class by Pres. Day, are “predominant inclination,” “ governing state of the will," "dominant preference." 3dly. Emotions or affections. These our author unites with the elder Edwards, in considering as voluntary states of mind. " The affections," says the latter, as here quoted, “are no other than the more vigorous and sensible exercises of the inclination or will.” The three are thus distinguished by Pres. Day: “Emotion is directed to an object ; a purpose fixes on an end ; an executive volition orders an act." Our readers are already familiar with this classification, which has been used in our discussions for many years. They are probably aware, that we have suffered some reproach on this account. We have spoken of the controlling disposition of unrenewed men, as a generic volition, or governing purpose of the soul ; and of the change in regeneration, as a permanent change in this purpose, (i. e. disposition,) produced by the special influence of the Holy Spirit; and for so doing we have been stigmatized as heretics. We shall hope, under the shelter of Pres. Day's authority, to escape any farther reproach for the use of these terms.
In the second section, we come to "the point of inquiry," which is, “why we will one way rather than another, why we choose one thing rather than another ?” And here Pres. Day first remarks, “there can be no doubt the man himself decides between the objects of choice." "He is the author of his own volitions. This, according to one signification of the term, is self-determination. And a power of choosing is, in this sense, a self-determining power.” p. 43. But still the question recurs, what determines the man to will as he does ? Is it a preceding act of the will ?
*This is undoubtedly the case, in many instances. Taking the will in its most enlarged acceptation, as including not only executive acts, but purposes and emotions, acts of one class may be determined, by those of another. A man purposes to go to the post-office: every step he takes, on his way, is determined by this purpose. And the purpose may have been determined, by some strong emotion; an eager desire, perhaps, to receive intelligence of the recovery of a friend from sickness, or the safe arrival of a richly freighted ship. Farther, the emotions themselves are commonly excited, either by perceptions of external realities, or by the internal imaginings of our own minds. Imperative acts of the will, then, may be preceded by purposes, the purposes by emotions, the emotions by perceptions, or the workings of imagination. But all these belong to the mind. They do not reach beyond ourselves. So that, thus far, our emotions and volitions may be truly said to be self-determined.' pp. 43, 44. Vol. X.
But we cannot stop here. Trace back the series as far as we will within the mind, we must at last come to something without it. "Every step cannot be dependent on another within the mind. For this would involve the absurdity of at least one step before the first, or else of an infinite series of steps."
P. 44. It is demonstrably certain, then, that the will is ultimately determined by something out of the mind, or by nothing at all. This brings us to the doctrine of contingence, i. e. that volitions are dependent on nothing; that they take place without any ground or reason why they thus take place, rather than otherwise. This is so absurd and monstrous a conclusion, that the bare statement of it is sufficient to overwhelm its supporters with derision. Pres. Day follows it out through the several departments of the will, mentioned above.
'If the kind of volitions which a man puts forth, is to be ascribed to accident, in what part of the series of mental acts, does this prolific contingence, this wonder-working nonentity, “this effectual no cause," do its work? Where does it break the connection, between volition and all preceding influence? Are erecutive acts of the will independent of purposes, and emotions, and appetites ? Does the tippler resort to the dram-shop without any inducement? Or if, at any time, he denies himself his accustomed indulgence, has he no motive for his abstinence.
Is the forming of purposes, the place where the dependence upon preceding influence is broken off? 'When a man resolves to devote his powers and labors to the calls of ambition, is it done independently of any love of distinction ? When the christian abandons his former pursuits, and forms the purpose of devoting his life to the service of God, does he do it without a reason ; a reason of sufficient efficacy to control his decision? Do men form resolutions, for the sake of obtaining those objects to which they are perfectly indifferent ?
If it be admitted, that our imperative volitions are influenced by our purposes, and our purposes by our desires and appetites; shall we find in the latter the independence which contingent self-determination implies? When objects are brought before our minds, is it altogether a matter of accident, whether we shall be pleased with them or not? Is it as easy for us to be gratified with contemptuous treatment, as with applause ? pp. 50–52.
We regret that we cannot give the whole passage. Nothing can be more triumphant than the refutation it contains of this preposterous doctrine; and if there are any in this country who hold to contingent volition, they will find themselves the objects of general ridicule.
But, it may be asked, Is the ground or reason which determines volition, of such a nature as to prevent man from being
the efficient cause of his own actions ? Certainly not. can surely be no reasonable doubt on this point,” says Pres. Day, "if by efficient cause, be meant the agent who wills.” “ It is the man himself that wills, it is he himself that is the efficient cause of his own volitions.” p. 59. This Pres. Day takes care frequently to repeat, in the progress of his reasoning. Man is the sole agent in volition. The other influences which conspire to this result, as motives, &c. are not the agent." p. 59. • “His volitions are his own acts, and not the acts of another.” p. 111. On this subject he fully agrees with Dr. Dwight, who says, “ We are agents, possessing active powers by which we can originate changes." Pres. Day gives no sanction to what Dr. Emmons has been supposed to hold on this subject, viz. that our acts of choice are also acts of divine power.
The next section is on the influence of motives. Here Pres. Day divides motives into two kinds, external and internal. By the former he means objects without the mind which hold forth inducements to volition, and by the latter, feelings within the mind which prompt to acts of choice. “A tree loaded with fair and delicious fruits excites desire in the beholder. This desire may move him to pluck the fruit. The fruit itself is an external motive. The desire which stimulates to the act of gathering it, is an internal motive.” p. 57. This distinction is of high importance, and the want of precision on this subject has given rise to much misapprehension. A mere object presented to the understanding, the President goes on to remark, is not a motive; it must have the character of an inducement, or something suited to awaken acts of choice; and this characteristic lies not solely in the external object, nor solely in the mind, but arises out of the relation between the one and the other." p. 63. Dr. Reid maintains, that motives merely "influence, but do not cause acts of the will.” This depends wholly on the extent of meaning given to the word cause. In Dr. Reid's sense of the term they do not, in President Day's sense of the term they do, cause volition. The former limits causation to agency, the latter extends it to embrace every antecedent on which the result depends. Pres. Day is not tenacious, however, of his own phraseology on this subject. “It is frequently said,” he remarks, “that motives are not the cause, but the condition of or occasion of volition. This phraseology may be very proper, provided it be granted, that volition is, in any degree, dependent on motives.” p. 60.
In the third section, after some general observations on the various senses of the word "liberty," Pres. Day takes up the question, “In what sense is it true, that a man has power to will the contrary of what he actually wills?” This power has been asserted by writers of almost every class—by the believer in self-determination, and in moral necessity; by Cousin, who says, “the moment we take the resolution to do an action, we take it with a consciousness of being able to take a contrary resolution," and by Dr. Dwight, who says of man's sin, that it is “chosen by him unnecessarily; while possessed of a power to choose otherwise." (Serm. 27.) In what sense, then, is this position true? Pres. Day here remarks, that “a correct answer to this question must depend on the extent of meaning given to the word power." If we take this term in the “absolute" sense mentioned above, as including all the antecedents to a given volition, there is plainly no such thing as power to the contrary; for in this sense of the term, as Pres. Day states, a man never has power to do anything but what he actually performs. Hence he observes, speaking of power in this “absolute” sense of the term, “ The man who wills in a particular way, under the influence of certain feelings, might undoubtedly will differently, under a different infiuence. But while the same mind continues in precisely the same state, in the same circumstances, and under the same influence of every kind, has it power to will in opposite directions; or if it has this power, will it ever use it ?" p. 80.
Certainly not in this sense of the term, which by its very definition excludes power to the contrary. But this is not the common and appropriate sense of the term power; it is not the sense in which any have meant to assert the existence of a “power to choose otherwise." What then is the sense in which man has power to will contrary to what he actually wills? Pres. Day replies, it is the natural ability or power of a free agent. On this subject he quotes with approbation the words of the younger Edwards :
'Referring to Dr. West's illustration of the power of choosing between things which appear to be equally eligible, he says: “If by power he mean natural or physical power, I grant, that we have such a power, to choose not only one of several things equally eligible, if any such there be, but one of things ever so unequally eligible, and to take the least eligible.” Again he says, “it has been inquired concerning President Edwards' moral inability, whether the man who is the subject of it, can remove it? I answer, yes, he has the same physical power to remove it, and to do the action, which he is morally unable to do, which