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events and any means or endeavors used in order to them; and, if so, then those means must be vain. The less there is of con. nection between foregoing things and following ones, so much the less there is between means and end, endeavors and success; and in the same proportion are means and endeavors ineffectual and vain.
It will follow from those principles that there is no connection between virtue or vice and any foregoing event or thing, or, in other words, that the determination of the existence of virtue or vice does not in the least depend on the influence of anything that comes to pass antecedently from which the determination of its existence is as its cause, means, or ground ; because, so far as it is so, it is not from self-determination, and, therefore, so far there is nothing of the nature of virtue or vice. And so it follows that virtue and vice are not in any degree dependent upon, or connected with, any foregoing event or existence, as its cause, ground, or means. And, if so, then all foregoing means must be totally vain.
Hence it follows that there cannot, in any consistence with that scheme, be any reasonable ground of so much as a conjecture concerning the consequence of any means and endeavors in order to escaping vice or obtaining virtue, or any choice or preference of means as having a greater probability of success by some than others, either from any natural connection or dependence of the end on the means, or through any divine constitution, or revealed way of God's bestowing or bringing to pass these things, in consequence of any means, endeavors, prayers, or deeds. Conjecture, in this latter case, depends on a supposition that God himself is the giver, or determining cause of the events sought; but if they depend on self-determination, then God is not the determining or disposing author of them; and if these things are not of his disposal, then no conjecture can be made, from any revelation he has given, concerning any way or method of his disposal of them.
Yea, on these principles, it will not only follow that men cannot have any reasonable ground of judgment or conjecture, that their means and endeavors to obtain virtue or avoid vice will be successful, but they may be sure they will not; they may be certain that they will be in vain; and that, if ever the thing which they seek comes to pass, it will not be at all owing to the means they use. For means and endeavors can have no effect, in order to obtain the end, but in one of these two ways: either (1) through a natural tendency and influ. ence to prepare and dispose the mind more to virtuous acts, either by causing the disposition of the heart to be more in favor of such acts, or by bringing the mind more into the view of powerful motives and inducements; or (2) by putting persons more in the way of God's bestowment of the benefit. But neither of these can be the case. Not the latter, for, as has been just now observed, it does not consist with the notion of self-determination which they suppose essential to virtue that God should be the bestower or (which is the same thing) the determining, disposing author of virtue. Not the former, for natural influence and tendency supposes causality and connection and that supposes necessity of event, which is inconsistent with liberty. A tendency of means, by biasing the heart in favor of virtue, or by bringing the Will under the influence and power of motives in its determinations, are both inconsistent with liberty of Will, consisting in indifference, and sovereign self-determination, as has been largely demonstrated.
But for the more full removal of this prejudice against the doctrine of necessity, which has been maintained, as though it tended to encourage a total neglect of all endeavors as vain; the following things may be considered.
The question is not whether men may not thus improve this doctrine : we know that many true and wholesome doctrines are abused ; but, whether the doctrine gives any just occasion for such an improvement, or whether, on the supposition of the truth of the doctrine, such a use of it would not be unreasonable? If any shall affirm that it would not, but that the very nature of the doctrine is such as gives just occasion for it, it must be on this supposition, namely, that such an invariable necessity of all things already settled must render the interposition of all means, endeavors, conclusions, or actions of ours, in order to the obtaining any future end whatsoever, perfectly insignificant, because they cannot in the least alter or vary the course and series of things, in any event or circumstance; all being already fixed unalterably by necessity, and that therefore it is folly for men to use any means for any end, but their wisdom, to save themselves the trouble of endeavors and take their ease. No person can draw such an inference from this doctrine and come to such a conclusion without contradicting himself, and going counter to the very principles he pretends to act upon ; for he comes to a conclusion and takes a course, in order
to an end, even his ease, or the saving himself from trouble ; he seeks something future, and uses means in order to a future thing, even in his drawing up that conclusion, that he will seek nothing, and use no means in order to anything in future ; he seeks his future ease and the benefit and comfort of indolence. If prior necessity, that determines all things, makes vain all actions or conclusions of ours, in order to anything future, then it makes vain all conclusions and conduct of ours in order to our future ease. The measure of our ease, with the time, manner, and every circumstance of it, is already fixed by alldetermining necessity, as much as anything else. If he says within himself, “What future happiness or misery I shall have is already, in effect, determined by the necessary course and connection of things; therefore I will save myself the trouble of labor and diligence, which cannot add to my determined degree of happiness, or diminish my misery; but will take my ease and will enjoy the comfort of sloth and negligence. Such a man contradicts himself; he says the measure of his future happiness and misery is already fixed, and he will not try to diminish the one nor add to the other ; but yet, in his very conclusion, he contradicts this; for he takes up this conclusion, to add to his future happiness, by the ease and comfort of his negligence; and to diminish his future trouble and misery by saving himself the trouble of using means and taking pains.
Therefore persons cannot reasonably make this improvement of the doctrine of necessity, that they will go into a voluntary negligence of means for their own happiness. For the principles they must go upon in order to this are inconsistent with their making any improvement at all of the doctrine ; for to make some improvement of it is to be influenced by it, to come to some voluntary conclusion in regard to their own conduct, with some view or aim ; but this, as has been shown, is inconsistent with the principles they pretend to act upon. In short, the principles are such as cannot be acted upon in any respect, consistently. And, therefore, in every pretense of acting upon them, or making any improvement of them, there is a self-contradiction.
As to that objection against the doctrine which I have endeavored to prove, that it makes men no more than mere machines, I would say that, notwithstanding this doctrine, man is entirely, perfectly, and unspeakably different from a mere machine in that he has reason and understanding, and has a faculty of Will, and so is capable of volition or choice; and in that his Will is guided by the dictates or views of his understanding, and in that his external actions and behavior and, in many respects, also his thoughts and the exercises of his mind, are subject to his Will; so that he has liberty to act according to his choice and do what he pleases ; and by means
; of these things, is capable of moral habits and moral acts, such inclinations and actions as, according to the common sense of mankind, are worthy of praise, esteem, love, and reward; or, on the contrary, of disesteem, detestation, indignation, and punishment.
In these things is all the difference from mere machines, as to liberty and agency, that would be any perfection, dignity, or privilege, in any respect; all the difference that can be desired and all that can be conceived of.... Or, if their scheme makes any other difference than this, between men and machines, it is for the worse ; it is so far from supposing men to have a dignity and privilege above machines, that it makes the manner of their being determined still more unhappy. Whereas machines are guided by an understanding cause, by the skillful hand of the workman or owner, the Will of man is left to the guidance of nothing, but absolute, blind contingence.
BY THOMAS GRAY.
“Ruin seize thee, ruthless king!
Confusion on thy banners wait;
They mock the air with idle state.
Nor even thy virtues, Tyrant, shall avail
From Cambria’s curse, from Cambria's tears !”
Of the first Edward scattered wild dismay,
He wound with toilsome march his long array. Stout Glo'ster stood aghast in speechless trance: “To arms!" cried Mortimer, and couched his quivering lance.
On a rock whose haughty brow
Frowns o'er old Conway's foaming flood,
With haggard eyes the poet stood
Streamed, like a meteor, to the troubled air);
Struck the deep sorrows of his lyre.
Sighs to the torrent's awful voice beneath!
Revenge on thee in hoarser murmurs breathe;
« Cold is Cadwallo's tongue,
That hushed the stormy main:
Mountains, ye mourn in vain
Made huge Plinlimmon bow his cloud-topt head.
Smeared with gore, and ghastly pale: Far, far aloof the affrighted ravens sail;
The famished eagle screams, and passes by. Dear lost companions of my tuneful art,
Dear as the light that visits these sad eyes, Dear as the ruddy drops that warm my heart,
Ye died amidst your dying country's cries No more I weep. They do not sleep.
On yonder cliffs, a grisly band,
Avengers of their native land:
“Weave the warp, and weave the woof,
The winding sheet of Edward's race.
The characters of hell to trace.
When Severn shall reëcho with affright
Shrieks of an agonizing king!