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case a second time for the worse, admitted the lie which they once detested, and from that new principle wrought damna ble iniquity. Is not this account of our real, though limited liberty, more agreeable to scripture, reason, conscience and experience, than the necessity maintained by Calvainistic bound-willers and Deistical fatalists ?”
He continues :-"I have already observed, that the seem. ingly contrary systems of those gentlemen, (Voltaire and Edwards) like the two opposite half-diameters of a circle, meet in natural necessity, a central point which is common to both; Mr. Voltaire, who is the apostle of the Deistical : world, and Mr. Edwards, who is the oracle of Calvinistic metaphysicians, exactly agreeing to represent man as a mere, though willing slave, to the circumstances in which he finds himself, and to load hin from head to foot, and from the cra. dle to the grave, with the chains of absolute necessity, one link of which he can no more break than he can make a world. Their error, if I mistake not, springs chiefly from their over-looking the important difference there is between natural necessity, and what the barrenness of language obliges me to call moral necessity. Hence it is, that they perpetually confound real liberty, which is always of an active nature, with that kind of necessity in disguise, which I beg leave to call passive liberty. Clear definitions, illustrated by plain examples, will make this intelligible; will unravel the mystery of fatalism, and rescue the capital doctrine of liberty from its confinement in mystical Babel.
(1.) A thing is done by natural necessity, when it una avoidably takes place, according to the fixed laws of nature, Thus, by natural necessity, a serpent begets à serpent, and not a dove; a fallen man begets a fallen chiiit, and not an angel; a deaf man cannot hear, and a cripple canot be a swift runner.
(2.) A thing is done by moral necessity (if I may use that improper expression) when it is done by a free agent with a peculiar degree of readiness, resolution and determination; from strong motives, powerful arguments, confirmed habits : and when it might nevertheless be done just the
if the free agent pleased. Thus, by a low degree of moral necessity, chaste, conscientious Joseph, struggled out of the arms of his master's wife, and cried out, ' How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God ?-And by a high degree of it Satan hates holiness, God abhors sin, and Christ refused to fall down and worship the devil.
(3.) I have observed in the second check, that Mr. Ed. wards' celebrated treatise upon free-will, turns in a great degree upon a comparison between balances and the will. To show more clearly the flaw of his performance, I beg leave to venture upon the improper, and in one sense, contradictory, expression of passive liberty. By passive liberty, (which might also be called mechanical liberty) I mean the readiness with which just scales turn upon the least weight being thrown into either of them. Now it is certain that this lib. erty (so called) is mere necessity: for two even scales necessarily balance each other, and the heavier scale necessarily outweighs the lighter. According to the fixed laws of nature, it cannot be otherwise. It is evident therefore, that when Mr. Edwards avails himself of such pupular, improper expressions as these, 'Good scales are free to turn either way -just balances are at liberty to rise or fall by the least weight,' he absurdly imposes upon the moral world a me. chanical freedom, or liberty, which is mere necessity. His mistake is set in a still clearer light by the following definition.
(4.) Active liberty is that of living creatures, endowed with a degree of power to use their powers in various man
ners; their prerogative is to have in general the weight that turns them in a great degree at their own dispos al. Experience confirms this observation; how many stubborn beasts, for example, have died under the repeated strokes of their drivers, rather than move at their command ! And how many thousand Jews chose to be destroyed, rather than to be saved by Him who said, “How often would I have gather. ed you,
&c. and YE WOULD NOT?' Hence it appears, that active liberty subdivides itself into brutal liberty, and rational or moral liberty.
(5.) Brutal liberty belongs to beasts, and a rational or moral liberty, belongs to men, angels, and God. By brutat liberty, understand the power that beasts have to use their animal powers various ways, according to their instinct, and , at their pleasure. By rational liberty, understand the power that God, angels and men, have to use their divine, angel. ic, or human powers in various manners, according to their wisdom, and at their pleasure. Thus, while an oak is tied fast by the root, to the spot where it seeds and grows, a horse carries his own root along with him ; ranging without necessity, and feeding as he pleases all over his pasture. While a horse is thus employed, a man may either make a saddle for his back, a spur for his side, a collar for his shoul. der, a stable for his conveniency, or a carriage for him to draw ;-or, leaving these mechanical businesses to others, he may think of the scourge that tore his Saviour's back, call to mind the
that pierced his side, reflect upon the cross that galled his shoulder, the stable where he was born, and the bright carriage in which he went to heaven; or he may by degrees, so inure himself to infidelity, as to call the gospel a fable, and Christ an impostor.
According to these definitions it appears, that our sphere of liberty increases with our powers. The more powers an
imals have, and the more ways they can use those powers, the more brutal liberty they have also : thus, those creatures that can, when they please, walk upon the earth, fly through the air, or swim in the waters, as some sorts of fowls, have a more extensive liberty than a worm, which has the freedom of one of those elements only, and that too in a very impero fect degree.
As by the help of a good horse a rider increases his power to move swiftly, and to go far; so by the help of science and application, a philosopher can penetrate into the secrets of nature, and an Archytas or a Newton can
"Soar to the stars; and, with his mind, travel round the universe." Such geniuses have undoubtedly more liberty of thought, than those sots whose minds are fettered with ignorance and excess, and whose imagination can just make shift to flutter from the tavern to the play-house and back again. By a parity of reason, they who enjoy the glorious liberty of the children of God, who can in a moment recollect their thoughts, fix them upon the noblest objects, and raise them not only to the stars, like Archytas, but to the throne of God, like St. Paul ;-they who can become all things to all men.? be content in every station, and even sing at midnight in the dungeon, regardless of their empty stomachs, their scourged backs, and their feet made fast in the stocks ;' they who can command their passions and their appetites, are free from sin, and find 'God's service perfect freedom; these happy people, I say, enjoy far more liberty of heart than the brutish men, who are so enslaved to their appetites and passions, that they have just liberty enough left them, not to ravish the women they set their eyes upon, and tó murder the men they are angry with. But although the liberty of God's children is so glorious now, it will be far more so, when their regene rate souls shall be matched in the great day with bodies
GOVERNMENT OF GOD.
blooming'as youth, beautiful as angels, radiant as the sun, powerful as lightning, immortal as God, and capable of keeping pace with the Lamb, when he shall lead them to new fountains of bliss, and run with them the endless round of celestial delights.”
If any apology is necessary for these lengthy quotations from the very pious and learned author above referred to, it is
-1. A desire to show in what light some of the most able divines of the church of England viewed Mr. Edwards? celebrated performance on the will. 2. A desire to set the subject of free agency in a clearer light than I was able to do. As we have shown from this author that there is a wide difference between certainty and necessity, and as Mr. H. uses these terms as synonymous, I shall take the liberty to use the word necessity in general, as best conveying what I understand him to mean by both. Should I use the term absolute certainty, I mean by it the same as necessity. Here, then, we have one concession from Mr, H. which ought here to be noticed, viz : That the knowledge of God, has no possible influence on the actions of men, and of course their agency cannot be affected by it.”-p. 68. This concession the reader will keep in mind, that, whatever necessity our opponents consider to be attached to the moral conduct of men, it is none the more necessary or absolutely certain for being fore known. He enquires
" In what way is it pretended that this doctrine (the absoJute fore-ordination of "whatever comes to pass') destroys the agency of man? It is presumed that those who urge this objection, have no notion nor idea, that it is done in
other way, than by rendering our actions certain."
We will first attend to our author's question, and then to what he presumes. 1. It is pretended that the doctrine of absolute necessity, by which, Calvinism tells us, that every