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ward principle of volition, we call a motive, and any THOUGHT or FEELING within us, which moves the will to a volition, is A MOTIVE. But we deny that the imme. diate object of the Spirit's operation is any more the heart than the will: IT IS NEITHER: for while the freedom of man in willing would be unimpaired by a direct agency on the heart, the feelings of man, or the operations of the heart, would be independent on the operations of the understanding; and so would not be the feelings of an intelligent, morally accountable agent. Were the heart immediately operated on by the Spirit, so as to produce love, for instance, a man would have the feeling of love, without understanding what he loved, or having any motive for loving it. Besides, should the Spirit in gracious operations exert his agency directly on the heart, he would act in opposition to God's established mode of governing human minds in all their natural exercises; for it is unquestionable, that we never love natural objects but from some previous thought concerning them, and some conception of their loveli
Since, then, the immediate object of the Spirit's operation is neither the will, nor the heart; what is it? We answer, it is some faculty of the intellect. Any operation of any faculty of the intellect we call a thought. Under the head of intellect, we enumerate seven faculties, by which the mind performs seven distinct classes of operations, or kinds of thinking. These are, 1. Consciousness; 2. Perception; 3. Understanding, or Conception; 4. Judgment; 5. Reason; 6. Conscience, or the Moral Sense; and 7. Memory. These are sometimes denominated the faculties of the understanding. An eighth faculty of the human mind, is that of feeling, which in modern language is called the heart. A ninth faculty is the will: and the tenth and last, that of agency: so that every operation of the human mind is either one of seven kinds of thoughts, or a feeling, or a volition, or an agency of something willed.
We have before shown, that a man must have some right thoughts, before he can have any right feelings; and some right thoughts or feelings, before he can be the in
telligent author of right volitions; and some right volitions before he can exert any holy agency, either in relation to himself or other objects. When we use the word heart in philosophical discussion, we always mean the faculty of the heart, and nothing else. We assert, therefore, that the heart is not the immediate source of moral actions: but is itself a fountain dependent on the higher fountain of the understanding. If you would purify the heart, you must first rectify that which regulates it, the intellectual operations of the man, and especially his conception of spiritual things. This is called in the bible, “the eye of your understanding,” because by it we see, or understand the truth, as by the instrumentality of the bodily eye we perceive visible objects. This eye must be enlightened. We must see, or rightly conceive of, God, before we can love the true God; and we must have either right conceptions of God, or love for him, or both, before we can will to serve him.
Dr. Williams maintains, that “in every virtuous choice there must be both a virtuous principle and a worthy object of choice presented to the mind, and each is equally necessary.” It is agreed: for the object of choice must be apprehended or conceived of by the mind; and it must be rightly, spiritually apprehended, or discerned, or else the object of choice is not a spiritual one; so that by his own account, the faculty which presents an object to the mind, must be operated upon by the Spirit, before any holy activity can ensue. The virtuous principle of a virtuous choice, is some virtuous motive. It may be a holy feeling, or it may be a holy judgment, or a holy approbation of some contemplated action, which is an operation of a rectified conscience. But Dr. Williams, without any good reason, restricts the virtuous principle to a right heart, without ever enquiring upon what principle a man's heart is right with God. We affirm, that the Holy Spirit, enlightening man, is the first principle of all holy mental operations; that He is immediately the principle, or that which lies at the foundation, of right apprehension or understanding of spiritual things, and of all kinds of holy thoughts; and that right
thoughts are the principle of right operations of the heart.
The Holy Spirit himself being the first principle of spiritual life in man, the end of divine operation on the mind of the sinner to be saved, is not to produce any other first principle, although it is to produce secondary, subordinate principles of right action, such as have been enumerated. The opinion of Dr. Williams is, however, very prevalent in this country, and is considered a tenet of Hopkinsianism. He observes,
“The end of divine operation must be to produce a virtuous principle, or in the language of the prophet, to ' take away the heart of stone, and to give a heart of flesh.' Free will under the direction of this principle, or as far as the principle exists, ever chooses virtuously." One end of it is to produce many secondary virtuous principles of feeling, volition, and agency. He continues: :
It never disapproves of gospel truth fairly presented to it; but, on the contrary, receives and lives upon it." That in man which either approves or disapproves of any truth, or mode of divine dispensation, is ine faculty of conscience. It is not the prerogative of the will to approve of any thing; but to choose, purpose, determine, or will
. Volitions are the only operations of the will, feelings of the heart, and moral judgments of the conscience.
“We may further observe,” says Dr. W. “ that the principle generated by divine operation illuminates the mind: enabling it to discover the spiritual nature and superior excellency of the truths revealed in the sacred oracles,-to know what is the hope of our calling, and what are the riches of our glorious inheritance. God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, shines into our hearts, whereby we discover the glories of the divine perfections as displayed in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Whereas to the unprincipled the light of revealed truth shines without effect; their darkness comprehendeth it not; their understanding continues dark,
being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness (or hardness) of their heart. While the heart is hard, the understanding will be blind, to the same degree, notwithstanding the out ward light of truth in the scriptures. Hence the ablest expositors and preachers have cause to pray that God may prepare the hearts
of their readers and hearers, that they may mark, learn, and inwardly digest' the truths represented.” p. 37.
Can it be possible that Dr. W. has not observed that the scriptures use the word heart in different senses; and that he has himself done the same in the passage just quoted? The only method of opposing our system by a semblance of scriptural arguments, is by refusing to distinguish between the different meanings attached to this word in the bible. We affirm, that while the understanding is blind, the heart will be hard. Yet the scriptures speak of “the blindness of their heart,” as if it were the province of the heart to see, and its misfortune to be rendered incapable of accurate discernment. Were this the ordinary use of the word, we should say, that the heart is to be considered as the appellation for the faculty now called the understanding.
It primarily denotes that part of the animal frame which receives the blood from the veins, and propels it through the arteries. When any faculty of our minds, and especially that of feeling, is powerfully exercised, we find that the heart beats with more than common force, and we are conscious of its pulsations. From this fact in conjunction with another, that no language is so copious as the conceptions of man, we are led to call that the heart which produces this sensible motion in the fountain of the blood, and hence the Bible, the language of which is popular, calls the whole mind in some instances the heart; and in other cases gives the same name to nearly all the constituent faculties of the spirit.
The prayer of Solomon for "an understanding heart to judge the people and to discern between good and bad,” (1 Kings, iii. 9. 11, 12,) was a request that his mind should be peculiarly endowed with clear apprehension and sound judgment. Here therefore the heart is the name given to the whole mind; and so it is, when Solomon says, (1 Kings iii. 6,) that his father David walked before the Lord “in uprightness of heart.”
We read (1 Kings iv. 29.) that “God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart;” in which place heart seems to denote the faculty of feeling; for after saying that God gave him Vol. I.
wisdom and understanding very much, it would not have been added, and largeness of heart, had it not been to describe something distinct from the blessings already named,-even enlarged, noble, generous, benevolent feelings.
The expressions, (1 John iii. 20, 21,) “if our heart condemn us,”—and “if our heart condemn us not," prove that heart is sometimes used in the scriptures for the conscience.
Of Mary, it is said, that she “kept all these sayings in her heart;” (Luke ii. 51.) and of the acquaintance of Zacharias that they “ laid up in their hearts," certain re. ports, (Luke i. 66,) in which passages heart is evidently put for the memory.
When Barnabas came to Antioch, (Acts xi. 23,) he “exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they should cleave unto the Lord.” It is the faculty of will which purposes; and since every purpose is a volition, the word heart must here mean the will.
Peter said to Ananias, “why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost?” Satan had put it into his thoughts, feelings and volitions; for he conceived the mischief, desired to perform it, and willed to gratity his desire, which is a feeling. Again Peter asks, why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart?” Acts v. 3, 4. The faculty of conceiving is therefore called the heart and with the heart we are said to reason, * to understand, † to think, to believe, s to imagine,|| and to ponder. T
Why then should we not judge the expression concerning the blindness of the heart, to refer to the understanding, as it naturally does, instead of referring it to the faculty of feeling, and interpolating hardness in the place of blindness? Men are alienated from the life of God. Why? Because of their utter ignorance of God, they knowing nothing spiritual as they ought to know it. But why are they ignorant? Because since the apos, tacy every natural man is blind in his understanding of divine subjects; and blind to his own sin and guilt.
† Matt. xii. 15. | Acts viii. 22. S Rom. x. 9. 11. || Zech. viii. 17.
Luke ii. 19.
* Mark ii. 6.