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for the few logicians and philosophers, who, like himself, can understand abstrusities? If he wrote for the latter, we must think there was very little benevolence in tendering the profits of these Letters to the Bible Society; but if he designed principally to instruct the former, it is to be regretted, that he did not condescend to pen his thoughts in the style of a plain man. Had he done this, possibly our youth might have gained some experience and wisdom from his pages. Possibly, a very child might have got some good from his Letters; and surely, if one had, it would not have been a grief, to a sage of disinterested benevolence towards God!
Our remarks, hitherto, have principally regarded the first Letter before us. The second will not detain us long. “If the Spectator be authority for the use of language, we have all the right of his authority for the use of disinterested; and I know of no authority before which he must bend and bow, except E. S. Ely's.” p. 15. What shall we say to this manly argument, of a writer wholly unlike a child? Mr. Anderson cannot be ignorant, that the controversy between the Calvinists and Hopkinsians, on the subject of his Second Letter, may be reduced to the following questions; Does all sin consist in selfishness? and, Does all holiness consist in love to being in general, or in disinterested benevolence? i he Hopkinsians answer these questions in the affi, mative, and the Calvinists in the negative. The former say, that even our love of God is disinterested; and the latter say, we have the deepest interest in loving God. Now, to avoid disputation about the use of a word, we will admit
, that a good man may, as a member of a society, wish a certain beneficial action to be done, which will not benefit him as an individual, and in which he has no concern, except as a part of the great whole; or he may even be willing to yield his own personal good as an individual, in many cases, for the advancement of the welfare of the society to which he belongs; and if this is disinterested benevolence, in which he is not uninterested, we allow there is such a thing as disinterested benevolence towards man, and heartily wish it were universally experienced. It is granted also, that the good man will love God upon
every apprehension of his loveliness, whether it be of his nature, providence, or grace, and if this be disinterested love of God, why there is such a thing. Still we shall maintain that all a man's personal holiness does not consist in disinterested love of God; but in his doing, suffering, and being all that the moral law requires. We admit, that one who should supremely, perfectly, and constantly love God and his fellow men, would have every other holy affection, would perform every other duty, and would be, what God requires him to be; and in this sense, and in this alone, love is the fulfilling of the law.
To rid himself of difficulties in graduating his disinterested love, according to the portion of universal being that may be the object of it, Mr. A. resorts to some distinctions which seem not very warrantable. “Man is compounded,” he says, “of an animal and mental existence. To our animal nature belongs exclusively a num. ber of affections, that get the same name with a number of affections that belong exclusively to the soul. The affection between husband and wife, between the sexes, between parents and their offspring, are animal affections; and are called by the common name love.”p. 23. To the list already given he adds, “ Pity, sympathy, gratitude, and various local attachments.” He then intorms us, that “ the love and affections now considered, are in them. selves neither sinful nor holy.” They are not, he says, “exercises of the mind.” “ We are also the subjects of a love, that belongs exclusively to the soul, which may be thus represented. The understanding has an object presented to it, and has a distinct perception of its proper: ties; the will acts towards it, in exercises called good will, choice, approbation and delight. These exercises of the will we call love. This love is purely mental.” p. 23.
We have been thought to misrepresent the Hopkinsians, with a design to ridicule them, when we have as. serted, that they make love an act of the will; but we hope after such an extract as this, we shall have some credit for fidelity in representing their opinions. It appears, from Mr. A.'s assertions, that choice, which we readily admit to be an act of the will, is love; that approbation, an act of the conscience as most men think, is an act of the will, and is love; and that delight, which is certainly one feeling, is love. Now, if one feeling may be another feeling, if delight may be love, what should prevent hope, fear, envy, hatred, and any other feeling from being love? If approbation, an act of the conscience, is an act of the will, what distinction exists between the Conscience and the Will? If they are not distinguished by their opera. tions they cannot be distinguished at all. Love is commonly called a feeling, and thought to be an operation of the faculty of feeling; but, if it is an act of the Will, what should prevent any of the faculties from interchangeably performing the operations of all the other faculties? The Hopkinsians, and we presume Mr. A. will admit, that man has an understanding, and a will What, then, should prevent the understanding from choosing; and the will, from perceiving and reasoning? Nay, what should prevent the ear from seeing, the eye from hearing, and our hands from tasting? What can save us, should Mr. Anderson's wonderful logic and philosophy prevail, from a universal jumble of all the actions of man, and of all the words that have hitherto been used to describe them? If Mr. A. is a philosopher, verily, mental Philosophy has come to its Babel.
We must further object to Mr. A.'s theory, that it favours materialism. He says that man's mind is not the only sensitive part of his complex being; for he has a species of affections, such as love for a parent, a child, a wife, and such as gratitude, pity, sympathy, and various local attachments, which are not exercises of the mind. Of what then are they exercises? Of the body? They must be of the body; for Mr. Anderson uses the words mind, soul, and spirit as synonymous; and besides the mind, man is constituted of no other component part than the body. Parental, social, filial, and connubial love, then, together with sympathy, pity, gratitude, and various local attachments, are all feelings of the body, and not of the mind of a man: of course, body is a sensitive being, and one of the characteristic distinctions between body and spirit, or matter and mind, is henceforth abolished, by authority of the great philosopher of Tennessee
. Let it be known too, that none of these feelings, under any
circumstances, are either holy or sinful. The sexes may love each other, and their love is neither holy nor sinful. Joyous doctrine for seducers and libertines! Parents may love their children, and their parental affection is not holy, is not sinful, and of course is not to be measured by the moral law. Now, if well regulated parental, filial, and conjngal love, in a renewed man, is not of a moral nature, we cannot conceive that it should be any crime to be “ without natural affection.”
Of his purely mental love, Mr. A. observes,
“ There is a plain distinction or two, that belongs to it. 1st. There may be approbation, choice, or delight in the will in the view of the object, solely, because the person thinks it connected with his private, separate interest and advantage: this is selfishness.—2nd. The will may choose, approve and delight in the object, solely on account of the qualities and properties of which the object is possessed; this is the love of complacency. 3d. The object may be capable of happiness and misery, and the will may exercise strong desires, and wishes for its wellbeing; this is called the love of good-will.—The two last are called disinterested benevolence. Aside from all names of distinctio, the will is plainly the object of these three exercises.” p. 24.
“ Aside from all names of distinction!” Yes, aside from these, a man may say what he pleases, and no man can understand him, no man expose his absurdities. But using names for the very purpose of distinction, and using them as men commonly do, who intend to be understood by their readers, we would make out three sentences thus:-- Ist. A man's conscience may approve, his heart may love, and his will may choose an object perceived, or apprehended, solely because he thinks it will lawfully promote his own private, separate interest and advantage. In this case the affection of his heart is called self-love; but had he loved, approved, and chosen an object, to promote his own interest in any unlawful way, we should describe his conduct as selfish, and his inordinate love of himself, as selfishness.—2ndly. A man's conscience may approve, his will may choose, and his heart may love an object, solely on account of the qualities and properties of which the object is possessed; in which case his love is called complacency.-3dly. The heart of a man may exercise strong desires, and his mouth may express wishes, for the well-being of a person capable of happi. ness and misery; in which case these strong desires and wishes are termed benevolent ones. Names of distinction not being laid aside, THE WILL is plainly the subject of nothing but volitions; the Heart of nothing but feelings: and the CONSCIENCE of every act of approbation.
Mr. Anderson's Third Letter amounts to this; "that it is in the very nature of true religion to make us willing to be treated as we deserve.”p. 28. We all deserve God's wrath and curse, both in this life and that which is to come: we all deserve to perish; but God in his mercy, since he has offered salvation by Jesus Christ, is not wil. ling that any should perish. 2 Pet. iii. 9. Nevertheless, says Mr. A. we ought to be willing to perish, for we ought to be willing to be treated as we deserve.
Men easily deceive themselves by using words with out attaching to them any definite ideas; and possibly our author may do the same. Let us state a proposition then, and analyze it. Mr. A. thinks he possesses the true religion; and he will own that he deserves to be danned. We state then, that Mr. Anderson is willing to be damned. He thinks this a true proposition. Now what does it imply? Mr. A. is, that is, Mr. A. exists, for is, predicates being of him. Willing is a participle, that denotes the performance of the act of willing by Mr. A. He then exists
, in a state of mind in which he actually wills to be damned. This is really the sense of the proposition. Mr. A. then contemplates his own damnation as something that he wills should take place. But we hope that God wills to save him, in spite of his volition to be damned.
This very willingness to be treated as we deserve, Mn A. says, “is that with which religion commences in the heart of a sinner, and is among the brightest and most glorious features of true religion through life and through eternity.”' p. 28. Hereafter, can it with truth be said that Mr. A. does not account a willingness to be damned to be essential to personal religion? The arguments against this Hopkinsian folly have been stated so repeatedly and clearly, that it is needless to reiterate them in this place.
In Leviticus xxvi. 41, 42, we read a declaration of