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a moral universe ; in a word (it is the assertion) of atheisın. Fatalism and atheism are, indeed, convertible terms. The only valid arguments for the existence of a God and for the immortality of the soul rest on the ground of man's moral nature; consequently, if that moral nature be annihilated, which in any scheme of necessity it is, every conclusion established on such a nature is annihilated also."! Now as Hobbes, Belsham, Diderot, Hume, and Comte make this identical theory of strongest motive force to involve “absolute necessity,” it is a most interesting question how Edwards, whose whole religious nature repudiated such a consequence, could yet logically avoid it. He calls his doctrine " philosophical necessity,” which he tells us is properly no “ necessity,” but only “certainty.” But is not this a distinction in name and not in nature? What is this “philosophical necessity”? He gives us, as illustrations of it, things “ necessary in their own nature," as the attributes of God and mathematical axioms; things that have already happened, historical events; things “ surely and firmly connected with something else that is necessary" in one of these respects. In regard to foreknown volitions, he tells us that it is “impossible” but that they should come to pass, "as impossible that they should fail of existence as if they had already existed.” 3 With still greater decisiveness, if possible, he states that the difference between natural and moral necessity “lies not so much in the NATURE of the connection as in the two terms connected."* Can necessity be conceived more absolute than this? In fact, does not the last quotation admit that all necessity, by whatever adjectives qualified, is in nature one ? With what propriety, then, is it asserted that this is “improperly” designated necessity? If volitions are as necessary as the attributes of God, or as the equality of the radii of a circle, as necessary in nature as any physical events whatever, could any fatal
1 Lectures on Metaphysics (Gould and Lincoln's ed.), Lect. XL. p. 556. ? Inquiry, Part I., Sect. 3.
Ibid., Part II., Sect. 12. 4 Ibid., Part I., Sect. 4.
ism make them more so? Whether this be “properly called " necessity or not, is a comparatively trivial question of lexicography; but we are now concerned with the infinitely graver question: Have we not here the fact which men usually express by the words “absolute necessity”? Hence Dr. Chalmers tells us that Hume, Kames, and the fatalists of that day “ triumphed in the book of Edwards, as that which set a conclusive seal on their principles.”i Edwards, of course, expressly disclaims fatalism;? but if the foregoing quotations are set by the side of this disclaimer, they only show, as it seems to us, that he attempted to hold both sides of a logical contradiction. The fact is, that Edwards disclaims only the belief in any restraint or coercion upon man's external action. He objects to the words “necessity," "impossible," etc., because they seem to imply a resistance of the will, while his necessity goes deeper than this, and controls the will itself. He says, speaking of the Stoics, " whatever their doctrine was, if any of them held such a fate as is repugnant to any liberty consisting in our doing as we please, I utterly deny such a fate.” 4 We know of no fatalist on record, at least in modern times, who did not believe in as much freedom as this. The very gist of fatalism is, that there is an external power fastened, not upon the bodily machinery, which carries out volitions, but upon the will itself. Thus, for example, writes Diderot, in which quotation it will be noted that unconstrained voluntary action is granted, while yet freedom is utterly denied :
“ There are not, and cannot be, free beings ..... We can no more conceive a being acting without motive, than we can one of the arms of a balance acting without a weight. The motive is always exterior and foreign, fastened upon us by some cause distinct from ourselves. What deceives us is the prodigious variety of our actions, joined to the habit which we catch at our birth, of confounding the voluNTARY and the FREE." And Diderot's conclusion from this is, if
1 Inst. of Theol., Vol. II., Chap. II
2 Inquiry, Part IV., Sect. 6.
there is no liberty, there is no action that merits either praise or blame; neither vice nor virtue; nothing that ought either to be rewarded or punished. ..... Reproach others for nothing, and repent of nothing ; this is the first step to wisdom. Besides this, all is prejudice and false philosophy.” 1
And still more ; Edwards asserts, with great emphasis, liberty of external action, while insisting with equal emphasis on necessitated volitions. Which is worse, to fasten fetters on the body or the soul? And if the value of the soul above the body can be estimated, that will show precisely how much worse is the necessity that he teaches, than the fatalism that he so earnestly repudiates.
NECESSITARIAN EVASIONS. As already shown, Dr. Whedon's fundamental position is, that necessity is utterly incompatible with responsibility. In Part II., Sect. ii., ch. 11, he reviews at length various attempts to harmonize these contradictions. Dr. Emmons took the high, bold position that we are responsible for evil volitions, even though they were created and put into us. In this chapter our author shows that this view is as agreeable to the reason and moral sense as are any modern attempts at reconciliation between necessity and responsibility. The scheme which maintains responsibility for a necessitated nature, or that which, rejecting this, locates it in necessitated action; the theory of responsibility for a spontaneous necessity to put forth a given volition without any counter power; and that of spontaneous necessity by reason of invariable non-usance of counter power, - all are shown to exclude responsibility with equal effectiveness. No matter what the source of this necessitation, God or second causes; no matter what the mode, by creation, secondary causation, or insertion; the point on which it is imposed, body, mind, intellect, sensibilities, or will, or the result necessitated to exist, volition, nature, state, or action, --in every case it equally and totally excludes responsibility.
1 Quoted from Stewart's Works, Vol. VI. p. 379.
INVARIABLE SEQUENCES. SECURED CERTAINTY.
Our author devotes a chapter (p. 214) to Hume's theory of causation, as applied by himself, Mill, Comte, and the materialists generally to the phenomena of will, and also partially adopted by some Christian philosophers, who admit real causation in physics, but substitute therefor “ invariable sequence,” when they come to treat of volitional effects. Mr. Hume supposed that his removal of the idea of power from causation, and resolving it into the simple sequence of antecedent and consequent, would settle forever the controversy upon necessity. This is also Mr. Mill's plan of escape from the perplexities of this question. When we realize, he tells us, that this necessity in actions is but “uniformity in the order" with which they follow motives, and that there is no “mystical tie” binding the action to the motive, that is, no causational power in the motive, no one's feelings will object to the necessity of volitions. This idea of causational power, it is, he tells us, that "conflicts with our consciousness and revolts our feelings. We are certain that, in the case of our volitions, there is not this mysterious constraint..... But neither is any such mysterious compulsion now supposed, by the best authorities, to be exercised by any cause over its effect. Those who think that causes draw their effects after them by. a mystical tie, are right in believing that the relation between volitions and their antecedents is of another nature. But they should go further, and admit that this is also true of all other effects and their antecedents. If such a tie be considered to be involved in the word “necessity,” the doctrine is not true of human actions, but neither is it true of inaniniate objects. It would be more correct to say that matter is not bound by necessity, than that matter is so." 1
On this theory, then, the will is no more necessitated to put forth a given volition than is the leaf to fall, or the stream to run down an inclined plane; but it is just as
Mill's System of Logic (Harper's ed.), p. 522.
Mr. Mill objects strongly to the word“ necessity"; but yet admits, yea claims, that it is just as applicable to volitions as to any other effects. Certainly, to average mankind, this will furnish little relief.
We now briefly present our author's view upon this theory, that volitions alone, of all effects, are subject to the law of invariable sequence, and that the will possesses power for counter volition, but never uses it. The theory is, that an agent always can but never will choose otherwise. This is held to be the true certainty :
“ All volitional certainty thereby presupposes a one particular kind of condition, namely, strongest antecedent motive force, and a particular kind of result, namely, obedience to the strongest motivity under a particular law, namely, invariable succession upon major force. Any event or futurition not under such condition or law is absurd chance or lawless uncertainty. Such law of uniformity or spontaneity of obedient action under condition of superior force is seen to be absolute, not merely in all experienced cases, so as to be an induction, but in all possible cases, so as to be seen super-experientially and intuitively true, and therefore it is self-evident and axiomatic. It would be intui. tively true, as the contradictory of lawless chance, upon an infinite number of repetitions of an infinite number of cases; so that it is a strictly absolute and true universality. As the sole exemption from a self-contradictory chance, it is apodictical, and (so we infer) a necessity. But by them it is named certainty, and held to be the only true certainty, as distinguished from necessity on one side and chance on the other” (p. 220, etc.).
Our author makes seven points against this theory, which it would be injustice to him to merely recapitulate, and our limits will not allow us to give them with any degree of ful
It will probably be more satisfactory to the reader to see one or two of them developed somewhat in detail.
The first point is, that the advocates of this theory must unite with the Arminians in refuting the main body of