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real and adequate cause. The question therefore to be decidedis this, “ Whether those mental affections are produced by a regular concatenation of circumstances or motives operating as real and adequate causes, or whether they are the result of a certain faculty of the mind fortunately discovered for this very purpose, and dignified with the appellation of the self-determining power.” He who affirms that the self-determining power is the cause of volition, must doubtless intend to convey fome farther idea than that the power by which our volitions are determined is the cause of volition; for this is a mere identical proposition, which can never be seriously proposed as the subject of philosophical discussion. -By the self-determining power therefore must be meant, if indeed it has any meaning, either the actual exertion of volition, or the mental energy which precedes volition, and which is the efficient cause of it. If it means the actual exertion of volition, then the affertors of this power evidently confound the cause with the effect, making the act of volition prior to itself, distinct from itself, and the cause of itself. But if it means the mental energy preceding and producing volition, it is then plainly equivalent to the term motive, and the question is reduced to a mere verbal controversy; for this mental energy, denoting only a particular disposition and state of mind, must itself have resulted from a previous disposition of mind, as likewise that previous disposition from one yet more remote : regular and uninterrupted concatenation of volitions thus extending itself backwards to the original source of agency, each volition or mental state, like wave impelling wave, arising from preceding, and giving rise to succeeding states or definite situations of mind analogous to itself, and corresponding to those immutable laws by which the mental no less than the material world is governed by infinite wisdom and power. But the term motive, according to the Necessarian definition, includes all those previous circumstances which contribute to produce a definite volition or determination of the will. To what purpose then attempt to distinguish between the power and the motive of determination, when the ideas precisely coincide; the definite cause of a definite volition being all which is really meant by either ?-Or where is the difference between the Libertarian, whosays that the mind chufes the motive; and the Necessarian, who asserts that the motive determines the mind; if the volition be the necessary result of all the previous circumstances? The diftin&tion in this case can only amount to an idle and trifling evasion; and it is evident, that in order to preserve a shadow of liberty, its advocates make no scruple to adopt a gross impropriety of expression : 'to boast, that the mindchuses the motive when the mind is restricted to a definite choice, is ridiculous; and it is in fact as great a solecism, as to affirm that the volition chufes the motive: for the choice of the mind is not prior, but subsequent to the motive; it is therefore not the cause, but the effect of the motive; and this pretended' mental choice is manifestly neither more nor less than the necessary determination of volition.
After this, it is needless to enlarge upon the absurdity of the idea, that this pretended power is capable of deciding in contradiction to the most powerful motive; for if it is considered as the real and proper cause of volition, its decisions must be definite and certain; and it is perfectly ridiculous to apply the term most powerful to that motive which is not actually prevalent. For the sake of argument, we have admitted the existence of a power
in the mind, the reality of which, as distinguished from the power of motives, it is impossible to establish by even the shadow of a proof; but if it really existed, it is evident it could exist only as the cause of volition in general; for, fo far as it is not biaffed and influenced by motives, fo far it bears an exactly equal relation to each particular volition; and therefore cannot possibly be the cause of any specific determination; just as matter endowed with a similar power of self-motion would remain for ever inert, in consequence of its possessing an equal tendency to move in every possible direction at the fame instant of time. So far as it is an independent principle, therefore, it is a nugatory and
But even if it could be proved the true and
proper cause of every particular volition, still we infist that the volitions produced by it must be certain and definite; for it will ever remain an incontrovertible axiom, notwithstanding all metaphysical refinements and subtleties, that the same
cause in the fame precife circumstances must inevi. tably produce the same effects. To appeal to the internal feelings and consciousness of mankind, as the advocates for liberty affect to do in confirmation of their principles, will avail them little : the only species of liberty that any man is or can be conscious of, is a liberty or power of voluntary agency,or of acting as he pleases or wills; and this is a power which we are so far from contesting, that we consider it as an essential part of the Necessarian system. The fact is, that the question so much contested among philosophers, viz. Whether volitions are definite in definite circumstances, never occurs to the generality of mankind; and, if it were stated, would not be understood : To philosophers only, then, let the appeal be made; and surely every attentive and impartial examiner must be compelled to answer in the affirmative.
As to the immoral and pernicious consequences which our adversaries pretend to deduce from Necessarian principles, it is easy to show, that they are founded in a grofs misapprehension of their nature and tendency. The philosophical idea of Liberty will not indeed be included in the Necessarian definition of virtue, but it will still remain as distinct from and opposite to vice, as excellent in itself, and as much the object of love and admiration, as it can possibly be upon any hypothesis whatever. To incite us to the practice of it, and to deter us from the commission of vice, motives must, agreeably to the frame and constitution of the human mind, be held out to our view; peace and happiness be annexed to the one, shame and misery to the other; and these associations once implanted in the mind, must produce the most beneficial effects; and the importance of early inculcating just sentiments, and of urging men to the practice of virtue, by every laudable motive, cannot appear in fo striking and important a light upon any other ground, as on that which ascribes to them a certain and invariable operation. That objection to the doctrine of Neceflity, which charges it with involving the character of the Supreme Being in the guilt of moral turpitude, is an accusation equally weak and ill-founded. If the Deity acts immorally in decreeing vicious actions, how can our adversaries, upon their own principles, vindicate God's moral government, in permitting those irregularities which he could so easily have prevented. The truth is, the difficulty is the very fame on each and indeed every hypothesis ; and the Neceffarians are under no peculiar obligation to solve that great problem, the introduction of evil into the universe: however, as we have the most convincing proofs, derived both from reason and revelation, of the moral attributes of Deity, we may surely rest satisfied that