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prevails over the other, and governs the conduct. Now in this solution he tells us, that the choice of virtue is not opposed to itself, nor the choice of vice to itself, e. g. that a single act of choice cannot be two acts and two opposing acts at the same time. Suppose this to be granted, yet if they may both be “ at the same time,” then there may be a mutual opposition, and if one prevails, then it exists contrary to the ineffectual opposition of the one not prevalent, and of course has the characteristic given to natural necessity. Let them both exist by their respective moral necessities—let neither be opposed to the moral necessity which causes it; yet there is “ a mutual opposition" between the two volitions originating from their respective necessities, and the one that prevails is a phenomenon of natural necessity by the principles and concessions of Dr. Edwards. He has conceded too much to be consistent with himself. He must retract the concession, or change the characteristic given to natural necessity, or be logically compelled to allow that some volitions exist by such necessity.
He has another solution of the difficulty. “Now it will not be pretended, that this opposition of one act of the will to another is parallel to the entire opposition of the will, which there is or may be to natural necessity," p. 303. It will be perceived, that the fact of opposition is here a point conceded—that the former admission of opposing acts" at the same time” is not denied, and that the ground of distinction, which he assumes, is that the two oppositions are not parallel :-in the one case it is entire opposition ;—and in the other it must be something different from “ entire opposition."--Now, if I mistake not, he has here introduced a new element in the conception of natural necessity. He said, that it refers to some supposable, but ineffectual opposition. Here he substitutes the word entire, meaning, “ an entire and perfect opposition of the whole will," and meaning by this again, that there is but one act of choice, and this is opposed, though ineffectually, to the resulting event. He concedes the case of some supposable and real opposition of one will to another; and when pressed with the argument, that one of these wills must upon his own construction be by a natural necessity, he modifies the idea of such necessity, and makes it have reference to “ an entire and perfect opposition of the whole will." - Dr. Edwards is entitled to the full benefit of his own explanations. What is “an entire and perfect opposition of the whole will” in any case ?- It is plainly nothing more than the
simple fact, that the mind chooses, and chooses contrary to the resulting event. Every act of choice is by its nature“ an entire and perfect" act of choice, and when it is against the resulting event, it is “ an entire and perfect opposition of the act to the erent. How then does the entire and perfect opposition of the whole will” differ from the opposition of one act of the will to another,” as conceded by Dr. Edwards ?-In the one case you have one and but one “ entire” act of choice contrary to the event;-in the other you have two entire acts of choice contrary to each other, between which there is “ an entire and perfect opposition.” So that, after all, the cases are more nearly parallel than Dr. Edwards supposed. One event exists contrary to one entire act of choice ; in the case of “ opposition of one act of the will to another” the volition prevalent exists also contrary to the "entire and perfect opposition” of the volition not prevalent. Both cases certainly present “ entire and perfect opposition;" and hence both terminate in the same kind of necessity. If this criticism be deemed severe, it is believed not to be unjust; - it forces no unnatural interpretation upon the language of Dr. Edwards ;-it simply assumes that he wrote as he meant.
II. In the next place let us inquire, in what sense he uses Moral Necessity, when insisting on its distinction from Natural Necessity ?
This question is rendered important by the fact, that he uses moral necessity in three different senses. In a passage where the distinction was the very point that he was elaborating, he says that moral necessity“ is a previous certainty of the existence of a volition or voluntary action.” p. 300. He quotes President Edwards as presenting the same conception—it“ is a certainty of the inclination and will itself.” I have already shown, that in this sense moral necessity is not a subject of debate, as well as that Dr. Edwards is not consistent with himself in this use of it. To distinguish it in this sense, is to employ it in a sense in which it is not denied, and to leave the question of its distinction in other senses entirely unsettled.
III. In the third place, what are the points of agreement, if any,
which he has adınitted ?-It will be conceded that in reference to the certainty of the sequents, it is equal in both cases. Dr. Edwards says, “ The difference between these two kinds of necessity lies chiefly in the nature of the two terms connected by it,” p. 300. He quotes the language of President Edwards
on this point,—“the difference between these two kinds of necessity does not lie so much in the nature of the connection, as in the two terms connected.” This is a very obvious concession, that “in the nature of the connection” they agree. Here he attempts to make no distinction; all his reasoning fixes on another point of distinction. Agreement in this respect is then acknowledged. What is the nature of this connection, in respect to which the identity of the two necessities is a point conceded ? It is a connection between a certain cause and its effect in one case, and then it is a connection of natural necessity; and between a certain other cause and its effect in another case, and then it is a connection of moral necessity. In the one case, it is a physical cause connected with its physical sequent; in the other it is a moral cause or motive connected with its moral sequent or volition. However different the terms may be in the two connections, still the nature of the connection is the samne. The prior terms in both secure their respective sequents with equal certainty; in both they are equally causes and act in the same way, so far as they are causes at all.
Omitting to examine the assumption, that motive is properly a cause, I wish to propose this question :. Is not the identity of the two necessities admitted in every material respect? In two cases of natural necessity the connected terms differ, not as causes and effects, but in other respects consistent with this identity: Were it said that two instances of natural necessity differ, the inquiry would be,–In what? If it were answered, in their terms ; the answer would be, that this difference has nothing to do with the simple question of necessity; and therefore they might equally be instances of such necessity. It is the very nature of necessity, not to give a history of the terms connected, but to treat of the nature of the connection, to inquire into the ground or reason of the certainty of this connection. If we adopt any other view, we should have as many different kinds of necessity as there are terms—all equally disagree.ng with each other;—that would be a mechanical necessity, a chemical necessity, an electrical necessity, a galvanic necessity, a vegetable necessity, an animal necessity, &c. Every effort to identify these as cases of natural necessity would fail; for in every instance it might be replied, that the terms of the connection differ. It is true, that they differ, but not in any respect which affects the question of natural necessity. Here they are one, because the nature of the connection is one.
If then na
tural and moral necessity be admitted to agree in the nature of the conneclion, we have an agreement, which essentially confounds the two necessities. They disagree, not in the respect which identifies them as instances of necessity ;-they differ only as different cases of natural necessity differ from each other, e. g., in the terms connected. There is no distinction in the certainty, with which sequents follow, for in both cases it is absolute; there is none in the nature of their connection with their respective antecedents. What is the fundamental element of natural necessity ?-It lies in the nature of the connection between the two terms, e. g., the physical antecedent and the physical sequent; this creates all the necessity, by which the sequent exists; it is the ground of its certainty. To identify the two necessities therefore in the nature of the connection, is to make them alike in that respect, in which necessity has any meaning. Hence it is not strange, that the advocates of physical necessity should sometimes appeal to President and Dr. Edwards, as being on their side. The truth is, they have, without intending to do it, conceded the identity of the two necessities in the very respect where they should have proved a difference, if they ineant to insist on a distinction between the two. This however was the best they could do, after having assumed that motive causes volition, and that the mind does not.
IV. We come then in the last place, to the points of distinction between the two necessities. President Edwards held that the distinction “ does not lie so much in the nature of the connection, as in the two terms connected.” Dr. Edwards held the same sentiment, that it “lies chiefly in the nature of the two terms connected by it.” In reply to the charge, that this “is a distinction without a difference," the latter writer says, “it is manifest that there is that very difference in the two cases which President Edwards's distinction supposes. To say that this is a distinction without a difference, is to say, that an habitual disposition or a motive is the same with something which is not an habitual disposition or motive; and that a volition or voluntary action, is the same with what is not a volition or voluntary action, p. 300. This reasoning confirms the idea, that the distinction of terms was the great distinction on which Dr. Edwards intended to issue the question.
What then are the two terms of the connection in moral necessity? They are of “a moral nature,”—e. g., "some previous habitual disposition, or some motive” as the antecedent
and cause; “volition or voluntary action" as the sequent and effect. These are not the terms of a connection by natural necessity. Hence, there is a “difference in the two cases." This is the argument, and the whole argument on the point: and so far as it goes, it is a conclusive argument. There is a distinction with a difference ;-difference in respect to what? In respect to the terms of the sequence in the two cases --this is all; it is all that is pretended. Let this distinction be allowed, and let the terms be subjected to a careful analysis.
In the first place, let us examine the antecedents in the two cases: in both they are admitted to be causes. Viewed simply as causes, they cannot be distinguished from each other; for President Day very properly observes, that “one cause cannot be unlike another in the very property, which is common and essential to all causes." To classify causes, is not to distinguish between them simply as causes, for in this respect they must be alike; but to distinguish between them in some other respect, which is perfectly consistent with the supposition that they are all causes, as when we speak of proximate and remote causes,-first and second causes, -mental and physical causes, -moral and natural causes. In these distinctions we have the generic idea of causes, associated with specific differences, which differences contain no allusion whatever to the simple idea of cause, this being exhausted in the generic idea. Suppose, then, the antecedent terms in the two necessities differ; the question is, How do they differ? Not as causes merely, but in other respects having no sort of relation to their nature as causes; they differ as a proximate does from a rennote cause, by having dissimilar attributes or accidents, none of which pertain to their nature as causes. The cause in moral necessity and the cause in natural necessity are alike in the respect in which either is cause.
We have, then, the identity of the two necessities in the nature of the connection acknowledged; we have proved the identity of the two prior terms, so far as their nature as cause is concerned; we therefore have an identity of the two necessities in all the respects in which the word necessity has any import: to contend for a distinction in other respects, is mere verbal trifling; it is to go beyond the range of the whole subject in search of distinctions. The conceptions of necessity are exhausted in the affirmation of a previous certainty in the nature of the connection of two terms, which is the basis of that certainty, and in the causal nature of the prior term, which