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thing, when he can do it if he will. It is improperly said, that a person cannot perform those external actions which are dependent on the act of the will, and which would be easily performed, if the act of will were present. And if it be improperly said, that he cannot perform those external voluntary actions, which depend on ihe wili, it is in some respects more improperly said that he is unable to exert the acts of will themselves ; because it is more evidently false, with respect to these, that he cannot, if he will; for to say so is a downright contradiction ; it is to say he cannot will, if he docs will. And, in this case, not only is it true, that it is easy for the man to do the thing if he will, but the very willing is the doing : when once he has willed, the thing is performed, and nothing else remains to be done."
2. “ Therefore, in these things to ascribe the non-performance to want of power or ability, is not just; because the thing wanting is not a being able, but a being willing. There are faculties of mind, and capacities of nature, and every thing else sufficient but a disposition : nothing is wanting but
We give now the Reviewer's explanation of the first of these paragraphs :
“ It is siill more improper to say that a man is unable to exert the acts of will themselves, or unable to produce volitions. To say that a man has power to produce volitions, would imply that he has power to will volitions ; but this would make one volition the cause of another, which is ab. surd. But as it is absurd to represent the will as the cause of its own volilions, and of course to say that a man has abil. ity 10 produce volitions, it must be absurd likewise, in any particular case, to represent the man as unable to produce volitions : for this would imply that in other cases he is able.”
We feel bound to object to this exposition as a misconception of the meaning of the passage. We do so on the following grounds :
1. It substitutes an entirely different reason for the impropriety of the language under consideration, from that which Edwards formally assigns. He says “it is evidently false”_" it is a downright contradiction"_" it is saying he cannot will if he does will.” Prof. T. says " it would imply that in some cases a man is able to produce volitions." Nor
does it help the Reviewer's construction, to show that the implication he alleges, involves an absurdity upon the scheme of Edwards ; for the absurdity, if it be admitted, is a totally different thing from the "downright contradiction," which Edwards has so distinctly specified. But,
2. T'he alleged implication is not logically involved. The Reviewer argues
that to say that a man has power to produce volitions would imply that he has power to will volitions." By no means. We cannot perceive that this is implied. The only authority for the Professor's statement is the decision we have already noticed, that Edwards does not distinguish between the causation and the determination of volition. On the contrary, Edwards does speak continually of the man's “ exerting” or producing volitions without the suspicion that it implies willing them.
3. Even if involved, we cannot consider the implication an absurd one. “ This would make” says the Reviewer, “one volition the cause of another, which is absurd.” Here again we must disseni. Edwards does indeed maintain, that 10 make choosing a volition essential to its liberty is absurd, but not that choosing a volition is so." He says, “It is no contradiction to suppose that there may be desires
and endeavors to prevent or excite fulure acts of will.” Edwards here accepts, and affirms, as “No contradiction,” the very thing which his Reviewer makes him reject as "a downright contradiction”-that one act of will may
"s excite" or produce another. Prof. T.'s anxiety to fasten upon the Inquiry the scheme of physical necessity, has led him to what we are compelled to regard as a most strange misapprehension of the meaning of Edwards. Nor is this the whole of it. In his remarks
the second of the paragraphs above qnoted from Edwards, he makes another effort to maintain his theory. “In these things" (acts of will) "10 ascribe a non-performance to the want of power or to the want of motives,” (for this is plainly his meaning), "is not just, because the thing wanting, that is immediately wanting, and wanting so far as the agent himself can be the subject of remark, is not a being able, that is a having the requisite motives or the moral ability, but a being willing, or the act of volition itself.” According to this passage, the inability to which it is not just,' to ascribe non-performance, i. e, the non-exertion of a volition, is a moral inability--it is
not just to ascribe the absence of a volition to moral inability to produce it. To what inability, then, we would ask, is it justly ascribable? To natural inability ? Edwards again and again says, that in this, the proper use of the term, it is absurd to apply it to volition. This inability, therefore, is not nalural. Prof. T. says it is not moral; to what hitherto undescribed and unimagined species of inability is it just 10 ascribe the deficiency, or is there after all no inability of any kind in the case ? The inability to which it is not just to ascribe the failure of the act of volition is moral inability; "this is plainly his meaning,” says the Reviewer. Now, Professor Tappan is not in the habit of carrying his points by the mere assertion of them, and we should feel unwilling, therefore, even lo insinuate that he has nothing to sustain his assertion here ; at the same time it would have been far more satisfactory if he had given the reasons which have led him to the conclusion that this is the meaning of Edwards. We have been accustomed to entertain the conviction that his meaning in this passage is precisely the reverse—that it is natural inability to which ine failure may not be attributed. In this conviction we know we are not alone. We must request our readers to refer to the passage which we have quoted entire for this purpose, and decide whether it is not ability in the original and proper use of the term, of which he speaks throughout it. The supposition that it is moral inability is not, to our mind, even plausible. We think we may appeal to every student of the Inquiry, whether it is not perfectly notorious, that moral inability is the very thing and the only thing to which, in the philosophy of Edwards, it is just to ascribe the non-production of a volition.
Nor can we help observing here, to what totally different issues the discussion of this topic is brought by Edwards and his Reviewer. “It is evident,” says the latter, " that there may be an utter moral inability to do a thing that is, the motive
тау be wanting which causes the volition which is the immediate antecedent of the thing to be done,” &c.; the former says, "the thing wonting is not a being able, but a being willing,' “the act of volition itsell," as Prof. T. explains it. "There are faenllies of mind, and capacity of nature, and every thing else sufficient but a disposition; NOTHING is wanting but a will.” This positive and sweeping language, which Prof. T. has not quoted, secins to us to deny that it is the
motive which causes the volition,” that is wanting. We are unable to see how the Reviewer could so far overlook it, as to set forth such an exposition of the passage ;
urgencies of an untenable theory will account for some extravagances of logic, in the writings even of able men.
We have thus noticed the most important of the reasonings, by which Prof. Tappan would prove Edwards a fatalist; and we cannot think it too much to say of them, that they indicate a false conception in the critic's mind, of the meaning and system of his author. We are confirmed in this opinion, by the fact that he has no where intimated that there is a solitary passage which sanctions the views of that numerous class who regard Edwards as an advocate of liberty; for we cannot believe that a work which has been the subject of so inuch controversy, should furnish so little ground for it.
Let it be remembered, in determining what system Edwards designed to advocate, that, under the name of Arminjan liberty, Edwards has stated that he opposed three things :
1. Self-determination, or liberty as consisting in the previous choice of volition;
2. Indifference, or liberty as consisting in the absence of previous inclination;
3. Contingence, or liberty as consisting in the absence of all cause.
Now, if he designed to oppose also that view of liberty which makes it consist in power to the contrary volition, why has he not included this in his formal specification of the errors he opposes under that name? Instead of which, we find him saying, that to ascribe the want of a volition to the want of power, "is not just." Let it be remembered, that Edwards defines philosophical necessity to be," nothing different from certainty,” and moral necessity to be “a certainty of the will itself” —moral inability, which Prof. T. says "is a real inability,” he declares to be improperly so called ; and says that "natural inability ALONE is properly called inability.' And if all this be not sufficient, then let it be remembered, that in defending his system from the perversions which the fatalists of his own day were not slow to make of it (the identical perversion of Prof. T.), he uses the following unequivocal language. “This author seems every where to suppose, that necessity, most properly so called, attends SECOND SERIES, VOL. IX. NO. 1.
all men's actions; and that the terms necessary, unavoidable, impossible, &c., are equally applicable to the case of moral and natural necessity.” “ ON THE CONTRARY, I have largely declared, that the connection between antecedent things and consequent ones, which takes place with regard to the acts of men's wills, which is called moral necessity, is called by the name of necessity IMPROPERLY; and that such a necessity as attends the acts of men's wills, is more properly called CERTAINTY than necessity; it being No Other than the CERTAIN connection between the subject and predicate of the proposition which affirms their existence.” “ Nothing that I maintain, supposes that men are at all hindered by any fatal necessity, from doing, and even willing, and choosing as they please, with full freedom; yea, with the highest degree of liberty that ever was thought of, or that could possibly enter into the heart of any man to conceive."
This decisive language, with much more of the same tenor, is contained in his letter to a minister of the Church of Scotland, written, as he tells us, to vindicate himself “ from the imputation of advancing a scheme of necessity,” and published in all the subsequent editions of his Inquiry. Could language furnish a more coinprehensive or more explicit disavowal of the system which the Reviewer has labored so hard lo fasten upon him? How far the reasonings he employed were always strictly consistent with this design, Edwards was not the proper judge. This, it is for his readers to determine; and he who determines it successfully, will find occasion for the exercise of his utmost discernment, and will need to be free alike from the partialities of a disciple, and the prejudices of an opponent. The great metaphysician may occasionally have spoken, as in his definition of liberty, beside the question in controversy; and his reasonings may sometimes have authorised thc imputations which Prof. T. has labored to fasten upon his system ; and whoever cautiously points out such errors of the Inquiry, will do most useful service to the cause of truth. But the main pillars of that system rest upon a far different and a far stronger foundation ; and the work itself, we are persuaded, will stand even the severe ordeal of the Reviewer's searching examination.