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combustibles; and that, for the reason that its nature qualifies it to select nothing else ; and the implication is most obvious, that in Prof. T.'s view, the will as a cause is precisely similar, and selects the volitions it does for the very same reason—that its nature qualifies it to select no others. There is, in the view of Edwards, a difference between these two kinds of causes, which renders an account that is satisfactory in the one case, unsatisfactory in the other. The existence of this difference, the Reviewer denies. Edwards supposes that the soul is a peculiar cause, having power, in given circumstances, to produce either of two effects, and asks, when one is produced, for the reason why it did not produce the other; Prof. T., on the contrary, considers that ihere is nothing peculiar about this cause, it produces its effect just as fire does, and it is inadmissible to ask for any other cause, to give to that effect its particular determination.
It certainly would be both idle and unjust, to assert that Prof. T. adopts the system of the physical necessity of volilion, but his argument against Edwards on this point, does involve that doctrine. He distinctly denies the propriety of attributing any thing in the effect to any thing but the efficient cause, and maintains that it is by the necessity of its nature an attribute of every cause, to produce its effect, and determine all the attending properties of it, by itself alone, and that in this respect the will resembles all other causes. He studiously and repeatedly denies that any thing like an occasional or final cause is essential to volition.
volition. Again and again he declares, and apparently deems it highly important to declare, thắt the will "may act without reference either to reason or passion;" (p. 226) and that when it does thus act, or when it obeys either of them, it is improper to ask for any reason why it did not act otherwise. He asks (p. 239) “What moves the will to go in the direction of the reason? Nothing moves it; it goes in that direction because it has power to go in that direction. What moves it to go in the direction of the sensitivity? Nothing—it goes in that direction because it has power to go in that direction.” Why, when it "
goes in one direction” it did not go in the other, is a question the Professor has not thought worthy of an answer; or rather it is a question which he deems it improper to ask. So far is he from admitting that an occasional cause is essential to any act of volition, that he expressly denies it, and
labors to prove the contrary. He admits that it follows from his view of the will as “a power arbitrary and contingent," that it can act without any dictate of reason or any excitement of emotion to induce its action. In the example which he gives to prove this possibility, the selection of one of the sixty-four squares of a chess-board, he maintains that it is for the advocates of necessity to show a connection, between the square
selected and the dictate of reason or emotion.. His happy scheme is embarrassed with no such difficulty “ In making this selection,” he says, (p. 246) “ it appears to me that there is an entire indifferency as to which particular square is selected; there is no command of the reason, there is no affection of the sensitivity, towards one square rather than another, and yet the will does select one of the squares.” That is, there is no inducement to select this-no motive for its selection-no preference of it over another, and yet the will prefers it-in other words, that the will prefers without having any preference, or any ground of preference. Truly this "power arbitrary and contingent” is not inappropriately named. The Reviewer tells us too, on p. 226, that the only escape from necessity is in this conception of the will as a power which “may act without reference either to reason or passion"—that is, that whoever maintains that previous inclination, or inducement, is essential to voluntary action, maintains in effect the absolute, and unavoidable, necessity of volitions !
There can be no question here, which is on the side of liberty, Edwards, who deems no account of volition satisfactory, which does not specify the mind as the cause of voluntary action, and the motive as the cause, ground, or reason, why the mind exerts such an act, and not a different one, or his Reviewer, who affirms that an occasional cause is not essential to volition, but that volitions do actually take place without it; and that the will selects its effect, just as fire selects combustibles. There can be no question here, whose system admits the distinction between efficient and final causes, which Prof. T. denies to Edwards and claims for himself. We cannot help comparing with this loose and superficial talk, the manly and wholesome reasoning of Edwards
-“ Now let it be considered what this brings the noble principle of human liberty to—viz. a full and perfect freedom and liableness to act altogether at random. What dignity or
privilege is there in being given up to such a wild contingence as this ? to be perfectly and constantly liable to act unintelligently, and as much without the guidance of understanding, as if we had none, or were as destitute of perception as the smoke that is driven by the wind.”
It matters not that Prof. T. has said that cases of this nalure are rare and triling; he expressly admits the possibility of choice without any previous inducement, and expressly affirms that this possibility is essential to liberty of volition, out of which admissions this “wild contingence” must of necessity grow. Indeed, were the Reviewer correct in his view of Edwards, and were there no alternative between the two, we should hesitate to adopt the scheme of “arbitrary” volition here commended to our acceptance; and should need to deliberate, before we could decide, whether the fatalism he has attributed to his author, gloomy and pernicious though it be, were not preferable to this emasculated scheme of aimless, unintelligent, hap-hazard contingence, which is all that Prof. T. would allow us in its stead.
The length to which this article has already grown, forbids us to protract it; and therefore we leave unnoticed, with some regret, other representations of the philosophy of Edwards, the correctness of which we are quite as unwilling to admit, hoping perhaps to allude to some of them, in a future examination of those portions of Prof. Tappan's work, to which this is but an introduction.
We are consciously free from all intention to misrepresent Prof. T.; for we agree with himn in the general scope of his philosophy. Our remarks have been called forth by a simple desire to vindicate Edwards from charges which we are confident are unfounded, and to promote, in a degree which we are sensible is a very humble one, successful investigation, In the present state of our knowledge of this subject, every effort which calls to it the attention of thinking men, contribution for which science should be grateful. We rejoice therefore in the manly energy of the work before us, and honor its author for the independence with which he has forsworn all allegiance to Edwards, or to any other man. We cannot, however, consider him successful in this portion of his labors; and we regret that an effort so vigorously made should have suffered so severely from the want of a sober discrimination. Whoever claims that all the truth is on either
side of this great and protracted controversy, will doubtless secure for his views a partisan advocacy, but doubtless also a partisan opposition, and will leave the subject as unsettled as he found it. There is too much of this about our author. He has allowed himself to be misled by that inveterate prejudice, connected with the words necessary, impossible, &c., against which Edwards so earnestly warns his readers; and has thus formed impressions of the Inquiry which it does not in justice authorise, and the ardent effort he has made to vindicate these unfounded impressions, has forced him into the fallacies we have exposed. His work is thereby deprived of much of its value. It comes before the disciples of Edwards with an original improbability upon its face, which renders it to them almost incredible, and absolves them in their own view, even from the necessity of giving it a hearing.
It is ever to be remembered, in investigations of this nature, that seldom does a man like Edwards frame a system which is in all respects erroneous; and that it is by a close examination of the systems of antagonist authors, and a careful discrimination of the errors from the facts of each, that the principles which all are laboring to discover, shall yet take rank among the ascertained certainties of metaphysical science.
By Rev. Edward Beecher, President of Ilinois College, Jacksonville, Illinois.
[Continued from Vol. VI., page 56.]
God in his providence seems to be exciting unusual attention to the long continued debate as it regards the mode of Baptism. On this subject
, two opposing systems are in conflict. One based on the performance of a specific act_i. e. immersion—the other on indicating an effect, i. e. purification. Each of these systems tends to results peculiar to itself. By these results the true nature of each system will be evolved, and in consequence of them its soundness will be
iested. Such is God's mode of bringing false systems to a close.
$ 39. Present Position of the Baptists.
The system based on the performance of a specified act, is evolved. Let us look at its results, as seen in the present position of its advocates.
The denomination of Evangelical Baptists is large, universally diffused, and very active. It is in all the movements of the church, a constantly operating force. Of course the position they assume as it regards other denominations, is a matter of no small consequence. They have it in their power universally to affect the tranquillity of Zion. We shall therefore briefly consider the position which they do in fact
This can easily be inferred by carrying out logically the following principles,—that baptism is essential to church membership, and that the command to baptize is a command to immerse. From these principles, they infer,
1. That all other denominations are unbaptized, because unimmersed, and that they are therefore in a state of disobedience to God.
2. That other denominations cannot be recognised and treated by them as members of the Church of Christ, because unbaptized, and are therefore to be excluded on this ground from communion with them at the table of the Lord.
3. That other denominations are guilty of mistranslating the word of God, or at least of covering up its sense on the subject of baptism.
4. That to the Baptist denomination is assigned the great work of giving a correct translation of the Bible to the world, and of restoring the gospel to its primitive purity and simplicity.
These positions are not with them mere points of theory, but have been of late, with increasing vigor and decision, reduced to practice. They have also assumed a tone of uncommon decision and boldnesss in announcing their principles, as if their correctness were beyond all question. Nay, too often have many of them spoken with contempt and ridicule, not to say insolence, of those who hold the opposite opinions, as if they were holding on to exploded errors, in face of all the learning of the modern world, and even against their own better knowledge.