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to God, and sees him in any measure as he is; does not the feeling of dissatisfaction and enmity spontaneously arise ? While he remains in his natural state, can he, by the power of his will, prevent it, and call forth the affection of love, and so be subject to the law of God ? How is it with pride, anger, envy, revenge, covetousness, impure desire, and other affections, which, as Christ informs us, come forth from the heart? In a state of unregeneracy does not one or the other of these arise spontaneously in the mind, just as the disposition happens to be, when the appropriate object is presented to view ? Is not this the case with the moral affections, as much as with the natural? If I rightly understand the author, he would admit all the facts here mentioned. Bụt does not his theory imply that they are no part of moral agency? As unrenewed men invariably have wrong affections and desires, and as perfectly holy beings invariably have right affections and desires, in view of moral objects, these right and wrong affections and desires must all be excluded from the catalogue of moral exercises. Such is the obvious principle of the Essay, and does it not directly contradict the word of God ? If there is any thing which the moral, spiritual precepts of the divine law undertake to control, it is the affections and desires of the heart. What is the love required by the two comprehensive precepts of the moral law, but an affection of the heart ? What is hungering and thisting after righteousness, but desire ? The Greek επιθυμεώ, επιθυμια, generally translated desire, denote both good affection and desire, and bad. When it denotes bad desire, it is often translated by lust. And who needs to be told that Christ and the Apostles speak of the affections and desires, and the passions too, (maon, Rom. 1: 26, 1 Thess. 4: 5, as belonging to moral character ? These are the inner man, upon which the eye of God is specially fixed. The theory which would free us from responsibility in regard to these, or would represent them as not in their own nature morally good or evil—who can reconcile it with the current language of the New Testament? How could Christ and the Apostles have spoken as they did, if they had entertained such an opinion, as is expressed in the Essay ?,
Secondly. The theory above described is contrary to the dictates of conscience. Every man, not blinded by pre
judice, disapproves of his disorderly affections and desires, and condemns himself on account of them. He is conscious that it is sinful to gratify them. But why should it be sinful to gratify desires which are not sinful ? It is a common sentiment, that the sinfulness of men is great, in proportion as their passions and desires are awakened suddenly and uncontrollably in view of forbidden objects. Suppose any one is instantly filled with revengeful feeling at the thought of his enemy, or with envy at the thought of his superior, or with covetous desire at the thought of money, or with pride and vanity at the thought of himself; and suppose these feelings rise to such strength and violence, that he finds it exceedingly difficult to check them. Is not he the inan that we look upon, as uncommonly depraved and wicked ?
And if the theory is opposed to the consciences of men generally, it is more decidedly opposed to the spiritual experience and consciousness of the devoted Christian. He knows that he is holy or unholy in the sight of God, accord· ing to the nature of the emotions and desires which are awakened within him, in view of moral objects. And if any scheme of philosophy contradicts this sentiment, he knows it to be wrong. If he finds that his state of mind is such, that the contemplation of worldly pleasure, wealth, and honor instantly kindle within him what the Apostle calls the Just of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life ;especially if he finds, that these desires are unawares burning within him; he concludes that his heart is indeed very corrupt, yea, desperately wicked, and he learns how important it is, that such an one as he should fly from temptation, and should watchfully guard against every thing which would bring any tempting object before him. And the more spiritual a Christian is, the more quick is he to discern and to condemn the first motions of the sin that dwells in him,the first and feeblest actings of unholy affection or desire. Tell him your philosophy teaches, that he is not culpable for unsought, unlooked for emotions of pride, envy, covetousness, revenge, or impurity: his deep consciousness replies, that your philosophy is false. He sees and knows, that ihese emotions, in whatever way excited, are, in themselves, morally wrong, and contrary to that spiritual law, which ex*tends its authority over all the thoughts and feelings of his heart. · In view of his inward pollutions, he exclaims; Behold, I am vile! and his earnest prayer is, that his heart may be cleansed by the grace of God.
Thirdly. The theory advanced in the Essay is contrary to the principles of philosophy, even those principles which -seem to be implied in the Essay. The author mentions it as a point of essential importance in his theory, " that the mind alone is the real producing cause of its own volitions." By this I suppose it is meant, that the mind itself acts in willing, and that the volition is wholly the mind's act ; that the mind is the agent, and the only agent that puts forth its volitions. If any thing different from this is meant, I have not been told what it is. The author says, “all sin arises from that power of free agency, which makes the mind the sole producing cause of its own volitions." And holiness, he doubtless believes, arises from the same cause. Now does not the power of free agency equally make the mind the producing cause of its own emotions, affections, and desires? Is not the mind as really active in these, as in its volitions? Is it not as intensely active ? Are not affections and desires mental actions of as high an order as volitions ? In what can the rational and moral faculties be more truly or more intensely active, than in loving God with all the heart and soul anu mind and strength ? And as to the hungering and thirsting after righteousness spoken of by our Saviour,-is it not truly an act of the mind ? And is not the mind as much the author or cause of it, as of any other mental act? Does not every Christian speak of it as his own act, when he says, “ I love the Lord.” “ Thou knowest that I love thee.” Is it not therefore evident, even according to the principles of the Essay, that affection and desire are as truly of a moral nature, as volition ? And it may, I think, be satisfactorily shown, that volition itself, in the most important instances, derives its moral nature from those affections and desires of the heart which prompt it, and is universally regarded as good or bad, according to the goodness or badness of those affections or desires.
I would remark here, that the doctrine of the Essay in regard to our emotions and desires is widely different from that which has been held by the great body of learned Divines and Philosophers. Even those who insist that all morality is comprised in the acts of the will, are far from
excluding the affections and desires ; for by giving a larger sense to the word, will, they include the affections and desires among its acts.
Is it said, as in the Essay, for the purpose of showing that we are not answerablc for our desires," that it is God, who, by the constitution of the mind and the ordering of his providence, decides what desires shall exist ?" And does he not in the same way decide what volitions shall exist? The author ascribes to God “the power to prevent any given volition, by removing an object of desire, or by substituting some other in its place." "He holds that no volitions can take place without motives, and that all motives are under the ordering of God's providence. And it is clearly implied in the Essay, that the influence of motives is made absolutely necessary by the constitution of the mind. Now if all this agency and control of God over volitions does not interfere with their moral nature, nor hinder, us from exercising free agency in thein ; why should we suppose that the same divine agency prevents our free agency in the exercise of affection and desire ?
An appeal is often made in the Essay to the consciousness of men. I join in this appeal., If a man has in his heart an emotion of love to his fellow-creatures, and a real desire for their good ; is he not conscious that it is right? Or if the emotion of hatred, envy, or revenge rises in his heart; is he not conscious that the emotion is wrong? Does he not disapprove of it as really, as he does of a definite, formal purpose to injure others, or even for an injurious act? And does not the explanation which our Saviour gives of the moral law, Matth. 5: 27, 28, 43, 44, entirely, correspond with these remarks ? ,
And yet, according to the principles advanced in some parts of the Essay, the emotions, and desires of the heart are not to be regarded as possessing a moral nature, or as appertaining to moral character. And why ? According to the Essay the answer*I suppose must be, that they certainly and invariably rise in the mind, when fit objects are presented to view. He holds, as I understand him, that this circumstance shows that our desires are not free, moral, accountable acts of the mind. But he gives no proof.. I maintain that this circumstance does not show this, and that the theory of the author on this subject is wide of the truth. I allege, and have
endeavored to show, that the theory is not only destitute of proof, but is opposed to the true sense of the moral law, which reaches to the desires and feelings of the heart ; that it is opposed to the consciousness of men, especially of good men ; and that it is opposed to the principles of philosophy, even those contained in the Essay.
Again. It is the common doctrine of evangelical ministers and Christians, that there is a certain, invariable con. nection between the apostacy of Adam and the sinfulness of all his posterity ; that his sin is the invariable antecedent of their sinful disposition, their sinful volitions, and their sin. ful conduct; that it is the divine constitution and the invariable law of our nature, that every one who is born of human parents, will be a sinner. It is the general belief that, according to the Scriptures and according to facts, this law is as invariable, as any law of the physical creation. Now according to the theory of the Essay, this “invariable antecedence,” is proof of a producing cause ; and the existence of such a producing cause excludes free agency. According to this theory, therefore, one of these two things must be true; either that the common orthodox doctrine is true, and that native depravity, and all our sinful volitions and actions, as the invariable consequence of Adam's sin, is a matter of Fatalism, entirely precluding free, accountable agency; or else that there is no such invariable connection between Adam's sin and the sin and condemnation of his posterity, and that the doctrine, universally held by evangelical Christians, and taught by Paul, is not true.
And what would become of the doctrine of election and efficacious grace under the operation of this theory ? The doctrine as commonly understood, implies, that the repentance of all who are saved, invariably follows the purpose of God, and that special influence of the Spirit which is given to carry the divine purpose into effect. Now the author cannot, consistently with his theory, admit that the repentance and faith of sinners certainly and invariably follow this divine purpose and influence; because the invariable. ness of such an antecedent cause would preclude the free agency of those brought under its influence. The agency of men in repenting, believing and obeying, cannot, according to this theory, be free agency, if it is the certain, invariable effect of the special purpose and agency of God. And to
der its iniud preclude varial