Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

PART taneity is meant inconsiderate proceeding, or else nothing is

meant by it w;" yet here he tells us, that “all voluntary actions” which proceed not from “fear,” are "spontaneous;" whereof many are deliberate, as that wherein he instanceth himself, to give “money for merchandise.” Thirdly, when I said, that children before they have the use of reason, act spontaneously (as when they suck the breast), but do not act freely, because they have not judgment to deliberate or elect, here T. H. undertakes to prove, that they do deliberate and elect; and yet presently after confesseth again, that a child may

be so young, as to do what it doth without all deliberation." 3. [ Actions Besides these mistakes and contradictions, he hath other which proceed from errors also in this section. As this, that no actions proceedfear, may, ing from “fear” are “spontaneous.” He who throws his goods be spon

into the sea to avoid drowning, doth it not only “spontanetaneous.]

ously" but even freely. He that wills the end, wills the
means conducing to that end. It is true, that if the action
be considered nakedly without all circumstances, no man
willingly or spontaneously casts his goods into the sea. But
if we take the action as in this particular case invested with
all the circumstances, and in order to the end, that is, the 661
saving of his own life, it is not only voluntary and spon-
taneous, but elective and chosen by him, as the most
probable means for his own preservation. As there is
an antecedent and a subsequent will, so there is an an-
tecedent and a subsequent spontaneity. His grammatical
argument, grounded upon the derivation of spontaneous
from sponte, weighs nothing; we have learned in the rudi-
ments of logic, that conjugates are sometimes in name only,
and not in deed. He who casts his goods in the sea, may do
it of his own accord in order to the end. Secondly, he errs
in this also, that nothing is opposed to spontaneity but only
“ fear.” Invincible and antecedent ignorance doth destroy the
nature of spontaneity or voluntariness, by removing that
knowledge which should and would have prohibited the
action. As a man, thinking to shoot a wild beast in a bush,
shoots his friend, which if he had known, he would not have
shot. This man did not kill his friend of his own accord.

[Below, p. 719. fol. edit. )

I.

For the clearer understanding of these things, and to Discourse know what spontaneity is, let us consult awhile with the

4. (DefiSchools about the distinct order of voluntary or involuntary nition of

voluntary actions. Some acts proceed wholly from an extrinsecal and in

voluntary cause; as the throwing of a stone upwards, a rape, or the acts.) drawing of a Christian by plain force to the idol's temple. These are called violent acts. Secondly, some proceed from an intrinsecal cause, but without any manner of knowledge of the end; as the falling of a stone downwards. These are called natural acts. Thirdly, some proceed from an internal principle with an imperfect knowledge of the end, where there is an appetite to the object, but no deliberation nor election; as the acts of fools, children, beasts, and the inconsiderate acts of men of judgment. These are called voluntary or spontaneous acts. Fourthly, some proceed from an intrinsecal cause with a more perfect knowledge of the end, which are elected upon deliberation. These are called free acts. So then the formal reason of liberty is election. The necessary requisite to election is deliberation. Deliberation implieth the actual use of reason. But deliberation and election cannot possibly subsist with an extrinsecal predetermination to one. How should a man deliberate or choose which way to go, who knows that all ways are shut against him, and made impossible to him, but only one? This is the genuine sense of these words "voluntary” and “spontaneous” in this question. Though they were taken twenty other ways vulgarly or metaphorically (as we say “spontaneous ulcers,” where there is no appetite at all), yet it were nothing to this controversy; which is not about words, but about things, not what the words voluntary or free do or may signify, but whether all things be extrinsecally predetermined to one.

These grounds being laid for clearing the true sense of the (5. Neceswords, the next thing to be examined is that contradiction sity and which he hath espied in my discourse, or how this argument inconsis. “fights against its fellows.” “If I,” saith T. H., "make it same act.] appear,” that the spontaneous actions of " fools, children, madmen, and beasts," do "proceed from election and deliberation,” and that "inconsiderate" and indeliberate actions

· [Thom. Aquin., Summ., Prim. Se- Aristot., Éthic., V. x. 6—9; Rhet., I. cund., Qu. vi. artt. 1, 2. And compare x. 7, 8.]

election

[blocks in formation]

PART are found in the wisest men, “then his argument concludes,
III.

that necessity and election may stand together; which is
contrary” to his assertion. If this could be made appear as
easily as it is spoken, it would concern himself much; who,
when he should prove that rational men are not free from
necessity, goes about to prove, that brute beasts do de-
liberate and elect, that is as much as to say, are free from
necessity. But it concerns not me at all. It is neither my
assertion, nor my opinion, that necessity and election may
not meet together in the same subject. Violent, natural,
spontaneous, and deliberative or elective acts, may all meet
together in the same subject. But this I say, that necessity
and election cannot consist together in the same act. He
who is determined to one, is not free to choose out of more
than one. To begin with his latter supposition,--that wise
men may do "inconsiderate" and indeliberate actions. I
do readily admit it. But where did he learn to infer a
general conclusion from particular premisses ? as thus,-be-
cause wise men do some indeliberate acts, therefore no act they
do is free or elective. Secondly, for his former supposition,
-"that fools, children, madmen, and beasts, do deliberate
and elect.” If he could make it good, it is not I who contra-
dict myself, nor “ fight against mine own assertion; but it
is he who endeavours to prove that which I altogether deny.
He may well find a contradiction between him and me;
otherwise to what end is this dispute? But he shall not be 662
able to find a difference between me and myself. But the
truth is, he is not able to prove any such thing; and that

brings me to my sixth consideration :6. (Irra- That neither horses, nor bees, nor spiders, nor children, tional beings nei. nor fools, nor madmen, do deliberate or elect. His first ther de

instance is in the horse or dog, but more especially the liberate nor elect.] horse. He told me, that I divided my argument "into

squadrons,” to apply myself to your Lordship, being "a military many;" and I apprehend, that for the same reason he gives his first instance of the horse with a submission to your "own experience.” So far well, but otherwise very disadvantageously to his cause. Men use to say of a dull fellow, that he hath no more brains than a horse. And the

y (See above T. H. Numb. v. p. 37.]

I.

Prophet David saith, “Be not like the horse and mule, which Discourse have no understanding." How do they “ deliberate” without

Ps. xxxii.9. “understanding ?” And Psalm xlix. 20, he saith the same of all brute beasts ;—“Man being in honour had no understanding, but became like unto the beasts that perish.” The horse “demurs upon his way." Why not? Outward objects or inward fancies may produce a stay in his course, though he have no judgment either to deliberate or elect. He “retires from some strange figure which he sees, and comes on again to avoid the spur.” So he may, and yet be far enough from deliberation. All this proceeds from the sensitive passion of fear, which is "a perturbation arising from the expectation of some imminent evil.” But he urgeth, “what else doth man that deliberateth?” Yes, very much. The horse feareth some outward object, but deliberation is a comparing of several means conducing to the same end. Fear is commonly of one, deliberation of more than one; fear is of those things which are not in our power, deliberation of those things which are in our power? ; fear ariseth many times out of natural antipathies, but in these disconveniences of nature deliberation hath no place at all. In a word, fear (“ Fear is is an enemy to deliberation, and 'betrayeth the succours of else but a the soul.' If the horse did deliberate, he should consult betraying with reason, whether it were more expedient for him to go

which reathat way or not; he should represent to himself all the son offer dangers both of going and staying, and compare the one with xvii. 12.) the other, and elect that which is less evil; he should consider, whether it were not better to endure a little hazard, than ungratefully and dishonestly to fail in his duty to his master, who did breed him and doth feed him. This the horse doth not; neither is it possible for him to do it. Secondly, for children, T. H. confesseth, that they may be so “young,” that they “ do not deliberate at all.” Afterwards, as they attain to the use of reason by degrees, so by degrees they become free agents. Then they do deliberate ; before, they do not deliberate. The rod may be a means to make them use their reason, when they have power to exercise it ; but the rod cannot produce the power before they have it.

* [«Έστω δή ο φόβος λύπη τις ή τα- lib. II. c. v. $ 1.-"Οσα γίνεται δι' ημών, ραχή εκ φαντασίας μέλλοντος κακού μή ώσαύτως δ' αεί, περί τούτων βουλευόplaptikoll ħ Aufnpow.” Aristot., Rhet., peda." Id., Ethic., III. v. 8. ]

of the succours

1

III.

[ocr errors]

PART Thirdly, for fools and madmen :-it is not to be understood

of such madmen as have their lucida intervalla, who are mad
and discreet by fits; when they have the use of reason, they
are no madmen, but лау

deliberate as well as others : nor
yet of such fools as are only comparative fools, that is, less
wise than others; such may deliberate, though not so clearly
nor so judiciously as others : but of mere madmen, and mere
natural fools :—to say that they, who have not the use of rea-
son, do deliberate or use reason, implies a contradiction. But
his chiefest confidence is in his bees and spiders; of whose
" actions” (he saith) if I had been “a spectator," I "would
have confessed, not only election, but also art, prudence,
policy, very near equal to that of mankind;" whose “life," as
“Aristotle saith, is civil.” Truly I have contemplated their
actions many times, and have been much taken with their
curious works; yet my thoughts did not reflect so much upon
them, as upon their Maker, Who is "sic magnus in magnis," that
He is not “minor in parvis"-"so great in great things, that He
is not less in small things.” Yes, I have seen those silliest of
creatures; and seeing their rare works, I have seen enough
to confute all the bold-faced atheists of this age, and their
hellish blasphemies. I see them, but I praised the marvel-
lous works of God, and admired that Great and First Intel-
lect, Who had both adapted their organs and determined
their fancies to these particular works. I was not so simple
to ascribe those rarities to their own invention, which I knew
to proceed from a mere instinct of nature. In all other
things they are the dullest of creatures. Naturalists write
of bees, that their fancy is imperfect, not distinct from their 663
common sense, spread over their whole body, and only per-
ceiving things present. When Aristotle calls them “politi-
cal" or sociable creatures, he did not intend it really that they
lived a civil life, but according to an analogy,—because they
do such things by instinct, as truly political creatures do out
of judgment. Nor when I read in St. Ambrose of their
“ hexagonies” or sexangular cellsb, did I therefore conclude,

• [“Nolitike.” Aristot., Hist. Animal., lib. I. c. i. § 25. Compare his Politics, I. i. 10: :-* Διότι δε πολιτικών και άνθρωπος ζώον πάσης μελίττης και παντός αγελαίου ζώου μάλλον, δη

λον.” κ. τ. λ.]

[“ Hexagonia cellularum.” Ambros., Hexaem., lib. v. c. 21. § 69; Op. tom. i. p. 107. C.]

« PreviousContinue »