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lished, more than once, pieces of considerable length, without the name of the writer; and your brief notices, at the end of each number of your work, are anonymous. Are we to regard all which is anonymous as editorial? In cases where nothing is said to the contrary, I suppose we may presume that the compositions are editorial. On the other hand, where you make an apology for publishing an anony. mous piece, you tell us at once, by implication, what your general principle is; and the mass of readers are satisfied, as I would hope, that you have sufficient reasons for a departure from a general principle in the particular case which you specify. To save you the necessity of apologizing in the present case, I shall make my own apology; and this is, that I do not takс the attitude, in the present communication, of one who expresses or defends his own views on a subject, in respect to which those views are definitely and tinally made up. I come before the public, through your Miscellany, principally as an inquirer. I have difficulties in respeci to the subject of FREE AGENCY, which neither Dr. Woods, nor your anonymous correspondent on whom he criticises, has wholly removed. And as I do not undertake to teach, I may be excused, when I take the attitude of a learner and not of a master, for not developing my tyro-condition, in the way of committing my name to the public. Enough that I am obliged to develop so much of it, by the questions which I have to ask.
These inquiries are not, or at least they certainly are not designed to be, as is often the case, an assumption of the attitude of a master who undertakes to shew his pupil how dull he is, by putting questions which he feels that dulness itself might answer, or which it must surely feel reproved for not answering. Dr. Woods, to whom I specially address the following inquiries, because he has fairly giver his name to the public, will not, I sincerely hope and trust, indulge the suspicion, that I am aiming at any degradation of his character, or of his critique in your last number, when I present my questions to him, and make the basis of them his remarks on Fatalism and Free Agency. I am, in reality, an inquirer, in the general sense of this word, as to the science of Mental Philosophy. In my present remarks and questions, I am simply so. So far as I have formed opinions on this deeply interesting subject, they are of the Eclectic
cast. I belong to no particular school in metaphysics, not
As the maxim: Audi alteram partem, is rather a favourite with me, I have read, with no little interest, the remarks of Dr. Woods to which I have referred. Those of the anony. mous writer, on whom he criticises, I have also read; and
with a deep conviction that this writer is one who thinks and reasons for himself, or for herself; it matters not which, except that, if it be the latter, I have only to say, that a man's brain must have been put into a woman's head. For one I must say, also, that I like good-natured discussion of deeply interesting principles. Dispute I do not love, and never can (if Dr. W. will let me employ his philosophical word to express myself), until I have a new taste in some way communicated to me, or (to speak with our friends the phrenologists) a new development of combativeness is added to the conformity of my head.
I am not, and cannot be, one of those who declaim against all efforts to acquire a better knowledge of our mental pow. ers, by reproachfully calling them metaphysics. In its proper place, and duly meted and bounded, metaphysics is an elevated and noble science. And as Dr. Woods has intimated (p. 193,) that he may yet have something more to say on the subject which he has discussed, I take the liberty, which (I must believe it after what he has said he will cheerfully concede to me, of asking soine questions in relation to what he has already said, that, if answered satisfactorily, may tend to make his future communications still more profitable and instructive. He will be pleased to know, conversant as he is with the subjects of metaphysical disquisition, what difficulties have arisen in the minds of tyros like myself, and of inquirers afier some terra firma in that region, some views of which he has already exhibited. If my questions arise from ignorance, he will patiently bear with this in a learner; or if they have any good foundation in the want of satisfactory views in some part of his criticisms, he will rejoice in an opportunity of explanation, which will at once guard in future against misapprehension by such a class of readers as myself, and at the same time communicate to them welcome instruction.
I have said enough to define my position (as the language of the day will have it), and my wishes. Lest my preface should be longer than my book, I proceed, without further explanation, to state the difficulties that I have met with, in the attentive perusal of Dr. Woods' communication.
(1) On p. 187, Dr. W. puts this question respecting the unregenerate man: While he remains in bis 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 ?" The question, as the context shews, is designed to be a strong affirmation that he cannot do ilis.
In respect to such an affirmation or sentiment, I have some difficulties, the removal of which will entitle Dr. W. to my most sincere thanks.
First, in what sense does he mean to employ the impor. tant word can, in this statement ? This word, connected with a negative expressed or implied, is often employed, in the Scriptures and in common parlance, for the expression of any thing which appears very difficult, or very revolting, or very improbable. Thus Joseph, when tempted to sin, exclaimed ; “How can I do this great wickedness ?" Every day we say: How can an intemperate man reform ? How can an honest man cheat his neighbor ? How can a true Christian love the world? In all these, and in all the like cases, the word can, with an implied or expressed negative, is intended to designate merely the idea that the thing spoken of is very difficult, improbable, or disagreeable. Is this the sense, in which Dr. W. means the word to be understood here? But,
Secondly; the context renders this sense of the word, as employed by him, very improbable; as we shall see in the sequel. Taking the word can, then, in another sense, and understanding Dr. Woods to mean, that the unregenerate man has actually no power to love God, and to be subject to his law, I wish to invite his attention to that host of texts in the Bible, addressed to all men without distinction, commanding them all to love God and to be subject to his law. Does God command sinners to do what is actually impossible ? That he does COMMAND all men to love him, is absolutely certain; it admits of no doubt, and of no dispute. In what sense, then, I ask, is it actually impossible for unsanctified men to love him? Is it in such a sense as precludes the possibility that an unsanctified man can change bis present state for a better one? Or does Dr. W. merely mean, that so long as the sinner does not make such a change, he will continue only to sin in all his moral acts ? If the former (which strikes me as Dr. Woods' meaning), then what are we to say of the COMMAND directed to all the unregenerate : “Make you a new heart, and a new spirit ; for why will ye die ?" Does God comrnand the sinner to do what is abso
lutely impossible ; and threaten him with everlasting death, because he does not achieve a work which nothing but Omnipotence itself can accomplish?
But perhaps Dr. W. will say, that he has merely affirmed, that the sinner cannot love and obey God, by the power of his will." If now this should be said ; then I am forced to inquire, whether he means, that the sinner may, and can bring himself to love and obey God in some other way; the power of the will not being at all exerted? Has he other faculties besides the will, that render obedience on his part to the command in question a real possibility? And what kind of love and obedience must there be, when “ the power of the will” is left out of the question? Can it be willing love and obedience?
(2) On p. 187 Dr. Woods has said, that "unrenewed men invariably have wrong affections and desires, and per. fectly holy beings invariably have right affections and desires, in view of moral objects."
I have, as an inquirer, a difficulty here from which I would fain be freed. Angels were once all perfectly holy beings; have they all “ invariably had right affections and desires ?” Our first parents were once sinless beings; did they “invariably retain right affections and desires ?” —But Dr. W. says (and perhaps in some way this may modify his meaning), “ in view of moral objects.” I do not know that I understand his meaning here. He has applied this view of moral objects, both to wrong affections and desires and to right atfections and desires. It would seem, then, that the same objects occasion wrong affections in the one class, and right affections in the other; and so he represents the matter, p. 187. In respect then to the first sin of the fallen angels - all the moral objects were before them, the moment before they sinned, which ever had been before them and even if we suppose new ones to have supervened, yet as they were perfectly holy, they must invariably have continued to feel nothing but righi affections and desires. And just the same must be true in regard to our first parents. They were once perfectly holy. But here there comes in a new excitement - the temptation of Satan. Yet how could this affect them? What Satan tempted them to do, was something of a moral nature. But since, in view of moral objects, “perfectly holy beings must inva