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control, in respect to the species and succession of their perceptions and involuntary emotions. It does not belong to them, as moral agents, directly to determine the nature or succession of their perceptions; but solely to exert volitions under their influence. To suppose them to be the absolute determiners of their own perceptions, were to run into the absurdity of supposing a conception of their perceptions to exist in their minds antecedently to the existence of their perceptions themselves. They clearly could never intelligently choose the existence of a new species of perceptions, until possessed of a conception of that species itself, or an individual of it; nor the re-existence of one which had been already experienced, until that perception had involuntarily again risen by recollection, or the action of some external agent. To suppose, therefore, that they are the efficient causes of their perceptions and involuntary emotions, were to suppose, both that they are not involuntary in regard to them, and that their perceptions exist and are the objects of volition antecedently to their existence ; and to plunge accordingly into all the absurdities of the doctrine of innate ideas, or of an infinite succession in the mind of every individual perception of which it is now, ever has been, or is hereafter to be the subject. So far, therefore, is the fact that they are moral agents, from involving any inconsistency with the doctrine that God determines the influences which reach them, and through that medium can sway them whenever he pleases, to obedience; that there is no other doctrine than that, that is compatible with their nature as responsible agents, or that is not fraught with total inconsistency with all the facts of their agency.
Nor does the denial by those gentlemen of the divine ability to prevent men from sin, enjoy any sanction in any
of the elements which I have represented as involved in their moral agency; as their efficiency, voluntariness, or responsibility. It does not, as has been seen, follow from the fact that they are the efficient agents of their choices, that they likewise are of their perceptions and involuntary emotions; nor does it therefore, from the fact that they put forth their choices by their own efficiency, that God does not determine the nature and succession of their perceptions.
Nor can that denial be founded on their responsibility; as they are responsible only for their voluntary agency; not for effects of which they are merely involuntarily the subjects. To suppose that they cannot involuntarily be made the subjects of perceptions and emotions, without impairing their responsibility for the choices put forth under their influence, were to suppose that they cannot be subjected to any influence whatever, either from the senses, from dependent agents, or from God, without an annihilation of their obligations; and to contradict therefore not only our whole consciousness, but the doctrines of the scriptures likewise respecting the agency of the Spirit, of the adversary, and of our fellow-men on us.
In all these respects, therefore, their doctrine on this subject is not only without the slightest pretence of any sanction from me, but is directly the converse of every fundamental position of the system I have endeavored to maintain; and must of necessity be abandoned by all who assent to the elements of that system.
Let the gentlemen at New Haven but adopt the doctrine that men never put forth choices except for intelligent reasons, that their reasons for their choices lie solely in their perceptions and involuntary emotions, and that God determines the nature and succession of their perceptions, and
can convey to them whatever combination of motives he pleases, and they will in that act itself reject their whole doctrine of self-determination, and as a consequence, if consistent, give up their denial of the divine ability to prevent us from sinning.
VI. But the great principles on which these views rest, have not only never been overthrown nor embarrassed by any legitimate objections, but as was remarked in the conclusion of the first number of this work, they are specifically admitted and asserted by the great body of those who maintain the opposite scheme, and will carry them, as they have me, to the adoption of the system at large, of which they are the foundation, whenever they shall be followed to their legitimate results, and all opinions rejected that are inconsistent with them.
The doctrine that all mankind, whether regenerated or unrenewed, are naturally or physically able to yield obedience to the divine law; or that they possess all the constitutional attributes that are essential to moral agency and obligation, is asserted as specifically and strenuously by Dr. De Witt, and Dr. Griffin, as it is by me. Dr. De Witt says, "fallen man possesses all the natural faculties requisite to constitute him a moral and accountable agent ;" and Dr. Griffin, that "our obligations rest on the faculties of a rational soul." Such likewise were the views of President Edwards and Dr. Dwight, as is seen from the following passages:
"A moral agent is a being that is capable of those actions that have a moral quality, and which can properly be denominated good or evil in a moral sense, virtuous or vicious, commendable or faulty. To moral agency belongs a moral faculty, or sense of moral good and evil, or of such a thing as desert or worthiness of praise or blame,
reward or punishment; and a capacity which an agent has of being influenced in his actions by moral inducements or motives, exhibited to the view of understanding and reason, to engage to a conduct agreeable to the moral faculty."
"The essential qualities of a moral agent are in God in the greatest possible perfection: such as understanding, to perceive the difference between moral good and evil; a capacity of discerning that moral worthiness and demerit, by which some things are praiseworthy, others deserving of blame and punishment; and also a capacity of choice, and choice guided by understanding, and a power of acting according to his choice or pleasure, and being capable of doing those things which are in the highest sense praiseworthy. And herein does very much consist that image of God wherein he made man, by which God distinguished man from the beasts; viz: in those faculties and principles of nature, whereby he is capable of moral agency. Herein very much consists the natural image of God; whereas the spiritual and moral image, wherein man was made at first, consisted in that moral excellency with which he was endowed."-Edwards's Works, Vol. II. p. 39, 40, 41.
"It may be also proper to state the difference which in my own view exists, between permitting or not hindering sin, and creating it. It is this. In the former case, man is the actor of his own sin. His sin is therefore wholly his own; chargeable only to himself; chosen by him unnecessarily, while possessed of a power to choose otherwise; avoidable by him; and of course guilty and righteously punishable. Exactly the same natural power is in this case possessed by him, while a sinner, which is afterwards possessed by him when a saint; which Adam possessed before he fell; and which the holy angels now possess in the heavens. This power is also, in my view, perfect freedom; a power of agency, as absolute as can be possessed by an intelligent creature."-Dwight's Theology, Vol. I. p. 414.
But if, as these passages represent, all men thus possess all the natural faculties requisite to render them moral and accountable agents, it follows indisputably that no attribute or susceptibility can be wanting to the unregenerate, that is essential to render them physically able to obey; and none therefore that is necessary in order to their being capable of excitement to obedience. No necessity then can
exist for the implantation of a new susceptibility in order to their being prompted to obedience; and none therefore can be in fact implanted when they begin to obey. The reason then that some become obedient and others continue to disobey, cannot lie in any difference in their nature, but must arise solely from the influences that are exerted on them. But as the sole reason of their acting as they do, lies in the motives by which they are prompted, the ground of their different agency must lie in the moral influences under which they act; and finally, as they are determined in their choices wholly through that medium, it follows that the regenerating influences of the Holy Spirit act solely through that instrumentality, and are employed accordingly, not in changing the physical constitution by the introduction into it of a new susceptibility, but in extricating it from temptation and swaying it to holiness by the communication of truth, or excitements to obedience. The admission that all men possess all the natural faculties that are requisite to constitute them proper subjects of such a government as God is exercising over them-thus followed to its legitimate consequences-will lead inevitably to the rejection of the theory of physical depravity and all its associated dogmas, and to the adoption of the whole series of doctrines that constitute the system which I have endeavored to maintain.
VII. These views, if adopted and allowed their appropriate influence, would have prevented the practical errors into which some of the rejectors of the theory of physical depravity have fallen.
Among these, one of the most conspicuous, is a treatment of the subject, as though the mere misconception by the impenitent of their physical nature, were the sole or chief