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this subject are a mere re-production of the long exploded dogma of a self-determining power of the will, without any other alteration than a change of the terms in which it is expressed.

In conjunction however with this doctrine, he likewise holds that the nature of the mind itself, while it remains unregenerate, forms an absolute certainty that every moral influence that reaches it, will prompt it to sin. Thus it is one of the chief objects of his sermon to show, that men are sinners by nature, or in other words, that their nature itself is the cause of their sinning, and constitutes a certainty, apart from any consideration of the moral influence by which they are to be excited, that they will uniformly transgress.

Why ascribe sin exclusively lo nature? I answer, it is truly and properly ascribed to nature, and not to circumstances, because all mankind sin in all the appropriate circumstances of their being. For all the world ascribe an effect to the nature of a thing, when no possible change in its appropriate circumstances will change the effect; or when the effect is uniformly the same in all its appropriate circumstances." p. 13.


This is an express representation that the nature itself of the mind is such, while unregenerate, as to render it invincibly certain that a disobedient volition will be put forth under every motive that can possibly be conveyed to it; or, in other words, that such a certainty is constituted by its nature, of its sinning universally, that no moral influence that God himself can possibly present to it, can ever prove the instrument of intercepting that result, and leading it to obedience.

We are presented with a similar representation also in his statements and reasonings respecting "the selfish prin

ciple" which he ascribes to the mind, and exhibits as laying the foundation of an immutable certainty that every moral influence that can reach it while that continues in activity, will prompt it to transgression.

"So entirely does this principle, while active in the mind, control and direct the thoughts, and modify and check all the constitutional emotions and feelings in subserviency to itself; so entirely does it employ them in the things of earth and time; so absolutely does it enlist the whole man to secure its own gratification, protection, and perpetuity, that it shuts every avenue of the mind against the sanctifying approach of truth. No dungeon was ever more firmly barred, or more deeply dark than all the inner chambers of the soul when under the active tyranny of this principle. Were there no other access to the inner man except through this principle of the heart; were there nothing to which the motives of the gospel could be addressed, but the hardihood of this fell spirit, no way to overcome this

strong man' except by direct assault, then, for aught we can see, the moral transformation of the soul were hopeless even to Omnipotence." Christian Spectator, 1829, p. 39.

This selfish principle" is thus exhibited on the one hand, as presenting a completely insuperable obstacle to the successful action on the mind of any motive to obedience that can possibly be conveyed to it, and on the other, as rendering it indubitably certain that every temptation will successfully excite it to sin; or 'as constituting, in other words, an invincible connexion between every moral influence that acts on the mind, and the exercise of sinful volitions under its agency. This, however, as was shown in the remarks on this subject in the sixth number of this work, is nothing else than the doctrine of physical depravity disguised under another name.

We have thus the doctrine on the one hand, that the powers of moral agency are such that God can never con

stitute a certainty by any influence that he can exert, that the mind will in any given instance put forth a given kind of volition; and on the other, that those powers themselves are such as to constitute a certainty that it will exert a given kind of volition in every instance of its agency while unrenewed, so absolutely invincible, that God himself can never, by any influence that he can exert on it, subvert that certainty and prompt a different choice; and these dogmas are identically those which were opposed and overthrown by Edwards, the sanction of whose name he now claims to sustain his theories!

In connexion with these erroneous and contradictory views of the attributes and actions of the mind, he has advanced several other positions peculiar to himself, that are not less distinguished for inconsistency with truth and each other. Among them is the representation that the cause from which, according to Dr. Dwight, "volitions flow," and which he employed the terms taste, tendency, and disposition to designate, is in truth a mere preference of the mind, in place of a constitutional attribute, as Calvinists have held, and that accordingly there are leading choices, like that disposition in character and agency, that are perpetually exerted by the mind, as that disposition was held to dwell in it perpetually, and give birth, like that, to all subordinate volitions that are of the same class; thus implying that every mind is incessantly directing its attention to innumerable sets of cotemporaneous perceptions, and exerting towards them as many corresponding coexistent sets of distinct and differing volitions!

In conjunction with this theory, he has also put forth the assumption in many of his reasonings, that the purpose with which the mind first directs its notice to an object,

determines the moral nature of all the volitions which it exerts during its continued attention to that object; or, in other words, that there is a fixed connexion between the moral character of the first volition in a series in regard to an object, and that of the whole series; the first impressing its exact likeness on the next in the chain, and that and each following one conveying it in like manner to its successor throughout the series.

Such are the main doctrines of this gentleman respecting the powers and laws of moral agency, and which he has made the foundation of most of his long and laboured argumentation on the subjects to which they relate. Whether they are any more compatible with the facts of consciousness and experience, and the doctrines of revelation, than they are with each other, I leave the reader to judge; or whether they offer any better promise of "freeing the subject from distressing and groundless perplexity," than those doctrines of Edwards to which they stand opposed.

The next branch of his system which I shall notice, is that which respects the divine agency and purposes.

His chief doctrine on this subject, and that on which most of his other speculations in regard to it are founded, is that the nature of moral agency is such, as to render it impossible for God to exert an influence on men that shall constitute a certainty of the mode in which they will act. But this clearly implies that God cannot possess any certainty in regard to the actions of his creatures, and consequently can have no knowledge or probability respecting the future history or ultimate results of his kingdom. But if these positions are in accordance with fact, it follows with equal certainty that he cannot have formed any purposes, or cherished any expectations respecting the events of their

agency, except, at most, as mere possibilities. Dr. Taylor accordingly openly teaches that the divine plan only includes what God himself does, in distinction alike from the holiness and happiness, and the sin and misery which are its consequences. His representations, therefore, directly deny the omnipotence and omniscience, supreme wisdom and benevolence of the Most High. If he cannot possess any certainty respecting the future actions of his creatures, he clearly cannot foreknow them, and if he cannot foreknow any of the events that are to transpire in their agency throughout their interminable existence, he not only cannot be omniscient, but his knowledge plainly can extend to only a very limited portion of the events that are to take place. But if he gave being to the universe and is maintaining it in existence, without any certainty that its final results are not to be supremely disastrous, it is equally certain that he cannot have been prompted in its creation, nor can be guided in its government by either infinite wisdom or supreme benevolence.

Dr. Taylor, still, however, professes to believe, that the divine purposes extend to all events, sin not excepted; and resents the inquiry by Dr. Woods, whether he holds the doctrine of divine decrees in the usual sense, as an outrage for which no excuse or palliation can exist; and would probably have professed to be equally indignant had a similar inquiry been made respecting the doctrine of election, the perseverance of the saints, the truth of the divine promises, threatenings and predictions, or the perfection of the divine wisdom and benevolence; as he protests while teaching those of his doctrines which are contradictory to these, that "he is not aware of any departure in any article of doctrinal belief, from his revered instructor, the former Presi

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