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disposition is not a synonyme with choice. Nor can the particular states of mind, or of the man, as a moral agent, indicated by these expressions, be correctly pronounced the same. affect to disregard distinctions and definitions perspicuously made, and claim the right to use words in his own sense.' But as we have already said, we resist and protest against his assumption of such liberty. Words here have as fixed and definite meaning as the things, or facts they represent remain unchanged in their nature; and the attempt to employ well defined technics in new senses, and different from their established import, and thus to slide in the errors of philosophy to corrupt the faith, is but to follow the example of many who have wrested and perverted the sacred Scriptures. We regard it as an effort of no trifling nature.
However metaphysicians may judge, men generally do not confound the disposition with choice, but regard it as something related and antecedent to choice that which both adapts and prepares the mind to be affected and excited in a uniform way, by a particular object, and tends to determine the choice for it. "The word disposition is used in different senses, according to the nature of the subject, but always to denote some fixed and influential tendency appropriate and peculiar to the nature of the being. It is used in a physiological sense to denote that tendency to certain acts, rather than others, which depends on the arrangement and distribution of the various solid and fluid parts of the animal body. It is properly the result of organization, and varies according to the particular animal temperament which gives a fitness or tendency to be moved by certain animal affections and propensities, rather than others. Thus we say of this one and another, that they are of a choleric or melancholy or sanguine or nervous disposition. In a psychological sense it is used to denote that habitude or state of mind adapted or answerable to, and compliant with the animal affections and propensities, and which gives a fitness or tendency to the man to be moved by them, rather than otherwise. Thus the varieties of mental disposition develop themselves through the different animal propensities and tendencies which have ascendency; and men are said to be vindictive, fierce, gloomy, gentle, despondent, confiding, generous, timid, courageous, &c. &c., according as they evince a readiness or proneness to be by such passions and affections excited and moved. Morally considered, disposition implies, not only the actual voluntariness of the mind in yielding to certain propensities, but also that yielding tendency itself, which fits and prepares the moral being to be easily and uniformly affected, excited, and moved by them.
Our author thinks that he sufficiently explains such mental and moral phenomena, by his philosophy of free-will,” which limits
* See his Reply to " Warning against Error," p. 39.
moral accountability to the choice or ultimate intention. It is the man's purpose or choice to gratify self; and finding, or judging that the indulgence of this and the other passion and affection for the time being contributes to such enjoyment, he chooses that to which it prompts as a means to an end.' His volitions, in accordance with passion, thus becoming executive, according to our author, follow a law of necessity. His guilt or crime, therefore, according to this philosophy, does not consist directly in being vindictive, irascible, ambitious, envious, lascivious, lustful, &c., but in the original controlling choice that brought this law of necessity into efficient action. Here and here only lay the wrong! Let a man therefore but plead, as many do, that they did not know it was wrong—that they did not know what they were doing, that passion controlled and transported them, and he must, upon our author's principles, stand acquitted of guilt. The plea of insanity will become more frequent, and be yet more successfully urged before our courts, to acquit from outrageous crime, just as our author's philosophy becomes current and of authority.
Our Saviour's rule of judgment is very different. 6 Whoso looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”. According to our author, the crime being the ultimate intention or choice, the guilt in this case, would consist in having first chosen or intended to commit adultery, and thus looking on the woman to accomplish it. The desire follows a law of necessity, and is not in itself criminal, being, according to our author, involuntary, and only indirectly under the control of the will. The idea of desire being a state of mind which of itself in any way implies guilt, or of which moral obligation can directly be predicated, he utterly repudiates. He condemns Edwards in unmeasured terms for assuming it. He unhesitatingly pronounces it error, legitimately flowing from his
assumption of the Locke school of philosophy," which “ vitiated his whole system and gave birth to that INJURIOUS MONSTROSITY and MISNOMER, Edwards on the Freedom of the Will ” !! The Saviour's language plainly teaches that any and every aspect of female charms, where marriage unites not the parties, continued and indulged even till it awakens a desire to enjoy carnal commerce with the subject of them, is adultery in the sight of God. The desire for enjoyment with the subject of such charms is sin. Our author's casuistry and morality may plead, that desire being involuntarily awakened, the man cannot be guilty till the will chooses and intends the act of indulgence; but our Saviour's judgment and authority unequivocally, as we judge, condemn such teachings, and hold every man under moral obligation to maintain such chastity that female beauty shall not even awaken the desire to enjoy it with any one where the mar* Mat. 6: 28.
III. p. 29. • III. p. 30.
riage relation does not justify it.—The passion,'affection, or lust, exciting and prompting the choice of the will, form a very important element, not to be overlooked in estimating the nature of moral depravity. It is much too short-handed and patent sort of a method to relieve the human conscience, and to assist us toward moral perfection, for philosophy to tell us that there is nothing criminal in desires, and that passions and affections take their character always and only from the ultimate choice or intention. When Christ and philosophy expound the law to us, we give heed to the former and reject the latter : and fatal will be their mistake, who so accommodate the law to human corruptions, and explain the nature of moral obligation, as to take the whole world of passions and affections in the human heart from under the control of God's law, except in so far as they may become indirectly the servants of the sovereign will, the executive means of accomplishing an ultimate intention. We deprecate the prevalence of such morality; and augur immense injury to the church, and corruption in the world, as the legitimate result of such philosophy.
But admit for a moment the author's position, that the desire, affection, passion, appetite, or the state of the sensibility, as he generically designates them, possess no moral character, and come not under the control of moral obligation, until, and then only as the will chooses and determines that to which they urge, -that the moral depravity consists in choosing to gratify the demand of selfishness,-it may be very properly asked, in investigating the nature and origin of moral depravity, why does man uniformly and invariably from the very first choose and seek the gratification of self as an ultimate end? Is there nothing anterior to choice which operates as a cause, to determine choice always in the way of selfishness? Our author, in denying such a cause or causes must answer, that man chooses in a selfish way because he chooses, and resolves all into the absolute sovereignty of the will. If so, then let him say, amid the numberless developments of human nature, the ceaseless flow of successive generations, the millions that have been evolved from the first pair of transgressors, why there should have been but one being, and He miraculously conceived, and intimately united with the essential Deity, in the person of the Son of God, that has ever exercised that sovereignty of will in any other than a selfish way? The Pelagian will here assign the influence of example and the natural imitativeness of the race, as the cause of this moral depravity. In doing so, he acts more ingenuously than our author, who virtually, with the Manichee, if not explicitly, traces moral to physical depravity.
It is much preferable, in our judgment, to do as the orthodox standards and divines—conformably with the Scriptures-have done; viz., refer it to the relation we sustain to our prime and guilty progenitor—the constitution or covenant God ordained and established with him for the government of the race, which constitution, through its moral intiuence, should determine the moral character, as well as through its physical, the physical structure of the race. The moral character of Adam's race depended upon his. It was made to follow certain laws, established by the Creator and Governor of men, affecting and determining their relation and condition, and rendering the developments of moral depra. vity throughout successive generations, as morally certain as those of body and mind were physically necessary. Coming into existence under that constitution, with no other than the light of nature, and nothing but the feeble and faint notices of the law of God written on the heart, to direct and help us, or to present motive influence to induce holy choice, we say it is rendered morally certain, not only that we shall yield or consent to the motive influencé induced through sensual appetites and propensities, through the passions and affections—the impulses of feeling and concurring sentiment, but also by default of will, allow our minds to be determined in selfish or sinful choice. This default of will we believe cannot be either strictly and philosophically, or according to the language of common sense, identified with choice or ultimate intention. Man, by neglect and omission, avails not himself even of all the helps he has naturally. For moral depravity exists and operates in other forms and ways than in choice and ultimate intention. Consenting to the qualification had, in some feeling produced by causes without, and awakened not at will, and yielding to the present pleasurable impulses of excited sensibility, urging to what is wrong, is as truly a development of moral depravity as when the choice and ultimate intention have been formed to seek it as an end. Consent given, it gains strength, and ripening into choice and purpose, becomes efficient as a principle of action, and fixes its indelible stamp on the moral character. Of this state of mind, which manifests itself in the very earliest of mental and moral developments, and results by virtue of our connection with, and according to the law of our descent from guilty progenitors, it has been customary to predicate moral depravity. It is to this, we believe, that the Shorter Catechism refers, when it speaks of the corruption of our whole nature which is commonly called original sin.” In affirming it to be conveyed by ordinary generation” we do not understand that form of sound words to teach, that it is a physical entity, or property propagated by the law of reproduction, as are life and limb and other animal powers. The Larger Catechism, in common with the Shorter, says that “the corruption of nature is “commonly called original sin,” but explains that corruption of nature to consist in man's being utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite unto all that is spiritually good and wholly inclined to all evil and that continually.” This is induced proximately through the want of original righteousness. That original righteousness consisted in the bias or tendency of all man's powers, passions, and affections, in his state of innocence, to conformity to the law or will of God, which, created as our first parents were, in a state of perfect development, their love of God produced. By the law of natural generation, their descendants are devoid of this love. It is not transmissible as are physical powers and properties. They come not into being holy creatures, as did Adam, with a bias or tendency of their nature to holiness; but from the very first, the workings of the mind, the will, and the affections, are not conformed to the law of God. Nor is there any security whatever in the constitution and circumstances under which they are born, that any motive influences from such sources will induce right and holy choices. On the contrary, there is manifest from the very first, a disrelish for God and divine things,-such an aversion from Him and supreme regard for self, as to indispose, and thus morally, or in that state of mind disable and make opposite to all spiritual good. The race has sustained a loss of that bias and motive influence provided for by God, according to the original natural constitution or “ covenant of works," and designed, had that constitution been confirmed by the obedience of Adam, to affect and determine the free-will of man in holy obedience. A derangement also has ensued, in the exercise of those powers appropriate to men as moral agents; so that, from the first moment of the successive generations of the race becoming capable of acting as moral agents, a tendency to sin operates to render it morally certain, that in all the appropriate circumstances of their being they will sin. Of all this want of original righteousness, derangement, and tendency to sin, characteristic of man as a moral agent, and having an influence on the development of his moral character, it has been customary, and we think correctly, to speak, as part and parcel of his moral depravity. When we thus designate it, we mean by it that defective deranged state of intellect, will, and feeling, existing anterior to ultimate choice or intention, which tends to induce sinful choices, and which may, therefore, in ordinary style of speech be spoken of as a property characteristic of fallen man considered as a moral agent,
Our author makes moral depravity to consist wholly in acts of will, and to be identical with positive transgression. The man, according to his philosophy, is not morally depraved, but only his purposes, choices, intentions—which are opposed to God his acts of transgression. Moral depravity is the property of the acts, not of the man. These, in common with those who make no great boasts of metaphysical accuracy, we call crimes, offences,