Изображения страниц

not reward, but prodigality; and to inflict fuffering in fuch circumftances is not punishment but cruelty.

Apprehended liberty: I exprefs myself thus, because apprehension may differ from real fact, yet the paffions and other dependent modifications of thinking, are ever correfpondent with apprehenfion. To allude to another infance of Mr. LOCK E-Suppose a man be carried whilst fast asleep into a room where there is a person he longs to fee and converfe with; and be there locked faft in and thus deprived of opportunity to get out; he awakes, and unconscious of his confinement, is glad to find himself in fo defirable company, which he ftays willingly in. He is the fubject of true volition respecting forbearing to go. But alter the cafe, and suppose him to perceive his confinement, he ftill is glad to stay in his friend's company; yet his inclination can no longer be volition, but merely wish, fince he has no apprehended liberty.-I have heard of a gentlewoman, who, whilst fleeping under the influence of an opiate, fuffered the amputation of a leg. On awaking, being unconscious of what had paffed, fhe complained of a violent pain in her great toe, (which, I am told, is no uncommon fenfation in her circumstances) now in this fituation, the complaint was voluntary, or an act dependent on volition, and if she attempted to move her foot to ease her pain, the W thought,

thought, or inclination was a volition, notwithstanding the attempt immediately convinced her that her apprehenfion of liberty to move her foot, or not move it, was an apprehenfion not agreeing with fact, the not having her foot to move. The apprehenfion of liberty, like the apprehenfion of dominion, may be primary or habitual.

Some philofophers have ascribed a fomewhat they call liberty and freedom to volition, which they do not conceive to be a species of opportu nity, but flrangely define to be, a power over the determinations of a perfon's own will: and add, that in fome actions a man had power to will what he did, and power not to will it.

To fay nothing of the abfurdity of afcribing power to a finite being, I admit that a person may ufe a word in what fense he pleases, may undoubtedly call liberty power, or power liberty, provided he endeavours to be understood: But I think every one reprehenfible who propagates inconsistency and abfurdity. If I am not mistaken, thefe gentlemen intend, by their expreffions to fhow us, that in their opinion the faid liberty of volition does not confift with subjection to necefsity, i. e. power or its absence respecting existence, the existence of the prefent volition as being of this action and not of its forbearance, or of that forbearance, and not the action refpected. I have taken much pains to get at their meaning both by


reading and converfation. I long fupposed they meant that fome determinations exist independent on God. But in reply, they tell me that this liberty confifts in power to determine, and that this power is given to us by God, and that confequently we are dependent for it. I am ftil puzzled for their meaning, who do not conceive it a kind of independence on the Deity, which fome have conceded to me. I doubt there is reafon to refolve it into crude conceptions, retained as a feeble fupport to a tottering fyftem.

Permit me to remark, that the notion which common sense frames of liberty as a species of opportunity, or in this cafe, of the fuitable circumftances requifite to volition; is ftill determinate, notwithstanding the attempts of these philofophers to confound and obfcure it. Perhaps the candid and more intelligent purfuers of truth, who fet up a different notion of liberty, will grant the following to be confiftent with their meaning. GOD hath given to mankind THAT, call it liberty, call it power, call it what you will, which is a ground for the determination of a man to be this and not that, that and not this, in fome cafes independent on the properties and circumstances of things, and independent on the Deity. If fo, this fentiment will be combated in another place. Secondly, Emotion. Emotion is the other ef fential to the existence of volition. The exW 2


istence of the passion defire, a cool or more fanguine defire is indifpenfible from volition.

The defire which is always requifite to volition is usually attended with a preponderation of hope or of fear. A partial respect to this circumstance perhaps induced fome to fuppofe, that it is uneafiness, the uneafiness of defire, which always determines the will or volition. Where fear refpecting fome object or end prevails, accompanying the defire, no doubt there is present uneasiness : But I think every one finds in his own experience, that fometimes his defire hath been not only free from uneasiness, but pofitively accompanied with a hope that hath fupported chearfulness and tranquillity. Indeed, a courfe of defires within the limits of our apprehended dominion, seems effential to health of body and mind, content and happinefs. Every one, I think hath experimented in himself a ftupidity or infenfibility in confequence of an extinction or stagnation of defires. This ftate of mind is at times vifible to others, who fometimes exprefs themselves, you look as if you had neither won nor loft, nor faved your own. I think every man at times experiences an abfolute stagnation of defires, and that not merely when the mind is tired and jaded out by exercife and exertion;-I am also inclined to think that no one withes a more frequent return of such experience; but in general, the man who is under the fole influence of the things of time and sense,


has ufually a fool's paradife on the one hand, and an imaginary hell on the other, if I may use fuch expreffions, influencing his defires and confequent inclinations, through the differing apparent goodness and evil of objects in relation to his sensations. The man who is influenced by the operation of the world to come, is generally allured on the one hand by hope, and alarmed on the other hand by fear, which generally keep up a round of defires; yet, he is not a stranger to a failure herein, and fometimes finking to ftupidity; experienc. ing this frame, he seems to himself as if there was no heaven to win or lofe, no hell to fuffer or avoid; but this frame is his great infelicity, and he would, perhaps, prefer defires combined with the uneafinefs of fear, to this abfence of defires.

People who account eafe, contentment and peace, their chief objects of fatisfaction, are moftly determined in wifh, purpose, and will, according to the greatest uneafiness present: But people who reckon pleasure, vivid pleasure their fatisfying object, feem moftly influenced to determination by the greatest good in conception, which is pursued by them, not because they feel prefent, or fear future uneafinefs, but because they anticipate and always rejoice in profpect of some future gratification. Hence the motive emotion to wifh, purpose and volition of the former clafs, is for the moft part inclufive of fear, hated, &c. but, of the latter, love, hope, and joy.—Though both sets of paffions

W 3

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »