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would die. Doing its little part with instinctive
faithfulness, it is " the herald of the morn."

Is not this true, upon a grander scale, of man ?
IN'ot self-caused, nor self-perpetuated, like all else
that is created, he receives his life and receives
it as a reagent. " Freely ye have received, freely
give." ^ Hamilton has well said, " Life is energy,

1 Matt. X. 8.


and conscious energy is conscious life."^ Il^ow
all that is received by mind and body must
be energized by the mind or body and sent
forth in activity, or there is no life in us.

The body is certainly reactive. " The vital
agencies are at work incessantly all over the
systemT^as if it were a busy laboratory, in build-
ing up the tissues, in converting elements into
immediate principles [reckoned as eighty-four],
and in separating and casting out of the body
the superfluous and deleterious materials."^
" The food in the stomach is rolled in a spiral
course, is mingled and worked over with the
acid gastric fluid whose function it is to set the
purer parts of the food free and to separate them
from the gross and worthless." ^

If the mind be not fed, if there be no mental
assimilation in it, it is different from all other
created things. But since it has been found to
be dependent upon life received and made its
own, its activity is, like that of the body and all
IN'ature, reactive.

1 Metaphysics, Lecture XLII.

2 Hitchcock's Anatomy and Physiology, n. 789.

' Worcester's Physiological Correspondences, p. 45.


The empirical evidence of this doctrine is as
perfect as possible. The infant, so far as it be-
gins to manifest a thought, is found to be giving
to the life which it receives a form, an utterance,
which is its own. The child, as it uses its facul-
ties to question why this is done and why that,
is forming its own opinions, and developing, in
reaction upon the information and all formative
influences received, its own character. The
adult, engrossed perhaps in business, sleeps and
wakes, indifferent to questions of his origin or
relations, but nevertheless every act is but the
result of some life received, reacted upon in his
mind, and sent forth again by voice and hand.
The most strongly individual men are those in
whom the reactive force is greatest, so that they
give forth opinions or perform their acts with
peculiar emphasis and with marked effect upon
others. The more reaction a man has, the
stronger man he is ; the more nearly one ap-
proaches to the condition of a mere conduit, a
mere transmitter of opinion, a mere tool of
another, the weaker he is.

The movement from the savage state to the
civilized is in the direction of the development
of individuality, that is, of reactive ability. The


perfection of modes of education looks in the
same direction, and does not attempt to fill the
memory and merely enable one to answer the
questions of others, but aims to expedite devel-
opment, to sharpen the faculties, and to produce
noble men and women. Sir W. Hamilton, in
his address^n " Academic Honors," rightly de-
fined the object of instruction as " determination
of the student to self-activity," and what is self-
activity but the putting forth of one's powers by
energetic rea-ctive exercise ?

Professor !N"ewman, in his " Theism," describes
the case : " This energy of life within is ours,
yet it is not we. It is in us, it belongs to us, yet
we cannot control it. It acts without bidding
even when we do not think of it. I^or will it
cease its acting at our command, or otherwise
obey us. . . . But while it recalls from evil, and
reproaches us for evil, and is not silenced by our
efibrt, surely it is not we. Jt pervades mankind,
as one life pervades the trees." ^

1 Edition 1874, p. 9.





It is in the acknowledgment of man's true
place in the creation as a recipient but not a
mere conduit, an agent but not a tool, a reagent
and not absolute inactivity, that his freedom of
agency is vindicated from all objection.

It may be conceded at once that he is not as
free as if he were not in a world which has its
laws, and that he is restrained by his understand-
ing of law and of the penalty which its infringe-
ment brings, and thus that he is free, not as
a lawless tyrant, but within the limits which
belong to a rational, created, recipient, reactive
being. He is not free to make himself another.
He is not free to render himself absolutely inde-
pendent of the source of life. He is not free to
cease to be a reagent. But, with " the portion
of goods that falleth to him," he is free to go
and expend it as he will, and free to return ; free
to dwell in a far country of ways foreign to his


best good, or to abide in peace with bis Father ;
free, when affected by a seductive impulse, to
refuse to heed it, or free to obey the siren's
voice; free to decide what occupation he will
pursue, and free to pursue it in accordance with
what he finds to be his capacity, or in defiance
of lessons which tell him that he is out of place ;
free to be a wise man, or to be an unwise

It is somewhat common to deny freedom on
the ground that, when two roads are before a
man and he weighs the reasons for taking this
or that, he is impelled by the circumstances of
the case and makes no free choice. But the
fact is that he is just as free to ignore as to be
influenced by the circumstances, to remain still
as to take either road. A lion being in one path
and a lamb in the other leaves him perfectly free
to go the way of the lion, if he will. " What
shall I do to inherit eternal life?"^ sounded as if
the young man, when informed, must go in the
way pointed out; but no, he turned his back
upon it. "What must I do to be healed?" one
asks a physician, and he seems to have no free-

1 Mark x. 17.


dom in tlie matter, but lie can take tlie remedy
or neglect it, as he will.

There is no freedom with Spinoza, there is
none with Edwards, and there is none with
materialistic determinism, but in all these and
similar views there is neglect of the empiric
evidence of freedom. Even Spinoza finds the
unwise man using as much " imagination" as he
pleases in doing his own thinking; even Ed-
wards seems to have given man liberty to sin ;
and modern materialism, with all its extreme
exaltation of heredity and environment, has not
made out its case that man is a slave to impulse
and that his acts are the mere reflex of his sensa-

It would not seem to be necessary to plead
against a form of religious enthusiasm like
Spinoza's or Edwards's, which would make God
to have defeated His own end and to have pro-
duced a race whose humanity was only a name
for machinery, and this can be considered later
when the relation of the self to its Maker is
treated of; but the objection to free agency on
account of controlling circumstances and inheri-
tances requires a brief comment; for Professor
Huxley states a fact when he says, " The prog-


ress of science in all ages has meant the ex-
tension of the province of what we call matter
and causation, and the concomitant gradual
banishment from all regions of human thought
of what we call spirit and spontaneity." ^

Hume illustrated this tendency when, in treat-
ing of^berty and necessity, he pointed out that
all movements in nature are necessary : " Every
object is determined by an absolute fate to a
certain degree and direction of its motion, and
can no more depart from that line in which it
moves than it can convert itself into an angel or
spirit or any superior substance. The actions,
therefore, of matter are to be regarded as in-
stances of necessary actions ; and whatever is in
this respect on the same footing with matter
must be acknowledged to be necessary. That
we may know whether this be the case with the
actions of the mind, we shall begin with ex-
amining matter."^

Unfortunately for the value of his argument,
he not only begins with examining matter, but
ends there ; thus : the bodily difference between

1 Lay Sermons : New York Edition, 1871, p. 142.

2 Human Nature, Oxford, 1888, p. 400.



the sexes is tlie same as tliat of their minds,
with bodily decline in old age goes mental de-
cline, with the hard hands of the laborer goes a
corresponding quality of mind, with climates
racial traits agree; and this correspondence is
so noticeable that it marks a law. Madmen
have no liberty because they act as moved ; nor
have others because they too act as moved. But
men dislike to confess that they are under
necessity to act as they do, and they do indeed
feel a false sensation of indifference or liberty of
choice, and their religion, " which has been very
unnecessarily interested in this question," per-
suades them that they are free. But every act,
continued Hume, has its cause both with God
and men, and there is no liberty. '^Upon a
review of these reasonings I cannot doubt of an
entire victory." ^ Later on in the essay he said,
"As to free-will we have shown that it has no
place with regard to the actions no more than
the qualities of men. It is not a just consequence
that what is voluntary is free. Our actions are
more voluntary than our judgments, but we
have not more liberty in one than in the other." ^

1 Human Nature, p. 422. 2 i\^i^^^ p^ 509.


This view is consistent with itself, but it is not
consistent with the facts. It must be admitted
that the sexes have physical marks, but this is
not to admit those marks to be the cause of the
difference between men and women; for the
woman, though her frame be weaker and her
skin softer, is as brave and makes as unyielding
a martyr as the man. It must be admitted that
bodily decline is often accompanied with mental
weakness; but in the extreme weakness of ill-
ness the mind is often strong and the will imper-
ative, and in old age there is often discernible a
youthfalness and innocence which are exactly
the reverse of what a shrunken and marred
body would lead us to expect. It must be ad-
mitted that hard hands and a certain stupidity
are often found together; but, so far are the
hands from producing this state of the mind
that Tolstoi is by no means a singular instance
of hard hands and tender sensibilities ; indeed,
every community furnishes its learned black-
smith or its studious apprentice. There is reason
to think that the hand of the college oarsman is
harder than that of the mechanic, and that the
soft hand of the effeminate student is not a sign
of intellectual superiority. It must be admitted


that in warm climates the natives are more ex-
citable than those of colder regions; but this
correspondence of man with nature is carried
too far when it makes the climate determine the
character, as may be seen with the Africans who,
transported to America, make no change of
character except through self-determined and
persevering effort.

That madmen have no liberty is a dangerous
argument for Hume, since their very capricious-
ness in many cases defies all attempt to ascertain
physical causes of their moods. They are more
free than the sane, seeing that they recognize no
bonds of moral and civil law.

As for Hume's suggestions that liberty is a
wilful self-deception from pride of autocracy, or
a deception imposed by some other from kind-
ness, or a religious delusion, it is enough to say
that vilification is not argument, and that men
are neither so vain nor so fallible as they are
here represented to be in order to sweep away
common sense arising from consciousness and
observation. Hume felt that his assault had
been successful, but his "entire victory" was
spoiled by his own performances rather than by
those of his unperturbed foe ; for note some of


the expressions which he saw fit to use in his
" advertisement," in which he was guilty of
mentioning " my design" — " the subjects I have
here planned out to myself" — " I was willing to
take advantage of this natural division in order
to try the taste of the public" — " if I have the
good fortune to meet with success, I shall pro-
ceed" — "the approbation of the public I con-
sider as the greatest reward of my labors, but
am determined to regard its judgment, whatever
it be, as my best instruction." And these phrases,
full of liberty in Hume and in the public, from
the one who rejected the idea! As with the
woman, of whom Valerius Maximus tells, who
appealed from Philip drunk to Philip sober, so
here an appeal needs only to be taken from
Hume speculating to Hume advertising.

Wundt disposes of this cavil against liberty of
will when he says, "When we say that the
character of a man is a product of light and air,
of education and circumstances, of food and
climate, that it is necessarily determined, as
every natural phenomenon, by these influences,
we draw an entirely undemonstrable conclusion."^

1 Grundziige, II,, p. 396.


Schopenhauer, naming his treatise " Freedom
of the Will," but meaning the opposite, has
said, " Man never does but what he wills, never-
theless he always acts necessarily. "While we
act we are at the same time acted upon." ^ To
this Wundt also answers.

This tendency, strongly augmented by Hume,
to consider the mind in the light of physical re-
search alone, has been brought to maturity by
many modern scientists famous for their achieve-
ments as such, but less successful as metaphy-
sicians than as physiologists. Thus, Herbert
Spencer has said, " That every one is at liberty
to desire or not to desire, which is the real prop-
osition involved in the dogma of free-will, is
negatived as much by the internal perceptions
of every one as by the contents of the preceding
chapters." ^

What perceptions are meant here will be ap-
parent in a moment. They are not direct per-
ceptions of a character to be compared with
those of conscious freedom of the will, but they
are physical, and imply to Spencer determinism.

^ Freiheit, p. 44.

2 Principles of Psychology, sect. 207.


He says again, after showing the correlation of
physical forces and effects, " The forces which
we distinguish as mental come within the same
generalization. There is no alternative but to
make this assertion, the facts which justify it or
rather which necessitate it being abundant and
conspicttous. . . . Besides the correlation and
equivalence between external physical forces and
the mental forces generated in us under the form
of sensations, there is a correlation and equiva-
lence between sensations and those physical
forces which, in the shape of bodily actions,
result from them."^

This bowing out of the freedom of the will is
joined vdth remarks upon the heart beating
quickly under excitement, the teeth grinding
together in pain, the muscles tightening for
energetic action, the circulation of the blood in
the brain in connection with mental activity, the
effects of stimulants, and other " proofs," as Mr.
Spencer calls them. But do they prove more
than the corresponding conditions of the organs
employed? Looking upon these and similar
phenomena, does the observer know what is

* Eirst Principles, Part II., chap, vii., sect. 71.


taking place in the mind of the subject? The

observer sees that the man is in pain; can he

predict what the man will do ? If these causes

have their precisely correlative effects, the man

suffers according to his injury; but do two men,

under the same degree of pain, act alike ? May

not one, while the pain lasts, rail on the Christ,

while his crucified companion rebukes him and

uses a wholly different tone ? One is reminded

of Dryden's lines, —

" A man so various that he seemed to be,
Not one, but all mankind's epitome ;
Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong ;
Was everything by starts, but nothing long ;
But, in the course of one revolving moon.
Was chemist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon. "^

In defending the freedom of the ego in the
volume already referred to. Professor Momerie
quotes as an authority Bain's "Emotions and
"Will," and answers the arguments of this ne-
cessitarian with those of Carpenter's " Human
Physiology," and adds what R. S. Wyld has
said in his "Physics and Philosophy of the
Senses :" " Cerebral actions are the symbols of
thought, but they are no more thought itself

1 Absalom and Ahithophel, Part I., line 546.


than the sentences of a book. "We must assume
the presence of an intelligent principle to in-
terpret the symbols, or we cannot conceive
thought to exist. Though the brain may follow
a certain involuntary course of action, and may
suggest to the mind a train of thought, we know
that the mind has the power of controlling the
cerebral action. We can interrupt one chain of
thought and start another, and out of a variety
of thoughts we can reject those that are the
most pressing." "In other words," concludes
Momerie, after an exceedingly instructive discus-
sion, " the ego is not merely passively acted on
by the brain, but is also capable of voluntary
self-originated action." ^

As the exclusion of free agency by Spinoza is
due to an exaggeration of the superior influence,
so that of the scientists is due to an exaggeration
of the inferior influence. Between the two in-
fluences, both of which are here acknowledged,
a balance exists, and man's choices are actual
and not seeming. The youth considering various
ways of life among which he must choose, Csesar
upon the bank of the Eubicon, every man not

1 Page 100.


a willing slave to habit, is an example of free
agency. Each side of the scale is examined,
while, by a power not the man's, the beam re-
mains level, and then, when the weight of his
decision is joined to either side, the beam in-
clines. To go or stay, "to serve God or mam-
mon," these are the decisions which men can
make, and which men must make, or they igno-
bly surrender to some enslaving passion and sell
their birthright. Personal liberty is the universal
demand, but what is that worth unless it be the
correlative of mental liberty, of free agency ?

The moral value of the doctrine of free agency
has, of course, always been recognized. Men,
regarded as the creatures of circumstance, are
irresponsible. Men necessitated from any cause,
outward or inward, can have no account to
render. The unfaithful servant in the parable,
bringing back the unused talent, pleaded that he
was under necessity to let it rust, for his master
was so unreasonable and implacable that the
servant was forced to remain inactive, and he
thus represented the large class of people who
do nothing but grumble over their situation;
but the just answer was and is that the imaginary
severity of master or environment cannot be


pleaded as an excuse, since there is still left
abundant opportunity to turn the talent to

This is the ground taken by Kant in the " Met-
aphysic of Morality," namely, that " the will is
the causality of living beings so far as they are
ration^,'' and "that freedom is that causality
not determined to action by any cause other than
itself," and that " freedom is a property of all
rational beings," and that " a true conception of
morality is reduced to the idea of freedom," and
that " the idea of freedom explains the possibility
of categorical imperatives ;" ^ but this owes much
to Aristotle's treatment of the freedom of the
will in the ISTicomachean Ethics, the third book
of which concerns itself with that subject, not
refraining from difficult practical questions:
"Praise and blame accompany voluntary acts;
pardon and pity, involuntary. Violence, being
external, adds nothing of benefit to him who
acts or to him who suffers. Choice is accom-
panied by reason. . . . Choice is a desire for or
tendency to what is in our power, accompanied
by consultation. The acts pertaining to an end

Watson's Selections, sect. 3, pp. 250-255.


must be voluntary and of deliberate cboice. . . .
In a bad as well as in a good man, there is a
power to act from himself. . . . The temperate
man acts conformably to right reason. . . . That
part of the soul which energizes according to
desire should live conformably to reason."^

" Fatalism and atheism," said Hamilton, " are
convertible terms ;" ^ and here is a profound fact
which needs at the present only to be stated,
namely, that a belief in God is so far from
taking away the freedom of man that it alone
opens the way for a clear conception of that
freedom, a freedom which he is too weak to
provide for himself, but which he constantly
receives from the providence of the Omnipotent.

It may be well here to pause a moment upon
the difficult problem of reconciling freedom,
especially freedom to do wrong and to inflict
misery, with the goodness of God or even with
His government. Perhaps the difficulty, which
so many writers among the Scholastics have
struggled with, and which has led to such noble
but fruitless efforts as Leibnitz's Theodicy, lies

iNic. Eth,, Book III.
^ Metaphysics, p. 556.


in the original misconception of creation. It is
assumed that God had many possible worlds in
view, and for inscrutable reasons found the one
we have, sin and suffering included, to be the
best, and so, by a kind of necessity, made it for
better or worse, and thus that His plan can only
be regarded with a resigned and apologetic spirit
which represses question and refuses to doubt
His goodness. This is certainly a very crude
idea of the Divine. How much more rational
it is to regard the world as the natural outcome
of the love and wisdom and power of God, a
form of Divine order produced by Him for the
sake of His children and embodying His pur-
poses. If there were another God, there would
be another world, but with our God — and no
other can be thought without accepting some
inferior conception of Him — comes our world.
He is not the mere chooser of it, He is the soul
of it in an unpantheistic sense. He made every-
thing by sending forth His creative energy form-
ing its receptacles and iilHng them with creat-
ures, and the world was good as its Source was
goodness itself.

How then with evil ? It is not a foreign crea-
tion introduced by necessity or mistake. It is



man's free perversion of the good things. The
love of self, for example, is surely good in its
own place ; but, made supreme, it renders man
selfish. The love which would have protected
his body now becomes his dominant motive.
He bows down to that as an idol which other-
wise would have been an innocent thing. The
calf was good in itself, but, named Jehovah, it
was a means of injury and sin to those at Sinai.
This old difficulty was pressed to its extreme
form when the question was raised, Is not the
Divine redemption itself indebted to evil for its
opportunity and so made subservient to disorder ?
The answer to this is that the redemption was
the Divine care of men taking that form which
their perverseness required, but which, in its es-
sential motive, was, as always, the Divine provi-
dence. While the law was in their hearts, God
was manifest ; while angelic messengers sufficed,
God thereby was manifest ; but, when only this
mode would suffice, God made His love and wis-
dom manifest in the Christ and perfectly delivered
men from the accumulated power of evil so far as
they would freely receive the aid. In redemption,
as in creation, God was the loving parent, free in
Himself and loving the freedom of others.



man's inheritance.

It might seem at first sight highly important
to postulate for man absolute freedom from
hereditary influence, and to insist that every one
is in no sense dependent upon nor influenced by
his predecessors. The appearance is that, if the
least hereditary factor be admitted into the ac-
count, the individuality is so biased as to lose its
freedom. To assent to the ordinary claim made
in the name of heredity is apparently to sur-
render human freedom, making the ancestor the
master. But let the questions first be answered,
Must the claim of heredity to be a law of life be
allowed ? And is it the case that every man has an

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