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Elements of Christian science; a treatise upon moral philosophy and practice online

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fatalistic philosophy, every one can see who shall take the pre-
mises of Diderot, and go onward to his conclusions. The pro-
two, cuts off personality, makes all power and action mechanical, makes
all individuality vanish, all persons become parts of the great All, and
all things to be parts of the one machine. So that, to escape Atheistic
Pantheism, the reader must believe in a God of rigorous Destiny.

* Page 271.



THE HUMAN WILL. 371

mises once established, the conclusions follow as a matter of course.
Only teach man that " motive externally and irresistibly deter-
mines the action and Will of man," and the morality of M. Dide-
rot follows as a matter of course, his theoretic morality we will
say, and his practical morality, both which were on a par ;
M. Diderot at least was consistent.

What then was his doctrine ? This that we have rejected, that
"motive acts upon man necessarily and invincibly;" so that his
Will is in every thing externally determined, and consequently
that all power in him existing, and by him exerted, is not in him
really, or by him actually exerted, but only apparently, in conse-
quence of this "causal machinery of sufficient motive."

The axe splits wood, and were it intelligent, would say, "I
split ;" but yet it is only the agent of power, not itself originating,
not itself exerting power : such is the man of the fatalist, a mere
tool through whom power flows, and by means of whom it is ex-
erted, but nothing more. And therefore, naturally the man that
holds this doctrine comes to the doctrinal and practical morality
of the celebrated Encyclopaedist, M. Denys Diderot.

Now, in opposition to this, we shall say that man has these two
qualities : first, that he originates power, and secondly, that he
voluntarily exerts it and applies it. I say not, that all the power
that he exerts and applies is originated in himself, for this would
not be true; but some power unquestionably he does originate, and
other power he applies, and both independently of the law of
Causation.

Let one look at it, and seeing man " is made in the image of God,"
he shall find it no more difficult to believe that God has made man
capable, voluntarily and freely, of originating power by his being
and nature, than that he should have made plants capable of pro-
ducing particular fruit. And everywhere this is the natural feeling
and the natural persuasion of the race : they feel that it is a faculty
belonging to their being, they feel it to be theirs, in their consti-
tution, truly and really belonging to them. And why men should
allow " this is your faculty of sight, this is your faculty of muscular
action, this your faculty of thought," and then turn round and
assert that the sum total of these, which they had allowed in
separate items to be man's, was not his ! is very hard to say,
except that the mind is preoccupied with these three prejudices
above mentioned, framed into a system. Why as to other parts



372 CHRISTIAN SCIENCE.

of our nature, men should acknowledge that this, because you feel
it to be so, is a faculty of nature having such and such products,
you call them yours, and such they are, for you have had a
life-long knowledge and consciousness of their possession, and
your neighbours see and know the same ; " but with regard to
this one only, you are mistaken, your Will that you count free is
not free ; the Power that you exert, you only seem to exert ;
your will is bound ; of that power you are only the agent, you are
a puppet, and although you feel no wires, yet they are there, and
you are a puppet, made of wood and leather, completely and
entirely 1" Why men should talk in this way, it is very hard
to see.

And by what means they have got it into their head that such
notions, which make of man a mere machine, tend to exalt the
character of God ! is stranger still.

But the persuasion and knowledge of man that he can act by a
power originating in his Will, is a sufficient refutation of all these
specious paradoxes. The fact that to hold them does, if we are
consistent, lead at once, as in the case of Diderot, to the denial of
any responsibility and to the destruction of all moral distinctions,*
this I think is sufficient to exclude them from being held by any
who desire to think of man as a moral being.

We hold then that man is no mere agent and instrument of
Power through whom it flows, as the lever is, physically ; that he
is no puppet made of wood and pulled by a wire or string, at
the same time that he thinks he acts ; that he is not a part of a
piece of machinery, driven by the same force as the rest, and
imagining that he is an individual being, when he is only a
wheel or pinion of one machine; we believe not that he is the
agent of an infinite doom, or a resistless physical law that actuates
him unconquerably. This, man is not.

* I ask honestly and calmly of any thinking man, to take the premises of
Diderot, and go over them, and he shall see that they absolutely infer Dide-
rot's conclusion, that is, the denial of all morality, and the freedom unto all
vice and wickedness. Fatalism, Jield consistently and acted upon, implies-
viciousness of life. I would also ask the same person to go over the ethical
doctrines of Christianity, and to ask himself, Do not these doctrines encou-
rage morality ? "Will not every husband and wife, every father and mother,
every son and daughter, who attempts to go earnestly and consistently upon
these principles, be more virtuous, more pure, more lovely in the eyes of God
and of man ? Surely it is and must be so.



THE HUMAN WILL. 373

But "made in the image of God," as God has of himself
power, so is man given of himself to have power, to originate it,
to apply it : it is a faculty of his being, a gift that God has given
him ; originating in himself freely, apart from the causal neces-
sity of motive, save so far as he will permit himself to be ruled by
the Animal Nature, which in him is conjoined with the Spiritual.

The first objection that will be made is, Shall not this then
give too much to man ? is not man then made a God, and able to
do precisely as he will ? The answer to this I have given in the
chapter upon Circumstance ; and there it will be seen, that while
man really and truly, by an inward force, exerts power, yet is
there another personal force externally applied, that controls the
result in a very remarkable way, a power, to use the beautiful
language of the poet :

" That shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them as we may."

Our reader, then, will see that strongly soever as we may act,
there is, external to us, a personal Being, gracious, merciful, and
holy, as well as omnipotent, who guides all our efforts and controls
their results, not according to doom or a fatalistic decree, but with
the all-seeing wisdom of a present and personal God.

So are there two forces that guide the course of man's life, of
which two it is the resultant, his power and the power of God,
and this gives, as the practical solution of the question of Free-
dom, this answer : " When the two powers coincide and are one
completely and entirely, then is the man free : when his will, in
the direction that he spontaneously gives it, coincides with the
Will of God, then these two forces become one, and the man goes
onward entirely and completely free as far as regards effect and
power." Then his own power from himself arising, and the power
and operation of external circumstance so unite, that the waves
that ordinarily do oppose, bear him onward, the winds favour,
and all things outward coincide with all things inward, in driving
the man onward upon his course.

That such is the case often, the experience of all men can tell ;
that it is not exclusively the case with the good, but that for par-
ticular purposes, by the wisdom of the Almighty, such a power,
and such a direction of Will, and such success are often given to



374 CHRISTIAN SCIENCE.

the evil, is the experience of all ages.* And the meditative wis-
dom of ancient Greece considered such invariable success in those
that were evil, a proof of Divine wrath and jealousy, and pro-
phetic of utter ruin. And, indeed, such it often is.

With regard to the Christian who lives in Faith fixed upon the
Unseen, according to the law of grace, he shall find that in him,
if he live under the law of God's grace, that his "Will coinciding
and agreeing with God's Will, he is free perfectly and completely,
and he alone ; Circumstances may not yield to his power, but may
control it ; success may be denied to his best efforts, prosperity
may not be granted, yet let him bind his Will to that of Gf-od, and
therein he shall find Freedom. And more than this, Providence
protecting him, with the invisible foresight of omniscience, from
perils which himself could not have avoided ; sheltering him from
accidents no power of his own could ward off, no subtlety escape ;
upholding him with the mind of a father, staying and guiding the
steps of a feeble infant ; and correcting and destroying, by the
action of circumstance, faults that he himself could never become
conscious of: almighty power, omniscient wisdom, infinite mer-
cy ; these thus wait upon and belong unto that man who, in cove-
nant with Grod, rules and guides his Will according to the Will
of the Eternal, the Law of Holiness and Grace !

He is free in thought and act, free in the power of Grace
through Jesus Christ ! and to him, thus perfect, and to him alone,
his nature fulfils its intended purposes. To him the external
world is that which to all men it should be. And Society, in
reference to him, exerts its complete effect as a school of teaching.
All things internal and all things external coincide ; inward Na-
ture and outward Circumstance are brought into that harmony of

* Often this stern energy of Will and the invariable success attending it are
wondered at, and attributed to the man by all around him, and even by him-
self, when it is a truth, that the vessel is only in the current of Almighty
power, sweeping onward to a certain point, as a vessel of deserved wrath, or
laden with mercy. And succeeding ages begin to see, when the results have
unfolded themselves in History, that behind the man lay the purpose of God,
behind his Will, the almighty Will of the omniscient God. The thought is
gradually unfolding itself, especially in respect to the Emperor Napoleon ;
men are beginning to see how uses and ends in the policy of the world that
lie never intended, have come forth from his strong will set firmly toward selfish
ends, and wholly unconscious of the power that lay behind him, and of the
issues that were in the future.



THE HUMAN WILL. 375

action and reaction that ought to exist between them, and the
man is free. And this is not, as I have said, of himself or by him-
self, but the nature of man is harmonized with the sphere of
external circumstance only by Grace. And the height and com-
pletion of this is, that his Will should be under the Will of God,
perfectly and entirely obedient to it, in its three faculties of
Choice, of Purpose, and of Action. Upon these three we have
treated, and this completes our discussion of the Will.



GENERAL CONCLUDING REMARKS.

WE have now brought our work to a conclusion. The Affec-
tions we have treated upon in two books. The Affections in
the Nation, this we might have discussed in another book, but
it would have made the volume too large. And Law in the Na-
tion is to one part of Ethics what Religion in the Church is to
another division of the same science, the completion of it ; Law
is the objective and external science, which is the completion of
the Ethical discussion : the sum, therefore of that which we would
have said would have been these two practical precepts : " Obey
the Law at all risks, and in every way uphold it and support it,
and give it in the State the supremacy over all Self-will." And
secondly, " Do your best that it may come as near the Eternal
Law of the Almighty, that which is written upon Man's heart inter-
nally, and manifested by God externally, as may be," these two
and their reasons in man's nature and position, would have afford-
ed a wide field. We give the precepts, and omit the Ethical
illustrations and development, for the reasons above given.

The Affections in the Church, this we have also omitted,
for a reason very plain indeed ; it leads us directly into the dis-
cussion of "Spiritual Ethics," or of "Practical Christianity,"
that is, of the Ethics that ensues from the peculiar position of
Human Nature in Covenant with God. The Ethics of a human
being endued with this high privilege, placed in this lofty position,
while manifestly it is not opposite to that of the man who is



376 CHRISTIAN SCIENCE.

of Nature only, not of Grace ; has only the capabilities, instead
of the gifts, but is the crowning and completion of it, is
still something infinitely higher and infinitely more perfect. As
the stately palm in the desert, crowned with its diadem of leaves
at once, and flowers and fruit, is to the date borne in the hand of
the wandering Arab, so is the true Science of the Christian Life
to the loftiest and truest philosophy of Nature apart from Grace.
In both cases, it is true, the germ exists the same, but in the latter
the influences are wanting that shall develope it.

That germ in the case of the natural man, the Spiritual Nature
that is in him existing, which renders him capable of Grace, I
have in this book treated of. Spiritual Ethics, the Ethics of Man
in Covenant with God, is a distinct and higher part of the same
science, and is practical Christianity. At some future time in
the ripeness of maturer years, and by the light of fuller know-
ledge, I may enter upon the examination of this loftier science.

In the mean time I would say, upon these elements, in this book
developed, even this depends: just as the highest Astronomy
takes for granted the humbler science of elementary Geometry,
so the highest Christian philosophy is founded upon these doc-
trines of Man's Nature, these that bring forth and manifest its
adaptedness to all external influences, to Society, to the system
of God's Providence, and of his Creation, and through all these
means to the Infinite and Eternal God himself ! And the reli-
gion that denies or falsifies these truths may, by adventitious
circumstances, remain for a time, but it is about to perish and be
taken away. The true doctrines of the Internal Nature of Man
nd of his Position, are the very elements of all practical reli-
gion, even of the loftiest.

I must now, in all justice to my reader, tell him that the system
I have here laid before him is not a system of my own, invented
by myself, but that it is the Ethical Science of the first Christians,
as far as I have been able to distinguish and feel it. This I have,
as it were, translated into the thought of our age and time, out of
the thought of men of different ages and different times. That
is, I have attempted to present, in a scientific form, as a system,
before the ordinary reader, the Ethics of Christianity, as held by
the church unbroken, before the ambition of Rome and the prag-
matical spirit of Constantinople had rent the church in two. For
much as men may have forgotten the idea, there was a time, and



THE HUMAN WILL. 377

that time lasted for ten centuries, when the church was one.
This Ethics of the church undivided, I have then attempted to
present to the men of this age and this time.

I have not said all I could say upon each point, only that which
I counted enough to convince, and therefore the reader or teacher
will often find a multitude of confirmatory arguments and facts
capable of being adduced, which I have not adduced. To the
teacher, this will be a good exercise of teaching, to the reader,
of thought. But I have been forced to omit a multitude of such
things, even thoughts and facts that were to me most delightful,
and which I was convinced would be to the reader very interest-
ing. The nature of the science as "Subjective," resting for a
good part of its proof upon the self-experience of the man and
of the race, will sufficiently account for this.

I would now, as respects my readers, address to them a few
words in reference to the book and its results upon them. If the
reader who has gone thus far is contented with it, thinks that it
gives a sufficient and satisfactory account of Human Nature, its
problems, and their solution, in the first place I claim from him
no praise, personally, in this book. I profess to present the Ethics
of the Ancient Church. Augustine, Athanasius, Cyril, Cyprian,
Origen, Tertullian, these men whom every puny writer of the present
day thinks himself privileged to scorn at, these are the sources
from which I have obtained the principles here presented in a
connected form, men who, often by the meditation of a whole
life of holiness and self-denial, thought out and established for
ever the Christian solution of a single one of the problems of
nature herein discussed ! These results the theologian will often
discern in these pages, given in a few lines, while, in the original,
volumes hardly embrace their discussion. For myself, therefore,
I claim no praise of originality or of genius ; but that one, of bring-
ing again before the world, in a shape to every one tangible, the
Ethical Science of Apostolic Christianity, undivided and at
unity with itself.

So far, with regard to myself, I have said to him, who has thus
far read the treatise, with satisfaction ; now, with regard to him-
self, I say, if he be convinced of the truth of these principles,
let him not for a moment abide in a barren philosophy, but act
upon the principles herein laid down. Let him begin to cultivate

his Spiritual Inward Nature at all risks, and under all pain and

48



378 CHRISTIAN SCIENCE.

loss to make it the ruling and supreme governor of his action,
it as perfected and aided by the external influences, through
which alone it can be complete in its functions and in its action.
This he must do, if he would draw the proper advantage from
this book ; and the book itself in its several parts, I believe, will
be found to contain directions for this mode of action. So far
with regard to moral Self-cultivation.

And if, with regard to himself, he has found these principles
of the Science of ancient Christianity efficient, I would most
vehemently urge upon him to exemplify them in the family, the
Home wherein, by God's decree, he has been placed, not to live
as an unit, an individual, but as part of a divinely appointed
institution. In the Home, then, I would urge the Father, the
Mother, the Sister, the Brother, to live up to and distinctly to
exemplify the principles herein laid down ; for, too much has it
been forgotten, that the Home is, for those within it, a sphere
peculiar and exclusive, wherein there is for its members a pecu-
liar religious and moral work to do, which there can be done and
nowhere else, by them and by no one else. There is moral teach-
ing, "with which no man meddleth," as well as sorrow and joy,
exclusive of those that are without.

But, moreover, I would urge the person who has read this
attempt toward a Christian science, and approves of it for him-
self and for his family, to put it into the hand of the growing
and intelligent youth with whom he is acquainted. The expe-
rience of the writer tells him, that for those especially who, in
childhood and youth, have been neglected by parents, untrained
in the holy teachings of the gospel, there is a period wherein all
the problems " of our nature and of our position" rush up and
demand a solution ; and the youth then is in great doubt ; his
nature demands a true answer ; and, alas ! so false is the ordinary
Ethics of Christianity, that but seldom that true answer is given.
Hence are multitudes in our land Non-professors, for the want of
a true Christian philosophy of man's Nature and his Position.
This the author has tried to give, not as his own, but as that of
the old Christian church. If the reader, then, clerical or lay,
finds then, that, even in a degree, this book answers that want,
the author would ask of him, whithersoever this book may wander,
to bring it into the hands of thoughtful and serious youth, who
are in that crisis of life alluded to.



THE HUMAN WILL. 379

And, with this remark, the author will bid his reader God
speed. He has now come to the end of a laborious work, which
he felt to be needed. He has worked upon it sincerely and
ardently, for he knew of no book embracing the subjects treated
upon herein, so as to be accessible to the mass of readers, and at
the same time pleasing to them. How he has succeeded time
will tell ; but if the reader feels that the author has so far suc-
ceeded as to supply, even in a small degree, the great want of a
book upon these subjects, the author would ask of him, not to let
the book rest upon his shelves, but to bring it before the notice
of those to whom it is likely to be of service.

And, if the author has not succeeded, at least, he has at-
tempted that which must one day or other be done, the answer-
ing truly, according to the sentiment of the Ancient Church, the
problems that arise in the mind of all men born upon the earth.
He has felt that one great want of Christianity, at this day, is
the want of a true Christian Ethics, and in his measure, accord-
ing to his ability, has done his best to supply it. And if he have
not succeeded, still to have felt the want, to have known where-
from it could be supplied, and to have laboured towards that end
sincerely, is enough.

But he has better hopes, that this his book will be found to
give true answers to these questions, according to the plan pro-
posed, to remove the difficulties that have hitherto kept away
multitudes from Christianity, to satisfy objections, and to hold up
the clear light of Christian philosophy upon the dark and dubi-
ous problems which so perplex, in this day, all men, and especially
the young.

And this if he have done in one case, if he have cleared the
path of one from the obstructions that a Heathen Philosophy
places in the way of men "who would enter in," if he thus,
from the way of one individual, has been efficient to remove " an
offence," the author has faith to believe, that in the final account
he shall not be without his due reward. With this hope he bids
his reader God speed.



THE END.



CHURCH BOOKS PUBLISHED BY H. HOOKER.



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1 Vol. 8vo.

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Online LibraryWilliam AdamsElements of Christian science; a treatise upon moral philosophy and practice → online text (page 37 of 37)