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the doctrine of Cause and Effect, which Why, that men are free to do as they is one of the principal foundations of please. That they may freely, and human reasoning. The source of the without any counteracting compulsion, notion of Freewill being necessary to choose, in accordance with their view justify punishment, is probably to be of a matter, and act according to that found in the still more common notion choice. This is all that Necessitarians of punishment, as being merely vindic- contend for, and all that seems necestive. We are, for the most part, early sary for human happiness; but this is possessed with a confused idea that not philosophical free-will. Ask any there exists some essential, and natu- of these “ unreflecting," testifiers, if ral connection between crime and pu- they possess some such power as that nishment, independently of any future of making themselves choose what they or present good to be attained by the don't choose, if they choose to do so, infliction. Now when the word “crime" with a power of choosing to choose is defined-viz: to be that voluntary against their choice, should that vagahuman action which is the cause of ry come into their head. Define to suffering either to others, or to the them metaphysical liberty, in the most agent himself, or to both, the doctrine intelligible way that it admits of ; ask of vindictive punishment turns out them if they recognize this in themto be merely this-an assertion that, selves, and mark what replication they because a man has been the means shall make. In fact, the unreflecting through which suffering has been ex of all ranks of society, every day, act perienced by others, or hy himself, and reason upon the principles of phi. therefore he shall experience more losophical necessity, though without suffering. To say that because some knowing it. Ask the " young Hope pain has occurred, therefore more pain ful” of low life, why he prefers going ought to occur, is a dictum, which, in to sea, to being a tailor ; and he tells itself, carries no proof of its truth. The you“ he can't help it.” Ask the acwherefore remains to be shewn. To complished Maria, why she won't marrender the assertion at all rational, we ry Joseph Surface, whom all respect, must answer, either, that this is a but prefers his profligate brother, and means of lessening the amount of suf- she tells you “she can't help it.” The fering on the whole,-or, that God freedom they recognize, is a free has so willed it, for reasons above our dom from actual and sensible compulcomprehension.
sion ; the necessary bias of the will itIn his second discourse, (the text of self, they universally admit. Instead which is Deut. viii. 5,) Dr Coplestone of the advocates of philosophical neattempts to point out the compatibility cessity admitting that “Mankind act, of a general controlling Providence with speak, and think, as if the will was free free-will. During the course of his according to the metaphysical notions argument,
the following passage oc of free-will”-the very advocates of curs :—“The only argument brought free-will themselves do not admit it, in against it, is borrowed from the diffi- practice and effect. They would ineculty of accounting for evil as mixed vitably send to Bedlam any man who with God's creation, and of conceiving should act as he might sometimes be free-will in his creatures. But diffi- expected to act, if their system were culties can never be listened to against true. Suppose Dr Coplestone were to the evidence of facts. The fact of the offer a starving porter a guinea to carexistence of evil no one denies ; and ry a letter twenty yards, to the postthe existence of free-will is, by the con office, and the man refused and put his current unreflecting testimony of all refusal upon free-will, would not the mankind, admitted to be a fact, oppo- reverend doctor conclude him to be sed only by the metaphysical objections mad? So habitually do we rely upon of a few. That all mankind act, speak, the certain influence of motive, that and think, as if the will were free, is where an unexpected act occurs, we admitted by these few themselves.” immediately refer it tó, some hidden This is “unreflecting testimony” with reason in the mind of the agent; and a witness! If we inquire rigidly into if there does not appear to be room for these two assertions, we shall find, I any, we pronounce it insanity. It anbelieve, that they are directly opposite swers no end to say, that though men to the truth. What does this general never knowingly choose to act as if they “unreflecting testimony,” (as the re were insane, yet they are free so to act verend gentleman terms it) testify? and choose. This is a strange kind of
freedom of choice. We may as well ad- of motives, or else it is not to be relied mit the necessary influence of motives, upon at all. Thus, if a dice-player casts
as admit that men are compelled to act agiven number thrice running, it either E' according to motive, under pain of be- proves the existence of some necessary : ing denounced idiotical or mad. He cause for that number being cast, rai who is banished from Scotland, is free ther than another; or it is admitted
to go or stay, excepting, that, if he that the fourth cast is not more likely stays, he will be hanged.
to be the given number, than any other For the existence of Evil, Dr Cople possible number. Equally inconsistent E stone very naturally attempts to ac is the notion of any power in the mind
count, by supposing mankind to be in of choosing against motives. Either a state of trial. The word trial, how. the mind must have two methods or ever, is ambiguous; nor has the reve modes of exercising choice, which is rend doctor given any very accurate improbable; or, the choosing against explanation of what he means by it. motives must be done in the same way This is of little consequence. Whether as in choosing in accordance with moit means that man is then going through tives ;-that is to say, the mind must
a certain process, by which the expe- have a power of rendering to itself the erience of certain sorts of pain is to pro- unattractive side of a question appa
duce a specific change in the consti- rently the attractive one, which is more tution of the mind; or whether is improbable. It seems absolutely inconmeant by it an ordeal or test, by which ceivable that the mind should knowto call forth and ascertain the quantum ingly choose that which it naturally
of inherent virtue and vice--it is still dislikes, without feeling pain ; and if 5 more capable of rational explanation, the effort be painful, freedom is imper
upon necessitarian principles, than up- fect, because we naturally are impelled on any other. Under the first significa- to avoid pain. If it be said we have a tion, if we allow the connection of free power of choosing to resist this
cause and effect in the mind, as in other impulse ; then, I reply, we must have * things ;-and suppose that the appli- a prior free choice, choosing that se
cation of certain motives or mental sti- cond choice, as it also would be painmuli, must have necessary and specific ful; and so on, ad infinitum. With effects upon the character, then, by the respect to any supposeable power of discipline of misfortune and evil, cer the mind to render that which at first
tain changes may be brought about, was unattractive apparently attractive, $ which may, for aught we know, be un- the possession of such power seems to
attainable by any other means. But be negatived by the fact of the painful with an uncontroulable and incompre- conflict which takes place when oppo
hensible free-will, what purpose could sing motives are nearly balanced 15 such a process answer ? The repetition thing which could not be under such E of any line of conduct is no more to be a power.
certainly expected according to this sys The words of the text which Dr Coitem, than the repetition of a series of plestone has chosen for his third disit tones on the Æolian harp. We have course, are remarkably striking. "Him,
no more data for knowing how free- being delivered by the determinate wil may act on the next occasion, than counsel and fore-knowledge of God, how the wind may blow on the next ye have taken, and by wicked hands, occasion. The second signification is, have crucified and slain.”-Acts ii. for the reasons already stated, evident- 23. In setting out on his forlorn hope ly as little reconcileable with the hypo- of reconciling free-will with this deterthesis of free-will, as the first. The minatécounseland declared fore-knowadvocates of free-will are always liable ledge, the reverend author has very to this dilemma. Either the exertion properly begun with some observations of free choice is equally easy on each on the improper use of the words “
side of an alternative, under any circum- tainty, possible, contingent,” &c. In i stances, or it is not. If it is not, then the tenor of all these observations, I the will is not free ; and if it is, then cannot, however, agree.
“ One examthere is an equal chance for every suc- ple,” says Dr Coplestone, “ has alreacessive exertion being wrong, as well as dy been produced in the word "
right. For in this case, experience tainty," which properly relates to the | ether proves too much, or nothing. It mind which thinks, and is improperly either proves the necessary influence transferred to the object about which
it is thinking." Were this position ad- rently inexplicable
and not absolute mitted, I do not apprehend that, in the ly so; although, if this be the case, end, it would materially assist Dr Co- there appears no reason why they may plestone ;- it is too sweeping, how- not be believed together. That I may ever, and therefore erroneous. It can- not misrepresent the reverend doctor, not be denied, undoubtedly, that very however, I shall first quote the pasoften the certainty is improperly.trans- sages from both discourses in which ferred from the thinker to the thing this odd rule of faith is embodied, and thought of ;-that is to say, when the then hazard one or two observations certainty of the thinker is not built upon them. upon demonstrably adequate grounds. At p. 69, we read as follows :-"If, Yet, because it does not always happen that God made every thing, knowing that, when the mind feels certain of beforehand all that would come to any thing, that thing is itself actually pass, and all that men do, be an undecertain; is it therefore to be contended niable truth--if, nevertheless, he deals that the certainty is always improper- with man, as if he were free to act, ly transferred from the thinker to the and rewards and punishes him accord object thought of? Surely not;~at ing to this trial, and we cannot comleast if it be, then abstract certainty is prehend how both these things should denied altogether. This is going into be true together, we yet can believe extremes. When Newton or Halley them both to be true--and so believing, mathematically demonstrated the oc we may well conclude, that many of currence of eclipses at certain times, our occasional reasonings concerning the completeness of the demonstration these things must be infected with was certainly an infallible proof of the the same apparent incongruity that certainty of the future event; and it is strikes us in the enunciation of those therefore properly transferred to it ; first principles.” Again, at p. 79, “ If, nor can reasoning be falsified by such however, we set ourselves to examine a transfer. Considerations of a simi- each of these abstract positions sepalar nature are also applicable to the rately from the other, dark and perwords“ impossible” and “contingent." plexing as the inquiry often is, yet
The most extraordinary passages of the arguments deducible from reason the discourse, however, are those in and experience alternately in their which the reverend author attempts to favour, appear to be irresistible; and establish the propriety--possibility per- as one of the most candid inquirers haps should be the word of the mind's observes, ' what flashes of light break believing two distinct contradictory out, from time to time, present the propositions whilst they are separates image of truth on opposite sides.' but which, if brought together, form Why then should not truth itself be a direct contradiction in terms. By really an inmate of each opinion? this means, he seems to hold, that we Unless it can be shewn, which never may easily believe, that an event, the has yet been shewn, that the two opioccurrence of which is uncertain, may nions are contradictory to each other. be certainly foreknown. We have on- That they are contradictory has been ly to believe in the contingence of the tacitly assumed, because to us their event, and also in the foreknowledge; union is inexplicable; and hence the and take special care to admit only one most pernicious errors of different kinds of these beliefs into the mind at one have at times prevailed, some denying time, so that they may never fight. or doubting the agency of Providence, As Dr Coplestone has, in one place, others the freedom of the human admitted that direct contradictions in will.” . terms, are merely propositions without This method of believing separately meaning, and therefore cannot be pro- two propositions, which, when composed to any end, either derogatory or pared, cannot both be believed, has, the contrary, as to the power of any in one shape or other, been recombeing to understand or perform them, mended before, though never perhaps I presume he considers fore-knowledge so undisguisedly as in the present and contingence as two qualities, the instance. * In the second quotation compatibility of which is only appa- it is asserted, that “ it has never been
* Akin to this ingenious scheme of taking a contradiction at twice," for those whose swallow is not sufficiently Bou-like to manage it whole, are the “ sensus divisus" and
sheion that the two opinions are con on such subjects; we believe in that tradictory to each other." This is not stream which a little upreasonable. If to suppose, that a being certainly knows that an
6 Ne'er feels retiring cbbs, but keeps due event shall, certainly and without any To the Propontick and the Hellespont" chance of failure, take place; and that be, at the same time, knows that because there is room for hidden cire its occurrence is a contingency, or cumstances, the knowledge of which doubtful chance, and that it may pos- would elucidate the seeming inconsists sibly not take place-if to suppose this ency. To believe purely contradictory be not to suppose a plain, evident, and propositions, is neither more nor less palpable contradiction, I know not than believing that a thing may be at what a contradiction is. And I am once true and false;. for how do we equally at a loss to conceive, if the absolutely ascertain the truth of any meaning of the words be understood, proposition but by ascertaining that wbat possible room there is for further there exists no counter proposition, of " shewing." One might as well be undoubted truth, which may be set demanded to shew that “no” and against the first; and what other de
yes," when predicated of the same finition can be given of perfect and proposition, are contradictions to each absolute truth in ratiocination? to say other. The ideas, as we perceive them, that contradictions may be true is only and the words, as we understand them, denying the existence of abstract cercannot, and do not consist ; and it is tainty in the world. for those who deny the contradiction, To come to a right understanding to shew, either reasons why they do of this question, it is only necessary to consist, or room for hidden reasons make this distinction. If there be two why they may consist. This they, I contradictory propositions, the possibithink, cannot do; and till they have, lity of the union of which is inexpliit is an abuse of language to term the cable to the mind, that is to say, of union of these two opinions--Contin- which we cannot conceive room for gence and Foresight --- inexplicable,” the possibility of their being brought merely. The word inexplicable refers to consist, then they form a contradicitself to mysteries as opposed to impos- tion to us absolutely incredible. But sibilities. Now pure contradictions are if of the two contradictory propositions not mysteries. We fully apprehend we know enough to know that there is the meaning of the terms, and we view room for the possibility of their being every thing that is embodied in them, shewn to be inconsistent, then they are and we see that the ideas which they credible as far as the contradiction is embody are contradictory. We see, at concerned. If this distinction be not the same time, that there is no room attended to, and both sorts of contrafor any mysterious hidden circumstan- dictions are held to be credible, there ces, the détection of which
may must be, as it appears to me, an end cile the two apparently clashing pro- of human reasoning. The very rankpositions. There is no difficulty in est contradiction that language can believing proved facts, which are appa- express comes under the first definirently, as far as we know, contradict- tion. Suppose it be asserted that two ory to each other ; but then we do and two are five, what is this but a this only from perceiving at the same proposition embodying ideas so contratime that, between them, and connect- dictory, that we cannot see or conceive ed with them, there is room for some- any room for the possibility of their thingfurther to be known, which, when ever being shewn to agree? Further known, mustclear up the contradiction. than this we cannot go. If one conThus we believe in many peculiarities tradiction of this sort be held to be connected with tides and currents true, all other contradictions may, for which contradict all the general laws aught we know, be true; and a denial
the “ sensus compositus” of the follow controversial morceau of the schoolmen. “ Resp. Estius hanc propositionem · Quod prævisum est potest non evenire' duplicem habere sensum, compositum, scilicet, et divisum. Compositus 'sensus hic estsimul consistunt ut aliquid sit prævisum a Deo, et tamen non eveniat ; quô sensu, falsa est propositio. Divisus verò sensus hic est. Fieri potest ut hæc res (demonstrata ea quæ prævisa est) non eveniat ; et in hoc sensu vera est propositio !” and so on.
of all received truths, and the assertion As I have already encroached upon of all acknowledged falsehoods, may your limits, I am the better pleased at upon this principle be established, as feeling it unnecessary to apologize to far as any thing could be said to be Dr Coplestone, for the liberty I have established in the mental chaos that taken in offering these remarks upon must ensue.
his work. To suppose the learned and With the theological consequences reverend Inquirer less aware than my. resulting, or supposed to result, from self of the importance of free discussion the doctrine of Philosophical Necessi- to the interests of truth, would be the ty, I have already said that I shall not height of arrogance. To imagine for meddle. It may be permitted me, a moment that the support of a set of perhaps, to express my opinion that, doctrines, rather than the furtherance with respect to many of those alleged of general knowledge, was the object consequences, the two doctrines of of his pen, would be worse. Free-will and Necessity do not differ
I am, &c. so much as is commonly supposed.
SONG, BY MORGAN O'DOHERTY,
On being asked who wrote “ The Groves of Blarney.”
'Who'-ask ye! No matter. This tongue shall not tell,
O’er the board of oblivion the name of the bard ;
That sheds on the perish'd their only reward.
No, no ! look abroad, Sir, the last of October ;
In the pages of Blackwood that name shall be writ,
Was not more than his match, in wine, wisdom, or wit.
Ye Dowdens and Jenningses, wits of Cork city,
Though mighty the heroes that chime in your song,
Ye forget the great poet of Blarney so long.
I mean not the second, O'Fogarty hight,
Who can speak for himself, from his own native Helicon,
(Be it said with due deference,)-honest Dick Millikin.
Then fill up, to his mem'ry, a bumper, my boys,
'Twill cheer his sad ghost, as it toddles along
That were dear upon earth to this step-son of song.
When the goblets all ring with “ Och honė, Ullagone !"
To the name of a minstrel so sweet, so unknown.