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ART. VIII.-FREE WILL AND PROVIDENCE.

Although we cannot hope to throw new light upon a point which has been so much handled as Free Will, we yet think it worth while to present a view of it which is not in these times often met with in print. The hard points in this matter, are, it is known, two: first, how can the co-operation of Free Will and the force of motives be explained? and second, how can Free Will and the particular Providence of God be reconciled?

Upon the first point, few words are needed; we know that we live, are what and whom we are, and in truth know

everything-by consciousness; we, therefore, need not reason upon this point, nor try to show that Free Will may exist with motives,—it is enough, that if we know we act at all, we know by the same proof, that we act freely. Some opponents of Free Will, tell us that such a thing cannot be, because we are governed by the strongest motive; this means nothing, for we can know which is the strongest motive only by the fact, that it does govern;—and the true question is, why does one motive govern rather another? Though we dare not hope to make clear this cloudy peak in the metaphysic range, we would suggest this,—that Free Will does not so much alter the weight of motives, as direct the attention of the soul to this or that one, thus guiding it by the law, that it can be filled with but one thing at a time.

Taking it, then, as proved by consciousness, not logic, that we have Free Will, we wish to show how its exertion and proper influence agrees with the ceaseless influence of the Deity.

The use of Free Will by any man produces two effects; one upon himself, by giving new strength to Passion or Principle, as it may favor one or the other;—the other upon things without him, thereby acting upon others, or through the medium of circumstances back upon himself:—for instance, one robs another of all he has; the robber produces herein two effects, one upon himself, by giving loose to his evil propensity, which effect is certain and independent of all outward results; -the other upon the person robbed, who may thereby be driven to crime, and also upon himself, exiling him, it may be, from his country, or leading him to new guilt;this second set of effects, it will be seen, are not, like the former, the sure result of the man's Free Will; they may, or may not come, as the character of the robbed, the state of the laws, and

other circumstances may determine. in this distinction of results we think may be found whai we seek for. A man's character is formed by the circumstances about him, and by his use of those circumstances. Now, his Free Will is never the sole determiner of the former, the country and age he lives in, affect them; but in the choice between right and wrong, his Will and nothing else acts. In the circumstances of life, then, we see always God's hand; in the certain, and immediate influence of choice over our own souls, are we alone free agents. But God, being Omniscient, and thereby knowing how, under given circumstances we shall act,--(for if you say he cannot foreknow the course of Free Will, you merely deny him Omniscience, measuring his infinitude by your infinitely finite conception,) --God, we say, knowing how man will act under given circumstances, has so placed all things as to make man's free will work out what He wills,—with the same certainty, and on the same principle, that man, knowing how steam will act under given conditions, plans his machinery to bring about what result he desires. Thus does God make man, as well as inanimate nature, his agent to place around others and himself, those circumstances through which He would educate them, leaving him, however, the sole choice among these circumstances, and therein mainly the fate and formation of his own character. We say "educate," for it is strictly education; what does the parent do to educate, but place around his child those circumstances which he thinks best fitted to aid him onward? and this God does, acting, however, with infinite wisdom and love, and moreover doing what the human parent can seldom do, making the child an agent to produce what He desires. Suppose the human parent to know what his child will do under certain circumstances,—for instance, rob an orchard,—he may so arrange other circumstances as to bring about a desired result from this action, which springs from the child's free will,--for instance, he may put a dose of physic into the apples of the orchard, thereby influencing his child through his own act;* making him the agent to punish and reform himself:—and this without touching the free will of the child.-Free Will is not freedom from motives, but a power of choosing between them:-and its effect is, upon the actor's character, independent; upon things without, dependent, and governed by God. But here, it may be said, comes this difficulty.-If we can, but as agents only, affect outer things, we have no motive for action. We answer, you

* We select this homely instance because we have known the thing done.

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act independently, upon your own self, and you act by choosing this or that course of outward action; you therefore cannot but act, unless you think it right to lie ever idle:--and the germ of all morality and wisdom is this, Act always with reference not to outward, but inward results, in other words, obey the rule of right. Your idea of right may be varied by what will, in accordance with some natural law, be the result of a certain course of action; but never will you seek to bring about some outer good, unless it be approved by your sense of right, and of course tending with certainty to your good within. Here, we repeat, lies the germ of wisdom and morals; this is that true faith which doeth right, leaving the issue with God; which planteth and watereth, knowing that if it be well, He will give the increase.

That the outward result of an exertion of Free Will depends on other things than the Free Will; and that under some conditions, an act of Free Will will produce one result, and under other conditions, another--all men see.-All feel, moreover, that it cannot be that I, a poor and ignorant man, can sway the fate of this, that and the other of my fellow beings, except as an agent; for if I can, then they suiler without regard to deserts. I am then a free agent only inasfar as the exercise of my will immediately affects my character; the moment you go beyond this immediate, inevitable influence, you find me an actor of God's will; you find Him using my will to bring forth that which He desires.

And let it not be said that, viewing the subject as we do, the generous motive of acting for others' good is taken away, because we are not free agents in the matter; for although we cannot shield our brother from what woe and temptation God wills he would be tried with, nor give him one thrill of joy beyond his due,-yet does it rest with us, and us only, whether we shall be the messengers of joy or woe, reward or punishment.

We give to others, and we receive from others, “under God." -We are punished by being his ministers of wrath, and rewarded by going forth from Him on errands of mercy. Napoleon then, erred not widely when he said he was the child of destiny,” for he was the minister of God, doomed to work evil, because himself evil. In the same sense are we all children of destiny.

There is but the poetry of truth in the strong words of Everett applied to Alaric,

“Not for myself did I ascend

In judgment, my triumphal car;
'Twas God alone on high did send

Th’avenging Scythian to the war,
To shake abroad with iron hand,

The appointed scourge of his command.”

Nor less true the words of England's great philosopher and bard,*

"He guides the Pestilence—the cloud
Of locusts travels on His breath;

The region that in hope was ploughed
His drought consumes, His mildew taints with death.

He springs the hushed volcano's mine;
He puts the earthquake on her still design;
Darkens the sun, and bids the forest sink.-

But His most dreaded instrument,
In working out a pure interest,
Is man_3

Nor yet those others, so different,

66% Tis nature's law,
That none, the meanest of created things,
Of form created the most vile and brute,
The dullest or most noxious, should exist
Divorced from good"

The highest are but God's ministers, and as such and not for themselves should they be bowed to, and the meanest are above contempt, for they likewise do their Father's will.

J. H. P.

Art. IX.-AN ANCIENT PARABLE AND A MODERN FACT.

BY J, F. CLARKE, LOUISVILLE, KY,

The Parable.—“And he spoke this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others."

“Two men went up into the Temple to pray.” The Fact.-It was Sacrament Sunday in the Presbyterian

* Wordsworth.

church, in Louisville, Ky., and the two churches met in one building to eat bread with Jesus.

THE PARABLE.—“The one a Pharisee."

The Fact.—The chief priests, elders, scribes, &c. of that denomination were assembled together.

THE PARABLE.—“And the other a Publican."

The Fact.-And behold there were two females, members of the Unitarian church, who heard that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, and came in to see their master, and stood behind him, weeping. Presently they heard the following liberal invitation: Christians of every denomination are invited to partake with us of the Lord's Supper." They joyfully tarried, and no exceptions being made, prepared to join in the feast to which the pastor had so freely invited them.

THE PARABLE.—“The Pharisee stood by himself—"

The Fact.-Directions were given to the church to go by themselves into the body pews, and leave the side pews for the sinners and the world.

THE PARABLE.—“And prayed thus: God, I thank thee that I am not as other other men are-extortioners, unjust, adulte

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rers

The Fact.--The prayers really offered, probably did not vary much from those common on such occasions. If so, God was thanked because they were the elect, chosen, called, redeemed, sanctified, and saved—and not like the world's people, going to dances, and theatres, &c.

THE PARABLE.-_66Or even as this Publican."

The Fact.— The elements were given to the Elder. One of his church pointed out to him these two Unitarians, and told him that they were communicants, and asked him to hand them the bread and wine. He made this answer—THEY ARE NO CHRISTIANS,—and passed them by.

THE PARABLE.—“I fast twice in a week, I give tithes of all that I possess.”

The Fact.—This Elder was probably a subscriber to Missionary Societies, and Tract Societies, and Bible Societiesand was no doubt very constant at all prayer meetings, and protracted services.

THE PARABLE.—“And the Publican, standing afar off—”

The Fact.—As all the uppermost seats in the synagogue had been filled up, the two females contented themselves with. a seat in the space allotted to the sinners and worldlings. THE PARABLE.--"Would not lift

much as his heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying: God be merciful to me a sinner!"

up so

eyes unto

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