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heart," did not Dr. Tyler meet our arguments on this point, as these are founded on the usage of terms, the only criterion in such a case? But Dr. Tyler has stated one objection to this distinction.
Every voluntary act necessarily implies intelligence.
There can be no volition without motive; no act of choice without some object perceived by the mind; and to talk of volitions abstracted from intelligence, is as irrational, as it would be to talk of volitions in stones or in trees. There appears therefore to be no ground for the distinction made by the reviewer, between the popular and theological import of the terma regeneration. p. 13.
Dr. Tyler here admits, in the fullest manner, the comprehensire import of the term in question. He also states expressly elsewhere, that “ love to God, repentance, etc., are complex acts of the mind.” p. 13. Our error, therefore, if there is one, must lie in supposing that theologians have ever considered them as simple acts—have ever restricted the term regeneration to a change in the will or affections, as distinguished from the attendant acts of the intellect. Now Dr. Griffin, in the very passage quoted by Dr. Tyler, says, “ holiness is a simple principle first introduced in regeneration." Lect. p. 126. Dr. Strong says of regeneration," the heart, or the will and affections, are the seat of this change.” Serm. vol.I.p.167. Love and hatred he makes simple acts of the will. “Choosing a truth or object is loving it, rejecting is hating it.” vol. I. p.103. Dr. Hopkins says, “It must also be observed and kept in mind, that sin, as does holiness, consists in the motions or exercises of the heart or will, and in NOTHING else.” Syst. vol. I. p. 344. Dr. Tyler himself says, “ If the sinner is able to do his duty, he is able immediately to love God. But it is said, the act of giving the heart to God, is an intelligent act. Granted. So is every voluntary act. And has not the sinner sufficient knowledge to render him capable of loving God?” p. 26. Here it is obvious Dr. Tyler distinguishes “the act of giving the heart to God, or · loving God' from the knowledge which “renders him capable of loving God.” Does the phrase “ loving God,” or “the act of giving the heart to God," denote in such a case, “a complex act;" or simply
" the act of the will or heart?
Dr. Tyler's own “Strictures," therefore, furnish us with an example of the distinction which he condemns. When he speaks of love, as a “complex act,” he uses the term love in its comprehensive sense. When he distinguishes it from “knowledge,” he uses the term in its restricted, theological sense, to denote a simple act of the will or affections. Let him apply this distinction to the commencement of holiness in the soul, and he will have our distinction between the comprehensive and restricted sense of regeneration.
Be it so.
If any farther justification of this distinction were necessary, we might again appeal to scriptural authority. We will only refer to a passage already cited. “I thought on my ways, and turned my feet to thy testimonies." We ask if the act or acts of thought, are not here distinguished from the act of turning to the divine testimonies ? But says Dr. Tyler, a sinner “may think on his ways with self-loathing and godly sorrow."
But can the sinner feel godly sorrow, without first, in the order of nature, thinking on his ways? and is this thinking, the same thing with the feeling, which follows it? or are the two acts distinguished, in this language of the Psalmist? But “this thoughtfulness,” says Dr. Tyler, “denotes a right or wrong state of the heart.” Of course the sinner, in his first act of turning from his wicked ways, does it by thinking on them either with a right state of heart, which Dr. Tyler denjes; or by thinking on them with a wrong state of heart, which he also denies; or by not thinking on them at all, which he also denies; or by thinking on them, as we affirm he does, under the simple impulse of a desire of happiness. Dr. Tyler can now tell us in which
this is done. At all events, we are fully justified, not only by the usage of Dr. Tyler himself, but by that of Dr. Hopkins, Dr. Strong, Dr. Griffin, and we might add Dr. Dwight, and
many others, in attaching a restricted sense to such terms as love, faith, repentance, regeneration, etc., in addition to the comprehensive one as given by Dr. Tyler.
3. We now pass to consider a third charge of erroneous phraseology, viz. with respect to the term selfishness. “According to him," (the reviewer,) says Dr. Tyler, “selfishness consists in the active love of the world, or in preferring the world to God, as our portion or chief good. This is the sense in which he invariably uses the term, throughout the discussion.” “But,” he adds, cannot selfishness look beyond this world ? May not a person desire exemption from future evil and the possession of future good, from selfish motives?" p. 14. This statement respecting our use of the word in question, we are compelled to say, is not correct. In opening the discussion, we made a distinction between self-love and selfishness; and with the formality of definition, described the latter in the broadest terms, as being “the preference of some other object, to the general good.” p. 20. In this sense, therefore, we had a right to expect our readers to understand that term, “throughout the discussion.” Having occasion to employ some single word to describe all the objects of selfish desire, we made use of the term “world,” as the most general and appropriate. But, in doing this, we were careful to show that we used the term in its broadest sense, to describe every object, which could come into competition with God. In a second description of selfishness,
we therefore said, “ the object of this principle or purpose is complex, comprizing all that we include under the term world ; ALL that from which man is capable of deriving happiness, and which can come into competition, as an object of affection, with his Maker.” p. 23. Certainly we had a right to expect our use of the term “world,” to be understood according to this our express definition. It has the sanction of scriptural authority. . “To keep himself unspotted from the world,” is an apostle's description of moral purity; and Dr. Tyler himself tells us, that it is not “this world” alone, which may furnish an occasion of sin.* Our Savior likewise, in describing the two great objects of supreme affection among men—the “two masters” which divide the hearts of our whole race-represents them to be “God and Mammon;" and who will charge him with an error in the use of terms, in thus extending the word riches to embrace all the objects of selfish desire ? So far were we, indeed, from maintaining, as Dr. Tyler represents us, that the sinner cannot desire exemption from future evil and the possession of future good, from selfish motives, that we expressly declared this to be a frequent fact. Speaking of men in certain circumstances, we said, “With what fervor of supplication can the sinner now seek deliverance from the wrath to come! We have no doubt that such views and such desires have prompted many a sinner, even with cries and tears, to adopt what he regards as the necessary means of averting a doom, so dreadful as that which awaits
." p. 29. Of these desires, we added, “ they are as selfish as any the human heart can harbor.” And yet Dr. Tyler represents us as “invariably” giving to the term selfishness a restricted signification; when in fact it appears from our repeated definitions, and express assertions, that we never used it in that sense at all. It would be mere affectation for us to say, that we do not suspect Dr. Tyler of designing to misstate our language. But such an error, under such circumstances, may serve perhaps to show, that, if he misconceives and misrepresents our reasoning, on subjects of far greater moment, the fault does not lie wholly on our side.
HI. We come now to the turning point of the whole discussion; we mean the distinction between self-love and selfishness. On the authority of Dugald Stewart, we used the term self-love, to denote the simple desire of happiness. In this sense it is employed by Dr. Griffin, and many other divines. “ Mere self-love is only the love of happiness, and aversion to misery; and so far from being sinful, is an essential attribute of a rational and even a sensitive nature.”+ This feeling we represented as lying at the foundation of every motive; as “the primary cause or reason of all acts of preference or choice, which fix supremely on any object.” On the ground of this statement, Dr. Tyler represents us as maintaining, that “ self-love, or the desire of one's happiness, is the controlling principle, by which every moral being is influenced.” p. 19. Now we expressly guarded against any such construction of our language. We went on to say, that “whenever we fix on the object self-love primarily prompts to the choice, not determines it.” p. 22. Could any language more strongly affirm, that it is not a controlling principle? Dr. Tyler represents us as teaching that self-love is a moral affection. Now we explicitly declared, that every thing of a moral nature lies in the will; and that self-love “ exists prior to the act of the will, by which (act) we fix our affections on any object as our chief good.” p. 22. How then has Dr. Tyler been led into so absolute a misstatement of our doctrine, on this important point? Obviously by confounding the primary cause or reason” of a thing, with a controlling or governing moral principle. The governing principle of Adam before the fall, was holy. What then, we ask, was the "primary cause or reason” of his first act of sin ? Not his governing principle, surely; for this could prompt him only to holiness. The two things are therefore totally distinct. By confounding them, Dr. Tyler was led to deny, that any act could be performed except from a holy or a sinful motive; and thus to exclude sinners from all using of the means of grace, and to shut them up within a triplet of physical impossibilities, as to ever doing their duty. If Dr. Tyler thus confounds things which are totally diverse in their nature, he, at least, ought not to represent us as doing so, when we had expressly said of this “primary cause or reason," it simply "prompts to choice, nor determines it.
* Other instances may be found, in James iv. 4. 1 John xi. 15–17. t Park-street Lecture, 3d ed. p.
Dr. Tyler also represents us as maintaining that " self-love is a supreme affection.” p. 20. The word “supreme” is a term of comparison, and presupposes a competition between two or more objects. But what competition can exist between the desire of happiness, and any other affection of the human heart? Does love to God and the general good, require any sacrifice of man's real happiness? It is not the highest enjoyment of the renewed soul; and does not every sacrifice for their sake, bring with it an ample recompense, even in this life, and “in the world to come, life everlasting ?” It was impossible for us, then, on the principles which we laid down, to consider the mere desire of happiness, as a supreme affection. It would be making it come into competition with itself, in the very exercise of affections to which it prompts. We stated it to be an essential attribute of our being ; which like animal life, pervades every thing, and comes into competition with nothing. As well might Dr. Tyler now say, that we represent human life to be supreme action, as the desire of happiness to be “a supreme affection."
It is not then, merely as a being who desires happiness, that man is either sinful or holy : It is when different objects, which may minister to this desire, are brought into competition with each other, and when he is called upon to choose, and when he does choose, between them. When God and the general good on the one hand, and some inferior opposing object on the other, are thus presented to our choice, the preference, or love of the former, is holiness; of the latter, is selfishness or sin. Selfishness therefore differs from self-love, not in degree merely, but in kind. The latter we described, as an original impulse of our nature, which fixes on no definite external object; the former as an act of the will—a selection and preference of some object, to the exclusion of all that can stand in competition with it.
Why then is the term selfishness applied rather to the choice of a limited, than of a general good, if both may minister to self-love, or a desire of happiness? Because he who loves supremely an inferior or limited object, does it to the exclusion of a greater good. He arrays his happiness, as found in that limited object, against the happiness of the universe. He magnifies self, at the expense of every other interest. We therefore call him selfish. He does it without the least necessity; and even sacrifices, in doing it, a much higher happiness, which he might have found in coincidence with that of others. From the very constitution of his nature, the perfection of man in character, as well as happiness, will forever lie in promoting the happiness of others.
These observations show us, why the expressions, “ a desire of one's own happiness," “ his own private interest,” “his own individual gratification,” etc., are so generally used to denote a selfish state of mind. The terms “own,” “private," " individual,” etc., in such cases, are contrasted with “other,” “ general,” “public;" and show that the happiness in question, is sought in opposition to the happiness of other beings. But Dr. Tyler perpetually confounds these expressions, and makes them synonymous with the phrase “a desire of happiness.” He even reasons from our statemenis, as though we also had confounded them; and thus throws a cloud over the distinction, which we had clearly traced between self-love and selfishness. As a single instance, we may take the following. “ Now if a person's own happiness is the ultimate end of pursuit—he is influenced by the selfish principle; and if this is the ultimate end of all moral beings, as the reviewer contends, I see not but every moral being in the universe is supremely selfish.” p. 21. “ As the reviewer contends?” No. As Dr. Tyler alters our statement, by inserting a word which arrays “the happiness of the agent" (the reviewer's expression) in opposition to the happiness of VOL. II.