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unable to love an infinitely holy Being, or to chuse and cleave to him as his chief Good.
Here it may be of Use to observe this Distinction of moral Inability, viz. of that which is general and habitual, and that which is particular and occafional. By a general and babitual moral Inability, I mean an Inability in the Heart to all Exercises or Acts of Will of that Nature or Kind, through a fix'd and habitual Inclination, or an habitual and stated Defect, or Want of a certain Kind of Inclination. Thus a very ill-natur'd Man may be unable to exert such Acts of Benevolence, as another, who is full of good Nature, commonly exerts; and a Man, whose Heart is habis tually void of Gratitude, may be unable to exert such and such grateful Acts, through that stated Defect of a graceful Inclination. By particular and occasional moral Inability, I mean an Inability of the Will or Heart to a particular Act, through the Strength or Defect of present Motives, or of Inducements presented to the View of the Understanding, on this Occasion.—-If it be so, that the Will is always determined by the strongest Motive, then it must always have an Inability, in this latter Sense, to act otherwise than it does; it not being posible, in any case, that the Will should, at present, go against the Motive which has now, all Things considered, the greatest Strength and Advantage to excite and induce it.The former of these kinds of moral Inability, consisting in that which is stated habitual and general, is most commonly called by the Name of Inability ; because the Word Inability, in its most proper and original Signification, has Respect to some stated Defekt. And this especially obtains the Name of Inability also upon another Account: I before observed, that the Word Inability in its original and most common Use, is a relative
Term; and has Respect to Will and Endeavour, as supposable in the Case, and as insufficient to bring to pass the Thing desired and endeavoured. Now there may be more of an Appearance and Shadow of this, with Respect to the Acts which arise from a fix'd and strong Habit, than others that arise only from transient Occasions and Causes. Indeed Will and Endeavour against, or diverse from present Acts of the Will, are in no Case supposable, whether those Acts be occasional or habitual; for that would be to suppose the Will, at present, to be otherwise than, at present, it is. But yet there may be Will and Endeavour against future Acts of the Will, or Volitions that are likely to take place, as view'd at a Distance. 'Tis no Contradiction, to suppose that the Acts of the Will at one Time, may be against the Acts of the Will at another Time; and there may be Desires and Endeavours to prevent or excite future Acts of the Will; But such Desires and Endeavours are, in many Cafes, rendered insufficient and vain, through Fixedness of Habit: When the Occasion returns, the Strength of Habit overcomes, and balfes all such Opposition. In this Respect, à Man may be in miserable Slavery and Bondage to a strong Habit. But it may be comparatively easy to make an Alteration with Respect to such future Acts, as are only occasional and transient; because the Occasion or transient Cause, if foreseen, may often easily be prevented or avoided. On this Account, the moral Inability that attends fix'd Habits, especially obtains the Name of !nability. And then, as the Will may remotely and indirectly resist itself, and do it in vain, in the Case of strong Habits ; fo Reason may resist present Acts of the Will, and its Resistance be insufficient; and this is more commonly the Case also, when the Acts arise from strong Habic.
But it must be observed concerning moral Inability, in each Kind of it, that the Word Inability is used in a Sense very diverse from its original Import. The Word signifies only a naturai Inability, in the proper Use of it; and is applied to such Cases only wherein a present Will or Inclination to the Thing, with Respect to which a Person is said to be unable, is supposable. It can't be truly said, according to the ordinary Ule of Language, that a malicious Man, let him be ever so malicious, can't hold his Hand from striking, or that he is not able to shew his Neighbour Kindness; or that a Drunkard, let his Appetite be ever so strong, can't keep the Cup from his Mouth. In the strictest Propriety of Speech, a Man has a Thing in his Power, if he has it in his Choice, or at his Election : And a Man can't be truly said to be unable to do a Thing, when he can do it if he will. 'Tis improperly said, that a Person can't perform those external Actions, which are dependent on the Act of the Will, and which would be easily performed, if the Act of the Will was present. And if it be improperly said, that he cannot perform those external voluntary Actions, which depend on the Will, 'cis in fome Refpect more improperly said, that he is unable to exert the Acts of the Will themselves; because it is more evidently false, with Respect to these, that he can't if he will : For to say fo, is a down-right Contradiction : It is to say, he can't will, it he does will. And in this case, not only is it true, that it is easy for a Man to do the Thing if he will, but the very willing is the doing; when once he has will'd, the Thing is performed; and nothing else remains to be done. Therefore, in these Things to ascribe a Non-performance to the Want of Power or Ability, is not just; because the Thing wanting is not a being cble, but a bring
can do it ito be unabection : As
aid, that a
wow pendent on the hole external
willing. There are Faculties of Mind, and Capacity of Nature, and every Thing else, fufficient, but a Disposition; Nothing is wanting but a Will.
SECTION V. Concerning the Notion of Liberty, and of moral
THE plain and obvious Meaning of the
| Words Freedom and Liberty, in common Speech, is Power, Opportunity, or Advantage, that any one bas, to do as be pleases. Or in other Words, his being free from Hindrance or Impediment in the Way of doing, or conducting in any Respect, as he wills. * And the contrary to Liberty, whatever Namę we call that by, is a Person's being hinder'd or unable to conduct as he will, or being necessitated to do otherwise.
If this which I have mentioned be the Meaning of the Word Liberty, in the ordinary Use of Language; as I trust that none that has ever learn'd to talk, and is unprejudiced, will deny; then it will follow, that in Propriety of Speech, neither Liberty, nor its contrary, can properly be ascrie bed to any Being or Thing, but that which has such a Faculty, Power or Property, as is called Will. For that which is poffefsed of no such Thing as Will, can't have any Power or Opportu. nity of doing according to its Will, nor be necessitated to act contrary to its Will, nor be restrained from acting agreeably to it. And therefore to talk
* I say not only doing, but conducting ; because a voluntary forbearing to do, fitting still, keeping Silence, &c. are Inftances of Perlons Conduci, about which Liberty is exercised ; mo' they are not so properly called doing.
of Liberty, or the contrary, as belonging to the very Will itself, is not to speak good Sense; if we judge of Sense, and Nonsense, by the original and proper Signification of Words. For the Will it. self is not an Agent that has a Will: The Power of chusing, itself, has not a Power of chusing, That which has the Power of Volition or Choice is the Man or the Soul, and not the Power of Volition itself. And he that has the Liberty of doing according to his Will, is the Agent or Doer who is possessed of the Will; and not the Will which he is possessed of. We say with Propriety, that a Bird let loose has Power and Liberty to fly; but not that the Bird's Power of flying has a Power and Liberty of flying. To be free is the Property of an Agent, who is possessed of Powers and Faculties, as much as to be cunning, valiant, bountiful, or zealous. But these Qualities are the Properties of Men or Persons; and not the Properties of Properties.
There are two Things that are contrary to this which is called Liberty in common Speech. One is Constraint; the same is otherwise called Force, Compulsicn, and Coa£tion ; which is a Person's being necessitated to do a Thing contrary to his Will. The other is Restraint; which is his being hindred, and not having Power to do according to his Will. But that which has no Will, can't be the Subject of these Things. — I need say the less on this Head, Mr. Locke having see the fame Thing forth, with so great Clearness, in his Efay on the human Understanding
But one Thing more I would observe concerna ing what is vulgarly called Liberty ; namely, that Power and Opportunity for one to do and conduct as he will, or according to his Choice, is all that is meant by it; without taking into the Meaning