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mediately previous to the actions which are called voluntary ; but that state is not induced by the mind itself, but by objects operating upon it. The circumstances in which a percipient being is placed excite sensations, and sensations ideas. Sensations and ideas induce that peculiar condition of the mind which is termed pleasurable, or its opposite which is termed painful: the feeling of pleasure excites desire ; that of pain aversion: will is the result of this state of the mind. Prove to the mind that an object is desirable, that is, that it will induce pleasure, and you immediately excite in it the volition to possess it: prove to it that an object will occasion pain and you excite the volition to avoid it. Volition then, it is manifest, depends on the object, whatever it be, which the mind contemplates as desirable or otherwise. Take away the object, there is no volition ; satisfy it that the object can affect it neither with pleasure nor pain, there is no volition. So that volition does not spring up in the mind of its own accord, and without cause, but is entirely dependent upon
be for Jesus Christ, during his adoption of human nature, with its temptations and infirmities; or, to go no farther, as it appears to be for good men when they approach the termination of their course, after a long perseverance in the habit and practice of virtue.” Treatise on the Records of the Creation By John Bird Sumner, M. A., Vol. II. p. 228.
objects perceived to be, or supposed to be, desi. rable. In a word, and to repeat what has already been said, sensations and ideas are attended with the feelings of pleasure or of pain : these induce desire or aversion, and these volition, with as much certainty and steadiness as the law of gravitation produces the phenomena which are dependent upon it.*
. Volition being thus dependent on the circumstances in which an individual is placed, any given volition may be excited in him by a certain modification of his circumstances. We find that the tempers of different men are infinitely various; the Deity has made a corresponding variety in the situations in which he has placed them. To every individual he has assigned his allotted work : to every intelligent and moral agent he has given a certain part of his adminis. tration to carry on, and in order to qualify him for it, he has adjusted to the particular constitution of his nature, every circumstance of his being, from the first instant of his existence to that which terminates his earthly career.
• This is merely an attempt to explain the manner in which volition arises : there can be no doubt that the will is invariably determined by the greater apparent good : or to state the fact more generally, the will is invariably determined by motive, and with a steadiness and strength always in proportion to the uniformity and vigor of the motive.
what is termed his natural disposition be such, as would seem to render him incapable of performing it, the situation in which he is placed is adapted to it, and is such as to excite, to repress or to modify it, till it becomes exactly what is necessary to fit him for his work; so that every individual is strictly an instrument raised up and qualified by God to carry on the wise and benevolent purposes of his government.
Suppose it is his will to lead men to the discovery of the most interesting truths respecting the phenomena of nature, and the laws by which the universe is governed; he endows an indivi
l; dual with a clear and capacious mind; he places him in circumstances favorable to the development of his intellectual faculties; he leads him to observe, to reflect, to investigate; he forms him to those habits of patient and profound inquiry which are necessary to elicit the truths to be disclosed, and sufficient to secure him from every temptation to carelessness and dissipation: he raises up a Newton. Suppose after having for wise, though perhaps inscrutable reasons, permitted the most low and degrading notions to prevail respecting his own character, government and worship, he determines to lead back the minds of men to purer and nobler sentiments, and to overthrow those corrupt systems of religion which have prevailed for
ages, and in the support of which the passions and interests of men are now engaged, he raises up an individual. whose mind he enlightens ; wliose soul he fills with an ardent zeal for the purity of religion and the simplicity of its rites; whose spirit danger does but excite and suffering cannot subdue; who, though cities and empires arm against him, and one general cry of execration and menace follow him from land to land, goes on with undaunted courage to expose abuses, and to call in a louder and louder voice for reformation : it is the voice of a LUTHER which makes Corruption rage, and Superstition tremble. Suppose it is his will to save a people in love with liberty, and worthy because capable of enjoying it, from oppression, and to exhibit to the world an example of what the weak who are virtuous and united, may effect against the strong who are corrupt and tyrannical : in the very season when he is needed he forms, and in the very station where his presence is necessary he places, a WASHINGTON. And suppose
it is his will to pour the balm of consolation into the wounded heart, to visit the captive with solace, to extend mercy to the poor prisoner, to admit into his noisome cell the cheering beams of his sun, and his refreshing breezes, he breathes the genuine spirit of philanthropy into some chosen bosom ; he superadds an energy which neither
the frown of power, nor the menace of interest, nor the scorn of indifference can abate, which exhibits so strongly to the view of men the horrors of the dungeon, as to force them to suspend for a while their business and their pleasures ; to feel for the sufferings of others, and to learn the great lessons, that the guilty are still their brethren ; that it is better to reclaim than to destroy ; that the punishment which is excessive is immoral; that that which does not aim to reform is unjust, and that which does not actually do so, unwise: he gives to a suffering world the angel-spirit of a HOWARD.
The bodily frame and the natural temper of an individual may seem, as has already been observed, ill adapted to execute the work which the Deity has determined to perform by him : yet no force is employed to induce him to do it, He is not compelled to act against his volition, but the circumstances in which he is placed are so adapted to his corporeal, his mental and his moral constitution, as to excite the requisite volition. Suppose his bodily frame is weak; his temper irritable ; his mind bold, impetuous and rash: the part assigned him in the great drama of life requires uncommon bodily ex. ertion: he must face the storm; he must endure the extremes of heat and cold; often he must lie unpillowed and unsheltered ; his fatigue