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want or non-existence of that thing. So in every act of refusal, the mind chooses the absence of the thing refused ; the positive and the negative are set before the mind for its choice, and it chooses the negative ; and the mind's making its choice in that case is properly the act of the Will: the Will's determining between the two, is a voluntary determination; but that is the same thing as making a choice. So that by whatever names we call the act of the Will, choosing, refusing, approving, disapproving, liking, disliking, embracing, rejecting, determining, directing, commanding, forbidding, inclining or being averse, being pleased or displeased with ; all may be reduced to this of choosing. For the soul to act voluntarily, is evermore to act electively.
Mr. Locke* says, “ The Will signifies nothing but a power or ability to prefer or choose.” And, in the foregoing page, he says, “ The word preferring seems best to express the act of volition;" but adds, that " it does it not precisely; for, though a man would prefer flying to walking, yet who can say he ever wills it ?" But the instance he mentions, does not prove that there is any thing else in willing, but merely preferring : for it should be considered what is the immediate object of the Will, with respect to a man's walking, or any other external action ; which is not being removed from one place to another; on the earth, or through the air ; these are remoter objects of preference; but such or such an immediate exertion of himself. The thing next chosen, or preferred, when a man wills to walk, is not his being removed to such a place where he would be, but such an exertion and motion of his legs and feet, &c. in order to it. And his willing such an alteration in his body in the present moment, is nothing else but his choosing or preferring such an alteration in his body at such a moment, or his liking it better than the forbearance of it. And God has so made and established the human nature, the soul being united to a body in proper state, that the soul preferring or choosing such an immediate exertion or alteration of the body, such an alteration instantaneously follows. There is nothing else in the actions of my mind, that I am conscious of while I walk, but only my preferring or choosing, through successive moments, that there should be such alterations of my external sensations and motions; together with a concurring habitual expectation that it will be so ; having ever found by experience, that on such an immediate preference, such sensations and motions do actually, instantaneously, and constantly arise. But it is not so in the case of flying: though a man may be said remotely to choose or prefer flying: yet he does not prefer, or desire, under circumstances in view, any immediate exertion of the members of his body in order to it; because he has no expectation that he should obtain the desired end by any such exertion; and he does not prefer, or incline to, any bodily exertion, under this apprehended circumstance, of its being wholly in vain. So that if we carefully distinguish the proper objects of the several acts of the Will, it will not appear by this, and such like instances, that there is any difference between volition and preference; or that a man's choosing, liking best, or being best pleased with a thing, are not the same with his willing that thing Thus an act of the Will is commonly expressed by its pleasing a man to do thus or thus; and a man doing as he wills, and doing as he pleases, are in common speech the same thing.
* Human Understanding. Edit. 7. vol. i. p. 197.
Mr. Locke* says, “ The Will is perfectly distinguished from Desire ; which in the very same action may have a quite contrary tendency from that which our Wills set us upon. A man, says he, whom I cannot deny, may oblige me to use persuasions to another, which, at the same time I am speaking, I may wish may not prevail on him. In this case, it is plain the Will and Desire run counter." I do not suppose, that Will and Desire are words of precisely the same signification: Will seems to be a word of a more general signification, extending to things present and absent. Desire respects something absent. I may prefer my present situation and posture, suppose sitting still, or having my eyes open, and so may will it. But yet I cannot think they are so entirely distinct, that they can ever be properly said to run counter. A man never, in any instance, wills any thing contrary to his desires, or desires any thing contrary to his Will. The forementioned instance, which Mr. Locke produces, is no proof that he ever does. He may, on some consideration or other will to utter speeches which have a tendency to persuade another, and still may desire that they may not persuade him ; but yet his Will and Desire do not run counter at all : the thing which he wills, the very same he desires ; and he does not will a thing, and desire the contrary, in any particular. In this instance, it is not carefully observed, what is the thing willed, and what is the thing desired : if it were, it would be found, that Will and Desire do not clash in the least. The thing willed on some consideration, is to utter such words; and certainly, the same consideration so influences him, that he does not desire the contrary; all things considered, he chooses to utter such words, and does not desire not to utter them. And so as to the thing which Mr. Locke speaks of as desired, viz. That the words, though they tend to persuade,
should not be effectual to that end, his Will is not contrary to this; he does not will that they should be effectual, but rather wills that they should not, as he desires. In order to prove that the Will and Desire may run counter, it should be shown that they may be contrary one to the other in the same thing, or with respect to the very same object of Will or desire : but here the objects are two ; and in each, taken by themselves, the Will and Desire agree. And it is no wonder that they should not agree in different things, though but little distinguished in their nature. The Will may not agree with the Will, nor Desire agree with Desire, in different things. As in this very instance which Mr. Locke mentions, a person may, on some consideration, desire to use persuasions, and at the same time may desire they may not prevail ; but yet no body will
say, that Desire runs counter to Desire; or that this proves that Desire is perfectly a distinct thing from Desire.--The like might be observed of the other instance Mr. Locke produces, of a man's desiring to be eased of pain, &c.
But, not to dwell any longer on this, whether Desire and Will, and whether Preference and Volition be precisely the same things, I trust it will be allowed by all, that in every act of will there is an act of choice ; that in every volition there is a preference, or a prevailing inclination of the soul, whereby, at that instant, it is out of a state of perfect indifference, with respect to the direct object of the volition. So that in every act, or going forth of the Will, there is some preponderation of the mind, one way rather than another; and the soul had rather have or do one thing, than another, or than not to have or do that thing ; and that where there is absolutely no preferring or choosing, but a perfect, continuing equilibrium, there is no volition.
Concerning the Determination of the Will. By determining the Will, if the phrase be used with any meaning, must be intended, causing that the act of the Will or Choice should be thus, and not otherwise: and the Will is said to be determined, when, in consequence of some action, or influence, its choice is directed to, and fixed upon a particular object. As when we speak of the determination of mo. tion, we mean causing the motion of the body to be in such a direction, rather than another.
The Determination of the Will, supposes an effect, which must have a cause. If the Will be determined, there is a Determiner. This must be supposed to be intended even by
them that say the Will determines itself. If it be so, the Will is both Determiner and determined ; it is a cause that acts and produces effects upon itself, and is the object of its own influence and action.
With respect to that grand enquiry, “ What determines the Will ?" it would be very tedious and unnecessary, at present, to examine all the various opinions, which have been advanced concerning this matter; nor is it needful that I should enter into a particular discussion of all points debated in disputes on that other question, “ Whether the Will always follows the last dictate of the understanding ?" It is sufficient to my present purpose to say, It is that motive, which, as it stands in the view of the mind, is the strongest, that determines the Will. But it may be necessary that I should a little explain my meaning.
By motive, I mean the whole of that which moves, excites, or invites the mind to volition, whether that be one thing singly, or many things conjunctly. Many particular things may concur, and unite their strength, to induce the mind; and when it is so, all together are as one complex motive. And when I speak of the strongest motive, I have respect to the strength of the whole that operates to induce a particular act of volition, whether that be the strength of one thing alone, or of many together.
Whatever is objectively* a motive, in this sense, must be something that is extant in the view or apprehension of the understanding, or perceiving faculty. Nothing can induce or invite the mind to will or act any thing, any further than it is perceived, or is some way or other in the mind's view ; for what is wholly unperceived and perfectly out of the mind's view, cannot affect the mind at all. It is most evident, that nothing is in the mind, or reaches it, or takes any hold of it, any otherwise than as it is perceived or thought of.
And I think it must also be allowed by all, that every thing that is properly called a motive, excitement, or inducement to a perceiving, willing agent, has some sort and degree of ten. dency, or advantage to move or excite the Will, previous to the effect, or to the act of the Will excited. This previous tendency of the motive is what I call the strength of the motive. That motive which has a less degree of previous advantage, or tendency to move the will, or which appears less inviting, as it stands in the view of the mind, is what I call a weaker motive. On the contrary, that which appears most inviting, and has, by what appears concerning it to the understanding or apprehension, the greatest degree of previous tendency to excite and induce the choice, is what I call the strongest motive. And in this sense, I suppose the Will is always determined by the strongest motive.
* This appears to be the author's meaning, in order to preserve a consistency with his professed sentiment of divine influence. He believed that a real chris. tian's inind is born of the Spirit; and that such a state of mind induces one choice rather than another. But he could not maintain that divine influence, which is a subjective cause of one volition rather than another, must be “in the view or apprehension of the understanding." For “the wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” Beside, the most proper acceptation of the term “ motive" seems to plead in favour of the restriction suggested in the text by the word “objectively ;” and the use of this distinction may appear more fully hereafter.-W.
Things that exist in the view of the mind have their strength, tendency, or advantage to move, or excite its Will, from many things appertaining to the nature and circumstances of the thing viewed, the nature and circumstances of the mind that views, and the degree and manner of its view ; of which it would perhaps be hard to make a perfect enumeration. But so much I think may be determined in general, without room for controversy, that whatever is perceived or apprehended by an intelligent and voluntary agent, which has the nature and influence of a motive to volition or choice, is considered or viewed as good; nor has it any tendency to engage the election of the soul in any further degree than it appears such. For to say otherwise, would be to say, that things that appear, have a tendency, by the appearance they make, to engage the mind to elect them, some other way than by their appearing eligible to it; which is absurd. And therefore it must be true, in some sense, that the Will always is, as the greatest apparent good is. But only, for the right understanding of this, two things must be well and distinctly observed.
1. It must be observed in what sense I use the term good ;" namely, as of the same import with “ agreeable." To appear good to the mind, as I use the phrase, is the same as to appear agreeable, or seem pleasing to the mind. Certainly, nothing appears inviting and eligible to the mind, or tending to engage its inclination and choice, considered as evil or disagreeable ; nor indeed, as indifferent, and neither agreeable nor disagreeable. But if it tends to draw the inclination, and move the Will, it must be under the notion of that which suits the mind. And therefore that must have the greatest tendency to attract and engage it, which, as it stands in the mind's view, suits it best, and pleases it most ; and in that sense, is the greatest apparent good: to say otherwise, is little, if any thing, short of a direct and plain contradiction.
The word " good,” in this sense, includes in its signification, the removal or avoiding of evil, or of that which is disagreeable and uneasy. It is agreeable and pleasing, to avoid what is disagreeable and displeasing, and to have uneasiness removed. So that here is included what Mr. Locke supposes determines Will. For when he speaks of “ uneasiness," as