Theories In Regard To The Nature Of The Will -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 023:92 (Oct 1866)
Article: Theories In Regard To The Nature Of The Will
Author: Anonymous


Theories In Regard To The Nature Of The Will

We propose to state in the present and in subsequent Book Notices, various theories entertained by various writers more or less recent in regard to the will. The present notice is confined to two works, which differ widely from each other in various particulars, but agree with each other in the theory that choice is not an act of the will. The first of these books is entitled :

Essay on Catholicism, Liberalism and Socialism, considered in their Fundamental Principles. By Don Juan Donoso Cortès, Marquis of Valdegamas; from the original Spanish. To which is prefixed a Sketch of the life and works of the author. From the Italian of G. E. De Castro. Translated by Madeleine Vinton Goddard. 12mo. pp. 335. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott and Co. 1862.

The introductory sketch states that the author of this work was born at Valdegamas, May 6, 1809; pursued the study of the law at the University of Salamania; received a high political office in 1832; was active as a political journalist and author at Madrid; was the Spanish minister Plenipotentiary at the Court of Prussia in 1848; became a religious man at the age of forty; and the present work is the result of his religious meditations. He commences the work with the words of M. Proudhon: “It is surprising to observe how constantly we find all our political questions complicated with theological questions” (p. 17). “Sophisms,” he says, “produce revolutions, and sophists are succeeded by hangmen “(p. 20). He divides his volume into three books. In the first and second chapters of the second book he discusses the subject of the will. He says: “The opinion generally entertained respecting free-will is in every respect false. The will does not consist, as is commonly supposed, in the power of choice between good and evil, which importune man with contrary solicitations. If free-will consisted in this faculty, the following consequences would necessarily result, the one relative to man and the other relative to God, and both evidently absurd. The consequence respecting man would be, that the higher the degree of excellence he attained the less free he would become, as he could not advance toward perfection without becoming subjected to the influence of good, and he could not yield to the sway of truth without removing himself from the rule of evil.” “Man being free, and at the same time aiming at perfection, he cannot preserve his freedom without renouncing perfection, neither can he become perfect without losing his liberty.” “As relates to God, the consequence of this hypothesis would be this, that God, not being subject in his nature to contradictory solicitations, would not be free, if freedom consisted in the full p...

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