« 이전계속 »
“good," he was not finished, and Adam was left to finish himself.
This peculiar and novel theory of the structure and nature of the human soul, as being but a series of exercises, of course must have a theology of peculiar adaptations. Which precedes and necessitates the other we need not inquire ; it is probably different with different persons. But if the soul is thus only a serial progression of acts, like the coming of links in an endless chain, how can redemptive grace lay hold of it, except as it catches at the links? These are constantly coming, going, and gone, and can of course be affected only singly, and without any retractive power on the forthcoming act. Grace thus acting would be like Elisha with his new cruise at the outlet of the aqueduct in Jericho, and not at "the spring of the waters.” Let us proceed to look at the adjustment of the new psychology and its new theology to each other in particulars.
Native depravity, as a moral corruption and taking effect before moral action, must be discarded, because there is nothing prior to action in which it can inhere. As there is no moral creature or nature preceding moral action in the infant, there is nothing to be corrupted and depraved. So there can be no depravity, except that of conduct or exercises. The soul as a homestead being denied an existence, where moral acts are born and whence they go forth, there is no being, substance or ture that depravity can possess.
Yet it is due to add, that the advocates of this theory confess to a kind of depravity of man, and use much of the language commonly applied to it. For they speak of a bias, tendency, or proclivity to sin. This tendency is said to be active but not culpable; it is preparing certain, inevitable acts of sin, and yet is not morally offensive to God. It infects fatally and totally, they say, each moral act in the infant as they run out in the series, beginning with the very first, yet is there no sin till the act.it is biassing and shaping, is completed.
But where this proclivity to sin is located, and how it gains a relation to the forthcoming moral acts, is not made clear.
It is said to be in the infant nature; but to what does this nature pertain? According to the theory, exercises constitute the soul; but as the soul can not have a nature till it is constituted,
the nature in which this proclivity inheres can not exist till after the exercises, and therefore can not give them either a good or evil bias. Surely the nature of a thing can not precede, as a separate entity, the existence of the thing of which it is said to be the nature. The nature of the apple can not so precede the existence of the apple as that we can affirm sourness of that nature before the apple is in existence to be sour.
If the exercises constitute the soul, and an innate proclivity to sin give a moral character to the exercises, we are unable to see to what this proclivity belongs. It is evidently a quality, and so belongs to a substance. But what substance ? What one is there anterior to the soul that can give it a home?
Dr. Emmons, who is generally supposed to have held and taught this theory of a serial soul, and who has popularized somewhat the theory by his published works, felt the difficulty that we here find. If such proclivity or tendency exist, it must claim for itself a moral character, which it would be hard to disprove. Conceding it would be granting that there can be and is sin, prior to voluntary action, which would destroy Emmonsism. Moreover, if such constitutional tendencies be admitted as preceding and qualifying morally voluntary acts, the acute mind of this master saw that they must pertain to and inhere in something like a soul, which concession would, in another way, destroy Emmonsism, by allowing that the soul is anterior to and more than a series of exercises. To avoid these destructive dilemmas, he referred the certainty of all voluntary action to immediate divine efficiency. The agency direct of God takes the place in his scheine of constitutional tendencies, taste, or disposition, so that God imparts efficiently to the moral exercises, what, in our own theology, we derive from an apostate organism, called soul or heart. Thus :
“IIe wrought as effectually in the minds of Joseph's brethren when they sold him, as when they repented and besought his mercy. He not only prepared these persons to act, but made them act. He not only exhibited motives before their minds, but disposed their minds to comply with the motives exhibited. But there was no possible way in which he could dispose them to act right or wrong, but only by producing right or wrong volition in their hearts. And if he produced their bad as well as their good volitions, then his
agency was concerned precisely in the same manner in their wrong, as in their right actions." Works, Vol. II., p. 441.
But without pausing farther to locate an innocent tendency to sin, existent anterior to the existence of the soul it is to affect, we proceed to unfold this new psychological theory in its relations to theology. The acts of this serial soul, like links in a chain, come into being and run out of it, going from the future, through the present into the past, and this proclivity or tendency to evil, located somewhere near by, depraves these acts in transitu. It is said to touch them morally and with a total depravity as they come up and go by. [Iere guilt first attaches itself to the person. Here and thus man begins to be a sinner, and all his sin consists in sinning. For, the acts thus corrupted are the several choices and volitions of the man, over which he is said to have supreme control, and so is obligated to keep them pure.
Were we controverting this theory, as propounded by Dr. Emmons, we should raise the question here, how a man can be a sinner at all. If God produces the bad volitions, and makes men act them out, as in the case of Joseph's brethren, just cited, we fail to see where either liberty or responsibility attaches to the actor. The objection is pressed against the Calvinistic theory, that an inherited moral tendency to sin makes a man responsible for receiving an irresistible legacy. But what, on the other hand, shall be said of responsibility for sinful acts, so called, that God makes a man perform?
Singularly enough, without any antecedent soul, corrupted and culpable, vitiating these choices as they arise, as from a defiled fountain, all fail to keep their volitions pure. No person escapes wholly and is perfect, nor does any single volition escape wholly or partially. Each volition in all persons is totally corrupted. This tendency, that we are unable to attach to any organism, watching, like some rebel cruiser outside the harbor for every loyal craft, makes a prey of cach infantile or older moral act outgoing. The apostasy of Adam is said to have some causative connection with all this, but as there is no moral nature inherited to be approbated or disapprobated, and nothing sinful or holy till the person acts and so becomes such, and as he is no soul till the series of exercises begins, this nexus with Adam, in this new scheme, is rather a nodus, and harder than the Gordian to be comprehended.
Regeneration, as taught by this scheme, can be best unfolded and illustrated at this point. For these new theorists make it take place just where sin comes in, that is, in these single volitions. We have seen that they concede to us no organism, commonly called soul or heart, out of which “proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit," etc. Were there such a soul in man, antecedent to his exercises, as a fountain of evil, regenertion, we can readily see, might act on it. So could grace make the tree good, and thereby the fruit good. But as this theory allows for no soul as preceding and separate from its exercises, regeneration must take place on the single and separate moral acts of the man. All the heart there is to be regenerated consists in evil exercises, and not in anything preceding, or separate from, or productive of, sinful affections and emotions. It is, therefore, the voluntary acts that must be regenerated, the ruling choices of the man.
But choosing and refusing, loving and hating, and the like moral acts, are wholly human, and acquire their good or bad character from the person performing them. They are right or wrong from the purpose and feeling with which he performs them. He, therefore, is obligated to make them right exercises. This would be regenerating them, the giving of a holy character by the person to his moral acts. And as these acts, by the theory, constitute his heart or soul, this would be making himself a new heart and a new creature. In some great moral crisis, when seriously and profoundly moved, the man, with an intense energy of will and sublime self-determination, resolves himself over to the right, and so becomes a child of God.
As to the agent or agents in this act, constituting the new creature,” men may aid the subject of it in various ways, and God may use a great persuasive force. He may press truths, and combine providences, and enlist conscience, and strive by the Holy Spirit ; and all to such a degree that his agency may be called special. Still any and all the aid that God may render is of the nature of argument and motive only, and never rises and changes to the supernatural. He can not counteract
any law of nature, or do any supernatural work. According to this psychology and theology, he works in regeneration only in common ways, and in accordance with common laws, as when he aids the farmer to a specially good harvest. All the efforts of God are resistible, and with the man the change of heart is purposed and optional. The change is one of his own making, and he constitutes himself a Christian by giving to some prominent act a holy character. By a prodigious endeavor he makes a choice and purpose for God and holiness; and but for the bluntness and strangeness of the expression to Orthodox ears, it might afterward be said that he regenerated himself.
It will be seen that this kind of regeneration takes effect only on single exercises, or voluntary acts of the man. As there is no soul, finished and whole, on which regeneration can act, but only this series of exercises, only one exercise can be set right at a time. Each subsequent one must be affected in the same way, as it comes forth. So in this scheme regeneration, like the soul, is a serial process and a continued development; nor, on this theory, do we see how its regeneration can be complete till all the moral exercises of the subject in probation are finished, that is, at death.
Moreover, suppose the subject neglects to resolve any leading purpose or volition into the holy state, does he not under and during that act cease to be regenerate?
Unless he is perfectly holy, he is constantly alternating between hely and unholy exercises. Is he not, therefore, constantly oscillating between •the regenerate and the unregenerate state?
Were there an anterior soul to which the supernatural and re-creating grace of God could introduce a holy taste or disposition, to be fixed and permanent, we could see these vibrations in the volitions from sin to holiness and back again, without feeling that God was constantly gaining and losing the same child of grace.
But if regeneration is only a change of purpose, or a most determined act of will, brought about indeed by great human and divine pressure, and if afterward the purpose wavers, or the will is weak, and the person does frequently what he allows not, how can it be but that regeneration is intermittent? Certainly the Arminian can here find good reasoning, the premises