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“ First, That particular assertions, [quoted from the reviewer,] as well as the whole expression of his theory, imply excitement of the
appetites and passions' to be an essential element of temptation. Second, That they declare this excitement not to be sinful.”
On these two points, then, the writers are at issue. And it is worth while simply to remark, in passing, that the objection lies not against the extent to which the “excitement” is allowed by the reviewer to go, without sin; but against the existence of the excitement. Not to refer to the general statement of the objection, this appears from the example, cited by the editor, of the sanctified man; and also from the quotation in support of his views from the Guide to Christian Perfection,-which quotation is attributed to Professor Upham. Neither of these allows excitement in any degree. On this point of the objection, here then is the issue; and here, the love of truth compels us to sustain the doctrine of the review.
Before however entering formally on the discussion of the points here involved, we shall pause a moment for the purpose of laying down some principles, as well for future as for immediate use. And our reference, in this place, to Professor Upham's Philosophical Works, is not for the purpose of presenting an argumentum ad hominem, nor of arraying quotation against quotation. We shall refer to these works as authority, only so far as we consider the doctrines beyond controversy defensible. He considers the mental states under the three general divisions ;—the intellect, the sensibilities, and the will. The natural sensibilities are considered under the heads, emotions and desires; and the moral sensibilities, under the heads, moral emotions, and feelings of moral obligation. When we add, that the desires embrace the instincts, the appetites, the propensities, and the affections, we have an outline of the entire mental action before us. Nor is the order of the mind's action left by him in obscurity, or in doubt. It commences with the intellect, and passes on to the will, through the medium of the emotions and desires on the one hand, and of the moral emotions and feelings of obligation on the other. This is not represented as the occasional, or even the usual order ; but as the only way in which the will can be addressed. These views are so distinctly set forth in the volumes to which we refer, as not to require quotations in support of this statement; and this general theory of mental action is, by this author, so amply supported both by argument and authority, that we are not aware that a doubt has ever been seriously suggested in regard to the correctness of any part of it. We shall therefore feel at liberty, as we pass along, to refer to this, as the true theory of the mind's action.
Now, then, we are prepared to approach this first question, Does temptation imply excitement? And on this point, we shall quote Dr. Butler, for the purpose primarily of showing that the reviewer has not, in this particular, either misunderstood or misstated his author's views; and, in the second place, because we can refer to no more competent authority. And from among numerous passages recognizing this principle, we select these two:
“ As when we say, men are misled by external circumstances of temptation, it cannot but be understood, that there is somewhat within themselves to render those circumstances temptations, or to render them susceptible of impressions from them; so, when we say, they are misled by passions, it is always supposed, that there are occasions, circumstances, and objects, exciting these passions, and affording means for gratifying them. And, therefore, temptations from within, and from without, coincide, and mutually imply each other. Now, the several external objects of the appetites, passions, and affections, being present to the senses, or offering themselves to the mind, and so exciting emotions suitable to their nature, not only in cases where they can be gratified consistently with innocence and prudence, but also in cases where they cannot, and yet can be gratified imprudently and viciously; this as really puts them in danger of voluntarily foregoing their present interest or good, as their future, and as really renders self-denial necessary to secure one, as the other; that is, we are in a like state of trial with respect to both, by the very same passions, excited by the very
“ Together with the general principle of moral understanding, we have in our inward frame various affections toward particular external objects. These affections are naturally, and of right, subject to the government of the moral principle, as to the occasions upon which they may be gratified, as to the times, degrees, and manner, in which the objects of them may be pursued; but then the principle of virtue can neither excite them, nor prevent their being excited. On the contrary, they are naturally felt, when the objects of them are present to the mind, not only before all consideration whether they can be obtained by lawful means, but after it is found they cannot. For the natural objects of affection continue so; the necessaries, conveniences, and pleasures of life, remain naturally desirable, though they cannot be obtained innocently, nay, though they cannot possibly be obtained at all. And when the objects of any affection whatever cannot be obtained without unlawful means, but may be obtained by them, such affection, though its being excited, and its continuing some time in the mind, be as innocent as it is natural and necessary, yet cannot but be conceived to have a tendency to incline persons to venture upon such unlawful means, and therefore must be conceived as putting them in some danger of it.”+
• Analogy, part i, chap. 4.
Ib., part i, chap. 5.
Passing now from the precise and strong language of Dr. Butler, we proceed to another view of this matter. In the sense in which he explains temptation, it most obviously implies danger; and danger here must imply some connection between the impulse of temptation and the will, from which alone can proceed a moral action. But from the general view which we have presented of the mind's action, this temptation, which must first be addressed to the intellect, can reach the will only through the emotions and the desires. As this is a point of great importance, we will fortify it by one or two quotations. Mr. Locke says expressly, that the desires lie between the intellectual perceptions and the will.“ Let one man,” says he, "place his satisfaction in sensual pleasures, another in the delight of knowledge: though each of them cannot but confess, there is great pleasure in what the other pursues; yet neither of them making the other's delight a part of his happiness, their desires are not moved, but each is satisfied without what the other enjoys, and so his will is not determined to the pursuit of it." And again, “Good though appearing, and allowed [to be] ever so great, yet till it has reached desires in our minds, and thereby made us uneasy in its want, it reaches not our wills. Professor Upham is equally explicit on this point; and also shows conclusively, that the desires cannot be reached but through the emotions. In accordance with these views, President Wayland remarks, “The object of the passions and appetites is to impel us toward certain acts, which produce immediate pleasure ;"I implying unequivocally that the intellect cannot of itself perform this office.
From all this it clearly appears, that the temptation cannot reach the will, or produce action of any kind, without passing through the region of the sensibilities; and that it cannot proceed one step beyond the mere intellectual perception, without producing emotion, the very nature of which is “excitement." The authority of Dr. Butler is, then, strongly sustained by the nature of the case.
To this view of the subject, it is believed the common sense of Christian men inclines. One man tells us, he was never tempted to steal; another, that he was never tempted to take the name of God in vain ; and others, in every stage of Christian experience, that they have never been tempted to give up their faith in Christ, or to abandon the hopes of religion ;-while the very fact of their
* Essay concerning Human Understanding, book ii, ch. 21, $$ 43, 46.
+ See Men. Phi., stereot. ed., vol. ii, $ 14; also Treatise on the Will, ch. ii, $ 26; and many other passages.
Elements of Moral Science, ch. ii, sec. 3.
making the statements shows, that these are even at the time matters of intellectual perception; or, in the language quoted to sustain the theory of the strictures, that they “ exist intellectually," --that they “exist in the thoughts," and "are perceived and thought of.” When men have no theory to sustain, it is clear they do not call these temptations. The element that is wanting is excitement. And referring to the Scriptures--the Scriptures, by which the correctness of all our philosophical deductions, and all our speculative opinions on such subjects, must be tested—the only direct attempt we find there to define temptation, is that cited by the reviewer; and that most assuredly implies the presence of this element. “Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed," James i, 14. Our English version of this passage makes the expression peculiarly strong and forcible, but not more so than the original.
This point being thus settled, we have nothing more to do with it, at present, except to remark as a most important inference from the view we have taken, that “excitement” as here defined, and as the term seems to be used by the reviewer, does not imply a “disposition" to indulgence of any kind, nor does it necessarily imply a state of “desire;"—both which terms occur in the strictures, but neither of them in the review. This excitement may be weak, or it may be almost overwhelming in its power; but, from the considerations presented, we cannot doubt that, in some of its modifications, it is, in the language of the reviewer, “an essential element of temptation."
In establishing the first position, viz., that “excitement of the appetites or passions” is “an essential element of temptation,” the second follows almost as a necessary consequence; which is—that this “excitement” is not sinful. The reviewer, in designating this excitement by the term lust, evidently had a reference to the passage quoted by him, and already referred to by us, from the Epistle of James. And in this Scripture sense, we are assured, it precedes sin. “Lust, when it hath conceived, bringeth forth sin.” another evidence of its entire innocence, it is said in this immediate connection, (verse 13,)“ Blessed is the man that endureth temptation : for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” And without pausing at this point to inquire particularly in regard to Mr. Wesley's opinion, does he not clearly subscribe to this principle, when he speaks of an “irregular” and “wandering imagination,”—which is known to be the source from which arise naturally and involuntarily so many and fearful temptations, and temptations often accompanied with strong “excitement,”—as an “innocent infirmity?"*
In strict accordance, as we conceive, with this Scripture view, the reviewer says,
“ The excitement, or the lust in this sense, is not sin, nor of the nature of sin; but the yielding to the excitement where the indulgence is unlawful, or yielding to an unlawful extent, where indulgence is lawful, this constitutes sin.”
“The final and unerring test of sin, then, is, not the existence of the temptation, but the consent of the will. Whenever this consent is given in any degree, then sin commences; and the extent of the consent is the measure of the degree of sin. When we feel the temptation, if we consent to prolong the excitement, or if it be in our power to allay it, or to escape from it, and we refuse to do it, then we begin to sin ; for the voluntary continuance of the excitement partakes of the nature of gratification, in which sin properly consists."
Here we see why the reviewer has said, that “the existence of this excitement,” though not in itself “sin, nor of the nature of sin,” yet “contains the preliminary conditions which may lead to sin;" and we also see how sin—to continue the Scripture figureis conceived by this excitement, or lust. But when it is said, that temptation, as we have efined it, “is not sin, nor of the nature of sin,” actual sin is of course intended. And this is the only sense in which Wesley uses the term sin, or in which he considers it ever to be used in Scripture. “Sin,” he affirms over and again, “is a voluntary transgression of a known law.”+ Temptation, then, though in the language of Kempis, it is “grievous and troublesome," and though in that of Bishop Butler, it " implies danger,”-yet is not sinful. It brings no condemnation; thus it is
of the nature of sin.” Had the reviewer been writing a popular essay on Christian Perfection, instead of a Theory of Temptation, he would doubtless have told the young Christian, that by the exercise of an effectual faith, and by a patient continuance in ways of well-doing, these periods of painful “excitement" and "agitation" would pass away,--the “horrible, offensive, and impure reflections and imaginings,” of which he had spoken, would subside; and, “though now for a season, if need be, he is in heaviness through manifold temptations,” yet “that the trial of his faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, will be found unto praise, and honor, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ,” 1 Pet. 1, 6, 7.
* See Sermons on Christian Perfection, and on Temptation.
† See his Sermon on Perfection. VOL. II.-10