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unknown God, it was because they knew him in confuso; but we cannot will what is unthinkable, or unthought. This, however, lies beside our present point.
When the mind or brain is developed in any degree, it becomes an instrument in the hand of the will.
The analogy of the eye is, if not in all things complete, at least for the most part true.
All the day long we use our eyes. And yet not all sight is volitional. The eye, as I have said, sees much which it does not look at. There is conscious sight and unconscious sight all the day long. But out of the field of objects before the sight we fix the eye on particulars. Looking is sight directed and intensified by the will.
So it is with the brain. All day long the mind runs on like a river, murmuring to itself. We hear it, but for the most part do not heed it. The perpetual weaving and unwinding of associations goes on with little or no attention, and therefore with hardly, if any, act of the will, except by way of permission, or non-resistance.
But out of this woof we take up a certain thread and hold it fast by an act of attention, and of intention ; and this gives the character to the man.
The mind of a mathematician is filled with many things besides mathematics, but he gives little or no attention to them ; that is, his will does not fix upon them and detain them. He uses his brain as an instrument of mathematics. The same holds good of every man and every deliberate line of mental energy. I have never heard any adequate explanation of this determination of the mind or brain to one particular study or pursuit of truth from those who suppose the brain to determine itself, and therefore deny the action of a Will distinct from it, and exercising a command over it. The theory that the thinking brain determines itself ascribes to it the power of volition, which not only involves all the same difficulties, but many more, and leaves them all unsolved. It is, therefore, inadequate, and for that reason unphilosophical. If the power of self-development be ascribed to the brain, why not ascribe the same to the hand ? The functions of the hand appear inexhaustible in number, subtil beyond all conception in kind. It is the executive of all that intellect can compass, and the will attain. And yet we treat the hand, which for dignity among the members ranks with the eye and the ear, and can even in some degree supply the place of both, as an intelligent servant, a mere instrument, exquisite indeed in delicacy, skill, and versatility, but dependent altogether upon a higher agency. We are told that it is the instrument of the brain; but what better reason have we for saying that the hand is the instrument of the brain, than for saying that the brain is itself the instrument of an Agent higher in nature, independence, and authority? Why attribute design and
will to the material brain, while we deny both to the material hand ? A chest of carpenter's tools is inactive, and has neither invention nor product without the mind and will of the carpenter. What have the brain and the hand more than the lathe and the chisel, without the Agent from whom they derive guidance and activity ?
3. A third relation then, of the will to the brain as an instrument of thought, is the constructive power by which the mind creates systems, whether of truth or fiction. For instance, I may put in the Intellectual System of the world as described by Cudworth, and both the History and the Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences as described by Whewell. In these creations of the constructive intellect we see the work of the will sustaining and applying continuous thought. The “Ethics” and “Physics
Physics” of Aristotle; his treatise “De Animâ,” the whole realm of mental and moral philosophy are examples of what the intellect can achieve under the jurisdiction of the will. Each one of the exact sciences in its three periods of observation, induction, and deduction, exbibits a sustained act of thought under a sustained act of volition. Any one who has so much as even turned over a synopsis of the “Summa Theologica ” of St. Thomas Aquinas will have traced the toil of profuse thought under the control of an architectonic will. The same may be said of the “Iliad,” the “ Divina Commedia,” of treatises on the “Reign of Law," or on the “Evidence of Man's Place in Nature,” and the like. These are usually regarded as simply creations of the intellect; they are also creations of the will, which from the first intention to the last stroke of the pen has pervaded the thought and guided the writer's hand.
4. A fourth relation is the action of the will upon the moral thought or conscience. Whatsoever controversy may exist upon the origin of our moral intuition or moral sense, this at least is held by all, that man is bound to do what he believes to be right, and to abstain from doing what he believes to be wrong; or, in other words, that our rule of conduct is our moral reason. It is evident, therefore, that the will is under the jurisdiction of a judge whose dictates prescribe the limits and the direction of our moral action. Thus far the intellect precedes the will, and is superior to it.* The will is not a blind force, but a faculty having eyes and light from the intellect. A blind will is a Titan of destruction. “Vis consili expers mole ruit sua.” But the will, informed by reason or the moral conscience, is thenceforward the supreme ruler in man. The
*“Deliberate preference (T poaipeous) appears to be voluntary, but not to be the same as the voluntary: for the voluntary is more extensive; because both children and other beings share the voluntary, but not deliberate choice. . . . . For deliberate choice is not shared by irrational beings (álóya), but desire and anger are,” &c - Aristotle's Ethics, Book iii., c. 2.
difference between Aristotle's temperate and intemperate man resides in the will.* The thoughts of the brain, we should say of the heart, may be in direct revolt against the will; but the will controls both the sensitive and the rational appetites. Self-denial, self-mortification, and self-sacrifice are acts of ascendency, inflicted by the willer upon the thoughts and the appetites of which the brain is the instrument. For instance, thoughts of malice, appetites of revenge, or of luxury, which, as we say, possess the mind, or, as others say, the brain, are combatted and brought under by a power which thereby asserts a separate existence and a superior authority over the brain itself.
We cannot move a stone so long as we rest upon it. It is our independence which gives us leverage and force. Now I have hitherto called this the thinker or the willer, but it is an agent who thinks and wills; for intellect and will are not the agent, but only functions of an agent, for whom as yet we have no name, who not only thinks and wills, but gives life to the brain itself.
We here touch upon a vast subject, too vast for this paper, which can only enumerate it amongst its other branches, and pass on.
The control of the will over thought runs through the whole moral culture and discipline of man.
What is called character is distinct from the moral nature, as countenance is distinct from the features. We made neither our features nor our moral nature; but we have made both our countenance and our character. They are the sum and result of habits, as habits are the sum and result of acts, and in every several act the will had its original and constructive share by permission, or by action.
The moral character is therefore ultimately determined by the will. But, as I have said, the replenishment of the mind, or brain, if you please to say so, with thought and knowledge, which is permanent or immanent thought, is to a great extent all through life a voluntary act.
Now, out of the thoughts so stored up in the whole course of life arises a world of moral conflicts or temptations. For instance, the thoughts of vain-glory, jealousy, malice, deceitfulness, and the like, which spring up from the memories of the past, are the subjectmatter of moral probation, choice, and character. As we deal with them, such we are. The memory of insults or great wrongs will arise in the mind, or brain, if you will, at the sight of the person who has outraged us; or by associations of time, place, or any one of endless circumstances; or, again, by the direct suggestion of others. So far the thoughts may be spontaneous or involuntary on our part.
* “The incontinent man acts from desire and not from deliberate preference; and the continent man, on the other hand, acts from deliberate preference, and not from desire.”- Aristotle's Ethics, Book iii., c. 2.
Their presence in the mind is neither good nor evil. Their first impression upon the mind, even though it become a fascination or an attraction to an immoral act, is not immoral, because, as yet, though the thought has conceived them, the will has not accepted them. These primo-primi motus of the thoughts, as they are called, are not as yet personal acts. The secundo-primi motus of inchoate assent are only partly moral; the deliberate acts of willing advertence—that is, of attention and intention—bring them fully within the order of moral action. The agent, through the deliberate will, makes the thought his own. He thereby becomes what his intention is. The example of revenge will suffice for all other kinds of moral evil. The same rule may be applied also to good thoughts when they become mental acts.
So far is obvious to all who admit the idea of a moral agent. But perhaps it may be said that here the relation of the will to thought ceases, and that it has no share in beliefs, or in opinions, or in intellectual errors; and that in the formation of these there is no moral agency
It may, however, be affirmed that, excepting the exact and physical sciences, in which the processes of the intellect are necessitated by the evidence, in all other matters the will has an immediate relation to thought, and, therefore, that the formation of our beliefs and opinions enters into the order of morals. For instance, it is certain—1, that the existence of God may be proved by reason; and 2, that the evidence for the existence of God is such that the reason of man applied with due intention and attention will arrive at the proof.*
Now, we have seen that these acts of intention and attention are acts of the will, and that, in the whole intellectual process there is a continuous act of volition. In all matters capable of proof, that is, where sufficient evidence is present or within reach, if the intellectual process be duly sustained the proof will be completed; if it be remitted, the proof may remain incomplete, and that incompleteness results not ex parte intellectús, which, so far as it went, discharged its office, but ex parte voluntatis, which, by remissness or deviation, misdirected or baffled the intellect. The saying “None are so blind as those who will not see is a moral axiom.
This truth has a large range, but time will not allow of more.
The treatment of the moral actions of other men, as in history, is in a high degree itself a moral act.
The justifying or condemning the actions of men is a continuous
(1) “Ratiocinatio Dei existentiam, animæ spiritualitatem, hominis libertatem cum certitudine probare potest.”—Declaration of the Holy See in the Censure of Traditionalism. Sept. 8, 1840.—Denzingeri Enchiridion, p. 452.
test of the moral state of the historian. He will see good and evil in the lives of other men as he sees them in his own. He will not see them also in the same measure in which his own moral consciousness is obscure, or perverted, or incomplete. A biographer is an unconscious autobiographer.
The dictum which perhaps awed or dazzled some of us in boyhood, “that a man is no more responsible for his opinions than he is for the height of his stature or for the colour of his skin,” has long since gone to the limbo of superstitions. To a morbid eye things appear inverted or bisected, because the eye is morbid. To a great extent, opinions are imperfect or distorted because the action of the will affects the completeness of the thought. And the completeness of the thought is subjective truth. It may, therefore, be said that in the whole range of moral action the will, guided by the primary intuitions of the reason to desire the true and the good, is the condition and the pledge of their attainment.
I have not forgotten, but I have not space to touch upon, what Dr. Carpenter calls the “ unconscious prejudices” springing from early influences for which we are not responsible. I have spoken only of what is the normal relation of the will to thought in moral agency, from which arises what is called the moral conscience. An erroneous conscience is the result of failure in this cultivation of the moral thought. From the abnormal influence of the will over our intellectual habits come error, prejudices, superstitions, fanaticism, illusions, depraved judgments, and a whole mental pathology. But this is not our subject at present.
It is time now to sum up the answer to the question, "What is the relation of the will to thought?” From what has been said, it appears :
1. That the unfolding of the potentiality of the intellect, or, as some say, of the brain into actual knowledge, is accomplished partly by the will of others acting upon us, partly by our own will acting upon ourselves. In the latter case, it is obvious that the will plays a leading part; in the former also, it co-operates with and gives effect to the will of others.
2. That the mind or brain once stored with knowledge retains it, without acts of the will, and often refuses to give it up to the will when it is demanded. This is what we call forgetfulness. I say retains it, because it may be doubted whether anything once actually known be ever lost; or whether the mind or brain once unfolded into act, ever again relapses from its actual development into the mere potentiality from which it has issued. Our forgetting does not prove this. And the well-known fact of persons in states of unconsciousness speaking in languages which they knew in childhood, and had