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DOCTRINE

OF

THE WILL.

BY REV. ASA MAHAN,
PRESIDENT OF THE OBERLIN COLLEGIATE INSTITUTE.

Not man alone, all rationals Heaven arms
With an illustrious, but tremendous power,
To counteract its own most gracious ends;
And this, of strict necessity, not choice;
That power denied, men, angels, were no more
But passive engines void of praise or blame,
A nature rational implies the power
Of being blest, or wretched, as we please.
* * * * * *
Man falls by man, if finally he falls,
And fall he must, who learns from death alone,
The dreadful secret—That he lives fore ever,"
YOUNG.

NEW YORK:

MARK H. NEWMAN, 199 BROADWAY.
OBERLIN, OHIO: R. E. GILLET.
——

1845.

Entered according to an Act of Congress, in the year 1844, by
ASA MAHAN,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the
Southern District of New York.

CONTNETS.

FORWARD BY CHARLES G. FINNEY. MAHAN ON THE WILL.
NOTICE PERTAINING TO THE THIRD EDITION.
INTRODUCTORY PREFACE.

CHAPTER I.
INTRODUCTORY OBSERVATIONS.—Importance of the Subject—True and false Methods of Inquiry—Common Fault—Proper Method of Reasoning from Revelation to the System of Mental Philosophy therein pre-supposed—Errors of Method, CHAPTER II.
CLASSIFICATION OF THE MENTAL FACULTIES—Classification verified, 15
CHAPTER III.
LIBERTY AND NECESSITY—Terms defined—
CHAPTER IV.
EXTENT AND LIMITS OF THE LIBERTY OF THE WILL—Strongest Motive—Reasoning in a Circle,
CHAPTER V.
GREATEST APPARENT GOOD—
CHAPTER VI.
DOCTRINE OF LIBERTY AND THE DIVINE PRESCIENCE—
CHAPTER VII.
DOCTRINE OF LIBERTY AND THE DIVINE PURPOSES AND AGENCY—
CHAPTER VIII.
OBLIGATION PREDICABLE ONLY OF THE WILL—Men not responsible for the Sin of their progeniors—Constitutional Ill-desert—Present Impossibilitiesrequired,
CHAPTER IX.
STANDARD OF MORAL CHARACTER—Sincerity and not Intensity, the true Standard,
CHAPTER X.
MORAL ACTS NEVER OF A MIXED CHARACTER—
CHAPTER XI.
RELATIONS OF THE WILL TO THE INTELLIGENCE AND SENSIBILITY—
CHAPTER XII.
TEST OF CONFORMITY TO MORAL PRINCIPLE—
CHAPTER XIII.
ELEMENTS OF THE WILL IN COMPLEX PHENOMENA—
CHAPTER XIV.
INFLUENCE OF THE WILL IN INTELLECTUAL JUDGMENTS—
CHAPTER XV.
LIBERTY AND SERVITUDE—
CHAPTER XVI.
LIBERTY AND DEPENDENCE—
CHAPTER XVII.
FORMATION OF CHARACTER—
CHAPTER XVIII.
CONCLUDING REFLECTIONS—

MAHAN ON THE WILL.

This is an important work upon an important subject.

The liberty of the human will I regard as a first truth. But like some other first truths, it has been extensively denied in theory. A most false and injurious philosophy of the will has extensively prevailed in the christian church, and has given birth to a brood of theological dogmas alike absurd and ruinous. The above named work was designed and is I think highly calculated to correct and rebuke the philosophy just alluded to. It is a fair, an able, and it seems to me a thorough statement and discussion of the subject, and a complete refutation of the dogma of a necessitated will.

The book is small, cheap, and for a metaphysical discussion has the rare quality, of perspicuity. Since errorists every where teach and affirm the doctrine of a necessitated will, and since this is the stronghold of infidelity in all its forms, every youth and every person should acquaint himself with the truth and doctrine of the will and with the method of exposing error upon this subject. This treatise of President Mahan, presents the subject in a condensed form, and places it in a strong light.

Every family should possess and make themselves familiar with this work. It needs only to be read and understood to be appreciated as a highly important work, and one which cannot fail to exert a most important influence in the cause of truth.

CHARLES G. Finney.

The Oberlin Evangelist Vol. IX. No 25. (New Series Vol. IV.) Page 198, 1847, December 8

NOTICE PERTAINING TO THE THIRD EDITION.

Since the appearance of the first edition, the author has given the whole work a careful revision. Several important additions have been made, arguments deemed as too concisely, or obscurely stated have been expanded and elucidated, and verbal mistakes corrected. The work now appears in an enlarged, revised, and corrected form, in which the author is willing that it should be permanently submitted to public adjudication. The reception which the work has already met with from the public encourages the author to hope in respect to its future influence in the establishment of fundamental truth. A typographical error will undoubtedly appear on some of the following pages. Such mistakes, however, the reader will readily correct.

THE AUTHOR.

DEDICATORY PREFACE.

———

To one whose aim is, to "serve his generation according to the Will of God," but, two reasons would seem to justify an individual in claiming the attention of the public in the capacity of an author—the existence in the public mind of a want which needs to be met—and the full belief, that the Work which he has produced is adapted to meet that want. Under the influence of these two considerations, the following Treatise is presented to the public. Whether the author has judged rightly or not, it is not for him to decide. The decision of that question is left with the public, to whom the Work is now presented. It is doubtful, whether any work, prepared with much thought and pains-taking, was ever published with the conviction, on the part of the author, that it was unworthy of public regard. The community, however, may differ from him entirely on the subject; and as a consequence, a work which he regards as so imperiously demanded by the public interest, falls dead from the press. Many an author, thus disappointed, has had occasion to be reminded of the admonition, "Ye have need of patience." Whether the following Treatise shall succeed in gaining the public ear, or not, one consolation will remain with the writer, the publication of the work has satisfied his sense of duty. To his respected Associates it, the Institution over which he presides, Associates with whose approbation and counsel the work was prepared, the Author would take this occasion publicly to express his grateful acknowledgments for the many important suggestions which he received from them, during the progress of its preparation.

Having said thus much, he would simply add, that, TO THE LOVERS OF TRUTH, THE WORK IS NOW RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED, WITH THE KIND REGARDS OF

THE AUTHOR.


Copyright 2002 Alethea In Heart Ministries

Doctrine of The Will. By Asa Mahan 1845. Response to Jonathan Edwards