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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Notion of Action and Agency Entertained by Mr. Chubb and Others
By Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758)
 
From the ‘Inquiry into the Freedom of the Will,’ Part iv., §2

SO that according to their notion of the act, considered with regard to its consequences, these following things are all essential to it: viz., That it should be necessary, and not necessary; that it should be from a cause, and no cause; that it should be the fruit of choice and design, and not the fruit of choice and design; that it should be the beginning of motion or exertion, and yet consequent on previous exertion; that it should be before it is; that it should spring immediately out of indifference and equilibrium, and yet be the effect of preponderation; that it should be self-originated, and also have its original from something else; that it is what the mind causes itself, of its own will, and can produce or prevent according to its choice or pleasure, and yet what the mind has no power to prevent, precluding all previous choice in the affair.  1
  So that an act, according to their metaphysical notion of it, is something of which there is no idea…. If some learned philosopher who had been abroad, in giving an account of the curious observations he had made in his travels, should say he had been in Tierra del Fuego, and there had seen an animal, which he calls by a certain name, that begat and brought forth itself, and yet had a sire and dam distinct from itself; that it had an appetite and was hungry, before it had a being; that his master, who led him and governed him at his pleasure, was always governed by him and driven by him where he pleased; that when he moved he always took a step before the first step; that he went with his head first, and yet always went tail foremost; and this though he had neither head nor tail: it would be no impudence at all to tell such a traveler, though a learned man, that he himself had no idea of such an animal as he gave an account of, and never had, nor ever would have.  2
 
 
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