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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 20

Freewill and Necessity

Freewill and Necessity.

Man possesses freedom of will or choice in a limited degree; his will is bounded by necessity and fixed by the general tendency of his nature or disposition; he cannot carry out what he wills if beyond the limit of his power; he can, by industry and perseverance, substitute one class of circumstances for another; and he moves in the right direction when he changes inferior or bad circumstances for superior or good ones.

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Sometimes our will is the result of our feelings, at other times the result of our convictions; these, separately or combined, influence us to action, and may be termed voluntary; at other times we act from mere habit or impulse. This may be termed involuntary action, as the predisposing cause lays more remote; but whether the cause be Feeling, Conviction, Habit or Impulse which induces our will, when we make our choice and fix our desire we form our will.