The Berean Expositor
Volume 31 - Page 47 of 181
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with organs of sense and muscular powers, has something which it can control. The eye
can be opened and closed at will. The tongue can speak or refrain at will. The muscles,
to the extent of their powers, obey the command of the will with precision and without
hesitation. My hand can just as readily write words of blasphemy on this sheet of paper,
as it is now writing words that attempt to help towards the truth. This is the true
dominion of the mind. It can move its own members, and, by moving itself, it can move
others. It cannot, however, "will" the movement of other objects in the same way as it
can "will" the movements of its own body:
"If the most despotic monarch were deprived of all power of voluntary movement, he
would also be deprived of all exercise of the will. He might still fervently desire to have
some object effected, but he could no longer, even in a figurative sense, will it . . . . . he
can make no sign, and he would soon cease to repeat his impotent attempts to exercise
will" (Carlyle).
Behind the exercise of will is desire. The will has no power of itself for any mental
operation. One cannot by the exercise of the will compel oneself either to believe or to
reject evidence. The motive that moves the will is desire.
We must not attempt within our limited compass to pursue these interesting themes
further. All that we have endeavour to do is to show the intimate association that exists
between the processes of thought (the higher processes we have not touched upon here)
and the bodily sensations. For the sake of clearness we set out again below the steps we
have covered, leaving the reader to continue the ascent into the higher realms of thought.
Through the medium of the five senses we become aware of the existence of an
external world, and of our own personality.  Our earliest and most fundamental
impressions are those of pleasure and pain, and we are so constituted that we desire that
which pleases, and fear and avoid that which causes pain. From these experiences arise
hope, disappointment, joy, sorrow, surprise, etc. None of these emotions depends upon
the will. The power of the will is the mind's power to accept or reject, to do or not to do.
We cannot by an act of will create a sensation, or turn pain into pleasure. Memory, too--
which is fundamentally the memory of things experienced through the senses--plays an
important part, for only by the aid of the memory can we attempt to compare, contrast
and classify. All this leads up to perception, or the cognition of the material world
through sensation. There is, therefore, a real connection between the body formed out of
the dust of the earth, and that something more that makes man a living soul. While man
shares with the beasts of the field the possession of a body of flesh and blood, he is at the
same time the only creature who was created in the image of God, and who possesses
rationality and a capacity for worship. Of all these things, however, we must speak at
length in subsequent articles.