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Thus, men in all nations and times have experienced in their lives the action of this invincible Power or 
Law, and in our nation today this experience has been crystallized in the terse proverb, "Man proposes, 

God disposes."


But, contradictory as it may appear, there is an equally widespread belief in man‘s responsibility as a 
free agent.


All moral teaching is an affirmation of man‘s freedom to choose his course and mold his destiny: and 

man‘s patient and untiring efforts in achieving his ends are declarations of consciousness of freedom 
and power.


This dual experience of fate on the one hand, and freedom on the other, has given rise to the 

interminable controversy between the believers in Fatalism and the upholders of free will —a 
controversy which was recently revived under the term "Determinism versus Freewill."


Between apparently conflicting extremes there is always a "middle way" of balance, justice, or 

compensation which, while it includes both extremes, cannot be said to be either one or the other, and 
which brings both into harmony; and this middle way is the point of contact between two extremes.


Truth cannot be a partisan, but, by its nature, is the Reconciler of extremes; and so, in the matter which 

we are considering, there is a "golden mean" which brings Fate and Free will into close relationship, 
wherein, indeed, it is seen that these two indisputable facts in human life, for such they are, are but two 

aspects of one central law, one unifying and all-embracing principle, namely, the law of causation in its 

moral aspect.

Moral causation necessitates both Fate and Free will, both individual responsibility and individual 

predestination, for the law of causes must also be the law of effects, and cause and effect must always 

be equal; the train of causation, both in matter and mind, must be eternally balanced, therefore eternally 

just, eternally perfect. Thus every effect may be said to be a thing preordained, but the predetermining 
power is a cause, and not the fiat of an arbitrary will.


Man finds himself involved in the train of causation. His life is made up of causes and effects. It is both 

a sowing and a reaping. Each act of his is a cause which must be balanced by its effects. He chooses the 
cause (this is Free will), he cannot choose, alter, or avert the effect (this is Fate); thus Free will stands 

for the power to initiate causes, and destiny is involvement in effects.


It is therefore true that man is predestined to certain ends, but he himself has (though he knows it not) 
issued the mandate; that good or evil thing from which there is no escape, he has, by his own deeds, 

brought about.


It may here be urged that man is not responsible for his deeds, that these are the effects of his character, 
and that he is not responsible for the character, good or bad, which was given him at his birth. If 

character was "given him" at birth, this would be true, and there would then be no moral law, and no 

need for moral teaching; but characters are not given ready made, they are evolved; they are, indeed, 
effects, the products of the moral law itself, that is— the products of deeds. Character result of an 

accumulation of deeds which have been piled up, so to speak, by the individual during his life.


Man is the doer of his own deeds; as such he is the maker of his own character; and as the doer of his 
deeds and the maker of his character, he is the molder and shaper of his destiny. He has the power to 

modify and alter his deeds, and every time he acts he modifies his character, and with the modification 

of his character for good or evil, he is predetermining for himself new destinies— destinies disastrous 

or beneficent in accordance with the nature of his deeds. Character is destiny itself; as a fixed 
combination of deeds, it bears within itself the results of those deeds. These results lie hidden as moral 

seeds in the dark recesses of the character, awaiting their season of germination, growth, and fruitage.









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