THE ELEMENTS OF HUMAN RESPONSIBILITYBY REV. JOHN HOWARD HINTON, M.A,The first element we have assumed as belonging to a stateof responsibility, is to act independently; and it is now for usto inquire whether men do act independently, or not. I needscarcely here repeat the explanation I have already given,that, in claiming for a being who is to be held responsible apower of independent action, I do not set up a claim toabsolute and universal independence. I readily admit thatthere are many sources of influence of which men cannot beindependent. But, at the present moment, I am regardingman as one of several classes of personal agents; and, if heis to be held responsible, I claim for him a certain measureand kind of independence of other beings, so that no one of them shall so act in or by man as to make the action nothis own.Of course, the only Being practically involved in thisproposition is the great and glorious One who created theheavens and the earth, and all things that are therein. Ithas never been supposed that, in a sane condition, any otherbeing but God could so occupy the seeming agent man as torender his apparent actions not really his own; but withrespect to him the question has been actually raised, andstrongly insisted on.There have not been wanting both philosophers and divinesto tell us that man is not an agent, but a machine, the movingpower of which is in his Maker ; and that, in truth, God isthe doer of all things, and the only real agent in the universe.Undoubtedly, if this position could be made good, it wouldgo far towards proving that God should be held accountableinstead of man, and should be reckoned accountable for alltilings, since he is the doer of all. Such a sentiment, however,is not hastily to be admitted.