A careful and strict ENQUIRY INTO The modern prevailing Notions OF THAT FREEDOM of WILL, Which is supposed to be essential TO Moral Agency, Vertue and Vice, Reward and Punishment, Praise and Blame.

By JONATHAN EDWARDS, A.M. Pastor of the Church in Stockbridge.

Rom. ix.16.

It is not of him that willeth—

BOSTON, N. E. Printed and Sold by S. KNEELAND, in Queen-street. MDCCLIV.



MANY find much Fault with the calling professing Christians, that differ one from another in some Matters of Opinion, by distinct Names; especially calling them by the Names of particular Men, who have distinguished themselves as Maintainers and Promoters of those Opinions: as the calling some pro­fessing Christians Arminians, from Arminius; others Ari­ans, from Arius; others Socinians, from Socinus, and the like. They think it unjust in it self; as it seems to sup­pose and suggest, that the Persons mark'd out by these Names, received those Doctrines which they entertain, out of Regard to, and Reliance on those Men after whom they are named; as tho' they made them their Rule: in the same Manner, as the Followers of CHRIST are called Christians; after his Name, whom they regard & depend upon, as their great Head and Rule. Whereas, this is an unjust and groundless Imputation on those that go un­der the foremention'd Denominations. Thus (say they) there is not the least Ground to suppose, that the chief Divines, who embrace the Scheme of Doctrine which is by many called Arminianism, believe it the more▪ because Arminius believed it: and that there is no Reason to think any other, than that they sincerely and impartially study the holy Scriptures, and enquire after the Mind of Christ, with as much Judgment and Sincerity, as any of those that call them by these Names; that they seek after Truth, and are not careful whether they think ex­actly as Arminius did; yea, that in some Things they actually differ from him. This Practice is also esteemed [Page ii] actually injurious on this Account, that it is supposed na­turally to lead the Multitude to imagine the Difference be­tween Persons thus named & others, to be greater than it is; yea, as tho' it were so great, that they must be as it were another Species of Beings. And they object against it as arising from an uncharitable, narrow, contracted Spirit; which, they say, commonly inclines Persons to confine all that is good to themselves and their own Party, and to make a wide Distinction between themselves and others, and stigmatize those that differ from them with odious Names. They say moreover, that the keeping up such a Distinction of Names has a direct Tendency to uphold Distance & Disaffection, and keep alive mutual Hatred among Christians, who ought all to be united in Friendship and Charity, however they can't in all Things think alike.

I confess, these Things are very plausible. And I will not deny, that there are some unhappy Consequences of this Distinction of Names, and that Men's Infirmities and evil Dispositions often make an ill Improvement of it. But yet I humbly conceive, these Objections are carried far beyond Reason. The Generality of Mankind are disposed enough, and a great Deal too much, to Uncha­ritableness, and to be censorious and bitter towards those that differ from them in religious Opinions: which evil Temper of Mind will take Occasion to exert it self, from many Things in themselves innocent, useful & necessary. But yet there is no Necessity to suppose, that the thus distinguishing Persons of different Opinions by different Names, arises mainly from an uncharitable Spirit. It may arise from the Disposition there is in Mankind (whom God has distinguished with an Ability and In­clination for Speech) to improve the Benefit of Language, in the proper Use and Design of Names, given to Things which they have often Occasion to speak of, or signify their Minds about; which is to enable them to express their Ideas with Ease and Expedition, without being in­cumber'd with an obscure and difficult Circumlocution. And the thus distinguishing Persons of different Opinions [Page iii] in religious Matters, may not imply, nor infer any more than that there is a Difference, and that the Difference is such as we find we have often Occasion to take Notice of, and make Mention of. That which we have frequent Occasion to speak of (whatever it be, that gives the Oc­casion) this wants a Name: and 'tis always a Defect in Language, in such Cases, to be obliged to make use of a Description, instead of a Name. Thus we have often Occasion to speak of those who are the Descendants of the ancient Inhabitants of France, who were Subjects or Heads of the Government of that Land, and spake the Language peculiar to it; in Distinction from the De­scendants of the Inhabitants of Spain, who belonged to that Community, and spake the Language of that Coun­try. And therefore we find the great Need of distinct Names to signify these different Sorts of People, and the great Convenience of those distinguishing Words, French, and Spaniards; by which the Signification of our Minds is quick and easy, and our Speech is delivered from the Burden of a continual Reiteration of diffuse Descrip­tions, with which it must otherwise be embarass'd.

That the Difference of the Opinions of those, who in their general Scheme of Divinity agree with these two noted Men, Calvin, and Arminius, is a Thing there is often Occasion to speak of, is what the Practice of the latter, it self confesses; who are often, in their Discourses and Writings, taking Notice of the supposed absurd and pernicious Opinions of the former Sort. And therefore the making Use of different Names in this Case can't rea­sonably be objected against, or condemned, as a Thing which must come from so bad a Cause as they assign. It is easy to be accounted for, without supposing it to arise from any other Source, than the Exigence and natural Tendency of the State of Things; considering the Faculty and Disposition God has given Mankind, to express Things which they have frequent Occasion to mention, by certain distinguishing Names. It is an Effect that is similar to what we see arise, in innumerable Cases which are parallel, where the Cause is not at all blame-worthy.

[Page iv]Nevertheless, at first I had Thoughts of carefully a­voiding the Use of the Appellation, Arminian, in this Treatise. But I soon found I should be put to great Diffi­culty by it; and that my Discourse would be so incumber'd with an often repeated Circumlocution, instead of a Name, which would express the Thing intended, as well and better, that I altered my Purpose. And therefore I must ask the Excuse of such as are apt to be offended with Things of this Nature, that I have so freely used the Term Arminian in the following Discourse. I profess it to be without any Design, to stigmatize Persons of any Sort with a Name of Reproach, or at all to make them appear more odious. If when I had Occasion to speak of those Divines who are commonly called by this Name, I had, instead of styling them Arminians, called them these Men, as Dr. Whitby does Calvinistic Divines; it pro­bably would not have been taken any better, or tho't to shew a better Temper, or more good Manners. I have done as I would be done by, in this Matter. How­ever the Term Calvinist is in these Days, among most, a Term of greater Reproach than the Term Arminian; yet I should not take it at all amiss, to be called a Calvi­nist, for Distinction's Sake: tho' I utterly disclaim a Dependance on Calvin, or believing the Doctrines which I hold, because he believed and taught them; and can­not justly be charged with believing in every Thing just as he taught.

But lest I should really be an Occasion of Injury to some Persons, I would here give Notice, that tho' I ge­rally speak of that Doctrine, concerning Free-will and moral Agency, which I oppose, as an Arminian Doctrine; yet I would not be understood, that every Divine or Author whom I have Occasion to mention as maintaining that Doctrine, was properly an Arminian, or one of that Sort which is commonly called by that Name. Some of them went far beyond the Arminians: And I would by no Means charge Arminians in general with all the corrupt Doctrine, which these maintain'd. Thus for In­stance, it would be very injurious, if I should rank Ar­minian [Page v] Divines in general, with such Authors as Mr. Chubb. I doubt not, many of them have some of his Doctrines in Abhorrence; tho' he agrees, for the most Part, with Arminians, in his Notion of the Freedom of the Will. And on the other Hand, tho' I suppose this Notion to be a leading Article in the Arminian Scheme, that which, if pursued in it's Consequences, will truly infer, or naturally lead to all the rest; yet I don't charge all that have held this Doctrine, with being Arminians. For whatever may be the Consequences of the Doctrine really, yet some that hold this Doctrine, may not own nor see these Consequences; and it would be unjust, in many Instances, to charge every Author with believing and maintaining all the real Consequences of his avowed Doctrines. And I desire it may be particularly noted, that tho' I have Occasion in the following Discourse, often to mention the Author of the Book entitled, An Essay on the Freedom of the Will, in God & the Creature, as holding that Notion of Freedom of Will, which I oppose; yet I don't mean to call him an Arminian: however in that Doctrine he agrees with Arminians, and departs from the current and general Opinion of Calvinists. If the Author of that Essay be the same as it is commonly ascribed to, he doubtless was not one that ought to bear that Name. But however good a Divine he was in many Respects, yet that particular Arminian Doctrine which he maintain'd, is never the better for being held by such an One: nor is there less Need of opposing it on that Account; but rather is there the more Need of it; as it will be likely to have the more pernicious Influence, for being taught by a Divine of his Name and Character; supposing the Doctrine to be wrong, and in it self to be of an ill Ten­dency.

I have Nothing further to say by Way of Preface; but only to bespeak the Reader's Candour, and calm At­tention to what I have written. The Subject is of such Importance, as to demand Attention, and the most tho­rough Consideration. Of all Kinds of Knowlege that we can ever obtain, the Knowledge of God, and the [Page vi] Knowlege of our selves, are the most important. As Religion is the great Business, for which we are created, and on which our Happiness depends; and as Religion consists in an Intercourse between our [...]selves and our Maker; and so has it's Foundation in God's Nature and our's, and in the Relation that God and we stand in to each other; therefore a true Knowledge of both must be needful in Order to true Religion. But the Know­ledge of our selves consists chiefly in right Apprehen­sions concerning those two chief Faculties of our Na­ture, the Understanding and Will. Both are very impor­tant: yet the Science of the latter must be confess'd to be of greatest Moment; in as much as all Vertue and Religion have their Seat more immediately in the Will, consisting more especially in right Acts and Habits of this Faculty. And the grand Question about the Free­dom of the Will, is the main Point that belongs to the Science of the Will. Therefore I say, the Impor­tance of this Subject greatly demands the Attention of Christians, and especially of Divines. But as to my Manner of handling the Subject, I will be far from pre­suming to say, that it is such as demands the Attention of the Reader to what I have written. I am ready to own, that in this Matter I depend on the Reader's Courtesy. But only thus far I may have some Colour for putting in a Claim; that if the Reader be disposed to pass his Cen­sure on what I have written, I may be fully and patiently heard, and well attended to, before I am condemned. However, this is what I would humbly ask of my Readers; together with the Prayers of all sincere Lovers of Truth, that I may have much of that Spirit which Christ pro­mised his Disciples, which guides into all Truth; and that the blessed and powerful Influences of this Spirit would make Truth victorious in the World.


A General TABLE Of the CONTENTS.

PART I. Wherein are explain'd various Terms and Things belonging to the Subject of the ensuing Discourse.
SECT. I. Concerning the Nature of the Will.
Pag. 1, &c.
SECT. II. Concerning the Determination of the Will.
Pag. 5.
SECT. III. Concerning the Meaning of the Terms Ne­cessity, Impossibility, Inability, &c. and of Contingence.
Pag. 13.
SECT. IV. Of the Distinction of natural and moral Necessity and Inability.
Pag. 20.
SECT. V. Concerning the Notion of Liberty, and of moral Agency.
Pag. 27.
PART II. Wherein it is considered, Whether there is, or can be any such Sort of FREEDOM OF WILL, as that wherein Arminians place the Essence of the Liberty of all moral Agents; and whether any such Thing ever was, or can be conceived of.
SECT. I. Shewing the manifest Inconsistence of the Armi­nian Notion of Liberty of Will, consisting in the Will's self-determining Power.
Pag. 31.
SECT. II. Several supposed Ways of evading the foregoing Reasoning considered.
Pag. 35.
SECT. III. Whether any Event whatsoever, and Volition in particular, can come to pass without a Cause of it's Existence.
Pag. 41.
[Page]SECT. IV. Whether Volition can arise without a Cause, thro' the Activity of the Nature of the Soul.
Pag. 47.
SECT. V. Shewing that if the Things asserted in these Evasions should be supposed to be true, they are altogether impertinent, and can't help the Cause of Arminian Liberty; and how this being the State of the Case, Arminian Writers are obliged to talk inconsistently.
Pag. 51.
SECT. VI. Concerning the Will's determining in Things which are perfectly indifferent, in the View of the Mind.
Pag. 55.
SECT. VII. Concerning the Notion of Liberty of Will consisting in Indifference.
Pag. 63.
SECT. VIII. Concerning the supposed Liberty of the Will, as opposite to all Necessity.
Pag. 73.
SECT. IX. Of the Connection of the Acts of the Will with the Dictates of the Understanding.
Pag. 76.
SECT. X. Volition necessarily connected with the Influ­ence of Motives. With particular Observation of the great In­consistence of Mr. Chubb's Assertions and Reasonings, about the Freedom of the Will.
Pag. 84.
SECT. XI. The Evidence of God's certain Foreknowledge of the Volitions of moral Agents.
Pag. 98.
SECT. XII. God's certain Foreknowledge of the future Vo­litions of moral Agents, inconsistent with such a Contingence of those Volitions, as is without all Necessity.
Pag. 117.
And infers a Necessity of Volition, as much as an absolute Decree.
Pag. 122.
SECT. XIII. Whether we suppose the Volitions of moral Agents to be connected with any Thing antecedent, or not, yet they must be necessary, in such a Sense, as to overthrow Arminian Liberty.
Pag. 131.
PART III. Wherein is enquired, Whether any such Liberty of Will as Arminians hold, be necessary to moral Agency, Vertue and Vice, Praise and Dispraise, &c.
SECT. I. God's moral Excellency necessary, yet vertuous and Prais [...]-worthy.
Pag. 135.
SECT. II. The Acts of the Will of the human Soul of JESUS CHRIST necessarily holy, yet vertuous, praise-worthy, rewar­dabl [...], &c.
Pag. 139.
SECT. III. The Case of such as are given up of God to Sin, [Page] and of fallen Man in general, proves moral Necessity and Inability to be consistent with Blame-worthiness.
Pag. 153.
SECT. IV. Command, and Obligation to Obedience, con­sistent with moral Inability to obey.
Pag. 159.
SECT. V. That Sincerity of Desires and Endeavours, which is supposed to excuse in the Non-performance of Things in themselves good, particularly considered.
Pag. 170.
SECT. VI. Liberty of Indifference, not only not necessary to Vertue, but utterly inconsistent with it: and all, either vertuous, or vicious Habits and Inclinations, inconsistent with Arminian Notions of Liberty, and moral Agency.
Pag. 178.
SECT. VII. Arminian Notions of moral Agency inconsistent with all Influence of Motive and Inducement, in either vertuous or vicious Actions.
Pag. 185.
PART IV. Wherein the chief Grounds of the Reasonings of Arminians, in Support and Defence of their Notions of Liberty, moral Agency, &c. and against the opposite Doctrine, are considered.
SECT. I. The Essence of the Vertue and Vice of the Dispo­sitions of the Heart, and Acts of the Will, lies not in their Cause, but their Nature.
Pag. 192.
SECT. II. The Falseness and Inconsistence of that metaphy­sical Notion of Action and Agency, which seems to be generally entertain'd by the Defenders of the foremention'd Notions of Liberty, moral Agency, &c.
Pag. 198.
SECT. III. The Reasons why some think it contrary to common Sense, to suppose Things which are necessary, to be worthy of either Praise or Blame.
Pag. 206.
SECT. IV. It is agreable to common Sense, and the natural Notions of Mankind, to suppose moral Necessity to be consistent with Praise and Blame, Reward and Punishment.
Pag. 212.
SECT. V. Concerning those Objections, That this Scheme of Necessity renders all Means and Endeavours for the avoiding of Sin, or the obtaining Vertue and Holiness, vain and to no Pur­pose; And that it makes Men no more than meer Machines, in Affairs of Morality and Religion.
Pag. 220.
SECT. VI. Concerning that Objection against the Doctrine which has been maintain'd, That it agrees with the Stoical Doc­trine of Fate, and the Opinion of Mr. Hobbes.
Pag. 227.
SECT. VII. Concerning the Necessity of the divine Will.
Pag. 230.
[Page]SECT. VIII. Some further Objections against the moral Necessity of GOD'S Volitions, considered.
Pag. 239.
SECT. IX. Concerning that Objection against the Doctrine which has been maintain'd, That it makes GOD the Author of Sin.
Pag. 252.
SECT. X. Concerning Sin's first Entrance into the World.
Pag. 268.
SECT. XI. Of a supposed Inconsistence of these Principles with GOD'S moral Character.
Pag. 270.
SECT. XII. Of a supposed Tendency of these Principles to Atheism, and Licentiousness.
Pag. 274.
SECT. XIII. Concerning that Objection against the Rea­soning by which the Calvinistic Doctrine is supported, That it is metaphysical and abstruse.
Pag. 278.
WHAT Treatment this Discourse may probably meet with, from some Persons.
Pag. 285.
Consequences concerning several Calvinistic Doctrines; such as an universal, decisive Providence.
Pag. 286.
The total Depravity and Corruption of Man's Nature.
Pag. 287.
Efficacious Grace.
Pag. 288.
An universal and absolute Decree; and absolute, eternal, personal Election.
Pag. 289.
Particular Redemption.
Pag. 290.
Perseverance of Saints.
Pag. 291.
Concerning the Treatment which Calvinistic Writers and Divines have met with.
Pag. 292.
The Unhappiness of the Change lately in many Protestant Countries.
Pag. 293.
The Boldness of some Writers.
The excellent Wisdom appearing in the holy Scriptures.
P. ult.

PART I. Wherein are explained and stated various Terms and Things belonging to the Sub­ject of the ensuing Discourse.

SECTION I. Concerning the Nature of the Will.

IT may possibly be thought, that there is no great Need of going about to define or describe the Will; this Word being generally as well understood as any other Words we can use to explain it: And so perhaps it would be, had not Philosophers, Metaphysicians and Polemic Divines brought the Matter into Obscurity by the Things they have said of it. But since it is so, I think it may be of some Use, and will tend to the greater Clearness in the fol­lowing Discourse, to say a few Things concerning it.

And therefore I observe, that the Will (without any meta­physical Refining) is plainly, That by which the Mind ch [...]ses any Thing. The Faculty of the Will is that Faculty or Power or Principle of Mind by which it is capable of chusing: An Act of the Will is the same as an Act of Chusing or Choice.

[Page 2]If any think 'tis a more perfect Definition of the Will, to say, that it is that by which the Soul either chuses or refuses; I am content with it: tho' I think that 'tis enough to say, It's that by which the Soul chuses: For in every Act of Will whatsoever, the Mind chuses one Thing rather than another; it chuses something rather than the Contrary, or rather than the Want or Non-Existence of that Thing. So in every Act of Refusal, the Mind chuses the Absence of the Thing re­fused; The Positive and the Negative are set before the Mind for it's Choice, and it chuses the Negative; and the Mind's making it's Choice in that Case is properly the Act of the Will: The Will's determining between the two is a volun­tary determining; but that is the same Thing as making a Choice. So that whatever Names we call the Act of the Will by, Chusing, Refusing, Approving, Disapproving, Liking, Disliking, Embracing, Rejecting, Determining, Directing, Commanding, For­bidding, Inclining or being averse, a being pleased or displeas'd with; all may be reduced to this of Chusing. For the Soul to act vo­luntarily, is evermore to act electively.

Mr. Locke * says, ‘The Will signifies Nothing but a Power or Ability to prefer or chuse. And in the foregoing Page says, ‘The Word Preferring seems best to express the Act of Volition;’ But adds, that ‘it does it not precisely; For (says he) tho' a Man would prefer Flying to Walking, yet who can say he ever wills it?’ But the Instance he mentions don't prove that there is any Thing else in Willing, but meerly Preferring: For it should be considered what is the next and immediate Object of the Will, with respect to a Man's Walking, or any other external Action; which is not his be­ing removed from one Place to another; on the Earth, or thro' the Air; these are remoter Objects of Preference; but such or such an immediate Exertion of himself. The Thing nextly chosen or prefer'd when a Man wills to walk, is not his being removed to such a Place where he would be, but such an Exertion and Motion of his Legs and Feet &c. in order to it. And his willing such an Alteration in his Body in the pre­sent Moment, is nothing else but his chusing or preferring such an Alteration in his Body at such a Moment, or his lik­ing it better than the Forbearance of it. And God has so made and establish'd the human Nature, the Soul being united to a Body in proper State, that the Soul preferring or chusing such an immediate Exertion or Alteration of the Body, such an Alteration instantaneously follows. There is nothing else [Page 3] in the Actings of my Mind, that I am conscious of while I walk, but only my preferring or chusing, thro' successive Mo­ments, that there should be such Alterations of my external Sensations and Motions; together with a concurring habitual Expectation that it will be so; having ever found by Experi­ence, that on such an immediate Preference, such Sensations and Motions do actually instantaneously, & constantly arise. But it is not so in the Case of Flying: Tho' a Man may be said remotely to chuse or prefer Flying; yet he don't chuse or pre­fer, incline to or desire, under Circumstances in View, any immediate Exertion of the Members of his Body in order to it; because he has no Expectation that he should obtain the desired End by any such Exertion; and he don't prefer or in­cline to any bodily Exertion or Effort under this apprehended Circumstance, of it's being wholly in vain. So that if we care­fully distinguish the proper Objects of the several Acts of the Will, it will not appear by this, and such-like Instances, that there is any Difference between Volition and Preference; or that a Man's chusing, liking best, or being best pleased with a Thing, are not the same with his willing that Thing; as they seem to be according to those general and more natural Noti­ons of Men, according to which Language is formed. Thus an Act of the Will is commonly express'd by it's pleasing a Man to do thus or thus; and a Man's doing as he wills, and doing as he pleases, are the same Thing in common Speech.

Mr. Locke says, ‘The Will is perfectly distinguish'd from Desire; which in the very same Action may have a quite contrary Tendency from that which our Wills set us upon. A Man (says he) whom I cannot deny, may oblige me to use Perswasions to another, which, at the same Time I am speaking, I may wish may not prevail on him. In this Case 'tis plain the Will and Desire run counter.’ I don't suppose, that Will and Desire are Words of precisely the same Signification: Will seems to be a Word of a more general Signi­fication, extending to Things present and absent. Desire re­spects something absent. I may prefer my present Situation and Posture, suppose sitting still, or having my Eyes open, and so may will it. But yet I can't think they are so entirely distinct, that they can ever be properly said to run counter. A Man never, in any Instance, wills any Thing contrary to his Desires, or desires any Thing contrary to his Will. The foremention'd Instance, which Mr. Locke pro­duces, don't prove that he ever does. He may, on some Con­sideration or other, will to utter Speeches which have a Ten­dency [Page 4] to perswade another, and still may desire that they may not perswade him: But yet his Will and Desire don't run counter at all: The Thing which he wills, the very same he desires; and he don't will a Thing, and desire the contrary in any Particular. In this Instance, it is not carefully observ­ed, what is th [...] Thing will'd, and what is the Thing desired: If it were, it would be found that Will and Desire don't clash in the least. The Thing will'd on some Consideration, is to utter such Words; and certainly, the same Consideration so influences him, that he don't desire the contrary; all Things considered, he chuses to utter such Words, and don't desire not to utter 'em. And so as to the Thing which Mr. Locke speaks of as desired, viz. that the Words, tho' They tend to perswade, should not be effectual to that End, his Will is not contrary to this; he don't will that they should be effect­ual, but rather wills that they should not, as he desires. In order to prove that the Will and Desire may run counter, it should be shown that they may be contrary one to the other in the same Thing, or with respect to the very same Object of Will or Desire: But here the Objects are two; and in each, taken by themselves, the Will and Desire agree. And 'tis no Wonder that they should not agree in different Things, how­ever little distinguished they are in their Nature. The Will may not agree with the Will, nor Desire agree with Desire, in different Things. As in this very Instance which Mr. Locke mentions, a Person may, on some Consideration, desire to use Perswasions, and at the same Time may desire they may not prevail; But yet no Body will say, that Desire runs coun­ter to Desire; or that this proves that Desire is perfectly a distinct Thing from Desire.— The like might be observed of the other Instance Mr. Locke produces, of a Man's desiring to be eased of Pain &c.

But not to dwell any longer on this, whether Desire and Will, and whether Preference and Volition be precisely the same Things or no; yet, I trust it will be allowed by all, that in every Act of Will there is an Act of Choice; that in every Volition there is a Preference, or a prevailing Inclination of the Soul, whereby the Soul, at that Instant, is out of a State of perfect Indifference, with respect to the direct Object of the Volition. So that in every Act, or going forth of the Will, there is some Preponderation of the Mind or Inclination, one Way rather than another; and the Soul had rather have or d [...] one Thing than another, or than not to have or do that Thing; and that there, where there is absolutely no prefer­ring or chusing, but a perfect continuing Equilibrium, there is no Volition.

[Page 5]

SECTION II. Concerning the Determination of the Will.

BY determining the Will, if the Phrase be used with any Mean­ing, must be intended, causing that the Act of the Will or Choice should be thus, and not otherwise: And the Will is said to be de­termined, when, in Consequence of some Action, or Influence, its Choice is directed to, and fix'd upon a particular Object. As when we speak of the Determination of Mot [...]on, we mean causing the Motion of the Body to be such a Way, or in such a Direction, rather than another.

To talk of the Determination of the Will, supposes an Effect, which must have a Cause. If the Will be det [...]rmined, there is a Determiner. This must be supposed to be intend­ed even by them that say, the Will determines itself. If it be so, the Will is both Determin [...]r & determined; it is a Cause that acts and produces Effects upon it self, and is the Object of its own Influence and Action.

With respect to that grand Enquiry, What determines the Will, it would be very tedious and unnecessary at present to enumerate and examine all the various Opinions, which have been advanced concerning this Matter; nor is it needful that I should enter into a particular Disquisition of all Points deba­ted in Disputes on that Question, Whether the Will always fol­lows the last Dictate of the Understanding. It is sufficient to my present Purpose to say, — It is that Motive, which, as it stands in the View of the Mind, is the strongest, that determines the Will— But it may be necessary that I should a little explain my Meaning in this.

By Motive, I mean the whole of that which moves, excites or invites the Mind to Volition, whether that be one Thing singly, or many Things conjunctly. Many particular Things may concur and unite their Strength to induce the Mind; and when it is so, all together are as it were one complex Motive. And when I speak of the strongest Motive, I have Respect to the Strength of the whole that operates to induce to a particular Act of Volition, whether that be the Strength of one Thing alone, or of many together.

[Page 6]Whatever is a Motive, in this Sense, must be something that is extant in the View or Apprehension of the Understanding, or per­ceiving Faculty. Nothing can induce or invite the Mind to will or act any Thing, any further than it is perceived, or is some Way or other in the Mind's view; for what is wholly unperceived, and perfectly out of the Mind's view, can't affect the Mind at all. 'Tis most evident, that nothing is in the Mind, or reaches it, or takes any Hold of it, any otherwise than as it is perceiv'd or tho't of.

And I think it must also be allowed by all, that every Thing that is properly called a Motive, Excitement or Inducement to a perceiving willing Agent, has some Sort and Degree of Tendency, or Advantage to move or excite the Will, previous to the Effect, or to the Act of the Will excited. This previous Tendency of the Motive is what I call the Strength of the Mo­tive. That Motive which has a less Degree of previous Ad­vantage or Tendency to move the Will, or that appears less inviting, as it stands in the View of the Mind, is what I call a weaker Motive. On the contrary, that which appears most inviting, and has, by what appears concerning it to the Un­derstanding or Apprehension, the greatest Degree of previous Tendency to excite and induce the Choice, is what I call the strongest Motive. And in this Sense, I suppose the Will is al­ways determined by the strongest Motive.

Things that exist in the View of the Mind, have their Strength, Tendency or Advantage to move or excite its Will, from many Things appertaining to the Nature and Cir­cumstances of the Thing view'd, the Nature and Circumstances of the Mind that views, and the Degree & Manner of its View; which it would perhaps be hard to make a perfect Enumeration of. But so much I think may be determin [...]d in general, with­out Room for Controversy, that whateve [...] [...] perceived or ap­prehended by an intelligent & voluntar [...] [...], which has the Nature and Influence of a Motive to Voli [...]ion or Choice, is consider'd or view'd as good; nor has it any Tendency to in­vite or engage the Election of the Soul in any further Degree than it appears such. For to say otherwise, would be to say, that Things that appear have a Tendency by the Appearance they make, to engage the Mind to elect them, some other Way than by their appearing eligible to it; which is ab­surd. And therefore it must be true, in some Sense, that the Will alway [...] is as the greatest apparent Good is. But only, for the ri [...]ht understanding of this, two Things must be well and inst [...]nctly observed.

[Page 7]1. It must be observed in what Sense I use the Term Good; namely, as of the same Import with Agreable. To appear good to the Mind, as I use the Phrase, is the same as to appear agreable, or seem pleasing to the Mind. Certainly, nothing ap­pears inviting and eligible to the Mind, or tending to engage it's I [...]c [...]ination and Choice, considered as evil or disagreable; nor indeed, as indifferent, and neither agreable nor disagrea­ble. But if it tends to draw the Inclination, and move the Will, it must be under the Notion of that which suits the Mind. And therefore that must have the greatest Tendency to attract and engage it, which, as it stands in the Mind's View, suits it best, and pleases it most; and in that Sense, is the greatest apparent Good: to say otherwise, is little, if any Thing, short of a direct and plain Contradiction.

The Word Good, in this Sense, includes in its Signification, the Removal or Avoiding of Evil, or of that which is disa­greable & uneasy. 'Tis agreable and pleasing, to avoid what is disagreable and displeasing, and to have Uneasiness remo­ved. So that here is included what Mr. Locke supposes deter­mines the Will. For when he speaks of Uneasiness as de­termining the Will, he must be understood as supposing that the End or Aim which governs in the Volition or Act of Prefe­rence, is the Avoiding or Removal of that Uneasiness; and that is the same Thing as chusing and seeking what is more easy and agreable.

2. When I say, the Will is as the greatest apparent Good is, or (as I have explain'd it) that Volition has always for its Object the Thing which appears most agreable; it must be carefully observed, to avoid Confusion and needless Objection, that I speak of the direct and immediate Object of the Act of Volition; and not some Object that the Act of Will has not an immediate, but only an indirect and remote Respect to. Many Acts of Volition have some remote Relation to an Ob­ject, that is different from the Thing most immediately will'd and chosen. Thus, when a Drunkard has his Liquor before him, & he has to chuse whether to drink it, or no; the proper and immediate Objects, about which his present Volition is conversant, and between which his Choice now decides, are his own Acts, in drinking the Liquor, or letting it alone; and this will certainly be done according to what, in the present View of his Mind, taken in the whole of it, is most agreable to him. If he chuses or wills to drink it, and not to let it alone; then this Action, as it stands in the View of his Mind, with all that belongs to its Appearance there, is more agreable and pleasing than letting it alone.

[Page 8]But the Objects to which this Act of Volition may relate more remotely, and between which his Choice may determine more indirectly, are the present Pleasure the Man expects by drinking, and the future Misery which he judges will be the Consequence of it: He may judge that this future Misery, when it comes, will be more disagreable and unpleasant, than refraining from drinking now would be. But these two Things are not the proper Objects that the Act of Volition spo­ken of is nextly conversant about. For the Act of Will spo­ken of is concerning present Drinking or Forbearing to drink. If he wills to drink, then Drinking is the proper Object of the Act of his Will; and drinking, on some Account or other, now appears most agreable to him, & suits him best. If he chuses to refrain, then Refraining is the immediate Object of his Will, and is most pleasing to him. If in the Choice he makes in the Case, he prefers a present Pleasure to a future Advantage, which he judges will be greater when it comes; then a lesser present Pleasure appears more agreable to him than a greater Advantage at a Distance. If on the contrary a future Advantage is prefer'd, then that appears most agreable, and suits him best. And so still the present Volition is as the greatest apparent Good at present is.

I have rather chosen to express my self thus, that the Will always is as the greatest apparent Good, or as what appears most a­greable, is, than to say that the Will is determined by the greatest apparent Good, or by what seems most agreable; because an appearing most agreable or pleasing to the Mind, and the Mind's preferring and chusing, seem hardly to be properly and perfectly distinct. If strict Propriety of Speech be insisted on, it may more properly be said, that the voluntary Action which is the immediate Consequence and Fruit of the Mind's Volition or Choice, is determined by that which appears most agreable, than the Preference or Choice it self; but that the Act of Volition it self is always determin'd by that in or about the Mind's View of the Object, which causes it to appear most agreable. I say, in or about the Mind's View of the Object, because what has Influence to render an Object in View agreable, is not only what appears in the Object view'd, but also the Manner of the View, and the State and Circumstances of the Mind that views.—Particularly to enume­rate all Things pertaining to the Mind's View of the Objects of Volition, which have Influence in their appearing agreable to the Mind, would be a Matter of no small Difficulty, and might require a Treatise by it self, and is not necessary to my present Purpose. I shall therefore only mention some Things in general.

[Page 9]I. One Thing that makes an Object proposed to Choice agreable, is the apparent Nature and Circumstances of the Object. And there are various Things of this Sort, that have an Hand in rendring the Object more or less agreable; as,

1. That which appears in the Object, which renders it beautiful and pleasant, or deformed and irksom to the Mind; viewing it as it is in it self.

2. The apparent Degree of Pleasure or Trouble attending the Object, or the Consequence of it. Such Concomitants and Consequents being view'd as Circumstances of the Object, are to be considered as belonging to it, and as it were Parts of it; as it stands in the Mind's View, as a proposed Object of Choice.

3. The apparent State of the Pleasure or Trouble that ap­pears, with Respect to Distance of Time; being either nearer or farther off. 'Tis a Thing in it self agreable to the Mind, to have Pleasure speedily; and disagreable, to have it delayed: So that if there be two equal Degrees of Pleasure set in the Mind's View, and all other Things are equal, but only one is beheld as near, and the other far off; the nearer will ap­pear most agreable, and so will be chosen. Because, tho' the Agreableness of the Objects be exactly equal, as view'd in Themselves, yet not as view'd in their Circumstances; one of them having the additional Agreableness of the Circum­stance of Nearness.

II. Another Thing that contributes to the Agreableness of an Object of Choice, as it stands in the Mind's View, is the Manner of the View. If the Object be something which ap­pears connected with future Pleasure, not only will the Degree of apparent Pleasure have Influence, but also the Manner of the View, especially in two Respects.

1. With respect to the Degree of Iudgment, or Firmness of Assent, with which the Mind judges the Pleasure to be fu­ture. Because it is more agreable to have a certain Happiness, than an uncertain one; and a Pleasure view'd as more proba­ble, all other Things being equal, is more agreable to the Mind, than that which is view'd as less probable.

2. With respect to the Degree of the Idea of the future Pleasure. With Regard to Things which are the Subject of our Thoughts, either past, present or future, we have much more of an Idea or Apprehension of some Things than others; that is, our Idea is much more clear, lively and strong. Thus, the Ideas we have of sensible Things by immediate Sensation, are usually much more lively than those we have by meer Imagination, or by Contemplation of them when ab­sent. [Page 10] My Idea of the Sun, when I look upon it, is more vivid, than when I only think of it. Our Idea of the sweet Relish of a delicious Fruit is usually stronger when we taste it, than when we only imagine it. And sometimes, the Ideas we have of Things by Contemplation, are much stronger & clearer, than at other Times. Thus, a Man at one Time has a much stronger Idea of the Pleasure which is to be enjoyed in eating some Sort of Food that he loves, than at another. Now the Degree, or Strength of the Idea or Sense that Men have of future Good or Evil, is one Thing that has great Influ­ence on their Minds to excite Choice or Volition. When of two Kinds of future Pleasure, which the Mind considers of, and are presented for Choice, both are supposed exactly equal by the Judgment, and both equally certain, and all other Things are equal, but only one of them is what the Mind has a far more lively Sense of, than of the other; this has the greatest Advantage by far to affect and attract the Mind, and move the Will. 'Tis now more agreable to the Mind, to take the Pleasure it has a strong and lively Sense of, than that which it has only a faint Idea of. The View of the former is attended with the strongest Appetite, and the greatest Unea­siness attends the Want of it; and 'tis agreable to the Mind, to have Uneasiness removed, and it's Appetite gratified. And if several future Enjoyments are presented together, as Com­petitors for the Choice of the Mind, some of them judged to be greater, and others less; the Mind also having a greater Sense and more lively Idea of the Good of some of them, and of others a less; and some are view'd as of greater Certainty or Probability than others; and those Enjoyments that appear most agreable in one of these Respects, appears least so in others: In this Case, all other Things being equal, the A­greableness of a proposed Object of Choice will be in a De­gree some Way compounded of the Degree of Good supposed by the Judgment, the Degree of apparent Probability or Cer­tainty of that Good, and the Degree of the View or Sense, or Liveliness of the Idea the Mind has, of that Good; because all together concur to constitute the Degree in which the Ob­ject appears at present agreable; and accordingly Volition will be determined.

I might further observe, the State of the Mind that views a proposed Object of Choice, is another Thing that contributes to the Agreableness or Disagreableness of that Object; the particular Temper which the Mind has by Na­ture, or that has been introduced and established by Educa­tion, Example, Custom, or some other Means; or the Frame [Page 11] or State that the Mind is in on a particular Occasion. That Object which appears agreable to one, does not so to another. And the same Object don't always appear alike agre­able to the same Person, at different Times. It is most a­greable to some Men, to follow their Reason; and to others, to follow their Appetites: To some Men, it is more agreable to deny a vicious Inclination, than to gratify it; Others it suits best to gratify the vilest Appetites. 'Tis more disagrea­ble to some Men than others, to counter-act a former Reso­lution. In these Respects, and many others which might be mention'd, different Things will be most agreable to different Persons; and not only so, but to the same Persons at diffe­rent Times.

But possibly 'tis needless and improper, to mention the Frame and State of the Mind, as a distinct Ground of the Agreableness of Objects from the other two mentioned be­fore; viz. The apparent Nature and Circumstances of the Objects view'd, and the Manner of the View: Perhaps if we strictly consider the Matter, the different Temper and State of the Mind makes no Alteration as to the Agreable­ness of Objects, any other Way, than as it makes the Ob­jects themselves appear differently beautiful or deformed, having apparent Pleasure or Pain attending them: And as it occasions the Manner of the View to be different, causes the Idea of Beauty or Deformity, Pleasure or Uneasiness to be more or less lively.

However, I think so much is certain, that Volition, in no one Instance that can be mentioned, is otherwise than the greatest apparent Good is, in the Manner which has been explain'd. The Choice of the Mind never departs from that which, at that Time, and with Respect to the direct and immediate Objects of that Decision of the Mind, appears most agreable and pleasing, all Things considered. If the im­mediate Objects of the Will are a Man's own Actions, then those Actions which appear most agreable to him he wills. If it be now most agreable to him, all Things considered, to walk, then he now wills to walk. If it be now, upon the whole of what at present appears to him, most agreable to speak, then he chooses to speak: If it suits him best to keep Silence, then he chooses to keep Silence. There is scarcely a plainer and more universal Dictate of the Sense and Experience of Mankind, than that, when Men act voluntarily, and do what they please, then they do what suits them best, or what is most agreable to them. To say, that they do what they please, [Page 12] or what pleases them, but yet don't do what is agreable to them, is the same Thing as to say, they do what they please, but don't act their Pleasure; and that is to say, that they do what they please, and yet don't do what they please.

It appears from these Things, that in some Sense, the Will always follows the last Dictate of the Understanding. But then the Understanding must be taken in a large Sense, as including the whole Faculty of Perception or Apprehension, and not meerly what is called Reason or Iudgment. If by the Dictate of the Understanding is meant what Reason declares to be best or most for the Person's Happiness, taking in the whole of his Duration, it is not true, that the Will always follows the last Dictate of the Understanding. Such a Dictate of Reason is quite a different Matter from Things appearing now most agreable; all Things being put together which pertain to the Mind's present Perceptions, Apprehensions or Ideas, in any Respect. Altho' that Dictate of Reason, when it takes Place, is one Thing that is put into the Scales, and is to be considered as a Thing that has Concern in the compound In­fluence which moves & induces the Will; and is one Thing that is to be considered in estimating the Degree of that Ap­pearance of Good which the Will always follows; either as having its Influence added to other Things, or subducted from them. When it concurs with other Things, then its Weight is added to them, as put into the same Scale; but when it is against them, it is as a Weight in the opposite Scale, where it resists the Influence of other Things: yet it's Resistance is often overcome by their greater Weight, and so the Act of the Will is determined in Opposition to it.

The Things which I have said may, I hope, serve, in some Measure, to illustrate and confirm the Position I laid down in the Beginning of this Section, viz. That the Will is always determined by the strongest Motive, or by that View of the Mind which has the greatest Degree of previous Tendency to ex­cite Volition. But whether I have been so happy as rightly to explain the Thing wherein consists the Strength of Motives, or not, yet my failing in this will not overthrow the Position it self; which carries much of its own Evidence with it, and is the Thing of chief Importance to the Purpose of the en­suing Discourse: And the Truth of it, I hope, will appear with greater Clearness, before I have finished what I have to say on the Subject of human Liberty.

[Page 13]

SECTION III. Concerning the Meaning of the Terms Ne­cessity, Impossibility, Inability, and of Contingence.

THE Words Necessary, Impossible &c. are abundantly used in Controversies about Free-will and moral Agency; and therefore the Sense in which they are used, should be clearly understood.

Here I might say, that a Thing is then said to be necessary, when it must be, and cannot be otherwise. But this would not properly be a Definition of Necessity, or an Explana­tion of the Word, any more than if I explain'd the Word must, by there being a Necessity. The Words must, can, and cannot, need Explication as much as the Words necessary, and impossible; excepting that the former are Words that Children commonly use, and know something of the Mean­ing of earlier than the latter.

The Word necessary, as used in common Speech, is a rela­tive Term; and relates to some supposed Opposition made to the Existence of the Thing spoken of, which is overcome, or proves in vain to hinder or alter it. That is necessary, in the original and proper Sense of the Word, which is, or will be, notwithstanding all supposable Opposition. To say, that a Thing is necessary, is the same Thing as to say, that it is impossible should not be: But the Word impossible is mani­festly a relative Term, and has Reference to supposed Power exerted to bring a Thing to pass, which is insufficient for the Effect; As the Word unable is relative, and has Relation to Ability or Endeavour which is insufficient; and as the Word Irresistable is relative, and has always Reference to Resistance which is made, or may be made to some Force or Power tending to an Effect, and is insufficient to withstand the Power, or hinder the Effect. The common Notion of Necessity and Impossibility implies something that frustrates Endeavour or Desire.

[Page 14]Here several Things are to be noted.

1. Things are said to be necessary in general, which are or will be notwithstanding any supposable Opposition from us or others, or from whatever Quarter. But Things are said to be necessary to us, which are or will be notwithstanding all Op­position supposable in the Case from us. The same may be observed of the Word impossible, and other such like Terms.

2. These Terms necessary, impossible, irresistible &c. do especi­ally belong to the Controversy about Liberty and moral A­gency, as used in the latter of the two Senses now mention'd, viz. as necessary or impossible to us, and with Relation to any supposable Opposition or Endeavour of ours.

3. As the Word Necessity, in it's vulgar and common Use, is relative, and has always Reference to some supposable in­sufficient Opposition; so when we speak of any Thing as ne­cessary to us, it is with Relation to some supposable Opposition of our Wills, or some voluntary Exertion or Effort of ours to the contrary. For we don't properly make Opposition to an Event, any otherwise than as we voluntarily oppose it. Things are said to be what must be, or necessarily are, as to us, when they are, or will be, tho' we desire or endeavour the contrary, or try to prevent or remove their Existence: But such Opposition of ours always either consists in, or implies Opposition of our Wills.

'Tis manifest that all such like Words & Phrases, as vulgarly used, are used and accepted in this Manner. A Thing is said to be necessary, when we can't help it, let us do what we will. So any Thing is said to be impossible to us, when we would do it, or would have it brought to pass, and endea­vour it; or at least may be supposed to desire and seek it; but all our Desires and Endeavours are, or would be vain. And that is said to be irresistible, which overcomes all our Opposition, Resistance, and Endeavour to the contrary. And we are to be said Unable to do a Thing, when our supposable Desires and Endeavours to do it are insufficient.

We are accustomed, in the common Use of Language, to apply & understand these Phrases in this Sense: We grow up with such a Habit; which by the daily Use of these Terms, in such a Sense, from our Childhood, becomes fix'd and settled; so that the Idea of a Relation to a supposed Will, Desire and Endeavour of ours, is strongly connected with [Page 15] these Terms, and naturally excited in our Minds, whenever we hear the Words used. Such Ideas, and these Words, are so united and associated, that they unavoidably go together; one suggests the other, and carries the other with it, and ne­ver can be separated as long as we live. And if we use the Words, as Terms of Art, in another Sense, yet, unless we are exceeding circumspect and wary, we shall insensibly slide into the vulgar Use of them, and so apply the Words in a very inconsistent Manner: this habitual Connection of Ideas will deceive & confound us in our Reasonings & Discourses, where­in we pretend to use these Terms in that Manner, as Ter [...] of Art.

4. It follows from what has been observed, that when these Terms necessary, impossible, irresistible, unable &c. are used in Cases wherein no Opposition, or insufficient Will or Endea­vour, is supposed, or can be supposed, but the very Nature of the supposed Case it self excludes and denies any such Opposi­tion, Will or Endeavour; these Terms are then not used in their proper Signification, but quite beside their Use in common Speech. The Reason is manifest; namely, that in such Cases, we can't use the Words with Reference to a supposa­ble Opposition, Will or Endeavour. And therefore if any Man uses these Terms in such Cases, he either uses them nonsensically, or in some new Sense, diverse from their ori­ginal and proper Meaning. As for Instance; If a Man should affirm after this Manner, That it is necessary for a Man, and what must be, that a Man should chuse Virtue rather than Vice, during the Time that he prefers Virtue to Vice; and that it is a Thing impossible and irresistable, that it should be otherwise than that he should have this Choice, so long as this Choice continues; such a Man would use these Terms must, irresistible &c. with perfect Insignificence and Nonsense, or in some new Sense, diverse from their common Use; which is with Reference, as has been observed, to supposable Oppo­sition, Unwillingness and Resistance; whereas, here, the very Supposition excludes and denies any such Thing: for the Case supposed is that of being willing, and chusing.

5. It appears from what has been said, that these Terms necessary, impossible &c. are often used by Philosophers and Me­taphysicians in a Sense quite diverse from their common Use and original Signification: For they apply them to many Cases in which no Opposition is supposed or supposable. Thus they use them with Respect to God's Existence before the Creation of the World, when there was no other Being but [Page 16] He: so with regard to many of the Dispositions and Acts of the divine Being, such as his loving Himself, his loving Righteousness, hating Sin &c. So they apply these Terms to many Cases of the Inclinations and Actions of created intel­ligent Beings, Angels and Men; wherein all Opposition of the Will is shut out and denied, in the very Supposition of the Case.

Metaphysical or Philosophical Necessity is nothing different from their Certainty. I speak not now of the Certainty of Knowledge, but the Certainty that is in Things themselves, which is the Foundation of the Certainty of the Knowledge of them; or that wherein lies the Ground of the Infallibility of the Proposition which affirms them.

What is sometimes given as the Definition of Philosophical Necessity, namely, That by which a Thing cannot but be, or whereby it cannot be otherwise, fails of being a proper Explanation of it, on two Accounts: First, the Words Can, or Cannot, need Explanation as much as the Word Necessity; and the former may as well be explained by the latter, as the latter by the former. Thus, if any one asked us what we mean, when we say, a Thing cannot but be, we might explain our selves by say­ing, we mean, it must necessarily be so; as well as explain Necessity, by saying, it is that by which a Thing cannot but be. And Secondly, this Definition is liable to the fore-mention'd great Inconvenience: The Words cannot, or unable, are pro­perly relative, and have Relation to Power exerted, or that may be exerted, in order to the Thing spoken of; to which, as I have now observed, the Word Necessity, as used by Philoso­phers, has no Reference.

Philosophical Necessity is really Nothing else than the full and fix'd Connection between the Things signified by the Subject & Predicate of a Proposition, which affirms Something to be true. When there is such a Connection, then the Thing affirmed in the Proposition is necessary, in a Philosophical Sense; whether any Opposition, or contrary Effort be sup­posed, or supposable in the Case, or no. When the Subject and Predicate of the Proposition, which affirms the Existence of any Thing, either Substance, Quality, Act or Circumstance, have a full and certain Connection, then the Existence or Being of that Thing is said to be necessary in a metaphysical Sense. And in this Sense I use the Word Necessity, in the fol­lowing Discourse, when I endeavour to prove that Necessity is not inconsistent with Liberty.

[Page 17]The Subject and Predicate of a Proposition, which affirms Existence of Something, may have a full, fix'd, and certain Connection several Ways.

(1.) They may have a full and perfect Connection in and of themselves; because it may imply a Contradiction, or gross Absurdity, to suppose them not connected. Thus many Things are necessary in their own Nature. So the eternal Existence of Being generally considered, is necessary in it self: because it would be in it self the greatest Absurdity, to deny the Existence of Being in general, or to say there was abso­lute and universal Nothing; and is as it were the Sum of all Contradictions; as might be shewn, if this were a proper Place for it. So God's Infinity, and other Attributes are necessary. So it is necessary in its own Nature, that two and two should be four; and it is necessary, that all right Lines drawn from the Center of a Circle to the Circumference should be equal. It is necessary, fit and suitable, that Men should do to others, as they would that they should do to them. So innumerable Metaphysical and Mathematical Truths are necessary in Themselves; The Subject and Predicate of the Proposition which affirms them, are perfectly connected of themselves.

(2.) The Connection of the Subject and Predicate of a Proposition, which affirms the Existence of Something, may be fix'd and made certain, because the Existence of that Thing is already come to pass; and either now is, or has been; and so has as it were made sure of Existence. And therefore, the Proposition which affirms present and past Ex­istence of it, may by this Means be made certain, and ne­cessarily and unalterably true; the past Event has fix'd and decided the Matter, as to it's Existence; and has made it impossible but that Existence should be truly predicated of it. Thus the Existence of whatever is already come to pass, is now become necessary; 'tis become impossible it should be otherwise than true, that such a Thing has been.

(3.) The Subject and Predicate of a Proposition which affirms Something to be, may have a real and certain Con­nection consequentially; and so the Existence of the Thing may be consequentially necessary; as it may be surely and firmly connected with something else, that is necessary in one of the former Respects. As it is either fully and thoroughly connected with that which is absolutely necessary in its own [Page 18] Nature, or with something which has already received and made sure of Existence. This Necessity lies in, or may be explained by the Connection of two or more Propositions one with another. Things which are perfectly connected with other Things that are necessary, are necessary Themselves, by a Necessity of Consequence.

And here it may be observed, that all Things which are future, or which will hereafter begin to be, which can be said to be necessary, are necessary only in this last Way. Their Existence is not necessary in it self; for if so, they always would have existed. Nor is their Existence become ne­cessary by being made sure, by being already come to pass. Therefore, the only Way that any Thing that is to come to pass hereafter, is or can be necessary, is by a Connection with something that is necessary in it's own Nature, or some­thing that already is, or has been; so that the one being supposed, the other certainly follows. And this also is the only Way that all Things past, excepting those which were from Eternity, could be necessary before they came to pass, or could come to pass necessarily; and therefore the only Way in which any Effect or Event, or any Thing whatsoever that ever has had, or will have a Beginning, has come into Being necessarily, or will hereafter necessarily exist. And therefore this is the Necessity which especially belongs to Controversies about the Acts of the Will.

It may be of some Use in these Controversies, further to observe concerning metaphysical Necessity, that (agreable to the Distinction before observed of Necessity, as vulgarly under­stood) Things that exist may be said to be necessary, either with a general or particular Necessity. The Existence of a Thing may be said to be necessary with a gen [...]ral Necessity, when all Things whatsoever being considered, there is a Foundation for Certainty of their Existence; or when in the most general and universal View of Things, the Subject and Predicate of the Proposition, which affirms its Exist­ence, would appear with an infallible Connection.

An Event, or the Existence of a Thing, may be said to be necessary with a particular Necessity, or with Regard to a par­ticular Person, Thing or Time, when Nothing that can be taken into Consideration, in or about that Person, Thing or Time, alters the Case at all, as to the Certainty of that Event, or the Existence of that Thing; or can be of any [Page 19] Account at all, in determining the Infallibility of the Con­nection of the Subject and Predicate in the Proposition which affirms the Existence of the Thing; so that it is all one, as to that Person, or Thing, at least, at that Time, as if the Existence were necessary with a Necessity that is most uni­versal and absolute. Thus there are many Things that hap­pen to particular Persons, which they have no Hand in, and in the Existence of which no Will of theirs has any Concern, at least, at that Time; which, whether they are ne­cessary or not, with Regard to Things in general, yet are ne­cessary to them, and with Regard to any Volition of theirs at that Time; as they prevent all Acts of the Will about the Affair. — I shall have Occasion to apply this Observa­tion to particular Instances in the following Discourse.—Whe­ther the same Things that are necessary with a particular Ne­cessity, be not also necessary with a general Necessity, may be a Matter of future Consideration. Let that be as it will, it alters not the Case, as to the Use of this Distinction of the Kinds of Necessity.

These Things may be sufficient for the explaining of the Terms Necessary and Necessity, as Terms of Art, and as often used by Metaphysicians, and controversial Writers in Divinity, in a Sense diverse from, and more extensive than their origi­nal Meaning, in common Language, which was before ex­plain'd.

What has been said to shew the Meaning of the Terms Necessary and Necessity, may be sufficient for the Explaining of the opposite Terms, Impossible and Impossibility. For there is no Difference, but only the latter are negative, and the former positive. Impossibility is the same as negative Necessity, or a Necessity that a Thing should not be. And it is used as a Term of Art in a like Diversity from the original and vulgar Meaning, with Necessity.

The same may be observed concerning the Words Unable, and Inability. It has been observed, that these Terms, in their original and common Use, have Relation to Will and En­deavour, as supposable in the Case, and as insufficient for the bringing to pass the Thing will'd and endeavoured. But as these Terms are often used by Philosophers and Divines, especially Writers on Controversies about Free-Will, they are used in a quite different, and far more extensive Sense▪ and are applied to many Cases wherein no Will or Endeavour [Page 20] for the bringing of the Thing to pass, is or can be sup­posed, but is actually denied and excluded in the Nature of the Case.

As the Words necessary, impossible, unable &c. are used by pole­mic Writers, in a Sense diverse from their common Significa­tion, the like has happen'd to the Term Contingent. Any Thing is said to be contingent, or to come to pass by Chance or Accident, in the original Meaning of such Words, when its Connection with its Causes or Antecedents, according to the establish'd Course of Things, is not discerned; and so is what we have no Means of the Foresight of. And espe­cially is any Thing said to be contingent or accidental with regard to us, when any Thing comes to pass that we are con­cerned in, as Occasions or Subjects, without our Foreknow­ledge, and beside our Design and Scope.

But the Word Contingent is abundantly used in a very diffe­rent Sense; not for That whose Connection with the Series of Things we can't discern, so as to foresee the Event; but for something which has absolutely no previous Ground or Rea­son, with which it's Existence has any fix'd and certain Con­nection.

SECTION IV. Of the Distinction of natural and moral Necessity, and Inability.

THAT Necessity which has been explain'd, consisting in an infallible Connection of the Things signified by the Subject and Predicate of a Proposition, as intelligent Beings are the Subjects of it, is distinguish'd into moral and natural Necessity.

I shall not now stand to enquire whether this Distinction be a proper and perfect Distinction; but shall only explain how these two Sorts of Necessity are understood, as the Terms are sometimes used, and as they are used in the following Dis­course.

[Page 21]The Phrase, moral Necessity, is used variously: sometimes 'tis used for a Necessity of moral Obligation. So we say, a Man is under Necessity, when he is under Bonds of Duty and Con­science, which he can't be discharged from. So the Word Necessity is often used for great Obligation in Point of Interest. Sometimes by moral Necessity is meant that apparent Con­nection of Things, which is the Ground of moral Evidence; and so is distinguish'd from absolute Necessity, or that sure Con­nection of Things, that is a Foundation for infallible Certainty. In this Sense, moral Necessity signifies much the same as that high Degree of Probability, which is ordinarily sufficient to satisfy, and be relied upon by Mankind, in their Conduct and Behaviour in the World, as they would consult their own Safety and Interest, and treat others properly as Members of Society. And sometimes by moral Necessity is meant that Necessity of Connection & Consequence, which arises from such moral Causes, as the Strength of Inclination, or Motives, and the Connection which there is in many Cases between these, and such certain Volitions and Actions. And it is in this Sense, that I use the Phrase, moral Necessity, in the following Discourse.

By natural Necessity, as applied to Men, I mean such Ne­cessity as Men are under through the Force of natural Causes; as distinguish'd from what are called moral Causes, such as Habits and Dispositions of the Heart, and moral Motives and Inducements. Thus Men placed in certain Circumstances, are the Subjects of particular Sensations by Necessity: They feel Pain when their Bodies are wounded; they see the Ob­jects presented before them in a clear Light, when their Eyes are open'd: so they assent to the Truth of certain Propositi­ons, as soon as the Terms are understood; as that two and two make four, that black is not white, that two parallel Lines can never cross one another: so by a natural Necessity Men's Bodies move downwards, when there is nothing to support them.

But here several Things may be noted concerning these two Kinds of Necessity.

1. Moral Necessity may be as absolute, as natural Necessity. That is, the Effect may be as perfectly connected with its mo­ral Cause, as a naturally necessary Effect is with it's natural Cause. Whether the Will in every Case is necessarily deter­mined by the strongest Motive, or whether the Will ever makes any Resistance to such a Motive, or can ever oppose the strongest present Inclination, or not; if that Matter should be controverted, yet I suppose none will deny, but that, in [Page 22] some Cases, a previous Bias and Inclination, or the Motive presented, may be so powerful, that the Act of the Will may be certainly and indissolubly connected therewith. When Motives or previous Bias are very strong, all will allow that there is some Difficulty in going against them. And if they were yet stronger, the Difficulty would be still greater. And therefore, if more were still added to their Strength, to a cer­tain Degree, it would make the Difficulty so great, that it would be wholly impossible to surmount it; for this plain Rea­son, because whatever Power Men may be supposed to have to surmount Difficulties, yet that Power is not infinite; and so goes not beyond certain Limits. If a Man can surmount ten Degrees of Difficulty of this Kind, with twenty Degrees of Strength, because the Degrees of Strength are beyond the De­grees of Difficulty; yet if the Difficulty be increased to thirty, or an hundred, or a thousand Degrees, and his Strength not also increased, his Strength will be wholly insufficient to sur­mount the Difficulty. As therefore it must be allowed, that there may be such a Thing as a sure and perfect Connection between moral Causes and Effects; so this only is what I call by the Name of moral Necessity.

2. When I use this Distinction of moral and natural Ne­cessity, I would not be understood to suppose, that if any Thing comes to pass by the former Kind of Necessity, the Nature of Things is not concerned in it, as well as in the latter. I don't mean to determine, that when a moral Habit or Motive is so strong, that the Act of the Will in [...]allibly follows, this is not owing to the Nature of Things. But these are the Names that these two Kinds of Necessity have usually been called by; and they must be distinguished by some Names or other; for there is a Distinction or Difference between them, that is very important in its Consequences. Which Diffe­rence does not lie so much in the Nature of the Connection, as in the two Terms connected. The Cause with which the Effect is connected, is of a particular Kind; viz. that which is of a moral Nature; either some previous habitual Disposition, or some Motive exhibited to the Understanding. And the Effect is also of a particular Kind; being likewise of a moral Nature; consisting in some Inclination or Volition of the Soul, or vo­luntary Action.

I suppose, that Necessity which is called natural, in Distinc­tion from moral Necessity, is so called, because meer Nature, as the Word is vulgarly used, is concerned, without any Thing [Page 23] of Choice. The Word Nature is often used in Opposition to Choice; not because Nature has indeed never any Hand in our Choice; But this probably comes to pass by Means that we first get our Notion of Nature from that discernable and obvious Course of Events, which we observe in many Things that our Choice has no Concern in; and especially in the material World; which, in very many Parts of it, we easily perceive to be in a settled Course; the stated Order and Man­ner of Succession being very apparent. But where we don't readily discern the Rule and Connection, (tho' there be a Connection, according to an establish'd Law, truly taking Place) we signify the Manner of Event by some other Name. Even in many Things which are seen in the material and inanimate World, which don't discernably and obviously come to pass according to any settled Course, Men don't call the Manner of the Event by the Name of Nature, but by such Names as Acci­dent, Chance, Contingence &c. So Men make a Distinction between Nature and Choice; as tho' they were compleatly and uni­versally distinct. Whereas, I suppose none will deny but that Choice, in many Cases, arises from Nature, as truly as other Events. But the Dependance & Connection between Acts of Volition or Choice, and their Causes, according to established Laws, is not so sensible and obvious. And we observe that Choice is as it were a new Principle of Motion and Action, different from that establish'd Law & Order of Things which is most obvious, that is seen especially in corporeal and sensi­ble Things; And also that Choice often interposes, interrupts and alters the Chain of Events in these external Objects, and causes 'em to proceed otherwise than they would do, if let a­lone, and left to go on according to the Laws of Motion among themselves. Hence it is spoken of, as if it were a Principle of Motion entirely distinct from Nature, and pro­perly set in Opposition to it. Names being commonly given to Things, according to what is most obvious, and is suggested by what appears to the Senses without Reflection & Research.

3. It must be observed, that in what has been explain'd, as signified by the Name of Moral Necessity, the Word Necessity is not used according to the original Design and Meaning of the Word: For, as was observed before, such Terms necessary, im­possible, irresistible &c. in common Speech, and their most pro­per Sense, are always relative; having Reference to some sup­posable voluntary Opposition or Endeavour, that is insufficient. But no such Opposition, or contrary Will and Endeavour, is supposable in the Case of moral Necessity; which is a Cer­tainty [Page 24] of the Inclination and Will it self; which does not admit of the Supposition of a Will to oppose and resist it. For 'tis absurd, to suppose the same individual Will to oppose it self, in its present Act; or the present Choice to be oppo­site to, and resisting present Choice: as absurd as it is to talk of two contrary Motions, in the same moving Body, at the same Time. And therefore the very Case supposed never admits of any Trial, whether an opposing or resisting Will can over­come this Necessity.

What has been said of natural and moral Necessity, may serve to explain what is intended by natural and moral Inabi­lity. We are said to be naturally unable to do a Thing, when we can't do it if we will, because what is most commonly called Nature don't allow of it, or because of some impeding Defect or Obstacle that is extrinsic to the Will; either in the Faculty of Understanding, Constitution of Body, or ex­ternal Objects. Moral Inability consists not in any of these Things; but either in the Want of Inclination; or the Strength of a contrary Inclination; or the want of sufficient Motives in View, to induce and excite the Act of the Will, or the Strength of apparent Motives to the contrary. Or both these may be resolved into one; and it may be said in one Word, that mo­ral Inability consists in the Opposition or Want of Inclination. For when a Person is unable to will or chuse such a Thing, through a Defect of Motives, or Prevalence of contrary Mo­tives, 'tis the same Thing as his being unable through the Want of an Inclination, or the Prevalence of a contrary Incli­nation, in such Circumstances, and under the Influence of such Views.

To give some Instances of this moral Inability.—A Woman of great Honour and Chastity may have a moral Inability to prostitute her self to her Slave. A Child of great Love and Duty to his Parents, may be unable to be willing to kill his Father. A very lascivious Man, in Case of certain Opportu­nities and Temptations, and in the Absence of such and such Restraints, may be unable to forbear gratifying his Lust. A Drunkard, under such and such Circumstances, may be una­ble to forbear taking of strong Drink. A very malicious Man may be unable to exert benevolent Acts to an Enemy, or to desire his Prosperity: Yea, some may be so under the Power of a vile Disposition, that they may be unable to love those who are most worthy of their Esteem & Affection. A strong Habit of Virtue and great Degree of Holiness may cause a moral Inability to love Wickedness in general, may render a [Page 25] Man unable to take Complacence in wicked Persons or Things; or to chuse a wicked Life, and prefer it to a vertuous Life. And on the other Hand, a great Degree of habitual Wicked­ness may lay a Man under an Inability to love and choose Ho­liness; and render him utterly unable to love an infinitely holy Being, or to choose and cleave to him as his chief Good.

Here it may be of Use to observe this Distinction of moral Inability, viz. of that which is general and habitual, and that which is particular and occasional. By a general and habitual mo­ral Inability, I mean an Inability in the Heart to all Exercises or Acts of Will of that Nature or Kind, through a fix'd and habitual Inclination, or an habitual and stated Defect, or Want of a certain Kind of Inclination. Thus a very ill-natur'd Man may be unable to exert such Acts of Benevolence, as another, who is full of good Nature, co [...] ­monly exerts; and a Man, whose Heart is habitually void o [...] Gratitude, may be unable to exert such and such grateful Acts, through that stated Defect of a grateful Inclination. By parti­cular and occasional moral Inability, I mean an Inability of the Will or Heart to a particular Act, thro' the Strength or Defect of present Motives, or of Inducements presented to the View of the Understanding, on this Occasion.— If it be so, that the Will is always determined by the strongest Motive, then it must always have an Inability, in this latter Sense, to act other­wise than it does; it not being possible, in any Case, that the Will, should, at present, go against the Motive which has now, all Things considered, the greatest Strength & Advantage to ex­cite and induce it.—The former of these Kinds of moral Ina­bility, consisting in that which is stated habitual and general, is most commonly called by the Name of Inability; because the Word Inability, in its most proper and original Significa­tion, has Respect to some stated Defect. And this especially obtains the Name of Inability also upon another Account: — I before observed, that the Word Inability in its original and most common Use, is a relative Term; and has Respect to Will and Endeavour, as supposable in the Case, and as in­sufficient to bring to pass the Thing desired and endeavoured. Now there may be more of an Appearance & Shadow of this, with Respect to the Acts which arise from a fix'd and strong Habit, than others that arise only from transient Occasions and Causes. Indeed Will and Endeavour against, or diverse from present Acts of the Will, are in no Case supposable, whether those Acts be occasional or habitual; for that would be to suppose the Will, at present, to be otherwise than, at present▪ [Page 26] it is. But yet there may be Will and Endeavour against future Acts of the Will, or Volitions that are likely to take Place, as view'd at a Distance. 'Tis no Contradiction, to suppose that the Acts of the Will at one Time, may be against the Acts of the Will at another Time; and there may be Desires and Endeavours to prevent or exci [...] future Acts of the Will; But such Desires and Endeavours a [...]e, in many Cases, rendered insufficient & vain, thro' Fixedness of Habit: When the Oc­casion returns, the Strength of Habit overcomes, and baffles all such Opposition. In this Respect, a Man may be in mise­rable Slavery and Bondage to a strong Habit. But it may be comparatively easy to make an Alteration with Respect to such future Acts, as are only occasional and transient; because the Occasion or transient Cause, if foreseen, may often easily be prevented or avoided. On this Account, the moral Inability that attends fix'd Habits, especially obtains the Name of Ina­bility. And then, as the Will may remotely and indirectly re­sist it self, and do it in vain, in the Case of strong Habits; so Reason may resist present Acts of the Will, and it's Resistance be insufficient; and this is more commonly the Case also, when the Acts arise from strong Habit.

But it must be observed concerned moral Inability, in each Kind of it, that the Word Inability is used in a Sense very di­verse from its original Import. The Word signifies only a natural Inability, in the proper Use of it; and is applied to such Cases only wherein a present Will or Inclination to the Thing, with Respect to which a Person is said to be unable, is supposable. It can't be truly said, according to the ordi­nary Use of Language, that a malicious Man, let him be never so malicious, can't hold his Hand from striking, or that he is not able to shew his Neighbour Kindness; or that a Drunkard, let his Appetite be never so strong, can't keep the Cup from his Mouth. In the strictest Propriety of Speech, a Man has a Thing in his Power, if he has it in his Choice, or at his Election: And a Man can't be truly said to be una­able to do a Thing, when he can do it if he will. 'Tis im­properly said, that a Person can't perform those external Ac­tions, which are dependent on the Act of the Will, and which would be easily performed, if the Act of the Will were pre­sent. And if it be improperly said, that he cannot perform those external voluntary Actions, which depend on the Will, 'tis in some Respect more improperly said, that he is unable to exert the Act, of the Will themselves; because it is more evidently false, with Respect to th [...]se, that he can't if he will: [Page 27] For to say so, is a down-right Contradiction: It is to say, he can't will, if he does will. And in this Case, not only is it true, that it is easy for a Man to do the Thing if he will but the very willing is the doing; when once he has will'd, the Thing is performed; and nothing else remains to be done. Therefore, in these Things to ascribe a Non-perfor­mance to the want of Power or Ability, is not just; because the Thing wanting is not a being able, but a being willing. There are Faculties of Mind, and Capacity of Nature, and every Thing else, sufficient, but a Disposition: Nothing is wanting but a Will.

SECTION V. Concerning the Notion of Liberty, and of moral Agency.

THE plain and obvi [...] Meaning of the Words Freedom and Liberty, in common Speech, is Power, Opportunity, or Advantage, that any one has, to do as he pleases. Or in other Words, his being free from Hindrance or Impediment in the Way of doing, or conducting in any Respect, as he wills. * And the contrary to Liberty, whatever Name we call that by, is a Person's being hinder'd or unable to con­duct as he will, or being necessitated to do otherwise.

If this which I have mentioned be the Meaning of the Word Liberty, in the ordinary Use of Language; as I trust that none that has ever learn'd to talk, and is unprejudiced, will deny; then it will follow, that in Propriety of Speech, neither Liberty, nor it's contrary, can properly be ascribed to any Being or Thing, but that which has such a Faculty, Power or Property, as is called Will. For that which is possessed of no such Thing as Will, can't have any Power or Opportunity of doing according to it's Will, nor be necessitated to act contrary to its Will, nor be restrained from acting agrea­bly to it. And therefore to talk of Liberty, or the contrary, as belonging to the very Will it self, is not to speak good Sense; if we judge of Sense, and Nonsense, by the original & proper Signification of Words. For the Will it self is not an Agent that has a Will: The Power of choosing, it self, has not a [Page 28] Power of chusing. That which has the Power of Volition or Choice is the Man or the Soul, and not the Power of Volition it self. And he that has the Li­berty of doing according to his Will, is the Agent or Doer who is possessed of the Will; and not the Will which he is possessed of. We say with Propriety, that a Bird let loose has Power & Liberty to fly; but not that the Bird's Power of flying has a Power & Liberty of flying. To be free is the Property of an Agent, who is possessed of Powers & Facul­ties, as much as to be cunning, valiant, bountiful, or zea­lous. But these Qualities are the Properties of Men or Per­sons; and not the Properties of Properties.

There are two Things that are contrary to this which is called Liberty in common Speech. One is Constraint; the same is otherwise called Force, Compuls [...]on, & Coaction; which is a Person's being necessitated to do a Thing contrary to his Will. The other is Restraint; which is his being hindred, and not having Power to do according to his Will. But that which has no Will, can't be the Subject of these Things. — I need say the less on this Head, Mr. Locke having set the same Thing forth, with so great Clearness, in his Essay on the human Understanding.

But one Thing more I would observe concerning what is vulgarly called Liberty; namely, that Power & Opportunity for one to do and conduct as he will, or according to his Choice, is all that is meant by it; without taking into the Meaning of the Word, any Thing of the Cause or Original of that Choice; or at all considering how the Person came to have such a Volition; whether it was caused by some ex­ternal Motive, or internal habitual Bias; whether it was de­termin'd by some internal antecedent Volition, or whether it happen'd without a Cause; whether it was necessarily con­nected with something foregoing, or not connected. Let the Person come by his Volition or Choice how he will, yet, if he is able, and there is Nothing in the Way to hinder his pur­suing and executing his Will, the Man is fully & perfectly free, according to the primary and common Notion of Free­dom.

What has been said may be sufficient to shew what is meant by Liberty, according to the common Notions of Man­kind, and in the usual & primary Acceptation of the Word: Put the Word, as used by Arminians, Pelagians & others, who oppose the Calvinist [...], has an entirely different Signification.— These several Things belong to their Notion of Liberty. [Page 29] 1. That it consists in a Self-determining Power in the Will, or a certain Sovereignty the Will has over it self, and it's own Acts, whereby it determines it's own Volitions; so as not to be dependent in it's Determinations, on any Cause without it self, nor determined by any Thing prior to it's own Acts. 2. Indifference belongs to Liberty in their Notion of it, or that the Mind, previous to the Act of Volition be, in iquilibrio. 3. Contingence is another Thing that belongs and is essential to it; not in the common Acceptation of the Word, as that has been already explain'd, but as opposed to all Necessity, or any fixed & certain Connection with some previous Ground or Reason of it's Existence. They suppose the Essence of Li­berty so much to consist in these Things, that unless the Will of Man be free in this Sense, he has no real Free­dom, how much soever he may be at Liberty to act ac­cording to his Will.

A moral Agent is a Being that is capable of those Actions that have a moral Quality, and which can properly be de­nominated good or evil in a moral Sense, vertuous or vici­ous, commendable or faulty. To moral Agency belongs a moral Faculty, or Sense of moral Good & Evil, or of such a Thing as Desert or Worthiness of Praise or Blame, Re­ward or Punishment; and a Capacity which an Agent has of being influenced in his Actions by moral Inducements or Motives, exhibited to the View of Understanding & Rea­son, to engage to a Conduct agreable to the moral Faculty.

The Sun is very excellent & beneficial in it's Action and Influence on the Earth, in warming it, and causing it to bring forth it's Fruits; but it is not a moral Agent: It's Action, tho' good, is not vertuous or meritorious. Fire that breaks out in a City, and consumes great Part of it, is very mischievous in its Operation; but is not a moral A­gent: what it does is not faulty or sinful, or deserving of any Punishment. The brute Creatures are not moral Agents: the Actions of some of 'em are very profitable & pleasant; others are very hurtful: yet, seeing they have no moral Fa­culty, or Sen [...]e of Desert, and don't act from Choice guided by Understanding, or with a Capacity of reasoning and re­flecting, but only from Instinct, and are not capable of be­ing influenced by moral Inducements, their Actions are not properly sinful or vertuous; nor are they properly the Sub­jects of any such moral Treatment for what they do, as mo­ral Agents are for their Faults or good Deeds.

[Page 30]Here it may be noted, that there is a circumstantial Diffe­rence between the moral Agency of a Ruler and a Subject. I call it circumstantial, because it lies only in the Difference of moral Inducements they are capable of being influen­ced by, arising from the Difference of Circumstances. A Ruler acting in that Capacity only, is not capable of being influenced by a moral Law, and it's Sanctions of Threat­nings and Promises, Rewards and Punishments, as the Subject is; tho' both may be influenced by a Knowledge of moral Good and Evil. And therefore the moral Agency of the Supreme Being, who acts only in the Capacity of a Ruler to­wards his Creatures, and never as a Subject, differs in that Respect from the moral Agency of created intelligent Be­ings. God's Actions, and particularly those which he ex­erts as a moral Governour, have moral Qualifications, are morally good in the highest Degree. They are most per­fectly holy & righteous; and we must conceive of Him as influenced in the highest Degree, by that which, above all others, is properly a moral Inducement; viz. the moral Good which He sees in such and such Things: And therefore He is, in the most proper Sense, a moral Agent, the Source of all moral Ability & Agency, the Fountain and Rule of all Ver­tue and moral Good; tho' by Reason of his being Supreme over all, 'tis not possible He should be under the Influence of Law or Command, Promises or Threatnings, Rewards or Pu­nishments, Counsels or Warnings. The essential Qualities of a moral Agent are in God, in the greatest possible Perfection; such as Understanding, to perceive the Difference between mo­ral Good & Evil; a Capacity of discerning that moral Wor­thiness and Demerit, by which some Things are Praise-wor­thy, others deserving of Blame and Punishment; and also a Capacity of Choice, and Choice guided by Understanding, and a Power of acting according to his Choice or Pleasure, and being capable of doing those Things which are in the highest Sense Praise-worthy. And herein does very much consist that Image of God wherein he made Man, (which we read of Gen. I.26, 27. & Chap. IX.6.) by which God distinguished Man from the Beasts, viz. in those Faculties & Principles of Na­ture, whereby He is capable of moral Agency. Herein very much consists the natural Image of God; as his spiritual and moral Image, wherein Man was made at first, consisted in that moral Excellency, that he was endowed with.

[Page 31]

PART II. Wherein it is considered whether there is or can be any such Sort of FREEDOM OF WILL, as that wherein Arminians place the Essence of the Liberty of all moral Agents; and whether any such Thing ever was or can be conceived of.

SECTION I. Shewing the manifest Inconsistence of the Arminian Notion of Liberty of Will, consisting in the Will's self-determining Power.

HAving taken Notice of those Things which may be necessary to be observed, concerning the Meaning of the principal Terms and Phrases made use of in Con­troversies concerning human Liberty, and particularly ob­served what Liberty is, according to the common Language, and general Apprehension of Mankind, and what it is as understood & maintained by Arminians; I proceed to consider the Arminian Notion of the Freedom of the Will, and the sup­posed Necessity of it in Order to moral Agency, or in Order to any One's being capable of Vertue or Vice, and properly [Page 32] the Subject of Command or Counsel, Praise or Blame, Pro­mises or Threatnings, Rewards or Punishments; or whether that which has been described, as the Thing meant by Li­berty in common Speech, be not sufficient, and the only Li­berty, which makes, or can make any one a moral Agent, and so properly the Subject of these Things. In this Part, I shall consider whether any such Thing be possible or concei­vable, as that Freedom of Will which Arminians insist on; and shall enquire whether any such Sort of Liberty be necessary to moral Agency &c. in the next Part.

And First of all, I shall consider the Notion of a Self-determining Power in the Will: wherein▪ according to the Arminians, does most essentially consist the Will's Freedom; and shall particularly enquire, whether it be not plainly ab­surd, and a manifest Inconsistence, to suppose that the Will it self determines all the free Acts of the Will.

Here I shall not insist on the great Impropriety of such Phrases, and Ways of speaking, as the Will's determining it self; because Actions are to be ascribed to Agents, and not properly to the Powers of Agents; which improper Way of speaking leads to many Mistakes, and much Confusion, as Mr. Locke observes. But I shall suppose that the Arminians, when they speak of the Will's determining it self, do by the Will mean the Soul willing. I shall take it for granted, that when they speak of the Will, as the Determiner, they mean the Soul in the Exercise of a Power of Willing, or acting volun­tarily. I shall suppose this to be their Meaning, because No­thing else can be meant, without the grossest and plainest Ab­surdity. In all Cases, when we speak of the Powers or Prin­ciples of Acting, as doing such Things, we mean that the A­gents which have these Powers of acting, do them, in the Exercise of those Powers. So when we say, Valour fights courageously, we mean, the Man who is under the Influ­ence of Valour fights courageously. When we say, Love seeks the Object loved, we mean, the Person loving seeks that Object. When we say, the Understanding discerns, we mean the Soul in the Exercise of that Faculty. So when it is said, the Will decides or determines, the Meaning must be, that the Person in the Exercise of a Power of Willing & Chusing, or the Soul acting voluntarily, determines.

[Page 33]Therefore, if the Will determines all its own free Acts, the Soul determines all the free Acts of the Will in the Ex­ercise of a Power of Willing and Chusing; or, which is the same Thing, it determines them of Choice; it determines it's own Acts by chusing it's own Acts. If the Will deter­mines the Will, then Choice orders and determines the Choice: and Acts of Choice are subject to the Decision, and follow the Conduct of other Acts of Choice. And therefore if the Will determines all it's own free Acts, then every free Act of Choice is determined by a preceeding Act of Choice, chusing that Act. And if that preceeding Act of the Will or Choice be also a free Act, then by these Princi­ples, in this Act too, the Will is Self-determined; that is, this, in like Manner, is an Act that the Soul voluntarily chu­ses; or which is the same Thing, it is an Act determined still by a preceeding Act of the Will, chusing that. And the like may again be observed of the last mentioned Act. Which brings us directly to a Contradiction: for it supposes an Act of the Will preceeding the first Act in the whole Train, directing and determining the rest; or a free Act of the Will, before the first free Act of the Will. Or else we must come at last to an Act of the Will, determining the consequent Acts, wherein the Will is not self-determined, and so is not a free Act, in this Notion of Freedom: But if the first Act in the Train, de­termining and fixing the rest, be not free, none of them all can be free; as is manifest at first View, but shall be demon­strated presently.

If the Will, which we find governs the Members of the Body, and determines and commands their Motions and Actions, does also govern it self, and determine it's own Mo­tions and Acts, it doubtless determines them the same Way, even by antecedent Volitions. The Will determines which Way the Hands and Feet shall move, by an Act of Volition or Choice: and there is no other Way of the Will's deter­mining, directing or commanding any Thing at all. Whatso­ever the Will commands, it commands by an Act of the Will. And if it has it self under it's Command, and determines it self in it's own Actions, it doubtless does it the same Way that it determines other Things which are under it's Command. So that if the Freedom of the Will consists in this, that it has it self and it's own Actions under it's Command and Direction, and it's own Volitions are determined by it self, it will follow, that every free Volition arises from another an­tecedent Volition, directing and commanding that: And if [Page 34] that directing Volition be also free, in that also the Will is de­termined; that is to say, that directing Volition is deter­mined by another going before that; and so on, 'till we come to the first Volition in the whole Series: And if that first Volition be free, and the Will self-determined in it, then that is determined by another Volition preceeding that Which is a Contradiction; because by the Supposition, it can have none before it, to direct or determine it, being the first in the Train. But if that first Volition is not determined by any preceeding Act of the Will, then that Act is not determined by the Will, and so is not free, in the Arminian Notion of Freedom, which consists in the Will's Self-determination. And if that first Act of the Will, which determines and fixes the subsequent Acts, be not free, none of the following Acts, which are determined by it, can be free.—If we suppose there are five Acts in the Train, the fifth and last de­termined by the fourth, and the fourth by the third, the third by the second, and the second by the first; If the first is not determined by the Will, and so not free, then none of them are truly determined by the Will: that is, that each of them are as they are, and not otherwise, is not first owing to the Will, but to the Determination of the first in the Series, which is not dependent on the Will, and is that which the Will has no Hand in the Determination of. And this being that which decides what the rest shall be, and determines their Exist­ence; therefore the first Determination of their Existence is not from the Will. The Case is just the same, if instead of a Chain of five Acts of the Will, we should suppose a Succession of Ten, or an Hundred, or ten Thousand. If the first Act be not free, being determined by something out of the Will, and this determines the next to be agreeable to it self, and that the next, and so on; They are none of them free, but all orignally depend on, and are determined by some Cause out of the Will: and so all Freedom in the Case is excluded, and no Act of the Will can be free, according to this Notion of Freedom. If we should suppose a long Chain, of ten Thousand Links, so connected, that if the first Link moves, it will move the next, and that the next; and so the whole Chain must be determined to Motion, and in the Direction of it's Motion, by the Motion of the first Link; and that is moved by something else: In this Case, tho' all the Links, but one, are moved by other Parts of the same Chain; yet it appears that the Motion of no One, nor the Dir [...]tion of it's Motion, is from any Self-moving or Self- [...]e [...]mining Power in the Chain, any more than if every [Page 35] Link were immediately moved by something that did not be­lon [...] [...]o the Chain.—If the Will be not free in the first Act, which causes the next, then neither is it free in the next, which is caused by that first Act: for tho' indeed the Will caused it, yet it did not cause it freely; because the preceeding Act, by which it was caused, was not free. And again, if the Will ben't free in the second Act, so neither can it be in the third, which is caused by that; because, in like Manner, that third was determined by an Act of the Will that was not free. And so we may go on to the next Act, and from that to the next; And how long soever the Succession of Acts is, it is all one; if the first on which the whole Chain depends, and which determines all the rest, ben't a free Act, the Will is not free in causing or determining any one of those Acts; because the Act by which it determines them all, is not a free Act; and therefore the Will is no more free in determining them, than if it did not cause them at all. — Thus, this Ar­minian Notion of Liberty of the Will, consisting in the Will's Self-Determination, is repugnant to itself, and shuts it self wholly out of the World.

SECTION II. Several supposed Ways of evading the fore­going Reasoning, considered.

IF to evade the Force of what has been observed, it should be said, that when the Arminians speak of the Will's deter­mining it's own Acts, they don't mean that the Will de­termines it's Acts by any preceeding Act, or that one Act of the Will determines another; but only that the Faculty or Power of Will, or the Soul in the Use of that Power, de­termines it's own Volitions; and that it does it without any Act going before the Act determined; such an Evasion would be full of the most gross Absurdity.—I confess, it is an Eva­sion of my own inventing; and I don't know but I should wrong the Arminians, in supposing that any of them would make use of it. But it being as good a [...] as I can in­vent, I would observe upon it a few Things.

[Page 36] First, If the Faculty or Power of the Will determines an Act of Volition, or the Soul in the Use or Exercise of that Power, determines it, that is the same Thing as for the Soul to determine Volition by an Act of Will. For an Exercise of the Power of Will, and an Act of that Power, are the same Thing. Therefore to say, that the Power of Will, or the Soul in the Use or Exercise of that Power, determines Voli­tion, without an Act of Will preceeding the Volition deter­mined▪ is a Contradiction.

Secondly, If a Power of Will determines the Act of the Will, then a Power of Chusing determines it. For, as was before observed, in every Act of Will, there is Choice, and a Power o [...] Willing is a Power of Chusing. But if a Power of Chusing determines the Act of Volition, it determines it by chusing it. For 'tis most absurd to say, that a Power of Chusing deter­mines one Thing rather than another, without chusing any Thing. But if a Power of Chusing determines Volition by chusing it, then here is the Act of Volition determined by an antecedent Choice, chusing that Volition.

Thirdly, To say, the Faculty, or the Soul, determines it's own Volition, but not by any Act, is a Contradiction. Be­cause for the Soul to direct, decide, or determine any Thing, is to act; and this is supposed; for the Soul is here spoken of as being a Cause in this Affair, bringing something to pass, or doing something; or, which is the same Thing, ex­er [...]ing it self in order to an Effect, which Effect is the Deter­mination of Volit [...]on, or the particular Kind and Manner of an Act of Will. But certain [...]y, this Exertion or Action is not the same with the Effect, in order to the Production of which it is exerted; but must be something prior to it.

Again, The Advocates for this Notion of the Freedom of the Will, speak of a certain Sovere [...]gnty in the Will, whereby it has Power to determine it's own Volitions. And there­fore the Determination of Volition must itself be an Act of the Will; for otherwise it can be no Exercise of that supposed Power and Sovereignty.

Again, If the Will determines it self, then either the Will i [...] active in determining it's Volitions, or it is not. If it be active in it, then the Determination is an Act of the Will; and so there is one Act o [...] the Will determining another. But if the Will is not acti [...]e in the Determination, then how [Page 37] does it exercise any Liberty in it? These Gentlemen suppose that the Thing wherein the Will exercises Liberty, is in it's determining it's own Acts. But how can this be, if it ben't active in determining? Certainly the Will, or the Soul, can't exercise any Liberty in that wherein it don't act, or wherein it don't exercise it self. So that if either Part of this Dilemma be taken, this Scheme of Liberty, consist­ing in Self-determining Power, is overthrown. If there be an Act of the Will in determining all it's own free Acts, then one free Act of the Will is determined by another; and so we have the Absurdity of every free Act, even the very first, determined by a foregoing free Act. But if there be no Act or Exercise of the Will in determining it's own Acts, then no Liberty is exercised in determining them. From whence it follows, that no Liberty consists in the Will's Power to determine it's own Acts: Or, which is the same Thing, that there is no such Thing as Liberty consisting in a Self-de­termining Power of the Will.

If it should be said, That altho' it be true, if the Soul de­termines it's own Volitions, it must be active in so doing, and the Determination it self must be an Act; yet there is no Need of supposing this Act to be prior to the Volition de­termined; But the Will or Soul determines the Act of the Will in Willing; It determines it's own Volition, in the very Act of Volition; It directs and limits the Act of the Will, causing it to be so and not otherwise, in exerting the Act, without any preceeding Act to exert that. If any should say after this Manner, they must mean one of these three Things: Either, (1.) That the determining Act, tho' it be before the Act determined in the Order of Nature, yet is not before it in the Order of Time. Or (2) That the determining Act is not before the Act determined, either in the Order of Time or Nature, nor is truly distinct from it; But that the Soul's determining the Act of Volition is the same Thing with it's exerting the Act of Volition: The Mind's exerting such a particular Act, is it's causing and determining the Act. Or, (3.) That Volition has no Cause, and is no Effect; but comes into Existence, with such a particular Determination, without any Ground or Reason of it's Existence and Deter­mination▪ — I shall consider these distinctly.

(1.) If all that is meant, be, that the determining Act is not before the Act determined in Order of Time, it will not help the Case at all, tho' it should be allowed. If it be be­fore [Page 38] the determin'd Act in the Order of Nature, being the Cause or Ground of it's Existence, this as much proves it to be distinct from it, and independent on it, as if it were be­fore in the Order of Time. As the Cause of the particular Motion of a natural Body in a certain Direction, may have no Distance as to Time, yet can't be the same with the Mo­tion effected by it, but must be as distinct from it, as any other Cause, that is before it's Effect in the Order of Time: as the Architect is distinct from the House which he builds, or the Father distinct from the Son which he begets. And if the Act of the Will determining be distinct from the Act de­termined, and before it in the Order of Nature, then we can go back from one to another, 'till we come to the first in the Series, which has no Act of the Will before it in the Order of Nature, determining it; and consequently is an Act not determined by the Will, and so not a free Act, in this Notion of Freedom. And this being the Act which determines all the Rest, none of them are free Acts. As when there is a Chain of many Links, the first of which only is taken hold of and drawn by Hand; all the rest may follow and be mov­ed at the same Instant, without any Distance of Time; but yet the Motion of one Link is before that of another in the Order of Nature; the last is moved by the next, and that by the next, and so 'till we come to the first; which not being moved by any other, but by something distinct from the whole Chain, this as much proves that no Part is moved by any Self-moving Power in the Chain, as if the Motion of one Link followed that of another in the Order of Time.

(2.) If any should say, that the determining Act is not be­fore the determined Act, either in the Order of Time, or of Nature, nor is distinct from it; but that the Exertion of the Act is the Determination of the Act; That for the Soul to exert a particular Volition, is for it to cause and determine that Act of Volition: I would on this observe, that the Thing in Question seems to be forgotten, or kept out of Sigh [...], in a Darkness and Unintelligibleness of Speech; un­less such an Objector would mean to contradict himself. The very Act of Volition it self is doubtless a Determination of Mind; i. e. it is the Mind's drawing up a Conclusion, or coming to a Choice between two Things, or more, proposed to it. But determining among external Objects of Choice, is not the same with determining the Act of Choice it self, among various possible Acts of Choice. The Question is, What in [...]uenc [...], directs, or determines the Mind or Will to come [Page 39] to such a Conclusion or Choice as it does? or what is the Cause, Ground or Reason, why it concludes thus, and not otherwise? Now it must be answered, according to the Arminian Notion of Freedom, that the Will influences, orders and determines it self thus to act. And if it does, I say, it must be by some antecedent Act. To say, it is caused, influenced and determined by something, and yet not determined by any Thing antecedent, either in Order of Time or Nature, i [...] a Contradiction. For that is what is meant by a Thing▪ be­ing prior in the Order of Nature, that it is some Way the Cause or Reason of the Thing, with Respect to which it is said to be prior.

If the particular Act or Exertion of Will, which comes into Existence, be any Thing properly determined at all, then it has some Cause of it's existing, and of it's existing in such a particular determinate Manner, and not another; some Cause, whose Influence decides the Matter: which Cause is distinct from the Effect, and prior to it. But to say, that the Will or Mind orders, influences and determines it self to ex­ert such an Act as it does, by the very Exertion it self, is to make the Exertion both Cause & Effect; or the exerting such an Act, to be a Cause of the Exertion of such an Act. For the Question is, What is the Cause and Reason of the Soul's exerting such an Act? To which the Answer is, the Soul ex­erts such an Act, and that is the Cause of it. And so, by this, the Exertion must be prior in the Order of Nature to it self, and distinct from it self.

(3.) If the Meaning be, that the Soul's Exertion of such a particular Act of Will, is a Thing that comes to pass [...]f it self, without any Cause; and that there is absolutely no Ground or Reason of the Soul's being determined to exert such a Volition, and make such a Choice, rather than ano­ther; I say, if this be the Meaning of Arminians, when they contend so earnestly for the Will's determining it's own Acts, and for Liberty of Will consisting in Self-determining Power; they do nothing but confound Themselves and others with Words without a Meaning. In the Question, What determin [...]s the Will? and in their Answer, that the Will determines it self, and in all the Dispute about it, it seems to be taken for grant­ed, that something determines the Will; and the Controversy on this Head is not, whether any Thing at all determines it, or whether it's Determination has any Cause or Foundation at all: But where the Foundation of it is, whether in the [Page 40] Will it self, or somewhere else. But if the Thing intended be what is above-mention'd, then all comes to this, that No­thing at all determines the Will; Volition having absolutely no Cause or Foundation of it's Existence, either within, or with­out. There is a great Noise made about Self-determining Power, as the Source of all free Acts of the Will: But when the Matter comes to be explained, the Meaning is, that no Power at all is the Source of these Acts, neither Self-deter­mining Power, nor any other, but they arise from Nothing; no Cause, no Power, no Influence, being at all concern'd in the Matter.

However, this very Thing, even that the free Acts of the Will are Events which come to pass without a Cause, is cer­tainly implied in the Arminian Notion of Liberty of Will; tho' it be very inconsistent with many other Things in their Scheme, and repugnant to some Things implied in their No­tion of Liberty. Their Opinion implies, that the particular Determination of Volition is without any Cause; because they hold the free Acts of the Will to be Contingent Events; and Contingence is essential to Freedom in their Notion of it. But certainly, those Things which have a prior Ground and Reason of their particular Existence, a Cause which antece­dently determines them to be, and determines them to be just as they are, don't happen contingently. If something foregoing, by a causal Influence and Connection, determines and fixes precisely their coming to pass, and the Manner of it, then it don't remain a contingent Thing whether They shall come to pass or no.

And because it is a Question, in many Respects, very im­portant in this Controversy about the Freedom of Will, Whether the free Acts of the Will are Events which come to pass without a Cause? I shall be particular in examining this Point in the two following Sections.

[Page 41]

SECTION III. Whether any Event whatsoever, and Volition in particular, can come to pass without a Cause of it's Existence.

BEfore I enter on any Argument on this Subject, I would explain how I would be understood, when I use the Word Cause in this Discourse: since, for want of a better Word, I shall have Occasion to use it in a Sense which is more extensive, than that in which it is sometimes used. The Word is often used in so restrained a Sense as to signify only that which has a positive Efficiency or Influence to produce a Thing, or bring it to pass. But there are many Things which have no such positive productive Influence; which yet are Causes in that Respect, that they have truly the Nature of a Ground or Reason why some Things are, rather than others; or why they are as they are, rather than otherwise. Thus the Absence of the Sun in the Night, is not the Cause of the falling of the Dew at that Time, in the same Manner as it's Beams are the Cause of the Ascending of the Vapours in the Day-Time; And it's Withdrawment in the Winter, is not in the same Manner the Cause of the Freezing of the Waters, as it's Approach in the Spring is the Cause of their Thawing. But yet the Withdrawment or Absence of the Sun is an Antecedent, with which these Effects in the Night and Winter are connected, and on which they depend; and is one Thing that belongs to the Ground and Reason why they come to pass at that Time, rather than at other Times; tho' the Absence of the Sun is Nothing positive, nor has any positive Influence.

It may be further observed, that when I speak of Connection of Causes and Effects, I have Respect to moral Causes, as well as those that are called natural in Distinction from 'em. Moral Causes may be Causes in as proper a Sense, as any Causes whatsoever; may have as real an Influence, and may as truly be the Ground and Reason of an Event's coming to pass.

Therefore I sometimes use the Word Cause, in this Enquiry, to signify any Antecedent, either natural or moral, positive or [Page 42] negative, on which an Event, either a Thing, or the Manner and Circumstance of a Thing, so depends, that it is the Ground and Reason, either in Whole, or in Part, why it is, rather than not; or why it is as it is, rather than otherwise; Or, in other Words, any Antecedent with which a consequent Event is so connected, that it truly belongs to the Reason why the Proposition which affirms that Event, is true; whe­ther it has any positive Influence, or not. And in an Agrea­bleness to this, I sometimes use the Word Effect, for the Consequence of another Thing, which is perhaps rather an Occasion than a Cause, most properly speaking.

I am the more careful thus to explain my Meaning, that I may cut off Occasion, from any that might seek Occasion to [...]avil and object against some Things which I may say con­cerning the Dependance of all Things which come to pass, on some Cause, and their Connection with their Cause.

Having thus explain'd what I mean by Cause, I assert, that Nothing ever comes to pass without a Cause. What is Self-existent must be from Eternity, and must be unchangeable: But as to all Things that begin to be, they are not Self-ex­istent, and therefore must have some Foundation of their Ex­istence without themselves. — That whatsoever begins to be, which before was not, must have a Cause why it then begins to exist, seems to be the first Dictate of the common and natural Sense which God hath implanted in the Minds of all Mankind, and the main Foundation of all our Reasonings about the Existence of Things, past, present, or to come.

And this Dictate of common Sense equally respects Sub­stances and Modes, or Things and the Manner and Circum­stances of Things. Thus, if we see a Body which has hither­to been at Rest, start out of a State or Rest, and begin to move, we do as naturally and necessarily suppose there is some Cause or Reason of this new Mode of Existence, as of the Existence of a Body it self which had hitherto not existed. And so if a Body, which had hitherto moved in a certain Direction, should suddenly change the Direction of its Motion; or if it should put off it's old Figure, and take a new one; or change it's Colour: the Beginning of these new M [...]des is a new Event, and the Mind of Mankind n [...]essarily supposes that there is some Cause or Reason of them.

[Page 43]If this grand Principle of common Sense be taken away, all Arguing from Effects to Causes ceaseth, and so all Knowlege of any Existence, besides what we have by the most direct and immediate Intuition. Particularly all our Proof of the Being of God ceases: We argue his Being from our own Being, and the Being of other Things, which we are sensible once were not, but have begun to be; and from the Being of the World, with all it's constituent Parts, and the Manner of their Existence; all which we see plainly are not necessary in their own Nature, and so not Self-existent, and therefore must have a Cause. But if Things, not in themselves ne­cessary, may begin to be without a Cause, all this arguing i [...] vain.

Indeed, I will not affirm, that there is in the Nature of Things no Foundation for the Knowledge of the Being of God without any Evidence of it from his Works. I do sup­pose there is a great Absurdity, in the Nature of Things sim­ply considered, in supposing that there should be no God, or in denying Being in general, and supposing an eternal, absolute, universal Nothing: And therefore that here would be Foundation of intuitive Evidence that it cannot be, and that eternal infinite most perfect Being must be; if we had Strength and Comprehension of Mind sufficient, to have a clear Idea of general and universal Being, or, which is the same Thing, of the infinite, eternal, most perfect di­vine Nature and Essence. But then we should not properly come to the Knowledge of the Being of God by arguing; but our Evidence would be intuitive: We should see it, as we see other Things that are necessary in themselves, the Contraries of which are in their own Nature absurd and con­tradictory; as we see that twice two is four; and as we see that a Circle has no Angles. If we had as clear an Idea of universal infinite Entity, as we have of these other Things, I suppose we should most intuitively see the Absurdity of suppo­sing such Being not to be; should immediately see there is no Room for the Question, whether it is possible that Being, in the most general abstracted Notion of it, should not be. But we have not that Strength and Extent of Mind, to know this certainly in this intuitive independent Man­ner: But the Way that Mankind come to the Knowledge o [...] the Being of God, is that which the Apostle speaks of, Rom. i.20. The invisible Things of Him, from the Creation of the Wor [...]d, are clearly seen; being understood by the Things that are made; even his eternal Power and Godhead. We first ascend, and prove à [Page 44] Posteriori, or from Effects, that there must be an eternal Cause; and then secondly, prove by Argumentation, not In­tuition, that this Being must be necessarily existent; and then thirdly, from the proved Necessity of his Existence, we may descend, and prove many of his Perfections à Priori.

But if once this grand Principle of common Sense [...]e given up, that what is not necessary in it self, must have a Cause; and we begin to maintain, that Things may come into Existence, and begin to be, which heretofore have not been, of them­selves, without any Cause; all our Means of ascending in our arguing from the Creature to the Creator, and all our Evidence of the Being of God, is cut off at one Blow. In this Case, we can't prove that there is a God, either from the Being of the World, and the Creatures in it, or from the Manner of their Being, their Order, Beauty and Use. For if Things may come into Existence without any Cause at all, then they doubtless may without any Cause answerable to the Effect. Our Minds do alike naturally suppose and determine both these Things; namely, that what begins to be has a Cause, and also that it has a Cause proportionable and agreable to the Effect. The same Principle which leads us to determine, that there cannot be any Thing coming to pass without a Cause, leads us to determine that there cannot be more in the Effect than in the Cause.

Yea, if once it should be allowed, that Things may come to pass without a Cause, we should not only have no Proof of the Being of God, but we should be without Evidence of the Existence of any Thing whatsoever, but our own imme­diately present Ideas and Consciousness. For we have no Way to prove any Thing else, but by arguing from Effects to Causes: from the Ideas now immediately in View, we ar­gue other Things not immediately in View: from Sensations now excited in us, we infer the Existence of Things without us, as the Causes of these Sensations: And from the Ex­istence of these Things, we argue other Things, which they depend on, as Effects on Causes. We infer the past Exist­ence of our Selves, or any Thing else, by Memory; only as we argue, that the Ideas, which are now in our Minds, are the Consequences of past Ideas and Sensations. We im­mediately perceive nothing else but the Ideas which are this Moment extant in our Minds. We perceive or know other Things only by Means of these, as necessarily connected with [Page 45] others, and dependent on them. But if Things may be without Causes, all this necessary Connection and Depen­dence is dissolved, and so all Means of our Knowledge is gone. If there be no Absurdity or Difficulty in supposing one Thing to start out of Non-Existence, into Being, of it self without a Cause; then there is no Absurdity or Difficulty in supposing the same of Millions of Millions. For Nothing, or no Difficulty multiplied, still is Nothing, or no Difficulty: Nothing multiplied by Nothing don't increase the Sum.

And indeed, according to the Hypothesis I am opposing, of the Acts of the Will coming to pass without a Cause, it is the Case in Fact, that Millions of Millions of Events are continually coming into Existence Contingently, without any Cause or Reason why they do so, all over the World, every Day and Hour, thro' all Ages. So it is in a constant Suc­cession, in every moral Agent. This Contingency, this efficient Nothing, this effectual No-Cause, is always ready at Hand, to produce this Sort of Effects, as long as the Agent exists, and as often as he has Occasion.

If it were so, that Things only of one Kind, viz. Acts of the Will, seem'd to come to pass of Themselves; but those of this Sort in general came into Being thus; and it were an Event that was continual, and that happen'd in a Course, wherever were capable Subjects of such Events; this very Thing would demonstrate that there was some Cause of them, which made such a Difference between this Event and others, and that they did not really happen contingently. For Con­tingence is blind, and does not pick and choose for a particu­lar Sort of Events. Nothing has no Choice. This No-Cause, which causes no Existence, can't cause the Existence which comes to pass, to be of one particular Sort only, distinguish'd from all others. Thus, that only one Sort of Matter drops out of the Heavens, even Water, and that this comes so often, so constantly and plentifully, all over the World, in all Ages, shows that there is some Cause or Reason of the fa [...]ling of Water out of the Heavens; and that something besides meer Contingence has a Hand in the Matter.

If we should suppose Non-entity to be about to bring forth; and Things were coming into Existence, without any Cause or Antecedent, on which the Existence, or Kind or Manner of Existence depends; or which could at all determine whe [...]ther the Things should be; Stones, or Stars, or Beasts, or [Page 46] Angels, or human Bodies, or Souls, or only some new Mo­tion or Figure in natural Bodies, or some new Sensations in Animals, or new Ideas in the human Understanding, or new Volitions in the Will; or any Thing else of all the infinite Number of Possibles; then certainly it would not be expect­ed, altho' many Millions of Millions of Things are coming into Existence in this Manner, all over the Face of the Earth, that they should all be only of one particular Kind, and that it should be thus in all Ages, and that this Sort of Existences should never fail to come to pass where there is Room for them, or a Subject capable of them, and that constantly, whenever there is Occasion for them.

If any should imagine, there is something in the Sort of Event that renders it possible for it to come into Existence without a Cause; and should say, that the free Acts of the Will are Existences of an exceeding different Nature from other Things; by Reason of which they may come into Ex­istence without any previous Ground or Reason of it, tho' other Things cannot; If they make this Objection in good Earnest, it would be an Evidence of their strangely forget­ing themselves: For they would be giving an Account of some Ground of the Existence of a Thing, when at the same Time they would maintain there is no Ground of it's Exist­ence. Therefore I would observe, that the particular Nature of Existence, be it never so diverse from others, can lay no Foundation for that Thing's coming into Existence without a Cause; because to suppose this, would be to suppose the particular Nature of Existence to be a Thing prior to the Existence; and so a Thing which makes Way for Exist­ence, with such a Circumstance, namely without a Cause or Reason of Existence. But that which in any Respect makes Way for a Thing's coming into Being, or for any Manner or Circumstance of it's first Existence, must be prior to the Existence. The distinguish'd Nature of the Effect, which is something belonging to the Effect, can't have Influence backward, to act before it is. The peculiar Nature of that Thing called Volition, can do Nothing, can have no Influ­ence, while it is not. And afterwards it is too late for it's Influence: for then the Thing has made sure of Existence already, without it's Help.

So that it is indeed as repugnant to Reason, to suppose that an Act of the Will should come into Existence without a Cause, as to suppose the human Soul, or an Angel, or [Page 47] the Globe of the Earth, or the whole Universe, should come into Existence without a Cause. And if once we allow, that such a Sort of Effect as a Volition may come to pass without a Cause, how do we know but that many other Sorts of Effects may do so too? 'Tis not the particular Kind of Effect that makes the Absurdity of supposing it has being without a Cause, but something which is common to all Things that ever begin to be, viz. that they are not Self-existent, or necessary in the Nature of Things.

SECTION IV. Whether Volition can arise without a Cause, through the Activity of the Nature of the Soul.

THE Author of the Essay on the Freedom of the Will in God and the Creatures, in Answer to that Objection against his Doctrine of a Self-determining Power in the Will, (P. 68, 69.) That Nothing is, or comes to pass, without a sufficient Reason why it is, and why it is in this Manner rather than another, allows that it is thus in corporeal Things, which are properly and philosophically speaking passive Beings; but denies that it is thus in Spirits, which are Beings of an active Nature, who have the Spring of Action within themselves, and can determine them­selves. By which it is plainly supposed, that such an Event as an Act of the Will, may come to pass in a Spirit, without a sufficient Reason why it comes to pass, or why it is after this Manner, rather than another; by Reason of the Acti­vity of the Nature of a Spirit.— But certainly this Author, in this Matter, must be very unwary and inadvertent. For,

1. The Objection or Difficulty proposed by this Author, seems to be forgotten in his Answer or Solution. The very Difficulty, as he himself proposes it, is this; How an Event can come to pass without a sufficient Reason why it is, or why it is in this Manner rather than another? Instead of solving this Difficulty, or answering this Question with Regard to Voli­tion, as he proposes, he forgets himself, and answers ano­ther Question quite diverse, and wholly inconsistent with this, viz. What is a sufficient Reason why it is, and why it is [Page 48] in this Manner rather than another? And he assigns the Active Being's own Determination as the Cause, and a Cause sufficient for the Effect; and leaves all the Difficulty unresolved, and the Question unanswered, which yet returns, even, How the Soul's own Determination, which he speaks of, came to exist, and to be what it was without a Cause? The Activity of the Soul may enable it to be the Cause of Effects; but it don't at all enable or [...]elp it to be the Sub­ject of Effects which have no Cause; which is the Thing this Author supposes concerning Acts of the Will. Activity of Nature will no more enable a Being to produce Effects, and determine the Manner of their Existence, within it self, without a Cause, than out of it self, in some other Being. But if an active Being should, through it's Activity, produce and determine an Effect in some external Object, how absurd would it be to say, that the Effect was produced without a Cause!

2. The Question is not so much, How a Spirit endowed with Activity comes to act, as why it exerts such an Act, and not another; or why it acts with such a particular De­termination? If Activity of Nature be the Cause why a Spirit (the Soul of Man for Instance) acts, and don't lie still; yet that alone is not the Cause why it's Action is thus and thus limited, directed and determined. Active Nature is a general Thing; 'tis an Ability or Tendency of Nature to Action, generally taken; which may be a Cause why the Soul acts as Occasion or Reason is given; but this alone can't be a sufficient Cause why the Soul exerts such a particular Act, at such a Time, rather than others. In order to this, there must be something besides a general Tendency to Action; there must also be a particular Ten­dency to that individual Action.— If it should be asked, why the Soul of Man uses it's Activity in such a Manner as it does; and it should be answered, that the Soul uses it's Activity thus, rather than otherwise, because it has Activity; would such an Answer satisfy a rational Man? Would it not rather be looked upon as a very impertinent one?

3. An active Be [...]ng can bring no Effects to pass by his Activity, but what are consequent upon his acting: He pro­duces Nothing by his Activity, any other Way than by the Exercise of his Activity, and so Nothing but the Fruits of it's Exercise: He brings Nothing to pass by a dormant Activity. But the Exercise of his Activity is Action; and so his Action, or Exercise of his Activity, must be prior to the [Page 49] Effects of his Activity. If an active Being produces an Effect in another Being, about which his Activity is conver­sant, the Effect being the Fruit of his Activity, his Acti­vity must be first exercised or exerted, and the Effect of it must follow. So it must be, with equal Reason, if the active Being is his own Object, and his Activity is conver­sant about Himself, to produce and determine some Effect in hi [...]lf; still the Exercise of his Activity must go before the Effect, which he brings to pass and determines by it. And therefore his Activity can't be the Cause of the Deter­mination of the first Action, or Exercise of Activity it self, whence the Effects of Activity arise; for that would imply a Contradiction; It would be to say, the first Exercise of Activity is before the first Exercise of Activity, and is the Cause of it.

4. That the Soul, tho' an active Substance, can't diversify it's own Acts, but by first acting; or be a determining Cause of different Acts, or any different Effects, sometimes of one Kind, and sometimes of another, any other Way than in Consequence of it's own diverse Acts, is manifest by this; That if so, then the same Cause, the same causal Power, Force or Influence, without Variation in any Respect, would produce different Effects at different Times. For the same Substance of the Soul before it acts, and the same active Nature of the Soul before it is exerted (i. e. before in the Order of Nature) would be the Cause of different Effects, viz. different Volitions at different Times. But the Substance of the Soul before it acts, and it's active Nature before it is exerted, are the same without Variation. For 'tis some Act that makes the first Variation in the Cause, as to any causal Exertion, Force or Influence. But if it be so, that the Soul has no different Causality, or diverse causal Force or Influence, in producing these diverse Effects; then 'tis evident, that the Soul has no Influence, no Hand in the diversity of the Effect; and that the Difference of the Effect can't be owing to any Thing in the Soul; or which is the same Thing, the Soul don't determine the Diversity of the Effect; which is contrary to the Supposition. — 'Tis true, the Substance of the Soul before it acts, and before there is any Difference in that Respect, may be in a different State and Circumstances: But those whom I oppose, will not allow the different Circumstances of the Soul to be the de­termining Causes of the Acts of the Will. [...] bein [...] con­trary to th [...]n Notion of Self-determ [...]natio [...] [...]nd Self-motion.

[Page 50]5. Let us suppose, as these Divines do, that there are no Acts of the Soul, strictly speaking, but free Volitions; Then it will follow, that the Soul is an active Being in Nothing further than it is a voluntary or elective Being; and whenever it produces Effects actively, it produces Effects voluntarily and electively. But to produce Effects thus, is the same Thing as to produce Effects in Consequence of, and according to it's own Choice. And if so, then surely the Soul don't by it's Activity produce all it's own Acts of Will or Choice themselves: For this, by the Supposition, is to produce all it's free Acts of Choice voluntarily and elective­ly, or in Consequence of it's own free Acts of Choice, which brings the Matter directly to the fore-mentioned Contra­diction, of a free Act of Choice before the first free Act of Choice.— According to these Gentlemen's own Notion of Action, if there arises in the Mind a Volition without a free Act of the Will or Choice to determine and produce it, the Mind is not the active voluntary Cause of that Voli­tion; because it don't arise from, nor is regulated by Choice or Design. And therefore it can't be, that the Mind should be the active, voluntary, determining Cause of the first and leading Volition that relates to the Affair. — The Mind's being a designing Cause, only enables it to produce Effects in Consequence of it's Design; it will not enable it to be the designing Cause of all it's own Designs. The Mind's being an elective Cause, will only enable it to produce Effects in Consequence of it's Elections, and according to them; but can't enable it to be the elective Cause of all it's own Elec­tions; because that supposes an Election before the first E­lection. So the Mind's being an active Cause enables it to produce Effects in Consequence of it's own Acts, but can't enable it to be the determining Cause of all it's own Acts; for that is still in the same Manner a Contradiction; as it supposes a determining Act conversant about the first Act, and prior to it, having a causal Influence on it's Existence, and Manner of Existence.

I can conceive of Nothing else that can be meant by the Soul's having Power to cause and determine it's own Voli­tions, as a Being to whom God has given a Power of Action, but this; that God has given Power to the Soul, sometimes at least, to excite Volitions at it's Pleasure, or according as it chuses. And this certainly supposes, in all such Cases, a Choice preceeding all Volitions which are [Page 51] thus caused▪ even the very first of them. Which runs into the fore-mentioned great Absurdity.

Therefore the Activity of the Nature of the Soul affords no Relief from the Difficulties which the Notion of a Self-determining Power in the Will is attended with, nor will it help, in the least, it's Absurdities and Inconsistences.

SECTION V. Shewing, that if the Things asserted in these Evasions should be supposed to be true, they are altogether impertinent, and can't help the Cause of Arminian Liberty; And how (this being the State of the Case) Arminian Writers are obliged to talk in­consistently.

WHAT was last observed in the preceeding Section may shew, not only that the active Nature of the Soul can't be a Reason why any Act of the Will is, or why it is in this Manner, rather than another; but also that if it could be so, and it could be proved that Volitions are contingent Events, in that Sense, that their Being and Manner of Being is not fix'd or determined by any Cause, or any Thing antecedent; it would not at all serve the Pur­pose of Arminians, to establish the Freedom of the Will, ac­cording to their Notion of it's Freedom, as consisting in the Will's Determination of it's self; whi [...] supposes every free Act of the Will to be determined [...] Act of the Will going before to determine it; in as [...]ch as for the Will to determine a Thing, is the same as for the Soul to determine a Thing by Willing; and there is no Way that the Will can determine an Act of the Will, than by willing that Act of the Will, or, which is the same Thing, chusing it. So that here must be two Acts of the Will in the Case, one going before another, one conversant about the other, and the lat­ter the Object of the former, and chosen by the former. [Page 52] If the Will don't cause and determine the Act by Choice, it don't cause or determine it at all; for that which is not determined by Choice, is not determined voluntarily or willingly: And to say, that the Will determines something which the Soul don't determine willingly, is as much as to say, that something is done by the Will, which the Soul don't do with it's Will.

So that if Arminian Liberty of Will, consisting in the Will's determining it's own Acts, be maintained, the old Absurdity and Contradiction must be maintained, that every free Act of Will is caused and determined by a foregoing free Act of Will. Which don't consist with the tree Act's arising w [...]thout any Cause, and being so contingent, as not be fix'd by any Thing fore-go [...]ng. So that this Evasion must be given up, as not at all relieving, and as that which, instead of sup­port [...]ng this Sort of Liberty, directly destroys it.

And if it should be supposed, that the Soul determines it's own Acts of Will some other Way, than by a foregoing Act of Will; still it will not help the Cause of their Liberty of Will. If it determines them by an Act of the Under­standing, or some other Power, then the Will don't deter­mine it s [...]lf; and so the S [...]lf-determining Power of the Will is given up. And what L [...]berty is there exercised, according to their own Opinion of Liberty, by the Soul's being deter­mined by something besides it's own Choice? The Acts of the Will, it is true, may be directed, and effectually deter­mined and fix'd; but it is not done by the Soul's own Will and Pleasure: There is no Exercise at all of Choice or Will in producing the Effect: And if Will and Choice are not exercised in it, how is the Liberty of the Will exercised in it?

So that let Arminians turn which Way they please with their Notion of Liberty, consisting in the Will's determining it's own Acts, their Noti [...] destroys it self. If they hold every free Act of Will to [...] determined by the Soul's own free Choice, or foregoing [...] Act of Will; foregoing, either in the Order of Time, or Nature; It implies that gross Contra­diction, that the first free Act belonging to the Affair, is de­termined by a free Act which is before it. Or if they say that the free Acts of the Will are determined by some other Act of the Soul, and not an Act of Will or Ch [...]ice, This also destroys the [...]r Notion of Liberty, consisting in the Acts of th [...] W [...]ll being determined by the Will it self; Or [Page 53] if they hold that the Acts of the Will are determined by Nothing at all that is prior to them, but that they are contin­gent in that Sense, that they are determined and fixed by no Cause at all; this also destroys their Notion of Liberty, con­sisting in the Will's determining it's own Acts.

This being the true State of the Arminian Notion of Li­berty, it hence comes to pass, that the Writers that defend it are forced into gross Inconsistences, in what they say upon this Subject. To instance in Dr. Whitby; he in his Discourse on the Freedom of the Will, * opposes the Opinion of the Calvinists, who place Man's Liberty only in a Power of doing what He will, as that wherein they plainly agree with Mr. Hobbes. And yet he himself mentions the very same Notion of Liberty, as the Dictate of the Sense and common Reason of Mankind, and a Rule laid down by the Light of Nature; viz. That Liberty is a Power of acting from our Selves, or DOING WHAT WE WILL. This is indeed, as he says, a Thing agreable to the Sense and common Reason of Mankind; and therefore 'tis not so much to be wondered at, that he unawares acknow­ledges it against himself: For if Liberty don't consist in this, what else can be devised that it should consist in? If it be said, as Dr. Whitby elsewhere insists, That it don't only con­sist in Liberty of doing what we will, but also a Liberty of willing without Necessity; still the Question returns, What does that Liberty of willing without Necessity consist in, but in a Power of willing as we please, without being impeded by a contrary Necessity? or in other Words, A Liberty for the Soul in it's willing to act according to it's own Choice? Yea, this very Thing the same Author seems to allow, and sup­pose again and again, in the Use he makes of Sayings of the Fathers, whom he quotes as his Vouchers. Thus he cites these Words of Origen, which he produces as a Testimony on his Side; The Soul acts By HER OWN CHOICE, and it is free for her to incline to whatever Part SHE WILL. And those Words of Iustin Martyr; The Doctrine of the Christians is this, That Nothing is done or suffered according to Fate, but that every Man doth Good or Evil ACCORDING TO HIS OWN FREE CHOICE. And from Eusebius, these Words; If Fate be establish'd, Philosophy and Piety are overthrown. — All these Things depending upon the Necessity introduced by the Stars, [Page 54] and not upon Meditation and Exercise PROCEEDING FROM OUR OWN FREE CHOICE. And again, the Words of M [...]c [...]rius, God, to preserve the Liberty of Man's Will, suffered their Bodies to die, that it might be IN THEIR CHOICE to turn to Good or Evil.—They who are acted by the Holy Spirit, are not held under any Necessity, but have Liberty to turn themselves, and DO WHAT THEY WILL in this Life.

Thus, the Doctor in Effect comes into that very No­tion of Liberty, which the Calvinists have; which he at the same Time condemns, as agreeing with the Opinion of Mr. Hobbes, namely, the Soul's Acting by it's own Choice, Men's doing Good or Evil according to their own free Choice, Their being in that Exercise which proceeds from their own free Choice, Having it in their Choice to turn to Good or Evil, and doing what they will. So that if Men exercise this Liberty in the Acts of the Will themselves, it must be in exerting Acts of Will as they will, or according to their own free Choice; or exerting Acts of Will that proceed from their Choice. And if it be so, then let every one judge whether this don't suppose a free Choice going be­fore the free Act of Will, or whether an Act of Choice don't go before that Act of the Will which proceeds from it. And if it be thus with all free Acts of the Will, then let every one judge, whether it won't follow that there is a free Choice or Will going before the first free Act of the Will exerted in the Case. And then let every one judge, whether this be not a Contradiction. And finally, let every one judge whether in the Scheme of these Writers there be any Possibility of avoiding these Absurdities.

If Liberty consists, as Dr. Whitby himself says, in a Man's doing what He will; and a Man exercises this Liberty, not only in external Actions, but in the Acts of the Will them­selves; then so far as Liberty is exercised in the latter, it consists in willing what he wills: And if any say so, one of these two Things must be meant, either 1. That a Man has Power to Will, as he does will; because what he wills, he wills; and therefore has Power to will what he has Power to will. If this be their Meaning, then all this mighty Con­troversy about Freedom of the Will and Self-determining Power, comes wholly to Nothing; all that is contended for being no more than this, That the Mind of Man does what it does, and is the Subject of what it is the Subject of, [Page 55] or that what is, i [...]: wherein None has any Controversy with them. Or, 2. The Meaning must be, that a Man ha [...] Power to will as he pleases or chuses to will: That is, h [...] has Power by one Act of Choice, to chuse another; by an antecedent Act of Will to chuse a consequent Act; and therein to execute his own Choice. And if this be their Meaning, it is Nothing but Shuffling with those they dispute with, and baffling their own Reason. For still the Question returns, wherein lies Man's Liberty in that antecedent Act of Will which chose the consequent Act. The Answer ac­cording to the same Principles must be, that his Liberty in this also lies in his willing as he would, or as he chose, or agreable to another Act of Choice preceeding that. And so the Question returns in infinitum, and the like Answer must be made in infinitum: In order to support their Opinion, there must be no Beginning, but free Acts of Will must have been chosen by foregoing free Acts of Will, in the Soul of every Man, without Beginning; and so before he had a Being, from all Eternity.

SECTION VI. Concerning the Will's determining in Things which are perfectly indifferent, in the View of the Mind.

A Great Argument for Self-determining Power, is the supposed Experience we universally have of an Ability to determine our Wills, in Cases wherein no prevail­ing Motive is presented: The Will (as is supposed) has it's Choice to make between two or more Things, that are perfectly equal in the View of the Mind; and the Will is apparently altogether indifferent; and yet we find no Di [...]i­culty in coming to a Choice; the Will can instantly deter­mine it self to one, by a sovereign Power which it has over it self, without being moved by any preponderating Induce­ment.

[Page 56]Thus the forementioned Author of an Essay on the Freedom of the Will &c. P. 25, 26, 27, supposes, ‘That there are many Instances, wherein the Will is determined neither by present Uneasiness, nor by the greatest apparent Good, nor by the last Dictate of the Understand [...]ng, nor by any Thing else, but meerly by it self, as a Sovereign Self-determining Power of the Soul; and that the Soul does not will this or that Action, in some Cases, by any other Influence, but because it will. Thus (says he) I can turn my Face to the South, or the North; I can point with my Fing [...] upward, or downward.— And thus, in some Ca­ses, the Will determines it self in a very sovereign Man­ner, because it will, without a Reason borrowed from the Understanding: and hereby it discovers it's own perfect Power of Choice, rising from within it self, and free from all Influence or Restraint of any Kind.’ And in Pages 66, 70, & 73, 74. This Author very expresly supposes the Will in many Cases to be determined by no Motive at all, and acts altogether without Motive, or Ground of Preference. — Here I would observe,

1. The very Supposition which is here made, directly con­tradicts and overthrows it self. For the Thing supposed, wherein this grand Argument consists, is, That among several Things the Will actually chuses one before another, at the same Time that it is perfectly indifferent; which is the very same Thing as to say, the Mind has a Preference, at the same Time that it has no Preference. What is meant can't be, that the Mind is indifferent before it comes to have a Choice, or 'till it has a Preference; or, which is the same Thing, that the Mind is indifferent until it comes to be not indifferent. For certainly this Author did not suppose he had a Controversy with any Person in supposing this. And then it is Nothing to his Purpose, that the Mind which chuses, was indifferent once; unless it chuses, remaining in­different; for otherwise, it don't chuse at all in that Case of Indifference, concerning which is all the Question. Besides, it appears in Fact, that the Thing which this Author sup­poses, is not that the Will chuses one Thing before ano­ther, concerning which it is indifferent before it chuses; but also is indifferent when it chuses; and that it's being otherwise than indifferent is not 'till afterwards, in Consequence of it's Choice; that the chosen Thing's appearing preferable and more agreable than another, arises from it's Choice already made. His Words are (P. 30.) ‘Where the Ob­jects [Page 57] which are proposed, appear equally fit or good, the Will is left without a Guide or Director; and therefore must make it's own Choice, by it's own Determination; it being properly a Self-determining Power. And in suc [...] Cases the Will does as it were make a Good to it self by it's own Choice, i. e. creates it's own Pleasure or Delight in this Self-chosen Good. Even as a Man by sei [...]ng upon a Spot of unoccupied Land, in an uninhabited Country, makes it his own Possession and Property, and as such rejoyces in it. Where Things were indifferent before, the Will finds Nothing to make them more agrea­ble, considered meerly in themselves; but the Pleasure it feels ARISING FROM IT'S OWN CHOICE, and it's Perseverance therein. We love many Things which we have chosen, AND PURELY BECAUSE WE CHOSE THEM.’

This is as much as to say, that we first begin to prefer many Things, now ceasing any longer to be indifferent with Respect to them, purely because we have prefer'd and chosen them before.—These Things must needs be spoken incon­siderately by this Author. Choice or Preference can't be before it self, in the same Instance, either in the Order of Time or Nature: It can't be the Foundation of it self, or the Fruit or Consequence of it self. The very Act of chusing one Thing rather than another, is preferring that Thing, and that is setting a higher Value on that Thing. But that the Mind sets an higher Value on one Thing than another, is not, in the first Place, the Fruit of it's setting a higher Value on that Thing.

This Author says, P. 36. ‘The Will may be perfectly in­different, and yet the Will may determine it self to chuse one or the other.’ And again in the same Page, ‘I am entirely indifferent to either; and yet my Will may de­termine it self to chuse.’ And again, ‘Which I shall chuse must be determined by the meer Act of my Will.’ If the Choice is determined by a meer Act of Will, then the Choice is determined by a meer Act of Choice. And concerning this Matter, viz. that the Act of the Will it self is determined by an Act of Choice, this Writer is express, in P. 72. Speaking of the Case, where there is no superiour Fit­ness in Objects presented, he has these Words: ‘There it must act by it's own CHOICE, and determine it self as it PLEASES.’ Where it is supposed that the very Deter­mination, [Page 58] which is the Ground and Spring of the Will's Act, is an Act of Choice and Pleasure, wherein one Act is more agreable, and the Mind better pleased in it than another; and this Preference, and superiour Pleasedness is the Ground of all it does in the Case. And if so, the Mind is not indiffe­rent when it determines it self, but had rather do one Thing than another, had rather determine it self one Way than another. And therefore the Will don't act at all in In­difference; not so much as in the first Step it takes, or the first Rise and Beginning of it's acting. If it be possible for the Understanding to act in Indifference, yet to be sure the Will never does; because the Will's beginning to act is the very same Thing as it's beginning to chuse or pr [...]fer. And if in the very first Act of the Will, the Mind prefers some­thing, then the Idea of that Thing prefer'd, does at that Time preponderate, or prevail in the Mind; or, which is the same Thing, the Idea of it has a prevailing Influence on the Will. So that this wholly destroys the Thing supposed, viz. That the Mind can by a sovereign Power chuse one of two or more Things, which in the View of the Mind are, in every Respect, perfectly equal, one of which does not at all preponderate, nor has any prevailing Influence on the Mind above another.

So that this Author, in his grand Argument for the Abi­lity of the Will to chuse one of two, or more Things, concerning which it is perfectly indifferent, does at the same Time, in Effect, deny the Thing he supposes, and allows and asserts the Point he endeavours to ov [...]hrow; even that the Will, in chusing, is subject to no prevailing Influence of the Idea, or View of the Thing chosen. And indeed it is impossible to offer this Argument without overthrowing it; the Thing supposed in it being inconsistent with it self, and that which denies it self. To suppose the Will to act at all in a State of perfect Indifference, either to determine it self, or to do any Thing else, is to assert that the Mind chuses without chusing. To say that when it is indifferent, it can do as it pleases, is to say that it can follow it's Plea­sure, when it has no Pleasure to follow. And therefore if there be any Difficulty in the Instances of two Cakes, or two Eggs &c. which are exactly alike, one as good as another; conc [...]rning which this Author supposes the Mind in Fact has a Choice, and so in Effect supposes that it has a Preference; i [...] as much concern'd Himself to solve the Difficulty, as it does those whom he opposes. For if these Instances prove [Page 59] any Thing to his Purpose, they prove that a Man chuses without Choice. And yet this is not to his Purpose; be­cause if this is what he asserts, his own Words are as much against him, and do as much contradict him, as the Words of those he disputes against can do.

2. There is no great Difficulty in shewing, in such Instan­ces as are alledged, not only that it must needs be so, that the Mind must be influenced in it's Choice by something that has a preponderating Influence upon it, but also how it is so. A little Attention to our own Experience, and a distinct Consideration of the Acts of our own Minds in such Cases, will be sufficient to clear up the Matter.

Thus, supposing I have a Chess-board before me; and because I am required by a Superiour, or desired by a Friend, or to make some Experiment concerning my own Ability and Liberty, or on some other Consideration, I am determined to touch some one of the Spots or Squares on the Board with my Finger; not being limited or directed in the first Propo­sal, or my own first Purpose, which is general, to any one in particular; and there being nothing in the Squares in themselves considered, that recommends any one of all the sixty four, more than another: In this Case, my Mind de­termines to give it self up to what is vulgarly called Accident, by determining to touch that Square which happens to be most in View, which my Eye is especially upon at that Mo­ment, or which happens to be then most in my Mind, or which I shall be directed to by some other such-like Accident. Here are several Steps of the Mind's proceeding (tho' all may be done as it were in a Moment) the first Step is it's general Determination that it will touch one of the Squares. The next Step is another general Determination to give it self up to Accident, in some certain Way; as to touch that which shall be most in the Eye or Mind at that Time, or to some other such-like Accident. The third and last Step is a particular Determination to touch a certain individual Spot, even that Square, which, by that Sort of Accident the Mind [Page 60] has pitched upon, has actually offered it self beyond others. Now 'tis apparent that in none of these several Steps does the Mind proceed in absolute Indifference, but in each of them is influenced by a preponderating Inducement. So it is in the first Step; The Mind's general Determination to touch one o [...] the sixty four Spots: The Mind is not absolutely in­different wh [...]ther it does so or no: It is induced to it, for the Sake of making some Experiment, or by the Desire of a Friend, or some other Motive that prevails. So it is in the second Step, The Mind's determining to give it self up to Accident, by touching that which shall be most in the Eye, or the Idea of which shall be most prevalent in the Mind &c. The Mind is not absolutely indifferent whether it proceeds by this Rule or no; but chuses it, because it appears at that Time a conven [...]ent and requisite Expedient in order to fulfil the general Purpose aforesaid. And so it is in the third and last St [...]p, It's determining to touch that indivi­dual Spot which actually does prevail in the Mind's View. The Mind is not indifferent concerning this; but is influ­enced by a prevailing Inducement and Reason; which is, that this is a Prosecution of the preceeding Determination, wh [...]ch appeared requisite, and was [...]ix'd before in the second Step.

Accident will ever serve a Man, without hindring him a Moment, in such a Case. It will always be so among a Number of Objects in View, one will prevail in the Eye, or in Idea beyond others. When we have our Eyes open in the clear Sun-shine, many Objects strike the Eye at once, and innumerable Images may be at once painted in it by the Rays of Light; but the Attention of the Mind is not equal to several of them at once; or if it be, it don't conti­nue so for any Time. And so it is with Respect to the Ideas o [...] the Mind in general: Several Ideas are not in equal Strength in the Mind's View and Notice at once; or at least, don't remain so for any sensible Continuance. There is nothing in the World more constantly varying, than the Ideas of the Mind: They don't remain precisely in the same State for the least perceivable Space of Time: as is evident by this, That all perceivable Time is judged and perceived by the Mind only by th [...] Succession or the suc­cessive Changes of it's own Ideas. Therefore while the [...]iews or Perceptions of the M [...]nd [...] precisely in the same State, there is no perceivable Spac [...] or Length of Time, [...] no sensible Succession at all.

[Page 61]As the Acts of the Will, in each Step of the fore-men­tioned Proceedure, don't come to pass without a particular Cause, every Act is owing to a prevailing Inducement; so the Accident, as I have called it, or that which happens in the unsearchable Course of Things, to which the Mind yields it self, and by which it is guided, is not any Thing that comes to pass without a Cause; and the Mind in de­termining to be guided by it, is not determined by something that has no Cause; any more than if it determined to be guided by a Lot, or the casting of a Die. For tho' the Die's falling in such a Manner be accidental to him that casts it, yet none will suppose that there is no Cause why it falls as it does. The involuntary Changes in the Succession of our Ideas, tho' the Cause may not be observed, have as much a Cause, as the changeable Motions of the Mo [...]es that float in the Air, or the continual, infinitely various, successive Changes of the Unevennesses on the Surface of the Water.

There are two Things especially, which are probably the Occasions of Confusion in the Minds of them who insist up­on it, that the Will acts in a proper Indifference, and with­out being moved by any Inducement, in it's Determinations in such Cases as have been mentioned.

1. They seem to mistake the Point in Question, or at least not to keep it distinctly in View. The Question they dispute about, is, Whether the Mind be indifferent about the Objects presented, one of which is to be taken, touch'd, pointed to &c. as two Eggs, two Cakes, which appear equally good. Whereas the Question to be considered, is, Whether the Person be indifferent with Respect to his own Actions; whe­ther he don't, on some Consideration or other, prefer one Act with Respect to these Objects before another. The Mind in it's Determination and Choice, in these Cases, is not most immediately and directly conversant about the Objects presented; but the Acts to be done concerning these Ob­jects. The Objects may appear equal, and the Mind may never properly make any Choice between them: But the next Act of the Will being about the external Actions to be performed, Taking, Touching &c. these may not ap­pear equal, and one Action may properly be chosen before another. In each Step of the Mind's Progress, the Deter­mination is not about the Objects, unless indirectly and im­properly, but about the Actions, which it chuses for other Reasons than any Preference of the Objects, and for Rea­sons not taken at all from the Objects.

[Page 62]There is no Necessity of supposing, that the Mind does [...]ver at all properly chuse one of the Objects before ano­ther; either before it has taken, or afterwards. Indeed the Man chuses to take or touch one rather than another; but not because it chuses the Thing taken, or touch'd; but from foreign Considerations. The Case may be so, that of two Things offered, a Man may, for certain Reasons, chuse and prefer the taking of that which he undervalues, and chuse to neglect to take that which his Mind prefers. In such a Case, chusing the Thing taken, and chusing to take, are di [...]erse: and so they are in a Case where the Things presented are equal in the Mind's Esteem, and neither of them preferred. All that Fact and Experience makes evi­dent, is, that the Mind chuses one Action rather than ano­ther. And therefore the A [...]guments which they bring, in order to be to their Purpose▪ ought to be to prove that the Mind chuses the Action in perf [...]t Indifference, with Respect to that Action; and not to prove [...]hat the Mind chuses the Action in perfect Indifference with Respect to the Object; which is very possible, and yet the Will not act at all with­out prevalent Inducement, and proper Preponderation.

2. Another Reason of Confusion and Difficulty in this Matter, s [...]ms to be, not distinguishing between a general Indifference, or an Indifference with Respect to what is to be done in a more distant and general View of it, and a par­ticular. Indifference, or an Indifference with Respect to the next immediate Act, view'd wit [...] it's particular and present Circumstances. A Man may be perfectly indifferent with Respect to his own Actions, in the former Respect; and yet not in the latter. Thus, in the foregoing Instance of touch­ing one of the Squares of a Chess-board; when 'tis first proposed that I should touch one of them, I may be per­fectly indifferent which I touch; because as yet I view the Matter remotely and generally, being but in the first Step of the Mind's Progress in the Affair. But yet, when I am actually come to the last Step, and the very next Thing to be determined is, which is to be touch'd, having already determined that I will touch that which happens to be most in my Eye or Mind, and my Mind being now fix'd on a particular one, the Act of touching that, considered thus immediately, and in these particular present Circumstances, is not what my Mind is absolutely indifferent about.

[Page 63]

SECTION VII. Concerning the Notion of Liberty of Will consisting in Indifference.

WHAT has been said in the foregoing Section, has a Tendency in some Measure to evince the Absurdity of the Opinion of such as place Liberty in Indiffe­rence, or in that Equilibrium whereby the Will is without all antecedent Determination or Bias, and left hitherto free from any prepossessing Inclination to one Side or the other; that the Determination of the Will to either Side may be entirely from it self, and that it may be owing only to it's own Power, and that Sovereignty which it has over it self, that it goes this Way rather than that.

But in as much as this has been of such long standing, and has been so generally received, and so much insisted on by Pelagians, Semi-Pelagians, Iesuits, Socinians, Arminians, and others, it may deserve a more full Consideration. And therefore I shall now proceed to a more particular and tho­rough Enquiry into this Notion.

[Page 64]Now lest some should suppose that I don't understand those that place Liberty in Indifference, or should charge me with misrepresenting their Opinion, I would signify, that I am sensible, there are some, who when they talk of the Liberty of the Will as consisting in Indifference, express themselves as tho' they would not be understood of the Indifference of the Inclination or Tendency of the Will, but of, I know not what, Indifference of the Soul's Power of Willing; or that the Will, with Respect to it's Power or Ability to chuse, is indifferent, can go either Way indifferently, either to the right Hand or left, either act or forbear to act, one as well as the other. Tho' this seems to be a Refining only of some particular Writers, and newly invented, and which will by no Means consist with the Manner of Expression used by the Defenders of Liberty of Indifference in general. And I wish such Refiners would thoroughly consider, whether they distinctly know their own Meaning, when they make a Distinction between Indifference of the Soul as to it's Power or Abi [...]ity of Willing or Chusing, and the Soul's Indiffe­rence as to the Preference or Choice it self; and whether they don't deceive themselves in imagining that they have any distinct Meaning at all. The Indifference of the Soul as to it's Ability or Power to Will, must be the same Thing as the Indifference of the State of the Power or Faculty of the Will, or the Indifference of the State which the Soul it self, which has that Power or Faculty, hitherto remains in, as to the Exercise of that Power, in the Choice it shall by and by make.

But not to insist any longer on the Abstruseness and Inexplicableness of this Distinction; let what will be sup­posed concerning the Meaning of them that make Use of it, thus much must at least be intended by Arminians, when they talk of Indifference as essential to Liberty of Will, if they intend any Thing, in any Respect to their Purpose, viz. That it is such an Indifference as leaves the Will not determined already; but free from actual Possession, and vacant of Predetermination, so far, that there may be Room for the Exercise of the Self-determining Power of the Will; and that the Will's Freedom consists in, or depends upon this Vacancy and Opportunity that is left for the Will it self to be the Determiner of the Act that is to be the free Act.

[Page 65]And here I would observe in the first Place, that to make out this Scheme of Liberty, the Indifference must be per­fect and abs [...]lute; there must be a perfect Freedom from all antecedent Preponderation or Inclination. Because if the Will be already inclined, before it exerts it's own sovereign Power on it self, then it's Inclination is not wholly owing to it self: If when two Opposites are proposed to the Soul for it's Choice, the Proposal don't find the Soul wholly in a State of Indifference, then it is not found in a State of Li­berty for meer Self-determination. — The least Degree of antecedent Bias must be inconsistent with their Notion of Liberty. For so long as prior Inclination possesses the Will, and is not removed, it binds the Will, so that it is utterly impossible that the Will should act otherwise than agreably to it. Surely the Will can't act or chuse contrary to a re­maining prevailing Inclination of the Will. To suppose otherwise, would be the same Thing as to suppose, that the Will is inclined contrary to it's present prevailing Inclination, or contrary to what it is inclined to. That which the Will chuses and prefers, that, all Things considered, it prepon­derates and inclines to. It is equally impossible for the Will to chuse contrary to it's own remaining and present preponderating Inclination, as 'tis to prefer contrary to it's own present Preference, or chuse contrary to it's own present Choice. The Will therefore, so long as it is under the Influence of an old preponderating Inclination, is not at Liberty for a new free Act, or any Act that shall now be an Act of Self-determination. The Act which is a Self-determin'd free Act, must be an Act which the Will de­termines in the Possession and Use of such a Liberty, as con­sists in a Freedom from every Thing, which, if it were there, would make it impossible that the Will, at that Time, should be otherwise th [...]n that Way to which it tends.

If any one should say, there is no Need that th [...] In­difference should be perfect; but altho' a former Inclina­tion and Preference still remains, yet, if it [...] very strong and violent, possibly the Strength of the Will may oppose and overcome it:—

This is grosly absur'd; for the Strength of the Will. [...] it [...]e never so great, does not at all enable it to a [...]t one Way, and not the contrary Way, both at the same Tim [...] [...] gives it no such Sov [...]reign [...] and Command, [...]s to [...] [Page 66] self to prefer and not to prefer at the same Time, or to chuse contrary to it's own present Choice.

Therefore, if there be the least Degree of antecedent Pre­ponderation of the Will, it must be perfectly abolished, before the Will can be at Liberty to determine it self the contrary Way. And if the Will determines it self the same Way, it was not a free Determination, because the Will is not wholly at Liberty in so doing: It's Deter­mination is not altogether from it self, but it was partly de­termined before, in it's prior Inclination: And all the Free­dom the Will exercises in the Case, is in an Increase of In­clination, which it gives it self, over and above what it had by foregoing Bias; so much is from it self, and so much is from perfect Indifference. For tho' the Will had a pre­vious Tendency that Way, yet as to that additional Degree of Inclination, it had no Tendency. Therefore the previ­ous Tendency is of no Consideration, with Respect to the Act wherein the Will is free. So that it comes to the same Thing which was said at first, that as to the Act of the Will, wherein the Will is free, there must be perfect Indifference, or Equilibrium.

To illustrate this; If we should suppose a sovereign Self-moving Power in a natural Body: But that the Body is in Motion already, by an antecedent Bias; for Instance, Gra­vitation towards the Center of the Earth; and has one De­gree of Motion already, by Vertue of that previous Ten­dency; but by it's self-moving Power it adds one Degree more to it's Motion, and [...]oves so much more swiftly to­wards the Center of the Earth than it would do by it's Gra­vity only: It is evident, that all that is owing to a self-mov­ing Power in this Case, is the additional Degree of Motion; and that the other Degree of Motion which it had from Gravity, is of no Consideration in the Case, don't help the Effect of the free self-moving Power in the least; the Effect is just the same▪ as if the Body had received from it self one Degree of Motion from a State of perfect Rest. So if we should suppose a self-moving Power given to the Scale of a Ba [...]ance, which has a Weight of one Degree beyond the opposite Scale; and we ascribe to it an Ability to add to it s [...]lf another Degree of Force the same Way, by it's self- [...]oving Power; This is ju [...]t the same Thing as to as [...]ribe to it a Power to give it s [...]lf one Degree of Preponderation from a [...] E [...]ilibr [...]um; and so much Power as the [Page 67] Scale has to give it self an Over-balance from a perfect E­quipoise, so much self-moving self-preponderating Power it has, and no more. So that it's free Power this Way is al­ways to be measured from perfect Equilibrium.

I need say no more to prove, that, if Indifference be essential to Liberty, it must be perfect Indifference; and that so far as the Will is destitute of this, so far it is desti­tute of that Freedom by which it is it's own Master, and in a Capacity of being it's own Determiner, without being at all passive, or subject to the Power and Sway of something else, in it's Motions and Determinations.

Having observed these Things, let us now try whether this Notion of the Liberty of Will consisting in Indiffe­rence and Equilibrium, and the Will's Self-determination in such a State, be not absurd and inconsistent.

And here I would lay down this as an Axiom of undoubt­ed Truth; That every free Act is done in a State of Freedom, and not only after such a State. If an Act of the Will be an Act wherein the Soul is free, it must be exerted in a State of Freedom, and in the Time of Freedom. It will not suffice, that the Act immediately follows a State of Liberty; but Li­berty must yet continue, and co-exist with the Act; the Soul remaining in Possession of Liberty. Because that is the No­tion of a free Act of the Soul, even an Act wherein the Soul uses or exercises Liberty. But if the Soul is not, in the very Time of the Act, in the Possession of Liberty, it can't at that Time be in the Use of it.

Now the Question is, whether ever the Soul of Man puts forth any Act of Will, while it yet remains in a State of Li­berty, in that Notion of a State of Liberty, viz. as implying a State of Indifference; or whether the Soul ever exerts an Act of Choice or Preference, while at that very Time the Will is in a perfect Equilibrium, not inclining one Way more than another. The very putting of the Question is sufficient to shew the Absurdity of the affirmative Answer: For how ridiculous would it be for any Body to insist, that the Soul chuses one Thing before another, when at the very same Instant it is perfectly indifferent with Respect to each! This is the same Thing as to say, the Soul prefers one Thing to another, at the very same Time that it has no Preference.— Choice and Preference can no more be in a [Page 68] State of Indifference, than Motion can be in a State of Rest, or than the Preponderation of the Scale of a Balance can be in a State of Equilibrium, Motion may be the next Moment a [...]te [...] Re [...]; but can't co-exist with it, in any, even the least Part of it. So Choice may be immediately after a State of Indifference, but has no Co-existence wi [...]h it: Even the very Beginning of it is not in a State of Indifference. And therefore if this be Liberty, no Act of the Will, in any Degree, is ever per­formed in a State of Liberty, or in the Time of Liberty. Volition and Liberty are so far from agreeing together, and being essential one to another, that they are contrary one to another, and one excludes and destroys the other, as much as Motion and Rest, Light and Darkness, or Life & Death. So that the Will acts not at all, does not so much as begin to act in the Time of such Liberty: Freedom is perfectly at an End, and has ceased to be, at the first Moment of Action; and therefore Liberty can't reach the Action, to affect, or qualify it, or give it a Denomination, or any Part of it, any more than if it had ceased to be twenty Years before the Action began. The Moment that Liberty ceases to be, it ceases to be a Qualification of any Thing. If Light and Darkness succeed one another instantaneously, Light qualifies Nothing after it is gone out, to make any thing lightsome or bright, any more at the first Moment of perfect Darkness, than Months or Years after. Life denominates Nothing vital at the first Moment of perfect Death. So Freedom, if it consists in, or implies Indifference, can denominate Nothing free, at the first Moment of Preference or Preponderation. Therefore 'tis manifest, that no Liberty which the Soul is pos­sessed of, or ever uses, in any of it's Acts of Volition, con­sis [...]s in Indifference; and that the Opinion of such as sup­pose, that Indifference belongs to the very Essence of Liberty, is to the highest Degree absurd and contradictory.

If any one should imagine, that this Manner of arguing ing is Nothing but Trick and Delusion; and to evade the Reasoning, should say, that the Thing wherein the Will ex­ercises it's Liberty, is not in the Act of Choice or Prepon­deration it self, but in determining it self to a certain Choice o [...] Preference; That the Act of the Will wherein it is free, and uses it's own Sovereignty, consists in it's causing or de­termining the Change or Transition from a State of Indifference to a certain Preference, or determining to give a certain Turn to the Balance, which has hitherto been even; and that this Act the Will exe [...]ts in a State of Liberty, or while the Will yet remains in Equilibrium, and perfect Master of [Page 69] it self:— I say, if any One chuses to express his Notion of Liberty after this, or some such Manner, let us see if he can make out his Matters any better than before.

What is asserted is, that the Will, while it yet remains in perfect Equilibrium, without Preference, determines to change it self from that State, and excite in it self a certain Choice or Preference. Now let us see whether this don't come to the same Absurdity we had before. If it be so, that the Will, while it yet remains perfectly Indifferent, deter­mines to put it self out of that State, and give it self a cer­tain Preponderation; Then I would enquire, whether the Soul don't determine this of Choice; or whether the Will's coming to a Determination to do so, be not the same Thing as the Soul's coming to a Choice to do so. If the Soul don't determine this of Choice, or in the Exercise of Choice, then it don't determine it voluntarily. And if the Soul don't determine it voluntarily, or of it's own Will, then in what Sense does it's Will determine it? And if the Will don't determine it, then how is the Liberty of the Will exercised in the Determination? What Sort of Liberty is exercised by the Soul in those Determinations, wherein there is no exercise of Choice, which are not voluntary, and wherein the Will is not concerned?— But if it be allowed, that this Determination is an Act of Choice, and it be insisted on, that the Soul, while it yet remains in a State of perfect Indiffe­rence, chuses to put it self out of that State, and to turn it sel [...] one Way; then the Soul is already come to a Choice, and chuses that Way. And so we have the very same Absurdity which we had before. Here is the Soul in a State of Choice, and in a State of Equilibrium, both at the same Time: the Soul already chusing one Way, while it remains in a State of perfect Indifference, and has no Choice of one Way more than the other.— And indeed this Manner of talking, tho' it may a little hide the Absurdity, in the Obscurity of Expression, is more nonsensical, and increases the Inconsist­ence. To say, the free Act of the Will, or the Act which the Will exerts in a State of Freedom and Indifference, does not imply Preference in it, but is what the Will does in Order to causing or producing a Preference, is as much as to say, the Soul chuses (for to Will and to Chuse are the same Thing) without Choice, and prefers without Preference, in order to cause or produce the Beginning of a Preference, or the first Choice. And that is, that the first Choice is ex­erted without Choice, in order to produce it self.

[Page 70]If any, to evade these Things, should own, that a State of Liberty, and a State of Indifference are not the same, and that the former may be without the latter; But should say, that Indifference is still essential to the Freedom of an Act of Will, in some Sort, namely, as 'tis necessary to go imme­diately before it; It being essential to the Freedom of an Act of Will that it should directly and immediately arise out of a State of Indifference: still this will not help the Cause of Arminian Liberty, or make it consistent with it self. For if the Act springs immediately out of a State of Indifference, then it do's not arise from antecedent Choice or Preference. But if the Act arises directly out of a State of Indifference, with­out any intervening Choice to chuse and determine it, then the Act not being determined by Choice, is not determined by the Will; the Mind exercises no free Choice in the Affair, and free Choice and free Will have no Hand in the Determination of the Act. Which is entirely inconsistent with their Notion of the Freedom of Volition.

If any should suppose, that these Difficulties and Absurdi­ties may be avoided, by saying, that the Liberty of the Mind consists in a Power to suspend the Act of the Will, and so to keep it in a State of Indifference, 'till there has been Oppor­tunity for Consideration; and so shall say, that however Indifference is not essential to Liberty in such a Manner, that the Mind must make it's Choice in a State of Indifference, which is an Inconsistency, or that the Act of Will must spring immediately out of Indifference; yet Indifference may be essential to the Liberty of Acts of the Will in this Respect; viz. That Liberty consists in a Power of the Mind to for­bear or suspend the Act of Volition, and keep the Mind in a State of Indifference for the present, 'till there has been Opportunity for proper Deliberation: I say, if any one imagines that this helps the Matter, it is a great Mistake: It reconciles no Inconsistency, and relieves no Difficulty which the Affair is attended with. — For here the following Things must be observed,

1. That this suspending of Volition, if there be properly any such Thing, is it self an Act of Volition. If the Mind de­termines to suspend it's Act, it determines it voluntarily; it chuses, on some Consideration, to suspend it. And this Choice or Determination, is an Act of the Will: And in­deed it is supposed to be so in the very Hypothesis; for 'tis supposed, that the Liberty of the Will consists in it's Power [Page 71] to do thus, and that it's doing it is the very Thing wherein the Will exercises it's Liberty. But how can the Will exercise Liberty in it, if it ben't an Act of the Will? The Liberty of the Will is not exercised in any Thing but what the Will does.

2. This determining to suspend acting is not only an Act of the Will, but 'tis supposed to be the only free Act of the Will; because it is said, that this is the Thing wherein the Liberty of the Will consists.—Now if this be so, then this is all the Act of Will that we have to consider in this Contro­versy, about the Liberty of Will, and in our Enquiries, wherein the Liberty of Man consists. And now the fore­mentioned Difficulties remain: the former Question returns upon us; viz. Wherein consists the Freedom of the Will in those Acts wherein it is free? And if this Act of determining a Suspension be the only Act in which the Will is free, then wherein consists the Will's Freedom with Respect to this Act of Suspension? And how is Indifference essential to this Act? The Answer must be, according to what is supposed in the [...]vasion under Consideration, That the Liberty of the Will in this Act of Suspension, consists in a Power to suspend even this Act, 'till there has been Opportunity for thorough Deli­beration. But this will be to plunge directly into the grossest Nonsense: for 'tis the Act of Suspension it self that we are speaking of; and there is no Room for a Space of Delibe­ration and Suspension, in order to determine whether we will suspend or no. For that supposes, that even Suspension it self may be defer'd: Which is absurd; for the very de­ferring the Determination of Suspension, to consider whe­ther we will suspend or no, will be actually suspending. For during the Space of Suspension, to consider whether to sus­pend, the Act is ipso facto suspended. There is no Medium between suspending to act, and immediately acting; and therefore no Possibility of avoiding either the one or the other one Moment; and so no Room for Deliberation before we do either of them.

And besides, this is attended with ridiculous Absurdity another Way: For now it is come to that, that Liberty con­sists wholly in the Mind's having Power to suspend it's Deter­mination whether to suspend or no; that there may be Time for Consideration, whether it be best to suspend. And if Liberty consists in this only, then this is the Liberty under Consideration: We have to enquire now, how Liberty with [Page 72] Respect to this Act of suspending a Determination of Sus­pension, consists in Indifference, or how Indifference is essential to it. The Answer, according to the Hypothesis we are upon, must be, that it consists in a Power of suspending even this last mentioned Act, to have Time to consider whe­ther to suspend that. And then the same Difficulties and Enquiries return over again with Respect to that; and so on forever. Which, if it would shew any Thing, would shew only that there is no such Thing as a free Act. It drives the Exercise of Freedom back in infinitum; and that is to drive it out of the World.

And besides all this, there is a Delusion, and a latent gross Contradiction in the Affair another Way; in as much as in explaining how, or in what Respect the Will is free with Regard to a particular Act of Volition, 'tis said, that it's Liberty consists in a Power to determine to suspend that Act, which places Liberty not in that Act of Volition which the Enquiry is about, but altogether in another antecedent Act. Which contradicts the Thing supposed in both the Question and Answer. The Question is, wherein consists the Mind's Liberty in any particular Act of Volition? And the Answer, in pretending to shew wherein lies the Mind's Liberty in that Act, in Effect says, it don't lie in that Act at all, but in ano­ther, viz. a Volition to suspend that Act. And therefore the Answer is both contradictory, and altogether impertinent and beside the Purpose. For it don't shew wherein the Liberty of the Will consists in the Act in Question; Instead of that, it supposes it don't consist in that Act at all, but in another distinct from it, even a Volition to suspend that Act, and take Time to consider of it. And no Account is pretended to be given wherein the Mind is free with Respect to that Act, wherein this Answer supposes the Liberty of the Mind in­deed consists, viz. the Act of Suspension, or of determining the Suspension.

On the whole, 'tis exceeding manifest, that the Liberty of the Mind does not consist in Indifference, and that Indiffe­rence is not essential or necessary to it, or at all belonging to it, as the Arminians suppose; that Opinion being full of No­thing but Absurdity and Self-Contradiction.

[Page 73]

SECTION VIII. Concerning the supposed Liberty of the Will, as opposite to all Necessity.

'TIS a Thing chiefly insisted on by Arminians, in this Controversy, as a Thing most important and essen­tial in human Liberty, that Volitions, or the Acts of the Will, are contingent Events; understanding Contingence as opposite, not only to Constraint, but to all Necessity. There­fore I would particularly consider this Matter. And

1. I would enquire, whether there is, or can be any such Thing, as a Volition which is contingent in such a Sense, as not only to come to pass without any Necessity of Con­straint or Co-action, but also without a Necessity of Consequence, or an infallible Connection with any Thing foregoing.

2. Whether, if it were so, this would at all help the Cause of Liberty.

I. I would consider whether Volition is a Thing that ever does, or can come to pass, in this Manner, contingently.

And here it must be remembred, that it has been already shewn, that Nothing can ever come to pass without a Cause, or Reason why it exists in this Manner rather than another; and the Evidence of this has been pa [...]ticularly applied to the Acts of the Will. Now if this be so, it will demon­strably follow, that the Acts of the Will are never contingent, or without Necessity, in the Sense spoken of; in as much as those Things which have a Cause, or Reason of their Exist­ence, must be connected with their Cause. This appears by the following Considerations.

1. For an Event to have a Cause and Ground of it's Ex­istence, and yet not to be connected with it's Cause, is an Inconsistence. For if the Event ben't connected with the Cause, it is not dependent on the Cause; it's Exist­ence is as it were loose from it's Influence, and may at­tend it, or may not; it being a meer Contingence, whe­ther it follows or attends the Influence of the Cause, or not: And that is the same Thing as not to be depen­dent [Page 74] on it. And to say, the Event is not dependent on it's Cause, is absurd: 'Tis the same Thing as to say, it is not it's Cause, nor the Event the Effect of it: For Dependence on the Influence of a Cause, is the very Notion of an Effect. If there be no such Relation between one Thing and another, consisting in the Connection and Dependence of one Thing on the Influence of another, then it is certain there is no such Relation between them as is signified by the Terms Cause and Effect. So far as an Event is dependent on a Cause, and connected with it, so much Causality [...]s there in the Case, and no more. The Cause does, or brings to pass no more in any Event, than is dependent on it. If we say, the Con­nection and Dependence is not total, but partial, and that the Effect, tho' it has some Connection and Dependence, yet is not entirely dependent on it; That is the same Thing as to say, that not all that is in the Event is an Effect of that Cause, but that only Part of it arises from thence, and Part some other Way.

2. If there are some Events which are not necessarily con­nected with their Causes, then it will follow, that there are some Things which come to pass without any Cause, contra­ry to the Supposition. For if there be any Event which was not necessarily connected with the Influence of the Cause un­der such Circumstances, then it was contingent whether it would attend or follow the Influence of the Cause, or no; It might have followed, and it might not, when the Cause was the same, it's Influence the same, and under the same Circumstances. And if so, why did it follow, rather than not follow? There is no Cause or Reason of this. Therefore here is some­thing without any Cause or Reason why it is, viz. the follow­ing of the Effect on the Influence of the Cause, with which it was not necessarily connected. If there be a necessary Connection of the Effect on any Thing antecedent, then we may suppose that sometimes the Event will follow the Cause, and sometimes not, when the Cause is the same, and in every Respect in the same State & Circumstances. And what can be the Cause and Reason of this strange Phenomenon, even this Diversity, that in one Instance, the Effect should follow, in another not? 'Tis evident by the Supposition, that this is wholly without any Cause or Ground. Here is something in the present Manner of the Ex [...]ence of Things, and State of the World, that is absolutely without a Cause. Which is contrary to the Supposition, and contrary to what has been before demonstrated.

[Page 75]3. To suppose there are some Events which have a Cause and Ground of their Existence, that yet are not ne­cessarily connected with their Cause, is to suppose that they have a Cause which is not their Cause. Thus [...] the Effect be not necessarily connected with the Cause, with it's Influ­ence, and influential Circumstances; then, as I observed before, 'tis a Thing possible and supposable, that the Cause may sometimes exert the same Influence, under the same Circumstances, and yet the Effect not follow. And if this actually happens in any Instance, this Instance is a Proof, in Fact, that the Influence of the Cause is not sufficient to pro­duce the Effect. For if it had been sufficient, it would have done it. And yet, by the Supposition, in another Instance, the same Cause, with perfectly the same Influence, and when all Circumstances which have any Influence, are the same, it [...]as followed with the Effect. By which it is mani­fest, that the Effect in this last Instance was not owing to the Influence of the Cause, but must come to pass some other Way. For it was proved before, that the Influence of the Cause was not sufficient to produce the Effect. And if it was not sufficient to produce it, then the Production of it could not be owing to that Influence, but must be owing to something else, or owing to Nothing. And if the Effect be not owing to the Influence of the Cause, then it is not the Cause. Which brings us to the Contradiction, of a Cause, and no Cause, that which is the Ground and Reason of the Existence of a Thing, and at the same Time is not the Ground and Reason of it's Existence, nor is sufficient to be so.

If the Matter be not already so plain as to render any further Reasoning upon it impertinent, I would say, that that which seems to be the Cause in the supposed Case, can be no Cause; it's Power and Influence having, on a full Trial, proved insufficient to produce such an Effect: and if it be not sufficient to produce it, then it don't produce it. To say otherwise, is to say, there is Power to do that which there is not Power to do. If there be in a Cause sufficient Power exerted, and in Circumstances sufficient to produce an Effect, and so the Effect be actually produced at one Time; These Things all concurring, will produce the Effect at all Times. And so we may turn it the other Way; That which proves not sufficient at one Time, cannot be sufficient at another, with precisely the same influential Circumstances. And therefore if the Effect follows, it is not owing to that [Page 76] Cause▪ unless the different Time be a Circumstance which has Influence: But that is contrary to the Supposition; for 'tis supposed that all Circumstances that have Influence, are the same. And besides, this would be to suppose the Time to be the Cause; which is contrary to the Supposition of the other Thing's being the Cause. But if meerly Diversity of Time has no Influence, then 'tis evident that it is as much of an Absurdity to say, the Cause was sufficient to produce the Effect at one Time, and not at another; as to say, that it is sufficient to produce the Effect at a certain Time, and yet not sufficient to produce the same Effect at that same Time.

On the whole, it is clearly manifest, that every Effect has a necessary Connection with it's Cause, or with that which is the true Ground and Reason of it's Existence. And therefore if there be no Event without a Cause, as was proved before, then no Event whatsoever is contingent in the Manner that Arminians suppose the free Acts of the Will to be contingent.

SECTION IX. Of the Connection of the Acts of the Will with the Dictates of the Understanding.

IT is manifest, that the Acts of the Will are none of them contingent in such a Sense as to be without all Necessity, or so as not to be necessary with a Ne­cessity of Consequence and Connection; because every Act of the Will is some Way connected with the Understanding, and is as the greatest apparent Good is, in the Manner which has already been explained; namely, that the Soul always wills or chuses that which, in the present View of the Mind, considered in the whole of that View, and all that belongs to it, appears most agreable. Because, as was observed be­fore, No [...]hing is more evident than that, when Men act vo­luntarily, and do what they please, then they do what ap­pears most agreable to them; and to say otherwise, would [Page 77] be as much as to affirm, that Men don't chuse what ap­pears to suit them best, or what seems most pleasing to them; or that they don't chuse what they prefer. Which brings the Matter to a Contradiction.

As 'tis very evident in it self, that the Acts of the Will have some Connection with the Dictates or Views of the Understanding, so this is allowed by some of the chief of the Arminian Writers: Particularly by Dr. Whitby and Dr. Samuel Clark.— Dr. Turnbull, tho' a great Enemy to the Doctrine of Necessity, allows the same Thing. In his Christian Philosophy (P. 196.) He with much Approbation cites another Philosopher, as of the same Mind, in these Words: ‘No Man (says an excellent Philosopher) sets himself about any Thing, but upon some View or other, which serves him for a Reason for wh [...]t he does; and whatsoever Faculties he employs, the Understanding, with such Light as it has, well or ill informed, constantly leads; and by that Light, true or false, all her operative Powers are directed. The Will it self, how absolute and incontroulable soever it may be thought, never fails in it's Obedience to the Dictates of the Understanding. Temples have their sacred Images; and we see what In­fluence they have always had over a great Part of Man­kind; But in Truth, the Ideas and Images in Men's Minds are the invisible Powers that constantly govern them; and to these they all pay universally a ready Sub­mission.’

But whether this be in a just Consistence with Themselves, and their own Notions of Liberty, I desire may now be im­partially considered.

Dr. Whitby plainly supposes, that the Acts and Determina­tions of the Will always follow the Understanding's Appre­hension or View of the greatest Good to be obtain'd, or Evil to be avoided; or in other Words, that the Determinations of the Will constantly and infallibly follow these two Things in the Understanding: 1. The Degree of Good to be obtained, and Evil to be avoided, proposed to the Understanding, and apprehended, viewed, and taken Notice of by it. 2. The Degree of the Understanding's View, Notice or Appre­hension of that Good or Evil; which is increased by Atten­tion and Consideration. That this is an Opinion he is ex­ceeding peremptory in (as he is in every Opinion which he maintains in his Controversy with the Calvinists) with Dis­dain [Page 78] of the contrary Opinion, as absurd and self-contra­dictory, will appear by the following Words of his, in his Discourse on the five Points.*

‘Now, 'tis certain, that what naturally makes the Un­derstanding to perceive, is Evidence proposed, and appre­hended, considered or adverted to: for Nothing else can be requisite to make us come to the Knowledge of the Truth.—Again, what makes the Will chuse, is some­thing approved by the Understanding; and consequently appearing to the Soul as Good. And whatsoever it re­fuseth, is something represented by the Understanding, and so appearing to the Will, as Evil. Whence all that God requires of us is, and can be only this; to refuse the Evil, and chuse the Good. Wherefore, to say that Evi­dence proposed, apprehended and considered, is not suffi­cient to make the Understanding approve; or that the greatest Good proposed, the greatest Evil threatned, when equally believ'd and reflected on, is not sufficient to en­gage the Will to chuse the Good and refuse the Evil, is in Effect to say, that which alone doth move the Will to chuse or to refuse, is not sufficient to engage it so to do; which being contradictory to it self, must of Necessity be false. Be it then so, that we naturally have an Aversation to the Truths proposed to us in the Gospel; that only can make us indisposed to attend to them, but cannot hinder our Conviction, when we do apprehend them, and attend to them.— Be it, that there is in us also a Renitency to [...]he Good we are to chuse; that only can indispose us to believe it is, and to approve it as our chiefest Good. Be it, that we are prone to the Evil that we should decline; that only can render it the more difficult for us to be­lieve it is the worst of Evils. But yet, what we do really believe to be our chiefest Good, will still be chosen; and what we apprehend to be the worst of Evils, will, whilst we do continue under that Conviction, be refused by us. It therefore can be only requisite, in order to these Ends, that the good Spi­rit should so illuminate our Understandings, that we at­tending to, and considering what lies before us, should apprehend, and be convinced of our Duty; and that the Blessings of the Gospel should be so propounded to us, as that we may discern them to be our chiefest Good; and the Miseries it threateneth, so as we may be convinced they are the worst of Evils; that we may chuse the one, and refuse the other.’

[Page 79]Here let it be observed, how plainly and peremptorily it is asserted, that the greatest Good proposed, and the greatest Evil threatned, when equally believed and reflect [...]d on, is sufficient to engage the Will to chuse the Good, and refuse the Evil, and is that alone which doth move the Will to chuse or to refuse; and that it is contr [...]dictory to it self, to suppose otherwise; and therefore must of Necessity be false; and then what we do really believe to be our chief­est Good will still be chosen, and what we apprehend to be the worst of Evils, will, whilst we continue under that Conviction, be refused by us. Nothing could have been said more to the Purpose, fully to signify and declare, that the Determinations of the Will must evermore follow the Illumination, Conviction and Notice of the Understanding, with Regard to the greatest Good and Evil proposed, reckoning both the Degree of Good and Evil understood, and the Degree of Understand­ing, Notice and Conviction of that proposed Good and Evil; and that it is thus necessarily, and can be otherwise in no In­stance: because it is asserted, that it implies a Contradiction, to suppose it ever to be otherwise.

I am sensible, the Doctor's Aim in these Assertions is against the Calvinists; to shew, in Opposition to them, that there is no Need of any physical Operation of the Spirit of God on the Will, to change and determine that to a good Choice, but that God's Operation and Assistance is only moral, suggesting Ideas to the Understanding; which he supposes to be enough, if those Ideas are attended to, infallibly to ob­tain the End. But whatever his Design was, Nothing can more directly and fully prove, that every Determination of the Will, in chusing and refusing, is necessary; directly con­trary to his own Notion of the Liberty of the Will. For if the Determination of the Will, evermore, in this Manner, follows the Light, Conviction and View of the Understand­ing, concerning the greatest Good and Evil, and this be that alone which moves the Will, and it be a Contradiction to suppose otherwise; then it is necessarily so, the Will necessarily follows this Light or View of the Understanding, not only in some of it's Acts, but in every Act of chusing and refu­sing. So that the Will don't determine it self in any one of it's own Acts; but all it's Acts, every Act of Choice and Re­fusal, depends on, and is necessarily connected with some an­tecedent Cause; which Cause is not the Will it self, nor any Act of it's own, nor any Thing pertaining to that Faculty, but something belonging to another Faculty, whose Acts go before the Will, in all it's Acts, and govern and determine them every one.

[Page 80]Here, if it should be replied, that altho' it be true, that according to the Doctor, the final Determination of the Will always depends upon, and is infallibly connected with the Understanding's Conviction, and Notice of the greatest Good; yet the Acts of the Will are not necessary; because that Conviction and Notice of the Understanding is first de­pendent on a preceeding Act of the Will, in determining to attend to, and take Notice of the Evidence exhibited; by which Means the Mind obtains that Degree of Conviction which is sufficient and effectual to determine the consequent and ultimate Choice of the Will; and that the Will with Regard to that preceeding Act, whereby it determines whe­ther to attend or no, is not necessary; and that in this, the Liberty of the Will consists, that when God holds forth sufficient objective Light, the Will is at Liberty whether to command the Attention of the Mind to it.

Nothing can be more weak and inconsiderate than such a Reply as this. For that preceeding Act of the Will, in de­termining to attend and consider, still is an Act of the Will (it is so to be sure, if the Liberty of the Will consists in it, as is supposed) and if it be an Act of the Will, it is an Act of Choice or Refusal. And therefore, if what the Doctor asserts be true, it is determined by some antecedent Light in the Understanding concerning the greatest apparent Good or Evil. For he asserts, it is that Light which alone doth move the Will to chuse or refuse. And therefore the Will must be moved by that in chusing to attend to the objective Light offered, in order to another consequent Act of Choice: so that this Act is no less necessary than the other. And if we suppose ano­ther Act of the Will, still preceeding both these mention'd, to determine both, still that also must be an Act of the Will, & an Act of Choice; and so must, by the same Principles, be infallibly determin'd by some certain Degree of Light in the Understanding concerning the greatest Good. And let us suppose as many Acts of the Will, one preceeding another, as we please, yet they are every one of them necessarily determined by a cer­tain Degree of Light in the Understanding, concerning the greatest and most eligible Good in that Case; and so, not one of them free according to Dr. Whitby's Notion of Free­dom. And if it be said, the Reason why Men don't attend to Light held forth, is because of ill Habits contracted by evil Acts committed before, whereby their Minds are in­disposed to attend to, and consider of the Truth held forth [Page 81] to them by God, the Difficulty is not at all avoided: still the Question returns, What determined the Will in those preceeding evil Acts? It must, by Dr. Whitby's Principles, still be the View of the Understanding concerning the greatest Good and Evil. If this View of the Understanding be that alone which doth move the Will to chuse or refuse, as the Doctor asserts, th [...]n every Act of Choice or Refusal, from a Man's first Existence, is moved and determined by this View; and this View of the Understanding exciting and governing the Act, must be before the Act: And therefore the Will is necessarily determined, in every one of it's Acts, from a Man's first Existence, by a Cause beside the Will, & a Cause that don't proceed from, or depend on any Act of the Will at all. Which at once utterly abolishes the Doctor's whole Scheme of Li­berty of Will; and he, at one Stroke, has cut the Sinews of all his Arguments from the Goodness, Righteousness, Faithfulness and Sinc [...]rity of God, in his Commands, Pro­mises, Threatnings, Calls, Invitations, Expostulations; which [...] makes [...] of, under the Heads of Reprobation, Election, Univer [...] Redemption, sufficient and effectual Grace, and the Freedom of the Will of Man; and has enervated and made vain all those Exclamations against the Doctrine of the Calvinists, as charging God with mani­fest Unrighteousness, Unfaithfulness, Hypocrisy, Fallaci­ousness, and Cruelty; which he has over, and over, and over again, numberless Times in his Book.

Dr. Samuel Clark, in his Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God, to evade the Argument to prove the Necessity of Volition, from it's necessary Connection with the last Dictate of the Understanding, supposes the latter not to be diverse from the Act of the Will it self. But if it be so, it will not alter the Case as to the Evidence of the Ne­cessity of the Act of the Will. If the Dictate of the Under­standing be the very same with the Determination of the Will or Choice, as Dr. Clark supposes, then this Determi­nation is no Fruit or Effect of Choice: And if so, no Liberty of Choice has any Hand in it: As to Volition or Choice, it is necessary; That is, Choice can't prevent it. If the last Dictate of the Understanding be the same with the Deter­mination of Volition it self, then the Existence of that De­termination must be necessary as to Volition; in as much as Volition can have no Opportunity to determine whether it shall exist or no, it having Existence already before Voli­tion [Page 82] has Opportunity to determine any Thing. It is it self the very Ri [...]e and Existence of Volition. But a Thing, af­ter it exists, has no Opportunity to determine as to it's own Existence; it is too late for that.

If Liberty consists in that which Arminians suppose, viz. in the Will's determining it's own Acts, having [...]ree Oppor­tunity, and being without all Necessity; This is the same as to say, that Liberty consists in the Soul's having Power and Opportunity to have what Determinations of the Will it pleases or chuses. And if the Determinations of the Will, and the last Dictates of the Understanding be the same Thing, then Liberty consists in the Mind's having Power to have what Dictates of the Understanding it pleases, having Opportunity to chuse it's own Dictates of Understanding. But this is absurd; for it is to make the Determination of Choice prior to the Dictate of Understanding, and the Ground of it; which can't consist [...] the Dictate of Un­derstanding's being the Determination [...] Choice [...]

Here is no Way to do in this Case [...] to the old Absurdity, of one [...] another, and the Cause of it; and another before [...] determining that; and so on in infinitum. If the last [...] of the Un­derstanding be the Determination of the Will it self, and the Soul be free with Regard to that Dictate, in the Arminian Notion of Freedom; th [...]n the Soul, before that Dictate of it's Understanding ex [...]sts, voluntarily and according to it's own Choice determines, in every Case, what that Dictate of the Understanding shall be; otherwise that Dictate, as to the Will, is necessary; and the Acts determined by it, must also be necessary. So that here is a Determination of the Mind prior to that Dictate of the Understanding, an Act of Choice going before it, chusing and determining what that Dictate of the Understanding shall be: and this preceeding Act of Choice, being a free Act of Will, must also be the same with another last Dictate of the Understanding: And if the Mind also be free in that Dictate of Understanding, that must be determined still by another; and so on forever.

Besides, if the Dictate of the Understanding, and De­termination of the Will be the same, this confounds the Un­derstanding and Will, and makes them the same. Whether they be the same or no, I will not now dispute; but only would observe, that if it be so, and the Arminian Notion of [Page 83] Liberty consists in a Self-determining Power in the Under­standing, free of all Necessity; being independent, unde­termined by any Thing prior to it's own Acts and Determi­nations; and the more the Understanding is thus indepen­dent, and sovereign over it's own Determinations, the more free. By th [...]s therefore the Freedom of the Soul, as a moral Agent, must consist in the Independence of the Understand­ing on any Evidence or Appearance of Things, or any Thing whatsoever that stands forth to the View of the Mind, prior to the Understanding's Determination. And what a Sort of Liberty is this! consisting in an Ability, Freedom and Easiness of judging, either according to Evidence, or a­gainst it; having a sovereign Command over it self at all Times, to judge, either agreably or disagreably to what is plainly exhibite [...] to it's own View. Certainly, 'tis no Li­berty that renders Persons the proper Subjects of perswasive Reasoning, Argument▪ Expo [...]ulations, and such like moral Means [...]nd Induceme [...] ▪ The Use of which with Mankind, is a [...] Arminians, to defend their Notion of [...] Necessity. For according to this, the more [...] they are under the Govern­ment [...] subject to the Power of Evidence and [...] more independent on their Influence, in their [...].

And whether the Understanding and Will are the same or no, as Dr. Clark seems to suppose, yet in order to maintain the Arminian Notion of Liberty without Necessity, the free Will is not determined by the Understanding, nor necessarily connected w [...]t [...] the Understanding; and the further from such Connection, the greater the Freedom. And when the Liberty is full and compleat, the Determinations of the Will have no Connection at all with the Dictates of the Understanding. And if so, in [...] are all Applications to the Understanding, in order to induce to any free vertuous Act; and so in vain are all Instructions, Counsels, Invitati­ons, Expostulations, and all Arguments & Perswasives what­soever: For these are but Applications to the Understanding, and a clear and lively Exhibit [...]on of the Objects of Choi [...]e to the Mind's View. But if, after all, the Will must be self-determined, and independent on the Understanding, to what Purpose are Things thus represented to the Understand­ing, in order to determine the Choice?

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SECTION X. Volition necessarily connected with the Influ­ence of Motives; with particular Obser­vations on the great Inconsistence of Mr. Chubb's Assertions and Reasonings, about the Freedom of the Will.

THAT every Act of the Will has some Cause, and con­sequently (by what has been already proved) has a necessary Connection with it's Cause, and so is ne­cessary by a Nec [...]ssity of Connection and Consequence, is evident by th [...]s, That every Act of the Will whatsoever, is ex [...]ted by some Motive: Which is [...]anifest, because, if the Will or Mind, in willing and chusing after the Manner that it does, is excited so to do by no [...] or Inducement, th [...]n it has no End which it proposes [...] it self, or pursues in so doing; it aims at Nothing, and [...] Nothing. And if it se [...]ks Nothing, then it don't go after any Thing, or ex­ert any Inclination or Preference towards any Thing. Which brings the Matter to a Contradiction; Because for the Mind to will something, and for it to go after something by an Act of Preference and Inclination, are the same Thing.

But if every Act of the Will is excited by a Motive, then th [...]t Motive is the Cause or the Act of the Will. If the Acts of the Will are excited by Motives, then Motives are the Causes of their being excited; or, which is the same Thing, the Cause of their being put forth into Act and Ex­istence. And if so, the Existence of the Acts of the Will is properly the Effect of their Motives. Motives do Nothing as Motives or Inducements, but by their Influence; and so much as is done by their Influence, is the Effect of them. For that is t [...]e Notion of an Effect, something that is bro't to pass by the Influence of another Thing.

And [...] Volitions are properly the Effects of their Motives, then th [...]y [...] necessarily connected with their Motives. Every [...] being, as was proved before, necessarily [...] that which is the proper Ground and Reason [...]. Thus it is manifest, that Volition is ne­cessary, [Page 85] and is not from any Self-determining Power in the Will: The Volition which is caused by previous Motive and Inducement, is not caused by the Will exercising a sovereign Power over it self, to determine, cause and excite Volitions in it self. This is not consistent with the Will's acting in a State of Indifference and Equilibrium, to determine it self to a Preference; for the Way in which Motives operate, is by biassing the Will, and giving it a certain Inclination or Pre­ponderation one Way.

Here it may be proper to observe, that Mr. Chubb, in his Collection of Tracts on various Subjects, has advanced a Scheme of Liberty, which is greatly divided against it self, and thoroughly subversive of it self; and that many Ways.

I. He is abundant in asserting, that the Will, in all it's Acts, is influenced by Motive and Excitement; and that this is the previous Ground and Reason of all it's Acts, and that it is never otherwise in any Instance. He says, (P. 262.) No Action can take Place without some Motive to excite it. And in P. 203. Volition cannot take Place without some PREVIOUS Rea­son or M [...]tive to induce it. And in P. 310. Action would not take Place without s [...]me Reason or Motive to induce it; it being absurd to suppose, that the active Faculty would be exerted without some PREVI­OUS Reason to dispose the Mind to Action. So also P. 257. And he speaks of th [...]se Things as what we may be absolutely certain of, and which are the Foundation, the only Foundation we have of a Certainty of the moral Perfections of God. P. 252, 253, 254, 255, 261, 262, 263, 264.

And yet at the same Time, by his Scheme, the Influence of Motives upon us to excite to Action, and to be actually a Ground of Volition, is consequent on the Volition or Choice of the Mind. For he very greatly insists upon it, that in all free Actions, before the Mind is the Subject of those Volitions which Motives excite, it chuses to be so. It chuses whether it will comply with the Motive, which presents it self in View, or not; and when various Motives are presented, it chuses which it will yield to, and which it will reject. So P. 256. Every Man has Power to act, or to refrain from acting agreably with, or contrary to, any Motive that presents. P. 257. Every Man is at Liberty to act, or refrain from acting agreably with, or contrary to, what each of these Motives, considered singly, would excite him to.—Man has Power, and is as much at Liberty to reject the Motive that does prevail, as he has Power, and is at Liberty to reject those Motives [Page 86] that do not. And so P. 310, 311. In order to constitute a moral Agent, it is necessary, that he should have Power to act, or to re­frain from acting, upon such moral Motives as he pleases. And to the like Purpose in many other Places. According to these Things, the Will acts first, and chuses or refuses to com­ply with the Motive that is presented, before it falls under it's prevailing Influence: And 'tis first determined by the Mind's Pleasure or Choice, what Motives it will be induced by, before it is induced by them.

Now, how can these Things hang together? How can the Mind first act, and by it's Act of Volition and Choice determine what Motives shall be the Ground and Reason of it's Volition and Choice? For this supposes, the Choice is already made, before the Motive has it's [...]ffect; and that the Volition is al­ready exerted, before the Motive prevails, so as actually to be the Ground of the Volition; and makes the prevailing of the Motive, the Consequence of the Volition, which yet it is the Ground of. If the Mind has already chosen to comply with a Motive, and to yield to it's Excitement, it don't need to yield to it after this: for the Thing is effected already, that the Motive would excite to, and the Will is before-hand with the Excitement; and the Excitement comes in too late, and is needless and in vain afterwards. If the Mind has already chosen to yield to a Motive which invites to a Thing, that implies and in Fact is a chusing the Thing invited to; and the very Act of Choice is before the Influence of the Motive which induces, and is the Ground of the Choice; the Son is before-hand with the Father that begets him: The Choice is supposed to be the Ground of that Influence of the Motive, which very Influence is supposed to be the Ground of the Choice. And so Vice versa, The Choice is supposed to be the Consequence of the Influence of the Mo­tive, which Influence of the Motive is the Consequence of that very Choice.

And besides, if the Will acts first towards the Motive before it falls under it's Influence, and the prevailing of the Motive upon it to induce it to act and chuse, be the Fruit and Con­sequence of it's Act and Choice, then how is the Motive a PREVIOUS Ground and Reason of the Act and Choice, so that in the Nature of the Things, Volition cannot take Place without some PREVIOUS Reason and Motive to induce it; and that this Act is consequent upon, and follows the Motive? Which Things Mr. Chubb oft [...]n asserts, as of certain and undoubted Truth. [Page 87] So that the very same Motive is both previous and consequent, both before and after, both the Ground and Fruit of the very same Thing!

II. Agreable to the fore-mention'd inconsistent Notion of the Will's first acting towards the Motive, chusing whether it will comply with it, in order to it's becoming a Ground of the Will's acting, before any Act of Volition can take Place, Mr. Chubb frequently calls Motives and Excitements to the Action of the Will, the passive Ground or Reason of that Action. Which is a remarkable Phrase; than which I pre­sume there is none more unintelligible, and void of distinct and consistent Meaning, in all the Writings of Duns, Scotus, or Thomas Aquinas. When he represents the Motive to Action or Volition as passive, he must mean—passive in that Affair, or passive with Respect to that Action which he speaks of; otherwise it is Nothing to his Purpose, or relating to the Design of his Argument: He must mean (if that can be called a Meaning) that the Motive to Volition is first acted upon or towards by the Volition, chusing to yield to it, making it a Ground of Action, or determining to fetch it's Influence from thence; and so to make it a previous Ground of it's own Excitation and Existence. Which is the same Absurdity, as if one should say, that the Soul of Man, or any other Thing should, previous to it's existing, chuse what Cause it would come into Existence by, and should act upon it's Cause, to fetch Influence from thence, to bring it into Being; and so it's Cause should be a passive Ground of it's Existence!

Mr. Chubb does very plainly suppose Motive or Excitement to be the Ground of the Being of Volition. He speaks of it as the Ground or Reason of the EXERTION of an Act of the Will, P. 391, & 392. and expresly says, that Volition cannot TAKE PLACE without some previous Ground or Mo­tive to induce it, P. 363. And he speaks of the Act as FROM the Motive, and FROM THE INFLUENCE of the Motive, P. 352. and from the Influence that the Motive has on the Man, for the PRODUCTION of an Action. P. 317. Certain­ly, there is no Need of multiplying Words about this; 'Tis easily judged, whether Motive can be the Ground of Volition's being exerted and taking Place, so that the very Production of it is from the Influence of the Motive, and yet the Motive, before it becomes the Ground of the Volition, is passive, or acted upon by the Volition. But [Page 88] this I will say, That a Man who insists so much on Clear­ness of Meaning in others, and is so much in blaming their Confusion and Inconsistence, ought, if he was able, to have explained his Meaning in this Phrase of passive Ground of Action, so as to shew it not to be confused and incon­sistent.

If any should suppose, that Mr. Chubb, when he speaks of Motive as a passive Ground of Action, don't mean passive with Regard to that Volition which it is the Ground of, but some other antecedent Volition▪ (tho' his Purpose and Ar­gument, and whole Discourse, will by no Means allow of such a Supposition) yet it would not help the Matter in the least. For, (1.) If we suppose there to be an Act of Volition or Choice, by which the Soul chuses to yield to the Invi­tation of a Motive to another Volition, by which the Soul chuses something else; both these supposed Volitions are in Effect the very same. A Volition, or chusing to yield to the Force of a Motive inviting to chuse something, comes to just the same Thing as chusing the Thing which the Mo­tive invites to, as I observed before. So that here can be no Room to help the Matter, by a Distinction of two Volitions. (2.) If the Motive be passive with Respect, not to the same Volition that the Motive excites to, but one truly distinct and prior; yet, by Mr. Chubb, that prior Volition can't take Place, without a Motive or Excitement, as a previous Ground of it's Existence. For he insists, that it is absurd to suppose any Volition should take Place without some previous Motive to induce it. So that at last it comes to just the same Absurdity: for [...]f every Volition must have a previous Mo­tive, then the very first in the whole Series must be excited by a previous Motive; and yet the Motive to that first Vo­lition is passive; but can't be passive with Regard to ano­ther antecedent Volition, because, by the Supposition, it is the very first: Therefore if it be passive with Respect to any Volition, it must be so with Regard to that very Vo­lition that it is the Ground of, and that is excited by it.

III. Tho' Mr. Chubb asserts, as above, that every Volition has some Motive, and that, in the Nature of the Thing, no Volition can take Place without some Motive to induce it; yet he asserts, that Volition does not always follow the strongest Mo­tive; or in other Words, is not governed by any superiour Strength of the Motive that is followed, beyond Motives to the contrary, previous to the Volition it self. His own [Page 89] Words, P. 258, are as follows: ‘Tho' with regard to physi­cal Causes, that which is strongest always prevails, yet it is otherwise with regard to moral Causes. Of these, sometimes the stronger, sometimes the weaker, prevails. And the Ground of this Difference is evident, namely, that what we call moral Causes, strictly speak­ing, are no Causes at all, but barely passive Reasons of, or Excitements to the Action, or to the refraining from acting: which Excitements we have Power, or are at Liberty to comply with or reject, as I have shewed above.’ And so throughout the Paragraph, he, in a variety of Phrases, insists, that the Will is not always determined by the strongest Motive, unless by strongest we preposterously mean actually prevailing in the Event; which is not in the Mo­tive, but in the Will; but that the Will is not always de­termined by the Motive which is strongest, by any Strength previous to the Volition it self. And he elsewhere does a­bundantly assert, that the Will is determined by no superiour Strength or Advantage that Motives have, from any Constitu­tion or State of Things, or any Circumstances whatsoever, previous to the actual Determination of the Will. And in­deed his whole Discourse on human Liberty implies it, his whole Scheme is founded upon it.

But these Things cannot stand together. — There is such a Thing as a Diversity of Strength in Motives to Choice, previous to the Choice it self. Mr. Chubb himself supposes, that they do previously invite, induce, excite and dispose the Mind to Action. This implies, that they have something in them­selves that is inviting, some Tendency to induce and dispose to Volition, previous to Volition it self. And if they have in themselves this Nature and Tendency, doubtless they have it in certain limited Degrees, which are capable of Diver­sity; and some have it in greater Degrees, others in less; and they that have most of this Tendency, considered with all their Nature and Circumstances, previous to Volition, they are the strongest Motives; and those that have least, are the weakest Motives.

Now if Volition sometimes don't follow the Motive which is strongest, or has most previous Tendency or Advantage, all Things considered, to induce or excite it, but follows the weakest, or that which as it stands previously in the Mind's View, has least Tendency to induce it; herein the Will ap­parently acts wholly without Motive, without any previous Reason to dispose the Mind to it, contrary to what the sam [...] [Page 90] Author supposes. The Act wherein the Will must proceed without previous Motive to induce it, is the Act of prefer­ring the weakest Motive. For how absurd is it to say, The Mind sees previous Reason in the Motive, to prefer that Motive before the other; and at the same Time to suppose, that there is Nothing in the Motive, in it's Nature, State, or any Circumstances of it whatsoever, as it stands in the pre­vious View of the Mind, that gives it any Preference; but on the contrary, the other Motive that stands in Competition with it, in all these Respects, has most belonging to it, that is inviting and moving, and has most of a Tendency to Choice and Preference? This is certainly as much as to say, there is previous Ground and Reason in the Motive for the Act of Preference, and yet no previous Reason for it. By the Supposition, as to all that is in the two rival Motives which tends to Preference, previous to the Act of Preference, it is not in that which is prefer'd, but wholly in the other: because appearing superiour Strength, and all appearing Pre­ferableness is in that; and yet Mr. Chubb supposes, that the Act of Preference is from previous Ground and Reason in the Motive which is preferred. But are these Things consistent? Can there be previous Ground in a Thing for an Event that takes Place, and yet no previous Tendency in it to that Event? If one Thing follows another, without any previ­ous Tendency to it's following, then I should think it very plain, that it follows it without any Manner of previous Rea­son why it should follow.

Yea, in this Case, Mr. Chubb supposes, that the Event follows an Antecedent or a previous Thing, as the Ground of it's Existence, not only that has no Tendency to it, but a contra [...]y Tendency. The Event is the Preference which the Mind gives to that Motive which is weaker, as it stands in the previous View of the Mind; the immediate Antecedent is the View the Mind has of the two rival Motives con­junctly; in which previous View of the Mind, all the Pre­ferableness, or previous Tendency to Preference, is supposed to be on the other Side, or in the contrary Motive; and all the Unworthiness of Preference, and so previous Tendency to Comparative Neglect, Rejection or Undervaluing, is on that Side which is prefer'd: And yet in this View of the Mind is supposed to be the previous Ground or Reason of this Act of Preference, exciting it, and disposing the Mind to it. Which, I leave the Reader to judge, whether it be absurd or not. If it be not, then it is not absurd to say, that the [Page 91] previous Tendency of an Antecedent to a Consequent, is the Ground and Reason why that Consequent does not follow; and the Want of a previous Tendency to [...]n Event, yea, a Tendency to the Contrary, is the true Ground and Reason why that Event does follow.

An Act of Choice or Preference is a comparative Act, wherein the Mind acts with Reference to two or more Things that are compared, and stand in Competition in the Mind's View. If the Mind, in this comparative Act, prefers that which appears inferiour in the Comparison, then the Mind herein acts absolutely without Motive, or Inducement, or any Temptation whatsoever. Then, if a hungry Man has the Offer of two Sorts of Food, both which he finds an Ap­petite to, but has a stronger Appetite to one than the other; and there be no Circumstances or Excitements whatsoever in the Case to induce him to take either one or the other, but meerly his Appetite: If in the Choice he makes between them, he chuses that which he has least Appetite to, and refuses that to which he has the strongest Appetite, this is a Choice made absolutely without previous Motive, Excite­ment, Reason or Temptation, as much as if he were perfectly without all Appetite to either: Because his Volition in this Case is a c [...]mparative Act, attending and following a compara [...]ive View of the Food which he chuses, viewing it as related to, and compared with the other Sort of Food, in which View his Preference has absolutely no previous Ground, yea, is against all previous Ground and Motive. And if there be any Principle in Man from whence an Act of Choice may arise after this Manner, from the same Principle Volition may arise wholly without Motive on ei­ther Side. If the Mind in it's Volition can go beyond Mo­tive, then it can go without Motive: for when it is be­yond the Motive, it is out of the Reach of the Motive, out of the Limits of it's Influence, and so without Motive. If Volition goes beyond the Strength and Tendency of Mo­tive, and especially if it goes against it's Tendency, this demonstrates the Independence of Volition or Motive. And if so, no Reason can be given for what Mr. [...] so often asserts, even that in the Nature of Things Volition cannot take Place without a Motive to induce it.

If the most High should endow a Balance with Agency or Activity of Nature, in such a Manner, that when▪ une­qual Weights are put into the Scales, it's Agency could enable [Page 92] it to cause that Scale to descend which has the least Weight, and so to raise the greater Weight; this would clearly de­monstrate, that the Motion of the Balance do's not depend on Weights in the Scales, at least as much, as if the Ba­lance should move it self, when there is no Weight in ei­ther Scale. And the Activity of the Balance which is sufficient to move it self against the greater Weight, must certainly be more than sufficient to move it when there is no Weight at all.

Mr. Chubb supposes, that the Will can't stir at all without some Motive; and also supposes, that if there be a Motive to one Thing, and none to the Contrary, Volition will in­fallibly follow that Motive. This is vertually to suppose an entire Dependence of the Will on Motives: If it were not wholly dependent on them, it could surely help it self a little without them, or help it self a little against a Motive, with­out help from the Strength and Weight of a contrary Mo­tive. And yet his supposing that the Will, when it has be­fore it various opposite Motives, can use them as it pleases, and chuse it's own Influence from them, and neglect the strongest, and follow the weakest, supposes it to be wholly independent on Motives.

It further appears, on Mr. Chubb's Supposition, that Vo­lition must be without any previous Ground in any Motive, thus: If it be as he supposes, that the Will is not deter­mined by any previous superiour Strength of the Motive, but determines and chuses it's own Motive, then, when the rival Motives are exactly equal in Strength and Tendency to induce, in all Respects, it may follow either; and may in such a Case, sometimes follow one, sometimes the other. And if so, this Diversity which appears between the Acts of the Will, is plainly without previous Ground in either of the Motives; for all that is previously in the Motives, is supposed precisely and perfectly the same, without any Di­versity whatsoever. Now perfect Identity, as to all that is previous in the Antecedent, can't be the Ground and Rea­son of Diversity in the Consequent. Perfect Identity in the Ground can't be a Reason why it is not followed with the same Consequence. And therefore the Source of this Diver­sity of Consequence must be sought for elsewhere.

And lastly, it may be observed, that however Mr. Chubb does much insist that no Volition can take Place without [Page 93] some Motive to induce it, which previously disposes the M [...]nd to it; yet, as he also insists that the Mind without Reference to any previous superiour Strength of Motives, picks and chuses for it's Motive to follow; He himself here­in plainly supposes, that with Regard to the Mind's Prefe­rence of one Motive before another, it is not the Motive that disposes the Will, but the Will disposes it self to fol­low the Motive.

IV. Mr. Chubb supposes Necessity to be utterly inconsist­ent with Agency; and that to suppose a Being to be an Agent in that which is necessary, is a plain Contradiction. P. 311. And throughout his Discourses on the Subject of Liberty, he supposes, that Necessity cannot consist with Agency or Free­dom; and that to suppose otherwise, is to make Liberty and Necessity, Action and Passion, the same Thing. And so he seems to suppose, that there is no Action strictly speaking, but Volition; and that as to the Effects of Volition in Body or Mind, in themselves considered, being necessary, they are said to be free, only as they are the Effects of an Act that is not necessary.

And yet, according to him, Volition it self is the Effect of Volition; yea, every Act of free Volition: and therefore every Act of free Volition must, by what has now been ob­served from Him, be necessary. That every Act of free Volition is it self the Effect of Volition, is abundantly sup­posed by H [...]m. In P. 341, he says, ‘If a Man is such a Creature as I have above proved him to be, that is, if he has in him a Power or Liberty of doing either Good or Evil, and either of these is the Subject of his own free Choice, so that he might, IF HE HAD PLEASED, have CHOSEN and done the contrary.’ —Here He sup­poses, all that is Good or Evil in Man is the Effect of his Choice; and so that his good or evil Choice it self is the Effect of his Pleasure or Choice, in these Words, He might if he had PLEASED, have CHOSEN the contrary. So in P. 356. ‘Tho' it be highly reasonable, that a Man should always chuse the greater Good, — yet he may, if he PLEASE, CHUSE otherwise.’ Which is the same Thing as if he had said, He may, if he chuses, chuse otherwise. And then he goes on, ‘— that is, he may, if he pleases, chuse what is good for himself &c.’ And again in the same Page, ‘The Will is not confined by the Understanding to any parti­cular Sort of Good, whether greater or less; but is at [Page 94] Liberty to chuse what Kind of Good it pleases. —If there be any Meaning in these last Words, the Meaning must be this, that the Will is at Liberty to chuse what Kind of Good it chuses to chuse; supposing the Act of Choice it self deter­mined by an antecedent Choice. The Liberty Mr. Chubb speaks of, is not only a Man's having Power to move his Body agreably to an antecedent Act of Choice, but to use or exert the Faculties of his Soul. Thus, in P. 379. speaking of the Faculties of his Mind, he says, ‘Man has Power, and is at Liberty to neglect these Faculties, to use them aright, or to abuse them, as he pleases. And that he supposes an Act of Choice, or Exercise of Pleasure, properly distinct from, and antecedent to those Acts thus chosen, directing, commanding and producing the chosen Acts, and even the Acts of Choice themselves, is very plain in P. 283. ‘He can command his Actions; and herein consists his Liberty; He can give or deny himself that Pleasure a [...] he pleases. And P. 377. ‘If the Actions of Men — are not the Pro­duce of a free Choice, or Election, but spring from a Necessity of Nature,— he cannot in Reason be the Object of Re­ward or Punishment on their Account. Whereas, if Action in Man, whether Good or Evil, is the Produce of Will or free Choice; so that a Man in either Case, had it in his Power, and was at Liberty to have CHOSEN the contrary, he is the proper Object of Reward or Punish­ment, according as he CHUSES to behave Himself.’ Here in these last Words, he speaks of Liberty of CHUSING, according as he CHUSES. So that the Behaviour which he speaks of as subject to his Choice, is his chusing it self, as well as his external Conduct consequent upon it. And therefore 'tis evident, he means not only external Actions, but the Acts of Choice themselves, when he speaks of all free Actions, as the PRODUCE of free Choice. And this is abun­dantly evident in what he says in P. 372, & 373.

Now these Things imply a twofold great Absurdity and Inconsistence.

1. To suppose, as Mr. Chubb plainly does, that every free Act of Choice is commanded by, and is the Produce of free Choice, is to suppose the first free Act of Choice belong­ing to the Case, yea, the first free Act of Choice that ever Man excited, to be the Produce of an antecedent Act of Choice. But I hope I need not labour at all to convince my Readers, that 'tis an Absurdity to say, the very first Act is the Produce of another Act that went before it.

[Page 95]2. If it were both possible and real, as Mr. Chubb insists, that every free Act of Choice were the Produce or the Effect of a free Act of Choice; yet even then, according to his Principles, no one Act of Choice would be free, but every one necessary; because, every Act of Choice being the Effect of a foregoing Act, every Act would be necessarily con­nected with that foregoing Cause. For Mr. Chubb himself says, P. 389. ‘When the Self-moving Power is exerted, it becomes the necessary Cause of it's Effects.’ —So that his Notion of a free Act, that is rewardable or punishable, is a Heap of Contradictions. It is a free Act, and yet, by his own Notion of Freedom, is necessary; and therefore by him it is a Contradiction, to suppose it to be free. According to him, every free Act is the Produce of a free Act; so that there must be an infinite Number of free Acts in Succession, without any Beginning, in an Ag [...]t that has a Beginning. And therefore here is an infinite Number of free Acts, every one of them free; and yet not any one of them free, but every Act in the whole infinite Chain a necessary Effect. All the Acts are rewardable or punishable, and yet the Agent cannot, in Reason, be the Object of Reward or Punishment, on Account of any one of these Actions. He is active in them all, and passive in none; yet active in none, but passive in all, &c.

V. Mr. Chubb does most strenuously deny, that Motives are Causes of the Acts of the Will; or that the moving Principle in Man is moved, or caused to be exerted by Motives. His Words P. 388 & 389. are, ‘If the moving Principle in Man is MOVED, or CAUSED TO BE EXERTED, by something external to Man, which all Motives are, then it would not be a Self-moving Principle, seeing it would be moved by a Principle external to it self. And to say, that a Self-moving Principle is MOVED, or CAUSED TO BE EXERTED, by a Cause external to it self, is absurd and a Contradiction &c.’ —And in the next Page, 'tis particu­larly and largely insisted, that Motives are Causes in no Case, that they are meerly passive in the Production of Action, and have no Causality in the Production of it, — no Causality, to be the Cause of the Exertion of the Will.

Now I desire it may be [...] considered, how this can possibly consists with what he says other Places. Let it be noted here.

[Page 96]1. Mr. Chubb abundantly speaks of Motives as Ex­citements of the Acts of the Will; and says, that Motives do excite Volition, and induce it, and that they are necessary to this End; that in the Reason and Nature of Things, Volition can­not take Place without Motives to excite it. But now if Motives excite the Will, they move it; and yet he says, 'tis absurd to say, the Will is moved by Motives. And again (if Language is of any Significancy at all) If Motives excite Volition, then they are the Cause of it's being excited; and to cause Voli­tion to be excited, is to cause it to be put forth or exerted. Yea, Mr. Chubb says himself, P. 317. Motive is necessary to the Exertion of the active Faculty. To exc [...]te, [...]s positively to do something; and certainly that which does something, is the Cause of the Thing done by it. To create, is to cause to be created; to make, is to cause to be made; to kill, is to cause to be killed; to quicken, is to cause to be quickened; and to excite, is to cause to be excited. To excite, is to be a Cause, in the most proper Sense, not meerly a negative Occasion, but a Ground of Existence by positive Influence. The Notion of exciting, is exerting Influence to cause the Effect to arise or come forth into Existence.

2. Mr. Chubb himself, P. 317, speaks of Motives as the Ground and Reason of Action BY INFLUENCE, and BY PREVAILING INFLUENCE. Now, what can be meant by a Cause, but something that is the Ground and Reason of a Thing by it's Influence, an Influence that is prevalent and so effectual?

3. This Author not only speaks of Motives as the Ground and Reason of Action, by prevailing Influence; but expresly of their Influence as prevailing FOR THE PRODUCTION of an Action, in the same P. 317: which makes the Incon­sistency still more palpable and notorious. The Production of an Effect is certainly the Causing of an Effect; and pro­ductive Influence is causal Inf [...]uence, if any Thing is; And that which has this Influence prevalently, so as thereby to become the Ground of another Thing, is a Cause of that Thing, if there be any such Thing as a Cause. This In­fluence, Mr. Chubb says, Motives have to produce an Action▪ and yet he says, 'tis absurd and a Contradiction, to say they are Causes.

4. In the same Page, He once and again speaks of Mo­tives as disposing the Agent to Action, by their Influence. His [Page 97] Words are these: ‘As Motive, which takes Place in the Understanding, and is the Product of Intelligence, is NECESSARY to Action, that is, to the EXERTION of the active Faculty, because that Faculty would not be ex­erted without some PREVIOUS REASON to DISPOSE the Mind to Action; so from hence it plainly appears, that when a Man is said to be disposed to one Action ra­ther than another, this properly signifies the PREVAIL­ING INFLUENCE that one Motive has upon a Man FOR THE PRODUCTION of an Action, or for the being at Rest, before all other Motives, for the Production of the contrary. For as Motive is the Ground and Rea­son of any Action, so the Motive that prevails, DISPOSES the Agent to the Performance of that Action.’

Now, if Motives dispose the Mind to Action, then they cause the Mind to be disposed; and to cause the Mind to be disposed, is to cause it to be willing; and to cause it to be willing, is to cause it to will; and that is the same Thing as to be the Cause of an Act of the Will. And yet this same Mr. Chubb holds it to be absurd, to suppose Motive to be a Cause of the Act of the Will.

And if we compare these Things together, we have here again a whole Heap of Inconsistences. Motives are the previous Ground and Reason of the Acts of the Will; yea, the necessary Ground & Reason of their Exertion, without which they will not be exerted, and cannot in the Nature of Things take Place; and they do excite these Acts of the Will, and do this by a pre­vailing Influence; yea, an Influence which prevails for the Pro­duction of the Act of the Will, and for the disposing of the Min [...] to it: And yet 'tis absurd, to suppose Motive to be a Cause of an Act of the Will, or that a Principle of Will is moved or caused to be exerted by it, or that it has any Causality in the Pro­duction of it, or any Causality to be the Cause of the Exertion of the Will.

A due Consideration of these Things which Mr. Chubb has advanced, the strange Inconsistences which the Notion of Li­berty consisting in the Will's Power of Self-determination void of all Necessity, united with that Dictate of common Sense, that there can be no Volition without a Motive, drove him into, may be sufficient to convince us, that it is utterly im­possible ever to make that Notion of Liberty cons [...]ent with the Influence of Motives in Volition. And as it is in a man­ner [Page 98] self-evident, that there can be no Act of Will, Choice or Preference of the Mind, without some Motive or Induce­ment, something in the Mind's View, which it aims at, seeks, inclines to, and goes after; so 'tis most manifest, there is no such Liberty in the Universe as Arminians insist on; nor any such Thing possible, or conceivable.

SECTION XI. The Evidence of GOD's certain Foreknow­ledge of the Volitions of moral Agents.

THAT the Acts of the Wills of moral Agents are not contingent Events, in that Sense, as to be without all Necessity, appears by God's certain Foreknowledge of such Events.

In handling this Argument, I would in the first Place prove, that God has a certain Foreknowledge of the voluntary Acts of moral Agents; and secondly, shew the Consequence, or how it follows from hence, that the Volitions of moral A­gents are not contingent, so as to be without Necessity of Connection and Consequence.

FIRST, I am to prove, that God has an absolute and cer­tain Foreknowledge of the free Actions of moral Agents.

One would think, it should be wholly needless to enter on such an Argument with any that profess themselves Christians: But so it is; God's certain Foreknowledge of the free Acts of moral Agents, is denied by some that pretend to believe the Scriptures to be the Word of God; and especially of late. I therefore shall consider the Evidence of such a Pre­science in the most High, as fully as the designed Limits of this Essay will admit of; supposing my self herein to have to do with such as own the Truth of the Bible.

ARG. I. My first Argument shall be taken from God's Prediction of such Events. Here I would in the first Place lay down these two Things as Axiom,.

[Page 99](1.) If God don't foreknow, He can't foretell such Events; that is, He can't peremptorily and certainly foretell them. If God has no more than an uncertain Guess concerning Events of this Kind, then He can declare no more than an uncertain Guess. Positively to foretell, is to profess to fore­know, or to declare positive Foreknowlege.

(2.) If God don't certainly foreknow the future Volitions of moral Agents, then neither can He certainly foreknow those Events which are consequent and dependent on these Volitions. The Existence of the one depending on the Existence of the other, the Knowledge of the Existence of the one depends on the Knowledge of the Existence of the other; and the one can't be more certain than the other.

Therefore, how many, how great, and how extensive so­ever the Consequences of the Volitions of moral Agents may be; tho' they should extend to an Alteration of the State of Things through the Universe, and should be continued in a Series of successive Events to all Eternity, and should in the Progress of Things branch forth into an infinite Num­ber of Series, each of them going on in an endless Line or Chain of Events; God must be as ignorant of all these Con­sequences, as He is of the Volition whence they first take their Rise: All these Events, and the whole State of Things depending on them, how important, extensive and vast so­ever, must be hid from him.

These Positions being such as I suppose none will deny, I now proceed to observe the following Things.

1. Men's moral Conduct and Qualities, their Vertues and Vices, their Wickedness and good Practice, Things re­wardable and punishable, have often been foretold by God.— Pharaoh's moral Conduct, in refusing to obey God's Com­mand, in letting his People go, was foretold. God says to Moses, Exod. iii.19. I am sure, that the King of Egypt will not let you go. Here God professes not only to guess at, but to know Pharaoh's future Disobedience. In Chap. vii.4. God says, But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you; that I may lay mine Hand upon Egypt, &c. And Chap. ix.30. Moses says to Pharaoh, As for thee, and thy Servants, I KNOW that y [...] will not fear the Lord. See also Chap. xi.9. — The moral Con­duct of Iosiah, by Name, in his zealously exerting himself in Opposition to Idolatry, in particular Acts of his, was foretold [Page 100] above three Hundred Years before he was born, and the Prophecy seal'd by a Miracle, and renewed and confirm­ed by the Words of a second Prophet, as what surely would not fail, 1 Kings xiii.1,—6, 32. This Prophecy was also in Effect a Prediction of the moral Conduct of the People, in upholding their Schismatical and Idolatrous Worship 'till that Time, and the Idolatry of those Priests of the high Places, which it is foretold Iosiah should offer upon that Altar of Bethel.—Micaiah foretold the foolish and sinful Con­duct of Ahab, in refusing to hearken to the Word of the Lord by him, and chusing rather to hearken to the false Prophets, in going to Ramoth-Gilead to his Ruin, 1 Kings xxi.20,—22.— The moral Conduct of Hazael was foretold, [...]n that Cruelty he should be guilty of; on which Hazael says, What, is thy Servant a Dog, that he should do this Thing! The Prophet speaks of the Event as what he knew, and not what he conjectured. 2 Kings viii.12. I know the Evil thou wilt do unto the Children of Israel: Thou wilt dash their Children, and rip up their Women with Child.— The moral Conduct of Cyrus is foretold, long before he had a Being, in his Mercy to God's People, and Regard to the true God, in turning the Capti­vity of the Iews, and promoting the building of the Tem­ple. Isai. xliv.28. & lxv.13. Compare 2 Chron. xxxvi.22, 23. and Ezra i.1,—4. — How many Instances of the moral Conduct of the Kings of the North & South, particular Instances of the wicked Behaviour of the Kings of Syria and Egypt, are foretold in the xith Chap. of Daniel? Their Corruption, Violence, Robbery, Treachery, and Lies. And particularly, how much is foretold of the horrid Wickedness of Antiochus, Epiphanes, called there a vile Person, instead of Epiphanes, or Illustrious. In that Chapter, and also in Chap. viii. ver. 9,— 14, 23, to the End, are foretold his Flattery, Deceit and Lies, his having his Heart set to do Mischief, and set against the holy Covenant, his destroying and treading under Foot the holy People, in a marvellous Manner, his having Indignation against the holy Covenant, setting his Heart against it, and conspiring against it, his poll [...]ing the Sanctuary of Strength, treading it under Foot, taking away the daily Sacrifice, and placing the Abomination that maketh desolate; his great Pride, magnifying himself against God, and [...] marvellous Blasphemies against Him, 'till God in Indignation shou [...]d destroy him. Withal the moral Conduct of the Iews, on Occasion of his Persecution, is predicted. 'Tis foretold, that he should corrupt many by Flatteries, Chap. xi.3 [...],—34. But that others should behave with a glorious Constancy and Fortitude, in Opposition to him, ver. 32. [Page 101] And that some good Men should fall, and repent, ver. 35. Christ foretold Peter's Sin, in denying his Lord, with it's Cir­cumstances, in a peremptory Manner. And so, that great Sin of Iudas, in betraying his Master, and it's dreadful and eternal Punishment in Hell, was foretold in the like positive Manner. Matth. xxvi.21,—25. and parallel Places in the other Evangelists.

2. Many Events have been foretold by God, which were consequent and dependent on the moral Conduct of parti­cular Persons, and were accomplished, either by their ver­tuous or vicious Actions.—Thus, the Children of Israel's going down into Egypt to dwell there, was foretold to Abraham, Gen. xv. which was brought about by the Wickedness of Ioseph's Brethren in selling him, and the Wickedness of Io­seph's Mistress, and his own signal Vertue in resisting her Temptation. The Accomplishment of the Thing prefigur'd in Ioseph's Dream, depended on the same moral Conduct. Iotham's Parable and Prophecy, Iudges ix.15, — 20. was accomplished by the wicked Conduct of Abimelech, and the Men of Shechem. The Prophecies against the House of Eli, 1 Sam. Chap. ii. & iii. were accomplished by the Wickedness of Doeg the Edomite, in accusing the Priests; and the great Impiety, and extreme Cruelty of Saul in destroying the Priests at Nob. 1 Sam. xxii.—Nathan's Prophecy against David, 2 Sam. xii.11, 12. was fulfil'd by the horrible Wickedness of Absalom, in rebelling against his Father, seeking his Life, and lying with his Concubines in the Sight of the Sun. The Prophecy against Solomon, 1 Kings xi.11,—13. was fulfil'd by Ieroboam's Rebellion and Usurpation, which are spoken of as his Wickedness, 2 Chron. xiii.5, 6. compare ver. 18. The Prophecy against Ieroboam's Family, 1 Kings xiv. was fulfil'd by the Conspiracy, Treason, and cruel Murders of Baasha, 2 Kings xv.27, &c. The Predictions of the Prophet Iehu against the House of Baasha, 1 Kings xvi. at the Beginning, were fulfil'd by the Treason and Parricide of Zimri, 1 Kings xvi.9,—13, 20.

3. How often has God foretold the future moral Conduct of Nations and Peoples, of Numbers, Bodies, and Suc­cessions of Men; with God's judicial Proceedings, and many other Events consequent and dependent on their Vertues and Vices; which could not be foreknown, if the Volitions of Men, wherein they acted as moral Agents, had not been foreseen? The future Cruelty of the Egyptians [Page 102] in oppressing Israel, and God's judging and punishing them for it, was foretold long before it came to pass. Gen. xv.13, 14. The Continuance of the Iniquity of the Amorites, and the Increase of it until it should be full, and they ripe for Destruction, was foretold above four Hundred Years be­fore-hand, Gen. xv.16. Act. vii.6, 7. The Prophecies of the Destruction of Ierusalem, and the Land of Iudah, were absolute; 2 Kings xx.17,—19. Chap. xxii.15, to the End. It was foretold in Hezekiah's Time, and was abundantly in­sisted on in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, who wrote No­thing after Hezekiah's Days. It was foretold in Iosiah's Time, in the Beginning of a great Reformation, 2 Kings xxii. And it is manifest by innumerable Things in the Predictions of the Prophets, relating to this Event, it's Time, it's Cir­cumstances, it's Continuance and End; the Return from the Captivity, the Restoration of the Temple, City & Land, and many Circumstances, and Consequences of That; I say, these shew plainly, that the Prophecies of this great Event were absolute. And yet this Event was connected with, and dependent on two Things in Men's moral Conduct: first, the injurious Rapine and Violence of the King of Babylon and his People, as the efficient Cause; which God often speaks of as what he highly resented, and would severely punish; and 2dly, The final Obstinacy of the Iews. That great E­vent is often spoken of as suspended on this. Ier. iv.1. & v.1. vii.1,—7. xi.1,—6. xvii.24, to the End. xxv.1,—7. xxvi.1,—8.13. & xxxviii.17, 18. Therefore this Destruc­tion and Captivity could not be foreknown, unless such a moral Conduct of the Chaldeans and Iews had been fore­known. And then it was foretold, that the People should be finally obstinate, to the Destruction and utter Desolation of the City and Land. Isai. vi.9,—11. Ier. i.18, 19. vii.27, —29. Ezek. iii.7. & xxiv.13, 14.

The final Obstinacy of those Iews who were left in the Land of Israel, and who afterwards went down into Egypt, in their Idolatry and Rejection of the true God, was foretold by God, and the Prediction confirmed with an Oath. Ier. xliv.26, 27. And God tells the People, Isai. xlviii.3.4,—8. that he had predicted those Things which should be consequent on their Treachery and Obstinacy, because he knew they would be obstinate; and that he had declared these Things before-hand, for their Conviction of his being the only true God, &c.

[Page 103]The Destruction of Babylon, with many of the Circumstan­ces of it, was fore-told, as the Judgment of God for the ex­ceeding Pride and Haughtiness of the Heads of that Monar­chy, Nebuchadnezzar, and his Successors, and their wickedly destroying other Nations, and particularly for their exalting themselves against the true God and his People, before any of these Monarchs had a Being; Isai. Chap. xiii, xiv, xlvii: Compare Habbak. ii.5, to the End, and Ier. Chap. l. and li. That Babylon's Destruction was to be a Recompence, according to the Works of their own Hands, appears by Ier. xxv.14. — The Immorality which the People of Babylon, and particularly her Princes and great Men, were guilty of, that very Night that the City was destroyed, their Revelling and Drunkenness at Belshazzar's Idolatrous Feast, was foretold, Ier. li.39, 57.

The Return of the Iews from the Babylonish Captivity is often very particularly foretold, with many Circumstances, and the Promises of it are very peremptory; Ier. xxxi.35, —40. and xxxii.6, — 15, 41,—44. and xxxiii.24,—26. And the very Time of their Return was prefix'd; Ier. xxv.11, 12. and xxix.10, 11. 2 Chron. xxxvi.21. Ezek. iv.6. and Dan. ix.2. And yet the Prophecies represent their Return as consequent on their Repentance. And their Repentance it self is very expresly and particularly foretold, Ier. xxix.12, 13, 14. xxxi.8, 9, 18,—31. xxxiii.8. l. 4, 5. Ezek. vi.8, 9, 10.vii.16.xiv.22, 23. and xx.43, 44.

It was foretold under the old Testament, that the Messiah should suffer greatly through the Malice and Cruelty of Men; as is largely and fully set forth, Psal. xxii. applied to Christ in the New Testament, Matt. xxvii.35, 43. Luke xxiii.34. Ioh. xix.24. Heb. ii.12. And likewise in Psal. lxix. which, it is also evident by the New Testament, is spoken of Christ; Iohn xv.25. vii.5, &c. and ii.17. Rom. xv.3. Matt. xxvii.34, 48. Mark xv.23. Iohn xix.29. The same Thing is also foretold, Isai. liii. & l. 6. & Mic. v.1. This Cruelty of Men was their Sin, and what they acted as moral Agents. It was foretold, that there should be an Union of Heathen and Iewish Rulers against Christ, Psal. ii.1, 2. compar'd with Acts iv.25,—28. It was foretold, that the Iews should ge­nerally reject and despise the Messiah, Isai. xlix.5, 6, 7. and liii.1—3. Psalm. xxii.6, 7. and lxix.4, 8, 19, 20. And it was foretold, that the Body of that Nation should be rejected in the Messiah's Days, from being God's People, for their Obstinacy in Sin; Isai. xiix.4—7. and viii.14, 15, 16. com­pared [Page 104] with Rom. x.19. and Isai. lxv. at the beginning, compared with Rom. x.20, 21. It was foretold, that Christ should be rejected by the chief Priests and Rulers among the Iews, Psalm cxviii.22. compared with Matth. xxi.42. Acts iv.11. 1 Pet. ii.4, 7.

Christ himself foretold his being delivered into the Hands of the Elders, chief Priests and Scribes, and his being cruel­ly treated by them, and condemned to Death; and that he by them should be delivered to the Gentiles; and that He should be mocked, and scourged, and crucified, (Matt. xvi.21. & xx.17,—19. Luke ix.22. Iohn viii.28.) and that the Peo­ple should be concerned in and consenting to his Death, (Luke xx.13,—18.) especially the Inhabitants of Ierusalem; Luke xiii.33,—35. He foretold, that the Disciples should all be offended because of Him that Night that he was betrayed, and should forsake Him; Matt. xxvi.31. Iohn xvi.32. He foretold that He should be rejected of that Genera­tion, even the Body of the People, and that they should continue obstinate, to their Ruin; Matt. xii.45. xxi.33,—42. and xxii.1,—7. Luke xiii.16, 21, 24. xvii.25. xix.14, 27, 41,—44. xx.13,—18. and xxiii, 34,—39.

As it was foretold in both old Testament and new, that the Iews should reject the Messiah, so it was foretold that the Gentiles should receive Him, and so be admitted to the Privileges of God's People; in Places too many to be now particularly mentioned. It was foretold in the Old Testa­ment, that the Iews should envy the Gentiles on this Account; Deut. xxxii.21. compar'd with Rom. x.19. Christ Himself often foretold, that the Gentiles would embrace the true Religion, and become his Followers and People; Matth. viii.10, 11, 12. xxi.41,—43. and xxii.8,—10. Luke xiii.28. xiv.16,—24. and xx.16. Iohn x.16. He also foretold the Iews Envy of the Gentiles on this Occasion; Matt. xx.12,— [...]. Luke xv.26, to the End. He foretold, that they should conti­nue in this Opposition and Envy, and should manifest [...] in cruel Persecutions of his Followers, to their utter [...] ­struction; Matt. xxi.33,—42. xxii.6. and xxiii.34,—39. Luke xi.49,—51. The Iews Obstinacy is also foretold, Acts xxii.18. Christ often foretold the great Persecutions his Followers should meet with, both from Iews and Gentiles; Matt. x.16,—18, 21, 22, 34,—36. and xxiv.9. Mark xiii.9. Luke x.3. xii.11, 49,—53. and xxi.12, 16, 17. Iohn xv.18, —21. and xvi.1,—4. 20,—22, 33. He foretold the Mar­tyrdom [Page 105] of particular Persons; Matt. xx.23. Ioh. xiii.36. and xxi.18, 19, 22. He foretold the great Success of the Gospel in the City of Samaria, as near approaching; which afterwards was fulfilled by the Preaching of Philip, Joh. iv.35,—38. He foretold the Rising of many Deceivers, after his Departure, Matt. xxiv.4, 5, 11. and the Apostacy of many of his profess'd Followers; Matth. xxiv.10,—12.

The Persecutions, which the Apostle Paul was to meet with in the World, were foretold; Acts ix.16.—xx.23. & xxi.11. The Apostle says to the Christian Ephesians, Acts xx.29, 30. I know, that after my Departure shall grievous Wolves enter in among you, not sparing the Flock: Also of your own selves shall Men arise, speaking perverse Things, to draw away Disciples after them. The Apostle says, He knew this; but he did not know it, if God did not know the future Actions of moral Agents.

4. Unless God foreknows the future Acts of moral Agents, all the Prophecies we have in Scripture concerning the great Antichristian Apostacy; the Rise, Reign, wicked Qualities and Deeds of the Man of Sin, and his Instruments and Ad­herents; the Extent and long Continuance of his Domi­nion, his Influence on the Minds of Princes and others, to corrupt them, and draw them away to Idolatry, and other foul Vices; his great and cruel Persecutions; the Behaviour of the Saints under these great Temptations, &c. &c. I say, unless the Volitions of moral Agents are foreseen, all these Prophecies are uttered without knowing the Things foretold.

The Predictions relating to this great Apostacy are all of a moral Nature, relating to Men's Vertues and Vices, and their Exercises, Fruits and Consequences, and Events depending on them; and are very particular; and most of them often repeated, with many precise Characteristicks, Descriptions, and Limitations of Qualities, Conduct, Influence, Effects, Ex­tent, Duration, Periods, Circumstances, final Issue, &c. which it would be very long to mention particularly. And to suppose, all these are predicted by God without any cer­tain Knowledge of the future moral Behaviour of free A­gents, would be to the utmost Degree absurd.

5. Unless God foreknows the future Acts of Men's Wills, and their Behaviour as moral Agents, all those great Things which are foretold in both Old Testament and New con­cerning the Erection, Establishment, and universal Extent [Page 106] of the Kingdom of the Messiah, were predicted and pro­mised while God was in Ignorance whether any of these Things would come to pass or no, and did but guess at them. For that Kingdom is not of this World, it don't consist in Things external, but is within Men, and consists in the Dominion of Vertue in their Hearts, in Righteous­ness, and Peace, and Joy in the Holy Ghost; and in these Things made manifest in Practice, to the Praise and Glory of God. The Messiah came to save Men from their Sins, and deliver them from their spiritual Enemies; that they might serve Him in Righteousness and Holiness before Him: He gave Himself for us, that he might redeem us from all Iniquity, and pu­rify unto Himself a peculiar People, zealous of good Works. And therefore his Success consists in gaining Men's Hearts to Vertue, in their being made God's willing People in the Day of his Power. His Conquest of his Enemies consists in his Victory over Men's Corruptions and Vices. And such Success, such Victory, and such a Reign and Dominion is often expresly foretold: That his Kingdom shall fill the Earth; that all People, Nations and Languages should serve and obey Him; and so, that all Nations should go up to the Moun­tain of the House of the Lord, that He might teach them his Ways, and that they might walk in his Paths: And that all Men should be drawn to Christ, and the Earth be full of the Know­ledge of the Lord (by which, in the Style of Scripture, is meant true Vertue and Religion) as the Waters cover the Seas; that God's Law should be put into Men's inward Parts, and writ­ten in their Hearts; and that God's People should be all Righ­teous, &c. &c.

A very great Part of the Prophecies of the Old Testa­ment is taken up in such Predictions as these.— And here I would observe, that the Prophecies of the universal Preva­lence of the Kingdom of the Messiah, and true Religion of Jesus Christ, are delivered in the most peremptory Manner, and confirmed by the Oath of God. Isai. xlv.22, to the End, Look to me, and be ye saved, all the Ends of the Earth; for I am God, and there is none else. I have SWORN by my Self, the Word is gone out of my Mouth in Righteousness, and shall not re­turn, that unto Me every Knee shall bow; and every Tongue shall swear. SURELY, shall one say, in the Lord have I Righte­ousness and Strength: even to Him shall Men come &c. But here this peremptory Declaration, and great Oath of the most High, are delivered with such mighty Solemnity, to Things which God did not know, if He did not certainly foresee the Volitions of moral Agents.

[Page 107]And all the Predictions of Christ and his Apostles, to the like Purpose, must be without Knowledge: As those of our Saviour comparing the Kingdom of God to a Grain of Mustard-Seed, growing exceeding great, from a small Begin­ning; and to Leaven, hid in three Measures of Meal, 'till the whole was leaven'd, &c.—And the Prophecies in the E­pistles concerning the Restoration of the Nation of the Iews to the true Church of God, and the bringing in the Fulness of the Gentiles; and the Prophecies in all the Revelation con­cerning the glorious Change in the moral State of the World of Mankind, attending the Destruction of Antichrist, the Kingdoms of the World becoming the Kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ; and it's being granted to the Church to be arrayed in that fine Linnen, white and clean, which is the Righteousness of Saints, &c.

Corol. 1. Hence that great Promise and Oath of God to Abraham, Isaac and Iacob, so much celebrated in Scripture, both in the Old Testament and New, namely, That in their Seed all the Nations and Families of the Earth should be blessed, must be made on Uncertainties, if God don't certainly fore­know the Volitions of moral Agents. For the Fulfilment of this Promise consists in that Success of Christ in the Work of Redemption, and that Setting up of his spiritual Kingdom over the Nations of the World, which has been spoken of. Men are blessed in Christ no otherwise than as they are bro't to acknowledge Him, trust in Him, love and serve Him, as is represented and predicted in Psal. lxxii.11. All Kings shall fall down before Him; all Nations shall serve Him. With ver. 17. M [...]n shall be blessed in Him; all Nations shall call him Blessed. This Oath to Iacob and Abraham is fulfilled in sub­duing Men's Iniquities; as is implied in that of the Pro­phet Micah, Chap. vii.19, 20.

Corol. 2. Hence also it appears, That first Gospel-Promise that ever was made to Mankind, that great Prediction of the Salvation of the Messiah, and his Victory over Satan, made to our first Parents, Gen. iii.15. if there be no certain Prescience of the Volitions of moral Agents, must have no better Foundation than Conjecture. For Christ's Victory over Satan consists in Men's being saved from Sin, and in the Victory of Vertue and Holiness, over that Vice and Wickedness, which Satan by his Temptation has introduced, and wherein his Kingdom consists.

[Page 108]6. If it be so, that God has not a Prescience of the future Actions of moral Agents, it will follow, that the Prophecies of Scripture in general are without Fore-knowledge. For Scripture-Prophecies, almost all of them, if not universally without any Exception, are either Predictions of the Actings and Behaviours of moral Agents, or of Events depending on them, or some Way connected with them; judicial Dis­pensations, Judgments on Men for their Wickedness, or Re­wards of Vertue and Righteousness, remarkable Manifesta­tions of Favour to the Righteous, or Manifestations of so­vereign Mercy to Sinners, forgiving their Iniquities, and magnifying the Riches of divine Grace; or Dispensations of Providence, in some Respect or other, relating to the Conduct of the Subjects of God's moral Government, wisely adapt­ed thereto; either providing for what should be in a future State of Things, through the Volitions and voluntary Acti­ons of moral Agents, or consequent upon them, and regu­lated and ordered according to them. So that all Events that are foretold, are either moral Events, or other Events which are connected with, and accommodated to moral Events.

That the Predictions of Scripture in general must be with­out Knowledge, if God don't foresee the Volitions of Men, will further appear, if it be considered, that almost all E­vents belonging to the future State of the World of Man­kind, the Changes and Revolutions which come to pass in Empires, Kingdoms, and Nations, and all Societies, depend innumerable Ways on the Acts of Men's Wills; yea, on an innumerable Multitude of Millions of Millions of Volitions of Mankind. Such is the State and Course of Things in the World of Mankind, that one single Event, which ap­pears in it self exceeding inconsiderable, may in the Pro­gress and Series of Things, occasion a Succession of the greatest and most important and extensive Events; causing the State of Mankind to be vastly different from what it would otherwise have been, for all succeeding Generations.

For Instance, the coming into Existence of those particu­lar Men, who have been the great Conquerors of the World, which under God have had the main Hand in all the con­sequent State of the World, in all after-Ages; such as Nebuchadzezzar, Cyrus, Alexander, Pompey, Iulius Cesar, &c. undoubtedly depended on many Millions of Acts of the Will, which followed, and were occasion'd one by ano­ther, [Page 109] in their Parents. And perhaps most of these Volitions depended on Millions of Volitions of Hundreds and Thou­sands of others, their Contemporaries of the same Genera­tion; and most of these on Millions of Millions of Voliti­ons of others in preceeding Generations.— As we go back, still the Number of Volitions, which were some Way the Occasion of the Event, multiply as the Branches of a River, 'till they come at last, as it were, to an infinite Number. This will not seem strange, to any one who well considers the Matter; if we recollect what Philosophers tell us of the in­numerable Multitudes of those Things which are as it were the Principia, or Stamina Vitae, concerned in Generation; the Animalcula in Semine masculo, and the Ova in the Womb of the Female; the Impregnation, or animating of one of these in Distinction from all the rest, must depend on Things infinitely minute, relating to the Time and Circumstances of the Act of the Parents, the State of their Bodies, &c. which must depend on innumerable foregoing Circum­stances and Occurrences; which must depend, infi­nite Ways, on foregoing Acts of their Wills; which are occasioned by innumerable Things that happen in the Course of their Lives, in which their own, and their Neigh­bour's Behaviour, must have a Hand, an infinite Number of Ways. And as the Volitions of others must be so many Ways concerned in the Conception and Birth of such Men; so, no less, in their Preservation, and Circumstances of Life, their particular Determinations and Actions, on which the great Revolutions they were the Occasions of, depended. As for Instance, When the Conspirators in Persia, against the Magi, were consulting about a Succession to the Empire, it came into the Mind of one of them, to propose, that he whose Horse neighed first, when they came together the next Morning, should be King. Now such a Thing's com­ing into his Mind, might depend on innumerable Incidents, wherein the Volitions of Mankind had been concerned. But in Consequence of this Accident, Darius, the Son of His [...]aspes, was King. And if this had not been, probably his Successor would not have been the same, and all the Circumstances of the Persian Empire might have been far otherwise. And then perhaps Alexander might never have conquered that Empire. And then probably the Circum­stances of the World in all succeeding Ages, might have been vastly otherwise. I might further instance in many other Occurrences; such as those on which depended Alex­ander's [Page 110] Preservation, in the many critical Junctures of his Life, wherein a small Trifle would have turned the Scale against him; and the Preservation and Success of the Ro­man People, in the Infancy of their Kingdom and Common-Wealth, and afterwards; which all the succeeding Changes in their State, and the mighty Revolutions that afterwards came to pass in the habitable World, depended upon. But these Hints may be sufficient for every discerning conside­rate Person, to convince him, that the whole State of the World of Mankind, in all Ages, and the very Being of every Person who has ever lived in it, in every Age, since the Times of the ancient Prophets, has depended on more Volitions, or Acts of the Wills of Men, than there are Sands on the Sea-shoar.

And therefore, unless God does most exactly and perfect­ly foresee the future Acts of Men's Wills, all the Pre­dictions which he ever uttered concerning David, Hezekiah, Iosiah, Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Alexander; concerning the four Monarchies, and the Revolutions in them; and concerning all the Wars, Commotions, Victories, Prosperities and Cala­mities, of any of the Kingdoms, Nations, or Communities of the World, have all been without Knowledge.

So that, according to this Notion of God's not foreseeing the Volitions and free Actions of Men, God could foresee Nothing pertaining to the State of the World of Mankind in future Ages; not so much as the Being of one Person that should live in it; and could foreknow no Events, but only such as He would bring to pass Himself by the extra­ordinary Interposition of his immediate Power; or Things which should come to pass in the natural material World, by the Laws of Motion, and Course of Nature, wherein that is independent on the Actions or Works of Mankind: That is, as he might, like a very able Mathematician and Astronomer, with great Exactness calculate the Revolutions of the heavenly Bodies, and the greater Wheels of the Machine of the external Creation.

And if we closely consider the Matter, there will appear Reason to convince us, that he could not with any abso­lute Certainty foresee even these. As to the First, namely Things done by the immediate and extraordinary Interpo­sition of God's Power, these can't be foreseen, unless it can be foreseen when there shall be Occasion for such extraordi­nary [Page 111] Interposition. And that can't be foreseen, unless the State of the moral World can be foreseen. For whenever God thus interposes, it is with Regard to the State of the moral World, requiring such Divine Interposition. Thus God could not certainly foresee the universal Deluge, the Calling of Abraham, the Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Plagues on Egypt, and Israel's Redemption out of it, the expelling the seven Nations of Canaan, and the bringing Israel into that Land; for these all are represented as con­nected with Things belonging to the State of the moral World. Nor can God foreknow the most proper and con­venient Time of the Day of Judgment, and general Con­flagration; for that chiefly depends on the Course & State of Things in the moral World.

Nor, Secondly, can we on this Supposition reasonably think, that God can certainly foresee what Things shall come to pass, in the Course of Things, in the natural and material World, even those which in an ordinary State of Things might be calculated by a good Astronomer. For the moral World is the End of the natural World; and the Course of Things in the former, is undoubtedly subordinate to God's Designs with Respect to the latter. Therefore he has seen Cause, from Regard to the State of Things in the moral World, extraordinarily to interpose, to interrupt and lay an Arrest on the Course of Things in the natural World; and even in the greater Wheels of it's Motion; even so as to stop the Sun in it's Course. And unless he can foresee the Volitions of Men, and so know something of the future State of the moral World, He can't know but that he may still have as great Occasion to interpose in this Manner, as ever He had: nor can He foresee how, or when, He shall have Occasion thus to interpose.

Corol. 1. It appears from the Things which have been ob­served, that unless God foresees the Volitions of moral A­gents, that cannot be true which is observed by the Apostle Iames, Act. xv.18. Known unto God are all his Works from the Beginning of the World.

Corol. 2. It appears from what has been observed, that unless God foreknows the Volitions of moral Agents, all the Prophe­cies of Scripture have no better Foundation than meer Con­jecture; and That, in most Instances, a Conjecture which must have the utmost Uncertainty; depending on an innu­merable, [Page 112] and as it were infinite, Multitude of Volitions, which are all, even to God, uncertain Events: However, these Prophecies are delivered as absolute Predictions, and very many of them in the most positive Manner, with Asseverati­ons; and some of them with the most solemn Oaths.

Corol. 3. It also follows from what has been observed, that if this Notion of God's Ignorance of future Volitions be true, in vain did Christ say (after uttering many great and important Predictions, concerning God's moral King­dom, and Things depending on Men's moral Actions) Matth. xxiv.35. Heaven and Earth shall pass away; but my Words shall not pass away.

Corol. 4. From the same Notion of God's Ignorance, it would follow, that in vain has God himself often spoken of the Predictions of his Word, as Evidences of his Foreknowlege; and so as Evidences of that which is his Prerogative as GOD, and his peculiar Glory, greatly distinguishing Him from all other Beings; as in Isai. xli.22—26. xliii.9, 10. xliv.8. xlv.21. xlvi.10. & xlviii.14.

ARGUM. II. If God don't foreknow the Volitions of mo­ral Agents, then he did not foreknow the Fall of Man, nor of Angels, and so could not foreknow the great Things which are consequent on these Events; such as his sending his Son into the World to die for Sinners, and all Things pertaining to the great Work of Redemption; all the Things which were done for four Thousand Years before Christ came, to prepare the Way for it; and the Incarnation, Life, Death, Resurrection and Ascension of Christ; and the setting Him at the Head of the Universe, as King of Hea­ven and Earth, Angels and Men; and the setting up his Church and Kingdom in this World, and appointing Him the Judge of the World; and all that Satan should do in the World in Opposition to the Kingdom of Christ: And the great Transactions of the Day of Judgment, that Men and Devils shall be the Subjects of, and Angels concerned in; they are all what God was ignorant of before the Fall. And if so, the following Scriptures, and others like them, must be without any Meaning, or contrary to Truth. Eph. i.4. According as he hath chosen us in Him before the Foundation of the World. 1 Pet. i.20. Who verily was fore-ordained before the Foundation of the World. 2 Tim. i.9. Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy Calling; not according to our Works, but [Page 113] according to his own Purpose, and Grace, which was given us in Christ Iesus before the World began. So, Eph. iii.11. (speaking of the Wisdom of God in the Work of Redemption) according to the eternal Purpose which he purposed in Christ Iesus. Tit. i.2. In hope of eternal Life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the World began. Rom. viii.29. Whom he did foreknow, them he also did predestinate, &c. 1 Pet. i.2. Elect, according to the Fore­knowledge of God the Father.

If God did not foreknow the Fall of Man, nor the Re­demption by Jesus Christ, nor the Volitions of Man since the Fall; then He did not foreknow the Saints in any Sense; neither as particular Persons, nor as Societies or Nations; either by Election, or meer Foresight of their Vertue or good Works; or any Foresight of any Thing about them relating to their Salvation; or any Benefit they have by Christ, or any Manner of Concern of their's with a Redeemer.

ARG. III. On the Supposition of God's Ignorance of the future Volitions of free Agents, it will follow, that God must in many Cases truly repent what He has done, so as properly to wish He had done otherwise: by Reason that the Event of Things, in those Affairs which are most impor­tant, viz. the Affairs of his moral Kingdom, being uncer­tain and contingent, often happens quite otherwise than he was aware beforehand. And there would be Reason to un­derstand That, in the most literal Sense, in Gen. vi.6. It repented the Lord, that he had made Man on the Earth, and it grieved him at his Heart. And that, 1 Sam. xv.11. contrary to that, Numb. xxiii.19. God is not the Son of Man, that he should repent. And, 1 Sam. xv.15, 29. Also the Strength of Israel will not lie, nor repent: for he is not a Man that he should repent. Yea, from this Notion it would follow, that God is liable to repent and be grieved at his Heart, in a literal Sense, continually; and is always exposed to an infinite Number of real Disappointments, in his governing the World; and to manifold, constant, great Perplexity and Vexation: But this is not very consistent with his Title of God over all, blessed for evermore; which represents Him as possessed of perfect, constant and uninterrupted Tranquillity and Felicity, as God over the Universe, and in his Manage­ment of the Affairs of the World, as supreme and univer­sal Ruler. See Rom. i.25. ix.5. 2 Cor. xi.31. 1 Tim. vi.15.

[Page 114]ARG. IV. It will also follow▪ from this Notion, that as God is liable to be continually repenting what He has done; so He must be exposed to be constantly changing his Mind and Intentions, as to his future Conduct; altering his Measures, re­linquishing his old Designs, and forming new Schemes & Pro­jections. For his Purposes, even as to the main Parts of his Scheme, namely, such as belong to the State of his moral Kingdom, must be always liable to be broken, thro' want of Foresight; and He must be continually putting his System to rights, as it gets out of Order, through the Contin­gence of the Actions of moral Agents: He must be a Being, who, instead of being absolutely immutable, must necessa­rily be the Subject of infinitely the most numerous Acts of Repentance, and Changes of Intention, of any Being what­soever; for this plain Reason, that his vastly extensive Charge comprehends an infinitely greater Number of those Things which are to Him contingent and uncertain. In such a Situation, He must have little else to do, but to mend broken Links as well as he can, and be rectifying his dis­jointed Frame and disordered Movements, in the best Man­ner the Case will allow. The supream Lord of all Things must needs be under great and miserable Disadvantages, in governing the World which He has made, and has the Care of, through his being utterly unable to find out Things of chief Importance, which hereafter shall befal his System; which if He did but know, He might make seasonable Pro­vision for. In many Cases, there may be very great Necessity that He should make Provision, in the Manner of his order­ing and disposing Things, for some great Events which are to happen, of vast and extensive Influence, and endless Consequence to the Universe; which He may see after­wards, when it is too late, and may wish in vain that He had known beforehand, that He might have ordered his Affairs accordingly. And it is in the Power of Man, on these Principles, by his Devices, Purposes and Actions, thus to disappoint God, break his Measures, make Him con­tinually to change his Mind, subject Him to Vexation, and bring Him into Confusion.

But how do these Things consist with Reason, or with the Word of God? Which represents, that all God's Works, all that He has ever to do, the whole Scheme and Series of his Operations, are from the Beginning perfectly in his View; and declares, that whatever Devices and Designs are in the Hearts of Men, the Counsel of the Lord is that which shall stand, and the Thoughts of his Heart to all Generations. [Page 115] Prov. xix.21. Psal. xxxiii.10, 11. And that which the Lord of Hosts hath purposed, none shall disannul, Isai. xiv.27. And that he cannot be frustrated in one Design or Thought, Job xlii.2. And that what God doth, it shall be forever, that Nothing can be put to it, or taken from it, Eccl. iii.14. The Stability and Per­petuity of God's Counsels are expresly spoken of as con­nected with the Foreknowledge of God, Isai. xlvi.10. De­claring the End from the Beginning▪ and from ancient Times the Things that are not yet done▪ [...], My Counsel shall stand, and I will do all my Pleasure. And how are these Things consistent with what the Scripture says of God's Immu­tability, which represents Him as without Variableness, or shadow of Turning; and speaks of Him most particularly as unchangeable with Regard to his Purposes. Mal. iii.6. I am the Lord; I change not; therefore ye Sons of Jacob are not consumed. Exod. iii.14. I AM THAT I AM. Job xxiii.13, 14. He is in one Mind; and who can turn Him? And what his Soul desireth, even that he doth: for he performeth the Thing that is appointed for me.

ARG. V. If this Notion of God's Ignorance of the future Volitions of moral Agents be thoroughly considered in it's Consequences, it will appear to follow from it, that God, after he had made the World, was liable to be wholly frustrated of his End in the Creation of it; and so has been in like Manner liable to be frustrated of his End in all the great Works He hath wrought. 'Tis manifest, the moral World is the End of the natural: The rest of the Creation is but an House which God hath built, with Furniture, for mo­ral Agents: And the good or bad State of the moral World depends on the Improvement they make of their natural Agency, and so depends on their Volitions. And there­fore, if these can't be foreseen by God, because they are contingent, and subject to no Kind of Necessity, then the Affairs of the moral World are liable to go wrong, to any assignable Degree; yea, liable to be utterly ruined. As on this Scheme, it may well be supposed to be literally said, when Mankind, by the Abuse of their moral Agency, became very corrupt before the Flood, that the Lord repented that he had made Man on the Earth, and it grieved Him at his Heart; so, when He made the Universe, He did not know but that he might be so disappointed in it, that it might grieve Him at his Heart that he had made it. It actually proved, that all Mankind became sinful, and a very great Part of the Angels apostatised: And how could [Page 116] God know before-hand, that all of them would not? And how could God know but that all Mankind, notwith­standing Means used to reclaim them, being still left to the Freedom of their own Will, would continue in their Aposta­cy, and grow worse and worse, as they of the Old World before the Flood did?

According to the Scheme I am endeavouring to confute, neither the Fall of Men nor Angels, could be foreseen, and God must be greatly disappointed in these Events; and so the grand Scheme and Contrivance for our Redemption, and destroying the Works of the Devil, by the Messiah, and all the great Things God has done in the Prosecution of these Designs, must be only the Fruits of his own Disap­pointment, and Contrivances of his to mend and patch up, as well as he could, his System, which originally was all very good, and perfectly beautiful; but was mar'd, broken and confounded by the free Will of Angels and Men. And still he must be liable to be totally disappointed a second Time: He could not know, that He should have his desired Success, in the Incarnation, Life, Death, Resurrection and Exaltation of his only begot­ten Son, and other great Works accomplished to restore the State of Things: He could not know after all, whether there would actually be any tolerable Measure of Restora­tion; for this depended on the free Will of Man. There has been a general great Apostacy of almost all the Christian World, to that which was worse than Heathenism; which continued for many Ages. And how could God, without foreseeing Men's Volitions, know whether ever Christendom would return from this Apostacy? And which way could He tell before-hand how soon it would begin? The Apostle says, it began to work in his Time; and how could it be known how far it would proceed in that Age? Yea, how could it be known that the Gospel, which was not effectual for the Reformation of the Iews, would ever be effectual for the turning of the Heathen Nations from their Heathen Apostacy, which they had been confirmed in for so many Ages?

'Tis represented often in Scripture, that God who made the World for Himself, and created it for his Pleasure, would infallibly obtain his End in the Creation, and in all his Works; that as all Things are of Him, so they would all be to Him; and that in the final Issue of Things, it would appear that He is the first, and the last. Rev. xxi.6. [Page 117] And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the first and the last. But these Things are not consistent with God's being so liable to be disappointed in all his Works, nor indeed with his failing of his End in any Thing that He has undertaken, or done.

SECTION XII. GOD's certain Foreknowledge of the future Volitions of moral Agents, inconsistent with such a Contingence of those Volitions, as is without all Necessity.

HAVING proved, that GOD has a certain and in­fallible Prescience of the Acts of the Will of moral Agents, I come now, in the Second Place, to shew the Consequence; to shew how it follows from hence, that these Events are necessary, with a Necessity of Connection or Consequence.

The chief Arminian Divines, so far as I have had Oppor­tunity to observe, deny this Consequence; and affirm, that if such Foreknowledge be allowed, 'tis no Evidence of any Necessity of the Event foreknown. Now I desire, that this Matter may be particularly and thoroughly enquired into. I cannot but think, that on particular and full Consideration, it may be perfectly determined, whether it be indeed so, or not.

In order to a proper Consideration of this Matter, I would observe the following Things.

I. 'Tis very evident, with regard to a Thing whose Ex­istence is infallibly and indissolubly connected with some­thing which already hath, or has had Existence, The Ex­istence of that Thing is necessary. Here may be noted,

[Page 118]1. I observed before, in explaining the Nature of Necessity, that in Things which are past, their past Existence is now necessary: having already made sure of Existence, 'tis too late for any Possibility of Alteration in that Respect: 'Tis now impossible, that it should be otherwise than true, that that Thing has existed.

2. If there be any such Thing as a divine Foreknowledge of the Volitions of free Agents, that Foreknowledge, by the Supposition, is a Thing which already has, and long ago had Existence; and so, now it's Existence is necessary; it is now utterly impossible to be otherwise, than that this Fore­knowledge should be, or should have been.

3. 'Tis also very manifest, that▪ those Things which are indissolubly connected with other Things that are necessary; are Themselves necessary. As that Proposition whose Truth is necessarily connected with another Proposition, which is necessarily true, is itself necessarily true. To say other­wise, would be a Contradiction; it would be in Effect to say, that the Connection was indissoluble, and yet was not so, but might be broken. If That, whose Existence is in­dissolubly connected with something whose Existence is now necessary, is it self not necessary, then it may possibly not exist, notwithstanding that indissoluble Connection of it's Exist­ence.— Whether the Absurdity ben't glaring, let the Rea­der judge.

4. 'Tis no less evident, that if there be a full, certain and infallible Foreknowledge of the future Existence of the Volitions of moral Agents, then there is a certain infallible and indissoluble Connection between those Events and that Foreknowledge; and that therefore, by the preceeding Ob­servations, those Events are necessary Events; being infal­libly and indissolubly connected with that whose Existence already is, and so is now necessary, and can't but have been.

To say, the Foreknowledge is certain and infallible, and yet the Connection of the Event with that Foreknowledge is not indissoluble, but dissoluble and fallible, is very absurd. To affirm it, would be the same Thing as to affirm, that there is no necessary Connection between a Proposition's being infallibly known to be true, and it's being true in­deed. So that it is perfectly demonstrable, that if there be any infallible Knowledge of future Volitions, the Event is [Page 119] necessary; or, in other Words, that it is impossible but the Event should come to pass. For if it ben't impossible but that it may be otherwise, then it is not impossible but that the Proposition which affirms it's future coming to pass, may not now be true. But how absurd is that, on the Supposition that there is now an infallible Knowledge (i. e. Knowledge which it is impossible should fail) that it is true. There is this Absurdity in it, that it is not impossible but that there now should be no Truth in that Proposition, which is [...]ow infallibly known to be true.

II. That no future Event can be certainly foreknown, whose Existence is contingent, and without all Necessity, may be proved thus; 'Tis impossible for a Thing to be certainly known to any Intellect without Evidence. To suppose otherwise, implies a Contradiction: Because for a Thing to be certainly known to any Understanding, is for it to be evident to that Understanding: And for a Thing to be evident to any Understanding, is the same Thing, as for that Understanding to see Evidence of it: But no Un­derstanding, created or increated, can see Evidence where there is none: For that is the same Thing, as to see that to be, which is not. And therefore, if there be any Truth which is absolutely without Evidence, that Truth is abso­lutely unknowable, insomuch that it implies a Contradiction to suppose that it is known.

But if there be any future Event, whose Existence is contingent, without all Necessity, the future Existence of that Event is absolutely without Evidence. If there be any Evidence of it, it must be one of these two Sorts, either Self-Evidence, or Proof; for there can be no other Sort of Evidence but one of these two; an evident Thing must be either evident in it self, or evident in something else; that is, evident by Connection with something else. But a future Thing, whose Existence is without all Necessity, can have neither of these Sorts of Evidence. It can't be Self-evident: For if it be, it may be now known by what is now to be seen in the Thing it self; either it's present Existence, or the Necessity of it's Nature: But both these are con­trary to the Supposition. It is supposed, both that the Thing has no present Existence to be seen; and also that it is not of such a Nature as to be necessa­rily existent for the future: So that it's future Ex­istence is not Self-evident. And secondly, neither is there [Page 120] any Proof, or Evidence in any Thing else, or Evidence of Connection with something else that is evident; For this also is contrary to the Supposition. 'Tis supposed, that there is now Nothing existent, with which the future Ex­istence of the contingent Event is connected. For such a Connection destroys its Contingence, and supposes Necessity. Thus 'tis demonstrated, that there is in the Nature of Things absolutely no Evidence at all of the future Existence of that Event, which is contingent, without all Necessity (if any such Event there be) neither Self-Evidence nor Proof. And therefore the Thing in Reality is not evident; and so can't be seen to be evident, or, which is the same Thing, can't be known.

Let us consider this in an Example. Suppose that five Thousand seven Hundred and sixty Years ago, there was no other Being but the divine Being; and then this World, or some particular Body or Spirit, all at once starts out of Nothing into Being, and takes on it self a particular Nature and Form; all in absolute Contingence, without any Concern of God, or any other Cause, in the Matter; without any Manner of Ground or Reason of it's Existence; or any Dependence upon, or Connection at all with any Thing foregoing: I say, that if this be supposed, there was no Evidence of that Event before­hand. There was no Evidence of it to be seen in the Thing it self; for the Thing it self, as yet, was not. And there was no Evidence of it to be seen in any Thing else; for Evidence in something else, is Connection with something else: But such Connection is contrary to the Supposition. There was no Evidence before, that this Thing would hap­pen; for by the Supposition, there was no Reason why it should happen, rather than something else, or rather than Nothing. And if so, then all Things before were exactly equal, and the same, with Respect to that and other possi­ble Things; there was no Preponderation, no superiour Weight or Value; and therefore Nothing that could be of any Weight or Value to determine any Understanding. The Thing was absolutely without Evidence, and abso­lutely unknowable. An Increase of Understanding, or of the Capacity of Discerning, has no Tendency, and makes no Advance, to a discerning any Signs or Evidences of it, let it be increased never so much; yea, if it be increased infinitely. The increase of the Strength of Sight may have a Tendency to enable to discern the Evidence which is [Page 121] far off, and very much hid, and deeply involved in Clouds and Darkness; but it has no Tendency to enable to discern Evidence where there is none. If the Sight be infinitely strong, and the Capacity of Discerning infinitely great, it will enable to see all that there is, and to see it perfectly, and with Ease; yet it has no Tendency at all to enable a Being to discern that Evidence which is not; But on the contrary, it has a Tendency to enable to discern with great Certainty that there is none.

III. To suppose the future Volitions of moral Agents not to be necessary Events; or, which is the same Thing, Events which it is not impossible but that they may not come to pass; and yet to suppose that God certainly foreknows them, and knows all Things; is to suppose. God's Know­ledge to be inconsistent with it self. For to say, that God certainly, and without all Conjecture, knows that a Thing will infallibly be, which at the same Time he knows to be so conting [...]nt, that it may possibly not be, is to suppose his Knowledge inconsistent with it self; or that one Thing that he knows is utterly inconsistent with another Thing that he knows. 'Tis the same Thing as to say, He now knows a Proposition to be of certain infallible Truth, which he knows to be of contingent uncertain Truth. If a future Volition is so without all Necessity, that there is no­thing hinders but that it may not be, then the Proposition which asserts it's future Existence, is so uncertain, that there is Nothing hinders but that the Truth of it may entirely fail. And if God knows all Things, He knows this Pro­position to be thus uncertain. And that is inconsistent with his knowing that it is infallibly true; and so incon­sistent with his infallibly knowing that it is true. If the Thing be indeed contingent, God views it so, and judges it to be contingent, if he views Things as they are. If the Event be not necessary, then it is possible it may never be: And if it be possible it may never be, God knows it may possibly never be; and that is to know that the Proposition which affirms it's Existence, may possibly not be true; and that is to know that the Truth of it is uncertain; which surely is inconsistent with his knowing it as a certain Truth. If Volitions are in Themselves contingent Events, without all Necessity, then 'tis no Argument of Perfection of Knowledge in any Being to determine peremptorily that they will be; but on the contrary, an Argument of Ignorance and Mistake: Because it would argue, that [Page 122] he supposes that Proposition to be certain, which in it's own Nature, and all Things considered, is uncertain and contingent. To say in such a Case, that God may have Ways of knowing contingent Events which we can't con­ceive of, is ridiculous; as much so, as to say, that God may know Contradictions to be true, for ought we know, or that he may know a Thing to be certain, and at the same Time know it not to be certain, tho' we can't con­ceive how; because he has Ways of knowing, which we can't comprehend.

Corol. 1. From what has been observed it is evident, that the absolute Decrees of God are no more inconsistent with human Liberty, on Account of any Necessity of the Event which follows from such Decrees, than the absolute Foreknowledge of God. Because the Connection between the Event and certain Foreknowledge, is as infallible and indissoluble, as between the Event and an absolute Decree. That is, 'tis no more impossible that the Event and Decree should not agree together, than that the Event and absolute Knowledge should disagree. The Connection between the Event & Foreknowledge is absolutely perfect, by the Supposition: because it it is supposed, that the Certainty and Infallibility of the Knowledge is absolutely perfect. And it being so, the Certainty can't be increased; and therefore the Con­nection between the Knowledge and Thing known, can't be increased; so that if a Decree be added to the Foreknow­ledge, it don't at all increase the Connection, or make it more infallible and indissoluble. If it were not so, the Certainty of Knowledge might be increased by the Ad­dition of a Decree; which is contrary to the Supposition, which is, that the Knowledge is absolutely perfect, or per­fect to the highest possible Degree.

There is as much of an Impossibility but that the Things which are infallibly foreknown, should be, or (which is the same Thing) as great a Necessity of their future Existence, as if the Event were already written down, and was known and read by all Mankind, thro' all preceeding Ages, and there were the most indissoluble and perfect Connection possible, between the Writing, and the Thing written. In such a Case, it would be as impossible the Event should fail of Existence, as if it had existed already; and a Decree can't make an Event surer or more necessary than this.

[Page 123]And therefore, if there be any such Foreknowledge, as it has been proved there is, then Necessity of Connection and Consequence, is not at all inconsistent with any Li­berty which Man, or any other Creature enjoys. And from hence it may be infer'd, that absolute Decrees of God, which don't at all increase the Necessity, are not at all inconsistent with the Liberty which Man enjoys, on any such Account, as that they make the Event decreed necessary, and render it utterly impossible but that it should come to pass. Therefore if absolute Decrees are inconsistent with Man's Liberty as a moral Agent, or his Liberty in a State of Probation, or any Liberty whatsoever that he enjoys, it is not on Account of any Necessity which absolute De­crees infer.

Dr. Whitby supposes, there is a great Difference between God's Foreknowledge, and his Decrees, with Regard to Necessity of future Events. In his Discourse on the five Points, P. 474, &c. He says, ‘God's Prescience has no Influence at all on our Actions.— Should God (says he) by immediate Revelation, give me the Knowledge of the Event of any Man's State or Actions, would my Know­ledge of them have any Influence upon his Actions? Surely none at all.— Our Knowledge doth not affect the Things we know, to make them more certain, or more future, than they would be without it. Now Fore­knowledge in God is Knowledge. As therefore Know­ledge has no Influence on Things that are, so neither has Foreknowledge on Things that shall be. And conse­quently, the Foreknowledge of any Action that would be otherwise free, cannot alter or diminish that Freedom. Whereas God's Decree of Election is powerful & active, and comprehends the Preparation and Exhibition of such Means, as shall unfrustrably produce the End.— Hence God's Prescience renders no Actions necessary.’ And to this Purpose, P. 473. he cites Origen, where he says, God's Prescience is not the Cause of Things future, but their being fu­ture is the Cause of God's Prescience that they will be: And Le Blanc, where he says, This is the truest Resolution of this Difficulty, that Prescience is not the Cause that Things are future; but their being future is the Cause they are foreseen. In like Manner Dr. Clark, in his Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God, P. 95, — 99. And the Author of the Freedom of Will, in God and the Creature, speaking to the like Purpose with Dr. Whitby, represents Foreknowledge as [Page 124] having no more Influence on Things known, to make them necessary, than After-Knowledge, or to that Purpose.

To all which I would say; That what is said about Knowledge, it's not having Influence on the Thing known to make it necessary, is Nothing to the Purpose, nor does it in the least affect the foregoing Reasoning. Whether Prescience be the Thing that makes the Event necessary or no, it alters not the Case. Infallible Foreknowledge may prove the Necessity of the Event foreknown, and yet not be the Thing which causes the Necessity. If the Foreknowledge be absolute, this proves the Event known to be necessary, or proves that 'tis impossible but that the Event should be, by some Means or other, either by a Decree, or some other Way, if there be any other Way: Because, as was said before, 'tis absurd to say, that a Proposition is known to be certainly and infallibly true, which yet may possibly prove not true.

The whole of the seeming Force of this Evasion lies in this; that, in as much as certain Foreknowledge don't cause an Event to be necessary, as a Decree does; therefore it don't prove it to be necessary, as a Decree does. But there is no Force in this arguing: For it is built wholly on this Supposition, that Nothing can prove, or be an Evidence of a Thing's being necessary, but that which has a causal In­fluence to make it so. But this can never be maintained. If certain Foreknowledge of the future existing of an E­vent, be not the Thing which first makes it impossible that it should fail of Existence; yet it may, and certainly does demonstrate, that it is impossible it should fail of it, how­ever that Impossibility comes. If Foreknowledge be not the Cause, but the Effect of this Impossibility, it may prove that there is such an Impossibility, as much as if it were the Cause. It is as strong arguing from the Effect to the Cause, as from the Cause to the Effect. 'Tis enough, that an Existence which is infallibly foreknown, cannot fail, whe­ther that Impossibility arises from the Foreknowledge, or is prior to it. 'Tis as evident, as 'tis possible any Thing should be, that it is impossible a Thing which is infallibly known to be true, should prove not to be true: therefore there is a Necessity that it should be otherwise; whether the Knowledge be the Cause of this Necessity, or the Necessity the Cause of the Knowledge.

All certain Knowledge, whether it be Foreknowledge or After-Knowledge, or concomitant Knowledge, proves the [Page 125] Thing known now to be necessary, by some Means or other; or proves that it is impossible it should now be other­wise than true.— I freely allow, that Foreknowledge don't prove a Thing to be necessary any more than After-Know­ledge: But then After-knowledge which is certain & infalli­ble, proves that 'tis now become impossible but that the Proposition known should be true. Certain After-Knowledge proves that it is now, in the Time of the Knowledge, by some Means or other, become impossible but that the Propo­sition which predicates past Existence on the Event, should be true. And so does certain Foreknowledge prove, that now, in the Time of the Knowledge, it is by some Means or other, become impossible but that the Proposition which predicates future Existence on the Event, should be true. The Necessity of the Truth of the Propositions, consisting in the present Impossibility of the Non-existence of the Event affirmed, in both Cases, is the immediate Ground of the certainty of the Knowledge; there can be no Certainty of Knowledge without it.

There must be a Certainty in Things themselves, before they are certainly known, or (which is the same Thing) known to be certain. For Certainty of Knowledge is no­thing else but knowing or discerning the Certainty there is in the Things themselves which are known. Therefore there must be a Certainty in Things to be a Ground of Cer­tainty of Knowledge, and to render Things capable of be­ing known to be certain. And this is Nothing but the Ne­cessity of the Truth known, or it's being impossible but that it should be true; or, in other Words, the firm and infalli­ble Connection between the Subject and Predicate of the Proposition that contains that Truth. All Certainty of Knowledge consists in the View of the Firmness of that Connection. So God's certain Foreknowledge of the fu­ture Existence of any Event, is his View of the firm and in­dissoluble Connection of the Subject and Predicate of the Proposition that affirms it's future Existence. The Subject is that possible Event; the Predicate is it's future existing: But if future Existence be firmly and indissolubly connected with that Event, then the future Existence of that Event is necessary. If God certainly knows the future Existence of an Event which is wholly contingent, and may possibly never be, then He sees a firm Connection between a Sub­ject and Predicate that are not firmly connected; which is a Contradiction.

[Page 126]I allow what Dr. Whitby says to be true, That meer Knowledge don't affect the Thing known, to make it more certain or m [...]re future. But yet, I say, it supposes and proves the Thing to be already, both future, and certain; i. e. necessa­rily future. Knowledge of Futurity, supposes Futurity; and a certain Knowledge of Futurity, supposes certain Futurity, an­tecedent to that certain Knowledge. But there is no other certain Futurity of a Thing, antecedent to Certainty of Knowledge, than a prior Impossibility but that the Thing should prove true; or (which is the same Thing) the Necessity of the Event.

I would observe one Thing further concerning this Mat­ter, and it is this; That if it be as those foremention'd Writers suppose, that God's Foreknowledge is not the Cause, but the Effect of the Existence of the Event fore­known; this is so far from shewing that this Foreknowledge don't infer the Necessity of the Existence of that Event, that it rather shews the contrary the more plainly. Because it shews the Existence of the Event to be so settled & firm, that it is as if it had already been; in as much as in Effect it actually exists already; it's future Existence has already had actual Influence and Efficiency, and has produced an Effect, viz. Prescience: The Effect exists already; and as the Effect supposes the Cause, is connected with the Cause, and depends entirely upon it, therefore it is as if the future E­vent, which is the Cause, had existed already. The Effect is firm as possible, it having already the Possession of Ex­istence, and has made sure of it. But the Effect can't be more firm and stable than it's Cause, Ground and Reason. The Building can't be firmer than the Foundation.

To illustrate this Matter, let us suppose the Appearances and Images of Things in a Glass; for Instance, a reflecting Telescope to be the real Effects of heavenly Bodies (at a Distance, and out of Sight) which they resemble: If it be so, then, as these Images in the Telescope have had a past actual Existence, and it is become utterly impossible now that it should be otherwise than that they have existed; so they being the true Effects of the heavenly Bodies they resemble, this proves the existing of those heavenly Bodies to be as real, infallible, firm and necessary, as the existing of these Effects; the one being connected with, and wholly depending on the other.— Now let us suppose future Existences some Way or other [Page 127] to have Influence back, to produce Effects before-hand, and cause exact and perfect Images of themselves in a Glass, a Thousand Years before they exist, yea, in all preceed­ing Ages; But yet that these Images are real Effects of these future Existences, perfectly dependent on, and con­nected with their Cause; these Effects and Images, having already had actual Existence, rendring that Matter of their Existing perfectly firm and stable, and utterly impossible to be otherwise; this proves in like Manner as in the other Instance, that the Existence of the Things which are their Causes, is also equally sure, firm and necessary; and that it is alike impossible but that they should be, as if they had been already, as their Effects have. And if instead of Images in a Glass, we suppose the antecedent Effects to be perfect Ideas of them in the divine Mind, which have existed there from all Eternity, which are as properly Effects, as truly and properly connected with their Cause, the Case is not altered.

Another Thing which has been said by some Arminians, to take off the Force of what is urged from God's Pre­science, against the Contingence of the Volitions of moral Agents, is to this Purpose; ‘That when we talk of Foreknowledge in God, there is no strict Propriety in our so Speaking; and that altho' it be true, that there is in God the most perfect Knowledge of all Events from Eternity to Eternity, yet there is no such Thing as before and after in God, but He sees all Things by one perfect unchangeable View, without any Succession.’ —To this I answer,

1. It has been already shown, that all certain Knowledge proves the Necessity of the Truth known; whether it be before, after, or at the same Time.— Tho' it be true, that there is no Succession in God's Knowledge, and the Manner of his Knowledge is to us inconceivable, yet thus much we know concerning it, that there is no Event, past, present, or to come, that God is ever uncertain of; He never is, never was, and never will be without infallible Knowledge of it; He always sees the Existence of it to be certain and infallible. And as he always sees Things just as they are in Truth; hence there never is in Reality any Thing contingent in such a Sense, as that possibly it may happen never to exist. If, strictly speaking, there is no Foreknowledge in God, 'tis because those Things which [Page 128] are future to us, are as present to God, as if they already had Existence: and that is as much as to say, that future Events are always in God's View as evident, clear, sure and necessary, as if they already were. If there never is a Time wherein the Existence of the Event is not present with God, then there never is a Time wherein it is not as much impossible for it to fail of Existence, as if it's Existence were present, and were already come to pass.

God's viewing Things so perfectly and unchangeably as that there is no Succession in his Ideas or Judgment, don't hinder but that there is properly now, in the Mind of God, a certain and perfect Knowledge of the moral Actions of Men, which to us are an Hundred Years hence: yea the Objection supposes this; and therefore it certainly don't hinder but that, by the foregoing Arguments, it is now impossible these moral Actions should not come to pass.

We know, that God knows the future voluntary Actions of Men in such a Sense before-hand, as that he is able par­ticularly to declare, and foretell them, and write them, or cause them to be written down in a Book, as He often has done; and that therefore the necessary Connection which there is between God's Knowledge and the Event known, does as much prove the Event to be necessary before-hand, as if the divine Knowledge were in the same Sense before the Event, as the Prediction or Writing is. If the Knowledge be infallible, then the Expression of it in the written Prediction is infallible; that is, there is an infallible Connection between that written Prediction and the Event. And if so, then it is impossible it should ever be otherwise, than that that Prediction and the Event should agree: And this is the same Thing as to say, 'tis impossible but that the Event should come to pass: and this is the same as to say, that it's coming to pass is necessary.— So that it is manifest, that there being no proper Succession in God's Mind, makes no Alteration as to the Necessity of the Existence of the Events which God knows. Yea,

2. This is so far from weakening the Proof, which has been given of the Impossibility of the not coming to pass of future Events known, as that it establishes that wherein the Strength of the foregoing Arguments consists, and shews the Clearness of the Evidence. For,

[Page 129](1.) The very Reason why God's Knowledge is with­out Succession, is, because it is absolutely perfect, to the highest possible Degree of Clearness and Certainty: all Things, whether past, present or to come, being view'd with equal Evidence and Fulness; future Things being seen with as much Clearness, as if they were present; the View is always in absolute Perfection; and absolute constant Perfection admits of no Alteration, and so no Succession; the actual Existence of the Thing known, don't at all increase, or add to the Clearness or Certainty of the Thing known: God calls the Things that are not, as tho' they were; they are all one to Him as if they had already existed. But herein consists the Strength of the Demonstration before given, of the Impossibility of the not existing of those Things whose Existence God knows; That it is as impossible they should fail of Existence, as if they existed already. This Objection, instead of weakening this Argument, sets it in the clearest and strongest Light; for it supposes it to be so indeed, that the Existence of future Events is in God's View so much as if it already had been, that when they come actually to exist, it makes not the least Alteration or Variation in his View or Knowledge of them.

(2.) The Objection is founded on the Immutability of God's Knowledge: For 'tis the Immutability of Knowledge makes his Knowledge to be without Succession. But this most directly and plainly demonstrates the Thing I insist on, viz. that 'tis utterly impossible the known Events should fail of Existence. For if that were possible, then it would be possible for there to be a Change in God's Knowledge and View of Things. For if the known Event should fail of Existence, and not come into Being, as God expected, then God would see it, and so would change his Mind, and see his former Mistake; and thus there would be Change and Succession in his Knowledge. But as God is immutable, and so it is utterly and infinitely impossible that his View should be changed; so 'tis, for the same Reason, just so impossible that the fore-known Event should not exist: And that is to be impossible in the highest Degree: and therefore the contrary is necessary. Nothing is more impossible than that the immutable God should be changed, by the Succession of Time; who compre­hends all Things, from Eternity to Eternity, in one, most [Page 130] perfect, and unalterable View; so that his whole eternal Duration is Vitae interminabilis, tota, simul, & perfecta Possessis.

On the whole, I need not fear to say, that there is no Geometrical Theorem or Proposition whatsoever, more capa­ble of strict Demonstration, than that God's certain Pre­science of the Volitions of moral Agents is inconsistent with such a Contingence of these Events, as is without all Necessity; and so is inconsistent with the Arminian Notion of Liberty.

Corol. 2. Hence the Doctrine of the Calvinists, concerning the absolute Decrees of God, does not at all infer any more Fatality in Things, than will demonstrably follow from the Doctrine of most Arminian Divines, who acknowledge God's Omniscience, and universal Prescience. Therefore all Objections they make against the Doctrine of the Calvinists, as implying Hobbes's Doctrine of Necessity, or the Stoical Doctrine of Fate, lie no more against the Doctrine of Calvinists, than their own Doctrine: And therefore it don't become those Divines, to raise such an Out-cry against the Calvinists, on this Account.

Corol. 3. Hence all arguing from Necessity, against the Doctrine of the Inability of unregenerate Men to perform the Conditions of Salvation, and the Commands of God requiring spiritual Duties, and against the Calvinistic Doctrine of efficacious Grace; I say, all Arguings of Arminians (such of 'em as own God's Omniscience) against these Things, on this Ground, that these Doctrines, tho' they don't suppose Men to be under any Constraint or Coaction, yet suppose 'em under Necessity, with Respect to their moral Actions, and those Things which are required of 'em in Order to their Acceptance with God; and their arguing against the Necessity of Men's Volitions, taken from the Reaso­nableness of God's Commands, Promises, and Threatnings, and the Sincerity of his Counsels and Invitations; and all Objections against any Doctrines of the Calvinists as being inconsistent with human Liberty, because they infer Necessity; I say, all these Arguments and Objections must fall to the Ground, and be justly esteem'd vain and frivolous, as coming from them; being maintain'd in an Inconsistence with themselves, and in like Manner levelled against their own Doctrine, as against the Doctrine of the Calvinists.

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SECTION XIII. Whether we suppose the Volitions of moral Agents to be connected with any Thing antecedent, or not, yet they must be ne­cessary in such a Sense as to overthrow Arminian Liberty.

EVERY Act of the Will has a Cause, or it has not. If it has a Cause, then, according to what has already been demonstrated, it is not contingent, but necessary; the Effect being necessarily dependent and con­sequent on it's Cause; and that, let the Cause be what it will. If the Cause is the Will itself, by antecedent Acts chusing and determining; still the determined and caused Act must be a necessary Effect. The Act that is the determined Effect of the foregoing Act which is it's Cause, can't prevent the Efficiency of it's Cause; but must be wholly subject to it's Determination and Command, as much as the Motions of the Hands and Feet: The consequent commanded Acts of the Will are as passive and as necessary, with Respect to the antecedent determining Acts, as the Parts of the Body are to the Volitions which determine and command them. And therefore, if all the free Acts of the Will are thus, if they are all determined Effects, determined by the Will it self, that is, determined by antecedent Choice, then they are all necessary; they are all subject to, and decisively fixed by the foregoing Act, which is their Cause: Yea, even the determining Act it self; for that must be determined and fixed by another Act, preceding that, if it be a free and voluntary Act; and so must be necessary. So that by this all the free Acts of the Will are necessary, and can't be free unless they are necessary: Because they can't be free, according to the Arminian Notion of Freedom, unless they are determined by the Will; which is to be determined by antecedent Choice; which being their Cause, prove▪ 'em necessary. And yet they say, Necessity is utterly incon­sistent [Page 132] with Liberty. So that, by their Scheme, the Acts of the Will can't be free unless they are necessary, and yet cannot be free if they be not necessary!

But if the other Part of the Dilemma be taken, and it be affirm'd that the free Acts of the Will have no Cause, and are connected with nothing whatsoever that goes before them and determines them, in order to maintain their proper and absolute Contingence, and this should be allowed to be possible; still it will not serve their Turn. For if the Volition comes to pass by perfect Contingence, and without any Cause at all, then it is certain, no Act of the Will, no prior Act of the Soul was the Cause, no Determination or Choice of the Soul, had any Hand in it. The Will, or the Soul, was indeed the Subject of what happened to it accidentally, but was not the Cause. The Will is not active in causing or determining, but purely the passive Subject; at least according to their Notion of Action and Passion. In this Case, Contingence does as much prevent the Determination of the Will, as a proper Cause; and as to the Will, it was necessary, and could be no otherwise. For to suppose that it could have been otherwise, if the Will or Soul had pleased, is to suppose that the Act is dependent on some prior Act of Choice or Pleasure; contrary to what now is supposed: It is to sup­pose that it might have been otherwise, if it's Cause had made it or ordered it otherwise. But this don't agree to it's having no Cause or Orderer at all. That must be necessary as to the Soul, which is dependent on no free Act of the Soul: But that which is without a Cause, is de­pendent on no free Act of the Soul: because, by the Sup­position, it is dependent on Nothing, and is connected with Nothing. In such a Case, the Soul is necessarily subjected to what Accident brings to pass, from Time to Time, as much as the Earth, that is inactive, is necessarily sub­jected to what falls upon it. But this don't consist with the Arminian Notion of Liberty, which is the Will's Power of determining it self in it's own Acts, and being wholly active in it, without Passiveness, and without being subject to Necessity.— Thus, Contingence belongs to the Arminian Notion of Liberty, and yet is inconsistent with it.

I would here observe, that the Author of the Essay on the Freedom of Will, in God and the Creature, Page 76, 77. [...], ‘The Word Chance always means some­thing [Page 133] done without Design. Chance and Design stand in direct Opposition to each other: and Chance can never be properly applied to the Acts of the Will, which is the Spring of all Design, and which designs to chuse whatsoever it doth chuse, whether there be any superiour Fitness in the Thing which it chuses, or no; and it designs to determine it self to one Thing, where two Things perfectly equal are proposed, meerly because it will.’ But herein appears a very great Inadvertence in this Author. For if the Will be the Spring of all Design, as he says, then certainly it is not always the Effect of Design; and the Acts of the Will themselves must sometimes come to pass when they don't spring from Design; and conse­quently come to pass by Chance, according to his own Definition of Chance. And if the Will designs to chuse what­soever it does chuse, and designs to determine it self, as he says, then it designs to determine all its Designs. Which carries us back from one Design to a foregoing Design determining that, and to another determining that; and so on in infinitum. The very first Design must be the Effect of foregoing Design, or else it must be by Chance, in his Notion of it.

Here another Alternative may be proposed, relating to the Connection of the Acts of the Will with something foregoing that is their Cause, not much unlike to the other; which is this: Either human Liberty is such that it may well stand with Volitions being necessarily connected with the Views of the Understanding, and so is consistent with Necessity; or it is inconsistent with, and contrary to such a Connection and Necessity. The former is directly sub­versive of the Arminian Notion of Liberty, consisting in Free­dom from all Necessity. And if the latter be chosen, and it be said, that Liberty is inconsistent with any such necessary Connection of Volition with foregoing Views of the Under­standing, it consisting in Freedom from any such Necessity of the Will as that would imply; then the Liberty of the Soul consists (in Part at least) in the Freedom from Restraint, Limitation and Government, in it's actings, by the Understanding, and in Liberty and Liableness to act contrary to the Understanding's Views and Dictates: and conse­quently the more the Soul has of this Disengagedness, in it's acting, the more Liberty. Now let it be considered what this brings the noble Principle of human Liberty to, particularly when it is possessed and enjoyed in it's Perfection, [Page 134] viz. a full and perfect Freedom and Liableness to act altogether at Random, without the least Connection with, or Restraint or Government by, any Dictate of Reason, or any Thing whatsoever apprehended, considered or viewed by the Understanding; as being inconsistent with the full and perfect Sovereignty of the Will over it's own Deter­minations.— The Notion Mankind have conceived of Liberty, is some Dignity or Privilege, something worth claiming. But what Dignity or Privilege is there, in being given up to such a wild Contingence as this, to be per­fectly and constantly liable to act unintelligently and un­reasonably, and as much without the Guidance of Un­standing, as if we had none, or were as destitute of Perception as the Smoak that is driven by the Wind!

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PART III. Wherein is enquired, whether any such Liberty of Will as Arminians hold, be necessary to MORAL AGENCY, VERTUE and VICE, PRAISE, and DISPRAISE, &c.

SECTION I. GOD's moral Excellency necessary, yet vertuous and praise-worthy.

HAVING considered the first Thing that was proposed to be enquired into, relating to that Freedom of Will which Arminians maintain; namely, Whether any such Thing does, ever did, or ever can exist, or be con­ceived of; I come now to the second Thing proposed to be the Subject of Enquiry, viz. Whether any such Kind of Liberty be requisite to moral Agency, Vertue and Vice, Praise and Blame, Reward and Punishment, &c.

I shall begin with some Consideration of the Vertue and Agency of the Supream moral Agent, and Fountain of all Agency and Vertue.

Dr. Whitby, in his Discourse on the five Points, P. 14. says, ‘If all human Actions are necessary, Virtue and Vice must be empty Names; we being capable of Nothing that is [Page 136] blame-worthy, or deserveth Praise; For who can blame a Person for doing only what he could not help, or judge that he deserveth Praise only for what he could not avoid?’ To the like Purpose he speaks in Places innumerable; espe­cially in his Discourse on the Freedom of the Will; constantly maintaining, that a Freedom not only from Coaction, but Necessity, is absolutely requisite, in order to Actions being either wor­thy of Blame, or deserving of Praise. And to this agrees, as is well known, the current Doctrine of Arminian Writers; who in general hold, that there is no Vertue or Vice, Reward or Punishment, nothing to be commended or blamed, with­out this Freedom. And yet Dr. Whitby, P. 300, allows, that God is without this Freedom; And Arminians, so far as I have had Opportunity to observe, generally acknowledge, that God is necessarily holy, and his Will necessarily deter­mined to that which is good.

So that, put [...]ing these Things together, the infinitely holy God, who always used to be esteemed by God's People, not only vertuous, but a Being in whom is all possible Vertue, and every Vertue in the most absolute Purity and Perfection, and in infinitely greater Brightness and Amiableness than in any Creature; the most perfect Pattern of Vertue, and the Fountain from whom all others Vertue is but as Beams from the Sun; and who has been supposed to be, on the Ac­count of his Vertue and Holiness, infinitely more worthy to be esteemed, loved, honoured, admired, commended, extoll'd and praised, than any Creature; and He who is thus every where represented in Scripture; I say, this Being, according to this Notion of Dr. Whitby, and other Arminians, has no Vertue at all; Vertue, when ascribed to Him, is but an empty Name; and he is deserving of no Commendation or Praise; because he is under Necessity, He can't avoid being holy and good as he is; therefore no Thanks to him for it. It seems, the Holiness, Justice, Faithfulness, &c. of the most High, must not be accounted to be of the Nature of that which is vertuous and praise-worthy. They will not deny, that these Things in God are good; But then we must un­derstand them, that they are no more vertuous, or of the Nature of any Thing commendable, than the Good that is in any other Being that is not a moral Agent; as the Bright­ness of the Sun, and the Fertility of the Earth are good, but not vertuous, because these Properties are necessary to these Bodies, and not the Fruit of Self-determining Power.

[Page 137]There needs no other Confutation of this Notion of God's not being vertuous or praise-worthy, to Christians ac­quainted with the Bible, but only stating and particularly representing of it. To bring Texts of Scripture, wherein God is represented as in every Respect, in the highest Manner vertuous, and supreamly praise-worthy, would be endless, and is altogether needless to such as have been brought up under the Light of the Gospel.

It were to be wished, that Dr. Whitby, and other Divines of the same Sort, had explain'd themselves, when they have asserted that That which is necessary, is not deserving of Praise; at the same Time that they have own'd God's Per­fection to be necessary, and so in Effect represented God as not deserving Praise. Certainly, if their Words have any Meaning at all, by Praise, they must mean the Exercise or Testimony of some Sort of Esteem, Respect, or honourable Regard. And will they then say, that Men are worthy of that Esteem, Respect, and Honour for their Vertue, small and imperfect as it is, which yet God is not worthy of, for his infinite Righteousness, Holiness, and Goodness? If so, it must be because of some Sort of peculiar Excellency in the vertuous Man, which is his Prerogative, wherein he really has the Preference; some Dignity, that is entirely distin­guish'd from any Excellency, Amiableness or Honourableness in God; not in Imperfection and Dependance, but in Pre-eminence; which therefore he don't receive from God, nor is God the Fountain or Pattern of it; nor can God, in that Respect, stand in Competition with him, as the Object of Honour and Regard; but Man may claim a peculiar Esteem, Commendation and Glory, that God can have no Pretension to. Yea, God has no Right, by vertue of his necessary Ho­liness, to intermeddle with that grateful Respect and Praise, due to the vertuous Man, who chuses Vertue, in the Exercise of a Freedom ad utrumque; any more than a precious Stone, which can't avoid being hard and beautiful.

And if it be so, let it be explained what that peculiar Respect is, that is due to the vertuous Man, which differs in Nature and Kind, in some Way of Pre-eminence, from all that is due to God. What is the Name or Description of that peculiar Affection? Is it Esteem, Love, Admiration, Honour, Praise, or Gratitude? The Scripture every where represents God as the highest Object of all these: there we read of the Soul's magnifying the Lord ▪ of l [...]ving Him with all the [Page 138] Heart, with all the Soul, with all the Mind, & with all the Strength; admiring him, and his righteous Acts, or greatly regarding them, as marvellous & wonderful; honouring, glorifying, exalting, extolling, blessing, thanking, and praising Him; giving unto Him all the Glory of the Good which is done or received, rather than unto Men; that no Flesh should glory in his Presence; but that He should be regarded as the Being to whom all Glory is due. What then is that Respect? What Passion, Affection, or Ex­ercise is it, that Arminians call Praise, diverse from all these Things, which Men are worthy of for their Vertue, and which God is not worthy of, in any Degree?

If that Necessity which attends God's moral Perfections and Actions, be as inconsistent with a Being worthy of Praise, as a Necessity of Coaction; as is plainly implied in or inferred from Dr. Whitby's Discourse; then why should we thank God for his Goodness, any more than if He were forced to be good, or any more than we should thank one of our Fellow-Creatures who did us Good, not freely, and of good Will, or from any Kindness of Heart, but from meer Compulsion, or extrinsecal Necessity? Arminians suppose, that God is necessarily a good and gracious Being: for this they make the Ground of some of their main Arguments against many Doctrines maintain'd by Calvinists: They say, these are certainly false, and it is impossible they should be true, because they are not consistent with the Goodness of God. This supposes, that it is impossible but that God should be good: for if it be possible that He should be otherwise, then that Impossibility of the Truth of these Doctrines ceases, according to their own Argument.

That Vertue in God is not, in the most proper Sense, rewardable, is not for Want of Merit in his moral Perfecti­ons and Actions, sufficient to deserve Rewards from his Creatures; but because He is infinitely above all Capacity of receiving any Reward or Benefit from the Creature: He is already infinitely and unchangeably happy▪ and we can't be profitable unto Him. But still he is worthy of our supream Benevolence for his Vertue; and would be worthy of our Beneficence, which is the Fruit and Expression of Benevo­lence, if our Goodness could extend to Him. If God de­serves to be thanked and praised for his Goodness, He would for the same Reason, deserve that we should also requite his Kindness, if that were possible. What shall I render to the Lord for all his Benefits? is the natural Language of Thank­fulness: [Page 139] and so far as in us lies, it is our Duty to recompense God's Goodness, and render again according to Benefits received ▪ And that we might have Opportunity for so natural an Ex­pression of our Gratitude to God, as Beneficence, notwith­standing his being infinitely above our Reach; He has ap­pointed others to be his Receivers, and to stand in his Stead, as the Objects of our Beneficence; such are especially our indigent Brethren.

SECTION II. The Acts of the Will of the human Soul of JESUS CHRIST necessarily holy, yet truly vertuous, praise-worthy, rewardable, &c.

I Have already considered how Dr. Whitby insists upon it, that a Freedom, not only from Coaction, but Necessity, is requisite to either Vertue or Vice, Praise or Dispraise, Reward or Punishment. He also insists on the same Freedom as abso­lutely requisite to a Person's being the Subject of a Law, or Precepts or Prohibitions; in the Book before mentioned (P. 301, 314, 328, 339, 340, 341, 342, 347, 361, 373, 410.) And of Promises and Threatnings (P. 298, 301, 305, 311, 339, 340, 363.) And as requisite to a State of Trial. (P. 297, &c.)

Now therefore, with an Eye to these Things, I would en­quire into the moral Conduct and Practice of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he exhibited in his human Nature here, in his State of Humiliation. And First, I would shew, that his holy Behaviour was necessary; or that it was impossible it should be otherwise, than that He should behave himself holily, and that he should be perfectly holy in each indivi­dual Act of his Life. And Secondly, that his holy Behaviour was properly of the Nature of Vertue, and was worth [...] of Praise; and that He was the Subject of Law, Prec [...]pts or Commands, Promises and Rewards; and that he was in a State of Trial.

[Page 140]I. It was impossible, that the Acts of the Will of the human Soul of Christ should, in any Instance, Degree or Circum­stance, be otherwise than holy, and agreable to God's Na­ture and Will. The following Things make this evident.

1. God had promised so effectually to preserve and uphold Him by his Spirit, under all his Temptations, that he should not fail of reaching the End for which He came into the World; —which he would have fail'd of, had he fallen into Sin. We have such a Promise, Isai. xlii.1, 2, 3, 4. Behold my Servant, whom I uphold; mine Elect, in whom my Soul delighteth: I have put my Spirit upon Him: He shall bring forth Iudgment to the Gentiles: He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his Voice to be heard in the Street.— He shall bring forth Iudgment unto Truth He shall not fail, nor be discouraged, till he have set Iudgment in the Earth; and the Isles shall wait for his Law. This Promise of Christ's having God's Spirit put upon Him, and his not crying and lifting up his Voice &c. relates to the Time of Christ's Ap­pearance on Earth; as is manifest from the Nature of the Promise, and also the Application of it in the New Testa­ment, Matth. 12.18. And the Words imply a Promise of his being so upheld by God's Spirit, that he should be pre­served from Sin; particularly from Pride and Vain-glory, and from being overcome by any of the Temptations he should be under to affect the Glory of this World; the Pomp of an earthly Prince, or the Applause and Praise of Men: and that he should be so upheld, that he should by no Means fail of obtaining the End of his coming into the World, of bringing forth Judgment unto Victory, and establishing his Kingdom of Grace in the Earth.—And in the following Verses, this Promise is confirmed, with the greatest imagina­ble Solemnity. Thus saith the LORD, HE that created the Heavens, and stretched them out; He that spread forth the Earth, and that which cometh out of it; He that giveth Breath unto the People upon it, and Spirit to them that walk therein: I the Lord have called Thee in Righteousness, and will hold thine Hand; and will keep Thee, and give Thee for a Covenant of the People, for a Light of the Gentiles, to open the blind Eyes, to bring out the Pri­soners from the Prison, and them that sit in Darkness out of the Prison-House. I am IEHOVAH, that is my Name, &c.

Very parallel with these Promises is that, Isai. xlix.7, 8, 9. which also has an apparent Respect to the Time of Christ's Humiliation on Earth. Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his holy One, to Him whom Man despiseth, to Him [Page 141] whom the Nation abhorreth, to a Servant of Rulers; Kings shall see and arise, Princes also shall worship; because of the Lord that is faithful, and the holy One of Israel, and He shall choose Thee. Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable Time have I heard Thee; in a Day of Salvation have I helped Thee; and I will preserve Thee, and give thee for a Covenant of the People, to establish the Earth, &c.

And in Isai. l. 5—9. we have the Messiah expressing his Assurance, that God would help Him, by so opening his Ear, or inclining his Heart to God's Commandments, that He should not be rebellious, but should persevere, and not apostatise, or turn his Back: That through God's Help, He should be immovable, in a Way of Obedience, under the great Trials of Reproach and Suffering he should meet with; setting his Face like a Flint: So that He knew He should not be ashamed, or frustrated in his Design; and finally should be approved and justified, as having done his Work faithfully. The Lord hath opened mine Ear; so that I was not rebellious, neither turned away my Back: I gave my Back to the Smiters, and my Cheeks to them that plucked off the Hair; I hid not my Face from Shame and Spitting. For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: there­fore have I set my Face as a Flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. He is near that justifieth me: who will contend with me? Let us stand together. Who is mine Adversary? Let him come near to me. Behold the Lord God will help me: who is He that shall condemn me! Lo, they shall all was old as a Garment, the Moth shall eat them up.

2. The same Thing is evident from all the Promises which God made to the Messiah, of his future Glory, Kingdom and Success, in his Office and Character of a Mediator: which Glory could not have been obtained, if his Holiness had fail'd, and he had been guilty of Sin. God's absolute Promise of any Things makes the Things promised necessary, and their failing to take Place absolutely impossible: and in like Manner it makes those Things ne­cessary, on which the Thing promised depends, and without which it can't take Effect. Therefore it appears, that it was utterly impossible that Christ's Holiness should fail, from such absolute Promises as those, Psal. cx.4. The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a Priest forever, after the Order of Melchizedek. And from every other Promise in that Psalm, contained in each Verse of it. And Psal. ii.6.7. [Page 142] I will declare the Decree: The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son, this Day have I begotten Thee: Ask of Me, and I will give Thee the Heathen for thine Inheritance, &c. Psal. xlv.3, 4, &c. Gird thy Sword on thy Thigh, O most Mighty, with thy Glory and thy Majesty; and in thy Majesty ride prosperously. And so every Thing that is said from thence to the End of the Psalm. And those Promises, Isai. lii.13, 14, 15. & liii.10, 11, 12. And all those Promises which God makes to the Messiah, of Success, Dominion and Glory in the Character of Redeemer, in Isai. Chap. xlix.

3. It was often promised to the Church of God of old, for their Comfort, that God would give them a righteous, sinless Saviour. Jer. xxiii.5, 6. Behold, the Days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise up unto David a righteous Branch; and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute Iudgment and Iustice in the Earth. In his Days shall Judah be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely. And this is the Name whereby He shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness. So, Jer. xxxiii.15.—I will cause the Branch of Righteousness to grow up unto David; and He shall execute Iudg­ment and Righteousness in the Land. Isai. ix.6, 7. For unto us a Child is born;— Upon the Throne of David and of his King­dom, to order it, and to establish it with Iudgment and Iustice, from henceforth, even forever: The Zeal of the Lord of Hosts will do this. Chap. xi. at the Beginning. There shall come forth a Rod out of the Stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his Roots; and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him,— The Spirit of Knowledge, and of the Fear of the Lord:—With Righ­teousness shall He judge the Poor, and reprove with Equity:— Righteousness shall be the Girdle of his Loins, and Faithfulness the Girdle of his Reins. Chap. lii.13. My Servant shall deal prudently. Chap. liii.9. Because He had done no Violence, neither was Guile found in his Mouth. If it be impossible, that these Promises should fail, and it be easier for Heaven and Earth to pass away, than for one Jot or Tittle of these Promises of God to pass away, then it was impossible that Christ should commit any Sin. Christ himself signified, that it was im­possible but that the Things which were spoken concerning Him should be fulfilled. Luk. xxiv.44.—That all Things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms concerning Me. Mat. xxvi.53, 54. But how then shall the Scripture be fulfilled, that thus it must be? Mark xiv.49. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled. And so the Apostle, Act. i.16, 17.— This Scripture must needs have been fulfilled.

[Page 143]4. All the Promises which were made to the Church of old, of the Messiah as a future Saviour, from that made to our first Parents in Paradise, to that which was delivered by the Prophet Malachi, shew it to be impossible that Christ should not have persevered in perfect Holiness. The antient Predictions given to God's Church, of the Messiah as a Saviour, were of the Nature of Promises; as is evident by the Predictions themselves, and the Manner of delivering them. But they are expresly, and very often called Promises in the New-Testament; as in Luke i.54, 55, 72, 73. Acts xiii.32, 33. Rom. i.1, 2, 3. & Chap. xv.8. Heb. vi.13, &c. These Promises were often made with great Solemnity, and confirmed with an Oath; as in Gen. xxii.16.17. By my self have I sworn, saith the Lord, that in blessing, I will bless thee, and in multiplying, I will multiply thy Seed, as the Stars of Heaven, and as the Sand which is upon the Sea-Shore:— And in thy Seed shall all the Nations of the Earth be blessed. Compare Luke i.72, 73. and Gal. iii.8, 15, 16. The Apostle in Heb. vi.17, 18. speaking of this Promise to Abraham, says, Wherein God wil­ling more abundantly to shew to the Heirs of Promise the Immuta­bility of his Counsel, confirmed it by an Oath; that by two IMMUTABLE Things, in which it was IMPOSSIBLE for God to lie, he might have strong Consolation. — In which Words, the Necessity of the Accomplishment, or (which is the same Thing) the Impossibility of the contrary, is fully de­clared. So God confirmed the Promise of the great Salva­tion of the Messiah, made to David, by an Oath; Psal. lxxxix.3, 4. I have made a Covenant with my Chosen, I have sworn unto David my Servant; Thy Seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy Throne to all Generations. There is Nothing that is so abundantly set forth in Scripture, as sure and irrefra­gable, as this Promise and Oath to David. See Psal. lxxxix.34, 35, 36. 2 Sam. xxiii.5. Isai. lv.3. Act. ii.29, 30. and xiii.34. The Scripture expresly speaks of it as utterly impossible that this Promise and Oath to David, concerning the everlasting Dominion of the Messiah of his Seed, should fail. Jer. xxxiii.15, &c. In those Days, and at that Time, I will cause the Branch of Righteousness to grow up unto David.— For thus saith the Lord, David shall never want a Man to sit upon the Throne of the House of Israel. — ver. 20, 21. If you can break my Covenant of the Day, and my Covenant of the Night, and that there should not be Day and Night in their Season; then may also my Covenant be broken with David my Servant, that He should not have a Son to reign upon his Throne. So in ver. 25, 26.— Thus abundant is the Scripture in representing how [Page 144] impossible it was, that the Promises made of Old concerning the great Salvation and Kingdom of the Messiah should fail: Which implies, that it was impossible that this Messiah, the second Adam, the promised Seed of Abraham, and of David, should fall from his Integrity, as the first Adam did.

5. All the Promises that were made to the Church of God under the Old Testament, of the great Enlargement of the Church, and Advancement of her Glory, in the Days of the Gospel, after the Coming of the Messiah; the Increase of her Light, Liberty, Holiness, Joy, Triumph over her Enemies, &c. of which so great a Part of the Old Testa­ment consists; which are repeated so often, are so variously exhibited, so frequently introduced with great Pomp and So­lemnity, and are so abundantly sealed with typical and sym­bolical Representations; I say, all these Promises imply, that the Messiah should perfect the Work of Redemption; and this implies, that he should persevere in the Work wh [...]ch the Father had appointed Him, being in all Things conformed to his Will. These Promises were often confirm­ed by an Oath. (See Isai. liv.9. with the Context; Chap. lxii.1 [...].) And it is represented as utterly impossible that these [...]romises should fail. (Isai. xlix.15. with the Con­text, Chap. liv.10. with the Context; Chap. li.4,—8. Chap. xl.8. with the Context.) And therefore it was impossible, that the Messiah should fail, or commit Sin.

6. It was impossible, that the Messiah should fail of perse­vering in Integrity and Holiness, as the first Adam did, because this would have been inconsistent with the Pro­mises which God made to the blessed Virgin, his Mother, and to her Husband; implying, that He should save his People from their Sins, that God would give Him the Throne of his Fa­ther David, that He should reign over the House of Jacob for­ever; and that of his Kingdom there should be no End. These Promises were sure, and it was impossible they should fail. And therefore the Virgin Mary, in trusting fully to them, acted reasonably, having an immovable Foundation of her Faith; as Elisabeth observes, ver. 45. And blessed is she that believeth; for there shall be a Performance of those Things which were told her from the Lord.

7. That it should have been possible that Christ should sin, and so fail in the Work of our Redemption▪ does not consist with the eternal Purpose and Decree of God, reveal'd [Page 145] in the Scriptures, that He would provide Salvation for fallen Man in and by Jesus Christ, and that Salvation should be offered to Sinners through the Preaching of the Gospel. Such an absolute Decree as this Arminians don't deny. Thus much at least (out of all Controversy) is implied in such Scriptures, as 1 Cor. ii.7. Eph. i.4, 5. and Ch. iii.9, 10, 11. 1 Pet. i.19, 20. Such an absolute Decree as this, Arminians allow to be signified in these Texts. And the Arminians Election of Nations and Societies, and general Election of the Christian Church, and conditional Election of parti­cular Persons, imply this. God could not decree before the Foundation of the World, to save all that should believe in, and obey Christ, unless he had absolutely decreed that Salvation should be provided, and effectually wrought out by Christ. And since (as the Arminians themselves strenu­ously maintain) a Decree of God infers Necessity; hence it became necessary that Christ should persevere, and actually work out Salvation for us, and that He should not fail by the Commission of Sin.

8. That it should have been possible for Christ's Ho­liness to fail, is not consistent with what God pro­mised to his Son before all Ages. For, that Salvation should be offered to Men thro' Christ, and bestowed on all his faithful Followers, is what is at least implied in that certain and infallible Promise spoken of by the Apostle, Tit. i.2. In hope of eternal Life; which God, that cannot lie, promised before the World began. This don't seem to be con­troverted by Arminians. *

9. That it should be possible for Christ to fail of doing his Father's Will, is inconsistent with the Promise made to the Father by the Son, by the Logos that was with the Father from the Beginning, before he took the human Nature: as may be seen in Psal. xl.6, 7, 8. (compar'd with the Apostle's Interpretation, Heb. x.5,— 9.) Sacrifice and Offering thou didst not desire: mine Ears hast thou opened, (or bored;) Burnt-Offering and Sin-Offering Thou hast not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: In the Volume of the Book it is written of me, I delight to do thy Will, O my God, and thy Law is with­in my Heart. Where is a manifest Allusion to the Cove­nant which the willing Servant, who loved his Master's Ser­vice, made with his Master, to be his Servant for ever, on [Page 146] the Day wherein he had his Ear bored; which Covenant was probably inserted in the publick Records, called the Volume of the Book, by the Judges, who were called to take Cognizance of the Transaction; Exod. xxi. If the Logos, who was with the Father, before the World, and who made the World, thus engaged in Covenant to do the Will of the Father in the human Nature, and the Promise, was as it were recorded, that it might be made sure, doubtless it was im­possible that it should fail; and so it was impossible that Christ should fail of doing the Will of the Father in the human Nature.

10. If it was possible for Christ to have failed of doing the Will of his Father, and so to have failed of effectually working out Redemption for Sinners, then the Salvation of all the Saints, who were saved from the Beginning of the World, to the Death of Christ, was not built on a firm Foundation. The Messiah, and the Redemption which He was to work out by his Obedience unto Death, was the Foundation of the Salvation of all the Posterity of fallen Man, that ever were saved. Therefore, if when the Old-Testament Saints had the Pardon of their Sins, and the Fa­vour of God promised them, and Salvation bestowed upon them, still it was possible that the Messiah, when he came, might commit Sin, then all this was on a Foundation that was not firm and stable, but liable to fail; something which it was possible might never be. God did as it were trust to what his Son had engaged and promised to do in▪ future Time; and depended so much upon it, that He proceeded actually to save Men on the Account of it, as tho' it had been already done. But this Trust and Dependance of God, on the Supposition of Christ's being liable to fail of doing his Will, was leaning on a Staff that was weak, and might possibly break. The Saints of old trusted on the Promises of a future Redemption to be wrought out and compleated by the Messiah, and built their Comfort upon it: Abraham saw Christ's Day and rejoyced; and he and the other Pa­triarchs died in the Faith of the Promise of it. (Heb. xi.13.) But on this Supposition, their Faith and their Comfort, and their Salvation, was built on a moveable fallible Foundation▪ Christ was not to them a tried Stone, a sure Foundation; [...] in Isa [...]. xxviii.16. David entirely rested on the Covenant of God with him, concerning the future glorious Dominion and Salvation of the Messiah, of his Seed; says, it was all his Salvation, and all his Desire; and comforts himself that this Covenant was [Page 147] an everlasting Covenant, ordered in all Things and sure, 2 Sam. xxiii.5. But if Christ's Vertue might fail, he was mistaken: his great Comfort was not built so sure, as he thought it was, being founded entirely on the Determinations of the Free-Will of Christ's human Soul; which was subject to no Necessity, and might be determined either one Way or the other. Also the Dependance of those who looked for Re­demption in Ierusalem, and waited for the Consolation of Israel, (Luke ii.25. & 38.) and the Confidence of the Disci­ples of Jesus, who forsook all and followed Him, that they might enjoy the Benefits of his future Kingdom, was built on a sandy Foundation.

11. The Man Christ Jesus, before he had finished his Course of Obedience, and while in the midst of Tempta­tions and Trials, was abundant in positively predicting his own future Glory in his Kingdom, and the Enlargement of his Church, the Salvation of the Gentiles through Him &c. and in Promises of Blessings he would bestow on his true Disciples in his future Kingdom▪ on which Promises he re­quired the full Dependance of his Disciples. (Ioh. xiv.) But the Disciples would have had no Ground for such De­pendance, if Christ had been liable to fail in his Work: And Christ Himself would have been guilty of Presumption, in so abounding in peremptory Promises of great Things, which depended on a meer Contingence; viz. the Determi­nations of his free Will, consisting in a Freedom ad utrum­que, to either Sin or Holiness, standing in Indifference, and incident, in Thousands of future Instances, to go either one Way or the other.

Thus it is evident, that it was impossible that the Acts of the Will of the human Soul of Christ should be otherwise than holy, and conformed to the Will of the Father; or, in other Words, they were necessarily so conformed.

I have been the longer in the Proof of this Matter, it being a Thing denied by some of the greatest Arminians, by Episcopius in particular; and because I look upon it as a Point clearly and absolutely determining the Controversy between Calvinists and Arminians, concerning the Necessity of such a Freedom of Will as is insisted on by the latter, in order to moral Agen­cy, Vertue, Command or Prohibition, Promise or Threat­ning, Reward or Punishment, Praise or Dispraise, Merit or Demerit. I now therefore proceed,

[Page 148]II. To consider whether CHRIST, in his holy Behaviour on Earth, was not thus a moral Agent, subject to Commands, Premises, &c.—

Dr. Whitby very often speaks of what he calls a Freedom ad utrumlibet, without Necessity, as requisite to Law and Com­mands; and speaks of Necessity as entirely inconsistent with Injunctions and Prohibitions. But yet we read of Christ's being the Subject of the Commands of his Father, Ioh. x.18. and xv.10. And Christ tells us, that every Thing that He said, or did, was in Compliance with Commandments he had re­ceived of the Father; Joh. xii.49, 50. & xiv.31. And we often read of Christ's Obedience to his Father's Commands, Rom. v.19. Phil. ii.18. Heb. v.8.

The foremention'd Writer represents Promises offered as Motives to Persons to do their Duty, or a being moved and in­duced by Promises, as utterly inconsistent with a State wherein Persons have not a Liberty ad utrumlibet, but are necessarily determined to one. (See particularly, P. 298. & 311.) But the Thing which this Writer asserts, is demonstrably false, if the Christian Religion be true. If there be any Truth in Christianity or the holy Scriptures, the Man Christ Jesus had his Will infallibly, unalterably and unfrustrab [...]y deter­mined to Good, and that alone; but yet he had Promises of glorious Rewards made to Him, on Condition of his per­severing in, and perfecting the Work which God had ap­pointed Him; Isai. liii.10, 11, 12. Psal. ii. & cx. Isai. xlix.7, 8, 9.— In Luke xxii.28, 29. Christ says to his Dis­ciples, Ye are They which have continued with me in my Tempta­tions; and I appoint unto you a Kingdom, as my Father hath ap­pointed unto me. The Word most properly signifies to ap­point by Covenant, or Promise. The plain Meaning of Christ's Words is this: ‘As you have partook of my Temptations and Trials, and have been stedfast, & have overcome; I pro­mise to make you Partakers of my Reward, and to give you a Kingdom; as the Father has promised me a Kingdom for continuing stedfast, and overcoming in those Trials.’ And the Words are well explained by those in Rev. iii.21. To him that overcometh, will I grant to sit with me in my Throne; even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his Throne. And Christ had not only Promises of glorious Suc­cess and Rewards made to his Obedience and Sufferings, but the Scriptures plainly represent Him as using these Pro­mises for Motives and Inducements to obey and suffer; and [Page 149] particularly that Promise of a Kingdom which the Father had appointed Him, or sitting with the Father on his Throne; as in Heb. xii.1, 2· Let us lay aside every Weight, and the Sin which doth easily beset us, and let us run with Patience the Race that is set before us, looking unto Iesus, the Author and Finisher of our Faith; who for the Ioy that was set before Him, endured the Cross, despising the Shame, and is set down on the right Hand of the Throne of God.

And how strange would it be to hear any Christian assert, that the holy and excellent Temper and Behaviour of Je­sus Christ, and that Obedience which he performed under such great Trials, was not vertuous or Praise-worthy; because his Will was not free ad utrumque, to either Holiness or Sin, but was unalterably determin'd to one; that upon this Ac­count, there is no Vertue at all, in all Christ's Humility, Meekness, Patience, Charity, Forgiveness of Enemies, Con­tempt of the World, Heavenly-mindedness, Submission to the Will of God, perfect Obedience to his Commands, (tho' He was obedient unto Death, even the Death of the Cross) his great Compassion to the Afflicted, his unparal­lel'd Love to Mankind, his Faithfulness to God and Man, under such great Trials; his praying for his Enemies, even when nailing Him to the Cross; That Vertue, when applied to these Things, is but an empty Name; That there was no Merit in any of these Things; that is, that Christ was wor­thy of Nothing at all on the Account of them, worthy of no Reward, no Praise, no Honour or Respect from God or Man; Because his Will was not indifferent, and free either to these Things, or the Contrary; but under such a strong Inclination or Bias to the Things that were excellent, as made it impossible that he should chuse the contrary; That upon this Account (to use Dr. Whitby's Language) it would be sensibly unreasonable that the human Nature should be re­warded for any of these Things.

According to this Doctrine, That Creature who is evi­dently set forth in Scripture as the First-born of every Crea­ture, as having in all Things the Pre-eminence, and as the high­est of all Creatures in Vertue, Honour, and Worthiness of Esteem, Praise and Glory, on the Account of his Vertue, is less worthy of Reward or Praise, than the very least of Saints; yea, no more worthy than a Clock or meer Machine, that is purely passive, and moved by natural Necessity.

[Page 150]If we judge by scriptural Representations of Things, we have Reason to suppose, that Christ took on him our Na­ture, and dwelt with us in this World, in a suffering State, not only to satisfy for our Sins; but that He, being in our Nature and Circumstances, and under our Trials, might be our most fit and proper Example, Leader and Captain, in the Exercise of glorious and victorious Ver­tue, and might be a visible Instance of the glorious End and Reward of it; That we might see in Him the Beauty, Amiableness, and true Honour and Glory, and exceeding Benefit of that Virtue, which it is proper for us human Beings to practise; and might thereby learn, and be animated, to seek the like Glory and Honour, and to obtain the like glorious Reward. See Heb. ii.9,— 14, with v.8, 9. and xii.1, 2, 3. Ioh. xv.10. Rom. viii.17. 2 Tim. ii.11.12. 1 Pet. ii.19, 20. & iv.13. But if there was Nothing of any Vertue or Merit, or Worthiness of any Reward, Glory, Praise or Commendation at all, in all that He did, because it was all necessary, and He could not help it; then how is here any Thing so proper to animate and incite us, free Creatures, by patient Continuance in well-doing, to seek for Honour, Glory, and Vertue?

God speaks of Himself as peculiarly well-pleased with the Righteousness of this Servant of his. Isai. xlii.21. The Lord is well pleased for his Righteousness sake. The Sacrifices of old are spoken of as a sweet Savour to God, but the Obe­dience of Christ as far more acceptable than they. Psal. xl.6, 7. Sacrifice and Offering Thou didst not desire: — Mine Ear hast Thou opened [as thy Servant performing willing Obedience;] Burnt-Offering and Sin-Offering hast thou not re­quired: Then said I, Lo, I come [as a Servant that chearfully answers the Calls of his Master:] I delight to do thy Will, O my God, and thy Law is within mine Heart. Matth. xvii.5. This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased. And Christ tells us expresly, that the Father loves Him for that wonderful Instance of his Obedience, his voluntarily yielding himself to Death, in Compliance with the Father's Command. Joh. x.17, 18. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my Life: — No Man taketh it from me; but I lay it down of my self — This Commandment received I of my Father.

And if there was no Merit in Christ's Obedience unto Death, if it was not worthy of Praise, and of the most [Page 151] glorious Rewards, the heavenly Hosts were exceedingly mistaken, by the Account that is given of them, in Rev. v.8,—12.—The four Beasts and the four and twenty Elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them Harps, and golden Vials full of Odours;— And they sung a new Song, say­ing, Thou art WORTHY to take the Book, and to open the Seals thereof; for Thou wast slain, — And I beheld, and I heard the Voice of many Angels round about the Throne, and the Beasts, and the Elders, and the Number of them was ten Thousand Times ten Thousand, and Thousands of Thousands, saying with a loud Voice, WORTHY is the Lamb that was slain, to receive Power, and Riches, and Wisdom, and Strength, and Honour, and Glory, and Blessing.

Christ speaks of the eternal Life which He was to re­ceive, as the Reward of his Obedience to the Father's Com­mandments. Joh. xii.49, 50. I have not spoken of my self; but the Father which sent me, He gave me a Commandment what I should say, and what I should speak: And I know that his Com­mandment is Life everlasting: Whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.—God promises to di­vide Him a Portion with the great &c. for his being his righteous Servant, for his glorious Vertue under such great Trials & Sufferings. Isai. liii.11, 12. He shall see of the Travel of his Soul and be satisfied: By his Knowledge shall my righteous Servant justify many; for he shall bear their Iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a Portion with the Great, and he shall divide the Spoil with the Strong, because He hath poured out his Soul unto Death.— The Scriptures represent God as rewarding Him far above all his other Servants. Phil. ii.7, 8, 9. He took on Him the Form of a Servant, and was made in the Likeness of Men: and being found in Fashion as a Man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto Death, even the Death of the Cross: Wherefore GOD also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a Name above every Name.—Psal. xlv.7. Thou lovest Righteousness, and hatest Wickedness; Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed Thee with the Oil of Gladness above thy F [...]llows.

There is no Room to pretend, that the glorious Benefits bestowed in Consequence of Christ's Obedience, are not pro­perly of the Nature of a Reward. What is a Reward, in the most proper Sense, but a Benefit bestowed in Conse­quence of something morally excellent in Quality or Beha­viour, in Testimony of well-pleasedness in that moral Ex­cellency, and Respect and Favour on that Account? If [Page 152] we consider the Nature of a Reward most strictly, and make the utmost of it, and add to the Th [...]ngs contained in this Description, proper Merit or Worthiness, and the Bestow­ment of the Benefit in Consequence of a Promise; still it will be found, there is Nothing belonging to it, but that the Scripture is most express as to it's belonging to the Glory bestowed on Christ, after his Sufferings; as appears from what has been already observed: There was a glo­rious Benefit bestowed in Consequence of something mo­rally excellent, being called Righteousness and Obedience; There was great Favour, Love and Well-pleasedness, for this Righteousness and Obedience, in the Bestower; There was proper Merit, or Worthiness of the Benefit, in the O­bedience; It was bestowed in Fulfilment of Promises, made to that Obedience; and was bestowed therefor, or because he had performed that Obedience.

I may add to all these Things, that Jesus Christ, while here in the Flesh, was manifestly in a State of Trial. The last Adam, as Christ is called, 1 Cor. xv.45. Rom. v.14. taking on Him the human Nature, and so the Form of a Servant, and being under the Law, to stand and act for us, was put into a State of Trial, as the first Adam was.— Dr. Whitby mentions these three Things as Evidences of Persons being in a State of Trial (on the five Points, P. 298, 299.) namely, Their Afflictions being spoken of as their Trials or Temptations, their being the Subjects of Promises, and their being exposed to Satan's Temptations. But Christ was apparently the Subject of each of these. Concerning Promises made to Him, I have spoken already. The Difficulties and Afflictions He met with in the Course of his Obedience, are called his Temptations or Trials, Luke xxii.28. Ye are they which have continued with me in my Temptations, or Trials. Heb. ii.18. For in that he Himself hath suffered, being tempted [or tried] He is able to succour them that are tempted. And Chap. iv.15. We have not an High-Priest, which cannot be touched with the Feeling of our Infirmities; but was in all Points tempted like as we are, yet without Sin. And as to his being tempted by Satan, it is what none will dispute.

[Page 153]

SECTION III. The Case of such as are given up of God to Sin, and of fallen Man in general, proves moral Necessity and Inability to be con­sistent with Blame-worthiness.

DR. Whitby asserts Freedom, not only from Coaction, but Necessity, to be essential to any Thing deserving the Name of Sin, and to an Action's being culpa­ble: in these Words (Discourse on five Points, Edit. 3. P. [...]48.) ‘If they be thus necessitated, then neither their Sins of O­mission or Commission could deserve that Name; it be­ing essential to the Nature of Sin, according to St. Austin's Definition, that it be an Action, à quo liberum est abstinere. Three Things seem plainly necessary to make an Action or Omission culpable; 1. That it be in our Power to perform or forbear it: For, as Origen, and all the Fa­thers say, no Man is blame-worthy for not doing what He could not do.’ —And elsewhere the Doctor insists, that ‘when any do Evil of Necessity, what they do is no Vice, that they are guilty of no Fault, are worthy of no Blame, Dispraise, or Dishonour, but are unblamea­ble. *

If these Things are true, in Dr. Whitby's Sense of Necessity, they will prove all such to be blameless, who are given up of God to Sin, in what they commit after they are thus given up.— That there is suc [...] a Thing as Men's being judici­ally given up to Sin, is c [...]rtain, if the Scripture rightly in­forms us; such a Thing being often there spoken of: as in Psal. lxxxi.12. So I gave them up to their own Hearts Lust, and they walked in their own Counsels. Act. vii.42. Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the Host of Heaven. Rom. i.24. Wherefore, God also gave them up to Uncleanness, through the Lusts of their own Hearts, to dishonour their own Bodies between Themselves. Ver. 26. For this Cause God gave them up to vile Af­fections. Ver. 28. And even as they did not like to retain God in their Knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate Mind, to do th [...]se Things that are not convenient.

[Page 154]'Tis needless to stand particularly to inquire, what God's giving Men up to their own Heart's Lusts signifies: It is suffi­cient to observe, that hereby is certainly meant God's so or­dering or disposing Things, in some Respect or other, either by doing or forbearing to do, as that the Consequence should be Men's continuing in their Sins. So much as Men are given up to, so much is the Consequence of their being given up; whether that be less or more. If God don't order Things so, by Action or Permission, that Sin will be the Consequence, then the Event proves that they are not given up to that Consequence. If Good be the Consequence, in­stead of Evil, then God's Mercy is to be acknowledged in that Good; which Mercy must be contrary to God's Judgment in giving up to Evil. If the Event must prove that they are given up to Evil as the Consequence, then the Persons who are the Subjects of this Judgment, must be the Subjects of such an Event, and so the Event is necessary.

If not only Coaction, but all Necessity, will prove Men blameless, then Iudas was blameless, after Christ had given him over, and had already declared his certain Damnation, and that he should verily betray Him. He was guilty of no Sin in betraying his Master, on this Supposition; tho his so doing is spoken of by Christ as the most aggravated Sin, more heinous than the Sin of Pilate in crucifying Him. And the Iews in Egypt, in Ieremiah's Time, were guilty of no Sin, in their not worshipping the true God, after God had Sworn by his great Name, that his Name should be no more named in the Mouth of any Man of Judah, in all the Land of Egypt. Jer. xliv.26.

Dr. Whitby (Disc. on five Points. P. 302, 303) denies, that Men, in this World, are ever so given up by God to Sin, that their Wills should be necessarily determined to Evil; tho' He owns, that hereby it may become exceeding difficult for Men to do Good, having a strong Bent, and powerful Inclination to what is Evil.—But if we should allow the Case to be just as he represents, the Judgment of giving up to Sin will no better agree with his Notions of that Liberty, which is essential to Praise or Blame, than if we should suppose it to render the avoiding of Sin impossible. For if an Impossibility of avoiding Sin wholly excuses a Man; then, for the same Reason, it's being difficult to avoid it excuses Him in Part; and this just in Proportion to the Degree of Difficulty.— If the [Page 155] Influence of moral Impossibility or Inability be the same, to excuse Persons in not doing, or not avoiding any Thing, as that of natural Inability, (which is supposed) then undoubt­edly, in like Manner, moral Difficulty has the same Influence to excuse with natural Difficulty. But all allow, that natural Impossibility wholly excuses, and also that natural Difficulty excuses in Part, and makes the Act or Omission less blame­able, in Proportion to the Difficulty. All natural Difficulty, according to the plainest Dictates of the Light of Nature, excuses in some Degree, so that the Neglect is not so blame­able, as if there had been no Difficulty in the Case: and so the greater the Difficulty is, still the more excusable, in Pro­portion to the Increase of the Difficulty. And as natural Im­possibility wholly excuses and excludes all Blame, so the nearer the Difficulty approaches to Impossibility, still the nearer a Person is to Blamelesness, in Proportion to that Approach. And if the Case of moral Impossibility or Necessity, be just the same with natural Necessity or Co-action, as to Influence to excuse a Neglect, then also, for the same Reason, the Case of natural Difficulty don't differ in Influence, to excuse a Neglect, from moral Difficulty, arising from a strong Bias or Bent to Evil, such as Dr. Whitby owns in the Case of those that are given up to their own Hearts Lusts. So that the Fault of such Persons must be lessen'd, in Proportion to the Diffi­culty, and Approach to Impossibility. If ten Degrees of moral Difficulty make the Action quite impossible, and so wholly ex [...]use, then if there be nine Degrees of Difficulty, the Person is in great Part excused, and is nine Degrees in ten, less blame-worthy, than if there had been no Difficulty at all; and he has but one Degree of Blame-worthiness. The Reason is plain, on Arminian Principles; viz. because as Difficulty, by antecedent Bent and Bias on the Will, is in­creased, Liberty of Indifference, and Self-determination in the Will, is diminished: so much Hindrance and Impediment is there, in the Way of the Will's acting freely, by meer Self-determination. And if ten Degrees of such Hindrance take away all such Liberty, then nine Degrees take away nine Parts in ten, and leave but one Degree of Liberty. And therefore there is but one Degree of Blameableness, [...]teris paribus, in the Neglect; the Man being no further blameable in what He does, or neglects, than he has Liberty in that Affair: For Blame or Praise (say they) arises wholly from a good Use or Abuse of Liberty.

[Page 156]From all which it follows, that a strong Bent and Bias one Way, and Difficulty of going the contrary, never causes a Person to be at all more exposed to Sin, or any Thing blame­able: Because as the Difficulty is increased, so much the less is required and expected. Tho' in one Respect, Exposedness to Sin or Fault is increased, viz. by an Increase of Exposed­ness to the evil Action or Omission; yet it is diminished in another Respect, to ballance it; namely, as the Sinfulness or Blameableness of the Action or Omission is diminished in the same Proportion. So that, on the whole, the Affair, as to Exposedness to Guilt or Blame, is left just as it was.

To illustrate this, let us suppose a Scale of a Balance to be intelligent, and a free Agent, and indued with a self-moving Power, by Virtue of which it could act and produce Effects to a certain Degree; ex. gr. to move it self up or down with a Force equal to a Weight of ten Pounds; and that it might therefore be required of it, in ordinary Circumstances, to mov [...] it self down with that Force; for which it has Power and [...] Liberty, and therefore would be blame-worthy if it fail'd of it. But then let us suppose a Weight of ten Pounds to be put in the opposite Scale, which in Force entirely coun­ter-balances it's self-moving Power, and so renders it impossi­ble for it to move down at all; and therefore wholly excuses it from any such Motion. But if we suppose there to be only nine Pounds in the opposite Scale, this renders it's Motion not impossible, but yet more difficult; so that it can now only move down with the Force of one Pound: But how­ever, this is all that is required of it under these Circum­stances; it is wholly excused from nine Parts of its Motion: And if the Scale, under these Circumstances, neglects to move, and remains at Rest, all that it will be blamed for, will be it's Neglect of that one tenth Part of it's Motion; which it had as much Liberty and Advantage for, as in usual Cir­cumstances, it has for the greater Motion, which in such a Case would be required. So that this new Difficulty, don't at all increase its Exposedness to any Thing blame-worthy.

And thus the very Supposition of Difficulty in the Way of a Man's Duty, or Proclivity to Sin, thro' a being given up to Hardness of Heart, or indeed by any other Means whatsoever, is an Inconsistence, according to Dr. Whitby's Notions of Liberty, Vertue and Vice, Blame and Praise. The avoiding Sin and Blame, and the doing what is vertuous and Praise-worthy, must be always equally easy.

[Page 157]Dr. Whitby's Notions of Liberty, Obligation, Vertue, Sin, &c. lead Him into another great Inconsistence. He abun­dantly insists, that Necessity is inconsistent with the Nature of Sin or Fault. He says in the foremention'd Treatise, P. 14. Who can blame a Person for doing what he could not help? and P. 15. It being sensibly unjust, to punish any Man for doing that which it was never in his Power to avoid. And in P. 341. to confirm his Opinion, he quotes one of the Fathers, saying, Why doth God command, if Man hath not Free-will and Power to obey? And again in the same and the next Page, Who will not cry out, that it is Folly to command him, that hath not Liberty to do what is commanded; and that it is unjust to condemn Him, that has it not in his Power to do what is required? And in P. 373. He cites another saying, A Law is given to Him that can turn to both Parts; i. e. obey or transgress it: But no Law can be against Him who is bound by Nature.

And yet the same Dr. Whitby asserts, that fallen Man is not able to perform perfect Obedience. In P. 165. He has these Words, ‘The Nature of Adam had Power to continue in­nocent, and without Sin; whereas it is certain, our Nature never had so.’ But if we han't Power to continue innocent and without Sin, then Sin is consistent with Necessity, and we may be sinful in that which we have not Power to avoid; and those Things can't be true, which He asserts elsewhere, namely, ‘That if we be necessitated, neither Sins of Omission nor Commission, would deserve that Name.’ (P. 348.) If we have it not in our Power to be innocent, then we have it not in our Power to be blameless: and if so, we are un­der a Necessity of being blame-worthy. And how does this consist with what he so often asserts, that Necessity is in­consistent with Blame or Praise? If we have it not in our Power to perform perfect Obedience to all the Commands of God, then we are under a Necessity of breaking some Commands, in some Degree; having no Power to perform so much as is commanded. And if so, why does he cry out of the Unreasonableness and Folly of commanding beyond what Men have Power to do?

And Arminians in general are very inconsistent with them­selves in what they say of the Inability of fallen Man in this Respect. They strenuously maintain, that it would be un­just in God, to require any thing of us beyond our present Power and Ability to perform; and also hold, that we are now unable to perform perfect Obedience, and that Christ [Page 158] died to satisfy for the Imperfections of our Obedience, and has made Way that our imperfect Obedience might be accept­ed instead of perfect: Wherein they seem insensibly to run themselves into the grossest Inconsistence. For, (as I have observed elsewhere) ‘They hold that God in Mercy to Mankind has abolished that rigorous Constitution or Law, that they were under originally; and instead of it, has in­troduced a more mild Constitution, and put us under a new Law, which requires no more than imperfect sincere Obedience, in Compliance with our poor infirm impotent Circumstances since the Fall.’

Now, how can these Things be made consistent? I would ask what Law these Imperfections of our Obedience are a Breach of? If they are a Breach of no Law that we were ever under, then they are not Sins. And if they be not Sins, what Need of Christ's dying to satisfy for them? But if they are Sins, and the Breach of some Law, what Law is it? They can't be a Breach of their new Law; for that requires no other than imperfect Obedience, or Obedience with Imperfections: And therefore to have Obedience attend­ed with Imperfections, is no Breach of it; for 'tis as much as it requires. And they can't be a Breach of their old Law; for that, they say, is entirely abolished, and we never were under it.— They say, it would not be just in God to require of us perfect Obedience, because it would not be just to re­quire more than we can perform, or to punish us for failing of it. And therefore, by their own Scheme, the Imper­fections of our Obedience don't deserve to be punished. What need therefore of Christ's dying, to satisfy for them? What need of his Suffering, to satisfy for that which is no Fault, and in it's own Nature deserves no suffering? What need of Christ's dying, to purchase, that our imperfect Obedi­ence should be accepted, when according to their Scheme, it would be unjust in it self, that any other Obedience than imperfect should be required? What need of Christ's dying to make Way for God's accepting such an Obedience, as it would be unjust in Him not to accept? Is there any Need of Christ's dying, to prevail with God not to do un­righteously?— If it be said, that Christ died to satisfy that old Law for us, that so we might not be under it, but that there might be Room for our being under a more mild Law; still I would inquire, what Need of Christ's dying that we might not be under a Law, which (by their Principles) it would be in it self unjust that we should be under, whe­ther [Page 159] Christ had died or no, because in our present State we are not able to keep it?

So the Arminians are inconsistent with themselves, not only in what they say of the Need of Christ's Satisfac­tion to attone for those Imperfections which we cannot avoid, [...] also in what they say of the Grace of God, granted to enable Men to perform the sincere Obedience of the new Law. ‘I grant (says Dr. Stebbing *) indeed, that by Reason of original Sin, we are utterly disabled for the Performance of the Condition, without new Grace from God. But I say then, that He gives such Grace to all of us, by which the Performance of the Condition is truly possible: And upon this Ground he may, and doth most righteously require it.’ If Dr. Stebbing intends to speak properly, by Grace he must mean, that Assistance which is of Grace, or of free Favour and Kindness. But yet in the same Place he speaks of it as very unreasonable, unjust and cruel, for God to require that, as the Condition of Pardon, that is be­come impossible by original Sin. If it be so, what Grace is there in giving Assistance and Ability to perform the Condi­tion of Pardon? Or why is that called by the Name of Grace, that is an absolute Debt, which God is bound to be­stow, and which it would be unjust and cruel in Him to with-hold, seeing he requires that, as the Condition of Pardon, which we cannot perform without it?

SECTION IV. Command, and Obligation to Obedience, consistent with moral Inability to obey.

IT being so much insisted on by Arminian Writers, that Necessity is inconsistent with Law or Command, and particularly, that it is absurd to suppose God by his Command should require that of Men which they are una­ble to do; not allowing in this Case for any Difference that there is between natural and moral Inability▪ I would there­fore now particularly consider this Matter.

[Page 160]And for the greater Clearness, I would distinctly lay down the following Things.

I. The Will it self, and not only those Actions which are the Effects of the Will, is the proper Object of Precept or Command. That is, such or such a State or Acts of Men's Wills, is in many Cases, properly required of them by Command; and not only those Alterations in the State of their Bodies or Minds that are the Consequences of Volition. This is most manifest; for 'tis the Soul only, that is properly and directly the Subject of Precepts or Commands; that only being capable of receiving or perceiving Commands. The Motions or State of the Body are Matter of Command, only as they are subject to the Soul, and connected with it's Acts. But now the Soul has no other Faculty whereby it can, in the most direct and proper Sense, consent, yield to, or comply with any Command, but the Faculty of the Will; and 'tis by this Faculty only, that the Soul can directly dis­obey, or refuse Compliance: For the very Notions of Consenting, Yielding, Accepting, Complying, Refusing, Rejecting &c. are, according to the Meaning of the Terms, Nothing but certain Acts of the Will. Obedience, in the primary Na­ture of it, is the submitting and yielding of the Will of one to the Will of another. Disobedience is the not consent­ing, not complying of the Will of the commanded to the manifested Will of the Commander. Other Acts that are not the Acts of the Will, as certain Motions of the Body and Alterations in the Soul, are Obedience or Disobedience only indirectly, as they are connected with the State or Actions of the Will, according to an established Law of Nature. So that 'tis manifest, the Will it self may be re­quired: And the Being of a good Will is the most proper, direct and immediate Subject of Command; and if this can't be prescribed or required by Command or Precept, no­thing can; For other Things can be required no otherwise than as they depend upon, and are the Fruits of a good Will.

Corol. 1. If there be several Acts of the Will, or a Series of Acts, one following another, and one the Effect of ano­ther, the first and determining Act is properly the Subject of Command, and not only the consequent Acts, which are de­pendent upon it. Yea, 'tis this more especially which is that which Command or Precept has a proper Respect to; be­cause 'tis this Act that determines the whole Affair: In this Act the Obedience or Disobedience lies, in a peculiar Manner; [Page 161] the consequent Acts being all subject to it, and governed and determined by it. This determining governing Act must be the proper Subject of Precept, or none.

Corol. 2. It also follows from what has been observed, That if there be any Sort of Act, or Exertion of the Soul, prior to all free Acts of the Will or Acts of Choice in the Case, directing and determining what the Acts of the Will shall be; that Act or Exertion of the Soul can't properly be subject to any Command or Precept, in any Respect whatsoever, either directly or indirectly, immediately or remotely. Such Acts can't be subject to Commands directly, because they are no Acts of the Will; being by the Supposition prior to all Acts of the Will, determining and giving Rise to all it's Acts: They not being Acts of the Will, there can be in them no Consent to, or Compliance with any Command. Neither can they be subject to Command or Precept indirectly or remotely; for they are not so much as the Effects or Consequences of the Will, being prior to all its Acts. So that if there be any Obedience in that original Act of the Soul, determining all Volitions, it is an Act of Obedience wherein the Will has no Concern at all; it preceeding every Act of Will. And there­fore, if the Soul either obeys or disobeys in this Act, it is wholly involuntarily; there is no willing Obedience or Rebel­lion, no Compliance or Opposition of the Will in the Affair: and what Sort of Obedience or Rebellion is this!

And thus the Arminian Notion of the Freedom of the Will consisting in the Soul's determining it's own Acts of Will, instead of being essential to moral Agency, and to Men's being the Subjects of moral Government, is utterly incon­sistent with it. For if the Soul determines all it's Acts of Will, it is therein subject to no Command or moral Govern­ment, as has been now observed; because it's original deter­mining Act is no Act of Will or Choice, it being prior, by the Supposition, to every Act of Will. And the Soul can't be the Subject of Command in the Act of the Will it self, which depends on the foregoing determining Act, and is determined by it; in as much as this is necessary, being the necessary Consequence and Effect of that prior determining Act, which is not voluntary. Nor can the Man be the Subject of Com­mand or Government in his external Actions; because these are all necessary, being the necessary Effects of the Acts of the Will themselves. So that Mankind, according to this Scheme, are Subjects of Command or moral Government in nothing [Page 162] at all; and all their moral Agency is entirely excluded, and no Room left for Vertue or Vice in the World.

So that 'tis the Arminian Scheme, and not the Scheme of the Calvinists, that is utterly inconsistent with moral Govern­ment, and with all Use of Laws, Precepts, Prohibitions, Pro­mises, or Threatnings. Neither is there any Way whatsoever to make their Principles consist with these Things. For if it be said, that there is no prior determining Act of the Soul, preceding the Acts of the Will, but that Volitions are Events that come to pass by pure Accident, without any determining Cause, this is most palpably inconsistent with all Use of Laws and Precepts; for nothing is more plain than that Laws can be of no Use to direct and regulate perfect Accident; which by the Supposition of it's being pure Accident, is in no Case regulated by any Thing preceeding; but happens this Way or that perfectly by Chance, without any Cause or Rule. The perfect Uselesness of Laws and Precepts also follows from the Arminian Notion of Indifference, as essential to that Liberty which is requisite to Vertue or Vice. For the End of Laws is to bind to one Side; and the End of Commands is to turn the Will one Way: and therefore they are of no Use unless they turn or bias the Will that Way. But if Liberty consists in Indifference, then their biassing the Will one Way only, de­stroys Liberty; as it puts the Will out of Equilibrium. So that the Will, having a Bias, thro' the Influence of binding Law, laid upon it, is not wholly left to it self, to determine it self which Way it will, without Influence from without.

II. Having shewn that the Will it self, especially in those Acts which are original, leading and determining in any Case, is the proper Subject of Precept and Command, and not only those Alterations in the Body, &c. which are the Effects of the Will; I now proceed in the second Place, to observe that the very Opposition or Defect of the Will it self, in that Act which is it's original and determining Act in the Case, I say the Will's Opposition in this Act to a Thing proposed or com­manded, or it's failing of Compliance, implies a moral Inabi­lity to that Thing: Or in other Words, whenever a Com­mand requires a certain State or Act of the Will, and the Person commanded, notwithstanding the Command and the Circumstances under which it is exhibited, still finds his Will opposite or wanting, in that, belonging to it's State or Acts, which is original and determining in the Affair, that Man is morally unable to obey that Command.

[Page 163]This is manifest from what was observed in the first Part, concerning the Nature of moral Inability, as distinguished from natural: where it was observed, That a Man may then be said to be morally unable to do a Thing, when He is under the Influence or Prevalence of a contrary Inclination, or has a Want of Inclination, under such Circumstances and Views. 'Tis also evident from what has been before proved, that the Will is always, and in every individual Act, necessarily deter­mined by the strongest Motive; and so is always unable to go against the Motive, which all Things considered, has now the greatest Strength and Advantage to move the Will.— But not further to insist on these Things, the Truth of the Position now laid down, viz. That when the Will is op­posite to, or failing of a Compliance with a Thing in it's original determining Inclination or Act, it is not able to comply, appears by the Consideration of these two Things.

1. The Will in the Time of that diverse or opposite leading Act or Inclination, and when actually under the Influence of it, is not able to exert it self to the contrary, to make an Alte­ration, in order to a Compliance. The Inclination is unable to change it self; and that for this plain Reason, that it is unable to incline to change it self. Present Choice can't [...]t present chuse to be otherwise: for that would be at present to chuse something diverse from what is at present chosen. If the Will, all Things now considered, inclines or chuses to go that Way, then it can't chuse, all Things now considered, to go the other Way, and so can't chuse to be made to go the other Way. To suppose that the Mind is now sincerely inclined to change it self to a different Inclination, is to sup­pose the Mind is now truly inclined otherwise than it is now inclined. The Will may oppose some future remote Act that it is exposed to, but not its own present Act.

2. As it is impossible that the Will should comply with the Thing commanded with Respect to it's leading Act, by any Act of it's own, in the Time of that diverse or opposite leading and original Act, or after it is actually come under the Influence of that determining Choice or Inclination; so 'tis impossible it should be determined to a Compliance by any foregoing Act; for by the very Supposition, there is no foregoing Act; the opposite or non-complying Act being that Act which is original and determining in the Case. Therefore it must be so, that if this first determining Act be found non-complying, on the Proposal of the Command, the Mind is morally unable to obey. For to suppose it to be able to obey, is to suppose it to be able to determine and cause it's first determining Act to be otherwise, [Page 164] and that it has Power better to govern and regulate it's first governing and regulating Act, which is absurd; For it is to sup­pose a prior Act of the Will, determining it's first determining Act; that is, an Act prior to the first, and leading and govern­ing the original and governing Act of all; which is a Contradiction.

Here if it should be said, that altho' the Mind has not any Ability to will contrary to what it does will, in the original and leading Act of the Will, because there is sup­posed to be no prior Act to determine and order it otherwise, and the Will can't immediately change it self, because it can't at present incline to a Change; yet the Mind has an Ability for the present to forbear to proceed to Action, and take Time for Deliberation; which may be an Occasion of the Change of the Inclination.

I answer, (1.) In this Objection that seems to be for­gotten which was observed before, viz. that the determin­ing to take the Matter into Consideration, is it self an Act of the Will: And if this be all the Act wherein the Mind exercises Ability and Freedom, then this, by the Supposition, must be all that can be commanded or re­quired by Precept. And if this Act be the commanded Act, then all that has been observed concerning the commanded Act of the Will remains true, that the very Want of it is a moral Inability to exert it, &c. (2.) We are speaking con­cerning the first and leading Act of the Will in the Case, or about the Affair; And if a Determining to deliberate, or on the contrary, to proceed immediately without deliberating, be the first and leading Act; or whether it be or no, if there be another Act before it, which determines that; or what­ever be the original and leading Act; still the foregoing Proof stands good, that the Non-compliance of the leading Act implies moral Inability to comply.

If it should be objected, that these Things make all moral Inability equal, and suppose Men morally unable to will otherwise than they actually do will, in all Cases, and equally so, in every Instance.

In answer to this Objection, I desire two Things may be observed. First, That if by being equally unable, be meant as really unable; then so far [...]s the Inability is meerly mo­ral, 'tis true, the Will, in every Instance, acts by moral Ne­cessity, [Page 165] and is morally unable to act otherwise, as truly and proper [...]y in one Case as another; as, I humbly conceive, has been perfectly and abundantly demonstrated by what has been said in the preceeding Part of this Essay. But yet, in some Respect, the Inability may be said to be greater in some Instances than others: Tho' the Man may be truly un­able, (if moral Inability can truly be called Inability,) yet he may be further from being able to do some Things than others. As it is in Things which Men are naturally unable to do. A Person whose Strength is no more than sufficient to lift the Weight of one Hundred Pounds, is as truly and really unable to lift one Hundred and one Pounds, as ten Thousand Pounds; but yet he is further from being able to lift the latter Weight than the former; and so, according to common Use of Speech, has a greater Inability for it. So it is in moral Inability. A Man is truly morally unable to chuse contrary to a present Inclination, which in the least Degree prevails; or contrary to that Motive, which, all Things considered, has Strength and Advantage now to move the Will, in the least Degree, superiour to all other Motives in View: But yet he is further from Ability to resist a very strong Habit, and a violent and deeply rooted Incli­nation, or a Motive vastly exceeding all others in Strength. And again, the Inability may in some Respects be called greater, in some Instances than others, as it may be more general and extensive to all Acts of that Kind. So Men may be said to be unable in a different Sense, and to be further from moral Ability, who have that moral Inability which is gene­ral and habitual, than they who have only that Inability which is occasional and particular. Thus in Cases of natural Inability; he that is born blind may be said to be unable to see, in a different Manner, and is in some Respects further from being able to see, than He whose Sight is hinder'd by a transient Cloud or Mist.

And besides, that which was observed in the first Part of this Discourse concerning the Inability which attends a strong and settled Habit, should be here remember'd; viz. That fix'd Habit is attended with this peculiar moral Inability, by which it is distinguished from occasional Volition, namely, that En­deavours to avoid future Volitions of that Kind, which are agreable to such a Habit, much more frequently and com­monly prove vain and insufficient. For tho' it is impossible [Page 166] there should be any true sincere Desires and Endeavours a­gainst a present Volition or Choice, yet there may be against Volitions of that Kind, when view'd at a Distance. A Person may desire and use Means to prevent future Exercises of a certain Inclination; and in order to it, may wish the Habit might be removed; but his Desires and Endeavours may be ineffectual. The Man may be said in some Sense to be unable; yea, even as the Word unable is a relative Term, and has Relation to ineffectual Endeavours; yet not with Regard to present, but remote Endeavours.

Secondly, It must be borne in Mind, according to what was observ'd before, that indeed no Inability whatsoever which is meerly moral, is properly called by the Name of Inability; and that in the strictest Propriety of Speech, a Man may be said to have a Thing in his Power, if he has it at his Election; and He can't be said to be unable to do a Thing, when He can if He now pleases, or whenever he has a proper, direct and immediate Desire for it. As to those Desires and Endea­vours that may be against the Exercises of a strong Habit, with Regard to which Men may be said to be unable to avoid those Exercises, they are remote Desires and Endea­vours in two Respects. First, as to Time; they are never against present Volitions, but only against Volitions of such a Kind, when view'd at a Distance. Secondly, as to their Nature; these opposite Desires are not directly and properly against the Habit and Inclination itself, or the Volitions in which it is exercised; for these, in themselves considered, are agreable; but against something else, that attends them, or is their Con­sequence; the Opposition of the Mind is levelled entirely against this; the Inclination or Volitions themselves are not at all opposed directly, and for their own sake; but only indirectly, and remotely on the Account of something alien [...] and foreign.

III. Tho' the Opposition of the Will it self, or the very want of Will to a Thing commanded, implies a moral Ina­bility to that Thing; yet, if it be as has been already shewn, that the Being of a good State or Act of Will, is a Thing most properly required by Command; then, in some Cases such a State or Act of Will may properly be required, which at present is not, and which may also be wanting after it is commanded. And therefore those Things may properly be commanded, which Men have a moral Inability for.

[Page 167]Such a State or Act of the Will, may be required by Com­mand, as does not already exist. For if that Volition only may be commanded to be which already is, there could be no use of Precept; Commands in all Cases would be per­fectly vain and impertinent. And not only may such a Will be required as is wanting before the Command is given, but also such as may possibly be wanting afterwards; such as the Exhibition of the Command may not be effectual to produce or excite. Otherwise, no such Thing as Disobedience to a proper and rightful Command is possible in any Case; and there is no Case supposable or possible, wherein there can be an inexcusable or faulty Disobedience. Which Arminians cannot affirm, consistently with their Principles: for this makes Obedience to just and proper Commands always necessary, and Disobedience impossible. And so the Arminian would over­throw Himself, yielding the very Point we are upon, which He so strenuously denies, viz. that Law and Command are consistent with Necessity.

If meerly that Inability will excuse Disobedience, which is implied in the Opposition or Defect of Inclination, remaining after the Command is exhibited, then Wickedness always carries that in it which excuses it. 'Tis evermore so, that by how much the more Wickedness there is in a Man's Heart, by so much is his Inclination to Evil the stronger, and by so much the more therefore has he of moral Inability to the Good required. His moral Inability, consisting in the Strength of his evil Inclination, is the very Thing wherein his Wickedness consists; and yet according to Arminian Prin­ciples, it must be a Thing inconsistent with Wickedness; and by how much the more he has of it, by so much is he the further from Wickedness.

Therefore, on the whole, it is manifest, that moral Inability alone (which consists in Disinclination) never renders any Thing improperly the subject-matter of Precept or Command, and never can excuse any Person in Disobedience, or Want of Conformity to a Command.

Natural Inability, arising from the Want of natural Capa­city, or external Hindrance (which alone is properly called Inability) without doubt wholly excuses, or makes a Thing improperly the Matter of Command. If Men are excused from doing or acting any good Thing, supposed to be com­manded, it must be through some Defect or Obstacle that is [Page 168] not in the Will itself, but extrinsic to it; either in the Capa­city of Understanding, or Body, or outward Circumstances.

Here two or three Things may be observed,

1. As to spiritual Duties or Acts, or any good Thing in the State or immanent Acts of the Will it self, or of the Affections (which are only certain Modes of the Exercise of the Will) if Persons are justly excused, it must be thro' want of Capacity in the natural Faculty of Understanding. Thus the same spi­ritual Duties, or holy Affections and Exercises of Heart, can't be required of Men, as may be of Angels; the Capacity of Un­derstanding being so much inferiour. So Men can't be required to love those amiable Persons whom they have had no Opportunity to see, or hear of, or come to the Know­ledge of, in any Way agreable to the natural State and Capacity of the human Understanding. But the Insufficiency of Mo­tives will not excuse; unless their being insufficient arises not from the moral State of the Will or Inclination it self, but from the State of the natural Understanding. The great Kindness and Generosity of another may be a Motive insuffi­cient to excite Gratitude in the Person that receives the Kindness, thro' his vile and ungrateful Temper: In this Case, the Insufficiency of the Motive arises from the State of the Will or Inclination of Heart, and don't at all excuse. But if this Generosity is not sufficient to excite Gratitude, being un­known, there being no Means of Information adequate to the State and Measure of the Person's Faculties, this Insufficiency is attended with a natural Inability, which entirely excuses.

2. As to such Motions of Body, or Exercises and Alterations of Mind, which don't consist in the immanent Acts or State of the Will it self, but are supposed to be required as Effects of the Will; I say, in such supposed Effects of the Will, in Cases wherein there is no Want of a Capacity of Understand­ing; that Inability, and that only excuses, which consists in Want of Connection between them and the Will. If the Will fully complies, and the proposed Effect don't prove, according to the Laws of Nature, to be connected with his Volition, the Man is perfectly excused; he has a natural Inability to the Thing required. For the Will itself, as has been observed, is all that can be directly and immediately required by Command; and other Things only indirectly, as connected with the Will. If therefore there be a full Compliance of Will, the Person [Page 169] has done his Duty; and if other Things don't prove to be connected with his Volition, that is not owing to him.

3. Both these Kinds of natural Inability that have been mentioned, and so all Inability that excuses, may be resolved into one Thing; namely, Want of natural Capacity or Strength; either Capacity of Understanding, or external Strength. For when there are external Defects and Obstacles, they would be no Obstacles, were it not for the Imperfection and Limitations of Understanding and Strength.

Corol. If Things for which Men have a moral Inability, may properly be the Matter of Precept or Command, then they may also of Invitation and Counsel. Commands, and Invitations come very much to the same Thing; the Differ­ence is only circumstantial: Commands are as much a Mani­festation of the Will of him that speaks, as Invitations, and as much Testimonies of Expectation of Compliance. The Dif­ference between them lies in nothing that touches the Affair in Hand. The main Difference between Command and Invitation consists in the Enforcement of the Will of Him who commands or invites. In the latter it is his Kindness, the Goodness which his Will arises from: in the former it is his Authority. But whatever be the Ground of the Will of him that speaks, or the Enforcement of what he says, yet seeing neither his Will nor Expectation is any more testified in the one Case than the other; therefore a Person's being known to be morally unable to do the Thing to which he is directed by Invitation, is no more an Evidence of Insincerity in him that directs, in manifesting either a Will, or Expectation which he has not, than his being known to be morally unable to do what he is directed to by Command.—So that all this grand Objection of Arminians against the Inability of fallen Men to exert Faith in Christ, or to perform other spiritual Gospel-Duties, from the Sincerity of God's Counsels and In­vitations, must be without Force.

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SECTION V. That Sincerity of Desires and Endeavours, which is supposed to excuse in the Non-performance of Things in themselves good, particularly considered.

'TIS what is much insisted on by many, that some Men, tho' they are not able to perform spiritual Duties, such as Repentance of Sin, Love to God, a cordial Acceptance of Christ as exhibited and offer'd in the Gospel, &c. yet they may sincerely desire and endeavour these Things; and therefore must be excused; it being unreasonable to blame 'em for the Omission of those Things which they sin­cerely desire and endeavour to do, but can't do.

Concerning this Matter, the following Things may be observed.

1. What is here supposed, is a great Mistake, and gross Absurdity; even that Men may sincerely chuse and desire those spiritual Duties of Love, Acceptance, Choice, Rejection &c. consisting in the Exercise of the Will it self, or in the Dis­position and Inclination of the Heart; and yet not be able to perform or exert them. This is absurd, because 'tis absurd to suppose that a Man should directly, properly and sincerely in­cline to have an Inclination, which at the same Time is con­trary to his Inclination: for that is▪ to suppose him not to be inclined to that which he is inclined to. If a Man, in the State and Acts of his Will and Inclination, does properly and directly fall in with those Duties, he therein performs 'em: For the Duties themselves consist in that very Thing; they consist in the State and Acts of the Will being so formed and directed. If the Soul properly and sincerely falls in with a certain proposed Act of Will or Choice, the Soul therein makes that Choice it's own. Even as when a moving Body falls in with a proposed Direction of its Motion, that is the same Thing as to move in that Direction.

[Page 171]2. That which is called a Desire and Willingness for those inward Duties, in such as don't perform them, has respect to these Duties only indirectly and remotely, and is improperly represented as a Willingness for them; not only because (as was observed before) it respects those good Volitions only in a distant View, and with respect to future Time; but also be­cause evermore, not these Things themselves, but something else, that is aliene and foreign, is the Object that terminates these Volitions and Desires.

A Drunkard, who continues in his Drunkenness, being un­der the Power of a Love, and violent Appetite to strong Drink, and without any Love to Vertue; but being also extreamly covetous and close, and very much exercised and grieved at the Diminution of his Estate, and Prospect of Poverty, may in a Sort desire the Vertue of Temperance: and tho' his present Will is to gratify his extravagant Appetite, yet he may wish he had a Heart to forbear future Acts of Intemperance, and forsake his Excesses, thro' an Unwillingness to part with his Money: But still he goes on with his Drunkenness; his Wishes and Endeavours are insufficient and ineffectual: Such a Man has no proper, direct, sincere Willingness to forsake this Vice, and the vicious Deeds which belong to it: for He acts voluntarily in continuing to drink to excess: His Desire is very improperly called a Willingness to be temperate; it is no true Desire of that Vertue; for it is not that Vertue that terminates his Wishes; nor have they any direct Respect at all to it. 'Tis only the saving his Money, and avoiding Poverty, that terminates, and exhausts the whole Strength of his Desire. The Vertue of Temperance is regarded only very indirectly and improperly, even as a necessary Means of gratifying the Vice of Covetousness.

So, a Man of an exceeding corrupt and wicked Heart, who has no Love to God and Jesus Christ, but on the con­trary, being very profanely and carnally inclined, has the greatest Distaste of the Things of Religion, and Enmity against 'em; yet being of a Family, that from one Generation to another, have most of 'em died in Youth of an hereditary Con­sumption; & so having little Hope of living long; and having been instructed in the Necessity of a supream Love to Christ, and Gratitude for his Death and Sufferings, in Order to his Salvation from eternal Misery; if under these Circumstances he should, thro' Fear of eternal Torments, wish he had such a Disposition: But his profane and carnal Heart remaining, He [Page 172] continues still in his habitual distaste of, and Enmity to God and Religion, and wholly without any Exercise of that Love and Gratitude, (as doubtless the very Devils themselves, not­withstanding all the Devilishness of their Temper, would wish for a holy Heart, if by that Means they could get out of Hell:) In this Case, there is no sincere Willingness to love Christ and chuse him as his chief Good: These holy Dispositions and Exercises are not at all the direct Object of the Will: they truly share no Part of the Inclination or Desire of the Soul; but all is terminated on Deliverance from Torment: and these Graces and pious Volitions, notwithstanding this forced Consent, are looked upon undesirable; as when a sick Man desires a Dose he greatly abhors, to save his Life.— From these Things it appears.

3. That this indirect Willingness which has been spoken of, is not that Exercise of the Will which the Command requires; but is entirely a different one; being a Volition of a different Nature, and terminated altogether on different Objects; wholly falling short of that Vertue of Will, which the Command has respect to.

4. This other Volition, which has only some indirect Con­cern with the Duty required, can't excuse for the Want of that good Will it self, which is commanded; being not the Thing which answers and fulfils the Command, and being wholly destitute of the Vertue which the Command seeks.

Further to illustrate this Matter.— If a Child has a most excellent Father, that has ever treated him with fatherly Kindness and Tenderness, and has every Way in the highest Degree merited his Love and dutiful Regard, being withal very wealthy; but the Son is of so vile a Disposition, that He inveterately [...]ates his Father; and yet, apprehending that his Hatred of Him is like to prove his Ruin, by bringing Him finally to Poverty and abject Circumstances, thro' his Father's disinheriting Him, or otherwise; which is exceeding cross to his Avarice and Ambition; He therefore wishes it were other­wise: but yet remaining under the invincible Power of his vile and malignant Disposition, He continues still in his settled Hatred of his Father. Now if such a Son's indirect Willing­ness to have Love and Honour towards his Father, at all ac­quits or excuses before God, for his failing of actually exer­cising these Dispositions towards Him which God requires, it must be on one of these two Accounts. (1.) Either that [Page 173] it answers and fulfils the Command. But this it does not, by the Supposition; because the Thing commanded is Love and Honour to his worthy Parent. If the Command be proper and just, as is supposed, then it obliges to the Thing com­manded; and so nothing else but that can answer the Ob­ligation. Or, (2.) It must be at least because there is that Vertue or Goodness in his indirect Willingness, that is equiva­lent to the Vertue required; and so balances or coun­tervails it, and makes up for the Want of it. But that also is contrary to the Supposition. The Willingness the Son has merely from a Regard to Money and Honour, has no Goodness in it, to countervail the Want of the pious filial Respect required.

Sincerity and Reality, in that indirect Willingness which has been spoken of, don't make it the better. That which is real and hearty is often called sincere; whether it be in Vertue or Vice. Some Persons are sincerely bad; others are sincerely good; and others may be sincere and hearty in Things which are in their own Nature indifferent; as a Man may be sincerely desirous of eating when he is hungry. But a being sincere, hearty and in good Earnest, is no Vertue, un­less it be in a Thing that is vertuous. A Man may be sin­cere and hearty in joining a Crew of Pirates, or a Gang of Robbers. When the Devils cried out, and besought Christ not to torment them, it was no mere Pretence; they were very hearty in their Desires not to be tormented: but this did not make their Will or Desires vertuous. And if Men have sincere Desires, which are in their Kind and Nature no better, it can be no Excuse for the want of any required Vertue.

And as a Man's being sincere in such an indirect Desire or Willingness to do his Duty, as has been mention'd, can't ex­cuse for the want of Performance; so it is with Endeavours arising from such a Willingness. The Endeavours can have no more Goodness in 'em, than the Will which they are the Effect and Expression of. And therefore, however sincere and real, and however great a Person's Endeavours are; yea, tho' they should be to the utmost of his Ability; unless the Will which they proceed from be truly good and vertuous, they can be of no Avail, Influence or Weight to any Purpose what­soever, in a moral Sense or Respect. That which is not truly vertuous in God's Sight, is looked upon by Him as good for Nothing: and so can be of no Value, Weight or Influence [Page 174] in his Account, to recommend, satisfy, excuse or make up for any moral Defect. For nothing can counter-balance Evil, but Good. If Evil be in one Scale, and we put a great deal into the other, sincere and earnest Desires, and many and great Endeavours; yet if there be no real Goodness in all, there is no Weight in it; and so it does nothing towards balancing the real Weight which is in the opposite Scale. Tis only like the substracting a Thousand Noughts from before a real Num­ber, which leaves the Sum just as it was.

Indeed such Endeavours may have a negatively good Influ­ence. Those Things which have no positive Vertue, have no positive moral Influence; yet they may be an Occasion of Persons avo [...]ding some positive Evils. As if a Man were in the Water with a Neighbour that he had ill-will to, who could not swim, holding him by his Hand; which Neigh­bour was much in Debt to Him; and should be tempted to let him sink and drown; but should refuse to comply with the Temptation; not from Love to his Neighbour, but from the Love of Money, and because by his drowning He should lose his Debt; that which he does in preserving his Neighbour from drowning, is nothing good in the Sight of God: Yet hereby he avoids the greater Guilt that would have been contracted, if he had designedly let his Neighbour sink and perish. But when Arminians in their Disputes with Calvinists insist so much on sincere Desires and Endeavours, as what must excuse Men, must be accepted of God &c. 'tis manifest they have Respect to some positive moral Weight or Influence of those Desires and Endeavours. Accepting, justifying, or excusing on the Account of sincere honest Endeavours (as they are called) and Men's doing what they can, &c. has Re­lation to some moral Value, something that is accepted as Good, and as such, countervailing some Defect.

But there is a great and unknown Deceit, arising from the Ambiguity of the Phrase, sincere Endeavours. Indeed there is a vast Indistinctness & Unfixedness in most, or at least very many of the Terms used to express Things pertaining to moral and spiritual Matters. Whence arise innumerable Mistakes, strong Prejudices, inextricable Confusion, and endless Controversy.

The Word sincere is most commonly used to signify some­thing that is good: Men are habituated to understand by it the same as honest and upright ▪ which Terms excite an Idea of something good in the strictest and highest Sense; good in [Page 175] the Sight of Him who sees not only the outward Appearance, but the Heart. And therefore Men think that if a Person be sincere, he will certainly be accepted. If it be said that any one is sincere in his Endeavours, this suggests to Men's Minds as much, as that his Heart and Will is good, that there is no Defect of Duty, as to vertuous Inclination; he honestly and uprightly desires and endeavours to do as he is required; and this leads 'em to suppose that it would be very hard and un­reasonable to punish him, only because he is unsuccessful in his Endeavours, the Thing endeavoured being beyond his Power.—Whereas it ought to be observed, that the Word sincere has these different Significations.

1. Sincerity, as the Word is sometimes used, signifies no more then Reality of Will and Endeavour, with respect to any Thing that is professed or pretended; without any Considera­tion of the Nature of the Principle or Aim, whence this real Will and true Endeavour arises. If a Man has some real Desire to obtain a Thing, either direct or indirect, or does really endeavour after a Thing, he is said sincerely to desire or endea­vour [...]t; without any Consideration of the Goodness or Vertu­ousness of the Principle he acts from, or any Excellency or Wor­thiness of the End he acts for. Thus a Man that is kind to his Neighbour's Wife, who is sick and languishing, and very helpful in her Case, makes a Shew of desiring and en­deavouring her Restoration to Health and Vigour; and not only makes such a Shew, but there is a Reality in his Pretence, he does heartily and earnestly desire to have her Health re­stored, and uses his true and utmost Endeavours for it; He is said sincerely to desire and endeavour it, because he does so truly or really; tho' perhaps the Principle he acts from, is no other than a vile and scandalous Passion; having lived in Adultery with her, he earnestly desires to have her Health and Vigour restored, that he may return to his criminal Plea­sures with her. Or,

2. By Sincerity is meant, not meerly a Reality of Will and Endeavour of some Sort or other, and from some Considera­tion or other, but a vertuous Sincerity. That is, that in the Performance of those particular Acts that are the Matter of Vertue or Duty, there be not only the Matter, but the Form and Essence of Vertue, consisting in the Aim that governs the Act, and the Principle exercised in it. There is not only the Reality of the Act, that is as it were the Body of the Duty; but also the Soul, which should properly belong to such a [Page 176] Body. In this Sense, a Man is said to be sincere, when he acts with a pure Intention; not from sinister Views, or bye-Ends: He not only in Reality desires and seeks the Thing to be done, or Qualification to be obtain'd, for some End or other; But he wills the Thing directly and properly, as nei­ther forced nor bribed; the Vertue of the Thing is properly the Object of the Will.

In the former Sense, a Man is said to be sincere, in Oppositi­on to a meer Pretence, and Shew of the particular Thing to be done or exhibited, without any real Desire or Endeavour at all. In the latter Sense, a Man is said to be sincere, in Opposition to that Shew of Vertue there is in meerly doing the Matter of Duty, without the Reality of the Vertue it self in the Soul, and the Essence of it, which there is a Shew of. A Man may be sin­cere in the former Sense, and yet in the latter be in the Sight of God, who searches the Heart, a vile Hypocrite.

In the latter Kind of Sincerity, only, is there any Thing truly valuable or acceptable in the Sight of God. And this is the Thing which in Scripture is called Sincerity, Uprightness, Integrity, Truth in the inward Parts, and a being of a perfect Heart. And if there be such a Sincerity, and such a Degree of it as there ought to be, and there be any Thing further that the Man is not able to perform, or which don't prove to be con­nected with his sincere Desires and Endeavours, the Man is wholly excused and acquitted in the Sight of God; His Will shall surely be accepted for his Deed: And such a sincere Will and Endeavour is all that in Strictness is required of him, by any Command of God. But as to the other Kind of Sincerity of Desires and Endeavours, it having no Vertue in it, (as was observed before) can be of no Avail before God, in any Case, to recommend, satisfy, or excuse, and has no posi­tive moral Weight or Influence whatsoever.

Corol. 1. Hence it may be infer'd, that Nothing in the Rea­son and Nature of Things appears, from the Consideration of any moral Weight of that former Kind of Sincerity, which has been spoken of, at all obliging us to believe, or leading us to suppose, that God has made any positive Promises of Salvation, or Grace, or any saving Assistance, or any spiritual Benefit whatsoever, to any Desires, Prayers, Endeavours, Striving, or Obedience of those, who hitherto have no true Vertue or Holiness in their Hearts; tho' we should suppose [Page 177] all the Sincerity, and the utmost Degree of Endeavour, that is possible to be in a Person without Holiness.

Some object against God's requiring, as the Condition of Salvation, those holy Exercises, which are the Result of a su­pernatural Renovation; such as a supream Respect to Christ▪ Love to God, loving Holiness for it's own sake, &c. that these inward Dispositions and Exercises are above Men's Power, as they are by Nature; and therefore that we may conclude, that when Men are brought to be sincere in their Endeavours, and do as well as they can, they are accepted; and that this must be all that God requires in order to Men's being received as the Objects of his Favour, and must be what God has ap­pointed as the Condition of Salvation. Concerning which I would observe, that in such a Manner of Speaking of Men's being accepted, because they are sincere, and do as well as they can, there is evidently a Supposition of some Vertue, some Degree of that which is truly Good; tho' it don't go so far as were to be wish'd. For if Men do what they can, unless their so doing be from some good Principle, Disposition, or Exercise of Heart, some vertuous Inclination or Act of the Will; their so doing what they can, is in some Respects not a Whit better than if they did Nothing at all. In such a Case, there is no more positive moral Goodness in a Man's doing what he can, than in a Wind-Mill's doing what it can; because the Action does no more proceed from Vertue; and there is Nothing in such Sincerity of Endeavour, or doing what we can, that should render it any more a proper or fit Recommendation to positive Favour and Acceptance, or the Condition of any Reward or actual Benefit, than doing Nothing; for both the one and the other are alike Nothing, as to any true moral Weight or Value.

Corol. 2. Hence also it follows, there is Nothing that appears in the Reason and Nature of Things, which can justly lead us to determine, that God will certainly give the necessary Means of Salvation, or some Way or other bestow true Holiness and eternal Life on those Heathen, who are sincere (in the Sense above explained) in their Endeavours to find out the Will of the Deity, and to please Him, according to their Light, that they may escape his future Displeasure and Wrath, and obtain Happiness in their future State, through his Favour.

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SECTION VI. Liberty of Indifference, not only not ne­cessary to Vertue, but utterly inconsistent with it; And all, either vertuous or vi­cious Habits or Inclinations, inconsistent with Arminian Notions of Liberty and moral Agency.

TO suppose such a Freedom of Will, as Arminians talk of, to be requisite to Vertue and Vice, is many Ways con­trary to common Sense.

If Indifference belongs to Liberty of Will, as Arminians sup­pose, and it be essential to a vertuous Action that it be perfor­med in a State of Liberty, as they also suppose; it will follow, that it is essential to a vertuous Action that it be performed in a State of Indifference: And if it be performed in a State of Indifference, then doubtless it must be performed in the Time of Indifference. And so it will follow, that in order to the Vertuousness of an Act, the Heart must be indifferent in the Time of the Performance of that Act, and the more indiffer­ent and cold the Heart is with Relation to the Act which is performed, so much the better; because the Act is performed with so much the greater Liberty. But is this agreable to the Light of Nature? Is it agreable to the Notions which Man­kind, in all Ages, have of Vertue, that it lies in that which is contrary to Indifference, even in the Tendency and Inclination of the Heart to vertuous Action; and that the stronger the In­clination, and so the further from Indifference, the more ver­tuous the Heart, and so much the more praise-worthy the Act which proceeds from it?

If we should suppose (contrary to what has been before de­monstrated) that there may be an Act of Will in a State of Indifference; for Instance, this Act, viz. The Will's deter­mining to put it self out of a Stat [...] of Indifference, and give it self a Preponderation one Way, then it would follow, on Armi­nian [Page 179] Principles, that this Act or Determination of the Will is that alone wherein Vertue consists, because this only is per­formed while the Mind remains in a State of Indifference, and so in a State of Liberty: For when once the Mind is put out of it's Equilibrium, it is no longer in such a State; and there­fore all the Acts which follow afterwards, proceeding from Bias, can have the Nature neither of Vertue nor Vice. Or if the Thing which the Will can do, while yet in a State of Indifference, and so of Liberty, be only to suspend acting, and determine to take the Matter into Consideration, then this Determination is that alone wherein Vertue consists, and not proceeding to Action after the Scale is turned by Consideration. So that it will follow from these Principles, all that is done after the Mind, by any Means, is once out of it's Equilibrium and already possessed by an Inclination, and arising from that Inclination, has nothing of the Nature of Vertue or Vice, and is worthy of neither [...] or Praise. But how plainly con­trary is this to the univer [...] Sense of Mankind, and to the No­tion they have of [...] [...]ertuous Actions? Which is, that they are Actions which proceed from a Heart well disposed and inclined; and the stronger, and the more fix'd and determined the good Disposition of the Heart, the greater the Sincerity of Vertue, and so the more of the Truth and Reality of it. But if there be any Acts which are done in a State of Equilibrium, or spring immediately from perfect Indifference and Coldness of Heart, they cannot arise from any good Principle or Dis­position in the Heart; and consequently, according to common Sense, have no sincere Goodness in 'em, having no Vertue of Heart in 'em. To have a vertuous Heart, is to have a Heart that favours Vertue, and is friendly to it, and not one perfect­ly cold and indifferent about it.

And besides the Actions that are done in a State of Indiffer­ence, or that arise immediately out of such a State, can't be vertuous, because, by the Supposition, they are not determined by any preceeding Choice. For if there be preceeding Choice, then Choice intervenes between the Act and the State of In­difference; which is contrary to the Supposition of the Act's arising immediately out of Indifference. But those Acts which are not determined by preceeding Choice, can't be vertuous or vicious by Arminian Principles, because they are not determined by the Will. So that neither one Way, nor the other, can any Actions be vertuous or vicious according to Arminian Principles. If the Action be determined by a preceeding Act of Choice it can't be vertuous; because the Action is not done in a State of In­difference, [Page 180] nor does immediately arise from such a State; and so is not done in a State of Liberty. If the Action be not de­termined by a preceeding Act of Choice, then it can't be ver­tuous; because then the Will is not Self-determin'd in it. So that 'tis made certain, that neither Vertue nor Vice can ever find any Place in the Universe.

Moreover, that it is necessary to a vertuous Action that it be performed in a State of Indifference, under a Notion of that's being a State of Liberty, is contrary to common Sense; as 'tis a Dictate of common Sense, that Indifference it self, in many Cases, is vicious, and so to a high Degree. As if when I see my Neighbour or near Friend, and one who has in the highest Degree merited of me, in extreme Distress, and ready to perish, I find an Indifference in my Heart with Re­spect to any Thing proposed to be done, which I can easily do, for his Relief. So if it should be proposed to me, to blaspheme God, or kill my Father, or to do numberless other Things which might be mentioned; the being indifferent, for a Mo­ment, would be highly vicious and vile.

And it may be further observed, that to suppose this Liberty of Indifference is essential to Vertue and Vice, destroys the great Difference of Degrees of the Guilt of different Crimes, and takes away the Heinousness of the most flagitious horrid Iniquities; such as Adultery Bestiality, Murder, Perjury, Blas­phemy, &c. For according to these Principles, there is no Harm at all in having the Mind in a State of perfect Indiffer­ence with Respect to these Crimes; nay, 'tis absolutely necessary in order to any Vertue in avoiding them, or Vice in doing them. But for the Mind to be in a State of Indifference with Respect to 'em, is to be next Door to doing them: It is then infinitely near to chusing, and so committing the Fact: For Equilibrium is the next Step to a Degree of Prepondera­tion; and one, even the least Degree of Preponderation (all Things considered) is Choice. And not only so, but for the Will to be in a State of perfect Equilibrium with Respect to such Crimes, is for the Mind to be in such a State, as to be full as likely to chuse 'em as to refuse 'em, to do 'em as to omit 'em. And if our Minds must be in such a State wherein it is as near to chusing as refusing, and wherein it must of Necessity, according to the Nature of Things, be as likely to commit 'em, as to refrain from 'em; where is the exceeding Heinousness of chusing and committing them? If there be no Harm in often being in such a State, wherein the [Page 181] Probability of doing and forbearing are exactly equal, there being an Equilibrium, and no more Tendency to one than the other; then according to the Nature and Laws of such a Con­tingence, it may be expected, as an inevitable Consequence of such a Disposition of Things, that we should chuse 'em as often as reject 'em: That it should generally so fall out is ne­cessary, as Equality in the Effect is the natural Consequence of the equal Tendency of the Cause, or of the antecedent State of Things from which the Effect arises: Why then should we be so exceedingly to blame, if it does so fall out?

'Tis many Ways apparent, that the Arminian Scheme of Li­berty is utterly inconsistent with the being of any such Things as either vertuous or vicious Habits or Dispositions. If Liberty of Indifference be essential to moral Agency, then there can be no Vertue in any habitual Inclinations of the Heart; which are contrary to Indifference, and imply in their Nature the very Destruction and Exclusion of it. They suppose nothing can be vertuous, in which no Liberty is exercised; but how absurd is it to talk of exercising Indifference under Bias and Preponderation!

And if self-determining Power in the Will be necessary to moral Agency, Praise, Blame, &c. then nothing done by the Will can be any further Praise or Blame-worthy, than so far as the Will is moved, swayed and determined by it self, and the Scales turned by the sovereign Power the Will has over it self. And therefore the Will must not be put out of it's Balance already▪ the Preponderation must not be determined and effected before-hand; and so the self-determining Act anticipated. Thus it appears another Way, that habitual Bias is inconsistent with that Liberty which Arminians suppose to be necessary to Vertue or Vice; and so it follows, that habitual Bias it self cannot be either vertuous or vicious.

The same Thing follows from their Doctrine concerning the Inconsistence of Necessity with Liberty, Praise, Dispraise, &c. None will deny, that Bias and Inclination may be so strong as to be invincible, and leave no Possibility of the Will's determin­ing contrary to it; and so be attended with Necessity. This Dr. Whitby allows concerning the Will of God, Angels and glorified Saints, with Respect to Good; and the Will of Devils with Respect to Evil. Therefore if Necessity be incon­sistent with Liberty; then when fix'd Inclination is to such a Degree of Strength, it utterly excludes all Vertue, Vice, Praise [Page 182] or Blame. And if so, then the nearer Habits are to this Strength, the more do they impede Liberty, and so diminish Praise and Blame. If very strong Habits destroy Liberty, the lesser Ones proportionably hinder it, according to their Degree of Strength. And therefore it will follow, that then is the Act most vertuous or vicious, when performed without any Inclination or habitual Bias at all; because it is then perform­ed with most Liberty.

Every pre-possessing fix'd Bias on the Mind brings a Degree of moral Inability for the contrary; because so far as the Mind is biassed and pre-possessed, so much Hindrance is there of the contrary. And therefore if moral Inability be inconsistent with moral Agency, or the Nature of Vertue and Vice, then so far as there is any such Thing as evil Disposition of Heart, or ha­bitual Depravity of Inclination; whether Covetousness, Pride, Malice, Cruelty, or whatever else; so much the more excus­able Persons are; so much the less have their evil Acts of this Kind, the Nature of Vice. And on the contrary, whatever excellent Dispositions and Inclinations they have, so much are they the less vertuous.

'Tis evident, that no habitual Disposition of Heart, whether it be to a greater or lesser Degree, can be in any Degree ver­tuous or vicious; or the Actions which proceed from them at all Praise or Blame-worthy. Because, tho' we should sup­pose the Habit not to be of such Strength as wholly to take away all moral Ability and self-determining Power; or hin­der but that, altho' the Act be partly from Bias, yet it may be in Part from Self-determination; yet in this Case, all that is from antecedent Bias must be set aside, as of no Considera­tion; and in estimating the Degree of Vertue or Vice, no more must be considered than what arises from self-determin­ing Power, without any Influence of that Bias, because Liberty is exercised in no more: So that all that is the Exercise of habitual Inclination, is thrown away, as not belonging to the Morality of the Action. By which it appears▪ that no Exer­cise of these Habits, let 'em be stronger or weak [...] can ever have any Thing of the Nature of either Vertue or Vice.

Here if any one should say, that notwithstanding all these Things, there may be the Nature of Vertue and Vice in Habits of the Mind; because these Habits may be the Effects of those Acts wherein the Mind exercised Liberty; that how­ever the foremention'd Reasons will prove that no Habits [Page 183] which are natural, or that any are born or crea [...]d with us, can be either vertuous or vicious; yet they will not prove this of Habits, which have been acquired and establish'd by repea [...]d free Acts.

To such an Objector I would say, that this Evasion will not at all help the Matter. For if Freedom of Will be essential to the very Nature of Vertue and Vice, then there is no Vertue or Vice but only in that very Thing, wherein this Liberty is exercised. If a Man in one or more Thing that he does, ex­ercises Liberty, and then by those Acts is brought into such Circumstances, that his Liberty ceases, and there follows a long Series of Acts or Events that come to pass necessarily; those consequent Acts are not vertuous or vicious, rewardable or punishable; but only the free Acts that establish'd this Ne­cessity; for in them alone was the Man free. The following Effects that are necessary, have no more of the Nature of Ver­tue or Vice, than Health or Sickness of Body have properly the Nature of Vertue or Vice, being the Effects of a Course of free Acts of Temperance or Intemperance; or than the good Qualities of a Clock are of the Nature of Vertue, which are the Effects of free Acts of the Artificer; or the Goodness and Sweet­ness of the Fruits of a Garden are moral Vertues, being the Effects of the free and faithful Acts of the Gardener. If Li­berty be absolutely requisite to the Morality of Actions, and Necessity wholly inconsistent with it, as Arminians greatly insist; then no necessary Effects whatsoever, let the Cause be never so good or bad, can be vertuous or vicious; but the Vertue or Vice must be only in the free Cause. Agreably to this, Dr. Whitby supposes, the Necessity that attends the good and evil Habits of the Saints in Heaven, and Damned in Hell, which are the Consequence of their free Acts in their State of Probation, are not rewardable or punishable.

On the whole, it appears, that if the Notions of Arminians concerning Liberty and moral Agency be true, it will follow that there is no Vertue in any such Habits or Qualities as Humility, Meekness, Patience, Mercy, Gratitude, Generosity, Heavenly-mindedness; Nothing at all Praise-worthy in loving Christ above Father and Mother, Wife and Children, or our own Lives; or in Delight in Holiness, hungring and thirsting after Righteousness, Love to Enemies, universal Benevolence to Mankind: And on the other Hand, there is nothing at all [...]icious, or worthy of Dispraise, in the most sordid, beastly, malignant, devilish Dispositions▪ in being ungrateful, profane, [Page 184] habitually hating God, and Things sacred and holy; or in being most treacherous, envious and cruel towards Men. For all these Things are Dispositions and Inclinations of the Heart. And in short, there is no such Thing as any vertuous or vici­ous Quality of Mind; no such Thing as inherent Vertue and Holiness, or Vice and Sin: And the stronger those Habits or Dispositions are, which used to be called vertuous and vicious, the further they are from being so indeed; the more violent Men's Lusts are, the more fix'd their Pride, Envy, Ingratitude and Maliciousness, still the further are they from being blame-worthy. If there be a Man that by his own repeated Acts, or by any other Means, is come to be of the most hellish Disposition, desperately inclined to treat his Neighbours with Injuriousness, Contempt and Malignity; the further they should be from any Disposition to be angry with Him, or in the least to blame Him. So on the other Hand, if there be a Person, who is of a most excellent Spirit, strongly inclining him to the most amiable Actions, admirably meek, benevolent &c. so much is he further from any Thing rewardable or com­mendable. On which Principles, the Man Jesus Christ was very far from being Praise-worthy for those Acts of Holiness and Kindness which He performed, these Propensities being so strong in his Heart. And above all, the infinitely holy and gracious God, is infinitely remote from any Thing commen­dable, his good Inclinations being infinitely strong, and He therefore at the utmost possible Distance from being at Liberty. And in all Cases, the stronger the Inclinations of any are to Vertue, and the more they love it, the less vertuous they are; and the more they love Wickedness, the less vicious.— Whether these Things are agreable to Scripture, let every Christian, and every Man who has read the Bible, judge: and whether they are agreable to common Sense, let every one judge, that have human Understanding in Exercise.

And if we pursue these Principles, we shall find that Ver­tu [...] and Vice are wholly excluded out of the World; and that there never was, nor ever can be any such Thing as one or the other; either in God, Angels or Men. No Propensity, Disposition or Habit can be vertuous or vicious, as has been shewn; because they, so far as they take Place, destroy the Freedom of the Will, the Foundation of all moral Agency, and exclude all Capacity of either Vertue or Vice.— And if Habits and Dispositions themselves be not vertuous nor vicious, neither can the Exercise of these Dispositions be so: For the Exercise of Bias is not the Exercise of free self-determining [Page 185] Will, and so there is no Exercise of Liberty in it. Consequently no Man is vertuous or vicious, either in being well or ill disposed, nor in acting from a good or bad Disposition. And whether this Bias or Disposition be habitual or not, if it exists but a Moment before the Act of Will, which is the Effect of it, it alters not the Case, as to the Necessity of the Effect. Or if there be no previous Disposition at all, either habitual or occasional, that determines the Act, then it is not Choice that determines it: it is therefore a Contingence, that happens to the Man, arising from Nothing in him; and is necessary, as to any Inclination or Choice of his; and there­fore can't make Him either the better or worse, any more than a Tree is better than other Trees, because it oftener happens to be lit upon by a Swan or Nightingal; or a Rock more vicious than other Rocks, because Rattle-Snakes have happen'd oftner to crawl over it. So that there is no Vertue nor Vice in good or bad Dispositions, either fix'd or transient; nor any Vertue or Vice in acting from any good or bad previous In­clination; nor yet any Vertue or Vice in acting wholly with­out any previous Inclination. Where then shall we find Room for Vertue or Vice?

SECTION VII. Arminian Notions of moral Agency incon­sistent with all Influence of Motive and Inducement, in either vertuous or vicious Actions.

AS Arminian Notions of that Liberty, which is essential to Vertue or Vice, are inconsistent with common Sense, in their being inconsistent with all vertuous or vicious Habits and Dispositions; so they are no less so in their Incon­sistency with all Influence of Motives in moral Actions.

[Page 186]'Tis equally against those Notions of Liberty of Will, whe­ther there be, previous to the Act of Choice, a Preponde­rancy of the Inclination, or a Preponderancy of those Circum­stances, which have a Tendency to move the Inclination. And indeed it comes to just the same Thing: To say, the Cir­cumstances of the Mind are such as tend to sway and turn it's Inclination one Way, is the same Thing as to say, the Incli­nation of the Mind, as under such Circumstances, tends that Way.

Or if any think it most proper to say, that Motives do alter the Inclination, and give a new Bias to the Mind; it will not alter the Case, as to the present Argument. For if Motives operate by giving the Mind an Inclination, then they operate by destroying the Mind's Indifference, and laying it under a Bias. But to do this, is to destroy the Arminian Freedom: It is not to leave the Will to it's own Self-determination, but to bring it into Subjection to the Power of something extrinsick, which operates upon it, sways and determines it, previous to it's own Determination. So that what is done from Motive, can't be either vertuous or vicious—And besides, if the Acts of the Will are excited by Motives, those Motives are the Causes of those Acts of the Will: which makes the Acts of the Will necessary; as Effects necessarily follow the Efficiency of the Cause. And if the Influence and Power of the Mo­tive causes the Volition, then the Influence of the Motive determines Volition, and Volition don't determine it self; and so is not free, in the Sense of Arminians (as has been largely shewn already) and consequently can be neither ver­tuous nor vicious.

The Supposition, which has already been taken Notice of as an insufficient Evasion in other Cases, would be in like Manner impertinently alledged in this Case; namely, the Supposition that Liberty consists in a Power of suspending Action for the present, in order to Deliberation. If it should he said, Tho' it be true, that the Will is under a Necessity of finally following the strongest Motive, yet it may for the pre­sent forbear to act upon the Motive presented, till there has been Opportunity thoroughly to consider it, and compare it's real Weight with the Merit of other Motives. I answer, as follows.

Here again it must be remember'd, that if determining thus to suspend and consider, be that Act of the Will wherein alone Liberty is exercised, then in this all Vertue and Vice must [Page 187] consist; and the Acts that follow this Consideration, and are the Effects of it, being necessary, are no more vertuous or vicious than some good or bad Events which happen when they are fast asleep, and are the Consequences of what they did when they were awake. Therefore I would here observe two Things.

1. To suppose that all Vertue and Vice, in every [...], con­sists in determining whether to take Time for Consideration, or not, is not agreable to common Sense. For according to such a Supposition, the most horrid Crimes, Adultery, Murder, Buggery, Blasphemy, &c. do not at all consist in the horrid Nature of the Things themselves, but only in the Neglect of thorough Consideration before they were perpetrated: which brings their Viciousness to a small Matter, and makes all Crimes equal. If it be said, that Neglect of Considerati [...] when such heinous Evils are proposed to Choice, is worse than in other Cases: I answer, this is inconsistent, as it supposes the very Thing to be, which at the same Time is supposed not to be; it supposes all moral Evil, all Viciousness and Hei­nousness, does not consist meerly in the want of Consideration. It supposes some Crimes in themselves, in their own Nature, to be more heinous than others, antecedent to Consideration or In­consideration, which lays the Person under a previous Obliga­tion to consider in some Cases more than others.

2. If it were so, that all Vertue and Vice, in every Case, consisted only in the Act of the Will, whereby it determines whether to consider or no, it would not alter the Case in the least, as to the present Argument. For still in this Act of the Will on this Determination, it is induced by some Motive, and necessarily follows the strongest Motive; and so is necessary, even in that Act wherein alone it is either vertuous or vicious.

One Thing more I would observe, concerning the Incon­sistence of Arminian Notions of moral Agency with the Influ­ence of Motives.— I suppose none will deny, that 'tis possible for Motives to be set before the Mind so powerful, and exhibit­ed in so strong a Light, and under so advantageous Circumstances, as to be invincible; and such as the Mind cannot but yield to. In this Case, Arminians will doubtless say, Liberty is de­stroyed. And if so, then if Motives are exhibited with half so much Power, they hinder Liberty in Proportion to their Strength, and go half-way towards destroying it. If a Thousand Degrees of Motive abolish all Liberty, then five [Page 188] Hundred take it half away. If one Degree of the Influence of Motive don't at all infringe or diminish Liberty, then no more do two Degrees; for Nothing doubled, is still Nothing. And if two Degrees don't diminish the Will's Liberty, no more do four, eight, sixteen, or six Thousand. For Nothing multiplied never so much, comes to but Nothing. If there be nothing in the Nature of Motive or moral Suasion, that is at all opposite to Liberty, then the greatest Degree of it can't hurt Liberty. But if there be any Thing in the Nature of the Thing, that is against Liberty, then the least Degree of it hurts it in some Degree; and consequently hurts and dimi­nishes Vertue. If invincible Motives to that Action which is good, take away all the Freedom of the Act, and so all the Vertue of it; then the more forceable the Motives are, so much the worse, so much the less Vertue; and the weaker the Motives are, the better for the Cause of Vertue; and none is best of all.

Now let it be considered, whether these Things are agreable to common Sense. If it should be allowed, that there are some Instances wherein the Soul chuses without any Motive, what Vertue can there be in such a Choice? I am sure, there is no Prudence or Wisdom in it. Such a Choice is made for no good End; for it is for no End at all. If it were for any End, the View of the End would be the Motive exciting to the Act; and if the Act be for no good End, and so from no good Aim, then there is no good Intention in it: And there­fore, according to all our natural Notions of Vertue, no more Vertue in it than in the Motion of the Smoke, which is driven to and fro by the Wind, without any Aim or End in the Thing moved, and which knows not whither, nor why and wherefore, it is moved.

Corol. 1. By these Things it appears, that the Argument against the Calvinists, taken from the Use of Counsels, Exhor­tations, Invitations, Expostulations, &c. so much insisted on by Arminians, is truly against themselves. For these Things can operate no other Way to any good Effect, than as in them is exhibited Motive and Inducement, tending to excite and determine the Acts of the Will. But it follows on their Principles, that the Acts of Will excited by such Causes, can't be vertuous; because so far as they are from these, they are not from the Will's self-determining Power. Hence it will follow, that it is not worth the while to offer any Argu­ments to perswade Men to any vertuous Volition or voluntary [Page 189] Action; 'tis in vain to set before them the Wisdom and Amiableness of Ways of Vertue, or the Odiousness and Folly of Ways of Vice. This Notion of Liberty and moral Agency frustrates all Endeavours to draw Men to Vertue by Instruction, or Perswasion, Precept, or Example: For tho' these Things may induce Men to what is materially vertuous, yet at the same Time they take away the Form of Vertue, because they destroy Liberty; as they, by their own Power, put the Will out of it's Equilibrium, determine and turn the Scale, and take the Work of self-determining Power out of it's Hands. And the clearer the Instructions are that are given, the more powerful the Arguments that are used, and the more moving the Perswasions or Examples, the more likely they are to frustrate their own Design; Because they have so much the greater Tendency to put the Will out of it's Balance, to hinder it's Freedom of self-determination; and so to exclude the very Form of Vertue, and the Essence of whatsoever is Praise­worthy.

So it clearly follows from these Principles, that God has no Hand in any Man's Vertue, nor does at all promote it, either by a physical or moral Influence; that none of the moral Methods He uses with Men to promote Vertue in the World, have Tendency to the Attainment of that End; that all the Instructions which He has given to Men, from the Beginning of the World to this Day, by Prophets, or Apostles, or by his Son Jesus Christ; that all his Counsels, Invitations, Promises, Threatnings, Warnings and Expostulations; that all Means He has used with Men, in Ordinances, or Providences; yea, all Influences of his Spirit, ordinary and extraordinary, have had no Tendency at all to excite any one vertuous Act of the Mind, or to promote any Thing morally good and commen­dable, in any Respect.— For there is no Way that these or any other Means can promote Vertue, but one of these three. Either (1.) By a physical Operation on the Heart. But all Effects that are wrought in Men in this Way, have no Vertue in them, by the concurring Voice of all Arminians. Or (2.) Morally, by exhibiting Motives to the Understanding, to excite good Acts in the Will. But it has been demonstrated, that Volitions which are excited by Motives, are necessary, and not excited by a self-moving Power; and therefore, by their Prin­ciples, there is no Vertue in them. Or (3.) By meerly giving the Will an Opportunity to determine it self concerning the Objects proposed, either to chuse or reject, by it's own uncaused, unmoved, uninfluenced self-determination. And if [Page 190] this be all, then all those Means do no more to promote Ver­tue, than Vice: For they do Nothing but give the Will Opportunity to determine it self either Way, either to Good or Bad, without laying it under any Bias to either: And so there is really as much of an Opportunity given to determine in Favour of Evil, as of Good.

Thus that horrid blasphemous Consequence will certainly follow from the Arminian Doctrine, which they charge on others; namely, that God acts an inconsistent Part in using so many Counsels, Warnings, Invitations, Intreaties, &c. with Sinners, to induce 'em to forsake Sin, and turn to the Ways of Vertue; and that all are insincere and fallacious. It will fol­low from their Doctrine, that God does these Things when He knows at the same Time, that they have no Manner of Tendency to promote the Effect He seems to aim at; yea, knows that if they have any Influence, this very Influence will be inconsistent with such an Effect, and will prevent it. But what an Imputation of Insincerity would this fix on Him who is infinitely holy and true!—So that their's is the Doctrine which if pursued in it's Consequences, does horribly reflect on the most High, and fix on Him the Charge of Hypocrisy; and not the Doctrine of the Calvinist; according to their frequent, and vehement Exclamations and Invectives.

Corol. 2. From what has been observed in this Section, it again appears, that Arminian Principles and Notions, when fairly examined, and pursued in their demonstrable Conse­quences, do evidently shut all Vertue out of the World, and make it impossible that there should ever be any such Thing, in any Case; or that any such Thing should ever be conceiv'd of. For by these Principles, the very Notion of Vertue or Vice implies Absurdity and Contradiction. For it is absurd in it self, and contrary to common Sense, to suppose a vertuous Act of Mind without any good Intention or Aim; and by their Principles, it is absurd to suppose a vertuous Act with a good Intention or Aim; for to act for an End, is to act from a Motive. So that if we rely on these Principles, there can be no vertuous Act with a good Design and End; and 'tis self-evident, there can be none without: consequently there can be no vertuous Act at all.

Corol. 3. 'Tis manifest, that Arminian Notions of moral Agency, and the Being of a Faculty of Will, cannot consist to­gether; and that if there be any such Thing as, either a ver­tuous, [Page 191] or vicious Act, it can't be an Act of Will; no Will can be at all concerned in it. For that Act which is performed without Inclination, without Motive, without End, must be performed without any Concern of the Will. To suppose an Act of the Will without these, implies a Contradiction. If the Soul in it's Act has no Motive or End; then in that Act (as was observed before) it seeks Nothing, goes after Nothing, exerts no Inclination to any Thing; and this implies, that in that Act it desires Nothing, and chuses Nothing; so that there is no Act of Choice in the Case: And that is as much as to say, there is no Act of Will in the Case. Which very effectually shuts out all vicious and vertuous Acts out of the Universe; in as much as, according to this, there can be no vicious or vertuous Act wherein the Will is concerned; and according to the plainest Dictates of Reason, and the Light of Nature, and also the Principles of Arminians themselves, there can be no vertuous or vicious Act wherein the Will is not concerned. And therefore there is no Room for any vertuous or vicious Acts at all.

Corol. 4. If none of the moral Actions of intelligent Beings are influenced by either previous Inclination or Motive, ano­ther strange Thing will follow; and this is, that God not only can't foreknow any of the future moral Actions of his Creatures, but He can make no Conjecture, can give no pro­bable Guess concerning them. For, all Conjecture in Things of this Nature, must depend on some Discerning or Appre­hension of these two Things, previous Disposition, and Motive; which, as has been observed, Arminian Notions of moral Agency, in their real Consequence, altogether exclude.

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PART IV. Wherein the chief Grounds of the Reason­ings of Arminians, in Support and Defence of the foremention'd Notions of Liberty, moral Agency, &c. and against the oppo­site Doctrine, are considered.

SECTION I. The Essence of the Vertue and Vice of Dis­positions of the Heart, and Acts of the Will, lies not in their Cause, but their Nature.

ONE main Foundation of the Reasons, which are brought to establish the foremention'd Notions of Liberty, Vertue, Vice, &c. is a Supposition, that the Vertuousness of the Dispositions or Acts of the Will consists not in the Nature of these Dispositions or Acts, but wholly in the Origin or Cause of them: so that if the Disposition of the Mind or Act of the Will be never so good, yet if the Cause of the Disposition or Act be not our Vertue, there is nothing vertuous or praise-worthy in it; and on the contrary, if the Will in it's Inclination or Acts be ne­ver [Page 193] so bad, yet unless it arises from something that is our Vice or Fault, there is Nothing vicious or blame-worthy in it. Hence their grand Objection and pretended Demonstra­tion, or Self-Evidence, against any Vertue and Commenda­bleness, or Vice and Blame-worthiness, of those Habits or Acts of the Will, which are not from some vertuous or vici­ous Determination of the Will it self.

Now, if this Matter be well considered, it will appear to be altogether a Mistake, yea, a gross-Absurdity; and that it is most certain, that if there be any such Things, as a vertuous, or vicious Disposition, or Volition of Mind, the Vertuousness or Viciousness of them consists not in the Origin or Cause of these Things, but in the Nature of them.

If the Essence of Vertuousness or Commendableness, and of Viciousness or Fault, don't lie in the Nature of the Dispo­sitions or Acts of Mind, which are said to be our Vertue or our Fault, but in their Cause, then it is certain it lies no where at all. Thus, for Instance, if the Vice of a vicious Act of Will, lies not in the Nature of the Act, but the Cause; so that it's being of a bad Nature will not make it at all our Fault, unless it arises from some faulty Determination of our's as it's Cause, or something in us that is our Fault; then for the same Reason, neither can the Viciousness of that Cause lie in the Nature of the Thing it self, but in it's Cause: that evil Determination of our's is not our Fault, meerly because it is of a bad Nature, unless it arises from some Cause in us that is our Fault. And when we are come to this higher Cause, still the Reason of the Thing holds good; tho' this Cause be of a bad Nature, yet we are not at all to blame on that Account, unless it arises from something faulty in us. Nor yet can Blame-worthiness lie in the Nature of this Cause, but in the Cause of that. And thus we must drive Faultiness back from Step to Step, from a lower Cause to a higher, in infinitum: and that is thoroughly to banish it from the World, and to allow it no possibility of Existence any where in the Universality of Things. On these Principles, Vice or moral Evil can't consist in any Thing that is an Effect; because Fault don't consist in the Nature of Things, but in their Cause; as well as because Effects are necessary, being unavoidably connected with their Cause: therefore the Cause only is to blame. And so it follows, that Faultiness can lie only in that Cause, which is a Cause only, and no Effect of any Thing. Nor yet can it lie in this; for then it must lie in the Nature of the Thing it self; not in it's be­ing [Page 194] from any Determination of our's, nor any Thing faulty in us which is the Cause, nor indeed from any Cause at all, for by the Supposition, it is no Effect, and has no Cause. And thus, He that will maintain, it is not the Nature of Habits or Acts of Will that makes them vertuous or faulty, but the Cause, must immediately run Himself out of his own Assertion; and in maintaining it, will insensibly con­tradict and deny it.

This is certain, that if Effects are vicious and faulty, not from their Nature, or from any Thing inherent in them, but because they are from a bad Cause, it must be on Ac­count of the Badness of the Cause; and so on Account of the Nature of the Cause: A bad Effect in the Will must be bad, because the Cause is bad, or of an evil Nature, or has Badness as a Quality inherent in it: and a good Effect in the Will must be good, by Reason of the Goodness of the Cause, or it's being of a good Kind and Nature. And if this be what is meant, the very Supposition of Fault and Praise lying not in the Nature of the Thing, but the Cause, con­tradicts it self, and does at least resolve the Essence of Vertue and Vice into the Nature of Things, and supposes it originally to consist in that.— And if a Caviller has a Mind to run from the Absurdity, by saying, ‘No, the Fault of the Thing which is the Cause, lies not in this, that the Cause it self is of an evil Nature, but that the Cause is evil in that Sense, that it is from another bad Cause.’ Still the Absurdity will follow him; for if so, then the Cause before charged is at once acquitted, and all the Blame must be laid to the higher Cause, and must consist in that's being Evil, or of an evil Nature. So now we are come again to lay the Blame of the Thing blame-worthy, to the Nature of the Thing, and not to the Cause. And if any is so foolish as to go higher still, and ascend from Step to Step, till he is come to that which is the first Cause concerned in the whole Affair, and will say, all the Blame lies in that; then at last he must be forced to own, that the Faultiness of the Thing which he supposes alone blame-worthy, lies wholly in the Nature of the Thing, and not in the Original or Cause of it; for the Supposition is, that it has no Original, it is determined by no Act of our's, is caused by nothing faulty in us, being absolutely without any Cause. And so the Race is at an End, but the Evader is taken in his Flight.

'Tis agreable to the natural Notions of Mankind, that moral Evil, with it's Desert of Dislike and Abhorrence, and all it's other Ill-deservings, consists in a certain Deformity in [Page 195] the Nature of certain Dispositions of the Heart, and Acts of the Will; and not in the Deformity of something else, diverse from the very Thing it self, which deserves Abhorrence, supposed to be the Cause of it. Which would be absurd, because that would be to suppose, a Thing that is in­nocent and not Evil, is truly evil and faulty, because another Thing is Evil. It implies a Contradiction; for it would be to suppose, the very Thing which is morally evil and blame-worthy, is innocent and not blame-worthy; but that something else, which is it's Cause, is only to blame. To say, that Vice don't consist in the Thing which is vicious, but in it's Cause, is the same as to say, that Vice don't consist in Vice, but in that which produces it.

'Tis true, a Cause may be to blame, for being the Cause of Vice: It may be Wickedness in the Cause, that it pro­duces Wickedness. But it would imply a Contradiction, to suppose that these two are the same individual Wickedness. The wicked Act of the Cause in producing Wickedness, is one Wickedness; and the Wickedness produced, if there be any produced, is another. And therefore the Wickedness of the latter don't lie in the former, but is distinct from it; and the Wickedness of both lies in the evil Nature of the Things which are wicked.

The Thing which makes Sin hateful, is that by which it deserves Punishment; which is but the Expression of Hatred. And that which renders Vertue lovely, is the same with that, on the Account of which, it is fit to receive Praise and Re­ward; which are but the Expressions of Esteem and Love. But that which makes Vice hateful, is it's hateful Nature; and that which renders Vertue lovely, is it's amiable Nature. 'Tis a certain Beauty or Deformity that are inherent in that good or evil Will, which is the Soul of Vertue and Vice (and not in the Occasion of it) which is their Worthiness of Esteem or Disesteem, Praise or Dispraise, according to the common Sense of Mankind. If the Cause or Occasion of the Rise of an hateful Disposition or Act of Will, be also hateful; suppose another antecedent evil Will; that is entirely another Sin, and deserves Punishment by it self, under a distinct Conside­ration. There is Worthiness of Dispraise in the Nature of an evil Volition, and not wholly in some foregoing Act which is it's Cause; otherwise the evil Volition which is the Effect, is no moral Evil, any more than Sickness, or some other na­tural Calamity, which arises from a Cause morally evil.

[Page 196]Thus for Instance, Ingratitude is hateful and worthy of Dispraise, according to common Sense; not because something as bad, or worse than Ingratitude, was the Cause that produced it; but because it is hateful in it self, by it's own inherent Deformity. So the Love of Vertue is amiable, and worthy of Praise, not meerly because something else went before this Love of Vertue in our Minds, which caused it to take Place there; for Instance our own Choice; we chose to love Vertue, and by some Method or other wrought our selves into the Love of it; but because of the Amiableness and Condecency of such a Disposition and Inclination of Heart. If that was the Case, that we did chuse to love Vertue, and so produced that Love in our selves, this Choice it self could be no other­wise amiable or praise-worthy, than as Love to Vertue, or some other amiable Inclination, was exercised and implied in it. If that Choice was amiable at all, it must be so on Ac­count of some amiable Quality in the Nature of the Choice. If we chose to love Vertue, not in Love to Vertue, or any Thing that was good, and exercised no sort of good Disposi­tion in the Choice, the Choice it self was not vertuous, nor worthy of any Praise, according to common Sense, because the Choice was not of a good Nature.

It may not be improper here to take Notice of something said by an Author, that has lately made a mighty Noise in Ame­rica. ‘A necessary Holiness (says He *) is no Holiness.— Adam could not be originally created in Righteousness and true Holiness, because He must chuse to be righteous, before He could be righteous. And therefore He must exist, He must be created, yea He must exercise Thought and Re­flection, before he was righteous.’ There is much more to the same Effect in that Place, and also in P. 437, 438, 439, 440. If these Things are so, it will certainly follow, that the first chusing to be righteous is no righteous Choice; there is no Righteousness or Holiness in it; because no chusing to be righteous goes before it. For He plainly speaks of chusing to be righteous, as what must go before Righteousness: And that which follows the Choice, being the Effect of the Choice, can't be Righteousness or Holiness: For an Effect is a Thing necessary, and can't prevent the Influence or Efficacy of it's Cause; and therefore is unavoidably dependent upon the Cause: And He says, A necessary Holiness is no Holiness. So that neither can a Choice of Righteousness be Righteousness or [Page 197] Holiness, nor can any Thing that is consequent on that Choice▪ and the Effect of it, be Righteousness or Holiness; nor can any Thing that is without Choice, be Righteousness or Holi­ness. So that by his Scheme, all Righteousness and Holiness is at once shut out of the World, and no Door left open, by which it can ever possibly enter into the World.

I suppose, the Way that Men came to entertain this absurd inconsistent Notion, with Respect to internal Inclinations and Volitions themselves, (or Notions that imply it,) viz. that the Essence of their moral Good or Evil lies not in their Nature, but their Cause; was, that it is indeed a very plain Dictate of common Sense, that it is so with Respect to all outward Actions, and sensible Motions of the Body; that the moral Good or Evil of 'em don't lie at all in the Motions them­selves; which taken by themselves, are nothing of a moral Nature; and the Essence of all the moral Good or Evil that concerns them, lies in those internal Dispositions and Volitions which are the Cause of them. Now being always used to de­termine this, without Hesitation or Dispute, concerning external Actions; which are the Things that in the common Use of Language are signified by such Phrases, as Men's Actions, or their Doings; Hence when they came to speak of Volitions, and internal Exercises of their Inclinations, under the same De­nomination of their Actions, or what they do, they unwarily de­termined the Case must also be the same with these, as with external Actions; not considering the vast Difference in the Nature of the Case.

If any shall still object and say, Why is it not necessary that the Cause should be considered, in order to determine whether any Thing be worthy of Blame or Praise? Is it agreable to Reason and common Sense, that a Man is to be praised or blamed for that which he is not the Cause or Author of, and has no Hand in?

I answer, such Phrases as being the Cause, being the Author, having a Hand, and the like are ambiguous. They are most vulgarly understood for being the designing voluntary Cause, or Cause by antecedent Choice: And it is most certain that Men are not in this Sense the Causes or Authors of the first Act of their Wills, in any Case; as certain as any Thing is, or ever can be; for nothing can be more certain, than that a Thing is not before it is, nor a Thing of the same Kind be­fore the first Thing of that Kind; and so no Choice before [Page 198] the first Choice.—As the Phrase, being the Author, may be un­derstood, not of being the Producer by an antecedent Act of Will; but as a Person may be said to be the Author of the Act of Will it self, by his being the immediate Agent, o [...] the Being that is acting, or in Exercise in that Act; If the Phrase of being the Author, is used to signify this, then doubt­less common Sense requires Men's being the Authors of their own Acts of Will, in order to their being esteemed worthy of Praise or Dispraise on Account of them. And common Sense teaches, that they must be the Authors of external Actions, in the former Sense, namely, their being the Causes of 'em by an Act of Will or Choice, in order to their being justly blamed or praised: But it teaches no such Thing with Respect to the Acts of the Will themselves.—But this may appear more ma­nifest by the Things which will be observed in the following Section.

SECTION II. The Falseness and Inconsistence of that meta­physical Notion of Action, and Agency, which seems to be generally entertained by the Defenders of the Arminian Doctrine concerning Liberty, moral Agency, &c.

ONE Thing that is made very much a Ground of Argu­ment and supposed Demonstration by Arminians, in Defence of the fore-mentioned Principles, concerning moral Agency, Vertue, Vice &c. is their metaphysical Notion of Agency and Action. They say, unless the Soul has a Self-determining Power, it has no Power of Action; If it's Vo­litions be not caused by it self, but are excited and determined by some extrinsic Cause, they can't be the Soul's own Acts; and that the Soul can't be active, but must be wholly passive, in those Effects which it is the Subject of necessarily, and not from it's own free Determination.

[Page 199]Mr. Chubb lays the Foundation of his Scheme of Liberty, and of his Arguments to support it, very much in this Po [...] ­on, That Man is an Agent, and capable of Action. Which doubtless is true: But Self-determination belongs to his Notion of Action, and is the very Essence of it. Whence he infers that it is impossible for a Man to act and be acted upon, in the same Thing, at the same Time; and that nothing that is an Action, can be the Effect of the Action of another: and he insists, that a necessary Agent, or an Agent that is necessarily determined to act, is a plain Contradiction.

But those are a precarious Sort of Demonstrations, which Men build on the Meaning that they arbitrarily affix to a Word; especially when that Meaning is abstruse, inconsistent, and entirely diverse from the original Sense of the Word in com­mon Speech.

That the Meaning of the Word Action, as Mr. Chubb and many others use it, is utterly unintelligible and inconsistent, is manifest, because it belongs to their Notion of an Action, that 'tis something wherein is no Passion or Passiveness; that is (according to their Sense of Passiveness) it is under the Power, Influence or Action of no Cause. And this implies, that Action has no Cause, and is no Effect: for to be an Effect implies Passiveness, or the being subject to the Power and Action of it's Cause. And yet they hold, that the Mind's Action is the Effect of it's own Determination, yea, the Mind's free and voluntary Determination; which is the same with free Choice. So that Action is the Effect of something pre­ceeding, even a preceeding Act of Choice: And consequently, in this Effect the Mind is passive, subject to the Power and Action of the preceeding Cause, which is the foregoing Choice, and therefore can't be active. So that here we have this Con­tradiction, that Action is always the Effect of foregoing Choice; and therefore can't be Action; because it is passive to the Power of that preceeding causal Choice; and the Mind can't be active and passive in the same Thing, at the same Time. Again, they say, Necessity is utterly inconsistent with Action, and a necessary Action is a Contradiction; and so their Notion of Action implies Contingence, [...] excludes all Necessity. And therefore their Notion of Action implies, that it has no necessary Dependence or Connection with any Thing forego­ing; for such a Dependence or Connection excludes Contin­gence, and implies Necessity. And yet their Notion of Action implies Necessity, and supposes that it is necessary, and can't be [Page 200] contingent. For they suppose, that whatever is properly called Action, must be determined by the Will and free Choice; and this is as much as to say, that it must be necessary, being dependent upon, and determined by something foregoing; namely, a foregoing Act of Choice. Again, it belongs to their Notion of Action, of that which is a proper and meer Act, that [...]t is the Beginning of Motion, or of Exertion of Power; but yet it is i [...]plied in their Notion of Action, that it is not the Beginning of Motion or Exertion of Power, but is conse­quent and dependent on a preceeding Exertion of Power, viz. the Power of Will and Choice: for they say there is no pro­per Action but what is freely chosen; or, which is the same Thing, determined by a foregoing Act of free Choice. But if any of them shall see Cause to deny this, and say they hold no such Thing as that every Action is chosen, or determined by a foregoing Choice; but that the very first Exertion of Will only, undetermined by any pr [...]ceeding Act, is properly called Action; then I say, such a Man's Notion of Action implies Necessity; for what the Mind is the Subject of without the Determination of it's own previous Choice, it is the Subject of necessarily, as to any Hand that free Choice has in the Affair; and without any Ability the Mind has to prevent it, by any Will or Election of it's own: because by the Supposition it precludes all previous Acts of the Will or Choice in the Case, which might prevent it. So that it is again, in this other Way, implied in their Notion of Act, that it is both necessary and not necessary. Again, it belongs to their Notion of an Act, that it is no Effect of a pre-determining Bias or Preponderation, but springs immediately out of Indifference; and this implies that it can't be from foregoing Choice, which is foregoing Pre­ponderation: if it be not habitual, but occasional, yet if it causes the Act, it is truly previous, efficacious and determining. And yet, at the same Time, 'tis essential to their Notion of an Act, that it is what the Agent is the Author of freely and vo­luntarily, and that is, by previous Choice and Design.

So that according to their Notion of an Act, considered with Regard to it's 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 [Page 201] Preponderation; that it should be self-originated, and also have it's Original from something else; that it is what the Mind causes it self, of it's own Will, and can produce or pre­vent, according to it's Choice or Pleasure, and yet what the Mind has no Power to prevent, it precluding all previous Choice in the Affair.

So that an Act, according to their metaphysical Notion of it, is something of which there is no Idea; 'tis nothing but a Confusion of the Mind, excited by Words without any distinct Meaning, and is an absolute Non-entity; and that in two Respects; (1.) There is nothing in the World that ever was, is, or can be, to answer the Things which must belong to it's Description, according to what they suppose to be essential to it. And (2.) There neither is, nor ever was, nor can be, any Notion or Idea to answer the Word, as they use and ex­plain it. For if we should suppose any such Notion, it would many Ways destroy it self. But 'tis impossible, any Idea or Notion should subsist in the Mind, whose very Nature and Essence, which constitutes it, destroys it.— 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 Terra del Fuego, and there had seen an Animal, which he calls by a certain Name, that begat and brought forth it self, and yet had a Sire and a Dam distinct from it self; 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, tho' he had neither Head nor Tail:’ It would be no Impudence at all, to tell such a Traveller, tho' a learned Man, that He him­self had no Notion or Idea of such an Animal as he gave an Account of, and never had, nor ever would have.

As the foremention'd Notion of Action is very inconsistent, so it is wholly diverse from the original Meaning of the Word. The more usual Signification of it in vulgar Speech, seems to be some Motion or Exertion of Power, that is voluntary, or that is the Effect of the Will; and is used in the same Sense as doing: And most commonly 'tis used to signify outward Actions. So Thinking is often distinguish'd from Acting; and Desiring and Willing, from Doing.

[Page 202]Besides this more usual and proper Signification of the Word Action, there are other Ways in which the Word is used that are less proper, which yet have Place in common Speech. Oftentimes 'tis used to signify some Motion or Alteration in inanimate Things, with Relation to some Object and Effect. So the Spring of a Watch is said to act upon the Chain and Wheels; the Sun-beams, to act upon Plants and Trees; and the Fire, to act upon Wood. Sometimes the Word is used to signify Motions, Alterations, and Exertions of Power, which are seen in corporeal Things, considered absolutely; especially when these Motions seem to arise from some internal Cause which is hidden; so that they have a greater Resemblance of those Motions of our Bodies, which are the Effects of internal Volition, or invisible Exertions of Will. So the Fermentation of Liquor, the Operations of the Loadstone, and of electrical Bodies, are called the Action of these Things. And sometimes the Word Action is used to signify the Exercise of Thought, or of Will and Inclination: so meditating, loving, hating, in­clining, disinclining, chusing and refusing, may be sometimes called acting; tho' more rarely (unless it be by Philosophers and Metaphysicians) than in any of the other Senses.

But the Word is never used in vulgar Speech in that Sense which Arminian Divines use it in, namely, for the self-deter­minate Exercise of the Will, or an Exertion of the Soul that arises without any necessary Connection with any Thing fore­going. If a Man does something voluntarily, or as the Effect of his Choice, then in the most proper Sense, and as the Word is most originally and commonly used, he is said to act: But whether that Choice or Volition be self-determined, or no, whether it be connected with foregoing habitual Bias, whether it be the certain Effect of the strongest Motive, or some extrin­sick Cause, never comes into Consideration in the Meaning of the Word.

And if the Word Action is arbitrarily used by some Men otherwise, to suit some Scheme of Metaphysicks [...] Morality, no Argument can reasonably be founded on such [...] of this Term, to prove any Thing but their own Pleasure. For Di­vines and Philosophers strenuously to urge such Arguments, as tho' they were sufficient to support and demonstr [...]e a whole Scheme of moral Philosophy and Divinity, is certainly to erect a mighty Edifice on the Sand, or rather on a Shadow. And tho' it may now perhaps, thro' Custom, have become natural for 'em to use the Word in this Sense (if that may be called a [Page 203] Sense or Meaning, which is so inconsistent with it self) yet this don't prove that it is agreable to the natural Notions Men have of Things, or that there can be any Thing in the Creation that should answer such a Meaning. And tho' they appeal to Experience, yet the Truth is, that Men are so far from expe­riencing any such Thing, that it is impossible for 'em to have any Conception of it.

If it should be objected, that Action and Passion are doubtless Words of a contrary Signification; but to suppose that the Agent, in it's Action, is under the Power and Influence of something extrinsick, is to confound Action and Passion, and make 'em the same Thing.

I answer, That Action and Passion are doubtless, as they are sometimes used, Words of opposite Signification; but not as signifying opposite Existences, but only opposite Relations. The Words Cause and Effect are Terms of opposite Signification; but nevertheless, if I assert that the same Thing may at the same Time, in different Respects and Relations, be both Cause and Effect, this will not prove that I confound the Terms. The Soul may be both active and passive in the same Thing in dif­ferent Respects, active with Relation to one Thing, and passive with Relation to another. The Word Passion when set in Op­position to Action or rather Activeness, is meerly a relative Term: it signifies no Effect or Cause, nor any proper Existence; but is the same with Passiveness, or a being passive, or a being acted up­on by something. Which is a meer Relation of a Thing to some Power or Force exerted by some Cause, producing some Effect in it, or upon it. And Action, when set properly in Opposition to Passion, or Passiveness, is no real Existence; it is not the same with AN Action, but is a meer Relation: 'Tis the Activeness of something on another Thing, being the opposite Relation to the other, viz. a Relation of Power, or Force exerted by some Cause, towards another Thing, which is the Subject of the Effect of that Power. Indeed the Word Action is frequently used to signify something not meerly relative, but more absolute, and a real Existence; as when we say An Action; when the Word is not used transitively, but absolutely, for some Motion or Exercise of Body or Mind, without any Relation to any Object or Effect: And as used thus, it is not properly the op­posite of Passion; which ordinarily signifies nothing absolute, but meerly the Relation of being acted upon. And therefore if the Word Action be used in the like relative Sense, then Action and Passion are only two contrary Relations. And 'tis no Ab­surdity [Page 204] to suppose, that contrary Relations may belong to the same Thing, at the same Time, with respect to different Things. So to suppose, that there are Acts of the Soul by which a Man voluntarily moves, and acts upon Objects, and produces Effects, which yet themselves are Effects of something else, and wherein the Soul it self is the Object of something acting upon, and influencing that, don't at all confound Action and Passion. The Words may nevertheless be properly of opposite Signifi­cation: there may be as true and real a Difference between acting and being caused to act, tho' we should suppose the Soul to be both in the same Volition, as there is between living, and being quicken'd, or made to live. 'Tis no more a Contradiction, to suppose that Action may be the Effect of some other Cause, besides the Agent, or Being that acts, than to suppose that Life may be the Effect of some other Cause, besides the Liver, or the Being that lives, in whom Life is caused to be.

The Thing which has led Men into this inconsistent No­tion of Action, when applied to Volition, as tho' it were essential to this internal Action, that the Agent should be self-determined in it, and that the Will should be the Cause of it, was probably this; that according to the Sense of Mankind, and the common Use of Language it is so, with respect to Men's external Actions; which are what originally, and ac­cording to the vulgar Use and most proper Sense of the Word, are called Actions. Men in these are self-directed, self-deter­mined, and their Wills are the Cause of the Motions of their Bodies, and the external Things that are done; so that unless Men do 'em voluntarily, and of Choice, and the Action be de­termined by their antecedent Volition, it is no Action or Doing of theirs. Hence some Metaphysicians have been led unwarily, but exceeding absurdly, to suppose the same concerning Volition it self, that That also must be determined by the Will; which is to be determin'd by antecedent Volition, as the Motion of the Body is; not considering the Contradiction it implies.

But 'tis very evident, that in the metaphysical Distinction be­tween Action and Passion, (tho' long since become common and the general Vogue) due Care has not been taken to con­form Language to the Nature of Things, or to any distinct clear Ideas. As it is in innumerable other Philosophical, Me­taphysical Terms, used in these Disputes; which has occasion'd inexpressible Difficulty, Contention, Errour and Confusion.

[Page 205]And thus probably it came to be thought, that Necessity was inconsistent with Action, as these Terms are applied to Vo­lition. First, these Terms Action and Necessity are changed from their original Meaning, as signifying external voluntary Action, and Constraint, (in which Meaning they are evidently incon­sistent) to signify quite other Things, viz. Volition it self, and Certainty of Existence. And when the Change of Signification is made, Care is not taken to make proper Allowances and Abatements for the Difference of Sense; but still the same Things are unwarily attributed to Action and Necessity, in the new Meaning of the Words, which plainly belonged to 'em in their first Sense; and on this Ground, Maxims are established without any real Foundation, as tho' they were the most cer­tain Truths, and the most evident Dictates of Reason.

But however strenuously it is maintain'd, that what is neces­sary can't be properly called Action, and that a necessary Action is a Contradiction, yet 'tis probable there are few Armi­nian Divines, who if thoroughly tried, would stand to these Principles. They will allow, that God is in the highest Sense an active Being, and the highest Fountain of Life and Action; and they would not probably deny, that those that are called God's Acts of Righteousness, Holiness and Faithfulness, are truly and properly God's Acts, and God is really a holy Agent in them: and yet I trust, they will not deny, that God neces­sarily acts justly and faithfully, and that it is impossible for Him to act unrighteously and unholily.

[Page 206]

SECTION III. The Reasons why some think it contrary to common Sense, to suppose those Things which are necessary, to be worthy of either Praise or Blame.

'TIS abundantly affirmed and urged by Arminian Writers, that it is contrary to common Sense, and the natural No­tions and Apprehensions of Mankind, to suppose o­therwise than that Necessity (making no Distinction between natural and moral Necessity) is inconsistent with Vertue and Vice, Praise and Blame, Reward and Punishment. And their Arguments from hence have been greatly triumphed in; and have been not a little perplexing to many who have been friendly to the Truth, as clearly revealed in the holy Scriptures: It has seem'd to them indeed difficult, to recon­cile Calvinistic Doctrines with the Notions Men commonly have of Justice and Equity. And the true Reasons of it seem to be these that follow.

I. 'Tis indeed a very plain Dictate of common Sense, that natural Necessity is wholly inconsistent with just Praise or Blame. If Men do Things which in themselves are very good, fit to be brought to pass, and very happy Effects, pro­perly against their Wills, and can't help it; or do them from a Necessity that is without their Wills, or with which their Wills have no Concern or Connection; then 'tis a plain Dictate of common Sense, that it's none of their Vertue, nor any moral Good in them; and that they are not worthy to be rewarded or praised; or at all esteemed, honoured or loved on that Account. And on the other Hand, that if from like Necessity they do those Things which in Themselves are very unhappy and pernicious, and do them because they can't help it; the Necessity is such, that it is all one whether they will them, or no; and the Reason why they are done, is from Necessity only, and not from their Wills; 'Tis a very plain Dictate of common Sense that they are not at all to blame; there is no Vice, Fault, or moral Evil at all in the Effect done; nor are they who are thus [Page 207] necessitated, in any wise worthy to be punished, hated, or in the least disrespected, on that Account.

In like Manner, if Things in themselves good and desira­ble are absolutely impossible, with a natural Impossibility, the universal Reason of Mankind teaches, that this wholly and perfectly excuses Persons in their not doing them.

And 'tis also a plain Dictate of common Sense, that if the doing Things in themselves Good, or avoiding Things in themselves Evil, is not absolutely impossible, with such a natural Impossibility, but very difficult, with a natural Difficulty; that is, a Difficulty prior to, and not at all consisting in Will and Inclination it self, and which would remain the same, let the Inclination be what it will; then a Person's Neglect or O­mission is excused in some Measure, tho' not wholly; his Sin is less aggravated, than if the Thing to be done were easy. And if instead of Difficulty and Hindrance, there be a contrary natural Propensity in the State of Things, to the Thing to be done, or Effect to be brought to pass, abstracted from any Considera­tion of the Inclination of the Heart; tho' the Propensity be not so great as to amount to a natural Necessity; yet being some Approach to it, so that the doing the good Thing be very much from this natural Tendency in the State of Things, and but little from a good Inclination; then it is a Dictate of common Sense, that there is so much the less Vertue in what is done; and so it is less Praise-worthy and rewarda­ble. The Reason is easy, viz. because such a natural Propensity or Tendency is an Approach to natural Necessity; and the greater the Propensity, still so much the nearer is the Approach to Necessity. And therefore as natural Necessity takes away or shuts out all Vertue, so this Propensity ap­proaches to an Abolition of Vertue; that is, it diminishes it. And on the other Hand, natural Difficulty in the State of Things is an Approach to natural Impossibility. And as the latter, when it is compleat and absolute, wholly takes away Blame; so such Difficulty takes away some Blame, or dimi­nishes Blame; and makes the Thing done to be less worthy of Punishment.

II. Men in their first Use of such Phrases as these, Must, can't, can't help it, can't avoid it, necessary, unable, impossible, un­avoidable, irresistible &c. use them to signify a Necessity of Con­straint or Restraint, a natural Necessity or Impossibility; or some Necessity that the Will has nothing to do in; which [Page 208] may be, whether Men will or no; and which may be sup­posed to be just the same, let Men's Inclinations and Desires be what they will. Such Kind of Terms in their original Use, I suppose among all Nations, are relative; carrying in their Signification (as was before observed) a Reference or Re­spect to some contrary Will, Desire or Endeavour, which, it is supposed, is, or may be in the Case. All Men find, and be­gin to find in early Childhood, that there are innumerable Things that can't be done, which they desire to do; and in­numerable Things which they are averse to, that must be, they can't avoid them, they will be, whether they chuse them or no. 'Tis to express this Necessity, which Men so soon and so often find, and which so greatly and so early affects them in innumerable Cases, that such Terms and Phrases are first formed; and 'tis to signify such a Necessity, that they are first used, and that they are most constantly used, in the common Affairs of Life; and not to signify any such me­taphysical, speculative and abstract Notion, as that Connection in the Nature or Course of Things, which is between the Subject and Predicate of a Proposition, and which is the Foun­dation of the certain Truth of that Proposition; to signify which, they who employ themselves in Philosophical Inqui­ries into the first Origin and Metaphysical Relations and Dependences of Things, have borrowed these Terms, for want of others. But we grow up from our Cradles in a Use of such Terms and Phrases, entirely different from this, and carrying a Sense exceeding diverse from that in which they are commonly used in the Controversy between Arminians and Calvinists. And it being, as was said before, a Dictate of the universal Sense of Mankind, evident to us as soon as we begin to think, that the Necessity signified by these Terms, in the Sense in which we first learn them, does excuse Persons, and free them from all Fault or Blame; Hence our Idea's of Excusableness or Faultlesness is tied to these Terms and Phrases by a strong Habit, which is begun in Childhood as soon as we begin to speak, and grows up with us, and is strengthned by constant Use and Custom, the Connection growing stronger and stronger.

The habitual Connection which is in Men's Minds be­tween Blamelesness and those foremention'd Terms, Must, cannot, unable, necessary, impossible, unavoidable &c. becomes very strong; because as soon as ever Men begin to use Reason and Speech, they have Occasion to excuse themselves, from the natural Necessity signified by these Terms, in numerous [Page 209] Instances— I can't do it— I could not help it.—And all Man­kind have constant and daily Occasion to use such Phrases in this Sense, to excuse themselves and others in almost all the Concerns of Life, with Respect to Disappointments, and Things that happen which concern and affect us and others, that are hurtful, or disagreable to us or them, or Things de­sirable that we or others fail of.

That a being accustomed to an Union of different Ideas, from early Childhood, makes the habitual Connection ex­ceeding strong, as tho' such Connection were owing to Nature, is manifest in innumerable Instances. It is altogether by such an habitual Connection of Ideas, that Men judge of the Bigness or Distance of the Objects of Sight from their Ap­pearance. Thus 'tis owing to such a Connection early estab­lished, and growing up with a Person, that he judges a Moun­tain, which he sees at ten Miles distance, to be bigger than his Nose, or further off than the End of it. Having been used so long to join a considerable Distance and Magnitude with such an Appearance, Men imagine it is by a Dictate of natural Sense: Whereas it would be quite otherwise with one that had his Eyes newly opened, who had been born blind: He would have the same visible Appearance, but natural Sense would dictate no such Thing concerning the Magnitude or Distance of what appeared.

III. When Men, after they had been so habituated to connect Ideas of Innocency or Blamelesness with such Terms, that the Union seems to be the Effect of meer Nature, come to hear the same Terms used, & learn to use them themselves in the foremen­tion'd new & metaphysical Sense, to signify quite another Sort of Necessity, which has no such Kind of Relation to a contrary sup­posable Will and Endeavour; the Notion of plain and mani­fest Blamelesness, by this Means, is by a strong Prejudice, in­sensibly and unwarily transfer'd to a Case to which it by no Means belongs: The Change of the Use of the Terms, to a Signification which is very diverse, not being taken Notice of, or adverted to. And there are several Reasons why it is not.

1. The Terms, as used by Philosophers, are not very distinct and clear in their Meaning: few use them in a fix'd deter­mined Sense. On the contrary, their Meaning is very vogue and confused. Which is what commonly happens to the [Page 210] Words used to signify Things intellectual and moral, and to express what Mr. Locke calls mixt Modes. If Men had a clear and distinct understanding of what is intended by these meta­physical Terms, they would be able more easily to compare them with their original and common Sense; and so would not be so easily cheated by them. The Minds of Men are so easily led into Delusion by no Sort of Terms in the World, as by Words of this Sort.

2. The Change of the Signification of the Terms is the more insensible, because the Things signified, tho' indeed very different, yet do in some generals agree. In Necessity, that which is vulgarly so called, there is a strong Connection be­tween the Thing said to be necessary, and something antece­dent to it, in the Order of Nature; so there is also in philo­sophical Necessity. And tho' in both Kinds of Necessity, the Connection can't be called by that Name, with Relation to an opposite Will or Endeavour, to which it is superiour; which is the Case in vulgar Necessity; yet in both, the Con­nection is prior to Will and Endeavour, and so in some Re­spect superiour. In both Kinds of Necessity there is a Foun­dation for some Certainty of the Proposition that affirms the Event.—The Terms used being the same, and the Things signified agreeing in these and some other general Circumstan­ces, and the Expressions as used by Philosophers being not well defined, and so of obscure and loose Signification; hence Persons are not aware of the great Difference; and the No­tions of Innocence or Faultlesness, which were so strongly associated with them, and were strictly united in their Minds, ever since they can remember, remain united with them still, as if the Union were altogether natural and necessary; and they that go about to make a Separation, seem to them to do great Violence even to Nature it self.

IV. Another Reason why it appears difficult to reconcile it with Reason, that Men should be blamed for that which is necessary with a moral Necessity (which as was observed before is a Species of Philosophical Necessity) is, that for want of due Consideration, Men inwardly entertain that Apprehension, that this Necessity may be against Men's Wills and sincere En­deavours. They go away with that Notion, that Men may truly will and wish and strive that it may be otherwise; but that invincible Necessity stands in the Way. And many think thus concerning themselves: some that are wicked Men think they wish that they were good, that they loved God and Holiness; [Page 211] but yet don't find that their Wishes produce the Effect.— The Reasons why Men think thus, are as follows. (1.) They find what may be called an indirect Willingness to have a better Will, in the Manner before observed. For it is impossible, and a Contradiction to suppose the Will to be directly and properly against it self. And they don't consider, that this in­direct Willingness is entirely a different Thing from properly willing the Thing that is the Duty and Vertue required; and that there is no Vertue in that sort of Willingness which they have. They don't consider, that the Volitions which a wicked Man may have that he loved God, are no Acts of the Will at all against the moral Evil of not loving God; but only some disagreable Consequences. But the making the requisite Distinction requires more Care of Reflection and Thought than most Men are used to. And Men thro' a Prejudice in their own Favour, are disposed to think well of their own Desires and Dispositions, and to account 'em good and ver­tuous, tho' their Respect to Vertue be only indirect and remote, and 'tis nothing at all that is vertuous that truly excites or ter­minates their Inclinations. (2.) Another Thing that insensibly leads and beguiles Men into a Supposition that this moral Necessity or Impossibility is, or may be against Men's Wills, and true Endeavours, is the Derivation and Formation of the Terms themselves, that are often used to express it, which is such as seems directly to point to, and hold this forth. Such Words, for Instance, as unable, unavoidable, impossible, irresistible; which carry a plain Reference to a supposable Power exerted, Endeavours used, Resistance made, in Opposition to the Ne­cessity: And the Persons that hear them, not considering nor suspecting but that they are used in their proper Sense: That Sense being therefore understood, there does naturally, and as it were necessarily arise in their Minds a Supposition that it may be so indeed, that true Desires and Endeavours may take Place, but that invincible Necessity stands in the Way, and renders 'em vain and to no Effect.

V. Another Thing which makes Persons more ready to suppose it to be contrary to Reason, that Men should be ex­posed to the Punishments threaten'd to Sin, for doing those Things which are morally necessary, or not doing those Things morally impossible, is, that Imagination strengthens the Argument, and adds greatly to the Power and Influence of the seeming Reasons against it, from the Greatness of that Punishment. To allow that they may be justly exposed to a small Punishment, would not be so difficult. Whereas, if there [Page 212] were any good Reason in the Case, if it were truly a Dictate of Reason that such Necessity was inconsistent with Faultiness, or just Punishment, the Demonstration would be equally certain with respect to a small Punishment, or any Punishment at all, as a very great one: But it is not equally easy to the Imagi­nation. They that argue against the Justice of damning Men for those Things that are thus necessary, seem to make their Argument the stronger, by setting forth the Greatness of the Punishment in strong Expressions:—That a Man should be cast into eternal Burnings, that he should be made to fry in Hell to all Eternity, for those Things which He had no Power to avoid, and was under a fatal, unfrustrable, invincible Necessity of doing.

SECTION IV. It is agreable to common Sense, and the na­tural Notions of Mankind, to suppose moral Necessity to be consistent with Praise and Blame, Reward and Punishment.

WHETHER the Reasons that have been given, why it appears difficult to some Persons to reconcile with common Sense the praising or blaming, rewarding or punishing those Things which are morally necessary, are thought satisfactory, or not; yet it most evidently appears by the following Things, that if this Matter be rightly under­stood, setting aside all Delusion arising from the Impropriety and Ambiguity of Terms▪ this is not at all inconsistent with the natural Apprehensions of Mankind, and that Sense of Things which is found every where in the common People, who are furthest from having their▪ Thoughts perverted from their natural Channel, by metaphysical and philosophical Sub­tilties; but on the contrary, altogether agreable to, and the very Voice and Dictate of this natural and vulgar Sense.

I. This will appear if we consider what the vulgar Notion of Blame-worthiness is. The Idea which the common People [Page 213] through all Ages and Nations have of Faultiness, I suppose to be plainly this; A Person's being or doing wrong, with his own Will and Pleasure; containing these two Things; 1. His doing wrong, when he does as he pleases. 2. His Pleasure's being wrong. Or in other Words, perhaps more intelligibly expressing their Notion; A Person's having his Heart wrong, and doing wrong from his Heart. And this is the Sum total of the Matter.

The common People don't ascend up in their Reflections and Abstractions, to the metaphysical Sources, Relations and De­pendences of Things, in order to form their Notion of Faul­tiness or Blame-worthiness. They don't wait till they have decided by their Refinings, what first determines the Will; whether it be determined by something extrinsic, or intrinsic; whether Volition determines Volition, or whether the Under­standing determines the Will; whether there be any such Thing as Metaphysicians mean by Contingence (if they have any Meaning;) whether there be a Sort of a strange unac­countable Sovereignty in the Will, in the Exercise of which, by it's own sovereign Acts, it brings to pass all it's own sove­reign Acts. They don't take any Part of their Notion of Fault or Blame from the Resolution of any such Questions. If this were the Case, there are Multitudes, yea the far greater Part of Mankind, nine Hundred and ninety-nine out of a Thousand would live and die without having any such Notion as that of Fault ever entring into their Heads, or with­out so much as once having any Conception that any Body was to be either blamed or commended for any Thing. To be sure, it would be a long Time before Men came to have such Notions. Whereas 'tis manifest, they are some of the first Notions that appear in Children; who discover as soon as they can think, or speak, or act at all as rational Creatures, a Sense of Desert. And certainly, in forming their Notion of it, they make no use of Metaphysicks. All the Ground they go upon consists in these two Things; Experience, and a natu­ral Sensation of a certain Fitness or Agreableness which there is in uniting such moral Evil as is above described, viz. a being or doing wrong with the Will, and Resentment in others, and Pain inflicted on the Person in whom this moral Evil is. Which natural Sense is what we call by the Name of Conscience.

'Tis true, the common People and Children, in their Notion of a faulty Act or Deed of any Person, do suppose that it is the Person's own Act and Deed. But this is all that belongs to what they understand by a Thing's being a Person's own Deed or [Page 214] Action; even that it is something done by him of Choice. That some Exercise or Motion should begin of it self, don't belong to their Notion of an Action, or Doing. If so, it would belong to their Notion of it, that it is something which is the Cause of it's own Beginning: And that is as much as to say, that it is before it begins to be. Nor is their Notion of an Action some Motion or Exercise that begins accidentally, with­out any Cause or Reason; for that is contrary to one of the prime Dictates of common Sense, namely, that every Thing that begins to be, has some Cause or Reason why it is.

The common People, in their Notion of a faulty or praise-worthy Deed or Work done by any one, do sup­pose that the Man does it in the Exercise of Liberty. But then their Notion of Liberty is only a Person's having Oppor­tunity of doing as he pleases. They have no Notion of Liber­ty consisting in the Will's first acting, and so causing it's own Acts; and determining, and so causing it's own Determinati­ons; or chusing, and so causing it's own Choice. Such a Notion of Liberty is what none have, but those that have darken'd their own Minds with confused metaphysical Specu­lation, and abstruse and ambiguous Terms. If a Man is not restrain'd from acting as his Will determines, or constrain'd to act otherwise; then he has Liberty, according to common No­tions of Liberty, without taking into the Idea that grand Con­tradiction of all the Determinations of a Man's free Will being the Effects of the Determinations of his free Will.—Nor have Men commonly any Notion of Freedom consisting in In­difference. For if so, then it would be agreable to their No­tion, that the greater Indifference Men act with, the more Freedom they act with; whereas the Reverse is true. He that in acting, proceeds with the fullest Inclination, does what He does with the greatest Freedom, according to common Sense. And so far is it from being agreable to common Sense, that such Liberty as consists in Indifference is requisite to Praise or Blame, that on the contrary, the Dictate of every Man's natu­ral Sense thro' the World is, that the further he is from being indifferent in his acting Good or Evil, and the more he does either with full and strong Inclination, the more is he esteemed or abhorred, commended or condemned.

II. If it were inconsistent with the common Sense of Man­kind, that Men should be either to be blamed or commend­ed in any Volitions they have or fail of, in Case of moral Necessity or Impossibility; then it would surely also be agrea­ble to the same Sense and Reason of Mankind, that the near­er [Page 215] the Case approaches to such a moral Necessity or Impossi­bility, either through a strong antecedent moral Propensity on the one Hand, * or a great antecedent Opposition and Difficulty on the other, the nearer does it approach to a being neither blameable nor commendable; so that Acts exerted with such preceeding Propensity would be worthy of propor­tionably less Praise; and when omitted, the Act being attend­ed with such Difficulty, the Omission would be worthy of the less Blame. It is so, as was observed before, with natural Necessity and Impossibility, Propensity and Difficulty: As 'tis a plain Dictate of the Sense of all Mankind, that natural Ne­cessity and Impossibility takes away all Blame and Praise; and therefore, that the nearer the Approach is to these through previous Propensity or Difficulty, so Praise and Blame are proportionably diminished. And if it were as much a Dictate of common Sense, that moral Necessity of doing, or Impossi­bility of avoiding, takes away all Praise and Blame, as that natural Necessity or Impossibility does this; then, by a perfect Parity of Reason, it would be as much the Dictate of common Sense, that an Approach to moral Necessity of doing, or Im­possibility of avoiding, diminishes Praise and Blame, as that an Approach to natural Necessity and Impossibility does so. 'Tis equally the Voice of common Sense, that Persons are excusable in Part, in neglecting Things difficult against their Wills, as that they are excusable wholly in neglecting Things impossible against their Wills. And if it made no Difference, whether the Impossibility were natural and against the Will, or moral, lying in the Will, with regard to Excusableness; so neither would it make any Difference, whether the Diffi­culty, or Approach to Necessity be natural against the Will, or moral, lying in the Propensity of the Will.

But 'tis apparent, that the Reverse of these Things is true. If there be an Approach to a moral Necessity in a Man's Ex­ertion of good Acts of Will, they being the Exercise of a strong Propensity to Good, and a very powerful Love to Ver­tue; 'tis so far from being the Dictate of common Sense, that He is less vertuous, and the less to be esteem'd, loved and praised; that 'tis agreable to the natural Notions of all Man­kind that he is so much the better Man, worthy of greater Respect, and higher Commendation. And the stronger the Inclination is, and the nearer it approaches to Necessity in that [Page 216] Respect, or to Impossibility of neglecting the vertuous Act, or of doing a vicious one; still the more vertuous, and worthy of higher Commendation. And on the other Hand, if a Man exerts evil Acts of Mind; as for Instance, Acts of Pride or Malice, from a rooted and strong Habit or Principle of Haugh­tiness and Maliciousness, and a violent Propensity of Heart to such Acts; according to the natural Sense of all Men, he is so far from being the less hateful and blameable on that Ac­count, that he is so much the more worthy to be detested and condemned by all that observe Him.

Moreover, 'tis manifest that it is no Part of the Notion which Mankind commonly have of a blameable or praise-worthy Act of the Will, that it is an Act which is not deter­mined by an antecedent Bias or Motive, but by the sovereign Power of the Will it self; because if so, the greater Hand such Causes have in determining any Acts of the Will, so much the less vertuous or vicious would they be accounted; and the less Hand, the more vertuous or vicious. Whereas the Reverse is true: Men don't think a good Act to be the less praise-worthy, for the Agent's being much determined in it by a good Inclination or a good Motive; but the more. And if good Inclination or Motive has but little Influence in deter­mining the Agent, they don't think his Act so much the more vertuous, but the less. And so concerning evil Acts, which are determined by evil Motives or Inclinations.

Yea, if it be supposed that good or evil Dispositions are im­planted in the Hearts of Men by Nature it self (which, it is certain, is vulgarly supposed in innumerable Cases) yet it is not commonly supposed that Men are worthy of no Praise or Dispraise for such Dispositions; altho' what is natural is un­doubtedly necessary, Nature being prior to all Acts of the Will whatsoever. Thus for Instance, if a Man appears to be of a very haughty or malicious Disposition, and is supposed to be so by his natural Temper, 'tis no vulgar Notion, no Dictate of the common Sense and Apprehension of Men, that such Dis­positions are no Vices or moral Evils, or that such Persons are not worthy of Disesteem, Odium and Dishonour; or that the proud or malicious Acts which flow from such natural Dispo­sitions, are worthy of no Resentment. Yea, such vile na­tural Dispositions, and the Strength of 'em, will commonly be mention'd rather as an Aggravation of the wicked Acts that come from such a Fountain, than an Extenuation of 'em. It's being natural for Men to act thus, is often observed by [Page 217] Men in the Height of their Indignation: They will say, ‘'Tis his very Nature: He is of a vile natural Temper; 'tis as natural to Him to act so, as it is to breathe; He can't help serving the Devil, &c.’ But it is not thus with Regard to hurtful mischievous Things that any are the Subjects or Occa­sions of by natural Necessity, against their Inclinations. In such a Case, the Necessity, by the common Voice of Mankind, will be spoken of as a full Excuse.—Thus 'tis very plain, that common Sense makes a vast Difference between these two Kinds of Necessity, as to the Judgment it makes of their In­fluence on the moral Quality and Desert of Men's Actions.

And these Dictates of Men's Minds are so natural and necessary, that it may be very much doubted whether the Arminians themselves have ever got rid of 'em; yea, their greatest Doctors, that have gone furthest in Defence of their metaphysical No­tions of Liberty, and have brought their Arguments to their greatest Strength, and as they suppose to a Demonstration, against the Consistence of Vertue and Vice with any Necessity: 'Tis to be question'd, whether there is so much as one of them, but that if He suffered very much from the injurious Acts of a Man under the Power of an invincible Haughtiness and Malig­nancy of Temper, would not, from the foremention'd natural Sense of Mind, resent it far otherwise, than if as great Sufferings came upon Him from the Wind that blows, and Fire that burns by natural Necessity; and otherwise than he would, if he suffered as much from the Conduct of a Man perfectly de­lirious; yea, tho' he first brought his Distraction upon Him some Way by his own Fault.

Some seem to disdain the Distinction that we make between natural and moral Necessity, as tho' it were altogether impertinent in this Controversy: ‘That which is necessary (say they) is necessary; it is that which must be, and can't be preventent And that which is impossible, is impossible, and can't be done: and therefore none can be to blame for not doing it.’ And such Comparisons are made use of, as the commanding of a Man to walk who has lost his Legs, and condemning and pu­nishing Him for not obeying; Inviting and calling upon a Man, who is shut up in a strong Prison, to come forth, &c. But in these Things Arminians are very unreasonable. Let common Sense determine whether there be not a great Differ­ence between those two Cases; the one, that of a Man who has offended his Prince, and is cast into Prison; and after he has lain there a while, the King comes to him, calls him to [Page 218] come forth to Him; and tells him that if he will do so, and will fall down before Him, and humbly beg his Pardon, he shall be forgiven, and set at Liberty, and also be greatly enrich'd, and advanced to Honour: The Prisoner heartily repents of the Folly and Wickedness of his Offence against his Prince, is thoroughly disposed to abase Himself, and accept of the King's Offer; but is confined by strong Walls, with Gates of Brass, and Barrs of Iron. The other Case is, that of a Man who is of a very unreasonable Spirit, of a haughty, ungrateful, wilful Disposition; and moreover, has been brought up in traiterious Principles; and has his Heart possessed with an extream and inveterate Enmity to his lawful Sovereign; and for his Rebellion is cast into Prison, and lies long there, loaden with heavy Chains, and in miserable Circumstances. At length the compassionate Prince comes to the Prison, orders his Chains to be knocked off, and his Prison-Doors to be set wide open; calls to him, and tells Him, if He will come forth to him, and fall down before him, acknowledge that he has treated him unworthily, and ask his Forgiveness; He shall be forgiven, set at Liberty, and set in a Place of great Dignity and Profit in his Court. But He is so stout and stomachful, and full of haughty Malignity, that He can't be willing to accept the Offer: his rooted strong Pride and Malice have perfect Power over him, and as it were bind him, by binding his Heart: The Opposition of his Heart has the Mastery over Him, hav­ing an Influence on his Mind far superiour to the King's Grace and Condescension, and to all his kind Offers & Promises. Now, is it agreable to common Sense, to assert and stand to it, that there is no Difference between these two Cases, as to any Worthiness of Blame in the Prisoners; because, forsooth, there is a Necessity in both, and the required Act in each Case is impossible? 'Tis true, a Man's evil Dispositions may be as strong and immovable as the Bars of a Castle. But who can't see, that when a Man, in the latter Case, is said to be unable to obey the Command, the Expression is used improper­ly, and not in the Sense it has originally and in common Speech? And that it may properly be said to be in the Rebel's Power to come out of Prison, seeing he can easily do it if he pleases; tho' by Reason of his vile Temper of Heart which is fix'd and rooted, 'tis impossible that it should please Him?

Upon the whole, I presume there is no Person of good Un­derstanding, who impartially considers the Things which have been observed, but will allow that 'tis not evident from the Dictates of the common Sense, or natural Notions of Man­kind, [Page 219] that moral Necessity is inconsistent with Praise and Blame. And therefore, if the Arminians would prove any such Incon­sistency, it must be by some philosophical and metaphysical Arguments, and not common Sense.

There is a grand Illusion in the pretended Demonstration of Arminians from common Sense. The main Strength of all these Demonstrations, lies in that Prejudice that arises thro' the insensible Change of the Use and Meaning of such Terms as Liberty, able, unable, necessary, impossible, unavoidable, invincible, Action, &c. from their original and vulgar Sense, to a metaphysical Sense entirely diverse; and the strong Connection of the Ideas of Blamelesness &c. with some of these Terms, by an Habit contracted and establish'd, while these Terms were used in their first Meaning. This Prejudice and Delusion is the Foun­dation of all those Positions they lay down as Maxims, by which most of the Scriptures, which they alledge in this Con­troversy, are interpreted, and on which all their pompous De­monstrations from Scripture and Reason depend. From this secret Delusion and Prejudice they have almost all their Ad­vantages: 'Tis the Strength of their Bulwarks, and the Edge of their Weapons. And this is the main Ground of all the Right they have to treat their Neighbours in so assuming a Manner, and to insult others, perhaps as wise and good as themselves, as weak Bigots, Men that dwell in the dark Caves of Superstition, perversly set, obstinately shutting their Eyes against the Noon-day Light, Enemies to common Sense, maintaining the first-born of Absurdities, &c. &c. But perhaps an impartial Consideration of the Things which have been observed in the preceeding Parts of this Enquiry, may enable the Lovers of Truth better to judge, whose Doctrine is indeed absurd, abstruse, self-contra­dictory, and inconsistent with common Sense, and many Ways repugnant to the universal Dictates of the Reason of Mankind.

Corol. From Things which have been observed, it will fol­low, that it is agreable to common Sense to suppose, that the glorified Saints have not their Freedom at all diminish'd, in any Respect; and that God Himself has the highest possible Freedom, according to the true and proper Meaning of the Term; and that He is in the highest possible respect an Agent, and active in the Exercise of his infinite Holiness; tho' He acts therein in the highest Degree necessarily: and his Actions of this Kind are in the highest, most absolutely perfect Man­ner vertuous and praise-worthy; and are so, for that very Reason, because they are most perfectly necessary.

[Page 220]

SECTION V. Concerning those Objections, that this Scheme of Necessity renders all Means and En­deavours for the avoiding of Sin, or the obtaining Vertue and Holiness, vain, and to no Purpose; and that it makes Men no more than meer Machines in Affairs of Morality and Religion.

ARminians say, if it be so, that Sin and Vertue come to pass by a Necessity consisting in a sure Connection of Causes and Effects, Antecedents and Consequents, it can never be worth the while to use any Means or Endea­vours to obtain the one, and avoid the other; seeing no En­deavours can alter the Futurity of the Event, which is become necessary by a Connection already established.

But I desire, that this Matter may be fully considered; and that it may be examined with a thorough Strictness, whether it will follow that Endeavours and Means, in order to avoid or obtain any future Thing, must be more in vain, on the Sup­position of such a Connection of Antecedents and Consequents, than if the contrary be supposed.

For Endeavours to be in vain, is for 'em not to be successful; that is to say, for 'em not eventually to be the Means of the Thing aimed at, which can't be, but in one of these two Ways; either, First, That altho' the Means are used, yet the Event aimed at don't follow: Or, Secondly, If the Event does follow, it is not because of the Means, or from any Connection or Dependence of the Event on the Means, the Event would have come to pass, as well without the Means, as with them. If either of these two Things are the Case, then the Means are not properly successful, and are truly in vain. The Suc­cessfulness or Unsuccessfulness of Means, in order to an Effect, or their being in vain or not in vain, consists in those Means being connected, or not connected, with the Effect, in [Page 221] such a Manner as this, viz. That the Effect is with the Means, and not without them; or, that the Being of the Effect is, on the one Hand, connected with the Means, and the Want of the Effect, on the other Hand, is connected with the Want of the Means. If there be such a Connection as this between Means and End, the Means are not in vain: The more there is of such a Connection, the further they are from being in vain; and the less of such a Connection, the more are they in vain.

Now therefore the Question to be answered, (in order to determine, whether it follows from this Doctrine of the ne­cessary Connection between foregoing Things and consequent ones, that Means used in order to any Effect, are more in vain than they would be otherwise) is, Whether it follows from it, that there is less of the forementioned Connection between Means and Effect; that is, Whether on the Supposi­tion of there being a real and true Connection between antecedent Things and consequent ones, there must be less of a Connection between Means and Effect, than on the Suppo­sition of there being no fix'd Connection between antecedent Things and consequent ones: And the very stating of this Question is sufficient to answer it. It must appear to every one that will open his Eyes, that this Question can't be affirmed, without the grossest Absurdity and Inconsistence. Means are foregoing Things, and Effects are following Things: And if there were no Connection between foregoing Things, and following ones, there could be no Connection between Means and End; and so all Means would be wholly vain and fruitless. For 'tis by Vertue of some Connection only, that they become successful: 'Tis some Connection observed, or revealed, or otherwise known, between ante­cedent Things and following ones, that is what directs in the Choice of Means. And if there were no such Thing as an establish'd Connection, there could be no Choice, as to Means; one Thing would have no more Tendency to an Effect, than another; there would be no such Thing as Tendency in the Case. All those Things which are successful Means of other Things, do therein prove connected Antecedents of them: And therefore to assert, that a fix'd Connection between Ante­cedents and Consequents makes Means vain and useless, or stands in the Way to hinder the Connection between Means and End, is just so ridiculous, as to say, that a Connection between Antecedents and Consequents stands in the Way to hinder a Connection between Antecedents and Consequents.

[Page 222]Nor can any supposed Connection of the Succession or Train of Antecedents and Consequents, from the very Beginning of all Things, the Connection being made already sure and necessary, either by establish'd Laws of Nature, or by these together with a Decree of sovereign immediate Inter­positions of divine Power, on such and such Occasions, or any other Way (if any other there be;) I say, no such necessary Connection of a Series of Antecedents and Consequents can in the least tend to hinder, but that the Means we use may belong to the Series; and so may be some of those Antecedents which are connected with the Consequents we aim at, in the establish'd Course of Things. Endeavours which we use, are Things that exist; and therefore they belong to the general Chain of Events; all the Parts of which Chain are supposed to be connected: And so Endeavours are supposed to be con­nected with some Effects, or some consequent Things, or other. And certainly this don't hinder but, that the Events they are connected with, may be those which we aim at, and which we chuse, because we judge 'em most likely to have a Con­nection with those Events, from the establish'd Order and Course of Things which we observe, or from something in divine Revelation.

Let us suppose a real and sure Connection between a Man's having his Eyes open in the clear Day-light, with good Organs of Sight, and Seeing; so that Seeing is connected with his opening his Eyes, and not seeing with his not opening his Eyes; and also the like Connection between such a Man's attempting to open his Eyes, and his actually doing it: The supposed established Connection between these Antecedents and Consequents, let the Connection be never so sure and necessary, certainly don't prove that it is in vain, for a Man in such Cir­cumstances to attempt to open his Eyes, in order to seeing: His aiming at that Event, and the Use of the Means, being the Effect of his Will, don't break the Connection, or hinder the Success.

So that the Objection we are upon, don't lie against the Doctrine of the Necessity of Events by a Certainty of Connec­tion and Consequence: On the contrary, it is truly forcible against the Arminian Doctrine of Contingence and Self-deter­mination; which is inconsistent with such a Connection. If there be no Connection between those Events wherein Vertue and Vice consist, and any Thing antecedent; then there is no Connection between these Events and any Means or Endeavours [Page 223] used in order to them: And if so, then those Means must be in vain. The less there is of Connection between foregoing Things and following ones, so much the less there is between Means and End, Endeavours and Success; and in the same Proportion are Means and Endeavours ineffectual and in vain.

It will follow from Arminian Principles, that there is no Degree of Connection between Vertue or Vice, and any foregoing Event or Thing: Or in other Words, That the Determination of the Existence of Vertue or Vice don't in the least depend on the Influence of any Thing that comes to pass antecedently, from which the Determination of its Ex­istence is, as its Cause, Means, or Ground; because, so far as it is so, it is not from Self-determination: And therefore, so far there is nothing of the Nature of Vertue or Vice. And so it follows, that Vertue and Vice are not at all, in any Degree, dependent upon, or connected with any foregoing Event or Existence, as its Cause, Ground, or Means. And if so, then all foregoing Means must be totally in vain.

Hence it follows, that there cannot, in any Consistence with the Arminian Scheme, be any reasonable Ground of so much as a Conjecture concerning the Consequence of any Means and Endeavours, in order to escaping Vice or obtaining Vertue, or any Choice or Preference of Means, as having a greater Probability of Success by some than others; either from any natural Connection or Dependence of the End on the Means, or through any divine Constitution, or revealed Way of God's bestowing or bringing to pass these Things, in Consequence of any Means, Endeavours, Prayers or Deeds. Conjecture in this latter Case depends on a Supposition that God himself is the Giver, or determining Cause of the Events sought: But if they depend on Self-determination, then God is not the determining or disposing Author of them: And if these Things are not of his Disposal, then no Conjecture can be made from any Revelation he has given concerning any Way or Method of his Disposal of them.

Yea, on these Principles, it will not only follow that Men can't have any reasonable Ground of Judgment or Conjecture, that their Means and Endeavours to obtain Vertue or avoid Vice, will be successful, but they may be sure they will not; they may be certain, that they will be in vain; and that if ever the Thing which they seek comes to pass, it will not be at all owing to the Means they use. For Means and En­deavours [Page 224] can have no Effect at all, in Order to obtain the End, but in one of these two Ways; either (1.) Through a natural Tendency and Influence, to prepare and dispose the Mind more to vertuous Acts, either by causing the Disposition of the Heart to be more in Favour of such Acts, or by bringing the Mind more into the View of powerful Motives and Inducements: Or, (2.) By putting Persons more in the Way of God's Bestowment of the Benefit. But neither of these can be the Case. Not the latter; for as has been just now observed, it don't consist with the Arminian Notion of Self-determination, which they suppose essential to Vertue, that God should be the Bestower, or (which is the same Thing) the determining, disposing Author of Vertue. Not the former; for natural Influence and Tendency supposes Causality and Connection; and that supposes Necessity of Event, which is inconsistent with Arminian Liberty. A Ten­dency of Means, by biassing the Heart in Favour of Vertue, or by bringing the Will under the Influence and Power of Motives in its Determinations, are both inconsistent with Arminian Liberty of Will, consisting in Indifference, and sovereign Self-determination, as has been largely demonstrated.

But for the more full Removal of this Prejudice against that Doctrine of Necessity which has been maintain'd, as though it tended to encourage a total Neglect of all Endeavours as vain; the following Things may be considered.

The Question is not, Whether Men may not thus improve this Doctrine: We know that many true and wholesome Doctrines are abused: But, Whether the Doctrine gives any just Occasion for such an Improvement; or whether, on the Supposition of the Truth of the Doctrine, such a Use of it would not be unreasonable? If any shall affirm, that it would not, but that the very Nature of the Doctrine is such as gives just Occasion for it, it must be on this Supposition; namely, That such an invariable Necessity of all Things already settled, must render the Interposition of all Means, Ende [...]vours, Conclusions or Actions of ours, in order to the obtaining any future End whatsoever, perfectly insignificant; because they can't in the least alter or vary the Course and Series of Things, in any Event or Circumstance; all being already fixed unalterably by Necessity: And that therefore 'tis Folly, for Men to use any Means for any End; but their Wisdom, to save themselves the Trouble of Endeavours, and take their Ease. No Person can draw such an Inference from this Doctrine, [Page 225] and come to such a Conclusion, without contradicting himself, and going counter to the very Principles he pretends to act upon: For he comes to a Conclusion, and takes a Course, in order to an End, even his Ease, or the saving himself from Trouble; he seeks something future, and uses Means in Order to a future Thing, even in his drawing up that Conclusion, that he will seek nothing, and use no Means in order to any Thing future; he seeks his future Ease, and the Benefit and Comfort of Indolence. If prior Necessity that determines all Things, makes vain all Actions or Conclusions of ours, in order to any Thing future; then it makes vain all Conclusions and Conduct of ours, in order to our future Ease. The Mea­sure of our Ease, with the Time, Manner and every Circum­stance of it, is already fix'd, by all-determining Necessity, as much as any Thing else. If he says within himself, ‘What future Happiness or Misery I shall have, is already in Effect determined by the necessary Course and Connection of Things; therefore I will save myself the Trouble of Labour and Diligence, which can't add to my determin'd Degree of Happiness, or diminish my Misery; but will take my Ease, and will enjoy the Comfort of Sloth and Negligence.’ Such a Man contradicts himself: He says, the Measure of his future Happiness and Misery is already fix'd, and he won't try to diminish the one, nor add to the other: But yet in his very Conclusion, he contradicts this; for he takes up this Conclusion, to add to his future Happiness, by the Ease and Comfort of his Negligence; and to diminish his future Trou­ble and Misery, by saving himself the Trouble of using Means and taking Pains.

Therefore Persons can't reasonably make this Improvement of the Doctrine of Necessity, that they will go into a voluntary Negligence of Means for their own Happiness. For the Principles they must go upon, in order to this, are inconsistent with their making any Improvement at all of the Doctrine: For to make some Improvement of it, is to be influenced by it, to come to some voluntary Conclusion, in Regard to their own Conduct, with some View or Aim: But this, as has been shown, is inconsistent with the Principles they pretend to act upon. In short, the Principles are such as cannot be acted upon at all, or in any Respect, consistently. And there­fore in every Pretence of acting upon them, or making any Improvement at all of them, there is a Self-contradiction.

[Page 226]As to that Objection against the Doctrine which I have endeavoured to prove, that it makes Men no more than meer Machines; I would say, that notwithstanding this Doc­trine, Man is entirely, perfectly and unspeakably different from a meer Machine, in that he has Reason and Understanding, and has a Faculty of Will, and so is capable of Volition and Choice; and in that, his Will is guided by the Dictates or Views of his Understanding; and in that his external Actions and Behaviour, and in many Respect also his Thoughts, and the Exercises of his Mind, are subject to his Will; so that he has Liberty to act according to his Choice, and do what he pleases; and by Means of these Things, is capable of moral Habits and moral Acts, such Inclinations and Actions as according to the common Sense of Mankind, are worthy of Praise, Esteem, Love and Reward; or on the contrary, of Disesteem, Detestation, Indignation and Punishment.

In these Things is all the Difference from meer Machines, as to Liberty and Agency, that would be any Perfection, Dig­nity or Privilege, in any Respect: All the Difference that can be desired, and all that can be conceived of; and indeed all that the Pretensions of the Arminians themselves come to, as they are forced often to explain themselves. (Tho' their Expli­cations overthrow and abolish the Things asserted, and pre­tended to be explained) For they are forced to explain a self-determining Power of Will, by a Power in the Soul, to deter­mine as it chuses or wills; which comes to no more than this, that a Man has a Power of chusing, and in many Instances, can do as he chuses. Which is quite a different Thing from that Contradiction, his having Power of chusing his first Act of Choice in the Case.

Or if their Scheme makes any other Difference than this, between Men and Machines, it is for the worse: It is so far from supposing Men to have a Dignity and Privilege above Machines, that it makes the Manner of their being determined still more unhappy. Whereas Machines are guided by an un­derstanding Cause, by the skilful Hand of the Workman or Owner; the Will of Man is left to the Guidance of nothing, but absolute blind Contingence.

[Page 227]

SECTION VI. Concerning that Objection against the Doc­trine which has been maintain'd, that it agrees with the Stoical Doctrine of Fate, and the Opinions of Mr. Hobbes.

WHEN Calvinists oppose the Arminian Notion of the Free­dom of Will, and Contingence of Volition, and insist that there are no Acts of the Will, nor any other Events whatsoever, but what are attended with some Kind of Necessity; their Opposers cry out of them, as agreeing with the antient Stoicks in their Doctrine of Fate, and with Mr. Hobbes in his Opinion of Necessity.

It would not be worth while, to take Notice of so imperti­nent an Objection, had it not been urged by some of the chief Arminian Writers.— There were many important Truths maintain'd by the antient Greek and Roman Philosophers, and especially the Stoicks, that are never the worse for being held by them. The Stoic Philosophers, by the general Agreement of Christian Divines, and even Arminian Divines, were the greatest, wisest and most vertuous of all the Heathen Philoso­phers; and in their Doctrine and Practice came the nearest to Christianity of any of their Sects. How frequently are the Sayings of these Philosophers, in many of the Writings and Sermons, even of Arminian Divines, produced, not as Argu­ments of the Falseness of the Doctrines which they delivered, but as a Confirmation of some of the greatest Truths of the Christian Religion, relating to the Unity and Perfections of the Godhead, a future State, the Duty and Happiness of Mankind, &c. as observing how the Light of Nature and Reason in the wisest and best of the Heathen, harmonized with, and confirms the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

And it is very remarkable concerning Dr. Whitby, that altho' He alledges the Agreement of the Stoicks with us, wherein He supposes they maintain'd the like Doctrine with us, as an Ar­gument against the Truth of our Doctrine; yet this very Dr. Whitby alledges the Agreement of the Stoicks with the Arminians, [Page 228] wherein he supposes they taught the same Doctrine with them, as an Argument for the Truth of their Doctrine. * So that when the Stoicks agree with them, this (it seems) is a Confirma­tion of their Doctrine, and a Confutation of ours, as shewing that our Opinions are contrary to the natural Sense & common Reason of Mankind: Nevertheless, when the Stoicks agree with us, it argues no such Thing in our Favour; but on the con­trary, is a great Argument against us, and shews our Doctrine to be Heathenish.

It is observed by some Calvinistic Writers, that the Arminians symbolize with the Stoicks, in some of those Doctrines wherein they are opposed by the Calvinists; particularly in their denying an original, innate, total Corruption and Depravity of Heart; and in what they held of Man's Ability to make Himself truly vertuous and conformed to God;— and in some other Doctrines.

It may be further observed, 'tis certainly no better Objection against our Doctrine, that it agrees in some Respects with the Doctrine of the antient Stoic Philosophers, than it [...] against theirs, wherein they differ from us, that it agrees in some Re­spects with the Opinion of the very worst of the Heathen Phi­losophers, the Followers of Epicurus, that Father of Atheism and Licentiousness, and with the Doctrine of the Sadducees and Iesuits.

I am not much concerned to know precisely what the antient Stoic Philosophers held concerning Fate, in order to determine what is Truth; as tho' it were a sure Way to be in the right, to take good Heed to differ from them. It seems that they differed among themselves; and probably the Doctrine of Fate, as maintain'd by most of 'em, was in some Respects erroneous. But whatever their Doctrine was, if any of 'em held such a Fate, as is repugnant to any Liberty consisting in our doing as we please, I utterly deny such a Fate. If they held any such Fate, as is not consistent with the common and universal Notions that Mankind have of Liberty, Activity, moral Agency, Vertue and Vice; I disclaim any such Thing, and think I have demonstrated that the Scheme I maintain is no such Scheme. If the Stoicks by Fate meant any Thing of such a Nature, as can be supposed to stand in the Way of the Advan­tage and Benefit of the Use of Means and Endeavours, or [Page 229] makes it less worth the while for Men to desire, and seek after any Thing wherein their Vertue and Happiness consists; I hold no Doctrine that is clog'd with any such Inconvenience, any more than any other Scheme whatsoever; and by no Means so much as the Arminian Scheme of Contingence; as has been shewn. If they held any such Doctrine of universal Fatality, as is inconsistent with any Kind of Liberty, that is or can be any Perfection, Dignity, Privilege or Benefit, or any Thing desirable, in any Respect, for any intelligent Crea­ture, or indeed with any Liberty that is possible or conceivable; I embrace no such Doctrine. If they held any such Doctrine of Fate as is inconsistent with the World's being in all Things subject to the Disposal of an intelligent wise Agent, that pre­sides, not as the Soul of the World, but as the sovereign Lord of the Universe, governing all Things by proper Will, Choice and Design, in the Exercise of the most perfect Liberty con­ceivable, without Subjection to any Constraint, or being pro­perly under the Power or Influence of any Thing before, above or without himself; I wholly renounce any such Doctrine.

As to Mr. Hobbes's maintaining the same Doctrine concern­ing Necessity;—I confess, it happens I never read Mr. Hobbes. Let his Opinion be what it will, we need not reject all Truth which is demonstrated by clear Evidence, meerly be­cause it was once held by some bad Man. This great Truth, that Iesus is the Son of God, was not spoil'd because it was once and again proclaimed with a loud Voice by the Devil. If Truth is so defiled because it is spoken by the Mouth, or written by the Pen of some ill-minded mischievous Man, that it must never be received, we shall never know when we hold any of the most precious and evident Truths by a sure Tenure. And if Mr. Hobbes has made [...] bad Use of this Truth, that is to be lamented: but the Truth is not to be tho't worthy of Rejection on that Account. 'Tis common for the Corruptions of the Hearts of evil Men, to abuse the best Things to vile Purposes.

I might also take Notice of it's having been observed, that the Arminians agree with Mr. Hobbes in many more Things than the Calvinists. As, in what he is said to hold concerning Original Sin, in denying the Necessity of supernatural Illumi­nation, in denying infused Grace, in denying the Doctrine of Justification by Faith alone; and other Things.

[Page 230]

SECTION VII. Concerning the Necessity of the Divine Will.

SOME may possibly object against what has been supposed of the Absurdity and Inconsistence of a self-determining Power in the Will, and the Impossibility of it's being otherwise, than that the Will should be determined in every Case by some Motive, and by a Motive which (as it stands in the View of the Understanding) is of superiour Strength to any appearing on the other Side; That if these Things are true, it will follow, that not only the Will of created Minds, but the Will of God Himself is necessary in all it's Determina­tions. Concerning which says the Author of the Essay on the Freedom of Will in God and in the Creature (Pag. 85, 86.) ‘What strange Doctrine is this, contrary to all our Ideas of the Dominion of God? Does it not destroy the Glory of his Liberty of Choice, and take away from the Creator and Governour and Benefactor of the World, that most free and sovereign Agent, all the Glory of this Sort of Freedom? Does it not seem to make Him a Kind of mechanical Me­dium of Fate, and introduce Mr. Hobbes's Doctrine of Fata­lity and Necessity, into all Things that God hath to do with? Does it not seem to represent the blessed God, as a Being of vast Understanding, as well as Power and Effi­ciency, but still to leave Him without a Will to chuse among all the Objects within his View? In short, it seems to make the blessed God a Sort of almighty Minister of Fate, under it's universal and supream Influence; as it was the profess'd Sentiment of some of the Antients, that Fate was above the Gods.’

This is declaiming, rather than arguing; and an Applica­tion to Men's Imaginations and Prejudices, rather than to meer Reason.—But I would calmly endeavour to consider whether there be any Reason in this frightful Represe [...]tation.—But before I enter upon a particular Consideration of the Matter, I would observe this: That 'tis reasonable to suppose, it should be much more difficult to express or conceive Things accord­ing to exact metaphysical Truth, relating to the Nature and Manner of the Existence of Things in the divine Understand­ing and Will, and the Operation of these Faculties (if I may [Page 231] so call them) of the divine Mind, than in the human Mind; which is infinitely more within our View, and nearer to a Proportion to the Measure of our Comprehension, and more commensurate to the Use and Import of human Speech. Language is indeed very deficient, in Regard of Terms to express precise Truth concerning our own Minds, and their Faculties and Operations. Words were first formed to express external Things; and those that are applied to express Things internal and spiritual, are almost all borrowed, and used in a Sort of figurative Sense. Whence they are most of 'em attended with a great Deal of Ambiguity and Unfixedness in their Significa­tion, occasioning innumerable Doubts, Difficulties and Confu­sions in Enquiries and Controversies about Things of this Na­ture. But Language is much less adapted to express Things in the Mind of the incomprehensible Deity, precisely as they are.

We find a great Deal of Difficulty in conceiving exactly of the Nature of our own Souls. And notwithstanding all the Progress which has been made in past and present Ages, in this Kind of Knowledge, whereby our Metaphysicks, as it relates to these Things, is brought to greater Perfection than once it was; yet here is still Work enough left for future En­quiries and Researches, and Room for Progress still to be made, for many Ages and Generations. But we had need to be in­finitely able Metaphysicians, to conceive with Clearness, accord­ing to strict, proper and perfect Truth, concerning the Nature of the divine Essence, and the Modes of the Action and Ope­ration of the Powers of the divine Mind.

And it may be noted particularly, that tho' we are obliged to conceive of some Things in God as consequent and depen­dent on others, and of some Things pertaining to the divine Nature and Will as the Foundation of others, and so before others in the Order of Nature: As, we must conceive of the Knowledge and Holiness of God as prior in the Order of Na­ture to his Happiness; the Perfection of his Understanding, as the Foundation of his wise Purposes and Decrees; the Holi­ness of his Nature, as the Cause and Reason of his holy De­terminations. And yet when we speak of Cause and Effect, Antecedent and Consequent, fundamental and dependent, de­termining and determined, in the first Being, who is self-existent, independent, of perfect and absolute Simplicity and Immutability, and the first Cause of all Things; doubtless there must be less Propriety in such Representations, than when [Page 232] we speak of derived dependent Beings, who are compounded, and liable to perpetual Mutation and Succession.

Having premised this, I proceed to observe concerning the foremention'd Author's Exclamation, about the necessary Deter­mination of God's Will, in all Things, by what He sees to be fittest and best.

That all the seeming Force of such Objections and Excla­mations must arise from an Imagination, that there is some Sort of Privilege or Dignity in being without such a moral Necessity, as will make it impossible to do any other, than always chuse what is wisest and best; as tho' there were some Disadvantage, Meanness and Subjection, in such a Necessity; a Thing by which the Will was confined, kept under, and held in Servitude by something, which, as it were, maintained a strong and invincible Power and Dominion over it, by Bonds that held him fast, and that he could by no Means deliver himself from. Whereas, this must be all meer Imagination and Delusion. 'Tis no Disadvantage or Dishonour to a Being, necessarily to act in the most excellent and happy Manner, from the necessary Perfection of his own Nature. This argues no Imperfection, Inferiority or Dependance, nor any Want of Dignity, Privilege or Ascendancy. 'Tis not inconsistent with [Page 233] the absolute, and most perfect Sovereignty of God. The Sovereignty of God is his Ability and Authority to do what­ever pleases Him; whereby He doth according to his Will in the Armies of Heaven, and amongst the Inhabitants of the Earth, and none can stay his Hand, or say unto him, What dost thou?—The following Things belong to the Sovereignty of God; viz. (1.) Supreme, universal, and infinite Power; whereby he is able to do what he pleases, without Controul; without any Confinement of that Power, without any Subjection in the least Measure to any other Power; and so without any Hindrance or Restraint, that it should be either impossible, or at all difficult, for him to accomplish his Will; and without any [Page 234] Dependance of his Power on any other Power, from whence it should be derived, or which it should stand in any Need of: So far from this, that all other Power is derived from Him, and is absolutely dependent on Him. (2.) That He has su­preme Authority; absolute and most perfect Right to do what He wills, without Subjection to any superiour Authority, or any Derivation of Authority from any other, or Limitation by any distinct independent Authority, either superiour, equal, or inferiour; he being the Head of all Dominion, and Fountain of all Authority; and also without Restraint by any Obliga­tion, implying either Subjection, Derivation, or Dependance, or proper Limitation. (3.) That his Will is supreme, unde­rived, and independent on any Thing without Himself; being [Page 235] in every Thing determin'd by his own Counsel, having no other Rule but his own Wisdom; his Will not being subject to, or restrain'd by the Will of any other, and others Wills being perfectly subject to his. (4.) That his Wisdom, which determines his Will, is supreme, perfect, underived, self-sufficient, and independent; so that it may be said as in Isai. xl.14. With whom took He Counsel? And who instructed Him and taught Him in the Path of Iudgment, and taught Him Knowlege, and shewed Him the Way of Understanding?—There is no other divine Sovereignty but this: and this is properly absolute Sove­reignty: No other is desirable; nor would any other be ho­nourable, or happy: and indeed there is no other conceivable or possible. 'Tis the Glory and Greatness of the divine Sovereignty, that God's Will is determin'd by his own infinite all-sufficient Wisdom in every Thing; and in nothing at all is either directed by any inferiour Wisdom, or by no Wisdom; whereby it would become senseless Arbitrariness, determining and acting without Reason, Design or End.

[Page 236]If God's Will is stead [...]ly and surely determined in every Thing by supreme Wisdom, then it is in every Thing necessarily determined to that which is most wise. And certainly it would be a Disadvantage and Indignity, to be otherwise. For if the divine Will was not necessarily determin'd to that which in every Case is wisest and best, it must be subject to some Degree of undesigning Contingence; and so in the same Degree liable to Evil. To suppose the divine Will liable to be carried hither and thither at Random, by the uncertain Wind of blind Contingence, which is guided by no Wisdom, no Motive, no intelligent Dictate whatsoever, (if any such Thing were possible) would certainly argue a great Degree of Imperfection and Meanness, infinitely unworthy of the Deity.—If it be a Dis­advantage, for the divine Will to be attended with this moral Necessity, then the more free from it, and the more left at Random, the greater Dignity and Advantage. And conse­quently to be perfectly free from the Direction of Understand­ing, and universally and entirely left to senseless unmeaning Contingence, to act absolutely at Random, would be the supreme Glory.

It no more argues any Dependence of God's Will, that his supremely wise Volition is necessary, than it argues a Depen­dence of his Being, that his Existence is necessary. If it be something too low, for the supreme Being to have his Will de­termined by moral Necessity, so as necessarily, in every Case, to will in the highest Degree holily and happily; then why is it not also something too low, for him to have his Existence, and the infinite Perfection of his Nature, and his infinite Happiness determined by Necessity? It is no more to God's Dishonour, to be necessarily wise, than to be necessarily holy. And if neither of them be to his Dishonour, then it is not to his Dishonour necessarily to act holily and wisely. And if it be not dishonourable, to be necessarily holy and wise, in the highest possible Degree, no more is it mean or dishonour­able, necessarily to act holily and wisely in the highest possible Degree; or (which is the same Thing) to do that, in every Case, which above all other Things is wisest and best.

The Reason why it is not dishonourable, to be necessarily most holy, is, because Holiness in itself is an excellent and honourable Thing. For the same Reason, it is no Dishonour to be necessarily most wise, and in every Case to act most wisely, or do th [...] Thing which is the wisest of all; for Wisdom is also in it self excellent and honourable.

[Page 237]The forementioned Author of the Essay on the Freedom of Will &c. as has been observed, represents that Doctrine of the divine Will's being in every Thing necessarily determined by superior Fitness, as making the blessed God a Kind of al­mighty Minister and mechanical Medium of Fate: And he insists, P. 93, 94. that this moral Necessity and Impossibility is in Effect the same Thing with physical and natural Necessity and Impossibility: And in P. 54, 55. he says, ‘The Scheme which dete [...]mines the Will always and certainly by the Understanding, and the Understanding by the Appearance of Things, seems to take away the true Nature of Vice and Vertue. For the sublimest of Vertues, and the vilest of Vices, seem rather to be Matters of Fate and Necessity, flowing naturally and necessarily from the Existence, the Circumstances, and present Situation of Persons and Things: For this Existence and Situation necessarily makes such an Appearance to the Mind; from this Appearance flows a necessary Perception and Judgment, concerning these Things; this Judgment necessarily determines the Will: And thus by this Chain of necessary Causes, Vertue and Vice would lose their Nature, and become natural Ideas, and necessary Things, instead of moral and free Actions.’

And yet this same Author allows, P. 30, 31. That a per­fectly wise Being will constantly and certainly chuse what is most fit; and says, P. 102, 103. ‘I grant, and always have granted, that wheresoever there is such an antecedent supe­rior Fitness of Things, God acts according to it, so as never to contradict it; and particularly, in all his judicial Pro­ceedings, as a Governor, and Distributer of Rewards and Punishments.’ Yea, he says expresly, P. 42. ‘That it is not possible for God to act otherwise, than according to this Fitness and Goodness in Things.’

So that according to this Author, putting these several Passages of his Essay together, there is no Vertue, nor any Thing of a moral Nature, in the most sublime and glorious Acts and Exercises of God's Holiness, Justice, and Faithfulness; and He never does any Thing which is in it self supreamly worthy, and above all other Things fit and excellent, but only as a Kind of mecha­nical Medium of Fate; and in what he does as the Iudge, and moral Governor of the World, He exercises no moral Excellency; exercising no Freedom in these Things, because He acts by moral Necessity, which is in Effect the same with physical or [Page 238] natural Necessity; and therefore he only acts by an Hobbistical Fatality▪ as a Being indeed of vast Understanding, as well as Power and Efficiency (as He said before) but without a Will to chuse, being a Kind of almighty Minister of Fate, acting under it's supream In­fluence. For He allows, that in all these Things God's Will is determined constantly and certainly by a superiour Fitness, and that it is not possible for Him to act otherwise. And if these Things are so, what Glory or Praise belongs to God for doing holily and justly, or taking the most fit, holy, wise and excellent Course, in any one Instance? Whereas, accord­ing to the Scriptures, and also the common Sense of Mankind, it don't in the least derogate from the Honour of any Being, that through the moral Perfection of his Nature, he necessarily acts with supream Wisdom and Holiness: But on the con­trary, his Praise is the greater: Herein consists the Height of his Glory.

The same Author, P. 56. supposes, that herein appears the excellent Character of a wise and good Man, that tho' he can chuse contrary to the Fitness of Things, yet he does not; but suffers himself to be directed by Fitness; and that in this Conduct He imitates the blessed God. And yet He supposes 'tis contrariwise with the blessed God; not that he suffers Himself to be directed by Fitness, when He can chuse contrary to the Fitness of Things, but that he cannot chuse contrary to the Fitness of Things; as he says, P. 42. —That it is not possible for God to act otherwise, than, according to this Fitness, where there is any Fitness or Goodness in Things: Yea, he supposes, P. 31. That if a Man were perfectly wise and good, he could not do otherwise than be constantly and certainly determined by the Fitness of Things.

One Thing more I would observe, before I conclude this Section; and that is, that if it derogates nothing from the Glory of God, to be necessarily determined by superior Fitness in some Things, then neither does it to be thus determined in all Things; from any Thing in the Nature of such Necessity, as at all detracting from God's Freedom, Independence, abso­lute Supr [...]macy, or any Dignity or Glory of his Nature, State, or Manner of acting; or as implying any Infirmity, Restraint, or Subjection. And if the Thing be such as well consists with God's Glory, and has nothing tending at all to detract from it; then we need not be afraid of ascribing it to God in too many Things, lest thereby we should detract from God's Glory too much.

[Page 239]

SECTION VIII. Some further Objections against the moral Necessity of GOD'S Volitions considered.

THE Author last cited, as has been observed, owns that God, being perfectly wise, will constantly and certainly chuse what appears most fit, where there is a superior Fitness and Goodness in Things; and that it is not possible for him to do otherwise. So that it is in Effect confess'd, that in those Things where there is any real Preferableness, 'tis no Dishonour, nothing in any Respect unworthy of God, for him to act from Necessity; notwithstanding all that can be objected from the Agreement of such a Necessity, with the Fate of the Stoicks, and the Necessity maintain'd by Mr. Hobbes. From which it will follow, that if it were so, that in all the different Things, among which God chuses, there were ever­more a superior Fitness or Preferableness on one Side, then it would be no Dishonour, or any Thing, in any Respect, un­worthy, or unbecoming of God, for his Will to be necessarily determined in every Thing. And if this be allowed, it is a giving up entirely the Argument, from the Unsuitableness of such a Necessity to the Liberty, Supremacy, Independence and Glory of the divine Being; and a resting the whole Weight of the Affair on the Decision of another Point wholly diverse; viz. Whether it be so indeed, that in all the various possible Things which are in God's View, and may be considered as capable Objects of his Choice, there is not evermore a Preferableness in one Thing above another. This is denied by this Author; who supposes, that in many Instances, between two or more possible Things, which come within the View of the divine Mind, there is a perfect Indifference and Equality as to Fitness, or Tendency to attain any good End which God can have in View, or to answer any of his Designs. Now therefore I would consider whether this be evident.

The Arguments brought to prove this, are of two Kinds. (1.) It is urged, that in many Instances we must suppose there is absolutely no Difference between various possible Ob­jects of Choice, which God has in View: And (2.) that the [Page 240] Difference between many Things is so inconsiderable, or of such a Nature, that it would be unreasonable to suppose it to be of any Consequence; or to suppose that any of God's wise Designs would not be answered in one Way as well as the other.


I. The first Thing to be considered is, Whether there are any Instances wherein there is a perfect Likeness, and ab­solutely no D [...]fference, between different Objects of Choice, that are propo [...]ed to the divine Understanding?

And here in the first Place, it may be worthy to be consi­dered, whether the Contradiction there is in the Terms of the Question proposed, don't give Reason to suspect that there is an Inconsistence in the Thing supposed. 'Tis inquired, whe­ther differ [...] Objects of Choice mayn't be absolutely without Difference? [...] they are absolutely without Difference, then how are they different Objects of Choice? If there be absolutely no Difference in any Respect, then there is no Variety or Distinction: For Distinction is only by some Difference. And if there be no Variety among proposed Objects of Choice, then there is no Opportunity for Variety of Choice, or Difference of Determination. For that Determination of a Thing which is not different in any Respect, is not a different Determination, but the same. That this is no Quibble, may appear more fully anon.

The Arguments, to prove that the most High, in some In­stances, chuses to do one Thing rather than another, where the Things themselves are perfectly without Difference, are two.

1. That the various Parts of infinite Time and Space, ab­solutely considered, are perfectly alike, and don't differ at all one from another: And that therefore, when God determined to create the World in such a Part of infinite Duration and Space, rather than others, he determin'd and prefer'd among various Objects, between which there was no Preferableness, and absolutely no Difference.

Answ. This Objection supposes an infinite Length of Time before the World was created, distinguished by successive Parts, properly and truly so; or a Succession of limited and unmea­surable Periods of Time, following one another, in an infi­nitely long Series: which must needs be a groundless Imagi­nation. The eternal Duration which was before the World, being only the Eternity of God's Existence; which is nothing [Page 241] else but his immediate, perfect and invariable Possession of the whole of his unlimited Life, together and at once; Vitae inter­minabilis, tota, simul & perfecta Possessio. Which is so generally allowed, that I need not stand to demonstrate it. *

So this Objection supposes an Extent of Space beyond the Limits of the Creation, of an infinite Length, Breadth and Depth, truly and properly distinguished into different measur­able Parts, limited at certain Stages, one beyond another, in an infinite Series. Which Notion of absolute and infinite Space is doubtless as unreasonable, as that now mention'd, of abso­lute [Page 242] and infinite Duration. 'Tis as improper, to imagine that the Immensity and Omnipresence of God is distinguished by a Series of Miles and Leagues, one beyond another; as that the infinite Duration of God is distinguished by Months and Years, one after another. A Diversity and Order of distinct Parts, limited by certain Periods, is as conceivable, and does as naturally obtrude itself on our Imagination, in one Case as the other; and there is equal Reason in each Case, to suppose that our Imagination deceives us. 'Tis equally improper, to talk of Months and Years of the divine Existence, and Mile­squares of Deity: And we equally deceive our selves, when we talk of the World's being differently fix'd with Respect to either of these Sorts of Measures. I think, we know not what we mean, if we say, the World might have been differently placed from what it is, in the broad Expanse of Infinity; or, that it might have been differently fix'd in the long Line of Eternity: And all Arguments and Objections which are built on the Imaginations we are apt to have of infinite Exten­sion or Duration, are Buildings founded on Shadows, or Castles in the Air.

2. The second Argument, to prove that the most High wills one Thing rather than another, without any superior Fitness or Preferableness in the Thing prefer'd, is God's actually placing in different Parts of the World, Particles or Atoms of Matter that are perfectly equal and alike. The forementioned Author says, P. 78, &c. ‘If one would descend to the minute specific Particles, of which different Bodies are composed, we should see abundant Reason to believe that there are Thousands of such little Particles or Atoms of Matter, which are perfectly equal and alike, and could give no distinct Determination to the Will of God, where to place them.’ He there instances in Particles of Water, of which there are such immense Num­bers, which compose the Rivers and Oceans of this World; and the infinite Myriads of the luminous and fiery Particles, which compose the Body of the Sun; so many, that it would be very unreasonable to suppose no two of them should be exactly equal and alike.

Answ. (1.) To this I answer: That as we must suppose Matter to be infinitely divisible, 'tis very unlikely that any two of all these Particles are exactly equal and alike; so unlikely, that it is a Thousand to one, yea, an infinite Number to one, but it is otherwise: And that altho' we should allow a great [Page 243] Similarity between the different Particles of Water and Fire, as to their general Nature and Figure; and however small we suppose those Particles to be, 'tis infinitely unlikely, that any two of them should be exactly equal in Dimensions and Quantity of Matter.— If we should suppose a great many Globes of the same Nature with the Globe of the Earth, it would be very strange, if there were any two of them that had exactly the same Number of Particles of Dust and Water in them. But infinitely less strange, than that two Particles of Light should have just the same Quantity of Matter. For a Particle of Light (according to the Doctrine of the infinite Divisibility of Matter) is composed of infinitely more assignable Parts, than there are Particles of Dust and Water in the Globe of the Earth. And as it is infinitely unlikely, that any two of these Particles should be equal; so it is, that they should be alike in other Respects: To instance in the Configuration of their Surfaces. If there were very many Globes, of the Nature of the Earth, it would be very unlikely that any two should have exactly the same Number of Particles of Dust, Water and Stone, in their Surfaces, and all posited exactly alike, one with Res­pect to another, without any Difference, in any Part discernable either by the naked Eye or Microscope; but infinitely less strange, than that two Particles of Light should be perfectly of the same Figure. For there are infinitely more assignable real Parts on the Surface of a Particle of Light, than there are Particles of Dust, Water and Stone, on the Surface of the terrestrial Globe.

Ans. (2.) But then, supposing that there are two Particles or Atoms of Matter perfectly equal and alike, which God has placed in different Parts of the Creation; as I will not deny it to be possible for God to make two Bodies perfectly alike, and put them in different Places; yet it will not follow, that two different or distinct Acts or Effects of the divine Power have exactly the same Fitness for the same Ends. For these two different Bodies are not different or distinct, in any other Respects than those wherein they differ: They are two in no other Respects than those wherein there is a Difference. If they are perfectly equal and alike in themselves, then they can be distinguished, or be distinct, only in those Things which are called Circumstances; as, Place, Time, Rest, Motion, or some other present or past Circumstances or Relations. For 'tis Difference only, that constitutes Distinction. If God makes two Bodies in themselves every Way equal and alike, and agreeing [Page 244] perfectly in all other Circumstances and Relations, but only their Place; then in this only is there any Distinction or Du­plicity. The Figure is the same, the Measure is the same, the Solidity and Resistance are the same, and every Thing the same, but only the Place. Therefore what the Will of God determines, is this, namely, that there should be the same Figure, the same Extension, the same Resistance, &c. in two different Places. And for this Determination he has some Reason. There is some End, for which such a Determination and Act has a peculiar Fitness, above all other Acts. Here is no one Thing determined without an End, and no one Thing without a Fitness for that End, superior to any Thing else. If it be the Pleasure of God to cause the same Resistance, and the same Figure, to be in two different Places and Situations, we can no more justly argue from it, that here must be some Determination or Act of God's Will, that is wholly without Motive or End, then we can argue that whenever, in any Case, it is a Man's Will to speak the same Words, or make the same Sounds at two different Times; there must be some Determination or Act of his Will, without any Motive or End. The Difference of Pl [...]e, in the former Case, proves no more than the Difference of Time does in the other. If any one should say with Regard to the former Case, that there must be something determined without an End; viz. That of those two similar Bodies, this in particular should be made in this Place, and the other in the other, and should enquire why the Creator did not make them in a Transposition, when both are alike, and each would equally have suited either Place? The Enquiry supposes something that is not true; namely, that the two Bodies differ and are distinct in other Respects besides their Place. So that with this Distinction, inherent in them, they might in their first Creation have been transposed, and each might have begun it's Existence in the Place of the other.

Let us for Clearness sake suppose, that God had at the Beginning made two Globes, each of an Inch Diameter, both perfect Spheres, and perfectly solid without Pores, and per­fectly alike in every Respect, and placed them near one to another, one towards the right Hand, and the other towards the left, without any Difference as to Time, Motion or Rest, past or present, or any Circumstance, but only their Place; and the Question should be ask'd, Why God in their Creation placed 'em so? Why that which is made on the right Hand, was not made on the left, and vice versa? Let it be well con­sidered, [Page 245] whether there be any Sense in such a Question; and whether the Enquiry don't suppose something false and absurd. Let it be considered, what the Creator must have done other­wise than he did, what different Act of Will or Power he must have exerted, in order to the Thing proposed. All that could have been done, would have been to have made two Spheres, perfectly alike, in the same Places where he has made them, without any Difference of the Things made, either in them­selves, or in any Circumstance; so that the whole Effect would have been without any Difference, and therefore just the same. By the Supposition, the two Spheres are different in no other Respect but their Place; and therefore in other Respects they are the same. Each has the same Roundness: it is not a distinct Rotundity, in any other Respect but it's Situation. There are also the same Dimensions, differing in nothing but their Place. And so of their Resistance, and every Thing else that belongs to them.

Here if any chuses to say, ‘that there is a Difference in another Respect, viz. That they are not NUMERICALLY the same: That it is thus with all the Qualities that belong to them: That it is confessed they are in some Respects the same; that is, they are both exactly alike; but yet nume­rically they differ. Thus the Roundness of one is not the same numerical, individual Roundness with that of the other.’ Let this be supposed; then the Question about the Determi­nation of the divine Will in the Affair, is, Why did God will, that this individual Roundness should be at the right Hand, and the other individual Roundness at the left? Why did not he make them in a contrary Position? Let any rational Person consider, whether such Questions be not Words without a Mean­ing; as much as if God should see fit for some Ends to cause the same Sounds to be repeated, or made at two different Times; the Sounds being perfectly the same in every other Respect, but only one was a Minute after the other; and it should be ask'd upon it, why God caused these Sounds, nume­rically different, to succeed one the other in such a Manner? why he did not make that individual Sound which was in the first Minute, to be in the second? and the individual Sound of the last Minute to be in the first? Which Enquiries would be even ridiculous; as I think every Person must see at once, in the Case proposed of two Sounds, being only the same repeat­ed, absolutely without any Difference, but that one Circum­stance of Time. If the most High sees it will answer some [Page 246] good End, that the same Sound should be made by Lightning at two distinct Times, and therefore wills that it should be so, must it needs therefore be, that herein there is some Act of God's Will without any Motive or End? God saw fit often, at distinct Times, and on different Occasions, to say the very same Words to Moses; namely those, I am Iehovah. And would it not be unreasonable, to infer as a certain Consequence from this, that here must be some Act or Acts of the divine Will, in determining and disposing these Words exactly alike at different Times, wholly without Aim or Inducement? But it would be no more unreasonable than to say, that there must be an Act of God's without any Inducement, if he sees it best, and for some Reasons, determines that there shall be the same Resistence, the same Dimensions, and the same Figure, in several distinct Places.

If in the Instance of the two Spheres, perfectly alike, it be supposed possible that God might have made them in a contrary Position; that which is made at the right Hand, being made at the Left; then I ask, Whether it is not evidently equally possi­ble, if God had made but one of them, and that in the Place of the right-hand Globe, that he might have made that nume­rically different from what it is, and numerically different from what he did make it; tho' perfectly alike, and in the same Place; and at the same Time, and in every Respect, in the same Circumstances and Relations? Namely, Whether he might not have made it numerically the same with that which he has now made at the left Hand; and so have left that which is now created at the right Hand, in a State of Non-Existence? And if so, whether it would not have been possible to have made one in that Place, perfectly like these, and yet numerically differing from both? And let it be considered, whether from this Notion of a numerical Difference in Bodies, perfectly equal and alike, which numerical Difference is some­thing inherent in the Bodies themselves, and diverse from the Difference of Place or Time, or any Circumstance whatsoever; it will not follow, that there is an infinite Number of numeri­cally different possible Bodies, perfectly alike, among which God chuses, by a self-determining Power, when he goes about to create Bodies.

Therefore let us put the Case thus: Supposing that God in the Beginning had created but one perfectly solid Sphere, in a certain Place; and it should be enquired, Why God created that [Page 247] individual Sphere, in that Place, at that Time? And why [...] did not create another Sphere perfectly like it, but numerically different, in the same Place, at the same Time? Or why [...]e chose to bring into Being there, that very Body, rather th [...]n any of the infinite Number of other Bodies, perfectly like it; either of which he could have made there as well, and would have answered his End as well? Why he caused to [...], at that Place and Time, that individual Roundness, rather [...] any other of the infinite Number of individual [...] ▪ just like it? Why that individual Resistance, rather than any other of the infinite Number of possible Resistances just like it? And it might as reasonably be asked, Why, wh [...] God [...] it to Thunder, he caused that individual [...]ound th [...] to be made, and not another just like it? Why did he make Choice of this very Sound, and reject all the infinite Number of other possible Sounds just like it, but numerically differing from it, and all differing one from another? I think, every Body must be sen­sible of the Absurdity and Nonsense of what is supposed in such Inquiries. And if we calmly attend to the Matter, we shall be convinced, that all such Kind of Objections as I am answer­ing, are founded on nothing but the Imperfec [...]ion of our Man­ner of conceiving of Things, and the Obscureness of Language, and great Want of Clearness and Precision in the Signification of Terms.

If any shall find Fault with this Reasoning, that it is going a great Length into metaphysical Niceties and Subtilties; I answer, The Objection which they are in Reply to, is a [...] ­taphysical Subtilty, and must be treated according to the Na­ture of it. *

II. Another Thing alledged is, That inummerable Things which are determined by the divine Will, and chosen and done by God rather than others, differ from those that are not chosen in so inconsiderable a Manner, that it would be unrea­sonable to suppose the Difference to be of any Consequence, or that there is any superiour Fitness or Goodness, that God can have Respect to in the Determination.

[Page 248]To which I answer; it is impossible for us to determine with any Certainty or Evidence, that because the Difference is very small, and appears to us of no Consideration, there­fore there is absolutely no superiour Goodness, and no valuable End which can be proposed by the Creator and Governor of the World, in ordering such a Difference. The foremention'd Author mentions many Instances. One is, there being one Atom in the whole Universe more, or less. But I think it would be unreasonable to suppose, that God made one Atom in vain, or without any End or Motive. He made not one Atom but what was a Work of his almighty Power, as much as the whole Globe of the Earth, and requires as much of a constant Exertion of almighty Power to uphold it; and was made and is uph [...]ld understandingly, and on Design, as much as if no other had been made but that. And it would be as unreaso­nable to suppose, that he made it without any Thing really aimed at in so doing, as much as to suppose that he made the Planet Iupiter without Aim or Design.

'Tis possible, that the most minute Effects of the Creator's Power, the smallest assignable Differences between the Things which God has made, may be attended, in the whole Series of Events, and the whole Compass and Extent of their Influ­ence, with very great and important Consequences. If the Laws of Motion & Gravitation, laid down by Sir Isaac Newton, hold universally, there is not one Atom, nor the least assignable Part of an Atom, but what has Influence, every Moment, throughout the whole material Universe, to cause every Part to be otherwise than it would be, if it were not for that parti­cular corporeal Existence. And however the Effect is insensi­ble for the present, yet it may in Length of Time become great and important.

To illustrate this, Let us suppose two Bodies moving the same Way, in strait Lines, perfectly parallel one to another; but to be diverted from this Parallel Course, and drawn one from another, as much as might be by the Attraction of an Atom, at the Distance of one of the furthest of the fix'd Stars from the Earth; these Bodies being turned out of the [...] of their parallel Motion, will, by Degrees, get further [...] further distant, one from the other; and tho' the Distance may be imperceptible for a long Time, yet at Length it may become very great. So the Revolution of a Planet round the Sun be­ing retarded or accelerated, and the Orbit of it's Revolution [Page 249] made greater or less, and more or less elliptical, and so it's Periodical Time longer or shorter, no more than may be by the Influence of the least Atom, might in Length of Time per­form a whole Revolution sooner or later than otherwise it would have done; which might make a vast Alteration with Regard to Millions of important Events. So the Influence of the least Particle may, for ought we know, have such Effect on something in the Constitution of some human Body, as to cause another Thought to arise in the Mind at a certain Time, than otherwise would have been; which in Length of Time (yea, and that not very great) might occasion a vast Alteration thro' the whole World of Mankind. And so innumera­ble other Ways might be mention'd, wherein the least assign­able Alteration may possibly be attended with great Conse­quences.

Another Argument, which the foremention'd Author brings against a necessary Determination of the divine Will by a supe­riour Fitness, is, that such Doctrine derogates from the Freeness of God's Grace and Goodness, in chusing the Objects of his Favour and Bounty, and from the Obligation upon Men to Thankfulness for special Benefits. P. 89, &c.

In answer to this Objection, I would observe,

1. That it derogates no more from the Goodness of God, to suppose the Exercise of the Benevolence of his Nature to be determin'd by Wisdom, than to suppose it determined by Chance, and that his Favours are bestowed altogether at Ran­dom, his Will being determin'd by nothing but perfect Acci­dent, without any End or Design whatsoever; which must be the Case, as has been demonstrated, if Volition be not deter­mined by a prevailing Motive. That which is owing to per­fect Contingence, wherein neither previous Inducement, nor antecedent Choice has any Hand, is not owing more to Good­ness or Benevolence, than that which is owing to the Influence of a wise End.

2. 'Tis acknowledged, that if the Motive that determines the Will of God, in the Choice of the Objects of his Favours, be any moral Quality in the Object, recommending that Object to his Benevolence above others, his chusing that Object is not so great a Manifestation of the Freeness and Sovereignty of his Grace, as if it were otherwise. But there is no Necessity of supposing this, in order to our supposing that he has some [Page 250] wise End in View, in determining to bestow his Favours on one Person rather than another. We are to distinguish be­tween the Merit of the Object of God's Favour, or a moral Qua­lification of the Object attracting that Favour and recommend­ing to it, and the natural Fitness of such a Determination of the Act of God's Goodness, to answer some wise Design of his own, some End in the View of God's Omniscience.— 'Tis God's own Act, that is the proper and immediate Object of his Volition.

3. I suppose that none will deny, but that in some Instances, God acts from wise Design in determining the particular Sub­jects of his Favours: None will say, I presume, that when God distinguishes by his Bounty particular Societies or Persons, He never, in any Instance, exercises any Wisdom in so doing, aiming at some happy Consequence. And if it be not denied to be so in some Instances, then I would enquire, whether in these Instances God's Goodness is less manifested, than in those wherein God has no Aim or End at all? And whether the Subjects have less Cause of Thankfulness? And if so, who shall be thankful for the Bestowment of distinguishing Mercy, with that enhancing Circumstance of the Distinction's being made without an End? How shall it be known when God is influenced by some wise Aim, and when not? It is very mani­fest with Respect to the Apostle Paul, that God had wise Ends in chusing Him to be a Christian and an Apostle, who had been a Persecutor, &c. The Apostle himself mentions one End. 1 Tim. i.15, 16. Christ Iesus came into the World to save Sinners, of whom I am chief. Howbeit, for this Cause I obtained Mercy, that in me first, Iesus Christ might shew forth all Long-suffering, for a Pattern to them who should hereafter believe on Him to Life ever­lasting. But yet the Apostle never look'd on it as a Diminution of the Freedom and Riches of divine Grace in his Election, which He so often and so greatly magnifies. This brings me to observe,

4. Our supposing such a moral Necessity in the Acts of God's Will as has been spoken of, is so far from necessarily derogat­ing from the Riches of God's Grace to such as are the chosen Objects of his Favour, that in many Instances, this moral Ne­cessity may arise from Goodness, and from the great Degree of it. God may chuse this Object rather than another, as having a superiour Fitness to answer the Ends, Designs and Inclina­tions of his Goodness; being more sinful, and so more mise­rable [Page 251] and necessitous than others; the Inclinations of infinite Mercy and Benevolence may be more gratified, and the gra­cious Design of God's sending his Son into the World may be more abundantly answered, in the Exercises of Mercy towards such an Object, rather than another.

One Thing more I would observe, before I finish what I have to say on the Head of the Necessity of the Acts of God's Will; and that is, that something much more like a servile Subjection of the divine Being to fatal Necessity, will follow from Arminian Principles, than from the Doctrines which they op­pose. For they (at least most of them) suppose, with Respect to all Events that happen in the moral World depending on the Volitions of moral Agents, which are the most important Events of the Universe, to which all others are subordinate; I say, they suppose with respect to these, that God has a certain Foreknowledge of them, antecedent to any Purposes or De­crees of his about them. And if so, they have a fix'd certain Futurity, prior to any Designs or Volitions of his, and inde­pendent on them, and to which his Volitions must be subject, as He would wisely accommodate his Affairs to this fix'd Futurity of the State of Things in the moral World. So that here, instead of a moral Necessity of God's Will, arising from or consisting in the infinite Perfection and Blessedness of the divine Being, we have a fix'd unalterable State of Things, properly distinct from the perfect Nature of the divine Mind, and the State of the divine Will and Design, and entirely in­dependent on these Things, and which they have no Hand in, because they are prior to them; and which God's Will is truly subject to, being obliged to conform or accommodate himself to it, in all his Purposes and Decrees, and in every Thing He does in his Disposals and Government of the World; the moral World being the End of the natural; so that all is in vain, that is not accommodated to that State of the moral World, which consists in, or depends upon the Acts and State of the Wills of moral Agents, which had a fix'd Futurition from Eternity. Such a Subjection to Necessity as this, would truly argue an Inferiority and Servitude, that would be unworthy of the supreme Being; and is much more agreable to the No­tion which many of the Heathen had of Fate, as above the Gods, than that moral Necessity of Fitness and Wisdom which has been spoken of; and is truly repugnant to the absolute Sovereignty of God, and inconsistent with the Supremacy of his Will; and really subjects the Will of the most High to the Will of his Creatures, and brings him into Dependence upon them.

[Page 252]

SECTION IX. Concerning that Objection against the Doc­trine which has been maintain'd, that it makes GOD the Author of Sin.

'TIS urged by Arminians, that the Doctrine of the Necessity of Men's Volitions, or their necessary Connection with antecedent Events and Circumstances, makes the first Cause, and supreme Orderer of all Things, the Author of Sin; in that he has so constituted the State and Course of Things, that sinful Volitions become necessary, in Consequence of his Disposal. Dr. Whitby, in his Discourse on the Freedom of the Will, * cites one of the Antients, as on his Side, declaring that this Opinion of the Necessity of the Will ‘absolves Sinners, as doing nothing of their own Accord which was Evil, and would cast all the Blame of all the Wickedness committed in the World, upon God, and upon his Providence, if that were admitted by the Assertors of this Fate; whether he himself did necessitate them to do these Things, or ordered Matters so that they should be constrain'd to do them by some other Cause.’ And the Doctor says in another Place, ‘In the Nature of the Thing, and in the Opinion of Philosophers, Causa deficious, in rebus necessariis, ad Causam per se efficientem redu­cenda est. In Things necessary, the deficient Cause must be reduced to the efficient. And in this Case the Reason is evident; because the not doing what is required, or not avoiding what is forbidden, being a Defect, must follow from the Position of the necessary Cause of that Deficiency.’

Concerning this, I would observe the following Things.

I. If there be any Difficulty in this Matter, 'tis nothing pe­culiar to this Scheme; 'tis no Difficulty or Disadvantage wherein it is distinguished from the Scheme of Arminians; and therefore not reasonably objected by them.

Dr. Whitby supposes, that if Sin necessarily follows from God's withholding Assistance, or if that Assistance be not given [Page 253] which is absolutely necessary to the avoiding of Evil; then in the Nature of the Thing, God must be as properly the Author of that Evil, as if he were the efficient Cause of it. From whence, according to what he himself says of the Devils and damned Spirits, God must be the proper Author of their perfect unrestrained Wickedness: He must be the efficient Cause of the great Pride of the Devils, and of their perfect Malignity against God, Christ, his Saints, and all that is Good, and of the insatiable Cruelty of their Disposition. For he allows, that God has so forsaken them, and does so withhold his Assistance from them, that they are incapacitated from doing Good, and determined only to Evil. Our Doctrine, in its Consequence, makes God the Author of Men's Sin in this World, no more, and in no other Sense, than his Doctrine, in its Consequence, makes God the Author of the hellish Pride and Malice of the Devils. And doubtless the latter is as odious an Effect as the former.

Again, if it will follow at all, that God is the Author of Sin, from what has been supposed of a sure and infallible Connection between Antecedents and Consequents, it will follow because of this, viz. That for God to be the Author or Orderer of those Things which he knows before-hand, will infallibly be attended with such a Consequence, is the same Thing in Effect, as for him to be the Author of that Consequence. But if this be so, this is a Difficulty which equally attends the Doctrine of Arminians themselves; at least, of those of them who allow God's certain Fore-knowledge of all Events. For on the Supposition of such a Fore-knowledge, this is the Case with Respect to every Sin that is committed: God knew, that if he ordered and brought to pass such and such Events, such Sins would infallibly follow. As for Instance, God certainly fore­knew, long before Iudas was born, that if he ordered Things so, that there should be such a Man born, at such a Time, and at such a Place, and that his Life should be preserved, and that he should, in divine Providence, be led into Acquaintance with Jesus; and that his Heart should be so influenced by God's Spirit or Providence, as to be inclined to be a Follower of Christ; and that he should be One of those Twelve, which should be chosen constantly to attend him as his Family; and that his Health should be preserved so that he should go up to Ierusalem, at the last Passover in Christ's Life; and it should be so ordered that Iudas should see Christ's kind Treatment of [Page 254] the Woman which anointed him at Bethany, and have that Reproof from Christ, which he had at that Time, and see and hear other Things, which excited his Enmity against his Master, and other Circumstances should be ordered, as they were ordered; it would be what would most certainly and in­fallibly follow, that Iudas would betray his Lord, and would soon after hang himself, and die impenitent, and be sent to Hell, for his horrid Wickedness.

Therefore this supposed Difficulty ought not to be brought as an Objection against the Scheme which has been maintain'd, as disagreeing with the Arminian Scheme, seeing 'tis no Diffi­culty owing to such a Disagreement; but a Difficulty wherein the Arminians share with us. That must be unreasonably made an Objection against our differing from them, which we should not escape or avoid at all by agreeing with them.

And therefore I would observe,

II. They who object, that this Doctrine makes God the Author of Sin, ought distinctly to explain what they mean by that Phrase, The Author of Sin. I know, the Phrase, as it is commonly used, signifies something very Ill. If by the Author of [...] ▪ be meant the Sinner, the Agent, or Actor of Sin, or the Do [...]r of a wicked Thing; so it would be a Reproach and Blas­phemy, to suppose God to be the Author of Sin. In this Sense, I utterly deny God to be the Author of Sin; rejecting such an Imputation on the most High, as what is infinitely to be abhor'd; and deny any such Thing to be the Consequence of what I have laid down. But if by the Author of Sin, is meant the Permitter, or not a Hinderer of Sin; and at the same Time, a Disposer of the State of Events, in such a Manner, for wise, holy and most excellent Ends and Purposes, that Sin, if it be permitted or not hindered, will most certainly and in­fallibly follow: I say, if this be all that is meant, by being the Author of Sin, I don't deny that God is the Author of Sin, (tho' I dislike and reject the Phrase, as that which by Use and Custom is apt to carry another Sense) it is no Reproach for the most High to be thus the Author of Sin. This is not to be the Actor of Sin, but on the contrary, of Holiness. What God doth herein, is holy; and a glorious Exercise of the infinite Excellency of his Nature. And I don't deny, that God's being thus the Author of Sin, follows from what I have laid down; and I assert, that it equally follows from the Doctrine which is maintained by most of the Arminian Divines.

[Page 255]That it is most certainly so, that God is in such a Manner the Disposer and Orderer of Sin, is evident, if any Credit is to be given to the Scripture; as well as because it is impossible in the Nature of Things to be otherwise. In such a Manner God ordered the Obstinacy of Pharaoh, in his refusing to obey God's Commands, to let the People go. Exod. iv.21. I will harden his Heart, and he shall not let the People go. Chap. vii.2—5. Aaron thy Brother shall spe [...]k unto Pharaoh, that he send the Chil­dren of Israel out of his Land. And I will harden Pharaoh's Heart, and multiply my Signs and my Wonders in the Land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you; that I may lay mine Hand upon Egypt, by great Iudgments, &c. Chap. ix.12. And the Lord harden'd the Heart of Pharaoh, and he hearken'd not unto them, as the Lord had spoken unto Moses. Chap. x.1, 2. And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh; for I have harden'd his Heart, and the Heart of his Servants, that I might shew th [...]se my Signs before Him, and that thou mayst t [...]ll it in the Ears of thy Son, and thy Son's Son, what Things I have wrought in Egypt, and my Sign [...] which I have done amongst them, that ye may know that I am the Lord. Chap. xiv.4. And I will harden Pharaoh's Heart, that he shall follow after them: and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his Host. V. 8. And the Lord harden'd the Heart of Pharaoh King of Egypt, and he pursued after the Children of Israel. And it is certain that in such a Manner, God for wise and good End [...], ordered that Event, Ioseph's being sold into Egypt by his Bre­thren. Gen. xlv. 5. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither; for God did send me before you to preserve Life. Ver. 7, 8. God did send me before you to preserve a Posterity in the Earth, and to save your Lives by a great Deliverance: so that now it was not you, that sent me hither, but God. Psal. cvii.17. He sent a Man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a Servant. 'Tis certain, that thus God ordered the Sin and Folly of Sihon King of the Amorites, in refusing to let the People of Israel pass by him peaceably. Deut. ii.30. But Sihon King of Heshbon would not let us pass by him; for the Lord thy God harden'd his Spirit, and made his Heart obstinate, that He might deliver Him into thine Hand. 'Tis certain, that God thus ordered the Sin and Folly of the Kings of Canaan, that they attempted not to make Peace with Israel, but with a stupid Boldness and Obsti­nacy, set themselves violently to oppose them and their God. Josh. xi.20. For it was of the Lord, to harden their Hearts, that they should c [...]me against Israel in Battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no Favour; but that he might destroy them, as the Lord commanded Moses. 'Tis [Page 256] evident, that thus God ordered the treacherous Rebellion of Zedekiah, against the King of Babylon. Jer. lii.3. For thro' the Anger of the Lord i [...] c [...]me to pass in Jerusalem, and Judah, 'till He had cast them out from his Presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the King of Babylon. So 2 Kings xxiv.20. And 'tis exceeding manifest, that God thus ordered the Rapine and unrighteous Ravages of Nebuchadnezzar, in spoiling and ruining the Nations round about. Jer. xxv.9. Behold, I will send and take all the Families of the North, saith the Lord, and Nebuchadnezzar my Ser­vant, and will bring them against this Land, and against all the Nations round about; and will utterly destroy them, and make them an Astonishment, and an Hiss [...]ng, and perpetual Desolations. Ch. xliii.10.11. I will send and take Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon, my Servant; and I will set his Throne upon these Stones that I have [...]id, and he shall spread his royal Pavilion over them. And when he cometh, he shall s [...]ite the Land of Egypt, and deliver such as are for Death to Death, and such as are for Captivity to Captivity, and such as are for the Sword to the Sword. Thus God represents himself as sending for Nebuchadnezzar, and taking of him and his Armies, and bringing him against the Nations which were to be destroy­ed by him, to that very End, that he might utterly destroy them, and make them desolate; and as appointing the Work that he should do, so particularly, that the very Persons were designed, that he should kill with the Sword; and those that should be kill'd with Famine and Pestilence, and those that should be carried into Captivity; and that in doing all these Things, he should act as his Servant: By which, less can't be intended, than that he should serve his Purposes and Designs. And in Ier. xxvii.4, 5, 6. God declares how he would cause him thus to serve his Designs, viz. by bringing this to pass in his sovereign Disposals, as the great Possessor and Governor of the Universe, that disposes all Things just as pleases him. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel; I have made the Earth, the Man and the Beast that are upon the Ground, by my great Power, and my stretched out Arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me: And now I have given all these Lands into the Hands of Nebuchadnezzar MY SERVANT, and the Beasts of the Field have I given also to serve him. And Nebuchadnezzar is spoken of as doing these Things, by having his Arms strengthned by God, and having God's Sword put into his Hands, for this End. Ezek. xxx.24, 25, 26. Yea, God speaks of his terribly ravaging and wasting the Nations, and cruelly destroying all Sorts, without Distinction of Sex or Age, as the Weapon in God's Hand, and the Instrument of his Indignation, which [Page 257] God makes use of to fulfil his own Purposes, and execute his own Vengeance. Jer. li.20, &c. Thou art my Battle-A [...], and Wea­pons of War. For with thee will I break in Pieces the Nations, and with thee I will destroy Kingdoms, and with thee I will break in Pieces the Horse and his Rider, and with thee I will break in Pieces the Chariot and his Rider; with thee also will I break in Pieces Man and Woman; and with thee will I break in Pieces Old and Young; and with thee will I break in Pieces the young Man and the Maid, &c. 'Tis represented, that the Designs of Nebuchadnez­zar, and those that destroyed Ierusalem, never could have been accomplished, had not God determined them, as well as they; Lam. iii.37. Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, and the Lord commandeth it not? And yet the King of Babylon's thus destroying the Nations, and especially the Iews, is spoken of as his great Wickedness, for which God finally destroyed him. Isai. xiv.4, 5, 6, 12. Heb. ii.5,—12. and Ier. Chap. l. & li. 'Tis most manifest, that God, to serve his own Designs, provi­dentially ordered Shimei's cursing David. 2 Sam. xvl.10, 11. The Lord hath said unto him, Curse David.— Let him curse, for the Lord hath bidden him.

'Tis certain, that God thus, for excellent, holy, gracious and glorious Ends, ordered the Fact which they committed, who were concerned in Christ's Death; and that therein they did but fulfil God's Designs. As, I trust, no Christian will deny it was the Design of God, that Christ should be crucified, and that for this End, he came into the World. 'Tis very manifest by many Scriptures, that the whole Affair of Christ's Cruci­fixion, with it's Circumstances, and the Treachery of Iudas, that made Way for it, was ordered in God's Providence, in Pursuance of his Purpose; notwithstanding the Violence that is used with those plain Scriptures, to obscure and pervert the Sense of 'em. Act. ii.23. Him being delivered, by the determinate Counsel and Foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and with wicked Hands, have crucified and slain. Luk. xxii.21, 22. But behold the Hand of him that betrayeth me, is with me on the Table: And truly [Page 258] the Son of Man goeth, as it was determined. Act. iv.27, 28. For of a Truth, against thy holy Child Iesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the People of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy Hand and thy Counsel determined before to be done. Act. iii.17, 18. And now Brethren, I w [...]t that through Ignorance ye did it, as did also your Rulers: But these Things, which God before had shewed by the Mouth of all his Prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. So that what these Murderers of Christ did, is spoken of as what God brought to pass or ordered, and that by which he fulfilled his own Word.

In Rev. xvii.17. The agreeing of the Kings of the Earth to give their Kingdom to the Beast, tho' it was a very wicked Thing in them, is spoken of as a fulfilling God's Will, and what God had put it into their Hearts to do. 'Tis manifest, that God some­times permits Sin to be committed, and at the same Time orders Things so, that if he permits the Fact, it will come to pass, because on some Accounts he sees it needful and of Importance that it should come to pass. Matt. xviii.7. It must needs be, that Offences come; but W [...] to that Man by whom the Offence cometh. With 1 Cor. xi.19. For there must also be Heresies among you, that they which are approved, may be made manifest among you.

Thus it is certain and demonstrable, from the holy Scrip­tures, as well as the Nature of Things, and the Principles of Arminians, that God permits Sin; and at the same Time, so orders Things, in his Providence, that it certainly and infalli­bly will come to pass, in Consequence of his Permission.

I proceed to observe in the next Place,

III. That there is a great Difference between God's being concerned thus, by his Permission, in an Event and Act, which in the inherent Subject and Agent of it, is Sin, (tho' the Event will certainly follow on his Permission,) and his being concerned in it by producing it and exerting the Act of Sin▪ or between his being the Orderer of it's certain Existence, by not hindering it, under certain Circumstances, and his being the [Page 259] proper Actor or Author of it, by a positive Agency or Efficiency. And this, notwithstanding what Dr. Whitby offers about a Saying of Philosophers, that Causa deficiens, in Rebus necessariis, ad Causam per se efficientem reducenda est. As there is a vast Difference be­tween the Sun's being the Cause of the Lightsomeness and Warmth of the Atmosphere, and Brightness of Gold and Diamonds, by its Presence and positive Influence; and its be­ing the Occasion of Darkness and Frost, in the Night, by its Motion, whereby it descends below the Horizon. The Motion of the Sun is the Occasion of the latter Kind of Events; but it is not the proper Cause, Efficient or Producer of them; tho' they are necessarily consequent on that Motion, under such Circumstances: No more is any Action of the divine Being the Cause of the Evil of Men's Wills. If the Sun were the proper Cause of Cold and Darkness, it would be the Fountain of these Things, as it is the Fountain of Light and Heat: And then something might be argued from the Nature of Cold and Darkness, to a Likeness of Nature in the Sun; and it might be justly infer'd, that the Sun itself is dark and cold, and that his Beams are black and frosty. But from its being the Cause no otherwise than by its Departure, no such Thing can be infer'd, but the contrary; it may justly be argued, that the Sun is a bright and hot Body, if Cold and Darkness are found to be the Consequence of its Withdrawment; and the more constantly and necessarily these Effects are connected with, and confined to its Absence, the more strongly does it argue the Sun to be the Fountain of Light and Heat. So, inasmuch as Sin is not the Fruit of any positive Agency or Influence of the most High, but on the contrary, arises from the withholding of his Action and Energy, and under certain Circumstances, ne­cessarily follows on the Want of his Influence; this is no Ar­gument that he is sinful, or his Operation Evil, or has any Thing of the Nature of Evil; but on the contrary, that He, and his Agency, are altogether good and holy, and that he is the Fountain of all Holiness. It would be strange arguing in­deed, because Men never commit Sin, but only when God leaves 'em to themselves, and necessarily sin, when he does so, that therefore their Sin is not from themselves, but from God; and so, that God must be a sinful Being: As strange as it would be to argue, because it is always dark when the Sun is gone, and never dark when the S [...] is present, that therefore all Darkness is from the Sun, and that his Disk and Beams must needs be black.

[Page 260]IV. It properly belongs to the supreme and absolute Gover­nor of the Universe, to order all important Events within his Dominion, by his Wisdom: But the Events in the moral World are of the most important Kind; such as the moral Actions of intelligent Creatures, and their Consequences.

These Events will be ordered by something. They will either be disposed by Wisdom, or they will be disposed by Chance; that is, they will be disposed by blind and undesign­ing Causes, if that were possible, and could be called a Dispo­sal. Is it not better, that the Good and Evil which happens in God's World, should be ordered, regulated, bounded and determin'd by the good Pleasure of an infinitely wise Being, who perfectly comprehends within his Understanding and con­stant View, the Universality of Things, in all their Extent and Duration, and sees all the Influence of every Event, with Respect to every individual Thing and Circumstance, through­out the grand System, and the whole of the eternal Series of Consequences; than to leave these Things to fall out by Chance, and to be determined by those Causes which have no Understanding or Aim? Doubtless, in these important Events, there is a better and a worse, as to the Time, Subject, Place, Manner and Circumstances of their coming to pass, with Re­gard to their Influence on the State and Course of Things. And if there be, 'tis certainly best that they should be deter­mined to that Time, Place, &c. which is best. And therefore 'tis in its own Nature fit, that Wisdom, and not Chance, should order these Things. So that it belongs to the Being, who is the Possessor of infinite Wisdom, and is the Creator and Owner of the whole System of created Existences, and has the Care of all; I say, it belongs to him, to take Care of this Matter; and he would not do what is proper for him, if he should neglect it. And it is so far from being unholy in him, to undertake this Affair, that it would rather have been unholy to neglect it; as it would have been a neglecting what fitly appertains to him; and so it would have been a very unfit and unsuitable Neglect.

Therefore the Sovereignty of God doubtless extends to this Matter: especially considering, that if it should be supposed to be otherwise, and God should leave Men's Volitions, and all moral Events, to the Determination and Disposition of blind and unmeaning Causes, or they should be left to happen perfectly without a Cause; this would be no more consistent with Liberty, in any Notion of it, and particularly not in the [Page 261] Arminian Notion of it, than if these Events were subject to the Disposal of divine Providence, and the Will of Man were de­termined by Circumstances which are ordered and disposed by divine Wisdom; as appears by what has been already observed. But 'tis evident, that such a providential disposing and determining Men's moral Actions, tho' it infers a moral Necessity of those Actions, yet it does not in the least infring [...] the real Liberty of Mankind,; the only Liberty that common Sense teaches to be necessary to moral Agency, which, as has been demonstrated, is not inconsistent whith such Necessity.

On the whole, it is manifest, that God may be, in the Manner which has been described, the Orderer and Disposer of that Event, which in the inherent Subject and Agent is moral Evil; and yet His so doing may be no moral Evil. He may will the Disposal of such an Event, and it's coming to pass for good Ends, and his Will not be an immoral or sinful Will, but a per­fectly holy Will. And he may actually in his Providence so dispose and permit Things, that the Event may be certainly and infallibly connected with such Disposal & Permission, and his Act therein not be an immoral or unholy, but a perfectly holy Act. Sin may be an evil Thing, and yet that there should be such a Disposal and Permission, as that it should come to pass, may be a good Thing. This is no Contradiction, or Inconsistence. Ioseph's Brethren's selling him into Egypt, consider it only as it was acted by them, and with Respect to their Views and Aims which were evil, was a very bad Thing; but it was a good Thing, as it was an Event of God's ordering, and consider'd with Respect to his Views and Aims which were good. Gen. l. 20. As for you, ye thought Evil against me; but God meant it unto Good. So the Crucifixion of Christ, if we consider only those Things which belong to the Event as it proceeded from his Murderers, and are comprehended within the Compass of the Affair considered as their Act, their Principles, Dispositions, Views and Aims; so it was one of the most heinous Things that ever was done; in many Respects the most horrid of all Acts: But consider it, as it was will'd and ordered of God, in the Extent of his Designs and Views, it was the most ad­mirable and glorious of all Events; and God's willing the Event was the most holy Volition of God, that ever was made known to Men; and God's Act in ordering it, was a divine Act, which above all others, manifests the moral Excellency of the divine Being.

[Page 262]The Consideration of these Things may help us to a sufficient Answer to the Cavils of Arminians concerning what has been supposed by many Calvinists, of a Distinction between a secret and revealed Will of God, and their Diversity one from the other; supposing, that the Calvinists herein ascribe inconsistent Wills to the most High: Which is without any Foundation. God's secret and revealed Will, or in other▪ Words, his disposing and preceptive Will may be diverse, and exercised in dissimilar Acts, the one in disapproving and opposing, the other in willing and determining, without any Inconsistence. Because, altho' these dissimilar Exercises of the divine Will may in some Respects relate to the same Things, yet in Strictness they have different and contrary Objects, the one Evil and the other Good. Thus for Instance, the Crucifixion of Christ was a Thing contrary to the revealed or preceptive Will of God; because, as it was view'd and done by his malignant Murderers, it was a Thing infinitely contrary to the holy Na­ture of God, and so necessarily contrary to the holy Inclina­tion of his Heart revealed in his Law. Yet this don't at all hinder but that the Crucifixion of Christ, considered with all those glorious Consequences, which were within the View of the divine Omniscience, might be indeed, and therefore might appear to God to be, a glorious Event; and conse­quently be agreable to his Will, tho' this Will may be secret, i. e. not revealed in God's Law. And thus considered, the Crucifixion of Christ was not evil, but good. If the secret Exercises of God's Will were of a Kind that is dissimilar and contrary to his revealed Will, respecting the same, or like Objects; if the Objects of both were good, or both evil; then indeed to ascribe contrary Kinds of Volition or Inclina­tion to God, respecting these Objects, would be to ascribe an inconsistent Will to God: but to ascribe to Him different and opposite Exercises of Heart, respecting different Objects, and Objects contrary one to another, is so far from supposing God's Will to be inconsistent with it self, that it can't be supposed consistent with it self any other Way. For any Being to have a Will of Choice respecting Good, and at the same Time a Will of Rejection and Refusal respecting Evil, is to be very consistent: But the contrary, viz. to have the same Will to­wards these contrary Objects, and to chuse and love both Good and Evil at the same Time, is to be very inconsistent.

There is no Inconsistence in supposing, that God may hate a Thing as it is in it self, and considered simply as Evil, and [Page 263] yet that it may be his Will it should come to pass, con­sidering all Consequences. I believe, there is no Person of good Understanding, who will venture to say, he is certain that it is impossible it should be best, taking in the whole Compass and Extent of Existence, and all Consequences in the endless Series of Events, that there should be such a Thing as moral Evil in the World. * And if so, it will certainly fol­low, [Page 264] that an infinitely wise Being, who always chuses what is best, must chuse that there should be such a Thing. And if so, then such a Choice is not an Evil, but a wise and holy Choice. And if so, then that Providence which is agreable to such a Choice, is a wise and holy Providence. Men do will Sin as Sin, and so are the Authors and Actors of it: They love it as Sin, and for evil Ends and Purposes. God don't will Sin as Sin, or for the sake of any Thing evil; tho' it be his Pleasure so to order Things, that He permitting, Sin will come to pass; for the sake of the great Good that by his Disposal shall be the Consequence. His willing to order Things so that Evil should come to pass, for the sake of the contrary Good, is no Argument that He don't hate Evil, as Evil: And if so, then it is no Reason why he mayn't reasona­bly forbid Evil as Evil, and punish it as such.

The Arminians themselves must be obliged, whether they will or no, to allow a Distinction of God's Will, amounting to just the same Thing that Calvinists intend by their Distinc­tion of a secret and revealed Will. They must allow a Distinction of those Things which God thinks best should be, considering all Circumstances and Consequences, and so are agreable to his disposing Will, and those Things which he loves, and are agreable to his Nature, in themselves considered. Who is there that will dare to say, that the hellish Pride, Malice and Cruelty of Devils, are agreable to God, and what He likes and approves? And yet, I trust, there is no Christian Divine but what will allow, that 'tis agreable to God's Will so to order and dispose Things concerning them, so to leave them to themselves, and give them up to their own Wickedness, that this perfect Wickedness should be a necessary Conse­quence. Besure Dr. Whitby's Words do plainly suppose and allow it.

[Page 265]These following Things may be laid down as Maxims of plain Truth, and indisputable Evidence.

1. That God is a perfectly happy Being, in the most abso­lute and highest Sense possible.

2. That it will follow from hence, that God is free from every Thing that is contrary to Happiness; and so, that in strict Propriety of Speech, there is no such Thing as any Pain, Grief or Trouble in God.

3. When any intelligent Being is really cross'd and disap­pointed, and Things are contrary to what He truly desires, He is the less pleased, or has less Pleasure, his Pleasure and Happi­ness is diminished, and he suffers what is disagreable to him, or is the Subject of something that is of a Nature contrary to Joy and Happiness, even Pain and Grief. **

From this last Axiom it follows, that if no Distinction is to be admitted between God's Hatred of Sin, and his Will with Respect to the Event and the Existence of Sin, as the alwise Determiner of all Events, under the View of all Con­sequences through the whole Compass and Series of Things; I say, then it certainly follows, that the coming to pass of every individual Act of Sin is truly, all Things considered, contrary to his Will, and that his Will is really cross'd in it; and this in Proportion as He hates it. And as God's Hatred of Sin is infinite, by Reason of the infinite Contrariety of his holy Nature to Sin; so his Will is infinitely cross'd, in every Act of Sin that happens. Which is as much as to say, He endures that which is infinitely disagreable to Him, by Means of every Act of Sin that He sees committed. And therefore, as appears by the preceeding Positions, He endures truly and really, infinite Grief or Pain from every Sin. And so He must be infinitely cross'd, and suffer infinite Pain, every Day, in Millions of Millions of Instances: He must continually be the Subject of an immense Number of real, and truly infinite­ly great Crosses and Vexations. Which would be to make him infinitely the most miserable of all Beings.

[Page 266]If any Objector should say; All that these Things amount to, is, that God may do Evil that Good may come; which is justly esteem'd immoral and sinful in Men; and therefore may be justly esteem'd inconsistent with the moral Perfections of God. I answer, That for God to dispose and permit Evil, in the Manner that has been spoken of, is not to do Evil that Good may come; for it is not to do Evil at all.—In Order to a Thing's being morally Evil, there must be one of these Things belonging to it: Either it must be a Thing unfit and unsuitable in it's own Nature; or it must have a bad Tendency; or it must proceed from an evil Disposition, and be done for an evil End. But neither of these Things can be attributed to God's ordering and permitting such Events, as the immoral Acts of Creatures, for good Ends. (1.) It is not unfit in it's own Nature, that He should do so. For it is in it's own Nature fit, that infinite Wisdom, and not blind Chance, should dispose moral Good and Evil in the World. And 'tis fit, that the Being who has infinite Wisdom, and is the Maker, Owner, and supreme Governor of the World, should take Care of that Matter. And therefore there is no Unfitness, or Unsuitableness in his doing it. It may be unfit, and so immoral, for any other Beings to go about to order this Affair; because they are not possess'd of a Wisdom, that in any Manner fits them for it; and in other Respects they are not fit to be trusted with this Affair; nor does it belong to them, they not being the Owners and Lords of the Universe.

We need not be afraid to affirm, that if a wise and good Man knew with absolute Certainty, it would be best, all Things considered, that there should be such a Thing as moral Evil in the World, it would not be contrary to his Wisdom and Goodness, for him to chuse that it should be so. 'Tis no evil Desire, to desire Good, and to desire that which, all Things considered, is best. And it is no unwise Choice, to chuse that That should be, which it is best should be; and to chuse the Existence of that Thing concerning which this is known, viz. that it is best it should be, and so is known in the whole to be most worthy to be chosen. On the contrary, it would be a plain Defect in Wisdom and Goodness, for him not to chuse it. And the Reason why he might not order it, if he were able, would not be because he might not desire it, but only the ordering of that Matter don't belong to him. But it is no Harm for Him who is by Right, and in the greatest Pro­priety, the supreme Orderer of all Things, to order every [Page 267] Thing in such a Manner, as it would be a Point of Wisdom in Him to chuse that they should be ordered. If it would be a plain Defect of Wisdom and Goodness in a Being, not to chuse that That should be, which He certainly knows it would, all Things considered, be best should be (as was but now ob­served) then it must be impossible for a Being who has no Defect of Wisdom and Goodness, to do otherwise than chuse it should be; and that, for this very Reason, because He is perfectly wise and good. And if it be agreable to perfect Wisdom and Goodness for him to chuse that it should be, and the ordering of all Things supremely and perfectly belongs to him, it must be agreable to infinite Wisdom and Goodness, to order that it should be. If the Choice is good, the order­ing and disposing Things according to that Choice must also be good. It can be no Harm in one to whom it belongs to do his Will in the Armies of Heaven, and amongst the Inhabitants of the Earth, to execute a good Volition. If his Will be good, and the Object of his Will be, all Things considered, good and best, then the chusing or willing it is not willing Evil that Good may come. And if so, then his ordering according to that Will is not doing Evil, that Good may come.

2. 'Tis not of a bad Tendency, for the supreme Being thus to order and permit that moral Evil to be, which it is best should come to pass. For that it is of good Tendency, is the very Thing supposed in the Point now in Question.— Christ's Crucifixion, tho' a most horrid Fact in them that perpetrated it, was of most glorious Tendency as permitted and ordered of God.

3. Nor is there any Need of supposing, it proceeds from any evil Disposition or Aim: for by the Supposition, what is aim'd at is Good, and Good is the actual Issue, in the final Result of Things.

[Page 268]

SECTION X. Concerning Sin's first Entrance into the World.

THE Things which have already been offered, may serve to obviate or clear many of the Objections which might be raised concerning Sin's first coming into the World; as tho' it would follow from the Doctrine maintain'd, that God must be the Author of the first Sin, thro' his so dis­posing Things, that it should necessarily follow from his Per­mission, that the sinful Act should be committed, &c. I need not therefore stand to repeat what has been said already, about such a Necessity's not proving God to be the Author of Sin, in any ill Sense, or in any such Sense as to infringe any Liberty of Man, concerned in his moral Agency, or Capacity of Blame, Guilt and Punishment.

But if it should nevertheless be said, Supposing the Case so, that God, when he had made Man, might so order his Cir­cumstances, that from these Circumstances, together with his withholding further Assistance and divine Influence, his Sin would infallibly follow, Why might not God as well have first made Man with a fixed prevailing Principle of Sin in his Heart?

I answer, 1. It was meet, if Sin did come into Existence, and appear in the World, it should arise from the Imperfection which properly belongs to a Creature, as such, and should ap­pear so to do, that it might appear not to be from God as the Efficient or Fountain. But this could not have been, if Man had been made at first with Sin in his Heart; nor unless the abiding Principle and Habit of Sin were first introduced by an evil Act of the Creature. If Sin had not arose from the Imperfection of the Creature, it would not have been so visible, that it did not arise from God, as the positive Cause, and real Source of it.— But it would require Room that can't be here allowed, fully to consider all the Difficulties which have been started, concerning the first Entrance of Sin into the World.

[Page 269]And therefore,

2. I would observe, that Objections against the Doctrine that has been laid down, in Opposition to the Arminian Notion of Liberty, from these Difficulties, are altogether impertinent; because no additional Difficulty is incurred, by adhering to a Scheme in this Manner differing from theirs, and none would be removed or avoided, by agreeing with, and maintaining theirs. Nothing that the Arminians say, about the Contingence, or self-determining Power of Man's Will, can serve to explain with less Difficulty, how the first sinful Volition of Mankind could take Place, and Man be justly charged with the Blame of it. To say, the Will was self-determined, or determined by free Choice, in that sinful Volition; which is to say, that the first sinful Volition was determined by a foregoing sinful Volition; is no Solution of the Difficulty. It is an odd Way of solving Difficulties, to advance greater, in order to it. To say, Two and Two makes Nine; or, that a Child begat his Father, solves no Difficulty: No more does it, to say, The first sinful Act of Choice was before the first sinful Act of Choice, and chose and determined it, and brought it to pass. Nor is it any better Solution, to say, The first sinful Volition chose, determined and produced itself; which is to say, It was before it was. Nor will it go any further towards helping us over the Diffi­culty, to say, The first sinful Volition arose accidentally, without any Cause at all; any more than it will solve that difficult Question, How the World could be made out of Nothing? to say, It came into Being out of Nothing, without any Cause; as has been already observed. And if we should allow that That could be, that the first evil Volition should arise by perfect Accident, without any Cause, it would relieve no Diffi­culty, about God's laying the Blame of it to Man. For how was Man to Blame for perfect Accident, which had no Cause, and which therefore, he (to be sure) was not the Cause of, any more than if it came by some external Cause?— Such Kind of Solutions are no better, than if some Person, going about to solve some of the strange mathematical Paradoxes, about infi­nitely great and small Quantities; as, that some infinitely great Quantities are infinitely greater than some other infinitely great Quantities; and also that some infinitely small Quantities are infinitely less than others, which yet are infinitely little; in order to a Solution, should say, That Mankind have been under a Mistake, in supposing a greater Quantity to exceed a smaller; and that a Hundred multiplied by Ten, makes but a single Unit.

[Page 270]

SECTION XI. Of a supposed Inconsistence of these Prin­ciples, with GOD's moral Character.

THE Things which have been already observed, may be sufficient to answer most of the Objections, and silence the great Exclamations of Arminians against the Calvinists, from the supposed Inconsistence of Calvinistic Principles with the moral Perfections of God, as exercised in his Government of Mankind. The Consistence of such a Doctrine of Necessity as has been maintained, with the Fitness and Reasonableness of God's Commands, Promises and Threatnings, Rewards and Punishments, has been particularly considered: The Cavils of our Opponents, as tho' our Doctrine of Necessity made God the Author of Sin, have been answered; and also their Objection against these Principles, as inconsistent with God's Sincerity, in his Counsels, Invitations and Perswasions, has been already obviated, in what has been observed, respecting the Consistence of what Calvinists suppose concerning the secret and revealed Will of God: By that it appears, there is no Repugnance in supposing it may be the secret Will of God, that his Ordination and Permission of Events should be such that it shall be a certain Consequence, that a Thing never will come to pass; which yet it is Man's Duty to do, and so God's preceptive Will, that he should do; and this is the same Thing as to say, God may sincerely command and require him to do it. And if he may be sincere in commanding him, he may for the same Reason be sincere in counselling, inviting and using Persuasions with him to do it. Counsels and Invi­tations are Manifestations of God's preceptive Will, or of what God loves, and what is in it self, and as Man's Act, agreable to his Heart; and not of his disposing Will, and what he chuses as a Part of his own infinite Scheme of Things. It has been particularly shewn, Part III. Section IV. that such a Necessity as has been maintained, is not inconsistent with the Propriety and Fitness of divine Commands; and for the same Reason, not inconsistent with the Sincerity of Invitations and Counsels, in the Corollary at the End of that Section. Yea, it hath been shewn, Part III. Sect. 7. Coral. 1. that this Objection of Ar­minians, [Page 271] concerning the Sincerity and Use of divine Exhortati­ons, Invitations and Counsels, is demonstrably against them­selves.

Notwithstanding, I would further observe, that the Diffi­culty of reconciling the Sincerity of Counsels, Invitations and Persuasions, with such an antecedent known Fixedness of all Events, as has been supposed, is not peculiar to this Scheme, as distinguished from that of the Generality of Arminians, which acknowledge the absolute Foreknowledge of God: And there­fore, it would be unreasonably brought as an Objection against my differing from them. The main seeming Difficulty in the Case is this: That God in counselling, inviting and persuad­ing, makes a Shew of aiming at, seeking and using Endeavours for the Thing exhorted and persuaded to; whereas, 'tis im­possible for any intelligent Being truly to seek, or use Endea­vours for a Thing, which he at the same Time knows most perfectly will not come to pass; and that it is absurd to sup­pose, he makes the obtaining of a Thing his End, in his Calls and Counsels, which he at the same Time infallibly knows will not be obtain'd by these Means. Now, if God knows this, in the utmost Certainty and Perfection, the Way by which he comes by this Knowledge makes no Difference. If he knows it by the Necessity which he sees in Things, or by some other Means; it alters not the Case. But it is in Effect allowed by Arminians themselves, that God's inviting and persuading Men to do Things, which he at the same Time certainly knows will not be done, is no Evidence of Insincerity; because they allow, that God has a certain Foreknowledge of all Men's sinful Actions and Omissions. And as this is thus implicitly allowed by most Arminians, so all that pretend to own the Scriptures to be the Word of God, must be constrained to allow it.— God commanded and counsel'd Pharaoh to let his People go, and used Arguments and Persuasions to induce him to it; he laid before him Arguments taken from his infi­nite Greatness and almighty Power (Exod. vii.16.) and fore­warned him of the fatal Consequences of his Refusal, from Time to Time; (Chap. viii.1, 2, 20, 21. Chap. ix.1—5.13—17. and x.3, 6.) He commanded Moses, and the Elders of Israel, to go and beseech Pharaoh to let the People go; and at the same Time told 'em, he knew surely that he would not comply to it. Exod. iii.18, 19. And thou shalt come, thou and the Elders of Israel, unto the King of Egypt, and you shall say unto him; The Lord God of the Hebrews hath met with us; and now let us go, we [Page 272] beseech thee, three Days Iourney into the Wilderness, that we may Sacrifice unto the Lord our God: And, I am sure that the King of Egypt will not let you go. So our blessed Saviour, the Evening wherein he was betrayed, knew that Peter would shamefully deny him, before the Morning; for he declares it to him with Asseverations, to shew the Certainty of it; and tells the Disci­ples, that all of them should be of [...]ended because of him that Night; Matt. xxvi.31,—35. Ioh. xiii.38. Luk. xxii.31,—34. Ioh. xvi.32. And yet it was their Duty to avoid these Things; they were very sinful Things, which God had forbidden, and which it was their Duty to watch and pray against; and they were obliged to do so from the Counsels and Persuasions Christ used with them, at that very Time, so to do; Matt. xxvi.41. Watch and pray, that ye enter not into Temptation. So that whatover Difficulty there can be in this Matter, it can be no Objection against any Principles which have been maintain'd in Opposi­tion to the Principles of Arminians; nor does it any more con­cern me to remove the Difficulty, than it does them, or indeed all that call themselves Christians, and acknowledge the divine Authority of the Scriptures.— Nevertheless, this Matter may possibly (God allowing) be more particularly and largely con­sidered, in some future Discourse, on the Doctrine of Predesti­tion.

But I would here observe, that however the Defenders of that Notion of Liberty of Will, which I have opposed, exclaim against the Doctrine of Calvinists, as tending to bring Men into Doubts, concerning the moral Perfections of God; it is their Scheme, and not the Scheme of Calvinists, that indeed is justly chargeable with this. For 'tis one of the most fundamental Points of their Scheme of Things, that a Freedom of Will, consisting in self-determination, without all Necessity, is essen­tial to Moral Agency. This is the same Thing as to say, that such a Determination of the Will without all Necessity, must be in all intelligent Beings, in those Things, wherein they are moral Agents, or in their moral Acts: And from this it will fol­low, that God's Will is not necessarily determined, in any Thing he does, as a moral Agent, or in any of his Acts that are of a moral Nature. So that in all Things, wherein he acts holily, justly and truly, he don't act necessarily; or his Will is not necessarily determined to act holily and justly; because if it were necessarily determined, he would not be a moral Agent in thus acting: His Will would be attended with Necessity: which they say is inconsistent with moral Agency: ‘He can act [Page 273] no otherwise; He is at no Liberty in the Affair; He is determined by unavoidable invincible Necessity: Therefore such Agency is no moral Agency; ye [...], no Agency at all, properly speaking: A necessary Agent is no Agent: He being passive, and subject to Necessity, what He does is no Act of his, but an Effect of a Necessity prior to any Act of his.’ This is agreable to their Manner of arguing. Now then what is become of all our Proof of the moral Perfections of God? How can we prove, that God certainly will in any one Instance do that which is just and holy; seeing his Will is determin'd in the Matter by no Necessity? We have no other Way of proving that any Thing certainly will be, but only by the Necessity of the Event. Where we can see no Necessity, but that the Thing may be, or may not be, there we are un­avoidably left at a Loss. We have no other Way properly and truly to demonstrate the moral Perfections of God, but the Way that Mr. Chubb proves them, in P. 252, 261, 262, 263. of his Tracts; viz. That God must necessarily perfectly know what is most worthy and valuable in it self, which in the Nature of Things is best and fittest to be done. And as this is most eligible in it self, He being omniscient, must see it to be so; and being both omniscient and self-sufficient, cannot have any Temptation to reject it; and so must necessarily will that which is best. And thus, by this Necessity of the De­termination of God's Will to what is good and best, we de­monstrably establish God's moral Character.

Corol. From Things which have been observed, it appears, that most of the Arguments from Scripture, which Arminians make use of to support their Scheme, are no other than begging the Question. For in these their Arguments they determine in the first Place, that without such a Freedom of Will as they hold, Men can't be proper moral Agents, nor the Sub­jects of Command, Counsel, Persuasion, Invitation, Promises, Threatnings, Expostulations, Rewards and Punishments; and that without such a Freedom 'tis to no Purpose for Men to take any Care, or use any Diligence, Endeavours or Means, in order to their avoiding Sin, or becoming holy, escaping Punish­ment or obtaining Happiness: and having supposed these Things, which are grand Things in Question in the Debate, then they heap up Scriptures containing Commands, Counsels, Calls, Warnings, Persuasions, Expostulations, Promises and Threatnings; (as doubtless they may find enough such; the Bible is conf [...]ssedly full of them, from the Beginning to the [Page 274] End) and then they glory, how full the Scripture is on their Side, how many more Texts there are that evidently favour their Scheme, than such as seem to favour the contrary. But let them first make manifest the Things in Question, which they suppose and take for granted, and shew them to be consistent with themselves, and produce clear Evidence of their Truth▪ and they have gain'd their Point, as all will confess, without bringing one Scripture. For none denies, that there are Com­mands, Counsels, Promises, Threatnings, &c. in the Bible. But unless they do these Things, their multiplying such Texts of Scripture is insignificant and vain.

It may further be observed, that such Scriptures as they bring, are really against them, and not for them. As it has been demonstrated, that 'tis their Scheme, and not ours, that is in­consistent with the Use of Motives and Persuasives, or any moral Means whatsoever, to induce Men to the Practice of Vertue, or abstaining from Wickedness: Their Principles, and not ours, are repugnant to moral Agency, and inconsistent with moral Government, with Law or Precept, with the Nature of Vertue or Vice, Reward or Punishment, and with every Thing whatsoever of a moral Nature, either on the Part of the moral Governor, or in the State, Actions or Conduct of the Subject.

SECTION XII. Of a supposed Tendency of these Principles to Atheism and Licentiousness.

IF any object against what has been maintain'd, that it tends to Atheism; I know not on what Grounds such an Objection can be raised, unless it be that some Atheists have held a Doctrine of Necessity which they suppose to be like this. But if it be so, I am persuaded the Arminians would not look upon it just, that their Notion of Freedom and Contin­ge [...]ce▪ should be charged with a Tendency to all the Errors that ever any embraced, who have held such Opinions. The [Page 275] Stoic Philosophers, whom the Calvinists are charged with agreeing with, were no Atheists, but the greatest Theists, and nearest a-kin to Christians in their Opinions concerning the Unity and the Perfections of the Godhead, of all the Heathen Philo­sophers. And Epicurus, that chief Father of Atheism, main­tain'd no such Doctrine of Necessity, but was the greatest Maintainer of Contingence.

The Doctrine of Necessity, which supposes a necessary Con­nection of all Events, on some antecedent Ground and Reason of their Existence, is the only Medium we have to prove the Being of God. And the contrary Doctrine of Contingence, even as maintain'd by Arminians (which certainly implies or infers, that Events may come into Existence, or begin to be, without Dependence on any Thing foregoing, as their Cause, Ground or Reason) takes away all Proof of the Being of God; which Proof is summarily express'd by the Apostle, in Rom. i.20. And this is a Tendency to Atheism with a Witness. So that indeed it is the Doctrine of Arminians, and not of the Calvinists, that is justly charged with a Tendency to Atheism; it being built on a Foundation that is the utter Subversion of every demonstra­tive Argument for the Proof of a Deity; as has been shown, Part II. Sect. 3d.

And whereas it has often been said, that the Calvinistic Doc­trine of Necessity, saps the Foundations of all Religion and Vertue, and tends to the greatest Licentiousness of Practice: This Objection is built on the Pretence, that our Doctrine ren­ders vain all Means and Endeavours, in order to be vertuous and religious, Which Pretence has been already particularly considered in the 5th Section of this Part; where it has been demonstrated, that this Doctrine has no such Tendency; but that such a Tendency is truly to be charged on the contrary Doctrine: inasmuch as the Notion of Contingence, which their Doctrine implies, in its certain Consequences, overthrows all Connection, in every Degree, between Endeavour and Event, Means and End.

And besides, if many other Things which have been ob­served to belong to the Arminian Doctrine, or to be plain Con­sequences of it, be considered, there will appear just Reason to suppose that it is that, which must rather tend to Licenti­ousness. Their Doctrine excuses all evil Inclinations, which Men find to be natural; because in such Inclinations, they [Page 276] are not self-determined, as such Inclinations are not owing to any Choice or Determination of their own Wills. Which leads Men wholly to justify themselves in all their wicked Actions, so far as natural Inclination has had a Hand in determining their Wills, to the Commission of 'em. Yea, these Notions which suppose moral Necessity and Inability to be inconsistent with Blame or moral Obligation, will directly lead Men to justify the vilest Acts and Practices, from the Strength of their wicked Inclinations of all Sorts; strong Inclinations inducing a moral Necessity; yea, to excuse every Degree of evil Inclination, so far as this has evidently prevailed, and been the Thing which has determined their Wills: Because, so far as antecedent Inclination determined the Will, so far the Will was without Liberty of Indifference and Self-determination. Which at last will come to this, that Men will justify themselves in all the Wickedness they commit. It has been observed already, that this Scheme of Things does exceedingly diminish the Guilt of Sin, and the Difference between the greatest and smallest Of­fences: * And if it be pursued in its real Consequences, it leaves Room for no such Thing, as either Vertue or Vice, Blame or Praise in the World. And then again, how natu­rally does this Notion of the sovereign self-determining Power of the Will, in all Things, vertuous or vicious, and whatsoever deserves either Reward or Punishment, tend to encourage Men to put off the Work of Religion and Vertue, and turning from Sin to God; it being that which they have a sovereign Power to determine themselves to, just when they please; or if not, they are wholly excuseable in going on in Sin, because of their Inability to do any other.

If it should be said, that the Tendency of this Doctrine of Necessity, to Licentiousness, appears by the Improvement many at this Day actually make of it, to justify themselves in their dissolute Courses; I will not deny that some Men do unrea­sonably abuse this Doctrine, as they do many other Things which are true and excellent in their own Nature: But I deny that this proves, the Doctrine itself has any Tendency to Licentiousness. I think, the Tendency of Doctrines, by what now appears in the World, and in our Nation in particular, may much more justly be argued from the general Effect which [Page 277] has been seen to attend the prevailing of the Principles of Ar­minians, and the contrary Principles; as both have had their Turn of general Prevalence in our Nation. If it be indeed, as is pretended, that Calvinistic Doctrines undermine the very Foundation of all Religion and Morality, and enervate and disannul all rational Motives, to holy and vertuous Practice; and that the contrary Doctrines give the Inducements to Ver­tue and Goodness their proper Force, and exhibit Religion in a rational Light, tending to recommend it to the Reason of Mankind, and enforce it in a Manner that is agreable to their natural Notions of Things: I say, if it be thus, 'tis remarkable, that Vertue and religious Practice should prevail most, when the former Doctrines, so inconsistent with it, prevailed almost universally: And that ever since the latter Doctrines, so hap­pily agreeing with it, and of so proper & excellent a Tendency to promote it, have been gradually prevailing, Vice, Prophane­ness, Luxury and Wickedness of all Sorts, and Contempt of all Religion, and of every Kind of Seriousness and Strictness of Conversation, should proportionably prevail; and that these Things should thus accompany one another, and rise and pre­vail one with another, now for a whole Age together. 'Tis remarkable, that this happy Remedy (discover'd by the free Enquiries, and superior Sense and Wisdom of this Age) against the pernicious Effects of Calvinism, so inconsistent with Religion, and tending so much to banish all Vertue from the Earth, should on so long a Trial, be attended with no good Effect; but that the Consequence should be the Reverse of Amendment; that in Proportion, as the Remedy takes Place, and is thoroughly applied, so the Disease should prevail; and the very same dis­mal Effect take Place, to the highest Degree, which Calvinistic Doctrines are supposed to have so great a Tendency to; even the banishing of Religion and Vertue, and the prevailing of unbounded Licentiousness of Manners. If these Things are truly so, they are very remarkable, and Matter of very curious Speculation▪

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SECTION XIII. Concerning that Objection against the Rea­soning, by which the Calvinistic Doctrine is supported, that it is Metaphysical and Abstruse.

IT has often been objected against the Defenders of Calvi­nistic Princples, that in their Reasonings, they run into nice Scholastic Distinctions, and abstruse metaphysical Subtilties, and set these in Opposition to common Sense. And 'tis possible, that after the former Manner it may be alledged against the Reasoning by which I have endeavoured to confute the Arminian Scheme of Liberty and moral Agency, that it is very abstracted and metaphysical.— Concerning this, I would observe the following Things.

I. If that be made an Objection against the foregoing Rea­soning, that it is metaphysical, or may properly be reduced to the Science of Metaphysicks, it is a very impertinent Objection; whether it be so or no, is not worthy of any Dispute or Con­troversy. If the Reasoning be good, 'tis as frivolous to en­quire what Science it is properly reduc'd to, as what Language it is delivered in: And for a Man to go about to confute the Arguments of his Opponent, by telling him, his Arguments are Metaphysical, would be as weak as to tell him, his Arguments could not be substantial, because they were written in French or Latin. The Question is not, Whether what is said be Meta­physicks, Physicks, Logick, or Mathematicks, Latin, French, English, or Mohawk? But, Whether the Reasoning be good, and the Arguments truly conclusive? The foregoing Arguments are no more metaphysical, than those which we use against the Papists, to disprove their Doctrine of Transubstantiation; al­ledging, it is inconsistent with the Notion of corporeal Identity, that it should be in ten Thousand Places at the same Time. 'Tis by metaphysical Arguments only we are able to prove, that the rational Soul is not corporeal; that Lead or Sand can't think; that Thoughts are not square or round, or don't weigh a Pound. The Arguments by which we prove [Page 279] the Being of God, if handled closely and distinctly, so as to shew their clear and demonstrative Evidence, must be meta­physically treated. 'Tis by Metaphysicks only, that we can demonstrate, that God is not limited to a Place, or is not mutable; that he is not ignorant, or forgetful; that it is im­possible for him to lie, or be unjust; and that there is one God only, and not Hundreds or Thousands. And indeed we have no strict Demonstration of any Thing, excepting mathematical Truths, but by Metaphysicks. We can have no Proof, that is properly demonstrative, of any one Proposition, relating to the Being and Nature of God, his Creation of the World, the Dependence of all Things on him, the Nature of Bodies or Spirits, the Nature of our own Souls, or any of the great Truths of Morality and natural Religion, but what is metaphysical. I am willing, my Arguments should be brought to the Test of the strictest and justest Reason, and that a clear, distinct and determinate Meaning of the Terms I use, should be insisted on; but let not the Whole be rejected, as if all were confuted, by fixing on it the Epithet Metaphysical.

II. If the Reasoning which has been made use of, be in some Sense Metaphysical, it will not follow, that therefore it must needs be abstruse, unintelligible, and a-kin to the Jargon of the Schools. I humbly conceive, the foregoing Reasoning, at least as to those Things which are most material belonging to it, depends on no abstruse Definitions or Distinctions, or Terms without a Meaning, or of very ambiguous and unde­termined Signification, or any Points of such Abstraction and Subtilty, as tends to involve the attentive Understanding in Clouds and Darkness. There is no high Degree of Refine­ment and abstruse Speculation, in determining, that a Thing is not before it is, and so can't be the Cause of itself; or that the first Act of free Choice, has not another Act of free Choice going before that, to excite or direct it; or in determining, that no Choice is made, while the Mind remains in a State of absolute Indifference; that Preference and Equilibrium never co-exist; and that therefore no Choice is made in a State of Liberty, consisting in Indifference: And that so far as the Will is determined by Motives, exhibited and operating previous to the Act of the Will, so far it is not determined by the Act of the Will itself; that nothing can begin to be, which before was not, without a Cause, or some antecedent Ground or Rea­son, why it then begins to be; that Effects depend on their Causes, and are connected with them; that Vertue is not the [Page 280] worse, nor Sin the better, for the Strength of Inclination, with which it is practised, and the Difficulty which thence arises of doing otherwise; that when it is already infallibly known, that a Thing will be, it is not a Thing contingent whether it will ever be or no; or that it can be truly said, notwithstanding, that it is not necessary it should be, but it either may be, or may not be. And the like might be observed of many other Things which belong to the foregoing Reasoning.

If any shall still stand to it, that the foregoing Reasoning is nothing but metaphysical Sophistry; and that it must be so, that the seeming Force of the Arguments all depends on some Fallacy and Wile that is hid in the Obscurity, which always attends a great Degree of metaphysical Abstraction and Re­finement; and shall be ready to say, ‘Here is indeed some­thing that tends to confound the Mind, but not to satisfy it: For who can ever be truly satisfied in it, that Men are fitly blamed or commended, punished or rewarded, for those Volitions which are not from themselves, and of whose Ex­istence they are not the Causes. Men may refine, as much as they please, and advance their abstract Notions, and make out a Thousand seeming Contradictions, to puzzle our Un­derstandings; yet there can be no Satisfaction in such Doctrine as this: The natural Sense of the Mind of Man will always resist it. * I humbly conceive, that such an Objector, if he [Page 281] has Capacity and Humility and Calmness of Spirit, sufficient impartially and thoroughly to examine himself, will find that he knows not really what he would be at; and that indeed his Difficulty is nothing but a meer Prejudice, from an inad­vertent customary Use of Words, in a Meaning that is not clearly understood, nor carefully reflected upon.— Let the Objector reflect again, if he has Candor and Patience enough, and don't scorn to be at the Trouble of close Attention in the Affair.— He would have a Man's Volition be from himself. Let it be from himself, most primarily and originally of any Way [Page 282] conceivable; that is, from his own Choice: How will that help the Matter, as to his being justly blamed or praised, un­less that Choice itself be blame or praise-worthy? And how is the Choice itself (an ill Choice, for Instance) blame-worthy, according to these Principles, unless that be from himself too, in the same Manner; that is, from his own Choice? But the original and first determining Choice in the Affair is not from his Choice: His Choice is not the Cause of it.—And if it be from himself some other Way, and not from his Choice, surely that will not help the Matter: If it ben't from himself of Choice, then it is not from himself voluntarily; and if so, he is surely no more to Blame, than if it were not from him­self at all. It is a Vanity, to pretend it is a sufficient An­swer to this, to say, that it is nothing but metaphysical Refine­ment and Subtilty, and so attended with Obscurity and Uncer­tainty.

If it be the natural Sense of our Minds, that what is blame-worthy in a Man must be from himself, then it doubtless is also, that it must be from something bad in himself, a bad Choice, or bad Disposition. But then our natural Sense is, that this bad Choice or Disposition is evil in it self, and the Man blame-worthy for it, on it's own Account, without taking into our Notion of it's Blame-worthiness, another bad Choice, or Disposition going before this, from whence this arises: for that is a ridi­culous Absurdity, running us into an immediate Contradiction, which our natural Sense of Blame-worthiness has nothing to do with, and never comes into the Mind, nor is supposed in the Judgment we naturally make of the Affair. As was demon­strated before, natural Sense don't place the moral Evil of Volitions and Dispositions in the Cause of them, but the Na­ture of them. An evil Thing's being FROM a Man, or from something antecedent in him, is not essential to the original Notion we have of Blame-worthiness: But 'tis it's being the Choice of the Heart; as appears by this, that if a Thing be from us, and not from our Choice, it has not the Nature of Blame-worthiness or Ill-desert, according to our natural Sense. When a Thing is from a Man, in that Sense, that it is from his Will or Choice, he is to Blame for it, be­cause his Will is IN IT: So far as the Will is in it, Blame is in it, and no further. Neither do we go any further in our Notion of Blame, to enqui [...] whether the bad Will be FROM a bad Will: There is no Consideration of the Original of that bad Will; because according to our natural Apprehension, [Page 283] Blame originally consists in it. Therefore a Thing's being from a Man, is a secondary Consideration, in the Notion of Blame or Ill-desert. Because those Things in our external Actions, are most properly said to be from us, which are from our Choice; and no other external Actions but those that are from us in this Sense, have the Nature of Blame; and they indeed, not so properly because they are from us, as because we are in them, i. e. our Wills are in them; not so much because they are from some Property of ours, as because they are our Properties.

However, all these external Actions being truly from us, as their Cause; and we being so used, in ordinary Speech, and in the common Affairs of Life, to speak of Men's Actions and Conduct that we see, and that affect human Society, as deserv­ing Ill or Well, as worthy of Blame or Praise; hence it is come to pass, that Philosophers have incautiously taken all their Measures of Good and Evil, Praise and Blame, from the Dictates of common Sense, about these overt Acts of Men; to the running of every Thing into the most lamentable and dreadful Confusion. And therefore I observe,

III. 'Tis so far from being true (whatever may be pretended) that the Proof of the Doctrine which has been maintain'd, depends on certain abstruse, unintelligible, metaphysical Terms and Notions; and that the Arminian Scheme, without needing such Clouds and Darkness, for it's Defence, is supported by the plain Dictates of common Sense; that the very Reverse is most certainly true, and that to a great Degree. 'Tis Fact, that they, and not we, have confounded Things with metaphysical, unintelligible Notions and Phrases, and have drawn them from the Light of plain Truth, into the gross Darkness of abstruse metaphysical Propositions, and Words without a Meaning. Their pretended Demonstrations depend very much on such unintelligible, metaphysical Phrases, as Self-determination and Sovereignty of the Will; and the metaphysical Sense they put on such Terms, as Necessity, Contingency, Action, Agency, &c. quite diverse from their Meaning as used in common Speech; and which, as they use them, are without any consistent Meaning, or any Manner of distinct consistent Ideas; as far from it as any of the abstruse Terms and perplexed Phrases of the Peri­patetick Philosophers, or the most unintelligible Jargon of the Schools, or the Cant of the wildest Fanaticks. Yea, we may be bold to say, these metaphysical Terms, on which they build so much, are what they use without knowing what they mean themselves; they are pure metaphysical Sound, without any [Page 284] Ideas whatsoever in their Minds to answer them; in-as-much as it has been demonstrated, that there cannot be any Notion in the Mind consistent with these Expressions, as they pretend to explain them; because their Explanations destroy them­selves. No such Notions as imply Self-contradiction, and Self-abolition, and this a great many Ways, can subsist in the Mind; as there can be no Idea of a Whole which is less than any of it's Parts, or of solid Extension without Dimensions, or of an Effect which is before it's Cause.— Arminians improve these Terms, as Terms of Art, and in their metaphysical Meaning, to advance and establish those Things which are contrary to common Sense, in a high Degree. Thus, instead of the plain vulgar Notion of Liberty, which all Mankind, in every Part of the Face of the Earth, and in all Ages, have; consisting in Opportunity to do as one pleases; they have in­troduced a new strange Liberty, consisting in Indifference, Contingence, and Self-determination; by which they involve themselves and others in great Obscurity, and manifold gross Inconsistence. So, instead of placing Vertue and Vice, as common Sense places them very much, in fix'd Bias and In­clination, and greater Vertue and Vice in stronger and more establish'd Inclination; these, thro' their Refinings and abstruse Notions, suppose a Liberty consisting in Indifference, to be essential to all Vertue and Vice. So they have reasoned them­selves, not by metaphysical Distinctions, but metaphysical Confusion, into many Principles about moral Agency, Blame, Praise, Reward and Punishment, which are, as has been shewn, exceeding contrary to the common Sense of Mankind; and perhaps to their own Sense, which governs them in common Life.

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WHETHER the Things which have been alledged, are liable to any tolerable Answer in the Ways of calm, intelligible and strict Reasoning, I must leave others to judge: But I am sensible they are liable to one Sort of Answer. 'Tis not unlikely, that some who value themselves on the supposed rational and generous Principles of the modern fashionable Divinity, will have their Indignation and Disdain raised at the Sight of this Discourse, and on perceiving what Things are pretended to be proved in it. And if they think it worthy of being read, or of so much Notice as to say much about it, they may probably renew the usual Exclamations, with additional Vehemence and Contempt, about the Fate of the Heathen, Hobbes's Necessity, and making Men meer Machines; accumulating the terrible Epithets of fatal, unfrustrable, inevita­ble, irresistible, &c. and it may be, with the Addition of horrid and blasphemous; and perhaps much Skill may be used to set forth Things which have been said, in Colours which shall be shocking to the Imaginations, and moving to the Passions of those who have either too little Capacity, or too much Con­fidence of the Opinions they have imbibed, and Contempt of the contrary, to try the Matter by any serious and circumspect Examination. Or Difficulties may be started and insisted on [Page 286] which don't belong to the Controversy; because, let them be more or less real, and hard to be resolved, they are not what are owing to any Thing distinguishing of this Scheme from that of the Arminians, and would not be removed nor dimi­nished by renouncing the former, and adhering to the latter. Or some particular Things may be pick'd out, which they may think will sound harshest in the Ears of the Generality; and these may be gloss'd and descanted on, with tart and con­temptuous Words; and from thence, the whole treated with Triumph and Insult.

'Tis easy to see how the Decision of most of the Points in Controversy, between Calvinists and Arminians, depends on the Determination of this grand Article concerning the Freedom of the Will requisite to moral Agency; and that by clearing and estab­lishing the Calvinistic Doctrine in this Point, the chief Argu­ments are obviated, by which Arminian Doctrines in general are supported, and the contrary Doctrines demonstratively confirmed. Hereby it becomes manifest, that God's moral Government over Mankind, his treating them as moral Agents, making them the Objects of his Commands, Counsels, Calls, Warnings, Expostulations, Promises, Threatnings, Rewards and Punishments, is not inconsistent with a determining Disposal of all Events, of every Kind, throughout the Universe, in his Providence; either by positive Efficiency, or Permission. Indeed such an universal, determining Providence, infers some Kind of Necessity of all Event [...]; such a Necessity as implies an infallible previous Fixedness of the Futurity of the Event: But no other Necessity of moral Events, or Volitions of intelligent Agents, is needful in order to this, than moral Necessity; which does as much ascertain the Futurity of the Event, as any other Necessity. But, as has been demonstrated, such a Necessity is not at all repugnant to moral Agency, and the reasonable Use of Commands, Calls, Rewards, Punishments, &c. Yea, not only are Objections of this Kind against the Doctrine of an universal determining Providence, removed by what has been said; but the Truth of such a Doctrine is demonstrated. As [Page 287] it has been demonstrated, that the Futurity of all future Events is established by previous Necessity, either natural or moral; so 'tis manifest, that the sovereign Creator and Disposer of the World has ordered this Necessity, by ordering his own Con­duct, either in designedly acting, or forbearing to act. For, as the Being of the World is from God, so the Circumstances in which it had it's Being at first, both negative and positive, must be ordered by him, in one of these Ways; and all the neces­sary Consequences of these Circumstances, must be ordered by him. And God's active and positive Interpositions, after the World was created, and the Consequences of these Interpositi­ons; also every Instance of his forbearing to interpose, and the sure Consequences of this Forbearance, must all be determined according to his Pleasure. And therefore every Event which is the Consequence of any Thing whatsoever, or that is con­nected with any foregoing Thing or Circumstance, either po­sitive or negative, as the Ground or Reason of its Existence, must be ordered of God; either by a designed Efficiency and Interposition, or a designed forbearing to operate or interpose. But, as has been proved, all Events whatsoever are necessarily connected with something foregoing, either positive or negative, which is the Ground of its Existence. It follows therefore, that the whole Series of Events is thus connected with something in the State of Things, either positive or negative, which is original in the Series; i. e. something which is connected with nothing preceding that, but God's own immediate Conduct, either his acting or forbearing to act. From whence it follows, that as God designedly orders his own Conduct, and its con­nected Consequences, it must necessarily be, that he designedly orders all Things.

The Things which have been said, obviate some of the chief Objections of Arminians against the Calvinistic Doctrine of the total Depravity and Corruption of Man's Nature, whereby his Heart is wholly under the Power of Sin, and he is utterly un­able, without the Interposition of sovereign Grace, savingly to love God, believe in Christ, or do any Thing that is truly good and acceptable in God's Sight. For the main Objection against this Doctrine is, that it is inconsistent with the Freedom of Man's Will, consisting in Indifference and self-determining Power; because it supposes Man to be under a Necessity of Sinning, and that God requires Things of him, in order to his avoiding eternal Damnation, which he is unable to do; and that this Doctrine is wholly inconsistent with the Sincerity [Page 288] of Counsels, Invitations, &c. Now this Doctrine supposes no other Necessity of Sinning, than a moral Necessity; which, as has been shewn, don't at all excuse Sin; and supposes no other Inability to obey any Command, or perform any Duty, even the most spiritual and exalted, but a moral Inability, which, as has been proved, don't excuse Persons in the Non-performance of any good Thing, or make 'em not to be the proper Objects of Commands, Counsels and Invitations. And moreover, it has been shewn, that there is not, and never can be, either in Existence, or so much as in Idea, any such Freedom of Will, consisting in Indifference and Self-determination, for the Sake of which, this Doctrine of original Sin is cast out; and that no such Freedom is necessary, in order to the Nature of Sin, and a just Desert of Punishment.

The Things which have been observed, do also take off the main Objections of Arminians against the Doctrine of effica­cious Grace; and at the same Time, prove the Grace of God in a Sinner's Conversion (if there be any Grace or divine In­fluence in the Affair) to be efficacious, yea, and irresistible too, if by irresistible is meant, that which is attended with a moral Necessity, which it is impossible should ever be violated by any Resistence. The main Objection of Arminians against this Doctrine is, that it is inconsistent with their self-determining Freedom of Will; and that it is repugnant to the Nature of Vertue, that it should be wrought in the Heart by the deter­mining Efficacy and Power of another, instead of its being owing to a self-moving Power; that in that Case, the Good which is wrought, would not be our Vertue, but rather God's Vertue; because it is not the Person in whom it is wrought, that is the determining Author of it, but God that wrought it in him.—But the Things which are the Foundation of these Objections, have been considered; and it has been demon­strated, that the Liberty of moral Agents does not consist in self-determining Power; and that there is no Need of any such Liberty, in order to the Nature of Vertue; nor does it at all hinder, but that the State or Act of the Will may be the Vertue of the Subject, though it be not from Self-determina­tion, but the Determination of an extrinsic Cause; even so as to cause the Event to be morally necessary to the Subject of it. And as it has been proved, that nothing in the State or Acts of the Will of Man is contingent; but that on the contrary, every Event of this Kind is necessary, by a moral Necessity; and has also been now demonstated, that the Doctrine of an [Page 289] universal determining Providence, follows from that Doctrine of Necessity, which was proved before: And so, that God does decisively, in his Providence, order all the Volitions of moral Agents, either by positive Influence or Permission: And it being allowed on all Hands, that what God does in the Affair o [...] Man's vertuous Volitions, whether it be more or less, is by some positive Influence, and not by meer Permission, as in the Affair of a sinful Volition: If we put these Things together, it will follow, that God's Assistance or Influence, must be determin­ing and decisive, or must be attended with a moral Necessity of the Event; and so, that God gives Vertue, Holiness and Conversion to Sinners, by an Influence which determines the Effect, in such a Manner, that the Effect will infallibly follow by a moral Necessity; which is what Calvinists mean by effi­cacious and irresistible Grace.

The Things which have been said, do likewise answer the chief Objections against the Doctrine of God's universal and absolute Decree, and afford infallible Proof of that Doctrine [...] and of the Doctrine of absolute, eternal, personal Election in parti­cular. The main Objections against these Doctrines are, that they infer a Necessity of the Volitions of moral Agents, and of the future moral State and Acts of Men; and so are not con­sistent with those eternal Rewards and Punishments, which are connected with Conversion and Impenitence; nor can be made to agree with the Reasonableness and Sincerity of the Precepts, Calls, Counsels, Warnings and Expostulations of the Word of God; or with the various Methods and Means of Grace, which God uses with Sinners, to bring 'em to Repentance; and the whole of that moral Government, which God exercises towards Mankind: And that they infer an Inconsistence between the secret and revealed Will of God; and make God the Author of Sin. But all these Things have been obviated in the preceed­ing Discourse. And the certain Truth of these Doctrines, concerning God's eternal Purposes, will follow from what was just now observed concerning God's universal Providence; how it infallibly follows from what has been proved, that God orders all Events, and the Volitions of moral Agents amongst others, by such a decisive Disposal, that the Events are infal­libly connected with his Disposal. For if God disposes all Events, so that the infallible Existence of the Events is decided by his Providence, then he doubtless thus orders and decides Things knowingly, and on Design. God don't do what he does, nor order what he orders, accidentally and unawares; either [Page 290] without, or beside his Intention. And if there be a foregoing Design of doing and ordering as he does, this is the same with a Purpose or Decree. And as it has been shewn, that nothing is new to God, in any Respect, but all Things are perfectly and equally in his View from Eternity; hence it will follow, that his Designs or Purposes are not Things formed anew, founded on any new Views or Appearances, but are all eternal Purposes. And as it has been now shewn, how the Doctrine of determining efficacious Grace certainly follows from Things proved in the foregoing Discourse; hence will neces­sarily follow the Doctrine of particular, eternal, absolute Election. For if Men are made true Saints, no otherwise than as God makes 'em so, and distinguishes 'em from others, by an effica­cious Power and Influence of his, that decides and fixes the Event; and God thus makes some Saints, and not others, on Design or Purpose, and (as has been now observed) no Designs of God are new; it follows, that God thus distinguished from others, all that ever become true Saints, by his eternal Design or Decree.— I might also shew, how God's certain Foreknow­ledge must suppose an absolute Decree, and how such a Decree can be proved to a Demonstration from it: But that this Dis­course mayn't be lengthen'd out too much, that must be omit­ted for the present.

From these Things it will inevitably follow, that however Christ in some Sense may be said to die for all, and to redeem all visible Christians, yea the whole World by his Death; yet there must be something particular in the Design of his Death, with Respect to such as He intended should actually be saved thereby. As appears by what has been now shewn, God has the actual Salvation or Redemption of a certain Number in his proper absolute Design, and of a certain Number only; and therefore such a Design only can be prosecuted in any Thing God does, in order to the Salvation of Men. God pursues a proper Design of the Salvation of the Elect in giving Christ to die, and prosecutes such a Design with Respect to no other, most strictly speaking; for 'tis impossible, that God should prosecute any other Design than only such as He has: He certainly don't, in the highest Propriety and Strictness of Speech, pursue a Design that He has not.— And indeed such a Particularity and Limitation of Redemption will as infallibly follow from the Doctrine of God's Foreknowledge, as from that of the Decree. For 'tis as impossible, in Strictness of Speech, that God should prosecute a Design or Aim at a [Page 291] Thing, which He at the same Time most perfectly knows will not be accomplished, as that he should use Endeavours for that which is beside his Decree.

By the Things which have been proved, are obviated some of the main Objections against the Doctrine of the infallible and necessary Perseverance of Saints, and some of the main Founda­tions of this Doctrine are established. The main Prejudices of Arminians against this Doctrine seem to be these; they sup­pose such a necessary, infallible Perseverance to be repugnant to the Freedom of the Will; that it must be owing to Man's own self-determining Power, that he first becomes vertuous and holy; and so in like Manner, it must be left a Thing contin­gent, to be determin'd by the same Freedom of Will, whether he will persevere in Vertue and Holiness; and that otherwise his continuing stedfast in Faith and Obedience would not be his Vertue, or at all Praise-worthy and Rewardable; nor could his Perseverance be properly the Matter of divine Commands, Counsels & Promises, nor his Apostacy be properly threaten'd, and Men warned against it. Whereas we find all these Things in Scripture: There we find Stedfastness and Perseverance in true Christianity, represented as the Vertue of the Saints, spoken of as Praise-worthy in them, and glorious Rewards promised to it; and also find, that God makes it the Subject of his Commands, Counsels and Promises; and the contrary, of Threatnings and Warnings. But the Foundation of these Objections has been removed, in it's being shewn that moral Necessity and infallible Certainty of Events is not inconsistent with these Things; and that, as to Freedom of Will lying in the Power of the Will to determine it self, there neither is any such Thing, nor any Need of it, in order to Vertue, Reward, Commands, Counsels, &c.

And as the Doctrines of efficacious Grace and absolute Election do certainly follow from Things which have been proved in the preceeding Discourse; so some of the main Foundations of the Doctrine of Perseverance are thereby esta­blished. If the Beginning of true Faith and Holiness, and a Man's becoming a true Saint at first, don't depend on the self-determining Power of the Will, but on the deter­mining efficacious Grace of God; it may well be argued, that it is so also with Respect to Men's being continued Saints, or persevering in Faith and Holiness. The Conversion of a Sinner being not owing to a Man's Self-determination, but to God's Determination, and eternal Election, which is abso­lute, [Page 292] and depending on the sovereign Will of God, and not on the free Will of Man; as is evident from what has been said: And it being very evident from the Scriptures, that the eternal Election which there is of Saints to Faith and Holiness, is also an Election of them to eternal Salvation; hence their Appointment to Salvation must also be absolute, and not de­pending on their contingent, self-determining Will. From all which it follows, that it is absolutely fix'd in God's Decree, that all true Saints shall persevere to actual eternal Salvation.

But I must leave all these Things to the Consideration of the fair and impartial Reader; and when he has maturely weigh'd them, I would propose it to his Consideration, whe­ther many of the first Reformers, and others that succeeded them, whom God in their Day made the chief Pillars of his Church, and greatest Instruments of their Deliverance from Error and Darkness, and of the Support of the Cause of Piety among them, have not been injured, in the Contempt with which they have been treated by many late Writers, for their teaching and maintaining such Doctrines as are com­monly called Calvinistic. Indeed some of these new Writers, at the same Time that they have represented the Doctrines of these antient and eminent Divines, as in the highest Degree ridiculous, and contrary to common Sense, in an Ostentation of a very generous Charity, have allowed that they were honest well-meaning Men: Yea, it may be some of them, as tho' it were in great Condescension and Compassion to them, have allowed that they did pretty well for the Day which they lived in, and considering the great Disadvantages they [...]boured un­der: When at the same Time, their Manner of Speaking has naturally and plainly suggested to the Minds of their Readers, that they were Persons, who through the Lowness of their Genius, and Greatness of the Bigotry, with which their Minds were shackled, and Thoughts confined, living in the gloomy Caves of Superstition, fondly embraced, and demurely and zea­lously taught the most absurd, silly and monstrous Opinions, worthy of the greatest Contempt of Gentlemen possessed of that noble and generous Freedom of Thought, which happily prevails in this Age of Light and Enquiry. When indeed such is the Case, that we might, if so disposed, speak as big Words as they, and on far better Grounds. And really all the Ar­minians on Earth might be challenged without Arrogance or Vanity, to make these Principles of theirs wherein they mainly differ from their Fathers, whom they so much despise, con­sistent [Page 293] with common Sense; yea, and perhaps to produce any Doctrine ever embraced by the blindest Bigot of the Church of Rome, or the most ignorant Mussulman, or extravagant Enthus [...]st, that might be reduced to more, and more demonstrable Incon­sistencies, & Repugnancies to common Sense, and to themselves; tho' their Inconsistencies indeed may not lie so deep, or be so artfully vail'd by a deceitful Ambiguity of Words, and an in­determinate Signification of Phrases.— I will not deny, that these Gentlemen, many of them, are Men of great Abilities, and have been helped to higher Attainments in Philosophy, than those antient Divines, and have done great Service to the Church of God in some Respects: But I humbly conceive, that their differing from their Fathers with such magisterial Assurance, in these Points in Divinity, must be owing to some other Cause than superiour Wisdom.

It may also be worthy of Consideration, whether the great Alteration which has been made in the State of Things in our Nation, and some other Parts of the Protestant World, in this and the past Age, by the exploding so generally Calvinistic Doctrines, that is so often spoken of as worthy to be greatly rejoyced in by the Friends of Truth, Learning and Vertue, as an Instance of the great Increase of Light in the Christian Church; I say, it may be worthy to be considered, whether this be indeed a happy Change, owing to any such Cause as an Increase of true Knowlege and Understanding in Things of Religion; or whether there is not Reason to fear, that it may be owing to some worse Cause.

And I desire it may be considered, whether the Boldness of some Writers may not be worthy to be reflected on, who have not scrupled to say, That if these and those Things are true (which yet appear to be the demonstrable Dictates of Reason, as well as the certain Dictates of the Mouth of the most High) then God is unjust and cruel, and guilty of manifest Deceit and double-dealing, and the like. Yea, some have gon [...] so far, as confidently to assert, That if any Book which pre­tends to be Scripture, teaches such Doctrines, that alone is suf­ficient Warrant for Mankind to reject it, as what cannot be the Word of God. Some who have not gone so far, have said, That if the Scripture seems to teach any such Doctrines, so contrary to Reason, we are obliged to find out some other In­terpretation of those Texts, where such Doctrines seem to be exhibited. Others express themselves yet more modestly: They express a Tenderness and religious Fear, lest they should re­ceive and teach any Thing that should seem to reflect on God's [Page 294] moral Character, or be a Disparagement to his Methods of Administration, in his moral Government; and therefore ex­press themselves as not daring to embrace some Doctrines, though they seem to be delivered in Scripture, according to the more obvious and natural Construction of the Words. But indeed it would shew a truer Modesty and Humility, if they would more entirely rely on God's Wisdom and Dis­cerning, who knows infinitely better than we, what is agreable to his own Perfections, and never intended to leave these Mat­ters to the Decision of the Wisdom and Discerning of Men; but by his own unerring Instruction, to determine for us what the Truth is; knowing how little our Judgment is to be de­pended on, and how extremely prone, vain and blind Men are, to err in such Matters.

The Truth of the Case is, that if the Scripture plainly taught the opposite Doctrines, to those that are so much stum­bled at, viz. the Arminian Doctrine of Free-Will, and others depending thereon, it would be the greatest of all Difficulties that attend the Scriptures, incomparably greater than its con­taining any, even the most mysterious of those Doctrines of the first Reformers, which our late Free-thinkers have so superci­liously exploded.— Indeed it is a glorious Argument of the Divinity of the holy Scriptures, that they teach such Doctrines, which in one Age and another, thro' the Blindness of Men's Minds, and strong Prejudices of their Hearts, are rejected, as most absurd and unreasonable, by the wise and great Men of the World; which yet, when they are most carefully and strictly examined, appear to be exactly agreable to the most demonstrable, certain, and natural Dictates of Reason. By such Things it appears, that the Foolishness of God is wiser than Men, and God does as is said in 1 Cor. i.19, 20. For it is written, I will destroy the Wisdom of the Wise; I will bring to no­thing the Understanding of the Prudent. Where is the Wise! Where is the Scribe! Where is the Disputer of this World! Hath not God made foolish the Wisdom of this World? And as it used to be in Time past, so it is probable it will be in Time to come, as it is there written, in ver. 27, 28, 29. But God hath chosen the foolish Things of the World, to confound the Wise: And God hath chosen the weak Things of the World, to confound the Things that are mighty: And base Things of the World, and Things which are despised, hath God chosen: Yea, and Things which are not, to bring to nought Things that are; that no Flesh should glory in his Presence. AMEN.



[N. B. The Capital P. signifies the Part; this Mark, §, the Section; Concl. the Conclusion; and the small p. the Page; where the Things here specified, are to be found.]

  • ABstracted or Abstruse Rea­soning, whether justly objected against Calvi­nists, P. 4. § 13. p. 278.
  • Action, Inconsistence of the Arminian Notion of it, P. 4. § 2. p. 199. and whence this arose, p. 204. what it is in the com­mon Notion of it, Ibid. p. 201. —and how distinguish'd from Passion, Ibid. p. 203.
  • Activity of the Nature of the Soul, whether thro' this, Voli­tion can arise without a Cause, P. 2. § 4. p. 47.
  • Apparent Good, the greatest, in what Sense it determines the Will, P. 1. § 2. p. 7.
  • Arminians, obliged to talk inconsistently, P. 2. § 5. p. 53. Ibid. § 7. p. 70. §. 9. p. 77. where the main Strength of their pretended Demonstrations lies, P. 4. § 4. p. 219. Their Objection from God's moral Character, consider'd and re­torted, Ibid. § 11. p. 271, 2.
  • Arminian Doctrine, its Ten­dency to supersede all Use of Means, and make Endeavours vain, P. 4. § 5. p. 222. and in Effect, to exclude all Vertue and Vice out of the World, P. 3. § 4. p. 161, 167. Ibid. § 6. p. 184. and § 7. p. 190. P. 4. § 1. p. 196, 7. Ibid. § 12. p. 276.
  • Atheism, the supposed Ten­dency of Calvinistic Principles to it, P. 4. § 12. p. 274. How Arminian Principles tend to it, Ibid. p. 275.
  • Attending to Motives, of Li­berty's being supposed to con­sist in an Ability for it, P. 2. § 9. p. 80.
  • Atonement. See CHRIST.
  • Author of Sin, whether it would follow from the Doc­trine here maintain'd, that GOD is so, P. 4. § 9. p. 252.
  • BLame-worthiness, wherein it consists, according to com­mon Sense, P. 4. § 4. p. 212.
  • [Page] CAlvinism, consistent with common Sense, P. 4. § 3. p. 206.
  • Cause, how the Word is used in this Discourse, P. 2. § 3. p. 41. No Event without one, P. 2. § 3. p. 42.— and Effect, a necessary Connection between them, P. 2. § 8. p. 73.-This respects moral, as well as natural Causes, P. 2. § 3. p. 41.
  • Christ, his Obedience neces­sary, yet vertuous and praise­worthy, P. 3. § 1. p. 139. His Atonement excluded in Con­sequence of Arminian Princi­ples, P. 3. § 3. p. 158.
  • Chubb (Mr.) the Inconsist­ence of his Scheme of Liberty, &c. P. 2. § 9. p. 85,—98.
  • Commands, consistent with moral Necessity and Inability, P. 3. § 4. p. 159. P. 4. § 11. p. 270. Inconsistent with Arminian Principles, P. 3. § 4. p. 161.
  • Common Sense, why the Prin­ciples maintain'd in this Dis­course, appear to some contrary to it, P. 4. § 3. p. 206. Ne­cessary Vertue & Vice agreable to it, P. 4. § 4. p. 212.— Ar­minian Tenets opposite to it, P. 3. § 6. p. 178. Ibid. § 7. p. 187.
  • Contingence, P. 1. § 3. p. 20. the Inconsistence of the Notion, P. 2. § 3. p. 45. Whether ne­cessary in order to Liberty, P. 2. § 8. p. 73.— implied in Arminian Liberty, and yet in­consistent with it, P. 2. § 13. p. 132. Epicurus the greatest Maintainer of it, P. 4. § 6. p. 228. Ibid. § 12. p. 275.
  • Corruption of Man's Nature, CONCL. p. 287.
  • Creation of the World, at such a particular Time and Place, P. 4. § 8. p. 240.
  • DEcree absolute, not inferring Necessity, any more than certain Fore-knowledge does, P. 2. § 12: p. 122. How it fol­lows from Things proved in this Discourse. CONCL. p. 289.
  • Determination. See Will.
  • Dictates. See Understanding.
  • EFfect. See Cause.
  • Efficacious Grace. CON. p. 288.
  • Election personal. See Decree.
  • Endeavours, what it is for them to be in vain, P. 4. § 5. p. 220.— Render'd vain by Arminian Principles, Ibid. p. 222. But not so by Calvinism, Ibid. p. 224.— See Sincerity.
  • Entrance of Sin into the World, P. 4. § 10. p. 268.
  • Equilibrium. See Indifference.
  • Exhortation. See Invitation.
  • FAllen Man: See Inability.
  • Fate stoical, P. 4. § 6. p. 228.
  • Fatality, the Principles of Arminians inferring that which is most shocking, P. 4. § 9. p. 251.
  • Foreknowledge of God, of Vo­litions of moral Agents, proved P. 2. § 11. p. 98.— Inconsist­ent with Contingence, P. 2. § 12. p. 117. Proves Necessity, as much as a Decree, Ibid. p. 122. The seeming Difficulty of reconciling it with the Sin­cerity of his Precepts, Counsels, [Page] &c. not peculiar to the Calvinistic Scheme, P. 4. § 11. p. 271.
  • GOD, his Being how known▪ P. 2. § 3. p. 43. P. 4. § 12. p. 275. His moral Excellencies necessary, yet vertuous and praise-worthy, P. 3. § 1. p. 135. P. 4. § 4. p. 219. The Ne­cessity of his Volitions, P. 4. § 7. p. 230. Whether the Prin­ciples maintain'd in this Dis­course are inconsistent with his moral Character, P. 4. § 11. p. 270. How Arminianism de­stroys the Evidence of his mo­ral Perfections. Ibid p. 272.
  • Grace of the Spirit, excluded by Arminian Principles, P. 3. § 3. p. 159.
  • Grace, it's Freeness consistent with the moral Necessity of God's Will, P. 4. § 8. p. 249.
  • HA [...]its, vertuous & vicious, inconsistent with Arminian Principles, P. 3. § 6. p. 181.
  • Heathen, of their Salvation, P. 3. § 5. p. 177.
  • Hobbes, his Doctrine of Ne­cessity, P. 4. § 6. p. 229.
  • IMposibility, the same as ne­gative Necessity, P. 1. § 3. p. 19.
  • Inability, how the Word is used in common Speech, and how by Metaphysicians and Ar­minians, P. 1. § 4. p. 14, 17. P. 4. § 3. p. 207. Natural and moral, P. 1. § 4. p. 20. Moral, the several Kinds of it, P. 1. § 4. p. 25. P. 3. § 4. p. 165. —of fallen Man to perform perfect Obedience, P. 3. § 3. p. 157. What does, and what does not excuse Men, P. 3. § 3. p. 155. Ibid. § 4. p. 167. P. 4. § 3. p. 206.
  • Inclinations; see Habits.
  • Indifference, whether Liberty consists in it, P. 2. § 7. p. 63. —Not necessary to Vertue, but inconsistent with it, P. 3. § 6. p. 178.
  • Indifferent Things, those which appear so, never the Objects of Volition, P. 1. § 2. p. 7. P. 2. § 6. p. 56. Whether the Will can determine it self in chusing among such Things, P. 2. § 6. p. 57.
  • Invitations, consistent with moral Necessity and Inability. P. 3. § 4. p. 169. P. 4. § 11. p. 270. But not consistent with Arminian Principles, P. 2. § 9. p. 81. P. 3. § 7. p. 188. P. 4. § 11. p. 272.
  • LAws, the End whereof is to bind to one Side, render'd useless by Arminian Principles. P. 3. § 4. p. 162.
  • Liberty, the Nature of it, P. 1. § 5. p. 27. The Arminian No­tion of it, Ibid. p. 28. This inconsistent with other Arminian Notions, P. 2. § 9. p. 77, &c.
  • Licentiousness, whether the Calvinistic Doctrine tends to it, P. 4. § 12. p. 275.—See En­deavours.
  • MAchines, whether Calvinism makes Men such. P. 4. § 5. p. 226.
  • M [...]ms, see Endeavours.
  • [Page] Metaphysical Reasoning; see Abstracted.—To be justly ob­jected against the Arminian Scheme, P. 4. § 13. p. 283.
  • Moral Agency, it's Nature, P. 1. § 5. p, 29.
  • Motives, what they are, P. 1. § 2. p. 5, 6. The strongest determining the Will, Ibid. p. 6. P. 2. § 10. p. 88. Ar­minian Principles inconsistent with their Influence and Use [...]n moral Actions, P. 3. § 7. p. 185. P. 4. § 11. p. 273.
  • NAtural Notions; see common Sense.
  • Necessity, how the Term is used in common Speech, and how by Philosophers, P. 1. § 3. p. 13. P. 4. § 3. p. 207. —Philosophical, of various Kinds, Ibid. p. 210. Natural and moral, P. 1. § 4. p. 20. P. [...]. § 4. p. 217.—No Liberty without moral Necessity, P. 2. § 8. p. 73. Necessity and Con­tingence, both inconsistent with Arminian Liberty, P. 2. § 13. p. 131.— Necessity of God's Volition, P. 3. § 1. p. 135. P. 4. § 7. p. 230. This con­sistent with the Freeness of his Grace, Ibid. § 8. p. 249.—Ne­cessity, of Christ's Obedience, &c. P. 3. § 2. p. 140.—of the Sin of such as are given up to Sin, P. 3. § 3. p. 153.— of fallen Man, in general, P. 3. § 3. p. 157. What Necessity wholly excuses Men, P. 3 § 4. p. 168. P. 4. §. 3. p. 206. and § 4. p. 215.
  • OBedience; see Christ, Com­mands, Necessity.
  • PArticles perfectly alike, of the Creator's placing such dif­ferently, P. 4. § 8. p. 242.
  • Perseverance of Saints, CON­CLUS. p. 291.
  • Promises, whether any are made to the Endeavours of unregenerate Sinners, P. 3. § 5. p. 176.
  • Providence, universal and de­cisive. CONCL. p. [...]86.
  • REdemption particular. CON­CLUS. p. 290.
  • Reformers the first, how treated by many late Writers. CON­CLUS. p. 292.
  • SAints in Heaven, their Li­berty, P. 4. § 4. p. 219.
  • Scripture, of the Arminians Arguments from thence, P. 4. § 11. p. 273.
  • Self-determining Power of the Will, it's Inconsistence, P. 2. § 1. p. 31. Evasions of the Ar­guments against it considered▪ P. 2. § 2. p. 35. shewn to be impertinent, Ibid. § 5. p. [...]1.
  • Sin; see Author, Entrance.
  • Sincerity of Desires and En­deavours, what is no just Excuse, P. 3. § 5. p. 170. The different Sorts of Sincerity, Ib. p. 175.
  • Sloth, not encouraged by Calvinism, P. 4. § 5. p. 224.
  • Stoic Philosophers, great The­ists, P. 4. § 12. p. 274.-See Fate.
  • Suspending Volition, of the Liberty of the Will supposed to consist in an Ability for it, P. 2. § 7. p. 70. P. 3. § 4. p. 1 [...]4. Ibid. § 7. p. 186.
  • [Page] TEndency of the Principles here maintain'd, to Atheism and Licentiousness, the Ob­jection consider'd and retorted, P. 4. § 12. p. 274.
  • VErtue and Vice, the Being of neither of 'em consist­ent with Arminian Principles; See Arminian Doctrine. Their Essence, not lying in their Cause, but their Nature, P. 4. 1. p. 192.
  • Understanding, how it deter­mines the Will, P. 1. § 2. p. 12. P. 2. § 9. p. 76. Dictates of the Understanding and Will, as supposed by some, the same, P. 2. § 9. p. 81.
  • Uneasiness, as supposed to determine the Will, P. 1. § 2. p. 7.
  • Volition, not without a Cause, P. 2. § 3. p. 46. P. 2. § 4. p. 50.
  • WILL, it's Nature, P. 1. § 1. p. 1, &c. Its Deter­mination, P. 1. § 2. p. 5, &c. The very Being of such a Fa­culty inconsistent with Armi­nian Principles, P. 3. § 7. p. 190.— Of God, secret and revealed, P. 4. § 9. p. 262. Ar­minians themselves oblig'd to allow such a Distinction, Ibid. p. 264.
  • Willingness to Duty, what is no Excuse for the Neglect of it. See Sincerity.

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A LIST of SUBSCRIBERS, in Alphabetical Order.

  • REv. Mr. John Adams, B [...]bkirk, Scotland.
  • Mr. John Adams, Milton, Massachusetts.
  • Mrs. Sarah Alexander, New-York.
  • The Hon. John Alford, Esq Charlestown, Massachusetts.
  • Mr. Samuel Allis, Somers, ditto.
  • Mr. Samuel Allen, Newark, New-Iersey.
  • MR. Jonathan Badger, Tutor of New-Iersey College.
  • Mr. Jonathan Baldwin, Student at ditto.
  • Mr. Nehemiah Baldwin, Newark, New-Iersey.
  • Mr. Joseph Baldwin, Newark, ditto.
  • Mr. Elisha Baker, Student at Yale-College.
  • Deacon Raham Bancroft, Reading, Massachusetts.
  • Mr. Samuel Bancroft, Reading, ditto.
  • Mr. Abner Barnard, Hampshire County, ditto.
  • Mr. Abel Barnes, Bethlem, Connecticut.
  • Lieut. David Barnum, Woodbury, ditto.
  • Mr. Joel Bardwell, Student at Yale College.
  • Mr. Charles Beaty, New-York Government.
  • Rev. Mr. James Beebe, North-Stratford, Connecticut, 6 Books.
  • Rev. Mr. Joseph Bellamy, Bethlem, ditto. 6 Books.
  • Rev. Mr. Bellingal, Cuper, Scotland.
  • Rev. Mr. Hugh Blair, Minister in the Canongate, of Edinburg.
  • Rev. Mr. David Bliss, Concord, Massachusetts. 6 Books.
  • Rev. Mr. Bonner, Cockpen, Scotland.
  • Rev. Mr. David Bostwick, Long-Island, New-York.
  • Rev. Mr. John Brainerd, Missionary among the Indians.
  • Mr. Benoni Bradner, Student at New-Iersey College.
  • [Page]Rev. Mr. John Brown, Augusta, Virginia. 12 Books.
  • Mr. George Brown, Merchant, Glasgow, Scotland.
  • Mr. Thomas Brown, Newark, New-Iersey.
  • Mr. Thomas Brooks, Concord, Massachusetts.
  • Rev. Mr. James Brown, Bridge-Hampton, Long-Island.
  • Capt. Obadiah Bruen, Newark, New-Iersey.
  • Mr. Daniel Bull, Hartford, Connecticut.
  • Rev. Mr. Aaron Burr, President of the College in New-Iersey. 6 Bo.
  • Mr. Thaddeus Burr, Student at ditto.
  • Mr. Julius King Burbidge, Charles-City-County, Virginia, 12 Books.
  • Mr. Ebenezer Burt, Northampton, Massachusetts, 6 Books.
  • REv. Mr. Thomas Canfield, Roxbury, Connecticut.
  • Mr. Israel Canfield, Student at Yale-College.
  • Mr. Samuel Cary, Student at ditto.
  • Rev. Mr. Judah Champion, Litchfield, Connecticut.
  • Rev. Mr. James Chandler, Rowley, Massachusetts.
  • Mr. Joseph Chaplin, —, ditto. 6 Books.
  • John Choate, Esq Ipswich, Massachusetts.
  • Elder Francis Choate, Ipswich, ditto.
  • Samuel Clark, A. M.
  • Mr. Josiah Clark, Northampton, Massachusetts.
  • Mr. Gideon Clark, Northampton, ditto.
  • Rev. Mr. John Cleaveland, Ipswich, ditto.
  • Mr. Samuel Cockrean, Woodbury, Connecticut.
  • Mr. Benjamin Concklin, Student at Yale-College.
  • Mr. Thomas Coo [...], Massachusetts.
  • Rev. Mr. John Corse, Glasgow, ditto.
  • Rev. Mr. David Cowell, Kilbride, Scotland.
  • Mr. Charles Crane, Newark, New-Iersey.
  • Mr. Israel Crane, Newark, ditto.
  • Mr. William Craige, New-York.
  • Mr. Benjamin Crocker, Ipswich, Massachusetts.
  • Rev. Mr. Alexander Cummings, New-York.
  • Mr. Garwold Cunningham, Woodbury, Connecticut.
  • GEorge Daffield, A. B. Newark, New-Iersey.
  • Mr. Joseph Dana, Massachusetts.
  • Abraham Davenport, Esq Stamford, Connecticut. 6 Books.
  • Rev. Mr. Davidson, Galashields, Scotland.
  • [Page]Rev. Mr. Joseph Davies, Hanover-County, Virginia. 36 Books.
  • Rev. Mr. Joseph Davis, Holden, Massachusetts.
  • Mr. Benjamin Davis.
  • Mr. Donaldson, Bookseller at Edinburg, Scotland.
  • Mr. John Downe, Boston.
  • Rev. Mr. Alexander Dunn, Calder, Scotland.
  • MR. John Ells, Student at Yale-College.
  • Mr. John Ely, Jun. Springfield, Massachusetts.
  • Rev. Mr. Joseph Emerson, Malden, ditto.
  • Mr. Brown Emerson, Reading, ditto.
  • Rev. Mr. John Erskine, Culross, Scotland.
  • REv. Mr. Daniel Farrand, Canaan, Connecticut, 6 Books.
  • Samuel Fayerweather, A. M. Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Rev. Mr. Nathanael Fisher, Dighton, ditto. 2 Books.
  • Mr. Benjamin Foster, Reading, ditto.
  • Mr. John Forrest, New-York.
  • Rev. Mr. Thomas Fo [...]croft, Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Rev. Mr. John Frelinghaysen, Rariton, West-New-Iersey.
  • ALexander Gait, Esq Secretary to the Edinburg Insurance-Office against Fire, Scotland.
  • Mr. Gibson, Preacher at Edinburg.
  • Rev. Mr. John Gillies, Glasgow, Scotland.
  • Mr. Francis Gitteau, Bethlem, Connecticut, 36 Books.
  • Mr. Joshua Gitteau, Bethlem, ditto. 6 Books.
  • Mr. John Gordon, A. M.
  • Rev. Mr. Joseph Gowdie, Professor of Divinity, Edinburg.
  • Rev. Professor Gowdie, for the Divinity-Hall-Library, at Edinburg.
  • Rev. Mr. John Graham, Southbury, Connecticut, 36 Books.
  • Rev. Mr. Chauncy Graham, Rumbout, New-York.
  • Rev. Mr. John Graham, Jun. Suffield, Connecticut.
  • Rev. Mr. Jacob Green, Raway, New-Iersey, 6 Books.
  • Mr. William Greenough, Student at Yale-College.
  • Mr. Ebenezer Griffin, — Massachusetts.
  • MR. Benjamin Haiden, Bra [...]tree, Massachusetts.
  • Mr. Samuel Haiden, Medford, ditto. 6 Books.
  • [Page]John Hait, Esq New-York.
  • Benjamin Hait, A. B.
  • Rev. Mr. Moses Hale, Newbury, Massachusetts.
  • Rev. Mr. David Hall, Sutton, ditto. 6 Books.
  • Mr. Amos Hallam, Student at Yale-College.
  • Mr. Silas Halsey, Newark, New-Iersey.
  • Mr. Willis Hall, Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Deacon Eleazer Hamlin,—New-York.
  • Rev. Mr. John Hamilton, Glasgow, Scotland.
  • Mr. Baily Gawin Hamilton, Bookseller, Edinburg, ditto.
  • Mr. Josias Hammond, Massachusetts.
  • Mr. Robert Hannah, Bethlem, Connecticut.
  • Mr. Benjamin Hastings, Deerfield, Massachusetts.
  • Ebenezer Hathway, Esq Freetown, ditto.
  • Mr. Simeon Hathway, ditto.
  • Mr. Josiah Hathway, ditto.
  • Rev. Mr. Gideon Hawley, Missionary among the Indians, on the Western Borders.
  • Mr. Nathaniel Hazzard, New-York.
  • Mr. Samuel Hazzard, Philadelphia. 12 Books.
  • Capt. John Heald, Acton, Massachusetts, 6 Books.
  • Rev. Mr. Lawrence Hill, of the Barony Parish at Glasgow, in Scotland.
  • Rev. Mr. Aaron Hitchcock,—Massachusetts.
  • Mr. William Hogg, Merchant at Edinburg, Scotland.
  • Mr. William Holt, Williamsburg, Virginia, 12 Books.
  • Mr. Nathaniel Hooker, Student at Yale-College.
  • Mr. James Hooker, Bethlem, Connecticut.
  • Mr. Hezekiah Hooker, Jun. Bethlem, ditto.
  • Rev. Mr. Samuel Hopkins, Springfield, Massachusetts.
  • Ezra Horton, A. B.
  • Rev. Mr. David Humphrey, Derby, Connecticut.
  • Mr. Alexander Hunter, New-York.
  • Mr. Ebenezer Hunt, Northampton, Massachusetts.
  • MR. William Jackson, New-York.
  • Rev. Mr. Jedidiah Jewett, Rowley, Massachusetts.
  • Rev. Mr. Stephen Johnson, Lyme, Connecticut.
  • N [...]thaniel Johnson, Esq Newark, New-Iersey.
  • Mr. Matthias Johnson, Province of New-York.
  • Rev. Mr. Jonathan Judd, Northampton, Massachusetts.
  • Mr. Elnathan Judson, Woodbury, Connecticut.
  • REv. Mr. James Kafton, Woodbury, Connecticut. 6 Books.
  • Rev. Mr. Elisha Kent, Philippi, New-York.
  • Mr. Elijah Kent, Massachusetts.
  • Mr. Samuel Kent, Jun. ditto.
  • Mr. Isaac Kendal, ditto.
  • Mr. Samuel Kingsley, ditto.
  • Mr. Eldad King, Woodbury, Connecticut.
  • Mr. Thomas Kimberly, ditto.
  • Mr. Nathanael Kneeland, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Hugh Knox, A. M.
  • MR. Benjamin Lawrence, Newton, New-York.
  • Mr. John Leavitt, Massachusetts.
  • Rev. Mr. Dudley Leavitt, Salem, ditto.
  • Mr. Asapli Leavitt, Northampton, ditto.
  • Rev. Mr. Mark Leavenworth, Waterbury, Connecticut, 6 Books.
  • Mr. Garrit Ledikker, Student at New-Iersey College.
  • Rev. Mr. Jonathan Lee, Salisbury, Connecticut.
  • Rev. Mr. Daniel Little, Wells, Massachusetts.
  • Mr. Peter Vanburgh Livingston, New-York.
  • Mr. John Lloyd, Stamford, Connecticut.
  • Rev. Mr. James Lockwood, Weathersfield, ditto.
  • Rev. Mr. Elijah Lothrop, Hebren, ditto.
  • Mr. Samuel Lowdon, New-York.
  • Mr. John Lyon, Newark, New-Iersey.
  • Mr. Phineas Lyman, Northampton, Massachusetts.
  • Mr. John Lap [...]ey, Ruling Elder at Ky [...]syth, Scotland.
  • Rev. Mr. Lawrence Hill, of the Barony Parish, in Glasgow.
  • Mr. — Logan, Preacher at Edinburg, Scotland. 24 Books.
  • REv. Mr. David Marinus, Achquechenonk, West-New-Iersey.
  • Mr. Ebenezer Martin, Student at Yale-College.
  • Mr. Henry Martin, New-York. 6 Books.
  • Mr. James Martin, ditto, 6 Books.
  • Mr. Robert McAlpine, ditto, 12 Books.
  • Samuel McClintock, A. B.
  • Mr. John McKesson, Student at New-Iersey College.
  • Mr. Edward Marrow, Reading, Massachusetts.
  • Capt. Richard Meux, New-Kent-County, Virginia. 12 Books.
  • Rev. Mr. Jedidiah Mills, Ripton, Connecticut, 12 Books.
  • [Page]Mr. Joseph Miller, — Massachusetts.
  • Mr. Ebenezer Mills, ditto.
  • Jedidiah Mills, Jun. A. M. Derby, Connecticut, 6 Books.
  • Mr. Ephraim Minor, Woodbury, Connecticut.
  • Deacon Samuel Minor, Woodbury, ditto.
  • Mr. John Minor, Jun. Bethlem, ditto.
  • Timothy Mix, A. M. 6 Books.
  • Mr. John Moffat, New-York.
  • Mr. Joseph Montgomery, Student at New-Iersey College.
  • Mr. James Morris, Bethlem, Connecticut.
  • Mr. Samuel Moseley, — Massachusetts. 6 Books.
  • Rev. Mr. John McLaurin, Glasgow, Scotland.
  • Rev. Mr. William McCullock, Cambuslang, Scotland.
  • Mr. John Munn, Deerfield, Massachusetts.
  • Mr. John Murdock, late Baily of Glasgow, Scotland.
  • Mr. Peter Murdock, Student at Yale-College.
  • MR. Thomas Napress, late Bailie of Glasgow, Scotland.
  • Rev. Mr. Samuel Newell, New-Cambridge, Farmington, Connecticut. 6 Books.
  • Ebenezer Nichols, Esq Reading, Massachusetts.
  • Rev. Mr. Samuel Niles, Braintree, ditto, [...]2 Books.
  • Mr. — Nimmo, Receiver-General of the Excise, Scotland.
  • Mr. Gideon Noble, Student at Yale-College.
  • Mr. Garrat Noel, Bookseller, New-York, 24 Books.
  • MR. Thomas Ogden, New-York.
  • Mr. John Old, — Massachusetts.
  • REv. Mr. Jonathan Parsons, Newbury, Massachusetts. 6 Books.
  • Rev. Mr. Moses Parsons, ditto.
  • Mr. Nathaniel Parker, Reading, ditto.
  • Mr. Samuel Parkhurst, Newark, New-Iersey.
  • Rev. Mr. Ebenezer Pemberton, Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Mr. Nathaniel Phelps, —, ditto.
  • Rev. Mr. James Pike, Somersworth, New-Hampshire.
  • Rev. Mr. Timothy Pitkin, Farmington, Connecticut. 6 Books.
  • [Page]Mr. Ashbell Pitkin, Student at Yale-College.
  • Rev. Mr. Thomas Prince, Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Rev. Mr. Ebenezer Prime, Long-Island. 6 Books.
  • Mr. John Prout, —, Connecticut.
  • Mr. Abraham Purdy, Hanover, New-York, 6 Books.
  • Hon. Joseph Pynchon, Esq Boston, Massachusetts.
  • MR. William Ramsey, Student at New-Iersey College.
  • Rev. Mr. — Randal, Inckture, Scotland.
  • Mr. James Reeves, Student at New-Iersey College.
  • Rev. Mr. Aaron Richards, Raway, New-Iersey.
  • Mr. Joseph Riggs, Newark, ditto.
  • Mr. Arthur Robertson, Merchant, Glasgow, Scotland.
  • Rev. Mr. Philemon Robins, Branford, Connecticut. 2 Books.
  • Mr. Chandler Robins, Student at Yale-College.
  • Mr. Philemon Robins, Jun. Student at ditto.
  • Rev. Mr. Nathaniel Rogers, Ipswich, Massachusetts.
  • Mr. Jesse Roots, Woodbury, Connecticut.
  • Benajah Roots, A. B.
  • Mr. Robert Ross, Stratfield, Connecticut. 2 Books.
  • Mr. Timothy Rose, Bethlem, Connecticut.
  • MR. David Sanford, Student at Yale-College.
  • Mr. Edmund Sawyer, Newbury, Massachusetts. 6 Books.
  • Mr. Samuel Sawyer, ditto.
  • Mr. Robert Scot, Jun. Merchant in Glasgow.
  • Mr. John Searle, — Massachusetts.
  • Rev. Joseph Sewall, D. D. Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Mr. Joseph Sessions,—Massachusetts.
  • Mr. Thomas Seymour,—ditto.
  • Mr. Thomas Seymour, Student at Yale-College.
  • Mr. Thomas Shelden, Suffield, ditto.
  • Mr. Reuben Sherman, Woodbury, Connecticut.
  • Mr. David Shipman, Newark, New-Iersey.
  • Mr. Joseph Shippen, Jun. A. B.
  • Rev. Mr. Robert Silliman, Norwalk, Connecticut.
  • Mr. Ebenezer Smeads, Deerfield, Massachusetts. 6 Books.
  • Mr. — Smib [...]rt, at K [...]lm [...]nie, Scotland.
  • Mr. The Hon. William Smith, Esq New-York.
  • Mr. William Smith, Jun. ditto.
  • Mr. Jonathan Smith, Bethlem, Connecticut.
  • [Page]Rev. Mr. — Smith, Newburn, Scotland. 2 Books.
  • Mr. Daniel Smith, Woodbury, Connecticut. 12 Books.
  • Mr. Ephraim Starkweather, Student at Yale-College.
  • Rev. Mr. James Stirling, Glasgow, Scotland.
  • Mr. Simeon Stoddard, Student at Yale College.
  • Mr. Smith Stratten, Student at New-Iersey College.
  • Mr. John Strong, Student at Yale College. 2 Books.
  • Rev. Mr. — Strong, New-Marlborough, Massachusetts
  • Mr. Nehemiah Strong, Student at Yale-College.
  • Mr Nicholas Street, — Massachusetts.
  • Mr. James Stuart, Receiver-General of the Widow's Annuity Scotland.
  • REv. Mr. Nathan Tayler, New-Milford, Connecticut.
  • Mr. John Temple, Reading, Massachusetts.
  • Mr. Thomas Tiffany, — ditto.
  • William Thompson, A. B.
  • Rev. Mr. Samuel Todd, Northbury, Connecticut.
  • Mr. John Tompton, New-York.
  • Mr. Jeremiah Townsend, New-Haven, Connecticut.
  • Mr. Isaac Townsend, Student at New-Iersey College.
  • Mr. — Traill, Bookseller, Edinburg, Scotland. 6 Books.
  • Rev. Mr. Henry True, Hamps [...]ead, New-Hampshire.
  • Rev. Mr. John Trumble, Wate [...]bury, Connecticut.
  • Rev. Mr. Turnbell, Denny, Scotland.
  • CAptain James Utley,—Massachusetts.
  • MR. Noah Waddam, A. B.
  • Rev. Mr. Walker, South-Lieth, Scotland.
  • Rev. Mr. Thomas Walker, at Dundonnald, Scotland.
  • Rev. Mr. Robert Wallis, Edinburg, Scotland.
  • Mr. John Walton, Jun. Reading, Massachusetts.
  • Mr. Josiah Walton, ditto.
  • Rev. Mr. Wandrope, Bathgate, Scotland.
  • Rev. Mr. Alexander Web [...]ler, Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Robert Welwood, Esq Gellot, Scotland.
  • Mr. Sam [...]l Welles, Deerfield, Massachusetts.
  • Mr. Steph [...]n West, Student at Yale-College.
  • [Page]Mr. Nath. Whittaker, Basking-Ridge, New-Iersey. 2 Books.
  • Deacon Jabez Whittlesey, Bethlem, Connecticut.
  • Rev. Mr. Stephen Williams, Springfield, Massachusetts. 6 Books.
  • Mr. Samuel Williams, Ipswich, Massachusetts.
  • Rev. Mr. George Wishart, Edinburg, Scotland.
  • Rev. Mr. Jeremiah Wise, Berwick, Massachusetts.
  • Rev. Mr. John Witherspoon, Beath, Scotland.
  • Timothy Woodbridge, Esq Massachusetts.
  • John Wright, A. M. Hanover, Virginia, 12 Books.
  • Mr. Ebenezer Little, Newbury, Massachusetts.

N. B. If there should be any of the Names in the foregoing List without their proper Titles, wrong spelt, or Places of Abode not right inserted, we desire the same may be excused, as done thro' Mistake.

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