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# Full text of "A careful and strict enquiry into the modern prevailing notions of that freedom of the will : which is supposed to be essential to moral agency, virtue and vice, reward and punishment, praise and blame"



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CAREFUL AND STRICT

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MODERN PREVAILING NOTIONS

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FREEDOM OF THE WILL,

WHICH IS SUPPOSED TO BE ESSENTIAL
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VIRTUE ANLL V*ICEtf REWARD AND PUNISHMENT,
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BY THE LATE REV. JONATHAN EDWARDS,

PRESIDENT OP THE COLLEGE OF NEW JERSEY.

" It is not of him that rvilkth"-*- ROM. ix. 16.

PRINTED FOR OGLE, ALLARDICE, AND THOMSON,

PARLIAMENT SQUARE.

1818.

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$/ X ^S.-*^^ ~&lt;-*&lt; PREFACE. find much fault with the calling pro- fessing Christians, that differ one from a- nother in some matters of opinion, hy distinct names ; especially calling them by the names of particular men who have distinguished them selves as maintainers and promoters of those o- pinions ; as the calling some professing Chris tians Arminians from Arminus ; others Arians, from Arius ; others Socinians, from Socinus , and the like. They think it unjust in itself; as it seems to suppose and suggest, that the persons marked out by these names, received those doc trines which they entertain, out of regard to and reliance on those men after whom they are named ; as though they made them their rule ; in the same manner as the followers of CHRIST are called Christians, after his name, whom they regard and depend upon, as their great Head and Rule. Whereas, this is an unjust and ground less imputation on those that go under the fore^ mentioned 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 a iv Preface. 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 actually injurious on this account, that it is supposed naturally to lead the mul titude to imagine the difference between per sons thus named and others, to he greater than it is ; yea, as though it were so great, that they must be, as it were, another species of beings. And they object against it as arising from an un charitable, 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 them selves and others, and stigmatize those that dif fer from them with odious names. They say, moreover, that the keeping up such a distinction of names has a direct tendency to uphold dis tance and disaffection, and keep alive mutual hatred among Christians, who ought all to be united in friendship and charity ; however, they cannot, in all things, think alike. I confess, these things are very plausible; and I will not deny, that there are some unhap py 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, those objections are carried far beyond reason. The generality of mankind are disposed enough, and a great deal too much, to uncbaritableness, and to be censorious and bit ter towards those that differ from them in. re ligious opinions ; which evil temper of mind Preface. v will take occasion to exert itself from many things in themselves innocent, useful, and ne cessary. But yet, there is no necessity to sup pose, 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 be nefit 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 incumbered with an obscure and difficult cir cumlocution. And the thus distinguishing of persons of different opinions 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 (what ever it be, that gives the occasion) this wants a name ; and it is always a defect in language in such cases, to be obliged to make use of a de scription, instead of a name. Thus w r e have often occasion to speak of those who are the descendants of the ancient inhabitants of France, who are 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 vi Preface. 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 other wise be embarrassed. 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 itself confesses ; who are often, in their discourses and writings taking notice of the supposed absurd and per nicious opinions of the former sort. And there fore the making use of different names in this case cannot 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 ; con sidering the faculty and disposition God has given to 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. Nevertheless, at first, I had thoughts of care fully avoiding the use of the appellation Armi- nian in this Treatise. But I soon found I should be put to great difficulty by it ; and that Preface. vii my Discourse would be so incumbered 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 na ture, that I have so freely used the term Armi- man 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 ?nen, as Dr. Whitby does Calvinistic Divines : it probably would not have been taken any better, or thought to shew a better temper, or more good manners. I have done as I would be done by, in this matter. However, the term Calvin- istic is, in these days, among most, a term of greater reproach than the term Anninian ; yet I should not take it at all amiss, to be called a Cafoinistt for distinction s sake : I utterly dis claim a dependence 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 in jury to some person, I would here give notice, that though I generally speak of that doctrine concerning Free Will and Moral Agency, which I oppose, as an Arminian doctrine ; yet, I would not be understood, as asserting, that every Di~ vine or Author, whom I have occasion to men- viii Preface. tion as maintaining that doctrine, was proper ly an Arminian^ or one of that sort which is commonly called by that name. Some of them went far beyond Arminians ; and I would by no means charge Arminians in general with all the corrupt doctrine which these maintained. Thus, for instance, it would be very injurious if I should rank Arminian Divines, in general, with such Authors as Mr Chubb. I doubt not many of them have some of his doctrines in ab horrence ; though he agrees, for the most part, with Arminians, in his notion of the Freedom of the Will And, on the other hand, though I suppose this notion to be a leading articie in the Arminian scheme, that which, if pursued in its consequences, will truly infer, or naturally lead to all the rest ; yet I do not 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 maintain ing all the real consequences of his avowed doc trines. And I desire it may be particularly noted, that though I have occasion, in the fol lowing Discourse, often to mention the Author of the book, entitled, An Essay on the Freedom of the Will, in God and the Creature, as holding that notion of Freedom of Will, which I oppose, yet I do not mean to call him an Arminian, however, in that doctrine he agrees with Armi nians, and departs from the current and general opinion of Calvinhts, If the Author of that Preface. ix 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 maintained, is never the bet ter 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 cha racter ; supposing the doctrine to be wrong, and in itself to be of an ill tendency. I have nothing further to say by way of Pre face, but only to bespeak the Reader s candour and calm attention to what! have written. The subject is of such importance as to demand at tention, and the most thorough consideration. Of all kinds of knowledge that we can ever ob tain, knowledge of God, and the knowledge of ourselves, 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 its foundation in God s nature and ours, and in the relation that God and we stand in to each other ; there fore a true knowledge of both must be needful, in order to true religion. But the knowledge of ourselves consists chiefly in right apprehen sions concerning those two chief faculties of our nature, the understanding and will. Both are very important ; yet the science of the latter must be confessed to be of greatest moment ; inasmuch as all virtue and religion have their x Preface. seat more immediately in the will, consisting more especially in right acts and habits of this faculty ; and the grand question about the Free dom of the Will, is the main point that belongs to the science of the Will. Therefore, I say, the importance of the subject greatly demands the attention of Christians, and especially of Di vines. 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 1 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. How ever, this is what I would humbly ask of my Readers, together with the prayers of all sin cere lovers of truth, that I may have much of that spirit which Christ promised his disciples, which guides into all truth ; and that the bles sed and powerful influences of this spirit would make truth victorious in the world ! CONTENTS. PART FIRST. Wherein are explained various terms and things belonging to the subject of the ensuing discourse. SECT. I. Concerning the Nature of the Will Page 1 SECT. II. Concerning the Determination of the Will 5 SECT. Ill Concerning the meaning of the terms Necessity, Impossibility, Inability, &c. and of Contingent^ J&lt;5 SECT. IV Of the Distinction of Natural and Moral Neces sity and Inability 24 SECT.V. Concerning the Notion of Liberty, and of Moral Agency 32 PART SECOND. Wherein it is considered, Whether there is, or can be, any such sort of FREEDOM OF WILL, as that wherein Ar- minians place the Essence of the Liberty of all Moral Agents j and whether any such thing ever was, or can be conceived of. SECTION I Shewing the manifest inconsistence of the Ar- minian Notion of Liberty of will, consisting in the Will s Self-determining Power 37 SECT. II. Several supposed ways of evading the foregoing Reasoning considered 41 SECT. Ill Whether any event whatsoever, and Volition in particular, can come to pass without a cause, of its existence... 48 SECT. IV Whether Volition can arise without a Cause, through the Activity of the nature of the soul. 55 SECT. V Shewing that if the things asserted in these Eva sions should be supposed to be true, they are altogether im pertinent, and cannot help the Cause of Arminian Liberty ; and how, this being the state of the case, Arminian Writera are obliged to talk inconsistently 60 SECT. VI Concerning the Will s determining in things which are perfectly indifferent, in the view of the mind 6.5 SECT. VII. Concerning the Notion of Liberty of Will consist ing in Indifference 73 SECT. VIII Concerning the supposed Liberty of the Will as opposite to all Necessity 85 SECT. IX. Of the Connection of the Acts of the Will with the Dictates of the Understanding 89 b CONTENTS. SECT. X Volition necessarily connected with the Influence of Motives. With particular observation of the great in- consistence of Mr Chubb s Assertions and lleasonings, a- bout the Freedom of the Will 98 SECT. XI The Evidence of God s certain Foreknowledge of the Vob tions of Moral Agents 114 SECT. XII God s certain Foreknowledge of the future Voli tions of Moral Agents, inconsistent with such a Contingence of those Volitions, as is without allNecessity 136 And infers a Necessity of Volition, as much as an absolute Decree 157 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 152 PART THIRD. Wherein is enquired, Whether any such Liberty of Will as Arminians hold, be necessary to Moral Agency, Vir tue and Vice, Praise and Dispraise, &c. SECTION I God s Moral Excellency necessary, yet virtu ous and praise worthy 156 SECT. II The Acts oi the Will of the Human Soul of Jesus Christ necessarily holy, yet virtuous, praise-worthy, re- wardable, &c ." 160 SECT. 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 177, Sect. IV Command and Obligation to Obedience, consistent with Moral Inability to obey... 185. SECT. V. That Sincerity of Desires and Endeavours, which is supposed to excuse in the non-performance of things in themselves good ,. particularly considered 19T SECT. VI. Liberty of Indifference, not only not necessary to virtue, but utterly inconsistent with it ; and all, either vir tuous or vicious habits or inclinations, inconsistent with Ar minian Notions of Liberty and Moral Agency 20(5 SECT. VII Arminian notions of Moral Agency inconsistent with all influence of motive and inducement, in either vir tuous or vicious actions 215 PART FOURTH. Wherein the chief grounds of the reasonings of Arminians, in support and defence of their notions of Liberty, Mo ral Agency, c. and against the opposite doctrine, are considered. SECT. I. The essence of the virtue and vice of the disposi tions of the heart, and Acts of the Will, lies not in their Causes, but their Nature , 223 CONTENTS. SECT. II. The Falseness and Inconsistence of that Metaphy sical Notion of Action and Agency, which seems to be gene rally entertained by the Defenders of the forementioned no tions of Liberty, Moral Agency, &c 23O SECT. Ill The reasons why some think it contrary to Com mon Sense, to suppose things which are necessary, to be wor thy of either praise or blame 239 SECT. IV. It is agreeable to Common Sense, and the natural notions of mankind, to suppose Moral Necessity to be con sistent with praise and blame, reward and punishment 246 SECT. V. Concerning those objections, that this scheme of ne cessity renders all means and endeavours for the avoiding of Sin, or the obtaining virtue and holiness, vain and to no pur pose ; and that it makes men no more than mere machines, in affairs of morality and religion 256 SECT. VI Concerning that Objection against the Doctrine Tfhich has been maintained, that it agrees with the Stoical Doctrine of Fate, and the opinion of Mr Hobbs 264. SECT. VII Concerning the necessity of the Divine Will 267 SECT. VIII Some further Objections against the Moral Ne cessity of God s volitions, considered 278 SECT. IX Concerning that objection against the doctrine which has been maintained, that it makes God the Author of Sin .. 293 SECT. X Concerning Sin s first entrance into the world 312 SECT. XI Of a supposed inconsistence of these principles with God s Moral Character 314. SECT. XII Of a supposed Tendency of these principles to Atheism and Licentiousness 320 SECT. XIII Concerning that objection against the Reasoning by which the Calvinistic Doctrine is supported, that it is metaphysical and abstruse 324 CONCLUSION WHAT treatment this discourse may probably meet with from some persons 332 Consequences concerning several Calvinistic Doctrines ; such as an universal, decisive Providence 333 The total depravity and eorruption of Man s nature 334 Efficacious Grace 335 An universal and absolute Decree, and absolute, eternal, per sonal Election 336 Particular Redemption 337 Perseverance of Saints 339 Concerning the treatment which Calvinistic Writers and Di vines have met with 340 The Unhappiness of the Change lately in many Protestant Countries The Boldness of some Writers 342 The excellent Wisdom appearing in the Holy Scriptures 343 ENQUIRY INTO THE FREEDOM OF THE WILL, 4c. Sfc. PART I. Wherein are Explained and Stated various Terms and Things be longing to the subject of the ensuing Discourse. SECTION I. Concerning the Nature of the Will. TT 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 po lemic 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 chooses any thing. The faculty of the Will^ is that fa culty, or power, or principle of mind, by which it is ca pable of choosing : an act of the Will is the same as an act of choosing or choice. If any think it is a more perfect definition of the Will to say, that it is that by which the soul either chooses or refuses ; I am content with it ; though I think that it is enough to say, it is that by which the soul chooses : B 2 The Nature of the Will [Part I. for in every act of Will whatsoever, the mind chooses one thing rather than another; it chooses something rather than the contrary, or rather than the want or non-existence of that thing. So in every act of refusal, the mind chooses the absence of the thing refused ; the positive and the negative are set before the mind for its choice, and it chooses the negative ; and the mind s taking its choice in that case is properly the act of the Will : the Will s determining between the two is a vo luntary determining : but that is the same thing as mak ing a choice. So that whatever names we call the act of the Will by, choosing, refusing, approving, disap proving^ liking, disliking, embracing, rejecting, deter mining, directing, commanding^ forbidding, inclining, or being averse, a being pleased or displeased with ; all may be reduced to this of choosing. For the soul to act vo luntarily, is evermore to act electively* Mr Locke * says, " The Will signifies nothing but a power or ability to prefer or choose. 1 And in the foregoing page says, " The word preferring seems best to express the act of volition ;"" but adds, that " it does not precisely ; for (says he) though a man would prefer flying to walking, yet who can say he ever wills it ? v But the instance he mentions does not prove that there is any thing else in willing, but merely 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 being removed from one place to another ; on the earth or through the air ; these are remoter objects of preference ; but such or such an immediate exertion of himself. The thing nextly chosen or preferred 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 choosing or preferring such an alteration in his body * Human Understanding, Edit, 7, vol. i. p. 197. Sect. L] The Nature of the IVill 3 at such a moment, or his liking it belter than the for bearance of it. And God has so made and established the human nature, the soul being united to a body in proper state, that the soul preferring or choosing such an immediate exertion or alteration of the body, such an al teration instantaneously follows. There is nothing else in the actions of my mind, that I am conscious of while. I walk, but only my preferring or choosing, through suc cessive moments, that there should be such alterations of my external sensations and motions ; together with a concurring habitual expectation that it will be so ; hav ing ever found by experience, that on such an immediate preference such sensations and motions do actually, in stantaneously, and constantly arise. But it is not so in the case of flying : though a man may be said remotely to choose or prefer flying, yet does he not choose 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 does not prefer or incline to any bodily exertion or ef fort under this apprehended circumstance, of its being wholly in vain. 80 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 choosing, 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 ami more natural notions of men, according to which language is formed. Thus an act of the Will is commonly expressed by its pleasing a man to do thus or thus ; and a man doing as he will t and doing as he pleases, are the same thing in common speech. Mr Locke * says, " The Will is perfectly distinguish ed from Desire ; which in the very same action may have a quite contrary tendency from that which our Wills set Human Understanding, vol. i. p. 203, &lt;2(H. 4 The Nature of the Will. [Part I. us upon. A man (says he) whom I cannot deny, may oblige me to use persuasions to another, which at the same time I am speaking, I may wish may not prevail on him. In this case it is plain the Will and Desire run counter." I do not suppose that Will and Desire yre 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 silting still, or having my eyes open, and so may will it. But yet I cannot think they are so entirely dis tinct, that they can ever be properly said to run counter. A man never, in any instance, wills any thing contrary to his desire, or desires any thing contrary to his will. The forementipned instance, which Mr Locke produces, does not prove that he ever does. He may, on some consideration or other, will to utter speeches which have a tendency to persuade another, and still may desire that they may not persuade him : but yet his Will and De sire do not run counter at all : the thing which he wills, the very same he desires ; and he dees not will a thing and desire the contrary in any particular. In this in stance, it is i-ot carefully observed, what is the thing willed, and what is the thing desired : if it were, it would be found that Will and Desire ;lo not clash in the least. The thing willed, on some consideration, is to utter such words ; and certainly the same consideration so in fluences him, that he does not desire the contrary ; all things considered, he chooses to utter such words, and does not desire not to utter them. And so as to the thing which Mr Locke speaks of as desired, viz. That the words, though they tend to persuade, should not be effectual to that end, his Will is not contrary to this ; he does not will that they should be effectual, but rather wills that he should not, as he desires. In order to prove that the Will and Desire may run counter, it should be shewn 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; Sect. I] What determines the Will. 5 and in each, taken by themselves, the Will and Desire agree. And it is no wonder that they should not agree in different things, however little distinguished they jare 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 pei v son may, on some consideration, desire to use persua sions, and at the same time may desire they may not prevail ; but yet nobody will say that Desire runs coun ter to Desire*; or that this proves that Desire is perfect ly a distinct thing from Desire. The like may be ob served of the other instance Mr Locke produces, of a man s desiring to be eased of pain, &c. But not to dwell any longer upon this, whether De sire and Will, and whether Preference and Volition, be precisely the same thing 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 prefer ence, or a prevailing inclination of the soul, whereby the soul, at that instance, is out of a state of perfect in difference, with respect to the direct object of the voli tion. 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 do one thing than another, or than not to have or do that thing j and that there, where there is abso lutely no preferring or choosing, but a perfect continu ing equilibrium, there is no volition. 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 Q What determines the Will [Part I. otherwise : and the Will is said to be determined, when, in consequence of some action, or influence, its choice is directed to, and fixed upon a particular object. As when we speak of the Determination of motion, 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 deter mined, there is a determiner. This must be supposed to be intended, even by them that s-ay, the Will deter mines itself. If it be so, the Will is both determiner and determined ; it is a cause that acts and produces ef fects upon itself, and is the object of its own influence and action. With respect to that grand inquiry, What determines the Will? it would be very tedious and unnecessary at present to enumerate and examine all the various opi nions 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 upon 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 ta 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 vo lition, whether that be the strength of one thing alone, or of many together. Whatever is a motive in this sense, must be something that is extant in the view or apprehension of the under" standing, or perceiving faculty. Nothing can induce or Sect. II.] What determines the Will. 7 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 rnind^s view, cannot affect the mind at all. It is most evident, that nothing 1 is in the mind, or reaches to it, or takes any hold of it, any otherwise than as it is perceived or thought of. And I think it must also be allowed by all, that every thing that is properly called a motive, excitement, or in ducement to a perceiving willing agent, has some sort of 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 tenden cy 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 viewed, the nature and cir cumstances of the mind that views^ and the degree and manner of its view ; which it would perhaps be hard to. make a perfect enumeration of. But so much I. think, ,may be determined in general, without room for contro versy, that whatever is perceived or apprehended by an intelligent and voluntary agent, which has the nature and influence of a motive to volition or choice, is consider ed or viewed as good ; nor has it any tendency to in vite or engage the election of the soul in any further de gree 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 5 8 What determines the Will. [Part I, 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 always is as the greatest apparent good is. But only, for the right understanding of this, two things must be well and distinctly observed. 1. It must be observed in what sense I use the term good ; namely, as of the same import with agreeable. To appear good to the mind, as I use the phrase, is the same as to appear agreeable, or seem jrteasing to the mind. Certainly nothing appears inviting and eli gible to the mind, or tending to engage its inclination and choice, considered as evil or disagreeable ; nor in deed, as indifferent, and neither agreeable nor disagree able. 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 signifi cation, the removal or avoiding of evil, or of that which is disagreeable and uneasy. It is agreeable and plea sing, to avoid what is disagreeable 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 choosing and seeking what is more easy and agreeable. 2. When I say, the Wilfis as the greatest apparent good is, or (as I have explained it) that volition has al ways for its object the thing which appears most agree able ; 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 Sect. II.] What determines the Will. g 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 willed and chosen. Thus, when a drunkard has his liquor before him, and he has to choose whether to drink it or no ; the proper and immediate objects, about which his pre sent volition is conversant, and between which his choice now decides, are his own acts in drinking the liquor, or letting 1 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 agreeable to him. If he chooses or wills to drink it, and not to let it alone ; then this ac tion, as it stands in the view of his mind, with all that belongs to its appearance there, is more agreeable and pleasing than letting it alone. But the objects to which this act of volition may re late more remotely, and between which his choice may determine more indirectly, are the present pleasure the man expects by drinking, and tUe future misery which he judges will be the consequence of it : he may judge that this future misery, when it comes, will be more disagreeable and unpleasant, than refraining from drink ing now will be. But these two things are not the pro per 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 agreeable to him, and suits him best. If he chooses 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 agreeable to him than a greater advantage at a distance. If, on the contrary, a future advantage is preferred., then that appears most 1 What determines the Will. [Part I. agreeable, 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 myself thus,*Aal the Will always is as the greatest apparent good, or as what appears most agreeable, is, than to say that the Will is determined by the greatest apparent good, or by what seems most agreeable ; and because an appearing most agreeable or pleasing to the mind, and the mind s pre ferring and choosing, seem hardly to be properly and perfectly distinct. If strict propriety of speech be in sisted on, it may more properly be said, that the volun tary action, which is the immediate consequence and fruit of the mind s volition or choice is determined by that which appears most agreeable, than the preference or choice itself; but that the act of volition itself is al ways determined by that in or about the mind s view of the object, which causes it to appear most agreeable, I say, in or about the mind s view of the object, because what has influence to render an object in view agreeable, is not only what appears in the object viewed, 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 agree able to the mind, would be a matter of no small difficul ty, and might require a treatise by itself, and is not ne cessary to my present purpose. I shall therefore only mention some things in general. I. One thing that makes an object proposed to choice agreeable, is the apparent nature and circumstances of the object. And there are various things of this sort, that have a hand in rendering the object more or less a- greeable ; as, 1. That which appears in the object, which renders it beautiful and pleasant, or deformed and irksome to the mind ; viewing it as it is in itself. 2. The apparent degree of pleasure or trouble attend ing the object or the consequence of it. Such concomi tants and consequents being viewed as circumstances of Sect. II.] What determines the Will. 11 the objects, 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. 5. The apparent state of the pleasure or trouble that appears, with respect to distance of time ; being either nearer or farther off. It is a thing in itself agreeable to the mind, to have pleasure speedily ; and disagreea ble, 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 agreeable, and so will be chosen. Because, though the agreeableness of the objects be exactly equal, as viewed in themselves, vet not as viewed in their circumstances ; one of them having the additional agreeableness of the circumstance of nearness. II. Another thing that contributes to the agreeable- ness of an object of choice, -as it stands in the mind s view, is the manner of the view. If the object be some thing 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 re spects. 1. With respect to the degree of judgment, or firmness of assent, with which the mind judges the pleasure to be future. Because it is more agreeable to have? a certain happiness, than an uncertain one ; and a pleasure viewed as more probable, all other things being equal, is more agreeable to the mind, than that which is viewed as less probable. 2- With respect to the degree of the idea of the fu ture 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. 1 bus the ideas we have of sensible things by immediate sensation, are usually much more lively than those we have by mere imagination, or by IS What determines the Will. [Parti. contemplation of them when absent. 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 de licious fruit is usually stronger when we taste it, than when we only imagine it. And sometimes the idea we have of things by contemplation, are much stronger and 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 of 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 advan tage by far to affect and attract the mind, and move the Will. It is now more agreeable 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 for mer is attended with the strongest appetite, and the greatest uneasiness attends the want of it ; and it is a- greeable to the mind to have uneasiness removed, and its 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 viewed as of greater certainty or probability than others ; and those enjoyments that ap pear most agreeable in one of these respects, appear least so in others : in this case, all other things being equal, the agreeableness 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 ap parent probability or certainty of that good, and the de gree of the view, or sense, or liveliness of the idea, the Sect. II.] What determines the Will. 13 mind has, of that good ; because all together concur to constitute the degree in which the object appears at pre sent agreeable ; and accordingly volition will be deter mined. I might further observe, the state of the mind that views a proposed object of choice, is another thing that contributes to the agreeableness or disagreeableness 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 or state that the mind is in on a particular occasion. That object which appears agreeable to one, does not so to another. And the same object does not always appear alike agreeable to the same person, at dif ferent times. It is most agreeable to some men, to fol low their reason ; and to others, to follow their appe tites : to some men it is more agreeable to deny a vici ous inclination, than to gratify it : other it suits best to gratify the vilest appetites. It is more disagreeable to some men than others, to counteract a former resolution. In these respects, and many others which might be men tioned, different things will be most agreeable to differ ent persons ; and not only so, but to the same persons at different times. But possibly it is needless and improper, to mention the frame and state of the mind, as a distinct ground of the agreeableness of objects from the other two men tioned before ; viz. The apparent nature and circum stances of the objects viewed, and the manner of the view ; perhaps if we strictly consider the matter, the different temper and state of the mind makes no altera tion as to the agreeableness of objects, any other way, than as it makes the objects themselves appear different ly 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. 14 What determines the Will. [Part I. 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 explained. 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 agreeable and pleasing, all things considered. If the immediate objects of the Will are a man s own actions, then those actions which appear most agreeable to him he wills. If it be now most agree able 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 agreeable 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 ex perience of mankind, than that, when men act voluntari ly, and do what they please, then they do what suits them best, or what is most agreeable to them. To say, that they do what they please, or what pleases them, but yet do not do what is agreeable to them, is the same thing as to say, they do what they please, but do not act their pleasure ; and that is to say, that they do what they please and yet do not do what they please. It appears from these things, that in some sense, the Will always follows the last dictate of the understand ing. But then the understanding must be taken in a large sense, as including the whole faculty of perception or apprehension, and not merely what is called reason QV judgment. 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 its duration, it is not true, that the Will always follows the last dic tate of the understanding. Such a dictate of reason is quite a different matter from things appearing now most agreeable; all things being put together which pertain to the mind s present perceptions, apprehensions or ideas, in any respect. Although that dictate of rea son when it takes place, is one thing that is put into Sect. III.] The Nature of Necessity. 15 the scales, and is to be considered as a thing that has concern in the compound influence which moves and in duces the Will ; and is one thing that is to he consider ed in estimating the degree of that appearance of good which the Will always follows ; either as having- its in fluence 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 its re sistance 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 de gree 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 great clearness, before 1 have finished what 1 have to say on the subject of human liberty. SECTION III. Concerning the Meaning of the Terms Neces sity, Impossibility, Inability, Sfc. and ofCon- tingence. rriHE words necessary, impossible, Sec. are abundantly -- used in controversies about Freewill and moral agency ; and therefore the sense in which they are used, should be clearly understood. 16 The Nature of Necessity. [Part I. Here I might say, that a thing is then said to be ne cessary, 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 ed the word must, by tbere 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 lat ter. 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 rain to binder or alter it. That is necessary in the original and proper sense of the word, which is, or will be, notwithstanding all suppos- able opposition. To say, that a thing is necessary, is the same thing as to say, that it is impossible, it 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 z&gt;- resistable is relative, and has always reference to resis tance which is made, or may be made to some force or power tending to an effect, and is sufficient to withstand the power, or hinder the effect. The common notion of Necessity and Impossibility implies something that frustrates endeavour or desire. Here several things are to be noted. 1. Ihings are said to be necessary in general, which are, or will be, notwithstanding any supposable opposi tion 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 im possible, and other such like terms. 2. These terms necessary, impossible, irresistible, cj C. do especially belong to controversy about liberty and Sect. III.] The Nature of Necessity. 17 moral agency, as used in the latter of the two senses now mentioned ; viz. as necessary or impossible to us, and with relation to any supposable opposition or endeavour of ours. 5. As the word Neccssily, in its vulgar and common use, is relative, and has always reference to some suppos able and sufficient opposition ; so when we speak of any thing as necessary to us, it is with relation to some suppos able opposition of our Wills, or some voluntary exertion or effort of ours to the contrary. For we do not properly make opposition to an event, any otherwise than as wevoluntari* ty oppose it. Things are said to be what must be, or ne cessarily are, as to us. when they are, or will be, though 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. It is manifest that all such like words and phrases, as vulgarly used, are used and accepted in this manner. A thing is said to be necessary., when we cannot help it, let us do what we will. J^o any thing is said to be im possible 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 9 which overcomes all our opposition, re- sistence, and endeavour to the contrary. And we are to be said unalle to do a thing", when our supposable de sires and endeavours to do it are insufficient. We are accustomed in the common use of language, to apply and 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, be comes fixed and settled ; so that the idea of a relation to a supposed will, desire and endeavour of ours, is strong ly connected with these terms, and naturally excited in our minds, whenever we hear the words used. Such ideas, and these words, are so united and associated, 3 18 The Nature of Necessity. [Part I. 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 ex ceeding 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 and confound us in our reasonings and discourses, wherein we pretend to use these terms in that manner, as terms of art. 4. It follows from what has been observed, that when these terms necessary* impossible, irresistdble, unable^ &c. are used in cases wherein no opposition, or insuffi cient will or endeavour, is supposed, or can be suppos ed, but the very nature of the supposed case itself ex cludes, and denies any such opposition, will or endea vour, these terms are then not used in their proper sig nification, but quite beside their use in common speech. The reason is manifest ; namely, that in such cases \ve cannot use the words with reference to a supposable op position, will or endeavour. And therefore if any man uses these terms in such cases, he either uses them non sensically, or in some new sense, diverse from their ori ginal and proper meaning As for instance ; if a man should affirm after this manner, That it is necessary for a man, and what must he, that a man should choose vir tue rather than vice, during the time that he prefers virtue to vice ; and that it is a thing impossible and ir- resistable, that it should be otherwise than that he should have this choice, so long as this choice continues ; such a man would use the terms must, irresistable, &c. with perfect insignificance and nonsense, or in some new sense, diverse from their common use ; which is with reference, as has been observed, to supposable opposi tion, unwillingness and resistance ; whereas, here, the very supposition excludes and denies any such thing: for the case supposed is that of being willing and choos ing. 5. It appears from what has been said., that these Sect. Ill ] The Nature of Necessity. ig terms necessary, impossible, &c. are often used by phi losophers and metaphysicians in a sense quite diverse from the 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 He : so with regard to many of the dispositions and acts of the divine Being, such as his loving himself, his loving righteous ness, haling sin r &c. So they apply these terms to many cases of the inclinations and actions of created in telligent beings, angels and men ; wherein all opposition of the Will is shut out and denied, in the very supposi tion 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 cer tainty 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 philoso phical Necessity ; namely, That by which a thing can not 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 ex plained by the latter, as the latter by the former. Ihus, if any one asked us wh;&lt;t we mean, when we say, a thing cannot but be, we might explain ourselves 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 forementioned 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 re ference. 20 The Nature of Necessity. [Part I. Philosophical Necessity is really nothing else than the full and fixed connection between the things signi fied by the subject and predicate of a proposition, which affirms something to be true. When there is such a connection, when the thing affirmed in the proposition is necessary, in a philosophical sense ; whether any op position, 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. The subject and predicate of a proposition, which af firms the existence of something, may have a full, fixed, 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 itself, because it would be in itself the greatest absurdity to deny the existence of being in ge neral, or to say there was absolute and universal no thing ; 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 centre of a circle to the circumference should be equal. It is necessary, fit, and suitable, that men should do toothers, as they would that they should do to them. So innumerable metaphysical and mathe matical 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 Sect. III.] The Nature of Necessity. 21 proposition, which affirms the existence of something, may be fixed 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 exist ence. And therefore, the proposition which affirms pre sent and past existence of it, may by this means be made certain, and necessarily and unalterably true ; the past event has fixed and decided the matter, as to its existence ; and has made it impossible but that exist ence should be truly predicated of it. Thus the exist ence of whatever is already come to pass, is now be come necessary ; it is 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 he, 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 abso lutely necessary in its own nature, or with something which has already received and made sure of existence. This Necessity lies /, or may be explained by, the con nection of two or more propositions one with another. Things which are perfectly connected with other things that are necessary, are necessary themselves, by a ne cessity of consequence. Arid 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 itself ; for if so, they always would have existed. Nor is their exist ence 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 its 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 22 The Nature of Necessity [Tart I. 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 whatso ever that ever has had, or will have a beginning 1 , has come into being necessarily, or will hereafter necessarily exist. And therefore this is the Necessity which es pecially 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 (agreeable to the distinction before observed of Neces sity, 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 general Necessity, when all things whatsoever being considered, there isa foundation for cer tainty 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 re gard 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 ail, as to the certainty of that event, or the existence of that thing ; or can be of any account at all, in determining the in fallibility 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 exist ence 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 Sect. III.] The Nature of Necessity. 23 time ; as they prevent all acts of the will about the af fair. 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 Neces sity, 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 wri ters in divinity, in a sense diverse from, and more ex tensive than their original meaning in common language, which was before explained. What has been said to shew the meaning of the terms necessary and Necessity, may be sufficient for the ex plaining of the opposite terms, impossible and impossibi lity ; 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 willed and endeavoured. But as these terms are often used by philosophers and divines, especially writers on contro versies about Free-will, they are used in a quite differ ent, and far more extensive sense, and are applied to many cases wherein no will or endeavour for the bring ing of the thing to pass, is or can he supposed, but is actually denied and excluded in the nature of the case. As the words necessary, impossible, unable, Sec. are used by polemic writers, in a sense diverse from their common signification, the like has happened to the terra contingent. Any thing is said to be contingent, or to 24 Ofnaturaland moral Necessity. [Parti. 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 established course of things, is not discerned ; and so is what we have no means of the foresight of. And especially is any thing 1 said to be contingent or accidental with regard to us, when any thing ccmes 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 cannot discern, so as to foresee the event, but*for something which has absolutely no previ ous ground or reason, with which its existence has any fixed and certain connection. SECTION IV. Of the Distinction of Natural and Moral Neces* sity and Inability. nnHAT Necessity which has been explained, consist- * ing in an infallible connection of the things signified by the subject and predicate of a proposition, as intelli gent beings are thfc subjects of it, is distinguished into moral and natural Necessity. I shall not now stand to enquire whether this dis tinction be a proper and perfect distinction ; but shall only explain how these two sorts of Necessity are under stood, as the terms are sometimes used, and as they are used in the following discourse. The phrase, Moral Necessity, is used variously; sometimes it is 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 cannot be dis charged from. So the word Necessity is often used for Sect. IV.] of Natural and Moral Necessity. 25 great obligation in point of interest. Sometimes by .A/oral Necessity is meant that apparent connection of thing s, which is the ground of moral evidence ; and so is distinguished 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 and 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 volilions 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 distinguished 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 bo dies are wounded ; they see the objects presented before them in a clear light, when their eyes are opened : 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 mens bodies move downwards, when there is nothing- to support them. hut 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 con nected with its moral cause, as a natural necessary effect is with its natural cause. Whether the Will in every D 66 of natural and moral Necessity. [Part I. 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 in clination, or not; if that matter should be controverted, yet I suppose none will deny, but that, in 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 1 , 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 diffi culties, yet that power is not infinite ; and so g oes not beyond certain limits. If a man can surmount ten de grees 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 increas ed to thirty, or an hundred or a thousand degrees, and his strength not also encreased, his strength will be wholly insufficient to surmount the difficulty. As there fore 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 Jlforal 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 Neces sity, the nature of things is not concerned in it, as well as in the latter. I do not mean to determine, that when a moral habit or motive is so strong, that the act of the Will infallibly 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 im Sect. IV.] of Natural and Moral Necessity. 27 portant 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 a particular kind ; viz. that which is of a moral nature , either some previous habitual disposition, or some motive exhibited to the understanding 1 . 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 mere nature, as the word is vulgarly used, is concerned, without any thing of choice. The word nature is often used in opposition to choice ; not because nature has in deed never any hand in our choice ; but this probably comes to pass by means that we first get our notion of nature from that discernible 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 succes sion being very apparent. But where we do not readi ly discern the rule and connection, (though there be a connection, according to an established law, truly taking place) we signify the manner of event by some other name. Even in many things which are seen in the ma terial and inanimate world, which do not discernibly and obviously coine to pass according to any settled course, men do not call the manner of the event by the name of nature, but by such names as accident, chance, conting ent, 4 c. So men make a distinction between nature and choice : as though they were completely and universally distinct. Whereas, 1 suppose none will deny but that choice, in many cases, arises from nature, as truly as other events. But the dependance and connection be tween 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 established law and 28 of Natural and Moral Necessity. [Parti. order of things which is most obvious, that is seen espe cially in corporeal and sensible things ; and also the choice often interposes, interrupts and alters the chain of events in these external objects, and causes them 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 n principle of motion entirely distinct from nature, and properly set in opposi tion to it. Names being commonly given to things, ac cording to what is most obvious, and is suggested by what appears to the senses without reflection and research. 5. It must be observed, that in what has been explain ed, as signified by the name of Moral Necessity, the word Necessity is not used according to the original de sign and meaning of the word : for as was observed before, such terms, necessary r , impossible, irresistible, &c. in com mon speech, and their most proper sense, are alvrays re lative ; having reference to some supposable voluntary opposition or endeavour, that is insufficient. But no such opposition, or contrary will and endeavour, is sup posable in the case of moral Necessity ; which is a cer tainty of the inclination and will itself; which does not admit of the supposition of a will to oppose and resist it. For it is a" surd, to suppose the same individual wiil to oppose itself, 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 mo ral inability. We are said to be naturally unable to do a thing, when we cannot do it if we will, because what is most commonly called nature do not allow of it, or be cause of some impeding defect or obstacle that is ex trinsic to the will ; either in the faculty of understanding, constitution of body, or external objects. Moral Ina bility consists not in any of these things ; but either in V Sect. IV.] Of Moral Inability. 29 the want of inclination ; or the strength of a contrary incli nation ; or the want of sufficient motives in view, to in duce and excite the act of the will, or the strength of apparent motives lo 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 nor want of inclination. For, when a person is unable to will or choose such a thing 1 , through a defect of motives, or prevalence of contrary motives, it is the same thing as his being unable through the want of an inclination, or the prevalence of a contrary inclination, in such circum stances, 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 herself 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 ab sence of such and such circumstances, 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 pros perity : 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 and affection. A strong habit of virtue, and great degree ef holiness may cause a moral Inability to love wickedness in general ; may ren der a man unable to take complacence in wicked persons or things ; or to choose a wicked life, and prefer it to a virtuous 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 un able to love an infinitely holy Being, or to choose and cleave to him as ]\h chief good. Here it may be of use to observe this distinction of moral Inability ; viz. of that which is general and habU tual, and that which is particular and occasional. By a general and habitual moral Inability, 1 mean an Inabili ty in trie heart to all exercises or acts of will of that na.- 30 Of Moral Inability. [Part I. ture or kind, through a fixed and habitual inclination, or an habitual and stated defect, or want of a certain kind of inclination. Thus a very ill-natured man may be unable to exert such acts of benevolence, as another, who is full of good nature, commonly exerts , and a man, whose heart is habitually void of gratitude, may be un able 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, through the strength or defect of present motives, or of inducements pre sented to the view of the understanding, on this occa sion. If it be so, that the will is always determined by the strongest motive, then it must always have an In ability, 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 and 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 deject. And this especially obtains the name of Inability also upon another account: L before ob served, 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 insuffi cient to bring to pass the thing desired and endeavoured. Now, there may be more of an appearance and shadow of this, with respect to the acts which arise from a fixed and strong habit, than others that arise only from tran sient 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 pre sent, to be otherwise than, at present, 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 9 Sect. IV.] Of Moral Inability. 51 viewed at a distance. It is 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 de sires and endeavours to prevent or excite future acts of the will ; but such desires and endeavours are, in many cases, rendered insufficient and vain, through 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 pre vented or avoided. On this account, the moral Inabili ty that attends fixed habits, especially obtains the name of Inability. And then, as the will may remotely and indirectly resist itself, and do it in vain, in the case of strong habits ; so reason may resist present acts of the will, and its resistance be insufficient ; and this is more commonly the case also, when the acts arise from strong- habit. But it must be observed concerning 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 tiling, with respect to which a person is said to be unable, is supposable. It cannot be truly said, according to the ordinary use of language, that a malicious man, let him be never so malicious, can not 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, cannot 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 cannot be truly said to be unable to do a thing, when he can do it if he will. It is improperly said, that a person cannot perform those external actions, which are dependent on the act of the 32 The Notion of Liberty. [Part L 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, it is in some respect more improperly said, that he is unable to exert the acts of the will themselves ; because it is more evidently false, with respect to these, that he cannot if he will : for to say so, is a downright contradiction : it is easy to say he cannot 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 was willed, 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 abili ty, is not just ; because the thing wanting is not a be ing 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. rpHE plain and obvious meaning of the words Free- " dom and Liberty, in common speech, is power, op portunity, or advantage, that any one has, to do as he pleases. Or, in other words, his being free from hind rance or impediment in the way of doing, or conducting in any respect, as he wills*. And the contrary to liber ty, whatever name we may call that by, is a person s being hindered or unable to conduct as he will, or being necessitated to do otherwise. I say not only doing, but conducting ,- because a voluntary for bearing to do, sitting still, keeping silence, &c. are instances of persons conduct, about winch Liberty is exercised: though they are not so properly called doing. V Sect. V.] And of Moral Agency. 33 If this which I h;ive mentioned be the moaning of the word Liberty, in the ordinary use of language ; as I trust that none has ever learned to talk, and is unpre judiced, will deny : then it will follow, that in propriety of speech, neither Liberty, nor its contrary, can pro perly be ascribed to any being or tiling, 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, cannot have any power or opportunity of doing 1 accord ing to its will, nor be necessitated to act contrary to its will, nor be restrained from acting agreeable to it. And therefore to talk of Liberty, or the contrary, as belong ing to the very will itsdf, is not to speak good sense ; if we judge of sense, and nonsense, by the original and proper signification of the words. Tor the will itself is not an Agent that has a will : the power of choosing, itself, lias not a power of choosing. That which has the power of volition or choice is the man or the gouj^and not the power of volition itself. And he that has the liber ty of doing- according to his will, is the agent or doer who is possessed of the will ; and not the will which ho is possessed of. We say with propriety, that a bird let loose has power and liberty to iiy : but not that the bird s power of Hying has a power and liberty of trying. To be free is the property of an agent, who is possessed of powers and faculties, as much as to be cunning, va liant, bountiful, or zealous. But these qualities an* tiie^ 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, compulsion, and coac- tion ; which is a person s being necessitated to do a thing contrary to his will. The other is restraint ; which is his being- hindered, and not having power to do according to his will. But that which has no will, cannot, 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 Understand- 34 The Notion of Liberty. [Part I. But one thing more I would observe concerning what is vulgarly called Liberty ; namely, that power and op portunity for one to do and conduct as he will, or ac cording to his choice, in 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 exterrtal motive, or internal habi tual bias ; whether it was determined by some internal antecedent volition, or whether it happened without a cause ; whether it was necessarily connected with some thing 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 and 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 and primary acceptation of the word : but the word, as used by Arminians, Pela gians , and others who oppose the Cafotnists, has an en tirely diiferent signification. These several things be long to their notion of liberty. ]. That it consists in a self determining power in the will, or a certain sove reignty the will has over itself, and its own acts, where* by it determines its own volitions ; so as not to be de pendent in its determination, on any cause without it self, nor determined by any thing prior to its own acts. 2. Indifference belongs to Liberty in their notion of it, or that the mind, previous to the act of volition be, in equilibria. 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 explained, but as op posed to all necessity , or any fixed and certain connec tion with some previous ground or reason of its exist ence. 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- V Sect. V.] And of Moral Agency. go A Moral Agent is a being that is capable of those ac tions that have a moral quality, and which can properly be denominated good or evil in a moral sense, virtuous or vicious, commendable or faulty. To moral Agency belongs a moral faculty, or sense of moral good and evil, or 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 under standing and reason, to engage to a conduct agreeable to the moral faculty. The sun is very excellent and beneficial in its action and influence on the earth, in warming it, and causing it to bring forth its fruits ; but it is not a moral Agent : its action, though good, is not virtuous 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 de serving of any punishment. The brute creatures are not moral Agents ; the actions of some of them are very profitable and pleasant; others are very hurtful: yet, seeing they have no moral faculty, or sense of desert, and do not 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 virtuous ; 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. 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 cir cumstances. A ruler acting in that capacity only, is not capable of being influenced by a moral law, and its sanc tions of threatening* and promises, rewards and punish ments, as the subject is ; though both may be influenced by a knowledge of moral good and evil. And therefore 3D The Notion of Liberty. [Part I. 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, ami particularly those which he exerts as a moral gover nor, have moral qualifications, are morally good in the highest degree. They are most perfectly holy and righteous ; and we must conceive of Kim 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 moral ability and Agency, the fountain and rule of all virtue and moral good; though by reason of his being supreme over all, it is not possible He should be under the influence of law or command, promises or threatenings, rewards or punishments, counsels or warn ings. The essential qualities of a moral Agent are in God, in the greatest possible perfection ; such an under standing, to perceive the difference between moral good and 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 power of acting according to his choice or pleasure, and being capable of doing thohe 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, 21. and chap. ix. (&gt;.) by which God distinguished man from the beas s ; viz. in those faculiies and 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 ai first, consisted in that moral excellency, that he was endowed with. PART II. Wherein it is considered whether there is or can be any such Sort cf FREEDOM OF WILL, as that wherein ARMIVIASS place the Es sence 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 Ar-&lt; minian Notio?i of Liberty of JVill, consisting of the I VilFs self-determining Power. TT1TAVING taken notice of those thing s which may *" be necessiry to be observed, concerning the mean ing of the principal terms and phrases made use of in controversies concerning Human Liberty, and particu larly observed what Liberty is according to the common " language and general apprehension of mankind, and what it is as understood and maintained by Arminians ; I proceed to consider the Arminian notion of the ^ree- dom of the, Will^ and the supposed necessity of it in order to Moral Agency, or in order to any one s be ing capable of virtue or vice, and properly the sub ject of command or counsel, praise or blame, promi ses or threatenings, rewards or punishments ; or whe ther 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 shaM consider whether any such thing be possible or conceiveabie, as that Freedom of Will which Arminians insist on ; and shall enquire, whether any such sort of Liberty be necessary to moral agency, Sfc. in the next Part. And first of all, I shall consider the notion of a self- determining Power in the Will : wherein, according 1 to 38 The Inconsistence of [Part II. the Arminians, does most essentially consist in the Will s Freedom ; and shall particularly enquire, whe ther it be not plainly absurd, and a manifest inconsist- ence, to suppose that the will itself 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 deter mining itself i because actions are to be ascribed Jo agents, and not properly to the power 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 itself, 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 wilting, 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 courage ously. 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- and choosing, or the soul acting voluntarily, determines. 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 choosing ; or, which is the same thing, it determines them of choice ; it determines its own acts by choosing its 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 Sect. I.] Self -determining Power. 39 of other acts of choice. And therefore if the Will de termines all its own free acts, then every free act of choice is determined by a preceding act of choice, choos ing that act. And if that preceding 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 choos^ es ; or, which is the same thing, it is an act determined still by a preceding act of the Will, choosing 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 preceding 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 itself, and determine its own motions and actions, 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 com mands by an act of the Will. And if it has itself under its command, and determines itself in its own actions, it doubtless does it the same way that it determines other things which are under its command. So that if the freedom of the Will consists in this, that it has itself and its own actions under its command and direction, and its own volitions are determined by itself, it will follow, that every free volition arises from another ante cedent volition, directing and commanding that : and if that directing volition be also free, in that also the will 40 The Inconmtence of [Part It. 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 prece ding that. Which is a contradiction ; because by the supposition, it can have none before it, to direct or de termine it, being the first in the train. Rut if that first volition is not determined by any preceding act of the Will, then that act is not determined by the Will, and so is not free in the Anninian notion of free dom, 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 fol lowing 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 de pendant 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 he, 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 often, or an hundred, or ten thousand. If the first act be not free, being deter mined by something out of the Will, and this deter mines the next to be agreeable to itself, and that the next, and so on ; they are none of them free, but all originally depend on, and are determined by, some cause out of the Will : and so all freedom in the case is exclu ded, 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 Sect. I.] Self-determining Power. 41 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 its motion by the motion of the first link ; and that is moved by something else : in this case, though all the links, but t&gt;ne, are moved by other parts of the same chain ; yet it appears that the motion of no one, nor the direction of its motion, is from any self-moving or self-determining Power in the chain, any more than if every Jink were immediately moved by something that did not belong to 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 though indeed the will caused it, yet it did not cause it freely ; because the preceding act, by which it was caused, was not free. And again, if the will be not 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 so ever the succession of acts is, it is all one ; if the first, on which the whole chain depends, and which deter mines all the rest, be not a free act, the will is not free in causing or determining any one of those acts, be cause the act by which it determines them all, is not a free act ; and therefore the will is no more free in de termining 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 itself wholly out of the world. SECTION II. Several supposed Ways of evading the foregoing Reasoning considered. ~JF to evade the force of what has been observed, it * should be said, that when the Arminians speak of 3 42 Supposed Evasions considered. [Part II. the will s determining its own acts, they do not mean that the will determines its acts by any preceding act, or that one act of the will determines another ; hut only that the faculty or power of will, or the soul in the use of that power, determines its own volitions, and (hat it does it without any act going before the act determined ; such an evasion would be full of the most gross absurdi ty. 1 confess^ it is an evasion of my own inventing ; and I do not know but I should wrong the Arminians, in supposing that any of them would make use of it. But it being as good a one as I can invent, I would ob serve upon it a few things. 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 preceding the volition determined, is a contradiction. Secondly. If a power of will determines the act of the will, then a power of choosing determines it. For, as was before observed, in every act of will, there is choice, and a power of willing is a power of choosing. * But if a power of choosing determines the act of volition, it determines it by choosing it. For it is most absurd to say, that a power of choosing determines one thing ra ther than another, without choosing any thing. But if a power of choosing determines volition by choosing it, then here is the act of volition determined by an antece dent choice, choosing that volition, Thirdly. To say, the faculty, or the soul, determines its 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, exerting itself in order to an effect, which \ Sect. II.] Supposed Evasions considered. 43 effect is the determination of volition, or the particular kind and manner of an act of will. But certainly this exertion or action is not the same with the effect, in order to the production of which it is exerted ; but must he something prior to it. Again : I he advocates for this notion of the freedom of the will, speak of a certain sovereignty in the will, whereby it has power to determine its own volitions. And therefore the determination of volition must itself be ai*. act of the will ; for otherwise it can be no exercise of that supposed power and sovereignty. Again . If the will determines itself, then either the will is active in determining- its 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 of the will determining another. But if the will is not active in the determina tion, then how does it exercise any liberty in it ? These gentlemen suppose that the thing wherein the will exer cises liberty, is in its determining its own acts : but how can this be, if it be not active in determining ? Certainly the will, or the soul, cannot exercise any li berty in that wherein it doth not act, or wherein it doth not exercise itself. So that if either part of this dilem ma be taken, this scheme of liberty, consisting in self- determining power, is overthrown. If there be an act of the will in determining all its 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 its 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 its 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, j. hat although it be true, if the soul determines its own volitions, it must be active in so doing, and the determination itself must be an act ; yet there is no need of supposing tnis act to be prior to the 44 Supposed Evasions considered. [Part II. volition determined : but the will or soul determines the act of the will in willing ; it determines its 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 ex erting- the act, without any preceding 1 act to exert that. If any should say after this manner, they must mean one of these three things ; Either, (1.) That the deter mining act, though it be before the act determined in the order of nature, yet it is not before it in 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 deter mining the act of volition is the same thing with its ex erting the act of volition : the mind s exerting such a particular act, is its causing and determining the act. Or, (3.) That volition has no cause, and is no effect; but comes into existence, with such a particular determi nation, without any ground or reason of its 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, though it should be allow ed. If it be before the determined act in the order of nature, being the cause or ground of its 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 cannot be the same with the motion effected by it, but must be as distinct from it, as any other cause, that is before its 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 deter mined, 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 Sect. II. ] Supposed Evasions considered. 45 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 hy hand ; all the rest may follow and be moved at the same in.stant, 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 follow ed 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, i,r kept out of sight, in a darkness and unin telligibleness of speech ; unless such an objector would mean to contradict himself. The very act of volitiori itself 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 de termining among external objects of choice, is not the same with determining the act of choice itself, among various possible acts of choice. The question is, What influences, directs, or determines the mind or will to come 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 Anninian notion of freedom, that the will influen ces, orders, and determines itself thus to act. Arid if it does, I say, it must be by some antecedent act. To say, it is caused, influenced, and determined by some thing, and yet not determined by any thing antecedent, either in order of time or nature, is a contradiction. For 46 Supposed Evasions considered. [Part II. that is what is meant by a thing s being prior in the order of nature, that it is some way the cause or reason of the other 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 its existing, and of its exist ing in such a particular determinate manner, and not another ; some cause, whose influence decides the mat ter ; which cause is distinct from the effect, and prior to it. But to say, that the will or mind orders, influences, and determines itself to exert such an act as it does, by the very exertion itself, is to make the exertion both cause and 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 itself, and distinct from itself. (3.) If the meaning be, that the soul s exertion of such a particular act of will, is a thing that comes to pass of itself , without any cause ; and that there is absolute ly 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 Annini- ans, when they contend so earnestly for the will s de termining its own acts, and for liberty of will, consisting in self-determining power; they do nothing but con found themselves and others with words without a mean- ing. In the question, What determines the will ? and in their answer, that The will determines itself, 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 its determination has any cause or foun dation at all ; but where the foundation of it is, whether in the will itself, or somewhere else. But if the thing intended be what is above-mentioned, then all comes to this, that nothing at all determines the will ; volition Sect. II.] Supposed Evasions considered. 47 having absolutely no cause or foundation of its existence, either within, or without. There is a great noise made about self-determining 1 power, as the source of all free acts of the will ; but when the matter comes to be ex plained, 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 concerned in the mat ter. 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 Armiman notion of liberty of will ; though it be very inconsistent with many other things in their scheme, and repugnant to some things implied in their notion of liberty. Their opinion im plies, 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 certain ly, 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, do not happen contingently. If something foregoing, by a casual influence and connection, deter mines and fixes precisely their coming to pass, and the manner of it, then it does not 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. r 48 Supposed Evasions considered. [Part II. SECTION III. Whether any Event whatsoever, and Volition in particular, can come to pass without a Cause of its 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 some times 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 re spect, 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 its beams are the Cause of the ascending of the vapours in the day-time, and its withdrawment in the winter, is not in the same manner the Cause of the freezing of the waters, as its 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 any other times ; though 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 them. Moral Causes may be Causes in as proper 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. Sect, 111.] No Event without a Cause. 49 Therefore, I sometimes use the word Cause in this enquiry, to signify any antecedent, either natural or moral, positive or negative, on which an event, either a thing-, or the manner and circumstance of a thing, so depend^ that it is the ground and reason, either in whole or ii part, why it is, rather than not ; or why it is as it [s, 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 posi tive influence, or not. And in an agreeableness to this 9 I sometimes use the word Effect for the conse quence of another thing, which is perhaps rather an oc casion than a Cause, most properly speaking. I am the more careful thus to explain my meaning, that 1 may cut off occasion, from any that might occasion to cavil and object against some things I may say concerning the dependence of all things w come to pass, on some Cause, and their connection with their Cause. -\* Having thus explained what I mean by Cause, I as- sert, 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 sens,e which God hath implanted in the minds of all mankfed, 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 respected 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 of rest, and begin to move, we do as naturally and necessarily sup pose there is some Cause or reason of this new mode of F / r 50 No Event without a Cause. [Part II. existence, as of the existence of a body itself 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 oft its old figure, and take a new one; or change its colour: the beginning of these new modes is a new Event, and the mind of mankind necessarily supposes that there is some Cause or reason of them. If this grand principle of common sense be taken a- way, all arguing from effects to Causes ceaseth, and so all knowledge of any existence, besides vyhat 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 its con stituent parts, and the manner of their existence; all which we see plainly are not necessary in their own na ture, 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 is 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 Be ing must be ; if we had strength and comprehension of mind sufficient, to have a clear idea of general and uni versal Being, or, which is the same thing, of the infinite, eternalj 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 1 Sect. III.] No Event without a Came. 01 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 sup pose 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 pos sible 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 intui tive independent manner: but the way that mankind come to the knowledge of the Heing of God, is that which the apostle speaks of, Horn. i. 20. The invisi ble things of Him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen ; being understood by the things that aye made ; even his eternal Power and Godhead. We first ascend, and prove a posteriori, or from effects, that there must be an eternal Cause ; and then, secondly ,, proved 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 a priori, But if once this grand principle of common sense be given up, that what is not necessary in itself, 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 of at one blow. In this case, we cannot 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 as a Cause, and also that it has a Cause proportion able and agreeable to the effect. The same principle. 52 No Event without a Cause. [Part II. which leads us to determine, that there cannot be any thing coming to pass without a Cause, leads us to de termine that there cannot ue 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 im mediately in view, we argue other things not immediate ly 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 ourselves, or any thing else, by memory ; only as we argue, that the ideas, which are now in our minds, are the conse quences of past ideas and sensations. We immediately perceive nothing else but the ideas which are this mo ment extant in our minds. We perceive or know other things only by means of these, as necessarily connected with others, and dependent on them. But if things may be without Causes, all this necessary connection and de pendence is dissolved, and so all means of our knowledge is gone. If there be no absurdity or difficulty in sup posing one thing to start out of non-existence, into being, of itself 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, does not increase the sum. And indeed, according to the hypothesis I am oppos ing, 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 contingent ly without any cause or reason why they do so, all over the world, every day and hour, through all ages. So it Sect. III.] No Event without a Cause. 53 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, seemed 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 happened in a course, wherever there 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, cannot cause the existence which comes to pass, to be of one particular sort only, distinguished 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, shews that there is some Cause or Reason of the falling of water out of the heavens ; and that something besides mere 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 whether the things should be ; stones, or stars, or beasts, or 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 hu man understanding, or new volitions in tue wili ; or any thing else of all the infinite number of possibles; then certainly it would not be expected, although many millions of millions of things are coming into existence in this manner, all over the face of the earth, that they should ail be only of one particular kind, and that it should be 3 r 54 No Event without a Cause. [Part II. 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, when ever 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 ex istence 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, though other things cannot: if they make this objection in good earnest, it would be an evidence of their strangely forgetting 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 its 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 ; be cause 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 its first existence, must be prior to the existence. The distinguished nature of the effect, which is something belonging to the effect, cannot have influence backward, to act before it is. The peculiar nature of that thing called volition, can do no thing, can have no influence, while it is not. And afterwards it is too late for its influence : for then the thing has made sure of existence already, without its help. So that it is indeed as repugnant to reason, to suppose that an act of the will should come into existence with out a cause, as to suppose the human soul, or an angel, or the globe of the earth, or the whole universe, should come into existence without a cause. And if once we Sect. IV.] No Event without a Cause. 55 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 ? It is not the par ticular kind of effect that makes the absurdity of suppos ing it has been 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. fTIHE 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 cor poreal 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 is an act of the will, may come to pass in a spirit, without a sufficient reason why it conies 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 inad vertent. For, 1. 1 he 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 56 No Event without a Cause. [Part II. it is&gt; or why it is in this manner rather than another ? Instead of solving this difficulty, or answering this ques tion 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 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 ef fects ; hut it does not at all enable er help 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 itself, without a Cause, than out of itself, in some other being*. But if an active being 1 should, through its activity, produce and determine an effect in some exter nal 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 endow ed with activity comes to act, as why it exerts such an act, and not another ; or why it acts with such a particu lar detormination ? If activity of nature be the Cause why a spirit (the soul of man for instance) acts, and does not lie still ; yet that alone is not the Cause why its ac tion is thus and thus limited, directed and determined. Active nature is a general thing ; it is an ability or ten dency of nature to action generally taken : which may be a Cause why the soul acts as occasion or reason is given , but this alone cannot 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 ac tion. If it should be asked, why the soul of man uses Sect IV.] Volition not without a Cause. 57 its activity in such a manner as it does ; and it should be answered, that the soul uses its 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 being 1 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 its 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 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 himself; still the exercise of his activity must go before the effect, which he brings to pass and determines by it. And therefore his activity cannot be the Cause of the determination of the first action, or ex ercise of activity itself, 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 ex ercise of activity, and is the cause of it. 4- That the soul, though an active substance, cannot diversify its own acts, but by first acting ; or be a deter mining Cause of different acts, or any different effects, sometimes of one kind, and sometimes of another ; any other way than in consequence of its own diverse acts, is manifest by this : that if so, then the same Cause, the same causal Power, Force or Influence, without varia tion in any respect, would produce different effects at different times. For the same substance of the soul be fore 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 58 Volition not without a Cause. [Pat t II. at different times. But the substance of the soul before it acts, and its active nature before it is exerted, are the same without variation. For it is some act that makes the first variation in the Cause, as to any causal exer tion, 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 it is evident, that the soul has no influence, no hand in the diversity of the effect ; and that the difference of the effect can not be owing to any thing in the soul ; or, which is the same thing, the soul does not determine the diversi ty of the effect; which is contrary to the supposition.- It is 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, as being contrary to their notion of self-determination and self-motion. 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 no thing further than it is a voluntary or elective being ; and whenever it produces effects actively, it produces effects voluntarily and eleciively. But to produce effects thus, is the same thing as to produce effects in conse* quence of, and according to, its own choice. And if so,, then surely the soul does not by its activity produce all its own acts of will or choice themselves: for this, by the supposition, is to produce all its free acts of choice voluntarily and electively, or in consequence of its own free acts of choice, which brings the matter directly to the forementioned contradiction, of a free act of choice before the first free act of choice. According to these gentlemen* 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 does not arise from, nor is regulated by choice,, or design : and Sect. IV.] Volition not ivithout a Cause. 5Q therefore it cannot 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 pro duce effect in consequence of its design : it will not enable it to be the designing Cause of all its own de signs. The mind s being an elective Cause, will only enable it to produce effects in consequence of its elec tions, and according to them ; but cannot enable it to be the elective Cause of all its own elections ; because that supposes an election before the first election. So the mind s being an active Cause enables it to produce ef fects in consequence of its own acts, but cannot enable it to be the determining Cause of all its own acts, for that is still in the same manner a contradiction : as it sup poses a determining act conversant about the first act, and prior to it, having a causal influence on its exis tence and manner of existence. I can conceive of nothing else that can be meant by the soul s having power to cause and determine its 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 its pleasure, or according as H chooses. And this certainly supposes, in all such cases, a choice preceding all Volitions which, are thus caused, even the first of them ; which runs in to the forementioned great absurdity. Therefore the activity of the nature of the soul af fords 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, its absurdities and incon- sistences. 60 These Evasions impertinent. [Part II SECTION V. Shewing, that if the things asserted in these Evasions should be supposed to be true, they are altogether impertinent, and cannot help the cause of Arminian liberty ; and how (this being the state of the case} Arminian Writers are oblig ed to talk inconsistent ly. W HAT was last observed in the preceding section may shew, not only that the active nature of the soul cannot be a reason why an 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 fixed or determined by any cause, or any thing antecedent ; it would not at all serve the purpose ofArminians, to establish the Free dom of the Will, according to their notion of its freedom as consisting in the will s determination of itself ; which supposes every free act of the will to be determin ed by some act of the will going before to determine it; inasmuch 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, choosing 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. If the will does not cause and determine the act by choice, it does not 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 some thing which the soul does not determine willingly, is as much as to say, that something is done by the will, which the soul doth not with its will. So that if Arminian liberty of will, consisting in the Sect. V.] These Evasions Impertinent. 61 will s determining its 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 doth not consist with the free acts arising without any cause, and being so contingent, as not to be fixed by any thing foregoing. So that this evasion must be given up, as not at all re lieving, and as that which, instead of supporting this sort of liberty, directly destroys it. And if it should be supposed, that the soul determines its own acts of will some other way than by a foregoing act of will ; still it will not help the cause of their liber ty of will. If it determines them by an act of the un derstanding, or some other power, then the will does not determine itself ; and so the self -deter mining power of the will is given up. And what liberty is there ex ercised, according to their own opinion of liberty, by the- soul s being determined by something besides its own choice ? The acts of the will, it is true, may be directed, and effectually determined and fixed; but it is not done by the soul s own will and pleasure : there is no exer cise 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 de termining its own acts, their notion destroys itself. If they hold every free act of will to be determined by the soul s own free choice, or foregoing free act of will ; foregoing^ either in the order of time, or nature ; it im plies that gross contradiction, that the first free act be longing 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 choice ; this also destroys the notion of li berty consisting in the acts of the will being determined by the will itself ; or if they hold that the acts of the will are determined by nothing at ail that is prior to Gr (r2 These Evasions Impertinent. [Part II. them, but that they are contingent in that sense, that they are determined and fixed by no cause at all ; this alsodestroys their notion of liberty, consisting in the will s determining its own acts. This being the true state of the Arminian notion of liberty, it hence comes to pass, that the writers that de fend 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 Cahinuts, 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 ourselves, or DOING WHA T WE WILL (. This is indeed, as he says, a thing agreeable to the sense and common reason of mankind ; and therefore it is not so much to be wondered at, that he unawares acknowledges it against himself: for, if liberty does not consist in this, what else ran be devised that it should consist in ? If it be said, as Dr Whitby elsewhere insists, that it does not only consist in liberty of doing what we will, but also a liberty of willing, with out 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 its willing to act according to its own choice ? Yea, this very thing the same author seems to allow and suppose again arid again, in the use he makes of sayings of the Fathers, whom he quotes as his vouchers. Thus he cites the words of Origen, which he produces as a tes timony on his side | ; The soul acts by HER OWN CHOICE, and it is free for her to incline to whatever In his Book on the five Points. Second Edit. p. 350, 351 352. t Ibid. 325, 326. Ju his Book on the five Points. Second Edit. p. 34?. Sect. V".] These Evasions impertinent. 63 part SHE WILL. And those words of Justin 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 f : If fate be established, philosophy and piety are over thrown ; all these things depending upon the necessity in- troduced by the stars, and not upon meditation and exer cise PROCEEDING FROM OUR OWN FREE CHOICE. And again, the words of Maccarius J : God, to preserve the liberty ofmens 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 no- lion of liberty, which the Calvinists have; which he at the same time condemns, as agreeing with the opinion of Mr Hobbcs ; namely, the souVs acting by its own choice, mens doing good or evil, according to their own free choice., their being in that exercise w/iich 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 ex ercise this liberty in the acts of the will themselves, it must he in exerting acts of will as they will, or accord" ing 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 does not suppose a free choice going before the free act of will, or whether an act of choice does not go before that act of the will which pro ceeds from it. And if it be thus with all free acts of the will, then let every one judge whether it will not 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, Ibid. p. 360. t Ibid - 250. Ibid. 369. 64 Arminians talk inconsistently. [Part II. 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 li berty, 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 sav 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 \\hat 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, or that what is, is ; wherein none has any controversy with them. Or, 2. The meaning must be, that a man has power to will as he pleases or chooses to will : that is, he has power by one act of choice, to choose another : by an antecedent act of will to choose a consequent act ; iiiid therein to execute his own choice. And if this be their meaning, it is nothing but shuffling with these 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 agreeable to another act of choice preceding that : and so the question returns in infinitwn, and the like answer must be made in wfini- tum. In order to support their opinion, there must be no beginning, but free acts of will must have been cho sen by foregoing free acts of will in the soul of every man, without beginning ; and so before he had a being 1 , from all eternitv. Sect. VI.] Of choosing in things indifferent, 6j SECTION VI. Concerning the J-ViWs 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 an a- bility to determine our wills, in cases wherein no prevail ing motive is presented : The Will (as is supposed) has its 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 difficulty in coming to a choice: the Will can instantly determine itself to one, by a sovereign power which it has over itself, without being moved by any preponderating inducement. 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 understanding, nor by any thing else, but merely by itself, 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 finger upward or down ward. And thus, in some cases, the Will determines itself in a very sovereign manner, because it will, with out a reason borrowed from the understanding : and hereby it discovers its own perfect power of choice, ris ing from within itself, and free from all influence or re straint of any kind." And in pages 66, 70, and 73, 74, this author very expressly supposes the Will in many cases to be determined by no motive at all., and acts a/- togethcr without motive, or ground of preference . Here I would observe, 3 66 Of choosing of things indifferent, [Part II. 1. The very supposition which is here made, directly contradicts and overthrows itself. For the thing sup posed, wherein this grand argument consists, is, that among several things the Will actually chooses one be fore another, at the same time that it is perfectly indif ferent ; which is the very .same thing as to say, the mind has a preference, at the same that it has no pre- ierence. What is meant cannot be, that the mind is indifferent before it comes to have a choice, or until 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 con troversy with any person in supposing this, And then it is nothing to his purpose, that the mind which chooses, was indifferent once ; unless it chooses, remaining in different ; for otherwise, it does not choose 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 chooses one thing before another, concerning which it is indif ferent before it chooses ; but also is indifferent when it chooses ; and that its being otherwise than indifferent is not until afterwards, in consequence of its choice ; that the chosen thing s appearing preferable and more agree able than another, arises from its choice already made. His words are, (p. 50.) " Where the objects which are proposed, appear equally fit or good, the Will is left without a guide or director ; and therefore must take its own choice, by its own determination i it being properly a self-determining power. And in such cases the will does as it were make a good to itself by its own choice ; i. e. creates its own pleasure or delight in this self-chosen good. Even as a man by seizing upon a spot of unoc cupied land, in an uninhabited country, makes it his own possession and property, and as such rejoices in it. Where things were indifferent before, the will find no thing to make them more agreeable, considered merely in themselves; hut the pleasure it feels AltlSlNGr FROM ITS OWN CHOICE, and its perseverance Sect. VI.] Of choosing of things indifferent. 67 therein. We love many things which we have cho sen, AND PURELY BECAUSE WE CHOOSE THEM. This is as much as to say, that we first begin to pre fer many things, now ceasing any longer to he indiffer ent with respect to them, purely because we have pre ferred and chosen them before. These things must needs be spoken inconsiderately by this author. Choice or preference cannot be before itself in the same in stance, either in order of time or nature. It cannot be the foundation of itself, or the fruit or consequence of itself. The very act of choosing one thing rather than another, is preferring that thing, and that is setting a higher value on that thing. But that the mind sets a higher value on one thing than another, is not, in the first place, the fruit of its setting a higher value on that thing. This author says, (p. 30.) " The will may be per fectly indifferent, and yet the will may determine itself to choose one or the other." And again in the same page, " I am entirely indifferent to either ; and yet my Will may determine itself to choose." And again, kt Which I shall choose must be determined by the mere act of my Will." If the choice is determined by a mere act of Will, then the choice is determined by a mere act of choice. And concerning this matter ; viz. That the act of the Will itself is determined by an act of choice, this writer is express, in page 12. Speaking of the case, where there is no superior fitness in objects pre sented, he has these words : k There it must act by its own CHOICE, and determine itself as it PLEASES." Where it is supposed that the very determination, which is the ground and spring of the Will s act, is an act of choice and pleasure, wherein one act is more agreeable, and the mind better pleased in it than another ; and this preference and superior pleasedness is the ground of all it does in the case. And if so, the mind is not indiffer ent when it determines itself, but had rather do one thing than another, had rather determine itself one way than another. And therefore the Will does not act at 68 Of choosing of things indifferent [Part II. all in indifference ; not so much as in the first step it takes, or the first rise and beginning of its 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 1 to act is the very same thing as its beginning* to choose or prefer. And if in the very first act of the Will, the mind prefers something, then the idea of that thing preferred, does at that time preponderate, or pre vail in the mind : or, which is the same thing, the idea of it has a prevailing iniluence on the Will. So that this wholly destroys the thing supposed, viz. That the mind can by a sovereign power choose 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 choose 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 overthrow ; even that the Will, in choosing, is subject to no pre vailing influence of the idea, or view of the thing chosen. And indeed it is impossible to offer this argument with out overthrowing it ; the thing supposed in it being in consistent with itself, and that which denies itself. To suppose the Will to act at all in a state of perfect indif ference, either to determine itself, or to do any thing- else, is to assert that the mind chooses without choosing io say that when it is indifferent, it can do as it pleases, is to say that it can follow its pleasure, when it has no pleasure to follow. And therefore if there be any diffi culty m the instances of two cakes, or two eggs, &c which are exactly alike, one as good as another con- cernmg which this author supposes the mind in fact has M*, and so in eflect supposes that it has a prefer. cied liimself to s ive h do a it does hose whom he opposes. For if these instances prote any thmg to his purpose, they prove that a man Sect. II.] Of choosing of things indifferent. 69 chooses without choice. And yet this is not to his pur- pose; 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. 1 here is no great difficulty in shewing 1 , in such instances as are alledged, not only that it must needs be AO, that the mind must be influenced 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 superior, 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 di rected 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 itself up to what is vulgarly called accident *, by deter mining 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, (though all may be done as it were in a moment) theirs/ step is its general determination that it will touch one of the squares. The next step is another general determination to give itself 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 * I have elsewhere observed wnat that is which is vulgarly called accident ; that it is nothing akin to the drminian metaphysical no tion of contingency something not connected with any thing forego ing ; but that it is something that comes to pass in" the course of things, in some affair that men are concerned in, unforeseen, and not owing to their design. 70 Of the Will s detcrminig [Part IL 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 has pitched upon, has actually oifered itself beyond others. Now it is apparent that in none of these several steps does the mind pro ceed in absolute indifference, but in each of them is in fluenced by a preponderating inducement. So it is in the first step ; the mind s general determination to touch one of the sixty-four spots ; the mind is not abso lutely indifferent whether 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 itself 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 absolute ly indifferent whether- it proceeds by this rule or no ; but chooses it because it appears at that time a conveni ent and requisite expedient in order to fulfil the general purpose aforesaid. And so it is in the third and last step, it is 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 the prevailing inducement and reason ; which is, that this is a prosecution of the preceding determina tion, which appeared requisite, and was fixed before in the second step. Accident will ever serve a man, without hindering him a moment, in such a case. It will always be so among a number of objects in view, one will prevail in 3 eye, or in idea beyond others. When we have our eyes open in the clear sun-shine, many objects strike s eye at once, and innumerable images may be at once painted in ,t by the rays of light ; but the attention of the mind is not equal to several of them at once ; or if he, lt does not continue so for any time. And so it is ith respect to the ideas of the mind in general ; seve- l ideas are not in equal strength in the mind s view I notice at once ; or at least, d oes not remain so for Sect. IV.] in Things indifferent. 71 any sensible continuance. There is nothing in the world more constantly varying, than the ideas of the mind . they do not remain precisely in the same state for the least perceivable space of time ; as is evi dent by this. That all perceivable time is judged and perceived by the mind only by the succession or the successive changes of its own ideas. Therefore while the views or perceptions of the mind remain precisely in the same state, there is no perceivable space or length of time, because no sensible succession at all. As the acts of the Will, in each step of the foremen- tioned procedure, does not come to pass without a par ticular cause, every act is owing to a prevailing induce ment ; so the accident, as I have called it, or that which happens in the unsearchable course of things, to which the mind yields itself, and by which it is guided, is not any thing that conies to pass without a cause ; and the mind in determining to be guided by it, is not determin ed 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 though the die s falling in such a man ner 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, though the cause may not be observed, have as much a cause as the changeable motions of the motes 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 in sist upon it, that the will acts in a proper indifference, and without being moved by any inducement, in its de terminations in such cases as have been mentioned. 1. They seern 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, touched, pointed to, &c. as two eggs, two cakes, which appear equally good. Whereas the question to be con- 72 Of choosing in Things indifferent. [Part If. sidered is-, Whether the person be indifferent with re spect to his own actions ; whether he does not, on some consideration or other, prefer one act with respect to these objects before another, The mind in its deter- mination and choice, in these cases, is not most immedi ately 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 pro perly make any choice between them ; but the next act of the will being about the external actions to be per formed, 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 deter mination is not about the objects, unless indirectly and improperly, but about the actions, which it chooses for other reasons than any preference of the objects, and for reasons not taken at all from the objects. There is no necessity of supposing, that the mind does ever at all properly choose one of the objects be fore another ; either before it has taken, or afterwards. Indeed the man chooses to take or touch one rather than another ; but not because he chooses the thing taken or touched ; but from foreign considerations. The case may be so, that of two things offered, a man may, for certain reasons, choose and prefer the taking of that which he undervalues, and choose to neglect to take that which his mind prefers. In such a case, choosin- the thing taken, and choosing to take } are diverse: 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 chooses one action rather than another. And therefore the arguments which they bring, in order to be to their purpose, ought to be to prove that the mind chooses the action in perfect indifference, with respect to that action ; and not to prove that the mind chooses the action in perfect indifference with respect to the ob ject ; which is very possible, and yet the will not act at Sect. VII. ] Of Liberty of Indifference. 73 all without prevalent inducement, and proper prepon- deration. 2. Another reason of confusion and difficulty in this matter, seems to be, not distinguishing between a gene- ral 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 re spect to the next immediate act, viewed with its particu lar and present circumstances. A man may he perfect ly 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 it is first proposed that I should touch one of them, 1 may he 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 pro- gress in the affair. But yet, when I am actually come to the last step, and the very next thing to be determin* ed is, which is to be touched, having already determined that I will touch that which happens to be most in my eye or mind, and my mind being now fixed on a parti cular one, the act of touching that, considered thus im mediately, and in these particular present circumstances, is not what my mind is absolutely indifferent about. SECTION VII. Concerning the notion of Liberty of Will, con-* in Indifference. IAT has been said in the foregoing section, has a tendency in some measure to evince the ab surdity of the opinion of such as place Liberty in In difference, or in that equilibrium whereby the Will is without all antecedent determination or bias, and left hitherto free from any prepossessing inclination to one 74 Of Liberty of Indifference. [Part II. side or the other ; that the determination of the Will to either side may be entirely from itself, and that it may be owing only to its own power, and that sovereign ty which it has over itself, that it goes this way rather than that *. But inasmuch as this has been of such long- standing-, and has been so generally-received, and so much insisted on by Pelagians, Semi- Pelagians, Jesuits, Socinians, Armimanst) and others, it may deserve a more full con sideration ; and therefore I shall now proceed to a more particular and thorough enquiry into this notion. Now, lest some should suppose that I do not under stand 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 In difference, express themselves as though they would not be understood of the Indifference of the inclination or tendency of the will, but of, I know not what, Indiffer ence of the soul s power of willing ; or that the Will, with respect to its power or ability to choose, is indiffer- * Dr Whitby, and some other Arm mians, make a distinction of different kinds of freedom ; one of God, and perfect spirits above ; another of persons in a state of trial. The former, Dr Widtby allows to consist with necessity ; the latter he holds to be without necessi ty ; and this latter he supposes to be requisite to our beino- the sub jects of praise or dispraise, rewards or punishments, precepts and pro hibitions, promises and threats, exhortations and dchortations, and a covenant-treaty. And to this freedom he supposes indifference to be requisite. In his Discourse on the five Points, p. 209, 300, he says "It is a freedom (speaking of a freedom not only from co-action but from necessity) requisite, as we conceive, to render us capable of trial or probation, and to render our actions worthy of praise or dis praise, and our persons of rewards or punishments." And in the next page, speaking of the same matter, he says, Excellent to this pur- pose, are the words of Mr Tkomdikc :-&lt; \Ve say not, that In ^L tsrequwe to all freedom, out to the freedom of man alone in this state tf travail and proftcience: the ground of which isGed s tender of a treaty, and conditions of peace and reconcilement to fallen man, together with those precepts and prohibitions, those promts and threats] those exhorta tions and tMtortatwns, it is enforced vithS " Sect. VII.] Of Liberty of Indifference. 75 ent, can go cither way indifferent]) , either to the right hand or left, either act or forbear to act, one as well as the other. Though this seems to be a refining 1 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 gener al. And I wish such refiners would thoroughly consider, whether they distinctly know their own meaning 1 , when they make a distinction between indifference of the soul as to its power or ability of willing or choosing-, and the soul s indifference as to the preference or choice it self; and whether they do not deceive themselves in im agining that they have any distinct meaning at ull. The indifference of the soul as to its 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 tiie state which the soul itself, 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 inexplicablencss of this distinction ; let what will be sup posed 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, mz. that it is such an indifference as leaves the Will not determined already ; but free from actual pos session, 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 itself to be the determiner of the act that is to be the free act. And here I would observe, in thejirst place, that, to make out this scheme of Liberty, the indifference must be perfect and absolute ; there must be a perfect freedom from all antecedent prenonderation or inclination : be cause, if the Will be already inclined, before it exerts its own sovereign pow-er on itself, then. its inclination is 7 6 Of Liberty of Indifference. [Part II. not wholly owing to itself: if, when two oppo.sites are proposed to the soul for its choice, the proposal does not find the soul wholly in a state of indifference, then it is llot found in a state of Liberty for mere self-determina tion The least degree of an antecedent bias must be inconsistent with their notion of Liberty : for, so long as prior inclination possesses the Will, and is not removed, ft binds the Will ; so that it is utterly impossible that the Will should act otherwise than agreeably to it. ^ure- ly the Will cannot act or choose contrary to a remaining prevailing inclination of the Will. To suppose other- wise, would be the same thing as to suppose, that the Will is inclined contrary to its present prevailing inclin ation, or contrary to what it is inclined to. That which the Will chooses and prefers, that, all things considered, it preponderates and inclines to. It is equally impossi ble for the Will to choose contrary to its own remaining and present preponderating inclination, as it is to prefer contrary to its own present preference, or choose contrary to its own present choice. The Will, therefore, so long as it is under the influence of an old preponderating in clination, 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-determined 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 than that way to which it tends. If any one should say, there is no need that the in difference should be perfect; but although a former in clination and preference, still remains, yet, if it be not very strong and violent, possibly the strength of the Will may oppose and overcome it. This is grossly absurd ; for the strength of the Will, let it be never so great, does not^at all enable it to act one way, and not the contrary way, both at the same time. It gives it no such sover eignty and command, as to cause itself to prefer and not Sect. VII.] Of Liberty of Indifference. 77 to prefer at the same time, or to choose contrary to its own present choice. Therefore, if there be the least degree of antecedent preponderation of the Will, it must be perfectly aboli shed, 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 , be cause the will is not wholly at liberty in so doing 1 : its determination is not altogether from itself, but it was partly determined before, in its prior inclination : and ail the freedom of the will exercises in the case, as in an increase of inclination, which it gives itself, over and above what it had by foregoing- bias ; so much is from itself, and so much is from perfect indifference. For, though the will had a previous tendency that way. yet as to that additional degree of inclination, it had no tenden cy ; therefore the previous tendency is of no considera tion, 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 j for instance, gravitation towards the centre of the earth ; and has one degree of motion already, by virtue of that previous ten dency ; but, by its self-moving power, it adds one "de gree more to its motion, and moves so much more swift ly towards the centre of the earth than it would do by its gravity only : it is evident, that all that is owing to a self-moving* power in this case, is the additional degree of moti./n ; and that the other degree of motion which it had from gravity, is of no consideration in ihe case, does not help the effect of the free self moving power in ihe least : the effect is just the same, as if the body had received from itself 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 balance, which has a weight of one degree beyond the opposite scale ; and 1 we ascribe 3 78 Of Liberty of Indifference. [Part II. to it an ability to add to itself another degree of force the same way by its self-moving power ; this is just the same thing as to ascribe to it a power to give itself one degree of preponderation from a perfect equilibrium ; and so much power as the scale has to give itself an over balance from a perfect equipoise, so much self-moving, self-preponderating power it has, and no more: so that its free power this way is always to he measured from perfect equilibrium. I need say no more to prove, that if indifference bo essential to liberty, it must be perfect indifference ; and that so far as the will is destitute of this, so far it is des titute of that freedom by which it is its own master, and in a capacity of being its own determiner, without being at all passive, or subject to the power and sway of some thing else, in its motions and determinations* Having observed these things, let us now try whether this notion of the liberty of Will consisting in indiffer ence 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 un doubted 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 estate 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 exists 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 li berty. But if the soul is not, in the very time of the act, in the possession of liberty, it cannot at that time be in the use of it. Now the question is, whether ever the soul of man puts forth an act of will, while it yet remains in a state &gt; liberty, in that notion of a state of liberty, viz. as im plying a state oi 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 Sect. VII.] &f Liberty of Indifference. 79 one way more than another. The very putting of the question is sufficient to shew the absurdity of the affirm ative answer : for how ridiculous would it be for any body to insist, that the soul chooses 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 state of indifference, than motion can be in a state of rest, or than the preponder- ation of the scale of a balance can be in a state of equi librium. Motion may be the next moment after rest j but cannot co-exist with it, in any, even the least part of it. So choice may be immediately after a state of in difference, but has no co-existence with 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, \\\ 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 ex cludes and destroys the other, as much as motion and rest, light and darkness, or life and death. So that the will acts not at all, does not so much as be gin to act in the time of such liberty ; freedom is per fectly at an end, and has ceased to be, at the first mo ment of action ; and therefore liberty cannot 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. There fore it is manifest, that no liberty which the soul is pos 80 Of Liberty of Indifference, [Part II. ssed of or ever uses, in any of its acts of volition con- rt* IB 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 contradic- . ,7* any one should imagine that this manner of arguing is nothing but a trick and -delusion ; and to evade the reasoning, should say, that the thing wherein the will exercises its liberty, is not in the act ol choice or pre- lionderation itself, but in determining itself to a certain choice or preference; that the act of the Will wherein it is free, and uses its own sovereignty, consists in its causing or determining the change or transition from a state of indifference to a certain preference, or determin ing to give a certain turn to the balance, which has hitherto been even ; and that this act the will exerts in a state of liberty, or while the will yet remains in equi librium, and perfect master of itself. 1 say, if any one chooses 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 re mains in perfect equilibrium, without preference, deter mines to change itself from that state, and excite in it self a certain choice or preference. Now let us see whether this does not come to the same absurdity we had before. If it be so, that the Will, while it yet remains perfectly indifferent, determines to put itself out of that state, and give itself a certain preponderation ; then I would enquire, whether the soul does not determine this of choice , or whether the Will s coming to a determi* nation to do so, be not the same thing as the soufs co ining to a choice to do so. If the soul does not deter mine this of choice, or in the exercise of choice, then it does not determine it voluntarily ; and if the soul does not determine it voluntarily, or of its own will, then in what sense does its will determine it P And it the will does not determine it, then how is the Liberty of the Will exercised in the determination ? What sort of Sect. VIL] Of Liberty of Indifference. 81 will is exercised by the soul in those determinations, wherein there is no exercise of choice, which are not vo luntary, 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, chooses to put itself out of that state, and so turn itself one way; then the soul is already come to a choice, and chooses 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 choosing 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-, though it may a little hide the absurdity, in the obscuri ty 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 Indif ference, does not imply preference in it, but as what the will does in order to causing or producing a preference, is as much as to say, the soul chooses (for to will and to choose are the same things) without choice, and prefers without preference, in order to cause or produce the be ginning of a preference, or the first choice. And that is, that the first choice is exerted without choice, in order to produce itself. 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 stiil essential to the freedom of an act of will, in some sort, namely, as it is 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; stiil this will nofhelp the cause of Arminian Liberty, or make it consistent with itself. For if the act springs immediately out of a state of indifference, then it does not arise from ante cedent choice or preference. But if the act arises direct ly out of a state of Indifference, without any intervening 82 Of Liberty of Indifference. [Fart II. choice to choose 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, until 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 its choice in a state of Indifference, which is an inconsisten cy, or that the act of the will must spring immediately out of Indifference ; yet Indifference may be essential to the liberty of acts of tire 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, until there has been op portunity for proper deliberation ; I say, if any one ima gines that this helps the matter, it is a great mistake : it reconciles no inconsistency, and relieves no difficulty \vhich the affair is attended wi.h. For here the follow ing things mast be observed : 1. That this suspending of Volition, if there be pro perly any such thing, is itself an act of Volition. If the mind determines to suspend its act, it determines it vol untarily ; it chooses, on some consideration, to suspend it. And this choice or determination, is an act ol the will ; and indeed it is supposed to be so in the very hy pothesis : for it is supposed that the Liberty of the will consists in its Power to do this, and that its doing it is the very thing wherein the Will exercises its Liberty. But how can the will exercise Liberty in it, if it be not an act of the will ? The Liberty of the will is not ex ercised in any thing but what the will does. 2. I his determining to suspend acting is not only an act of the will, but it is supposed to be the only free act Sect, VII.] Of suspending Volition. 83 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 con sider in this controversy, about the Liberty of will, and in our enquiries, wherein the Liberty of man consists. And now the foremcntioned difficulties remain : the for mer question returns upon us ; viz. Wherein consists the freedom of the will in those dels wherein it is free ? And if this act of determining- a suspension he the only act in which the will i* free, then wherein consists the will s freedom with respect to this act of suspension ? And how is indifference essential to this act ? The an swer must be, according to what is supposed in the evasion under consideration, that the Liberty of the will in this act of suspension, consists in a Power to suspend even this act until there has been opportunity for tho rough deliberation. But this will be to plunge directly into the grossest nonsense : for it is the act of suspension itself that we are speaking of; and there is no room for a space of deliberation and suspension in order to deter mine whether we will suspend or no. For that sup poses, that even suspension itself may be deferred : which is absurd ; for the very deferring the determination of suspension, to consider whether we will stipend 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 there fore no possibility of avoiding either the one or the o- ther one moment. And besides, this is attended with ridiculous absur dity another way : for now it is come to that, that Li berty consists wholly in the mind s having Power to sus pend its determinat:on 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 en quire now, How Liberty, with respect to this act of sus pending a determination of suspension, consists in Indif- 84 Of suspending Volition. [Part II, ference, or how Indifference is essential to it. Hie 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 en- quiries return over again with respect to that ; and so on for ever ; 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 ; inasmuch as in explaining how, or in what respect the will is free with regard to a particular act of Volition, it is said, that its 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 sup posed in both the question and answer. The question is, Wherein consists the mind s Liberty in any particu lar act of Volition ? And the answer, in pretending to shew wherein lies the mind s Liberty in that act^ in ef fect says, it does not lie in that act at all, but in ano ther, viz. a Volition to suspend that act. And therefore the answer is both contradictory, and altogether imperti nent and beside the purpose : for it does riot shew where in the Liberty of the will consists in the act in question ; instead of that, it supposes it does not consist in that act at all, but in another distinct from it, even a Voli tion 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 an swer supposes the Liberty of the mind indeed consists, viz. the act of suspension, or of determining the suspen sion. On the whole, it is exceeding manifest, that the Li. berty of the mind does not consist in indifference, and that indifference is not essential or necessary to it, or at Sect. VIII,] Of Supposed Liberty. 85 all belonging to it, as the Armintans suppose ; that opinion being full of nothing but absurdity and self-con tradiction. SECTION VIII. Concerning the supposed Liberty of the Will, as opposite to all Necessity. IT is a thing chiefly insisted on by Armmians, 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 c.ontingence as op posite not only to constraint, but to all necessity ; there fore 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 neces sity of constraint or co-action, but also without a Neces* sity of consequence, or an infallible connection with any thing foregoing. 2. Whether, if it were so, this would at all help tho cause of Liberty. 1. I would consider whether volition is a thing that ever does, or can come to pass, in this manner, contin gently. And here it must be remembered, that it has been already shewn, that nothing can ever come to pass with out a cause, or reason why it exists in this manner rather than another ; and the evidence of this has been particu larly applied to the acts of the will. Now if thi* be so, it will demonstrably follow, that the acts of the will are never contingent, or without necessity in the sense spo ken of; inasmuch as those things which have a cause, or reason of their existence, must be connected with their cause. This appears by the following considera tions. I 86 Q/ Supposed Liberty [fart II. 1. For an event to have a cause and ground of its existence, and yet not to be connected with its cause, is an inconsistence. For if the event be not connected \yith the cause, it is not dependent on the cause ; its ex istence is as it were loose from its influence, and may attend it, or may not ; it being a mere centingence, whether it follows or attends the influence of the cause or not : and that is the same thing as not to be depend ent on it. And to say, the event is not dependent on its cause is absurd : it is the same thing as to say, it is not its cause, nor the event the effect of it ; for depend ence 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 de pendence 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 is 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 de pendence is not total, but partial, and that the effect, though 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 in fluence of the cause, or no ; it might have followed, and it might not, when the cause was the same, its influence the same, and under the same circumstances. And if so, why did it follow, rather than not follow ? There is Sect. VIII.] without all Necessity. 8? 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 eause is the same, and in every respect in the same state and circum stances. And what can be the cause and reason of this strange phenomenon, even this diversity, that in one in stance, the effect should follow, in another not ? It is evident by the supposition, that this is wholly without any cause or ground. Here is something in the present manner of the existence of things, and state of the world, that is absolutely without a cause. Which ia contrary to the supposition, and contrary to what haa been before demonstrated. 5. 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, if the effect be not necessarily connected with the cause, with its influence, and influential circumstance ; then, as I observed before, it is 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 circum stances which have any influence, are the same, it was followed with the effect. By which it is manifest, that the effect in this last instance was not owing to the in fluence 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. 88 Of supposed Liberty [Part II. 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 no thing. And if the effect be not owing to the influence of the cause, then it is not the clause. 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 its ex istence, 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 ; its 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 does not 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 ac tually 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 ef fect follows, it is not owing to that cause ; unless the different time be a circumstance which has influence : but that is contrary to the supposition ; for it is suppos ed 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 things being the cause. But if merely di versity of time has no influence, then it is evident that it is as much of an absurdity to say, the cause was suffi cient to produce the effect at one time, and not at ano ther$ as to say, that it is sufficient to produce the ef
fect at a certain time, and yet not sufficient to produce
the same effect at the same time.

On the whole, it is clearly manifest, that every effect
has a necessary connection with its cause, or with that

Sect. IX.] Of the Connection of the IVill 89

which is the true ground and reason of its existence.
And therefore if there he no event without a cause, as
was proved before, then no event whatsoever is contin
gent 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.

TT 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 neces
sity of consequence and connection ; because every Act
of the Will is some way connected with the understand
ing, and is as the greatest apparent good is, in the
manner which has already been explained : namely, that
the soul always wills or chooses that which, in the pre
sent view of the mind, considered in the whole of that
view, and all that belongs to it, appears most agreeable.
Because, as was observed before, nothing is more evi
dent than that when men act voluntarily, and do what
they pkase, then they do what appears most agreeable
to them ; and to say otherwise, would be as much as
to affirm, that men do not choose what appears to suit
them best, or what seems most pleasing to them ; or
that they do not choose what they prefer. Which brings

And it is very evident in itself, 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 Whilby and
Di Samuel Clark Dr Turnbull, though a great ene
my to the doctrine of Necessity, allows the same thing.
In his Christian Philosophy, (p. 196,) he with much

3

go Of the Connection of the Will [Part II.

approbation cites another philosopher, as of the same
mind, in these words : " No man, (says an excellent
philosopher) sets himself about any thing 1 , but upon
some view or other, which serves him for a reason for
what he does ; and whatsoever faculties he employs, the
understanding-, with such light as it has, well or ill-form
ed, constantly leads ; and by that light, true or false,
all her operative powers are directed. The will itself,
how absolute and incontroulable soever it may be thought,
never fails in its obedience to the dictates of the under
standing. 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
mens minds are the invisible powers that constantly go
vern them ; and to these they all pay universally a ready
submission."

But whether this be in a just consistence with them
selves, and their own notions of liberty, I desire may
now be impartially considered.

Dr. Whitly plainly supposes, that the Acts and De
terminations oi the Will always follow the Understand
ing s apprehension or view of the greatest good to be
obtained, or evil to be avoided, or, in other words, that
the Determinations of the Will constantly and infal-
Jibly follow these two things in the Understanding;
1. Ihe degree of good to be obtained, and evil to be a-
Yoidcd, proposed 10 the Understanding, and apprehend
ed, viewed, and taken notice of by it. 2 The decree
&lt;&gt;J tht 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 ex
ceeding peremptory in (as he is in every opinion which
ie Hia.ntanis in his controversy with the, Calvtnists)
with disdain of the contrary opinion, as absurd and self-
*&gt;n radictory, will appear by the following words of his,
in his Discourse on the Five Points*

v ow, it is certain, that what naturally makes the

* Seconded*, p. 211, gig, as.

Sect. IX.] JVitfi the Understanding. Ql

Understanding 1 to perceive, is evidence proposed, and
apprehended, considered or adverted to: tor nothing
else can be requisite to make us come to the knowledge
of the truth. Again, what makes the will choose, is
something approved by the Understanding, and conse
quently appearing to the soul as good. And whatso
ever it refuseth, is something represented by the Un
derstanding, 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 choose the good. Where
fore, to say that evidence proposed, apprehended and
considered, is not sufficient to make the Understanding
approve ; or that the greatest good proposed, the great
est evil threatened, when equally believed and reflected
on, is not sufficient to engage the Will to choose the
good and refuse the evil, is in effect to say, that which
alone doth move the Will, to choose or to refuse, is not
sufficient to engage it so to do; which being contradict
ory to itself, must of necessity be false. Be it then so,
that we naturally have an aversion 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 the good we are
to choose; 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 ap
prehend to be the worst of evils, will, whilst we do con
tinue under that conviction, be refused by us. It there
fore 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 5
and that the blessings of the Gospel should be so pro
pounded to us, as that we may discern them to be our
chiefest good ; and the miseries it threateneth, so as we

92 Of the Connection of the Will [Part II .

may be convinced that they are the worst of evils ; that
we may choose the one, and refuse the other.

Here let it be observed, How plainly and peremptorily
it is asserted, that the greatest good proposed, and the
Greatest evil threatened, when equally believed and reflec
ted on, is sufficient to engage the Will to choose the good,
and refuse the evil, and is -that alone which doth move
the Will to choose or to refuse ; and that it is contradic
tory to itself, to suppose otherwise ; and therefore must of
necessity be false , and then what we do really believe to
be our chief est good will still be chosen, and what we ap
prehend to" be the worst evils, will, whilst we continue un
der that conviction, be refused by us. Nothing could have
been said more to the purpose, fully to signify and de
clare, that the determinations of the will must evermore
follow the illumination, conviction, and notice of the un
derstanding, 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 Ca/vinists ; 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 at
tended lo, infallibly to obtain the end. But whatever
his design was, nothing can more directly and fully
prove, that every determination of the Will, in choosing
and refusing, is necessary ; directly contrary to his own,
notion of the liberty of the Will. For if the determin
ation of the Will, evermore, in this manner, follows the
light, conviction and view of the understanding, concern
ing the greatest good and evil, and this be that alone
which oioves the Will, and it be a contradiction to sup*

Sect. IX.] With the Understanding. 93

pose otherwise ; then it is necessarily so, the Will neces
sarily follows this light or view of the understanding 1 , not
only in some of its acts, but in every act of choosing and
refusing 1 . So that the will does not determine itself in
any one of its own acts ; but all its acts, every act of
choice and refusal depends on, and is necessarily con
nected with, some antecedent cause ; which cause is not
the will itself, nor any act of its own, nor any thing per
taining to that faculty, but something belonging to
another faculty, whose acts go before the will, in all its
acts, and govern and determine them every one.

Here, if it should be replied, that although 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 neces
sary ; because that conviction and notice of the under
standing is first dependent on a preceding act of the will,
in determining to attend to, and take notice of the evi
dence 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 preceding
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 at
tention of the mind to it.

Nothing can be more weak and inconsiderate than
such a reply as this. For that preceding act of the will,
in determining to attend and consider, still is an act of
the Wilt (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 choose or
refuse. And therefore the will must be moved by that

94 Of the Connection of Ihe Will [Part IT..

in choosing 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 sup
pose another act of the will, still preceding both these
mentioned, to determine both, still that also must be an
act of the will, and an act of choice ; and so must, by the
same principles, be infallibly determined by some certain
degree of light in the understanding concerning the
greatest good. And let us suppose as many acts of the
will, one preceding 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 IVhitbi/s notion of
freedom. And if it be said, the reason why men do not
attend to light held forth, is because of ill habits con
tracted by evil acts committed before, whereby their
minds are indisposed to attend to, and consider of, the
truth held forth to them by God, the difficulty is not at
all avoided : still the question returns, what determined
the will in those preceding evil acts ? It must, by Dr
Whitbifs principles, still be the vievr of the understand
ing concerning the greatest good and evil. If this view
of the understanding be that alone which doth move the
will to choose or refuse, as the Doctor asserts, then 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 its acts, from a man s first ex
istence, by a cause beside the will, and a cause that does
not 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 atone stroke, has cut
the sinews of all his arguments from the goodness,
righteousness , faithfulness and sincerity of God, in his
commands, promises, threatenings, calls, invitations, ex
postulations ; which he makes use of, under the heads of
reprobation, election, universal redemption, suiHcient

Sect. IX.] With the Understanding. Q5

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 its necessary connection
with the last dictate of the understanding, supposes the
latter not to be diverse from the act of the will itself.
But if it be so, it will not alter the case as to the evi
dence 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 sup
poses, 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 cannot prevent it. If the last dictate of the un.
derstanding be the same with the determination of voli.
tion itself, then the existence of that determination
must be necessary as to volition ; inasmuch as volition
can have no opportunity to determine whether it shall
exist or no, it having existence already before volition
has opportunity to determine any thing. It is itself the
very rise and existence of volition. But a thing, after
it exists, has no opportunity to determine as to its own
existence ; it is too late for that.

If liberty consists in that which Arminians suppose,
viz. in the will s determining its own acts, having free
opportunity, and being without all necessity ; this is the
same as to say, that liberty consists in the soul s havino*
power and opportunity to have what determinations of
the will it pleases or chooses. And if the determina
tions of the will, and the last dictates of the understand
ing be the same thing, then liberty consists in the
mind^s having power to have, what dictates of the un-

Edit. VI. p. 93.

QQ Of the Connection of the Will [Part II.

derstanding it pleases, having- opportunity to choose its
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
cannot consist with the dictate of understanding s being
the determination of choice itself.

Here is no way to do in- this case, but only to recur
to the old absurdity of one determination before another,
and the cause of it ; and another before that, determin
ing- that ; and so on in infinitum. If the last dictate of
the understanding be the determination of the will itself,
and the soul be free with regard to that dictate, in the
Arminian notion of freedom ; then the soul, before that
dictate of its understanding exists, voluntarily, ?and ac
cording to its own choice determines, in every case,
what that dictate of the understanding shall be ; other
wise 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,
choosing and determining what that dictate of the un
derstanding shall be : and this preceding 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 de
termination of the will be the same, this confounds the
understanding and will, and makes then, the same.
Whether they be the same or no, 1 will not now dispute -
but only would observe, that if it be so, and the Armi-
man notion of hberty consists in a self-determining
power in the understanding, free of all necessity ; bein*
independent, undetermined by any thing prior to its own"
acts and determinations; and the* more the understand-
ng is thus independent, and sovereign over its own de
terminations the more free. By this therefore the free-
dom of the soul as a moral agent, must consist in the
independence of the understanding on any evidence or

Sect. IX.] With the Understanding. 97

appearance of things, or any thing whatsoever, that
stands forth to the view of the mind, prior to the under
standing s determination. And what a sort of liberty
is that ! consisting in an ability, freedom, and easiness
of judging, either according to evidence, or against it ;
having a sovereign command over itself at all times, to
judge, either agreeably or disagreeably to what is plainly
exhibited to its own view. Certainly, it is no liberty
that renders persons the proper subjects of persuasive
reasoning, arguments, expostulations, and such-lika
moral means and inducements. The use of which with
mankind is a main argument of the Armimans, to de
fend their notion of liberty without all necessity. For
according to this, the more free men are, the less they
are under the government of such means, less subject to
the power of evidence and reason, and more independent
on their influence, in their determinations.

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 neces
sity} the free will is not determined by the understand
ing, nor necessarily connected with the understanding;
and the further from such connection, the greater
the freedom. And when the liberty is full and com
plete, the determinations of the will have no connection
at all with the dictates of the understanding. And if so,
in vain are all the applications to the understanding, in
order to induce to any free virtuous act ; and so in vain
are all instructions, counsels, invitations, expostulations,
and all arguments and persuasives whatsoever : for these
are but applications to the understanding, and a clear
and lively exhibition of the objects of choice to the mind s
view. But if, after all, the will must be self-determin
ed, and independent on the understanding, to what pur
pose are things thus represented to the understanding,
in order to determine the choice ?

K

98 Acts of the Will [Part II.

SECTION X.

Volition necessarily connected tuith the Influence
of Motives ; with particular Observations on
the great Inconsistence of Mr Chubb s Asser
tions and Reasonings about the Freedom of the
Will

THAT every act of the will has some cause, and con
sequently (by what has been already proved) has a
necessary connection with its cause, and so is necessary
by a necessity of connection and consequence, is evident
by this, that every act of the will whatsoever is excited
by some motive ; which is manifest, because, if the will
or mind, in willing and choosing after the manner that
it does, is excited so to do by no motive or inducement,
then it has no end which it proposes to itself, or pur
sues in so doing; it aims at nothing, and seeks nothing,
and if it seeks nothing, then it does not go after any
thing, or exert any inclination or preference towards any
thing. Which brings the matter to a contradiction ; be
cause for the mind to will something, and for it to go
after something by an act of preference ami inclination,
are the same thing

But if every act of the will is excited by a motive, then
that motive is the cause of 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 proper-
Jy 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 the notion of an effect, something that is
brought to pass by the influence of another thing.

And if volitions are properly the effects of tlieir Mo
tives, then they are necessarily connected with their
Motives. Every effect and event being as was proved

Sect. X.] Connected with Motives. 99

before necessarily connected with that, which is the pro
per ground and reason of its existence. Thus it is ma
nifest, that volition is necessary, and is not from any self-
determining power in the will : the volition which is
caused by previous Motive and inducement, is not caus
ed by the will exercising a sovereign power over itself,
to determine, cause and excite volitions in itself. This
is not consistent with the wilTs acting in a state of in
difference and equilibrium, to determine itself to a pre
ference i 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 advan
ced a scheme of liberty, which is greatly divided against
itself, and thoroughly subversive of itself; and that many
ways.

1. He is abundant in asserting, that the will, in all its
acts, is influenced by Motive and excitement ; and that
this is the previous ground and reason of all its 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. 563. Volition cannot take place
without some PREVIOUS reason or Motive to induce
it. And in page -310. Action would not take place
without some reason or Motive to induce it ; it being ab
surd 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 these,
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,
25:*, 254, 255, 261, 262 263, 264.

And yet the same time, by his scheme, the influence
of Motives upon us to excite to action, and to be act
ually 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 chooses to bo

100 Connected with Motives. [Part II.

so. It chooses, whether it will comply with the Motive
which presents itself in view, or not ; and when various
motives are presented, it chooses* which it will yield to,
and which it will reject. So p 25G. Every man has
power to act, or to refrain from acting agreeable with,

or contrary to any motive that presents. P. 257

Every Man is at liberty to act, or refrain from acting ,
agreeably with, or contrary to what each of these motives,
considered singly, would excite him to Man has poiv-
er, and is as much at lileity to reject the motive, that
does prevail, as h lias power, and is at liberty to reject,
those motives that do not. And so p. &10, 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 acts tirst, and chooses or refuses to comply
with the motive that is presented, before it falls under
its prevailing- influence : and it is first determined by the
mind s pleasure or choice, what motives it will be indu
ced by, before it is induced by them.

Now, how can these things hang together ? How
ran the mind first act, and by its act of volition and
choice determine, what Motives shall be the ground and
reason of its volition and choice? For this supposes the
and that the volition is already exerted, before the mo
tive prevails, so as actually to be the ground of the voli
tion ; and makes the prevailing of the motive, the con
sequence 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 its excitement, it does not need to yield
to it after this : for the thing is effected already, that
the motive would excite to, and the will is beforehand
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 zw-
mteato a thing, that implies, and in fact is a choosing
the thing invited too , and the very act of choice is be*

Sect. X.] Scheme of "Liberty Sfc 101

fore the influence of the motive which induces, and is
the ground of the choice ; the son is beforehand 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 con
sequence 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 its influence, and the prevailing of
the motive upon it to induce it to act and choose, be the
fruit and consequence of its 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, voli
tion cannot take place without some PREVIOUS rea
son and motive to induce it ; and that this act is conse
quent upon, and follows the motive ? Which things
Mr Chubb often asserts, as of certain and undoubted
truth. 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. Agreeable to the forementioned inconsistent no
tion of the will s first acting towards the motive, choos
ing whether it will comply with it, in order to its becom
ing a ground of the wilPs acting, before any act of voli
tion 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 unin
telligible, and void of distinct and consistent meaning,
in all the writings of Duns Scotus, or Thomas Aquinas.
When lie represents the motive to action or volition as
passive, he must mean passive in that affair, or passive
with respect to that ar.tion, which he speaks of; other
wise it is nothing to his purpose, or relating to the de
sign of his argument : he must mean, (ii that can be
called a meaning) that the motive to volition is first
acted upon or towards by the volition, choosing- to jieid
to it, making it a ground of action, or determining to
3

Inconsistence of Mr Chubb* s [Part IL

fetch its influence from thence ; and so to make it a pre
vious ground of its 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 its exis
ting, choose what cause it would come into existence by,
and should act upon its cause, to fetch influence from
thence, to bring it ink) being-, and so its cause should
be a passive ground of its existence !

Mr Chubb does very plainly suppose motive or ex
citement to be the ground of the bring of volition. He
speaks of it as the ground or reason of the EXERTIOM
of an act of the will, p. 391, and 392 ; and expressly
says, that volition cannot TAKE PLACE without
some previous ground or motive to induce it, p. 3(H
And he speaks of the act as FROM the motive and
FROM THE INFLUENCE of the motive, p. 552 ;
and from the influence that the motive has on the man, for
the PRODUCTION of an action, p. 317. Certainly
easily judged, whether motive can be the ground of vo-
lition^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 vo
lition, is passive or acted upon by the volition. But
this I will say, that a man, who insists so much on clear
ness 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 man should suppose, that Mr Chubb, when he
speaks of Motive as a passive ground of action, does
not mean passive with regard to that volition which it
is the ground of, but some other antecedent volition
(though 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
the soul chooses to yield to the invitation of

Sect. X.] Scheme of Liberty*. 103

motive to another volition, by which the soul choases
something else ; both these supposed volitions are in
effect the very same. A volition, or choosing to yield
to the force of a motive inviting to choose something,
comes to just the same thing as choosing the thing,
which the motive invites to, as I observed before. So
that here can be no room to help the matter, by a dis
tinction 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 cannot take place, without a
motive or excitement, as a previous ground of its exis
tence. 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 if every volition must have a previous
motive, then the veryjirst in the whole series must be
excited by a previous motive ; and yet the motive to
that first volition is passive ; but cannot be passive with
regard to another antecedent volition, because, by the
supposition, it is the very first : therefore if it be pas
sive with respect to any volition, it must be so with re
gard to that very volition that it is the ground of, and
that is excited by it.

III. Though 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 superior strength of the motive that is
followed, beyond motives to the contrary, previous to
the volition itself. His own words, p. 258, are as fol
lows : " Though with regard to physical causes, that
which is strongest always prevails, yet it i 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

104 Incomistence of Mr Chubb s [Puii II.

action, or to the refraining from acting 1 : which excite
ments 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 mo
tive, unless by strongest we preposterously mean ac
tually prevailing in the event ; which is not in the mo
tive, hut in the will ; but that the will is not always de
termined by the motive, which is strongest, by any
strength previous to the volition itself. And he else
where does abundantly assert, that the will is determined
by no superior strength or advantage that motives have,
from any constitution or state of things, or any circum
stances 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 thete things cannot stand together. There is
such a thing as a diversity of strength in motives to
choice, previous to the choice itself. 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 ten
dency to induce and dispose to volition, previous to vo
lition itself. 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 le^s ; 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 does not follow the motive
which is strongest, or has most previous tendency or ad
vantage, 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 ?

Sect. X.] Scheme of Liberty. 103

contrary to what the same author supposes. The act,
wherein the will must proceed without a previous motive
to induce it, is the act of preferring the weakest motive.
For how ahsurd it is to say, the mind sees previous rea
son in the motive, to prefer that motive before the other;
and at the same time to suppose, that there is nothing 1
in the motive, in its nature, state, or any circumstance
of it whatsoever, as it stands in the previous view of the
mind, that gives it any preference ; but on the contrary 9
the other motive that stands in competition with it, in
all these respects, has most belonging to it, that is in
viting 1 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 mo
tives, which tend to preference, previous to the act of
preference, it is not in that which is preferred, but whol
ly in the other : because appearing superior strength,
and all appearing preferableness is in that ; and yet Mr
Chubb supposes, that the act of preference is from pre
vious 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 fol
lowing, 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 its existence, not only that has no existence to it, but
a contrary 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 i the immediate
antecedent is the view the mind has of the two rival mo
tives conjunctly ; in which previous view of the mind,
all the preferableness, or previous tendency to prefer
ence, is supposed to be on the other side ? or in the cou~

1 06 Inconsistence of Mr Chubb s [ Part IL

trary motive ; and all the unworthiness of preference,
and so previous tendency to comparative neglect, rejec
tion or undervaluing 1 , is "on that side which is preferred :
and yet in this view of the mind is supposed to be the
previous ground or reason of this act of preference, ex
citing it, and disposing the mind to it. Which, 1 leave
the reader to judge, whether it be absurd or not. If it
be not, then it is not absurd to say, that the 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 an event, yea, a ten
dency 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 inferior 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 appe
tite to one than the other ; and there be no circumstan
ces or excitements whatsoever in the case to induce him.
to take either the one or the other, but merely his appe
tite : if in the choice he makes between them, he chooses
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 comparative act, attending and following a comparative
view of the food which he chooses, 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 bej any principle in man, from whence an act of
choice may arise after this manner, from the same prin
ciple volition may arise wholly without motive on either
[f the mind in its volition can go beyond motive,

Sect. X.] Scheme of Liberty. 107

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 its influence, and so without motive. If
Volition goes beyond the strength and tendency of motive,
and especially if it goes against its tendency, this demon
strates the independence of volition or motive. And if
so, no reason can be given for what MrChubb so often
asserts, even that in the nature of things volition can
not take place without a motive to induce it.

If the Most High should endow a balance with agen
cy or activity of nature, in such a manner, that when un
equal weights are put into the scales, its agency could
enable 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 ba
lance does not depend on weights in the scales, at least
as much as if the balance should move itself, when there
is no weight in either scale. And the activity of the
balance which is sufficient to move itself, 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 cannot 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 virtually to
suppose an entire dependence of the will on motives : if
it were not wholly dependent on them, it could surely
help itself a little without them, or help itself 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 mo
tives, can use them as it pleases, and choose its own in
fluence 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 mo
tive, thus : if it be, as he supposes, that the will is not
determined by any previous superior strength of the mo-

10 S Scheme of Liberty [PartlL

live but determines and chooses its 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 on either of the motives ; for all that is
previously in the motives, is supposed precisely and per-
fectly the same, without any diversity whatsoever. Now
perfect identity, as to all that is previous in the antece
dent, cannot be the ground and reason of diversity in
the consequent. Perfect identity in the ground cannot
be a reason why it is not followed with the same conse
quence. 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
withoutsome motive to induce it, which previously dis
poses the mind to it ; yet, as he also insists that the
mind, without reference to any superior strength of mo
tives, picks and chooses for its motive to follow ; he him
self 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

IV. Mr Chubb supposes necessity to be utterly in
consistent with agency : and that to suppose a being to
an agent in that which is necessary, is a plain contradic
tion. P. 311, end throughout his discourses on the sub
ject of Liberty, he supposes, that necessity cannot con
sist with agency or freedom ; and that to suppose other
wise, is to make Liberty and Necessity, Action and Pas
sion, the same thing. And so he seems to suppose,
that there is no action, strictly speaking, but volition; and
that as to the effect of volition in body or mind, in them
selves 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 itself is the effect

Sect. X.] Scheme of Liberty, SfC. 109

of volition : yea, every act of free volition : and there
fore every act of free volition must, by what has now
been observed from him, be necessary. That every act
of free volition is itself the effect of volition, is abundant
ly supposed by him. In p. 341, he says, " If a man is
such a creature as I have 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

CHOSEN and done the contrary." Here he supposes,

all that is good or evil in man is the effect of his choice ;
and go that his good or evil choice itself is the effect of
his pleasure or choice, in these words, he might, if he
" Though it be highly reasonable, that a man should al
ways choose the greater good, yet he may, if he
PLEASE, caoosE otherwise." Which is the same thing
as if he had said, he twctj/, if he chooses, choose otherwise.
And then he goes on,-" that is, lie may, if he pleases,
vhoose what is good for himself, &c." And again in the
same page, ** The will is not confined by the understand
ing, to any particular sort of good, whether greater or
less ; but is at liberty to choose what kind of good it
pleases" If there be any meaning in the last words^
the meaning must be this, that the Will is at liberty to
choose what kind of good it chooses to choose ; supposing
the act of choice itself determined by an antecedent
choice. The liberty Mr Chubb speaks of, is not only a
man s having power to move his body agreeably to an
antecedent act of choice, but to use or exert the facul
ties of his soul. Thus, in p. 379, speaking of the facul
ties 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, arid antecedent to, those acts thus chosen, direct
ing, 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 con-
L

1 1 Scheme of Liberty, 8fc* [Part II.

sists his liberty ; he can give or deny himself that plea
sure, a* he pleases" And p. 377. If ) the actions of
men ar e 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 re
ward or punishment, according as he CHOOSES tb behave
himself." Here, in these last words, he speaks of Li
berty of choosing according as he CHOOSES. So that the
behaviour which he speaks of as subject to his choice, is
his choosing itself, as well as his external conduct con
sequent upon it. And therefore it is evident, he means
not only external actions, but the acts of choice them
selves, 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 exerted, lo be the produce of an antece
dent act of choice. But I hope 1 need not labour at all
to convince my readers, that it is an absurdity to say,
the \eryjirst act is the produce of another act that went
before it.

2. If it were both possible and real, as Mr Chubb in
sists, that every free act of choice were the produce or
the effect of a free act of choice ; yet even then, accord
ing 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-mov
ing power is exerted, it becomes the necessary cause of

Stct. X.] Scheme of Liberty, Sfc, 1 1 1

its 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 bo
an infinite number of free acts in succession, without any
beginning, in an agent that has a beginning. And there
fore 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, &lt;^c.

V. Mr Chubb does most strenuously deny, that mo
tives 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. 589 and 389, are u If the
moving principle in man is MOVED, or CAUSED TO BE
E,xi RTh,D, by something external to man, which all mo
tives arc, then it would not be a self-moving principle,
seeing it would be moved by a principle external to it
self. And te say,*that a self-moving principle is MOVED r or
CAUSED TO BE EXERTED, by a cau^e external to itself, is
absurd and a contradiction, &c. And in the next page,
it is particularly and largely insisted, that motives are
causes in no case, that they are. merely passive in the pro
duction of action, and have no causality in the produc
tion of it, no causality, to be the cauae of the exertion
of the will.

Now I desire it may be considered, how this can
possibly consist with what he says in other places. Let
it be noted here.

1. Mr Chubb abundantly speaks of motives as excite
ments 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, ru-

112 Inconsistence of Mr Chubb s [Part II.

lition cannot take place without motives to excite it. But
now, if motives excite the will, they move it; and yet
he says, it is absurd to say, the will is moved by mo
tives. And again, if language is of any significancy at
all, if motives excite volition, then they are the cause of
its bein"- excited ; and to cause volition to Ire excited,
is to cause it to be put forth or exerted. Yea, Mr Chubb
says himself, p, 317, motive is necessary to the extrtion
of the active faculty. To excite, is positively to do
something; an(1 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
le excited. To excite, is to be a cause, in the most pro
per sense, not merely a negative occasion, but a ground
of existence by positive influence. The notion of ex-
citing* 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
grcund and reason of a thing by its influence, an in
fluence 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 expressly 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 influence 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, it is absurd and a contradiction, to say they are
causes.

4. In the same page, he once and again speaks erf

Sect. X. ] Scheme of Liberty, 8fc. 1 1 3

motives, as disposing the Agent to action, by their in-
fluence. His 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 REA
SON to DISPOSE the mind to action : so from hence
it plainly appears, that when a man is said to he disposed
to one action rather than another, this properly signi
fies the PREVAILING INFLUENCE that one mo-
tive has upon a man FOR THE PRODUCTION of
an action, or for the being at rest, before all other mo
tives, for the production of the contrary. For as mo
tive is the ground and reason of any action, so the mo
tive that prevails DISPOSES the agent to the perform
ance of that action. 1 "

Now, if motive 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 he the cause of an act of the will. And
yet this same Mr Chubb holds it to be absurd, to sup
pose 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 inconsistencies. Motives are
the previous ground and reason of the acts of the will ;
yea. the necessary ground and 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 tlie 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 mind to it ;
and yet it is* 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 excited by it, or that it has any causality in
the production of iL 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 inconsistencies wjii^h the no-

114 God certainly foreknows [Part II.

tion 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 consistent with the influence of
motives in volition. And as it is in a manner self-evi
dent, that there can be no act of will, choice, or prefer
ence 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 it is 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 GocVs Certain Foreknowledge
of the Volitions of Moral Agents.

FTpHAT the acts of the will s 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 ihejirst place
prove, that God has a certain foreknowledge of the vo
luntary acts of moral Agents ^ and secondly, shew the
consequence, or how it follows from hence, that the Vo
litions or 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 A-
gents.

One would think, it should be wholly needless to en
ter on such an argument with any that profess them
selves Christians : but so it is ; God s certain foreknow
ledge of the free acts of moral Agents, is denied by

Sect. XL] the Volitions of moral Agents. 115

some th.it 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 myself herein to have to do with
sucli as own the truth of the Bible.

Arg. I. My Jirst argument shall be taken from Gftd s
prediction of such events. Here I would, in the first
place, lay down these two things as axioms.

(1.) If God does not foreknow, He cannot foretell
such events ; that is, He cannot peremptorily and cer
tainly foretell them. If God has no more than an un
certain guess concerning events of this kind, then he can
declare no more than an uncertain guess. Positively to
foretell, is to profess to foreknow, to declare positive
foreknowledge.

(2.) If God does not certainly foreknow the future
Volitions of moral Agents, then neither can He cer
tainly foreknow those events which are consequent andi
dependent on these Volitions. The existence of the
one depending on the existence of the other, the know
ledge of the existence of the one depends on the know
ledge of the existence of the other; and the one cannot
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 ; though they should extend to an alteration of
the state of things through the universe, and should be
continued in a st-ries of successive events to all eterni
ty, 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 Vo
lition 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.

1 16 Cod certainly foreknows [Part II.

These positions being such as, I suppose, none will
deny, I now proceed to observe the following ^things.

l". Mens moral conduct and qualities, their virtues
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. lam sure that the
King of Egypt will not Jet you go. Here God ^ pro
fesses not only to guess at, but to know, Pharaoh s fu
ture disobedience. In chap. vii. 4. God says, but Pha
raoh shall iwt 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, 1 KNOW
that ye will not fear the Lord. See also chap. xi. 9.
The moral conduct of Josiah, by name, in his zealously
exerting himself in opposition to idolatry, in particular
acts of his, was foretold above three hundred years be
fore he was born, and the propbecy sealed by a miracle,
and renewed and confirmed by the words of a second
prophet, as what surely would not fail, 1 Kings-JLiii, 1
(&gt;, 52. This prophecy was also in effect a prediction of
the moral conduct of the people, in upholding their
schismatical and idolatrous worship until that time, and
the idolatry of those priests of the high places, which it
is foretold Josiah 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 choosing 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, in that
cruelty he should be guilty of; on which Hazael says,
What, iathy servant a dog, that he should do this thing ?
The prophet speaks of the event as what he kwew, and
not what he conjectured, 2 Kings viii. 12. "I know
the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel :
Thou wilt dash their children, and rip up their women
with child. 1 I he moral conduct of Cyrus is foretold,
long before he had a being, in his mercy to God s peo-

Sect. XL] the Volitions of Moral Agents. 117

pie, and regard to the true God, in turning 1 the capti
vity of the Jews, and promoting 1 the building of the
Temple, Isa. xHv. 28 and Ixv. 13 Compare 2 Chron.
xxxi. 22, 23. and Ezra i. 1 -4. How many instances
of the niferal conduct of the Kings of the North and
South) particular instances of the wicked behaviour of
the Kings of Syria and Egypt, are foretold in the xith
chapter of Daniel ? Their corruption, violence, rob
bery, treachery and lies. And particularly, how much
ig foretold of the horrid wickedness of Antiochus Epi-
phanes, called there a vile person, instead of Epiphanes,
or illustrious. In that chapter, and also in chapter
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 cove
nant, setting his heart against it, and conspiring against
it, his polluting the sanctuary of strength, treading it
under foot, taking away the daily sacrifice, and placing
the abomination that uiakcth desolate ; his great pride,
magnifying himself against God, and uttering marvel
lous blasphemies against Him, until God in indignation
should destroy him. Withal, the moral conduct of the
Jews on occasion of his persecution, is predicted. It is
foretold, that h$should corrupt many by flatteries, chap. xi. 32 34. But that others should behave with a glo rious constancy and fortitude, in opposition to him, ver. 32, And that some good men should fall and repent, Ver. 35. Christ foretold Peters sin, in denying his Lord, with its circumstances, in a peremptory manner. And so, that great sin of Judas, in betraying his Master, and its dreadful and eternal punishment in hell, was foretold in the like positive manner, Matthew xxvi. 21 25, and parallel places in the other evangelists. 2. Many events have been foretold by God, which are consequent and dependent on the moral conduct of particular persons, and were accomplished, either by their virtuous or vicious actions,- Tims, the children of 118 God certainly foreknows [Part II. Israelis going down into Egypt to dwell there, was fore told to Abraham, Gen. xv. which was brought about by the wickedness of Joseplis brethren in selling him, and the wickedness of Joseph s mistress, and his own signal virtue in resisting her temptation. The accomplish ment of the thing prefigured in Joseph s dream, depended on the same moral conduct. Jotham s parable and pro phecy, Judges ix. 15 20. was accomplished by. the* wicked conduct of Abimelech, and the men of Shcchem. The prophecies against the house of Eli, 1 Sam. chap, ii. and iii. were accomplished by the wickedness of Doeg the Edomite, in accusing the priests ; and the great im piety, 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 fulfilled 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 fulfilled by Jeroboam s rebellion and usurpation, which was spoken of as his wickedness, 2 Chron. xiii. 5, 6, compare ver. 18. The prophecy against Jeroboam s family, 1 Kings xiv. was fulfilled by the conspiracy, treason, and cruel murders of Haasha, 2 Kings xv. 27, &c. The predictions of the prophet Jehu against the house of Baasha, 1 Kings xvi. at the beginning, were fulfilled by the treason and parricide of Zimri, 1 Kings xvi. 913, 20. 3. How often has God foretold the future moral con duct of nations and people, of numbers, bodies, and suc cessions of men : with God s judicial proceedings, and many other events consequent and dependent on their virtues and vices ; which could not be foreknown, if the volitions of men, wherein they acted a moral Agents, had not b-en foreseen ? The future cruelty of the Egyptians 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 ini* quity of the Amorites and the increase of it until it should Sect. XI.] The Volitions of Moral Agents. be full, and they ripe for destruction, was foretold above four hundred years before-hand, Gen. xv. 16. Acts vii. 6, 7. The prophecies of the destruction of Jerusalem, and the land of Judah, were absolute, 2 King s 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 He- zekiah s days. It was foretold in Josiah s time, in the beginning of a great reformation, 2 Kings xxii. And it is manifest by innumerable things in the prediction of the prophets, relating to this event, its time, its circum stances, its continuance and end ; the return from the captivity, the restoration of the temple, city, and 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 mens moral con duct : 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 Jews. That great event is often spoken of as sus pended on this, Jer. iv. 1. and v. 1. vii l--7. xi. 1 6. xvii. 25, to the end. xxv. 17. xivi. 19, 13, and xxxviii. 17, 18. Therefore this destruction and capti vity could not be foreknown, unless such a moral con duct of the Chaldeans and Jews had been foreknown. And then it was foretold, that the people shvidd be final ly obstinate, to the destruction and utter desolation of the city and land. Isa. vi. 9 ll. Jer. i. IS, 19. vii. 2729. Ezek. iii. 7. and Xxir. 13, 14 The final obstinacy of those Jews who were left in the land of Israel, in their idolatry and rejection of the true Ood, was foretold by God. and the prediction confirmed with an oath, .Jer. xliv. 26, 27. And God tells the people, Isa. 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. 120 God certainty forelmous. [Part II. The destruction of Babylon, with many of the circum stances of it, was foretold, 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, hefore any of these monarchs had a being ; /set. chap, xiii xiv. xlvii. compare Hob. ii. 5. to the end, and Jer. chap. 1. and li. That Baby/oil s destruction was to b a recompence, according to the works of their own hands, appears by Jer. xxv. 14. .The immorality with which the people of Babylon, and particularly her prin ces and great men, were guilty of, that very night that the city was destroyed, their revelling and drunkenness at Belshazzafs idolatrous feast, was foretold, Jer. li. 39, 57. The return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity is often very particularly foretold, with many circumstan ces, and promises of it are very peremptory ; Jer. xxxi. 3, 40 xxxii. 615, 41- 44. and xxxiii. 24 26. And the very time of their return was prefixed ; Jer. 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 itself is very expressly and particularly foretold, Jer. xxix. 12, 15, 14. xxxi. 8, 9, 18 51. xxxiii. 8. 1. 4, 5. Ezek. vi. 8, 9, 10. vii. 16. xiv. 29. 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, Psalm xxii. applied to Christ in the New Testament, Matt, xxvii. 55, 4^. Luke xxiii. 54. John xix. 24. Heb. ii. 12. And likewise in Psalm Ixix, which, it is also evi dent by the New Testament, is spoken of Christ ; John xv. 25. vii. 5, &c. and ii. 17. Rom. xv. 3. Matt, xxvii. 34, 48. Mark xv. 23. John xix. 29. The same thing is also foretold, Isa. liii. ?nd 1. 6. and Mic. v. 1. This cruelty f men was their sin, and what they acted as mo- Sect. XL] the Volitions of moral Agents. 121 ral Agents. It was foretold, that there should be an union of Heathen and Jewish rulers against Christ, Psalm ii. 1, 2. compared with Acts iv. 25 28. It was foretold, that the Jews should generally reject and des pise the Messiah, Isa. xlix. 5, 6, 7. and liii. 1- 3. Psalm xxii. (3, 7. and Ixix. 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 ob stinacy in sin ; Isa. xlix. 4 7. and viii. 14, 15, 16. com pared with Rom. x. 19. and Isa. Ixv. 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 Jews, Psalm cxviii. 22. compared with Matt. 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 cru cified, (Matt. xvi. 21. and xx. 1719. Luke ix. 22. John viii. 28,) and that the people should be concerned in and consenting to his death, (Luke xx. 13 IS.) es pecially the inhabitants of Jerusalem ; Luke xiii. 33 36. He fore-told, that the disciples should all be offend ed because of Him that night that he was betrayed, and should forsake him ; Matt. xxvi. 51. John. xvi. 32. He foretold, that He should be rejected of that genera tion, 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 41. xx. 1318. and xxiii. 5439. As it was foretold in both Old Testament and New, that the Jews should reject the Messiah, so it was fore told 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 Jews should envy the Gentiles on this account; Dent, xxxii. 21. compared to Rom, x. 19. Christ himself often foretold M 122 God certainly foreknows Part II, that the Gentiles would embrace the true religion, and become his followers and people; Matt. viii. 10, 11. 12. xxi. 4143. and xxii. 810. Luke xin. 29. xiv. 10 24, and xx. 16. John x. 16. He also foretold the 1216. Luke xv. 26. to the end. He foretold that they sliQiild continue in this opposition and envy, and should manifest it in the cruel persecutions of his followers, to their utter destruction : Matt. ch. xxi. 3342. xxii. 6. and xxiii. 3439. Luke ch. xi. 4951. The Jews obstinacy is also foretold Acts ch. xxii. IS. Christ often foretold the great persecutions his followers should meet with, both from Jews and Gentiles ; Matt. x . 16. IS, 21, 22, 5436. and xxiv. 9. Mark xiii. 9. Luke x. 3. xii. 11, 4953. and xvi. 12, 16, 17. John xv. 1821. and xvi. 14, 2022, 23. He foretold the martyrdom of particular persons ; Matt. xx. 23. John 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 ; John iv. 3538. He foretold the rising of many deceivers after his departure, Matt, xxiv. 4, 5, 11. and the apostacy of many of his profes sed followers ; Matt. xxiv. 10. 12. The persecutions which the apostle Paul was to meet with in the world, were foretold ; Acts ix. 16. xx. 23, and xxi. 11. The apostle says to the Christian Ephe- sians, Acts. xx. 29, 30. " I know, that after my de parture 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 ac tions of moral Agents. 4. Unless God foreknows the future acts of moral Agents, all the prophecies we have in Scripture con cerning 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 Sect. II.] the Volitions of moral Agents. 123 continuance of his dominion, bis 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 Vo litions 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 mens virtues 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 characteris tics, descriptions, and limitations of qualities, conduct, influence, effects, extent, duration, periods, circumstan ces, final issue, &c. which it would he very long to men tion particularly. And to suppose, all these are predic ted 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 mens 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 of the Kingdom of the Messiah, were predicted and promised while God was in ignorance whether any of these tilings would come to pass or no, ami did but guess at them. For that kingdom was not of this world, it does not consist in things external, but is within men, and consists in the dominion of virtue 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 Mes siah 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 him self 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 mens hearts to virtue, in their being made God s willing 124 God certainly foreknows [Part II. people in the day of his power. His conquest of his ene mies consists in his victory over men s corruptions and vices. And such success, such victory, and such a reign and dominion is often expressly foretold : that his king dom shall Jill the earth ; that all people, nations, and lan guages should serve and obey him : and so that all na tions should go up to the mountain of the House of the. Lord, that he might teach them his ways, and thai 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 virtue and religion) as the waters cover the seas ^ that God s law should be put into mens 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 Tes tament is tak in up in such predictions as these. And here I would observe, that the prophecies of the univer sal prevalence of the kingdom of the Messiah, and true religion of Jesus Christ, are delivered in the most per emptory manner, and confirmed by the oath of God, Isa. xlv. 22 9 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 un to 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, fyc. 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 certain ly foresee the volitions of moral agents. 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, until the whole was leavened, &c And the pro phecies in the Epistles concerning the restoration of the Sect. XL] the Volitions of moral Agents. 125 nation of the Jews to the true church of God, and the bringing in the fuiness of the Gentiles ; and the prophe cies in all the Revelation concerning- the glorious change in the moral state of the world of mankind, attending the destruction of Antichrist, u the kingdoms of the world becoming the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ ; and its being granted to the church to be ar rayed in that fine linen, white and clean, which is the righteousness of saints, &.c." Corol. 1. Hence that great promise and oath of God to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, 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," 1 must be made on uncertain ties, if God does not certainly foreknow the volitions of moral agents. For the fulfilment of this promise con sists 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 biessed in Christ no otherwise than as they are brought to acknowledge Him, trust in Him, love and serve Him, as is represented and predicted in "Psalm Ixxii. 11. " All Kings shall fall down before Mini ; all nations shall serve Him. 1 With ver. 17. ** Men shall be blessed in Him ; all nations shall call Him blessed." This oath to Jacob and Abraham is fulfilled in subduing mens iniquities ; as is implied in that of the prophet Mich. chap. vii. 19, l ^0. Corol. 2. Hence also it appears, that first Gospel promise that ever was made to mankind, that great pre diction of the salvation of the iViessiah, 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 mens being saved from sin, and in the victory of virtue and holiness, over that vice and wickedness, which Satan, by his temp tation has introduced, and wherein his kingdom Consists. 6. If it be so, that God has not a prescience of the future actions of moral agents, it will ibhow, that the ~ 126 Cod certainly foreknows [Part II. prophecies of Scripture in general are without foreknow- led-e. For Scripture- prophecies, almost all of them, if not D universally without any exception, are either pre dictions 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 virtue and righteous ness, remarkable manifestations of favour to the righte ous, 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 ; cither 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 does not foresee the volitions of men, will further appear, if it be considered, that al most 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 mens 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 itself 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 par ticular 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 Sect. XL] the Volition of Moral Agents. 127 as Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Alexander, Pompey, Julius Caesar, &c. undoubtedly depended on many millions of acts of the will, which followed, and were occasioned one by another, in their parents. And perhaps most of these volitions depended on millions of volitions of hun dreds and thousands of others, their contemporaries of the same generation ; and most of these on millions of millions of volitions of others in preceding 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, until 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 vita, concerned in generation ; the animalcula in semen masculo, and the ova in the womb of the fe male ; 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 acts of the parents, the state of their bodies, &c. which must depend on innumerable foregoing circum stances and occurrences ; which must depend, infinite ways, on foregoing acts of their wills ; which are occa sioned by innumerable things that happen in the course of their lives, in which their own, arid 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 tame into the mind of one of them, to propose, that he whose horse neighed first, when they came together the rfext morning, should be king. iNow such a thing s coining into his mind, might depend on innumerable incidents, wherein the Volitions ] 28 God certainly foreknows [Part II, of mankind had been concerned But in consequence of this accident, Darius, the son of I ystaspes, was king. And if this had not been, probably his successor would have been the same, and all the circumstances oi 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 vast- ly otherwise. I might further instance in many other occurrences; such as those on which depended Alexan der s preservation, in the many critical junctures of his life, wherein a small trifle would have turned the scale ao-ainst him ; and the preservation and success of the Roman people, in the infancy of their kingdom and com- monwealth, and afterwards ; which all the succeeding changes in their state, and the mighty revolutions that afterwards came to pass in the habitable world, depend- ed upon. But these hints may be sufficient for every discerning considerate person, to convince him, that the whole stae 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 shore. And therefore, unless God does most exactly and per fectly foresee the future acts of men s wills, all the pre dictions which he ever uttered concerning David, Heze- kiah, Jcsiah, Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Alexander , con cerning the four monarchies, and the revolutions in them; and concerning all the wars, commotions, victories, pros perities, 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 foresee ing the Volitions and free actions of men, God could foresee nothing appertaining 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 j and could foreknow Sect. XL] the Volitions of moral Agents. 12() no events, but only such as He would bring to pass Him self, by the extraordinary interposition of his immediate power; or things which should come to pass in the na* tural 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 ap pear reason to convince us, that he could not, with any absolute certainty, foresee even these. As to \\\v first, namely, things done by the immediate and extraordinary interposition of God s power, these cannot be foreseen, unless it can be foreseen vt hen there shall be occasion for such extraordinary interposition : and that cannot 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 riot certainly foresee the universal deluge, the calling of Abraham, the degtruction of Sodom and Gommorrah, the plagues on Egypt, and Israels redemption out of it, the expel ling the seven nations of Cannaan, and the bringing Israel into that land ; for these all are represented as con nected 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 con flagration , for that chiefly depends on the course and 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 sub ordinate to God s designs with respect to the latter. Therefore he has seen cause, from regard to the state of ISO God certainly foreknows [Part II. thins in the moral world, extraordinarily to interpose, to interrupt and lay an arrest to the course of things in the natural world ; and even in the greatest wheels of its motion, even so as to stop the sun in its course. And unless he ran foresee the Volitions of men, and so know something of the future state of the moral world, He cannot know hut 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. Carol. 1. ^ 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 James, Acts xv. 18. "Known unto^God are all his works from the beginning of the world." Carol. 2. It appears from what has been oV-served, that unless God foreknows the Volitions of moral Agents all the prophecies of Scripture have no better foundation than mere conjecture ; and That, in most instances a conjecture which must have the utmost uncertainty ; de pending on an innumerable, and, as it were, infinite mul titude of Volitions, which are all, even to God, uncer tain 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. Curol. 5. It also follows, from what has been poser- vecl, that if this notion of God s ignorance of future Vo litions be true, in vain did Christ say (after uttering many great and important predictions, concerning God s moral kingdom, and tilings depending on mens moral ac tions) Matt. xxiv. 35. u 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 Fore knowledge , 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 Isa. xli. Sect. XL] the Volitions of moral Agents. 131 22 26. xliii. 9, 10. xliv. S. xlv. 21 . xlvi. 10. and xlviii. 14. Arg. II. If God does not foreknow the volitions of moral Agents, then he did not foreknow the fall of man, nor angels, and so could not foreknow the great things which are consequent, on these events ; such as his sen ding 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 be fore Christ came, to prepare the way fur it ; and the in- cornation, 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 set ting up His church and kingdom in this world, and ap pointing 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 judg ment, that men and devils shall be the subjects of, and angels concerned in ; they are all what God was ignor ant of before the fall. And if so, the following scrip tures, and others like them, must be without any mean ing 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 6 before the foundation of the world. 2 "1 im. i. 9. " Who hath saved u., and called us with an holy calling ; * not according to our works, but according to his own " purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus * before the world began. So Eph. iii. 11. (speaking " of the wisdom of God in the work of redemption) ac- " cording to the eternal purpose which he proposed in " Christ Jesus. 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 "lie also did predestinate, &c. 1 Pet. i. 2. Elect, ac- " cording to the foreknowledge of God the Father. " If God did not foreknow the fall of man, nor the re demption by Jesus Christ, nor the Volitions of man. since the fall ; then he did not foreknow the saints in 1 32 God certainly foreknows [Part It. any sense ; neither as particular persons, nor as socie ties or nations ; either by election, or mere foresight of their virtue or good works, or any foresight, or any thing about them relating to their salvation ; or any be nefit they have by Christ, or any manner of concern of theirs 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 rea son 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 before-hand. 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, Num. 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 dis appointments in his governing the world ; and to mani fold, constant, great perplexity and vexation : but this is not very consistent with his title of God over a//, blessed for evermore; which represents Him as possessed of perfect, constant, and uninterrupted tranquillity and felicity, as God over the universe, and in his manage ment of the affairs of the world, as supreme and univer sal Ruler, See Rom. i. 25. ix. 5. 2 Cor. xi. 41. 1 Tim. vi. 15. 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 chang ing his mind and intentions, as to his future conduct ; altering his measures, relinquishing his old designs, and Sect. XL] the Volitions of moral Agents. 133 forming new schemes and projections. For his purposes, even as to the main parts of his scheme, namely, such as belong 1 to the state of his moral kingdom, must be al ways liable to be broken, through want of foresight ; and he must be continually putting his system to rights, as it gets out of order, through the contingence of the ac tions of mural agents ; He must be a Being, who, in stead of being absolutely immutable, must necessarily be the subject of infinitely the most numerous acts of repen tance, 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 dis jointed frame and disordered movements, in the best manner the case will allow. The Supreme Lord of all things must needs be under great and miserable disadvan tages, 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 be fall his system ; which if He did but know, He might make seasonable provision for. In many cases, there jnay be very great necessity that He should make provi sion, 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 uni verse ; which He may see afterwards, when it is too late, and may wish in vain that He had known before-hand, that He might have ordered his affairs accordingly. And it is in the power of man, on these principles, by his de vices, 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. Hut how do these things consist with reason, or with the Word of God ? Which represents, that all GocVs works, all that He has ever to do, the whole scheme and series of his operations, are from the beginning perfectly N 134 God certainly foreknows [Part II. in his view ; and declares, that whatever devices and de signs 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, Prov, xix. 21. Psalm xxxiii. 10, 11. And that which the Lord of Hosts hath purposed, none shall disannul, Isa. xiv. 21. And that he cannot be frustrated in one design or thought, Job xlii. 2. And that which God doth, it shall be for ever, that no- thing can be put to it, or taken from it, Ecclcs. iii. 14. The stability and perpetuity of God s counsels are ex pressly spoken of as connected with the foreknowledge of God, Isa. xlvi. 10. * Declaring the end from the begin ning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done; saying, My counsel shall stand, and / will do alt 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 particularly as unchange able with regard to his purposes ? Mai. iii. 6. " I am the Lord ; I change not ; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Exod. iii. 14 / AM THAT I AM. Job xxiii. 15, 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 future volitions of moral agents, be thoroughly considered in its consequences, it will appear to follow from it, that God, after he had made the world, was liable to be whol- ly 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. It is 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 cannot be fore seen by God, because they are contingent, and subject Sect. XL] The Volitions of Moral Agents. 135 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 cor rupt 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 he 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 God know before-hand, that all of them would not ? And how could God know but that all mankind, notwithstand ing means used to reclaim them, being still left to the freedom of their own will, would continue in their apos- tacy, and grow worse and worse, as they of the old world before the Hood did ? According to the scheme I am endeavouring to con fute, neither the* fall of men nor angels, could be fore seen, 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 beau tiful ; but was marred, broken and confounded by the free will of angels and men. And still he must be li able 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 accom plished to restore the sta,te 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 136 God certainly foreknows [Part II. apostacy of almost all the Christian WorkI, to that which was worse than Heathenism ; which continued for many ages. And how could God, without foreseeing men s vo litions, know whether ever Christendom would return from this apostacy ? And which way could He tell be forehand 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 Jews, 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 ? It is represented often in Scripture, that God, who made the world for himself, and created it for his plea sure, wculd infallibly obtain his end in the creation, and in all his works; that as all things are o/ 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. Kev. xxi. 6. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the Jirst 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 eod in any thing that ho. has undertaken or done. SECTION XII. Cod s certain Foreknowledge of the future vo litions of Moral Agents inconsistent with such a Contingence of those volitions, as is witliout all Necessity. |TAVIN 7 G proved, that God has a certain and infal- L lible Prescience of the act 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 Sect XII.] the Volitions of Moral Agents. 137 these events are necessary , with a necessity of connec tion or consequence. The chief Anninian divines, as far as I have had op portunity to observe, deny this consequence; and affirm, that if such foreknowledge be allowed, it is no evidence of any necessity of the event foreknown. Now I de sire, 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. It is very evident, with regard to a thing whose existence is infallibly and indissolubly connected with something whioh already hath, or has had existence, the existence of that thing is necessary. Here may be noted, 1. I observed before, in explaining the nature of Ne cessity, that in things which are past, their past exis tence is now necessary : having already made sure of existence, it is too late for any possibility of alteration in that respect : it is now impossible that it should be otherwise than true, that that thing has existed. 2. If there be any such thing as a divine Foreknow, ledge 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 its existence is ne cessary ; it is now utterly impossible to be otherwise, than that this Foreknowledge should be, or should have been. 3. It is also very manifest, that those things which are indissolubly connected with other things that are ne cessary, are themselves necessary. As that proposition whose truth is Recessarily connected with another propo sition, 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 3 138 Certain Foreknowledge [Part 1L existence is indissolubly connected with something whose existence is now necessary, is itself not necessary, then it may possibly not exist, notwithstanding that indissolu ble connection of its existence. Whether the absurdi ty be not glaring, let the reader judge. 4. It is no less evident, that if there be a full, certain, and infallible foreknowledg e of the future existence of the volitions of moral agents, then there is a certain in fallible and indissoluble connection between those events and that foreknowledge ; and that therefore, by the pre- ceeding observations, those events are necessary events, being infallibly and indissolubly connected with that whose existence already is, and so is now necessary, and cannot but have been. To say, the Foreknowledge is certain and infallible, and yet the connection of the event with that foreknow ledge is not indissoluble, but dissoluble and fallible, is very absurd. To affirm it, would be the same thing as to af firm, that there is no necessary connection between a pro position s being infallibly known to be true, and its being true indeed. So that it is perfectly demonstrable, that if there be any infallible knowledge of future volitions, the event is necessary ; or, in other words, that it is im possible but the event should come to pass. For if it be not impossible but th at it may be otherwise, then it is not impossible, but that the proposition which affirms its 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 impos sible should fail) that it is true. There is this absurdir ty in it, that it is not impossible, but that there now should be no truth in that proposition, which is now in fallibly 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 ; it is impossible for a thing to be certainly known to any intellect without evidence. To suppose otherwise, implies a contradiction ; because for Sect. XII.] infers some Necessity. a thing to be certainly known to any understanding 1 , is for it to be evident to that understanding : and fora thing to be evident to any understanding is the same thing as for that understanding to see evidence of it : but no un derstanding, created or uncreated, 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 abso lutely unknowable, insomuch that it implies a contra diction to suppose that it is known. But if there be any future event, whose existence is contingent, without all necessity, the future existence of the 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 evi dent thing must be either evident in itself, or evident in something else ; that is, evident by connection with some thing else. But a future thing, whose existence is with out all necessity, can have neither of these sorts of evi dence. It cannot 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 its present existence, or the necessity of its nature : but both these are contrary to the supposition. It is supposed, both that the thing has no present exis tence to be seen ; and also that it is not of such a nature as to be necessarily existent for the future : so that its future existence is not self-evident. And secondly, neither is there any proof, or evidence, in any thing else, or evidence of connection with something else that it is evident ; for this is also contrary to the supposition. It is supposed, that there is now nothing exigent, with which the future existence of the contingent event is con nected. For such a connection destroys its contingence t and supposes necessity. i bus it is demonstrated, that there is in the nature of things absolutely no evidence at all of the future existence of that event, which is con tingent, without ail necessity (if any sucii event there bej neither self evidence ior proof. And therefore the 140 Certain Foreknowledge [Part II. thing in reality is not evident ; and ^o cannot be seen to be evident, or, which is the same thing, cannot he 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, nnd takes on itself a particular nature and form ; all in absolute contfngence without any concern of God, or any other cause, in the matter ; with out any manner of ground or reason of its 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 before-hand. 1 he re was no evidence of it to be seen in the thing itself; for the thing itself as yet, was not. And there was no evidence of it to be seen in any thing else ; lor evidence in something else is con nection with something else : but such connection is con trary 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, uith respect to that and other possible things ; there was no preponderating no superior weight or value ; and there fore, no thing that could be of any weight or value to determine any understanding. The thing was absolute ly without evidence, and absolutely unknowable. An in crease 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 ol the strength of sight may have a tendency to enable to discern the evidence which is far off, and very much hid, and deeply involved in clouds and darkness ; but it lias no tendency to enable to discern evidence where there is none. If ;he sight be infinitely strong, and the capacity of discerning infinitely great, it will enable to Sect. XII. ] infers some Necessity. 141 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 certain ty 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, ami knows all things ; is to suppose God s knowledge to be inconsistent with itself. 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 contingent, that it may possibly not be, is to suppose his knowledge inconsistent with it self; or that one thing, that he knows, is utterly incon sistent with another thing that he knows. It is the same thing as to say, he now knows a proposition to be of certain infallible truth, which he knows to be of con tingent uncertain truth. If a future volition is so without ail necessity, that there is nothing hinders, but that it may not be, then the proposition, which asserts its 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 know ing that it is infallibly true; and so inconsistent with his infallibly knowing that it is true. If ihe thing be indeed contingent, God views it so, and judges it to be contin gent, 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 its 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 them selves contingent events, without all necessity, then it is no argument of perfection of knowledge in any being to determine peremptorily that they will be ; but on the 142 Certain Foreknowledge [Part II contrary, an argument of ignorance and mistake : be cause it would argue, that he supposes that proposition to be certain, which in its own nature, and all things considered, is uncertain and contingent. To say, in such a case, that God may have ways of knowing con tingent events which we cannot conceive of, is ridicu lous ; as much so, as to say, that God may know con tradictions 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 though we cannot conceive how ; because he has ways of knowing, which we can not comprehend. CoroL 1. From what has been observed it is evident, that the absolute decrees of God are no more inconsis tent with human liberty, on account of any necessity of the event which follows from such decrees, than the ab solute Foreknowledge of God. Because the connection between the event and certain foreknowledge, is as in fallible and indissoluble, as between the event and an absolute decree. That is, it is 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 and foreknowledge is absolutely perfect, by the supposition : because it is supposed, that the certainty and infallibility of the knowledge is absolutely perfect. And it being so, the certainty cannot be increased ; and therefore the con nection, between the knowledge and thing known, can not be increased ; so that if a decree be added to the foreknowledge, it does not at all increase the connection, or make it more infallible or indissoluble, if it were not so, the certainty of knowledge might be increased by the addition of a decree ; which is contrary to the sup position, which is, that the knowledge is absolutely per fect, 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 iiUure existence, as if the event were already written Sect. XI I.] infers some Necessity 143 down, and read by all mankind, through all preceding ages, and there was 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 cannot make an event surer or more neces sary than this. And therefore, if there be any such foreknowledge, as it has been proved there is, then Necessity of con nection and consequence, is not at all inconsistent with anv liberty which man, or any other creature enjoys. And from hence it may be inferred, that absolute de crees of God, which does not at all increase the Neces sity, are not at all inconsistent with the liberty which man enjoys, on any such account, as that they make the event decre d 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 liber ty whatsoever that he enjoys, it is not on account of any necessity which absolute decrees infer. Dr Whitby supposes, there is a great difference be tween God s foreknowledge, and his decrees, with re gard to necessity of future events. In his Discourse on the five Points, p. 474s &c. he says, " God s Prescience has no influence at all on our actions, Should God (says he.) by immediate lievclation, give me the know ledge of the event of any man^s state of actions, would my knowledge of them have any influence upon his ac tions ? 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. NOWJ foreknowledge in God is knowledge. As therefore knowledge has no influence on things that are, so nei ther 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 and active, and comprehends the preparation and exhibition of such 144 Certain Forknowledgc [Part II* 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 the Will, in God and the Creature, speaking to the like purpose with Dr Whitby, represents Forekowledge as having no more influence on things known, to make them necessary, than After- knowledge, or to that purpose. To all which 1 would say ; that what is said about knowledge, its not having influence on the thing known to make it necessary, is nothing to the purpose, nor does in the least affect the foregoing reason. Whether Prescience be the thing that makes the event necessary or no, it alters not the case. Infallible forekowledge may prove the necessity of the event foreknown, and yet not be the thing which cause sthe necessity. If the foreknowledge be absolute, thia proves the event known to be necessary, or proves it is 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, it is absurd to say, that a proposition is known tobe cerainly and infallibly true, which yet may possibly prove not true. The whole of the seeming force of this evasion lies in this ; that, inasmuch as certain Foreknowledge does not cause an event to be necessary, as a decree does ; there fore it does not prove it to be necessary, as a decree does. Eut there is no force in this arguing : for it is built wholly on this supposition, that nothing can prove, or be anevidence 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 Sect. XII.] infers some Necessity. 145 existence of an event, be not the thing 1 , 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 impos sibility, 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. It is enough, that an existence, which is in fallibly foreknown, cannot fail, whether that impossibility arises from the Foreknowledge, or is prior to it. It is as evident, as it is 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 A 7 eces- sity 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,orconcomitantKnowledge, proves tho, 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 does not prove a thing to be necessary any more than After-knowledge : but then Afterknowledge, which is certain and infallible, proves that it is now become im possible 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, be come impossible but that the proposition, which predi cates past existence on the event should be true. Ami so does certain Fore-knowledge prove, that now, in the time of the Knowledge, it is by some means or other, become impossible but that the proposition, which pre- dicatesjfire 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 cer tainty of Knowledge without it. O 140 Certain Foreknow/edge [Part II. There must be a certainty in things themselves, be- fore 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 no thing hut the necessity of the truth known, or its being impossible but that it should Ue 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 Foreknow ledge 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 its future exist ence. The subject is that possible event ; the predicate is its future existence : but if future existence be firmly and indissolubly connected with that event, then the fu ture existence of that event is necessary. If God cer tainly 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. I allow what I)r Whitby says to be true, " That mere knowledge does not affect the thing known, to make it more certain or more future. 1 But yet, I say, it supposes and proves the thing to be already, both future and certain; i. e. necessarily future. Know ledge of futurity supposes/tar% -,- and a certain know ledge of futurity, supposes certain futurity, antecedent to that certain knowledge. But there is no other cer tain futurity of a thing, antecedent to certainty of know ledge, 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, it is this ; that if it be as those forementioned Sect. XII. J infers some Necessity. 1*47 writers suppose, that God s foreknowledge is not the cause, but the effect of the existence of the event fore known ; this is so far from shewing that this foreknow ledge doth not 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 and firm, that it is as if it had already been ; in as much as in effect it actually exists already ; its future existence has already had actual influence and efficacy, 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 cannot be more firm and stable than its cause, ground, and reason* The building cannot be firmer than the foundation. To illustrate this matter, let us suppose the appear ances and images of things in a glass ; for instance are- fleeting 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 existence some way or other to have influence back, to produce effects before-hand, and cause exact and perfect images of themselves in a class, a thousand years before they exist, yea, in ail preceding ages ; but yet that these images are real et- fects of these future existences, perfectly dependent on, and connected with their cause ; these effects and ima ges, having already had actual existence, rendering that piatter of their existing perfectly firm and stable, and 148 Certain Foreknowledge [Part II. 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 Armin- ians, 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 although it be true, that there is in God the most perfect knowledge of all events from eternity to eternity, yet there is no such things as before and after in God, but he sees all things by one perfect unchangeable view, without any suc cession. &gt;-&gt; To this I answer. 1. It has been already shewn, that all certain, know ledge proves the necessity of the truth known ; whether it be before, after, or at the same time. Though it be true, that there is no succession in God s knowledge, and the manner of hisknowledge 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 un certain 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 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, strict ly speaking, there is no foreknowledge in God, it is be- tause those things, which are future to us, are as pre sent to God, as if they already had existence : and that is as much as to say, that future events are always in Sect. XIL] as much as a Decree. 1 49 GodVview 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 impossi ble for it to fail of existence, as if its existence were pre sent, and were already come to pass. God^s viewing thing-s so perfectly and unchangeably as that there is no succession in his ideas or judgment, do not hinder, but that there is properly now, in the mind of God, a certain and perfect knowledge of moral actions of men, which to us are an hundred years hence : yea, the objection supposes this ; and therefore it certain ly does not 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 ac tions of men in such a sense beforehand, 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 con nection 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 ex pression 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 impos sible it should ever be otherwise then that that predic tion and the event should agree ; and this is the same thing as to say, it is impossible but that the event should come to pass : and this is the same as to say that its 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 ha$
been given of the impossibility of the not coming to pass
of future events known, as that it establishes that where-
3

150 Certain Foreknowledge [Part II,

in the strength of the foregoing arguments, consists, and
shews the clearness of the evidence. For,

(1.) The very reason why God s knowledge is with
out 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 viewed
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 con
stant perfection admits of no alteration, and so no succes
sion ; the actual existence of the thing known, does not
at all increase, or add to the clearness or certainty of the
thing known : God calls the things that are not, as-
though 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 j
that it is as impossible they should fail of existence, as
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
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 it is the immutability of know
ledge makes his knowledge to be without succession.
But this most directly and plainly demonstrates the thing
I insist on, viz. that it is utterly impossible the known
events should fail of existence. For if that were pos
sible, 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 ut
terly, infinitely impossible that his view should bechang*

Sect. XII.] as much as a Decree. 151

ed ; so it is, 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 1 is more impossible than
the immutable God should be changed, by the succes
sion of time ; who comprehends all things, from eternity
to eternity, in one most perfect and unalterable view ;
so that bis whole eternal duration is vita inter minabilis^
tola, simul, &lt;$perfccta possessio. On the whole, I need not fear to say, that there is no geometrical theorem or proposition whatsoever more cap- able of strict demonstration, than that God^s certain Pre science 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 Cahinists, con cerning the absolute decrees of God, does not at all infer any more fatality in things, then will demonstrably fol low from the doctrine of most Arminian divines, who ac knowledge God s omniscience and universal Prescience. Therefore, all objections they make against the doctrine of CalvinistS) as implying Hobbes s doctrine of necessi ty, or the stoical doctrine of^/afe, lie no more against the doctrine of Calainists than their own doctrine : and therefore it doth not become those divines, to raise such an outcry against the Calvinists on this account. CoroL 3. Hence all arguing from necessity, against the doctrine of the inability of unregenerate men to per form the conditions of salvation, and the commands of God requiring spiritual duties, and against the Calvin- istic doctrine of efficacious grace ; I say, all arguings of Arminians (such of them as own God s omniscience) against these things, on this ground that these doctrines, though they do not suppose men to be under any con straint or coaction, yet suppose them under necessity, with respect to their moral actions, and those things which are required of them in order to their acceptance Tvith God ; and their arguing against the necessity of 152 foreknowledge proves Necessity. [Part II. mens volitions, taken from the reasonableness of God s commands, promises, and threatening^, and the sincerity of his counsels and invitations ; and all objections against, and any doctrine of the Calvinists as being inconsistent with human liberty, because they infer Necessity ; I say, all these arguments and objertions must fall to the ground, and he justly esteemed vain and frivolous, as com ing from them, being maintained in an inconsistence with themselves, and in like manner levelled against their own doctrine, as again:t the doctrine of the Calcinists. SECTION XIII. Whether ice suppose the I 7 olitions of Moral jl gents to be connected u iih any thing antece dent, or not, yet they must be necessary in such a sense as to overthrow Arminian Liber ty* VERY 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 its cause ^ and that, let the cause be what it will. If the cause is the will itself, by antecedent acts choosing and determining ; still the determined and caused act must be a necessary effect. The act, that is the determined ef fect of the foregoing act which is its cause, cannot pre vent the efficiency of its cause ; but must be wholly subject to its determination and command, as much as the mo. lions of the hands and feet. The consequent commanded acts of the w ill areas passiveand as necessary, with respect tothe antecedent determiningacts, asthe pa rts of t, j body are to the volitions which determine and command them. And therefore, if all the free acts of the will are thus, it they are all determined effects, determined by the will Sect. XIII. ] inconsistent with Arminian,6fc. 133 itself, that is, determined by antecedent choice, then they are all necessary ; they are all subject to, and de cisively fixed by the foregoing act, which is their cause : yea, even the determining act itself; for that must be determined and fixed by another act, preceding that, if it be a free and voluntary act ; and so must be neces sary. So that by this ail the free acts of the will are necessary, and cannot be free unless they are necessary ; because they cannot 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, proves them necessary. And yet they say, necessity is utterly inconsistent with Li berty. So that, by their scheme, the acts of the will cannot be free unless they are necessary, and yet can- not be free if they be not necessary ! But if the other part of the dilemma be taken, and it be affirmed that the free acts of the will will have no cause, and are connected with nothing whatsoever that goes before them and determines them, in order to main tain their proper and absolute Contingence, and this should be allowed to be possible, still it will not serve their turn. For if the volition come to pass by perfect Con tingence, 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 pureJy the passive subject ; at least, according to their notion of action and passion, tn 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 its cause had made it or ordered it otherwise. But this does pot agree to its having no cause or order at all. That 154 "Both Neccessity and Contingence [Part II. 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 neces sarily subjected to what accident brings to pass, from time to time, as much as the earth, th.it is inactive, is necessarily subjected to what falls upon it. But this does not consist with the Arniinian notion of liberty, which is the will s power, of determining itself in its own acts, and being- wholly active in it, without pas- siveness, and without being subject to necessity. Thus, Contingence belongs to the Anninian notion of liberty, and yet is inconsistent with it. I would here observe, that the author of the Essay on the Freedom of the Will, in God and the Creature, p. 76, 11, says as follows : " The word Chance always means something done without design. Chance and de sign stand in direct opposition to each other : and chance can never be properly applied to acts of &gt; the will, which is the spring of all design, and which designs to choose whatsoever it doth choose, whether there be any, supe rior fitness in the thing which it chooses, or no; and it designs to determine itself to one thing, where two things, perfectly equal, are proposed, merely because it will." .But herein appears a very great inadvantage in this au thor. 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 do not spring jrom design ; and con sequently come to pass by chance, according to his own definition of chance. And if the will designs to choose whatever it does choose, and designs to determine itsdf\ as he says, then it designs to determine all its designs : which carries us back from one design to aforegoing de sign determining that, and to another determining that ; and so on in injinitum. The very first design must be the effect of foregoing design, or else it must be by chance, in his notion of it. Sect. Kill. ] inconsistent withArminian,8fc. 155 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 con nected 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 for mer is directly subversive of the Arminian notion of li berty, consisting in freedom from all necessity. And if the latter be chosen, and it be said, that liberty is in consistent with any such necessary connection of voli- tion with foregoing views of the understanding, it con sisting in freedom from any such necessity of the will as that would imply ; then the liberty of the soul con sists (in part at least) in the freedom from restraint, li mitation and government, in its actings, by the under standing, and in liberty and liableness to act contrary to the understanding^ views and dictates : and consequent ly the more the soul has of this disengagedness in its acting, the more liberty. Now let it be considered what this brings the noble principle of human liberty to, par- ticularly when it is possessed and enjoyed in its perfec tion, 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 its own de terminations. The notion mankind has conceived of liberty, is some dignity or privilege, something worth claiming. But what dignity or privilege is there, in being given unto such a wild contingcnce as this, to be perfectly and constantly liable to act unintelligently and unreasonably, and as much without the guidance of un derstanding, as if we had none, or were as destitute of perception as the smoke that is driven by the wind ! PART III. Wherein it is enquired, Whether any such Liberty of Will as Ar* minians hold, be necessary to Moral Agency, Virtue and Vice, Praise and Dispraise, &c. SECTION I. God s Moral Excellency Necessary, yet Virtuous and Praiseworthy. TJTAVING considered the first thing- that was propo sed to be enquired into, relating to that Freedom of Will which Armenians maintain ; namely, Whether any such thing 1 does, ever did, or ever can exist, or be conceived of; I come no\v to the second thing 1 proposed to be the subject of enquiry, viz. Whether any such kind of liberty be requisite to moral agency, virtue and vice, praise and blame, reward and punishment, &c. I shall begin with some consideration of the virtue and agency of the Supreme Moral Agent and Fountain of all Agency and Virtue. Dr Whitby, in his Discourse on the Five Points, page 14, says, " If all human actions are necessary, vir tue and vice must be empty names ; we being capable of nothing that is blame-worthy, or deserveth praise j 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 abso lutely requisite, in erder to actions being either worthy Sect. I.] yet Virtuous and Praise- worthy. 157 of blame, or deserving of praise. And to this agrees, as is well known, the current doctrine of Armi nian writers, who in general hold, that there is no virtue or vice, re ward or punishment, nothing to be commended or blam ed, without this freedom. And yet Dr Whitby, p. 500, allows, that God is without this freedom ; and Arminians, so far as 1 have had opportunity to observe, generally acknowledge, that God is necessarily holy, and his will necessarily determined to that which is good. So that, putting these things together, the infinitely holy God, who always used to be esteemed by God s people not only virtuous, but a Being in whom is all pos sible virtue, and every virtue in the most absolute puri ty and perfection, and in infinitely greater brightness and amiableness than in a creature ; the most perfect pattern of virtue, and the fountain from whom all other virtue is but as beams from the sun ; and who has been supposed to be, on account of his virtue and holiness, in- finitely more worthy to be esteemed, loved, honoured, admired, commended, extolled, 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 virtue at all ; virtue, when ascribed to him, is but an empty name; and he is deserving of no commendation or praise ; be* cause he is under necessity, He cannot avoid being ho ly and good as he is ; therefore no thanks to him for it. It seems, the holiness, justness, faithfulness, &c. of the Most High must not be accounted to be of the na ture of that which is virtuous 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 virtuous, 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 fer tility of the earth are good, but not virtuous, because these properties are necessary to these bodies, and not the fruits of self-determining power. There needs no other confutation of this notion of P &lt;158 God s Moral Excellency necessary, [Part 111. God s not being virtuous or praise-worthy to Christians acquainted with their Bible, but only stating aru^ parti cularly representing of it. To bring texts of Scripture, wherein God is represented as in every respect, in the highest manner virtuous, and supremely praise-worthy, would be endless, and is altogether needless to such as have been brought up in the light of the Gospel. It were to be wished, that Dr Whitby, and other di vines of the same sort, had explained themselves, when they have asserted, that that which is necessary, is not deserving of praise ; at the same time that they have owned GodT s perfection to be necessary, and so in effect representing 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 es teem, respect or honourable regard. -And will they then say, that men are worthy of that esteem, respect, and honour for their virtue, small and imperfect as it is, which yet God is not worthy of for his infinite righteous ness, holiness, and goodness ? If so, it must be, be cause of some sort of peculiar excellency in the virtuous man, which is his prerogative, wherein he really has the preference; some dignity, that is entirely distinguished from any excellency, amiableness, or honourableness in God ; not in imperfection and dependence, but in pre eminence ; which therefore he does not 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 vir tue of his necessary holiness, to intermeddle with that grateful respect and praise due to the virtuous man, who chooses virtue, in the exercise of a freedom ad utrumque ,- any more than a precious stone, which cannot avoid be ing hard and beautiful. And if it be so, let it be explained what that peculiar respect is, that is due to the virtuous 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 Sect. L] Yet virtuous and Praise-worthy. of that peculiar affection ? Is it esteem, love, admirc- tion, 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 lo ving Him with all the heart, with all the soul, with alt the mind, and with all the strength ; admiring him and his righteous acts, or greatly regarding them, as marvellous and wonderful : honouring, glorifying, exalting, extoll ing, blessing, thanking, and prasing Him, giving unto Him all the glory of the good which is done or received, rather than unto men ; that nojlesh should glory in his presence, but that He should be regarded as the Meing 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 wor thy of for their virtue, 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 lie 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 mere compulsion, or extrinsical necessity ? Ar*- minians suppose, that God is necessarily a good and gra cious Being : for this they make the ground of some of their main arguments against many doctrines maintain ed 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 im possibility of the truth of these doctrines ceases, accord ing to their own argument. That virtue in God is not, in the most proper sense, rewardable, is not for want of merit in his moral perfec tions and actions, sufficient to deserve rewards from his 160 The Acts of the Will of Christ [Part IIL creatures ; but because He is infinitely above all capaci ty of receiving any reward or benefit from the creature. He is already infinitely and unchangeably happy, and we cannot be profitable unto Him. But still he is wor thy of our supreme benevolence for his virtue; and would be worthy of our beneficence, which is the fruit and expression of benevolence, if our goodness could ex tend 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 1 render to the Lord for all his benefits ? is the natural language of thankfulness : 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 ejipression of our gratitude to God, as beneficence, not withstanding 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 virtuous, praise-worthy, rewardable, 8fc* T HAVE already considered how Dr Whitby insists - upon it, that a freedom, not only from coaction, but necessity, is requisite either to virtue, vice, praise, or dispraise, reward or punishment. He also insists on the same freedom as absolutely requisite to a person s being 1 the subject of a law of precepts or prohibitions ; in the book before mentioned, (p. 301, 314, 328, 339, 340, 541,342,347,361,373,410.) And of promises and Sect. IT.] Necessarily Holy. l6l threatening*, (p. 298, 501, 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 practices 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 per fectly holy in each individual act of his life. And se condly, that his holy behaviour was properly the nature of virtue, and was worthy of praise ; and that he was the subject of law, precepts, or commands, promises and re wards ; and that he was in a state of trial. 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 agreeable 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 could not fail of reaching the end for which He came into the world ; which he would have failed of, had he fallen into sin. We have such a promise, Isa. xliii. 1, 2, 3, 4. " Behold my Servant, whom I uphold ; mine Elect, in whom my soul delighteth : I have put my Spi rit upon him: He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles : He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. He shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail, nor be discou raged, till He have set judgment in the earth ; and the isles shall wait his law." This promise of Christ s hav ing 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, Matthew xii. 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 162 The Acts of the Will of Christ [Part 111. and vain-glory, and from being overcome by any of tbe 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 con firmed, 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 pri soners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness- out of the prison-house. I am JEHOVAH, that is my name," &c. Very parallel with these promises is that, Isa. 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 whom the nation ab- horreth, to a Servant of the 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, Ii&gt; 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, 1 &c. And in Isa. 1. 5, 6, 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 im in ov cable, in a way of obedience Sect. II.] Necessarily Holy. 163 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 de sign ; and finally should be approved and justified, as having done his work faithfully. u The Lord hath opened mine ear; so that I was not rebellious, neither turned away my back : 1 gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked of 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 wax old as a gar ment, 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 failed, and he had been guilty of sin. God s absolute promise of any things make the things promised necessary, and their failing to take place abso lutely impossible : and, in like manner, it makes those things necessary on which the thing- promised depends, and without which it cannot take effect. Therefore it appears, that it was utterly impossible that Christ s ho liness should fail, from such absolute promises as those, Psalm ex. 4. " The Lord hath sworn, and will not re pent : Thou art a priest forever, after the order of Mel- chizedek. 1 And from every other promise in that Psalm, contained in each verse of it. And Psal. ii. 6, 7. * I will decLre the decree ; The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my *Son, this day have 1 begotten Thee ; Ask of me, and I will give Thee the Heathen for thine in heritance," &c. Psalm xlv. 3, 4, &c. " Gird thy sword on ihy thigh, O most Mighty, with thy Glory and thy Majesty ; and in thy Majesty ride prosperously," And 164 The dels of the Will of Christ [Part IIH so every thing that is said from thence to the end of the Psalm. And those promises, Isa. iii. 13. 14, ch. 15. liii. ami 10, 11, 12- And all those promises which God makes to the Messiah, of success, dominion, and glory in the character of a Redeemer, in Isa. 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 judgment and justice in the earth. In his days shall .ludali be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely. And this is the name whereby He shall be cal led, The Lord our righteousness."" So Jer. xxxiii. 15. * I will cause the branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and right eousness in the land."" Isa. xi. 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 judgment and justice, from henceforth, even for ever : the zeal of the Lord of Hosts will do this." Chap. ix. at the be ginning. u 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 the Fear of the Lord : with right eousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity ; Righteousness shall he the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. 1 Chap. Hi. 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 title of these promises of God to pass away, then it was impossible that God should commit any sin. Christ himself sig nified, that it was impossible but that the things which were spoken concerning Hint, should be fulfilled. Luke xxiv. 44.-" That all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, Sect, II.] Necessarily Holy. 1(55 and in the Psalms concerning me." Matt. 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. 1 " And so the Apostle, Acts i. 16, 17. " This Scripture must needs have been fulfilled/ 1 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 Maluchi, shew it to be impos sible that Christ should not have persevered in perfect holiness. The ancient 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 expressly, 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, and chap. xv. 8. Heb. vi. 13, &c. These promises were often made with great solemnity, and confirmed by an oath ; as in Gen. xxii. 16, 17. " By myself 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. 1 Compare Luke i. 72, 75, and Gal. iii. 8, 15, 1(5. 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, con firmed it by an oath ; that by two IMMUTABLE things, in which it was IM POSSIBLE for God to lie, we might have strong consolation/ 1 In which words, the neces sity of the accomplishment, or (which is the same thing) the impossibility of the contrary, is fully declared. JSo God confirmed the promise of the great salvation of the Messiah, made to David, by an oath ; Psalm Ixxxix. 3, 4. " I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant ; thy seed will I establish forever, and build up thy throne to all genera tions. 1 There is nothing that is so absolutely set forth 1 66 The Ads of the Will of Christ [Part III. in Scripture, as sure and irrefragable, as this promise and oath of David. See Psalm Ixxxix. 34, 55, 36. 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. Isa. Iv. 4- Acts ii. 29, 50 ; and xiii. 34. The Scripture expressly speaks of it as utterly impossible that this promise and oath to David, concern ing 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 tu 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." feo in ver. 25, 26. Thus abundant is the Scripture in representing how 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 enlarge ment of the church, and advancement of her glory, in the days of the Gospel, after the coming of the Mes siah ; 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 intro duced with great pomp and solemnity, and are so abun dantly sealed with typical and symbolical representa tions ; 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, which the Father had appointed Him, being in all things conformed to his Will. These promises were often confirmed by an oath. (See isa. liv. 9. with the context ; chap. ixii. 18.) And: t is represented as utterly impossible that these pro-- Sect. II.] Necessarily Holy. 167 mises should fail. (Isa. xlix. 15. with the context ; chap. li. 4 7. chap. xl. S. 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 mo ther, and to her husband ; implying 1 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 for ever, and that of his king dom there shall be no end. 1 These promises were sure, and it was impossible they should fail. And therefore the Virgin Mary, in trusting fully to them, acted rea sonably, having an immoveable foundation of her faith ; as Elizabeth 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. 11 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, revealed 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 preach ing of the Gospel. Such an absolute decree as this Arminians do not deny. Thus much at least (out of all controversy) is implied in such Scriptures, as 1 Cor. ii. 7. Eph. i. 4, 5. and chap. 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 elections of nations and societies, and general election of the Christian Church, and conditional election of particu lar persons imply this. God could not decree before the foundation of this world, to save all that should be lieve in, and obey Christ, unless he had absolutely de creed, that salvation should be provided, and effect ually wrought out by Christ. And since (as the Ar minians themselves strenuously maintain) a decree of 168 Necessarily Holy. [Part 111. 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 promis ed to his Son, before all ages. For, that salvation should be offered to men, through Christ, and bestow ed 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 does not seem to be controverted by Arminians *. 9. That it should be possible for Christ to fail of do ing 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 Psalm xl. 6, 7, 8. (compared 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, 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 the day wherein he had his ear bored ; which covenant was probably inserted in the public records, called the Fo- lumc 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 human nature, and the promise, was as it were recorded, that it might be made sure, * See Dr WJdtby on the five Points, p. 48, 49, 50. Sect. II.] Necessarily Hohj. 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 do ing the Will of his Father, and so to have failed of ef fectually working- out redemption for sinners, then the salvation of all the saints, who were saved from the be ginning of the world, to the death of Christ, was not built on a firm foundation. The Messiah, and the re demption, 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. There fore, 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 de pended so much upon it, that He proceeded actually to assure men on the account of it, as though it had been already done. J3ut this trust and dependence of God, on the supposition of ChrisOs 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 completed by the Messiah, and built their comfort upon it ; Abraham saw Christ s Day, and rejoiced ; and he and the other Patriarchs died in the faith of the promise of it. (Heb. xi, 13.) Hut 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 ; as in Isa xxviii. Itf. 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 coven ant was an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things 1 70 The Acts of the Will of Christ [Part III and sure, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. But if Christ s virtue might fail, he was mistaken ; his great comfort was not built so sure, as he thought it was, being founded entirety on the determinations of the Free Will of Christ s human soul, which was subject to no necessity, and might be deter mined either one way or the other. Also the de- pendance of those, who looked for redemption in Je rusalem, 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 en joy 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 temp tations and trials, was abundant in positively predicting his own future glory in his kingdom, and the enlarge ment 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 pro mises he required the full dependence of his disciples. (John xiv.) But the disciples would have no ground for such dependence, 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 depend on a mere contingence ; viz. the determinations of his Free Will, consisting in a free dom ad utrumque, to either sin or holiness, standing in indifference, and incident, in thousands of future in stances, 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 other- wise 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 contro versy between Calvinists and Armmians, concerning the necessity of such a freedom of will as is insisted on by the latter in order to moral agency, virtue, com- Sect. II.] Praise-icorthy, Reivardabte,8fc. 171 mand, prohibition, promise or threatening , reward or punishment, praise or dispraise, merit or demerit. I now therefore proceed, II. To consider whether Christ, in his holy behaviour on earth, was not thus a moral agent, subject to com mands, promises, &cc. Dr. Whitby very often speaks of what lie calls a free dom ad utrumlibet, without necessity, as requisite to law and commands ; and speaks of necessity as entirely in consistent with injunctions and prohibitions. But yet we read of Christ s being the subject of the commands of his Father, Job 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, John xii. 49, 50 ; and xiv. 31. And we often read of Christ s obedience to his Father s commands, Rom. v. l9. Phil. ii. 18. Heb. v. 8. The forementioried 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 utrumlibct, but are necessarily determined to one. (See particular ly, p. 298, and 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 infalli bly, unalterably, and unfrustrably determined to good and that alone . but yet he had promises of glorious re wards made to him, on condition of his preserving in and perfecting the work which God hath appointed Him Isa. liii. 10, 11,12. Psa/m ii. and ex. Isa. xlix. 7, 8,9. In Luke xxii. 2*, 29, Christ says to his dis- cipbs, t4 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 pro perly signifies to appoint by covenant, or promise. The plain meaning of Christ s words is this: - -is you have partook of my temptations and trials, and have been steel iest, and have overcome ; I promise to make you parta- 172 Christ s Righteousness [Part Ilf. kers of my reward, and to give you a kingdom ; as the Father hath promised me a kingdom for continuing sted- fast, and overcoming those trials."" And the words are well explained by those in Hev. Hi. 21. " To him that overcometh, will i grant to sit with me on 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 particularly that promise of a kingdom which the Father hath appointed Him, or sitting with the Father on his throne; as in Heb. xii. 1, 2 9 u 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 Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith ; who for the joy 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 tinder such great trials, was not virtuous or praise- wor thy ; because his will was not free ad utrumque, to either holiness or sin, but was unalterably determined to one ; that, upon this account, there is no virtue at all in all Christ s humility, meekness, patience, charity, forgive ness of enemies, contempt of the world, heavenly-mind- edness, submission to the will of God, perfect obedience to his commands (though He was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross) hisgreat compassion to the afflicted, his unparalleled love to mankind, his faithful ness to God and man, under such great trials ; his pray ing for his enemies, even when nailing Him to the cross ; that virtue, 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 account of them, worthy of no reward, no praise, no honour, or respect from God or man ; because his will Sect. II.] Prattt tvortteft Rewardable, Sfc. 173 was not indifferent, and free either to these thing s or the contrary ; but under such a strong inclination or bias to the things that were excellent, as made it impossible that he should choose the contrary ; that upon this ac count (to use Dr Whitby s language) it would be sensibly unreasonable that human nature should be rewarded for any of these things. According to this doctrine, that creature who is evi dently set forth in Scripture as \\\Q first born of every creature^ as having in all things the preeminence^ and as the highest of all creatures in virtue, honour, arid wor thiness of esteem, praise, and glory, on the account of his virtue, is less worthy of reward or praise than the very least of saints ; yea, no more worthy than a clock or mere machine, that is purely passive, and moved by natural necessity. 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 virtue, and might be a visible instance of the glorious end and reward of it ; that we might see in Him the beauty, amiableness, true honour and glory, and exceeding be nefit of that virtue, which it is proper for us human beings to practice ; 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. John xv. 10. Rom viii. 17. 2 1 im. ii. 11 ,12. 1 Pet. ii. 19, 20, and iv. 13. But if there was nothing of any virtue 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 there any thing so proper to animate and incite us free creatures by patient continuance in well-doing, to seek for honour, glory, and virtue ? 3 1 74 Christ s Righteousness [Part III. God speaks of himself as peculiarly well-pleased with the righteousness of this servant of his. Isa. xlii. 21. " The Lord is well-pleased for his righteousness sake." The sacrifices of old are spoken of as a sweet savour to God ; hut the obedience of Christ as far more acceptable than they. Psalm 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 cheerfully answer* the calls of his master :] I delight to do thy will, O my God, and thy law is within mine heart !" Matt. xvii. 5. " This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased." And Christ tells us expressly, that the Father loves him for that wonderful instance of his obedience, his volun tary yielding himself to death, in compliance with his Father s command, John 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 myself. This commandment received I of my Father." If there was no merit in Christ s obedience unto death, if it was not worthy of praise, and of the most glorious rewards, the heavenly hosts were exceedingly mistaken, by the account that is given of them, in B-ev. v. 8 12 : " The four beasts and the fbur-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 thou sands of thousands, saying, with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom &gt; and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing." Christ speaks of the eternal life which he was to re ceive, as the reward of his obedience to the Father s commandments, John xii. 4:9, 50. "I have not spokea Sect. II. J Praise- worthy, Rewardable, &c\ 175 of myself; 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 ever lasting : whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Fa ther said unto me, so I speak. 11 God promises to divide him a portion with the great, &c. for his being his right eous Servant, for his glorious virtue under such great trials and afflictions. Isa. liii. 11, 12. " He shall see the travail 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. 11 The Scriptures represent God as rewarding Him far above all his other Servants. Phil. ii. 7, 8, 9. " Ho took on Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men ; and being fouud 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. Psalm xlv. 7. " Thou lovest righteous ness, and hatest wickedness; therefore God, thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows . 11 There is no room to pretend, that the glorious bene fits bestowed in consequence of Christ 1 ** ohedience, are not properly of the nature of a reward. What is a re ward, in the most proper sense, but a benefit bestowed in consequence of something morally excellent in quali ty or behaviour, in testimony of well-pleasedness in that moral excellency, and respect, and favour on that ac count ? If we consider the nature of a reward most strictly, and make the utmost of it, and add to the things contained in this description, proper merit or worthiness, and the bestowment of the benefit in con sequence of a promise, still it will he found, there is no thing belonging to it ; but that the Scripture is most express as to its belonging to the glory bestowed on Christ after his sufferings ; as appears from what has 175 Christ s Righteousness Part III. been already observed : there was a glorious benefit be stowed in consequence of something morally excellent, being called Righteousness and Obedience, there was great favour, love, and well-pleasedness for this right eousness and obedience in the Bestower ; there was proper merit, or worthiness, of the benefit, in the obe dience ; it was bestowed in fulfilment of promises made to that obedience ; and was bestowed therefore, or be cause 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. Horn. v. 14) taking on Him the human nature, and sa 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 Tive Points, p, 2J8, 209) namely, their afflictions be ing spoken of as their trials or temptations, their being the subjects of promises, and their being exposed to Sa tan s temptations. But Christ was apparently the sub ject of each of these. Concerning promises made to Him, I have spoken already. The difficulties and afflic tions 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 tempta tions or trials. 1 Heb. ii. 18. "For in that he him- self 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 dis pute. Sect. III.] Of the Inability and Sin of such 1 77 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. WHilby asserts freedom, not only from co- action, but necessity* to be essential to any thing deserv ing the name of Sin, and to an action s being culpable : in these words (Discourse on Five Points, edit. 3, p. 318.) " 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 Austins definition, that it be an action a 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 Dr 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, dispraisef, or dishonour j ; 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 such a thing as men s being judicially given up to sin, is certain, if the Scripture rightly informs us, such a thing being often there spoken of; as in Psalm Ixxxi. 12. " So I gave them up to their own hearts lust, and they walked in their own counsels." Acts vii. 42- " Then God turn ed, and gave them up to worship the host of Heaven/* * Discourse on Five Points, p. 347, 360, 3G1, 37T. t Ibid. 303, 326 , 329, and many other places, Ibid. 371. Ibid. 304,361. 17S As are given up to Sin. [Part III. 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 affec tions." 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 those things that are not con venient." It is needless to stand particularly to inquire what God s giving men up to their own hearts 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 o, so much is the conse quence of their being given up, whether that be less or more. If God does not order thing* so by action or permission, that sin will be the consequence, then the event proves that they are not given up to that conse quence. 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 sub jects of such an event, and so the event is necessary. If not only co-action, but all necessity, will prove men blameless, then Judas was blameless, after Christ had given him over, and had already declared his certain damnation, and that he should vtrily betray him. He was guilty of no sin in betraying his Master, on this supposition ; though 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 Jews in Egypt, in Jeremiah s time, were guilty of no sin, in their not worshipping the true God, aft r God had " sworn by jus great name, that his name should be no more named in the mouth of any man of Judab, in all the land of Egypt/ Jer. xliv. 26. Sect. III.] As are given up to Sin. 179 Dr Whitby (Discourse on Five Points, p. 502, 303,) denies that men in this world are ever so given up by God to sin, that their wills should be necessarily deter mined to evil ; though he owns, that hereby it may be come 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 avoid ing of sin impossible ; for if an impossibility of avoiding sin wholly excuses a man, then, for the same reason, its being difficult to avoid it, excuses him in part; and this just in proportion to the degree of difficulty If the 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 un doubtedly, in like manner, moral difficulty has the same influence to excuse with natural difficulty. But all al low, 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 diffi culty. All natural difficulty, according to the plainest dictates of the li^ht 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 impossi bility wholly excuses and excludes all blame, so the nearer the difficulty approaches to impossibility, still the nearer a person is to blamelessness in proportion to approach. And if the case of moral impossibility or ne cessity, 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 does not differ in influence to excuse a ncglrct from moral diffi culty, 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 per- 180 Of the Inability and Sin of such [Part III. sons must be lessened, in proportion to the difficulty and approach to impossibility. If ten degrees of moral dif ficulty make the action quite impossible, and so wholly excuse, 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 diffi culty at all ; and he has but one degree of blame-wor thiness. The reason is plain, on Arminian principles ; viz. because as difficulty, by antecedent bent and bias on the will, is increased, liberty of indifference arid self- determination in the will is diminished : so much hin drance and impediment is there in the way of the will s acting freely, by mere 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, cceteris paribus, in the ne glect ; 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. 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. J hough in one respect, exposedness to sin or fault is increased, viz. by an increase or exposedness to the evil action or omis sion ; yet it is diminished in another respect, to balance it ; namely, as the sinfulness or blameableness of the ac tion 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- ?3lf up or down with a force equal to a weight of ten Sect. III.] As are given up to Shi. 181 pounds ; and that it might therefore be required of it, in ordinary circumstances, to move itself down with that force ; for which it has power and full liberty, and there fore would be blame-worthy if it failed 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 its self- moving 1 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 its 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 its neglect of that one tenth part of its motion ; which it had as much liberty and advantage for, as in usual circumstances it has for the greater mo tion, which in such a case would be required. So that this new difficulty does not at all increase its exposed- ness to any thing blame-worthy. Thus the very supposition of difficulty in the way of a man s duty, or proclivity to sin, through a being given up to hardness of heart, or indeed by any other means whatsoever, is an inconsistence, according to Dr Wfiit- bifs notions of liberty, virtue and vice, blame and praise. The avoiding sin and blame, and the doing what is virtuous and praise-worthy, must be always equally easy. Dr Wkilb^s notion of liberty, obligation, virtue, sin, &c. led him into another great inconsistence. He abun dantly insists, that necessity is inconsistent with the nature of sin, or fault. He sa_ys, in the forementioned treatise, p. 14. " Who can blame a person for doing what he could not help ?"" And, p. 15. " Jt being sensibly unjust to punish any man for doing that which: was never in his power to avoid." And, in p. 34 i, to confirm his opinion, he quotes one of the Father s say- 182 Of the Inability and Sin of such [Part III. ing, " Why doth God command, if man hath no 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 com mand him that hath not liberty to do what is command ed ; 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." Yet the same Dr Whilby asserts, that fallen man is not able to perform perfect obedience. In p. 105, he has these words : " The nature of Adam had power to con tinue innocent, and without sin ; whereas, it is certain our nature never had so. 11 But if we have not power to continue innocent and without sin, then sin is incon sistent with necessity, and we may he sinful in that which we have not power to avoid ; and those things cannot 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 ouf power to be blameless : and if so, we are under a neces sity of being blame-worthy. And how does this consist with what he so often asserts, that necessity is inconsis tent 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 be yond what men have power to do ? Arminians in general are very inconsistent with them selves 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 died to satisfy for the imperfections of our nbedience, and has made way, that our imperfect obe- Sect. III.] As are given up to Sin. 183 dience 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 was it ? They cannot be a breach of their new law ; for that requires no other than imperfect obe dience, or obedience with imperfections : and therefore to have obedience attended with imperfections, is no breach of it , for it is as much as it requires. And they cannot 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 imper fections of our obedience do not 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 its own nature deserves no suf fering? What need of Christ s dying, to purchase that our imperfect obedience should be accepted, when, ac cording to their scheme, it would be unjust in itself that any other obedience than imperfect should be required ? What need of Christ s dying to make way for God s ac cepting such an obedience, as it would be unjust in Him not to accept ? Is there any need of Christ s drying, to 184 Commands consistent [Part III. 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 mi^ht not be under a law which, by their principles, it would be in itself unjust that we should be under, whether Christ had died or no, because, in our present state, we are not able to keep it ? So the Arminifins are inconsistent with themselves,, not only in what they say of the need of Christ s satis faction to atone for those imperfections which we cannot avoid, but 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 Stebbmg*) 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 a 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. 1 If Dr Stebbwg 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 unreason able, unjust, and cruel, for God to require that as the condition of pardon, what is become impossible by ori ginal sin. If it be so, what grace is there in giving as sistance 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 r , and which it would be unjust and cruel in Him to withhold, seeing he requires that, as the condition oj pardon, which he cannot perform without it ? * Treatise on the Operation of the Spirit. Second Edit. p.l 12, US, Sect. IV.] With Moral Inability. 185 SECTION IV. Command and Obligation to Obedience, consis tent 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 un willing to do ; not allowing in this case for any differ ence that there is between natural and moral inability ; I would therefore now particularly consider this mat ter. For the greater clearness, I would distinctly lay down the following things : I. The will itself, and not only those actions which are the effects of the will, is the proper object of precept or command. This is, such or such a state or acts of men s wills is, in many cases, properly required of them by commands ; and not only tho.se alterations in the state of their bodies or minds that are the consequences of volition. This is most manifest ; for it is 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 that of command, only as they are subject to the soul, and connected with its acts. But now the soul has no other faculty whereby it can, in the most direct and pro per sense, consent, yield to, or comply with any com mand, but the faculty of the will; and it is by this fa culty only that the soul can directly disobey, or refuse compliance : for the very notions Q consenting, yielding, accepting, complying, refusing^ rejecting, ^c. are, ac cording to the meaning of the terms, nothing but cer tain 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 coa- 3 186 Command consistent [Part III. senting, 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 notions 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 it is manifest the will itself may be re quired : and the being of a good will is the most proper, direct, and immediate subject of command; and if this cannot be prescribed or required by command or precept, nothing can , for other things can be required no other wise than as they depend upon, and are the fruits of a good will. Carol. 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, it is this more es pecially, which is that which command or precept has a proper respect to ; because it is this act that determines the whole affair. In this act, the obedience or disobe dience lies in a peculiar manner; the consequent acts being all subject to it, and governed and determined by it. This determining governing act must be the proper object 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 cannot proper ly be subject to any command or precept, in any respect whatsoever, either directly or indirectly, immediately or remotely. Such acts cannot be subject to commands di- recily, because they are no acts of the will , being, by the supposition, prior to all acts of the will, determining tmd giving rise to all its acts : they not being acts of the will, there can be in them no consequent to, or compli ance with any command. Neither can they be subject to command or precept indirectly or rcmvidy j for they Sect. IV.] with Moral Inability. 187 are not so much as the effects or consequences of the will, being prior to all its acts. So that if there be any ohedience in that original act of the soul, determining all volition, it is an act of obedience wherein the will has no concern at all, it preceding 1 every act of the will. And, therefore, if the soul either obeys or disobeys in this act, it is wholly voluntarily ; there is no willing obe dience or rebellion, no compliance or opposition of the will in the affair ; and what sort of obedience or rebel lion is this ? Thus the Arminian notion of the freedom of the will consisting in the soul s determining its own acts of the will, instead of being essential to moral agency, and to man s being the subject of moral government, is utterly inconsistent with it ; for if the soul determines all its acts of will, it is therein subject to no command or moral go vernment, as has been now observed ; because its original determining act is no act of will or choice, it being prior, by the supposition, to every act of the will ; and the soul cannot be the subject of command in the act of the will itself, which depends on the foregoing determining act, and is determined by it ; inasmuch as this is necessary, being the necessary consequence and effect of that prior determining act which is not voluntarily. Nor can the man be the subject of command or government in his ex ternal actions ; because these are ail 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 at all ; and all their moral agency is entirely excluded^ and no room for virtue or vice in the world. So that it is the Arminian scheme, and not the scheme of the Caliinists., that is utterly inconsistent with moral government, and with all use of laws, precepts, prohibi tions, promises, or threatenings. 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 ctine to pass by 188 Commands consistent [Part III. pure accident, without any determining" cause, this is most palpably inconsistent with all use of laws and pre cepts ; for nothing is more plain than that laws can be ef no use to direct and regulate perfect accident ; which, by the supposition of its being 1 pure accident, is in no case regulated by any thing preceding ; but happens, this way or that, perfectly by chance, without any cause or rule. The perfect uselessness of laws and precepts also follows from the Armwian notion of indifference, as essential to that liberty which is requisite to virtue 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, through the influence of binding law laid upon it, is not wholly left to itself to determine which way it will, without influence from without. II. Having shewn that the will itself, especially in those acts which are original, leading and determining in any case, is the proper subject of precept and com mand, 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 de fect of the will itself, in that act, which is its original and determining act in the case : I say, the wilfs oppo sition in this act to a thing proposed or commanded, or its 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 command ed, notwithstanding the command and the circumstances under which it is exhibited, still finds his will opposite or wanting, in that, belonging to its state or acts, which is original and determining in the affair, that man is morally unable to obey that command. This is manifest from what was observed in the first pnrt, concerning the nature of Moral Inability, as dis tinguished from natural ; where it was observed, that a Sect. IV.] with Moral Inability 189 man may then be said to be morally unable to do a thing, when he is under the influence of prevalence or a con trary inclination, or has a want of inclination, under such circumstances and views. It is also evident, from what has been before proved, that the will is always, and in every individual act, necessarily determined by the strong est motive ; and so is always unable to go against the motive, which, all things considered, has now the great est 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 its original deter mining inclination or act&gt; 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 itself to the contrary, to make an alteration, in order to a compliance. The inclination is unable to change itself; and that for this plain reason, that it is unaole to incline to change itself. Present choice cannot at present choose to be otherwise: for what would be at present to choose something diverse from what is at present chosen. If the will, all things now considered, inclines or chooses to go that way, then it cannot choose, all things now considered, to go the other way, and so cannot choose to be made to go the other way. To suppose that the mind is now sincerely inclined to change itself 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 its leading act, by any act of its own, in the time of that diverse or opposite leading and original act, or after it has actually come under the influence of that determining choice or inclina tion ; so it is impossible it should be determined to a compliance by any foregoing act ; for, by the very sup- 1QO Commands consistent [Part III. position, there is no foregoing act ; the opposite or non- complying act being that act which is original and deter mining 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 sup pose it to be able to determine and cause its first deter mining act to be otherwise, and that it has power better to govern and regulate its first governing and regulating^ act, which is absurd ; for it is to suppose a prior act of the will, determining its 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 contradic tion. Here if it should be said, that although 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 cannot immediately change itself, because it cannot at present incline to a change ; yet the mind has an ability for the present to forbear to pro ceed to action, and taking time for deliberation ; which may be an occasion of the change of the inclination. I answer, (I.) In this objection that seems to be for gotten, which was observed before, vis. that the deter mining to take the matter into consideration, is itself 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 re quired by precept. And if this act be the commanding act, then all that has been observed concerning the com manding 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 5 or whatever be the original and Sect. IV.] with Moral Inability leading act, still the foregoing proof stands good that the non-compliance of the leading act implies moral ina bility 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 as the inability is merely moral, it is true, the will, in every instance, acts by moral necessity, and is morally unable to act otherwise, as truly and properly in one case as another ; as I humbly conceive, has been perfectly and abundant ly demonstrated by what has been said in the preceding part of this Essay. But yet, in some respect, the ina bility may be said to be greater in some instances than others ; though the man be truly unable (if moral ina bility can truly be called Inability) yet he may be fur ther from being able to do somethings 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, ac cording to common use of speech, has a greater inabili ty for it. ^o it is in moral inability. A man is truly morally unable to choose contrary to a present inclina tion, 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, superior to all other motives in view ; but yet he is fur ther from ability to resist a very strong habit and a vio lent and deeply rooted inclination, or a motive vastly exceeding all others in strength. And again : the ina bility may, in some respects, be called greater in some instances than others, as it may be more general and ex tensive to all acts of that kind. So men may be said to 192 Commands consistent [Part III. 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 ina bility 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 hindered by a transient cloud or mist. Besides, that which was observed in the first part of this discourse, concerning 1 the inability which attends a strong and settled habit should be here remembered ; viz. that fixed habit is attended with this peculiar moral ina bility, by which it is distinguished from occasional voli tion^ namely, that endeavours to avoid future volitions of that kind, which are agreeable to such a habit, much more frequently and commonly prove vain and insuffi cient. For though it is impossible 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 viewed 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 endea vours may be ineffectual. The man may be said, in some sense to be unable ; yea, even as the wor.l unable is a relative term, and has relation to ineffectual endeav ours ; yet not with regard to present, but remote en deavours. Secondly, It must be borne in mind, according to what was observed before, that indeed no inability what soever, is merely 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 cannot be said lo 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 * See this distinction of Moral Inability explained, in Part 1, Section iv. Sect. IV.] With Moral Inability. 193 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 voliti ons, but only against volitions of such a kind, when view ed 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 agree able : 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 them selves 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. Though the opposition of the will itself, 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, and 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. 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 com mand 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 com mand is possible in any case ; and there is no case sup- posable or possible, wherein there can be an excusable S 194 Commands consistent [Part III. or faulty disobedience ; which Arminians cannot affirm consistently with their principles ; for this makes obe dience to just and proper commands always necessary, and disobedience impossible. And so the Armiman would overthrow himself, yielding the very point we are upon which he so strenuously denies, viz. that law and com mand are consistent with necessity, If merely that inability will excuse disobedience, which is implied in the opposition or defect of inclina tion, remaining after the command is exhibited, then wickedness always carries that in it which excuses it. It is 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, 4ias he of moral inability to the good required. His mo ral inability, consisting in the strength of his evil incli nation, 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 pre cept 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 not in the will itself, but intrinsic to it ; either in the capacity of understanding, or body, or out ward circumstance?. Here two or three things may be observed, 1. As two spiritual duties or acts, or any good thing in the state of imminent acts of the will itself, or of the affections (which are only certain modes of the exercise Sect. IV.] with Moral Inability*. 1Q5 of the will) if persons are justly excused, it must be* through want of capacity in the natural faculty of un derstanding. Thus the same spiritual duties or holy af fections and exercises of heart, cannot be required of men, as may be of angels ; the capacity of understand ing being so much inferior. So men cannot be requir ed to love those amiable persons, whom they have had no opportunity to see, or hear of, or come to the know ledge of, in any way agreeable to the natural state and capacity of the human understanding. But the insuf ficiency of motives will not excuse, unless their being insufficient arises not from the moral state of the will, or inclination itself, but from the state of the natural un derstanding. The great kindness and generosity of another may be a motive insufficient to excite gratitude in the person that receives the kindness, through his vile and ungrateful temper : in this case, the insufficiency of the motive arises from the state of the will or feincli- nation of heart, and does not. at all excuse. But if this generosity is not sufficient to excite gratitude, being un known, 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 &gt; which entirely excuses. 2. As to such motions of body or exercises and al terations of mind, which does not consist in the im minent acts or state of the will itself, but are supposed to be required as effects of the will, I say, in such sup posed 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 does not 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 ob served, is all that can be directly and immediately re quired by command; and other things only indirectly, as connected with the will. If therefore there can be a 196 Commands consistent [Part III. full compliance of will, tlie person has done his duty ; and if other things do not 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 re solved into one thing ; namely, want of natural capacity or strength ; eilher capacity of understanding or exter nal 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 inabi lity, may properly be the matter of precept or command, then they may also of invitation and counsel. Com mands 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 no thing that touches the affair in hand. The main differ ence between Command and Invitation consists in the inforcement of the will of him who commands or invites. In the latter it is his kindness, the goodness which his wiil 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 direct ed by invitation, is no more an evidence of insincerity in him that directs in manifesting either a will or ex pectation which he has not, then his being known to be morally unable to do what he is directed to by command. JSo that all this grand objection of Arminians against the inability of fallen men to exert faith in Christ, or to per form other spiritual gospel-duties, from the sincerity of God s counsels and invitations, must be without force. Sect. V.] What Willingness, Sfc. 191 SECTION V. That Sincerity of Desires and Endeavours which is supposed to excuse in the Non-per formance of Things in themselves good, parti cularly considered. ITT is what is much insisted on by many, that som * men though they are not able to perform spiritua duties, such as repentance of sin, love to God, a cor dial acceptance of Christ as exhibited and offered in the gospel, &c. yet they may sincerely desire and endea vour these things, and therefore must be excused ; it be ing unreasonable to blame them for the omission of those things, which they sincerely desire and endeavour to do, but cannot 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 choose and desire those spiritual duties of love, acceptance, choice, rejection, &c. consisting in the exercise of the will itself, or in the disposition and inclination of the heart, and vet not be able to perform or exert them. This is absurd ; because it is absurd to suppose that a man should direct ly, 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 them ; for the duties themselves consist in that very thing: they con sist 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 its own. Even as when a movin- 1Q8 What willingness and [Part III. body Tails in with a proposed direction of its motion, that is the same thing 1 as to move in that direction. 2. That which is called a desire and willingness for those inward duties, in such as do not perform, has re spect 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 1 else that is alien 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 virtue ; but being also ex tremely 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 virtue of Temperance ; and though his present will is to gratify his extravagant appetite, yet he may wish he had a heart to forbear fu ture acts of intemperance, and forsake his excesses, through an unwillingness to part with his money : but still he goes on with his drunkenness ; his wishes and en deavours are insufficient and ineffectual. Such a man has no proper, direct, sincere willingness to forsake this vice and 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 virtue ; for it is not that vir tue that terminates his wishes j nor have they any direct respect at all to it. It is only the saving his money, and avoiding poverty, that terminates and exhausts the whole strength of his desire. The virtue of Temperance is re garded only very indirectly and improperly, even as a necessary means of gratifying the vice of Covetousnesa, 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 en- Sect. V.] Sincerity is no excuse. ]()() mity against them ; yet being of a family, that, from one generation to another, have most of them died in youth, of an hereditary consumption, and so having little hope of living longer ; and having been instructed in the necessity of a supreme love to Christ, and grati tude for his death and sufferings, in order to his salva tion from eternal misery ; if under these circumstances he should, through fear of eternal torments, wish he had such a disposition : but his profane and carnal heart remaining, he continues still in his habitual dis taste 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 choose him as his chief good. These holy dispositions and exercises are not at ail the direct object of the will: they truly share no part of the inclination or desire of the soul ; but all is terminated on deliver ance from torment : and these graces and pious volitions, notwithstanding this forced consent, are looked upon undesirable ; as when a sick man desires a dose lie greatly abhors, to save his life. From these things it appears, 3. That this indirect willingness which has been spoken of, is riot that exercise of the will which the command requires ; but is entirely a different one ; being a volition of a different nature, and terminated al together on different objects j wholly falling short of that virtue of will, which the command has respect to. 4-. Tliis other volition, which has only some indirect concern with the duty required, cannot excuse for the want of that good will itself, which is commanded; be ing not the thing which answers and fulfils the command, and being wholly destitute of the "virtue which the command seeks. Further to illustrate this matter: If a child has a most excellent father, that has ever treated him with 200 What willingness and [Part ILL fatherly kindness and tenderness, and has every way, in the highest degree, merited his love and dutiful regard, being withal very wealthy ; hut the son is of so vile a dis position, that he inve.terately hates his father ; and yet, apprehending that his hatred of him is like to prove his ruin, by bringing him finally to poverty and abject cir cumstances, through his father s disinheriting him, or otherwise ; which is exceeding cross to his avarice and ambition ; he, therefore, wishes it were otherwise : but remaining under the invisible power of his vile and ma lignant disposition, he continues still in his settled hatred of his father. Now, if such a son^s indirect willingness lo have love and honour towards his father, at all acquits or excuses before God, for his failing of actually exer cising these dispositions towards him, which God requires, it must be on one of these accounts : (1.) Either that 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 an swer the obligation. Or, (&lt;2 ) It must be at least because that virtue or goodness in his indirect willingness, that is equivalent to the virtue required ; and so balances or countervails it, and makes up for the want of it. But that also is con trary to the supposition. The willingness the son has merely from a regard to money and honour, has no good ness in it to countervail the want of the pious filial res pect required. Sincerity and reality, in that indirect willingness, which has been spoken of, does not make it the better. That which is real and hearty is often called sincere ; whether it be in virtue or vice. Some persons are sin cerely 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 virtue, unless it be in Sect. V.] Sincerity is no excuse. 201 a thing that is virtuous. A man may be sincere and hearty in joining a crew of pirates or a gang of robbers. When the devils cried out, arid 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 virtuous. 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 virtue. As a man s being 1 sincere in such an indirect desire or willingness to do his duty, as has been -mentioned, can not excuse for the want of performance ; so it is with Endeavours arising from such a willingness. The en deavours can have no more goodness in them 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, though they should be to the utmost of his ability ; unless the will which they proceed from be truly good and virtuous, they can be of no avail, influence, or weight to any purpose whatso ever, in a moral sense or respect. That which is not truly virtuous in God s sight, is looked upon, by Him, as good for nothing : and so can be of no value, weight, or influence in his account, to recommend, satisfy, ex cuse, 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 ear nest 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. It is 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 virtue, have no positive moral influence; yet they may be an occasion of persons avoiding 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; 202 What Willingness and [Part III. which neighbour was much in debt to him, and should be tempted to let him sink and drown ; but should re fuse to comply with the temptation ; not from love to his neighbour, but from the love of money, and because by his drowning 1 he should lose his debt; that which he does in preserving his neighbour from drowning-, is no thing 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, Sec. it is manifest they have respect to some positive moral weight or influence of those desires and endeavours. Accept ing, 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 more value, something that is accepted as good, and as such, coun tervailing some defect. But there is a great and unknown deceit arising from the ambiguity of the phrase, Sincere Endeavours. In deed there is a vast indistinctness and 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, inextrica ble confusion, and endless controversy. The word sincere is most commonly used to signify something that is good : men are habituated to under stand by it the same as honest and upright ; which terms excite an idea of something good in the strictest and highest sense ; good in the sight of Him, who sees not only the outward appearance, but the heart. And there fore, men think that if a person be sincere., he will cer tainly be accepted. If it be said that any one is sin cere 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 virtuous inclination ; he honestly and uprightly desires and endeavours to do as he is re quired ; and this leads them to suppose that it would be Sect. V.] Sincerity is no excuse. 203 very hard and unreasonable to punish him, only because he is unsuccesful in his endeavours, the thing- endeavour ed being beyond his power. Whereas it ought to be observed, that the word sincere has these different sig nifications. 1. Sincerity, as the word is sometimes used, signifi es no more than 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 it ; without any consideration of the goodness or virtuousness of the principle he acts from, or any excellency or worthiness of the end he acts for. Thus a man, who is kind to his neighbour s wife, who is sick and languishing, and very helpful in her case, makes a shew of desiring and endeav ouring 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 en deavours for it; he is said sincerely to desire and en deavour it, because he does so truly or really; though 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 vi gour restored, that he may return to his crimnal plea sures with her. Or, 2. By sincerity is meant, not merely a reality of Will and Endeavour of some sort or other, and from some con sideration or other, but a virtuous sincerity. That is, that in the performance of those particular acts that are the matter of virtue or duty, there be not only the matter, but the form and essence of virtue consisting in the aim that governs the act, and the principle exer cised 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 9 which should properly belong to such a body. In this 204 What Sincerity of Endeavours,${c. [Part HI.

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 obtained, for some end or other;
but he wills the thing directly and properly, as neither
forced nor bribed ; the virtue 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 mere 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 virtue there is
in merely doing the matter of duty , without the reality
of the virtue itself 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 sigh: 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
bting of a perfect heart. And if there be such a sin
cerity, 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 does not 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 vir
tue in it (as was observed before) can be of no avail
before God, in any case, to recommend, satisfy, or ex
cuse, and has no positive moral weight or influence
whatsoever.

Corol. 1. Hence it may be inferred, that nothing in
the reason and nature of things appears from the con
sideration of any moral weight of that former kind of
sincerity, which has been spoken of, at all obliging us to

Sect. V.] Of Promises. 205

positive promises of salvation, or grace, or any saving
assistance, or any spiritual benefit whatsoever, to any
desires, prayers, endeavours, striving 1 , or obedience of
those who hitherto have no true virtue or holiness in
their hearts ; though we should suppose 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 supreme respect
to Christ, love to God, loving holiness for its own sake,
&c. that these inward dispositions and exercises arc
above men s power, as they are by nature; and there
fore 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 appoint
ed as the condition of salvation : concerning which, I
would observe, that in such a manner of speaking of
men s being accepted^ because they arc sincere, and do as
well as they caw, there is evidently a supposition of some
virtue, some degree of that which is truly good ; though
it does not go so far as were to be wished. For if men
do what they can, unless their so doing be from some
good principle, disposition, or exercise of heart, some
virtuous 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 not more proceed from virtue ; 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 no
thing, as to any true moral weight or value.
T

206 Indifference Inconsistent [Tart III.

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 es
cape his future displeasure and wrath, and obtain hap
piness in the future state, through his favour.

SECTION VI.

Liberty of Indifference, not only not necessary
to Virtue, but utterly inconsistent with it ;
and all, either virtuous or Vicious Habits or
Inclinations, inconsistent with Arminian No
tions of Liberty and Moral Agency,

TO suppose such a freedom of will as Arminians talk
of, to be requisite to virtue 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 virtuous action, that it
be performed in a state of liberty, as they also suppose;
it will follow, that it is essential to a virtuous action, that
it be performed in a state of indifference, then doubtless
jt must be performed in the time of indifference. And
so it will follow, that in order to the virtuousness of an
act, the heart must be indifferent in the time of the per
formance 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 agreeable to
the light of nature ? Is it agreeable to the notions
which mankind in all ages have of virtue, that it lies in

Sect VI.] With Virtue. 20T

that which is contrary to indifference, even in the Ten
dency and Inclination of the heart to virtuous action;
and that the stronger the inclination, and so the further
from indifference, the more virtuous the heart, and so
much the more praise-worthy the act which proceeds
from it ?

If we should suppose (contrary to what has been be
fore 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 itself out of a state of indiffer
ence, and give itself a preponderance one way, then it
would follow, on Arminian principles, that this act or de
termination of the will is that alone wherein virtue con
sists, because this only is performed, while the mind re
mains in a state of indifference, and so in a state of li
berty : for when once the mind is put out of its equili
brium, 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 virtue nor vice. Or if the
thing which the will can do, while yet in a state of in
difference, and so of liberty, be only to suspend acting,
and determine to take the matter into consideration,
then this determination is that alonewherein virtue con
sists, and not proceeding to action after the scale is turn
ed by consideration. So that it will follow, from these
principles, all that is done after the mind, by any means,
is once out of its equilibrium and already possessed by an
inclination, and arising from that inclination, has nothing
of the nature of virtue or vice, and is worthy of neither
blame nor praise. But how plainly contrary is this to
the universal sense of mankind, and to the notion they
have of sincerely virtuous actions ? Which is, that they
are actions which proceed from a heart well disposed and
inclined; and the stronger, and the morejixed and de
termined the good disposition of the heart, the greater
the sincerity of virtue, 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 per
fect indifference and coolness of heart, they cannot

208 Indifference inconsistent [Part IIL

from any good principle or disposition in the heart ; and,
consequently, according to common sense, have no sin
cere goodness in them, having no virtue of heart in them.
To have a virtuous heart, is to have a heart that favours
virtue, and is friendly to it, and not one perfectly cold

Besides : the actions that are done in a state of in
difference,, or that arise immediately out of such a state,
cannot be virtuous, because, by the supposition, they
are not determined by any preceding choice. For if
there be preceding choice, then choice intervenes be
tween the act and the state of indifference ; which is
contrary to the supposition of the act s arising immediate
ly out of indifference. But those acts which are not de
termined by preceding choice, cannot be virtuous or vi
cious, by Arminian principles, because they are not de
termined by the will. So that neither one way nor the
other, can any actions be virtuous or vicious, according
to Arminian principle?. If the action be determined by
a preceding act of choice, it cannot be virtuous; because
the action is not done in a state of indifference, 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 preceding act of choice, then it cannot be virtuous ;
because then the will is not self-determined in it. So
that it is made certain, that neither virtue nor vice can
ever find any place in the universe.

Moreover, that it is necessary to a virtuous action
that it be performed in a state of indifference, under a
notion of that being a state of liberty, is contrary to
common sense ; as it is a dictate of common sense, that
indifference itself, 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 pro
posed 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 do numberless other things, which

Sect. VI.] With Virtue. 209

might be mentioned, the being: indifferent for a moment
would be highly vicious and vile.

It may be further observed, that to suppose this li
berty of indifference is essential to virtue and vice, de
stroys the great difference of degrees of the guilt of dif
ferent crimes, and takes away the heinousness of the most
flagitious, horrid iniquities ; such as adultery, bestia
lity, murder, perjury, blasphemy, Sec. ; 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 j nay, it is absolutely necessary in order to
any virtue in avoiding them, or vice in doing them.
But for the mind to be in a state of indifference with
respect to them, is to be next door to doing them ; it
is then infinitely near to choosing, 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 crime, is for the mind
to be in such a state as to be full as likely to choose
them as to refuse them, to do them as to omit them.
And if our minds must be in such a state, wherein it is
as near to choosing as refusing, and wherein it must of
necessity, according to the nature of things, be as likely to
commit them, as to refrain from them ; where is the ex
ceeding heinousness of choosing and committing them ?
If there be no harm in often being in such a state wherein
the 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 inevit
able consequence of such a disposition of things, that we
should choose them as often as reject them : that it
should generally so fall out is necessary, as equality in
the effect is the natural consequence of the equal tenden
cy of the cause, or of the antecedent state of things,
3

210 Of Virtuous [Part III.

from which the effect arises. Why then should we be
so exceedingly to blame if it does so fall out ?

It is many ways apparent, that the Arminiaris scheme
of liberty is utterly inconsistent with the being of any
such things as either virtuous or vicious habits or dispo
sitions. If Liberty of Indifference be essential to moral
agency, then there can be no virtue in any habitual in
clinations of the heart; which are contrary to indiffer
ence, and imply in their nature the very destruction and
exclusion of it. They suppose nothing can be virtuous
in which no liberty is exercised ; but how absurd is it to
talk of exercising indifference under bias and prepon-
deration ! .

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
itself, and the scales turned by the sovereign power the
will has over itself. And therefore the will must not
be put out of its balance already, the preponderation
must not be determined and effected before-hand ; and
so the ^self-deter mining act anticipated. Thus it ap
pears another way, that habitual bias is inconsistent with
that liberty which Arminians suppose to be necessary
to virtue or vice; and so it follows, that habitual bias
itself cannot be either virtuous or vicious.

The same thing follows from their doctrine concern
ing tiie Inconsi-tence of necessity with liberty, praise,
dispraise, &c. None will deny that bias and inclina
tion 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 re
spect to evil. Therefore, if necessity be inconsistent
with liberty ; then, when fixed inclination is to such a
degree of strength, it utterly excludes all virtue, vice,
praise, or blame. And if so, then the nearer habits are
to this strength, the more do they impede liberty, and

Sect. IV.] And Vicious habits 211

so diminish praise and blame. If very strong habits
destroy liberty, the lesser ones proportionably hinder k,
according to their degree of strength. And therefore
it will follow, that then is the act most virtuous or vicious,
when performed without any inclination or habitual bias
at all j because it is then performed with most liber
ty

Every prepossessing fixed bias on the mind brings a
degree of moral inability for the contrary ; because so far
as the mind is biassed and prepossessed, so much hinde-
rance is there of the contrary. And therefore if moral
inability be consistent with moral agency, or the nature
of virtue and vice, then, so far as there is any such thing
as evil disposition of heart or habitual depravity of incli
nation ; 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 na
ture of vice. And on the contrary, whatever excellent
dispositions and inclinations they have, so much are they
the less virtuous.

It is evident that no habitual disposition of heart,
whether it be to a greater or less degree, can be in any de
gree virtuous or vicious, or the actions which proceed
from them at all praise or blame-worthy. Because,
though 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, although the
act be partly from bias, yet it may be in part from self-
determination ; yet in this case, all that is from antece
dent bias must be set aside, as of no consideration ; and
in estimating the degree of virtue 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 them be stronger or weak
er, can ever have any thing of the nature of either vir
tue or vice.

212 Of Virtuous [Part III.

.Here, if any one should say, that notwithstanding all
these things, there may be the nature of virtue and vice
in the habits of the mind ; because these habits may be
the effects of those acts, wherein the mind exercised li
berty; that however the forementioned reasons will prove
that no habits, which are natural, or that are born or cre
ated with us can be either virtuous or vicious ; yet they
will not prove this of habits, which have been acquired
and established by repeated 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 virtue and vice, then there
is no virtue or vice, but only in that very thing wherein
this liberty is exercised. If a man. in one or more
things 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 virtuous or vicious, rewardable or punishable ; but
only the free acts that established this necessity j for in
them alone was the man free. The following effects
that are necessary, have no more of the nature of virtue
or vice, than health or sickness of body have properly
the nature of virtue 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 virtue,
which are the effects of free acts of the artificer ; or the
goodness and sweetness of the fruits of a garden are mo
ral virtues, 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 virtuous or vicious ; but the virtue or vice must
be only in the free cause. Agreeable to this, Dr Whit-
ly 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,

Sect. VI.] And Vicious Habits 213

On the whole it appears, that if the notions of Armi-
nians, concerning liberty and moral agency, be true, it
will follow, that there is no virtue in any such habits or
qualities as humility, meekness, patience, mercy, grati
tude, 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, hungering, and thirsting after righteousness,
love to enemies, universal benevolence to mankind ; and,
on the other hand, there is nothing at all vicious or wor
thy of dispraise, in the most sordid, beastly, malignant,
devilish dispositions ; in being ungrateful, profane, ha
bitually 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 i.o such thing as any
virtuous or vicious qualify of mind ; no such thing as
inherent virtue and holiness, or vice and sin ; and the
stronger those habits and dispositions are, which used to
be called virtuous and vicious, the further they are from
being so indeed ; the more violent men s lusts are, the
more fixed their pride, envy, ingratitude, and malicious
ness, 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 dispo
sition, 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, strong
ly 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 prosperities being 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

214 Armlmamsm inconsistent, Sfc. [Part III.

the utmost possible distance from being at liberty. And,
in all cases, the stronger the inclinations of any are to
virtue, and the more they love it, the less virtuous they
are ; and the more they love wickedness, the less vicious.
Whether these things are agreeable to Scripture, let
every Christian, and every man who has read the Bible,
judge ; and whether they arc agreeable to common sense,
let every one judge that has human understanding in ex
ercise.

If we pursue these principles, we shall find that vir
tue and vice are wholly excluded out of the world ; and
that there never was, nor never can be, any such thing
as one or the other, either in God, angels, or men. No
propensity, disposition, or habit, can be virtuous or vi
cious, as has been shewn ; because they, so far as they
take place, destroy the freedom of the will, the founda
tion of all moral agency, and exclude all capacity of ei
ther virtue or vice. And if habits and dispositions them
selves be not virtuous nor vicious, neither can the exer
cise of these dispositions be so; for the exercise of bias
is not the exercise of free self-determining will, and so-,
there is no exercise of liberty in it. Consequently, no
man is virtuous or vicious, either in being well or ill-dis
posed, 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 no
thing in him ; and is necessary, as to any inclination or
choice of his ; and, therefore, cannot make him either
the better or worse, any more than a tree is better than
other trees, because it oftener happens to be sit upon by
a swan or nightingale ; or a rock more vicious than other
rocks, because rattle-snakes have happened oftener to
crawl over it, So that there is no virtue nor vice in good

Sect. VII.] Arminianism inconsistent, Sfc. 215

or bad dispositions, either fixed or transient ; nor any
virtue or vice in acting from any good or bad previous
inclination ; nor yet any virtue or vice in acting wholly
without any previous inclination. Where then shall we
find room for virtue or vice ?

SECTION VII.

Arminian Notions of Moral Agency inconsistent
with all Influence of Motive and Inducement,
in either Virtuous or Vicious Actions.

AS Arminian notions of that liberty which is essential
to virtue or vice, are inconsistent with common
sense, in their being inconsistent with all virtuous or
vicious habits and dispositions ; so they are no less so in
their inconsistency with all influence of motives in mo
ral actions.

It is equally against those notions of liberty of will,
whether there be, previous to the act of choice, a pre-
ponderancy of the inclination or a preponderancy of those
circumstances which have a tendency to move the inclin
ation. And, indeed, it comes to just the same thing;
to say, the circumstances of the mind are such as tend to
sway and turn its inclination one way, is the same thing
as to say, the inclination of the mind, as under such cir
cumstances, 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 its
own self-determination, but to bring it into subjection
to the power of something extrinsic, which operates upon

216 Motive and Inducement, Sfc. [Part III.

it, sways and determines it previous to its own determin
ation ; so that what is done from motive, cannot be either
virtuous 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 mo
tive causes the volition, then the influence of the motive
determinesvolition, and volition does not determine itself;
and so is not free, in the sense of Arminians (as has been
largely shewn already) and consequently can be neither
Yirtuous 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 sus
pending- action for the present, in order to deliberation.
If it should be said, Though it be true, that the will is
under a necessity of finally following the strongest mo
tive ; yet it may, for the present, forbear to act upon
the motive presented, till there has been opportunity
thoroughly to consider it, and compare its real weight
with the merit of other motives ; 1 answer as follows :

Here again it must be remembered, that if determin
ing thus to suspend and consider, be that act of the will,
wherein alone liberty is exercised, then in this all virtue
and vice must consist : and the acts thai follow this con
sideration, and are the effects of it being necessary, are
no more virtuous 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 :

I. To suppose that all virtue and vice in every case,
consists in determining, whether to take time for con
sideration or not, is riot agreeable to common sense.
For, according to such a supposition, the most horrid
crimes, adultery, murder, sodomy, blasphemy, &cc. do
not at all consist in the horrid nature of the things them-

Sect. VII.] With Anninian Virtue and Vice. 217

selves, but only in the neglect of thorough consideration
before they were perpetrated, which brings their vicious-
ness to a small matter, and makes all crimes equal. If
it be said, that neglect of consideration, when such
heinous evils are proposed to ciioice, is worse than in
other cases, I answer, this is inconsistent, as it sup
poses the very thing- to be, which, at the same time, is
supposed not to be ; it supposes all moral evil, all vicious-
ness, and heinousness, does not consist merely in the
want of consideration. Jt supposes some crimes in them
selves, 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 virtue and vice, in every
case, consisted only in the act of the will, whereby it de
termines 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 necessarily, even in that act
wherein alone it is either virtuous or vicious.

One thing more I would observe, concerning the in-
eonsistence of Anninian notions of moral agency with
the influence of motives. I suppose none will deny that
it is 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, Ar-
minians 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 de
grees of motives abolish all liberty, then five hundred
take it half away. If one degree of the influence of mo
tive does not at all infringe or diminish liberty, then no
more do two degrees ; for nothing doubled, is still no
thing. And if two degrees do not diminish the will s li
berty, no more do four, eight, sixteen, or six thousand.
For nothing, multiplied never so much comes to but no-
U

218 Motive and Inducement, Sfc. [Part III,

thing. If there be nothing in the nature of motive or mo
ral suasion, that is at all opposite to liberty, then the
greatest degree of it cannot hurt liberty ; but if there be
anything 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 virtue. If invincible
motives, to that action which is good, take away all the
freedom of the act, and so all the virtue of it, then the
more forceable the motives are, so much the worse, so
much the less virtue ; and the weaker the motives are,
the better for the cause of virtue ; and none is best of
all.

Now let it be considered, whether these things are
agreeable to common sense. If it should be allowed that
there are some instances wherein the soul chooses with
out any motive, what virtue can there be in such a choice?
I am sure there is no prudence nor 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 tire 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 virtue, no more virtue in
it than in the motion of the smoke, which is dri
ven too 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 tjie argu
ment against the .-Calvmists, taken from the use of coun
sels, exhortations, invitations, expostulations, &c. so
much insisted on by Arminians, is truly against them
selves. 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 the will, excited by such causes, cannot be vir
tuous ; because so far.as they are from these, they are
not from the wilPs self-determining power. Hence it
will follow, that it is not worth the while to offer any

Sect. VII.] With Anninian Virtue and Vice. 21 9

arguments to persuade men to any virtuous volition or
voluntary action : It is in vain to set before them the
wisdom and amiableness of ways of virtue, or the odious-
ness and folly of ways of vice. This notion of liberty
and moral agency frustrates all endeavours to draw men
to virtue by instruction or persuasion, precept or ex
ample ; for though these things may induce men to what
is materially -virtuous, yet at the same time they take
away the form of virtue, because- they destroy liberty ;
as they, by their own power, put the will out of its
equilibrium^ determine and turn the scale, and take the
work of self-determining power out of its hands. And
the clearer the instructions that are given, the more
powerful the arguments that are used ; and the more
moving the persuasions 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 its balance, to hinder its freedom of self-determination ;
and so to exclude the very form of virtue, and the es
sence of whatsoever is praise-worthy.

So it clearly follows, from these principles, that God
has no hand in any man s virtue, 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 virtue
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, threatening^, 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 virtuous act of the
mind, or to promote any thing morally good and com
mendable, in any respect. For there is no way that
these or any other means can promote virtue, but one 01
these three: Either (1.) By a physical operation on
the heart ; but all effects that are wrought in men in
this way, have no virtue in them, by the concurring

220 Motive and Inducement, &fc. [Part III.

voice of all Arminians. Or (2.) Morally, by exhibiting-
motives to the understanding 1 , to excite good acts in tbe
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 princi
ples, there is no virtue in them. Or (3.) By merely
giving- the will an opportunity to determine itself con
cerning the objects proposed, either to choose or reject,
by its own uncaused, unmoved, uninfluenced, self-deter
mination. And if this be all, then all those means do
no more to promote virtue than vice ; for they do no
thing but give the will opportunity to determine itself
cither 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 cer
tainly follow from the Arminian doctrine, which they
charge on others; namely, that God acts an inconsistent
part in using so many counsels, warnings, invitations, in-
treaties, &c. with sinners, to induce them to forsake sin,
and turn to the ways of virtue ; and that all are insin
cere and fallacious. It will follow, from their doctrine,
that God does those 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 inconsis
tent 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 doc
trine which, if pursued in its consequences, does horri
bly reflect on the most High, and fix on him the charge
of hypocrisy ; and not the doctrine of the Cahinist, ac
cording to their frequent and vehement,exclamations and
invectives.

CoroL 2. From what has been observed in this sec
tion, it again appears, that Arminian principles and no
tions, when fairly examined and pursued in their demon
strable consequences, do evidently shut all virtue out of

Sect. VII. ] And Vice out of the World. 2

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 conceived of. For, by these principles,
the very notion of virtue or vice implies absurdity and
contradiction. For it is absurd in itself, and contrary to
common sense, to suppose a virtuous act of mind without
any good intention or aim ; and, by their principles, it
is absurd to suppose a virtuous 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
virtuous act with a good design and end ; and it is self-
evident, there can be none without ; consequently there
can be no virtuous act at all. .

Carol. 3. It is 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 virtuous or vicious act, it cannot be an act of the
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 its act has no mo
tive or end, then, in that act (as was observed before)
it seeks nothing, goes after nothing, exerts no inclina
tion to any thing; and this implies that in that act it
desires nothing, and chooses 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 ef
fectually shuts all vicious and virtuous act out of the
universe ; inasmuch as, according to this, there can be
no vicious or virtuous 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 virtuous or vicious act where
in the will is not concerned. And therefore there is no
room for any virtuous or vicious acts at all.

Corol. 4. If none of the moral actions of intelligent
beings are influenced by either previous inclination or

o

222 Arminlanum excludes, Sfc. [Part 111.

motive, another strange thing will follow ; and this is,
that God not only cannot fore-know any of the future
moral actions of his creatures, but he can make no con
jecture, 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 ob
served, Arminian notions of moral agency, in their real
consequence, altogether exclude.

PART IV.

Wherein the chief Grounds of the Reasonings of ARMINIAXS, in
Support and Defence of the forementioned Notions of LIBERTY,
MORAL AGENCY, &c. and against the opposite Doctrine, are con
sidered.

SECTION I.

The Essence of the Virtue and rice of Dispo
sitions of the Heart, and Acts of the /TV//,
lies not in their Cause ; but their Nature.

^~\NE main foundation of the reasons which are brought
^^ to establish the forementioned notions of liberty,
virtue, vice, &cc. is a supposition that the virtuousness of
the dispositions or acts of the will, consists not in the na
ture of these dispositions or acts, but wholly in the ori
gin or cause of them ; so that if the disposition of the
mind or acts of the will be never so good, yet if the cause
of the disposition or act be not our virtue, there is no
thing virtuous or praise-worthy in it; and, on the con
trary, if the will, in its inclination or acts, be never 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 demonstra
tion or self-evidence, against any virtue and comrnend-
ableness or vice and blame- worthiness, of those habits or
acts of the will, which are not from some virtuous or vi
cious determination of the will itself.

224 Essence of Virtue and Vice. [Part IV*"

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 virtuous or vicious disposition, or volition of mind,
the virtuousness or viciousness of them consists not in
the origin or cause of these things ; but in the nature of
them.

If the essence of virtuousness or commendableness,
and of viciousness or fault, does not lie in the nature of
the dispositions or acts of mind, which are said to be.
our virtue or our fault, but in their cause, then it is cer
tain it lies nowhere at all. Thus, for instance, if the
vice of a vicious act of the will, lies not in the nature of
the act, but the cause ; so that its being of a bad nature
will not make it at all our fault, unless it arises from some
faulty determination of our s, as its 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 itself, but in its cause; that evil determina
tion of our s is not our fault, merely 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 ; though 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 cannot
consist in any thing that is in effect ; because fault does
not consist in the nature of things, but in their cause;
as well as because effects are necessary, being unavoid
ably 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&gt; and no ef
fect of any thing. Nor yet can it lie in this ; for then

Sect. L] In the Nature of Volition , &f c. 223

it must He in the nature of the thing itself; not in its
being 1 from any determination of cur s, nor any thino*
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 na
ture of habits or acts of will that makes them virtuous or
faulty, but the cause, must immediately run himself out
of his own assertion : and in maintaining- it, will insensi

This is certain, that if effects are vicious and faulty,
not from their nature or from any thing inherent in
them, bat because they are from a bad cause, it must be
on account of the badness 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 its being- of a good kind and
nature. And if this be what is meant, the very suppo
sition of fault and praise, lying not in the nature of the
thing, but the cause contradicts itself, and does at least
resolve the essence of virtue 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 itself is of an evil nature^
but that the cause is evil in that sense, that it is from
for, if so, then the cause before charged is at once ac
quitted, 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 for
ced to own that the faultiness of the thing which he sup
poses alone blame-worthy, lies wholly in the nature of
the thing, and not in the original or cause of it j for the

2 26 Essence of Virtue and Vice, [Part IVJ

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.

It is agreeable to the natural notions of mankind,
that moral evil, with its desert of dislike and abhorrence,
and all its other ill-deservings, consists in a certain de
formity in the nature of certain dispositions of the heart
and acts of the will , and not in the deformity of some
thing else diverse from the very thing itself, which de- -
serves abhorrence, supposed to be the cause of iti
Which would be absurd, because that would be ^o sup
pose 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 its
cause, is only to blame, To say. that vice does not con
sist in the thing which is vicious, but in its cause, is the
same as to say, that vice does not consist in vice, but in
that which produces it.

It is 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 contra
diction to suppose that these two are the same indi
vidual wickedness. The wicked act of the cause in pro
ducing wickedness, is one wickedness ; and the wicked,-
ness produced, if there be any produced, is another.-
And, therefore the wickedness of the latter does not lie
in the former, but is distinct from it ; and the wicked
ness 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 virtue lovely, is the same
with that, on the account of which it is fit to receive
praise and reward j which are but the expressions of
esteem and love. But that which makes vice hateful
is its hateful nature ; and that which renders virtue lov

Sect. I.] In the Nature of Volition ,&(c. 227

ly, is its amiable nature. It is a certain beauty or defor
mity that are inherent in that good or evil will, which is
the soul of virtue 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,
that deserves punishment by itself, under a distinct con
sideration. There is worthiness of dispraise in the na
ture of an evil volition, and not wholly in some foregoing
act which is its 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.

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 its own inherent deformity. So the love of vir
tue is amiable afld worthy of praise, not merely because
something else went before this love of virtue in our
minds, which caused it to take place there (for instance
our own choice) we choose to love virtue, and, by some
method or other, wrought ourselves into the love of it ,
but because of the amiableness and condescendency of
such a disposition and inclination of heart. If that was
the case, that we did choice to love virtue, and so pro
duced that love in ourselves, this choice itself could be
no otherwise amiable or praise-worthy, than as love to
virtue, 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 choose to love virtue, not
in love to virtue, or any thing that was good, and exer
cised no sort of good disposition in the choice, the choice
itself was not virtuous, nor worthy of any praise, accord
ing to common sense, because the choice was not of a
good nature.

228 Essence of Virtue and Vice, [Part IV.

It may not be improper here to take notice of some
thing said by an author that has lately made a mighty
noise in America. &lt;* A necessary holiness (says he *)

is no holiness, Adam could not be originally created

in righteousness and true holiness, because he must
choose 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
choosing to be righteous is no righteous choice ; there
is no righteousness or holiness in it ; because no choos
ing to be righteous goes before it. For he plainly speaks
of choosing to be righteous, as what must go before right
eousness ; and that which follows the choice, being the
effect of true choice, can not be righteousness or holiness,
for an effect is a thing necessary, and cannot prevent the
influence or efficacy of its cause ; and therefore is una
voidably dependant upon the cause ; and he says, a ne
cessary holiness is no holiness. o that neither can a
choice of righteousness be righteousness or 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 ho
liness. 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 incli
nations 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 in
deed 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 them does

Scripture Doctrine of Original Sin, p. 180. third edition.

Sect. L] Essence of Virtue and Vice. 229

not lie at all in the motions themselves ; which, taken by
themselves, are nothing of a moral nature ; and the es
sence 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 deter
mine this without hesitation or dispute, concerning ex
ternal 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 external exercises, and their incli
nations, under the same denominations of their actions,
or what they do, they unwarily determined the case
must also be the same with these, as with external ac
tions ; not considering the vast difference in the nature
of the case.

If any shall still object and say, Why is it not neces
sary that the cause should be considered, in order to de
termine whether any thing be worthy of blame or
praise ? Is it agreeable 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 design
ing 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
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 itself, by his being the
immediate agent, or the being that is acting, or in exer
cise in that act j if the phrase of being the author, is
X

230 Arminian Notion of Action. [Part 1V

used to signify this, then doubtless common sense re
quires 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
them 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 Meta-
pliysical Notion of Action and Agency, which
seems to be generally entertained by the De
fenders of the Arminian Doctrine concerning
Liberty, Moral Agency, fyc.

/"VNE thing that is made very much a ground of ar-
^- gument and supposed demonstration by Arminiaris,
in defence of the fore-mentioned principles, concerning
moral agency, virtue, vice, &c. is their metaphysical no
tion of agency and action. They say, unless the soul has
a self-determining power, it has no power of action, if its
yolitions be not caused by itself, but are excited, and de
termined by some extrinsic cause, they cannot be the
soul s own acts ; and that the soul cannot be active* but
must be wholly passive in those effects which it is the
subject of necessarily, and not from its own determina
tion.

Mr Chubb lays the foundation of his scheme of liber
ty, and of his arguments to support it, very much in this
position, that man is an agent, and capable of action ;
which doubtless is true ; but self-determination belongs

Sect. II.] False and Inconsistent. 231

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 1 , 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,

But those are a precarious sort of demonstration,
which men build on the meaning that they arbitarily affix
to a word ; especially when that meaning is abstruse, in
consistent, 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 in
consistent, is manifest, because it belongs to their notion
of an action, that is something wherein is no passion or
passiveness ; that is, (according to their sense of passive-
ness) 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 pas&iveness, or
the being subject to the power and action of its cause."
And yet they .hold,, that the mind s action is the effect
of its own determination, yea, the mind s free and vo
luntary determination ; which is the same with free
choice. So that action is the effect of something pre
ceding, even a preceding act of choice ; and consequent
ly, in this effect the mind is passive, subject to the
power and action of the preceding cause, which is tlie
foregoing choice, and therefore cannot be active. So
that here we have this contradiction, that action is al
ways the effect of foregoing choice ; and therefore can
not be action ; because it is passive to the power of that
preceding causal choice ; and the mind cannot be active
and passive in the same thing, at the same time. A-
gain, they say, necessity is utterly inconsistent with ac
tion, and a necessary action is a contradiction ; and so
their notion of action implies contingence, and excludes
all necessity. And therefore their notion of action im
plies, that it has no necessary dependence or connection

232 Arminian Notion of action [Part IV.

with any thing foregoing ; for such a dependence or con
nection excludes contingence, and implies necessity.
And yet their notion of action implies necessity, and
supposes that it is necessary, and cannot be contingent.
For they suppose, that whatever is properly called ac
tion, must he 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 mere act, that it is the beginning of motion
or of exertion of power ; but yet it is implied in their no
tion of action, that it is not the beginning of motion
or exertion of power, but is consequent and dependent
on a preceding exertion of power, viz. the power of wilt
and choice ; for they say there is no proper action but
what is freely chosen, or, which is the same thing, de
termined 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 determin
ed by a foregoing choice; but that the very first exer
tion of will only, undetermined by any preceding act, as
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 its own previous
choice, it is the subject of necessarily, as to any hand,
that free choice has in the affair, and, without any abi
lity, the mind has to prevent it, by any will or election
of its 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 prepondcration, but springs immediately out of indif
ference ; and this implies, that it cannot be from fore-
goin" 1 choice, which is foregoing preiponderation ; if it
be not habitual, but occasional, yet if it causes the act,
it is truly previous, efficacious, and determining. And

Sect. II.] Take and Inconsistent* 233

yet, at the same time, it is essential to their notion of the
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 the act, consid
ered with regard to its 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 pre-
ponderation ; that is, should be self-originated, and also
have its original from something else ; that it is what the
mind causes itself, of its own will, and can produce or pre
vent, according to its choice or pleasure, and yet what
the mind has no power to prevent, precluding all previ
ous choice in the affair.

So that an act, according to their metaphysical notion
of it, is something of which there is no idea ; it is no
thing but a confusion of the mind, excited by words
without any distinct meaning, and is an absolute nonen
tity ; 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 its 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 itself. But it is impossible any idea or notion
should subsist in the mind, whose very nature and es
sence, which constitutes it, destroys it. If some learned
say, "He had been in Terra del Fuego ; and there he
had seen an animal, which he calls by a certain name,
that begat and brought forth itself, and yet had a fire
and dam distinct from itself ; that it had an appetite, and

3

234 Armlnian Notion of Action [Part IV.

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 al
ways went tail foremost. ; and this, though he had neither
head nor tail ;" it would be no impudence at all, to tell
such a traveller, though 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 forementioned notion of action is very incon
sistent, so it is wholly diverse from the original meaning
of the word. The more usual signification of it, in vul
gar 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 it
is used to signify outward actions. So thinking is often
distinguished from acting ; and desiring and willing,
from doing.

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 it is 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, altera
tions, and exertions of power, which are seen in corporal
things, considered absolutely ; especially when these mo
tions seem to arise from some internal cause which is hid
den ; so that they have a greater resemblance of those
motions of our bodies, which are the effects of natural
volition or invisible exertions of will. So the fermenta
tion of liquor, the operations of the loadstone, and of e-
lectrical bodies, are called the action of these things. And
sometimes, the word action is used to signify theexercise
of thought or of will and inclination ; so meditating, lov
ing, hating, inclining, disinclining, choosing, and refus-

Sect. IL Fake and Inconsistent. 235

ing 1 , may be sometimes called acting ; though more rare
ly (unless it be by philosophers and metaphysicans) 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 vo
luntarily, 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 con
nected with foregoing habitual bias, whether it be the
certain effect of the strongest motive or some intrinsic
cause, never comes into consideration in the meaning of
the word.

If the word action is arbitarily used by some men
otherwise, to suit some stheme, of metaphysic or morality,
no argument can reasonably be founded on such a use of
this term, to prove any thing but their own pleasure.
For divines and philosophers strenuously to urge such
arguments, as though they were sufficient to support
and demonstrate a whole scheme of moral philosophy
and divinity, is certainly to erect a mighty edifice on
the sand, or rather on a shadow. And though it may
now perhaps, through custom, have become natural for
them to use the word in this sense (if that may be cal
led a sense or meaning, which is inconsistent with itself)
yet this does not prove that it is agreeable to the natur
al notions men have of things, or that there can be any
thing in the creation that should answer such a mean
ing. And though they appeal to Expeiience, yet the
truth is, that men are so far from experiencing any such
thing, that it is impossible for them to have any con
ception of it.

If it should be objected, that action and passion are
doubtless words of a contrary signification ; but to sup
pose that the agent, in its action, is under the power

236 Arminian Notion of Action [Part IV.

and influence of something intrinsic, is to confound ac
tion and passion, and make them 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 op
posite 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 dif
ferent 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
merely a relative : 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 mere 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 opposi
tion to passion or passiveness, is no real existence; it is
not the same with an action, but is a mere relation : it
is 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 merely relative, but more absolute, and a
real existence ; as when we say an action j 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 pro
perly the opposite of passion; which ordinarily signifies
nothing absolute, but merely 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 it is no absurdity to sup
pose, that contrary relations may belong to the same
thing, at the same time, with respect to different things.

Sect. II.] False and Inconsistent. 237

So to suppose, that there are acts of the soul by which a
man voluntarily moves, and acts upon objects, and pro
duces effects, which yet themselves are effects of some
thing else, and wherein the soul itself is the object of
something acting upon, and influencing that, do not at
all confound action and passion. The words may never
theless be properly of opposite signification : there may
be as true and real a difference between acting and being
caused to act, though we should suppose the soul to be
both in the same volition, as there is between living and
being quickened, or made to live. It is no more a con
tradiction 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 no
tion of action, when applied to volition, as though 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 them voluntarily, and of choice, and the action be de
termined 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 itself, that that also must be
determined by the will ; which is to be determined by
antecedent volition as the motion of the body is, not

But it is very evident, that in the metaphysical dis
tinction between action and passion (though long since
become common and the general vogue) due care has

238 Arminian Notion of Necessity [Part IV.

not been taken to conform language to the nature of
things, or to any distinct clear ideas. As it is in innum
erable other philosophical metaphysical terms, used in
these disputes, which has occasioned inexpressible diffi
culty, contention, error, and confusion.

And thus probably it came to be thought, that neces
sity was inconsistent with action, as these terms are ap
plied to volition. First, these terms Action and Neces
sity are changed from their original meaning, as signi
fying external voluntary action and constraint (in which
meaning they are evidently inconsistent) to signify quite
other things, viz. volition itself, and certainty of exis
tence. And when the change of signification is made,
care is not taken to make proper allowances and abate
ments for the difference of sense ; but still the same
things are unwarily attributed to Action and Necessity t
in the new meaning of the words, which plainly belong
ed to them in their first sense ; and, on this ground,
maxims are established without any real foundation, as
though they were the most certain truths, and the most
evident dictates of reason.

But however strenuously it is maintained, that what is
necessary cannot be properly called action, and that a
necessary action is a contradiction, yet it is 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 ne
cessarily acts justly and faithfully, and that it is impos
sible for Him to act unrighteous and unholy.

Sect III.] The Reasons, Sfc. 239

SECTION III.

The Reasons why some think it contrary to
Common sense, to suppose those Things which
are necessary to be wort/it/ of cither Praise
or Blame.

TT is abundantly affirmed and urged by Arminian
* writers, that it is contrary to common sense, and the
natural notions and apprehensions of mankind, to sup
pose otherwise than that necessity (making no distinc
tion between natural and moral necessity) is inconsistent
with virtue and vice, praise and blame, reward and pun
ishment. And their arguments from hence have been
greatly triumphed in ; and have been not a little per
plexing to many who have been friendly to the truth, as
clearly revealed in the holy Scriptures ; it has seemed
to them indeed difficult to reconcile Calvinistic doctrines
with the notions men commonly have of justice and equi
ty. And the true reasons of it seem to be these that

I. It is 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 cannot help it,
or do them from a necessity that is without their wills
hove no concern or connection, then it is a plain dic
tate of common sense, that it is none of their virtue, nor
any moral good in them ; and that they are not worthy
to be rewarded or praised ; or at all esteemed, honour
ed, 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 cannot 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

240 Contrary to Common Sense. [Part IV.

not from their wills ; it is a very plain dictate of com
mon 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 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 im
possibility, the universal reason of mankind teaches,
that this wholly and perfectly excuses persons in their
not doing them.

It is 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 con
sisting in, will and inclination itself, 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, though 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 con
sideration of the inclination of the heart ; though the
propensity be not so great as to mount to a natural ne
cessity ; yet being some approach to it, so that the do
ing the thing be very much from this natural tendency
in the state of things, and but little from a good inclina
tion j then it is a dictate of common sense, that there is
so much the less virtue 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 pro
pensity, still so much the nearer is the approach to ne
cessity. And, therefore, as natural necessity takes away
or shuts out all virtue, so this propensity approaches to
an abolition of virtue ; that is, it diminishes it. Ai
on the other hand, natural difficulty, in the state

Sect. It!.] Contrary to Common Sense. 241

things, is an approach to natural impossibility ; and as
the latter, when it is complete and absolute, wholly
takes away blame ; so such difficulty takes away some
blame, or diminishes blame ; and makes the things done
to be less worthy of punishment.

II. Men, in their first use of such phrases as these,
must, cannot, cannot help it, cannot 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 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 cannot be done, which they de
sire to do ; and innumerable things which they are
averse to, that must be, they cannot avoid tbem, they
will be, whether they choose them or no. It is to ex
press this necessity, which men so soon and so often find,
and which so greatly and early affects them in innumer
able cases, that such terms and phrases are first formed ;
and it is 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 pro
position -, to signify which, they who employ themselves
in philosophical inquiries into the first origin and meta
physical relations and dependences of things, have bor
rowed these terms for want of others. But we grow up
from our cradles in a use of such terms and phrases en
tirely different from this, and carrying a sense exceed-

Why Calvinism is supposed [Part IV.

ing diverse from that, in which they are commonly used
in the controversy between Arminians and Calvinists.
And it being 1 , as was said before, a dictate of the uni
versal sense of mankind, evident to us as soon as we be
gin 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 ideas of excusableness or faultlessness 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 strengthened by constant use and custom,
the connection growing stronger and stronger.

The habitual connection which is in meiVs minds be
tween blamelessness and those forementioned 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

7" these terms, in numerous instances : I cannot do it,
could not help iL And all mankind have constant and
daily occasion to use such phrases in this sense, to ex
cuse themselves and others, in almost all the concerns of
life, with respect to disappointments and things that hap
pen, which concern and affect ourselves and others, that
are hurtful or disagreeable to us or them, or things de
sirable, that we or others fail of.

That a being accustomed to an union of different ideas,
from early childhood, makes the habitual connection ex
ceeding strong, as though 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 it is 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 no bigger than his nose, or further
of than the end of it. Having been us&gt;ed so long to join a
considerable distance and magnitude with such an ap
pearance, men imagine it is by a dictate of natural sense ,

Sect. II.] Contrary to Common Sense. 243

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 1 , concerning the mag
nitude or distance of what appeared.

III. When men, after they had been so habituated
to connect ideas of innocency or blamelessness with such
terms, that the union seems to be the effect of mere na
ture, come to hear the same terms used, and learn to
use them themselves in the forementioned new and meta
physical sense, to signify quite another sort of necessity,
hcihvv has no such kind of relation to a contrary suppos-
able will and endeavour; the notion of plain and manifest
blamelessness, by this means, is, by a strong prejudice,
insensibly and unwarily transferred 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
fixed determined sense. On the contrary, their mean
ing is very vague and confused ; which is what common
ly appears to the 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
led into delusion by no sort of terms in the world, as by
word3 of this sort.

2. The change of the signification of the terms is the
more insensible, because the things signified, though in
deed 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 benecessarly
and something antecedent to it, in the order of nature,
so there is also in philosophical necessity. And though
In both kinds of necessity, the connection cannot be caK*

244 Why Calvinism is supposed [Part IV.

led by that name, with relation to an opposite will or
endeavour, to which it is superior ; which is the case in
vulgar necessity ; yet in both, the connection is prior
to will and endeavour, and so, in some respect, superior.
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 a-
greeing in these and some other general circumstances,
and tiie expressions as used by pholosophers being not
well defined, and so of obscure and loose signification ;
lience persons are not aware of the great difference; had
the notions of innocence or faultiness, 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 itself.

IV. Another reason why it appears difficult to recon
cile 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 en
tertain 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 con
cerning themselves ; some, that are wicked men, think
they wish that they were good, that they loved God and
holiness ; but yet do not find that their wishes produce
the effect. The reasons why men think, are as follow :
(1.) They find what may be called an indirect willing
ness 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 itself. And they
do not consider that this indirect willingness is entirely
a different thing from properly willing the thing that is
the duty and virtue required ; and that there is no vir-

Sect. III.] Why Calvinism is supposed, Sfc. 245

tue in that sort of willingness which they have. They
do not 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 disagreeable consequences. But the making the
requisite distinction requires more care of reflection and
thought, than most men are used to. And men, through
a prejudice in their own favour, are disposed to think
well of their own desires and dispositions, and to account
them good and virtuous, though their respect to virtue
be only indirect and remote, and it is nothing at all that
is virtuous that truly excites or terminates their incli
nation. (2.) Another thing that insensibly leads and
beguiles men into a supposition .that this moral necessi
ty 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 holds
this forth. Such words, for instance, as unable, una
voidable, 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 j
that sense being therefore, understood, there does na
turally, 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 ne
cessity stands in the way, and renders them 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 threatened to sin, for
doing those things which are morally necessary, or not
doing those things morally impossible, is, that imagina
tion strengthens the argument, and adds greatly to the
power and influence of the seeming reasons ogainst it,
from the greatness of that punishment. To allow that
they may be justly exposed to a small punishment, would

3

246 Necessary Virtue, fyc. [Part IV.

not be so difficult. Whereas, if there 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 he equally
certain with respect to a small punishment, or any pun
ishment at all, as a very great one ; but it is not equal
ly 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 strong
er, 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 a-
void, and was under a fatal, unfrustrable, invincible
necessity of doing.

SECTION IV.

It is agreeable to Common Sense, and the na
tural Notions of Mankind, to suppose Moral Ne
cessity 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 recon
cile with common sense the praising or blaming, reward
ing or punishing those things which are morally neces
sary, are thought satisfactory or not ; yet it most evi
dently appears, by the following things, that if this mat
ter 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 chan
nel, by metaphysical and philosophical subtilties j but,

Sect. IV.] Contrary to common Sense. 247

on the contrary, altogether agreeable to, and the very
voice and dictate of this natural and vulgar sense.

1. This will appear, if we consider what the vulgar
notion of blame-worthiness is. The idea, which the
common people, through all ages and nations, have of
faultiness, I suppose to be plainly this : A jjerson s be
ing 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 pleasures bting wrong ; or,
in other words, perhaps more intelligibly expressing
their notion, A person having his heart wrong, and doing
wrong from his heart : and this is the sum total of the
matter.

The common people do not ascend up in their re
flections and abstractions to the metaphysical sources,
relations, and dependencies of things, in order to form
their notion of faultiness or blame-worthiness. They
do not wait till they have decided by their refinings,
what first determines the will ; whether it be determin
ed by something extrinsic, or intrinsic ; whether volition
determines, volitions or whether the understanding deter
mines the will ; whether there be any such thing as me-
taphysicians meant by contingence(if they have any mean
ing,) whether there be a sort of a strange unaccountable
sovereignty in the will, in the exercise of which, by its
own sovereign acts, it brings to pass all its own sover
eign acts. They do not take any part of their notion
of fault or blame from the resolution of any such ques
tions. 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 ha
ving any such notion as that of fault, ever entering in
to their heads, or without so much as one 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 it is 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

248 Necessary Virtue, 8fc. [Part IV.

of desert. And, certainly, in forming their notion of it ?
they make no use of metaphysics. All the ground they go
upon, consists in these two things ; experience and a
natural sensation of a certain fitness or agreeableness,
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.

It is true, the common people and children, in their,
notion of any faulty act or deed, of any person, do sup
pose 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 action ; even that it is
something done by him of choice. That gome exercise
or motion should begin of itself, does not 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 its 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 acciden
tally, 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 sup^
pose, 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 no
tion of liberty consisting in the will s first acting, and so
causing its own acts; and determining, and so causing
its own determination, or choosing, and so causing its
own choice. Such a notion of liberty is what none
have, but those that have darkened their own minds
with confused metaphysical speculation, and abstruse and
ambiguous terms. If a man is not restrained from act
ing as his will determines, or constrained to act other
wise, then he has liberty, according to common notions
of liberty, without taking into the idea that grand coi&gt;

Sect. IV.] Contrary to (Common Sense. 249

tradiction 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 consist
ing- in indifference. For if so, then it would be agree
able 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 agreeable 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 through 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 con-
demned.

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 agreeable to the same sense and reason of man
kind, that the nearer the case approaches to such a mo
ral 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 blame-
able nor commendable ; so that acts exerted with such
preceding propensity, would be worthy of proportion-
ably less praise ; and when omitted, the act being at
tended 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 it is a plain dictate of the sense of all man-

* It is here argued on supposition, that not all propensity implies
moral necessity, but only some very high degree ; which none will
deny.

250 Necessary Virtue, 6fc. [ Part IV.

kind, that natural necessity and impossibility take awaj
ail blame and praise ; and therefore, that the nearer
the approach is to these, through previous propen
sity or difficulty, so praise and blame are propor-
tionably diminishtd. And if it were as much a dic
tate 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 ne
cessity of doing, or impossibility of avoiding, diminishes
praise and blame,, as that an approach to natural neces
sity arid impossibility does so. It is equally the voice
of common, sense, that persons are excusable in part,
in neglecting things difficult against theic wills,, as that
they are excusable wholly in neglecting things impossi
ble against their wills. And if it made no difference,
whether the impossibility were natural and against the
will, or moral, lying in t?he will, with regard to ex-
cusableness ; so neither would it make any difference,
whether the difficulty, or approach to necessity be na
tural against the will, or moral, lying in the propensity
of the will.

But it is 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 virtue ; it is so far from being the dic
tate of common sense, that he is less virtuous, and the
less to be esteemed, loved, and praised ; that it is agree
able 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 re
spect ; or to impossibility of neglecting the virtuous act,
or of doing a vicious one , still the more virtuous, 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

Sect. IV.] Agreeable to Common Sense. 251

principle of haughtiness and maliciousness, and a violent
propensity of heart to such acts ; according to the natur
al sense of 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, it is manifest that it is no part of the no
tion, which mankind commonly have of a blameable or
praise-worthy act of the will, that it is an act which is
not determined by any antecedent bias or motive, but by
the sovereign power of the will itself; because, if so,
the greater hand such causes have in determining any
acts of the will, so much the less virtuous or vicious
would they be accounted ; and the less hand, the more
virtuous or vicious. Whereas, the reverse is true : men
do not think a good act to be the less praise-worthy, for
the agent s being much determined in it by a good in
clination or a good motive, but the more. And if good
inclination or motive has but little influence in deter
mining the agent, they do not think his act so much the
more virtuous, but the less. And so concerning evil
acts, which are determined by evil motives or inclina
tions.

Yea, if it be supposed, that good or evil dispositions
are implanted in the hearts of men, by nature itself
(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 ;
although what is natural, is undoubtedly necessary, na
ture 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, it is no vulgar notion, no dictate of the
common sense and apprehension of men, that such dis
positions are no vices or moral evils, or that such persons
are not worthy of disesteem, or 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, afld the strength of them,

252 Necessary Virtue, 8fc. [Part IV.

will commonly be mentioned rather as an aggravation of
the wicked acts that come from such a fountain, than an
extenuation of them. It being natural for men to act
thus, is often observed by men in the height of their in
dignation : they will say, " It is his very nature : he is
of a vile natural temper; it is as natural to him to act
so, as it is to breathe ; he cannot help serving the devil,
&c." But it is not thus with regard to hurtful mischie
vous 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 it will be spo
ken of as a full excuse. Thus it is very plain, that com
mon 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 ac
tions.

These dictates of men s minds are so natural and ne
cessary, that it may be very much doubted whether the
Arminians themselves have ever got rid of them , 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
virtue and vice with any necessity ; it is to be ques
tioned, 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-
ed 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 o-
therwise than he would, if he suffered as much from the
conduct of a man perfectly delirious ; yea, though 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 though it were
altogether impertinent in this controversy ; " that which

Sect. IV ] Agreeable to Common Sense. 253

is necessary (say they) is necessary ; it is that which
must be, and cannot be prevented. And that which is
impossible, is impossible, and cannot be done; and, there
fore, 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,
&cc. But, in these things, Armenians are very unrea
sonable. 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 awhile, the
king comes to him, calls him to 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 enriched and ad
vanced 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 bars 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 traitorous principles ; and has his heart
possessed with an extreme and inveterate enmity to his
lawful sovereign ; and for his rebellion is cast into prison,
and lies long there, loaded with heavy chains, and in mi
serable circumstances. At length the compassionate
prince comes to the prison, orders his chains to be knock
ed 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 pro
fit in his court ; but he is stout and stomachful, and full
of haughty malignity, that he cannot be willing to ac
cept the offer ; his rooted strong pride and malice have

254 Calvinism consistent [Part IV.

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
superior to the king s grace and condescension, and to
all his kind offers and promises. Now, is it agreeable
to common sense, to assert and stand to it, that there
is no difference between these two cases, as to any
worthiness or blame in the prisoners ; because, forsooth,
there is a necessity in both, and the required act in each
case is impossible ? It is true, a man s evil dispositions
may be as strong and immovable as the bars of a castle.
But who cannot 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 ; though by rea
son of his vile temper of heart, which is fixed and rooted,
it is 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 it is not
evident, from the dictates of the common sense or natur
al notions of mankind, 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 com
mon sense.

There is a grand illusion in the pretended demonstra
tion of Arminians from common sense. The main
strength of all these demonstrations lies in that preju
dice, that arises through the insensible change of the use
and meaning of such terms as liberty, able, unable, ne
cessary, 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 blamelessness, Sec. with some of these terms,
by an habit contracted and established, while these terms
used in their first meaning. This prejudice and

Sect. IV.] With common Sense. 255

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 ; it
is 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, perversely set, obstinately shutting
their eyes against the noon-day light* enemies to common
sense, maintaining thejirst-born of absurdities, &c. &c.
But perhaps an impartial consideration of the things
which have been observed in the preceding parts of this
enquiry, may enable the lovers of truth better to judge
whose doctrine is indeed absurd, abstruse, self-contradic
tory, 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 agreeable to common sense to suppose,
that the glorified saints have not their freedom at all di
minished, in any respect : and that God himself has the
highest possible freedom, according to the true and pro
per meaning of the term ; and that he is in the highest
possible respect, an agent, and active in the exercise of
his infinite holiness : though he acts therein, in the
highest degree necessarily : and his actions of this kind
are in the highest, most absolutely perfect manner vir
tuous and praise-worthy : and are so, for that very rea
son, because they are most perfectly necessary,

256 Endeavours not rendered, Sfc. [Part IV.

SECTION V.

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

A RMINIANS say, if it be so, that sin and virtue
- J ^- come to pass by a necessity consisting in a sure con
nection of causes and effects, antecedents and consequents,
it can never be worth the while to use any means or en
deavours 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 ante
cedents and consequents, than if the contrary be sup
posed.

For endeavours to be in vain, is for them not to be
successful ; that is to say, for them not eventually to be
the means of the thing aimed at, which cannot be, but in
one of these two ways ; either, first, That although the
means are used, yet the event aimed at does not follow :
or, secondly, If the event does follow, it is not because
of the means, or from any connection or dependence of
the event of the means, the event would have come to
pass, as well without the means as with them. If either
of those two things are the case, then the means are not
properly successful, and are truly in vain. The success-
fulness or unsuccessful ness 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,

Sect. V.] Endeavours not rendered, fc. 257

in sucli 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 means,
and the want of the effect, on the other hand, is connec
ted 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 they are in vain.

Now, therefore, the question to be answered (in or
der 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 fore-
mentioned connection between means and effect ; that is,
whether, on the supposition of there being a real and
true connection between antecedent things and conse
quent ones, there must be less of a connection between
means and effect, than on the supposition of their being
no fixed connection between antecedent things and con
sequent 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 cannot be af
firmed, without the grossest absurdity and inconsistence.
Means are foregoing things, and effects are following
things ; and if there were no connection between fore
going things and following ones, there could be no con
nection between means and end ; and so all means would
be wholly vain and fruitless. For it is by virtue of some
connection only, that they become successful * it is 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 thirtg as an established 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 thoso
things which are successful means of other things, do

3

258 Endeavours not rendered, Sfc. [Part IV.

therein prove connected antecedents of them ; and there
fore to assert, that a fixed connection between antece
dents 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 antecedent*
and consequents.

Nor can any supposed connection of the succession or
train of antecedents and consequents, from the very be
sure and necessary, either by established laws of nature,
or by these together, with a degree of sovereign im
mediate 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 antece
dents 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 connect
ed with the consequents we aim at, in the established
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 sup
posed to be connected ; and so endeavours are supposed
to be connected with some effects, or some consequent
things or other. And certainly this does not hinder
but that the events they are connected with, may be
those which we aim at, and which we choose, because
we judge them most likely to have a connection with
those events, from the established 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 con
nected with his opening his eyes, and not seeing with
his not opening his eyes, and also the like connection be
tween such a man s attempting to open his eyes, and
his actually doing it, the supposed established connec-

Sect. V.] Means and Endeavours, 8{c. 259

tion between these antecedents and consequents, let the
connection be ever so sure and necessary, certainly does
not prove that it is in vain, for a man in such circum
stances to attempt to open his eyes, in order to seeing,
his aiming at that event, and the use of the means, be
ing the effect of his will, does not break the connection,
or hinder the success.

So that the objection we are upon does not 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 virtue and vice consist, and any thing
antecedent, then there is no connection between these
events and any means or endeavours used in order to
them ; and if so, then those means must be in vain.
The less there is of connection between the foregoing
things and following ones, so much the less there is be
tween means and end, endeavours and success ; and in
the same proportion are means and endeavours ineffec
tual and in vain.

It will follow from Arminian principles, that there is
no degree of connection between virtue or vice, and any
foregoing event or thing ; or, in other words, that the
determination of the existence of virtue or vice do not
in the least depend on the influence of any thing that
eomes to pass antecedently, from which the determination
of its existence is, as its cause, means, or ground ; be
cause, so far as it is so, it is not from self-determination,
and, therefore, so far there is nothing of the nature of
virtue or vice. And so it follows, that virtue and vice
are not at all, in any degree dependant upon, or connec
ted 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 consis
tence with the Arminian scheme, be any reasonable
ground of so much as a conjecture concerning the conse-

260 I3tj the Arminian Scheme. [Part IV.

quence of any means and endeavours, in order to escap
ing vice or obtaining; virtue, 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 any consequence of
any means, endeavours, prayers, or deeds. Conjectures,
in this latter case, depend 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 con
jecture 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 cannot have any reasonable ground of judgment or
conjecture, that their means and endeavours to obtain
virtue 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 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 vir
tuous acts, either by causing the disposition of the heart
to be more in favour of such acts, or by bringing the
mind more into view of powerful motives and induce
ments ; 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 does not consist with the Arminian no
tion of self-determination, which they suppose essential
to virtue, that God should be the Bestower, or (which
is the same thing) the determining, disposing Author of
virtue. Not the former ; for natural influence and ten
dency supposes causality and connection ; and supposes
necessity of event, which is inconsistent with

Sect. V.] Calvinism docs not encourage Sloth. 26 1

liberty. A tendency of means, by biassing the heart in
favour of virtue, or by bringing the will under the in
fluence and power of motives in its determinations, are
both inconsistent with Arminian liberty of will, consist
ing in indifference, and sovereign self-determination, as

But for the more full removal of this prejudice against
the doctrine of necessity, which has been maintained, as
though it tended to encourage a total neglect of all en
deavours as vain, the following things may be consid
ered :

The question is not, Whether men may not thus im
prove this doctrine : we know that many true and whole
some doctrines are abused ; but, \Yhether 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 in
variable necessity of all things already settled, must ren
der the interposition of all means, endeavours, conclu
sions, or actions of ours, in order to the obtaining any
future end whatsoever, perfectly insignificant ; because
they cannot in the least alter or vary the course and se
ries of things, in any event or circumstance ; all being
already fixed unalterably by necessity ; and that there
fore it is folly for men to use any means for any end,
but their wisdom, to save themselves the trouble of en
deavours, and take their ease. No person can dravr
such an inference from this doctrine, 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 in future ; he seeks his fu-

Calvinism docs not encourage Sloth. [Part IV,

ture 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 in
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 fixed, by all-determining- necessity, as
much as any thing else. If he says within himself,
" What future happiness OF misery I shall have, is al
ready, in effect, determined by the necessary course and
connection of things ; therefore, I will save myself the
trouble of labour and diligence, which cannot add to my
determined 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 fixed, and he will not try to diminish the one,
nor add to the other : but yet, in his very conclusion, he
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 cannot reasonably make this im
provement of the doctrine of necessity, that thev will go
into a voluntary negligence of means for their own hap
piness. For the principles they must go upon, in order
to this, are inconsistent with their making any improve
ment at all of the doctrine : for to make some improve
ment 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 shewn, 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 im
provetnent at all of them, there is a self-contradiction.

As to that objection against the doctrine, which I
have endeavoured to prove, that it makes men no more

Sect. V.] Calvinism does not encourage Sloth. 263

than mere machines : I would say, that notwithstanding
this doctrine, man is entirely, perfectly, and unspeakably
different from a mere machine, in that he has reason and
understanding, and has a faculty of will, and so is capa
ble 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
respects, also his thoughts, and the exercises of his mind,
are subject to his will ; so that he has liberty to act ac
cording 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, es
teem, love, and reward ; or, on the contrary, of dises-
teem, detestation, indignation, and punishment.

In these things is all the difference from mere ma
chines, as to liberty and agency, that would by any per
fection, dignity, or privilege, in any respect : all the dif
ference 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 though their explications overthrow and abo
lish 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 choos
es or wills ; which comes to no more than this, that a
man has a power of choosing, and, in many instances,
can do as he chooses. Which is quite a different thing
from that contradiction, his having power of choosing his
first act of choice in the case.

Or, if their scheme makes any other difference than
thisj between men and machines, it is for the worse : it
is so far from supposing men to have a dignity and pri
vilege above machines, that it makes the manner of their
being determined still more unhappy. Whereas, ma
chines 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

264 Of the Stoic Faith. [Part IV-

SECTION VI.

Concerning that objection against the doctrine
which has been maintained, that it agrees with
the Stoical doctrine of Fate t and the opinions
of Mr Hobbes.

Calvinists oppose the Arminian notion of
the freedom of will, and contingence of voli
tion, 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 ancient Stoics 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 im
pertinent an objection, had it not been urged by some of
the chief Arminian writers. There were many impor
tant truths maintained by the ancient Greek and Roman
philosophers, and especially the Stoics, 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
virtuous 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 ser
mons, even of Arminian divines, produced, not as argu
ments of the falseness of the doctrines which they deliver
ed, but as a confirmation of some of the greatest truths
of the Christian religion, relating to the unity and per
fections of the God-head, 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 hea
then, harmonized with, and confirms the gospel of Jesus
Christ.

And it is very remarkable, concerning Dr Whitly,
that although he alledges the agreement of the Stoics

Sect. VI.] Of the Stoic Faith, Sfc. 265

with us, wherein he supposes they maintained the like
doctrine with us, as an argument against the truth of our
doctrine ; yet, this very Dr Whitby alledges the agree
ment of the Stoics with the Arminians, wherein he sup
poses they taught the same doctrine with them, as an ar
gument for the truth of their doctrine.* So that when
the Stoics agree with them, this (it seems) is a confir
mation of their doctrine, and a confutation of ours, as
shewing that our opinions are contrary to the natural
sense and common reason of mankind : nevertheless,
when the Stoics 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 Calcinistic writers, that the
Arminians symbolize with the Stoics, in some of those
doctrines wherein they are opposed by the Cahinisls ;
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 virtuous
and conformed to God ; and in some other doctrines.

It may be further observed, it is certainly no better
objection against our doctrine, that it agrees, in some
respects, with the doctrine of the ancient Stoic philoso
phers, than it is 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 fol
lowers of Epicurus, that father of Atheism and Licen
tiousness, and with the doctrine of the Sadduces and
Jesuits,

I am not much concerned to know precisely, what the
ancient Stoic philosophers held concerning Fate, in or
der to determine what is truth ; as though it were a sure
way to be in the right, to lake good heed to differ
from them. It seems, that they differed among them
selves j and probably the doctrine of Fate, as maintain-

* Whitly on the Five Points, Edit. 3, p. 326, 327.
A A.

266 Of the Stoic Faith. [Part IV.

ed by most of them, was in some respects, erroneous.
But whatever their doctrine was, if any of them held
such a Fate, as is repugnant to any liberty, consisting
in our doing as we please, 1 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, virtue and vice ; I dis
claim any such thing, and think I have demonstrated,
that the scheme I maintain is no such scheme. If the
Stoics 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 make it
less worth while for men to desire, and seek after any
thing wherein their virtue and happiness consists ; I
hold no doctrine that is clogged with any such incon
venience, 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 res
pect, for any intelligent creature, or indeed with any li
berty 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 pre
sides, 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 per
fect liberty conceivable, without subjection to any con
straint, 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 1 maintaining the same doctrine con
cerning 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
merely because it was once held by some bad man.

Sect. VII.] Of the Stoic Faith, S^c. 267

This great truth, that Jesus is the Son of God, was not
spoiled 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 receiv
ed, 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 a bad use of this truth, that is to
be lamented ; but the truth is not to be thought worthy
of rejection on that account. It is common for the cor
ruptions of the hearts of evil men to abuse the best
things to vile purposes.

I might also take notice of its 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 ne
cessity of supernatural illumination, in denying infused
grace, in denying the doctrine of justification by faith
alone, and other things.

SECTION VII.

Concerning the Necessity of the Divine Will

^&lt; OME may possibly object against what has been sup-
^ posed of the absurdity and inconsistence of a self-de
termining power in the will, and the impossibility of its
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 supe
rior 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 ne-

Dr, Gill, iu his Answer to Dr. Whitby. Vol. Ill, p. 183, &c.

268 Concerning the Necessity [Part IV.

cessary in all its determinations. Concerning which,
says the author of the Essay on the Freedom of the Will
in God, and in the Creature, (p. 85, 86.) " What
strange doctrine is this, contrary to al! our ideas of the
dominion of God ? Does it not destroy the glory of his
Jiberty of choice, and take away from the Creator, Go
vernor, 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 me
dium of fate, and introduce Mr Hobbcs 1 doctrine of fata
lity 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 choose
among all the objects within his view ? In short, it seems
to make the blessed God a sort of Almighty Minister of
Fate, under its universal and supreme influence ; as
it was the professed sentiment of some of the antients,
that Fate was above the gods."

This is declaiming, rather than arguing ; and an ap
plication to men s imaginations and prejudices, rather
than to mere reason. But I would calmly endeavour to
consider, Whether there be any reason in this frightful
representation ? But, before I enter upon a particular
consideration of the matter, I would observe this : That
it is reasonable to suppose, it should be much more dif
ficult 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
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 compre
hension, 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 htat are applied to express things internal and

Sect., VII.] Of the Divine Volition.

spiritual, are almost all borrowed, and used in a sort of
figurative sense. Whence they are, most of them, at
tended with a great deal of ambiguity and unfixed ness
in their signification, occasioning innumerable doubts,
difficulties, and confusions, in enquiries and controver
sies, about things of this nature. But language is much
less adapted to express things in the mind of the incom
prehensible Deity, precisely as they are.

We find a great deal of difficulty in conceiving exact
ly 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 metaphy
sics, as it relates to these things, is brought to greater
perfection than once it was; yet, here is still work e-
nough left for future enquiries and researches, and room
for progress stilt to be made, for many ages and genera
tions ; but we had need to be infinitely able metaphy
sicians, 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 opera
tion of the powers of the divine mind,

It may be noted particularly, that though we are obli
ged 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 pur
poses and decrees ; the holiness of his nature, as the
cause and reason of his holy determinations ; and yet,
\vhen we speak of cause and effect, antecedent and con
sequent, fundamental and dependent, determining and
determined, in the first Being, who is self-existent, in
dependent, of perfect and absolute simplicity and immu
tability, and the first cause of all things ; doubtless there
must be less propriety in such representations, than when
we speak of derived dependent beings, who are conv
3

270 Concerning the Necessity, fyc. [Part IV.

pounded, and liable to perpetual mutation and succes
sion.

Having premised this, I proceed to observe concern
ing the forementioned 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 ex
clamations 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 choose what is wisest and best ; as
though there \vere 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 mere imagina
tion and delusion. It is 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 de
pendence, nor any want of dignity, privilege, or ascen
dency *. It is not inconsistent with the absolute and

* " It might have been objected, with more plausibleness, that the
Supreme Cause cannot be free, because he must needs do always what
is best in the whole. But this would not at all serve Spinoza s purpose ;
for this is a necessity, not of nature and of fate, but of fitness and wis
dom ; a necessity consistent with the greatest freedom, and most per-
feet choice. For the only foundation of this necessity is such an unal
terable rectitude of will, and perfection of wisdom, as makes it impossi
ble for a wise being to act foolishly." Clark s Demonstration of the Being
and Attributes of Cod. Edit. 6, p. 64.

" Though God is a most perfect free agent, yet he cannot but do
always what is best and wisest in the whole. The reason is evident ;
because perfect wisdom and goodness are as steady and certain prin
ciples of action, as necessity itself; and an infinitely wise and good
being, indued with the most perfect liberty, can no more choose to act
in contradiction to wisdom and goodness, than a necessary agent can
act contrary to the necessity by which it is acted ; it being as great

Sect. VII.] Necessity of acting most wisely, 271

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 ar
mies of heaven, and amongst the inhabitants of tut earth,

an absurdity and impossibility in choice, for infinite wisdom to choose to
act unwisely, cr infinite goodness to choose what is not good, as it
would be in nature, for absolute necessity to fail of producing its
necessary effect. There was, indeeed, no necessity in nature, that God
should at first create such beings as he has created, or indeed any
being at all ; because he is in Himself infinitely happy and all-suf
ficient. There was, also, no necessity in nature, that lie should pre
serve and continue things in being, after they were created ; because
he would be self-sufficient without their continuance, as he was before
their creation. But it was fit, wise, and good, that infinite wisdom
should manifest, and infinite goodness communicate itself ; and there-
fore it was necessary, in the sense of necessity I am now speaking
of, that things should be made at such a time and continued so long
and indeed with various perfections in such degrees, as infinite wis
dom and goodness saw it wisest and best that they should." Ibid.
p. 112,113.

" It is not a fault, but a perfection of our nature, to desire, will,

and act, according to the last result of a fair examination This is

so far from being a restraint or diminution of freedom, that it is the
very improvement and benefit of it ; it is not an abridgement, it is the
end and use of our liberty; and the further we are removed from
such a determination, the nearer we are to misery and slavery.
A perfect indifference in the mind, not determinablc by its lastjudg-
rnent, of the good or evil that is thought to attend its choice, would
be so far from being an advantage and excellency of any intellectual
nature, that it would be as great an imperfection, as* the want of
indifferency to act, or not to act, till determined by the will, would
be an imperfection, on the other side. It is as much a perfection,
that desire or the power of preferring should be determined by
good, as that the power of acting should be determined by the
will : and the certainer such determination is-, the greater the perfec
tion. Nay, were we determined by any thing but the last result of
our own minds, judging of the good or evil of any action, we were
not free. This very end of our freedom being, that we might at
tain the good we choose ; and, therefore, every man is brought under
a necessity by his constitution, as an intelligent being, to be de
termined in willing by his own thought and judgmenCwhat is best
for him to do ; else he would be under the determination of some other
than himself, which is want of liberty. And to deny that a man s
will, in every determination, follows his own judgment, is to say,
that a man wills and acts for an end that he would not have, at the
same time that he wills and acts for it. For if he prefers it in his

272 Necessity of acting most wisely, Sfc. [Part IV.

and none can stay his hand) or say unto him, What
dost thou ? The following things belong to the so
vereignty of God ; viz. (1.) Supreme, Universal, and
Infinite Power; whereby he is able to do what he

presenfthoughts, before any other, it is plain he then thinks better
of it, and would have it before any other ; unless he can have, and
not have it ; will, and not will it, at the same time ; a contradiction
too manifest to be admitted If we look upon those superior beings
above us, who enjoy perfect happiness, we shall have reason to judge,
that they are more steadily determined in their choice of good than
we ; and yet we have no reason to think they are less happy, or less
free, than we are. And if it were fit for such poor finite creatures as we
are, to pronounce what Infinite Wisdom and Goodness could do, I
think we might say, that God himself cannot choose what is not
good. The freedom of the Almighty hinders nut his being determined by

what it lest But to give a right view of this mistaken part of

liberty, let me ask, Would any one be a changeling, because he is
less determined bv wise determination than a wise man ? is it worth .
the name of Freedom to be at liberty to play the fool, and draw
shame and misery upon a man s self? If to break loose from the
conduct of reason, and to want that restraint of examination and judg
ment, that keeps us from doing or choosing the worse, be liberty,
true liberty, mad men and fools are the only free men. Yet, I
think, no body would choose to be mad, for the sake of such liberty,
but he that is mad already." Locke Hum. Und. Vol. I, edit. 7,
p. 215, 216,

"This Being, having all things always necessarily in view, must
always, and eternally will, according to his infinite comprehension
of things ; that is, must will all things that are wisest and best to be
done. There is no getting free of this consequence. If it can
will at all, it must will this way. To be capable of knowing,
and not capable of willing, is not to be understood. And to be capa- .
ble of willing, otherwise than what is wisest and best, contradicts
that knowledge which is infinite. Infinite Knowledge must direct
the will without error. Here then is the origin of moral Necessity ; and
that is really, of freedom Perhaps it may be said, when the Divine will
is determined, from the consideration of the eternal apitudes of
things, it is as necessarily determined, as if it were physically impel
led, if that were possible. But it is unskilfulness to suppose this an
objection. The great principle is or.ce established, viz. That the
Divine Will is determined by the eternal reason and apitudes of
things, instead of being physically impelled ; and after that, the more
strong and necessary this determination is the more perfect, the Dei
ty must be allowed to be : it is this that makes him an amiable and
adorable Being, -whose Will and Power are constantly, immutably de
termined, by the consideration of what is wisest and best; instead of
a surd Being, with power, but without discerning and reason. It is

Sect. VII.] Necessity of acting most wisely, 273

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 he either impossible, or at all diffi
cult, for him to accomplish his will ; and without any depen
dence 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 Me has
supreme authority ; absolute and most perfect right to do
what he wills, without subjection to any superior authori
ty, or any derivation of authority from any other, or
limitation by any distinct independent authority, either
superior, equal or inferior ; he being the head of all do
minion, and Fountain of all authority ; and also without
restraint by any obligation, implying either subjection,
derivation, or dependence, or proper limitation. (3.)
That his will is supreme, underived, and independent
on any thing without himself; being in every thing de
termined by his own counsel, having no other rule but
his own wisdom ; his will not being subject to, or re
strained by the will of any other, and other 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
Isaiah xl. 14, With whom took He counsel? And who
instructed Him and taught him in the path of Judgment,
and taught him knowledge, and shewed him the way of
understanding ? There is no otlur divine sovereignty
but this, and this is properly absolute sovereignty ; rvo
other is desirable ; nor would any other be honourable

the leant y of this Necessity, that it iimirwigasfotc itself, with all the ad
vantage of reason and goodness. It is strange, t see men con tend, that
the Deity is not free, because he is necessarily rational, immutably
good and wise; when a man is allowed still the perfecter bein^, the
moi*e fixedly and constantly his will is determined by reason and
truth." " Enquiry into the Nature of the Human Soul." J^dit. 3,
Vol. U. p. 403, 40k

274 Agreeable to most perfect Liberty. [Part IV.

or happy ; and indeed, there is no other conceivable or
possible. It is the glory and greatness of the divine
Sovereign, that God s will is determined by his own in
finite all-sufficient wisdom in every thing ; and in no
thing at all is either directed by any inferior wisdom, or
by no wisdom ; whereby it would become senseless arbi
trariness, determining and acting without reason, design,
or end

If God s will is steadily and surely determined in every
thing by supreme wisdom, then it is in every thing ne
cessarily 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 de
termined to that, which in every case is wisest and best,
it must be subject to some degree of undesigning con-
tingence ; 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 con--
tingence, 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 imper
fection 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 advan
tage ; and, consequently, to be perfectly free from the
direction of understanding, and universally and entirely
left to senseless unmeaning contingence, to act absolute
ly 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 de
gree holily and happily, then why is it not also some
thing too low for him to have his existence, and the in
finite perfection of his nature, and his infinite happiness
determined by necessity ? It is no more to God s dis-

Sect. "VII.] Necessity of acting most wisely , 275

honour to be necessarily wise, than to he 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 and 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 neces
sarily most holy, is, because holiness in itself is an ex
cellent 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 the thing which is
the wisest of all ; for wisdom is also in itself excellent
and honourable.

The forementioned author of the Essay on the Free
dom of Will, &cc. as has been observed, represents that
doctrine of the Dirine Will s being in every thing ne
cessarily determined by superior fitness, as making the
blessed God a kind of Almighty minister and mechanicaj
medium of fate : and he insists (p. 92, 94) that this
moral necessity and impossibility is, in effect, the same
thing with physical and uatural necessity and impossibi
lity : and in p. 54, 55, he says, " The scheme which
determines the will always and certainly by the under
standing, and the understanding by the appearance of
things, seems to take away the true nature of vice and
virtue. For the sublimest of virtues 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
Hows a necessary perception and judgment, concerning
these things ; this judgment necessarily determines the
will : and thus, by this chain of necessary causes, virtue
and vice would loose their nature, and become natural

No Meanness or Disadvantage. [Part IV.

ideas and necessary things, instead of moral and free ac
tions."

And yet this same author allows (p. 30, 51), That a
perfectly wise being will constantly and certainly choose
what is most fit; and says, (p. 102, 103) " I grant, and
always have granted, that wheresoever there is such an
tecedent 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 expressly,
(p. 42.) " That it is not possible for God to act other
wise than according to this fitness and goodness in
things."

So that according to this author, putting these several
passages of this Essay together, there is no virtue, nor
any thing of a moral nature, m the most sublime and
glorious acts and exercises of God s holiness, justice, and
faithfulness ; and he never does any thing which is in
itself supremely 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 Judge and moral Go
vernor 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 natural necessity ; and, therefore, he only
acts by an Hobbistical fatality ; as a Being indeed of
vast understanding., as well as a power and efficiency (as
he said before) but without a will to choose, being a kind
of Almighty Minister of Fate, acting under a supreme
influence. For he allows, that in all these things, God s
Will is determined constantly and certainly by a supe
rior 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 Scrip
tures, and also the common sense of mankind, it does
not, in the least, derogate from the honour of any being,
that, through the moral perfection of his nature, he ne-

Sect. VII.] Necessity of acting most wisely. 277

cessarily acts with supreme 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 ap
pears the excellent character of a wise and good man,
that though he can choose contrary to the fitness of things ^
yet he does not ; but suffers himself to be directed by Jit-
ness ; and that, in this conduct, he imitates the blessed
God. And yet, he supposes it is contrariwise with the
blessed God ; not that he suffers himself to be directed
by fitness, when he can choose contrary to thejitness of
things ; as he says (p. 42) That it is not possible for
God to act otherwise than according to his fitness , where
there is any Jitness or goodness in things ; yea, he sup
poses (p. 51), That if a man were perfectly wise and good 9
he could not do otherwise than be constantly and certain
ly determined by thejitness 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 super
ior 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 supremacy, or any dig
nity or glory of his nature, state, or manner of acting j
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.

B B

278 Of God s creating the World [Part

SECTION VIII.

Some further Objection s against the Moral Ne
cessity of God s* Volition considered.

T 1

IHE author la^t cited, as has been observed, owns
that God, being perfectly wise, will constantly and
certainly choose 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 confessed, that in those things where there is any
real preferableness, it is no dishonour, nothing in any
respect unworthy of God, for him to act from necessity ;
notwithstanding all that can be objected from the agree
ment of such a necessity, with the fate of the Stoics, and
the necessity maintained by Mr Hobbes. From which
it will follow, that if it were so, that in all the different
things, among which God chooses, there were evermore
a superior fitness or preferableness on ^one side, then it
would be no dishonour, or any thing, in any respect un
worthy or unbecoming of God, for his will to be neces
sarily determined in every thing ; and if this be allowed,
it is giving up entirely the argument, from the unsuita-
bleness of such a necessity to the liberty, supremacy, in
dependence, and glory of the divine Being ; and a rest
ing the whole weight of the affair on the decision of
another point wholly diverse ; viz, Whether it be so in
deed, 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.

Sect. VIII. ] At such a Time and Place. 279

Now, therefore, I would consider whether this be evi
dent.

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 difference between manj things
is so inconsiderable, or of such a nature, that it would
be unreasonable to suppose it to be of any consequence ;
04* to suppose that any of God s wise designs, would not
be answered in one way as well a the other. There
fore,

I. The first thing to be considered is, Whether there
are any instances wherein there is a perfect likeness, and
absolutely no difference, between different objects of
choice, that are proposed to the divine understanding ?

Here, in the first place, it may be worthy to bo con
sidered, vvhether the contradiction there is in the terms
of the question proposed, does not gi*e reason to sus
pect, that there is an inconsistency in the thing supposed.
It is enquired, Whether different objects of choice may
not be absolutely without difference ? If they are ab
solutely 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 differ
ence 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, chooses to do one thing rather than another,
where the things themselves are perfectly without differ
ence, are two.

1. That the various parts of infinite time and space,
absolutely considered, are perfectly alike, and do not dif
fer at all one from another j and that therefore, when

280 Of God s creating the World. [Part IV.

God determined to create the world in such a part of in
finite duration and space, rather than others, he deter
mined to create the world in such a part of infinite du
ration and space, rather than others, he determined and
preferred, among various objects between which there
was no preferableness, and absolutely no difference.

Answer. This objection supposes an infinite length
of time before the world was created, distinguished by
successive parts, properly and truly so ; or a succes
sion of limited and immeasurable periods of time, follow
ing 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 else but
his immediate, perfect, and invariable possession of the
whole of his unlimited life, together and at once ; vitce
tnterminabilis, tota simid fy perjtcta possessio ; which is
so generally allowed, that 1 need not stand to demon
strate it *

" * If all created beings were taken away, all possibility of any
mutation or succession of one thing to another, would appear to be
also removed. Abstract succession in eternity is scarce to be under
stood. What is it that succeeds? One minute to another, perhaps,
vclut undo. upervenit uttilam. But when we imagine this, we fancy that
the minutes are things separately existing. This is the common no
tion ; and yet it is a manifest prejudice. Time is nothing but the ex
istence of created successive beings, and eternity the necessary exis
tence of the Deity. Therefore, if this necessary being hath no change
or succession in his nature, his existence must of course be unsucces-
sive. We seem to commit a double oversight in this case ,first, we find
succession in the necessary nature and existence of the Deity himself;
Avhich is wrong, if the reasoning 1 above be conclusive ; and then we
ascribe this succession to eternity, considered abstractedly from the
Eternal Being; and suppose it, one knows not what a thing subsisting
by itself, and flowing one minute after another. This is the work of
pure imagination, and contrary to the reality of things. Hence the
common metaphorical expressions Time runs a pace , let us lay hold on
the present minute, and the like. The philosophers themselves mislead
us by their illustration. They compare etemity to the motion of a
point running on for ever, and making a traceless infinite line. Here
the point is supposed a thing actually subsisting, representing the
present minute ; and then they ascribe motion or succession to \\ ;

Sect. VIII.] At such a Time and Place. 281

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 dif
ferent measureable 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 mentioned, of absolute and infinite dura
tion. It is 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 infi
nite 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.
It is equally improper, to talk of months and years of
the divine existence, and miles squares of Deity ; and
we equally deceive ourselves, when we talk of the
world s being differently fixed, 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 different
ly placed from what it is, in the broad expanse of infini
ty ; or, that it might have been differently fixed 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 pre-

that is, they ascribe motion to a mere non-entity, to illustrate to us a

successive eternity, made up of finite successive parts. If once

we allo\v an all-perfect mind, which hath an eternal, immutable, and
infinite comprehension of all things, always (and allow it we must) the
distinction of past and future vanishes with respect to such a mind.
In a word, if we proceed step by step, as above, the eternity or exist
ence of the Deity will appear to be -cite interminabilis, tola, simul perfecta yosscssio; how much soever this may have been a paradox hitherto. Enquiry into the Nature of the Human Sunl. Vol.. II, v 409, 410,411, editions, -3 282 Of God s Creating the World [Fart IV. ferred, 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 particulars, 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 my riads of the luminous and fiery particles which com pose 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. Answer. (1.) To this I answer: That as we must suppose matter to be infinitely divisible, it is very un likely 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 although we should allow a great similarity between the different particles of water and fire, as to their general nature and figure ; however small we sup pose those particles to be, it is 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 the.se par ticles should be equal., so it is, that they should be alike Sect. VIII.] At suck a Time and Place. 283 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 post ed exactly alike, one with respect to another, without any difference, in any part discernible either by the na ked eyeor microscope, but infinitely lessstrange, than that two particles of lightshould be perfectly of the same figure. For there are infinitely more assignable real parts on the surface of a particle of light, than there arc parti cles of dust, water, and stone on the surface of the ter restrial globe. Answer. (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 fit ness or 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 it is difference only that constitutes dis tinction. If God makes two bodies, in themselves every way equal and alike, and agreeing 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 resistence are the same, and every thing the same ; but only the place. Therefore, what the will of God de termines, is this, namely, that there should be the same figure, the same extension, the same resistance, &c. 284 Of God s placing differently [Part IV. in two different places. And for this determination her 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, wo can no more justly argue from it, that here must be some determina tion or act of Go&lt;rs 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 place, in the former case, proves no more than the difference of the time does in the other. If any one should say, with regard to the for mer 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 Crea tor 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 ; name ly, that the two bodies differ and are distinct in other respects besides their place. So that with this distinc tion inherent in them, they might, in their first creation, have been transposed, and each might have begun its- 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 asked, why God in their creation placed them so ? Why that which is made on the right hand, was not made on the left, and Sect. VIII.] Similar Practices. 280 vice versa ? Let it be well considered, whether there be any sense in such a question ; and whether the en quiry does not suppose something 1 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 circumstan ces ; 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 its situation. There are also the same dimensions, differ ing in nothing but their place ; and so of their resistance, and every thing else that belongs to them. Here, if any choose to say, " That there is a differ ence in another respect, viz. that they arc not NUMERI CALLY 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 round ness of one is not the" same numerical, individual round ness 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 indi* vidual 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 auy rational person consider, whether such questions be not words without a meaning 1 ; 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 per fectly the same in every other respect, but only one was a minute after the other; and it should be asked upon it, Why God caused these sounds, numerically different, 286 Of Gotfs choosing among, Sfc. [Part IV. one to succeed 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 en quiries would be even ridiculous ; as, I think, every per son 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 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 Jehovah. 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 unrea sonable than to say, that there must be an act of GodY without any inducement, if he sees it best, and for some reasons, determines that there shall be the same resis tance, the same dimensions, and the same figure, in se veral distinct places. If. in the instance of the two spheres &gt; 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 differ ent from what it is, and numerically different from what he did make it, though 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 Sect. VIII.] AndThings of trivial Difference. 287 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 numerical difference in bodies, perfectly equal and alike, which numerical difference is something- in herent in the bodies themselves, and diverse from the difference of place or time, or any circumstance whatso ever, it will not follow, that there is an infinite number of numerically different possible bodies, perfectly alike, among which God chooses, 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 individual sphere, in that place, at that time ? And why he did not create another sphere perfectly like it, but numerically different, in the same place, at the same time? or why he chose to bring into being there, that very body, rather than any of the in finite 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 exist, at that place and time, that individual roundness, rather than any other of the infinite number of individual rotundities, 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, when God first caused it to thunder, he caused that indi vidual sound then 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 enquiries ; and, if we calmly attend to the matter, we shall be convinced, that all such kind of objections as 288 Of God s choosing, Sfc. [Part IV, I am answering, are founded on nothing but the imper fection of our manner of conceiving things, and the ob- scureness 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 sub- tilities ; I answer, the objection which they are in reply to, is a metaphysical subtilty, and must be treated ac cording to the nature of it *. II. Another thing alleged is, that innumerable things which are determined by the divine will, and chosen and done by God rather than others, differs 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 superior fitness or goodness, that God can have respect to in the determin ation. To which I answer, It is impossible for us to deter mine, with any certainty or evidence, that because the difference is very small, and appears to us of no con sideration, therefore there is absolutely no superior good ness, and no valuable end, which can be proposed by the Creator and Governor of the world, in ordering such a difference. The forementioned author mentions many instances. One is, there being one atom in the whole universe more or less. But, I think, it would be un reasonable 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 upheld understandingly and on design, as much as if no other had been made but that ; and it would be as unreasonable to suppose, that * " For men to have recourse to subtilities, in raising difficulties, and then complain that they should be taking off by minutely exam ining these subtilities, is a strange kind of procedure." Nature of the Human Soul. Vol. 2, p. 331. Sect. VIII.] And things of trivial difference. L 28&lt;) he made it without any thing really aimed at in so doin-r, as much as to suppose, that he made the planet Jupiter without aim or design. It is possible, that the most minute effects of the Creator s power, the smallest assignable difference be- tween the things which God has made, maybe attended, in the whole series of event?, and tbc whole compass and extent of their influence, with very great and important consequences. If the laws of motion and 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 other wise than it would be, if it were not for that particular corporeal existence ; and however the effect is insensi ble 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 straight 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 furth est of the fixed stars from the earth ; these bodies be ing turned out of the lines of their parallel motion, will, by degrees, get further and further distant, one from the other ; and though the distance may be impercepti ble for a long time, yet at length it may become very great. So the revolution of a planet round the sun be ing retarded or accelerated, and the orbit of its revolution made greater or less, and more or less elliptical, and so its 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 thair otherwise it would have done; which might makea vast al teration with regard to millions of important events. So the influence of ihe least particle may, for ought we know, have such effect on something in the constitution of some human bady, as to cause another thought to arise in the CC Necessity Consistent, Sfc. [Part IV. 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 through the whole world of mankind*, and so innumerable other ways might be mentioned, wherein the least assignable alteration may possibly be attended;with great consequences. Another argument, which the forementioned author brings against a necessary determination of the divine will, by a superior fitness, is, that such doctrine dero gates from the freeness of God s grace and goodness, in choosing the objects of his favour and bounty, and from the obligation upon men to thankfulness for special be nefits. P. 89, &c. In answer to this objection, I would observe, 1. That it derogates no more from th goodness of God, to suppose the exercise of the benevolence of his nature to be determined by wisdom, than to suppose it determined by chance, and that his favours are bestow ed altogether at random, his will being determined by nothing but perfect accident, without any end or design whatsoever; which must be the case, as has been de monstrated, if volition be not determined by a prevail ing motive. That which is owing to perfect contin- gence, wherein neither previous inducement, nor ante cedent choice has any hand, is not owing more to good ness or benevolence, than that which is owing to the in fluence of a wise end. 2. It is acknowledged, that if the motive that deter mines the will of God, in the choice of the objects of his favours, be any moral quality in the object, recom mending that object to his benevolence above others, his choosing that object is not so great a manifestation of the freeness and sovereignly 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 wise end in view, in determining to bestow his favours on one per son rather than another. We are to distinguish be tween the merit of the object of GocTs favour, or a moral Sect. VI IL] Necessity Consistent &gt; Sfc. 201 qualification of the object attracting that favour and re commending to it, and the natural Jit ness of such a de termination of the act of God s goodness, to answer some wise design of his own, some end in the view of God s Omniscience. It is 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 pre sume, that when God distinguishes, by his bounty, par ticular societies or persons, he never in any instance, exercises any wisdom in so doing, aiming at some hap py consequence; and, if it be not denied to be so in some instances, then I would enquire, Whether, in these instances, God s good ness 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 dis tinguishing mercy, with that enhancing circumstance of the distinctions 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 choosing him to be a Christian and an Apostle, who had been a persecutor, &c. The apostle himself mentions one end, in 1 Tim. i. 15, 1G: " Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. Howbeit, for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first, Jesus 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 looked 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 good- 2()2 Of Arrnmian Fatality. [Part IV. ness, and from the great degree of it. God may choose this object rather than another, as having a superior fit ness to answer the ends, designs, and inclinations of his goodness ; being more sinful, and so more miserable and necessitous than others ; the inclinations of Infinite Mercy and benevolence may b more gratified, and the gracious design of God s sending his Son into the world, may be more abundantly answered, in the ex ercises of merry 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 necessi ty, 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 cer tain foreknowledge of them, antecedent to any purposes or decrees of his about them ; and if so they have a fixed 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 fixed futurity of the state of things in the moral world. So that here, instead of a moral neces sity of God s will arising from, or consisting in the in finite perfection and blessedness of the divine Being, we have a fixed unalterable state of things, properly dis tinct from the perfect nature of the divine mind, and the state of the divine will and design, and entirely inde pendent 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 ac commodate himself to it, in all his purposes and decrees, and in every thing he does in his disposals and govern ment of the world, the moral world being the end of the natural ; so that all is in vain, that is not accommo- Sect. IX.] Of the Objection, Sfc. dated 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 fixed 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 agreeable tcTthe notion which many of the Heathen had of Fate, as a- bove the gods, than that moral necessity of fitness and wisdom which has been spoken of; and is truly repug nant to the absolute sovereignty of God, and inconsis tent 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. SECTION IX. Concerning that Objection against the Doctrine which has been maintained, that it makes God the Author of Sin. TT is urged by Arminians, that the doctrine of the ne- * cessity of men s volitions, or their necessary connec tion with antecedent events and circumstances, makes the first cause, and supreme order 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 con sequence of his disposal. Dr Whitby, in his Discourse on the Freedom of the Will*, cites one of the ancients, as on his side, declaring that this opinion of the neces sity 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 up r on God, and upon his Providence, if that were admit- Ou the Five Points, p. 361. 5 2()4 Of the Objection about, fyc. [Part IV. ted by the assertors of this fate ; whether he himself did ncessitate them to do these things, or ordered matters go, that they should be constrained 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 phi losophers, causa dejiciens, in rebus necessarns, ad cau- sam per se ffficientcm reducenda est. In things ne cessary, the deficient cause must be reduced to the ef ficient ; 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 : 1. If there be any difficulty in this matter, it is no thing peculiar to this scheme : it is no difficulty or dis advantage, 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, which is absolutely necessary to the avoid ing of evil, then, in the nature of the thing, God must be as properly the author of that evil, as if it 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 do ing good, and determined only to evil-j-. Our doctrine, in Us consequence, makes God the author of men^s sin in this Ibid p. 436. f On the Five Points, p. 302, 305. Sect. IX.] Of the Objections about,c. L 2()5

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 lat
ter 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 infal
lible connection between antecedents and consequents,
it will follow because oft/n s, viz. that for God to be au
thor 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 difficul
ty which equally attends the doctrine of Arminians them
selves ; at least, of those of them who allow God s cer
tain 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 or
dered and brought to pass such and such events, such
sins would infallibly follow. As for instance, God cer
tainly foreknew, long before Judas 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 Pro
vidence, be led into acquaintance with Jesus ; and that
his heart should be so influenced by God^s spirit or pro
vidence, 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 Jerusalem, at the last passover in Christ 1 * life ; and
it should be so ordered, that Judas should see Christ s
kind treatment of 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 circum
stances should be ordered, as they were ordered ; it
would be what would most certainly and infallibly fol
low, that Judas would betray his Lord, and would soon
after hang himself, and die impenitent, and be sent to
hell for his horrid wickedness.

Of the Objection about [Part IV.

Therefore, this supposed difficulty ought not to be
brought as an objection against the scheme which has
been maintained, as disagreeing- with the Arminian
scheme, seeing it is no diQiculty owing to such a disa
greement ; but a difficulty, wherein the Arminians share
witli 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.

Therefore I would observe,

If. 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 sin, be meant (he sinner, the
agent, or actor of sin, or the doer 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 imputa
tion on the Most High, as what is infinitely to be abhor
red ; and deny any such thing to be the consequence of
what 1 have laid down. Hut if, by the author of sin 9 is
meant the permitter, or not a hinderer of sin 5 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 do not
deny that God is the author of sin, (though 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 j and, I do not
deny, that God s being thus the author of sin, follows
from what 1 have laid down; and, I assert, that it
equally follows from the doctrine which is maintained by
most of the Arminian divines.

That it is most certainly so, that God is in such a

Sect. IX.] How God is concerned 297

manner the disposer and orderer of sin, is evident, if any
credit is to be given to the Scriptures ; as well as be
cause it is impossible, in the nature of things, to be
otherwise. In such a manner God ordered the obstin
acy of Pharoah, in his refusing to obey God s commands,
to let the people go." 1 Exod. iv. 21 : " I will harden his
heart, and he shall not let the people go." Chap, vii.2 5:
l * Aaron, thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he
send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will har
den Pharaoh s heart, and multiply my signs and my won
ders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not
hearken unto you ; that I may lay mine hand upon
Egypt, by great judgments, 1 &c. Chap. ix. 12 : " And
the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hear
kened 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 hardened his
heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew
these my signs before him, and that thou mayest tell it
in the ears of thy son, and thy son s son, what things I
have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have
done amongst them, that ye may know that I am the
Lord." Chap. xiv. 4 : " And 1 will harden Pharaoh s
heart, that he shall follow after them ; and I will be
honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host." Ver. 8.
" And the Lord hardened 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 ends, ordered that event, Joseph being sold
into Egypt by his brethren. Gen. xlv, b : " 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." It is certain, that thus God order
ed the sin and folly of Silion, king of the Amontes, n
refusing, to let the people of Israel pass by him peacea-

In the Existence of Sin. [Part IV.

bly. Deut. ii. 30, "But Sihon, king of Heshbon,
would not let us pass by him ; for the Lord thy God
hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that
he might deliver him into thine hand. It is 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 come ngaiiist 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." It is evident, that thus God
ordered the treacherous rebellion of Zedekiah against
the king of Babylon. Jer. Hi. 3; "For through the
anger of the Lord it came to pass in Jerusalem and Ju-
dah, until he had cast them out from h is presence, that
Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon." So 2
Kings xxiv. 20. And it is exceeding manifest^ that God
thus ordered the rapine and unrighteous ravages of Ne
buchadnezzar, 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 Nebuchad
nezzar my servant, and will bring them against this land,
and against all the nations round about ; and will utter
ly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and
an hissing, and perpetual desolations." Chap, xliii. 10&gt;
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 hid, and he shall spread
his royal pavilion over them. And when he cometh, he
shall smite the land of Egypt, and deliver such as are
for death to death, and such as are for captivity to cap
tivity, and such as are for the sword to the sword."
Thus God represents himself as sending for Nebuchad
nezzar, 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

Sect. IX.] In the Existence of Sin.

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 killed with famine and
pestilence, and those that should be carried into captivi
ty ; and that in doing- all these things, he should act as
his servant , by which, less cannot be intended, than
that he should serve his purposes and designs. And in
Jer. 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 Host?,
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 SER
VANT, 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 strengthened by God, and
hating God s sword put into his hands, for this end.
Ezek. xxx. 24, 25, 26, Yea, God speaks of his terri
bly ravaging and wasting the nations, and cruelly des
troying all sorts, without distinction of sex or age, as
the weapon in God^s hand, and the instrument of his
indignation, which God makes use of to fulfil his own
purposes, and execute his own vengeance. Jer. li. 20,
&c. " Thou art my battle-axe, and weapons of war.
For with thee will I break in pieces tiie 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 ard 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, 11
&c. It is represented, that the designs of Nebuchad
nezzar, and those that destroyed Jerusalem, never could
have been accomplished, had not God determined them,
as well as they. Lam. iii. 57 : " Who is he that saith,

300 How God is concerned [Part IV.

and it cometh to pass, and the Lord commanded it not ?"
And yet the king of Babylon s thus destroying- the na
tions, and especially the Jews, is spoken of as his great
wickedness, for which God finally destroyed him. Isa.
xiv. 4, 5, 6, 12; Hab. ii. 5 12; and Jer. 1. and li.
It is most manifest, that God, to serve his own designs,
providentially ordered Shimei a cursing David. 2 Sam.
xvi. 10, 11 : "The Lord hath said unto him, curse Da
vid Let him curse, for the Lord hath bidden him."

It i* 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. It is very manifest, by many Scrip
tures, that the whole affair of Christ s crucifixion, with
its circumstances, and the treachery of Judas, 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 them. Acts ii. 23 : " Him being delivered, by
the determinate counsel and fore-knowledge of God*, ye
have taken, and with wicked hands, have crucified and
slain." Luke xxii. 21, 22: " But behold the hand of
him that betrayeth me, is with me on the table ; and
truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined-}-.

* " Grotius, as well asBeza, observes, That the Greek word pro-
jronsis, must here signify degree; and Eisner has shewn that it has
that signification, in approved Greek writers; and it is certain that
the Greek word ekdotos, signifies onp given up into the hands of an
enemy." Doddridge in Loc.

-f- " As this passage is not liable to the ambiguities, which some
have apprehended in Acts ii. 23, and iv. 38. (which yet seem on
the whole to be parallel to it, in their most natural construction) I
look upon it as an evident proof, that these things are, in the lan-
o-uage of Scripture, said to be determined or decreed (or exactly bound
ed and marked out by God, a^ the Greek word orizo most naturally
signifies (which he sees in fact will happen, in consequence of his
volitions) without any necessitating agency ; as well as those events,
of which he is properly the author." Doddrigc in T^oc.

Sect. IX.] In the Existence of Sin. 301

Acts iv. 27, 28 : " For of a truth, against the holy child
Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pon
tius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel,
were gathered tog-ether, for to do whatsoever thy hand
and thy counsel determined hefore to be done." Acts
iii. 17, 19: " And now, brethren, I wot 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 suiter, 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, though it was a
very wicked thing in them, is spoken of as a fulfilling
God s will, and what God hath put into their hearts to
do." It is 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 wo 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 prin
ciples 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
(though the event will certainly follow on his permission)
and his being concerning in it by producing it and exert
ing the act of sin; or between his being the order of its
certain existence, by not hindering it, under certain cir-
n D

302 How God in Concerned [Part IV.

cumstances, and his being the proper actor or author of
it, by a positive agency or efficiency. And this notwith
standing what Dr. Whitby offers about a saying of phi
losophers, that causa deficiens in rebus nccessariis, 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 bright
ness 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 ; though they are necessa
rily 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 inferred, 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 inferred, but the contrary ; it may
justly be argued, that the sun is a bright and hot body,
if cold and darkness are found ta be the consequence of
its withdrawment ; and the more constantly and neces
sarily 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 with
holding of his action and energy, and, under certain cir
cumstances, necessarily follows on the want of his in
fluence ; this is no argument that he is sinful, or his op
eration 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 holi
ness. It would be strange arguing, indeed, because men

Sect. IX.] In tJie Existence of Sin. 303

never commit sin, but only when God leaves them to
themselves, and necessarily sin, when he does so, and
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 alway dark when the sun
is gone, and never dark when the sun is present, that
therefore all darkness is from the sun, and that his disk
and beams must needs be black.

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 con
sequences.

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 un-
de&igning causes, if that were possible, and could be
called a disposal. Is it not better, that the gootl and e-
vil which happens in God s world, should be ordered, re
gulated, bounded, and determined by the good pleasure
of an infinitely wise Being, who perfectly comprehends
within his understanding and constant view, the univer
sality 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 conse
quences ; than to leave these things to fall out by chance,
and to be determined by those causes which have no un
derstanding or aim ? Doubtless, in these important
events, there is a better and a worse, as to the time, sub
ject, place, manner, and circumstances of their coming
to pass, with regard to their influence on the state and
course of things j and if there be, it is certainly best
that they should be determined to that time, place, &c.
which is best ; and therefore it is in its own nature (it,
that wisdom, and not chance, should order these things.
So that it belongs to the Being who is the possessor of in
finite wisdom, and is the Creator and Owner of the whole

304 How God is concerned [Part IV.

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 ne
glect it 5 and it is so far from being- unholy in him to un
dertake 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 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, ami
particularly not in the Arminian notion of it, than if
these events were subject to the disposal of divine Pro
vidence, and the will of man were determined by circum
stances which are ordered and disposed by divine wis
dom ; as appears by what has already been observed ;
but it is evident, that such a providential disposing and
determining men s moral actions, though it infers a mo
ral necessity of those actions, yet it does not in the least
infringe 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 with
such necessity.

On the whole, it is manifest, that God may be, in the
manner which has been described, the order 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 its com
ing to pass for good ends, and his will not be an immoral
or sinful will, but a perfect holy will ; and he may ac
tually, in his providence, so dispose and permit things,
that the event may be certainly and infallibly connected
with such disposal and permission, and his act therein
not be an immoral or unholy, but a perfect 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*

Sect. IX.] /// the Existence of Sin. 30~&gt;

may be a good thing-. This is no contradiction or incon-
sistence. Joseph s brethren selling him into Egypt,
considered it only as it was acted by them, and with res
pect 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 considered with respect to his
views and aims which were good. Gen. I. 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 pro
ceeded from his murderers, and are comprehended with
in 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 (he most horrid of all acts; but consider it, as
it was willed and ordered of God, in the extent of his
designs and views, it was the most admirable and glori
ous 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,

The consideration of these things may help us to a
sufficient answer to the cavils of Arminians t concerning
what has been supposed by many Calvinists ; of a dis
tinction 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
perceptive will may be diverse, and exercised in dissimi
lar acts, the one in disapproving and opposing, the other
in willing and determining, without any mconsistence,
Because, although 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 re*
3

306 Of God s Secret [Part IV.

vealed or perceptive will of God ; because, as it was
viewed and dene 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 do.es not 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 conse
quently be agreeable to his will, though his will may be
secret, i. e. not revealed in God s law ; and thus consi
dered, 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 kind*
of volition or inclination to God, respecting these ob
jects, would be to ascribe an inconsistent will to God ;
but to ascribe to Him different and opposite exercise*
of heart, respecting different objects, and object con
trary one to another, is so far from supposing God s will
to be inconsistent with itself, that it cannot be supposed
consistent with itself 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 ta
be very consistent ; but the contrary, viz. to have the
same will towards these contrary objects, and to choose
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 itself, and considered simply as
evil, and 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

Sect. IX.] And revealed Will. 307

world.* And, if so, it will certainly follow, that an in
finitely wise Being, who always chooses what is best,
must choose that there should be such a thing; and, if

* Here are worthy to be observed some passages of a late noted
writer of our nation, that nobody who is acquainted with him, will
suspect to be very favourable to Calvinism. " It is difficult (says he)
to handle the necessity of evil in such a manner, as not to stumble
such as are not above being alarmed at propositions which have an un
common sound. But if philosophers will but reflect calmly on the
matter, they will find, that consistently with the unlimited power of
the Supreme Cause it may be said, that in the best ordered system,
evils must have place." TurnbuWs Principles of Moral Philosophy +
p. 327, 328. He is there speaking of moral evils, as may be
seen.

Again : the same author, in his second volume, entitled Christian,
Philosophy, p. 35, has these words : " If the Author and Governor
of all things be infinitely perfect, then whatever is, is right ; of all
possible systems he hath chosen the best : and, consequently, there
is no absolute evil in the universe.. This i&gt;eing the case, all the

seeming imperfections or evils in it are such only in a partial view;
and, with respect to the whole system, they are goods.

Ibid. p. 37, " Whence then comes evil ? is the question that hath,
in all ages, been reckoned the Gorgian knot in philosophy. And, in
deed, if we own the existence of evil in the world in an absolute sense,
we diametrically contradict what hath been just now proved of
God. For if there be any evil in the system, that is not good with
respect to the whole, then is the whole not good, but evil ; or at best,,
very imperfect ; and an author must be as his workmanship is ; as is
the effect, such is the cause. But the solution of this difficulty is at
hand ; That there is no evil in the universe. What ! are there no pains,
no imperfections ? Is there no misery, no vice in the world ? or are not
these evils ? Evils indeed they are ; that is, those of one sort are hurt
ful, and those of the other sort are equally hurtful, and abominable ;
but they are not evil or mischievous with respect to the whole. 1

Ibid. p. 42, " But He is, at the same time, said to create evil,
darkness, confusion ; and yet to do no evil, but to be the Author of
good only. He is called the Father of Lights, the Author of every
fcrfect and good gift, with whom there is no variableness nor shadow of
turning, who temptcth no man, but givcth to all men liberally, and upbraid*
eth not, and yet, by the prophet Isaiah, He is introduced, saying of
himself, 1 form light, and create darkness ; / makepeace, and create
fvil , /, the Lord, do all these things. What is the meaning, the plain
language of all this, but that the Lord delighteth in goodness, and
(as the Scripture speaks) evil is his strange work ? He intends and
pursues the universal good of his creation ; and the evil which hap
pens, is not permitted for its own sake, or through any pleasure in-
evil, but because it is requisite to the greater good pursued.

308 Of God s Secret [Part IV,

so, then such a choice is not an evil, but a wise and holy
choice , and if so, then that providence which is agree
able to such a choice, is a wise and holy providence.-
Men do will sin as sin, and so are the authors and ac
tors of it ; they love it as sin, and for evil ends and pur
poses. God does not will sin as sin, or for the sake of
any thing evil ; though 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 does not hate evil, as
evil ;. and if so, then it is no reason why he may not
reasonably forbid evil as evil, and punish it as such.

The Armiuians 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 conse
quences, and so are agreeable to his disposing will, and
those things which he loves, and are agreeable to his na
ture, in themselves considered. Who is there that will
dare to say, That the hellish pride, malice, and cruelty
of devils are agreeable to God, and what he likes and
approves ? And yet, I trust, there is no Christian di
vine but what will allow r that it is agreeable 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. Be sure Dr Whitbif* words do
plainly suppose and allow it*.

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 highest sense possible.

Witty on the Five Points, edition 2, p. 300, 305, 309,

Sect. IX.] And revealed Will.

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.

5. When any intelligent liemg is realty crossed and
disappointed, and things are contrary to what he truly
desires, he is the less pleased, or has less pleasure, his plea
sure and happiness is diminished, and he suffers what is
disagreeable 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 all-wise Determiner of all events, under the vievr
of all consequences through the whole compass and series
of things ; I say, then it certainly follows, that the com
ing to pass of every individual act of sin is truly, all
things considered, contrary to his will, and that his will
is really crossed in it ; and this in proportion 33 He
hates it; and as God s hatred of sin is infinite, by rea
son of the infinite contrariety of his holy nature to sin ;
so his will is infinitely crossed in every act of sin that
happens ; which is as much as to say, He endures that
which is infinitely disagreeable to Him, by means of
every act of sin that He sees committed ; and, therefore,
as appears by the preceding positions, He endures, truly
and really, infinite grief or pain from every sin ; and so
He must be infinitely crossed, and suffer infinite pain
every day, in millions and millions of instances ; He
must continually be the subject of an immense number
of real, and truly infinitely groat crosses and vexations ;

* Certainly, it is not less absurd and unreasonable to talk of God s
will and desires being truly and properly crossed, without his suffer
ing any uneasiness, or any thing grievous or disagreeable, than it is
to talk of something that may be called a revealed will, which may,
in some respect, be different from a secret purpose ; which purpose
may be fulfilled, when the other is opposed.

310 Of God s secret [Part IV.

which would be to make him infinitely the most miser
able of all Being s.

If any objector should say, AH that these things amount
to is, that God may do evil that good may come ; which
is justly esteemed immoral and sinful in men; and there
fore may be justly esteemed 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&gt;
there must be one of these things belonging to it : Either
it must be a thing unfit, and unsuitable in its 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
its own nature, that He should do so; for it is in its
own naturejfa, that infinite wisdom, and not blind chance,
should dispose moral. good and evil in the world ; and it
is Jit, 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 uiifitness nor unsuitableness in his doing it. It may
be unfit, and so immoral, for any other being to go about
to order this affair ; .because they are not possessed of a
wisdom, that in any manner fits them for it ; and, in any
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 con
trary to his wisdom and goodness for him to choose that
it should be so. It is no evil desire to desire good, and
to desire that which, all things considered, is best ; and
it is no unwise choice to choose that that should
be, which is best should be ; and to choose the ex^

Sect. IX.] And revealed Will. 3H

istence 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 con
trary, it would be a plain defect in wisdom and goodness
for him not to choose 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 mat
ter does not belong to him. Bat it is no harm for Him
who is, by right, and in the greatest propriety, the Su
preme Orderer of all things, to order every thing in such
a manner, as it would be a point of wisdom in Him to
choose that they should be ordered. If it would be a
plain defect of wisdom and goodness in a Being, not to
choose 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 choose it should be ; and that, for this very reason,
because He is perfectly wise and good ; and if it be
agreeable to perfect wisdom and goodness for him to
choose that it should be, and the ordering of all things
supremely and perfectly belongs to him, it must be agree
able to infinite wisdom and goodness to order that it
should be. If the choice is good, the ordering and dis
posing 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 this will be
good, and the object of his will be, all things considered,
good and best, then the choosing or willing it is not wil
ling evil that good may come ; and if so, then his order
ing, according to thaf will is not doing evil, that good
may come.

2. It is not of a bad tendency, for the Supreme Being
thus to order and permit that moral evil to be, which is
best should come to pass ; for that it is of good tenden
cy, is the very thing supposed in the point now in ques
tion. Christ s crucifixion, though a most horrid act in

312 Of Sin s first Entrance, Sfc. [Part IV.

them that perpetrated it, was of most glorious tendency
as permitted arid ordered of God.

5. Nor is there any need of supposing, it proceeds
from any evil disposition or aim ; for by the supposition,
what is aimed at is good, and good is the actual issue, in
the final result of things.

SECTION X.

Concerning Sin^s first Entrance into the World.

npHE 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 though it would follow from the doctrine
maintained, that God must be the author of the firgt sin,
through his so disposing things, that it should necessari
ly follow from his permission, that the sinful act should
be committed, CJT. I need not, therefore, stand to re
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, it should nevertheless be said, supposing the
order his circumstances, that from these circumstances,
together with his withholding further assistance and di
vine 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 exis
tence, 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

Sect. X ] Into the JVorkL 313

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 imperfec
tion of the creature, it would not have been so visible,
that it did not arise from God, as the positive cause and
real force of it. But it would require room that cannot
be here allowed, fully to consider all the difficulties
which have been started, concerning the first entrance
of sin into the world ;

And therefore,

2. I would observe, that objections against the doc
trine that has been laid down in opposition to the Ar~
minian notion of liberty, from these difficulties, are al
together impertinent ; because no additional difficulty is
incurred by adhering to a scheme in this manner differ
ing 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-deter
mining 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 dif
ficulty. It is an odd way of solving difficulties, to ad
vance 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 help
ing 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, HQW the world

314 Of the Objection [Part IV.

could be made out of nothing ! To say, it came into
being out of nothing, without any cause, as has been al
ready observed ; and if we should allow that that could
be, that the first evil volition should arise by perfect ac
cident, 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 mathe
tities ; as, that some infinitely great quantities are in
finitely greater than some other infinitely great quanti
ties : 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 hare
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.

SECTION XI.

Of a supposed Inconsistence of those Principles
ivith God s Moral Character.

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 Calvinis-
tic principles with the moral perfections of God, as ex
ercised 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 threatenings, rewards and punishments,
has been particularly considered ; the cavils of our op-

Sect. XL] From God s Moral Character 315

ponents, as though 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 persua
sions, has been already obviated, in what has been ob
served, respecting the consistence of what Calvinisls
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
perceptive will that he should do ; and this is the same
thing as to say, God may sincerely command and re
quire him to do it ; and if he may be sincere in com
manding 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 perceptive will, or of what God loves, and what is
in itself, and as man s act, agreeable to his heart ; and
not of his disposing will, and what he chooses as a part
of his own infinite scheme of things. It has been par
ticularly shewn (Part III, Section IV.) that such a ne
cessity 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, in-
ritations, and counsels, in the Corollary at the end of
that Section. Yea, it hath been shewn (Part III, Sec
tion VII, Corel. 1) that this objection of Arminians, con
cerning the sincerity and use of divine exhortations, in
vitations, and counsels, is demonstrably against them
selves.

Notwithstanding, I would further observe, that the
difficulty of reconciling the sincerity of counsels, invita
tions, and persuasions with such an antecedent known
fixedness of all events, as has been supposed, is not pe
culiar to this scheme, as distinguished from that of the
generality of Armimans, which acknowledge the absolute
foreknowledge of God ; and, therefore, it would be uu-

316 Of the Objection [Part IV.

reasonably 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 1 ,
makes a shew of aiming at, seeking, and using endea
vours for the thing exhorted and persuaded to ; whereas,
it is 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 obtained by these
means. Now, if God knows this, in the utmost certain*
fy and perfection, the way by which he comes by this
knowledge makes no difference. If he knows it is by
the necessity which he sees in things, or by some other
means, it alters not the ease. But it is in effect allowed
by Arminians themselves, that God^s inviting and per
suading men to do things, which he, at the same time,
certainly knows will not be done, is no evidence of in
sincerity ; 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 command
ed and counselled Pharoah 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. vii. 1, 2, 20, 21 ; chap. ix. 1 5, 15 17 ; and
x. 3, 6.) He commanded Moses, and the elders of Is
rael, to go and beseech Pharaoh to let the people go ;
and at the same time told them, 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 be
seech thee, three days journey into the wilderness, that
we may sacrifice unto the Lord our God ; and, I am sure a

Sect. XL] From God s Moral Character. 317

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 offended because of him that night
(Matthew xxvi. 31 35 ; Mark xiii. 38; Luke xxii. 31.
34 ; John 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 (Matthew xxvi. 41) " Watch and
pray, that ye enter not into temptation." So that what
ever difficulty there can be in this matter, it can be no
objection against any principles which have been main
tained in opposition to the principles of Armimans ; 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 con
sidered, in some future discourse, on the doctrine of
Predestination.

But I would here observe, that however the defen
ders of that notion of liberty of will, which I have op
posed, 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 Calvimsts, that indeed is justly chargeable with this;
for it is one of the most fundamental points of their scheme
of things, that a freedom of will, consisting in self-de
termination, 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 deter
mined; in any thing he does, as a moral agcni, or in
3

318 Of the Objection [Part IV.

any of his acts that are of a moral nature ; so that in all
things, wherein he acts holily, justly, and truly, he does
not act necessarily ; or his will is not necessarily deter
mined to act holily and justly ; because, if it were ne
cessarily determined, he would not be a moral agent in
thus acting 1 ; his will would be attended with necessity ;
which, they say, is inconsistent with moral agency,
" He can act no olhewise. He is at no liberty in the af
fair. He is determined by unavoidable invincible neces
sity ; therefore such agency is no moral agency ; yea,
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 neces
sity prior to any act of his." This is agreeable 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
ed in the matter by no necessity ? We have no other
way of proving that any thing certainly w ill be, but only
by the necessity of the event. Where we ean 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 itself, which, in the nature of
things, is best and fittest to be done ; and, as this is the
most eligible in itself, 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 ne
cessity of the determination of God s will to what is
good and best, we dcmonstrably establish God s moral
character.

Corol. From things which have been observed, it
appears, that most of the arguments from Scripture,

Sect. XL] From God s Moral Character. 319

which Arminians make use of to support their scheme,
are no other then begging the question. For in these
their arguments, they determine in the first place, that
with such a freedom of will as they hold, men

not be proper moral agents, nor the subjects of command,
counsel, persuasion, invitation, promises, threatenings,
expostulations, rewards, and punishments; and that
without such freedom, it is to no purpose for men to
take any care, or use any diligence, endeavours, or
meanSj in order to their avoiding sin, or becoming holy,.
escaping punishment or obtaining happiness ; and hav
ing supposed these things, which are grand things in
question in the debate, then they heap up Scriptures,
containing commands, counsels, calls, warnings, persua
sions, expostulations, promises, and threatenings (as
doubtless they may find enough such : the Bible is con
fessedly full of them, from the beginning to the 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 gained their
point, as all will confess, without bringing one Scripture,
for none denies, that there are commands, counsels, pro
mises, threatenings, &c. in the Bible ; but unless they
do these things, their multiplying such texts of Scrip
ture 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 it is their scheme, and
not ours, that is inconsistent with the use of motives,
and persuasives, or any moral means whatsoever, to in-
duce men to the practice of virtue, or abstaining from
wickedness ; their principles, and not ours, are repug
nant to moral agency, and inconsistent with moral go
vernment, with law or precept, with the nature of vir-

320 Whether these Principles, Sfc. [Part IV.

tue 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 suhject.

SECTION XII.

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

TF any object against what has been maintained, 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 persuad
ed the Arminians would not look upon it just, that their
notion of freedom and contingence should be charged with
a tendency to all the errors that ever any embraced,
who have held such opinions. The 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 Hea
then philosophers j and Epicurus., that chief father of
Atheism, maintained 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 a God ; and the contrary doctrine
of contingence, even as maintained 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 j which proof is sum-

Sect. XII.j Whether these Principles 321

marily expressed bj 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 ut*-
ter subversion of every demonstrative argument for the
proof of a Deity ; as has been shewn, in Part II, Sec
tion III.

Whereas it has often been said, that the Calvinistic
doctrine of necessity saps the foundations of all religion
and virtue, 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 virtuous and religious. Which pretence has
been already particularly considered in the 5th Section
of this Fart ; where it has been demonstrated, that this
doctrine has no suih tendency ; but that such a tendency
is truly to be charged on the contrary doctrine ; inas
much as the notion of contingence, which their doctrine
implies, in its certain consequences, overthrows all con
nection, in every degree, between endeavour and event,
means and end.

Besides, if many other things, which have been obser
ved 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 in?
clinations, which men find to be natural ; because in
such inclinations, they 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 bas had a hand, in determining their wills to
the commission of them. 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 inclina
tions inducing a moral necessity ; yea, to excuse even,-

322 Tena to Atheism. [Part IV.

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 deter
mined the will, so far the will was without liberty of in
difference 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 con
sequences, it leaves room for no such thing as either vir
tue 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, virtuous
or vicious, and whatsoever deserves either reward or
punishment, tend to encourage men to put of the work
of religion and virtue, and turning from sin to God;
it being that which they have a sovereign power to de
termine themselves to, just when they please ; or if not,
they are wholly excusable 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 improve
ment 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 doc
trine 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 has been
seen to attend the prevailing of the principles of Armin-
ians 9 and the contrary principles ; as both have had their

* Part III, Section VI.

f Part III, Section VI. Ibid. Section VII. Part IV, Section
I. Part HI, Section UK Carol. 1, after the first head.

Sect. XII.] Whether these Principles, Sfc. 323

turn of general prevalence in our nation. If it be in
deed, as is pretended, that Caloinistic doctrines under
mine the very foundation of all religion and morality,
enervate and disannul all rational motives to holy and
virtuous practice ; and that the contrary doctrines give
the inducements to virtue 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 agreeable to their natural notions
of things, I say, if it be thus, it is remarkable, that
virtue and religious practice should prevail most, when
the former doctrines, so inconsistent with it, prevailed
almost universally ; and that ever since the latter doc
trines, so happily agreeing with it, and of so proper and
excellent a tendency to promote it, have been gradually
prevailing, vice, prophaneness, luxury, and wickedness
of all sorts, and contempt of all religion, and every kind
of seriousness and strictness of conversation, should pro-
portionably prevail ; and that these things should thus
accompany one another, and rise and prevail one with
another, now for a whole age together. It is remark
able, that this happy period (discovered by the free en
quiries and superior sense and wisdom of this age)
against the pernicious effects of Calvinism, so inconsis
tent with religion, and tending so much to banish all vir
tue from the earth, should, on so long a trial, be attend
ed with no good effect i 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 doc
trines are supposed to have so great a tendency to ; even
the banishing of religion and virtue, and the prevailing
of unbounded licentiousness of manners. If these things
are truly so, they are very remarkable, and matter of
very curious speculation.

$24 Of Metaphysical [Part IV, SECTION XIII. Concerning that Objection against the Reason ing, ty which the Calvinistic Doctrine is sup. ported, that it is metaphysical and abstruse. T has often been objected against the defenders of -- Calvinistic principles, that in their reasonings, they run into nice scholastic distinctions, and abstruse meta physical subtilities, and set these in opposition to com mon sense , and it is possible, that, after the former manner, it may be alleged against the reasoning by which I have endeavoured to confute the Arminian scheme of liberty and moral agency, that it is very ab stracted 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 metaphysics, it is a very imper tinent objection ; whether it be so or no, is not worthy of any dispute or controversy. If the reasoning be good, it is as frivolous to enquire what science it is properly reduced to, as what language it is delivered in ; and for a man to go about to confute the arguments of his op* ponent, 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 metaphysics, physics, logic, or mathematics, Latin, French, English, or Mohawk ? But, whether the rea soning be good, and the arguments truly conclusive ? The arguments are no more metaphysical, than those which we use against the Papists, to disapprove their doctrine of transubstantiation ; allgeing, it is inconsis tent with the notion of corporeal identity, that it should be in ten thousand places at the same time. It is by metaphysical arguments only we are able to prove, that Sect. XIII.] And Abstruse Reasoning. 32 j the rational soul is not corporeal ; that lead or sand can not think ; that thoughts are not square or round, or do not weigh a pound. The arguments by which we prove the being of God, if handled closely and distinctly, so as to shew their clear and demonstrative evidence, must be metaphysically treated. It is by metaphysics 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 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 metaphy sics. We can have no proof, that is properly demon strative 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, meta physical. 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 to those things which are most material belonging to it, depends on no ab struse, definitions or distinctions, or terms without a meaning, or of very ambiguous and undetermined signifi cation, or any points of such abstraction and subtility, 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 cannot be the cause of itself j or that the first act of free choice, has not another act of FP 326 Of Metaphysical [Part IV. 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 prefer ence and equilibrium never co-exist ; that therefore no choice is made in a state of liberty, consisting in indif ference ; and that, so far as the will is determined by motives, exhibited and operating previous to acts 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 rea son, why it then begins to be ; that effects depend on their causes, and are connected with them ; that virtue is not the 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 the 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 ne cessary it should be, that 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 rea soning 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 obscu rity which always attends a great degree of metaphysi cal abstraction and refinement ; and shall be ready to say, " Here is indeed something that tends to confound the mind, 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 thou sand seeming- contradictions to puzzle our understand ing 5 yet there can be no satisfaction in such doctrine as this ; the natural sense of the mind of man will always resist it V I humbly conceive, that such an objector, * A certain noted author of the present age aays, The arguments Sect. XIII.] And Abstruse Reasoning. 327 if he has capacity, humility, and calmness of spirit suf ficient impartially, and thoroughly to examine himself, for necessity are nothing but quibbling or logomachy, using words with out a meaning, or begging the. question. 1 do not know what kind of necessity any authors, he may have reference to, are advocates for ; or whether they have managed their arguments well or ill. As to the arguments I have made use of, if they are quiblles they may be shewn so ; such knots are capable of being untied, and the trick and cheat may be detected and plainly laid open. If this be fairly done, with respect to the grounds and reasons I have relied upon, I shall have just occasion for the future, to be silent, if not to be ashamed of my ar gumentations. I am willing my proofs should be thoroughly examin ed ; and if there b^ nothing bat begging the question, cr mere logom achy, or dispute of words, let it be made manifest, and shewn how the seeming strength of the argument depends on my using words wit!t~ out a meaning, or arises from the ambiguity of terms, or mv making use of -words in an indeterminate and unsteady manner ; and that the weight of my reasons rest rnaiuly on such a foundation ; and then, L shall either be ready to retract what I have urged, and thank the man that has done the kind part, or shall be justly exposed for my ob stinacy. The same author is abundant in appealing in this affair, from what he calls logomachy and sophistry to experience. A person can ex perience only what passes in his own mind. But yet as we may well suppose that all men have the same human faculties ; so a man may well argue from his own experience to that of others, in things that shew the nature of those faculties, and the manner of their operation. But then one has as good right to allege his experience as another. As to my own experience I rmd that in innumerable things I can do as I will ; that the motions of my body in many respects, instantan eously follow the acts of my will concerning those motions ; and that my will has some command of my thoughts ; and that the acts of my will are my own, i. e. that they are acts of will, the volitions of my own mind ; or, in other words, that what I will, I will. Which, I presume, is the sum of what others experience in this affair. But as to finding by experience, that my will is originally determined by it self ; or that, my will first choosing what volition there shall be, the chosen volition accordingly follows ; and that this is the first rise of the determination of my will in any affair ; or that any vo lition rises in my mind contingently ; I declare, I know nothing in myself by experience of this nature ; and nothing that ever 1 ex perienced, carries the least appearance or shadow of any such thing, or gives me any more reason to suppose or suspect any such thing, than to suppose" that my volitions existed twenty years before they existed. It is true, I find myself possessed of my volitions, before I can see the effectual power of any cause to produce them (for the power and efficacy of the cause is not seen but by the effect) and 328 Of Metaphysical [Part IV. will find that he knows not really what he would be at, and indeed his difficulty is nothing but a mere prejudice, from an inadvertent customary use of words, in a mean ing that is not clearly understood, nor carefully reflect ed upon. Let the objector reflect again, if he has can dour and patience enough, and does not 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 con ceivable (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 be not from himself of choice, then it is 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 sub- tility 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 something bad in him self, a lad choice, or bad disposition. But then our na tural sense is, that this bad choice or disposition is evil in itself, and the man blame-worthy for it, on its own this, for ought I kuow, may make some imagine, that volition has no cause, or that it produces itself. But I have no more reason from hence to determine any such thing, than I have to determine that 1 gave myself my own being, or that I came into being accidentally without a cause, because I first found myself possessed of being, before 1 had knowledge of a cause of my being. Sect. XIII.] And Abstruse Reasoning. 32$

account, without taking into our notion of its blame-
worthiness, another bad choice or disposition going be
fore this, from whence this arises ; for that is a ridi
culous absurdity, running; us into an immediate contra
diction, 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
does not place the moral evil of volitions and disposi
tions in the cause of them, but the nature of them. An
evil thing being from a man, or from something antece
dent in him, is not essential to the original notion we
have of blame- worthiness ; but it is its 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 natural,
blame-worthiness or ill-desert, according to our natural
I sense. When a thing is from a man, in that sense,
\ that it is from his will or choice, he is to blame for
1 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
4 further in our notion of blame to enquire, Whether
the bad will be FROM a bad will ? there is no consi
deration of the original of that bad will ; because, accord
ing to our natural apprehension, blame originally con
sists in it. Therefore, a thing 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 deierving ill or well, as worthy of
3

330 A Fault of Armmian Writers. [Part LV.

blame or praise ; hence it is come to pass, that philoso
phers 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 con
fusion ; and, therefore, I observe,

III. It is so far from being true (whatever may be
pretended) that the proof of the doctrine which has been
maintained, depends on certain abstruse, unintelligible,
metaphysical terms and notions ; and that the Arminian
scheme, without needing such clouds and darkness for
its defence, is supported by the plain dictates of common
sense ; that the very reverse is most certainly true, and
that to a great degree. It is fact, that they, and not we&gt;
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 meta
physical propositions,and words without ameaning. Their
pretended demonstrations depend very much on such
unintelligible metaphysical phrases, as self-determina
tion, 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 distinct con
sistent ideas ; as far from it as any of theabstruse terms
and perplexed phrases of the Peripatetic philosophers,
or the most unintelligible jargon of the schools, or the
cant of the wildest fanatics. 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 sounds^
without any ideas whatsoever in their minds to answer
them ; inasmuch 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 no
tions as imply self-contradiction and self-abolition, and
this a great many ways, can subsist in the mind ; as

Sect. XIII.] Arminiam too Metaphysical. 331

there can be no idea of a whole which is less than any
of its parts, or of solid extension without dimensions,

or of an effect which is before its cause. Arminians

improve these terms, as terms of art, and, in their me
taphysical 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-deter
mination ; by which they involve themselves and others
in great obscurity, and manifold gross inconsistencc.
So, instead of placing virtue and vice, as common sense
places them very much, in fixed bias and inclination,
and greater virtue and vice in stronger and more esta
blished inclination, these, through their refinings and
abstruse notions, suppose a liberty, consisting in indif
ference, to be essential to all virtue and vice. So they
have reasoned themselves, not by metaphysical distinc
tions, but by metaphysical confusion, into many princi
ples about moral agency, blame, praise, reward, and
punishment, which are, as has been shewn, exceeding
contrary to the common sense of mankind ; and per
haps to their own sense, which governs them in common
lite.

THE

CONCLUSION.

W r HETIIER the things which have been alleged,
are liable to any tolerable answer in the ways of
calm, intelligible, and strict reasoning-, T must leave
others to judge; but I am sensible they are liable to one
sort of answer. It is 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 addi
tional vehemence and contempt, about the fate of the
Heathen, Hobbes s Necessity, and making men mere
machines ; accumulating the terrible epithets of fatal,
unfrustrable, inevitable, irresistible, &c. and it may be,
with the addition of horrid and blasphemous ; and per
haps 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 circum
spect examination*. Or difficulties may be started and

* A writer of the present age, whom I have several times had
occasion to mention, speaks once and again of those who hold the doc
trine of necessity, as scarcely worthy of the name of Philosophers. I
do not know whether he has respect to any particular notion of necessi
ty, that some may have maintained ; and, if so, what doctrine of ne
cessity is it that he means, Whether I am worthy of the name of a
Philosopher, or not, would be a question little to the present pur
pose. If any, and ever so many, should deny it, I should not think

Conclusion. 333

insisted on, which do not 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 dis
tinguishing 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 par
ticular things may be picked out, which they may think
will sound harshest in the ears of the generality ; and
these may be glossed and descanted on, with tart and
contemptuous words ; and from thence, the whole treated
with triumph and insult.

It is easy to see, how the decision of most of the
points in controversy, between Calvinists and Armim ans,
depends on the determination of this grand article, con
cerning the Freedom of the Will requisite to moral agen
cy ; and that by clearing and establishing the Calvinis-
tic doctrine in this point, the chief arguments are obvia
ted, by which Arminian doctrines in general arc support
ed, and the contrary doctrines demonstratively confirmed.
Hereby it becomes manifest, that God s moral govern
ment over mankind, his treating them as moral agents,
making them the objects of his commands, counsels, calls,
warnings, expostulations, promises, threatenings, re
wards, and punishments, is not inconsistent with a deter-
mining disposal of all events, of every kind, throughout
the universe, in his providence, either by positive effi
ciency or permission. Indeed, such an universal deter
mining providence infers some kind of necessity of all
events, such a necessity as implies an infallible previous
fixedness of the futurity of the event ; but no other ne
cessity of moral events, or volitions of intelligent agents,

it worth the while to enter into a dispute on that question ; though
at the same time, I might expect some better answer should be
given to the arguments brought for the truth of the doctrine; I
maintain ; and I might further reasonably desire, that it might be
considered, whether it does uot become those, who are truly -worthy
of the name of Philosophers, to be sensible, that there is a difference
between argument and contempt ; yea, and a difference between the
contemptibleness of the person that argues, and the inconclusive!^?
of the arguments he offers.

334 Conclusion.

is needful in order to this, than moral necessity ; which
does as much ascertain the futurity of the erent as any
other necessity. But, as has been demonstrated, such a
necessity is not at all repugnant to moral agency, and a
reasonable use of commands, calls, rewards, punishments,
&c. Yea, not only are objections of this kind against
the doctrine of an universal determining Providence, re
moved by what has been said ; but the truth of such a
doctrine is demonstrated. As it has been demonstrated,
that the futurity of all future events is established by
previous necessity, either natural or moral, so it is mani
fest, 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 circum
stances in which it had its being at first, both negative
and positive, must be ordered by him, in one of these
ways : and all the necessary consequences of these cir
cumstances, 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 con
sequences of this forbearance, must all be determined ac
cording to his pleasure; and therefore every event,
which is the consequence of any thing whatsoever, or
that is connected with any foregoing thing or circum
stance, either positive or negative, as the ground or rea
son of its existence, must be ordered of God ; either
by a designing 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, there
fore, 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 for
bearing to act. From whence it follows, that as God

Conclusion.

335

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 Calvinis-
tzc, 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 in
terposition of sovereign grace, savingly to love God, be
lieve 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-deter
mining 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 in*
consistent with the sincerity of counsels, invitations, &c.
Now, this doctrine supposes no other necessity of sinning,
than a moral necessity ; which, as has been shewn, does
not 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, does not excuse persons in the non-per
formance of any good thing, or make them 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 doc
trine of original sin is cast out ; and that no such free
dom 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 doc
trine 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 efficacious,
yea, and irresistible too, if by irresistible is meant, that

336 Conclusion.

which is attended with a moral necessity, which it is im
possible should ever be violated by any resistance. 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 virtue,
that it should be wrought in the heart by the determin
ing 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 virtue, but
rather God s virtue ; 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 li
berty of moral agents does not consist in self-determin
ing power : and that there is no need of any such liber
ty, in order to the nature of virtue : nor does it at all
hinder, but that the state or act of the will may be the
virtue of the subject, though it be not from self-deter
mination, but the determination of an intrinsic 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 neces
sary, by a moral necessity ; and has also been now de
monstrated, that the doctrine of an universal determin
ing Providence, follows from that doctrine of necessity,
which was proved before ; and so that God does deci
sively, 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 of man s virtuous volitions, whether it be more
or less, is by some positive influence, and not by mere
permission, as in the affair of a sinful volition ; if we
put these things together, it will follow, that God s as
sistance or influence must be determining and decisive,
or must be attended with a moral necessity of the event;
and so, that God gives virtue, holiness, and conversion
to sinners, by an influence which determines the effect.

Conclusion. 337

in such a manner, that the effect will infallibly follow bv
amoral necessity; which is what Calmniats mean bv ef
ficactous and irresistible grace.

The things which have been said, do likewise answer
the chief objections against the doctrine of God s univer
sal and absolute decree, and afford infallible proof of this
doctrine ; and of the doctrine of absolute, Lnal, per.
sonal e cotton m 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 acs o f men ; and so are not consistent whh 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 pre-

t hfword fr 0l J nSelS .T" in - S and expostulations of
the word of God ; or with the various methods and means
01 grace, which God uses with sinners, to bring them to
repentance ; and the whole of that moral government,
which God exercises towards mankind ; and that the*
infer an , ^consistence between the secret and revealed
will of God ; and make God the author of sin, But all
these things have been obviated in the preceding dis
course; and the certain truth of these doctrines, concern,
ing 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 ag-ents
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 knowing and
on design. God does not do what he does, no? order
what he orders, accidentally and unawares ; either without
or beside his intention ; and if there be a fore"oin ff de ,
sign of doing and ordering as he does, this is the same
ith a purpose or decree ; and as it has been shewn, that
othmg is new to God, in any respect, but all things are
perfectly and equally in his view from eternitv; hence

338 Conclusion.

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 dis
course ; hence will necessarily follow the doctrine of par
ticular, eternal, absolute election. For if men are made
true saints, no otherwise than as God makes them so,
and distinguishes them 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. 1 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 may
not be lengthened 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 in
tended 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 abso
lute 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 it is impossible,
that God should prosecute any other design than only
such as he has \ he certainly does not, in the highest
propriety and strictness of speech, pursue a design that
he has not. And, indeed, such a particularity and limi
tation of redemption will as infallibly follow, from the
doctrine of God s foreknowledge, as from that of the de-

Conclusion. 339

rree ; for it is as impossible, in strictness of speech, that
God should prosecute a design, or aim at a 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 Armenians against this doctrine
seem to be these : They suppose such a necessary, in
fallible, perseverance to lie repugnant to the freedom ot
the will ; that it must be owing to man s own self-deter
mining power, that he first becomes virtuous and holy ;
and so, in like manner, it must be left a thing contingent,
to be determined by the same freedom of will, whether
he will persevere in virtue and holiness ; and that other
wise his continuing stedfast in faith and obedience would
not be his virtue, or at all praise-worthy and rewardable ;
nor could his perseverance be properly the matter of di
vine commands, counsels, and promises, nor hisapostacy
be properly threatened, and men warned against it.
Whereas, we find all these things in scripture ; there
we find stedfastness and perseverance in true Christiani
ty, represented as the virtue 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
threatenings and warnings. But the foundation of these
objections has been removed, in its 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 itself,
there neither is any such thing, nor need any of it, in
order to virtue, reward, commands, counsels, &c.

As the doctrines of efficacious graee and absolute
^election do certainly follow from things, which have been
proved in the preceding discourse, so some of the main
foundations of the doctrine of perseverance, are thereby

340 Conclusion.

established. If the beginning of true faith and holiness,
and a man^s becoming a true saint at first, does not de
pend on the self-determining power of the will, but on
the determining efficacious grace of God, it may well be
argued, that it is also with respect to men s being con
tinued 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, and depending on the so
vereign 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 ap
pointment to salvation must also be absolute, and not
depending on their contingent, self-determining will.
From all which it follows, that it is absolutely fixed in
Ged s decree, that all true saints persevere to actual eter
nal salvation.

But I must leave all these things to the consideration
of the fair and impartial reader ; and when he has ma
turely weighed them, I would propose it to his consider
ation, 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, hare not been
injured, in the contempt with which they have been treat
ed by many late writers, for their teaching and maintaining
such doctrines as are commonly called Calvinistic ? In
deed, 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 ho
nest, well-meaning men ; yet, it may be some of them,
as though it were in great condescension and compassion
to them, have allowed, thatl they did pretty well for the
day which they lived in, and considering the great dis-

Conclusion. 341

advantages they laboured under; when, at the same,
time, their manner of speaking has naturally and plain
ly 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 father, whom they so much despise, consistent 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 en
thusiast, that might be reduced to more demonstrable
inconsistencies, and repugnancies to common sense, and
to themselves ; though their inconsistencies indeed may
not lie so deep, or be so artfully vailed by a deceitful
ambiguity of words, and an indeterminate signification of
phrases. I will not deny, that these gentlemen, many
of tliem, are men of great abilities, and have been help
ed 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 as
surance, in these points in divinity, must be owing to
some other cause than superior 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 gome other parts of the Protes
tant world, in this and the past age, by the exploding so
general Cahinistic doctrines, that is so often spokenof as
worthy to be greatly rejoiced in by the friends of truth,

342 Conclusion.

larning, and virtue, as an instance of the great increase
eflight in the Christian Church ; I say, it may be wor
thy to be considered, whether this be indeed a happy
change, owing to any such cause as an increase of true
knowledge and understanding in things of religion ; or
whether there is not reason to fear, that it may be
owing to some worse cause.

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 demonstra
ble dictates of reason, as well as the certain dictates of
the mouth of the Most High) then God is unjust and
cruel, guilty of manifest deceit and double dealing-, and
the like. Yea, some have gone so far, as confidently
to assert, that if any book which pretends to be Scrip
ture, teaches such doctrines, that alone is sufficient war
rant 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 Scriptures seems to teach any such doc
trines, so contrary to reason, we are obliged to find out
some other interpretation of those texts, where such doc
trines seem to be exhibited. Others express themselves
yet more modestly, they express a tenderness and religious
fear, least they should receive and teach any thing that
should seem to reflect on God s moral character, or be a
disparagement te 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 ob
vious and natural construction of the words. But in
deed, 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 agreeable 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 -in
struction, to determine for us what the truth is; know
ing how little our judgment is to be depended on, and

Conclusion. 34^

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 mysteri
ous 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, through the blindness of men s
minds, and strong prejudices of their hearts, are reject
ed, 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
agreeable 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. J9, 20, " For it is written, I will de
stroy the wisdom of the wise j 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 writ
ten, in Ver. 27, 28, &lt; 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.

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