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Full text of "The works of President Edwards .."
























JVIAjVY find much fault with the calling professing 
Christians, that differ one from another in some matters of opin- 
ion, by distinct names ; especially calling them by the names of 
particular men, who have distinguished themselves as maintainers 
and promoters of those opinions ; as the calling some professing 
Christians Arminians,,/?" '" Arminius ; others Arians, ./'row Ari- 
as ; others Socinians,./rcwz Socinus, and the like. They think it 
unjust in itself; as it seems to suppose and suggest, that the per- 
sons marked out by these names, received those doctrines which 
they entertain, out of regard to, and reliance on, those men after 
whom they are named ; as though they made them their rule ; 
in the same manner, as the followers of Christ are called Christ- 
ians ; after his name, whom they regard and depend upon, as 
their great Head and Rule. Whereas, this is an unjust and 
groundless imputation on those that go under the forementioned 
denominations. Thus (say they) there is not the least ground to 
suppose that the chief Divines, who embrace the scheme of doc- 
trine 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 inquire after the mind of Christ, with 
as much judgment and sincerity, as any of those that call them b:j 
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 es- 
teemed actuclly injurious on this account, that it is supposed nat- 
urally to lead the multitude to imagine the difference between 
persons thus named and others, to be 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 
uncharitable, narrow, contracted spirit ; which, they say, com- 
monly inclines persons to confine all that is good to themselves, 
and their own party, and to make a wide distinction between 
themselves and others, and stigmatize those that differ from them, 
with odious names. They say, moreover, that the keeping up 
such a distinction of names has a direct tendency to ufihold dis- 
tance and disaffection, and keefi alive mutual hat rid among 
Christians, who ought all to be united in friendship and charity, 
. • - -ver they cannot, in nil things, think alike. 


/ confess these things are very plausible. And I will not ae- 
ny, that there are some unhappy consequences of this distinction 
of names, and that men's infirmities and evil dispositions often 
make an ill improvement of it. But yet, I humbly conceive, these 
objections are carried far beyond reaso?i. The generality of 
mankind are disposed enough, and a great deal too much, to un- 
charitableness, and to be censorious and bitter towards those that 
differ from them in religious opinions : Which evil temper of 
■mind -will take occasion to exert itself from many things in them- 
selves j innocent, useful and necessary. But yet there is ?io ne- 
cessity to suppose, that the thus distinguishing persons of differ- 
ent o/iinions by different names, arises mainly from an uncharit- 
able sfiirit. It may arise from the disposition there is in man- 
kind (whom God has distinguished with an ability and inclina- 
tion for speech) to improve the benefit of language, in the prop- 
er use and design of names, gix>en to things which they have of- 
ten occasion to speak of, or signify their minds about ; which is 
to enable them to express their ideas with ease and cxfiedition, 
without being encumbered with an obscure and difficult circumlo- 
cution. And the thus distinguishing 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. Thai 
which we have frequent occasion to speak of (whatever it be, that 
gives the occasion) this wants a name ; and it is always a defect 
v; language, in such cases, to be obliged to make use of a descrip- 
tion, instead of a name. Thus we have often occasion to speak 
of those who are the descendants of the ancient inhabitants 
of France, who were subjects or heads of the government of that 
land, and spake the language peculiar to it ; in distinction from 
the descendants of the inhabitants of Spaiti, who belonged to tliat 
community, and spake the language of that country. And there- 
fore we find the great need of distinct na?nes to signify these dif- 
ferent sorts of people, and the great convenience oj those distin- 
guishing words, French and Spaniards ; by wJiich the significa- 
tion of our minds is quick and easy, and our speech is delivered 
from the burden of a continual reiteration of diffuse descriptions, 
iT.th which it must otherwise be embarrassed. 

That the difference of the opinions of those who, in their gen- 
eral 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 ab- 
surd and pernicious opinions of the former sort. And therefore 
the making use of different ?iumes in this case cannot reasonably 
',.. objected against^ or condemned, as it 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 
existence and natural tendency of the state of things ; consider' 
ing the faculty and disposition God has given to mankind, to ex- 
press things which they have frequent occasion to mention, by 
certain distinguishing names. It is an effect that is simidar to 
what we see arise, in innumerable cases which are parallel, where 
(he cause is not at all blameworthy. 

Nevertheless, at first, I had thoughts of carefully avoiding 
the use of the ap/iellation, Arminian, in this treatise : But I soon, 
found I should be put to great difficulty by it ; and that my dis- 
course would be so encumbered with an often repeated circumlo- 
cution, instead of a name, which would express the thing intend- 
ed as well and better, that I altered my purpose. And therefore 
I must ask the excuse of such as are apt to be offended with 
things of this nature, that I have so freely used the term Armin- 
ian in the following discourse. I profess it to be witho7it 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 oc- 
casion to speak of those Divines who are commonly called by this 
name, I had, instead of styling them Arminians, called then 
these men, as Dr. Whitby does Calvinistic Divines ; it proba- 
bly would not have been taken any better, or thought to shew a 
better temper., or more good ?na?mers. I have done as I would 
be done by, in this matter. However the term Caivhiistic is, in 
these days, among most, a term of greater reproach than the 
term Arminian ; yet I should not take it at all amiss to be call- 
ed a Calvinist, for distinction's sake : Though I utterly disclaim 
a dependence on Calvin, or believing the doctrines which I hold* 
because he believed and taught them ; and cannot justly be charg- 
ed with believing in every thing just as he taught. 

But, lest I should really be an occasion of injury to some per- 
sons, 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 Divine or Author, whom I have occasion 
to mention, as maintaining that doctrine, was properly an Armin- 
ian, or one of that sort which is commoidy called by that name. 
Some of them went far beyond t-fie Arminians ; and I would 6n 
no means charge Arminians in general with all the corrupt doc- 
trine, which these mainlcdned. Thus, for instance, it would be 
very jjijuriovs, if I should rank Arminian Divines, in general, 
with such Authors as Mr. Chubb. I doubt not, many of theni 
have some of his doctrines in abhorrence ; though he agrees, for 
the most part, with Arminians, in his notion of the Freedom of the 
Will. Andpon the other hand, though I suppose this notion to bt 

viii PREFACE. 

a leading article 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 Arminiaris. 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 in- 
stances, to charge every Author with believing and maintaining 
all the real consequences of his avowed doctrines. And I desire it 
may be particularly noted, that 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 Y\ ill, in God and the Crea- 
ture, as holding that notion of Freedom of I Till, which I ofifiose ; 
yet I do not mean to call him an Arminian : However, in that 
doctrine he agrees with Arminians, and departs from the cur- 
rent and general opinion of Calvinists. If the Author of that 
Fssay 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 better for being held 
by such an one; nor is there less need of opposing it on that ac- 
count ; but rather is there the more need of it ; as it will be like- 
ly to have the more pernicious influence, for being taught by a 
divine of his name and character ; supposing the doctrine to be 
wrong, and in itself to be of an ill tendency. 

I have nothing further to say by way of preface ; but only 
to bespeak the Reader's candor, and calm attention to what I 
have written. The subject, is of such importance, as to demand 
attention, and the most thorough consideration. Of all kinds of 
knowledge that we can ever obtain, the knowledge of God, and 
the knowledge of ourselves, are the most important. As relig- 
ionis the great busincss,for which we are created, and on which 
our happiness depends ; and as religion consists in an inter- 
course between ourselves and our Maker ; and so has its found- 
ation in God's nature and ours, and in the relation that God and 
we stand in to each other ; therefore a true knowledge of both 
must be needful, in order to true religion. But the knowledge 
of ourselves consists chief y in right apprehensions concerning 
those two chi'f fueulties 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 seat more .immediately in the 
Will, consisting more especially in right acts and habits of this 



Wherein are explained and stated various Terms 
and Things belonging to the Subject of the ensu- 
ing Discourse. 


Concerning the Nature of the Will. 

IT may possibly be thought, that there is no great 
need of going about to define or describe the Will ; this word 
being generally as well understood as any other words we can: 
use to explain it : And so perhaps it would be, had not phi- 
losophers, metaphysicians and polemic divines brought the 
matter into obscurity by the things they have said of it. But 
since it is so, I think it may be of some use, and will tend to 
the greater clearness in the following discourse, to say a few 
things concerning it. 

And therefore I observe, that the Will (without any met- 
aphysical refining) is plainly, That by which the mind choos- 
es any thing. The faculty of the Will is that faculty or pow- 
er or principle of mind by which it is capable 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 : For in every act of 
Will whatsoever, the mind chooses one thing rather than 
another ; it chooses something rather than the contrary, of 

Vol. V. B 


rather than the want or nonexistence 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 making its choice in that case is properly the act of the 
Will ; the Will's determining between the two is a voluntary 
determining ; but that is the same thing as making a choice. 
So that whatever names we call the act of the Will by, choos- 
ing, refusing, approving, disapproving, liking, disliking, em- 
bracing, rejecting, determining, directing, commanding, for- 
bidding, declining or being averse, a being pleased or displeas- 
ed Avith ; all may be reduced to this of choosing. For the 
soul to act voluntarily, is evermore to act electively. 

Mr. Locke* says, " The Will signifies nothing but a pow- 
er or ability to prefer or choose." And in the foregoing page 
says, " The word preferring seems best to express the act of 
volition ;" but adds, that " it does it not precisely ; for (says 
he) though a man would prefer flying to walking, yet who 
can say he ever wills it ?" 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 walk- 
ing, or any other external action ; which is not being remov- 
ed 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 be- 
ing 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 at such a moment, or his liking it 
better than the forbearance 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 
".mmediatc exertion or alteration of the body, such an altera- 

• Human Understanding, Edit. 7. vol. i.^. 19:. 


tion 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 successive moments, 
that there should be such alterations of my external sensa- 
tions and motions ; together with a concurring habitual ex- 
pectation that it will be so ; having ever found by experience, 
that on such an immediate preference, such sensations and 
motions do actually, instantaneously, 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 he does 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 expeciation that he should 
obtain the desired end by any such exertion ; and he does 
not prefer or incline to any bodily exertion or effort under 
this apprehended circumstance, of its being wholly in vain. 
So that if we carefully distinguish the proper objects of the 
several acts of the Will, it will not appear by this, and such 
like instances, that there is any difference between volition 
and preference ; or that a man's choosing, liking best, or be- 
ing best pleased with a thing, are not the same with his will- 
ing that thing ; as they seem to be according to those general 
and more natural notions of men, according to which language 
is formed. Thus an act of the Will is commonly expressed 
by its pleasing a man to do thus or thus ; and a man's doing 
as he wills, and doing as he pleases, are the same thing in 
common speech. 

Mr. Locke* says, " The Will is perfectly distinguished 
from Desire ; which in the very same action may have a 
quite contrary tendency from that which our Wills set us up- 
on. A man (says he) whom I cannot deny, may oblige me 
to use persuasions to another, which, at the same lime 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 sup- 
pose, that Will and Desire are words of precisely the same 
signification : Will seems to be a word of a more genera! 

* Human Undemanding, vol. i, p. 203, 204. 


signification, extending to things present and absent. Desire 
respects something absent. I may prefer my present situa- 
tion and posture, suppose, sitting still, or having my eyes 
open, and so may will it. But yet I cannot think they are so 
entirely distinct, that they can ever be properly said to run 
counter. A man never, in any instance, wills any thing con- 
trary to his desires, or desires any thing contrary to his Will. 
The forementioned instance, which Mr. Locke produces, 
does not prove that he ever does. He may, on some consid- 
eration 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 Desire do not run coun- 
ter. The thing which he wills, the very same he de- 
sires ; and he does not will a thing, and desire the contrary 
in any particular. In this instance, it is not carefully observ- 
ed, what is the thing willed, and what is the thing desired : If 
it were, it would be found that Will and Desire do not clash 
in the least. The thing willed on some consideration, is to 
utter such words ; and certainly, the same consideration, so 
influences 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 they should not, as he de- 
sires. In order to prove that the Will and Desire may run 
counter, it should be shown that they may be contrary one to 
the other in the same thing, or with respect to the very same 
object of Will or Desire : But here the objects are two ; and 
in each, taken by themselves, the Will and Desire agree. 
And it is no wonder that they should not agree in different 
thingSj however little distinguished they arc in their nature. 
The Will may not agree with the Will, nor Desire agree 
with Desire, in different things. As'in this very instance 
•which Mr. Locke mentions, a person may, on some considera- 
tion, desire to use persuasions, and at the same time may de- 
iire they may not prevail ; but yet nobody will say, that De^ 


sire runs counter to Desire ; or that this proves that Desire 
is perfectly a distinct thing from Desire. ...The like might be 
observed of the other instance" Mr. Locke produces, of a 
man's desiring to be eased of pain, See. 

But not to dwell any longer on this, whether Desire aud 
Will, and whether Preference and Volition be precisely the 
same things or no ; yet, I trust it will be allowed by all, 
that in every act of Will there is an act of choice ; that in 
every volition there is a preference, or a prevailing inclina- 
tion of the soul, whereby the soul, at that instant, is out of a 
state of perfect indifference, with respect to the direct ob- 
ject of the volition. So that in every act, or going forth of 
the Will, there is some preponderation of the mind or incli- 
nation, one way rather than another ; and the soul had rather 
have or do one thing than another, or than not have or do that 
thing ; and that there, where there is absolutely no prefer- 
ring or choosing, but a perfect continuing equilibrium, there 
£s no volition. 

Concerning the Determination of the Will. 

BY determining the Will, if the phrase be used with any 
meaning, must be intended, causing that the act of the Will 
or choice should be thus, and not otherwise : And the Will 
is said to be determined, when, in consequence of some ac- 
tion 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 ef- 
fect, which must have a cause. If the Will be determined, 
there is a determiner. This must be supposed to be intend- 
ed even by them that say, the Will determines itself. If it 
be so, the Will is both determiner and determined ; it is a 


cause that acts and produces effects upon itself, and is the 
object of its own influence and action. 

With respect to that granc? enquiry, What determines the 
Will, it would be very tedious and unnecessary at present to 
enumerate and examine all the various opinions which have 
been advanced concerning this matter ; nor is it needful that 
I should enter into a particular disquisition of all points de- 
bated in disputes on that question, whether the Will always 
follows the last dictate of the understanding. It is sufficient 
to my present purpose to say, it is that motive, which, as it 
stands in the view of the mind, is the strongest, that deter- 
mines the Will. But it may be necessary that I should a lit- 
tle explain my meaning in this. 

By motive-, I mean the whole of that which ;noves, excites 
or invites the mind to volition, whether that be one thing 
singly, or many things conjunctly. Many particular things 
may concur and unite their strength to induce the mind ; 
and, when it is so, all together are as it were one complex 
motive. And when I speak of the strongest motive, I have 
respect to the strength of the whole that operates to induce 
to a particular act of volition, whether that be the strength of 
one thing alone, or of many together. 

Whatever is a motive, in this sense, must be something 
that is extant in the view or apprehension of the understand- 
ing, or perceiving faculty. Nothing can induce or invite the 
mind to will or act any thing, any further than it is perceiv- 
ed, or is some way or other in the mind's view ; for what is 
wholly unperceived, and perfectly out of the mind's view, 
cannot affect the mind at all. It is most evident, that nothing 
is in the mind, or reaches it, or takes any hold of it, any oth- 
erwise than as it is perceived or thought of. 

And I think it must also be allowed by ail, that every 
tiling that is properly called a motive, excitemenfor induce- 
ment to a perceiving, willing agent, has some sort and degree 
of tendency or advantage to move or excite the Will, previous 
to the effect, or to the act of the Will excited. This previous 
tendency of the motive is what I call the strength of the mo- 
tive. That motive which has a less degree of previous ad' 


Vantage or tendency to move the Will, or that appeavs 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 in- 
viting, and has, by what appears concerning it to the under- 
standing or apprehension, the greatest degree of previous 
tendency to excite and induce the choice, is what I call the 
strongest motive. And in this sense, I suppose the Will is 
always determined by the strongest motive. 

Things that exist in the view of the mind have their 
strength, tendency or advantage to move or excite its Will, 
from many things appertaining to the nature and circum- 
stances of the thing viewed, the nature and circumstances of 
the mind that views, and the degree and manner of its view ; 
of which it would perhaps be hard to make a perfect enume- 
ration. But so much I think may be determined in general, 
without room for controversy, 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 
considered or viewed as good ; nor has it any tendency to 
invite or engage the election of the soul in any further degree 
than it appears such. For to say otherwise, would be to say, 
that things that appear have a tendency by the appearance they 
make, to engage the mind to elect them, some other way 
than by their appearing eligible to it ; which is absurd. 
And therefore it must be true, in some sense, that the Will 
always is as the greatest apparent good is. For the right un- 
derstanding of this, two things must be well and distinctly 

1. It must be observed in what sense I use the lerm 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 ap- 
pear agreeable, or seem pleasing to the mind. Certainly noth- 
ing appears inviting and eligible to the mind, or tending to 
engage its inclination and choice, considered as evil or disa- 
greeable ; nor, indeed, as indifferent, and neither agreeable 
nor disagreeable. But if it tends to draw the inclination, and 
move the Will, it must be under the notion of that which 
suits the mind. And therefore that must have the greatest 


tendency to attract and engage it, which, as it stands in the 
mind's view, suits it best, and pleases it most ; and in that 
sense, is the greatest apparent good : To say otherwise, is 
little, if any thing, short of a direct and plain contradiction. 

The word good, in this sense, includes in its signification, 
the removal or avoiding of evil, or of that which is disagreea- 
ble and uneasy. It is agreeable and pleasing to avoid what 
is disagreeable and displeasing, and to have uneasiness re- 
moved. 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 Will is as the greatest apparent good 
is, or, (as I have explained it) that volition has always for its 
object the thing which appears most agreeable ; it must be 
carefully observed, to avoid confusion and needless objection, 
that I speak of the direct and immediate object of the act of 
volition ; and not some object that the act of Will has not an 
immediate, but only an indirect and remote respect to. Many 
acts of volition have some remote relation to an object, that is 
different from the thing most immediately 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 im- 
mediate objects, about which his present volition is conver- 
sant, and between which his choice now decides, are his own 
acts, in drinking the liquor, or letting it alone ; and this will 
certainly be done according to what, in the present view of 
his mind, taken in the whole of it, is most agreeable to him. 
If he chooses or wills to drink it, and not to let it alone ; 
then this action, as it stands in the view of his mind, with all 
that belongs to its appearance there, is. more agreeable and 
pleasing than letting it alone. 

But the objects to which this act of volition may relate 
more remotely, and between which h,is choice may determine 
more indirectly, are the present pleasure the man expects by 


drinking, and the future misery which he judges will be the 
Consequence of it : He may judge that this future misery 
when it comes, will be more disagreeable and unpleasant, 
than refraining from drinking now would be. But these two 
things are not the proper objects that the act of volition 
spoken of is nextly conversant about. For the act of Will 
spoken of is concerning present drinking or forbearing to 
drink. If he wills to drink, then drinking is the proper ob- 
ject of the act of his Will ; and drinking, on some account or 
ether, now appears most agreeable to him, and suits him 
best. If lie chooses to refrain, then refraining is the imme- 
diate object of his Will, and is most pleasing to him. If in 
the choice he makes in the case, he prefers a present pleas- 
ure 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 ap- 
pears most 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, that the 
Will always is as the greatest apparent good, or, as what ap- 
pears most agreeable, is, than to say that the Will is deter- 
mined by the greatest apparent good, or by what seems most 
agreeable ; because an appearing most agreeable or pleasing 
to the mind, and the mind's preferring and choosing, seem 
hardly to be properly and perfectly distinct. If strict propri- 
ety of speech be insisted on, it may more properly be said, 
that the voluntary action which is the immediate consequence 
and fruit of the mind's volition or choice, is determined by 
that which appears most agreeable, than that the preference 
or ehtiice itself is ; 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 aoout the mind's view of the object, because what has in- 
fluence 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 mindV 
Vol. V. C 


view of the objects of volition, which have influence in their 
appearing agreeable to the mind, would be a matter of no 
small difficulty, and might require a treatise by itself, and is 
not necessary 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 
an hand in rendering the object more or less agreeable ; 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 attending 
the object, or the consequence of it. Such concomitants and 
consequents being viewed as circumstances of the object, are 
to be considered as belonging to it, and as it were parts of it ; 
as it stands in the mind's view, as a proposed object of choice. 

3. The apparent state of the pleasure or trouble that ap- 
pears, 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 disagreeable to have it de- 
layed ; 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 ap- 
pear most agreeable, and so will be chosen. Because though 
the agreeableness of the objects be exactly equal, as viewed 
in themselves, yet not as viewed in their circumstances ; one 
of them having the additional agreeableness of the circum- 
stance of nearness. 

II. Another thing that contributes to the agreeableness 
of an object of choice, as it stands in the mind's view, is the 
manner of the view. If the object be something which ap- 
pears connected with future pleasure, not only will the degree 
of apparent pleasure have influence, but also the manner of 
t!ic view, especially in two respects. 

1. With respect to the degree of judgment, or firmness 
of assent, with which the mind judges the pleasure to be fu- 
ture. Because it is more agreeable to have a certain happi- 


ness, 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 future 
pleasure. With regard to things which are the subject of 
our thoughts, either past, present, or future, we have much 
more of an idea or apprehension of some things than others; 
that is, our idea is much more clear, lively and strong. Thus 
the ideas we have of sensible things by immediate sensation, 
are usually much more lively than those we have by mere 
imagination, or by 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 delicious 
fruit, is usually stronger when we taste it, than when we only 
imagine it. And sometimes the ideas we have of things by 
contemplation, are much stronger 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, of 
strength of the idea or sense that men have of future good 
or evil, is one thing that has great influence on their minds 
to excite choice or volition. When of two kinds of future 
pleasure, which the mind considers of, and are presented for 
choice, both are supposed ej;actly equal by the judgment, 
and both equally certain, and all other things are equal, 
but only one of them is what the mind has a far more lively 
sense of, than of the other ; this has the greatest advantage 
by far to affect and attract the mind, and move the Will. 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 former is attended with the 
strongest appetite, and the greatest uneasiness attends the 
want of it ; and it is agreeable to the mind to have uneasi- 
ness removed, and its appetite gratified. And if several fu- 
ture enjoyments are presented together, as competitors for 
the choice of the mind, some of them judged lo.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 proba- 
bility than others ; and those enjoyments that appear most 
agreeable in one of these respects, appear least so in others : 
In this case, all other things being equal, the agre^ableness 
of a proposed object of choice will be in a degree some way 
compounded of the degree of good supposed by the judg- 
ment, the degree of apparent probability or certainty of that 
good, and the degree of the view or sense, or liveliness of the 
idea the mind has of that good ; because all together concur 
to constitute the degree in which the object appears at pres- 
ent agreeable ; and accordingly volition will be determined. 

I might further observe, the state of the mind chat views 
a proposed object of choice, is another thing that contribute? 
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, cus- 
tom, or some other means ; cr the frame or state that the 
Tnind is in on a particular occasion. That object which ap- 
pears agreeable to one, does not so to another. And the 
same object does not always appear alike agreeable, to the 
same person, at different times. It is most agreeable to 
some men, to follow their reason; and to others, to follow their 
appetites : To some men it is more agreeable to deny a vicious 
inclination, than to gratify it ; others it suits best to gratify 
the vilest appetites. It is more disagreeable to some men 
than others, to counteract a former resolution. In these re- 
spects, and many others which might be mentioned, different 
things will be most agreeable to different 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 agree- 
ableness of objects from the other two mentioned before, viz. 
The apparent nature and circumstances of the objects viewed, 
and the manner of the view ; perhaps. if we strictly consider 
the matter, the dim-rent temper and state of the mind makes 
no alteration as to the arvccablcness of objects, any other 
way than as it makes the objects themselves appear different- 
ly beautiful or deformed, having apparent plea&ure or pain 


attending them ; and as it occasions the manner of the view 
to be different, causes the idea of beauty or deformity, pleas- 
ure or uneasiness to be more or less lively. 

However, I think so much is certain, that volition, in no \ 
one instance that can be mentioned, is otherwise than the 
greatest apparent good is, in the manner which has been ex- 
plained. The choice of the mind never departs from that 
which at that time, and with respect to the direct and imme- 
diate objects of that decision of the mind, appears most agree- 
able and pleasing, all things considered. If the immediate 
objects of the Will are a man's own actions, then those ac- 
tions which appear most agreeable to him he wills. If it be 
now most agreeable to him, all things considered, to walk, 
then he wil!s to w Ik. If it be- now, upon the whole of 
what at present appears to him, most agreeable to speak, then 
he chooacs to speak : If it suits him best to keep silence, then 
he chooses to keep silence. There is scarcely a plainer and 
more universal dictate of the sense and experience of man- 
kind, than that, when men act voluntarily, and do what they 
please, then they do what suits them best, or wh.it 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 suy, 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 understanding. But 
then the understanding must be taken in a large sense, as in- 
cluding the whole faculty of perception or apprehension, and 
not merely what is called reason or judgment. If by the dic- 
tate of the understanding is meant what reason declares to be 
best or most for the person's happiness, taking in the whole 
of his duration, it is not true, that the Will always follows the 
last dictate of the understanding. Such a dictate of reason is 
quite a different matter from things appearing now most 
agreeable ; all things being put together which pertain to the 
mind's present perceptions, apprehensions or ideas, in any re- 
spect. Although that dictate of reason, when it takes place, 


is one thing- that is put into the scales, and is to be consider- 
ed as a thing that has concern in the compound influence 
which moves and induces the Will ; and is one thing- that is 
to be considered in estimating the degree of that appearance 
of good which the Will always follows ; either as having its 
influence added to other things, cr subducted from them. 
When it concurs with other things, then its weight is added 
to them, as put into the same scult; ; 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 resistance is often over- 
come by their greater weight, and so the act of the Will is 
determined in opposition to it. 

The things which I have said, may, I hope, serve in some 
measure^ to illustrate and confirm the position I laid down in 
the beginning of this section, viz. That the Will is always 
determined by the strongest motive, or by that view of the 
mind which has the greatest degree of previous tendency to 
excite volition. But whether i have been so happy as right- 
ly to explain the thing wherein consists the strength of mo- 
tives, or not, yet my failing in this will not overthrow the po- 
sition itself; 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 I h^ve finished what I have to say 
on the subject of human liberty. 


Concerning the Meaning of the Terms Necessity, 
Impossibility, Inability, &c. and of Contingence. 

THE words necessary, impossible, Sec are abundantly 
used in controversies about Free Will and moral agency ; 
and therefore the sense in which they are used, should be. 
clearlv understood. 


Here I might say, that"a thing* is then said to be necessa- 
vy, 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 explained the word ?nust, by 
there being a necessity. The words must, can, and cannot, 
need explication as much as the words necessary and impossi- 
ble ; excepting that the former are words that children com- 
monly use, and know something of the meaning of earlier 
than the latter. 

The word necessary, as used in common speech, is a rela- 
tive term ; and relates to some supposed opposition made to 
the existence of the thing spoken of, which is overcome, or 
proves in vain to hinder or alter it. That is necessary, in the 
origina* •uk! proper sense of the word, which is, or will be, 
notwithstanding all supposable opposition. To say, that a 
thing is necessary, is the same thing as to say, that it is im- 
possible it should not be : But the word impossible is mani- 
festly 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 abil- 
ity or endeavor which is insufficient ; and as the word irresisti- 
ble is relative, and has always reference to resistance which is 
made, or rifay be made to some force or power tending to an 
effect, and is insufficient to withstand the power or hinder the 
effect. The common notion of necessity and impossibility 
implies something that frustrates endeavor or desire. 

Here several things are to be noted. 

1. Things are said to be necessary in general, which are 
or will be notwithstanding any supposable opposition from us 
or others, or from whatever quarter. But things are said to 
be necessary to us, which are or will be notwithstanding all 
opposition supposable in the case from us. The same may 
be observed of the word impossible, and other such like terms. 

2. Ti'ese terms necessary, impossible, irresistible, Sec. do 
especially belong to the controversy about liberty and moral 
agency, as used in the latter of the two senses now mention- 
ed, viz. as necessary or impossible to us, and with relation t» 
any supposable opposition or endeavour of ours. 


3. As the word Necessity in its vulgar and common use, is 
relative, and has always reference to some supposable insuffi- 
cient opposition ; so when we speak of any thing as necessa- 
ry to us, it is with relation to some supposable opposition of 
our Wills, or some voluntary exertion or effort of ours to the 
contrary : For we do not properly make opposition to an 
event, any otherwise than as we voluntarily oppose it. Things 
are said to be what must be, or necessarily are, as to us, when 
they are, or will be, though we desire or endeavor the con- 
trary, or try to prevent or remove their existence : But such 
opposition of ours always either consists in, or implies, oppo- 
sition of our Wills. 

It Is manifest that all such like words and phrases, as vul- 
garly 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. So any thing is said to be impossible to us, when we 
would do it, or would have it brought to pass, and endeavor 
it ; or at least may be supposed to desire and seek it ; but all 
our desires and endeavors are, cr Avould be vain. And that 
is said to be irresistible, which overcomes all our opposition, 
resistance, and endeavors to the contrary. And we are said 
to be unable to do a thing, when our supposable desires and en- 
deavors 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, becomes fixed and set- 
tled ; so that the idea of a relation to a supposed will, desire 
and endeavor of ours, is strongly 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, that they unavoidably go together ; one suggests 
the other, and carries the other with it, and never can be sop? 
aratcd as long as we live. And if we use the words, as terms 
of art, in another sense, yet, unless we are exceeding circum- 
spect and wary, we shall insensibly slide into the vulgar use 
of them, and so apply the words in a very inconsistent man- 
ner : This habitual connexion of ideas will deceive and con- 


found us in our reasonings and discourses, wherein we pre- 
tend 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, irresistible, unable, Sec. are 
used in cases wherein no opposition, or insufficient will or en- 
deavor, is supposed, or can be supposed, but the very nature 
of the supposed case itself excludes and denies any such oppo- 
sition, will or endeavor, these terms are then not used in their 
proper signification, but quite beside their use in common 
speech. The reason is manifest ; namely, that in such cases 
we cannot use the words with reference to a supposable op- 
position, will or endeavor. And therefore if any man uses 
these terms in such cases, he either u?es them nonsensically, 
or in some new sense, diverse from their original and proper 
meaning. As for instance ; if a man should affirm after this 
manner, that it is necessary for a man, and what must be, 
that a man should choose virtue rather than vice, during the 
time that he prefers virtue to vice ; and that it is a thing im- 
possible and irresistible, 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, irresistible, &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 opposition, unwillingness 
and resistance ; whereas, here, the very supposition excludes 
and denies any such thing : For the case supposed is that of 
being willing and choosing. 

5. It appears from what has been said, that these terms 
necessary, impossible, 8cc. are often used by philosophers and 
metaphysicians in a sense cpiite diverse from their common 
vise 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 crea- 
tion of the world, when there was no other being but He : So 
with regard to many of the dispositions and acts of the Divine 
Beings, such as his loving himself, his loving righteousness, 
hating sin, &c. So they apply these terms to many cases of 
the inclinations and actions of created intelligent beings, angels* 

Vol. V. D 


and men ; wherein all opposition of the Will is shut out and 
denied, in the very supposition of the case. 

Metaphysical or Philosophical Necessity is nothing differ- 
ent from their certainty. I speak not now of the certainty of 
knowledge, but the certainty that is in things themselves, 
which is the foundation of the certainty of the knowledge of 
them; or that wherein lies the ground of the infallibility of 
the proposition which affirms them. 

What is sometimes given as the definition of philosophic- 
al Necessity, namely, That by which a thing cannot but be, 
or whereby it cannot be otherwise, fails of being a proper ex- 
planation of it, on two accounts : First, the words can, or can- 
not, need explanation as much as the word Necessity ; and 
the former may as well be explained by the latter, as the lat- 
ter by the fof mer. Thus, if any one asked us what we mean, 
when we say, a thing cannot but be, we might explain our- 
selves by saying, Ave mean, it must necessarily be so ; as well 
as explain Necessity, by saying, it is that by which a thing 
cannot but be. And Secondly, this definition is liable to the 
fore mentioned great inconvenience : The words cannot, or 
unable, are properly relative, and have relation to power ex- 
erted, or that may be exerted, in order to the thing spoken 
of; to which, as I have now observed, the word Necessity, as 
used by philosophers, has no reference. 

Philosophical Necessity is really nothing else than the 
full and fixed connexion between the things signified by the 
subject and predicate of a proposition, which affirms some- 
thing to be true. When there is such a connexion, then the 
thing affirmed in^the proposition is necessary, in a philosophi- 
cal sense ; whether any opposition, or contrary effort be sup- 
posed, 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 connexion, 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 endeavor to prove that Necessity is not in- 
consistent with liberty. 


The subject and predicate of a proposition, which affirm 
existence of something, may have a full, fixed, and certain 
connexion several ways. 

(1.) They may have a full and perfect connexion 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 exist- 
ence of being in general, or to say there was absolute and uni- 
versal nothing ; and is as it were the sum of all contradic- 
tions ; 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 to others, as 
they would that they should do to them. So innumerable 
metaphysical and mathematical truths are necessary in them- 
selves ; the subject and predicate of the proposition which af- 
firms them, are perfectly connected of themselves. 

(2.) The connexion of the subject and predicate of a prop- 
osition, which affirms the existence of something, may be fix- 
ed and made certain, because the existence of that thing is 
already come to pass ; and either now is, or has been ; and 
so has as it were made sure of existence. And therefore, the 
proposition which affirms present and past existence of it, 
may by this means be made certain, and necessarily and un- 
alterably true. The past event has fixed and decided the mat- 
ter, as to its existence ; and has made it impossible but that 
existence should be truly predicated of it. Thus the exist- 
ence ©f whatever is already come to pass, is now become 
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 af- 
firms something to be, may have a real and certain connex- 
ion consequentially ; and so the existence of the thing may be 
consequentially necessary ; as it may be surely and firmly con- 


nected with something else, that is necessary in one of the 
former respects. As it is either fully and thoroughly con- 
nected with that which is absolutely necessary in its own na- 
ture, or with something: which has already received and made 
sure of existence. This Necessity lies in, or may be explain- 
ed by the„ connexion 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. 

And here it may be observed, that all things which are 
future, or which will hereatter 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 existence become nesessary by be- 
ing 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 connexion 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 that all things 
past, excepting those which were from eternity, could.be 
necessary before they came to pass, or could come to pass 
necessarily ; and therefore the only way in which any effect 
or event, or any thing whatsoever that ever has had, or will 
have a beginning, has come into being necessarily, or will 
hereafter necessarily exist. And therefore this is the Neces- 
sity which especially belongs to controversies about the acts 
of the Will. 

It may be of some use in these controversies, further to 
observe concerning metaphysical Necessity, that (agreeable 
to the distinction before observed of Necessity, as vulgarly 
understood) things that exist may be said to be necessary, 
either with a general or particular Necessity. The existence 
of a thing may be said to be necessary with a general Neces- 
sity, when all things whatsoever being considered, there is a 
foundation for certainty of its 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 connexion. 

An event, or the existence of a thing, may be said to be 
necessary with a particular necessity, or with regard to a par- 
ticular person, thing, or time, when nothing that can be taken 
into consideration, in or about that person, thing, or time, al- 
ters the case at all, as to the certainty of that event, or the 
existence of that thing ; or can be of any account at all, in 
determining the infallibility of the connexion of the subject 
and predicate in the proposition which affirms the existence 
of the thing ; so that it is all one, as to that person, or thing, 
at least at that time, as if the existence were necessary with a 
Necessity that is most universal and absolute. Thus there 
are many things that happen to particular persons, which 
they have no hand in, and in the existence of which no will 
of theirs has any concern, at least at that time ; which, wheth- 
er they are necessary or not, with regard to things in general, 
yet are necessary to them, and with regard to any volition of 
theirs at that time ; as they prevent all acts of the will about 
the affair. I shall have occasion to apply this observation to 
particular instances in the following discourse. Whether 
the same things that are necessary with a particular Necessi- 
ty, be not also necessary Avith a general Necessity, may be a 
matter of future consideration. Let that be as it will, it alters 
not the case, as to the use of this distinction of the kinds of 

These things may be sufficient for the explaining of the 
terms necessary and necessity, as terms of art, and as often 
used by metaphysicians, and controversial writers in divinity, 
in a sense diverse from, and more extensive than their orig- 
inal meaning in common language, which was before ex- 

What has been said to shew the meaning of the terms 
necessary and necessity, may be sufficient for the explaining 
of the opposite terms impossible and impossibility. For there 
is no difference, but only the latter are negative, and the 
former positive. Impossibility is the same as negative Ne- 
cessity, 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 endeavor, 
as supposable in the pase, and as insufficient for the bringing 
to pass the thing willed and endeavored. But as these terms 
are often used by philosophers and divines, especially writers 
on controversies about free will, they are used in a quite dif- 
ferent, and far -more extensive sense, and are applied to many 
cases wherein no will or endeavor for the bringing of the 
thing to pass, is or can be supposed, but is actually denied 
and excluded in the nature of the case. 

As the words necessary, im/wssiblr, unable^ Sec. arc used by 
polemic writers, in a sense diverse from their common sig- 
nification, the like has happened to the term contingent. 
Any thing is said to be contingent, or to come to pass by 
chance or accident, in the original meaning of such words, 
when its connexion 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 especial- 
ly is any thing said to be contingent or accidental with regard 
to us, when any thing comes to pass that we are concerned 
in, as occasions or subjects, without our foreknowledge, and 
beside our design and scope. 

But the word contingent is abundantly used in a very dif- 
ferent sense ; not for that whose connexion with the series 
of things we cannot discern, so as to foresee the event, but 
for something which has absolutely no previous ground or 
reason, with which its existence lias any fixed and certain 



Of the Distinction of Natural and Moral Necessity, 
and Inability. 

THAT Necessity which has been explained, consisting 
in an infallible connexion of the things signified by the sub- 
ject and predicate of a proposition, as intelligent beings are 
the subjects of it, is distinguished into moral and natural Ne- 

I shall not now stand to inquire whether this distinction 
be a proper and perfect distinction ; but shall only explain how 
these two sorts of Necessity are understood, as the terms are 
sometimes used, and as they are used in the following dis- 

The phrase, moral Necessity, is used variously ; some- 
times 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 discharged from. 
So the word Necessity is often used for great obligation in 
point of interest. Sometimes by moral Necessity is meant 
that apparent connexion of things, which is the ground of 
moral evidence ; and so is distinguished from absolute Ne- 
cessity, or that sure connexion of things, that is a foundation 
for infallible certainty. In this sense, moral Necessity signi- 
fies much the same as that high degree of probability, which 
is ordinarily sufficient to satisfy, and be relied upon by man- 
kind, in their conduct and behavior 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 connexion and conse- 
quence, which arises from such moral causes, as the strength 
of inclination, or motives, and the connexion which there is in 
many cases between these, and such certain volitions and ac- 
tions. 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 caus- 
es ; as distinguished from what are called moral causes, 
such as habits and dispositions of the heart, and moral mo- 
tives and inducements. Thus men placed in certain cir- 
cumstances, are the subjects of particular sensations by Ne- 
cessity ; they feel pain when their bodies 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 par- 
allel lines can never cross one another ; so by a natural Ne- 
cessity men's bodies move downwards, when there is nothing 
to support them. 

But here several tilings may be noted concerning these 
two kinds of Necessity. 

1. Moral Necessity may be as absolute, as natural Ne- 
cessity. That is, the effect may be as perfectly connected 
with its moral cause, as a natural necessary effect is with its 
natural cause. Whether the Will in every case is necessari- 
ly determined by the strongest motive, or whether the Will 
ever makes any resistance to such a motive, or can ever op- 
pose the strongest present inclination, 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 biasses are very strong, all will 
allow that there is some difficulty in going against them. And 
if they were yet stronger, the difficulty would be still great- 
er. And therefore, if more were still added to their strength, 
to a certain degree, it would make the difficulty so great, 
that it would be wholly impossible to surmount it ; for this 
plain reason, because whatever power men may be supposed 
to have to surmount difficulties, yet that power is not infinite ; 
and so goes not beyond certain limits. If a man can sur- 
mount ten degrees of difficulty of this kind with twenty de- 
grees of strength, because the degrees of strength arc beyond 


the degrees of difficulty ; yet if the difficulty be increased to 
thirty, or an hundred, or a thousand degrees, and his strength 
not also increased, his strength will be wholly insufficient to 
. surmount the difficulty. As therefore it must be allowed, 
that there may be such a thing as a sure and perfect 
connexion between moral causes and effects ; so this only is 
what I call by the name of moral Necessity. 

2. When I use this distinction of moral and natural Ne- 
cessity, I would not be understood to suppose, that if any 
thing comes to pass by the former kind of Necessity, the 
nature of things is not concerned in it, as well as in the latter. 
I do not mean to determine, that when a moral habit or mo- 
tive 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 important in its consequences. Which 
difference does not lie so much in the nature of the connex- 
ion, as in the two terms connected. The cause with which 
the effect is connected, is of a particular kind, viz. that which 
is of moral nature ; either some previous habitual disposition, 
or some motive exhibited to the understanding. And the 
effect is also of a particular kind ; being likewise of a moral 
nature ; consisting in some inclination or volition of the soul 
or voluntary action. 

I suppose, that Necessity which is called natural, in dis- 
tinction from moral necessity, is so called, because mere na~ 
ture, 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 indeed never any hand in 
our choice ; but this probably comes to pass by means that 
we first get our notion of nature from that discernible and ob- 
vious 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 cusiiy perceive 
to be in a settled course ; the stated order and manner of suc- 
cession being very apparent. But where wc do not readily 

Vol. V. E 


discern the rule and connexion, (though there be a connexion;, 
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 material and inanimate world, 
which do not discernibly and obviously come to pass accord- 
ing 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, contingenoe, &cc. So men make a distinction between 
nature and choice ; as though they were completely and uni- 
versally distinct. Whereas, I suppose none will deny but 
that choice, in many cases, arises from nature, as truly as oth- 
er events. But the dependence and connexion between acts 
of volition or choice, and their causes, according to established 
laws, is not so sensible and obvious. And we observe that 
choice is as it were a new principle of motion and action, 
different from that established law and order of things which 
is most obvious, that is seen especially in corporeal and sensi- 
ble 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 a 
principle of motion entirely distinct from nature, and prop- 
erly set in opposition to it. Names being commonly given 
to tilings, according to what is most obvious, and is suggested 
by what appears to the senses without reflection and research. 
3. It must be observed, that in what has been explained, 
as signified by the name of moral Necessity, the word Neces- 
sity is not used according to the original design and meaning 
of the word ; for as was observed before, such terms, rieces- 
nary, impossible, irresistible, Sec. in common speech, and their 
most proper sense, are always relative ; having reference to 
some supposablc voluntary opposition or endeavor, that is in- 
sufficient. But no such opposition, or contrary will and en- 
deavor, is supposable in the case of moral Necessity ; which 
is a certainty of the inclination and will itself; which docs 
not admit of the supposition of a will to oppose and resist it. 
For it is absurd to suppose the same individual will 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 moral Inabiir 
ity. We are said to be naturally unable to do a thing, when 
we cannot do it if we will, because what is most commonly call- 
ed nature does not allow of it, or because of some impeding 
defect or obstacle that is extrinsic to the will, either in the facul- 
ty of understanding, constitution of body, or external objects. 
Moral Inability consists not in any of these things ; but either 
in the want of inclination, or the strength of a contrary inctir 
nation, or the want of sufficient motives in view, to induce 
and excite the act of the will, or the strength of apparent mo- 
tives to the contrary. Or both these may be re-jolyed into 
one ; and it may be said in one word, that moral Inability 
consists in the opposition or want of inclination. For when a 
person is unable to will or choose such a thing, through a de- 
fect of motives, or prevalence of contrary motives, it is the 
same thing as his being unable through the want of an incli- 
nation, or the prevalence of a contrary inclination, in such 
circumstances, and under the influence of such views. 

To give some instances of this moral Inability. ...A woman 
of great honor and chastity may have a moral Inability to 
prostitute herself to her slave. A child of great love and du- 
ty to his parents, may be unable to be willing to kill his father. 
Avery lascivious man, in case of certain opportunities and 
temptations, and in the absence of such and such restraints, 
may be unable to forbear gratifying his lust. A drunkard, 
under such and such circumstances, may be unable to forbear 
taking of strong drink. A very malicious man may be unable 
to exert benevolent acts to an enemy, or to desire his pros- 
perity ; yea, some may be so under the power of a vile dis- 
position, that they may be unable to love those who are most 
worthy of their esteem and affection. A strong habit of vir.= 


tue, and a great degree of holiness may cause a moral Inabil" 
ity to love wickedness in general, may render 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 unable to love an infinitely holy being, 
or to choose and cleave to him as his chief good. 

Here it may be of use to observe this distinction of moral 
Inability, viz. of that which is general and habitual, and that 
Which is particular and occasional. By a general and habitual 
moral Inability, I mean an Inability in the heart to all exer- 
cises or acts of will of that nature 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 unable to 
exert such and such grateful acts, through that stated defect 
of a grateful inclination. By particular and occasional moral 
Inability, I mean an Inability of the will or heart to a particu- 
lar act, through the strength or defect of present motives, or 
of inducements presented to the view of the understanding, 
on this occasion. If it be so, that the will is always deter- 
mined by the strongest motive, then it must always have an 
Inability, in this latter sense, to act otherwise than it does ; 
it not being possible, in any case, that the will should, at pres- 
ent, go against the motive which has now, all things consid- 
ered, 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 common- 
ly called by the name of Inability, because the word Inabili- 
ty, in its most proper and original signification, has respect 
to some- stated defect. 

And this especially obtains the name of Inability also up- 
on another account : I before observed, that the word Ina- 
bility in its original and most common use, is a relative term ; 
and has respect to will and endeavor, as supposable in the 


case, and as insufficient to bring to pass the thing desired and 
endeavored. 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 endeavor against, 
or diverse from present acts of the will, are in no case sup- 
posable, whether those acts be occasional or habitual ; for that 
would be to suppose the will, at present, to be otherwise 
than, at present, it is. But 3'et there may be will and endeav- 
or against future acts of the will, or volitions that are likely to 
take place, as 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 desires 
and endeavors to prevent or excite future acts of the will ; but 
such desires and endeavors are, in many cases, rendered in- 
sufficient and vain, through fixedness of habit : When the oc- 
casion returns, the strength of habit overcomes, and baffles 
all such opposition. In this respect, a man may be in mis- 
erable slavery and bondage to a strong habit. But it may be 
comparatively easy to make an alteration with respect to such 
future acts as are only occasional and transient ; because the 
occasion or transient cause, if foreseen, may often easily be 
prevented or avoided. On this account, the moral Inability 
that attends fixed habits, especially obtains the name of Ina- 
bility. And then, as the will may remotely and indirectly re- 
sist 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 
thing, with respect to which a person is said to be unable, is 
supposable. It cannot be truly said, according to the ordina- 
ry use of language, that a malicious man, let him be ever so 
malicious, cannot hold his hand from striking, or that he is 


not able to shew his neighbor kindness ; or that a drunkard, 
let his appetite be ever so strong, cannot keep the cup from, 
his mouth. In the strictest propriety of speech, a man has a 
thing in h4s power, if he has it in his choice, or at his elec- 
tion : 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 will, and which would be ea- 
sily 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 re- 
spect 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 to say, he cannot will, if he 
docs will. And in this case, not only is il true, that it is easy 
for a man to do the thing if he will, but the very willing is the 
doing ; when once he has willed, the thing is performed ; 
and nothing else remains to be done. Therefore, in these 
things to ascribe a nonperformance to the want of power or 
ability, is not just ; because the thing wanting is not a being 
able, but a being willing. There are faculties of mind, and 
capacity of nature, and every thing else sufficient, but a dis- 
position : Nothing is wanting but a will. 


Concerning the Notion of Liberty, and of Mora! 

THE plain and obvious meaning of the words Freedom 
and Liberty, in common speech, is poiver> opportunity or ad- 
vantage, that any one has, to do as he pleases. Or in other 
words, his being free from hinderance or impediment in the 


way of doing, or conducting in any respect, as he wills.* 
And the contrary to Liberty, whatever name we call that by, 
is a person's being hindered or unable to conduct as he will? 
or being necessitated to do otherwise. 

If this which I have mentioned be the meaning of the 
word Liberty, in the ordinary use of language ; as I trust that 
none that has ever learned to talk, and is unprejudiced, will 
deny ; then it will follow, that in propriety of speech, neith- 
er Liberty, nor its contrary, can properly be ascribed to any 
being or thing, but that which has such a faculty, power or 
property, as is called will. For that which is possessed of 
no such thing as will, cannot have any power or opportunity 
of doing according to its will, nor be necessitated to act con- 
trary to its will, nor be restrained from acting agreeably to it. 
And therefore to talk of Liberty, or the contrary, as belong- 
ing to the very will itself, is not to speak good sense ; if we 
judge of sense, and nonsense, by the original and proper sig- 
nification of words. For the will itself h not an Agent that 
has a will : The power of choosing itself, has not a power of 
choosing. That which has the power of volition or choice is 
the man or the soul, and not the power of volition itself. And 
he that has the Liberty of doing according to his will, is the 
Agent or doer who is possessed of the will ; and not the will 
which he is possessed of. We say with propriety, that a bird 
let loose has power and Liberty to fly ; but not that the bird's 
power of flying has a power and Liberty of flying. To be free 
is the property of an Agent, who is possessed of powers and 
faculties, as much as to be cunning, valiant, bountiful, or zeal- 
ous. But these qualities are the properties of men or per- 
sons ; 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 coaction ; 
which is a person's being necessitated to do a thing contrary 

* I say not only doing, but conducting ; because a voluntary forbearing 
to do, sitting still, keeping silence, &c. are instances of persons' conduct, 
about which Libeity is exercised; though they, are not so propcily called 


to his will. The other is restraint ; which is his being hin* 
dered, 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 sc great clearness, in his Essay on the 
Human Understanding, 

But one thing more I would observe concerning what is 
vulgarly called Liberty ; namely, that power and opportunity 
for one to do and conduct as he will, or according to his choice, 
is all that is meant by it ; without taking into the meaning of 
the word any tilling of the cause or original of that choice ; or 
at all considering how the perr.on came to have such a voli- 
tion ; whether it was caused by some external motive or in- 
ternal habitual bias ; whether it was determined by some in- 
ternal antecedent volition, or whether it happened without a 
cause ; whether it was necessarily connected with something 
foregoing, or not connected. Let the person come by his 
volition or choice how he will, yet, if he is able, and there is 
nothing in the way to hinder his pursuing and executing his 
will, the man is fully 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 man- 
kind, and in the usual and primary acceptation of the word : 
But the word, as used by Arminians, Pelagians and others, 
who oppose the Calvinists, has an entirely different significa- 
tion. ...These several things belong to their notion of Liberty. 
1. That it consists in a selldetermining power in the will, or a 
certain sovereignty the will has over itself, and its own acts, 
whereby it determines its own volitions ; so as not to be de- 
pendent in its determinations, on any cause without itself, nor 
determined by any thing prior to its own acts. 2. Indiffer- 
ence belongs to Liberty in their notion of it, or that the mind, 
previous to the act of volition be, in equiiibrio. S.Contin- 
gence is another thing that belongs and is essential to it ; not 
in the common acceptation of the word, as that has been al- 
ready explained, but as opposed to all necessity, or any fixed 
and certain connexion with some previous ground or reason 


of its existence. They suppose the essence of Liberty so 
much to consist in these things, that unless the will of man 
be free in this sense, he has no real freedom, how much so- 
ever he may be at Liberty to act according to his will. 

A moral Agent is a being that is capable of those actions 
that have a moral quality, and which can properly be denom- 
inated good or evil in a moral sense, virtuous or vicious, com- 
mendable or faulty. To moral Agency belongs a moral fac- 
ulty, or sense of moral good and evil, ov of such a thing as 
desert or worthiness, of praise or blame, reward or punish- 
ment; and a capacity which an Agent has of being influenc- 
ed in his actions by moral inducements or motives, exhibited 
to the view of understanding and reason, to engage to a con- 
duct 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 mischiev- 
ous in its operation ; but is not a moral Agent. What it does 
is not faulty cr sinful, or deserving 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 in- 
ducements, their actions are not properly sinful or virtuous ; 
nor are they properly the subjects of any such moral treat- 
ment for what they do, as moral Agents are for their faults 
or good deeds. 

Here it may be noted, that there is a circumstantial dif- 
ference between the moral Agency of a ruler and a subject. 
I call it circumstantial, because it lies only in the difference 
of moral inducements they are capable of being influenced by, 
arising from the difference of circumstances. A ruler, act- 
ing, in that capacity only, is not capable of being influenced 
by a moral law, and its sanctions of threatenings and promi- 
Vol. V. F . 


ses, rewards and punishments, as the subject is ; though both 
may be influenced by a knowledge of moral good and evil. 
And therefore the moral agency of the Supreme Being, who 
acts only in the capacity of a ruler towards his creatures, and 
never as a subject, differs in that respect from the moral Agen- 
cy of created intelligent beings. God's actions, and particu- 
larly those which are to be attributed to him as moral gov- 
ernor, are morally good in the highest degree. They are 
most perfectly holy and righteous ; and we must conceive of 
Him as influenced in the highest degree, by that which, 
above all others, is properly a moral inducement, viz. the 
moral good which He sees in such and such things : And 
therefore He is, in the most proper sense, a moral Agent, the 
source of all moral ability 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, re- 
wards or punishments, counsels or warnings. The essential 
qualities of a moral Agent are in God, in the greatest possi- 
ble perfection ; such as understanding, to perceive the differ- 
ence between moral good and evil ; a capacity of discerning 
that moral worthiness and demerit, by which some things are 
praiseworthy, others deserving of blame and punishment ; 
and also a capacity of choice, and choice guided by under- 
standing, and a power of acting according to his choice or 
pleasure, and being capable of doing those things which are 
in the highest sense praiseworthy. And herein does very much 
consist that image of God wherein he made man, (which wc 
read of Gen. i. 26, 27, and chapter ix. 6.) by which God dis- 
tinguishes man from the beasts, viz. in those faculties 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 at first, 
consisted in that moral excellency, that he was endowed with. 



Wherein it is considered whether there is or can be 
any such Sort of Freedom of Will, as that where- 
in Arminians place the Essence of the Liberty of 
all moral Agents ; and whether any such Thing 
&uer was or can be conceived of, 


Shewing the manifest Inconsistence of the Arminiati 
Notion 0/^ Liberty of Will, consisting in the WilPs 
Selfdetermining Power. 

HAVING taken notice of those things which may be 
necessary to be observed, concerning the meaning of the prin- 
cipal terms and phrases made use of in controversies, concern- 
ing human Liberty, and particularly observed what Liberty is, 
according to the common language and general apprehen- 
sion of mankind, and what it is as understood and maintained 
by Arminians ; I proceed to consider the Arminian notion 
of the Freedom of the Will, and the supposed necessity of it 
in order to moral agency, or in order to any one's being capable 
of virtue or vice, and properly the subject of command or 
counsel, praise or blame, promises or threatenings, rewards 
or punishments ; or whether that which has been described, 
as the thing meant by Liberty in common speech, be not suffi- 
cient, and the only Liberty which makes or can make any 
one a moral agent, and so properly the subject of the<;e things. 
In this Part, I shall consider whether any such thing be pas- 
sible or conceivable, as that Freedom of Will which Armin- 
ians insist on ; and shall inquire, whether any such sort of 
Liberty be necessary to moral agency, Sec. in the next Pari 


And first of all, I shall consider the notion of a selfdeter- 
mining Power in the will : Wherein, according to the Ar- 
minians, does most essentially consist the Will's Freedom ; 
and shall particularly inquire, whether it be not plainly absurd, 
and a manifest inconsistence, 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 
phraser and ways of speaking as the Will's determining it- 
self ; because actions are to be ascribed to agents, and not 
properly to the powers of agents ; which improper way of 
speaking leads to many mistakes, and much confusion, as Mr. 
Locke observes. But I shall suppose that the Arminians, 
when they speak of the Will's determining 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 willing, or acting vol- 
untarily. 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 prin- 
ciples of acting, as doing such things, we mean that the 
agents which have thc: ; e Powers of acting, do them in the 
exercise of those Powers. So when we say, valor fights 
courageously, we mean, the man who is under the influence 
of Vaicr fights courageously, When we say, love seeks the 
object loved, we mean, the person loving seeks that object. 
When we say, the understanding discerns, we mean the soul 
in the exercise of that faculty. So when it is said, the will 
decides or determines, the meaning must be, that the person 
in the exercise of a Power of willing 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 exer- 
cise 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 con- 
duct of other acts of choice. And therefore if the Will deter- 


mines all its own free acts, then every free act of choice is 
determined by a preceding act of choice, choosing 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 chooses ; or, which is the same thing, it is 
an act determined still by a preceding act of the Will, choos- 
ing 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 selfdetermined, 
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 ac- 
tions, does also govern itself, and determine its own mo- 
tions 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 determin- 
ing, directing or commanding any thing at all. Whatsoever 
the Will commands, it commands 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 it- 
self 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 antecedent volition, 
directing and commanding that ; and if that directing volition 
be also free, in that also the Will is determined ; that is to 
say, that directing volition is determined by another going be- 
fore that, and so on, until we come to the first volition in the 


whole series ; and if that first volition be free, and the Wilt 
selfdetermined in it, then that is determined by another voli- 
tion preceding that, which is a contradiction ; because by the 
supposition, it can have none before it to direct or determine 
it, being tiie first in the train. But 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 Arminian 
notion of freedom, which consists in the Will's selfdeter- 
mination. And if that first act of the V/iil, which determines 
and fixes the subsequent acts, be not free, none of the follow- 
ing acts, which are determined by it, can be free. If we 
suppose there are five acts in the train, the fiiih and last de- 
termined 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 is as it is, and not otherwise, is not first ow- 
ing to the Will, but to the determination of the first in 
the series, which is not dependent on the Will, and is that 
which the Will has no hand in the determination of. And 
this being that which decides what the iest shall be, and de- 
termines their existence ; therefore the first determination of 
their existence is not from the X, ill. The case is just the 
same, if instead of a chain of five acts of the Will, we should 
suppose a succession of ten, or an hundred, or ten thousand. 
If the first act be not free, being determined by something 
out of the Will, and this determines the next to be agreeable 
to 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 excluded, and no act of the Will can be free, according to 
this notion of freedom. If we should suppose along chain 
of ten thousand links, so connected, that if the first link moves, 
it will move the next, and that the next, and so the whole 
chain must be determined to motion, and in the direction of 
its motion, by the motion of the first link, and that is moved 
by something else. In this case, though all the links but 
. • . are moved by other parts of the same chain ; yet it ap- 


pears that the motion of no one, nor the direction of its mo- 
tion, is from any selfmoving or selfdetermining power in 
the chain, any more than if every link 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 soever 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, because the act 
by which it determines them all, is not a free act, and there- 
fore the Will is no more free in determining them, than if it 
did not cause them at all. Thus, this Arminian notion of 
Liberty of the Will, consisting in the Will's selfdeiermrnatlon^ 
is repugnant to itself, and shuts itself wholly out of the world. 


Several supposed ways 0/* Evading the foregoing Rea- 
sonings considered. 

IF to evade the force of what has been observed, it should 
be said, that when the Arminians speak of the Will's deter- 
mining its own acts, they^lo not mean that the Will deter- 
mines its acts by any preceding act, or that one act of the 
Will determines another ; but only that the faculty or power 
of Will, or the soul in the use of that power, determines its 
•wn volitions ; and that it does it without any act going be- 


fore the act determined ; such an evasion would be full of 
gross absurdity... .1 confess, it is an evasion of my own invent- 
ing, and I do not know but I should wrong the drmimans, in 
supposing that any of them would make use of it. But it be- 
ing as good an one as I can invent, I would observe 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 rather than another, without 
choosing any thing. But if a power of choosing determines 
volition by choosing it, then here is the act of volition deter- 
mined by an antecedent choice, choosing that volition. 

Thirdly. To say, the faculty, or the soul, determines 
its own volitions, but not by any act, is a contradiction. Be- 
cause, 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 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 ex- 
erted, but must be something prior to it. 

Again. The advocates for this notion of the freedom of 
the Will, speak of a certain sovereignty in the Will, where- 


ay it has power to determine its own volitions. And there- 
fore the determination of volition must itself be an act of the 
Will ; for other. vise it can be no exercise of that supposed 
power and sovereignty. 

Again. If the Will determine 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 determination, then how 
does it exercise any liberty in it ? These gentlemen suppose 
that the thing wherein the Will exercises liberty, is in its de- 
termining its own acts. But how can this be, if it be not ac- 
tive in determining ? Certainly the Will, or the soul, cannot 
exercise any liberty in that wherein it doth not act, or where- 
in it doth not exercise itself. So that if either part of this 
dilemma be taken, this scheme of liberty, consisting in self- 
determining power, is overthrown. If there be an act of the 
Will in determining all its own free acts, then one free act of 
the Will is determined by another ; and so we have the ab- 
surdity 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 liber- 
ty 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 selfdetcrmining power of the Will. 

If it should be said, that 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 this act to be prior to the volition deter- 
mined ;- 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 exerting the act, without any 
preceding act to exert that. If any should say after this 
manner, they must mean one of these three things : Either, 
1. That the determining act, though it be before the act de- 
termined in the order of nature, yet is not before ?t in order 

Vol. V. C, 


of time. Or, 2. That the determining act is not before the 
act determined, either in the order of time or nature, nor is 
truly distinct from it ; but that the soul's determining the 
act of volition is the same thing with its exerting 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 determination, without any ground or reason 
of its existence and determination. I shall consider these 

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 allowed. 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 of it, as if it were before in the or- 
der of time. As the cause of the particular motion of a nat- 
ural 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 determined, and before it in the or- 
der of nature, then we can go back from one to another, till 
we come to the first in the series, which has no act of the 
Will before it in the order of nature, determining it; and 
consequently is an act not determined by the Will, and so 
not a free act, in this notion of freedom. And this being 
the act which determines all the rest, none of them are free 
acts. As when there is a chain of many links, the first of 
which only is taken hold of and drawn by hand ; all the rest 
may folloAv and be moved at the same instant, without OT, »- 
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 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 selfmoving power in the chain, as if the motion of on* 
link followed that of another in the order of time. 

2. If any should say, that the determining act is not be- 
fore the determined act, either in 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 particu- 
lar volition, is for it to cause and determine that act of voli- 
tion ; I would on this observe, that the thing in question 
seems to be forgotten or kept out of sight, in darkness and 
unintelligibleness of speech ; unless such an objector would 
mean to contradict himself. The very act of volition 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 determining among ex- 
ternal 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 con- 
cludes thus, and not otherwise ? Now it must be answered, 
according to the Arminian notion of freedom, that the Will 
influences, orders and determines itself thus to act. And if it 
does, I say, it must be by some antecedent act. To say, it is 
caused, influenced and determined by something, and yet not 
determined by any thing antecedent, either in order of time 
or of nature, is a contradiction. For 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 thing, with respect to which 
it is said to be prior. 

If the particular act or exertion of Will, which comes in- 
to existence, be any thing properly determined at all, then 
it has some cause of its existing, and of its existing in 
such a particular determinate manner, and not another ; 
some cause, whose influence decides the matter ; which cause 
is distinct from the effect, and prior to it. But to say, that 
the Will or mind orders, influences and determines 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 cs> 
erling such an act ? To which the answer is, the seul ex- 
erts such an act, and that is the cause of it. And so, by this, 
the exertion must be prior in the order cincture 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 absolutely no ground 
or reason of the soul's being determined to exert such a voli- 
tion, and make such a choice rather than another, I say, if 
this be the meaning of Arminians, when they contend so ear- 
nestly for the Will's determining its own acts, and for liberty 
of Will consisting in selfdetermining power ; they do noth- 
ing but confound themselves and others with words without 
meaning. In the question, What determines the Will ? And 
in their answer, that the Will determines itseli, 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 v.hcth- 
er its determination has any cause or foundation 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 deter- 
mines the Will ; volition having absolutely no cause or foun- 
dation of its existence, cither within or without. There 
is a great noise made about selfdetermining power, as 
the source cf all free acts of the Will ; but when the matter 
comes to.be explained, the meaning is, that no power at all 
is the source of these acts, neither selfdetermining power, 
nor any other, but they arise from nothing ; no cause, no 
power, no influence being at all concerned in the matter. 

However, this very thing, even that the- free acts of the 
Will are events which come to pass without a cause, is cer- 
tainly implied in the Arminian 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 implies, that the particu- 
lar determination of volition is without any cause ; because 
•they hold the free acts of the Will to be contingent events ; 


and contingence is essential to freedom in their notion of it. 
But certainly, those things which have a prior ground and 
reason of their particular existence, a cause which antecedent- 
ly determines them to be, and determines them to be just as 
they are, do not happen contingently. If something forego- 
ing, by a causal influence and connexion, determines and fix- 
es 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 im- 
portant in this controversy about the freedom of Will, whether 
the free acts of the Will are events wnich come to pass with- 
out a cause, I shall be particular in examining this point in 
the two following sections. 


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 sometimes used. The 
word is often used in so restrained a sense as to signify only 
that which has a positive efficiency or influence to produce a 
thing, or bring it to pass. But there are many things which 
have no such positive productive influence ; which yet are 
Causes in that respect, that they have truly the nature of a 
ground or reason why some things are, rather than others ; 
or why they are as they are, rather then 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 s-.rne manner as its 


beams are the Cause of the ascending of the vapors 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 connect- 
ed, and on which they depend ; and is one thing that belongs 
to the ground and reason why they come to pass at that time, 
rather than at other times ; though the absence of the sun is 
nothing positive, nor has any positive influence. 

It may be further observed, that when I speak of connex- 
ion 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 a sense, as any 
causes whatsoever ; may have as real an influence, and may 
as truly be the ground and reason of an Event's coming to 

Therefore I sometimes use the word Cause, in this inqui- 
ry, 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 depends, that it is the ground 
and reason, either in whole, or in part, why it is, rather than 
not ; or why it is as it is, rather than otherwise ; or, in other 
words, any antecedent with which a consequent Event is so 
connected, that it truly belongs to the reason why the propo- 
sition which affirms that Event, is true ; whether it has any 
positive influence or not. And in an agreeableness to this, I 
sometimes use the word effect for the consequence of anoth- 
er thing, which is perhaps rather an occasion than a Cause, 
most properly speaking. 

I am the more careful thus to explain my meaning, that I 
may cut off occasion, from any that might seek occasion to 
cavil and object against some things which I may say con- 
cerning the dependence of all things which come to pass, on 
some Cause, and their connexion with their Cause. 

Having thus explained what I mean by Cause, I assert that 
nothing ever comes to pass without a Cause. What is self- 
existent must be from eternity, and must be unchangeable j 


but as to all things that begin to be, they are not selfexistent, 
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 ex- 
ist, seems to be the first dictate of the common and natural 
sense which God hath implanted in the minds of all mankind, 
and the main foundation of all our reasonings about the ex- 
istence of things, past, present, or to come. 

And this dictate of common sense equally respects sub- 
stances and modes, or things and the manner and circum- 
stances of things. Thus, if we see a body which has hither- 
to been at rest, start out of a state of rest, and begin to move, 
we do as naturally and necessarily suppose there is some 
Cause or reason of this new mode of existence, as of the ex- 
istence 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 off its old figure, and take a new one ; or change 
its color : 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 away, 
all arguing from effects to Causes ceaseth, and so all knowl- 
edge of any existence, besides what we have by the most di- 
rect 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 constituent parts, and the manner of 
their existence ; all which we see plainly are not necessary 
in their own nature, and so not selfexistent, 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 with- 
out 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 Be- 


ing in general, and supposing an eternal, absolute, universal 
nothing ; and therefore that here would be foundation of in- 
tuitive evidence that it cannot be ; and that eternal, infinite, 
most perfect Being must be ; if we had strength and com- 
prehension of mind sufficient, to have a clear idea of general 
and universal Being, or, which is the same thing, of the infi- 
nite, eternal, most perfect Divine Nature and Essence. But 
then we should net properly come to the knowledge of the 
Being of God by arguing ; but our evidence would be intui- 
tive : We should see it, as we see other things that are nec- 
essary in themselves, the contraries of which are in their own 
nature absurd and contradictory ; as we see that twice two is 
four; and as we see that a circle hastio angles. If we had 
as clear an idea of universal infinite entity, as we have of these 
other things, I suppose we should most intuitively see the 
absurdity of supposing such Being not to be ; should immedi- 
ately 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 intuitive independent man- 
ner ; but the way that mankind come to the knowledge of 
the Being of God, is that which the apostle speaks of, Rom. 
i. 20. " Tlie invisible things of Him, from the creation of the 
world, are clearly seen ; being understood by the things that 
are 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, prove by ar- 
gumentation, not intuition, that this Being must be necessari- 
ly existent ; and then thirdly, from the proved necessity of 
his existence, we may descend, and prove many of his perfec- 
tions a priori.'* 

* To the inquirer after tru'.h it may here be recommended, as a matter of 
some consequence, to keep in mind the precise difference between an argu- 
ment a priori and one a posteriori, a distinction of considerable use, as well as 
of long standing, among divines, metaphysicians, and logical writers. An 
argument from cither of these, when legitimately applied, may amount to a de- 
monstration, when used, for instance, rc'ativcly to the being and perfections of 
God ; but the one should be confined to the existence of Deity, while the other 


JSut if once this grand principle of common sense be giv- 
en up, that what is not necessary in itself, must have a Cause ; 
and we begin to maintain, that things may come into exist- 
ence, 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 
vidence of the Being of God, is cut off 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 man- 
ner of their being, their order, beauty and use. For if things 
may come into existence without^tny Cause at all, then they 
doubtless may without any Cause answerable to the effect. 
Our minds do alike naturally suppose and determine both 
these things ; namely, that what begins to be has a Canse, 
and also thnt it has a Cause proportionable and agreeable to 
the effect. The same principle which leads us to determine, 
that there cannot be any thing coming to pass without a Cause, 
leads us to determine that there cannot be more in the effect 
than in the Cause. 

Yea, if once it should be allowed, that things may come to 
pass without a Cause, we should not only have no proof of 
the Being of God, but we should be without evidence of the 
existence of any thing whatsoever, but our own immediately 
present ideas and consciousness. For we have no way to 

h applicable to his perfections. By the argument a posteriori we rise from the 
effect to the cause, from the stream to the fountain, from what is posterior to 
»what is prior; in other words, from what is contingent to what is absolute, 
from number to unity ; that is, from the manifestation of God to his existence. 
By the argument a priori we descend from the cause to the effect, from the foun- 
tain to the stream, from what is prior to what is posterior ; that is, from the 
necessary existence of God we lately infer certain properties and perfections. 
To attempt a demonstration of the existence of a first cause, or the Being of 
God, a priori, would be most absurd ; for it would be an attempt to prove a 
prior ground or cause of existence of a first cause ; or, that there is some cause 
before the very first. The argument a priori, therefore, is not applicable to prove 
the divine existence. For this end, the argument a posteriori alone is legitimate ; 
and its conclusiveness rests on the axiom, that " there can be no effect without a 
cause." The absurdity of denying this axiom is abundantly demonstrated by- 
cur author. W, 
Vol. V. H 


prove any thing else, but by arguing from effects to causes : 
From the ideas now immediately in view ; we argue other 
things not immediately in view : From sensations now excit- 
ed 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 ef- 
fects 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 consequences of 
past ideas and sensations.... We immediately perceive nothing 
else but the ideas which afe this moment 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 con- 
nexion and dependence is dissolved, and so all means of our 
knowledge is gone. If there be no absurdity nor difficulty 
in supposing one thing to start out of nonexistence into being, 
of itself without a Cause ; then there is no absurdity nor dif- 
ficulty in supposing the same of millions of millions. For 
nothing, or no difficulty multiplied, still is nothing, or no diffi- 
culty, nothing multiplied by nothing, does not increase the sum. 

And indeed, according to the hypothesis I am opposing, 
of the acts of the Will coming to pass without a Cause, it is 
the case in fact, that millions of millions of Events are con- 
tinually coming into existence contingently, without any 
Cause or reason why they do so, all over the world, every day 
and hour, through all ages. So it is in a constant succession, 
in every moral agent. This contingency, this efficient noth- 
ing, this effectual No Cause, is always ready at hand, to pro- 
duce 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, wher- 
ever 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 


ghat they did not really happen contingently. For contin- 
gence 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, 
shows that there is some Cause or reason of the falling of wat- 
er out of the heavens ; and that something besides mere con- 
tingence has a hand in the matter. 

If we should suppose nonentity 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 ex- 
istence depends ; or which could at all determine whether 
the tilings 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 human understanding, or new volitions in the 
Will ; or any thing else of all the infinite number of possi- 
bles ; then certainly it would not be expected, although ma- 
ny millions of millions of things are coming into existence 
in this manner, all over the face of the earth, that they should 
all be only of one particular kind, and that it should be thus 
in all ages, and that this sort of existences should never fail to 
come to pass where there is room for them, or a subject ca- 
pable of them, and that constantly, whenever there is occa- 
sion for them. 

If any should imagine, there is something in the sort of 
Event that renders it possible fojr it to come into existence 
without a Cause, and should say, that the free acts of the Will 
are existences of an exceeding different nature from other 
things ; by reason of which they may come into existence 
without any previous ground or l-eason of it, though other 
things cannot ; if they make this objection in good earnest, 
it would be an evidence of their strangely forgetting them- 
selves ; 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 X 
would observe, that the particular nature of existence, be it 
ever so diverse from others, can lay no foundation for that 
thing's coming into existence without a Cause ; because to 
suppose this, would be to suppose the particular nature of ex- 
istence 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 be- 
ing, 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 nothing, 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 without a 
Cause, a? to suppose the human so\d, or an angel, or the 
globe of the earth, or the whole universe, should come into 
existence without a Cause. And il once we allow, that such 
a sort of effect as a Volition may come to pass without a 
Cause, how do we know but that many other sorts of effects 
may do so too ? It is not the particular kind of effect that 
makes the absurdity of supposing it has being without a Cause, 
but something which is common to all things that ever begin 
to be, viz. That they are not selfexistent, or necessary in the 
nature of things. 



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

THE author of the Essay on the Freedom of the Will in God 
and the Creatures, in answer to that objection against his doc- 
trine of a selfdetermining power in the will, (p. 68, 69.) « That 
nothing is, or comes to pass, without a sufficient reason why 
it is, and -why it is in this manner rather than another, allows 
that it is thus in corporeal things, which are, properly and 
philosophically speaking, passive beings ; but denies that it 
is thus in spirits, which are beings of an active nature, who 
have the spring of action within themselves, and can deter- 
mine themselves. By which it is plainly supposed, that such 
an event as an act of the Will, may come to pass in a spirit, 
without a sufficient reason why it comes to pass, or why it is 
after this manner, rather than another ; by reason of the ac- 
tivity of the nature of a spirit. ...But certainly this author, in 
this matter, must be very unwary and inadvertent. For, 

1. The objection or difficulty proposed by this author, 
seems to be forgotten in his answer or solution. The very- 
difficulty, as he himself proposes it, is this : How an event 
can come to pass without a sufficient reason why it is, or why 
it is in this manner rather than another ? Instead of solving 
this difficulty, or answering this question with regard to Voli- 
tion, 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 be- 
ing'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 i The activity of the soul 
may enable it to be the Cause of effects, but it does not at all ena- 
ble or 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 should, through its activity* produce 
and determine an effect in some external object, how absurd 
would it be to say, that the effect was produced without a Cause 1 

£. The question is not so much, how a spirit endowed 
with activity comes to act, as why it exerts such an act, 
and not another ; or why it acts with such a particular deter- 
mination : 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 action is thus and thus 
limited, directed and determined. Active nature is a gener* 
al thing ; it is an ability or tendency of nature to action, gen- 
erally taken ; which may be a Cause why the soul acts as oc- 
casion 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 action. If it 
should be asked, why the soul of man uses 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 ac- 
tivity, would such an answer satisfy a rational man ? Would 
it not rather be looked upon as a very impertinent one ? 

3. An active being can bring no effects to pass by his ac- 
tivity, 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 exer- 
cise 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 ac- 


tivity 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 deter- 
mines by it. And therefore his activity cannot be the Cause 
of the determination of the first action, or exercise of activity 
itself, whence the effects of activity arise, for that would im- 
ply a contradiction ; it would be to say, the first exercise of 
activity is before the first exercise of activity, and is the Cause 
of it. 

4. That the soul, though an active substance, cannot di- 
versify its own acts, but by first acting ; or be a determining 
Cause of different acts, or any different effects, sometimes of 
one kind, and sometimes of another, any other way than in 
consequence of its own diverse acts, is manifest by this ; that 
if so, then the same Cause, the same causal power, force or 
influence, without variation in any respect, would produce dif- 
ferent effects at different times. For the same substance of 
the soul before it acts, and the same active nature of the soul 
before it is exerted, i. e. before in the order of nature, would 
be the Cause of different effects, viz. different Volitions at differ- 
ent times. But the substance of the soul before it acts, and its 
active nature before it is exerted, are the same without varia- 
tion. For it is some act that makes the first variation in the 
Cause, as to any causal exertion, force, or influence. But if 
it be so, that the soul has no different causality, or diverse causal 
force or influence, in producing these diverse effects ; then it 
is evident, that the soul has no influence, no hand in the diver- 
sity of the effect ; and that the difference of the effect cannot 
be owing to any thing in the soul ; or, which is the same 
thing, the soul does not determine the diversity 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 circumstance ; 
but those whom I oppose, will not allow the different circum- 
stances of the soul to be the determining Causes of the acts 
of the Will, as being contrary to their notion ofselfdcter- 
mination and selfmotion. 


5. Let us suppose, as these divines do, that there are no 
acts of the soul, strictly speaking, but free Volitions ; then it 
-will follow, that the soul is an active being in nothing fui'ther 
than it is a voluntary or elective being ; and whenever it pro- 
duces effects actively, it produces effects voluntarily and 
electively. But to produce effects thus, is the same thing as 
to produce effects in consequence of, and according to its own 
choice. And if so, then surely the soul does not by its activ- 
ity 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 
ferementioned contradiction, of a free act of choice before the 
first free act of choice. According to these gentlemen's own 
notion of action, if there arises in the mind a Volition with- 
out a free act of the Will or choice to determine and produce 
it, the mind is net the active, voluntary Cause of that Volition, 
because it does not arise from, nor is regulated by choice or 
design. And 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 produce effects in con- 
sequence of its design ; it will not enable it to be the design- 
ing Cause of all its own designs. The mind's being an elec- 
tive Cause, will only enable it to produce effects in conse- 
quence of its elections, and according to them ; but cannot 
enable it to be the elective Cause of ail 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 supposes a determin- 
ing act conversant: about the first act, and prior to it. having 
a causal influence on its existence, and manner of existence. 
I can conceive of nothing else that can be meant by the 
soul's having power to cause and determine its own Volitions, 
as a being to whom God has given a power of action, but 
this ; that Cod has given power to the soul, sometimes 


at least, to excite Volitions at its pleasure, or according 
as it chooses. And this certainly supposes, in all such 
cases, a choice preceding all Volitions which are thus caus- 
ed, even the first of them ; which runs into the foremen- 
tioned great absurdity. 

Therefore the activity of the nature of the soul affords no 
relief from the difficulties which the notion of a selfdetermin- 
ing power in the Will is attended with, nor will it help, in the 
least, its absurdities and inconsistencies. 


Skewing, that if the things asserted in these Eva- 
sions should be supposed to be true, they are alto- 
gether impertinent, and cannot help the cause of 
Arminian liberty ; and how (this being the state 
of the case J Arminian writers are obliged to talk 

WHAT 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 of the Arminians, to establish the 
freedom of the Will, according to their notion of its freedom 
as consisting in the Will's determination of itself ; which sup- 
poses every free act of the Will to be determined by some 
act of the Will going before to determine it ; inasmuch as 
For the Will to determine a thing, is the same as f. r the s>oul 
to determine a thing by Willing ; and there is no way that the 
Will can determine an act of the Will, but by willing that 
Vol. V. I 


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 deter- 
mined by choice, is not determined voluntarily or willingly : 
And to say, that the Will determines something 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 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 with- 
out 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 relieving, and as that which, instead of support- 
ing 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 liberty of Will. 
If it determines them by an act of the understanding, or some 
other power, then the Will does not determine itself ; and so 
the selfdetermining power of the Will is given up. And what 
liberty is there exercised 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 di- 
rected, and effectually determined and fixed ; but it is not done 
by the soul's own will and pleasure : There is no exercise at 
all of choice or will in producing the effect : And if Will and 
choice are not exercised in it, how is the liberty of the Will 
exercised in it ? 

So that let Arminians turn which way they please with their 
notion oflibcrty, consisting in the Will's determining 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 implies that gross contradiction, that the 
first free act belonging to the affair, is determined by a free 
act which is before it. Or if they say that the free acts of the 
Will are determined by some other act of the soul, and not 
an act of Will or choice ; this also destroys their notion of 
liberty, 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 all that is prior to them, but that 
they are contingent in that sense, that they are determined 
and fixed by no cause at all ; this also destroys their notion 
of liberty, consisting in the Will's determining its own acts. 

This being the true state of the Arminian notion of liberty, 
it hence comes to pass, that the writers that defend it are 
forced into gross inconsistencies, 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 Calvin- 
ists, 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? 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 won- 
dered at, that he unawares acknowledges it against himself : 
For if liberty does not consist in this, what else can be devised 
that it should consist in ? If it be said, as Dr. Whitby else- 
where insists, that it does not only consist in liberty of doing 
what we will, but also a liberty of willing without necessity ; 
still the question returns, what does that liberty of willing 
without necessity consist in, but in a power of willing as we 
please, without being impeded by a contrary necessity ? Or in 
other words, a liberty for the soul in its willing to act accord- 
ing to its own choice ? Yea, this very thing the same author 

* In his Book, on the five Points, Second Edit. p. 350, 351, 3,52, 
+ Ibid. p. 325, 326. 


seems to allow, and suppose again and again, in the use he 
makes of sayings of the Fathers, whom he quotes as his 
vouchers. Thus he cites the words of Origen, which he pro- 
duces as a testimony on his side :* The soul acts by her own 
choice, and it is free for her to incline to whatever part she 
will. And those words of Justin Martyr; f 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 Vo his 
own free choice. And from Eusebius these words : \Iffate 
be established, philosophy and fiiety are overthrown. All these 
things depending upon the necessity introduced by the stars, and 
•not upon meditation and exercise proceeding from our own 
free choice. And again, the words of Maccarius : §God, to 
preserve the liberty of man's Will, suffered their bodies to die, 
that it might be in -Their choice to turn to good or evil. They 
ivho are acted by the Holy Spirit, are not held under any neces- 
sity, but have liberty to turn themselves, and do what They 
WILL in this life. 

Thus, the doctor in effect comes into that very notion of 
liberty, which the Calvinists have ; which he at the same 
time condemns, as agreeing with the opinion of Mr. Hobbes, 
namely, the soul 's acting by its own choice, men's doing good or 
evil according to their own free choice, their being in that exer~ 
cise which proceeds from their own free choice, having it in their 
choice to turn to good or evil, and doing what they will. So 
that if men exercise this liberty in the acts of the Will them- 
selves, it must be in exerting acts of Will as they will, or ac- 
cording 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 proceeds 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 cx- 

* In his Book on the five Points, Second Edit. p. 342. + Ibid. p. 360. 
% Ibid. p. 363. § Ibid. p. 369, 370. 


erted in the case. And then let every one judge, whether 
this be not a contradiction. And finally, let every one judge 
whether in the scheme of these writers there be any possi- 
bility of avoiding these absurdities. 

If liberty consists, as Dr. Whitby himself says, in a man's 
doing what he will ; and a man exercises this liberty, not only 
in external actions, but in the acts of the Will themselves ; 
then so far as liberty is exercised in the latter, it consists in 
willing what he wills : And if any say so, one of these two 
things must be meant, either, I. That a man has power to 
Will, as he does Will ; because what he Wills, he Wills ; 
and therefore has power to Will what he has power to Will. 
If this be their meaning, then this mighty controversy 
about freedom of the Will and selfdetermining 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 ; where- 
in none has any controversy wiih them. Or, 2. The mean- 
ing 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 ; and therein to execute his own choice. And 
if this be their meaning, it is nothing but shuffling with those 
they dispute with, and baffling their own reason. For still 
the question returns, wherein lies man's liberty in that ante- 
cedent act of Will which chose the consequent act. The an- 
swer, according to the same principles, must be, that his lib- 
erty in this also lies in his willing as he would, or as he chose, 
or agreeably to another act of choice preceding that. And so 
the question returns in infinitum and the like answer must be 
made in infinitum : In order to support their opinion, there 
must be no beginning, but free acts of Will must have been 
chosen by foregoing free acts of Will in the soul of every 
man, without beginning ; and so before he had a being, from 
all eternity. 



Concerning the WiWs determining in Things which 
are perfectly indifferent in the View of the Mind. 

A GREAT argument for selfdetermining power, is the 
supposed experience we universally have of an ability to de- 
termine our Wills, in cases wherein no prevailing 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 in- 
different ; 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. 

Tnus the forementioned author of an Essay on the Free- 
dom of the Will, Sec. 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, selfdetermining 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 downward. And thus, 
in some cases, the Will determines itself in a very sovereign 
manner, because it will, without a reason borrowed from the 
understanding ; and hereby it discovers its own perfect pow- 
er of choice, rising from within itself, and free from all influ- 
ence or restraint 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, but to act altogeth- 
er without motive, or ground of preference Here I would 


1. The very supposition which is here made, directly con- 
tradicts and overthrows itself. For the thing supposed, where- 


in this grand argument consists, is, that among several things 
the Will actually chooses one before another, at the same 
time that it is perfectly indifferent ; which is the very same 
thing as to say, the mind has a preference, at the same time 
that it has no preference. What is meant 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 think he had a controversy 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 indifferent ; 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 choos- 
es one thing before another, concerning which it is indifferent 
before it chooses ; but also is indifferent when it chooses ; 
and that its being otherwise than indifferent is not until after- 
wards, in consequence of its choice ; that the chosen thing's 
appearing preferable and more agreeable than another, arises 
from its choice already made. His words are, (p. 30.) 
« 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 ; 
it being properly a selfdetermining power. And in such cas- 
es 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 un- 
occupied 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 finds nothing to make 
them more agreeable, considered merely in themselves ; but 
the pleasure it feels arising from its own choice, and its 
perseverance therein. We love many things we have chos- 

This is as much as to say, that we first begin to prefer 
many things, now ceasing any longer to be indifferent with 
respect to them, purely because we have preferred and chos- 


en them before. These things must needs be spoken incon- 
siderately by this author. Choice or preference cannot be 
before itself in the same instance, either in the 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 set- 
ting a higher value on that thing. But that the mind sets an 
higher value on one thing than another, is not, in the first 
place, the fruit of its setting a higher value on that thing. 

This author says, p. 36, " The Will may be perfectly in- 
different, and yet the Will may determine itself to choose one 
or the other." And again, in the same page, " I am entire- 
ly indifferent to either ; and yet my Will may determine it- 
self to choose." And again, " 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 deter- 
mined 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 72. Speaking of the 
case, where there is no superior fitness in objects presented, 
he has these words : « 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 pleascdness 
is the ground of all it does in the case. And if so, the mind 
is not indifferent 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 all in 
indifference ; not so much as in the first step it takes, or the 
first rise and bet-inning 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 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 prepon- 
derate, or prevail in the mind ; or, which is the same thing, 


the idea of it has a prevailing influence on the Will. So that 
this wholly destroys the thing supposed, viz. That the mind 
can, by a sovereign power, 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 ef- 
fect, deny the thing he supposes, and allows and asserts the 
point he endeavors to overthrow ; even that the Will, in 
choosing, is subject to no prevailing influence of the idea, or 
view of the thing chosen. And indeed it is impossible to of- 
fer this argument without overthrowing it ; the thing suppos- 
ed in it being inconsistent with itself, and that which denies 
itself. To suppose the Will to act at all in a state of perfect 
indifference, either to determine itself, or to do any thing else, 
is to assert that the mind chooses without choosing. To 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 difficulty in the instances of two 
cakes, two eggs, Sec. which are exactly alike, one as good as 
another ; concerning which this author supposes the mind in 
fact has a choice, and so in effect supposes that it has a pref- 
erence ; it as much concerned himself to solve the difficulty, 
as it does those whom he opposes. For if these instances 
prove any thing to his purpose, they prove that a man choos- 
es without choice. And yet this is not to his purpose ; be- 
cause if this is what he asserts, his own words are as much 
against him, and do as much contradict him, as the words of 
those he disputes against can do. 

2. There is no great difficulty in shewing, in such instan- 
ces as are alleged, not only that it must needs be so, that the 
mind must be influenced in its choice, by something that has 
a preponderating influence upon it, but also how it is so. A 
little attention to our own experience, and a distinct consider- 
ation of the acts of our own minds, in such cases, will be suf- 
ficient to clear up the matter. 

Vol. V. K 


Thus, supposing I have a chessboard before me ; and be" 
cause I am required by a superior, or desired by a friend, of 
to make some experiment concerning my own ability and lib- 
erty, or on some other consideration, I am determined to 
touch some one of the spots or squares on the board with my 
finger ; not being limited or directed in the first proposal, or 
my own first purpose, which is general, to any one in partic- 
ular ; and there being nothing in the squares, in themselves 
considered, that recommends any one of all the sixtyfour, 
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 di- 
rected to by some other such like accident. ...Here are sever- 
al steps of the mind's proceeding (though all may be done as 
it were in a moment) the first step is its general determina- 
tion 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 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 of- 
fered itself beyond others. Now it is apparent that in none 
of these several steps does the mind proceed in absolute in- 
difference, but in each of them is influenced by a preponder- 
ating inducement. So it is in the first step ; the mind's gen- 
eral determination to touch one of the sixtyfour spots : The 
mind is not absolutely 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 ether motive that prevails. 
So it is in the second step, the mind's determining to give it- 

* I have elsewhere observed what that is wh ; ch is vulgarly called accident; 
that it is nothing akin to the Arminian metaphysical notion of contingence, some- 
thing not connected with anything foiegoing; 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. 


self up to accident, by touching that which shall be most in 
the eye, or the idea of which shall be most prevalent in the 
mind, Sec. The mind is not absolutely indifferent whether it 
proceeds by this rule or no ; but chooses it because it appears 
at that time a convenient 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 a pre- 
vailing inducement and reason ; which is, that this is a prose- 
cution of the preceding determination, which appeared req- 
uisite, 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 num- 
ber of objects in view, one will prevail in the eye, or in idea 
beyond others. When we have our eyes open in the clear 
sunshine, many objects strike the eye at once, and innumera- 
ble images may be at once painted in it by the rays of light ; 
but the attention of the mind is not equal to several of them 
at once ; or if it be, it does not continue so for any time. And 
so it is with respect to the ideas of the mind in general : Sev- 
eral ideas are not in equal strength in the mind's view and 
notice at once ; or at least, does not remain so for any sensi- 
ble continuance. There is nothing in the world more con- 
stantly varying, than the ideas of the mind : They do not re- 
main precisely in the same state for the least perceivable 
space of time ; as is evident by this, that all perceivable time 
is judged and perceived by the mind only by 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, be- 
cause no sensible succession. 

As the acts of the Will, in each step of the foremention- 
ed proceedure, do not come to pass without a particular cause, 
every act is owing to a prevailing inducement ; so the acci- 
dent, as I have called it, or that which happens in the un- 
searchable course of things, to which the mind yields itself, 
and by which it is guided, is not any thing that comes to pass 


without a cause ; and the mind, in determining to be guided 
by it, is not determined by something that has no cause ; any 
more than if it determined to be guided by a lot, or the cast- 
ing of a die. For though the die's falling in such a manner 
be accidental to him that casts it, yet none will suppose that 
there is no cause why it falls as it does. The involuntary 
changes in the succession of our ideas, though the causes may 
not be observed, have as much a cause, as the changeable mo- 
tions of the motes that float in the air, or the continual infi- 
nitely 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 those who insist upon 
it, that the Will acts in a proper indifference, and without be- 
ing moved by any inducement, in its determination in such 
cases as have been mentioned. 

1. They seem to mistake the point in question, or at least 
not to keep it distinctly in view. The question they dispute 
about, is, Whether the mind be indifferent about the objects 
presented, one of which is to be taken, touched, pointed to, &c. 
as two eggs, two cakes, which appear equally good. Whereas 
the question to be considered, is, Whether the person be in- 
different with respect to his own actions ; whether he does 
not, on some consideration or other, prefer one act with res- 
pect to these objects before another. The mind in its deter- 
mination and choice, in these cases, is not most immediately 
and directly conversant about the objects presented ; but the 
acts to be done concerning these objects. The objects may 
appear equal, and the mind may never properly make any 
choice between them : But the next act of the Will being 
about the external actions to be performed, taking, touching, 
Sec. these may not appear equal, and one action may properly 
be chosen before another. In each step of the mind's prog- 
ress, the determination is not about the objects, unless indi- 
rectly and improperly, but about the actions, which it choos- 
es 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 ev- 
er properly choose one of the objects before another ; either 
before it has taken, or afterwards. Indeed the man chooses 
to take or touch one rather than another ; but not because it 
chooses the thing taken, or touched ; but from foreign con- 
siderations. 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, choosing 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 
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 ac- 
tion in perfect indifference with respect to the object ; which 
is very possible, and yet the Will not act without prevalent in- 
ducement, and proper preponderation. 

2. Another reason of confusion and difficulty in this mat- 
ter, seems to be, notdistingoishing between a general indiffer- 
ence, or an indifference with respect to what is to be done in 
a more distant and general view of it, and a particular indiffer- 
ence, or an indifference with respect to the next immediate 
act, viewed with its particular and present circumstances. 
A man may be perfectly indifferent with respect to his own 
actions, in the former respect ; and yet not in the latter. 
Thus, in the foregoing instance of touching one of the squares 
of a chessboard ; when it is first proposed that I should touch 
one of them, I may be perfectly indifferent which I touch ; 
because as yet I view the matter I'emolely and generally, be- 
ing but in the first step of the mind's progress in the affair. 
But yet, when I am actually come to the last step, and the 
very next thing to be determined is which is to be touched, 
having already determined that I will touch that which hap- 
pens to be most in my eye or mind, and my mind being now 


fixed on a particular one, the act of touching that, considered 
thus immediately, and in these particular present circumstan- 
ces, is not what my mind is absolutely indifferent about. 


Concerning the notion of Liberty of Will, consisting 
in Indifference. 

WHAT has been said in the foregoing section, has a ten- 
dency in some measure to evince the absurdity of the opinion 
of such as place Liberty in Indifference, or in that equilibri- 
um whereby the Will is without all antecedent determination 
or bias, and left hitherto free from any prepossessing inclina- 
tion to one side or the other ; that so 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 sovereignty which 
it has over itself, that it goes this way rather than that.* 

* Dr. Whitby, and some other Arminians, make a distinction of different 
kinds of freedom ; one of God, and perfect spirits above ; another of persons 
in a state of trial. Tne former Dr. Whitby allows to consist with necessity ; 
the latter he holds to be without necessity : And this latter he supposes to be 
requisite to cur being the subjects of praise or dispraise, rewards or punish- 
ments, precepts and prohibitions, promises and threats, exhortations and de- 
hortations, and a covenant treaty. And to this freedom he supposes Indiffer- 
ence to be requisite In his Discourse on the five points, p. 299, 300, he 
says, " It is a freedom (speaking of a freedom not only fiom coaction, but 
from necessity) requisite, as we conceive, to render us capable of trial or pro- 
bation, and to render our actions worthy of praise or dispraise, and our per- 
sons of rewards or punishments." And in the next page, speaking of the 
same matter, he says, "Excellent to this purpose, are the words of Mr. 
Thorndike : We say not that Indifference is requisite to all freedom, but to the free- 
dom of a man alone in this state of travail and prof cience : The ground of which is 
God's tender of a treaty, and conditions of peace and reconcilement to fallen man, to- 
gether with those precepts and piohibit ions, those promises and threats, those exk»r- 
tations and dekortxtions, it is enforced with," 


But in as much as this has been of such long standing, and 
has been so generally received, and so much insisted on by 
Pelagians, Semi/ielagians, Jesuits, Socinians, Arminians and oth- 
ers, it may deserve a more full consideration. And therefore 
I shall now proceed to a more particular and thorough inquiry 
into this notion. 

Now, lest some should suppose that I do not understand 
those that place Liberty in Indifference, or should charge me 
with misrepresenting their opinion, I would signify, that I 
am sensible, there are some, who, when they talk of the Lib- 
erty of the Will as consisting in Indifference, express them- 
selves as though they would not be understood of the Indiffer- 
ence of the inclination or tendency of the Will, but of, I know 
net what, Indifference of the soul's power of willing ; or that 
the Will, with respect to its power or ability to choose, is indif- 
ferent, can go either way indifferently, either to the right hand 
or left, either act or forbear to act, one as well as the other. 
However this seems to be a refining only of some particular 
writers, and newly invented, and which will by no means consist 
with the manner of expression used by the defenders of Liber- 
ty of Indifference in general. And I wish such refiners would 
thoroughly consider, whether they distinctly know their own 
meaning, when they make a distinction between Indifference 
of the soul as to its power or ability of willing or choosing, and 
the soul's Indifference as to the preference or choice itself ; 
and whether they do not deceive themselves in imagining that 
they have any distinct meaning. 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 the 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 inex- 
plicableness of this distinction ; let what will be supposed 
concerning the meaning of those that make use of it, thus 
much must at least be intended by Arminians when they talk 
of Indifference as essential to Liberty of Will, if they intend 
any thing, in any respect to their purpose, -viz. That it is such 


an Indifference as leaves the Will not determined already ; 
but free from, and vacant of predetermination, so far, that 
there may be room for the exercise of the selfdetermimng 
flower 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 the first place, that to make 
out this scheme of Liberty, the Indifference must be perfect 
and absolute ; there must be a perfect freedom from all ante- 
cedent preponderation or inclination. Because if the Will be 
already inclined, before it exerts its own sovereign power on 
itself, then its inclination is not wholly owing to itself : If 
when two opposites are proposed to the soul for its choice, the 
proposal does not find the soul wholly in a state of Indiffer- 
ence, then it is not found in a state of Liberty for mere selfde- 
termirtation....The least degree of antecedent bias must be in- 
consistent with their notion of Liberty. For so long as prior 
inclination possesses the? Will, and is not removed, it binds the 
Will, so that it is utterly impossible that the Will should act 
otherwise than agreeably to it. Surely the Will cannot act 
or choose contrary to a remaining prevailing inclination of 
the Will. To suppose otherwise, would be the same thing as 
to suppose, that the Will is inclined contrary to its present 
prevailing inclination, or contrary to what it is inclined to. 
That which the Will chooses and prefers, that all things con- 
sidered, it preponderates and inclines to. It is equally impos- 
sible 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 inclination, is not at 
Liberty for a new free act, or any act that shall now be an act 
of selfdetermination. The act which is a selfdetermined free 
act, must be an act which the Will determines in the pos- 
session and use of such a Liberty, as consists in a freedom 
from every thing, which, if it were there, would make it iin- 


possible that the Will, at that time, should be otherwise thari 
that way to which it tends. 

If any one should say, there is no need that the Indiffer- 
ence should be perfect ; but although a former inclination 
and preference still remain, yet, if it be not very strong and 
Tiolent, possibly the strength of the Will may oppose and 
overcome it ......This is grossly absurd ; for the strength of 

the Will, let it he ever so great, does not enable it to act on© 
■way, and not the contrary way, both at the same time. It 
gives i no such sovereignty and command, as to cause itself 
to prefer and not to prefer at the same time, or to choose con- 
trary to its own present choice. 

Therefore, if there be the least degree of antecedent pre- 
ponderation of the Will, it must be perfectly abolished, before 
the Will can be at liberty to determine itself the contrary 
way. And if the Will determines itself the same way, it is 
not a free determination, because the Will is not wholly at 
Liberty in so doing : Its determination is not altogether from 
itself, but it was partly determined before, in its prior inclina- 
tion ; and all the freedom the Will exercises in the case, is 
in an increase of inclination, which it gives itself, over and 
above what it h \d by the foregoing bias ; so much is from it- 
self, and so much is from perfect Indifference. For though 
the Will had a previous tendency that way, yet as to that ad- 
ditional degree of inclination, it had no tendency. Therefore 
the previous tendency is of no consideration, with respect to 
the act wherein the Will is free. So that it comes to the 
same thing which was said at first, that as to the act of the 
Will, wherein the Will is free, there must be perfect Indiffer- 
ence, or equilibrium. 

To illustrate this ; if we should suppose a sovereign, self- 
ntioving power in a natural body, but that the body is in mo- 
tion already, by an antecedent bias ; for instance, gravitation 
towards the centre of the earth ; and has one degree of mo- 
tion already, by virtue of that previous tendency ; but by its 
selfmoving power it adds one degree more to its motion, and 
moves so much more swiftly towards the centre of the earth 
than it would do by its gravity only : It is evident, that all that 
Vol. V. L 


is owing to a selfmoving power in this case, is the additional 
degree of motion ; and that the other degree of motion which 
it had from gravity, is of no consideration in the case, does 
not help the effect of the free selfmoving power in the least ; 
the effect is just the same, as if the body had received from 
itself one degree of mction from a state of perfect rest. So 
if we should suppose a selfmoving power given to the scale 
of a balance, which has a weight of one degree beyond the op- 
posite scale ; and we ascribe to it an ability to add to itself 
another degree of force the same way, by its selfmoving pow- 
er ; this is just the same thing as to ascribe to it a power to 
give itself one degree of preponderation from a perfect equili- 
brium ; and so much power as the scale has to give itself an 
overbalance from a perfect equipoise, so much selfmoving 
selfpreponderaling power it has, and no more. So that its 
free power this way is always to be measured from perfect 

I need say lio more to prove, that if Indifference be essen- 
tial to Liberty, it must be perfect Indifference ; and that so far 
as the Will is destitute of ibis, so far it is destitute of that free- 
dom by which it is its own master, and in a capacity of being 
its own determiner, without being in the least passive, or sub- 
ject to the power and sway of something else, in its motions 
and determinations. 

Having observed ihese things, let us now try whether this 
notion of the Liberty of Will consisting in indifference and 
equilibrium, and the Will's selfdetermT-iation in such a state 
be not absurd and inconsistent. 

And here I would lay down this as an axiom of undoubted 
truth ; that every free act is done in a slate of freedom, and 
not after such a state. If an act of the Will be an act 
wherein the suul is free, it must be exerted in a state of free- 
dom, and in the /,'.';:r rf freedom. It will not suffice, that the 
act immediately follows a state of Liberty ; but Liberty must 
yet continue, and coexist with the act ; the soul remaining in 
possession of Liberty. Because that is the notion of a free act 
of the soul, even an act wherein the soul uses or exercises 
Liberty. But if the soul is not, in the very time of the act, in 


the possession of Liberty, it 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 of Liberty, 
in that notion of a state of Liberty, viz. as implying a state of 
Indifference, or whether the soul ever exerts an act of choice 
or preference, while at that very time the Will is in a perfect 
equilibrium, not inclining one way more than another. The 
very putting of the question is sufficient to shew the absurdi- 
ty of the affirmative 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 indiffer- 
ent 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 ihe preponderation of the scale of a balance can 
be in a state of equilibrium. Motion may be the next mo- 
ment after rest ; but cannot coexist with it, in any, even the 
least part of it. So choice may be immediately after a state 
of Indifference, but has no coexistence with it ; even the very 
beginning of it is not in a state of Indifference. And there- 
fore if this be Liberty, no act of the Will, in any degree, is 
ever performed in a state of Liberty, or in the time of Liber- 
ty. Volition and Liberty are so far from agreeing together, 
and being essential one to another, that they are contrary one 
to another, and one excludes and destroys the other, as much 
as motion and rest, light and darkness, or life and death. So 
that the Will does not so much as begin to act in the time of 
such Liberty ; freedom is perfectly at an end, and has ceased 
to be, at the first moment of action; and therefore Liberty 
cannot reach the action, to affect, or qualify it, or give it a de- 
nomination, 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 instantane- 
ously, 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 denomi T 
nates nothing vital at the first moment of perfect death. So 
freedom, if it consists in, or implies Indifference, can denomi- 
nate nothing free, at the first moment of preference or pre- 
ponderation. Therefore it is manifest, that no Liberty of 
which the soul is possessed, or ever uses, in any of its acts of 
volition, consists in Indifference ; and that the opinion of such 
as suppose, that Indifference belongs to the very essence of 
Liberty is to the highest degree absurd and contradictory. 

If any one should imagine, that this manner of arguing is 
nothing but trick and delusion ; and to evade the reasoning, 
should say, that the thing wherein the Will exercises its Lib- 
erty, is not in the act of choice or preponderation xtself, but 
in determining itself to a certain choice or preference ; that 
the act of the Will wherein it is free, and uses its own sover- 
eignty, consists in its causing or determining the change or 
transition from a state of Indifference to a certain preference, 
or determining to give a certain turn to the balance, which 
has hitherto been even ; and that this act the Will exerts in a 
state of Liberty, or while the Will yet remains in equilibri- 
um, and perfect master of itself... I 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 be- 

What is asserted is, that the Will, while it yet remains 
in perfect equilibrium, without preference, determines to 
change itself from that state, and excite in itself 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, deter- 
mines to put itself out of that state, and give itself a certain pre- 
ponderation ; then I would inquire, whether the soul does not 
determine this of choice ; or whether the Will's coining to a 
determination to do so, be not the same thing as the soul's 
comine; to a choice to do so. If the soul does not determine this 
of choice, or in the exercise of choice, then it does not deter- 
mineit voluntarily. And if the soul does not determine itvolun- 
tarily, or of its own Will, then in what sense does its Will de 


termine it ? And if the Will does not determine it, then how 
is the Liberty of the Will exercised in the determination ? 
What sort of Liberty is exercised by the soul in those deter- 
minations, wherein there is no exercise of choice, which are not 
Voluntary, and wherein the Will is not concerned ?....But if it 
be allowed, that this determination is an act of choice, and it 
be insisted on, that the soul, while it yet remains in a state of 
perfect Indifference, chooses to put itself out of that state, and 
to 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 obscurity of expression, 
is more nonsensical, and increases the inconsistence. To say, 
the free act of the Will, or the act which the Will exerts in a 
stale of freedom and Indi Terence, does not imply preference in 
it, but is what the Will does in order to causing or producing 
a preference, is as much as to say, the soul chooses (for to 
will and to choose are the same thing) without choice, and 
prefers without preference, in order to cause or produce the 
beginning of a preference, or the first choice. And that is, 
that the first choice is exerted without choice, in order to pro- 
duce 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 still essential to the freedom of an act of Will, 
in some sort, namely, as it is necessary to go immediately be- 
fore it ; it being essential to the freedom of an act of Will 
that it should directly and immediateiy arise out of a state of 
Indifference : Still this will not help 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 antecedent choice or preference. But if 
the act arises directly out of a state of Indifference, without 


any intervening 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 absurdi- 
ties 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 oppor- 
tunity for consideration j and so shall say that, however In- 
difference is not essential to Liberty in such a manner, that 
the mind must make its choice in a state of Indifference, 
which is an inconsistency, or that the act of Will must spring 
immediately out of Indifference ; yet indifference may be es< 
sential to the liberty of acts of the Will in this respect, viz. 
That Liberty consists in a Power of the mind to forbear or 
suspend the act of Volition, and keep the mind in a state of 
Indifference for the present, until there has been opportunity 
for proper deliberation : I say, if any one imagines that this 
helps the matter, it is a great mistake : It reconciles no in- 
consistency, and relieves no difficulty with which the affair is 
attended For here the following things must be observed : 

1. That this suspending of Volition, if there be properly 
any such thing, is itself an act of Volition. If the mind deter- 
mines to suspend its act, it determines it voluntarily ; it 
chooses, on some consideration, to suspend it. And this 
choice or determination, is an act of the Will : And indeed it 
is supposed to be so in the very hypothesis ; for 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 exer- 
cises 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 exercised in any thing but what the Will does. 

2. This determining to suspend acting is not only an act 
of the Will, but it is supposed to be the only free act of the 
Will ; because it is said, that this is the thing wherein the 
Liberty of the Will consists. ...Now if this be so, then this is all 


the act of will that we have to consider in this controversy, 
about the Liberty of Will} and in our inquiries, wherein the 
Liberty of man consists. And now the fore mentioned diffi- 
culties remain : The former question returns upon us, viz. 
Wherein consists the freedom of the Will in these acts 
wherein it is free ? And if this act of determining a suspen- 
sion be the only aet in which the Will is free, then wherein 
consists the Will's freedom with respect to this act of suspen- 
sion ? 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 thoion.<h deliberation 

But this will be to plunge directly into the grossest non- 
sense : For it is the act of suspension itself that we are speak- 
ing of; and there is no room for a space of deliberation and 
suspension in order to determine whether we will suspend or 
no. For that supposes, that even suspension itself may be de- 
ferred : Which is absurd ; for the very deferring the deter- 
mination of suspension to consider whether we will suspend 
or no, will be actually suspending. For during the space of 
suspension, to consider, whether to suspend, the act is i/iso 
facto suspended. There is no medium between suspending 
to act, and immediately acting ; and therefore no pessibiiity 
of avoiding either the one or the other one moment. 

And besides, this is attended with ridiculous absurdity 
another way : For now it is come to that, that Liberty con- 
sists wholly in the mind's having Power to suspend its deter- 
mination whether to suspend or no ; that there may be time 
for consideration, whether it be best to suspend. And if Lib- 
erty consists in this only, then this is the Liberty under con- 
sideration : W T e have to inquire now, how Liberty with re- 
spect to this act of suspending a determination of suspension, 
consists in Indifference, or how Indifference is essential to it. 
The answer, according to the hypothesis we are upon, must 
be, that it consists in a Power of suspending even this last 
mentioned act, to have time to consider whether to suspend 
that. And tiu a the same difficulties and inquiries 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 ; in as much as in ex- 
plaining how, or in what respect the Will is free with regard 
to a particular act of Volition, it is said that its Liberty con- 
sists in a Power to determine to suspend that act, which plac- 
es Liberty not in that act of Volition which the inquiry is 
about, but altogether in another antecedent act. Which con- 
tradicts the thing supposed in both the question and answer. 
The question is, wherein consists the mind's Liberty in any- 
particular act of Volition ? And the answer, in pretending to 
shew wherein lies the mind's Liberty in that act, in effect 
says, it does not lie in that act, but in another, viz. a Volition 
to suspend that act. And therefore the answer is both con- 
tradictory, and altogether impertinent and beside the purpose. 
For it does not shew wherein the Liberty of the Will consists 
in the act in question ; instead of that, it supposes it does not 
consist in that act, but in another distinct from it, even a Vo- 
lition to suspend that act, and take time to consider it. And 
no account is pretended to be given wherein the mind is free 
with respect to that act, wherein this answer supposes the 
Liberty of the mind indeed consists, viz. the act of suspension, 
or of determining the suspension. 

On the whole, it is exceedingly manifest, that the Liberty 
of the mind does not consist in Indifference, and that Indiffer- 
ence is not essential or necessary to it, or belonging to it, as 
the Arminians suppose ; that opinion being full of absurdity 
and selfcontradiction 



Concerning the supposed Liberty of the Will, as op- 
posite to all Necessity. 

IT is a thing chiefly insisted on by Jrminians, in this con- 
troversy, as a thing most important and essential in human 
Liberty, that volitions, or the acts of the Will, are contingent 
events ; understanding contingence as opposite, not only to 
constraint, but to all necessity. Therefore I would particu- 
larly consider this matter. And 

1. I would inquire, whether there is, or can be any such 
thing, as a volition which is contingent in such a sense, as not 
only to come to pass without any Necessity of constraint or 
coaction, but also without a Necessity of consequence, or an in- 
fallible connexion with any thing foregoing. 

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

I. I would consider whether volition is a thing that ever 
does, or can come to pass, in this manner, contingently. 

And here it must be remembered, that it has been already 
shewn, that nothing can ever come to pass without a cause, or 
reason why it exis's in this manner rather than another ; and 
the evidence of this has been particularly applied to the acts 
of the Will. Now if this be so, it will demonstrably follow, 
that the acts of the Will are never contingent, or without ne- 
cessity in the sense spoken of ; in as much as those things 
Which have a cause, or reason of their existence, must be con- 
nected with their cause. This appears by the following con- 

1 , For an event to have a cause and ground of its exist- 
ence, and yet not to be connected with its cause, is an incon- 
sistence. For if the event be not connected with the cause} 
it is not dependent on the cause ; its existence is as it were 
loose from its influence, and may attend it or may not ; it be- 
ing a mere contingence, whether it follows or attends the influ- 

Vol. V. M 


cnce of the cause, or not : And that is the same thing as not 
to be dependent 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 dependence 
on the influence of a cause is the very notion of an effect. If 
there be no such relation between one thing and another, con- 
sisting in the connexion and dependence of one thing on the 
influence of another, then it is certain there is no such rela- 
tion between them as is signified by the terms cause and ef- 
fect. So far as an event is dependent on a cause and connect- 
ed 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 it is dependent on it. If we say the connexion 
and dependence is not total, but partial, and that the effect, 
though it has some connexion and dependence, yet it is not en- 
tirely 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 a part of it arises from thence, and part some other way. 
2. If there are some events which are not necessarily con- 
nected 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 at- 
tend or follow the influence 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 no 
cause or reason of this. Therefore here is something with- 
out any cause or reason why it is, viz. the following of the ef- 
fect on the influence of the cause, with which it was not ne- 
cessarily connected. If there be not a necessary connexion 
of the effect on any thing antecedent, then we may sup- 
pose that sometimes the event will follow the cause, and 
sometimes not, when the cause is the same, and in every 
respect in the same state of circumstances. And what can be 
the cause and reason of this strange phenomenon, even this 
diversity, that in one instance, the effect should follow, in an- 


other not ? It is evident by the supposition, that this is wholly 
without any cause or ground. Here is something in the pres- 
ent manner of the existence of things, and state of the world 
that is absolutely without a cause ; which is contrary to the 
supposition, and contrary to what has been before demon- 

3. To suppose there are some events which have a cause and 
ground of their existence,that yet are not necessarily connect- 
ed with their cause, which 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 cir- 
cumstances ; then, as I observed before, it is a thing possible and 
supposable, that the cause may sometimes exert the same in- 
fluence, under the same circumstances, and yet the effect not 
follow. And if this actually happens in any instance, this in- 
stance 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 an- 
other instance, the same cause, with perfectly the same influ- 
ence, and when all circumstances which have any influence, 
were the same, it ivasfollowecl with the effect. By which it is 
manifest,that the effect in this last instance was not owing to the 
influence of the cause, but must come to pass some other way. 
For it was proved before, that the influence of the cause was 
not sufficient to produce the effect. And if it was not suffi- 
cient to produce it, then the production of it could not be ow- 
ing to that influence, but must be owing to something else, or 
owing to nothing. And if the effect be not owing to the in- 
fluence of the cause, then it is not the cause ; which brings 
us to the contradiction of a cause, and no cause, that which is 
the ground and reason of the existence of a thing, and at the 
same time is not the ground and reason of its existence, nor is 
sufficient to be so. 

If the matter be not already so plain as to render any fur- 
ther 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 actually produced at one time ; these things all concurring, 
"will produce the effect at all limes. 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 in- 
fluential circumstances. And therefore if the effect 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 supposed that all circumstances that 
have influence, are the same. And besides, this would be to 
suppose the time to be the cause ; which is contrary to the 
supposition of the other thing's being the cause. But if merely 
diversity of time has no influence, then it is evident that it is 
as much of an absurdity to say, the cause was sufficient to pro- 
duce the effect at one time, and not at another ; as to say, that 
it is sufficient to produce the effect at a certain time, and yet 
not sufficient to produce the same effect at the same time. 

On the whole, it is clearly manifest, that every effect has 
a necessary connexion with its cause, or with that which is 
the true ground and reason of its existence. And therefore 
if there be no event without a cause, as was proved before, 
then no event whatsoever is contingent in the manner, that Ar~ 
minians suppose the free acts of the Will to be contigent. 


Of the Connexion of the Acts of the Will with the 
Dictates of the Understanding. 

IT is manifest, that the acts of the Will are none of them 
contingent in such a sense as to be without all necessity, or so 
as not to be necessary with a necessity of consequence and 


Connexion ; because every act of the Will is some way con- 
nected with the Understanding-, and is as the greatest appa- 
rent good is, in the manner which has already been explained ; 
namely, that the soul always wills or chooses that which, in 
the present view of the mind, considered in the whole of that 
view, and all that belongs to it, appears most agreeable. Be- 
cause, as was observed before, nothing is more evident than 
that, when men act voluntarily, and do what they please, 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 pre- 
fer. Which brings the matter to a contradiction. 

As it is very evident in itself, that the acts of the Will have 
some Connexion with the dictates or views of the Understand- 
ing, so this is allowed by some of the chief of the Arminian 
writers ; particularly by Dr. Whitby and Dr. Samuel Clark. 
Dr. Turnbull, though a great enemy to the doctrine of neces- 
sity, allows the same thing. In his Christian Philosophy, (p. 
196) he with much approbation cites another philosopher, as 
of the same mind, in these words ; " No man, (says an excel- 
lent philosopher) sets himself about any thing, but upon some 
view or other, which serves him for a reason for what he 
does ; and whatsoever faculties he employs, the Understand- 
ing, with such light as it has, well or ill formed, constantly 
leads ; and by that light, true or false, all her operative pow- 
ers are directed. The Will itself, how absolute and incon- 
trolable soever it may be thought, never fails in its obedience 
to the dictates of the Understanding. Temples have their 
sacred images ; and we see what influence they have always 
had over a great part of mankind ; but in truth, the ideas and 
images in men's minds are the invisible powers that constant- 
ly govern them ; and to these they all pay universally a ready 

But whether this be in a just consistence with themselves, 
and their own notions of liberty, I desire may now be impar- 
tially considered. 


Dr. Whitby plainly supposes, that the acts and determina* 
tions of the Will always follow the Understanding's appre- 
hension 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 infallibly follow these two things in the 
Understanding: 1. The degree of good to be obtained, and 
evil to be avoided, proposed to the Understanding, and appre- 
hended, viewed, and taken notice of by it. 2. The degree of 
the Understanding's view, notice or appehension of that good 

or evil ; which is increased by attention and consideration 

That this is an opinion he is exceeding peremptory in (as he 
is in every opinion which he maintains in his controversy 
with the Calvinists) with disdain of the contrary opinion as 
absurd and selfcontradictory, will appear by the following 
words of his, in his Discourse on the Five Points.* 

" Now, it is certain, that what naturally makes the Under* 
standing to perceive, is evidence proposed, and apprehended, 
considered or adverted to : For nothing else can be requisite 
to make us come to the knowledge of the truth. Again, what 
makes the Will choose, is something approved by the Under- 
standing ; and consequently appearing to the soul as good 

And whatsoever it refuseth, is something represented by the 
Understanding, and so appearing to the Will, as evil. Whence 
all that God requires of us is and can be only this ; to refuse 
the evil, and choose the good. Wherefore, to say that evi- 
dence proposed, apprehended and considered, is not sufficient 
to make the Understanding approve ; or that the greatest 
good proposed, the greatest evil threatened, when equally be- 
lieved 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 contradictory to 
itself, must of necessity be false. Be it then so, that we natur- 
ally have an aversion to the truths proposed to us in the gos- 
pel ; that only can make us indisposed to attend to them, but 
cannot hinder our conviction, when we do apprehend them.. 

* Second Edit, p. an, 212,21}. 


and attend to them. Be it, that there is also a renitency to 
the good we are to choose ; that only can indispose us to be- 
lieve it is, and to approve it as our chiefest good. Be it, that 
we are prone to the evil that we should decline ; that only can 
render it the more difficult for us to believe it is the worst of 
evils. But yet, what we do really believe to be Our chiefest 
good, will still be chosen ; and what we apprehend to be the 
worst of evils, will, whilst we do continue under that convic- 
tion, be refused by us. It therefore can be only requisite, in 
order to these ends, that the Good Spirit should so illuminate 
our Understandings, that we, attending to, and considering 
what lies before us, should apprehend, and be convinced of 
our duty ; and that the blessings of the Gospel should be so 
propounded to us, as that we may discern them to be our 
chiefest good ; and the miseries it threateneth, so as we may 
be convinced 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 reflected on, is suffi- 
cient 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 contradictory to itself, to suppose 
otherwise ; and therefore must of necessity be false ; and then 
what we do really believe to be our chiefest good, will still be 
chosen, and what we appi'ehend to be the worst of evils, will, 

whilst we continue under that conviction, be refused by us 

Nothing could have been said more to the purpose, fully to 
signify and declare, that the determinations of the Will must 
evermore follow the illumination, conviction and notice of the 
Understanding, with regard to the greatest good and evil pro- 
posed, reckoning both the degree of good and evil understood, 
jmd 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 other- 


I am sensible the Doctor's aim in these assertions h 
against the Calvinists ; to shew, in opposition to them, that 
there is no need of any physical operation of the Spirit of 
God on the Will, to change and determine that to a good 
choice, but that God's operation and assistance is only moral, 
suggesting ideas to the Understanding ; which he supposes to 
be enough, if those ideas are attended to, infallibly to obtain 
the end. But whatever his design was, nothing can more di- 
rectly 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 deter- 
mination of the Will, evermore, in this manner, follows the 
light, conviction and view of the Understanding, concerning 
the greatest good and evil, and this be that alone which moves 
the Will, and it be a contradiction to suppose otherwise ; then- 
it is necessarily so, the Will necessarily follows this light or 
view of the Understanding, and not only in some of its acts, 
but in every act of choosing and refusing. 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 neces- 
sarily connected 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. 

Here if it should be replied, that although it be true, that ac- 
cording to the Doctor, the final determination of the Will al- 
ways depends upon, and is infallibly connected with the Un- 
derstanding's conviction, and notice of the greatest good ; yet 
the acts of the Will are not necessary ; because that convic- 
tion and notice of the Understanding is first dependent on a 
preceding act of the Will, in determining to attend to, and 
take notice of the evidence exhibited ; by which means the 
mind obtains that degree of conviction, which is sufficient and 
effectual to determine the consequent and ultimate choice of 
the Will ; and that the Will, with regard to that preceding 
act, whereby it determines whether to attend or no, is not ne- 
cessary ; and that in this, the liberty of the Will consists, that 


when God holds forth sufficient objective light, the Will is at 
liberty whether to command the attention of the mind to it. 

Nothing can be more weak and inconsiderate than such a 
reply as this. For that preceding act of the Will, in deter- 
mining to attend and consider, still is an act of the Will (it is so 
to be sure, if the liberty of the Will consists in it, as is suppos- 
ed) and if it be an act of the Will, it is an act of choice or refus- 
al. 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 as- 
serts, it is that light which alone doth move the Will to choose 
«r refuse. And therefore the Will must be moved by that in 
choosing to attend to the objective light offered in order to an- 
other consequent act of choice ; so that this act is no less ne- 
cessary than the other. And if we suppose another act of 
the Will, still preceding both these mentioned, to deter- 
mine 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 deter- 
mined by a certain degree of light in the Understanding, con- 
cerning the greatest and most eligible good in that case ; and 
so, not one of them free according to Dr. Whitby's notion of 
freedom. ...And if it be said, the reason why men do not at- 
tend to light held forth, is because of ill habits contracted by 
evil acts committed before, whereby their minds are indispos- 
ed to attend to, and consider 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. Whitby's principles, still be the view 
of the Understanding concerning the greatest good and evil. 
If this view of the Understanding be that alone which doth move 
the Will to 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 Under- 
standing, exciting and governing the act, must be before the 

Vol. V. N 


act : And therefore the Will is necessarily determined, in 
every one of its acts, from a man's first existence, 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 at one stroke, has cut the sinews of all his arguments 
from the goodness, righteousness, faithfulness and sincerity 
of God in his commands, promises, threatenings, calls, invi- 
tations, expostulations ; which he makes use of, under the 
heads of reprobation, election, universal redemption, sufficient 
and effectual grace, and the freedom of the Will of man ; 
and has enervated and made vain all those exclamations a- 
gainst the doctrine, of the Calvinists, as charging God with 
manifest unrighteousness, unfaithfulness, hypocrisy, falla- 
ciousness, 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 neces- 
sity of volition, from its necessary Connexion with the last dic- 
tate of the Understanding, supposes the latter not to be di- 
verse from the act of the Will itself. But if it be so, it will 
not alter the case as to the evidence of the necessity of the act 
of the Will. If the dictate of the Understanding be the very 
same with the determination of the Will or choice, as Dr. 
Clark supposes, then this determination is no finds 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 Under- 
standing be the same with the determination of volition itself, 
then the existence of that determination must be necessary as 
to volition ; in as much as volition can have no opportunity 
to determine whether it shall exist or no, it having existence 
already before volition 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, 
would observe, that if it be so, and the Arminian notion of lib- 
erty consists in a sclfdelermining power in the Understand- 
• Edition. VI. p. 93. 


If liberty consists in that which Arminians suppose, viz. 
in the Will's determining its own, acts, having free opportu- 
nity, and being without necessity ; this is the same as to say, 
that liberty consists in the soul's having power and opportu- 
nity to have what determinations of the Will it pleases or 
chooses. And if the determinations of the Will, and the last 
dictates of the Understanding be the same thing, then liberty 
consists in the mind's having power to have what dictates of 
the Understanding it pleases, having opportunity to 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, determining 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 according to its own choice determines in ev- 
ery case, what that dictate of the Understanding shall be ; 
otherwise that dictate, as to the Will, is necessary ; and the 
acts determined by it must also be necessary. So that here 
is a determination of the mind prior to that dictate of the 
Understanding, an act of choice going before it, choosing 
and determining what that dictate of the Understanding 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 deter- 
mination of the Will be the same, this confounds the Under- 
standing and Will, and makes them the same. Whether 
they be the same or no, I will not now dispute ; but only 
ing, free of all necessity ; being independent, undetermin? 


cd by any thing prior to its own acts and determinations j 
and the more the Understanding is thus independent and sovc* 
reign over its own determinations the more free ; then 
of course the freedom of the soul, as a moral agent, must 
consist in the independence of the Understanding on any evi- 
dence or appearance of things, or any thing whatsoever, that 
stands forth to the view of the mind, prior to the Understand- 
ing's determination. And what a sort of liberty is this ! Con- 
sisting in an ability, freedom and easiness of judging, either 
according to evidence, or against it ; having a sovereign com- 
mand over itself at all times, to judge, either agreeably or dis- 
agreeably to what is plainly exhibited to its own view. Cer- 
tainly it is no liberty that renders persons the proper subjects 
of persuasive reasoning, arguments, expostulations, and such 
like moral means and inducements. The use of which with 
mankind is a main argument of the Arminians, to defend 
their notion of liberty without all necessity. For according to 
this, the more free men are, the less they are under the gov- 
ernment of such means, less subject to the power of evi- 
dence and reason, and more independent of their influence, in 
their determinations. 

However whether the Understanding and Will are the same 
or no, as Dr. Clark seems to suppose, yet in order to main- 
tain the Arminian notion of liberty without necessity, the free 
Will must not be determined by the Understanding, nor neces- 
sarily connected with the Understanding ; and the further from 
such Connexion, the greater the freedom. And when the 
liberty is full and complete, the determinations of the Will 
must have no Connexion at all with the dictates of the Under- 
standing. And if so, in vain are all applications to the Under- 
standing, in order to induce to any free virtuous act ; and 
in vain are all instructions, counsels,invitations, expostulations, 
?.nd 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 selfdetermined, and independent 
of the Understanding, to what purpose are things thus repre- 
sented to the Understanding, in order to determine the choice ? 



Volition necessarily connected with the Influence of 
Motives ; with particular Observations on the 
great Inconsistence oj Mr. Cubb's Assertions a?id 
reasonings, about the Freedom of the Will, 

THAT every act of the Will has some cause, and conse- 
quently (by "what has been already proved) has a necessary 
connexion with its cause, and so is necessary by a necessity of 
connexion 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 choos- 
ing 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 pursues in so doing ; it aims at nothing, and seeks 
nothing. And if it seek 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 ; because 
for the mind to Will something, and for it to go after some- 
thing by an act of preference and inclination, are the same 

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 properly the 
effect of their motives. Motives do nothing as Motives or 
inducements, but by their influence ; and so much as is 
done by their influence is the effect of them. For that is 
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 their Motives, 
ihen they are necessarily connected with their Motives 


Every effect and event being, as proved before, necessarily 
connected with that, which is the proper ground and reason of 
its existence. Thus it is manifest, that volition is necessary, 
and is not from any selfdetermining power in the Will : The 
volition, which is caused by previous Motive and inducement, 
is not caused by the Will exercising a sovereign power over 
Itself, to determine, cause and excite volitions in itself. This 
is not consistent with the Will's acting in a state of indiffer- 
ence and equilibrium, to determine itself to a preference ; for 
the way in which Motives operate, is by biasing the Will, and 
giving it a certain inclination or preponderation one way. 

Here it may be proper to observe, that Mr. Chubb, in his 
Collection of Tracts on various subjects, has advanced a 
scheme of liberty, which is greatly divided against itself, and 
thoroughly subversive of itself; and that many ways. 

I. 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 
page 263, " Volition cannot take place without some pre- 
vious 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 absurd to suppose, that the active facul- 
ty would be exerted without some previous reason to dispose 
the mind to action." So also page 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. Pages 252, 253, 
254, 255, 261, 262, 263, 264. 

And yet at the same time, by his scheme, the influence of 
Motives upon us to excite to action, and to be actually a ground 
of volition, is consequent on the volition or choice of the 
mind. For he very greatly insists upon it, that in all free ac- 
tions, before the mind is the subject of those volitions, which 
Motives excite, it chooses to be 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 


tvhich it will yield to, and which it will reject. So page 256, 
* Every man has power to act, or to refrain from acting agree- 
ably with, or contrary to* any Motive that presents." Page 
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 power, and 
is as much at liberty to reject the Motive that does prevail, as 
he has power, and is at liberty to reject those Motives that do 
not." And so, page 310, 311, " In order to constitute a 
moral agent, it is necessary, that he should have power to act, 
or to refrain from acting, upon such moral Motives as he 

pleases." And to the like purpose in many other places 

According to these things, the Will acts first, and chooses or 
refuses to comply with the Motive, that is presented, before 
it falls under its prevailing influence : And it is first deter- 
mined by the mind's pleasure or choice, what Motives it will 
be induced by, before it is induced by them. 

Now, how can these things hang together ? How can the 
mind first act, and by its act of volition and choice, determine 
what Motive shall be the ground and reason of its volition and 
choice ? For this supposes the choice is already made, before 
the Motive has its effect ; and that the volition is already ex- 
erted, before the Motive prevails, so as actually to be the 
ground of the volition ; and makes the prevailing of the Mo- 
tive, the consequence of the volition, which yet it is the 
ground of. If the mind has already chosen to comply Avith 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 invites to a thing, that im- 
plies, and in fact is a choosing the thing invited to ; and the 
very act of choice is before the influence of the Motive which 
induces, and is the ground of the choice ; the son is before- 
hand with the father that begets him : The choice is suppos- 
ed to be the ground of that influence of the Motive, which 
"cry influence is supposed to be # the ground of the choice.... 


And so vice versa, the choice is supposed to be the const- 
quence 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 be- 
fore it falls under its influence, and the prevailing of the Mo- 
tive 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 thing, volition cannot take place without some 
previous reason and motive to induce it ; and that this act is 
consequent upon, and follows the Motive ? Which things 
Mr. Chubb often asserts, as of certain and undoubted truth.... 
So that the very same motive is both previous and conse- 
quent, both before and after, both the ground and fruit of the 
very same thing ! 

II. Agreeable to the forementioned inconsistent notion of 
the Will's first acting towards the Motive, choosing whether 
it will comply with it, in order to its becoming a ground of 
the Will's acting, before any act of volition can take place, 
Mr. Chubb frequently calls Motives and excitements to the 
action of the Will, the passive ground or reason of that ac- 
tion : Which is a remarkable phrase ; than which I presume 
there is none more unintelligible, and void of distinct and con- 
sistent meaning, in all the writings of Duns Scotus, or Thom- 
as Aquinas. When he represents the Motive to action or vo- 
lition as passive, he must mean. ...passive in that affair, or pas- 
sive with respect to that action which he speaks of; other- 
wise it is nothing to his purpose, or relating to the design of 
his argument : He must mean, (if that can be called a mean- 
ing) that the Motive to volition, is first acted upon or to- 
wards by the volition, choosing to yield to it, making it a 
ground of action, or determining to fetch its influence from 
thence; and so to make it a previous ground of its own exci- 
tation 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 existence, choose what cause it would come 
into existence by, and should act upon its cause, to fetch influ- 
ence from thence, to bring it into being ; and so its cause 
should be a passive ground of its existence ! 


Mr. Chubb does very plainly suppose Motive or excite- 
ment to be the ground of the being of volition. He speaks 
of it as the ground or reason of the exertion of an act of the 
Will, p. 391, and 392, and expressly says, that volition cannot 
•Take place without some previous ground or Motive to in- 
duce to it, p. 363. And he speaks of the act as from the Mo* 
Vive, and from the influence of the motive, p. 352, and 
from the influence that the Motive has on the man, for the Pro- 
duction of an action, p. SI 7. Certainly there is no need of 
multiplying words about this ; it is easily judged, whether 
Motive can be the ground of volition's being exerted and tak- 
ing place, so that the very production of it is from the influ- 
ence of the Motive, and yet the Motive, before it becomes 
the ground of the volition, is passive, or acted upon by the vo- 
lition. But this I will say, that a man, who insists so much on 
clearness of meaning in others, and is so much in blaming 
their confusion and inconsistence, ought, if he was able, to 
have explained his meaning in this phrase of passive ground 
of action, so as to shew it not to be confused and inconsistent. 

If any should suppose, that Mr. Chubb, when he speaks 
of Motive as a passive ground of action, does not mean pas- 
sive with regard to that volition which it is the ground of, but 
some other antecedent volition, (though his purpose and ar- 
gument? and whole discourse, will by no means al'Jbw of such 
a supposition) yet it would not help the matter in the least. 
For, (1.) If we suppose thereto be an act of volition or 
choice, by which the soul chooses to yield to the invitation of 
a Motive to another volition, by which the soul chooses 
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 distinction of two volitions. (2.) If the Motive 
be passive with respect, not to the same volition that the Mo- 
tive excites to, but one truly distinct and prior ; yet, by Mr. 
Chubb, that prior volition cannot take place, without a Mo- 
tive or excitement, as a previous ground of its existence-, 

Vol. V. O 


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 very first in the 
whole series must be excited by a previous Motive ; and yet 
the Motive to that first volition is passive ; but cannot be pas- 
sive with regard to another antecedent volition, because by 
the supposition, it is the very first : Therefore if it be passive 
with respect to any volition, it must be so with regard to that 
very volition that it is the ground of, and that is excited by it. 
III. 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 in- 
duce 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 follow : " Though with regard to 
physical causes, that which is strongest always prevails, yet 
it is otherwise with regard to moral causes. Of these, some- 
times 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 bare- 
ly passive reasons of, or excitements to the action, or to the re- 
fraining from acting: Which excitements we have power, or are 
at liberty to comply with or reject,as I have shewed above." And 
so throughout the paragraph, he, in a variety of phrases, insists, 
that the Will is not always determined by the strongest Mo- 
tive, unless by strongest we preposterously mean actually 
prevailing in the event ; which is not in the Motive, but in 
the Will ; so that the Will is not always determined by the 
Motive, which is strongest, by any strength previous to the 
volition itself. And he elsewhere does abundantly assert, that 
the Will is determined by no superior strength or advantage t 
that Motives have, from any constitution or state of things, or 
any circumstances whatsoever, previous to the actual deter- 
mination of the Will. And indeed his whole discourse on 
human liberty implies it, his whole scheme is founded upon it. 


-But these things cannot stand together... .There is such a 
thing as a diversity of strength in Motives to choice previous 
to the choice 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 tendency to induce and dispose to volition pre- 
vious to volition 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 less ; and they that have most of 
this tendency, considered with all their nature, and circum- 
stances, previous to volition, 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 advan- 
tage, 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 pre- 
vious reason to dispose the mind to it, contrary to what the 
same author supposes. The act, wherein the Will must pro- 
ceed without a previous Motive to induce it, is the act of pre- 
ferring the weakest Motive. For how absurd is it to say, the 
mind sees previous reason in the Motive, to prefer that Motive 
before the other ; and at the same time to supppose, that 
there is nothing in the Motive, in its nature, state, or any 
circumstances of it whatsoever, as it stands in the previous 
view of the mind, that gives it any preference ; but on the 
contrary, the other Motive that stands in competition with it, 
in all these respects, has most belonging to it, that is inviting 
and moving, and has most of a tendency to choice and pref- 
erence. This is certainly as much as to say, there is pre- 
vious ground and reason in the Motive, for the act of prefer- 
ence, and yet no previous reason for it. By the supposition, 
as to all that is in the two rival Motives, which tends to pref- 
erence, previous to the act of preference, it is not in that 
which is preferred, but wholly in the other : Because appear- 
ing superior strength, and all appearing preferableness is in 


that; and yet Mr. Chubb supposes, that the act of preference u 
from previous ground and reason in the Motive which is pre- 
ferred. But are these things consistent ? Can there be pre- 
vious ground in a thing for an event that takes place, and yet no 
previous tendency in it to that event ? If one thing- follow an- 
other, without any previous tendency to its following, then I 
should think it very plain, that it follows it without any man- 
ner 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 tendency to it, but a contrary 
tendency. The event js the preference, which the mind 
gives to that Motive, which is weaker, as it stands in the pre- 
vious view of the mind ; the immediate antecedent is the 
view the mind has of the two rival Motives conjunctly ; in 
which previous view of the miiij, all the preferableness, or 
previous tendency to preference, is supposed to be on the 
other side, or in the contrary Motive ; and all the unworthi- 
ness of preference, and so previous tendency to comparative 
neglect, rejection or undervaluing, 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, excit- 
ing it, and disposing the mind to it. Which, I leave the reader 
to judge, whether it be absurd or not. If it be not, then it is 
not absurd to say, that the previous tendency of an antecedent 
to a consequent, is the ground and reason why that conse- 
quent does not follow ; and the want of a previous ten- 
dency to an event, yea, a tendency to the contrary, is the 
true ground and reason why that event does follow. 

An act of choice or preference is a comparative act, where- 
in 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 ap- 
pears inferior in the comparison, then the mind herein acts 
absolutely without Motive, or inducement, or any temptation 
v/hatsoevcr. Then, if a hungry man has the offer of two 
forts of food, both which he finds an appetite to, but has a 
stronger appetite to one than the other ; and there be n* 


*iircumstances or excitements whatsoever in the case to in- 
duce him to take either the one or the other, bat merely his, 
appetite : If in the choice he makes between them, he choos- 
es that, which he has the least appetite to, and refuses that, to 
which he has the strongest appetite, this is a choice made ab- 
solutely without previous Motive, excitement, reason or temp- 
tation, 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 absolute- 
ly no previous ground, yea, is against all previous ground and 
Motive. And if there be any principle in man, from whence 
an act of choice may arise after this manner, from the same 
principle, volition may arise wholly without Motive on either 
side. If the mind in its volition can go beyond Motive 
then it can go without Motive : For when it is beyond the 
Motive, it is out of the reach of the Motive, out of the limits 
of 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 demonstrates the independence of 
volition or Motive. And if so, no reason can be given for 
what Mr. Chubb so often asserts, even that in the nature of 
things -volition cannot take place without a Motive to induce it. 

If the Most High should endow a balance with agency or ac- 
tivity of nature, in such a manner, that when unequal 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 balance 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 great- 
er 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 with- 
out some Motive ; and also supposes, that if there be a Mo- 
tive to one thing, and none to the contrary, volition will inialli- 


bly follow that Motive This is virtually to suppose an en- 
tire 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 Motives, can use them as it pleases, and choose its 
own influence from them, and neglect the strongest, and follow 
the weakest, supposes it to be wholly independent on Motives. 

It further appears, on Mr. Chubb's supposition, that voli- 
tion must be without any previous ground in any Motive, 
thus : If it be, as he supposes, that the Will is not determined 
by any previous superior strength of the Motive, but de- 
termines 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 in either of the Motives ; 
for all that is previously in the Motives, is supposed precise- 
ly and perfectly 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 con- 
sequent. Perfect identity in the ground cannot be the reason 
why it is not followed with the same consequence. And 
therefore the source of this diversity of consequence must be 
sought for elsewhere. 

And lastly, it may be observed, that however Mr. Chubb 
does much insist that no volition can take place without some 
Motive to induce it, which previously disposes the mind to it ; 
vet, as he also insists that the mind, without reference to any 
previous superior strength of Motives, picks and chooses for its 
Motive to follow ; he himself herein plainly supposes, that with 
regard to the mind's preference of one Motive before another 
it is not the Motive that disposes the Will, but the Will dis- 
poses itself to follow the Motive. 

IV. Mr. Chubb supposes necessity to be utterly inconsist- 
ent with agency ; and that to suppose a being to be an agent 


in that which is necessary, is a plain contradiction. P. 311, 
and throughout his discourses on the subject of liberty, he 
supposes, that necessity cannot consist with agency or free- 
dom ; and that to suppose otherwise, is to make liberty and 
necessity, action and passion, the same thing. And so he 
seems to suppose, that there is no action, strictly speaking, 
but volition ; and that as to the effects of volition in body or 
mind, in themselves considered, being necessary, they are 
said to be free, only as they are the effects of an act that is not 

And yet, according to him, volition itself is the effect of vo- 
lition ; yea, every act of free volition : And therefore every 
act of free volition must, by what has now been observed from 
him be necessary. ...That every act of free voliiion is itself the 
effect of volition, is abundantly 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 choice, so that he might, sf he had pleased have 
chosen and done the contrary." Here he supposes, all that 
is good or evil in man is the effect of his choice ; and so that 
his good or evil choice itself, is the effect of his pleasure or 
choice, in these words, he might, if he had pleased, have chos- 
en the contrary . So in p. 356, "Though it be highly reasonable, 
that a man should always choose the greater good. ...yet he 
may if he please, choose otherwise." Which is the same 
thing as if he had said, he may, if he chooses, choose other- 
wise." And then he goes on...." that is, he may, if he pleas- 
es, choose what is good for himself," 8cc. And again in the 
same page, " The Will is not confined by the under- 
standing, 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 faculties of his soul. Thus, in p. 379, spsa'lo 
ing of the faculties of his mind, he says, " Man has power, 
and is at liberty to neglect these faculties, to use them aright, 
or to abuse them, as he pleases." And that he supposes an 
act of choice, or exercise of pleasure, properly distinct from, 
and antecedent to those acts thus chosen, directing, com- 
manding 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 consist his liberty ; he can give or de- 
ny himself that pleasure as he pleases." And p. 377. If the 
actions of men are not the produce of a free choice, or election, 
but spring from a necessity of nature, he cannot in reason b^ 
the object of reward or punishment on their account. Where- 
as, if action in man, whether good or evil, is the produce of 
Will or free choice ; so that a man in either case, had it in his 
power, and was at liberty to have chosen the contrary, he is 
the proper object of reward or punishment, according as he 
chooses to behave himself." Here, in these last words, he 
speaks of liberty of choosing, according as he chooses. So 
that the behavior which he speaks of as subject to his choice, 
is his choosing itself, as well as his external conduct conse- 
quent upon it. And therefore it is evident, he means not 
only external actions, but the acts of choice themselves, when 
he speaks of all free actions, as the produce of free choice. And 
this is abundantly evident in what he says in p. 372, 373. 

Now these things imply a twofold great absurdity and in- 

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, to be 
the produce of an antecedent act of choice. But I hope I 
need not labor at all to convince my readers, that it is an ab- 
surdity to say, ths very first act is the produce of another act 
that went before it. 

2. If it were both possible and real, as Mr. Chubb insists, 
that every free act of choice were the produce or the effect 
of a free act of choice ; yet even then, according to his prin- 


ciples, no one act of choice would be free, but every one nec- 
essary ; 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 selfmoving power is exerted, it becomes the nec- 
essary cause of 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 ytt, by his own notion of freedom, is nec- 
essary ; and therefore by him it is a contradiction to suppose 
it to be free. According to him, every free act is the produce 
of a free act; so that there must be an infinite number of 
free acts' in succession, without any beginning, in an agent 
that has a beginning. And therefore here is an infinite num- 
ber of free acts, every one of them free ; and yet not one of 
them free, but every act in the whole infinite chain a neces- 
sary effect. All the acts are rewardable or punishable, and 
yet the agentcannot, 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, he. 

V. Mr. Chubb does most strenuously deny, that Motives 
are causes of the acts of the Will; or that the moving prin- 
ciple in man is moved, or caused to be exerted by Motives.... 
His words, pages 388 and 389, are, " If the moving principle 
in man is moved, or caused to be exerted, by something 
external to man, which all Motives are, then it would not be a 
selfmoving principle, seeing it would be moved by a principle 
external to itself. And to say, that a selfmoving principle is 
moved, or caused to be exerted, by a cause external to 
itself, is absurd and a contradiction," Sec. 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 production 
of action, and have no causality in the production of it ; no caus- 
ality, to be the cause 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 

Vol. V. W 


1. Mr. Chubb abundantly speaks of Motives as excitements 
of the acts of the Will ; and says, that Motives do excite voli- 
tion, and induce it, and that they are necessary to this end ; 
that in the reason and nature of things, volition cannot take filace 
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 Motives. And again, (if language is of any 
significancy at all) if Motives excite volition, then they are 
the cause of its being excited ; and to cause volition to be ex- 
cited, is to cause it to be put forth or exerted. Yea, Mr. 
Chubb says himself, p. 317, Motive is necessary to the exer- 
tion of the active faculty. To excite, is positively to do some- 
thing ; and certainly that which does something, is the cause 
of the thing done by it. To create, is to cause to be created ; 
to make, is to cause to be made ; to kill, is to cause to be 
killed ; to quicken, is to cause to be quickened ; and to excite, 
is to cause to be excited. To excite, is to be a cause, in the 
most proper sense, not 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, page 317, speaks of Motives as the 
ground and reason of action by influence, and by prevail- 
ing influence. Now, what can be meant by a cause, but 
something that is the ground and reason of a thing by its in- 
fluence, an influence that is prevalent and so effectual. 

3. This author not only speaks of Motives as the ground 
and reason of action, by prevailing influence ; but expressly 
of their influence as prevailing for the production of an 
action, in the same page 317 : Which makes the inconsist- 
ency still more palpable and notorious. The production of an 
effect is certainly the causing of an effect ; and productive in- 
fluence 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 ab- 
surd and a contradiction, to say they are causes. 


4. In the same page, he once and again speaks of Motives 
as disposing the agent to action, by their influence. His 
words are these : " As Motive, which takes place in the un- 
derstanding, and is the product of intelligence, is necessary 
to action, that is, to the exertion of the active faculty, be- 
cause that faculty would not be exerted without some pre- 
yious reason to dispose the mind to action ; so from hence 
it plainly appears, that when a man is said to be disposed to 
one action rather than another, this properly signifies the 
prevailing influence that one Motive has upon a man 
tor the production of an action, or for the being at rest, 
before all other Motives, for the production of the contrary.... 
For as Motive is the ground and reason of any action, so the 
Motive that prevails, disposes the agent to the performance 
of that action." 

Now, if Motives dispose the mind to action, then they cause 
the mind to be disposed ; and to cause the mind to be dispos- 
ed is to cause it to be willing ; and to cause it to be willing is 
to cause it to Will ; and that is the same thing as to be the 
cause of an act of the Will. And yet this same Mr. Chubb 
holds it to be absurd, to suppose Motive to be a cause of the 
act of the Will. 

And if we compare these things together, we have here a- 
gain a whole heap of inconsistencies. Motives are the pre- 
vious ground and reason of the acts of the Will ; yea, the nec- 
essary ground and reason of their exertion, without which they 
will not be exerted, and cannot t in the nature of things, take 
place ; and they do excite these acts of the Will, and do this by 
a prevailing influence ; yea, an influence which prevails for the 
production of the act of the Will, and for the disposing of the 
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 exerted by it, or that it has any causality in the pro- 
duction of it, or any causality to be the cause of the exertion of 
the Will. 

A due consideration of these things which Mr. Chubb has 
advanced, the- strange inconsistencies which the notion of lib- 
erty, consisting in the Will's power of selfdeterminatioH void 


of all necessity, united with that dictate of common sense, 
that there can be no volition without a Mqjive, drove him into, 
may be sufficient to convince us, that it is utterly impossible 
ever to make that notion of liberty consistent with the influ- 
ence of Motives in volition. And as it is in a manner selfevi- 
dent, that there can be no act of Will, choice, or preference of 
the mind, without some Motive or inducement, something in 
the mind's view, which it aims at, seeks, inclines to, and goes 
after ; so it is most manifest, there is no such liberty in the 
universe as Arminians insist on ; nor any such thing possible, 
or conceivable. 


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

THAT the acts of the Wills of moral agents are not con- 
tingent events, in that sense, as to be without all necessity, 
appears by God's certain foreknowledge of such events. 

In handling this argument, I would in the first place prove, 
that God has a certain foreknowledge of the voluntary acts of 
moral agents ; and secondly, shew the consequence, or how 
it follows from hence, that the volitions of moral agents are 
not contingent, so as to be without necessity of connexion and 

First, I am to prove, that God has an absolute and certain 
foreknowledge of the free actions of moral agents. 

One would think, it should be wholly needless to enter on 
such an argument with any that profess themselves Christ- 
ians : But so it is; God's certain foreknowledge of the free 
acts of moral agents, is denied by some that pretend to believe 
the scriptures to be the word of God ; and especially of late. 
1 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 
such as own the truth of the Bible. 

Arg. I. My first argument shall be taken from God's pre- 
diction 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 peremptoi'ily and certainly foretell 
them. If God has no more than an uncertain guess concern- 
ing events of this kind, then he can declare no more than an 
uncertain guess. Positively to foretell, is to profess to fore- 
know, or to declare positive foreknowledge. 

(2.) If God does not certainly foreknow the future volitions 
of moral agents, then neither can he certainly foreknow those 
events which are consequent and dependent on these volitions. 
The existence of the one depending on the existence of the 
other ; the knowledge of the existence of the one depends on 
the knowledge of the existence of the other ; and the one can- 
not be more certain than the other. 

Therefore, how many, how great, and how extensive so- 
ever 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 se- 
ries of successive events to all eternity, and should in the pro- 
gress 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 volitions 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 

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

1. Men's moral conduct and qualities, their virtues and 
vices, their wickedness and good practice, things rewardable 
and punishable, have often been foretold by God. Pharaoh's 
mora} 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 let you go." 


Here God professes not only to guess at, but to know Pha- 
raoh's future disobedience. In chap. vii. 4, God says, but 
Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you ; that I may lay mine hand 
vfion Egypt, Sec. And chap. ix. 30, Moses says to Pharaoh, 
as for thee, and thy servants I kwow 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 idol- 
atry, in particular acts of his, was foretold above three hun- 
dred years before he was born and the prophecy sealed by a 
miracle, and renewed and confirmed by the words of a second 
prophet, as what surely would not fail, 1 Kings xiii. 1....6, 32. 
This prophecy was also in effect a prediction of the moral 
conduct of the people, in upholding their schismatical and 
idolatrous worship 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, is thy servant a dog, that he should do this thing ! The 
prophet speaks of the event as what he knew, and not what 
he conjectured, 2 Kings viii. 12. I know the evil that thou 
vrilt do unto the children of Israel : Thou wilt dash their children, 
and riji up. their women with child. The moral conduct of Cyrus 
is foretold, long before he had a being, in his mercy to God's 
people, and regard to the true God, in turning the captivity of 
the Jews, and promoting the building of the Temple, Isaiah 
xliv. 28. xlv. IS. Compare 2 Chron. xxxvi. 22, 23, and Ezra 
i. 1....4. How many instances of the moral conduct of the 
Kings of the North and South, particular instances of the wick- 
ed behavior 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 is 
foretold of the horrid wickedness of Antiochus Epiphanes, 
called there a vile person, instead of Epiphanes, or illus- 
trious. In that chapter, and also in chap. viii. verses 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 coven- 
ant, his destroying and treading underfoot the holy people, in a 
marvellous manner, his having indignation against the holy cov- 
enant, setting his heart against it, and conspiring against it, his 
polluting the sanctuary of strength, treading it underfoot, tak- 
ing away the daily sacirifce, and placing the abomination that 
maketh desolate ; his great pride, magnifying himself against 
God, and uttering marvellous 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 he should corrupt many by flatteries, chap. xi. 
32... .34. But that others should behave with a glorious con- 
stancy and fortitude in opposition to him, ver. 32. And that 
some good men should fall and repent, ver. 35. Christ fore- 
told Peter's 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, Matth. xxvi. 
21. ...25, and parallal places in the other Evangelists. 

2. Many events have been foretold by God, which were 
consequent and dependent on the moral conduct of particular 
persons, and were accomplished, either by their virtuous or 
vicious actions Thus, the children of Israel's going clown in- 
to Egypt to dwell there, was foretold to Abraham, Gen. xv. 
which was brought about by the wickedness of Joseph's breth- 
ren in selling him, and the wickedness of Joseph's mistress, 
and his own signal virtue in resisting her temptation. The 
accomplishment of the thing prefigured in Joseph's dream, 
depended on the same moral conduct. Jotham's parable and 
prophecy, Judges ix. 15. ...20, was accomplished by the wick- 
ed conduct of Abimelech, and the men of Shechem. 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 impiety, and extreme 
crueltr foundation than conjecture. For Christ's victory over 
Satan consists in men's being saved from sin, and in the vie- 


tory of virtue and holiness, over that vice and wickedness, 
which Satan, by his temptation 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 follow, that the prophecies of 
Scripture in general are without foreknowledge. For scrip- 
ture prophecies, almost all of them, if not universally without 
any exception, are either predictions of the actings and be- 
havior of moral agents, or of events depending on them, or 
some way connected with them ; judicial dispensations, judg- 
ments on men for their wickedness, or rewards of virtue and 
righteousness, remarkable manifestations of favor to the right- 
eous or manifestations of sovereign mercy to sinners, forgiving 
their iniquities, and magnifying the riches of divine Graces 
or dispensations of Providence, in some respect or other, re- 
lating to the conduct of the subjects of God's moral govern- 
ment, wisely adapted thereto ; either providing for what 
should be in a future state of things, through the volitions and 
voluntary actions of moral agents, or consequent upon them, 
and regulated and ordered according to them. So that all 
events that are foretold, are either moral events, or other 
events which are connected with, and accommodated to moral 

That the predictions of scripture in general must be with- 
out knowledge, if God does not foresee the volitions of men, 
will further appear, if it be considered, that almost all events 
belonging to the future state of the world of mankind, the 
changes and revolutions which come to pass in empires, king- 
doms and nations, and all societies, depend innumerable ways 
on the acts of men's Wills : Yea, on an innumerable multi- 
tude of millions of millions of volitions of mankind, huch is 
the state and course of things in the world of mankind, that 
one single event, which appears in itself exceeding inconsid- 
erable, 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 


For instance, the coming into existence of those particular 
men, -who have been the great conquerors of the world, 
which, under God, have had the main hand in all the conse- 
quent state of the world, in all after ages ; such as Nebu- 
chadnezzar, Cyrus, Alexander, Pompey, Julius Caesar, 8cc, 
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 hundreds and thousands of others, 
their contemporaries of the same generation ; and most of 
these on millions of millions of volitions of others in preced- 
ing 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 philoso- 
phers tell us of the innumerable multitudes of those things 
which are, as it were, the firincifiia, or stamina vita, concern- 
ed in generation ; the animalcula in senrine ?nascu!o, and the 
ova in the womb of the female ; the impregnation, or ani- 
mating of one of these in distinction from all the rest, must 
depend on things infinitely minute, relating to the time and 
circumstances of the act of the parents, the state of their 
bodies, Sec. which must depend on innumerable foregoing- 
circumstances and occurrences ; which must depend, infinite 
ways, on foregoing acts of their Wills ; which are occasioned 
by innumerable things that happen in the course of their 
lives, in which their own, and their neighbor's behavior, must 
have a hand, an infinite number of ways. And as the voli- 
tions of others must be so many ways concerned in the con- 
ception and birth of such men ; so, no less, in their preserva- 
tion, and circumstances of life, their particular determinations 
and actions, on which the great revolutions they were the oc- 
casions of, depended. As, for instance, when the conspirators 
in Persia, against the Magi, were consulting about a succes- 
s-ion to the empire, it came into the mind of one of them, to 
propose, that he whose horse neighed first, when they came 
together the next morning, should be king. Now such a 


thing's coming into his mind, might depend on innumerable 
incidents, wherein the volitions of mankind had been concern- 
ed. But, in consequence of this accident, Darius, the son cf 
Histaspes, was king. And if this had not been, probably his 
successor would not have been the same, and all the circum- 
stances of the Persian empire might have been far otherwise. 
And then perhaps Alexander might never have conquered: 
that empire. And then probably the circumstances of the' 
world, in all succeeding ages, might have been vastly other- 
wise. I might further instance in many other occurrences ; 
such as those on which depended Alexander's preservation, 
in the many critical junctures of his life, wherein a small 
trifle would have turned the scale against him ; and the pres- 
ervation and success of the Roman people, in the infancy of 
their kingdom and commonwealth, and afterwards ; which all 
the succeeding changes in their state, and the mighty revolu- 
tions that afterwards came to pass in the habitable world, de- 
pended upon. But these hints may be sufficient for every 
discerning considerate person, to convince him, that the whole 
state of the world of mankind, in all ages, and the very being 
of every person who has ever lived in it, in every age, since 
the times of the ancient prophets, has depended on more vo- 
litions, or acts of the Wills of men, than there are sands or* 
the sea shore. 

And therefore, unless God does most exactly and perfectly 
foresee the future acts of men's Wills, all the predictions 
which he ever uttered concerning David, Hezekiah, Josiah, 
Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Alexander ; concerning the four 
monarchies, and the revolutions in them ; and concerning all 
the wars, commotions, victories, prosperities and calamities, 
of any of the kingdoms, nations or communities of the world, 
have all been without knowledge. 

So that, according to this notion of God's not foreseeing th» 
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 ; and could foreknow no events, but only such as He 
-would bring to pass himself by the extraordinary interposition 
Vol. V. R 


of his immediate power ; or things -which should come to pass 
in the natural material world, by the laws of motion, and 
course of nature, -wherein that is independent on the actions 
or works of mankind ; that is, as he might, like a very able 
mathematician and astronomer, with great exactness calculate 
the revolutions of the heavenly bodies, and the greater wheels 
of the machine of the external .creation. 

And if we closely consider the matter, there will appear 
reason to convince us, that he could not, with any absolute 
certainty, foresee even these. As to the first, namely, things 
done by the immediate- and extraordinary interposition of 
God's power, these cannot be foreseen, unless it can be fore- 
seen when there shall be occasion for such extraordinary in- 
terposition. 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 not 
certainly foresee the universal deluge, the calling of Abraham, 
the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the plagues on 
Egypt, and Israel's redemption out of it, the expelling the 
seven nations of Canaan, and the bringing Israel into that 
land ; for these all are represented as connected with things 
belonging to the state of the moral world. Nor can God 
foreknow the most proper and convenient time of the day of 
judgment and general conflagration ; for that chiefly depends 
on the course 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 cal- 
culated by a good astronomer. For the moral world is th» 
end of the natural world ; and the course of things in the 
former, is undoubtedly subordinate to God's designs with re- 
spect to the latter. Therefore he has seen cause, from re- 
gard to the state of things in the moral world, extraordinarily 
to interpose, to interrupt and lay an arrest on the course of 
things in the natural world ; and even in the greater wheel* 
of its motion ; even so as to stop the sun in its course. And 


unless he can foresee the volitions of men, and so know some- 
thing of the future state of the moral world, he cannot know 
but that he may still have as great occasion to interpose in this 
manner, as ever he had ; nor can he foresee how, or when he 
shall have occasion thus to interpose. 

Corol. 1. It appears from the things which have been ob- 
served, 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." 

Corol. 2. It appears from what has been observed, that un- 
less 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 ; depending on an innu- 
merable, and, as it were, infinite multitude of volitions, which 
are all, even to God, uncertain events : However, these 
prophecies are delivered as absolute predictions, and very 
many of them in the most positive manner, with assevera- 
tions ; and some of them with the most solemn oaths. 

Corol. 3. It also follows, from what has been observed, that 
if this notion of God's ignorance of future volitions be true, in 
vain did Christ say (after uttering many great and important 
predictions, concerning God's moral kingdom, and things de- 
pending on men's moral actions) Matthew xxiv. 35. " Heav- 
en and earth shall pass away ; but my word shall not pass 

Corol. 4. From the same notion of God's ignorance, it 
would follow, that in vain has God Himself often spoke of the 
predictions of his word, as evidences of his foreknowledge ; 
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. 22. ...26, xliii. 9, 10, xliv. 8, 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 of an* 
gels, and so could not foreknow the great things which are 
consequent on these events j such as his sending his Son in- 


to the world to die for sinners, and all things pertaining to th» 
great work of redemption ; all the things which were done 
for four thousand years before Christ came, to prepare the 
way for it ; and the incarnation, life, death, resurrection and 
ascension of Christ ; and the setting Him at the head of the 
universe, as King of heaven and earth, angels and men ; and 
the setting up his church and kingdom in this world, and 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 judgment, that men 
and devils shall be the subjects of, and angels concerned in ; 
they are all what God was ignorant of before the fall. And if 
so, the following scriptures, and others like them, must be 
without any meaning, or contrary to truth. Eph. i. 4. " Ac- 
cording as he hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of 
the world." 1 Pet. i. 20. « Who verily was foreordained be- 
fore the foundation of the world." 2 Tim. i. 9. " Who hath, 
saved us, and called us with an holy calling ; not according to 
our works, but 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) " According to the eternal purpose which he 
purposed in Christ Jesus." Tit. i. 2. " In hope of eternal 
life, which God that cannot lie, promised before the world be- 
gan." Rom. viii. 29. " Whom he did foreknow, them he 
also did predestinate," Sec. 1 Peter i. 2. " Elect, according 
lo the foreknowledge of God the Father." 

If God did not foreknow the fall of man, nor the redemp- 
tion by Jesus Christ, nor the volitions of man since the fall ; 
then he did not foreknow the saints in any sense ; neither as 
particular persons, nor as societies or nations ; either by elec- 
tion, or mere foresight of their virtue or good works ; or any 
foresight of any thing about them relating to their salvation ; 
or any benefit they have by Christ, or any manner of concern 
of their's with a Redeemer. 

Arc 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 


io wish he had done otherwise : By reason that the event of 
things, in those affairs which are most important, viz. the af- 
fairs of his moral kingdom, being uncertain and contingent, 
often happens quite otherwise than he was aware beforehand. 
And there Avould be reason to understand, that in the most 
literal sense, in Gen. vi. 6, " It repented the Lord, that he had 
made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." And 
that, 1 Sam. xv. 11, contrary to that, Numb, xxiii. 19, " God 
is not the Son of man, that He should repent." And, 1 Sam. 
xv. 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 al- 
ways exposed to an infinite number of real disappointments in 
his governing the world ; and to manifold, constant, great 
perplexity and vexation ; but this is not very consistent with 
his title of God ovzr all, blessed forever more ; which 
represents Him as possessed of perfect, constant and un- 
interrupted tranquillity and felicity, as God over the uni- 
verse, and in his management of the affairs of the world, as 
supreme and universal Ruler. See Rom. i. 25. ix. 5. 2 Cor. 
xi. 31. 1 Tim. vi. 15. 

Ae.g. IV. It will also follow from this notion, that as God 
is liable to be continually repenting what he has done ; so he 
must be exposed to be constantly changing his mind and in- 
tentions, as to his future conduct ; altering his measures, re- 
linquishing his old designs, and forming new schemes and 
projections. For his purposes, even as to the main parts of 
his scheme, namely, such as belong to the state of his moral 
kingdom, must be always liable to be broken, 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 actions of moral agents ; he must be a Being, who, instead 
of being absolutely immutable, must necessarily be the sub- 
ject of infinitely the most numerous acts of repentance, and 
changes of intention, of any being whatsoever ; for this plain 
reason, that his vastly extensive charge comprehends an in- 
finitely greater number of those things which are to him con- 


tingcnt and uncertain. In such a situation, he must have lit- 
tle else to do, but to mend broken links as well as he can, and 
be rectifying his disjointed frame and disordered movements ; 
in the best manner the case will allow. The Supreme Lord 
of all things must needs be under great and miserable disad- 
vantages, in governing the world which he has made and has 
the care of, through his being utterly unable to find out things 
of chief importance, which, hereafter shall befal his system ; 
which, if he did but know, he might make seasonable provis- 
ion for. In many cases, there may be very great necessity 
that he should make provision, in the manner of his ordering 
and disposing things, for some great events which are to 
happen, of vast and extensive influence, and endless conse- 
quence to the universe ; 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 devices, 
purposes and actions, thus to disappoint God, break his meas- 
ures, make Him continually to change his mind, subject him 
to vexation, and bring him into confusion. 

But how do these things consist with reason, or with the 
word of God ? Which represents, that all God's works, all 
that he has ever to do, the whole scheme and series of his op- 
erations, are from the beginning perfectly in his view ; and 
declares, that whatever devices and designs "are in the hearts 
of men, the counsel of the Lord is that which shall stand, and 
the thoughts of his heart to all generations," Prov. xix. 21. 
Psal. xxxiii. 10, 11. « And that which the Lord of Hosts hath 
purposed, none shall disannul," Isa. xiv. 27. And that he can- 
not be frustrated in one design or thought, Job. xlii. 2. « And 
that which God doth, it shall be forever, that nothing can be 
put to it, or taken from it," Eccl. ill- 14. The stability and 
perpetuity of God's counsels are expressly spoken of as con- 
nected with the foreknowledge of God, Isaiah xlvi. 10. « De- 
claring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times, 
the things that are not yet done j saying, My counsel shall 
stand, and I will do all my pleasure.".. ..And how are these 
things consistent with what the Scripture says of God's in> 


mutability, which represents Him as " without variableness, or 
shadow of turning ;" and speaks of Him most particularly as 
unchangeable 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. i am that r am, Job. xxiii. 13, 14. 
" He is in one mind ; and who can turn Him ? And what his 
soul desireth, even that he doth : For he performeth the 
thing that is appointed for me." 

Arg. V. If this notion of Gods's ignorance of the future 
volitions of moral agents be thoroughly considered in its con- 
sequences, it will appear to follow from it, that God, after he 
had made the world, was liable to be wholly frustrated of his 
end in the creation of it ; and so has been, in like manner, li- 
able 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 nat- 
ural : 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 foreseen by God, 
because they are contingent, and subject to no kind of ne- 
cessity, then the affairs of the moral world are liable to go 
wrong, to any assignable degree ; yea, liable to be utterly ru- 
ined. As en this scheme, it may well be supposed to be literal- 
ly said, when mankind, by the abuse of their moral agency, be- 
came very corrupt before the flood, " that the Lord repented 
that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at his 
heart ;" so, when He made the universe, He did not know 
but that he might be so disappointed in it, that it might grievo 
Him at his heart that he had made it. It actually proved, that 
all mankind became sinful, and a very great part of the an- 
gels apostastised : And how could God know beforehand, tha{ 
all of them would not ? And how could God know but that all 
mankind, notwithstanding means used to reclaim them, be- 
ing still left to the freedom of their own Will, would contin- 
ue in their apostasy, and grow worse and worse, as they of 
the old world before the flood did ? 


According to the scheme I am endeavoring to confute,neitli«« 
er the fall of men ov angels, could be foreseen, and God must 
be greatly disappointed in these events ; and so the grand 
scheme and contrivance for our redemption, and destroying 
the works of the devil, by the Messiah, and all the great things 
God has done in the prosecution of these designs, must be 
only the fruits of his own disappointment, and contrivances 
of his to mend and patch up, as well as he could, his system, 
which originally was all very good, and perfectly beautiful ; 
but was marred, broken and confounded by the free Will of 
angels and men. And still he must be liable to be totally dis- 
appointed a second time : He could not know, that He should 
have his desired success, in the incarnation, life, death, resur- 
rection and exaltation of his only begotten Son, and other 
great works accomplished to restore the state of things : He 
could not know, after all, whether there would actually be any 
tolerable measure of restoration ; for this depended on the free 
Will of man. There has been a general great apostasy of al- 
most all the Christian world, to that which was worse than 
heathenism ; which continued for many ages. And how 
could God without foreseeing men's volitions, know whether 
ever Christendom would return from this apostasy ? And 
which way could He tell beforehand 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 effec- 
tual for the reformation of the Jews, would ever be effectual 
for the turning of the heathen nations from their heathen 
apostasy, which they had been confirmed in for so many 
ages ? 

It is represented often in Scripture,that God, who made the 
world forHimsclf, and created it for his pleasure, would infalli- 
bly obtain his end in the creation, and in all his works ; that as 
all things are of Him, so would all be to Him; and that in the 
final issue of things, it would appear that He is the first, and 
the last, Rev. xx. 6. « And he said unto me, It is done. I 
am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first 
and the last." But these things are not consistent with God's 


being so liable to be disappointed in all his works, nor indeed 
with his failing of his end in any thing that He has undertak- 
en, or done. 


God's certain Foreknowledge of the future wlitions 
of moral agents, inconsistent with such a Contiri- 
gence of those volitions, as is without all Neces- 

HAVING proved, that God has a certain and infallible 
prescience of the acts of the Will of moral agents, I come 
now, in the second place, to shew the consequence ; to shew 
how it follows from hence, that these events are neccssary> 
with a Necessity of connexion or consequence. 

The chief Arminian divines, so far as I have had oppor- 
tunity to observe, deny this consequence ; and affirm, that if 
such Foreknowledge be allowed, it is no evidence of any Ne- 
cessity of the event foreknown. Now I desire, that this mat- 
ter may be particularly and thoroughly inquired 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 
©bserve the following things. 

I. It is very evident, with regard to a thing whose exist- 
ence is infallibly and indissolubly connected with something 
which already hath, or has had existence, the existence of 
that thing is necessary. Here may be noted, 

1. I observed before, in explaining the nature of Necessi- 
ty, that in things which are past, their past existence is now 
uecessary : 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. 

Vol. V. S 


2. If there be any such thing as a divine Foreknowledge 
of the volitions of free agents,that Foreknowledge, by the sup- 
position, is a thing which already has, and long ago had exist- 
ence ; and so, now its existence is necessary ; it is now ut- 
utterly impossible to be otherwise, than that this Foreknowl- 
edge should be, or should have been. 

3. It is also very manifest, that those things which arc 
indissolubly connected with other things that are necessary, 
are themselves necessary. As that proposition whose truth 
is necessarily connected with another proposition, which is 
necessarily true, is itself necessarily true. To say otherwise, 
would be a contradiction : It would be in effect to say, that 
the connexion was indissoluble, and yet was not so, but might 
be broken. If that, whose existence is indissolubly connected 
with something, whose existence is now necessary, is itself 
not necessary, then it may possibly not exist, notwithstand- 
ing that indissoluble connexion of its existence. Whether 
the absurdity be not glaring, let the reader judge. 

4. It is no less evident, that if there be a full, certain and 
infallible Foreknowledge of the future existence of the voli- 
tions of moral agents, then there is a certain, infallible and 
indissoluble connexion between those events and that Fore- 
knowledge ; and that therefore, by the preceding observa- 
tions, those events arc 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 connexion of the event with that Foreknowledge is not 
indissoluble, but dissoluble and fallible is very absurd. To 
affirm it, would be the same thing as to affirm, that there is 
no necessary connexion between a proposition's being infalli- 
bly known to be true, and its being true indeed. So that it is 
perfectly demonstrable, that if there be any infallible knowl- 
edge of future volitions, the event is necessary ; or, in other 
words, that it is impossible but the event should come to pass. 
For if it be not impossible but that 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 


as that, on the supposition that there is now an infallible 
knowledge (i. e. knowledge which it is impossible should fail) 
that it is true. There is this absurdity in it that it is not im- 
possible, but that there now should be no truth in that proposi- 
tion, which is now infallibly known to be true. 

II. That no future event can be certainly foreknown, whose 
existence is contingent, and without all Necessity, may be 
proved thus : It is impossible for a thing to be certainly 
known to any intellect without evidence. To suppose other- 
wise, implies a contradiction : Because for a thiug to be cer- 
tainly known to any understanding, is for it to be evident to 
that understanding ; and for a thing to be evident to any un- 
derstanding is the same thing, as for that understanding to see 
evidence of it : But no understanding, 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 absolutely unknowable, insomuch that it implies a 
contradiction to suppose that it is known. 

But if there be any future event, whose existence is con- 
tingent, without all Necessity, the future existence of that 
event is absolutely without evidence. If there be any evidence 
of it, it must be one of these two sorts, either selfevidence, or 
proof; for there can be no other sort of evidence, but one of 
these two ; an evident thing must be either evident in itself, 
or evident in something else ; that is evident by connexion 
with something else. But a future thing, whose existence 
is without all Necessity, can have neither of these sorts of ev- 
idence. It cannot be selfevident : For if it be, it may be now 
known, by what is now to be seen in the thing itself; 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 existence 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 selfevident. And, secondly, neither is there any firoof, 
or evidence in any thing else, or evidence of connexion 
wiih something else that is evident ; for this is also con- 


trary to the supposition. It is supposed, that there is now 
nothing existent with which the future existence of the con- 
tingent event is connected. For such a connexion destroys 
its contingence, and supposes Necessity. Thus it is demon- 
strated, that thore is in the nature of things absolutely no ev- 
idence at all of the future existence of that event,\vhich is con- 
tingent, without all Necessity (if any such event there be) 
neither selfevidence nor proof. And therefore the thing 
in reality is Rot evident ; and so cannot be seen to be evident, 
or, which is the same thing, cannot be known. 

Let us consider this in an example. Suppose that five 
thousand seven hundred and sixty years ago, there was no 
other being but the Divine Being ; and then this world, or 
some particular body or spirit, all at once starts out of nothing 
into being, and takes on itself a particular nature and form ; 
all in absolute contingence, without any concern of God, or any 
other cause, in the matter ; without any manner of ground 
or reason of its existence ; or any dependence upon, or con- 
nexion at all with any thing foregoing : I say, that if this be 
supposed, there was no evidence of that event beforehand. 
There was no evidence of it to be seen in the thing itself ; for, 
the thing itself as yet, was not. And there was no evidence 
of it to be seen in any thing else ; for evidence in something 
else, is connexion with something else : But such connexion 
is contrary to the supposition There was no evidence be- 
fore, that this thing would hafifien ; for by the supposi- 
tion, there was no reason why it should happen, rather than 
something else, or rather than nothing, And if so, then all 
things be i ore were exactly equal, and the same, with respect 
to that and other possible things ; there was no preponder- 
ation, no superior weight or value ; and therefore, nothing 
that could be of any weight or value ; to determine any un- 
derstanding. The thing was absolutely without evidence, 
and absolutely unknowable. An increase of understand- 
ing, or of the capacity of discerning, has no tendency, 
and makes no advance, to a discerning any signs or ev- 
idence of it, let it be increased ever so much ; yea, if it 
be increased infinitely. The increase of the strength of sight 


may have a tendency to enable to discern the evidence which 
is far off, and very much hid, and deeply involved in clouds 
and darkness ; but it has no tendency to enable to discern ev- 
idence where there is none. If the sight be infinitely strong, 
and the capacity of discerning infinitely great, it will enable to 
see all that there is, and to see it perfectly, and with ease ; 
yet it has no tendency at all to enable a being to discern that 
evidence which is not ; but on the contrary, it has a tenden- 
cy to enable to discern with great certainty that there is none. 
III. To suppose the future volitions of moral agents not to 
be necessary events ; or, which is the same thing, events 
which it is not impossible but that they may not come to 
pass ; and yet to suppose that God certainly foreknows them, 
and knows all things ; is to suppose God's knowledge to be 
inconsistent with 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 itself; 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 contingent uncertain 
truth. If a future volition is so without all Necessity, that 
nothing hinders but that it may not be, then the proposition, 
which asserts its future existence, is so uncertain, that nothing 
hinders, but that the truth of it may entirely fail. And if God 
knows all things, he knows this proposition to be thus uncer- 
tain. And that is inconsistent with his knowing that it is in- 
falliby true ; and so inconsistent with his infallibly knowing 
that it is true. If the thing be indeed contingent, God views 
it so, and judges it to be contingent, if he views things as they 
are. If the event be not necessary, then it is possible it may 
never be : And if it be possible it may never be, God knows it 
may possibly never be ; and that is to know that the proposi- 
tion, 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 themselves 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 contrary, an argument of ignorance and mistake ; 
because 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 contingent events which we can- 
not conceive of, is ridiculous ; as much so, as to say, that God 
may know contradictions to be true, for ought we know, or 
that he may know a thing to be certain, and at the same time 
know it not to be certain, though we cannot conceive how ; 
because he has ways of knowing, which we cannot compre- 

Corol. 1. From what has been observed it is evident, that 
the absolute decrees of God are no more inconsistent with hu- 
man liberty, on account of any Necessity of the event, which 
follows from such decrees, than the absolute Foreknowledge 
of God. Because the connexion between the event and cer- 
tain Foreknowledge, is as infallible and indissoluble, as be- 
tween 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 Foreknowledge 
should disagree. The connexion between the event and 
Foreknowledge is absolutely perfect, by the supposition : Be- 
cause it is supposed, that the certainty and infallibility of the 
knowledge is absolutely perfect. And it being so, the cer- 
tainty cannot be increased ; and therefore the connexion be- 
tween the knowledge and thing known, cannot be increased ; 
so that if a decree be added to the Foreknowledge, it does 
not at all increase the connexion, 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 supposition, which is, that the knowledge 
is absolutely perfect, or perfect to the highest possible de- 

There is as much ot an impossibility but that the things 
which are infallibly foreknown, should be, or (which is the 
same thing) as great a necessity of their future existence, as if 


the event were already written down, and was known and read 
by all mankind, through all preceding ages, and there was the 
most indissoluble and.perfect connexion 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 ex- 
isted already ; and a decree cannot make an event surer or 
more necessary than this. 

And therefore, if there be any such Foreknowledge, as it 
has been proved there is, then Necessity of connexion and 
consequence, is not at all inconsistent with any liberty which 
man, or any other creature enjoys. And from hence it may 
be inferred, that absolute decrees of God, which do not at all 
increase the Necessity, are not at all inconsistent c with the lib- 
erty which man enjoys, on any such account, as that they 
make the event decreed necessary, and render it utterly im- 
possible but that it should come to pass. Therefore, if abso- 
lute decrees are inconsistent with man's liberty as a moral 
agent, or his liberty in a state of probation, or any liberty what- 
soever that he enjoys, it is not on account of any Necessity 
which absolute decrees infer. 

Dr. Whitby supposes, there is a great difference between: 
God's Foreknowledge, and his decrees, with regard to Neces~ 
Bity of future events. In his Discourse on the Five Points, p. 
474, &c. he says, "God's prescience has no influence at all 
on our actions :... .Should God, (says he) by immediate reve- 
lation, give me the knowledge of the event of any man's state 
or actions, would my knowledge of them have any influence 
upon his actions ? Surely none at all. Our knowledge doth 
not affect the things we know, to make them more certain, or 
more future, than they would be without it. Now, Fore- 
knowledge in God is knowledge. As therefore knowledge 
has no influence on things that are, so neither has Foreknow- 
ledge on things that shall be. And consequently, the Fore- 
knowledge 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 prepara- 
tion and exhibition of such means, as shall unfrustrably pro- 
duce the end. Hence God's prescience renders no actions 


necessary." And to this purpose, p. 473, he cites Origeri, 
Avhere 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 reso- 
lution of this difficulty •, that prescience is not the cause that things 
are future 3 but their being future is the cause they are foreseen. 
In like manner, Dr. Clark, in his Demonstration of the Being 
and Attributes of God, p. 95. ...99. And the author of the 
Freedom of Will, in God and the Creature, speaking to the like 
purpose with Dr. Whitby, represents Foreknowledge as having 
no more influence on things known, to make them necessary, than 
afterknowledge, Or to that purpose. 

To all which I would say, that what is said about knowl- 
edge, its not having influence on the thing known to make it 
necessary, is nothing to the purpose, nor does it in the least 
affect the foregoing reasoning. Whether prescience be the 
thing that ?nakes the event necessary or no, it alters not the 
case. Infallible Foreknowledge may prove the Necessity of 
the event foreknown, and yet not be the thing which causes the 
Necessity. If the Foreknowledge be absolute, this proves 
the event known to h? necessary, or proves that it is impossi- 
ble 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 to be certainly and infallibly true, which 
yet may possibly prove not true. 

The whole of the seeming force of this evasion lies in this ; 
that, inasmuch as certain Foreknowledge does not cause an 
event to be necessary, as a decree does ; therefore it does not 
prove it to be necessary, as a decree does. But there is no 
force in this arguing ; for it is built wholly on this supposition, 
that nothing can prove, or be an evidence of a thing's being nec- 
essary, but that which has a causal influence to make it so. But 
this can never be maintained. If certain Foreknowledge of 
the future existing of an event, be not the thing, which first 
makes ^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 ForeknowU 


tdgc be not the cause, but the effect of this impossibility, it 
may prove that there is such an impossibility, as much as if it 
were the cause. It is as strong arguing from the effect to the 
cause, as from the cause to the effect. It is enough, that an 
existence, -which is infallibly foreknown, cannot fail, whether 
that impossibility arise 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 Necessity 
connected with such knowledge ; 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 af- 
terknowledge, or concomitant knowledge, proves the thing 
knov/n 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 afterknowledge : But 
then afterknowledge, which is certain and infallible, proves 
that it is now become impossible but that the proposition 
known should be true. Certain afterknowledge, proves that 
It is now, in the time of the knowledge, by some means or 
other, become impossible but that the proposition, which pre- 
dicates past existence on the event, should be true. And so 
does certain Foreknowledge prove, that now, in the time of 
the knowledge, it is by some means or other, become impos- 
sible but that the proposition, which predicates future exist- 
ence on the event, should be true. The Necessity of the 
truth of the propositions, consisting in the present im- 
possibility of the nonexistence of the event affirmed, in 
both cases, is the immediate ground of the certainty of 
the knowledge ; there ^an be no certainty of knowledge 
without it. 

There must be a certainty in things themselves, before they 
are certainly known, or (which is the same thing) known to be 
certain. For certainty of knowledge is nothing else but 
knowing or discerning the certainty there is in the things 
'themselves, which are known. Therefore there must be a 

Vol. y. T 


certainly in things to be a ground of certainty of knowledge'* 
and to render things capable of being known to be certain..., 
And this is nothing but the Necessity of the truth known, or 
its being impossible but that it should be true ; or, in other 
words, the firm and infallible connexion 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 connexion. So God's certain Foreknowledge of the fu- 
ture existence of any event, is his view of the firm and indis- 
soluble connexion of the subject and predicate of the proposi- 
tion that affirms its future existence. The subject is that 
possible event ; the predicate is its future existing : But if 
future existence be firmly and indissolubly connected with 
that event, then the future existence of that event is necessa- 
ry. If God certainly knows the future existence of an event 
which is wholly contingent, and may possibly never be, then 
He sees a firm connexion between a subject and predicate that 
are not firmly connected ; which is a contradiction. 

I allow what Dr. Whitby says to be true, That mere knowl- 
edge does not affect the thing known, to make it more certain or 
more future. But yet, I say, it supposes and proves the thing 
to be already, both future, and certain ; i. e. necessarily future. 
Knowledge of futurity, supposes futurity ; and a certain knowl- 
edge of futurity, supposes certain futurity, antecedent to that 
certain knowledge. But there is no other certain futurity of 
a thing, antecedent to certainty of knowledge, than a prior 
impossibility but that the thing should prove true ; or (which 
is the same thing) the Necessity of the event. 

I would observe one thing further concerning this matter ; 
it is this ; that if it be as those forementioned writers sup- 
pose, that God's Foreknowledge is not the cause, but the ef- 
fect of the existence of the event foreknown ; this is so far 
from shewing that this Foreknowledge doth not infer the 
Necessity of the existence of that event, that it rather shews 
the contrary the more plainly. Because it shews the exist- 
ence of the event to be so settled and firm, that it is as if it had 
already been ; inasmuch as in effect it actually exists already; 
its future existence has already had actual influence, and eff- 


eiency, and has produced an effect, viz. Prescience : The effect 
exists already ; and as the effect supposes the cause, is con- 
nected with the cause, and depends entirely upon it, therefore 
it is as if the future event, which is the cause, had existed al- 
ready. The effect is as firm as possible, it having already the 
possession of existence, and made sure of it. But the ef- 
fect cannot be more firm and stable than its cause, ground 
and reason. The building cannot be firmer than the founda- 

To illustrate this matter, let us suppose the appearances 
and images of things in a glass ; for instance, a reflecting tel- 
escope 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 exist- 
ence, and it is become utterly impossible now that it should 
be otherwise than that they have existed ; so they, being the 
true effects of the heavenly bodies they resemble, this proves 
the existing of those heavenly bodies to be as real, infallible, 
firm and necessary, as the existing of these effects ; the one 
being connected with, and wholly depending on the other. 
Now let us suppose future existences some way or other to 
have influence back, to produce effects beforehand, and cause 
exact and perfect images of themselves in a glass, a thousand 
years before they exist, yea, in all preceding ages ; but yet 
that these images are real effects of these future existences, 
perfectly dependent on, and connected with them as their 
cause ; these effects and images, having already had actual 
existence, rendering that matter of their existing perfectly 
firm and stable, and utterly impossible to be otherwise ; this 
proves in like manner, as in the other instance, that the exist- 
ence 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 ara 
as properly effects, as truly and properly connected with thejp 
cause, the case is not altered. 


Another thing which has been said by some Arviinians> t« 
take oft' 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 al- 
though it be true, that there is in God the most perfect 
knowledge of all events from eternity to eternity, yet there is 
no such thing as before and after jn God, but he sees all things 
by one perfect unchangeable view, without any succession.".... 

To this I answer, 

1. It has been already shewn, that all certain knowledge 
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 his knowl- 
edge, is to us inconceivable, yet thus much we know concern- 
ing it, that there is no event, past, present, or to come, that 
God is ever uncertain of : He never is, never was, and never 
will be without infallible knowledge of it : He always sees the 
existence of it to be certain and infallible. And as he always 
sees things just as they arc in truth ; hence there never is in 
reality any thing contingent in such a sense, as that possibly it 
may happen never to exist. If, strictly speaking, there is no 
Foreknowledge in God, it is because those things, which are 
future to us, are as present to God, as if they already had ex- 
istence : And that is as much as to sajj that future events 
arc always in God's view as evident, clear, sure and necessary, 
as if they already were. If there never is a time wherein 
the existence of the event is not present with God, then 
there never is a time wherein it is not as much impossible for 
it to fail of existence, as if its existence v. ere present, and 
were already come to pass. 

God's viewing things so perfectly and unchangeably as 
that there is no succession in his ideas or judgment decs 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 suppos- 
es this ; and therefore It oertssnly docs net hinder but thai, by 


the foregoing arguments, it is now impossible these moral ac- 
tions should not come to pass. 

We know, that God knows the future voluntary actions 
of men in such a sense beforehand, as that he is able particu- 
larly 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 connexion which there is between 
God's knowledge and the event known, does as much prove 
the event to be necessary beforehand, as if the Divine Knowl- 
edge were in the same sense before the event, as the predic- 
tion or writing is. If the knowledge be infallible, then the 
expression of it in the written prediction is infallible ; that is, 
there is an infallible connexion between that written predic- 
tion and the event. And if so, then it is impossible it should 
ever be otherwise, than that that prediction and the event 
should agree : And this is the same thing as to say, it is im- 
possible 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 has 
been given of the impossibility of the not coming to pass of 
future events known, as that it establishes that, wherein the 
strength of the foregoing arguments consists, and shews the 
clearness of the evidence. For, 

(1.) The very reason why God's knowledge is without 
succession, is because it is absolutely perfect, to the highest 
possible degree of clearness and certainty : All things, wheth- 
er past, present, or to come, being viewed with equal evi- 
dence and fulness ; future things being seen with as much 
clearness, as if they were present ; the view is always in abso- 
lute perfection ; and absolute constant perfection admits of no 
alteration, and so no succession; 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 as if they 
had already existed. But herein consists the strength of the 


demonstration before given, of the impossibility of the not ex. 
isting of those things, whose existence God knows ; that it is 
as impossible they should fail of existence, as if they existed 
already. This objection, instead of weakening this argument, 
sets it in the clearest and strongest light ; for it supposes it 
to be so indeed, that the existence of future events is in God's 
view so much as if it already had been, that when they come 
actually to exist, it makes not the least alteration or variation 
in his view or knowledge of them. 

(2.) The objection is founded on the immutability of God's 
knowledge : For it is the immutability of knowledge which 
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 possible, then it would be pos- 
sible 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 sec his former mis? 
take ; and thus there would be change and succession in his 
knowledge. But as God is immutable, and so it is utterly- 
impossible that his view should be changed ; so it is, for the 
same reason, just so impossible that the foreknown event 
should not exist: And that is to be impossible in the highest 
degree : And therefore the contrary is necessary. Nothing 
is more impossible than that the immutable God should be 
changed, by the succession of time ; who comprehends all 
things, from eternity to eternity, in one, most perfect, and 
unalterable view ; so that his whole eternal duration isviite in- 
terminabilis, tota, eimtil, et perfecta Jiossessio. 

On the whole, I need not fear to say, that there is no geo- 
metrical theorem or proposition whatsoever, more capable of 
strict demonstration, than that God's certain prescience of the 
volitions of moral agents is inconsistent with such a contin- 
gence of these events, as is without all Necessity ; and so is 
inconsistent with the Arminian notion of liberty. 

Carol. 2. Hence the doctrine of the Calviniata, concernt 
ing '.he absolute decrees of God, does not at all infer any more 


fatality in things, than will demonstrably follow from the' 
doctrine of most Arminian divines, who acknowledge God's 
omniscience, and universal prescience. Therefore all objec- 
tions they make against the doctrine of the Calvinists, as inr* 
plying Hobbes doctrine of Necessity, or the stoical doctrine of 
fate, lie no more against the doctrine of Calvinists, than their 
own doctrine : And therefore it doth not become those di- 
vines, to raise such an outcry against the Calvinists, on this 

Corol. 3. Hence all arguing from Necessity, against the 
doctrine of the inability of unregenerate men to perform the 
conditions of salvation, and the commands of God requiring 
spiritual duties, and against the Calvinistic doctrine of effica- 
cious 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 constraint or coaction, yet suppose them un- 
der Necessity, with respect to their moral actions, and those 
things which are required of them in order to their accept- 
ance with God ; and their arguing against the Necessity of 
men's volitions, taken from the reasonableness of God's com- 
mands, promises, and threatenings, and the sincerity 
of his counsels and invitations ; and all objections against 
any doctrines of the Calvinists as being inconsistent with 
human liberty, because they infer Necessity ; I say, all 
these arguments and objections must fall to the ground, and 
be justly esteemed vain and frivolous, as coming from them ; 
being maintained in an inconsistence with themselves, and in 
like manner levelled against their own doctrine, as against the 
doctrine of the Cahhtisti. 



Whether w suppose the volitions of moral agents io 
be connected with any thing antecedent, or not, yet 
they must be necessary in such a sense as to over* 
th ro Arminian Liberty. 

EVERY act of the Will has a cause, or it has not. If i* 
has a cause, then, according to what has already been demon- 
strated, 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 deter- 
mined and caused act must be a necessary effect. The act, 
that is the determined effect of the foregoing act which is its 
cause, cannot prevent the efficiency of its cause ; but must be 
"wholly subject to its determination and command, as much as 
the motions of the hands and feet. The consequent command- 
ed acts of the Will are as passive and as necessary, with res- 
pect to the antecedent determining acts as the parts of the 
body arc to the volitions which determine and command them- 
And therefore, if all the free acts of the Will are thus, if 
they are all determined effects, determined by the Will itself, 
that is, determined by antecedent choice, then they are all ne- 
cessary ; they are all subject to, and decisively fixed by the 
foregoing act, which is their cause : Yea, even the deter- 
mining 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 necessary. 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 Ar- 
minian 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 Liberty. So 
that, by their scheme, the acts of the Will cannot be free, 
unless they arc necessary, and yet cannot be free if they be 
necessary ! 


But if the other part of the dilemma be taken, and it be 
affirmed that the free acts of the Will have no cause, and are 
connected with nothing whatsoever that goes before them and 
determines them, in order to maintain their proper and abso- 
lute 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 contingence, and without any cause at all, 
then it is certain, no act of the Will, no prior act of the soul 
was the cause, no determination or choice of the soul, had any 
hand in it. The Will, or the soul, was indeed the subject of 
what happened to it accidentally, but was not the cause. The 
Will is not active in causing or determining, but purely the 
passive subject ; at least, according to their notion of action, 
and passion. In this case, contingence does as much prevent 
the determination of the Will, as a proper cause ; and as to 
the Will, it was necessary, and could be no otherwise. For 
to suppose that it could have been otherwise, if the Will or 
soul had pleased, is to suppose that the act is dependent on 
some prior act of choice or pleasure ; contrary to what is 
now supposed : It is to suppose that it might have been other- 
wise, if its cause had made it or ordered it otherwise. But this 
does not agree to its having no cause or ordeter at all. That 
must be necessary as to the soul ; which is dependent on no 
free act of the soul : But that which is without a cause, is de- 
pendent on no free act of the soul : Because, by the supposi- 
tion, it is dependent on nothing, and is connected with noth- 
ing. In such a case, the soul is necessarily subjected to what 
accident brings to pass, from time to time, as much as the 
earth, that is inactive, is necessarily subjected to what falls 
upon it. But this does not consist with the Arminian notion 
of Liberty, which is the Will's power of determining itself in 
its own acts, and being wholly active in it, without passiveness, 

and without being subject to Necessity Thus Contingence, 

belongs to the Arminian notion of Liberty, and yet is inconsist- 
ent with it. 

I would here observe, that the author of the Essay on the 
Freedom of Will., in God and the Creature, page 76, 77, says as 
follows : « The word Chance always means something don^ 
Vol. V. U 


■without design. Chance and design stand in direct opposition 
to each other : And chance can never be properly applied to 
acts of the Will, which is the spring of all design, and which 
designs to choose whatsoever it doth choose, whether there 
be any superior 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 inadvertence in this author. 
For if the Will be the spring of all design, as he says, then cer- 
tainly 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 from design ; and consequently come to pass 
by chance, according to his own definition of chance. And if 
the Will designs to choose whatsoever it does choose, and designs 
to determine itself as he says, then it designs to determine all 
its designs. Which carries us back from one design to a 
foregoing design determining that, and to another determin- 
ing that ; and soon in infinitum. The very first design must be 
the effect of foregoing design, or else it must be by chance, 
in his notion of it. 

Here another alternative may be proposed, relating to the 
connexion of the acts of the Will with something foregoing 
that is their cause, not much unlike to the other ; which is 
this ; either human liberty is such, that it may well stand 
with volitions being necessarily connected with the views of 
the understanding, and so is consistent with Necessity ; or 
it is inconsistent with, and contrary to, such a connexion and 
Necessity. The former is directly subversive of the Armin- 
ian notion of liberty, 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 connexion of volition with 
foregoing views of the understanding, it consisting in free- 
dom from any such Necessity of the Will as that would im- 
ply ; then the liberty of the soul consists (in part at least) in 
freedom from restraint, limitation and government, in its 
actings, by the understanding, and in liberty and liableness to 
act contrary to the understanding's views and dictates : And 
consequently the more the soul has of this disengagedness, in 


jts acting, the more liberty. Now let it be considered what 
this brings the noble principle of human liberty to, particu- 
larly when it is possessed and enjoyed in its perfection, viz. a 
full and perfect freedom and liableness to act altogether at 
random, without the least connexion with, or restraint or gov- 
ernment 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 determinations. The notion mankind 
have conceived of liberty, is some dignity or privilege, some- 
thing worth claiming. But what dignity or privilege is there, 
in being given up to such a wikl contingence, as this, to be 
perfectly and constantly liable to act unintelligently and un- 
reasonably, and as much without the guidance of understand- 
ing, as if we had none, or were as destitute of perception, a 1 * 
the smoke that is driven by the wind I 



Wherein is inquired, 'whether any such liberty of Will 
as Arminians hold, be necessary to Moral Agen- 
cy, Virtue and Vice, Praise and Dis- 
praise, fcfc. 


GOD's Moral Excellency necessary, yet virtuous 
and praiseworthy. 

HAVING considered the first thing that was proposed 
to be inquired into, relating to that freedom of Will which 
Arminians maintain ; namely, Whether any such thing does, 
ever did, or ever can exist, or be conceived of ; I come now 
to the second thing proposed to be the subject of inquiry, viz. 
Whether any such kind of liberty be rcqusite to moral 
•agency, virtue and vice, praise and blame, reward and punish- 
ment, Sec. 

I shall begin with some consideration of the virtue and 
agency of the Supreme moral agent, and fountain of all agen- 
cy and virtue. 

Dr. Whitby, in his discourses on the five Points p. 14, says, 
" If all human actions are necessary, virtue and vice must be 
empty names ; we being capable of nothing that is blamewor- 
thy, or deservcth praise ; for who can blame a person for do- 
ing only what he could not help, or judge that he descrveth 
praise only for what he could not avoid V To the like pur- 
pose he speaks in places innumerable ; especially in his dis- 
course on the Freedom of the Will; constantly maintaining, 
that a freedom not only from coaction, but necessity, is absolute- 


iy requisite, in order to actions being either worthy of blame, 
or deserving of praise. And to this agrees, as is well known, 
the current doctrine of Arminian writers, who, in general, 
hold, that there is no virtue or vice, reward or punishment, 
nothing to be commended or blamed, without this freedom. 
And yet Dr. Whitby, p. 300, allows, that God is without this 
freedom ; and Arminians, so far as I have had opportunity to 
observe, generally acknowledge that God is necessarily holy, 
and his Will necessarily determined to that which is good. 

So that putting these things together, the infinitely holy 
God, who used always to be esteemed by God's people not only 
virtuous, but a Being in whom is all possible virtue, and every 
virtue in the most absolute purity and perfection, and in infi- 
nitely greater brightness and amiableness than in any creature ; 
the most perfect pattern of virtue, and the fountain from whom 
all others virtue is as beams from the sun ; and who has been 
supposed to be, on the account of his virtue and holiness, infi- 
nitely more worthy to be esteemed, loved, honored, 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 Armi?iia?is, has no virtue at all : Virtue, when ascribed 
to him, is but an em/ity name ; and he is deserving of no com- 
mendation or praise : Because he is under necessity. He 
cannot avoid being holy and good as he is ; therefore no 
thanks to him for it. It seems, the holiness, justice, faithful- 
ness, ike. of the Most High, must not be accounted to be of 
the nature of that which is virtuous and praiseworthy. 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 bright- 
ness of the sun, and the fertility of the earth, are good, but not 
virtuous, because these properties are necessary to these bod- 
ies, and not the fruit of selfdetermining power. 

There needs no other confutation of this notion of God's 
not being virtuous or praiseworthy, to christians acquainted 
with the Bible, but only stating and particularly representing 


it. To bring texts of Scripture, wherein God is represented 
as in every respect, in the highest manner virtuous, and su- 
premely praiseworthy, would be endless, and is altogether 
needless to such as have been brought up in the light of the 

It were to be wished, that Dr. Whitby, and other divines 
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 God's perfec- 
tion to be necessary, and so in effect representing God as not 
deserving praise. Certainly, if their words have any mean- 
ing at all, by praise, they must mean the exercise or testimo- 
ny of some sort of esteem, respect and honorable regard. And 
will they then say, that men are worthy of that esteem, res- 
pect and honor for their virtue, small and imperfect as it is, 
which yet God is not worthy of, for his infinite righteousness, 
holiness and goodness? If so,it must be,because of some sort of 
peculiar excellency in the virtuous man, which is his preroga- 
tive, wherein he really has the preference ; some dignity, that 
is entirely distinguished from any excellency, amiableness, or 
honorableness in God : Not in imperfection and dependence, 
but in preeminence : 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 ob- 
ject of honor and regard ; but man may claim a pecu- 
liar esteem, commendation and glory, that God can have no 
pretension to. Yea, God has no right, by virtue of his neces- 
sary holiness, to intermeddle with that grateful respect and 
praise due to the virtuous man, who chooses virtue, in the ex- 
ercise of a freedom ad utrumque ; any more than a precious 
stone, which cannot avoid being 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 preeminence from all that is due to God. 
What is the name or description of that peculiar affection ? 
Is it esteem, love, admiration, honor, 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) 


b/" loving Him ivith all the heart, with all the soul, with all the 
mind, and with all the strength ; admiring Him, and his right' 
eous acts,or greatly regarding them, as marvellous and wonder- 
ful ; honoring, glorifying, exalting, extolling, blessing, thanking 
and praising Him ; giving unto Him all the glory of the good 
which is done or received, rather than unto men ; that no 
flesh should glory in his presence ; but that He should be re- 
garded as the Being to whom all glory is due. What then is 
that respect ? What passion, affection or exercise is it, that 
Arminians call praise, diverse from all these things, which men 
are worthy of for their 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 he were forced to be 
good, or any more than we should thank one of our fellow- 
creatures who did us good, not freely, and of good will, or 
from any kindness of heart, but from mere compulsion, or 
extrinsical necessity ? Arminians suppose, that God is neces- 
sarily a good and gracious Being : For this they make the 
ground of some of their main arguments against many doc- 
trines maintained 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 possi- 
ble that he should be otherwise, then that impossibility of the 
truth of these doctrines ceases, according to their own argu- 

That virtue in God is not, in the most proper sense, reward- 
able, is not for want of merit in his moral perfections and ac- 
tions, sufficient to deserve rewards from his creatures ; but be- 
cause he is infinitely above all capacity of receiving any re- 
ward or benefit from the creature : He is already infinitely 
and unchangeably happy, and we cannot be profitable unto 
him. But still he is worthy of our supreme benevolence for 
his virtue ; and would be worthy of o«r beneF.ccnce, which is 


the fruit and expression of benevolence, if our goodness 
could extend to him. If God deserves to be thanked anfi 
praised for his goodness, he would, for the same reason, de- 
serve that we should also requite his kindness, if that were 
possible. What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits ? 
is the natural language of thankfulness ; and so far as in us 
lies, it is our duty to recompense God's goodness, and render 
again according to benefits received. And that we might have 
opportunity for so natural an expression of our gratitude to 
God, as beneficence, notwithstanding his being infinitely a- 
bove our reach : He has appointed others to be his receivers, 
and to stand in his stead, as the objects of our beneficence ; 
such arc especially our indigent brethren. 


The Acts of the Will of the human Soul of Jesu<; 
Christ, necessarily holy, yet truly virtuous? 
praiseworthy, rewardable, &C. 

I HAVE already considered how Dr. Whitby insists 
upon it, that a freedom, not only from coaction, but necessity, 
is requisite either to virtue or vice, praise or dispraise, reward 
or punishment . He also insists on the same freedom as abso- 
lutely requisite to a person's being the subject of a law, of 
precepts or prohibitions ; in the book beforementioned, (p. 301, 
214,328,339,340,341, 342, 347,361, 373, 410.) And of 
promises and threatenings, (p. 298, 301,305,311,339, 340, 
363.) And as requisite to a state of trial, (p. 297, Sec.) 

Now therefore, with an eye to these things, I would inquire 
into the moral conduct and practice of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
which he exhibited in his human nature here, in his state of 
humiliation. And first, I would shew, that his holy behavior 
was necessary ; or that it was impossible it should be otherwise, 
than that he should behave himself holily, and that he should 


perfectly holy in each individual act of his life. And second* 
ly, that his holy behavior was properly of the nature of virtue 
and was worthy of praise ; and that he was the subject of lau>j 
precepts ox commands, fttond&es and rewards ; and that he was 

c'n 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. xlii. 1,2, 3, 4. " Behold my 
Servant, whom I uphold ; mine Elect, in whom my soul de- 
lighteth : I have put my Spirit upon him : He shall bring 
forth judgment to the Gentiles : He shall not cry, nor lift up, 
iior cause his voice to be heard in the street. He shall bring 
forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discour- 
aged, till He have set judgment in the earth ; and the isles 
shall wait for his law." This promise of Christ's having 
God's Spirit put upon Him, and his not crying and lifting up 
his voice, See. 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 ; particu- 
larly from pride and vain glory, and from being overcome by 
any of the temptations, he should be under to affect the glory 
of this world, the pomp of an earthly prince, or the applause 
and praise of men : And that he should be so upheld, that he 
should by no means fail of obtaining the end of his coming 
into the world, of bringing forth judgment unto victory, and 
establishing his kingdom of grace in the earth. And in the 
following verses, this promise is confirmed, with the greatest 
imaginable solemnity. « Thus saith the eop.d, he that creat- 
ed the heavens, and stretched them out : He that spread forth 
Vol. V. W 


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 theLord have called Thee in righteousness, and will 
hold thine hand ; and will keep thee, and give thee for a cove- 
nant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles, to open the blind 
eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that 
sit in darkness out of the prison house. I am jehovah, that 
is my name," &c. 

Very parallel with these promises is that, Isa. xlix. 7, 8, 9 r 
which also has an apparent respect to the time of Christ's hu- 
miliation on earth. " Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of 
Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him 
whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers ; kings shall 
see and arise, princes also shall worship ; because of the Lord 
that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose 
Thee. Thus saith the Lord, in an acceptable time have I 
heard Thee ; in a day of salvation have I helped Thee ; and I 
will preserve Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the peo- 
ple, to establish the earth," 8cc. 

And in Isa. 1. 5. ...9, we have the Messiah expressing his 
assurance, that God would help Him, by so opening his ear, 
or inclining his heart to God's commandments that He should 
not be rebellious, but should persevere, and not apostatize, or 
turn his back ; that through God's help, He should be im- 
movable, in a way of obedience, under the great trials of re- 
proach and suffering he should meet with ; setting his face 
like a Hint : So that he knew, he should not be ashamed, or 
frustrated in his design, and finally should be approved and 
justified, as having done his work faithfully. " The Lord 
hath opened mine ear ; so that I was not rebellious, neither 
turned away my back : I gave my back to the smiters, and 
my cheeks to them that plucked oft' 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 justilieth 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 
garment, the moth shall eat them up." 

2. The same thing is evident from all the promises which 
God made to the Messiah, of his future glory, kingdom and 
success, in his office and character of a Mediator : Which 
glory could not have been obtained, if his holiness had failed, 
and he had been guilty of sin. God's absolute promise of 
any thing, makes the things promised necessary, and their 
failing to take place absolutely impossible : And, in like man- 
ner, it makes those things necessary, on which the things 
promised depend, and without which they cannot take effect. 
Therefore it appears, that it was utterly impossible that 
Christ's holiness should fail, from such absolute promises as 
those, Psal. ex. 4. " The Lord hath sworn, and will not re- 
pent, Thou art a Priest forever, after the order of Melchize- 
deck." And from every other promise in that psalm, con- 
tained in each verse of it. And Psal. ii. 7, 8. « I will declare 
the decree : The Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son, 
this day have I begotten Thee : Ask of me, and I will give 
Thee the Heathen for thine inheritance, &c." Psal. xlv. 3, 
4, Sec. " Gird thy sword on thy thigh, O most Mighty, with 
thy Glory and thy Majesty ; and in thy Majesty ride prosper- 
ously." And so every thing that is said from thence to the 
end of the Psalm. And those promises,' Isa. Hi, 13, 14, 15, 
and liii. 10, 11, 12. And all those promises which God 
makes to the Messiah, of success, dominion and glory in the 
character of Redeemer, in Isa. chap. xlix. 

3. It was often promised to the Church of God of old, for 
their comfort, that God would give them a righteous, sinless 
Saviour. Jer. xxiii. 5, 6. " Behold, the days come, saith the 
Lord, that I will raise up unto David a righteous Branch ; 
and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judg- 
ment and justice in the earth. In his days shall Judah be 
saved, and Israel shall dwell safely. And this is the name 
whereby He shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness." 
So, Jer. xxxiii. 15. "I will cause the Branch of Righteous- 
ness to grow up unto David ; and he shall execute judgment 
and righteousness in the land." Isa. ix. 6, 7. « For unto us 


a Child is born ; upon the throne of David and upon his king- 
dom, 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. xi. at the beginning, " There shall 
come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall 
grow out of his roots ; and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest 
upon him. ...the spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the 
Lord :....With righteousness shall He judge the poor, and re- 
prove with equity :.. ..Righteousness shall be the girdle of his 
loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins." Chap. Hi. 13. 
« My Servant shall deal prudently." Chap. liii. 9. « Be- 
cause He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his 
mouth." If it be impossible that these promises should fail, 
and it be easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for 
one jot or tittle of these promises of God to pass away, then 
it w.tS impossible that Christ should commit any sin. Christ 
himself signified, that it was impossible but that the things 
which were spoken concerning Him, should be fulfilled. 
Luke xxiv. 44. " That all things must be fulfilled, which 
were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in 
the Psalms concerning Me." Malth. xxvi. 54. " But how 
then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be ?" 
Mark xiv. 49. «• But the Scriptures must be fulfilled." And 
so the apostle, Acts i. 16. « This Scripture must needs have 
been fulfilled" 

4. All the promises, which were made to the Church of 
old, of the Messiah as a future Saviour, from that made to 
our first parents in paradise, to that which was delivered by 
the prophet Malachi, shew it to be impossible that Christ 
should not have persevered in perfect holiness. The ancient 
predictions given to God's church of the Messiah as a Sav- 
iour, were of the nature of promises ; as is evident by the pre- 
dictions 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, S3. 
"Horn. i. 1,2, 3, and chap. xv. 8. Heb. vi. 13, Sec. These 
promises were often made with great solemnity, and confirm- 
ed with an oath ; as in Gen. xxii. 16, 17, 13. " 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 heav- 
en, and as the sar.d which is upon the sea shore And in 

thy seed sh:J. all the nations of the earth be blessed." Com- 
pare Luke i. 72, 73, and Gal. Hi. 8, 15, 16. The apostle in 
Heb. vi. 17, 18, speaking of this promise to Abraham, says, 
" Wherein God willing more abundantly to shew to the heirs 
of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an 
oath ; that by two immutable things, in which it was impos- 
sible for God to lie, he might have strong consolation.".. ..In 
which words, the necessity of the accomplishment, or (which 
is the same thing) the impossibility of the contrary, is fully de- 
clared. So God confirmed the promise of the great salvation 
of the Messiah, made to David, by an oath ; Psal. 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 generations." There is nothing 
that is so abundantly set forth in Scripture, as sure and ir- 
refragable, as this promise and oath to David. See Psalm. 
Ixxxix. 34, 35, 36. 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. Isa. lv. 3. Acts ii. 29, 
30, and xiii. 34. The Scripture expressly speaks of it as ut- 
terly 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 to grow up 
unto David.. ..For thus saith the Lord, David shall never want 
a Man to sit upon the throne of the House of Israel." Ver. 
2©, 21. " If you can break my covenant of the day, and my 
covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and 
night in their season ; then may also my covenant be broken 
with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign 
upon his throne" So in verse 25, 26. ...Thus abundant is the 
Scripture in representing how impossible it was, that the prom- 
ises made of old concerning the great salvation and kingdom 
of the Messiah should fail ; which implies, that it was impos- 
sible that this Messiah, the second Adam, the promised seed 
of Abraham, and of David, should fidl from his integrity, as 
the first Adam did. 


5. All the promises that were made to the church of God 
under the Old Testament, of the great enlargement of the 
church, and advancement cfher glory, in the days of the gos» 
pel, after the corning of the Messiah ; the increase of her 
light, liberty, holiness, joy, triumph over her enemies, £cc. 
of which so great a part of the Old Testament consists ; which 
are repeated so often, are so variously exhibited, so frequent- 
ly introduced with great pomp and solemnity, and are so a- 
bundantly sealed with typical and symbolical representations : 
I say, all these promises imply, that the Messiah should per- 
fect 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 lsa. liv. 9, with the 
context ; chap. lxii. 8.) And it is represented as utterly im- 
possible that these promises should fail. (lsa. xlix. 15, with 

the context ; chap. liv. 10, with the context ; chap. li. 4 8 ; 

chap. xl. 8, with the context.) And therefore it was impossi- 
lle that the Messiah should fail, or commit sin. 

6. It was impossible that the Messiah should fail of perse- 
vering in integrity and holiness, as the first Adam did, be- 
cause this would have been inconsistent with the promises, 
which God made to the blessed Virgin, his mother, and to her 
husband ; implying, that He should save his people from their 
fins, that God would give him the throne of his Father David, 
that He should reign over the house of Jacob forever ; and that 
rfhis kingdom there should be no end. These promises were 
sure, and it was impossible they should fail.. ..And therefore 
the Virgin Mary, in trusting fully to them, acted reas- 
onably, having an immoveable foundation of her faith ; as 
Elisabeth observes, Luke i. 45. « And blessed is she that be- 
lieveth ; for there shall be a performance of those things, 
which were told her from the Lord." 

7. That it should have been possible that Christ should 
sin, and so fail in the work of our redemption, does not con- 
sist with the eternal purpose and decree of God, revealed in 
the scriptures, that lie would provide salvation for fallen man 
in and by Jesus Christ, and that salvation should be offered to 


sinners through the preaching of the gospel. Such an abso* 

lute 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, 1 1 . 1 Pet. i. 19, 20. 
Such an absolute decree as this, Arminians allow to be signi- 
fied in these texts. And the Arminians, election of nations 
and societies, and general election of the Christian Church, 
and conditional election of particular persons, imply this. 
God could not decree before the foundation of the world, to 
save all that should believe in, and obey Christ, unless he had 
absolutely decreed, that salvation should be provided, and ef- 
fectually wrought out by Christ. And since (as the Armin- 
ians themselves strenuously maintain) a decree of God infers 
necessity ; hence it became necessary, that Christ should per- 
severe, 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 holi- 
ness to fail, is not consistent with what God promised to his 
Son, before all ages. For, that salvation should be offered to 
men through Christ, and bestowed on all his faithful followers, 
is what is at leastimplied 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 doing 
his Father's Will, is inconsitent with the promise made to the 
Father by the Son, by the Logos that was with the Father 
from the beginning, before he took the human nature : As 
may be seen in Psal. xl. 6, 7, 8, (compared with the Apos- 
tle's interpretation, Ffeb. 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 re- 
quired. Then said I, Lo, I come : In the volume of the book 
it is written of me, I delight to do thy Will, O my God, and 
thy law is within my heart." Where is a manifest allusion 
to the covenant, which the willing servant, who loved his mas- 

*Sce Dr. Whitby on the five Points, p. 48, 4.9, 50. 


ter's service, made with his master, to be his servant forever, 
on the day wherein he had his ear bored ; which covenant 
was probably inserted in the public records, called the Vol- 
ume of the Book, by the judges, who were called to take cog- 
nizance of the transaction ; Exod. xxi. If the Logos, who 
was with the Father, before the world, and who made the 
world, thus engaged in covenant to do the Will of the Father 
in the human nature, and the promise was as it were record- 
ed, that it might be made sure, doubtless it was impossible 
that it should fail ; and so it was impossible that Christ should 
fail of doing the Will of the Father in the human nature. 

10. If it was possible for Christ to have failed of doing 
the W T ill of his Father, and so to have failed of effectually 
working out redemption for sinners, then the salvation ef all 
the saints, who were saved from the beginning of the world, 
to the death of Christ, was not built on a firm foundation. The 
Messiah, and the redemption which he was to work out by his 
obedience unto death, was the foundation of the salvation of 
all the posterity of fallen man, that ever were saved. There- 
fore, if when the Old Testament saints had the pardon of their 
sins, and the favor of God promised them, and salvation be- 
stowed upon them, still it was possible that the Messiah, when 
he came, might commit sin, then ail 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 save men 
on the account of it, as though it had been already done. But 
this trust and dependence of God, on the supposition of Christ's 
being liable to fail of doing his Will, was leaning on a staff 

that was weak, and might possibly break The saints of old 

trusted in 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 faiih of the promise of it.... 
(Heb. xi. 13.) liut on this supposition, their faith and their 
comfort, and their salvation, was built on u moveable, fallible 
foundation ; Christ was not to them a tried stone, a sure found- 


ation : As in Isa. xxviii. 16. David entirely rested on the 
covenant of God with him, concerning the future glorious do- 
minion and salvation of the Messiah, of his seed ; and says it 
was all his salvation, and all his desire : And comforts himself 
that this covenant was an " everlasting covenant, ordered in 
all things 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 entirely on the de- 
terminations of the Free Will of Christ's human Soul ; which 
was subject to no necessity, and might be determined either 
one way or the other. Also the dependence of those, who 
looked for redemption in Jerusalem, and waited for the con- 
solation of Israel, (Luke ii. 25, and 38) and the confidence of 
the disciples of Jesus, who forsook all and followed Him, that 
they might enjoy the benefits of his future kingdom, were 
built on a sandy foundation. 

11. The man Christ Jesus, before he had finished his 
course of obedience, and while in the midst of temptations 
and trials, was abundant in positively predicting his own fu- 
ture glory in his kingdom, and the enlargement of his church, 
the salvation of the Gentiles through him, Ecc. and in prom- 
ises of blessings he would bestow on his true disciples in his 
future kingdom ; on which promises he required the full de- 
pendence of his disciples, (John xiv.) But the disciples 
would have had 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 Jin peremp- 
tory promises of great things, which depended on a mere 
contingence, viz. the determinations of his Free Will, con- 
sisting in a freedom ad utrumque, to either sin or holiness, 
standing in indifference, and incident, in thousands of future 
instances, to go either one way or the other. 

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

I have been the longer in the proof of this matter, it being 
a thing denied by some of the greatest Arminiaiis, by Episeo-* 
Vol. V. X 


pius in particular ; and because I look upon it as a point 
clearly and absolutely determining the controversy between 
Calvinists and Arminians, concerning the necessity of such a 
freedom of Will as is insisted on by the latter, in order to 
moral agency, virtue, command or 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 behavior on 
earth, was not thus a moral agent, subject to commands, prom- 
ises, &c. 

Dr. Whitby very often speaks of what he calls a freedom 
ad utrumlibet, without necessity, as requisite to law and com- 
?nands ; and speaks of necessity as entirely inconsistent with 
injunctions and prohibitions. But yet we read of Christ's be- 
ing the subject of the commands of his Father, Job x. 18, and 
xv. 10. And Christ tells us, that every thing 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. 19. 
Phil. ii. 8. Hcb. v. 8. 

The forementioned writer represents promises offered as 
motives to persons to do their duty, or a being moved and in- 
duced by promises, as utterly inconsistent with a state wherein 
persons have not a liberty ad utrumlibet but are necessarily de- 
termined to one. (See particularly, p. 298, 311.) But the 
thing which this writer asserts, is demonstrably false, if the 
Christian religion be true. If there be any truth in Christian- 
ity or the holy Scriptures, the man Christ Jesus had his Will 
infalliblv, unalterably and unfrustraoly determined to good, 
and that alone ; but yet he had promises of glorious rewards 
made to Him, on condition of his persevering in, and perfect- 
ing the work which God had appointed Him ; Isa. liii. 10, 11, 
12, Psal. ii. and ex. Isa. xlix. 7, 8, 9. In Luke xxii. 28, 
29, Christ says to his disciples, " Ye are they which have 
continued with me in my temptations ; and I appoint unto 
you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me." 
The word most properly signifies to appoint by covenant or 


promise. The plain meaning of Christ's words is this : " As 
you have partook of my temptations and trials, and have been 
stedfast, and have overcome, I promise to make you partakers 
of my rewaid, and to give you a kingdom ; as the Father has 
promised me a kingdom for continuing stedfast, and over- 
coming in those trials." And the words are well explained 
by those in Rev. iii. 21. " To him that overcometh, will I 
grant to sit with me in my throne ; even as I also overcame, 
and am set down with my Father in his throne." And Christ 
had not only promises of glorious success and rewards made 
to his obedience and sufferings, but the Scriptures plainly 
represent him as using these promises for motives and induce- 
ments to obey and suffer ; and particularly that- promise of a 
kingdom which the Father had appoii ted Hhn, or sitting with 
the Father in his throne ; as in Heb. xii. 1,2. u Let us lay 
aside every weight, and the sin which doth so 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 at 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 behavior of Jesus 
Christ, and that obedience which he performed under such 
great trials, was not -virtuous or praiseworthy ; because his 
Will was not free ad utrwnque, 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, forgiveness of enemies, contempt of the 
world, heavenly mindedness, submission to the will of God, 
perfect obedience to his commands, (though he was obedient 
unto death, even the death of the cross) his great compassion 
to the afflicted, his unparalleled love to mankind, his faithful- 
ness to God and man, under such great trials ; his praying 
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, wor- 


thy of no reward, no praise, no honor or respect from God or 
man ; because his Will was not indifferent, and free, either 
to these things, or the contrary ; but under such a strong in- 
clination or bias to the things that were excellent, as made it 
impossible that he should choose the contrary ; that upon this 
account (to use Dr. Whitby's language) it would be sensibly 
unreasonable that the human nature should be rewarded for 
any of these things. 

According to this doctrine, that creature who is evidently 
set forth in scripture as theirs* born of every creature, as hav- 
ing in all things the preeminence, and as the highest of all crea- 
tures in virtue, honor, and worthiness 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, lhat Christ took upon 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 cir- 
cumstances, and under our trials, might be our most fit and 
proper example, leader and captain, in the exercise of glori- 
ous and victorious virtue, and might lie a visible instance of 
the glorious end and reward of it ; that we might see in Him 
the beauty, amiableness, and true honor and glory, and ex- 
ceeding benefit, of that virtue, which it is proper for us hu- 
man beings to practise ; and might thereby learn, and be ani- 
mated, to seek the like glory and honor, 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. \iii. 17. 2 Tim. 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 nec- 
essary, and he could not help it ; then how is here any thing 
so proper to animate and excite us, free creatures, by patient 
continuance in welldoing, to seek for honor, glory, and im 
inortality ? 


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 sacrifi- 
ces of old are spoken of as a sweet savour to God, but the obe- 
dience of Christ as far more acceptable than they. Psal. xl. 
6, 7. » Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire : Mine 
ear hast Thou opened," [as thy servant performing willing 
obedience ;] " burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not 
required : Then said I, Lo, I come," [as a servant that cheer- 
fully answers the calls of his master :] " I delight to do thy 
will, O my God, yea, thy law is within mine heart." Matth. 
xvii. 5. « This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleas- 
ed." 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 the 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 
my Father. 

And if there was no merit in Christ's obedience unto death, 
if it was not worthy of praise, and of the most glorious re- 
wards, the heavenly hosts were exceedingly mistaken, by the 
account that is given of them, in Rev. v. 8.... 12. « The four 
beasts and the four and twenty elders fell down before the 
Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full 
of odors ; and they sung a new song, saying, Thou art wor- 
thy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou 
wast slain. ...And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many an- 
gels round about the throne, and the beasts, and the elders, 
and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thous- 
and, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, 
worthy is the lamb that was slain, to receive power and 
riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and 

Christ speaks of the eternal life which he was to receive, 
as the reward of his obedience to the Father's command- 
ments. John xii. 49,50. « I have not spoken of myself; 
3>ut the Father which sent me, He gave me a commandment 


what I should say, ar.d what I should speak ; and I know that 
his commandment is life everlasting : Whatsoever I speak 
therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak." God 
promises to divide him a portion with the great, &c. for his 
being his righteous servant, for his glorious virtue under such 
great trials and sufferings. 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, be- 
cause be hath poured out his soul unto death." The scrip- 
tures represent God as rewarding him far above all his other 
servants. Phil. ii. 7, 8, 9. " He took on him the form of a 
servant, and was made in the likeness of men : And being 
found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became 
obedient unto death, even the death of the cross ; wherefore 
God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name 
above every name." Psal. xlv. 7. " Thou lovest righteous- 
ness, and hatest wickedness ; therefore God, thy God, hath 
anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. 

There is no room to pretend, that the glorious benefits 
bestowed in consequence of Christ's obedience, arc not proper- 
ly of the nature of a reward. What is a reward, in the most 
proper sense, but a benefit bestowed in consequence of some- 
thing morally excellent in quality or behavior, in testimony 
of well pleascdness in that moral excellency, and respect and 
favor on that account ? If we consider the nature of a reward 
most strie'ly, and make the utmost of it, and add to the things 
contained in this description, proper merit or worthiness, and 
the bes.owment of the benefit in consequence of a promise; 
still it will be found, there is nothing belonging to it, but that 
the scripture is most express as to its belonging to the glory 
bestowed on Christ, after his sufferings ; as appears from what 
has been already observed : There was a gloiious benefit be- 
stowed in consequence of something morally excellent, being 
called / '•' ousness and Ohrdicncc ; there was great favor, 
love and well pleusedncs, for this righteousness and obedi- 
ence, in the bcsiower ; there was proper merit, or worthiness 


of the benefit, in the ohedience ; it was bestowed in fulfilment 
of promises made to that obedience ; and was bestowed there- 
fore, or because he had performed that obedience. 

I may add to all these things, that Jesus Christ, while 
here in the flesh, was manifestly in a state of trial. The last 
Adam, as Christ is called, Rom. v. 14. 1 Cor. xv. 45, tak- 
ing on Him the human nature, and so the form of a servant, 
and being under the law, to stand and act for us, was put into 
a state of trial, as the first Adam was. ...Dr. Whitby mentions 
these three things as evidences of persons being in a state of 
trial (on the five Points, p. 298, 299) namely, their afflictions 
being spoken of as their trials or temptations, their being the 
subjects of promises, and their being exposed to Satan's 
temptations. But Christ was apparently the subject of each 
of these. Concerning promises made to him, I have spoken 
already. The difficulties and afflictions he met with in the 
course of his obedience, are called his temptations or trials." 
Luke xxii. 28. " Ye are they which have continued with me 
in my temptations or trials" Heb. ii. 18. "For in that he 
himse' n hath suffered, being tempted, [or tried'] He is able to 
succor 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 templed like 
as we are, yet without sin." And as to his being tempted by 
Satan it is what none will dispute- 



77z<? Case of such as are given up of God to Sin* 
and of fallen Man in general, proves moral Ne- 
cessity and Inability to be consistent with blame- 

DR. WHITBY asserts freedom, riot only from coaction, 
but Necessity, to be essential to any thing deserving the name 
of Sin, and to an action's being culpable ; in these words 
(Discourse on the five Points, edit. iii. p. 348 P ) " If they be 
thus necessitated, then neither their sins of omission or com- 
mission could deserve that name ; it being essential to the na- 
ture of Sin, according to St. Austin's definition, that it be an 
action a quo liberum est abstinere. Three things seem plain- 
ly necessary to make an action or omission culpable. 1. That 
it be in our power to perform or forbear it ; for, as Origcn, 
and all the Fathers say, no man is blameworthy for not doing 
what he could not do." And elsewhere the Doctor insists, 
that " when any do evil of Necessity, what they do is no vice, 
that they are guilty of no fault,* are worthy of no blame, dis- 
praise,! or dishonor^ but are unblamable.§" 

If these things are true, in Dr. Whitby's sense of Neces- 
sity, they will prove all such to be blameless, who are given 
up of God to sin, in what they commit after they are thus giv- 
en 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 Psal. lxxxi. 
12. " So I gave them up to their own hearts' lust, and they 
walked in their cvvn counsels." Acts vii. 42. " Then God 
turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven." 
Rom. i. 24. " Wherefore God also gave them up to unclean- 
ness, through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their 

* Discourse on the Five Points, p. 347, 360, 361, 377. + 303, 326, 
339, and many other places, $ 371. § 304, 361, 


own bodies between themselves." Ver. 26. « For this cause 
God gave them up to vile affections." Ver. 28. " And evert 
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 convenient. 

It is needless to stand particularly to inquire, what God's 
giving men nfi 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 to, so 
much is the consequence of their being given up, whether 
that be less or more. If God does not order things so, by ac- 
tion or permission, that sin will be the consequence, then the 
event proves that they are not given up to that consequence. 
If good be the consequence, instead of evil, then God's mer- 
cy 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 conse- 
quence, then the persons, who are the subjects of this judg- 
ment, must be the subjects of such an event, and so the event 
is necessary. 

If not only coaclion, 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 -uerihj 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, after God had sworn by 
his great name, that his name should be no more named in the 

mouth of any man of Jtidah, in all the land of Egy/it Jer. 

sliv. 26. 

Dr. Whitby (Discourse on Five Points, p. 302, 303) de- 
nies, that men, in this world, are ever so given up by God to 
sin, that their Wills should be necessarily determined to 
evil ; though he owns, that hereby it may become exceeding 
Vol. V. Y 


difficult for men to do good, having a strong bent, and power- 
ful inclination, to what is evil. ...But if we should allow the case 
to be just as he represents, the judgment of giving up to sin 
will no better agree with his notions of that liberty, which is 
essential to praise or blame^ than if we should suppose it to 
render the avoiding of Sin impossible. For if an impossibility 
of avoiding Sin wholly excuses a man ; then, for the same 
reason, its Icing 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 suppossed) then undoubted- 
ly, in like manner, moral difficulty has the same influence to 
excuse with natural difficulty. But all allow, that natural im- 
possibility wholly excuses, and also that natural difficulty ex- 
cuses in part, and makes the act or omission less blumeable in 
proportion to the difficulty. All natural difficulty according to 
the plainest dictates of the light of nature, excuses in some de- 
gree, sc that the neglect is notsoblameable, as if there had been 
no difficulty in the case : And so the greater the difficulty 
is, still the more excuscable, in proportion to the increase 
of the difficulty. And as natural impossibility wholly ex- 
cuses and excludes all blame, so the nearer the difficul- 
ty approaches to impossibility, still the nearer a person is to 
blamclessncss in proportion to that approach. And if the 
case of moral impossibility or necessity, be just the same 
with natural necessity or coaction, as to influence to excuse a 
neglect, then also, for the same reason, the case of natural dif- 
ficulty, does not differ in influence, to excuse a neglect, 
from moral difficulty, arising from a strong bias or bent to evil, 
such as Dr. Whitby owns in the case of those that are given 
up to their own hearts' lusts. So that the fault of such per- 
sons must be lessened, in proportion to the difficulty, and ap- 
proach to impossibility. If ten degrees of moral difficulty 
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 blameworthy, 
than if there had been no difficulty at all ; and he has but one 


degree of blameworthiness. The reason is plain on Armin- 
ian principles, viz. because as difficulty by antecedent bent and 
bias on the Will, is increased, liberty of indifference, and self- 
determination in the Will, is diminished ; so much hinderance 
and impediment is there, in the way of the Will's acting free- 
ly, by mere selfdetermination. And if ten degrees of such 
hinderance 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 b!ameableness,ctf.?<??7,s' 
Jiaribus, in the neglect ; the man beisg no further blameable 
in what he does, or neglects, than he has liberty in that af- 
fair : For blame or praise (say they) arises wholly from a 
good use or abuse of liberty. 

From all which it follows, that a strung bent and bias one 
way, and difficuly of going the contrary, never causes a per- 
son to be at all more exposed to sin, or any thing blameable : 
Because, as the difficulty is increased, so much the less is re- 
quired and expected. Though in one respect, exposedness 
to sin or is fault increased, viz. by an increase of exposedness 
to the evil action or omission ; yet it is diminished in another 
respect, to balance it ; namely, as the sinfulness or blamea- 
bleness of the action or omission is diminished in the same 
proportion. So that, on the whole, the affair, as to exposed- 
ness 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 selfmov- 
ing power, by virtue of which it could act and produce effects 
to a certain degree, ex. gr. to move itself up or down with a 
force equal to a weight of ten pounds ; and that it might 
therefore be required of it, in ordinary circumstances, to move 
itself down with that force ; for which it has power and full 
liberty, and therefore woidd be blameworthy 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 counterbalances 
its selfmoving power, and so readers it impossible for it to 
move down at all ; this 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 im» 


possible, but yet more difficult : So that it can now only 
move down with the force o f one pound : But however this is 
all that is required of it under these cirumslances ; it is whol- 
ly excused from nine parts of Us motion : And if the scale, 
under these circumstances, neelecis to move, and remains 
at rest, all that it will be blamed for, will be its neglect of 
that one tenth pari of its motion ; which it had as much lib- 
erty and advantage for as in usual circumstances, it has for 
the greater melon, which in such a case would be required. 
So that this ne.v difficulty, does not at all increase its ex- 
posedness to any thing blameworthy. 

And 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. Whitby's notions of 
liberty, virtue and vice, blame and praise. The avoiding sin 
and blame, and the doing what is virtuous and praiseworthy, 
must be always equally easy. 

D'\ Whitby's notions of liberty, obligation, virtue, sin, 
Sec. led him into another great inconsistence. He abundantly 
insists, that necessity is inconsistent with the nature of sin or 
fault He says, in the forementioned treatise, p. 14. " Who 
can blame a person for doing what he could not help?" And 
p. 15. " It being sensibly unjust, to punish any man for do- 
ing that which was never in his power to avoid." And in p. 
341, to confirm his opinion, he quotes one of the Fathers, say- 
ing. » Why doth God command, if man hath not free Will 
and power to obey ?" And again in the same and the next 
page, "Who will not cry out, that it is folly to command 
him, that hath not liberty to do what is commanded ; and 
that it is unjust to condemn him, that has it not in his power 
to do what is required ?" And in p. 373, he cites another 
saying. " A law is given to him that can turn to both parts, 
i. e. obey or transgress it : But no law can be against him who 
is bound by nature." 

And yet the same Dr. Whitby asserts, that fallen man is 
not able to perform perfect obedience. In p. 165, he has 
these words : « The nature of Adam had power to continue 


innocent, and without sin ; whereas it is certain our nature 
never had so.".... But if we have not power to continue inno- 
cent and without sin, then sin is consistent with Necessity, 
and we may be sinful in that which we have not power to 
avoid ; and those things cannot be true which he asserts else- 
where, namely, " That if we be necessitated, neither sins of 
omission nor commission, would deserve that name," (p. 348.) 
If we have it not in our power to be innocent, then we have 
it not in our power to be blameless: And if so, we are under a 
necessity of being blameworthy And how does this con- 
sist with what he so often asserts, that necessity is inconsist- 
ent 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 j having no power to perform so much as is 
commanded. And if so, why does he cry out of the unrea- 
sonableness and folly of commanding beyond what men have 
power to do ? 

And Arryrinians 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 una- 
ble to perform perfect obedience, and that Christ died to sat- 
isfy for the i?nfierfections of our obedience, and has made way, 
that our imperfect obedience might be accepted instead of 
perfect : Wherein they seem insensibly to run themselves 
into the grossest inconsistence. For, (as I have observed else- 
where) " they hold, that God, in mercy to mankind, has abol- 
ished 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 
Hnder, then they are not sins. And if they be not sins, what 


need of Christ's dying to satisfy for them ? But if they are 
sins, and the breach of some law, what law is it ? They cannot 
be a breach of their new Law ; for thai requires no other than 
imperfect obedience* .or obedience with imperfections: And 
therefore to have obedience attended with imperii; c 'ions, 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 neve;- were under it. They say, it would 
not be just in God to require of us perfect obedience, because 
it would not be just to require more than we can perform, or 
to punish us for failing of it. And therefore, by their own 
scheme, the imperfections of cm- obedience do not deserve to 
be punished. What need therefore of Christ's dying, to sat- 
isfy for them I What need of bis ajjfferiag to satisfy for that 
which is no fault, and in its own nature deserves no suffering? 
What need of Christ's dying, to purchase, that our imperfect 
obedience should be accepted, when, according to their 
scheme, it would be unjust in itself, that any other obedience, 
than imperfect should be required ? What need of Christ's dy- 
ing to make way for God's accepting such an obedience, as it 
would be unjust in him not to accept ? Is there any need of 
Christ's dying, to prevail with God not to do unrighteously ? If 
it be said, that Christ died to satisfy that old law for us, that 
so we might not be under it, but that there might be room for 
our being under a more mild law ; still I would inquire, what 
need of Christ's dying, that wo might 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 arc not able to keep it ? 

So the Arminians are inconsistent with themselves, not only 
in what they ssy of the need of Christ's satisfaction to atone 
for these imperfections, which we cannot avoid, but also in 
what they say of the grace of God, granted to enable men to 
.incere obedience of the new law. '• I grant, 
I indeed, that by reason of original sin, 
we are utterly disabled for the performance of the condition, 

* Treatise of the Op pirit, second edition, page 412, 113, 


•without new grace from God. But I say then, that he gives 
such grace to all of us, by which the performance of the 
condition la truly possible : And upon this ground he may, 
and doth most righteously require it." If Dr. Stebbing in- 
tends to speak properly, by grace he must mean, that assist- 
ance which is of grace, or of free favor and kindness. But 
yet in the sarh-e 1 plac« lie speaks of it as very unreasonable, un- 
just and craedi for God to require that, as the condition of par- 
don, that is become impossible by original Sin. Ifitbeso, 
what grace is there in giving assistance and ability to perform 
the condition of pardon ? Of why is that called by the name 
of grace, that is an absolute debt, which God is bound to be- 
stow, and which it would be unjust and cruel in Him to with- 
hold, seeing he requires that, as the condition cf/iardon, which 
we cannot perform without it. 


Command and Obligation to Obedience, consistent 
ivit/i moral Inability to obey. 

IT being so much insisted on by Arminian writers, that 
necessity is inconsistent with Law or Command, and particu- 
larly, that it is absurd to suppose God by his command 
should require that of men which they are unable to do ; not 
allowing in this case for any difference that there is be- 
tween natural and moral Inability ; I would therefore now 
particularly consider this master. 

And, 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. That is, such or such a state or acts of men's 


Wills, is in many cases, properly required of them by Com- 
mand ; and not those alterations in the state of their bodies 
or minds only that are the consequences of volition. This is-, 
most manifest ; for it is the soul only that is properly and di- 
rectly the subject of precepts or commands ; that only being 
capable of receiving or perceiving commands. The motions 
or state of the body are matter of command, only as they 
are subject to the soul, and connected with its acts. But now 
the soul has no other faculty whereby it can, in the most di- 
rect and proper sense, consent, yield to, or comply with any 
command, but the faculty of the Will ; and it is by this faculty 
only, that the soul can directly disobey, or refuse compliance ; 
for the very notions of consenting, yielding, accepting, comply- 
ing, refusing, rejecting, Ifc. are, according to the meaning of 
the terms, nothing but certain acts of the Will. Obedience, 
in the primary nature of it, is the submitting and yielding of 
the Will of one to the Will of another. Disobedience is the 
not consenting, not complying of the Will of the command- 
ed to the manifested Will of the commander. Other acts 
that are not the acts of the Will, as certain motions of the 
body and alterations in the soul, are obedience or disobedi- 
ence only indirectly as they are connected with the state or acts 
of the Will, according to an established law of nature. So that 
it is manifest, the Will itself may be required, and the being 
of a good Will is the most proper, direct and immediate sub- 
ject of command ; and if this cannot be prescribed or requir- 
ed by command or precept, nothing can ; for other things 
can be required no otherwise than as they depend upon, and 
are the fruits of a good Will. 

Corol. 1. If there be several acts of the Will, or a series 
of acts, one following another, and one the effect of another, 
the first and determining act is properly the subject of com- 
mand, and not the consequent acts only, which are dependent 
upon it. Yea, it is this more especially, 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 obe- 
dience or disobedience lies, in a peculiar manner ; the con- 
sequent acts being all s-ubject to it, and governed and deter- 


mined by it. This determining, governing act must be the 
proper subject of precept, or none. 

Corol. 2. It also follows, from what has been observed, 
that if there be any sort of act, or exertion of the soul, prior 
to all free acts of the Will or acts of choice in the case direct- 
ing and determining what the acts of the Will shall be ; that 
act or exertion of the soul cannot properly be subject to 
command or precept, in any respect whatsoever, either di- 
rectly or indirectly, immediately or remotely. Such acts can- 
not be subject to commands directly, because they are no acts 
of the Will ; being by the supposition prior to all acts of the 
Will, determining and giving rise to all its acts : They 
not being acts of. the Will, there can be in them no 
consent to, or compliance with, any command. Neither can 
they be subject to command, or precept indirectly or remote- 
ly i for they are not so much as the effects or consequences of 
the Will, being prior to all its acts. So that if there be any 
obedience in that original act of the soul, determining all vo- 
litions, it is an act of obedience wherein the Will has no con- 
cern at all ; it preceding every act of Will. And therefore, 
if the soul either obeys or disobeys in this act, it is wholly in- 
voluntarily ; there is no willing obedience or rebellion, no com- 
pliance or opposition of the Will in the affair : And what 
sort of obedience or rebellion is this ? 

And thus the Arminian notion of the freedom of the Will 
consisting in the soul's determining its own acts of Will, in- 
stead of being essential to moral agency, and to men's being 
the subjects of moral government is utterly inconsistent with 
it. For if the soul determines all its acts of Will, it is there- 
in subject to no command or moral government, 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 Will. And the soul cannot be the subject of com- 
mand in the act of the Will itself which depends on the fore- 
going determining act, and is determined by it ; inasmuch 
as this is necessary, being the necessary consequence and ef- 
fect of that prior determining act, which is not voluntary. Nor 
can the man be a' subject of command or government in hi? 

Vol. V. Z 


external actions ; because these arc all necessary, being the 
necessary effects of the acts of the Will themselves. So 
that mankind, according to this scheme, are subjects of com- 
mand or moral government in nothing ; 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 Calvinists, that is utterly inconsistent with moral govern- 
ment, and with the use of laws, precepts, prohibitions, prom- 
ises 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, preced- 
ing the acts of the Will, but that volitions tfre events that 
come to pass by 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 of no 
use to direct and regulate perfect accident : Which, by the 
supposition of its being 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 useless- 
ness of laws and precepts also follows from the Arminian no- 
tion of indifference, as essential to that liberty, which is re- 
quisite to virtue or vice. For the end of laws is to bind to one 
aide ; 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, hav- 
ing a bias, through the influence of binding law, laid upon it, 
is not wholly left to itself, to determine itself 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 command, and not only 
those alterations in the body, &c. which are the effects of the 
Will ; I now proceed, in the second place, to observe that 
the very opposition or defect of the Will itself, in that 
act, which "is its original and determining act in the case; 


% say, the Will's opposition in this act to a thing proposed or 
commanded, or its failing of compliance, implies a moral Ina- 
bility to that thing : Or, in other words, whenever a com- 
mand requires a certain state or act of the Will, and the per- 
son commanded, notwithstanding the command and the cir- 
cumstances under which it is exhibitad, 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 part, 
concerning the nature of moral Inability, as distinguished from 
natural ; where it was observed, that a man may then 
be said to be morally unable to do a thing., when he is un- 
der the influence or prevalence of a contrary 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 strongest motive ; and so is always unable 
to go against the motive, which, all things considered, has now 
the greatest strength and advantage to move the Will.. ..But 
not further to insist on these things, the truth of the position 
now laid down, viz. that when the Will is opposite to, or, 
failing of a compliance with a thing in its original, determining 
inclination or act, it is not able to comply, appears by Jhe con- 
sideration of these two things. 

1 . The Will in the time of that diwerse or opposite lead- 
ing act or inclination, and when actually under the influence 
of it, is not able to exert itself to the contrary, to npakc an al- 
teration, in order to a compliance. The inclination is unable 
to change itself; and that for this plain reason, that it is una- 
ble to incline to change itself. Present choice cannot at pres- 
ent choose to be otherwise: For that would be at firesent to 
choose some thing diverse from what is at firesent 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 ex- 
posed 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 influ- 
ence of that determining choice or inclination ; so it is impossi- 
ble it should be determined to a compliance by any foregoing 
act ; for, by the very supposition, there is no foregoing act ; 
the opposite or noncomplying act being that act which is orig- 
inal and determining in the case. Therefore it must be so, 
that if this first determining act be found noncomplying, on 
the proposal of the command, the mind is morally unable to 
obey. For to suppose it to be able to obey, is to suppose it to 
be able to determine and cause its first determining act to be 
otherwise, and that it has power better to govern and regulate 
lis first governing and regulating act, which is absurd ; for it is 
to suppose a prior act of the Will, determining its first deter- 
mining act ; that is, an act prior to the first, and leading and 
governing the original and governing act of all ; which is a 

Here if it should be said, that although the mind has not 
any ability to Will contrary to what it does Will, in the orig- 
inal 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 proceed to action, and to take time 
for deliberation ; which may be an occasion of the change of 
the inclination, 

/ answer, (1.) In this objection that seems to be forgot- 
ten which was observed before, viz. that the determining 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 required by precept. And if this act 
be the commSVuted act, then all that has been observed con- 
cerning the commanded act of the Will remains true, that 


the very want of it is a moral Inability to exert it, Sec. (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 with- 
out deliberating, be the first and leading act ; or whether it 
be or no, if there be another act before it, which determines 
that ; or whatever be th e original and leading act ; still the 
foregoing proof stands good, that the noncompliance of the 
leading act implies moral Inability to comply. 

If it should be objected, that these things make all moral 
Inability equal, and suppose men morally unable to Will oth- 
erwise 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 mor- 
al, it is true, the Will, in every instance, acts by moral neces- 
sity and is morally unable* to act otherwise, as truly and prop- 
erly in one case as another ; as I humbly conceive has been 
perfectly and abundantly demonstrated by what has been said 
in the preceding part of this Essay. But yet, in some res- 
pect, the Inability may be said to be greater in some instances 
than others ; though the man may be truly unable, (if moral 
Inability can truly be called Inability) yet he may be further 
from being able to do some things than others. As it is in 
things, which men are naturally unable to do.. ..A person, 
whose strength is no more than sufficient to lift the weight of 
one hundred pounds, is as truly and really unable to lift one 
hundred and one pounds, as ten thousand pounds ; but yet he 
is further from being able to lift the latter weight than the 
former ; and so, according to common use of speech, has a 
greater Inability for it. So it is in moral Inability. A man 
is truly morally unable to choose contrary to a present incli- 
nation, which in the least degree prevails ; or, contrary to 
that motive, which, all things considered, has strength and ad- 
vantage now to move the Will, in the least degree, superior 
to all other motives in view ; but yet he is further from abili- 
ty to resist a very strong habit, and a violent and deeply root- 


ed inclination, or a motive vastly exceeding all others ia 
strength. And again, the Inability may, in some respects, be 
called greater in some instances than others, as it may be more 
general and extensive to all acts of that kind. So men may 
be said to be unable in a different sense, and to be further from 
moral ability! who have that moral Inability which is general 
and habitual, than they who have only that Inability which is 
occasional ;\nd Jmrticular* Thus in cases of natural Inability ; 
he that is born blind may be said to be unable to see, in a dif- 
ferent manner, and is, in some respects, further from being 
able to see, than he whose sight is hindered by a transient 
cloud or mist. 

And besides, that which was observed in the first part of 
this discourse, concerning the Inability which attends a strong 
and settled habit, should be here remembered, viz. that fixed 
habit i? attended with this peculiar moral Inability, by which 
it is distinguished from occasional volition, namely, that en- 
deavors to avoid future volitions of that kind, which are agree- 
able to such a habit, much more frequently and commonly 
prove vain and insuflicient. For though it is impossible there 
should be any true, sincere desires and endeavors against a 
present volition or choice, yet there may be against volitions 
of that kind, when viewed at a distance. A person may de- 
sire 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 endeavors may be ineffectual. 
The man may be said in some sense to be unable ;" yea, even 
as the word unable \s a relative term, and has relation to inef- 
fectual endeavors ; yet not with regard to present, but remote 

Secondly, It mv.sibc borne in mind, according to what was 
observed before, that indeed no Inability whatsoever, which is 
merely moral, is properly called lay 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 
lie cannot be said to be unable to do a thing, when he can, if 

* See this distinction of moral Inability explained in Part I. Sect. IV. 


he now pleases, or whenever he has a proper, direct and im- 
mediate desire for it. As to those desires and endeavors, that 
may he against the exercises of a strong hahit, with regard to 
which men may be said to be unable to avoid those exercises, 
they are remote desires and endeavors in two respects. First y 
as to time ; they are never a'gainst present volitions, but only 
against volitions of such a kind, when- viewed 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 them- 
selves considered, are agreeable ; but against something else, 
that attends them, or is their consequence ; the opposition of 
the mind is levelled entirely against this ; the inclination or 
volitions themselves are not at all opposed directly, and for 
their own sake ; but only indirectly and remotely on the ac- 
count 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 Inabili- 
ty to that thing ; yet, if it be, as has been already shewn, that 
the being of a good state or act of Will, is a tiling most prop- 
erly 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 com- 
mand, 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 vein 
and impertinent. And not only may such a Will be required. 
as is wanting before the command is given, but also such as 
may possibly be wanting afterwards ; such as the exhibition 
of the command may not be effectual to produce or excite..,. 
Otherwise, no such things as disobedience to a proper and 
rightful command is possible in any case ; and there is no 
case supposable or possible, wherein there can be an inexcus- 
able or faulty disobedience ; which Arminiuns cannot affirm 
consistently with their principles : Vox this makes obedtenee 


to just and proper commands always necessary, and Disobe- 
dience impossible. And so the Arminian would overthrow 
himself, yielding the very point we are upon, which he so 
strenuously denies, viz. that law and command are consistent 
with necessity. 

If merely that Inability will excuse disobedience, which is 
implied in the opposition or defect of inclination, remaining 
after the command is exhibited, then wickedness always car- 
ries 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, has he of moral Inability to the good re- 
quired. His moral Inability, consisting in the strength of his 
evil inclination, is the very thing wherein his wickedness con- 
sists ; 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 wicked- 

Therefore, on the whole, it is manifest, that moral Inability 
alone (which consists in disinclination, never renders any 
thing improperly the subject matter of precept or command, 
and never can excuse any person in disobedience, or want of 
conformity to a command. 

Natural Inability, arising from the want of natural capacity, 
or external hindcrance, (which alone is properly called Ina- 
bility) without doubt wholly excuses, or makes a thing im- 
properly 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 extrinsic to it; either in the capacity of un- 
derstanding, or body, or outward circumstances. 

Here two or three things may be observed, 

1. As to spiritual duties or acts, or any good thing in the 
state or immanent acts of the Will itself, or of the affections, 
(which are only certain modes of the exercise of the Will) if 
persons are justly excused, it must be through want of capaci- 
ty in the natural faculty of understanding. Thus the same 
spiritual duties, or holy affections and exercises of heart, can- 


i>ot be required of men, as may be of angels ; the capacity of 
understanding being so much inferior. So men cannot be re- 
quired to love those amiable persons, whom they have had no 
opportunity to see, or hear of, or come to the knowledge of,' 
in any way agreeable to the natural state and capacity of the 
human understanding. But the insufficiency of motives will 
not excuse ; unless their being insufficient arises not from the 
moral state of the Will or inclination itself, but from the state 
of the natural understanding. The great kindness and gene- 
rosity of another may be a motive insufficient to excite grati- 
tude 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 inclination of 
heart, and does not at all excuse. But if this generosity is 
not sufficient to excite gratitude, being unknown, there being 
no means of information adequate to the state and measure of 
the person's faculties, this insufficiency is attended with a nat- 
ural Inability which entirely excuses. 

2. As to such motions of body, or exercises and alterations 
of mind, which do not consist in the immanent acts or state of 
the Will itself, but are supposed to be required as effects of 
the Will ; I say, in such supposed effects of the Will, in 
cases wherein there is no want of a capacity of understand- 
ing ; that Inability, and that only excuses, which consists in 
want of connexion between them and the Will. If the Will 
fully complies, and the proposed effect does not prove, accord- 
ing 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 observ- 
ed, is all that can be directly and immediately required by 
Command ; and other things only indirectly, as connected* 
with the Will. If, therefore, there be a full compliance of 
Will, the person 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 resolved 
into one thing, namely, want of natural capacity or strength ; 

Vol. V. 2 A 


either capacity of understanding, or external strength. For 
when there are external defects and obstacles, they would be 
no obstacles, were it not for the imperfection and limitations 
of understanding and strength. 

Carol. If things for which men have a moral Inability, may 
properly be the matter of precept or command, then they 
may also of invitation and counsel. Commands and invita- 
tions come very much to the same thing ; the difference is 
only circumstantial : Commands are as much a manifestation 
of the Will of him that speaks, as invitations, and as much 
testimonies of expectation of compliance. The difference 
between them lies in nothing that touches the affair in hand. 
The main difference between command and invitation con- 
sists in the enforcement of the Will of him who commands or 
invites. In the latter it is his kindness, the goodness which 
his Will arises from : In the former it is his authority. But 
whatever be the ground of the Will of him that speaks, or the 
enforcement of what he says, yet, seeing neither his Will nor 
expectation is any more testified in the one case than the oth- 
er ; therefore a person's being known to be morally unable to 
do the thing to which he is directed by Invitation, is no more 
an evidence of insincerity in him that directs in manifesting 
either a Will, or expectation which he has not, than his be- 
ing known to be morally unable to do what he is directed to 
by command. So that all this grand objection of Arminiani 
against the Inability of fallen men to exert faith in Christ, or 
to perform other spiritual gospel duties, from the sincerity of 
God's counsels and invitations, must be without force. 



That Sincerity of Desires and Endeavors, which is 
supposed to excuse in the Nonperformance of 
Things in themsehes good, particularly considered. 

IT is what is much insisted on by many, that some men, 
though they are not able to perform spiritual duties, such as 
repentance of sin, love of God, a cordial acceptance of Christ 
as exhibited and offered in the gospel, Sec. yet they may sin- 
cerely desire and endeavor these things ; and therefore must 
be excused ; it being unreasonable to blame them for the 
omission of those things, which they sincerely desire and en- 
deavor to do, but cannot do. 

Concerning this matter, the following things may be ob- 

1. What is here supposed, is a great mistake and gross ab- 
surdity ; even that men may sincerely choose and desire 
those spiritual duties of love, acceptance, choice, rejection, Sec. 
consisting in the exercise of the Will itself, or in the disposi- 
tion and inclination of the heart ; and yet not be able to per- 
form or exert them. This is absurd, because it is absurd to 
suppose that a man should directly, properly and sincerely in- 
cline to have an inclination, which at the same time is contra- 
ry to his inclination : For that is to suppose him not to be in- 
clined to that, to which he is inclined. 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 consist in 
the state and acts of the Will being so formed and directed. 
If the soul properly and sincerely falls in with a certain pro- 
posed act of Will or choice, the soul therein makes that 
choice its own. Even as when a moving body falls in with a 
proposed direction of its motion, that is the same thing as to 
move in that direction. 


2. That which is called a desire and willingness for thos& 
inward duties, in such as do not perform them, has repect 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 & 
distant view, and with respect to future time ; but also be- 
cause evermore, not these things themselves, but something 
else, that is alien and foreign, is the object that terminates 
these volitions and desires. 

A drunkard, who continues in his drunkenness, being un- 
der the power of a love, and violent appetite to strong drink, 
and without any love to virtue ; but being also extremely 
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 pres- 
ent Will is to gratify his extravagant appetite, yet he may 
wish he had a heart to forbear future acts of intemperence, and 
forsake his excesses, through an unwillingness to part with 
his money : But still he goes on with his drunkenness ; his 
wishes and endeavors are insufficient and ineffectual : Such a 
man has no proper, direct, sincere willingness to forsake this 
vice, and the vicious deeds which belong to it : For he acts 
voluntarily in continuing to drink to excess : His desire is 
very improperly called a willingness to be temperate ; it is 
no true desire of that virtue ; for it is not that virtue, that 
terminates his wishes ; nor have they any direct respect 
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 regarded only very indirectly 
and improperly, even as a necessary means of gratifying the 
vice of covetousness. 

So a man of an exceeding corrupt and wicked heart, who 
has no love to God and Jesus Christ, but, on the contrary, be- 
ing very profanely and carnally inclined, has the greatest dis- 
taste of the things of religion, and enmity 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 long ; and having been in- 


structed in the necessity of a supreme love to Christ, and gra- 
titude for his death and sufferings, in order to his salvation 
from eternal misery ; if under these circumstances he should, 
through fear of eternal torments, wish he had such a disposi- 
tion : But his profane and carnal heart remaining, he contin- 
ues still in his habitual distaste of and enmity to God and re- 
ligion, and wholly without any exercise of that love and grati- 
tude, (as doubtless the very devils themselves, notwithstand- 
ing 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 exercis- 
es are not at all the direct object of the Will : they truly 
share no part of the inclination or desire of the soul ; but all 
is terminated on deliverence from torment : And these graces 
and pious volitions, notwithstanding this forced consent, are 
looked upon as undesirable ; as when a sick man desires a 

dose he greatly abhors, to save his life From these things it 


3. That this indirect willingness -which has been spoken 
of, is not that exercise of the Will which the command re- 
quires ; but is entirely a different one ; being a volition of a 
different nature, and terminated altogether on different ob- 
jects ; wholly falling short of that virtue of Will, which the 
command has respect to. 

4. This other volition, which has only some indirect con- 
cern with the duty required, cannot excuse for the want of that 
good will itself, which is commanded ; being not the thing 
which answers and fulfils the command, and being wholly des- 
titute 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 fatherly kind- 
ness and tenderness, and has every way, in the highest de- 
gree merited his love and dutiful regaid, being withal very 
wealthy ; but the son is of so vile a disposition, that he in- 
veterately hates his father ; and yet, apprehending that his 
hatred of him is like to prove his ruin, by bringing him final- 
ly to poverty and abject circumstances, through his father'-s 


disinheriting him, or otherwise ; which is exceeding cross to 
his avarice and ambition ; he therefore, wishes it were oth- 
erwise : But yet, remaining tinder the invincible power of hie 
vile and malignant disposition, he continues still in his settled 
hatred of his father. Now, if such a son's indirect willing- 
ness to have love and honor towards his father, at ail acquits 
or excuses before God, for his failing of actually- exercising 
these dispositions towards him, which God requires, it must 
be on one of these 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 honor to his wor- 
thy parent. If the command be proper and just, as is sup- 
posed, then it obliges to the thing commanded ; and so noth- 
ing else but that can answer the obligation. Or, (2.) It must 
be at least, because there is 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 contrary to the supposition. The willing- 
ness the son has merely from regard to money and honor, has 
no goodness in it, to countervail the want of the pious filial 
respect required. 

Sincerity and reality, in that indirect willingness, which 
has been spoken of does not make it the better. That which 
is real and hearty is often called sincere ; whether it be iu 
virtue or vice. Some persons are sincerely bad ; others are 
sincerely good; and others may be sincere and hearty in 
Ihings, which are in their own nature indifferent ; as a man 
may be sincerely desirous of eating when he is hungry. But 
3 being sincere, hearty and in good earnest, is no virtue, un- 
less it be in 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, and besought Christ not to tor- 
ment 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 de- 
sires, which are in their kind and nature no better, it can be 
no excuse for the want of any required virtue. 


And as a man's being sincere in such an indirect desire or 
willingness to do his duty, as has been mentioned, cannot ex- 
cuse for the want of performance ; so it is with endeavorb 
arising from such a willingness. The endeavors can have no 
more goodness in therh, than the Will which they are the efc 
feet and expression of. And, therefore, however sincere and 
real, and however great a person's endeavors 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 
whatsoever, 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, excuse or make up for 
any moral defect. For nothing can counterbalance evil, but 
good. If evil be in one scale, and we put a great deal into the 
other, sincere and earnest desires, and many and great en- 
deavors ; 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 
subtracting a thousand noughts from before a real number 
which leaves the sum just as it was. 

Indeed such endeavors may have a negatively good infiu= 
ence. Those things, which have no positive virtue have no 
positive moral influence ; yet they may oe an occasion of per- 
sons avoiding some positive evils. As if a man were in the 
Water with a neighbor, that he had ill will to, who could no: 
swim, holding him by his hand ; which neighbor was much 
in debt to him ; and should be tempted to let him sink and 
drown ; but should refuse to comply with the temptation , 
not from love to his neighbor, but from the love of money, 
and because by his drowning he should lose his debt ; that 
which he does in preserving his neighbor from drowning, h 
nothing good in the sight of God ; yet hereby he avoids the 
greater guilt that would have been contracted, if he had de- 
signedly let his neighbor sink and perish. But when Armin- 
ians, in their disputes with Calvinists, insist so much on sin- 
cere desires and endeavors, as what must excuse men. fotisi 


be accepted of God, Sec. it is manifest they have respect to' 
some positive moral weight or influence of those desires and 
endeavors. Accepting, justifying or excusing on the account 
of sincere honest endeavors (as they are called) and men's do- 
ing what they can, Sec. has relation to some moral value, some- 
thing that is accepted as good, and as such, countervailing 
some defect. 

But there is a great and unknown deceit arising from the 
ambiguity of the phrase, sincere endeavors. Indeed 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, inextricable confusion, and endless con- 

The word sincere, is most commonly used to signify some- 
thing that is good : Men are habituated to understand by it 
the same as honest and upright ; which terms excite an idea 
of something good in the strictest and highest sense ; good 
in the sight of him, who sees not only the outward appearance, 
but the heart. And, therefore, men think that if a person be 
sincere, he will Certainly be accepted. If it be said that any 
one is sincere in his endeavors, 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 ufi~ 
rightly desires and endeavors to do as he is required ; and 
this leads them to suppose, that it would be very hard and un- 
reasonable to punish him, only because he is unsuccessful in 
his endeavors, the thing endeavored being beyond his power.... 
Whereas it ought to be observed, that the word sincere has 
these different significations : 

1. Sincerity, as the word is sometimes used, signifies no 
more than reality of Will and endeavor, with resptct to any 
thing that is professed or pretended ; without any considera- 
tion of the nature of the principle or aim, whence this real 
Will and true endeavor arises. If a man has some real desire 
to obtain a thing, cither direct or indirect, or does really En- 
deavor after a thing, he is said sincerely to desire or endeavor 
k ; without anv consideration of the goodness or virtuousness 


©f the principle he acts from, or any excellency or worthiness 
of the end he acts for. Thus a man who is kind to his neigh- 
bor's wife, who is sick and languishing, and very helpful in 
her case, makes a shew of desiring and endeavoring her res- 
toration to health and vigor; and not only makes such a shew, 
but there is a reality in his pretence, he does heartily and earn- 
estly desire to have her health restored, and uses his true 
and utmost endeavors for it ; he is said sincerely to desire and 
endeavor it ; because he does so truly or really ; though per- 
haps the principle he acts from, is no other than a vile and 
scandalous passion ; having lived iu adultery with her, he ear- 
nestly desires to have her health and vigor restored, that he 
may return to his criminal pleasures with her. Or, 

2. By sincerity is meant, not merely a reality of Will and 
endeavor of some sort or other, and from some consideration 
or other, but a virtuous sincerity. That is, that in the per- 
formance of those particular acts, that arc the matter of virtue 
or duty, there be not only the matter, but the form and es- 
sence of virtue, consisting in the aim that governs the act, and 
the principle exercised in it. There is not only the reality of 
the act, that is as it were the body of the duty ; but also the 
soul, which should properly belong to such a body. In this 
sense, a man is said to be sincere, when he acts with a pure 
intention ; not from sinister views, or bye ends : He not only 
in reality desires and seeks the thing to be done, or qualifica- 
tion 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 oppo- 
sition to a mere pretence, and shew of the particular thing to be 
done or exhibited, without any real desire or endeavor' 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 Che 7na?t:r of 'duty r , 
without the reality of the virtue itself in the soul, and the es- 
sence of it, which there is a shew of. A man may be sincere 
in the former sense, and yet in the latter be in the sight of Godj 
who searches the heart, a vile hypocrite. 
Vol. V. 2B 


In the latter kind of sincerity only, is there any thing tru- 
ly valuable or acceptable in the sight of God. And this is 
the thing, which in scripture is called sincerity, uprightness, 
integrity, truth in the inivard parts, and a being of a perfect 
heart. And if there be such a sincerity, and such a degree of 
it as there ought to be, and there be any thing further that the 
man is not able to perform, or which does not prove to be con- 
nected with his sincere desires and endeavors, 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 endeavor is all that in strictness is required of him, by 
•ny command of God. But as to the other kind of sincerity 
of desires and endeavors, it having no virtue in it, (as was ob- 
served before) can be of no avail before God, in any case, to 
recommend, satisfy, or excuse, and has no positive moral 
weight or influence whatsoever. 

Corol. 1. Hence it may be inferred, that nothing in the 
reason and nature of things appears, from the consideration of 
any moral weight of that former kind of sincerity, which has 
been spoken of, at all obliging us to believe, or leading us to 
suppose, that God has made any positive promises of salvation, 
or grace, or any saving assistance, or any spiritual benefit 
whatsoever, to any desires, prayers, endeavors, striving, or obe~ 
dience 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 endeavor, 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 su- 
pernatural renovation : Such as a supreme respect to Christ, 
love to God, loving holiness for its own sake, &c. that these 
inward dispositions and exercises are above men's power, as 
they are by nature ; and therefore that we may conclude, that 
when men are brought to be sincere in their endeavors, and 
do as well as they can, they are accepted ; and that this must 
1je all that God requires, in order to men's being received as 
the objects of his favor, and must be what God has appointed 
as the condition of salvation. Concerning which, I would oh- 


serve, that in such a manner of speaking of men's being ac- 
cepted, because they are sincere, and do as well as they can, 
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 exer- 
cise 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. In such a case, there is 
no more positive moral goodness in a man's doing what he 
can, than in a windmill's doing what it can ; because the ac- 
tion does no more proceed from virtue ; and there is nothing 
in such sincerity of endeavor, or doing what we can, that should 
render it any more a proper or fit recommendation to positive 
favor and acceptance, or the condition of any reward or actual 
benefit, than doing nothing ; for both the one and the other 
are alike nothing, as to any true moral weight or value. 

Coroi. 2. Hence also it follows, that 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 necessa- 
ry means of salvation, or some way or other bestow true holi- 
ness and eternal life on those Heathen, who are sincere (in the 
sense above explained) in their endeavors to find out the Will 
of the Deity, and to please him, according to their light, that 
they may escape his future displeasure and wrath, and obtain 
happiness in the future state, through his favor. 



Liberty of Indifference, not only not necessary t* 
Virtue, but utterly inconsistent with it ; and all, 
either virtuous or vicious Habits or Inclinations, 
inconsistent with Arminian Notions of Liberty and 
moral Agency. 

TO suppose such a freedom of Will, as Arminians talk of, 
to be requisite to virtue and vice, is many ways contrary to 
common stnse. 

If indifference belongs to liberty of Will, as Arminians 
sunpose, and it be essential to a virtuous action, that it be per- 
formed in a state of liberty, as they also suppose ; it will fol- 
low, that it is essential to a virtuous notion, that it be perform- 
ed in a st.ile of indifference ; and if it be performed in a state 
of indifference, then doubtless it must be performed in the 
lime 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 performance of that act and the more indifferent 
and cold the heart is with relation to the act which is per- 
formed, so much the better ; because the act is performed 
with so much the greater liberty. Hut 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 that, which 
is contrary to indifference, even in the tendency and inclina- 
tion of the heart to virtuous action ; and that the stronger the 
inclination, and so the further from indifference, the more vir- 
tuous the heart* and so much more praiseworthy the act which 
proceeds from it ? 

If we should suppose (contrary to what has been before de- 
monstrated) that there may be an act of Will in a state of in- 
difference ; for instance, this act, viz. The Will's determining 
to put itself out of a state of indifference, and give itself a 
preponderation one way, then it would follow, on Arminian 


principles, that this act or determination of the Will is that 
alone wherein virtue consists, because this only is performed, 
while the mind remains in a state of indifference, and so in a 
state of liberty : For when once the mind is put out of its 
equilibrium, it is no longer in such a state ; and therefore all 
the acts, which follow afterwards, proceeding from bias, can 
have the nature neither of virtue nor vice. Or if the thing, 
which the Will can do, while yet in a state of indifference, 
and so of liberty, be only to suspend acting, and determine to 
take the matter into consideration, then this determination is 
that alone wherein virtue consists, and not proceeding to ac- 
tion after the scale is turned by consideration. So that it will 
follow, from these principles, that all that is done after the 
mind, by any means, is once out of its equilibrium and al- 
ready possessed by an inclination, and arising from that in- 
clination, has nothing of the nature of virtue or vice, and is 
"worthy of neither blame nor praise. But how plainly contra- 
ry is tins 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 ivell disposed and in- 
clined ; and the stro?iger, and the more fixed and determined 
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 perfect indifference and coldness of 
heart, they cannot arise from any good principle or disposi- 
tion in the heart ; and, consequently, according to common 
sense, have no sincere goodness in them, having no virtue of 
heart in them. To have a virtuous heart, is to have a heart 
that favors virtue, and is friendly to it, and not one perfectly 
cold and indifferent about it. 

And besides, the actions that are done in a state of indiffer- 
ence, 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 between the act and the state of indif- 
ference ; which is contrary to the supposition of the act's 
arising immediately out of indifference. But those acts. 


which arc not determined by preceding choice, cannot be vir- 
tuous or vicious by Arminian principles, because they are not 
determined by the Will. So that neither one way, nor the 
other, can any actions be virtuous or vicious, according to Ar- 
viinian principles. 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 selfdeter- 
roined 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 neighbor or near friend, and one who has in the ijighest 
degree merited of me, in extreme distress, and ready to per- 
ish, I find an indifference in my heart with respect to any 
thing proposed to be done, which I can easily do, for his re- 
lief. So if it should be proposed to me to blaspheme God, or 
kill my father, or do numberless other things, which might 
be mentioned, the being indifferent, for a moment, would 
be highly vicious and vile. 

And it may be further observed, that to suppose this liberty 
of indifference is essential to virtue and vice, destroys the 
great difference of degrees of the guilt of different crimes, 
and takes away the heinousness of the most flagitious, horrid 
iniquities ; such as adultery, bestiality, murder, perjury, 
blasphemy, Sec. For, according to these principles, there is 
no harm at all in having the mind in a state of perfect indiffer- 
ence with respect to these crimes : Nay, it is absolutely nec- 
essary 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 prepondera- 


tion ; and one, even the least degree of preponderation, (all 
things considered) is choice. And not only so, but for the 
Will to be in a state of perfect equilibrium with respect to 
such crimes, is for the mind to be in such a state, as to be full 
as likely to choose them as to refuse them, to do them as tc* 
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 
exceeding 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 inevitable 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 tendency of the cause, or of the antecedent state 
of things from which the effect arises. Why then should we 
be so exceedingly to blame, if it does so fall out ? 

It is many ways apparent, that the Arminian scheme of lib- 
erty is utterly inconsistent with the being of any such thing? 
as either virtuous or vicious habits or dispositions. If liberty 
of indifference be essential to moral agency, then there can be 
no virtue in any habitual inclinations of the heart ; which are 
contrary to indifference, and imply in their nature the very 
destruction and exclusion of it. They suppose nothing can 
be virtuous, in which no liberty is exercised ; but how absurd 
is it to talk cf exercising indifference under bias and prepon- 
deration ! 

And if self deter mining flower in the Will be necessary te< 
moral agency, praise, blame, &c. then nothing done by the 
Will can be any further praise or blameworthy, 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 al- 
ready, the preponderation must not be determined and effect- 


eel beforehand ; and so the selfdetermining act anticipated. 
Thus it appears another way, that habitual bias is inconsisent 
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 concerning 
the inconsistence of necessity with liberty, praise, dispraise, 
&c. None will deny, that bias and inclination may be so 
strong as to be invincible, and leave no possibility of the Will's 
determining contrary to it ; and so be attended with necessity. 
This Dr. Whitby allows concerning the Will of God, Angels, 
and glorified Saints, with respect to good ; and the Will of 
Devils with respect to evil. Therefore if necessity be incon- 
sistent with liberty ; then, when fixed inclination is to sucli 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 so diminish 
praise and blame. If very strong habits destroy liberty, the 
less ones proportionably hinder it, according to their degree 
of strength. And therefore it will follow, that then is the act 
most virtuous or vicious, when performed without any in- 
clination or habitual bias at all ; because it is then perform- 
ed with most liberty. 

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 hinderancc is 
there of the contrary. And therefore if moral inability be 
inconsistent with moral agency, or the nature of virtue and 
vice, then, so far r.s there is any such thing as evil disposi- 
tion of heart, or habitual depravity of inclination ; whether 
covctousness, pride, malice, cruelty, or whatever else ; so 
much the more excusable persons are ; so much the less 
have their evil acts of this kind the nature of vice. And on 
the contrary, whatever excellent dispositions and inclinations 
they have, so much are they the less virtuous. 

It is evident, that no habitual disposition of heart, whether 
it be to a greater or less degree, can be in any degree virtu- 
ous or vicious ; or the actions which proceed from them at 


all praise ov blameworthy Because, though we should sup- 
pose the habit not to be of such strength, as wholly to take 
away all moral ability and selfdetermining power ; or hinder 
but that, although the act be partly from bias, yet it may be 
in part from sclfdetermination ; yet in this case, all that is 
from antecedent bias must be set aside, as of no considera- 
tion ; and in estimating the degree of virtue or vice, no more 
must be considered than what arises from selfdetermining 
power, without any influence of that bias, because liberty is 
exercised in no more ; so that all that is the exercise of ha- 
bitual 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 weaker, can ever 
have any thing of the nature of either virtue or vice. 

Here if any one should say, that notwithstanding all these 
things, there may be the nature of virtue and vice in hab- 
its of the mind; because these habits may be the effects of 
those acts, wherein the mind exercised liberty ; that howev- 
er the forementioned reasons will prove that no habits, which 
are natural, or that are born or created 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 

To such an objector I would say, that this evasion will 
not at all help the matter. For if freedom of Will be essen- 
tial to the very nature of virtue and vice, then there is no vir- 
tue 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 ne- 
cessity ; for in them alone was the man free. The following 
effects, that are necessary, have no more of the nature of vir- 
tue 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 quail- 
Vol, V. 2 C 


lies 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 moral virtues, being the effects of 
the free and faithful acts of the gardener. If liberty be abso- 
lutely requisite to the morality of actions and necessity whol- 
ly inconsitent with it, as Arminians greatly insist ; then no 
necessary effects whatsoever, let the cause be ever so good or 
bad, can be virtuous or vicious ; but the virtue or vice must be 
only in the free cause. Agreeably to this, Dr. Whitby sup- 
poses, the necessity that attends the good and evil habits of 
the saints in heaven, and damned in hell, which are the con- 
sequence of their free acts in their state of probation, are not 
rewardable or punishable. 

On the whole, it appears, that if the notions of Arminians 
concerning liberty and moral agency be true, it will follow, 
that there is no virtue in any such habits or qualities as humil- 
ity, meekness, patience, mercy, gratitude, generosity, heav- 
enly mindedness ; nothing at all praiseworthy in loving Christ 
above father and mother, wife and children, or our own lives ; 
or in delight in holiness, hungering and thirsting after right- 
eousness, 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, dev- 
ilish dispositions ; in being ungrateful, profane, habitually 
hating God, and things sacred and holy ; or in being most 
treacherous, envious, and cruel towards men. For all these 
things are dis/iositions and inclinations of the heart. And in 
short, there is no such thing as any virtuous or vicious quality 
of mind ; no such thing as inherent virtue and holiness, or 
vice and sin : And the stronger those habits or 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 mali- 
ciousness, still the further are they from being blameworthy. 
If there be a man that by his own repeated acts, or by any 
other means, is come to be of the most hellish disposition, 
desperately, inclined to treat his neighbors with injurious- 
ness, contempt and malignity ; ihc further they should be 


from any disposition to be angry with him, or in the least to 
blame him. So, on the other hand, if there be a person, who 
is of a most excellent spirit, strongly inclining him to the 
most amiable actions, admirably meek, benevolent, &c. so 
much is he further from any thing rewardable or commenda- 
ble. On which principles, the man Jesus Christ was very 
far from being praiseworthy for those acts of holiness and 
kindness, which he performed, these propensities being 
strong in his heart. And above all, the infinitely holy and 
gracious God is infinitely remote from any thing commenda- 
ble, his good inclinations being infinitely strong, and He, 
therefore, at the utmost possible distance from being at liber- 
ty. 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 are agreeable to common sense, let every 
one judge, that has human understanding in exercise. 

And, 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 ever can be any such thing as one or the 
other ; either in God, angels, or men. No propensity, dispo- 
sition or habit can be virtuous or vicious, as has been shewn ; 
because they, so far as they take place, destroy the freedom 
of the Will, the foundation of all moral agency, and exclude 
all capacity of either virtue or vice. ...And if habits and dispo- 
sitions themselves be not virtuous nor vicious, neither can the 
exercise of these dispositions be so ; for the exercise of bias is 
not the exercise of free selfdetermining JViU, and so there is 
no exercise of liberty in it. Consequently, no man is virtu- 
ous or vicious, either in being well or ill disposed, nor in act- 
ing from a good or bad disposition. And whether this bias 
or disposition, be habitual or not, if it exists but a moment 
before the act of Will, which is the effect of it, it alters not 
the case, as to the necessity of the effect. Or if there be 
no previous disposition at all, either habitual or occasional, 
that determines the act, then it is not choice that determines 


it: It is therefore a contingence, that happens to the man, 
arising from nothing in him ; and is necessary, as to any in- 
clination 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 lit upon by a 
swan or nightingale ; or a rock more vicious than other rocks, 
because rattlesnakes have happened oftener to crawl over it. 
So that there is no virtue nor vice in good 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 ? 


Arminian Notions of moral Agency inconsistent ivith 
all influence of Motive and Inducement, in either 
virtuous or vicious Jettons. 

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 and vicious hah : ' and dis- 
positions ; so they are no less so in their inconsistency with 
all influence of motives in moral actions. 

It is equally against those notions of liberty of Will, 
whether there be, previous to the act of choice, a preponder- 
ancy of the inclination, or a preponderancy of those circum- 
stances, which have a tendency to move the inclination. And, 
indeed, it comes to just the same thing ; to say, the circum- 
stances of the mind are such as tend to sway and turn its in- 
clination one way, is the same thing as to say, the inclination 
of the mind , as under such circumstances, tends that way. 

Or if any think it most proper to say, that motives do al- 
ter the inclination, and give a new bias to the miud, 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 selfdetermination, but to 
bring it into subjection to the power of something extrinsic, 
which operates upon it, sways and determines it, previous to 
its own determination. 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 motive 
causes the volition, then the influence of the motive deter- 
mines volition, 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 virtuous nor 

The supposition, which has already been taken notice of 
as an insufficient evasion in other cases, would be, in like man- 
ner, impertinently alleged in this case ; namely, the suppo- 
sition that liberty consists in a power of suspending 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 motive ; yet it may, for the present, 
forbear to act upon the motive presented, till there has been 
opportunity thoroughly to consider it, and compare its real 
weight with the merit of other motives. I answer as follows : 

Here again, it must be remembered, that if determining 
thus to suspend and consider, be that act of the Will, where- 
in alone liberty is exercised, then in this all virtue and vice 
must consist ; and the acts that follow this consideration, and 
are the effects of it, being necessary, are no more virtuous or 
vicious than some good or bad events, which happen when 
men are fast asleep, and are the consequences of what they 
did when they were awake. Therefore, I would here ob- 
serve two things : 


1. To suppose, that all virtue and vice, in every case, con- 
sists in determining, whether to take time for consideration 
or not, is not agreeable to common sense. For, according to 
such a supposition, the most horrid crimes, adultery, murder, 
sodomy, blasphemy, &C. do not at all consist in the horrid na- 
ture of the things themselves, but only in the neglect of 
thorough consideration before they were perpetrated, which 
brings their viciousness to a small matter, and makes all 
jcrimes equal. If it be said, that neglect of consideration, 
when such heinous evils arc proposed to choice, is worse than 
in other cases : I answer, this is inconsistent, as it supposes 
the very thing to be, which, at the same time, is supposed 
not to be ;. it supposes all moral evil, all viciousness and 
beinousness, does not consist merely in the want of consider- 
ation. It supposes some crimes in themselves, in their own 
nature, to be more heinous than others, antecedent to consid- 
eration or inconsideralion, which lays the person under a 
previous obligation to consider in some cases more than 

2. If it were so, that all virtue and vice, in every case, 
consisted only in the act of the Will, whereby it determines 
whether to consider or no, it would not alter the case in thg 
least, as to the present argument. For still in this act of the 
Will on this determination, it is induced by some motive, and 
necessarily follows the strongest motive ; and so is necessary, 
even in that act wherein alone it is either virtuous or vicious. 

One thing more I would observe, concerning the incon- 
sistence of Arminian notions of moral agency with the influ- 
ence of motives I suppose none will deny, that it is possi- 
ble for motives to be set before the mind so powerful, and 
exhibited in so strong a light, and under so advantageous cir- 
cumstances, as to be invincible ; and such as the mind can- 
not but yield to. In this case, Arminians will doubtless say, 
liberty is destroyed. And if so, then if motives are exhibited 
with half so much power, they hinder liberty in proportion 
to their strength, and go halfway towards destroying it. If a 
thousand degrees of motive abolish all liberty, then five hun- 
ched take it half away. If one degree of the influence of mo- 


live does not at all infringe or diminish liberty, then no more 
do two degrees ; for nothing doubled, is still nothing. And if 
two degrees do not diminish the Will's liberty, no more do 
four, eight, sixteen, or six thousand. For nothing multiplied 
ever so much, comes to but nothing. If there be nothing in 
the nature of motive or moral suasion, that is at all opposite 
to liberty, then the greatest degree of it cannot hurt liberty. 
But if there be any thing in the nature of the thing, that is 
against liberty, then the least degree of it hurls 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 forcible 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 agree- 
able to common sense. If it should be allowed, that there 
are some instances wherein the soul chooses without any mo- 
tive, what virtue can there be in such a choice ? I am sure, 
there is no prudence or wisdom in it. Such a choice is made 
for no good end ; for it is for no end at all. If it were for any 
end, the view of the end would be the motive exciting to the 
act ; and if the act be for no good end, and so from no good 
aim, then there is no good intention in it ; and, therefore, ac- 
cording to all our natural notions of virtue, no more virtue in 
it than in the motion of the smoke, which is driven to and fro 
by the wind without any aim or end in the thing moved, 
and which knows not whither, nor why and wherefore, it is 

Carol. 1. By these things it appears, that the argument 
against the Calvi?iists, taken from the use of counsels, exhort- 
ations, invitations, expostulations, &c. so much insisted on by 
Armimans, is truly against themselves. For these things can 
operate no other way to any good effect, than as in them is ex- 
hibited motive and inducement, tending to excite and deter- 
mine the acts of the Will. But it follows, on their principles. 
that the acts of Will excited by such causes, cannot be virtu- 
ous ; because so far as thev are from these, they ars not from 


the Will's selfdetermining power. Hence it will follow, that 
it is not worth the while to offer any 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 odiousness and folly of ways of vice. This no- 
tion of liberty and moral agency frustrates all endeavors to 
draw men to virtue by instruction or persuasion, precept or 
example : 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 selfdetermining pow- 
er out of its hands. And the clearer the instructions are 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 selfdeterminalion ; and so to 
exclude the very form of virtue, and the essence of whatso- 
ever is praiseworthy. 

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 ten- 
dency 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, apostles, or by his Son Jesus Christ ; 
that all his counsels, invitations, promises, threatenings, warn- 
ings 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 to 
excite any one virtuous act of the mind, or to promote any- 
thing morally good or commendable, in any respect. For 
there is no way that these or any other means can promote 
virtue, but one of these three. Either (1.) By a physical 
operation on the heart. But all effects that are wrought in 
men this] way, have no virtue in them, by the concurring 
voice of all Arminians. Or, (2.) morally, by exhibiting mo- 


fives to the understanding, to excite good acts in the Will. 
But it has been demonstrated, that volitions, which are excited 
by motives, are necessary, and not excited by a selfmoving 
power ; and therefore, by their principles, there is no virtue 
in them. Or, (3.) By merely giving the Will an opportuni- 
ty to determine itself concerning the objects proposed, either 
to choose or reject, by its own uncaused, unmoved, uninfluen- 
ced selfdetermination. And if this be all, then all those means 
do no more to promote virtue than vice : For they do noth- 
ing but give the Will opportunity to determine itself either 
ivay, 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 favor of evil, as of good. 

Thus that horrid blasphemous consequence will certainly 
follow from the Arfninian doctrine, which they charge on 
others ; namely, that God acts an inconsistent part in using so 
many counsels, warnings, invitations, intreaties, &c. with sin- 
ners, to induce them to forsake sin, and turn to the ways of 
virtue ; and that all are insincere and fallacious. It will fol- 
low, from their doctrine, that God does these things when he 
knows, at the same time that they have no manner of tenden- 
cy to promote the effect he seems to aim at ; yea, knows that 
if they have any influence, this very influence will be incon- 
sistent with such an effect, and will prevent it. But what an 
imputation of insincerity would this fix on Him, who is infi- 
nitely holy and true !....So that their's is the doctrine, which, 
if pursued in its consequences, does horribly reflect on the 
Most High, and fix on Him the charge of hypocrisy ; and 
not the doctrine of the Calvinists ; according to their frequent, 
and vehement exclamations and invectives. 

Carol. 2. From what has been observed in this section, it 
again appears, that Arminian principles and notions, when fair- 
ly examined and pursued in their demonstrable consequences, 
do evidently shut all virtue out of the world, and make it im- 
possible 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 ab- 
surdity and contradiction..., .For it is absurd in itself, and con- 

Vol. V. 2D 


trary 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 selfevident, there 
can be none without : Consequently there can be no virtuous 
act at all. 

Corol. 3. It is manifest, that Arminian notions of moral 
agency, and the being of a faculty of Will, cannot consist to- 
gether ; and that if there be any such thing as either a vir- 
tuous 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 motive or end ; then, in that act (as was 
observed before) it seeks nothing, goes after nothing, exerts 
no inclination to any thing ; and this implies, that in that act 
it desires nothing, and 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 effectually shuts 
all vicious and virtuous acts out of the universe ; in as much 
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 princi- 
ples of Arminicms themselves, there can be no virtuous or vi- 
cious act wherein 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 motive, anoth- 
er strange thing will follow ; and this is, that God not only 
cannot foreknow any of the future moral actions of his crea- 
tures, but he can make no conjecture, can give no probable 
guess concerning them. For all conjecture in things of this, 
nature, must depend on some discerning or apprehension of 
these two things, Jireviou.s disftonition and motive, which, as has 
been observed, Jnninicn notions of moral agency, in their re- 
al consequence, altogether exclude. 



Wherein the chief grounds of the reasonings of Ar- 
minians, in support and defence of the foremention- 
ed notions of Liberty, moral Agency, &c. and 
against the opposite doctrine, are considered. 

section r. 

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

ONE main foundation of the reasons which are broughj 
to establish the forementioned notions of liberty, virtue, vice, 
&c. is a supposition, that the virtuousness of the dispositions, 
or acts of the Will, consists, not in the nature of these disposi- 
tions or acts, but wholly in the origin or cause of them : So 
that if the disposition of the mind, or act of the Will, be ever 
so good, yet if the cause of the disposition or act be not our 
virtue, there is nothing virtuous or praiseworthy in it ; and, 
on the contrary, if the Will, in its inclination or acts, be ever 
so bad, yet, unless it arises from something that is our vice or 
fault, there is nothing vicious or blameworthy in it. Hence 
their grand objection and pretended demonstration, or self- 
evidence, against any virtue and commend:iblcness, or vice 
and blameworthiness, of those habits or acts of the Will, 
which are not from some virtuous or vicious determination of 
the Will itself. 

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, lhat if there be any such things as a virtuous or yi< 
ious disposition, or volition of mind, the virtuousness or vic= 
iousness 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 dispo- 
sitions or acts of mind, which are said to be our virtue or our 
fault, but in their cause, then it is certain it lies no where at 
all. Thus for instance, if the vice of a vicious act of Will lies 
not in the nature of the act, but the cause ; so that 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 determination of 
our's is not our fault, merely because it is of a bad nature, un- 
less 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 blameworthiness 
He 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 ex- 
istence any where in the universality of things. On these 
principles, vice, or moral evil, cannot consist in any thing that 
is an effect ; because fault does not consist in the nature of 
things, but in their cause ; as well as because effects are ne- 
cessary, being unavoidably connected with their cause : 
Therefore the cause only is to blame. And so it follows, that 
faultiness can lie only in that cause, which is a cause only, and 
no effect of any thing. Nor yet can it lie in this ; for then it 
must lie in the nature of the thing itself; not in its being 
from any determination of our's, nor any thing faulty in us 
which is the cause, nor indeed from any cause at all ; for, by 
the supposition, it is no effect, and has ?io cause And thus, he 
that will maintain, it is not the nature of habits or acts; of 


Will that make them virtuous or faulty, but the cause, must 
immediately run himself out of his own assertion ; and in 
maintaining it, will insensibly contradict and deny it. 

This is certain, that if effects are vicious and faulty, not 
from their nature, or from any thing inherent in them, but 
because they are from a bad cause, it must be on account of 
the badness of the cause and so on account of the nature of 
the cause : A bad effect in the Will must be bad, because the 
cause is bad, or of an evil nature or has badness as a quality in- 
herent 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 supposi- 
tion 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 sup- 
posses it originally to consist in that And if a caviller has a 

mind to rus 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 another bad cause :" Still the absurdity 
■will follow him ; for, if so, then the cause before charged is 
at once acquitted, and all the blame must be laid to the higher 
cause, and must consist in that's being evil or of an evil nature. 
So now, we are come again to lay the blame of the thing 
blameworthy, to the nature of the thing, and not to the cause. 
And if any is so foolish as to go higher still, and ascend from 
step to step, till he is come to that, which is the first cause 
concerned in the whole affair, and will say, all the blame lies 
in that ; then, at last, he must be forced to own, that the faul- 
tiness of the thing, which he supposes alone blameworthy, lies 
wholly in the nature of the thing, and not in the original or 
cause of it ; for the supposition is that it has no original, it is 
determined by no act of our's, is caused by nothing faulty in 
us, being absolutely without any cause. And so the race is at 
an end, but the evader is taken in his flight. 

It is agreeable to the natural notions of mankind, that mor- 
al evil, with its desert of dislike and abhorrence, and all its 
other ill deservings, consists in a certain deformity in the na* 


ture of certain dispositions of the heart, and acts of the Will j 
and not in the deformity of something else, diverse from the 
very thing itself, which deserves abhorrence, supposed to be 
the cause of it. Which would be absurd, because that would 
be to suppose a thing, that is innocent and not evil, is truly 
evil and faulty, because another thing is evil. It implies a 
contradiction ; for it would be to suppose the very thing, 
which is morally evil and blameworthy, is innocent and not 
blameworthy ; but that something else, which is its cause, is 
only to blame. To soy, that vice does not consist 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 contradiction, to suppose 
that these two are the same individual wickedness. The wick- 
ed act of the cause in producing wickedness, is one wicked- 
ness ; and the wickedness produced, if there be any produc- 
ed, is another. And therefore, the wickedness of the latter 
does not lie in the former, but is distinct from it ; and the 
wickedness of both lies in the evil nature of the things, which 
are wicked. 

The thing, which makes sin hateful, is that by which it 
deserves punishment; which is but the expression of hatred. 
And that, which renders virtue lovely, is the same with that, 
on the account of which, it is fit to receive praise and reward ; 
which are but the expressions of esteem and love. But tha$ 
which makes vice hateful, is its hateful nature ; and that 
which renders virtue lovely, is its amiable nature. It is a cer- 
tain beauty or deformity that is inherent in that good or evil 
Will, which is the soul of virtue and vice (and not in the oc- 
casion of it) which is their worthiness of esteem or disesteenij 
praise or dispraise, according to the common sense of man- 
kind. 1 f the cause or occasion of the rise of an hateful disposi- 
tion or act of Will,be also hateful ; suppose another antecedent 
evil Will; that is entirely another sin, and deserves punish- 
ment by itself, under a distinct consideration. There is worthi- 
ness of dispraise in the nature 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 dis- 
praise, 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 itself, by its own inherent deform- 
ity. So the love of virtue is amiable, and 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 chose to love virtue, and, by 
some method or other, wrought ourselves into the love of it ; 
but because of the amiableness and condecency of such a 
disposition and inclination of heart. If that was the case, that 
we did choose to love virtue, and so produced that love in our- 
selves, this choice itself could be no otherwise amiable or 
praiseworthy, 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 chose to love 
virtue, not in love to virtue, or any thing that was good, 
and exercised no sort of good disposition in the choice, 
the choice itself was not virtuous, nor worthy of any praise, 
according to common sense, because the choice was net of a 
good nature. 

It may not be improper here to take notice of something 
said by an author, that has lately made a mighty noise in 
America. w 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, bejbre 
he could be righteous. And therefore he must exist, he must 
be created, yea, 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 

* Sciip. Doc. of Original Sin, p. t8o. 3d Edit. 


righteous is no righteous choice ; there is no righteousness d* 
holiness in it ; because no choosing to be righteous goes be- 
fore it. For he plainly speaks of choosing to be righteous, as 
what must go before righteousness : And that which follows the 
choice, being the effect of the choice, cannot be righteousness 
or holiness : For an effect is a thing necessary, and cannot 
prevent the influence or efficacy of its cause ; and therefore is 
unavoidably dependent upon the cause : And he says, a neces- 
sary holiness is no holiness. So 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 holiness. So that by his scheme, 
all righteousness and holiness is at once shut out of the world, 
and no door left open, by which it can ever possibly enter into 
the world. 

I suppose, the way that men came to entertain this absurd, 
inconsistent notion, with respect to internal inclinations and vo- 
litions themselves, (or notions that imply it) viz. that the es- 
sence of their moral good or evil "lies not in their nature, but 
their cause ; was, that it is indeed ;'. very plain dictate of com- 
mon 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 not lie at all in the motions themselves ; which, 
taken by themselves, are nothing of a moral nature ; and the 
essence of all the moral good or evil that concerns them, lies 
in those internal dispositions and volitions, which are the cause 
of them. Now, being always used to determine this, without 
hesitation or dispute, concerning external actions ; which are 
the things, that in the common use of language are signified 
by such phrases as men's actions, or their doings ; hence, when 
they came to speak of volitions, and internal exercises of their 
inclinations, under the same denomination of their actions, or 
what they do, they unwarily determined the case must also be 
the same with these, as with external actions ; not considering 
the vast difference in the nature of the case. 

If any shall still object and say, why is it not necessary that 
the cause should be considered, in order to determine wheth- 


fer 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 designing, voluntary cause, 
or cause by antecedent choice ; and it is most certain that 
men are not, in this sense, the causes or authors of the first act 
of their Will's, in any case ; as certain as any thing is, or ev- 
er 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 be- 
ing the producer by an antecedent act of Will ; but as a per- 
son 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 exercise in that act ; if the phrase of being the author, ia 
used to signify this, then doubtless common sense requires 
men's being the authors of their own acts of Will, in order to 
their being esteemed worthy of praise or dispraise, on account 
of them. And common sense teaches, that they must be the 
authors of external actions, in the former sense, namely, their 
being the causes of them by an act of Will or choice, in order 
to their being justly blamed or praised ; but it teaches no such 
thing Avith 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, 




The Falseness and Inconsistence of that metaphysical 
Notion of Action and Agency, which seems to be 
generally entertained by the Defenders oj the Ar~ 
minian Doctrine concerning Liberty, moral Agen- 
cy, &c. 

ONE thing that is made very much a ground of argument 
and supposed demonstration by jirminians, in defence of the 
forementioned principles, concerning moral agency, virtue, 
vice, 8cc. is their metaphysical notion of agency and action. 
They say, unless the soul has a selfdetermining power, it has 
ho power of action; if its volitions be not caused by itself. 
but are excited and determined by some extrinsic cause, they 
cannot be the soul's own acts ; and that the soul cannot be ac- 
tive, but must be wholly passive, in those effects which it is 
the subject of necessarily, and not from its own free determi- 

Mr. Chubb lays the foundation of his scheme of liberty, 
and of his arguments to support it, very much in this position, 
that man is an agent, and capable of action. Which doubt- 
less is true ; but selfdetermination belongs to his notion of ac- 
tion, and is the very essence of it. Whence he infers, that it 
is impossible for a man to act and be acted upon, in the same 
thing, at the same time ; and that nothing, that is an action, 
can be the effect of the action of another ; and he insists, that 
a necessary agent, or an agent that is necessarily determined 
to act, is a plain contradiction. 

But those are a precarious sort of demonstrations, which 
men build on the meaning that they arbitrarily affix to a word; 
especially when that meaning is abstruse, inconsistent, and 
entirely diverse from the original sense of the word in com- 
mon speech. 


That the meaning of the word action, as Mr. Chubb and 
many others use it, is utterly unintelligible and inconsistent, 
is manifest, because it belongs to their notion of an action, that 
it is something wherein is no passion or passiveness ; that is 
(according to their sense of passiveness) it is under the pow- 
er, influence or action of no cause. And this implies, that ac- 
tion has no cause, and is no effect ; for to be an effect implies 
passiveness, or the being subject to the power and action of 
its cause. And yet they hold, that the mind's action is the ef- 
fect of its own determination, yea, the mind's free and volun- 
tary determination ; which is the same with free choice. So 
that action is the effect of something preceding, even a pre- 
ceding act of choice ; and consequently, in this effect the mind 
is passive, subject to the power and action of the preceding 
cause, which is the foregoing choice, and therefore cannot be 
active. So that here we have this contradiction, that action 
is always the effect of foregoing choice ; and therefore can- 
not be action ; because it is passive to the power of that pre- 
ceding causal choice ; and the mind cannot be active and pas- 
sive in the same thing, at the same time. Again, they say, 
necessity is utterly inconsistent with action, and a necessary 
action is a contradiction ; and so their notion of action implies 
contingence, and excludes all necessity. And therefore, 
their notion of action implies, that it has no necessary depend- 
ence or connexion with any thing foregoing ; for such a de- 
pendence or connexion 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 action, 
must be determined by the Will and free choice ; and this is 
as much as to say, that it must be necessary, being dependent 
upon, and determined by something foregoing ; namely, a 
foregoing act of choice. Again, it belongs to their notion of 
action, of that which is a proper and mere act, that it is the 
beginning of motion, or of exertion of power; but yet it is 
implied in their notion of action, that it is not the beginning 
of motion or exertion of power, but is consequent and depend- 
ent on a preceding exertion of power, viz. the power of Will 


and choice ; for they say there is no proper action but what 
is freely chosen ; or, which is the same thing, determined by 
a foregoing act of free choice. But if any of them shall see 
cause to deny this, and say they hold no such thing as that 
every action is chosen or determined by a foregoing choice ; 
but that the very first exertion of Will only, undetermined by 
any preceding act, is properly called action ; then I say, such 
a man's notion of action implies necessity ; for what the mind 
is the subject of, without the determination of its own previ- 
ous choice, it is the subject of necessarily, as to any hand, 
that free choice has in the affair, and, without any ability, the 
mind has to prevent it, by any Will or election of its own ; 
because by the supposition it precludes nil 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 predetermin- 
ing bias or preponderation, but springs immediately out of in- 
difference ; and this implies, that it cannot be from foregoing 
choice, which is foregoing prcponderation : If it be not ha- 
bitual, but occasional, yet if it causes the act, it is truly previ- 
ous, efficacious and determining. And yet, at the same time, 
it is essential to their notion of an act, that it is what the agent 
is the author of freely and voluntarily, and that is, by previ- 
ous choice and design. 

So that, according to their notion of an act, considered with 
regard to its consequences, these following things are all es- 
sential to it, viz. that it should be necessary, and not necessa- 
ry ; 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 dcv.gn ; 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 prc- 
ponderation ; that it should be selforiginated, and also have its 
original from somcthil . < 1 •. ; that it is what the mind causes 
itself, of its own Will, and car, produce or prevent, according 


to its choice or pleasure, and yet what the mind has no power 
to prevent, it precluding all previous choice in the affair. 

So that an act, according to their metaphysical notion of 
it, is something of which there is no idea : It is nothing hut a 
confusion of the mind, excited by words without any distinct 
meaning, and is an absolute nonentity ; and that in two res- 
pects : (1.) There is nothing in the world that ever was, is, 
or can be, to answer the things which must belong to its de- 
scription, according to what they suppose to be essential to it. 
And (2.) There neither is, no*' ever was, nor can be, any no- 
tion 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 essence, which 
constitutes it, destroys it. If some learned philosopher, who 
had been abroad, in giving an account of the curious observa- 
tions he had made in his travels, should say, " He had been 
in Terra del Fuego, and there had seen an animal, which he 
calls by a certain name, that begat and brought forth itself, and 
yet had a sire and dam distinct from itself ; that it had an ap- 
petite, and was hungry before it had a being ; that his master, 
who led him, and governed him at his pleasure, was always 
governed by him, and driven by him where he pleased ; that 
when he moved, he always took a step before the first step ; 
that he went with his head first, and yet always went tail fore- 
most ; 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 inconsistent, 
so it is wholly diverse from the original meaning of the word. 
The more usual signification of it, in vulgar speech, seems 
to be some motion, or exertion of power, that is voluntary, or 
that is the effect of the Will ; and is used in the same sense 
as doing ; and most commonly 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 mo- 
tions, alterations, and exertions of power, which are seen in 
corporeal things, considered absolutely ; especially when these 
motions seem to arise from some internal cause which is hid- 
den ; so that they have a greater resemblance of those mo- 
tions of our bodies, which are the effects of internal volition, 
or invisible exertions of Will. So the fermentation of liquor, 
the operations of the loadstone, and of electrical bodies, are 
called the action of these things. And sometimes the word 
action is used to signify the exercise of thought, or of Will 
and inclination : So meditating, loving, hating, inclining, dis- 
inclining, choosing and refusing, may be sometimes called 
acting ; though more rarely (unless it be by philosophers and 
metaphysicians) than in any of the other senses. 

But the word is never used in vulgar speech in that sense 
which Arminian divines use it in, namely, for the selfdeler- 
minate exercise of the Will, or an exertion of the soul that 
arises without any necessary connexion, with any thing fore- 
going. If a man does something voluntarily, or as the effect 
of his choice, then in the most proper sense, and as. the word 
is most originally and commonly used, he is said to act : But 
whether that choice or volition be sclfdetermined, or no, 
whether it be connected with foregoing habitual bias, wheth- 
er it be the certain effect of the strongest motive, or some 
extrinsic cause, never comes into consideration in the mean- 
ing of the word. 

And if the word Action is arbitrarily used by some men 
otherwise, to suit some scheme of metaphysics 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 be- 
come natural for them to use the word in this sense (if that 
may be called 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 meaning. And 
though they appeal to experience, yet the truth is, that men 
are so far from experiencing any such thing, that it is impos- 
sible for them to have any conception of it. 

If it should be objected, that action and passion are doubt- 
less words of a contrary signification ; but to suppose that the 
agent, in its action, is under the power and influence of some- 
thing extrinsic, is to confound action 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 opposite relations. 
The words cause and effect, are terms of opposite significa- 
tion ; but, nevertheless, if I assert, that the same thing may, 
at the same time, in different respects and relations, be both 
cause and effect, this will not prove that I confound the terms. 
The soul may be both active and passive in the same thing in 
different respects ; active with relation to one thing, and pas- 
sive with relation to another. The word passion, when set in. 
opposition to action, or rather activeness, is merely a relative 
term ; it signifies no effect or cause, nor any proper exist- 
ence ; but is the same with passiveness, or a being passive, or 
a being acted upon by some thing. Which is a mere rela- 
tion of a thing to some power or force exerted by some cause, 
producing some effect in it, or upon it. And action, when set 
properly in opposition to passion, or passiveness, is no real ex- 
istence ; it is not the same with an action, but is a mere rela- 
tion : It is the activeness of something on another thing, be- 
ing the opposite relation to the other, viz. a relation of pow- 
er, or force, exerted by some cause towards another thing, 


which is the subject of the effect of that power. Indeed, tha 
■word action, is frequently used to signify something not mere- 
ly relative, but more absolute, and a real existence ; as when 
we say an action ; when the word is not used transitively, but 
absolutely, for some motion or exercise of body or mind, with- 
out any relation to any object or effect : And as used thus, 
it is not properly the opposite of passion ; which ordinarily 
signifies nothing absolute, but merely the relation of being act- 
ed 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 suppose,'that contrary re- 
lations may belong to the same thing, at the same time, with 
respect to different things. So to suppose, that there are acts 
of the soul by which a man voluntarily moves, and acts upon 
objects, and produces effects, which yet themselves are 
effects of something else, and wherein the soul itself is 
the object of something acting upon, and influencing that, 
does not confound action and passion. The words may 
nevertheless be properly of opposite signification : There 
may be as (rue 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 contra- 
diction 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 be- 
ing that lives, in whom life is caused to be. 

The thing which has led men into this inconsistent notion 
of action, when applied to volition, as though it were essential 
to this internal action, that the agent should be selfdetermin- 
ed 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 originally, and according to the 
vulgar use and most proper sense of the word, called actions. 
Men in these are selfdirccted, selfdctermined 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 volunta- 


vily 3 and of choice, and the action be determined by their 
antecedent volition, it is no action or doing of theirs. 
Hence some metaphysicians have been led unwarily, but 
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 considering the contradiction it implies. 

But it is very evident, that in the metaphysical distinction 
between action and passion, (though long since become com- 
mon and the general vogue) due care has not been taken to 
conform language to the nature of things, or to any distinct, 
clear ideas. As it is in innumerable other philosophical, meta- 
physical terms, used in these disputes ; which has occasion- 
ed inexpressible difficulty, contention, error and confusion. 

And thus probably it came to be thought, that necessity- 
was inconsistent with action, as these terms are applied to vo- 
lition. First, these terms action and necessity, are changed 
from their original meaning, as signifying external, voluntary 
action and constraint, (in which meaning they are evidently 
inconsistent) to signify quite other things, viz. volition itself, 
and certainty of existence. And when the change of signifi- 
cation is made, care is not taken to make proper allowances 
and abatements for the difference of sense ; but still the same 
things are unv/arily attributed to action and necessity, in the 
new meaning of the words, which plainly belonged to them 
in their first sense ; and on this ground, maxims are estab- 
lished 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 nec- 
essary cannot be properly called action, and that a necessary 
action is a contradiction, yet it is probable there are few Armin- 
ian 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 

Vol. V, 2 F 


in them ; and yet, I trust, they will not deny, that God neces* 
sarily acts justly and faithfully, and that it is impossible for 
Him to act unrighteously and unholily. 


The Reasons why some think it contrary to commoi* 
Sense, to suppose those Things which are Recessa- 
ry, to be worthy of either Praise or Blame. 

IT is abundantly affirmed and urged by Arminian writers, 
that it is contrary to common sense, and the natural notions 
and apprehensions of mankind, to suppose otherwise than 
that necessity (making no distinction between natural and mo- 
ral necessity) is inconsistent with virtue and vice, praise and 
blame, reward and punishment. And their arguments from 
hence have been greatly triumphed in ; and have been not a 
little perplexing to many, who have been friendly to the 
truth, as clearly revealed in the holy Scriptures ; it has seem- 
ed to Them indeed difficult, to reconcile Calvinistic doctrines 
with the notions men commonly have of justice and equity. 
And the true reasons of it seem to be these that follow. 

I. 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, prop- 
erly against their Wills, and cannot help it ; or do them 
from a necessity that is without their Wills, or with which 
their Wills have no concern or connexion ; then it is a plain 
dictate 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, esteemed or loved on that account. And f 


■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 not 
from their Wills ; it is a very plain dictate of common sense, 
that they are not at all to blame ; there is no vice, fault, or mo- 
ral 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 desira- 
ble, are absolutely impossible, with a natural impossibility, 
the universal reason of mankind teaches, that this wholly and 
perfectly excuses persons in their not doing them. 

And it is also a plain dictate of common sense, that if the 
doing things, in themselves good, or avoiding things, in them- 
selves evil, is not absolutely impossible, with such a natural 
impossibility, but very difficult, with a natural difficulty ; that 
is, a difficulty prior to, and not at all consisting in Will and 
inclination itself, and which would remain the same, let the 
inclination be what it will ; then a person's neglect or omis- 
sion 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 hinderance, there be a contra- 
ry natural propensity in the state of things, to the thing to 
be done, or the effect to be brought to pais, abstracted 
from any consideration of the inclination of the heart ; 
though the propensity be not so great as to amount to 
a natural necessity ; yet being some approach to it, so that 
the doing the good thing be very much from this natural 
tendency in the state of things, and but little from a good in- 
clination ; 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. be- 
cause such a natural propensity or tendency is an approach 
to natural necessity ; and the greater the piopensity, still so 
much the nearer is the approach to necessity. And, there- 
fore, as natural necessity takes away or shuts out all virtue* so 


this propensity approaches to an abolition of virtue ; that is^ 
it diminishes it. And, on the other hand, natural difficulty, 
in the state of things, is an approach to natural impossibility. 
And as the latter, when it is complete and absolute, wholly 
takes away blame ; so such difficulty takes away some blame, 
or diminishes blame ; and makes the thing done to be less 
worthy of punishment. 

II . Men, in their first use of such phrases as these, must) 
can't, can't help it, can't avoid it, necessary, unable, impossible, 
unavoidable, irresistible, &c. use them to signify a necessity of 
constraint or restraint, a natural necessity or impossibility ; 
or some necessity that the Will has nothing to do in ; which 
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 terms in their original use, I sup- 
pose, among all nations, are relative ; carrying in their 
signification (as was before observed) a reference or respect 
to some contrary Will, desire or endeavor, which, it is sup- 
posed, 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 desire to do ; and innumera- 
ble things which they are averse to, that must be, they cannot 
avoid them, they will be, whether they choose them or no. 
It is to express this necessity, which men so soon and so oft- 
en find, and which so greatly and so early affects them in in- 
numerable cases, that such terms and phrases are first form- 
ed ; and. it is to signify such a necessity, that they are first 
used, and 'hat they are most constantly used, in the common 
affairs of life ; and not to signify any such metaphysical, 
speculative and abstract notion, as that connexion in the na- 
ture or course of things, which is between the subject and 
predicate of a proposition, and which is the foundation of the 
certain truth of that proposition, to signify which, they, who em- 
ploy themselves in philosophical inquiries into the first origin 
and metaphysical relations and dependencies of things, have 
borrowed these terms, for want of others. But we grow up from 
cur cradles in a use of such terms and phrases entirely dif- 
ferent from this, and carrying a sense exceeding diverse from 


that, in "which they are commonly used in the controversy be- 
tween Arminians and Calvinists. And it being, as was said 
before, a dictate of the universal sense of mankind, evident to 
us as soon as we begin to think, that the necessity signified 
by these terms, in the sense in which we first learn them, 
does excuse persons and free them from all fault or blame ; 
hence our idea of excusableness or faultiness is tied to these 
terms and phrases by a strong habit, which is begun in child- 
hood, as soon as we begin to speak, and grows up with us, and 
is strengthened by constant use and custom, the connexion 
growing stronger and stronger. 

The habitual connexion, which is in men's minds between 
blamele'sness and those forementioned terms, must, cannot, 
v,nabl», necessary^ impossible, unavoidable, isfc. becomes very 
strong ; because, as soon as ever men begin to use reason 
and speech, they have occasion to excuse themselves, from 
the natural necessity signified by these terms, in numerous in- 
stances.. ..I ca?i't do it, ...I could not help, 2/. ...And all mankind 
have" constant and daily occasion to use such phrases in this 
sense, to excuse themselves and others, in almost all the con- 
cerns of life, with respect to disappointments, and things that 
happen, which concern and affect ourselves and others, that 
are hurtful, or disagreeable to us or them, or things desira- 
ble, that we or others fail of. 

That a being accustomed to an union of different ideis, 
from early childhood, makes the habitual connexion exceed- 
ing strong, as though such connexion were owing to nature, 
is manifest in innumerable instances. It is altogether by such 
an habituaI*connexion of ideas, that men judge of the bigness 
©r distance of the objects of sight, from their appearance. 
Thus it is owing to such a connexion early established, and 
growing up with a person, that he judges a mountain, which 
he sees at ten miles distance, to be bigger than his nose, of 
further off than the end of it. Having been used so long to 
join ^a considerable distance and magnitude with such an ap- 
pearance, men imagine it is by a dictate of natural sense ? 
Whereas, it would be quite otherwise with one that had his 
eyes newly opened, who had been horn blind ; he would have 


the same visible appearance, bv.t natural sense would dictate 
no such thing, concerning the magnitude cr distance of what 

III. When men, after they have been so habituated to con- 
nect ideas of innocency orblamelessness with such terms, that 
the union seems to be the effect of mere nature, come to hear 
the same terms used, and learn to use them themselves in 
the forementioned new and metaphysical sense, to signify quite 
another sort of necessity, which has no such kind of relation 
to a contrary supposable Will and endeavor ; 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 reas- 
ons, why it is not. 

1. The terms, as used by philosophers, are not very dis- 
tinct and clear in their meaning ; few use them in a fixed, de- 
termined sense. On the contrary, their meaning is very 
vague and confused. Which is what commonly happens 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 meta- 
physical 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 words of tins sort. 

2. The change of the signification of the terms is the 
jnore insensible, because the things signified, though indeed 
very different, yet do in some generals agree. In necessity, 
that which is vulgarly so called, there is a strong connexion 
between the thing said to be necessary, and something ante- 
cedent to it, m the order of nature ; so there is also in philo- 
sophical necessity. And though in both kinds of necessity, 
the connexion cannot he called by that name, with relation tQ 
an opposite Will or endeavor, to which it is sufierior ; which 
as the case in vulgar necessity ; yet in both, the connexion is 
ftrior to Will and endeavor, and so, in some respect, sufierior. 
In both kinds of necessity, there is a foundation for some cer- 


tainty of the proposition, that affirms the event. The terms 
used being the same, and the things signified agreeing in 
these and some other general circumstances, and the expres- 
sions, as used by philosophers being not well defined, and so 
of obscure and loose signification ; hence persons are not 
aware of the great difference ; and the notions of innocence 
or faultincss, 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 reconcile 
it with reason, that men should be blamed for that which is 
necessary with a moral necessity (which, as was observed be- 
fore, is a species of philosophical necessity) is, that for want 
of due consideration, men inwardly entertain that apprehen- 
sion, that this necessity may be against men's Wills and sin- 
cere endeavors. They go away with that notion, that men 
may truly will, and wish, and strive, that it may be otherwise, 
but that invincible necessity stands in the way. And many 
think thus concerning themselves : Some, that are wicked 
men, think they wish, that they were good, that they loVed 
God and holiness ; but yet do not find that their wishes pro- 
duce the effect. ...The reasons why men think thus, are as fol- 
low : (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 virtue 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 lov- 
ing God ; but only some disagreeable consequences. But the 
making the requisite distinction requires more care of reflec- 
tion and thought, than most men are used to. And men* 


through a prejudice in their own favor, are disposed to think 
\vcll of their own desires and dispositions, and to account them 
good and virtuous, though their respect to virtue he only indi- 
rect and remote, and it is nothing at all that is virtuous that 
truly excites or terminates their inclinations. (2.) Another 
thing, that insensibly leads and beguiles men into a supposi- 
tion that this moral necessity or impossibility is, or may be 
against men's Wills and true endeavors, is the derivation and 
formation of the terms themselves, that are often used to 
express it, which is such as seems directly to p int to, and 
holds this forth. Such words, for instance, as unable, un- 
avoidable, impossible, irresistible ; which carry a plain refer- 
ence to a supposable power exerted, endeavors used, resist- 
ance made, in opposition to the necessity ; and the persons 
that hear them, not considering nor suspecting but that they 
are used in their proper sense ; that sense being therefore un- 
derstood, there does naturally, and as it were necessarily, 
arise in their minds a supposition, that it may be so indeed, 
that true desires and endeavors may take place, but that in- 
vincible necessity 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 ex- 
posed to the punishments threatened to sin, for doing those 
things which are morally necessary, or not doing those things 
morally impossible, is, that imagination strengthens the argu- 
ment, and adds greatly to the power and influence of the seem- 
ing reasons against it, from the greatness of that punishment. 
To allow that they may be justly exposed to a small punish- 
ment, would 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 fauhiness, or just 
punishment, the demonstration would be equally certain with 
respect to a small punishment, or any punishment at all, as a 
very great one ; but it is not equally easy to the imagination. 
They that argue against the justice of damning men for those 
things that are thus necessary, seem to make their argument 
the stronger, by setting forth the greatness of the punishment 


#» 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 fiotver to avoid, and nvas 'under q. 
fetal, unfrustrqble, invincible necessity of doing. 


It is agreeable to Common Sense, and the Natural 
Notions of Mankind, to suppose moral Necessity 
to be consistent with Praise and Blame^ Reward 
and Punishment. 


WHETHER the reasons that have been given, why it ap- 
pears difficult to some persons, to reconcile with common: 
sense the praising or blaming, rewarding or punishing, those 
things which are morally necessary, are thought satisfactory 
or not ; yet it most evidently appears, by the following things, 
that if this matter be rightly understood, setting aside all de- 
lusion arising from the impropriety and ambiguity of terms, 
this js not at all inconsistent with the natural apprehensions 
of mankind, and that sense of things which is found every 
where in the common people ; who are furthest from having 
their thoughts perverted from their natural channel, by meta- 
physical and philosophical subtilties ; but, on the contrary, 
altogether agreeable to, and the very voice and dictate of, this 
natural and vulgar sense. 

I. This will appear, if we consider what the vulgar notion 
of blameworthiness is. The idea which the common people, 
through all ages and nations, have of faultiness, I suppose to 
be plainly this ; a person's being or doing wrong, with his 
own will and pleasure ; containing these two things: 1. His 
doing wrong when he does as he pleases. 2. His pleasure's 
being wrong. Or, in other words, perhaps more intelligibly 
Vol, V. 2 G 


expressing their notion ; a person's having his heart wrong^ 
and doing wrong from his heart. And this is the sum total 
of the matter. 

The common people do not ascend up in their reflections 
and abstractions to the metaphysical sources, relations and de- 
pendencies of things, in order to form their notion of faulti- 
ness or blameworthiness. They do not wait till they have de- 
cided by their refinings, what first determines the Will ; 
whether it be determined by something extrinsic, or intrinsic ; 
whether volition determines volition, or whether the under- 
standing determines the Will ; whether there be any such 
thing as metaphysicians mean by contingence (if they have 
any meaning ,) whether there be a sort of a strange, unac- 
countable 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 questions. If this 
were the case, there are multitudes, yea, the far greater part 
of mankind, nine hundred and ninetynine out of a thousand, 
would live and die, without having any such notion, as that of 
Tault, ever entering into their heads, or without so much as 
once having any conception that any body was to be either 
blamed or commended for any thing. To be sure, it would 
be a long time before men came to have such notions. Where- 
as it is manifest, they are some of the first notions that ap- 
pear in children ; who discover, as soon as they can think, or 
speak, or act at all as rational creatures, a sense of desert. 
And, certainly, in forming their notion of it, they make no use 
of 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 in- 
flicted on the person in whom this moral evil is. Which na- 
tural sense is what we call by the name of conscience. 

It is true, the common people and children, in their no- 
tion of a faulty act or deed, of any person, do suppose that it 
is the person's own act and deed. But this is all that belongs 


to what they understand by a thing's being a person's own 
deed or action j even that it is something done by him of 
choice. That some 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 accidentally, 
without any cause or reason ; for that is contrary to one of 
the prime dictates of common sense, namely, that every thing 
that begins to be, has some cause or reason why it is. 

The common people, in their notion of a faulty or praise- 
worthy deed or work done by any one, do suppose, that the 
man does it in the exercise of liberty. But then their notion 
of liberty is only a person's having opportunity of doing as he 
pleases. They have no notion of liberty consisting in the 
Will's first acting, and so causing its own acts ; and deter- 
mining, and so causing its own determinations ; 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 acting 
as his Will determines, or constrained to act otherwise ; then 
he has liberty, according to common notions of liberty, with- 
out taking into the idea that grand contradiction of all, the 
determinations of a man's free Will being the effects of the 
determinations of his free Will. Nor have men commonly 
any notion of freedom consisting in indifference. For if so, 
then it would be agreeable to their notion, that the greater 
indifference men act with, the more freedom they act with j 
whereas, the reverse is true. He that in acting, proceeds 
with the fullest inclination, does what he does with the great- 
est 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 biame, 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 docs either with or 


without full and strong inclination, the more is he to be es» 
teemed or abhorred, commended or condemned. 

II. If it were inconsistent with the common sense of man- 
kind, that men should be either to be blamed or commended 
in any volitions, they have, or fail of, in case of moral neces- 
sity or impossibility ; then it would surely also be agreeable 
to the same sense and reason of mankind, that the nearer the 
case approaches to such a moral necessity or impossibility, 
either through a strong antecedent moral propensity, on the 
one hand,* or a great antecedent opposition and difficulty on 
the other, the nearer does it approach to a being neither 
blameable nor commendable ; so that acts exerted with such 
preceding propensity, would be worthy of proportionably less 
praise ; and when omitted, the act being attended with such 
difficulty, the omission would be worthy of the less blame. 
It is so, as was observed before, with natural necessity and 
impossibility, propensity and difficulty ; as it is a plain dictate 
of the sense of all mankind, that natural necessity and impos- 
sibility take away all blame and praise ; and therefore, that 
the nearer the approach is to these, through previous propen- 
sity or difficulty, so praise and blame are proportionably di- 
minished. And if it were as much a dictate of common sense, 
that moral necessity of doing, or impossibility of avoiding, 
takes away all praise and blame, as that natural necessity or 
impossibility does this ; then, by a perfect parity of reason, it 
would be as much the dictate of common sense, that an ap- 
proach to moral necessity of doing, or impossibility of avoid- 
ing, diminishes praise and blame, as that an approach to nat- 
ural necessity and impossibility does so. It is equally the 
voice of common sense, that persons are excusable in part, in 
neglecting things difficult against their Wills, as that they are 
excusable wholly in neglecting things impossible against their 
Wills. And if it made no difference whether the impossi- 
bility were natural and against the Will, or moral, lying in the 
Will, with regard to excusableness ; so neither would it make 

* It is here argued, on supposition uVt not all propensity implies ruosA 
aecesMty, but only some very high degree; winch none will deny. 


any difference, whether the difficulty, or approach to necessif 
ty be natural agninst the Will, or moral, lying in the propen- 
sity 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 exer- 
tion 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 dictate of common sense, that he is less 
virtuous, and the less to be esteemed, loved and praised ; 
that it is agreeable 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 respect ; or 
to impossibility of neglecting the virtuous act, or of doing a 
vicious one, still the more virtuous, and worthy of higher com- 
mendation. And, on the other hand, if a man exerts evil acts 
of mind ; as, for instance, acts of pride or malice from a root- 
ed and strong habit, or principle of haughtiness and malicious- 
ness, and a violent propensity of heart to such acts ; accord- 
ing to the natural sense of all men, he is so far from being the 
less hateful and blameable on that account, that he is so much 
the more worthy to be detested and condemned, by all that 
observe him. 

Moreover, it is manifest thai it is no part of the notion, 
which mankind commonly have of a blameable or praisewor- 
thy act of the Will, that it is an act which is not determined 
by an antecedent bias or motive, but by the sovereign power 
of the Will 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 re- 
verse is true : Men do not think a good act to be the less 
praiseworthy, for the agent's being much determined in it by 
a good inclination or a good motive, but the more. And if 
good inclination or motive, has but little influence in 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 bv evil motives or inclinations, 


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, nature being prior to all acts of the 
Will whatsoever. Thus, for instance, if a man appears to be 
of a very haughty or malicious disposition, and is supposed to 
be so by his natural temper, it is no vulgar notion, no dictate 
of the common sense and apprehension of men, that such 
dispositions are no vices or moral evils, or that such persons 
are not worthy of disesteem, odium and dishonor ; or that 
the proud or malicious acts which flow from such natural dis- 
positions, are worthy of no resentment. Yea, such vile natur- 
al dispositions, and the strength of them, will commonly 
be mentioned rather as an aggravation of the wicked acts, 
that come from such a fountain, than an extenuation of them. 
Its being natural for men to act thus, is often observed by 
men in the height of their indignation : 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, mischievous things, that any are the subjects or occa- 
sions of, by a 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 is very plain, that 
common sense makes a vast difference between these two 
kinds of necessity, as to the judgment it makes of their influ- 
ence on the moral quality and desert of men's actions. 

And these dictates of men's minds are so natural and nec- 
essary, that it may be very much doubted whether the Armin- 
ians themselves have ever got rid of them ; yea, their great- 
est doctors, that have gone furthest in defence of their met- 
aphysical notions of liberty, and have brought their arguments 
to their greatest strength, and, as they suppose, to a demon- 
stration, against the consistence of virtue and vice with any 
necessity ; it is to be questioned, 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 
forementioned 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 other* 
"wise 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 be- 
tween natural and moral necessity, as though it were altogeth- 
er impertinent in this controversy : " That which is necessa- 
ry, say they, is necessary ; it is that which must be, and can- 
not be prevented. And that which is impossible, is impossi- 
ble, and cannot be done ; and therefore, none can be to blame 
for not doing it." And such comparisons are made use of, 
as the commanding of a man to walk, who has lost his legs, 
and condemning and punishing him for not obeying ; invit- 
ing and calling upon a man, who is shut up in a strong prison, 
to come forth, &c. But, in these things, Arminians are very 
unreasonable. Let common sense determine whether there 
be not a great difference between those two cases ; the one, 
that of a man who has offended his prince, and is cast into 
prison ; and after he has lain there a while, the king comes 
to him, calls him to 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 advanced to honor : 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 haugh- 
ty, ungrateful, wilful disposition, and, moreover, has been 
brought up in traitorous principles, and has his heart possess- 
ed with an extreme and inveterate enmity to his lawful sover- 
eign ; and for his rebellion is cast into prison, and lies long 
?here, loaden with heavv chains, and in miserable circumstan- 


ccs. At length the compassionate prince comes to the pri** 
on, orders his chains to be knocked off, and his prison doors 
to be set wide open ; calls to him, and tells him, if he will 
come forth to him, and fall down before him, acknowledge 
that he has treated him unworthily, and ask his forgiveness ; 
he shall be forgiven, set at liberty, and set in a place of great 
dignity and profit in his court. But he is so stout and stomach- 
ful, and full of haughty malignity, that he cannot be willing 
to accept the offer : His rooted, strong pride and malice 
have perfect power over him, and as it were bind him, by 
binding his heart : The opposition of his heart has the mas- 
tery 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 of blame in the prisoners ; be- 
cause, forsooth, there is a necessity in both, and the required 
act in each case is impossible ? It is true, a man's evil dispo- 
sitions may be as strong and immoveable 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 ea- 
sily do it if he pleases ; though by reason 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 natural notions of man- 
kind, that moral necessity is inconsistent with praise and 
blame. And therefore, if the Arminians would prove any 
such inconsistency, it must be by some philosophical and 
metaphysical arguments, and not common sense. 

There is a grand illusion in the pretended demonstration 
of Arminians from common sense. The main strength of 
all these demonstrations lies in that prejudice, that arises 


through the insensible change of the use and meaning of such 
terms as liberty, able, unable, necessary, impossible, unavoidable, 
invincible, action, &c. from their original and vulgar sense, to 
a metaphysical sense, entirely diverse, and the strong connex- 
ion of the ideas of blamelessness, &c. with some of these 
terms, by an habit contracted and established, while these 
terms were used in their first meaning. This prejudice and 
delusion is the foundation of all those positions, they lay 
down as maxims, by which most of the scriptures, which they 
allege in this controversy, are interpreted, and on which all 
their pompous demonstrations from scripture and reason de- 
pend. From this secret delusion and prejudice they have 
almost all their advantages ; it is the strength of their bul- 
warks, and the edge of their weapons. And this is the main 
ground of all the right they have to treat their neighbors 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 noonday light, enemies to common sense, 
maintaining the first born of absurdities, Sec. See. But perhaps 
an impartial consideration of the things, which have been ob- 
served in the preceding parts of this inquiry, may enable the 
lovers of truth better to judge, whose doctrine is indeed ab- 
surd, abstruse, self contradictory, and inconsistent with com- 
mon sense, and many ways repugnant to the universal dic- 
tates 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 diminished, 
in any respect ; and that God himself has the highest possi- 
ble freedom, according to the true and proper meaning of 
the term ; and that he is, in the highest possible respect, an 
agent, and active in the exercise of his infinite holiness; 
though he acts therein, in the highest degree, necessarily ; 
and his actions of this kind are in the highest, most absolutely 
perfect manner, virtuous and praiseworthy ; and are so, for 
that very reason, because they are most perfectly necessary. 

Vot. V. 2 H 



Concerning those Objections, that this Scheme of 
Necessity renders all Means and Endeavors for 
the avoiding of Sin, or the obtaining Virtue and, 
Holiness, vain and to no purpose ; and that itt 
makes Men no more than mere Machines in Af- 
fairs of Morality and Religion. 

ARMINIANS say, if it be so, that sin and virtue come 
to pass by a necessity consisting in a sure connexion of caus- 
es and effects, antecedents and consequents, it can never be 
worth the while to use any means or endeavors to obtain the 
one, and avoid the other ; seeing no endeavors can^alter the 
futurity of the event, which is become necessary by a connex- 
ion 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 endeavors and means, in order to 
avoid or obtain any future thing, must be more in vain, on 
the supposition of such a connexion of antecedents and. con- 
sequents, than if the contrary be supposed. 

For endeavors to be in vain, is for them not to ba 
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 connexion or dependence of the event on the means, 
the event would have come to pass, as well without the means 
as with them. If either of these two things are the case, 
then the means are not properly successful, and are truly in 
vain. The successfulness or unsuccessfulness of means, in 


©rder to an effect, or their being in vain or not in vain, con- 
sists in those means being connected, or not connected with 
the effect, in such a manner as this, viz. That the effect is 
with the means, and not without them ; or that the being of 
the effect is, on the one hand, connected with the means, and 
the want of the effect, on the other hand, is connected with 
the want of the means. If there be such a connexion as this 
between means and end, the means are not in vain. The 
more there is of such a connexion, the further they are from 
being in vain ; and the less of such a connexion, the more 
they are in vain. 

Now, therefore, the question to be answered, (in order to 
determine, whether it follows from this doctrine of the neces- 
sary connexion between foregoing things, and consequent 
ones, that means used in order to any effect, are more in vain 
than they would be otherwise) is, whether it follows from it, 
that there is less of the forementioned connexion between 
means and effect ; that is, whether, on the supposition of 
there being a real and true connexion between antecedent 
things and consequent ones, there must be less of a connex- 
ion between means and effect, than on the supposition of 
there being no fixed connexion between antecedent things 
and consequent ones ; and the very stating of this question is 
sufficient to answer it. It must appear to every one that will 
open his eyes, that this question cannot be affirmed, without 
the grossest absurdity and inconsistence. Means are forego- 
ing things, and effects are following things ; and if there 
were no connexion between foregoing things and following 
ones, there could be no connexion between means and end ; 
aid so all means would be wholly vain and fruitless. For it 
i8 by virtue of some connexion only, that they become suc- 
cessful : It is some connexion observed, or revealed, or oth- 
erwise known, between antecedent things and following ones, 
that is, what directs in the choice of means. And if there 
were no such thing as an established connexion, there could 
be no choice, as to means ; one thing would have no more 
tendency to an effect, than another ; there would be no such 
thing as tendency in the case. All those things which are 


successful means of other things, do therein prove connected 
antecedents of them ; and therefore to assert, that a fixed 
connexion between antecedents and consequents makes 
means vain and useless, or stands in the way to hinder the 
connexion between means and end, is just as ridiculous as to 
to say, that a connexion between antecedents and consequents 
stands in the way to hinder a connexion between antecedents 
and consequents. 

Nor can any supposed connexion of the succession or train 
of antecedents and consequents, from the very beginning of 
all things, the connexion being made already sure and neces- 
sary, either by established laws of nature, or by these togeth- 
er with a decree of sovereign immediate interpositions of di- 
vine power, on such and such occasions, or any other way (if 
any other there be ;) I say, no such necessary connexion of a 
series of antecedents and consequents can in the least tend to 
hinder, but that the means we use may belong to the series ; 
and so may be some of those antecedents which are connect- 
ed with the consequents we aim at, in the established course 
of things. Endeavors which we use, are things that exist ; 
and, therefore, they belong to the general chain of events ; all 
the parts of which chain are supposed to be connected ; and 
so endeavors 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 connexion with those 
events, from ihe established order and course of things which 
we observe, or from something in divine revelation. 

Let us suppose a real and sure connexion between a man's 
having his eyes open in the clear day light, with good organs 
of sight, and seeing ; so that seeing is connected with his op- 
ening his eyes, and not seeing with his not opening his eyes ; 
and also the like connexion between such a man's attempt- 
ing to open his eyes, and his actually doing it. The suppos- 
ed established connexion between these antecedents and con- 
sequents, let the connexion be ever so sure and necessary, cer- 
tfinly docs not prove that it is in vain, for a man in such cir- 


eumstances, to attempt to open his eyes, in order to seeing ; 
his aiming at that event, and the use of the means, being the 
effect of his Will, does not break the connexion, or hinder the 

So that the objection we are upon does not lie against the 
doctrine of the necessity of events by a certainty of connexion 
and consequence : On the contrary, it is truly forcible against 
the Arminian doctrine of contingence and selfdetermination ; 
■which is inconsistent with such a connexion. If there be no 
connexion between those events, wherein virtue and vice con- 
sist, and any thing antecedent ; then there is no connexion 
between these events and any means or endeavors used in or- 
der to them ; and if so, then those means must be vain. The 
less there is of connexion between foregoing things and fol- 
lowing ones, so much the less there is between means and 
end, endeavors and success ; and in same proportion are 
means and endeavors ineffectual and vain. 

It will follow from Arminian principles, that there is no 
degree of connexion between virtue or vice, and any forego- 
ing event or thing ; or, in other words, that the determination 
of the existence of virtue or vice does not in the least depend 
on the influence of any thing that comes to pass antecedently, 
from which the determination of its existence is, as its cause, 
means, or ground ; because, so far as it is so, it is not from 
selfdetermination ; and, therefore, so far there is nothing of 
the nature of virtue or vice. And so it follows, that virtue and 
vice are not in any degree, dependent upon, or connected with, 
any foregoing event or existence, as its cause, ground, or 
means. And if so, then all foregoing means must be totally 

Hence it follows, that there cannot, in any consistence 
with the Arminian scheme, be any reasonable ground of so 
much as a conjecture concerning the consequence of any 
means and endeavors, in order to escaping 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 connexion 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 con&ev 
quence of any means, endeavors, prayers or deeds. Conjee 
ture, in this latter case, depends on a supposition, that God 
himself is the giver, or determining cause of the event! 
sought ; but if they depend on selfdetermination, then God is 
not the determining or disposing author of them ; and if thes« 
things are not of his disposal, then no conjecture can be made, 
from any revelation he has given, concerning any way or meth- 
od of his disposal of them. 

Yea, on these principles, it will not only follow, that men 
cannot have any reasonable ground of judgment o* conjecture, 
that their means and endeavors 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 vain ; and that if ever the 
thing, which they seek, comes to pass, it will not be at all ow- 
ing to the means they use. For means and endeavors can 
have no effect, in order to obtain the end, but in one of these 
two ways ; either, (1.) Through a natural tendency and influ- 
ence, to prepare and dispose the mind more to virtuous acts, 
either by causing the disposition of the heart to be more in 
fevor of such acts, or by bringing the mind more into the view 
of powerful motives and inducements ; or, (2.) By putting 
persons more in the way of God's bestowment of the benefit. 
But neither of these can be the case. Not the latter ; for, as 
has been just now observed, it does not consist with the Ar-min-* 
inn notion of selfdetermination, which they suppose essential 
to virtue, that God should be the bestower, or (which is the 
sajarie thing) the determining, disposing author of virtue. Not 
the former, for natural influence and tendency supposes caus- 
ality and connexion ; and that supposes necessity of event, 
which is inconsistent with Arminian liberty. A tendency of 
means, by biasing the heart in favor of virtue, or by bringing 
the Will under the influence and power of motives in its de- 
terminations, are both inconsistent with Arminian liberty of 
Will, consisting in indifference, and sovereign selfdetermina- 
tion, as has been largely demonstrated. 

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 endeavors as vain \ 
the following things may be considered. 

The question is not, whether men may not thus improve 
this doctrine : We know that many true and wholesome doc- 
trines are abused ; but, whether the doctrine gives any jusc 
occasion for such an improvement ; or whether, on the sup- 
position of the truth of the doctrine, such a use of it would 
not be unreasonable ? If any shall affirm, that it would not,- 
but that the very nature of the doctrine is such as gives just 
occasion for it, it must be on this supposition, namely, that 
such an invariable necessity of all things already settled, must 
render the interposition of all means, endeavors, conclusions' 
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 series of things, in any 
event or circumstance ; all being already fixed unalterably by 
necessity ; and that therefore it is folly, for men to use any 
means for any end; but their wisdom, to save themselves the' 
trouble of endeavors, and take their ease. No person can draw 
such an inference from this doctrine, and come to such a con- 
clusion, 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 1 
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 future 
ease, and the benefit and comfort of indolence. If prior ne- 
cessity, that determines all things, makes vain all actions or 
conclusions of ours, in order to any thing future ; then 1 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 or misery I shall 
have, is already, in effect, determined by the necessary course 
and connexion of things ; therefore, I will save myself the 
trouble of labor and diligence, which cannot add to my deter- 


mined degree of happiness, or diminish my misery ; but wllf' 
take my ease, and will enjoy the comfort of sloth and negli- 
gence." Such a man contradicts himself ; he says, the meas- 
xire 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 contradicts this ; for, he takes 
up this conclusion, to add to his future happiness, by the ease 
and comfort of his negligence ; and to diminish his future 
trouble and misery, by saving himself the trouble of using 
means and taking pains. 

Therefore persons cannot reasonably make this improve- 
ment of the doctrine of necessity, that they will go into a vol- 
untary negligence of means for their own happiness. For the 
principles they must go upon in order to this, are inconsist- 
ent with their making any improvement at all of the doctrine ; 
for to make some improvement of it, is to be influenced by it, 
to come to some voluntary conclusion, in regard to their own 
conduct, with some view or aim ; but this, as has been shown, 
is inconsistent with the principles they pretend to act upon. 
In short, the principles arc such as cannot be acted upon, in 
any respect, consistently. And, therefore, in every pretence 
of acting upon them, or making any improvement of them* 
there is a selfcontradiction. 

As to that objection against the doctrine, which I have en- 
deavored to prove, that it makes men nomore than mere ma- 
chines; 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 capable of volition and choice ; and 
in that, his Will is guided by the dictates or views of his un- 
derstanding ; and in that his external actions and behavior, 
and, in many respects, aiso his thoughts, and the exercises of 
his mind, are subject to his Will ; so that he has liberty to 
act according to his choice, and do what he pleases ; and by 
means of these things, is capable of moral habits and moral 
acts, such inclinations and actions as, according to the com* 
mon sense of mankind, are worthy of praise, esteem, love and? 


reward ; or, on the contrary, of disesteenij detestation, indig- 
nation and punishment. 

In these things is all the difference from mere machines, 
as to liberty and agency, that would be any perfection, digni- 
ty or privilege, in any respect ; all the difference that can be 
desired, and all that can be conceived of; and indeed all that 
the pretensions of the Arminians themselves come to, as thdy 
are forced often to explain themselves. (Though their expli- 
cations overthrow and abolish the things asserted, and pre- 
tended to be explained) for they are forced to explain a self- 
determining power of Will, by a power in the soul, to deter- 
mine as it chooses or Wills ; which comes to no more than 
this, that a man has a power of choosing, and, in many instan- 
ces, 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 this, 
between men and machines, it is for the worse ; it is so far 
from supposing men to have a dignity and privilege above 
machines, that it makes the manner of their being determin- 
ed still more unhappy. Whereas, machines, are guided by 
an understanding cause, by the skilful hand of the workman or 
owner ; the Will of man is left to the guidance of nothing, 
but absolute blind contingency 


Vol. V. 21 



Concerning that Objection against the Doctrine 
"which has been maintained, that it agrees with 
the Stoical Doctrine of Fate, and the Opinions of 
Mr. Hobbcs. 

WHEN Calvinists oppose the Arminian notion of the free- 
dom of Will, and contingence of volition, and insist that there 
are no acts of the Will, nor any other events whatsoever, but 
•what are attended with some kind of necessity ; their oppos- 
ers cry out of them, as agreeing with the ancient Stoics in 
their doctrine ofja&e, and with Mr. Hobbes in his opinion of 

It would not be worth while to take notice of so imperti- 
nent an objection, had it not been urged by some of the chief 
Arminian writers. There were many important truths main- 
tained by the ancient Greek and Roman philosophers, and es- 
pecially the Stoics, that are never the woree for being held by 
them. The Stoic philosophers, by the general agreement of 
Christian, and even Arminian divines, were the greatest, wis- 
est, and most virtuous of all the heathen philosophers; and, 
in their doctrine and practice, came the nearest to Christiani- 
ty of any of their sects. How frequently are the sayings of 
these philosophers, in many of the writings and sermons, even 
of Arminian divines, produced, not as arguments of the false- 
ness of the doctrines which they delivered, but as a confirma- 
tion of some of the greatest truths of the Christian religion, 
relating to the unity and perfections of the Godhead, a future 
state, the duty and happiness of mankind, &c. as observing 
how the light of nature and reason, in the wisest and best of 
the Heathens, harmonized with, and confirms the Gospel of 
Jesus Christ. 


And it is very remarkable, concerning Dr. Whitby, that- 
Although he alleges the agreement of the Stoics 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 alleges the agreement of the Stoics with the 
Arminians, wherein he supposes they taught the same doc- 
trine with them, as an argument for the truth of their doc- 
trine.* So that, when the Stoics agree with them, this (it 
seems) is a confirmation of their doctrine, and a confutation 
of ours, as shewing that our opinions are contrary to the nat- 
ural sense and common reason of mankind : Nevertheless, 
when the Stoics agree with us, it argues no such thing in our 
favor ; but, on the contrary, is a great argument against us, 
and shews our doctrine to be heathenish. 

It is observed by some Cafoinistic writers, that the Armin- 
ians symbolize with the Stoics, in some of those doctrines 
wherein they are opposed by the Calvinists ; particularly in 
their denying an original, innate, total corruption and deprav- 
ity 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 objec- 
tion against our doctrine, that it agrees, in some respects, 
with the doctrine of the ancient Stoic philosophers, 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 followers of Epicurus, that father 
of atheism and licentiousness, and with the doctrine of the 
Sadducees and Jesuits. 

I am not much concerned to know precisely, what the an- 
cient Stoic philosophers held concerning fate, in order to de- 
termine what is truth ; as though it were a sure way to be in 
the right, to take good heed to differ from them. It seems, 
that they differed among themselves ; and probably the doc- 
trine of fate as maintained by most of them, was, in some res- 
pects, erroneous. But whatever their doctrine was, if any of 

* Whitby on the Five Points, Edit. III. p. 325, 326, 327. 


them held such a fate, as is repugnant to any liberty, consist- 
ing in our doing as we please, I utterly deny such a fate. If 
they held any such fate, as is not consistent with the common 
and universal notions that mankind have of liberty, activity, 
moral agency, virtue and vice, I disclaim 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 advan- 
tage and benefit of the use of means and endeavors, or makes 
it less worth the 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 inconvenience, any 
more than any other scheme whatsoever ; and by no means 
so much as the Armmian scheme of contingence ; as has 
been shewn. If they held any such doctrine of universal fa- 
tality, as is inconsistent with any kind of liberty, that is or can 
be any perfection, dignity, privilege or benefit, or any thing 
desirable, in any respect, for any intelligent creature, or in- 
deed with any liberty that is possible or conceivable ; I em- 
brace no such doctrine. If they held any such doctrine of 
fate, as is inconsistent with the world's being in all things sub- 
ject to the disposal of an intelligent, wise agent, that presides, 
not as the soul of the world, but as the Sovereign Lord of the 
Universe, governing all things by proper will, choice and de- 
sign, in the exercise of the most perfect liberty conceivable, 
without subjection to any constraint, or being properly under 
the power or influence of any thing before, above or without 
himself, I wholly renounce any such doctrine. 

As to Mr. Hobbes' maintaining the same doctrine concern- 
ing 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. This great truth, that Jesut 
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 
ihe pen of some ill minded mischievous man, that it must nev- 
er be received, we shall never know, when we hold any of the 


most precious and evident truths by a sure tenure. And if 
Mr. Hobbes has made a bad use of this truth, that is to be la- 
mented ; but the truth is not to be thought worthy of rejec- 
tion on that account. It is common for the corruptions of 
the hearts of evil men to abuse the best things to vile pur- 

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 concern- 
ing original sin, in denying the necessity of supernatural il- 
lumination, in denying infused grace, in denying the doctrine 
©f justification by faith alone, and other things. 


Concerning the Necessity of the Divine Will. 

SOME may possibly object against what has been sup- 
posed of the absurdity and inconsistence of a selfdetermining 
power in the Will, and the impossibility of its being other- 
wise, 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 superior strength to any ap- 
pearing on the other side ; that if these things are true, it 
will follow, that not only the Will of created minds, but the 
Will of God himself is necessary in all its determinations. 
Concerning which, says the author of the Essay on the Free- 
dom of the Will in God and in the Creature, page 85, 86, 
« What strange doctrine is this, contrary to all our ideas of 
the dominion of God ? Does it not destroy the glory of his 
liberty of choice, and take away from the Creator and Gover- 
nor and Benefactor of the world, that most free and sovereign 
Agent, all the glory of this sort of freedom ? Does it not 

* Dr. Gill, in his Answer to Dr. Whitby, vol. III. p. 183, &c. 


■seem to make him a kind of mechanical medium of fate, and 
introduce Mr. Hobbes' doctrine of fatality and necessity, into 
all things that God hath to do with ? Does i: 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 ancients, 
that fate was above the gods." 

This is declaiming, rather than arguing ; and an applica- 
tion to men's imaginations and prejudices, rather than to 
mere reason. But I would calmly endeavor to consider, 
•whether there be any reason in this frightful representation. 
But before I enter upon a particular consideration of the mat- 
ter, I would observe this ; that it is reasonable to suppose, it 
should be much more' difficult to express or conceive things 
according to exact metaphysical truth, relating to the nature 
and manner of the existence of things in the Divine Under- 
standing 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 near- 
er to a proportion to the measure of our comprehension, 
and more commensurate to the use and import of human 
speech. Language is indeed very deficient, in regard of 
terms, to express precise truth concerning our own minds, 
and their faculties and operations. Words were first formed 
ro express external things ; and those that are applied to ex- 
press things internal and spiritual, are almost all borrowed, 
and used in a sort of figurative sense. Whence they are, 
most of them, attended with a great deal of ambiguity and 
tmfixedness in their signification, occasioning innumerable 
doubts, difficulties and confusions, in* inquiries and controver- 
sies, about things of this nature. But language is much less 
adapted to express tilings in the mind of the incomprehensi- 
ble Deity, precisely as they are. 

We find a great deal of difficulty in conceiving exactly of 
the nature of our own souls. A.'^l notwithstanding all ihe 


progress which has been made, in past and present ages, in 
this kind of knowledge, whereby our metaphysics, as it re- 
lates to these things, is brought to greater perfection than 
once it was ; yet, here is still work enough left for future in- 
quiries and researches, and room for progress still to be 
made, for many ages and generations. But we had need to 
be infinitely able metaphysicians, to conceive with clearness, 
according to strict, proper and perfect truth, concerning the 
nature of the Divine Essence, and the modes of the action and 
operation of the powers of the Divine Mind. 

And it may be noted particularly, that though we sr& 
obliged to conceive of some things in God as consequent and 
dependent on others., and of some things pertaining to the 
Divine Nature and Will as the foundation of others, and so 
before others in the order of nature ; as, we must conceive 
of the knowledge and holiness of God as prior, in the order of 
nature, to his happiness ; the perfection of his understanding, 
as the foundation of his wise purposes and decrees ; the holi- 
ness of his nature, as the cause and reason of his holy deter- 
minations. And yet, when we speak of cause and effect, an- 
tecedent and consequent, fundamental and dependent, deter- 
mining and determined, in the first Being, who is selfexis?* 
ent, independent, of perfect and absolute simplicity and im- 
mutability, and the first cause of all things ; doubtless 
there must be less propriety in such representations, thaa 
when we speak of derived dependent beings, who are com- 
pounded, and liable to perpetual mutation and succession. 

Having premised this, I proceed to observe concerning 
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 excla- 
mations must aiise 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 al- 
ways choose what is wisest and best ; as though there wers 
some disadvantage, meanness and subjection, in such a neces- 
sity ; a thing by which the Will was confined, kept under, 


and held in servitude by something, which, as it were, main- 
tained a strong and invincible power and dominion over it, by- 
bonds that held God fast, and that he could, by no means, de- 
liver himself from. Whereas, this must be all mere imagi- 
nation and delusion. It is no disadvantage or dishonor 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 dependence, nor 
any want of dignity, privilege or ascendency.* It is not in- 

* " It might have been objected, with more plausibleness, that the Su- 
preme 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 perfect 
choice. For the only foundation of this necessity is such an unalterable rec- 
titude of Will, and perfection of wisdom, as makes it impossible for a wise 
Being to act foolishly." Clark's Demonstration oj the Being and Attributes of 
God. Edit. 6, p. 64, 

" Though God is a most perfect free agent, yet he cannot but do what is 
best and wisest on the whole. The reason is evident ; because peifect wisdom 
and goodness arc as steady and certain principles 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 an absurdity and impossibility in choice, for Infinite Wisdom to 
choose to act unwisely, or 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, indeed, 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 allsufficient. There was also, no necessity in, 
nature, that he should preserve and continue things in being, after they were 
created; because he would be selfsufficient without their continuance, as he 
was before their creation. But it was fit, and wise, and good, that Infinite 
Wisdom should manifest, and Infinite Goodness communicate itself; and 
therefore it was necessary, in the sense of necessity I am now speaking ol, that 
things should be made at such a time, and continued so long, and indeed 
with various perfections in such degrees, as Infinite Wifdom and Goodness 
saw it best and wisest that they should." Ibid p. 112, 113. 

«' 'Tis 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 ben- 
efit of it. 'Tis not an abridgement, 'tis the end and ufe of our liberty ; and 

Freedom of the wilt. ass 

Consistent with the absolute and most perfect sovereignty of 
God. The sovereignty of God is his ability and authority to 
do whatever pleases him ; whereby He doth according to hit 
Will in the armies of Heaven, and amongst the inhabitants of the 
earth-, and none can stay his hand) or say unto him, what dost 

the further we are removed from such a determination, the nearer we are tc* 
misery and slavery. A perfect indifference in the mind, not determinable by- 
its last judgment, 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 
D3ture, that it wculd 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. 'Tis as much a perfection, that desire, or the power o£ 
preferring should be determined by good, as that the power of acting 
should be determined by the Will ; and the more certain such determina ion 
is, the greater the perfection. 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. The very end of our freedom being that we might attain the 
good we choose ; and, therefore, every man is brought under a necessity by 
his constitution, as an intelligent being, to be determined in willing by his 
own thought and judgment, what is best for him to do ; else he would be 
under the determination of some other than himself, which is want of liber- 
ty. 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 
present thoughts, 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 
Aot 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 Teason to judge, that they are more steadily determined in 
their choice of good lhan 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 
freatures as we are, to pronounce what Infinite Wisdbm and Goodness could 
do, I think we might say, that God himself cannot choose what is not good. 
The freedom of the Almighty hinders not his being determined by what is 
best. But to give a right view of this mistaken part of liberty, let m«= ask, 
Would any one be a changeling because he is less determined by wise deter- 
mination, than a wise man ? Is it worth ihe 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 examina- 
tion and judgment, that keeps us from doing or choosing the worse, be lib- 
erty, true liberty, madmen and fools are the only free men. Yet I think, oo- 

Vol. V. 2 K 


thou .?.... The following things belong to the sovereignly of 
God, viz. 1. Supreme, universal, and infinite Power., where- 
by he is able to do what he pleases, without control, with- 
out any confinement of that power, without any sub- 
jection, in the least measure, to any other power ; and 
so without any hinderance or restraint, that it should be 
either impossible, or at all difficult, for him to accomplish 
his Will ; and without any dependence of his power on 
any other power, from whence it should be derived, or 
which it should stand in any need of : So far from this, 
that all other power is derived from him, and is absolutely 
dependent on him. 2. That He has supreme authority, ab- 
solute and most perfect right to do what he wills, without 

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. T» 
be capable of knowing, and not capable of willing, is not to be understood. 
And to be capable of willing otherwise than what is wisest and best, contra- 
dicts 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 deter- 
mined, from the consideration of the eternal aptitudes of things, it is as ne- 
cessarily determined, as if it were physically impelled, if that were poffiblc. 
But it is unskilfulness, to suppose this an objection. The great principle is 
once established, viz. That the Divine Will is determined by the eternal rea- 
son and aptitudes of things, inftead of being physically impelled ; and after 
that, the more strong and necessary this determination is, the more perfect 
the Deity must be allowed to be. It is this that makes him an amiable and 
adorable Being, whose Will and power are constantly, immutably, detei mined, 
by the consideration of what is wisest and best ; instead of a surd Being, with 
power, but without discerning and reason. It is th^ beauty of this ne- 
cessity, that it is strong as fate itself, wiih all the advantage of reason and 
goodness. It is strange, to see men contend, that the Deity is not free, be- 
cause he is necessarily rational, immutably good and wise; when a man is 
allowed ftill the perfecter being, the more fixedly and constantly his Will is 
determined by reason and truth." Inquiry into the Nature of the Hum. Soul^ 
Edit. 3, vol. II. p. 403, 4O4. 


subjection to any superior authority, or any derivation of au- 
thority from any other, or limitation by any distinct indepen- 
dent authority, either supei'ior, equal, or inferior ; he being 
the head of all dominion, and fountain of all authority ; and 
also without restraint by any obligation, implying either sub- 
jection, derivation, or dependence, or proper limitation. 3. 
That his Will is supreme, underived, and independent on 
any thing without Himself; being in every thing determined 
by his own counsel, having no other rule but his own wis- 
dom ; his Will not being subject to, or restrained by the 
Will of any other, and other Wills being perfectly subject to 
his. 4. That his Wisdom, which determines his Will, is su- 
preme, perfect, underived, selfsufficient and independent i 
so that it may be said, as in Isa. 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 other Divine Sovereign- 
ty but this, and this is properly absolute sovereignty ; no other 
is desirable, nor would any other be honorable, or happy, and 
indeed, there is no other conceivable or possible. It is the 
glory and greatness of the Divine Sovereignty, that God's Will 
is determined by his own infinite allsufhcient wisdom in ev- 
ery thing ; and in nothing is either directed by any inferior 
wisdom, or by no wisdom ; whereby it would become sense- 
less arbitrariness, determining and acting without reason, de- 
sign or end. 

If God's Will is steadily and surely determined in every 
thing by supreme wisdom, then it is in every thing necessari- 
ly 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 determined to that, 
which in every case is wisest and best, it must be subject to 
some degree of undesigning contingence ; and so in the same 
degree liable to evil. To suppose the Divine Will liable to 
be carried hither and thither at random, by the uncertain 
wind of blind contingence, which is guided by no wisdom, no 
motive, no intelligent dictate whatsoever, (if any such thing 
were possible) would certainly argue a great degree of im» 


perfection and meanness, infinitely unworthy of the Deity. 
If it be a disadvantage for the Divine Will to be attended with 
this moral necessity, then the more free from it, and the 
more left at random, the greater dignity and advantage. 
And, consequently to be perfectly free from the direction of 
understanding, and universally and entirely left to senseless, 
unmeaning contingence, to act absolutely a? 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 depen- 
dence of his being, that his existence is necessary. If it be 
something too low, for the Supreme Being to have his Will 
determined by moral Necessity, so as necessarily, in every 
case, to will in the highest degree holily and happily ; then 
why is it not also something too low, for him to have his ex- 
istence, and the infinite perfection of his nature, and his infi- 
nite happiness determined by necessity ? It is no more to 
God's dishonor, to be necessarily wise, than to be necessarily 
holy. And if neither of them be to his dishonor, then it is 
not to his dishonor necessarily to act holily and wisely. And 
if it be not dishonorable to be necessarily holy and wise, in the 
highest possible degree, no more is it mean and dishonorable, 
necessarily to act holily and wisely in the highest possible de- 
gree ; 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 dishonorable to be necessarily 
most holy, is, because holiness in itself is an excellent and 
honorable thing. For the same reason, it is no dishonor to 
be necessarily most wise, and, in every case, to act most wise- 
ly, or do the thing which is the wisest of all ; for wisdom is 
also in itself excellent and honorable. 
The forementioned author of the Unsay on the Freedom of 
Will, &c. as has been observed, represents that doctrine of 
the Divine Will's being in every thing necessarily determin- 
ed by superior fitness, as making the blessed God a kind of 
Almighty Minister and mechanical medium of fate ; and he 
insists, page 93, 94, tjttet this moral necessity and impossibili- 
ty is, in effect, the s?.i7\c thing with physical and natural Bfe 


eessity and impossibility : And in p. 54, 55, he says, « The 
scheme which determines the Will always and certainly by 
the understanding, and the understanding by the appearance 
of things, seems to take away the true nature of vice and vir- 
tue. For the sublimest of virtues, and the vilest of vices, 
seem rather to be matters of fate and necessity, flowing natur- 
ally and necessarily from the existence, the circumstances, 
and present situation of persons and things ; for this exist- 
ence and situation necessarily makes such an appearance to 
the mind ; from this appearance flows a necessary perception 
and judgment, concerning these things ; this judgment, nec- 
essarily determines the Will ; and thus, by this chain of nec- 
essary causes, virtue and vice would lose their nature, and be- 
come natural ideas, and necessary things, instead of moral 
and free actions." 

And yet this same author allows, p. 30, 31, That a per- 
fectly 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 antecedent superior 
fitness of things, God acts according to it, so as never to con- 
tradict 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 otherwise, than according to this fitness and good- 
ness in things." 

So that according to this author, putting these several pas- 
sages of his Essay together, there is no virtue, nor any thing 
of a moral nature, in the most sublime and glorious acts and 
exercises of God's holiness, justice, and faithfulness ; and he 
never does any thing which is in 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 Governor of the world, he exercises no moral ex- 
cellency ; 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 
Hobistical fatality ; as a Being indeed of vast understanding, as 
Weil as fiower and efficiency (as he said before) but without a 


Will to choosey being a kind of Almighty Minister of fate, acting 
under its supreme influence. For he allows, that in all these 
things, God's Will is determined constantly and certainly by 
a superior fitness, and that it is not possible for him to act 
otherwise. And if these things are so, what glory or praise 
belongs to God for doing holily and justly, or taking the most 
fit, holy, wise and excellent course, in any one instance ? 
Whereas, according to the scriptures, and also the common 
sense of mankind, it does not, in the least, derogate from the 
honor of any being, that through the moral perfection of his 
nature, he necessarily acts with supreme wisdom and holi- 
ness ; but on the contrary, his praise is the greater ; herein 
consists the height of his glory. 

The same author, p. 5 6, supposes, that herein appears the 
excellent character of a ivise and good man, that though he can 
choose contrary to the fitness of things, yet he does not ; but suf- 

fers himself to be directed by fitness ; and that, in this conduct, 
he imitates the blessed God. And yet, he supposes it is con- 
trariwise with the blessed God ; not that he suffers himself to 
be directed by fitness, when he can choose contrary to the fit- 
ness of things, but that he cannot choose contrary to the fitness 
of things ; as he says, p. 42.... 7W it is not possible for God to 
cct otherwise than according to this fitness, where there is any 

Jilness or goodness in things : Yea, he supposes, p. 31, That if 
a man were perfectly wise and good, he could not do otherwise 
than be constantly and certainly determined by the fitness of 

One thing more I would observe, before I conclude this 
section ; and that is, that if it derogates nothing from the glo- 
jy of God, to be necessarily determined by superior fitness in 
some things, then neither docs 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 dignity or glory of his nature, state or 
manner of acting ; or as implying any infirmity, restraint, or 
subjection. And if the thing be such as well consists with 
God's glory, and has nothing tending 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 to© 


Some further Objections against the moral Necessity 
of God's Volitions considered. 

THE author last cited, as has been observed, owns that 
God, being perfectly wise, will constantly and certainly 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 dishon- 
or, nothing in any respect unworthy of God, for him to act 
from necessity ; notwithstanding all that can be objected from 
the agreement of such a necessity, with the fate of the Stoics s 
and the necessity, maintained by Mr. Hobbes. From which 
it will follow, that if it were so, that in ail the different things, 
among which God chooses, there were evermore a superior 
fitness, or preferableness en one side, then it would be no 
dishonor, or any thing, in any respect, unworthy, or unbecom- 
ing of God, for his Will to be necessarily determined in eve- 
ry thing. And if this be allowed, it is a giving up entirely 
the argument, from the unsuitableness of such a necessity to 
the liberty, supremacy, independence and glory of the Divine 
Being ; and a resting the whole weight of the affair on the 
decision of another point wholly diverse ; viz. Whether it be 
so indeed, that in all the various possible things, which are in 
God's view, and may be considered as capable objects of his 
choice, there is not evermore a preferableness in one thing 
above another. This is denied by this author ; who supposes? 
that in many instances, between two or more possible things* 


which come within the view of the divine mind, there is st 
perfect indifference and equality, as to fitness or tendency to 
attain any good end which God can have in view, or to an- 
swer any of his designs. Now, therefore, I would consider 
whether this be evident. 

The arguments brought to prove this, are of two kinds. 
(1.) It is urged, that in many instances, we must suppose there 
is absolutely no difference between various possible objects of 
choice, which God has in view : And (2.) that the difference 
between many things is so inconsiderable, or of such a na- 
ture, that it would be unreasonable to suppose it to be of any 
consequence ; or to suppose that any of God's wise designs 
would not be answered in one way as well as the other. 


I. The first thing to be considered is whether there are 
any instances wherein there is a perfect likeness, and abso- 
lutely no difference, between different objects of choice, that 
are proposed to the Divine Understanding ? 

And here, in the first place, it may be worthy to be con- 
sidered, whether the contradiction there is in the terms of the i 
question proposed, does not give reason to suspect, that there 
is an inconsistence in the thing supposed. It is enquired, 
whether different objects of choice may not be absolutely 
without difference ? If they are absolutely without difference, 
then how are they different objects of choice ? If there be ab- 
solutely 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 deter- 
mination, but the same. That this is no quibble, may appear 
more fully anon. 

The arguments, to prove that the Most High, in some in- 
stances, chooses to do one thing rather than another, where 
the things themselves are perfectly without difference, 
are two. 


1. That the various parts of infinite time and space, abso- 
lutely considered, are perfectly alike, and do not differ at all 
one from another ; and that therefore, when God determin- 
ed to create the world in such a part of infinite duration and 
space, rather than others, he determined and preferred, 
among various objects, between which there was no prefera- 
bleness, and absolutely no difference. 

Answ. This objection supposes an infinite length of time 
before the world was created, distinguished by successive parts, 
properly and truly so ; or a succession of limited and unraea?- 
urable periods of time, following one another, in an infinitely- 
long series ; which must needs be a groundless imagination. 
The eternal duration which was before the world, being only 
the eternity of God's existence ; which is nothing else but 
his immediate, perfect and invariable possession of the whole 
of his unlimited life, together and at once : Vita interminabilis, 
tota, simul et ficrfecta fwssessio. Which is so generally allow- 
ed, that I need not stand to demonstrate 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 understood. What is it that suc- 
ceeds ? One minute to another, perhaps, vclut unda supervenit undam. But 
when we imagine this, we fancy that the minutes are things separately exist- 
ing. This is the common notion ; and yet it is a manifest prejudice. Time 
is nothing but the existence of created successive beings, and eternity the nec- 
essary existence 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 suc- 
cession in the necessary nature and existence of the Deity himself ; which is 
wrong, if the reasoning above be conclusive. And then we ascribe this suc- 
cession to eternity, considered abstractedly from the Eternal Being ; and sup- 
pose 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 apace, let us lay hold on the present minute, and the lite. The philosophers) 
themselves mislead us by their illustrations. They compare eternity to the mo- 
tion of a point running on forever, and making a tfaceless infinite line. Here 
the point is supposed a thing actually subsisting, representing the present min- 
ute ; and then they ascribe motion or succession to it ; that is, they ascribe 
motion to a mere nonentity, t© illustrate to us a successive eternity, made up 

Vol. V. 2 L 


So this objection supposes an extent of space beyond the 
limits of the creation, of an infinite length, breadth and depth, 
truly and properly distinguished into different measurable 
parts, limited at certain stages, one beyond another, in an in- 
finite series. Which notion of absolute and infinite space is 
doubtless as unreasonable, as that now mentioned, of absolute 
and infinite duration. It is as improper to imagine that the 
immensity and omnipresence of God is distinguished by a se- 
ries of miles and leagues, one beyond another ; as that the 
infinite duration of God is distinguished by months and years, 
one after another. A diversity and order of distinct parts, 
limited by certain periods, is as conceivable, and does as natur- 
ally obtrude itself on our imagination, in one case as the oth- 
er ; 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 milesquares 
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 differently placed from 
what it is, in the broad expanse of infinity ; or, that it might 
have been differently fixed in the long line of eternity ; and 
all arguments and objections, which arc built on the imagina- 
tions 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 fit- 
ness or preferableness in the thing preferred, is God's actual- 
ly placing in different parts of the world, particles, or atoms 
of matter, that are perfectly equal and alike. The foremen- 
tioned author says, p. 78, &c. « If one would descend to the 

of finite successive parts. If once we allow 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 
existence of the Deity will appear to be Vita intcrminabilit, tota,simul et ptrjec- 
tapoisessio ; how much soever this may have been a paradox hitherto." En- 
quiry into tht Naturt of the Human Soul, Vol. II. p. 409, 410, 411. Edit, III- 


minute specific particles, of which different bodies are com- 
posed, 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 coald give no distinct deter- 
mination to the Will of God, where to place them." He there 
instances in particles of water, of which there are such im- 
mense numbers, which compose the rivers and oceans of this 
world ; and the infinite myriads of the luminous and fiery 
particles, which compose the body of the sun ; so many, that 
it would be very unreasonable to suppose no two of them 
should be exactly equal and alike. 

Answ. (1.) To this I answer : That as we must suppose 
matter to be infinitely divisible, it is very unlikely, that any 
two, of all these particles, are exactly equal and alike ; so un- 
likely, 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 ; and however small 
we suppose 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 ex- 
actly the same number of particles of dust and water in them. 
But infinitely less strange, than that two particles of light 
should have just the same quantity of matter. For a particle 
of light, according to the doctrine of the infinite divisibility of 
matter, is composed of infinitely more assignable parts, than 
there are particles of dust and water in the globe of the earth. 
And as it is infinitely unlikely, that any two of these particles 
should be equal ; so it is, that they should be alike in other 
respects ; to instance in the configuration of their surfaces. 
If there were very many globes, of the nature of the earth, it 
would be very unlikely that any two should have exactly the 
same number of particles of dust, water and stone, in their 
surfaces, and all posited exactly alike, one with respect to 
another, without any difference, in any part discernible eith- 
er by the naked eye or microscope ; but infinitely less strange, 


than that two particles of light should be perfectly of the same 
figure. For there are infinitely more assignable real parts 
on the surface of a particle of light than there are particles of 
dust, water and stone, on the surface of the terrestrial globe. 
Answ. (2.) But then, supposing that there are two parti- 
cles, or atoms of matter, perfectly equal and alike, which God 
lias placed in different parts of the creation ; as I will not de- 
ny it to be possible for God to make two bodies pefectly alike, 
and put them in different places ; yet it will not follow, that 
two different or distinct acts or effects of the Divine Power 
have exactly the same fitness for the tame 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, vest, motion, or 
some other present or past circumstances or relations. For it 
is difference only that constitutes distinction. 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 resistance are the same, and every thing 
the same, but only the place. Therefore what the Will of 
God determines, is this, namely, that there should be the same 
figure, the same extension, the same resistance, 8cc. in two 
different places. And for this determination he has some rea- 
son. 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 with- 
out 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 difi'erent places and situations, we 
can no more justly argue from it, that here must be some de- 
termination or act of God's Will, that is wholly without mo- 
tive or end, than we can argue, that whenever, in any case it 
is a man's Will to speak the same words, or make the hame 


sounds at two different times ; there must be some determi- 
nation 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 time does in the other. If any one should 
say, with regard to the former case, that there must be some- 
thing determined without an end, viz. that of those two simi- 
lar bodies, this in particular should be made in this place, 
and the other in the other, and should inquire, why the Crea- 
tor did not make them in a transposition, when both are alike, 
and each would equally have suited either place ? The in- 
quiry supposes something that is not true, namely, that the 
two bodies differ and are distinct in other respects besides 
• their place. So that with this distinction inherent in them, 
they might, in their first creation, have been transposed, and 
each might have begun its existence in the place of the 

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 per- 
fectly 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 Gad in their creation 
placed them so : Why that which is made on the right hand, 
was not made on the left, and vice versa ? Let it be well 
considered, whether there be any sense in such a question ; 
and whether the inquiry does not suppose something false 
and absurd. Let it be considered, what the Creator must 
have done otherwise than he did, what different act of Will 
or power he must have exerted, in order to the thing propos- 
ed. All that could have been done, would have been to have 
made two spheres, perfectly alike, in the same places where 
he has made them, without any difference of the things made, 
either in themselves or in any circumstance ; so that the 
whole effect would have been without any difference, and 
therefore, just the same. By the supposition, the two spheres 
are different in no other respect but thtir place ; and there- 


fore 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 tame dimensions, dif* 
fering in nothing but their place. And so of their resistance, 
and every thing else that belongs to them. 

Here, if any chooses to say, « that there is a difference in 
another respect, viz. that they are not NUMERICALLY the 
same ; that it is thus with all the qualities that belong to them ; 
that it is confessed they are, in some respects, the same ; 
that is, they are both exactly alike ; but yet numerically they 
differ. Thus the roundness of one is not the same numeri- 
cal individual roundness with that of the other." Let this be 
supposed ; then the question about the determination of the 
Divine Will in the affair, is, why did God will, that this indi- 
vidual roundness should be at the right hand, and the other 
individual roundness at the left ? Why did he not make them 
in a contrary position ? Let any rational person consider, 
whether such questions be not words without a meaning, as* 
much as if God should see fit for some ends, to cause the 
same sounds to be repeated, or made at two different times ; 
the sounds being perfectly the same in every other respect, 
but only one was a minute after the other ; and it should be 
asked upon it, why did God cause these sounds, numerically 
different, to succeed one the other in such a manner ? Why 
did he 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 ? These inquiries would be 
even ridiculous ; as, I think, every person must see, at once, 
in the case proposed of two sounds, being only the same re- 
peated, absolutely without any difference, but that one cir- 
cumstance of time. If the Most High sees it will answer 
gome good end, that the same sound should be made by light- 
ning 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, / am Jehovah. 
And would it not be unreasonable to infer, as a certain consc- 


quence, from this, that here must be some act or acts of the 
Divine Will, in determining and disposing these words ex- 
actly alike, at different times, wholly without aim or induce- 
ment ? But it would be no more unreasonable than to say* 
that there must be an act of God's without any inducement, 
if he sees it best, and, for some reasons, determines that there 
shall be the same resistance, the same dimensions, and the 
same figure, in several distinct places. 

If, in the instance of the two spheres, perfectly alike, it be 
supposed possible that God might have made them in a con- 
trary position ; that which is made at the right hand, being 
made at the left ; then I ask, Whether it is not evidently 
equally possible, if God had made but one of them, and that 
in the place of the right hand globe, that he might have made 
that numerically different from what it is, and numerically 
different from what he did make it, 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 
have left that which is now created at the right hand, in a 
state of nonexistence ? And, if so, whether it would not 
have been possible to have made one in that place, perfectly 
like these, and yet numerically differing from both ? And 
let it be considered, whether, from this notion of a numerical 
difference in bodies, perfectly equal and alike, which numeri- 
cal difference is something inherent in the bodies themselves, 
and diverse from the difference of place or time, or any cir- 
cumstance whatsoever ; it will not follow, that there is an in- 
finite number of numerieqjly different possible bodies, per- 
fectly alike, among which God chooses, by a selfdetermining 
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 inquired, Why God cre- 
ated 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 infinite number of other bodies, per- 
fectly 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 round- 
ness, rather than any other of the infinite number of individu- 
al rotundities just like it ? Why that individual resistance, 
rather than any other of the infinite number of possible resist- 
ances just like it ? And it might as reasonably be asked, 
Why, when God first caused it to thunder, he caused that in- 
dividual 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 an- 
other ? I think, every body must be sensible of the absurdi- 
ty and nonsense of what is supposed in such inquiries. And, 
if we calmly attend to the matter, we shall be convinced, that 
all such kind of objections as I am answering, are founded on 
nothing but the imperfection of our manner of conceiving 
things, and the obscureness of language, and great want of 
clearness and precision in the signification of terms. 

If any shall find fault with this reasoning, that it is going a 
great length in metaphysical niceties and subtilties ; I answer, 
The objection which they are in reply to, is a metaphysical 
subtilty, and must be treated according 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, differ from those that are 
not chosen in so inconsiderable a manner, that it would be 
unreasonable to suppose the difference to be of any conse- 
quence, or that there is any superior fitness or goodness, 
that God can have respect to in the determination. 

* " For rren to have recourse to subtilties, in raising difficulties, and then 
complain, that thsy should be taken off by minutely examining these subtil- 
ties, is a strange kind of procedure." Nature of the Human Soul, Vol, 2, pags 


To -which I answer ; it is impossible for us to determine, 
with any certainty or evidence, that because the difference is 
very small, and appears to us of no consideration, therefore 
there is absolutely no superior goodness, and no valuable 
end, which can be proposed by the Creator and Governor of 
the world, in ordering such a difference. The foremention- 
ed author mentions many instances. One is, there being one 
atom in the whole universe more or less. But I think, it 
would be unreasonable to suppose, that God made one atom, 
in vain, or without any end or motive. He made not one 
atom, but what was a work of his Almighty power, as much 
as the whple 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 he made it without any thing 
really aimed at in so doing, 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 between the things 
which God has made, may be attended, in the whole series 
of events, and the whole compass and extent of their influence, 
with very great and important consequences. If the laws of 
motion 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 otherwise than it would be, if it were not for that partic- 
ular 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 J 
but to be diverted from this parallel course, and drawn one 
from another, as much as might be by the attraction of an 
atom, at the distance of one of the furthest of the fixed stars 
from the earth ; these bodies being turned out of the lines of 

Vol. V. 2 M 


their parallel motion, will, by degrees, get further and fur* 
ther distant, one from the other ; and though the distance 
may be imperceptible for a long time, yet at length it may 
become very great. So the revolution of a planet round the 
sun being retarded or accelerated, and the orbit of its revolu- 
tion made greater or less, and more or less eliptical, 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, per- 
form a whole revolution sooner or later than otherwise it 
would have done ; which might make a vast alteration with 
regard to millions of important events. So the influence of 
the least particle may, for aught we know, have such effect 
on something in the constitution of some human body, as to 
cause another thought to arise in the mind at a certain time, 
than otherwise would have been ; which, in length of time, 
(yea, and that not very great) might occasion a vast alteration 
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 derogates from the 
freeness of God's grace and goodness, in choosing the objects 
of his favor and bounty, and from the obligation upon men 
to thankfulness for special benefits. Page 89, &c. 
In answer to this objection, I would observe, 
1. That it derogates no more from the goodness of God, 
to suppose the exercise of the benevolence of his nature to be 
determined by wisdom, than to suppose it determined by 
chance, and that his favors are bestowed 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 demonstrated, if volition be not determined 
by a prevailing motive. That which is owing to perfect con- 
tingence, wherein neither previous inducement, nor antece- 
dent choice has any hand, is not owing more to goodness or 
benevolence, than that which is owing to the influence of a 
wise end. 


2. It is acknowledged, that if the motive that determines 
the Will of God, in the choice of the objects of his favors, 
be any moral quality in the object, recommending that object 
to his benevolence above others, his choosing that object is 
not so great a manifestation of the freeness and sovereignty 
of his grace, as if it were otherwise. But there is no necessi- 
ty of supposing this, in order to our supposing that he has 
some wise end in view, in determining to bestow his favors 
on one person rather than another. We are to distinguish 
between the merit of the object of God's favor, or a moral 
qualification of the object attracting that favor and recom- 
mending to it, and the natural fitness of such a determination 
of the act of God's goodness, to answer some wise designs 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 in- 
stances, God acts from wise designs in determining the par- 
ticular subjects of his favors. None will say, I presume, 
that when God distinguishes, by his bounty, particular socie- 
ties or persons, He never, in any instance, exercises any 
wisdom in so doing, aiming at some happy consequence. 
And, if it be not denied to be so in some instances, then I 
would inquire, whether; in these instances, God's goodness is 
less manifested, than in those wherein God has no aim or end 
at all ? And whether the subjects have less cause of thank- 
fulness ? And if so, who shall be thankful for the bestow- 
ment of distinguishing mercy, with that enhancing circum- 
stance of the distinction's being made without an end ? How 
shall it be known when God is influenced by some wise aim, 
and when not ? It is very manifest, with respect to the Apos- 
tle 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. 1 Tim. i. 15, 16. 
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, qfivhom I am 
chief. Howbeit, for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me 
first, Jesus Christ might shew forth all long suffering, for a fiat? 
tern to them who should hereafter believe on Him to life everlast- 


ing. 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 favor, that, in many instances, this mor- 
al necessity may arise from goodness, and from the great de- 
gree of it. God may choose this object rather than another, 
as having a superior fitness 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 be more gratified, and 
the gracious design of God's sending his Son into the world, 
may be more abundantly answered, in the exercises of mercy 
towards such an object, rather than another. 

One thing more I would observe, before I finish,' what I 
have to say on the head of the necessity of the acts of God's 
Will ; and that is, that something much more like a servile 
subjection of the Divine Being to fatal necessity, will follow 
from Arminian principles, than from the doctrines which 
they oppose. For they (at least most of them) suppose, with 
respect to all events that happen in the moral world, depend- 
ing on the volitions of moral agents, which arc ^he most im- 
portant events of the universe, to which all others are subor- 
dinate ; I say, they suppose, with respect to these, that God 
has a certain foreknowledge of them, antecedent to any pur- 
poses 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 necessity of God's Will, arising 
from, or consisting in, the infinite perfection and blessedness 
of the Divine Being, we have a fixed unalterable state of things, 
properly distinct from the perfect nature of the Divine Mind, 
and the state of the Divine Will and Design, and entirely in- 


dependent 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, he being obliged to conform or acccommodate 
himself to it, in all his purposes and decrees, and in every 
thing he does in his disposals and government of the world ; 
the moral world being the end of the natural ; so that all is in 
vain, that is not accommodated to that state of the moral 
world which consists in, or depends upon, the acts and stale 
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 the 
Supreme Being ; and is much more agreeable to the notion 
which many of the heathen had of fate, as above the gods, 
than that moral necessity of fitness and wisdom which has 
been spoken of •, and is truly repugnant to the absolute sover- 
eignty of God, and inconsistent with the supremacy of his 
Will ; and really subjects the Will of the Most High, to the 
Will of his creatures, and brings him into dependence upon 


Concerning that Objection against the Doctrine which 
has been maintained, that it makes God the Au- 
thor of Sin. 

IT is urged by Arminians, that the doctrine of the necessi- 
ty of men's volitions, or their necessary connexion with ante- 
cedent events and circumstances, makes the first cause, and 
supreme orderer of all things, the author of sin ; in that he 
has so constituted the state and course of things that sinful 
volitions become necessary, in consequence of his disposal. 


Dr. Whitby, in his Discourse on the Freedom of the Will,* 
cites one of the ancients, as on his side, declaring that this 
opinion of the necessity of the Will " absolves sinners, as do- 
ing nothing of their own accord which was evil, and would cast 
all the blame of all the wickedness committed in the world, 
upon God, and upon his Providence, if that were admitted by 
the assertors of this fate ; whether he himself did necessitate 
them to do these things, or ordered matters so, that they 
should be constrained to do them by some other cause." And 
the doctor says, in another place,f " In the nature of the thing, 
and in the opinion cf philosophers, causa deficient, in rebus 
necessariis, ad causani per se tfficientem reducenda est. In things 
necessary, the deficient cause must be reduced to the efficient. 
And in this case the reason is evident ; because the not doing 
•what is required, or not avoiding what is forbidden, being a 
defect, must follow from the position of the necessary cause 
of that deficiency." 

Concerning this, I would observe the following things. 

I. If there be any difficulty in this matter, it is nothing pe- 
culiar to this scheme ; it is no difficulty or disadvantage, 
wherein it is distinguished from the scheme of Arminians ; 
and, therefore, not reasonably objected by them. 

Dr. Whitby supposes, that if sin necessarily follows from 
God's withholding assistance, or if that assistance be not giv- 
en, which is absolutely necessary to the avoiding of evil ; 
then, in the nature of the thing, God must be as properly the 
author of that evil, as if he Avere 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 per- 
fect 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 cruelly of their disposition. For he allows, that 
God has so forsaken them, and does so withhold his assist- 
ance from them, that they arc incapacitated for doing good, 
and determined only to evil.| Our doctrine, in its conse-' 

* On the Five Points, p. 361. f Ibid, p, 486. \ Ibid, p. 302, 305. 


<mence, makes God the author of men's sin in this world, no 
more, and in no other sense, than his doctrine, in its conse- 
quence, makes God the author of the hellish pride and mal- 
ice of the devils. And doubtless the latter is as odious an ef- 
fect as the former. 

Again, if it will follow at all, that God is the author of sin, 
from what has been supposed of a sure and infallible connex- 
ion between antecedents and consequents, it will follow be- 
cause of this, viz. that for God to be the author or orderer of 
those things which, he knows beforehand, will infallibly be at- 
tended with such a consequence, is the same thing, in effect, 
as for him to be the author of that consequence. But, if this 
be so, this is a difficulty which equally attends the doctrine of 
Anninians themselves ; at least, of those of them who allow 
God's certain foreknowledge of all events. For, on the sup- 
position of such a foreknowledge, this is the case with res- 
pect 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 certainly fore- 
knew, 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 Providence, be led into acquaintance 
with Jesus ; and that his heart should be so influenced by 
God's Spirit or Providence, as to be inclined to be a follower 
of Christ; and that he should be one of those twelve, which 
should be chosen constantly to attend him as his family ; and 
that his health should be preserved, so that he should go up 
to Jerusalem, at the last passover in Christ's life ; and if it 
should be so ordered, that Judas should see Christ's kind treat- 
ment 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 that if other circumstances should be ordered, as 
they were ordered ; it would be what would most certainly and 
infallibly follow, that Judas would betray his Lord, and would 
soon after hang himself, and die impenitent, and be sent to 
hell, for his horrid wickedness. 


Therefore, this supposed difficulty ought not to be brough? 
as an objection against the scheme which has been maintain- 
ed, as disagreeing with the Arminian scheme, seeing it is no 
difficulty owing to such disagreement ; but a difficulty where- 
in the Arminians share with us. That must be unreasonably 
made an objection against our differing from them, which we 
should not escape or avoid at all by agreeing with them. 

And therefore I would observe, 

II. They who object, that this doctrine makes God the au- 
thor of sin, ought distinctly to explain what they mean by that 
phrase, The author of sin. I know the phrase, a3 it is com- 
monly used, signifies sometbing very ill. If by the author of 
sin, be meant the sinner, the agent, or actor of sin, or the doef 
of a wicked thing ; so it would be a reproach and blaspbemy, 
to suppose God to be the author of sin. In this sense, I ut- 
terly deny God to be the author of sin ; rejecting such an im- 
putation on the Most High, as what is infinitely to be abhor- 
red ; and deny any such thing to be the consequence of what 
I have laid down. But if, by the author of sin, is meant the 
permitter, or not a hinderer of sin ; and, at the same time, a 
disposer of the state of events, in such a manner, for wise, 
holy, and most excellent ends and purposes, that sin, if it be 
permitted or not hindered, will most certainly and infallibly 
follow : I say, if this be all that is meant, by being the author 
of sin, I do not deny that God is the author of sin (though I 
dislike and reject the phrase, as that which by use and cus- 
tom 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 here- 
in, is holy ; and a glorious exercise of the infinite excellency 
of his nature. And, I do not deny, that God's being thus the 
author of sin, follows from what I have laid down ; and, I as- 
sert, that it equally follows from the doctrine which is main- 
tained by most of the Arminian divines. 

That it is most certainly so, that God is in such a manner 
the disposer and ordcrer of sin, is evident, if any credit is to be 
given to the scripture ; as well as because it is impossible, in 


the nature of thines, to be otherwise. In such a manner God 
ordered the obstinacy of Pharaoh, in his refusing to obey God's 
commands, to let the people go. Exod. iv. 21. "I will hard- 
en his heart, that he shall not let the people go." Chap. viu 
2....5. " Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he 
send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will harden 
Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in 
the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you ; 
that I may lay mine hand upon Egypt, by great judgments," 
Sec. Chap. ix. 12. « And the Lord hardened the heart of 
Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them, as the Lord had 
spoken unto Moses." Chap. x. 1,2. " And the Lord sakl 
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 I 
will harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them : 
And I will be honored upon Pharaoh, and upon all nis Host." 
Verse 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's being sold into Egypt, 
by his brethren. Gen. xlv. 5. "Now, therefore, be not 
grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither ; 
for God did send me before you to preserve life." Verse 7, 
8. " God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in 
the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance : So 
now it was not you, that sent me hither, but God." Psal. cv. 
17. « He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was 
sold for a servant." It is certain, that thus God ordered the 
sin and folly of Sihon King of the Amorites, in refusing to let 
the people of Israel pass by him peaceably. Dcut. 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 Gcd thus ordered the sjn and folly of the Kings 
Vol. V. 2 N 


of Canaan, that they attempted not to make peace with Israel, 
but with a stupid boldness and obstinacy, set themselves vio- 
lently to oppose them and their God. Josh. xi. 20. « For it 
•was of the Lord, to harden their hearts, that they should come 
against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, 
and that they might have no favor ; 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 Judah, 
until he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah. 
rebelled against the King of Babylon." So 2 Kings xxiv. 20. 
And it is exceeding manifest, that God thus ordered the rap- 
ine and unrighteous ravages of Nebuchadnezzar, in spoiling 
and running the nations round about. Jer. xxv. 9. " Behold, 
I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the 
Lord, and Nebuchadnezzar, my servant, and will bring them 
against this land, and against all the nations round about ; and 
will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, 
and an hissing, ?nd perpetual desolations." Chap, xliii. 10, 11. 
" I will send and take Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, 
my servant ; and I will set his throne upon these stones that 
I have hid, and he shall spread his royal pavilion over them. 
And when lie cometh, he shall smite the land of Egypt, and 
deliver such as are for death to death, and such as are for cap- 
tivity to captivity, and such as are for the sword to the sword." 
Thus God represents himself as sending for Nebuchadnezzar, 
and taking of him and his armies, and bringing him against 
the nations, which were to be destroyed by him, to that ver)* 
end, that he might utterly destroy them, and make them des- 
olate ; and as appointing the work that he should do, so par- 
ticularly, that the very persons were designed that he should 
kill with the sword, and those that should be killed with fam- 
ine and pestilence, and those that should be carried into cap- 
tivity ; 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 dis- 
posal, as the great Possessor and Governor of the universe, 
that disposes all things just as pleases him. " Thus saith the 
Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel ; I have made the earth, the 
man and the beast, that are upon the ground, by my great 
power, and my stretched out arm, and have given it unto 
whom it seemed meet unto me ; and now I have given all 
these lands into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, my servant, 
and the beasts of the field have I given also to serve him." 
And Nebuchadnezzar is spoken of as doing these things, by 
having his arms strengthened by God, and having God's sword 
put into his hands, for this end. Ezek. xxx. 24, 25, 26. Yea, 
God speaks of his terribly ravaging and wasting the nations, and 
cruelly destroying all sorts, without distinction of sex or age, 
as the weapon in God's hand, and the instrument of his indig- 
nation, which God makes use of to fulfil his own purposes, 
and execute his own vengeance. Jer. li. 20, Sec. « Thou art 
my battle axe, and weapons of war: For with thee will I 
break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy king- 
doms, and with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his 
lider, and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his 
rider ; with thee also will I break in pieces man and woman, 
and with thee will I break in pieces old and young, and with 
thee will I break in pieces the young man and the maid," Sec. 
It is represented, that the designs of Nebuchadnezzar, and 
those that destroyed Jerusalem, never could have been ac- 
complished, had not God determined them, as well as they. 
Lam. iii. 37". « Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, 
and the Lord commandeth it not ?" And yet the king of Bab- 
ylon's thus destroying the nations, and especially the Jews, is 
spoken of as his great wickedness, for which God finally des- 
troyed him. Isa. xiv. 4, 5, 6, 12. Hab. ii. 5. ...12, and Jer. 
chap. 1. and li. It is most manifest, that God, to serve his 
own designs, providentially ordered Shimei's cursing David. 
2 Sam. xvi. 10,11. « The Lord hath said unto him, curse 
David... .Let him curse, for the Lord hath bidden him. 

It is 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 
hut 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 scriptures, that the whole affair of Christ's crucifix- 
ion, with its circumstances, and the treachery of Judas, that 
made way for it, was ordered in God's Providence, in pur- 
suance of his purpose ; notwithstanding- the violence that is 
used with those plain scriptures, to obscure and pervert the 
sense of them. Acts it. 23. " Him being delivered, by the 
determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,* ye have ta- 
ken, and with wicked hands, have crucified and slain." Luke 
21, 22.f « 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 " Acts iv. 27, 28. " For of a truth; against thy 
holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and 
Pontius Piiate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, 
were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy 
counsel determined before to be done. Acts Hi. 17, 18. " 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 
suffer, he hath so fulfilled." So that what these murderers of 
Christ did, is spoken of as what God brought to pass or order- 
ed, and that by which he fulfilled his own word. 

* " Grotius, as well as Bcza. observes, prognosis must here signify decree; 
and Eisner has shewn that it has that signification, in approved Greek writers. 
And it is certain Ekdotos signifies one given up into the hands of an enemy." 
Doid. in Loc . 

r «• As this passage is not liable to the ambiguities, which some have ap- 
prehended in Acts ii. 23, and iv. 28, (which yet seem on the whole to be par- 
allel to it, in their most natural construction) I look upon it as an evident 
proof, "hat these things are. in the language of scripture, said to be determin- 
ed or decreed (or exactly bounded and marked out by God as the word 
Orizo most naturally signifies) which he, sees in fact will^happen, in conse- 
quence of his volitions, without any necessitating agency ; as well as those 
events, of which re is properly the Author." Dodd, in ift , 


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 of God's Will, 
and what God had 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. Matth. xviii. 
7. " It must needs be, that offences come ; but woe 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 Scrip- 
tures, as well as the nature of things, and the principles of 
Arminians, that God permits sin, and at the same time, so 
orders things, in his Providence, that it certainly and infallibly 
will come to pass, in consequence of his permission. 

I proceed to observe in the next place, 

III. That there is a great difference between God's be- 
ing 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 be- 
ing concerned in it by producing it and exerting the act of 
sin ; or between his being the Orderer of its certain exist- 
ence, by not hindering it, under certain circumstances, and 
his being the proper Actor or Author of it, by a positive agen- 
cy or efficiency. And this, notwithstanding what Dr. Whitby 
offers about a saying of philosophers, that cau.ia de/iczens, hi 
rebus necessariis, ad causam per se efficientatf reducenda est. 
As there is a vast difference between the sun's being the 
cause of the lightsomeness and warmth of the atmosphere, and 
brightness of gold and diamonds, by its presence and positive 
influence; and its being the occasion of darkness and frost, 
in the night, by its motion, whereby it descends below the 
horizon. The motion of the sun is the occasion of the lat- 
ter kind of events ; but it is not the proper cause, efficient or 
producer of them ; though they are necessarily consequent 


•jn tiiut motion under such circumstances ; no more is any ac- 
tion 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 its 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 just- 
ly be argued, that the sun is a bright and hot body, if cold 
and darkness are found to be the consequences of its with- 
drawment ; and the more constantly and necessarily these 
effects are connected with, and confined to its absence, the 
more strongly does it argue the sun to be the fountain of light 
and heat. So, inasmuch as sin is not the fruit of any positive 
agency or influence of the Most High, but, on the contrary, 
arises from the witholding of his action and energy, and, un- 
der certain circumstances, necessarily follows on the want of 
his influence ; 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 holiness. It would be strange 
arguing, indeed, because men never commit sin, but only 
when God leaves them to themselves, and necessarily sin, 
when he does so, that therefore their sin is not from them- 
selves but from God ; and so, that God must be a sinful Be- 
ing ; as strange as it would be to argue, because it is always 
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 with- 
in his dominion, by his wisdom ; but the events in the moral 
world are of the most important kind, such as the moral ac- 
tons of intelligent creatures, and their consequences. 


These events will be ordered by something. They will ei- 
ther be disposed by wisdom, or they will be disposed by 
chance ; that is, they will be disposed by blind and undesign- 
ing causes, if that were possible, and could be called a dispos- 
al. Is it not better, that the good and evil which happsns in 
God's world, should be ordered, regulated, bounded and de- 
termined by the good pleasure of an infinitely wise Being, 
who perfectly comprehends within his understanding and 
constant view, the universality of things, in all their extent 
and duration, and sees all the influence of every event, with 
respect to every individual thing and circumstance, through- 
out the grand system, and the whole of the eternal series of 
consequences ; than to leave these things to fall out by 
chance, and to be determined by those causes which have no 
understanding or aim ? Doubtless, in these important events* 
there is a better and a worse, as to the time, subject, place, 
manner and circumstances of their coming to pasG, with re- 
gard to their influence on the state and course of things, 
And if there be, it is certainly best that they should be deter- 
mined to that time, place, &c. which is best. And therefore 
it is in its own nature fit, that wisdom, and not chance, should 
order these things. So that it belongs to the Being, who is 
the possessor of Infinite Wisdom, and is the Creator and 
Owner of the whole system of created existences, and has 
the care of all ; I say, it belongs to him to take care of this 
matter ; and he would not do what is proper for him, if he 
should neglect it. And it is so far from being unholy in him 
to undertake this affair, that it would rather have been unholy 
to neglect it, as it would have been a neglecting what fitly ap- 
pertains 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 sup- 
posed to be otherwise, and God should leave men's volitions, 
and all moral events, to the determination and disposition of 
blind and unmeaning causes, or they should be left to happen 
perfectly without a cause ; this would be no more consistent 
with liberty, in any notion of it, and particularly net in the Ar- 


minian notion of it, than if these events were subject to the 
disposal of Divine Providence, and the Will of man were de- 
termined by circumstances which are ordered and disposed 
by Divine W 7 isdoin ; as appears by what has been already 
observed. But it is evident, that such a providential dispos- 
ing and determining men's moral actions, though it infers a 
moral 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 Orderer and Disposer 
of that event, which, in the inherent subject and agent, is 
moral evil ; and yet His so doing may be no moral evil. He 
may will the disposal of such an event, and its coming to pass 
for good ends, and his Will not be an immoral or sinful Will, 
but a perfectly holy Will. And he may actually, in his Prov- 
idence, so dispose and permit things, that the event may be 
certainly and infallibly connected with such disposal and per- 
mission, and his act therein not be an immoral or unholy, but 
a perfectly holy act. Sin may be an evil thing, and yet that 
there should be such a disposal and permission, as that it 
should come to pass, may be a good thing. This is no con- 
tradiction or inconsistence. Joseph's brethren selling him 
into Egypt, consider it only as it was acted by them, and with 
respect to their views and aims which were evil, was a very 
bad thing ; but it was a good thing, as it was an event of 
God's ordering, and considered with respect to his views and 
aims which were good. Gen. 1. 20. " As for you, ye thought 
evil against me ; but God meant it unto good. So the cruci- 
fixion of Christ, if we consider only those things which belong 
to the event as it proceeded from his murderers, and are com- 
prehended within the compass of the affair considered as their 
act, their principles, dispositions, views and aims ; so it was 
one of the most heinous things that ever was done, in many 
respects the most horri'l of all acts : Rut consider it, as it was 


ivHled and ordered of God, in the extent of his designs and views, 
it was the most admirable and glorious of all events, and God's 
willing the event, was the most holy volition of God that ever 
was made known to men ; and God's act in ordering it was a 
divine act, which, above all others, manifests the moral excel- 
lency of the Divine Being. 

The consideration of these things may help us to a sufficient 
answer to the cavils of Armenians, concerning what has been, 
supposed by many Calvinists, of a distinction between a secret 
and revealed will of God, and their diversity one from the 
other, supposing that the Calvinists herein ascribe inconsistent 
Wills to the Most High ; which is without any foundation. 
God's secret and revealed Will, or in other words, his dis- 
posing and preceptive Will may be diverse, and exercised in, 
dissimilar acts, the one in disapproving and opposing, the 
other in willing and determining, without any inconsistence. 
Because, 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 revealed or preceptive 
Will of God, because, as it was viewed and done by his ma- 
lignant 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 does 
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 there- 
fore might appear to God to be, a glorious event, asd conse- 
quently be agreeable to his Will, though this Will may be 
secret, i. e. not revealed in God's law. And thus considered, 
the crucifixion of Christ was not evil, but good. If the secret 
exercises of God's Will were of a kind that is dissimilar, and 
contrary to his revealed Will, respecting the same, or like 
objects ; if the objects of both were good, or both evil; then, 
indeed, to ascribe contrary kinds of volition or r ii'ation to 
God, respecting these objects, would be to ascribe an incon* 
Vol- V. 2 O 


sistent Will to God ; but to ascribe to him different and op- 
posite exercises of heart, respecting different objects, and 
objects contrary 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 to 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, con* 
sidering all consequences. I believe, there is no person of 
good understanding, who will venture to say, he is certain 
that it is impossible it should be best, taking in the whole 
compass and extent of existence, and all consequences in the 
endless series of events, that there should be such a thing as 
moral evil in the world.* And if so, it will certainly follow, 

* 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 favorable 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 uncommon 
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." Turnbull's 
Principks of Moral PhiloiOphy, p. 327, 328. He is there speaking of moral 
evils, as may be seen. 

Again the same author, in his second vol. entitled Christian Philosophy, p. 
35, has these words : " If the Author and Governor of all things be infinite- 
ly 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^ 
being 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 Gordian knot in philosophy. And indeed, if we own 
the existence of evil in the woild in an absolute sense, we diametrically con- 
tradict what hath been just now proved of God. For if there be any evil 
in the jystcm that is not good in respect to the whole, then is the whole 


that an infinitely wise Being, who always chooses what is 
best, must choose that there should be such a thing. And, 
if so, then such a choice is not an evil, but a wise and holy 
choice. And if so, then that Providence which is agreeable 
to such a choice, is a wise and holy Providence. Men do 
will sin as sin, and so are the authors and actors of it : They 
love it as sin, and for evil ends and purposes. God 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 
«vil ; and if so, then it is no reason why he may not reasona- 
bly forbid evil, as evil, and punish it as such. 

The Arminians themselves must be obliged, whether they 
will or no, to allow a distinction of God*s Will, amounting to 
just the same thing that Calvinists intend by their distinction 
of a secret and revealed Will. They must allow a distinction 
of those things which God thinks best should be, considering 

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 hurtful, and those of the other sort are equally hurtful and abom- 
inable; but they are not evil or mischievous with respect to the whole." 

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 perfect and good gift, 
with whom there is no variableness nor shadow of turning," who " tempt- 
eth no man, but giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not " And yet 
by the prophet Isaias, He is introduced saying of Himself, " I form light, 
and create darkness ; I make peace, and create evil : I 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 Strang-; 
work ? He intends and pursues the universal good of his creation ; and the 
evil which happens, is not permitted for its own sake, or through any pleas- 
ure in evil, but because it is requisite to the greater good pursued." 


all circumstances and consequences, and so are agreeable to 
his disposing Will, and those things which he loves, and are 
agreeable to his nature, 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 divine but 
what will allow, 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 conse- 
quence. Besure Dr. Whitby's words do plainly suppose and 
allow it.* 

The following things may be laid down as maxims of 
plain truth, and indisputable evidence. 

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

2. That it will follow from hence, that God is free from 
every thing that is contrary to happiness, and so, that in strict 
propriety of speech, there is no such thing as any pain, grief, 
or trouble in God. 

3. When any intelligent being is really crossed and dis- 
appointed, and things are contrary to what he truly desires, 
lie is the less pleased or has less pleasure, his pleasure 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, t 

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 "in, as the all- 
wise Determiner of all events, under the view of all consequen- 

• Whitby on the Five Points, Edit. 2, p. 300, 305, 309. 

t Certainly it is not less absurd and unreasonable, to talk, or God's Will 
and desire's being truly and properly crossed, without his suffering any uneas- 
iness, 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 


ces through the whole compass and series of things ; I say, 
then it certainly follows, that the coming to pass of every in- 
dividual 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 as He hates it. And as God's hatred of sin is in- 
finite, bv reason 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 of mil- 
lions of instances : He must continually be the subject of an 
immense number of real, and truly infinitely great crosses 
and vexations. Which would be to make him infinitely the 
most miserable of all beings. 

If any objector should say ; all that these things amount 
to, is, that God may do evil that good may come ; which is just- 
ly esteemed immoral and sinful in men ; and therefore may 
be justly esteemed inconsistent with the moral prerfections of 
God : I answer, that for God to dispose and permit evil, in 
the manner that has been spoken of, is not to do evil that 
good may come ; for it is not to do evil at all....In order to a 
thing's being morally evil, there must be one of these things 
belonging to it : Either it must be a thing unfit and unsuita- 
ble 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 nature fit, that in- 
finite wisdom, and not blind chance, should dispose moral 
good and evil in the world. And it is fit, that the Being 
who has infinite wisdom, and is the Maker, Owner and Su- 
preme Governor of the world, should take care of that matter. 
And, therefore, there is no unfitness, or unsuitableness in his 
doing it. It may be unfit, and so immoral, for any other be- 


ings 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 other respects, they are not fit to be trusted with this 
affair ; nor does it belong to them, they not being the owners 
and lords of the universe. 

We need not be afraid to affirm, that if a wise and good 
man knew with absolute certainty, it would be best, all things 
considered, that there should be such a thing as moral evil in 
the world, it would not be contrary to his wisdom and good- 
ness, for him to choose that it should be so. It is no evil de- 
sire, to desire good, and to desire that which, all things con- 
sidered, is best. And it is no unwise choice, to choose that 
that should be, which it is best should be ; and to choose the 
existence of that thing concerning which this is known, viz. 
that it is best it should be, and so is known in the whole to be 
rnost worthy to be chosen. On the contrary, 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 or- 
dering of that matter docs not belong to him. But it is no 
harm for Him who is, by right, and in the greatest propriety, 
the Supreme Orderer of all things, to order every 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 wis- 
dom 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 good- 
ness for him to choose that it should be, and the ordering of 
all things supremely and perfectly belongs to him, it must be 
agreeable to infinite wisdom and goodness, to order that it 
should be. If the choice is good, the ordering and disposing 
things according to that choice must also be good. It can be 
110 harm in one to whom it belongs to do his Will in the armies 
of heaven, and amongst the inhabita?its of the earthy to execute 


a good volition. If his Will be good, and the object of hie 
Will be, all things considered, good and best, then the choos- 
ing or willing it, is not willing evil that good may come. And 
if so, then his ordering, according to that Will, is not doing 
evil, that good may come. 

2. It is not of a bad tendency, for the Supreme Being thus 
to order and permit that moral evil to be, which it is best 
should come to pass. For that it is of good tendency, is the 
very thing supposed in the point now in question. Christ's 
crucifixion, though a most horrid fact in them that perpetrat- 
ed it, was of most glorious tendency as permitted and ordered 
of God. 

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


Concerning Sin's first Entrance into the World. 

THE things, which have already been offered, may serve 
to obviate or clear many of the objections which might be 
raised concerning sin's first coming into the world ; as though 
it would follow from the doctrine maintained, that God mirs* 
be the author of the first sin, through his so disposing things, 
that it should necessarily follow from his permission, that the 
sinful act should be committed, Sec. I need not, therefore, 
stand to repeat what has been said already, about such a ne- 
cessity's not proving God to be the author of sin, in any ill 
sense, or in any such sense as to infringe any liberty of man, 
concerned in his moral agency, or capacity of blame, guilt and 


But, if it should nevertheless be said, supposing the case- 
so, that God, when he had made man, might so order his cir- 
cumstances, that from these circumstances, together with his 
withholding further assistance and divine influence, his sin 
would infallibly follow, why might not God as well have first 
made man with a fixed prevailing principle of sin in his heart ? 

I answer, 

I. It was meet, if sin did come into existence, and appeal 
in the world, it should arise from the imperfection which 
properly belongs to a creature, as such, and should appear so 
to do, that it might appear not to be from God as the efficient 
or fountain. But this could not have been, if man had been 
made at first with sin in his heart ; nor unless the abiding 
principle and habit of sin were first introduced by an evil act 
of the creature. If sin had not arisen from the imperfection 
of the creature, it would not have been so visible, that it did 
notarise from God, as the positive cause, and real source 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, 

II. I would observe, that objections against the doctrine 
that has been laid down, in opposition to the Armiman notion 
of liberty, from these difficulties, are altogether impertinent ; 
because no additional difficulty is incurred, by adhering to a 
scheme in this manner differing from theirs, and none would 
be removed or avoided, by agreeing with, and maintaining 
theirs. Nothing that the Arminians say, about the contingence, 
or sclfdetermining 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 selfdetcrmincd, or determined 
by free choice, in that sinful volition ; which is to say, that 
the first sinful volition was determined by a foregoing sinful 
volition ; is no solution of the difficulty. It is an odd way of 
solving difficulties, to advance greater, in order to it. To say< 


two and two make 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 bet- 
ter solution, to say, the first sinful volition chose, determined 
and produced itself; which is to say, it was before it was. 
Nor will it go any further towards helping us over the diffi- 
culty to say, the first sinful volition arose accidentally, without 
any cause at all ; any more than it will solve that difficult 
question, How the world could be made out of nothing ? To say, 
it came into being out of nothing, without any cause ; as has 
been already observed. And if we should allow that that 
could be, that the first evil volition should arise by perfect 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 solutions are no 
better, than if some person, going about to solve some of the 
strange mathematical paradoxes, about infinitely great ancj 
small quantities ; as, that some infinitely great quantities are 
infinitely greater than some other infinitely great quantities ; 
and also that some infinitely small quantities, are infinitely 
less than others, which yet are infinitely little ; in order to a 
solution, should say, that mankind have been under a mistake, 
in supposing a greater quantity to exceed a smaller ; and that 
a hundred, multiplied by ten, makes but a single unit. 

Vol. V. 3P 



Of a supposed Inconsistence of these Principles with 
God's moral Character. 

THE things which have been already observed, may be 
sufficient to answer most of the objections, and silence the 
great exclamations of Arminiam against the Calvinists, from 
the supposed inconsistence of Calvinistic principles with the 
moral perfections of God, as exercised in his government of 
mankind. The consistence of such a doctrine of necessity as 
has been maintained, with the fitness and reasonableness of 
God's commands, promises and threatenings, rewards and 
punishments, has been particularly considered ; the cavils of 
our opponents, as though our doctrine of necessity made God 
the author of sin, have been answered ; and also their objec- 
tion against these principles, as inconsistent with God's sin- 
cerity, in his counsels, invitations and persuasions, has been 
already obviated, in what has been observed respecting the 
consistence of what Calvinists suppose, concerning the secret 
and revealed Will of God ; by that it appears, there is no re- 
pugnance 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 t» 
pass ; which yet it is man's duty to do, and so God's precep- 
tive Will that he should do ; and this is the same thing as 
to say, God may sincerely command and require him to do 
it. And if he may be sincere in commanding him, he may, 
for the same reason, be sincere in counselling, inviting and 
using persuasions with him to do it. Counsels and invitations 
are manifestations of God's preceptive Will, or of what God 
loves and what is in 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. Sect. IV. that such a necessity a* 


l*as been maintained, is not inconsistent with the propriety 
■and fitness of divine commands ; and for the same reason, not 
inconsistent with the sincerity of invitations and counsels, in 
the Corollary at the end of the Section. Yea, it hath been 
shewn, Part III. Sect. VII. Corol. 1, that this objection of 
Arminians, concerning the sincerity and use of divine exhor- 
tations, invitations and counsels, is demonstrably against them- 

Notwithstanding, I would further observe, that the difficul- 
ty of reconciling the sincerity of counsels, invitations and per- 
suasions with such an antecedent known fixedness of all 
events, as has been supposed, is not peculiar to this scheme, 
as distinguished from that of the generality of Arminiansy 
which acknowledges the absolute foreknowledge of God ; and 
therefore, it would be unreasonably brought as an objection 
against my differing from them. The main, seeming diffi- 
culty in the case is this ; that God, in counselling, inviting 
and persuading, makes a shew of aiming at, seeking and us- 
ing endeavors for the thing exhorted and persuaded to ; where- 
as, it is impossible for any intelligent being truly to seek, or 
use endeavors 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 certainty 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 case. 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, certain- 
ly knows will not be done, is no evidence of insincerity ; be- 
cause they allow, that God has a certain foreknowledge of all 
men's sinful actions and omissions. And as this is thus im- 
plicitly allowed by most Arminians, so all that pretend to own 
the scriptures to be the word of God, must be constrained to 
allow it. ...God commanded and counselled Pharaoh to let his 
people go, and used arguments and persuasions to induce him 


to it ; he laid before him arguments taken from his infinite 
greatness and almighty power, (Exod vii. 16,) and forewarned 
him of the fatal consequences of his refusal, from time to 
time. (Chap. viii. 1, 2, 20, 21. Chap. ix. 1....5, 13... IT, and 
x. 3, 6.) He commanded Moses, and the ciders of Israel, 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 
with 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 beseech thee, three days journey into 
the wilderness, that we may sacrifice unto the Lord our God ; 
and, I am sure, that the king of Egypt will not let you go." 
So our blessed Saviour, the evening wherein he was betrayed, 
knew that Peter would shamefully deny him, before the morn- 
ing ; 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 ; Matth. xxvi. SI. ...35. 
Luke xxii. 31. ...34. John xiii. 38. John xvi. 32. And yet 
it was their duty to avoid these things : They were very sin- 
ful 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 lime, so to do ; Matth. xxvi. 41. " Watch and 
pray, that ye enter not into temptation. So that whatever 
difficulty there can be in this matter, it can be no objection 
against any principles which have been maintained in opposi- 
tion to the principles of Armivdav.s ; nor does it any more con- 
cern me to remove the difficulty, than it does them, or indeed 
all, that call themselves Christians, and acknowledge the di- 
vine authority of the scriptures. ...Nevertheless, this matter 
may possibly (God allowing) be more particularly and largely 
considered, in some future discourse, on the doctrine of pre- 

But I would here observe, that however the defenders of 
that notion of liberty of Will, which I have opposed, exclaim 
against the doctrine of Calvinists, as tending to bring men 
into doubts concerning the moral perfections of God ; it is 


their scheme, and not the scheme of Calvinists, that indeed is 
justly chargeable with this. For it is one of the most funda- 
mental points of their scheme of things, that u freedom of 
Will, consisting in selfdetermination, without all necessity, 
is essential to moral agency. This is the same thing as to 
say, that such a determination of the will, without all necessity, 
must be in all intelligent beings, in those things, wherein 
they are moral agents, or in their moral acts ; and from this 
It will follow, that God's Will is not necessarily determined, 
in any thing he does, as a moral agent, or in any of his acts 
that are of a moral nature. So that in all things, wherein he 
acts holily, justly and truly, he does not act necessarily ; or 
his Will is not necessarily determined, to act holily and just- 
ly ; because, if it were necessarily determined, he would not 
be a moral agent in thus acting. His Will would be attend- 
ed with necessity, which, they say, is inconsistent with moral 
agency. " He can act no otherwise : He is at no liberty in 
the affair : He is determined by unavoidable, invincible ne- 
cessity ; 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 ho 
does is no act of his, but an effect of a necessity 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 determined in the matter by no necessity ? We have no 
other way of proving that any thing certainly will be, but only 
by the necessity of the event. Where we can see no neces- 
sity but that the thing may be, or may not be, there we arc 
unavoidably left at a loss. We have no other way propcrlv 
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 na- 
ture of things, is best and fittest to be done. And as this is 
most eligible in itself, He, being omniscient, must see it to be 


so ; and being both omniscient and selfsufficient, cannot have 
any temptation to reject it, and so must necessarily will that 
■which is best. And thus, by this necessity of the determina- 
tion of God's Will to what is good and best, we demonstrably 
establish God's moral character. 

Corol. From things which have been observed, it ap- 
pears that most of the arguments from Scripture which Ar- 
minians make use of to support their scheme, are no other 
than begging the question. For in these arguments, they 
determine in the first place, that wi'hout such a freedom of 
Will as they hold, men cannot be proper moral agents, nor 
the subjects of command, counsel, persuasion, invitation, 
promises, threatenings, expostulations, rewards and punish- 
ments ; and that without such freedom it is to no purpose 
for men to take any care, or use any diligence, endeavors or 
means, in order to their avoiding sin, or becoming holy, es- 
caping punishment or obtaining happiness ; and having sup- 
posed these things, which are grand things in question in the 
debate, then they heap up Scriptures, containing commands, 
counsels, calls, warnings, persuasions, expostulations, prom- 
ises and threatenings ; (as doubtless they may find enough 
such; the Bible is confessedly full of them, from the begin- 
ning to the end) and then they glory, how full the Scripture 
is on their side, how many more texts there are that evident- 
ly favor their scheme, than such as seem to favor the contra- 
ry. But let them first make manifest the things in question, 
which they suppose and take for gfanted, and shew them to 
he consistent with themselves, and produce clear evidence of 
their truth, and they have gained their point, as all will con- 
fess, without bringing one Scripture. For none denies, that 
there are commands, counsels, promises, threatenings, Sec. 
in the Bible. But unless they do these things, their multi- 
plving such texts of Scripture is insignificant and vain. 

It may further be observed, that such Scriptures as they 
bring are really against them, and not for them. As it has 
been demonstrated, that it is their scheme, and not ours, that 
is inconsistent with the use of motives and persuasives, or 


any moral means whatsoever, to induce men to the practice 
of virtue, or abstaining from wickedness : Their principles, 
and not ours, are repugnant to moral agency, and inconsist- 
ent with moral government, with law or precept, with the 
nature of virtue or vice, reward or punishment, and with ev- 
ery thing whatsoever of a moral nature, either on the part of 
the moral governor, or in the state, actions or conduct of the 


Of a supposed Tendency of these Principles to A the 
ism and Licentiousness. 

IF any object against what has been maintained, that it 
tends to Atheism, I know not on what grounds such an objec- 
tion can be raised, unless it be that some Atheists have held 
a doctrine of necessity which they suppose to be like this. 
But if it be so, I am persuaded the Arminians would not look 
upon it just, that their notion of freedom and 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 
akin to Christians in their opinions concerning the unity and 
the perfections of the Godhead, of all the heathen philoso- 
phers. And Epicurus, that chief father of Atheism, main- 
tained no such doctrine of necessity, but was the greatest 
maintainer ofcontinger.ee. 

The doctrine of necessity, which supposes a necessary- 
connexion of all events, on some antecedent ground and rea- 
son of their existence, is the only medium we have to prove 
the being of God. And the contrary doctrine of contingence.. 


even as maintained by Arminians, (which certainly implies o; 
infers, that events may come into existence, or begin to be, 
without dependence on any thing foregoing, as their cause, 
ground or reason) takes away all proof of the being of God ; 
which proof is summarily expressed by the apostle, in Rom. 
i. 20. And this is a tendency to Atheism with a witness. So 
that, indeed, it is the doctrine of Arminians, and not of the 
Calvinists, that is justly charged with a tendency to Atheism ; 
it being built on a foundation that is the utter subversion of 
every demonstrative argument for the proof of a Deity, as 
has been shown, Part II. Sec. 3. 

And whereas it has often been said, that the Calvinistic 
doctiine 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 ren- 
ders vain all means and endeavors, in order to be virtuous 
and religious. Which pretence has been already particularly 
considered in the 5th Section of this Part ; where it has been 
demonstrated, that this doctrine has no such tendency ; but 
that such a tendency is truly to be charged on the contrary 
doctrine ; inasmuch as the notion of contingence, which their 
doctrine implies, in its certain consequences, overthrows all 
connexion in every degree, between endeavor and event, 
means and end. 

And besides, if many other things which have been ob- 
served to belong to the Arminian doctrine, or to be plain con- 
sequences of it, be considered, there will appear just reason 
to suppose that it is that which must rather tend to licentious- 
ness. Their doctrine excuses all evil inclinations, which 
men find to be natural ; because in such inclinations, they 
are not selfdetermined, as such inclinations are not owing to 
any choice or determination of their own Wills. Which 
leads men v.holly to justify themselves in all their wicked 
actions, so far as natural inclination has a hand in determining 
their Wills, to the commission of them. Yea, these notions, 
which suppose moral necessity and inability to be inconsist- 
ent with blame or moral obligation, will directly lead men to 
justify the vilest acts and practices, from the strength of their 


wicked inclinations of all sorts ; strong inclinations inducing 
a moral necessity ; yea, to excuse every degree of evil in- 
clination, so far as this has evidently prevailed, and been the 
thing which has determined their Wills ; because, so far as 
antecedent inclination determined the Will, so far the Will 
was without liberty of indifference and selfdetermination. 
Which, at last, will come to this, that men will justify them- 
selves in all the wickedness they commit. It has been ob- 
served 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 
consequences, it leaves room for no such thing,as either virtue 
or vice, blame or praise in the world.f And then again, how 
naturally does this notion of the sovereign, selfdetermiuing 
power of the Will, in all things, virtuous or vicious, and what- 
soever deserves either reward or punishment, tend to encour- 
age men to put off the work of religion and virtue, and turn- 
ing from sin to God ; it being that which they have a sover- 
eign power to determine themselves to, just when they please j 
or if not, they are wholly excusable in going on in sin, be- 
cause of their inability to do any other. 

If it should be said, that the tendency of this doctrine of 
necessity to licentiousness, appears by the improvement many 
at this day actually make of it, to justify themselves in their 
dissolute courses ; I will not deny that some men do unrea- 
sonably abuse this doctrine, as they do many other things 
which are true and excellent in their own nature ; but I deny 
that this proves the doctrine itself has any tendency to licen- 
tiousness. 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 
Armenians, and the contrary principles ; as both have had 
their turn of general prevalence in our nation. If it be in- 

* Part III. Sect. 6. + Part III. Sect. 6. Ibid. Sect. 7. Part IV. Sect. 
1. Part III. Sect. 3. Corol. 1, after the first Head. 
Vol. V. 2 Q 


deed, as is pretended, that Calvinistic doctrines undermine 
the very foundation of all religion and morality, and enervate 
and disannul all rational motives to holy and virtuous practice ; 
and that the contrary doci rinks give the inducements to vir- 
tue and goodness their proper force, and exhibit religion in a 
rational light, tending to recommend it to the reason of man- 
kind, and enforce it in a manner that is agreeable to their 
natural notions of things : I say, if it be thus, it is remark- 
able that virtue and religious practice should prevail most, 
when the former doctiines, so inconsistent with it, prevailed 
almost universally ; and that ever since the latter doctrines, 
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 con- 
tempt of all religion, and of every kind of seriousness and 
strictness of conversation, should proportionably prevail ; and 
that these things should thus accompany one another, and 
rise and prevail one with another, now for a whole age togeth- 
er. It is remarkable that this happy remedy (discovered by 
the free inquiries and superior sense and wisdom of this age) 
against the pernicious effects of Calvinism, so inconsistent 
with religion, and tending so much to banish all virtue from 
the earth, should, on so long a trial, be attended with no good 
effect, but that the consequence should be the reverse of 
amendment ; that in proportion as the remedy takes place, 
and is thoroughly applied, so the disease should prevail, and 
the very same dismal effect take place, to the highest degree, 
which Calvinistic doctrines are supposed to have so great a 
tendency to, even the banishing of religion and virtue, and the 
prevailing of unbounded licentiousness of manners. If these 
things are truly so, they are very remarkable, and matter o ( 
very curious speculation. 



Concerning that Objection against the reasonings by 
which the Cahinistic doctrine is supported^ that it 
is metaphysical and abstruse. 

IT has often been objected against the defenders of Cal- 
vinistic principles, that in their reasonings they run into nice, 
scholastic distinctions and abstruse, metaphysical subtilties, 
and set these in opposition to common sense. And it is pos- 
sible, that after the former manner it may be alleged against 
the reasoning by which I have endeavored to confute the Ar- 
minian scheme of liberty and moral agency, that it is very ab- 
stracted and metaphysical. Concerning this I would observe 
*he following things. 

I. If that be made an objection against the foregoing 
reasoning, that it is metaphysical, or may properly be re- 
duced to the science of metaphysics, it is a very impertinent 
objection ; whether it be so or no, is not worthy of any dispute 
or controversy. If the reasoning be good, it is as frivolous 
to inquire what science it is properly reduced to, as what lan- 
guage it is delivered in ; and for a man to go about to confute 
the arguments of his opponent, by telling him his arguments 
are metaphysical, would be as weak as to fell him his argu- 
ments could not be substantial, because they were written in 
French or Latin. The question is not, whether what is said 
be metaphysics, logic, or mathematics, Latin, French, Eng- 
lish or Mohawk ? But whether the reasoning be good, and 
the arguments truly conclusive ? The foregoing arguments 
are no more metaphysical, than those which we use against 
the Papists, to disprove their doctrine of transubstantiation ; 
alleging it is inconsistent with the notion of corporeal identi- 


ty, that it should be in ten thousand places at the same time. 
It is by metaphysical arguments only we are able to prove 
that 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 be- 
ing of God, if handled closely and distinctly, so as to shew 
their clear and demonstrative evidence, must be meta- 
physically 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 
that there is one God only, and not hundreds or thous- 
ands. And, indeed, we have no strict demonstration of any- 
thing, excepting mathematical truths, but by metaphysics. 
We can have no proof that is properly demonstrative, of any 
one proposition, relating to the being and nature of God, his 
creation of the world, the dependence of all things on him, 
the nature of bodies or spirits, the nature of our own souls, 
or any of the great truths of morality and natural religion, 
but what is metaphysical. I am willing my arguments 
should be brought to the test of the strictest and justest rea- 
son, 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, 

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 akin to the jargon 
of the schools. I humbly conceive the foregoing reasoning, 
at least as to those things which are most material belonging 
to it, depends on no abstruse definitions or distinctions, or 
terms without a meaning, or of very ambiguous and unde- 
termined signification, or any points of such abstraction and 
subtilly, as tends to involve the attentive understanding in 
clouds and darkness. There is no high degree of refine- 
ment and abstruse speculation, in determining that a thing is 
pot before it is, and so cannot be the cause of itself; or tha* 


the first act of free choice, has not another act of free choice 
going before that, to excite or direct it, or in determining, that 
no choice is made, while the mind remains in a state of abso 
lute indifference ; that preference and equilibrium never co 
exist ; and that therefore no choice is made in a state of lib* 
erty, consisting in indifference ; and that so far as the Will is 
determined by motives, exhibited and operating previous to the 
act of the Will, so far it is not determined by the act of the 
Will itself ; that nothing can begin to be, which before was 
not, without a cause, or some antecedent ground or reason, 
why it then begins to be ; that effects depend on their causes, 
and are connected with them ; that 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 do" g 
otherwise ; that when it is already infallibly known, that the 
thing witl be, it is not a thing contingent whether it will ever 
be or no ; or that it can be truly said, notwithstanding, that it 
is not necessary it should be, but it cither may be, or may not 
be. And the like might be observed of many other things 
which belong to the foregoing reasoning. 

If any shall still stand to it, that the foregoing reasoning- 
is nothing but metaphysical sophistry ; and that it must be 
so, that the seeming force of the arguments all depends on 
some fallacy, and while that is hid in the obscurity, which al- 
ways attends a great degree of metaphysical abstraction and 
refinement ; and shall be ready to say, " Here is indeed some- 
thing that tends to confound the mind, but not to satisfy it ; 
for, who can ever be truly satisfied in it, that men are fitlv 
blamed or commended, punished or rewarded for those voli- 
tions which are not from themselves, and of whose existence 
they are not the causes ? Men may refine as much as they 
please, and advance their abstract notions, and make Out a 
thousand seeming contradictions, to puzzle our understand- 
ings ; yet there can be no satisfaction in such doctrine as this ; 
the natural sense of the mind of man will always resist it."* 

* A certain noted author of the present age says, '.he arguments for necessi- 
ty are nothing but quibbling, or logomachy, using wards without a meaning, or beg- 


I hambly conceive, that such an objector, if he has capacity 
and humility and calmness of spirit, and sufficient impartiality, 
thoroughly to examine himself, will find that lie knows not 
really what he would be at ; and that indeed, his difficulty is 
nothing but a mere prejudice, from an inadvertent customary 
use of words, in a meaning that is not clearly understood, nor 
carefully reflected upon. Let the objector reflect again, if he 
has candor and patience enough, and 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 conceivable ; that is, 
from his own choice : How will that help the matter, as to 
his being justly blamed or praised, unless that choice itself 
be blame or praiseworthy ; And how is the choice itself (an 
iil choice, for instance) blameworthy, according to these prin- 
ciples, unless that be from himself too, in the same manner ; 

gmg the question. I do not know what kind of necessity any authors, he may 
have reference to, are advocates for ; or whether they have managed their ar- 
guments well, or ill. As to the arguments I have made use of, if they are quit' 
bits they may be shewn to be 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 argu- 
mentations. I am willing my proofs should be thoroughly examined ; and 
if there be nothing but tfgging the question, or mere logomachy, or dispute ol 
words, let it be made manifest, and shewn how the seeming strength of the 
argument depends on my using words without a meaning, or arises from the 
amBiguity of terms, or my making use of words in an indeterminate and un- 
steady manner ; and that the weight of my reasons rests mainly on such a 
foundation ; and then, T 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 obstinacy. 

The sa-T>e author is abundant in appealing, in this affair, from what he calls 
v qn4 sophistry, to experience. A person can experience 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 man- 
ner of their op'ration. But then one has as good right to allege his experi- 
ence, as another. As to my own experience, I find, that in innumerable 
things I ran do ns I v.- i 1 1 j ibat the motions of my body, in many respects, 


'that is, from his own choice ? But the original and first deter- 
mining 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 mat- 
ter: If it be not from himself of choice, then it is not from 
himself voluntarily ; and if so, he is surely no more to blame, 
than if it were not from himself at all. It is a vanity, to pre- 
tend it is a sufficient answer to this, to say, that it is nothing 
but metaphysical refinement and subtilty, and so attended with 
obscurity and uncertainty. 

If it be the natural sense of our minds, that what is blame- 
worthy in a man must be from himself, then it doubtless is 
also, that it must be from something bad in himself, a bad 
choice, or bad disposition. But then our natural sense is, that 
this bad choice or disposition is evil in itself, and the man 
blameworthy for it, on its own account, without taking into 
our notion of its blameworthiness, another bad choice, or dis- 
position going before this, from whence this arises ; for that 
is a ridiculous absurdity, running us into an immediate con- 
instantaneously 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 my 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 expe- 
rience, that my Will is originally determined by itself; or that, my Will first 
choosing what volition there shall be, the chosen volition accordingly fol- 
lows; and that this is the first rise of the determination of my Will in any af- 
fair ; or that any volition rises in my mind contingently ; I declare, I know- 
nothing in myself, by experience, of this nature ; and nothing that ever I 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 net seen 
but by the effect) and this, for ought I know, 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 I gave 
myself ray own being, or that I came into being accidentally without a cause, 
because 1 first found myself possessed of being, before I had knowledge of a 
cause of my being. 


tradiction, which our natural sense of blameworthiness has 
nothing to do with, and never comes into the mind, nor is sup- 
posed in the judgment we naturally make of the affair. As 
was demonstrated before, natural sense does not place the 
moral evil of volitions and dispositions in the cause of them, 
but the nature of them. An evil thing's being from a man, or 
from something antecedent in him, is not essential to the 
original notion we have of blameworthiness ; but it is its be- 
ing the choice of the heart ; as appears by this, that if a thing 
be from us, and not from our choice, it has not the nature of 
blameworthiness or ill desert, according to our natural sense. 
When a thing is from a man, in that sense, that it is from his 
Will or choice, he is to blame for it, because his W T ill is in 
it : So far as the Will is in it, blame is in it, and no fur- 
ther. Neither do we go any further in our notion of blame, 
to inquire whether the bad Will be from a bad Will : There 
is no consideration of the original of that bad Will ; because, 
according to our natural apprehension, blame originally con- 
sists in it. Therefore a thing's being from a man, is a sec- 
ondary consideration, in the notion of blame or ill desert. 
Because those things, in our external actions, are most prop- 
erly 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 deserv- 
ing ill or well, as worthy of blame or praise ; hence it is come 
to pass, that philosophers have incautiously taken all iheir 
measures of good and evil, praise and blame, from the dictates 
of common sense, about these overt acts of men ; to the run- 
ning of every thing into the most lamentable and dreadful 


And, therefore, I observe, 

III. It is so far from being true (whatever may be pre- 
tended) that the proof of the doctrine which has been main- 
tained, depends on certain abstruse, unintelligible, metaphys • 
ical terms and notions ; and that the Arminian scheme, without 
needing such clouds and darkness for its defence, is support- 
ed by the plain dictates of common sense ; that the very re- 
verse is most certainly true, and that to a great degree. It is 
fact, that they, and not we, have confounded things with meta- 
physical, unintelligible notions and phrases ; and have drawn 
them from the light of plain truth, into the gross darkness of 
abstruse, metaphysical propositions, and words without a 
meaning. Their pretended demonstrations depend very much 
on such unintelligible, metaphysical phrases, as, selfdetermi- 
nation, and sovereignty of the Will ; and the metaphysical 
sense they put on such terms, as necessity, contingency, action y 
agency, isfc. quite diverse from their meaning as used in com- 
mon speech ; and which, as they use them, are without any 
consistent meaningor any manner of distinct, consistent ideas; 
as far from it as any of the abstruse terms and perplexed 
phrases of the peripatetic philosophers or the most unintelli- 
gible 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 know- 
ing what they mean themselves ; they are pure metaphysical 
sounds, without any ideas whatsoever in their minds to an=> 
swer them ; inasmuch as it has been demonstrated, that there 
cannot be any notion in the mind consistent with these expres- 
sions, as they pretend to explain them ; because their expla- 
nations destroy themselves. No such notions as imply self- 
contradiction, and selfaholition, and this a great many ways, 
can subsist in the mind ; as there can be no idea of a whole 
which is less than any of its parts, or of solid extension with- 
out dimensions, or of an effect which is before its cause. ...Ar- 
minians improve these terms, as terms of art, and in their met- 
aphysical 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 man* 

Vol. V. 2 R 


kind, 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 indiffer- 
ence, contingence, and selfdetermination ; by which they in- 
volve themselves and others in great obscurity, and manifold 
gross inconsistence. 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 
established inclination ; these, through their refinings and 
abstruse notions, suppose a liberty consisting in indifference, 
to be essential to all virtue and vice. So they have reasoned 
themselves, not by metaphysical distinctions, but metaphysic- 
al confusion, into many principles about moral agency, blame, 
praise, reward and punishment, which are, as has been shewn, 
exceeding contrary to the common sense of mankind ; and 
perhaps to their own sense, which governs them in commoR 


WHETHER the things which have been alleged, are lia- 
ble to any tolerable answer in the way of calm, intelligible 
and strict reasoning, I must leave others to judge ; but I am 
sensible they are liable to one sort of answer. It is not un- 
likely, that some, who value themselves on the supposed ra- 
tional and generous principles of the modern, fashionable di- 
vinity, will have their indignation and disdain raised at the 
sight of this discourse, and on perceiving what things are pre- 
tended to be proved in it. And if they think it worthy of be- 
ing read, or of so much notice as to say much about it, they 
may probably renew the usual exclamations, with additional 
vehemence and contempt, about the fate of the heathen, Hob- 
bes' necessity, and ynaking men mere machines ; accumulating 
the terrible epithets of fatal, unfrustrable, inevitable, irresisti- 
ble, Ifc. and it may be, with the addition o£ hoi-rid and blasphe- 
mous; and perhaps much skill may be used to set forth things, 
which have been said, in colors which shall be shocking to 
the imaginations, and moving to the passions of those, who 
have either too little capacity, or too much confidence of the 
opinions they have imbibed, and contempt of the contrary, to 
try the matter by any serious and circumspect examination.* 

* A writer, of the present age, whom I have several times had occasion to 
mention, speaks once and again of those who hold the doctrine of necessity, 
as scarcely worthy of the name of philosophers. ...I do not know, whether he has 
respect to any particular notion of necessity, thai some may have maintained ; 
and, if so, what doctrine of necessity it is that he means. ..Whe. her I am wor- 
thy of the name of a philosopher, or not, would be a question little to the 
present purpose. If any, and ever so many, should deny it, I should not think 


Or difficulties may be started and insisted on, which do not be^ 
long to the controversy ; because, let them be more or less 
real, and hard to be resolved, they are not what are owing to 
any thing distinguishing of this scheme from that of the Ar- 
minians, and would ajot be removed nor diminished by re- 
nouncing the former, and adhering to the latter. Or some 
particular 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 

It is easy to see, how the decision of most of the points in 
controversy, between Calvinists and Arminians, depends on the 
determination of this grand article concerning the freedom 
of the Will, requisite to moral dgency ; and that by clearing and 
establishing the Calvinistic doctrine in this point, the chief ar- 
guments are obviated, by which Arminian doctrines in gener- 
al are supported, and the contrary doctrines demonstratively 
confirmed. Hereby it becomes manifest, that God's moral 
government over mankind, his treating them as moral agents, 
making them the objects of his commands, counsels, calls, 
warnings, expostulations, promises, threatenings, rewards and 
punishments, is not inconsistent with a determining disposal 
of all events, of every kind, throughout the universe, in his 
providence ; either by positive efficiency, or permission. In- 
deed, such an universal, determining 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 necessity of moral events, or volitions of intelligent 
agents, is needful in order to this, than moral necessity ; which 

it -worth the while to enter into a dispute on that question : Though at the 
same time 1 might expect, some better answer should be given to the arguments 
brought for the truth of the doctrine I maintain ; and I might further reas- 
onably desire, that it might be considered, whether it dots not 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 contemptibleriess of the person that argues, and the inconclusivciiess of the 
arguments he offers. 


4oes as much ascertain the futurity of the event, as any other 
necessity. But, as has been demonstrated, such a necessity 
is not at all repugnant to moral agency, and a reasonable use 
of commands, calls, rewards, punishments, &c. Yea, not on- 
ly are objections of this kind against the doctrine of an uni- 
versal determining Providence, removed 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 manifest that 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 cir- 
cumstances 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 circumstances, 
must be ordered by him. And God's active and positive in- 
terpositions, after the world was created, and the consequen- 
ces of these interpositions ; also every instance of his 
forbearing to interpose, and the sure consequences of 
this forbearance, must all be determined according to his 
pleasure. And therefore every event, which is the con- 
sequence of any thing whatsoever, or that is connected with 
any foregoing thing or circumstance, either positive or nega- 
tive, as the ground or reason of its existence, must be order- 
ed of God ; either by a designed efficiency and interposition, 
or a designed forbearing to operate or interpose. But, as has 
been proved, all events whatsoever are necessarily connected 
with something foregoing, either positive or negative, which 
is the ground of their existence : It follows, therefore, that 
the whole series of events is thus connected with something 
in the state of things, either positive or negative, which is o- 
riginal in the series ; i. e. something which is connected 
■with nothing preceding that, but God's own immediate con- 
duct, either his acting or forbearing to act. From whence it 
follows, that as God designedly orders his own conduct, and 
its connected consequences, it must necessarily be, that he 
designedly orders all things. 


The things which have been said, obviate some of the 
chief objections of Arminians against the Calvinistic doctrine 
of the total depravity and corruption of marCs nature, where- 
by his heart is wholly under the power of sin, and he is utter- 
ly unable, without the interposition of sovereign grace, sav- 
ingly to love God, believe in Christ, or do any thing that is 
truly good and acceptable in God's sight.- For the main ob- 
jection against this doctrine is, that it is inconsistent with the 
freedom of man's Will, consisting in indifference and selfde- 
termining power ; because it supposes man to be under a ne- 
cessity of sinning, and that God requires things of him in or- 
der to his avoiding eternal damnation, which he is unable to 
do ; and that this doctrine is wholly inconsistent with the 
sincerity of counsels, invitations, Sec. Now, this doctrine 
supposes no other necessity of sinning, than a moral necessi- 
ty ; 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 nonperformance 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 
selfdetermination, for the sake of which, this doctrine of orig- 
inal sin is cast out ; and that no such freedom is necessary, 
in order to the nature of sin, and a just desert of punishment. 
The things which have been observed, do also take off the 
main objections of Arminians against the doctrine of effica- 
cious grace ; and at the same time prove the grace of God in 
a sinner's conversion (if there be any grace or divine influ- 
ence in the affair) to be efficacious, yea, and irresistible too, if 
by irresistible is meant that which is attended with a moral 
necessity, which it is impossible should ever be violated by 
any resistance. The main objection of Arminians against 
this doctrine is, that it is inconsistent with their selfdetermin- 
ing freedom of Will ; and that it is repugnant to the nature 
of virtue, that it should be wrought in the heart by the deter- 


mining efficacy and power of another, instead of its being 
owing to a selfmoving 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 demon- 
strated that the liherty of moral agents does not consist in self- 
• determining 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 sub- 
ject, though it be not from selfdetermination, but the deter- 
mination of an extrinsic cause ; even so as to cause the event 
to be morally necessary to the subject of it. And as it has 
been proved, that nothing in the state or acts of the Will of 
man is contingent ; but that, on the contrary, every event of 
this kind is necessary, by a moral necessity ; awd as it has 
also been now demonstrated, that the doctrine of an universal 
determining Providence, follows from that doctrine of neces- 
sity which was proved before ; and so that God does deci- 
sively, in his Providence, order all the volitions of moral a- 
gents, either by positive influence or permission ; and it be- 
ing 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 togeth- 
er, it will follow, that God's assistance or influence, must be 
determining and decisive, or must be attended with a moral 
necessity of the event ; and so, that God gives virtue, holi- 
ness and conversion to sinners, by an influence which deter- 
mines the effect, in such a manner, that the effect will infalli- 
bly follow by a moral necessity ; which is what Calvinists 
mean by efficacious and irresistible grace. 

The things which have been said, do likewise answer the 
chief objections against the doctrine of God's universal and 
absolute decree, and afford infallible proof of this doctrine ; 
and of the doctrine of absolute, eternal, personal election in par- 
ticular. The main objections against these doctrines arc, that 


they infer a necessity of the volitions of moral agents, and of 
the future, moral state and acts of men, and so are not consist- 
ent with those eternal rewards and punishments, which are 
connected with conversion and impenitence ; nor can be 
made to agree with the reasonableness and sincerity of the 
precepts, calls, counsels, warnings and expostulations of the 
word of God ; or with the various methods and means of 
grace, which God uses with sinners, to bring them to repent- 
ance ; and the whole of that moral government, which God 
exercises towards mankind ; and that they infer an inconsist- 
ence between the secret and revealed Will of God, and make 
God the author of sin. But all these things have been obvi- 
ated in the preceding discourse. And the certain truth of 
these doctrines, concerning God's eternal purposes, will fol- 
low from what was just now observed concerning God's uni- 
versal Providence ; how it infallibly follows from what has 
been proved, that God orders all events ; and the volitions of 
moral agents amongst others by such a decisive disposal, that 
the events are infallibly connected with his disposal. For if 
God disposes all events, so that the infallible existence of the 
events is decided by his Providence, then he, doubtless, thus 
orders and decides things kno*uri?igly, and on design. God 
does not do what he does, nor order what he orders, accident- 
ally or unawares ; either without or beside his intention. And 
if there be a foregoing design, of doing and ordering as he 
does, this is the same with a purpose or decree. And ;s it 
has been shewn that nothing is new to God, in any respect, 
but all things are perfectly and equally in his view from eter- 
nity ; hence it will follow, that his designs or purposes are 
net things formed anew, founded on any new views or ap- 
pearances, bu> are all eternal purposes. And as il 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 particu- 
lar, eternal, absolute election. For if men are made true saints, 
no otherwise than as God makes them so, and distinguishes 
them horn others, by an efficacious power and influence of 
his, that decides and fixes the event ; and God thus makes 


some saints, and not others, or design or purpose, and (a5 haa 
been now observed) no designs of God are new ; it follows, 
that God thus distinguished from others, all that ever become 
true saints, by his eternal design or decree. I might also 
shew how God's certain foreknowledge must suppose an ab- 
solute decree, and how such a decree can be proved to a de- 
monstration from it, but that this discourse may not be length- 
ened 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 visi- 
ble Christians, yea, the whole world by his death ; yet there 
must be something particular in the design of his death, with 
respect to such as he intended should actually be saved there- 
by. As appears by what has been now shewn, God has the 
actual salvation or redemption of a certain number in his 
proper, absolute design, and of a certain number only ; and 
therefore such a design only can be prosecuted in any thing 
God does, in order to the salvation of men. God pursues a 
proper design of the salvation of the elect in giving Christ to 
die, and prosecutes such a design with respect to no other, 
most strictly speaking ; for 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 limitation of redemption will as infallibly 
follow, from the doctrine of God's foreknowledge, as from 
that of the decree. 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 endeavors 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 prej- 
udices of Arminians agidr.st this doctrine seem to be these. 
They suppose such a necessary, infallible perseverance to be 

Vol. V. 2 S 


repugnant to the freedom of the Will : That it must be ow 
ing to man's own selfdetcrmining power, that hejirst 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 otherwise his continuing stedfast in faith and obedience 
would not be his virtue, or at all praiseworthy and rewardable, 
nor could his perseverance be properly the matter of divine 
commands, counsels and promises, nor his apostacy be proper- 
ly threatened, and men warned against it. Whereas we find all 
these things in Scripture : There we find stedfastness and 
perseverance in true Christianity, represented as the virtue 
of the saints, spoken of as praiseworthy 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 incon- 
sistent with these things ; and that as to freedom of Will, ly- 
ing in the power of the Will to determine itself, there neither 
is any such thing, nor any need of it, in order to virtue, re- 
ward, commands, counsels, &c. 

And as the doctrines of efficacious grace and absolute e- 
lection do certainly follow from things which have been prov- 
ed in the preceding discourse ; so some of the main founda- 
tions of the doctrine of perseverance, are thereby established. 
If the beginning of tiue faith and holiness, and a man's be- 
coming a true saint at first, does not depend on the selfde- 
terminip.g power of the Will, but on the determining, effica- 
cious grace of God ; it may well be argued, that it is so 
also with respect to men's being continued saints, or perse- 
vering in faith and holiness. The conversion of a sinner be- 
ing not owing to a man's selfdetermination, but to God's de- 
termination and eternal election, which is absolute and de- 
pending on the sovereign Will of God, and not on the free 
Will of man ; as is evident from what has been said ; and 
it being very evident from the Scriptures, that the eternal e- 
lection 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 depend- 
ing on their contingent, selfdetermining Will. From all 
which it follows, that it is absolutely fixed in God's decree, 
that all true saints shall persevere to actual eternal sal- 

But I must leave all these things to the consideration of 
*he fair and impartial reader ; and when he has maturely- 
weighed them, I would propose it to his consideration, wheth- 
er many of the first reformers, and others that succeeded 
them, whom God in their day made the chief pillars of his 
church, and greatest instruments of their deliverance from 
error and darkness, and of the support of the cause of piety 
among them, have not been injured in the contempt with 
which they have been treated by many late writers, for their 
teaching and maintaining such doctrines as are commonly 
called Calvinistic. Indeed, some of these new writers, at 
the same time that they have represented the doctrines of 
these ancient and eminent divines as in the highest degree ri- 
diculous, and contrary to common sense, in an ostentation of 
a very generous charity, have allowed that they were honest, 
wellmeaning men ; yea, it maybe some of them, as though 
it were in great condescension and compassion to them, have 
allowed that they did pretty well for the day in which they 
lived, and considering the great disadvantages they labored 
under ; when at the same time, their manner of speaking 
has naturally and plainly suggested to the minds of their 
readers, that they were persons, who, through the lowness 
of their genius, and greatness of the bigotry with which their 
minds were shackled and thoughts confined, living in the 
gloomy caves of superstition, fondly embraced, and demure- 
ly and zealously taught the most absurd, silly, and monstrous 
opinions, worthy of the greatest contempt of gentlemen pos- 
sessed of that noble and generous freedom of thought, which 
happily prevails in this age of light and inquiry. 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 with* 


out arrogance or vanity, to make these principles of theirs, 
wherein they mainly differ from their fathers, whom they 
so much despise, consistent with common sense ; yea, and 
perhaps to produce any doctrine ever embraced by the blind- 
er bi^ot of the church of Rome, or the most ignorant Mus- 
b'. man or extravagant enthusiast, that might be reduced to 
more demonstrable inconsistencies, and repugnancies to com- 
mon ^.ense, and to themselves ; though their inconsistencies 
indeed may not lie so deep, or be so artfully veiled by a de- 
ceitful ambiguity of words, and an indeterminate significa- 
tion of phrases. I will not deny, that these gentlemen, 
many of them, are men of great abilities, and have been 
helped to higher attainments in philosophy, than those an- 
cient divines, and have done great service to the church of 
God in some respects ; but I humbly conceive that their dif- 
fering from their fathers with such magisterial assurance, 
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 some other parts of the Protestant world, 
in this and the past age, by the exploding so generally Cal- 
vinistic doctrines, that is so often spoken of as worthy to be 
greatly rejoiced in by the friends of truth, learning and virtue, 
as an instance of the great increase of light in the Christian 
church ; I say, it may be worthy to be considered, whether 
this be indeed a happy change, owing to any such cause as an 
increase of true knowledge and understanding in things of 
relieion ; or whether there is not reason to fear, that it may 
be owing to some worse cause. 

And I desire it may be considered, whether the boldness 
of some writers may not be worthy to be reflected on, who 
have not scrupled to say, that if these and those things are 
true (which yet appear to be the demonstrable dictates of rea- 
son, as well as the certain dictates of the mouth of the Most 
High) then God is unjust and cruel,, and guilty of manifest 
deceit and double dealing, and the like. Yea, some have 
gone so far, as confidently to assertj that if any book which 


pretends to be scripture, teaches such doctrines, that alone is 
sufficient warrant for mankind to reject it, as what cannot be 
the word of God. ...Some, who have not gone so far, have said, 
that if the scripture seems to teach any such doctrines, so 
contrary to reason, we are obliged to find out some other in- 
terpretation of those texts, where such doctrines seem to be 
exhibited. Others express themselves yet more modestly : 
They express a tenderness and religious fear, lest they should 
receive and teach any thing that should seem to reflect on 
God's moral character, or be a disparagement to his methods 
of administration, in his moral government; and therefore 
express themselves as not daring to embrace some doctrines, 
though they seem to be delivered in scripture, according to 
the more obvious and natural construction of the words. But 
indeed it would shew a truer modesty and humility, if they 
would more entirely rely on God's wisdom and discerning, 
who knows infinitely better than we, what is 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 instruction, to determine for us what the truth 
is ; knowing how little our judgment is to be depended on, 
and how extremely prone, vain and blind men are, to err in 
such matters. 

The truth of the case is, that if the scripture plainly taught 
the opposite doctrines, to those that are so much stumbled at, 
viz. the Armlnian doctrine of free Will, and others depending 
thereon, it would be the greatest of all difficulties that attend 
the scriptures, incomparably greater than its containing any, 
even the most mysterious of those doctrines of the first re- 
formers, 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 rejected, 
as most absurd and unreasonable, by the wise and greai i 

of the world; which yet, when they are most caref 
strictly examined, appear to be exactly agreeable to l' 
demonstrable, certain and natural dictates of reason. 


such things it appears, that the foolishness of God is xt/iser tnaK 
men, and God does as is said in 1 Cor. i. 19, 20. " For it \% 
written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise ; I will bring 
to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the 
wise ! Where is the scribe ! Where is the disputer of this 
world ! Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world V* 
And as it used to be in time past, so it is probable it will be 
in time to come, as it is there written, in verse 27, 28, 29. 
« But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world, to con- 
found 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 naught 
things that are ; that no flesh should glory in his presence.'* 




THE intimations you have given me of the use which 
has, by some, been made of what I have written on the Free- 
dom of the Will, iJfc. to vindicate what is said on the subject of 
liberty and necessity, by the author of the Essays on the Prin- 
ciples of Morality and Natural Religion, has occasioned my 
reading this author's essay on that subject, with particular 
care and attention. And I think it must be evident to every 
one, that has read both his Essay and my Inquiry, that our 
schemes are exceeding reverse from each other. The wide 
difference appears particularly in the following things. 

This author supposes, that such a necessity takes place 
with respect to all men's actions, as is inconsistent with liber- 
ty,* and plainly denies that men have any liberty in acting. 
Thus in p. 168, after he had been speaking of the necessity 
of our determinations, as connected with motives, he con- 
eludes with saying, " In short, if motives are not under our 
power or direction, which is confessedly the fact, we can at 
bottom have- — no liberty." Whereas, I have abund- 
antly expressed it as my mind, that man, in his moral actions, 
has true liberty ; and that the moral necessity, which univer- 
sally takes place, is not in the least inconsistent with any- 
thing that is properly called liberty, and with the utmost lib- 
erty that can be desired, or that can possibly exist or be con- 
ceived off. 

* P. 160, 161, 164, 165, and many ether places. 
+ Inquiry, p. 38.,.. 43, 186, 18?, 278.... 288, 300, 307, 326.. ..335 


I find that some are apt to think, that in that kind of mor- 
al necessity of men's volitions, which I suppose to be univer- 
sal, at least some degree of liberty is denied ; that though it 
be true I allow a sort of liberty, yet those who maintain a self- 
determining power in the Will, and a liberty of contingencc 
and indifference, hold an higher sort of freedom than I do; 
but I think this is certainly a great mistake. 

Liberty, as I have explained it, in p. 38, and other places, 
is the power, opportunity, or advantage, that any one has to do 
as he pleases, or conducting in any respect, according to his 
pleasure; without considering how his pleasure comes to be 
as it is. It is demonstrable, and, I think, has been demon- 
strated, that no necessity of men's volitions that I maintain, 
is inconsistent with this liberty ; and I think it is impossible 
for any one to rise higher in his conceptions of liberty than 
this : If any imagine they desire higher, and that they con- 
ceive of a higher and greater liberty than this they are deceiv- 
ed, and delude themselves with confused ambiguous words, 
instead of ideas. If any one should here say, " Yes, I con- 
ceive of a freedom above and beyond the liberty a man has of 
conducting in any respect as he pleases, viz. a liberty of choos- 
ing as he pleases." Such an one, if he reflected, would eith- 
er blush or laugh at his own instance. For, is not choosing 
as he pleases, conducting in some respect, according to his 
pleasure, and still without determining how he came by that 
pleasure ? If he says, " Yes, I came by that pleasure by my 
own choice." If he be a man of common sense, by this time 
he will see his own absurdity ; for he must needs see that his 
notion or conception, even of this liberty, does not contain 
any judgment or conception how he comes by that choice, 
which first determines his pleasure, or which originally fixed 
his own will respecting the affair. Or if any shall say, " That 
a man exercises liberty in this, even in determining his own 
choice, but not as he pleases, or not in consequence of any 
rhoice, preference, or inclination of his own, but by a deter- 
mination arising contingently out of a state of absolute indif- 
ference ;" this is not rising higher in his conception of liber- 
ty ; as such a determination of the Will would not be a vol- 


itntary determination of it. Surely he that places liberty in a 
power of doing something not according to his own choice, or 
from his choice, has not a higher notion of it, than he that 
places it in doing as he pleases, or acting from his own elec- 
tion. If there were a power in the mind to determine itself, 
but not by its choice or according to its pleasure, what advan- 
tage would it give ? And what liberty, worth contending for, 
would be exercised in it ? Therefore no Arminian, Pelagian 9 
or Epicurean, can rise higher in his conceptions of liberty, 
than the notion of it which I have explained : Which notion 
is apparently, perfectly consistent with the whole of that ne- 
cessity of men's actions, which I suppose takes place. And, 
I scruple not to say, it is beyond all their wits to invent a 
higher notion, or form a higher imagination of liberty ; let 
them talk of sovereignty of the Will, self determining poiver 9 
selfmotion, selfdirection, arbitrary decision, liberty ad utrumvis, 
fiower of choosing differently in given cases, <J?c. iJfc. as long as 
they will. It is apparent that these men, in their strenuous 
affirmation, and dispute about these things, aim at they know 
not what, fighting for something they have no conception of, 
substituting a number of confused, unmeaning words, instead 
of things, and instead of thoughts. They may be challenged 
clearly to explain what they would have : They never catt. 
answer the challenge. 

The author of the Essays, through his whole Essay on. 
Liberty and Necessity, goes on that supposition, that, in order 
to the being of real liberty, a man must have a freedom that is 
opposed to moral necessity ; and yet he supposes, p. 175, that 
" such a liberty must signify a power in the mind of acting 
without and against motives, a power of acting without any 
view, purpose or design, and even of acting in contradiction 
to our own desires and aversions, and to all our principles of 
action ; and is an absurdity altogether inconsistent with a ra- 
tional nature. Now, who ever imagined such a liberty as 
this, a higher sort or degree of freedom, than a liberty of 
following one's own views and purposes, and acting agreeable 
to his own inclinations and passions ? Who will ever reasona- 
bly suppose that liberty, which is an absurdity altogether io? 

Vol. V. 2 T 


consistent with a rational nature,, to be a kind of liberty above 
that which is consistent with the nature of a rational, intelli- 
gent, designing agent ? 

The author of the Essays seems to suppose such a neces- 
sity to take place, as is inconsistent with some supposable 
power of arbitrary choice ;* or that there is some liberty con- 
ceivable, whereby men's own actions might be more proper- 
ly in their fioioer^ and by which events might be more depend- 
ent on ourselves ;\ contrary to what I suppose to be evident in 
my Inquiry. ,§ What way can be imagined, of our actions be- 
ing more in our power, from ourselves, or de/iendcnt on our- 
selves, than their being from our power to fulfil our own 
choice, to act from our own inclination, pursue our own views, 
and execute our own designs ? Certainly, to be able to act 
thus, is as properly having our actions in our power, and de- 
pendent on ourselves, as a being liable to be the subjects of 
acts and events, contingently and fortuitously, without desire, 
■view, purpose or design, or any principle of action within our- 
selves ; as we must be acording to this author's own declared 
sense, if our actions are performed with that liberty that is 
opposed to moral necessity. 

This author seems every where to suppose, that necessi- 
ty, most properly so called, attends all men's actions ; and 
that the terms necessary, unavoidable, vnpossible, &c. are equal- 
ly applicable to the case of moral and natural necessity. In 
p. 173, he says, " The idea of necessary and unavoidable, 
equally agrees, both to moral and physical necessity." And 
in p. 184, " All things that fall out in the natural and moral 
world are alike necessary." P. 174, "This inclination and 
choice is unavoidably caused or occasioned by the prevailing 
motive. In this lies the necessity of our actions, that, in such 
circumstances, it was impossible we could act otherwise." 
He often expresses himself in like manner elsewhere, speak- 
ing in strong terms of men's actions as unavoidable, what they 
cannot forbear, having no power over their own actions, the 

* P. 169. + P. 191, 195, 197. 206. % P. 183. S ?• 395. 39>- 


order of them being unalterably fixed and inseparably linked 
together, &c* 

On the contrary, I have largely declared, that the connex- 
ion between antecedent things and consequent ones, which 
takes place with regard to the acts of men's Wills, which is 
called moral necessity, is called by the name of ?:ecessity im- 
properly ; and that all such terms as must, cannot, imjiossible, 
unable, irresistible, unavoidable, invincible, &c. when applied 
here, are not applied in their proper signification, and are 
either used nonsensically, and with perfect insignificance, or 
in a sense quite diverse from their original and proper mean- 
ing, and their use in common speech ; and, that such a ne- 
cessity as attends the acts of men's Wills, is more properly 
called certainty, than necessity ; it being no other than the 
certain connexion between the subject and predicate of the 
proposition which affirms their existence. 

Agreeably to what is observed in my Inquiry, I think it is 
.evidently owing to a strong prejudice in person's minds, aris- 
ing from an insensible, habitual perversion and misapplication 
of such like terms as necessary, impossible, unable, unavoidable, 
invincible, iJfc. that they are ready to think, that to suppose a 
certain connexion of men's volitions, without any foregoing 
motives or inclinations, or any preceding moral influence 
whatsoever, is truly and properly to suppose such a strong, ir- 
refragable chain of causes and effects, as stands in the way of, 
and makes utterly vain, opposite desires and endeavors, like 
immovable and impenetrable mountains of brass ; and im- 
pedes our liberty like walls of adamant, gales of brass, and 
bars of iron : Whereas, all such representations suggest ideas 
as far from the truth, as the east is from the west; Nothing 
that I maintain, supposes that men are at all hindered by any 
fatal necessity, from doing, and even willing and choosing as 
they please, with full freedom ; yea with the highest degree 
of liberty that ever was thought of, or that ever could possibly 
enter into the heart of any man to conceive. I know it is in 
vain to endeavor to make some persons believe this, or at least 

* P. 180, 188, 193, 194, 195, 197, 198, 399, 205, 206. 

34<& REMARKS. 

fully and steadily to believe it ; for if it be demonstrated ta 
them, still the old prejudice remains, which has been long 
fixed by the use of the terms necessary, must, cannot, impossi* 
ble, isfc. the association with these terms of certain ideas, in- 
consistent with liberty, is not broken ; and the judgment is 
powerfully warped by it ; as a thing that has been long bent 
and grown stiff, if it be straightened, will return to its former 
curvity again and again. 

The author of the Essays most manifestly supposes that 
if men had the truth concerning the real necessity of all their 
actions clearly in view, they would not appear to themselves, 
or one another, as at all praiseworthy or culpable, or under 
any moral obligation, or accountable for their actions ;* which 
supposes, that men are not to be blamed or praised for any of 
their actions, and are not under any obligations, nor are truly- 
accountable for any thing they do, by reason of this necessity ; 
■which is very contrary to what I have endeavored to prove, 
throughout the third part of my Inquiry. I humbly conceive 
it is there shewn, that this is so far from the truth, that the 
moral necessity of men's actions, which truly take place, is 
requisite to the being of virtue and vice, or any thing praise- 
■worthy or culpable : That the liberty of indifference and con- 
lingence, which is advanced in opposition to that necessity, is 
inconsistent with the being of these ; as it would suppose that 
men are not determined in what they do, by any virtuous or 
-vicious principles, nor act from any motives, intentions or 
aims whatsoever ; or have any end, either good or bad, in act- 
ing. And it is not remarkable, that this author should sup- 
pose, that, in order to men's actions truly having any desert, 
they must be performed without any view, purpose, design, or 
desire, or any principle of action, or any thing agreeable to a 
rational nature ? As it will appear that he does, if we compare 
p. 206, 207, with p. 175. 

The Author of the Essays supposes, that God has deeply 
Implanted in man's nature, a strong and invincible apprehen- 
sion or feeling, as he calls it, of a liberty and contingence, of 

P. 507, 209, and other p!ar "« 


jhis own actions, opposite to that necessity which truly attends 
them ; and which in truth does not agree with real fact,* is 
not agreeable to strict, philosophic truth, t is contradictory to 
the truth of things,} and which truth contradicts,§ not tallying 
with the real plan ; || and that therefore such feelings are de- 
ceitful,^! are in reality of the delusive kind.** He speaks of 
them as a wise delusion,ft as nice, artificial feelings, merely 
that conscience may have a commanding power ;|| meaning 
plainly, that these feelings are a cunning artifice of the Au- 
thor of Nature, to make men believe they are free, when they 
are not.§§ He supposes that, by these feelings, the moral 
■world has a disguised appearance. |||| And other things of 
this kind be says. He supposes that all selfapprobation, and 
all remorse of conscience, all commendation or condemnation 
of ourselves or others, all sense of desert, and all that is con- 
nected with this way of thinking, all the ideas which at pres- 
ent are suggested by the words ought, should, arise from this 
delusion, and would entirely vanish withoutit.lffl 

All which is very contrary to what I have abundantly in- 
sisted on and endeavored to demonstrate in my Inquiry, where 
I have largely shewn that it is agreeable to the natural sense 
of mankind, that the moral necessity or certainty that attends 
men's actions, is consistent with praise and blame, reward 
and punishment ;*f and that it is agreeable to our natural no- 
tions, that moral evil, with its desert of dislike and abhor- 
rence, and all its other illdeservings, consists in a certain de- 
formity in the nature of the dispositions and acts of the heart, 
and not in the evil of something else, diverse from these, sup- 
posed to be their cause or occasion. *\ 

I might well ask here, whether any one is to be found in 
the world of mankind, who is conscious to a sense or feeling, 
naturally and deeply rooted in his mind, that in order to a 

* P. 200. + P. 152. X P. 183. $ P. 186. II P. 205- 5 P. 203, 
204, 211. ** P. 183. ++ P. 209. Xt p - a "« hS p - 1 53* 
UK 214. ^ffl P. 160, 194, 199, 205, 206, 209. *+ Inquiry, Pan IV. 
Sect. 4, throughout, *f Idem, Part IV. Sect, 1, throughout, and p. 395 


man's performing any action that is praise or blameworthy., 
he must exercise a liberty that implies and signifies a power 
of acting without any motive, view, design, desire or principle 
of action ? For such a liberty, this author supposes that must 
be which is opposed to moral necessity, as I have already ob- 
served once and again. Supposing a man should actually do 
good, independent of desire, aim, inducement, principle or 
end, is it a dictate of invincible, natural sense, that his act is 
more meritorious or praiseworthy, than if he had performed 
it for some good end, and had been governed in it bv good 
firincifilcs and motives ? And so I might ask on the contrary; 
with respect to evil actions.* 

The author of the Essays supposes that the liberty without 
necessity, which we have a natural feeling of. implies contin- 
gencc ; and speaking of this contingence, he sometimes calls 
it by the name of chance. And it is evident that his notion of 
it, or rather what he says about it, implies things happening 
loosely, fortuitously, by accident, and without a cause. f Now I 
conceive the slightest reflection may be sufficient to satisfy 
any one that such a contingence of men's actions, according 
to our natural sense, is so far from being essential to the mo- 
rality or merit of those actions, that it would destroy it ; and 
that, on the contrary, the dependence of our actions on such 
causes as inward inclinations, incitements and ends, is essen- 
tial to the being of it. Natural sense- teaches men, when 
they see any thing done by others of a good or evil tendency, 
to inquire what their intention was ; what principles and 
views they were moved by, in order to judge how far they 
are to be justified or condemned ; and not to determine, that 
in order to their being approved or blamed at all, the action 
must be performed altogether fortuitously, proceeding from 
nothing, arising from no cause. Concerning this matter, I 
have fully expressed my mind in the Inquiry. 

If the liberty which we have a natural sense of as necessa- 
ry to desert, consists in the mind's selfdetermination, without 

Sec this matter illustrated in my Inquiry. Part IV. Sect. 4. + P. 156. 
177, 178.. 181, 183....185. 


being determined by previous inclination or motive, tben in- 
difference is essential to it, yea, absolute indifference, as is 
observed in my Inquiry. But men naturally have no notion 
of any such liberty as this, as essential to .the morality or de- 
merit of their actions ; but, on the contrary, such a liberty, 
if it were possible, would be inconsistent with our natural no- 
tions of desert, as is largely shewn in the Inquiry. If it be 
agreeable to natural sense, that men must be indifferent in de- 
termining their own actions, then, according to the same, the 
more they are determined by inclination, either good or bad, 
the less they have of desert : The more good actions are 
performed from good dispositions, the less praiseworthy ; and 
the more evil deeds are from evil dispositions, the less culpa- 
ble ; and in general, the more men's actions are from their 
hearts, the less they are to be commended or condemned ; 
which all must know is very contrary to natural sense. 

Moral necessity is owing to the power and government of 
the inclination of the heart, either habitual or occasional, ex- 
cited by motive ; but according to natural and common sense, 
the more a man does any thing with full inclination of heart, 
the more is it to be charged to his account for his condemna- 
tion if it be an ill action, and the more to be ascribed to him 
for his praise, if it be good. 

If the mind were determined to evil actions by contin- 
gence, from a state of indifference, then either there would 
be no fault in them, or else the fault would be in being so 
perfectly indifferent, that the mind was equally liable to a 
bad or good determination. And if this indifference be liber- 
ty, then the very essence of the blame or fault would lie in 
the liberty itself, or the wickedness would, primarily and sum- 
marily, lie in being a free agent. If there were no fault in 
being indifferent, then there would be no fault in the deter- 
mination's being agreeable to such a state of indifference j 
that is, there could no fault be reasonably found with this, 
viz, that opposite determinations actually happen to take 
place indifferently, sometimes good and sometimes bad, as 
contingence governs and decides. And if it be a fault to be 
indifferent to good and evil, then such indifference is no indif- 


ference to good and evil, but is a determination to evil, or ttf 
a fault ; and such an indifferent disposition would be an evil, 
faulty disposition, tendency or determination of mind. So 
inconsistent are these notions of liberty, as essential to praise, 
or blame. 

The author of the Essays supposes men's natural, delusive 
sense of a liberty of contingence, to be in truth, the founda- 
tion of all the labor, care and industry of mankind ;* and 
that if men's practical ideas liadA be en formed on the plan of 
universal necessity , the ignava raffo, the inactive doctrine of the 
Stoics, would have followed ; and that there would have been 
no room for forethought about futurity, or any sort of industry 
and care ;\ plainly implying, that in this case men would see 
and know that all their industry and care signified, nothing 
was in vain and to no purpose, or of no benefit ; events being 
fixed in an irrefragable chain, and not at all depending on 
their care and endeavor ; as he explains himself, particular- 
ly in the instance of men's use of means to prolong life ;% 
not only very contrary to what I largely maintain in my In- 
quiry, but also very inconsistently with his own scheme, in 
what he supposes of the ends for which God has so deeply 
implanted this deceitful feeling in man's nature ; in which 
he manifestly supposes men's care and industry not to bo 
in vain and of no benefit, but of great use, yea, of absolute 
necessity, in order to the obtaining the most important 
ends and necessary purposes of human life, and to fulfil the 
ends of action to the best advantage, as he largely declares. 
Now, how shall these things be reconciled ? That if men 
had a clear view of real truth, they would see that there 
Was no room for their care and industry, because they would 
see it to be in vain, and of no benefit ; and yet that God, by 
having a clear view of real truth, sees that their being excited 
to care and industry, will be of excellent use to mankind, 
and greatly for the benefit of the world, yea, absolutely neces- 
sary in order to it ; and that therefore the great wisdom and 

* P. 184. + P. 189. t P. 184, 185. ^ P. 188.. ,.192, and »r 

many other places. 


goodness of God to men appears, in artfully contriving to put 
them on care and industry for their good, which good could 
not be obtained without them ; and yet both these things are 
maintained at once, and in the same sentences and words by 
this author. The very reason he gives, why God has put 
this deceitful feeling into men, contradicts and destroys itself. 
That God in his great goodness to men gave them such a de- 
ceitful feeling, because it was very useful and necessary for 
them, and greatly for their benefit, or excites them to care 
and industry for their own good, which care and industry is 
useful and necessary to that end ; and yet the very thing that 
this great benefit of care and industry is given as a reason for, 
is God's deceiving men in this very point, in making them 
think their care and industry to be of great benefit to them, 
when indeed it is of none at all; and if they saw the real 
truth, they would see all their endeavors to be wholly useless, 
that there was ?io room for them, and that the event does not 
at all depend upon them.* 

And besides, what this author says, plainly implies (as 
appears by what has been already observed) that it is necessa- 
ry men should be deceived, by being made to believe that fu- 
ture events are contingent, and their own future actions free, 
with such a freedom, as signifies that their actions are not 
the fruit of their own desires or designs, but altogether con- 
tingent, fortuitous, and without a cause. But how should a 
notion of liberty, consisting in accident or loose chance, en- 
courage care and industry ? I should think it would rather 
entirely discourage every thing of this nature. For surely, 
if our actions do not depend on our desires and designs, then 
they do not depend on our endeavors, flowing from our de- 
sires and designs. This author himself seems to suppose, 
that if men had, indeed, such a liberty of contingence, it 
would render all endeavors to determine or move men's fu- 
ture volitions vain ; he says, that in this case to exhort, to 
■instruct, to promise, or to threaten, would be to no purpose. 
Why ? Because, (as he himself gives the reason) then our 

* P. 188, 189, &c 
Vol, V. 2 U 


Will would be capricious and arbitrary, and we should be thrown 
loose altogether, and our arbitrary power could do us good or ill 
only by accident. But if such a loose, fortuitous state would 
render vain other endeavors upon us, for the same reason 
would it make useless our endeavors on ourselves ; for events 
that are truly contingent and accidental, and altogether loose 
from, and independent of, all foregoing causes, are independ- 
ent on every foregoing cause within ourselves, as well as in 

I suppose that it is so far from being true, that our minds 
are naturally possessed with a notion of such liberty as this, so 
strongly that it is impossible to root it out ; that indeed men 
have no such notion of liberty at all, and that it is utterly im- 
possible, by any means whatsoever, to implant or introduce 
such a notion into the mind. As no such notions as imply 
selfcontradiction and selfabolition can subsist in the mind, as 
I have shewn in my Inquiry, I think a mature, sensible con- 
sideration of the matter, sufficient to satisfy any one, that even 
the greatest and most learned advocates themselves for liber- 
ty of indifference and selfdetermination, have no such notion ; 
and that indeed they mean something wholly inconsistent 
with, and directly subversive of, what they strenuously affirm, 
and earnestly contend for. By a man's having a power of de- 
termining his own Will, they plainly mean a power of deter- 
mining his Will, as he pleases, or as he chooses ; which 
supposes that the mind has a choice, prior to its going about 
to confirm any action or determination to it. And if they 
mean that they determine even the original or prime choice, 
by their own pleasure or choice, as the thing that causes and 
directs it ; I scruple not most boldly to affirm, that they speak 
they know not what, and that of which they have no manner 
of idea, because no such contradictory notion can come into, 
or have a moment's subsistence in the mind of any man living 
as an original or first choice being caused, or brought into 
being, by choice. After all, they say they have no higher or 
other conception of liberty, than that vulgar notion of it, which 
I contend for, viz. a man's having power or opportunity to do 
as he fhooses ; or if they had a notion that every act of 


choice was determined by choice, yet it would destroy their 
notion of the contingence of choice ; for then no one act of 
choice would arise contingently, or from a state of indiffer- 
ence, but every individual act, in all the series, would arise 
from foregoing bias or preference, and from a cause prede- 
termining and fixing its existence, which introduces at once 
such a chain of causes and effects, each preceding link 
decisively fixing the following, as they would by all means 

And such kind of delusion and selfcontradiction as this, 
does not arise in men's minds by nature ; it is not owing to 
any natural feeling which God has strongly fixed in the mind 
and nature of man ; but to false philosophy, and strong prej- 
udice, from a deceitful abuse of words. It is artificial, not in 
the sense of the author of the Essays, supposing it to be a de- 
ceitful artifice of God ; but artificial as opposed to natural, 
and as owing to an artificial, deceitful management of terms, 
to darken and confound the mind. Men have no such thing 
when they first begin to exercise reason ; but must have a 
great deal of time to blind themselves, with metaphysical con- 
fusion, before they can embrace, and rest in such definitions 
of liberty as are given, and imagine they understand them. 

On the whole, I humbly conceive, that whosoever will 
give himself the trouble of weighing what I have offered to 
consideration in my Inquiry, must be sensible, that such a 
moral necessity of men's actions as I maintain, is not at all in- 
consistent with any liberty that any creature has, or can have, 
as a free, accountable, moral agent, and subject of moral gov- 
ernment ; and that this moral necessity is so far from being 
inconsistent with praise and blame, and the benefit and use of 
men's own care and labor, that, on the contrary, it implies the 
very ground and reason, why men's actions are to be ascribed 
to them as their own, in that manner as to infer desert, praise 
and blame, approbation and remorse of conscience, reward 
and punishment ; and that it establishes the moral system of 
the universe, and God's moral government, in every respect, 
with the proper use of motives, exhortations, commands, 
Gounsels, promises, and threatening ; and the use and benefit 


of endeavors, care and industry ; and that therefore there is 
no need that the strict philosophic truth should be at all con- 
cealed from men ; no danger in contemplation and profound 
discovery in these things. So far from this, that the truth in 
this matter is of vast importance, and extremely needful to be 
known ; and that the more clearly and perfectly the real fact 
is known, and the more constantly it is in view, the better ; 
and particularly, that the clear and full knowledge of that, 
which is the true system of the universe, in these res- 
pects, would greatly establish the doctrines which teach the 
true Christian scheme of Divine Administration in the city of 
God, and the gospel of Jesus Christ, in its most important ar- 
ticles ; and that these things never can be well established, 
and the opposite errors, so subversive of the whole gospel, 
which at this day so greatly and generally prevail, be well 
confuted, or the arguments by which they are maintained, 
answered, till these points are settled. While this is not done, 
it is, to me, beyond doubt, that the friends of those great 
gospel truths will but poorly maintain their controversy 
with the adversaries of those truths. They will be oblig- 
ed often to dodge, shuffle, hide, and turn their backs ; and 
the latter will have a strong fort, from whence they nev- 
er can be driven, and weapons to use, which those whom they 
oppose will find no shield to screen themselves from ; and 
they will always puzzle, confound, and keep under the friends 
of sound doctrine, and glory, and vaunt themselves in their ad- 
vantage over them ; and carry their affairs with an high hand, 
as they have done already for a long time past. 

I conclude, sir, with asking your pardon for troubling you 
■with so much said in vindication of myself from the imputa- 
tion of advancing a scheme of necessity, of a like nature with 
that of the author of the Essays on the Principles of Morality 
end Natural Religion. Considering that what I have said is 
KOtonly in vindication of myself, but, as I think, of the most 
important articles of moral philosophy and religion ; I trust 
in what I know of your candor, that you will excuse, 

Your obliged friend and brother, 


SxocKBRinGEj July, 25, 1757, 








Concerning the Dfaine Decrees in general, and 
Election in particular. 

§ 1. WHETHER God has decreed all things that ever 
came to pass or not, all that own the being of a God, own that 
he knows all things beforehand. Now, it is selfevident, that 
if he knows all things beforehand, he either doth approve of 
them, or he doth not approve of them ; that is, he either is 
willing they should be, or he is not willing they should be. 
But to will that they should be, is to decree them. 

% 2. The Arminians ridicule the distinction between the 
secret and revealed will of God, or, more properly expressed, 
the distinction between the decree and law of God ; because 
we say he may decree one thing, and command another. And 
so, they argue, we hold a contrariety in God, as if one will of 
his contradicted another. However, if they will call this a 
contradiction of wills, we know that 'here is such a thing ; so 
that it is the greatest absurdity to dispute about it. We and 
they know it was God's secret will, that Abraham should not 
sacrifice his son Isaac ; but yet his command was, that he 
should do it. We know that God willed, that Pharaoh's heart 
should be hardened ; and yet, that the hardness of his heart 
was sin. We know that God willed the Egyptians should 
hate God's people : Psal. cv. 25. " He turned their heart to 
hate his people, and deal subtilly with his servants." We 
know that it was God's will, that Absalom should lie with Da- 


vid's wives; 2 Sam. xii. 11. " Thus saith the Lord, I will 
raise up this evil against thee, out of thine own house ; and I 
will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy 
neighbor ; and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this 
sun. For thou didst it secretly ; but I will do this thing before 
all Israel, and before the sun." We know that God willed 
that Jeroboam and the ten tribes should rebel. The same 
may be said of the plunder of the Babylonians ; and other in- 
stances might be given. The scripture plainly tells us, that 
God wills to harden some men, Rom. ix. 18. That he will" 
ed that Christ should be killed by men, 8cc. 

§ 3. It is most certain, that if there are any things so con- 
tingent, that there is an equal possibility of their being or not 
being, so tbat they may be, or they may not be ; God fore- 
knows from all eternity that they may be, and also that they 
may not be. All will grant that we need no revelation to 
teach us this. And furthermore, if God knows all things that 
are to come to pass, he also foreknows whether those contin- 
gent things are to come to pass or no, at the same time that 
they are contingent, and that they may or may not come to 
pass. But what a contradiction is it to say, that God knows a 
thing will come to pass, and yet at the same time knows that 
it is contingent whethei it will come to pass or no ; that is, 
he certainly knows it will come to pass, and yet certainly 
knows it may not come to pass ? What a contradiction 
is it to say, that God certainly foreknew that Judas would be- 
tray his master, or Peter deny him, and yet certainly knew r 
that it might be otherwise, or certainly knew that he might be 
deceived i 1 suppose it will be acknowledged by all, that for 
God certainly to know a thing will be, and yet certainly to 
know that it may not be, is the same thing as certainly to 
know that he may be deceived. I suppose it will also be 
acknowledged, that certainly to know a thing, and also at the 
same time to know that we may be deceived in it, is the same 
thing as certainly to know it, and certainly to know that we 
are uncertain of it, or that we do not certainly know it ; and 
that is the same thing as certainly to know it, and not certain- 


\y to know it at the same time ; which we leave to be consid- 
ered, whether it be not a contradiction. 

§ 4. The meaning of the word absolute, when used about 
the decrees, wants to be stated. It is commonly said, God 
decrees nothing upon a foresight of any thing in the creature ; 
as this, they say, argues imperfection in God ; and so it does, 
taken in the sense that they commonly intend it. But nobody, 
I believe, will deny but that God decrees many things that he 
would not have decreed, if he had not foreknown and prede- 
termined such and such other tilings. What we mean, we 
completely express thu3....That God decrees all things har- 
moniously, and in excellent order, one thing harmonizes with 
another, and there is such a relation between all the decrees, 
as makes the most excellent order. Thus God decrees ram 
in drought, because he decrees the earnest prayers of his peo- 
ple ; or thus, he decrees the prayers of his people, because he 
decrees rain. I acknowledge, to say, God decrees a thing be- 
cause, is an improper way of speaking ; but not more improp- 
er than all our other ways of speaking about God. God de- 
crees the latter event, because of the former, no more, than 
he decrees the former, because of the latter. But this is what 
we mean.... When God decrees to give the blessing of rain, 
he decrees the prayers of his people ; and when he decrees 
the prayers of his people for rain, he very commonly decrees 
rain ; and thereby there is an harmony between these two de- 
crees, of rain, and the prayers of God's people. Thus also, 
when he decrees diligence and industry, he decrees riches 
and prosperity ; when he decrees prudence, he often decrees 
success ; when he decrees striving, then he often decrees the 
obtaining the kingdom of heaven ; when he decrees the 
preaching of the gospel, then he decrees the bringing home 
of souls to Christ ; when he decrees good natural faculties, 
diligence and good advantages, then he decrees learning ; 
when de decrees summer, then he decrees the growing of 
plants ; when he decrees conformity to his Son, then he de- 
crees calling ; when he decrees calling, then he decrees justi- 
fication ; and when he decrees justification, then he decrees 

Vol. V. 3 W 


everlasting glory. Thus, all the decrees of God are harnio= 
nious ; and this is all that can be said for or against absolute 
•r conditional decrees. But this I say, it is as improper to 
make one decree a condition of another, as to make the oth- 
er a condition of that : But there is a harmony between both. 

§ 5. It cannot be any injustice in God to determine who is 
certainly to sin, and so certainly to be damned. For, if we 
suppose this impossibility, that God had not determined any 
thing, things would happen as fatally as they do now. For, 
as to such an absolute contingency, which they attribute to 
■man's will, calling it the sovereignty of the will ; if they mean, 
by this sovereignty of will, that a man can will as he wills, it 
is perfect nonsense, and the same as if they should spend 
abundance of time and pains, and be very hot at proving, that 
a man can will when he doth will ; that is, that it is possible 
for that to be, which is. But if they mean, that there is a 
perfect contingency in the will of man, that is, that it happen* 
merely by chance that a man wills such a thing, and not anoth- 
er, it is an impossibility and contradiction, that a thing should 
be without any cause or reason, and when there was every 
way as much cause why it shculd not have been. Where- 
fore, seeing things do unavoidably go fatally and necessarily, 
what injustice is it in the Supreme Being, seeing it is a con- 
tradiction that it should be otherwise, to decree that they 
should be as they are ? 

§ 6. Contingency, as it is holdcn by some, is at the same 
time contradicted by themselves, if they hold foreknowledge. 
This is all that follows from an absolute, unconditional, irre- 
versible decree, that it is impossible but that the things de- 
creed should be. The same exactly follows from foreknowl- 
edge, that it is absolutely impossible but that the thing cer- 
tainly foreknown should precisely come to pass. 

If it will universally hold, that none can have absolutely 
perfect and complete happiness, at the same time that any 
thing is otherwise than he desires at that time it should be ; 
or thus, if it be true, that he has not absolute, perfect, infinite 


and all possible happiness now, who has not now all that he 
wills to have now : Then God, if any thing is now otherwise 
than he wills to have it now, is not now absolutely, perfectly 
and infinitely happy. If God is infinitely happy now, then 
every thing is now, as God would have it to be now ; if every 
thing, then those things that are contrary to his commands. 
If so, it is not ridiculous to say, that things which are contrary 
to God's commands, are yet in a sense agreeable to his will. 
Again, let it be considered, whether it be not certainly true, 
that every one that can with infinite ease have a thing done, 
and yet will not have it done, wills it not ; that is, whether or 
no he that wills not to have a thing clone, properly wi'.ls not to 
have a thing done. For example, let the thing be this, that 
Judas should be faithful to his Lord ; whether it be not true, 
that if God could with infinite ease have it done as he would, 
but would not have it done as he could, if he would, it be not 
proper to say, that God would not have it be, that Judas should 
be faithful to his Lord. 

§ 7. They say, to what purpose are praying and striving, 
and attending on means, if all was irreversibly determined by 
God before ? But, to say that all was determined before these 
prayers and strivings, is a very wrong way of speaking, and 
begets those ideas in the mind, which correspond with no re- 
alities with respect to God. The decrees of our everlasting 
state were not before our prayers and strivings ; for ihese are 
as much present with God from all eternity, as they are the 
moment they are present with us. They are present as part 
of his decrees, or rather as the same ; and they did as really 
exist in eternity, with respect to God, as they exist in time, 
and as much at one time as another. Therefore, we can no 
more fairly argue, that these will be in vain, because God has 
foredetermined all things, than we can, that they would be in 
vain if they existed as soon as the decree, for so they do, in- 
asmuch as they are a part of it. 

§8. That we should say, that God has decreed every ac- 
tion of men, yea, every action that is sinful, and every circum- 


stance of those actions ; that he predetermines that they shall 
be in erery respect as they afterwards are ; that he deter- 
mines that there shall he such actions, and just so sinful as 
they are ; and yet that God does not decree the actions that 
are sinful, as sin, but decrees them as good, is really consist- 
ent. For we do not mean, by decreeing an action as .sinful, 
the same as decreeing an action so that it shall he sinful ; but 
by decreeing an action as sinful, I mean decreeing it for the 
sake of the sinfulness of the action. God decrees that they 
shall be sinful, for the sake of the good that he causes to arise 
from the sinfulness thereof; whereas man decrees them for 
the sake of the evil that is in them. 

§ 9. When a distinction is made between God's revealed 
will and his secret will, or his will of command and decree, 
will is certainly in that distinction taken in two senses. His 
will of decree, is not his will in the same sense as his will of 
command is. Therefore, it is no difficulty at all to suppose, 
that the one may be otherwise than the other : His will in 
both senses is his inclination. But when we say he wills vir- 
tue, or loves virtue, or the happiness of his creature ; there- 
by is intended, that virtue, or the creature's happiness, abso- 
lutely and simply considered, is agreeable to the inclination 
of his nature. His will of decree, is his inclination to a thing, 
not as to that thing absolutely and simply, but with respect to 
the universality of things, that have been, are, or shall be. 
So God, though he hates a thing as it is simply, may incline 
to it with reference to the universality of things. Though 
he hates sin in itself, yet he may will to permit it, for the 
greater promotion of holiness in this universality, including 
all things, and at ail times. So, though he has no inclination 
to a creature's misery, considered absolutely, yet he may will 
it, for the greater promotion of happiness in this universality. 
God inclines to excellency, which is harmony, but yet he may 
incline to suffer that which is unharmonious in itself, for the 
promotion of universal harmony, or for the promoting of the 
harmony that there is in the univeisuiity, and makir;; it shine 
'..lighter. And thus it must neeus be, and no hypoiheuc 


whatsoever will relieve a man, but that he must own these 
two wills of God. For all must own, that God sometimes 
wills not to hinder the breach of his own commands, because 
he does not in fact hinder it. He wills to permit sin, it is ev- 
ident, because he does permit it. None will say that God 
himself does what he does not will to do. But you will say, 
God wills to permit sin, as he wills the creature should be 
left to his freedom ; and if he should hinder it, he would 
offer violence to the nature of his own creature. I answer, 
this comes nevertheless to the very thing that I say. You 
say, God does not will sin absolutely ; but rather than alter 
the law of nature and the nature of free agents, he wills it. 
He wills what is contrary to excellency in some particulars, 
for the sake of a more general excellency and order. So 
that this scheme of the Arminians does not help the 

§ 10. It is a proper and excellent thing for infinite glory 
to shine forth ; and for the same reason, it is proper that the 
shining forth of God's glory should be complete ; that is, 
that all parts of his glory should shine forth, that every beau- 
ty should be proportionably effulgent, that the beholder may 
have a proper notion of God. It is not proper that one glory 
should be exceedingly manifested, and another not at all ; for 
then the effulgence would not answer the reality. For the 
same reason it is not proper that one should be manifested 
exceedingly, and another but very little. It is highly proper 
that the effulgent glory of God should answer his real excel- 
lency ; that the splendor should be answerable to the real 
and essential glory, for the same reason that it is proper and 
excellent for God to glorify himself at all. Thus it is neces- 
sary, that God's awful majesty, his authority and dreadful 
greatness, justice and holiness, should be manifested. But 
this could not be, unless sin and punishment had been de- 
creed ; so that the shining forth of God's glory would be very 
imperfect, both because these parts of divine glory would not 
shine forth as the others do, and also the glory of his good- 
ness, love and holiness would be faint without them ; nay, 
•hey could scarcely shine forth at all. If it were not righ- 


that God should decree and permit and punish sin, there 
could be no manifestation of God's holiness in hatred of sin, 
or in shewing any preference, in his providence, of godliness 
before it. There would be no manifestation of God's grace 
or true goodness, if there was no sin to be pardoned, no mis- 
ery to be saved from. How much happiness soever he be- 
stowed, his goodness would not be so much prized and ad- 
mired, and the sense of it not so great, as we have elsewhere 
shown. We little consider how much the sense of good is 
heightened by the sense of evil, both moral and natural. And 
as it is necessary that there should be evil, because the dis- 
play of the glory of God could not but be imperfect and incom- 
plete without it, so evil is necessary, in order to the highest 
happiness of the creature, and the completeness of that com- 
munication of God, for which he made the world ; because 
the creature's happiness consists in the knowledge of God and 
sense of his love. And if the knowledge of him be imper- 
fect, the happiness of the creature must be proportionably 
imperfect ; and the happiness of the creature would be im- 
perfect upon another account also ; for, as we have said, the 
sense of good is comparatively dull and flat, without the 
knowledge of evil. 

§11. It is owned, that God did choose men to eternal 
life, upon a foresight of their faith. But then, here is the 
question, whether God decreed that faith, and chose them 
that they should believe. 

§ 12. The sin of crucifying Christ being foreordained of 
God in his decree, and ordered in his providence, of which 
we have abundant evidence from the nature of the thing, and 
from the great ends God had to accomplish by means of 
this wicked act of crucifying Christ ; it being, as it were, the 
cause of all the decrees, the greatest of all decreed events, 
and that on which all other decreed events depend as their 
main foundation ; being the main thing in that greatest work 
of Cod, the work of redemption, which is the end of all other 
works ; and it being so much prophesied of, and so plainly 


Spoken of, as being done according to the determinate counsel 
and foreknowledge of God ; I say, seeing we have such evi- 
dence that this sin is foreordained in God's decrees, and or- 
dered in providence, and it being, as it were, the head sin, and 
representative of the sin of men in general ; hence is a clear 
argument, that all the sins of men are foreordained and or- 
dered by a wise providence. 

§ 13. It is objected against the absolute decrees respect- 
ing the future actions of men, and especially the unbelief of 
sinners, and their rejection of the gospel, that this does not 
consist with the sincerity of God's calls and invitations to such 
sinners ; as he has willed, in his eternal secret decree, that 
they should never accept of those invitations. To which I 
answer, that there is that in God, respecting the acceptance 
and compliance of sinners, which God knows will never be, 
and which he has decreed never to cause to be, in which, 
though it be not just the same with our desiring and wishing 
for that which will never come to pass, yet there is nothing 
wanting but what would imply imperfection in the case. 
There is all in God that is good, and perfect, and excellent in 
our desires and wishes for the conversion and salvation of 
wicked men. As, for instance, there is a love to holiness, 
absolutely considered, or an agreeablen^ss of holiness to his 
nature and will ; or, in ether words, to his natural inclination. 
The holiness and happiness of the creature, absolutely consid- 
ered, are things that he loves. These things are infinitely 
more agreeable to his nature than to ours. There is all in God 
that belongs to our desire of the holiness and happ'utess of 
unconverted men and reprobates, excepting what implies im- 
perfection. All that is consistent with infinite knowledge, 
wisdom, power, selfsufiicience, infinite happiness and immu- 
tability. Therefore, there is no reason that his absolute pre- 
science, or his wise determination and ordering what is fu- 
ture, should hinder his expressing this disposition of his 
nature, in like manner as we are wont to express such a 
disposition in ourselves, viz. by calls and invitations, and 
the like. 


The disagreeableness of the wickedness and misery of the 
creature, absolutely considered, to the nature of God, is all 
that is good in pious and holy men's lamenting the past mis- 
ery and wickedness of men. Their lamenting these, is good 
no farther than it proceeds from the disagreeableness of those 
things to their holy and good nature. This is also all that is 
good in wishing for the future holiness and happiness of men. 
And there is nothing wanting in God, in order to his having 
such desires and such lamentings, but imperfection ; and 
nothing is in the way of his having them, but infinite perfec- 
tion ; and therefore it properly, naturally and necessarily 
came to pass, that when God, in the manner of existence, 
came down from his infinite perfection, and accommodated 
himself to our nature and manner, by being made man, as he 
was, in the person of Jesus Christ, he really desired the con- 
version and salvation of reprobates, and lamented their obsti- 
nacy and misery ; as when he beheld the city Jerusalem, and 
wept over it, saying, " O Jerusalem," Sec. In the like man- 
ner, when he comes down from his infinite perfection, though 
not in the manner of being, but in the manner of manifesta- 
tion, and accommodates himself to our nature and manner, in 
the manner of expression, it is equally natural and proper 
that he should express himself as though he desired the con- 
version and salvation of reprobates, and lamented their obsti- 
nacy and misery. 

§ 14. Maxim 1. There is no such thing truly as any 
pain or grief, or trouble in God. 

Maxim 2. Hence it follows that there is no such thing 
as any real disappointment in God, or his being really cross- 
ed in his will, or tilings going contrary to his Will ; because, 
according to the notion of will, to have one's will, is agreeable 
and pleasing ; for it is the notion of being pleased or suited, 
to have things as we will them to be ; and so, on the other 
hand, to have things contrary to one's will, is disagreeable, 
troublesome or uncomfortable. Job xxiii. 13. " He is in 
one mind, and who c*n turn him I And what his soul de 
sireth, that he doth," 


In the first place, I lay this down, which I suppose none 
will deny, that as to God's own actions, God decrees them, or 
purposes them beforehand. For none will be so absurd as to 
say that God acts without intentions, or without designing to 
act, or that he forbears to act, without intending to forbear. 
2dly. That whatsoever God intends or purposes, he intends 
and purposes from all eternity, and that there are no new pur- 
poses or intentions in God. For, if God sometimes begins 
to intend what he did not intend before, then two things will 

1. That God is not omniscient. If God sometimes be- 
gins to design what he did not design before, it must of 
necessity be for Want of knowledge, or for want of knowing 
things before as he knows them now, for want of having exact- 
ly the same views of things. If God begins to intend what he 
did not before intend, it must be because he now sees reasons 
to intend it, that he did not see before ; or that he has some- 
thing new, objected to his understanding, to influence him. 

2. If God begins to intend or purpose things that he did 
not intend before, then God is certainly mutable, and then he 
must in his own mind and will, be liable to succession and 
change ; for wherever there arc new things, there is succes- 
sion and change. Therefore, I shall take these two things 
for positions granted and supposed in this controversy, viz. 
that as to God's own actions and forbearings to act, he de- 
crees and purposes them beforehand ; and that whatsoever 
God designs or purposes, he purposes from all eternity, and 
thus decrees from all eternity all his own actions, and for- 
bearings to act. 

Coroll. Hence God decrees from all eternity, to per- 
mit all the evil that ever he does permit ; because God's per- 
mitting is God's forbearing to act or to prevent. 

§ 15. It can be made evident by reason, that nothing can 
come to pass, but what it is the will and pleasure of God should 
come to pass. This may be argued from the infinite happi- 
ness of God. For every being had rather things should go 

Vol, V. 2 X 


according; to his will, than not ; because, if he had not rathe*, 
then it is not his will. It is a contradiction to say, he wills it, 
and yet does not choose it, or had not rather it should be so 
than not. But, if God had rather things should be according 
to his will than not, then, if a thing fall out otherwise than he 
hath willed, he meets with a cross ; because, on this suppo- 
sition, he had rather it should have been otherwise- and there- 
fore he would have been better pleased if the thing had been 
otherwise. It is contrary to what he chose, and therefore it 
is of necessity that he must be displeased. It is of necessity 
that every being should be pleased, when a thing is as he 
chooses, or had rather it should be. It is a contradiction to 
suppose otherwise. For it is the very notion of being pleas- 
ed, to have things agreeable to one's pleasure. For the very 
same reason, every being is crossed, or it is unpleasing to 
him, when a thing is, that he chose, and had rather should 
not have been. For it is the very notion of a thing's being 
cross or unpleasing to any, that it is contrary to his 

But if God can meet with crosses and things unpleasing to 
him, then he is not perfectly and unchangeably happy. For 
wherever there is any unpleasedness or unpleasantness, it 
must, of necessity, in a degree diminish the happiness of the 
subject. Where there is any cross to a being's choice, there 
is something contrary to happiness. Wherever there is any 
unpleasedness, there is something contrary to pleasure, and 
which consequently diminishes pleasure. It is impossible 
any thing should be plainer than this. 

§ 16. The commands and prohibitions of God arc only 
significations of our duty and of his nature. It is acknowl- 
edged that .sin is, in itself considered, infinitely contrary to 
God's nature ; but it does not follow, but that it may be the 
pleasure of God to permit it, for the sake of the good that he 
will bring cut of it. God can bring such good out of that, 
which in itself is contrary to his nature, and which, in itself 
considered, he abhors, as may be very agreeable to his na- 
ture, and when sin is spoken of as contrary to the will of 


God, it is contrary to his will, considered only as in itself. 
As man commits it, it is contrary to. God's will; for men 
act in committing; it with a view to that which is evil. But 
as God permits it, it is not contrary to God's will ; for God 
in permitting it has respect to the great good that he will 
make it an occasion of. If God respected sin as man res- 
pects it in committing it, it would be exceedingly contrary to 
his will ; but considered as God decrees to permit it, it is 
»ot contrary to God's will. To give an instance.. ..The cru- 
cifying of Christ was a great sin ; and as men committed it, 
it was exceedingly hateful and highly provoking to God. Yet 
upon many great considerations it was the will of God that it 
should be done. Will any body say that it was not the will 
of God that Christ should be crucified ? Acts iv. 28. " For 
to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before 
to be done." 

§ 17. Sin is an evil, yet the futurition of sin, or that sin 
should be future, is not an evil thing. Evil is an evil thing, 
and yet it may be a good thing that evil should be in the 
world . There is certainly a difference between the thing it- 
self existing, and its being an evil thing that ever it came in- 
to existence;. As, for instance, it might be an evil thing to 
crucify Christ, but yet it was a good thing that the crucifying 
of Christ came to pass. As men's act, it was evil, but as 
God ordered it, it was good. Who will deny but that it may 
be so that evil's coming to pass may be an occasion of a great- 
er good than that is an evil, and so of there being more good 
in the whole, than if that evil had not come to pass ? And if 
so, then it is a good thing that that evil comes to pass. When 
we say the thing is an evil thing in itself, then we mean that 
it is evil, considering it only within its own bounds. But 
when we say that it is a good thing that ever it came to pass,, 
ihen we consider the thing as a thing among events, or as 
one thing belonging to the series of events, and as related to 
the rest of the series. If a man should say that it was a good 
thing that ever it happened that Joseph's brethren sold him into 
Egypt, or that it was a good thing that ever it came to pass chat 


Pope Leo X. sent out indigencies for the commission of fu- 
ture sins, nobody would understand a man thus expressing 
himself, as justifying these acts. 

It implies no contradiction to suppose that an act may be 
an evil act, and yet that it is a good thing that such an act 
should come to pass. A man may have been a bad man, 
and yet it may be a good thing that there has been such a 
man. This implies no contradiction ; because it implies no 
contradiction to suppose that there being such a man may be 
an occasion of there being more good in the whole, than 
there would have been otherwise. So it no more implies a 
contradiction to suppose that an action may be a bad action, 
and yet that if may be a good thing that there has been such 
an action. God's commands, and calls, and counsels, do im- 
ply another thing, viz. that it is our duty to do these things ; 
and though they may be our duty, yet it may be certain be- 
forehand that we shall not do them. 

And if there be any difficulty in this, the same difficulty 
will attend the scheme of the Arminians ; for they allow 
that God permits sin. Therefore, as he permits it, it cannot 
be contrary to his will. For if it were contrary to his will as 
lie permits it, then it would be contrary to his will to permit, 
it ; for that is the same thing. But nobody will say that 
God permits sift, when it is against his will to permit it ; for 
this would be to make him act involuntarily, or against his 
own will. 

§ 18. " The wrath of man shall praise thee, and the re- 
mainder of wrath shalt thou restrain." Psal. lxxvi. 10. If 
God restrains sin when he pleases ; and when he permits it, 
permits it for the :;ake of some good that it will be an occa- 
sion of, and does actually restrain it in all other cases ; it is 
evident that when he permits it, it is his will that it should 
come to pass for the sake of the good that it will he an occa- 
sion ci*. If he permits it for the sake of that p;ood,then he does 
not permit it merely because he Mould infringe on the crea- 
ture's liberty in restraining it ; as is further evident because 
.be docs restrain it when ihtft good is not in view. If it be bi9 


will to permit it to come to pass, for the sake of the good that 
its coming to pass will be an occasion of; then it is his will 
to permit it, that by its coming to pass he may obtain that 

good; and 1 here fore, it must necessarily be his will that it 
should come to pass, that he may obtain that good. If he per- 
mits it, that, by its coming to pass, he may obtain a certain 
good, then his proximate end in permitting it, is that it may 

come to pass. And if he wills the means for the sake of the 

end, he therein wills the end. If God wills to permit a thing 
that it may come to pass, then he wills that it should come to 
pass. This is selfevident. But if he wills to permit it to 
come to pass, that by its coming to pass he may obtain some 
end, then he wills to permit it that it should come to pass. 
For t© will to permit a thing to come to pass, that by its com- 
ing to pass good may be obtained, is exactly the same thing 
as to will to permit it to come to pass, that it may come to 
pass, and so the end may be attained. To will to permit a 
thing to come to pass, that he may obtain some end by its 
coming to pass, and yet to be unwilling that it should come 
to pass, ceitainly implies a contradiction. 

If the foundation of that distinction that there is between 
one man and another, whereby one is a good man, and anoth- 
er a wicked man, be God's pleasure, and his causation ; then 
God has absolutely elected the particular persons that are to 
be godly. For, by supposition, it is owing to his determina- 
tion. Matth. xi. 25, 26, 27. " At that time, Jesus answered 
and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, 
because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, 
and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father, for so 
it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me 
of my Father ; and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father ; 
neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to 
whomsoever the Son will reveal him." 

§ 19. It may be argued, from the infinite power and wis 
dom of God, that nothing can come to pass, but that it must 
be agreeable to the will and pleasure of God that it should 
eixfrm to pass. For, as was observed before, every being had 


rather things should he according to his will, t!:an not. 'i'Leti - 
ffiws, if things be not according to his will, it roust be for want 
of power. It cannot be for want of \vi!!, by supposition. It 
must therefore be for want of sufficiency. It must be either 
because he cannot have it so, or cannot have it so withoi:t 
some difficulty) or some inconvenience ; or all may be express- 
ed in a word, viz. that he wants sufficiency to have things as 
he wishes,' P.ut this cannot be the ca^e of a being- of infinite 
'■: : ;c wisdom. If he has infinite power and wis- 
• '.<• order all things to be just as he wills : And he 
vvith perfect and infinite ease, or without the least 
difficulty ofc inconveniency. Two things lie before him, both 
in his power, either to order the matter to be, or 
no) to omv-i- [t In be ; and both of them are equally easy to 
him. One is as.little trouble to him as the other ; as to easi- 
ness or trouble, they are perfectly equal. It is as easy for 
him to order it, as not to order it. Therefore, his determine 
tion, whether it be ordering it, or not ordering- it, must be a 
certain sign of his will in the c:ise. If he does order it to be, 
this is a sign that his will is that it should be. And if he does 
not order it to be, but suffers it not to be, that is as sure a sign 
that he wills that it should not be. So that, however the thing 
is, it is a sure sign that it is the will of God that it should be 
f.s it is. 

To this nothing can be objected, unless that it is not for 
want of will, nor want of power in God, that things be not as 
he would have them, but because the nature of the subject 
will not allow of it. But how can this be to the purpose, 
when the nature of the subject itself is of God, and is wholly 
within bis power, is altogether the fruit of his mere will ? And 
cannot a God of infinite wisdom and infinite power cause the 
matures of tilings to be such, and order them so after they are 
caused, as to have things as lie chooses, or -without his will's 
being crossed, and things so coming to pass that he had rath- 
them otherwise ? As, for instance, God foresaw who 
would comply with the terms of salvation, and who would 
not : And he could have forborne to give being to such as he 
would not cornplyj if ; upon some consideration, it was 


not his pleasure that there should be some who should not 
comply with the terms of salvation. Objectors may say, God 
cannot always prevent men's sins, unless he act contrary to 
the free nature of the subject, or without destroying men's 
liberty. But will they deny, that an omnipotent and infinitely 
wise God could not possibly invent and set before men such 
strong motives to obedience, and have kept them before them 
in such a manner, as should have influenced all mankind to 
continue in their obedience, as the elect angels have done, 
without destroying their liberty ? God will order it so, that the 
saints and angels in heaven never will sin : And does it there- 
fore follow, that their liberty is destroyed, and that ftfey ate nc: 
free, but forced in their actions r Does it ibilow, that they are- 
turned into blocks, as the Arminians say the'Calvinist doc- 
trines turn men ? 

§ 20. God decrees all the good that ever comes to pass ; 
and therefore there certainly will come to pass no more good, 
than he has absolutely decreed to cause ; and there certainly 
and infallibly will no more believe, no more be godly, and no 
more be saved, than God has decreed that he will cause to be- 
lieve, and cause to be godly, and will save. 

§21. The foreknowledge of God will necessarily infer a 
decree : For God could not foreknow that things would be, 
unless he had decreed they should be ; and that because 
things would not be future, unless he had decreed they should 
be. If God, from all eternity, knew that such and such things 
were future, then they were future ; and consequently the 
proposition was from all eternity true, that such a thing, at 
such a time, would be. And it is as much impossible that 
a thing should be future, without some reason of its being fu- 
ture, as that it should actually be, without some reason why 
it is. It is as perfectly unreasonable to suppose, that this 
proposition should be true, viz. such a thing will be, or is to 
be, without a reason why it is true ; as it is that this proposi- 
tion should be true, such a thing actually is, or has been, with- 
out some reason why that is true, or whv that thing exists. 


For, as the being of the thing is not in its own nature necessa- 
ry, so that proposition that was true before, viz. that it shall 
be, is not in its own nature a necessary truth. And therefore 
I draw this consequence, that if there must be some reason 
of the futurition of the thing, or why the thing is future ; this 
can be no other than God's decree, or the truth of the propo- 
sition, that such a thing will be, has been determined by God. 
For the truth of the proposition is determined by the supposi- 
tion. My meaning is, that it does not remain a question ; 
but the matter is decided, whether the proposition shall be 
true or not. The thing, in its own nature, is not necessary, 
but only possible ; and therefore, it is not of itself that it is 
future ; it is not of itself in a state of futurition, if I may so 
speak, but only in a state of possibility ; and there must be 
some cause to bring it out of a state of mere possibility, into 
a state of futurition. This must be God only ; for there was 
no other being by supposition existing. And though other 
things are future, yet it will not be sufficient to say, that the 
futurition of other things is the cause of the futurition of this. 
And it is owing only to him, that is the first being, and that 
exists necessarily, and of himself, that all other things, that 
are not in their own nature necessary, or necessarily future, 
but merely possible, are brought out of that state of mere pos- 
sibility, into a state of futurition, to be certainly future. Here 
is an effect already done, viz. the rendering that which in its 
own nature is only possible, to be certainly future, so that it 
can be certainly known to be future : And there must be 
something already existing, that must have caused this effect. 
Whatsoever is not of itself or by the necessity of its own na- 
ture, is an effect of something else. But that such a thing 
should be future by supposition, is not of itself or by necessi- 
ty of its own nature. If things that appertain to the creature, 
or things that come to pass in time, be not future of them- 
selves and of their own nature, then they are future, because 
God makes them to be future. This is exceedingly evident ; 
for there is nothing else at all beside God and things that 
come to pass in time. And therefore, if things that come to 


pass in time have not the reason of their own futurition in 
themselves, it must be in God. 

But if you say, that the ground or reason of their futurition 
is in the things themselves, then things are future, prior to any 
decree, or their futurition is antecedent in nature of any de- 
cree of God. And then, to what purpose is any decree of 
God ? For, according to this supposition, God's decreeing 
does not make any thing future, or not future ; because it 
was future, prior to his decree. His decreeing or appointing 
that any thing shall be, or shall not be, does not alter the case. 
It is not about to be, or about not to be, any thing the more 
for God's decreeing it. According to this supposition, God 
has no freedom or choice in decreeing or appointing any 
thing. It is not at his choice what shall be future, and what 
not ; no not in one thing. For the futurition of things is by 
this supposition antecedent in nature to his choice ; so that 
his choosing or refusing does not alter the case. The things 
in themselves are future, and his decreeing cannot make them 
not future ; for they cannot be future and not future at the 
same time ; neither can it make them future, because they 
are future already ; so that they who thus plead for man's lib- 
erty, advance principles which destroy the freedom of God 
himself. It is allowed that things are future before they come 
to pass ; because God foreknows them. Either things are 
future antecedently to God's decree and independently of it, 
or they are not. If they are not future antecedently to, and 
independently of God's decree, then they are made so by his 
decree; there is no medium. But if they are so antecedent- 
ly to his decree, then the above mentioned absurdity will fol- 
low, viz. that God has no power by his decree to make any 
thing future or not future. He has no choice in the case. 
And if it be already decided, something must have decided it ; 
for, as has been already shown, it is not true without a reason 
why it is true. And if something has deiermined or decided 
the truth of it, it must be God that has decided it, or some- 
thing else. It cannot be chance or mere accident : That is 
contrary to every rational supposition. For it is to be sup- 
posed, that there is some reason for it, and that something 
Vol V 2Y 


does decide it. If there be any thing that comes to pass by 
mere accident, that comes to pass of itself without any reason. 
If it be not chance therefore that has decided it, it must be 
God or the creature. It cannot be the creature as actually 
existing : For, by supposition, it is determined from all eter- 
nity before any creature exists. Therefore, if it beany thing 
in the creature that decides it in any way, it must be only the 
futurition of that thing in the creature. But this brings us 
to the absurdity and contradiction, that the same thing is both 
the cause and the effect of itself. The very effect, the cause 
of which we are seeking, is the futurition of the thing ; and 
if this futurition be the cause of that effect, it is the cause of 

§ 22. The first objection of the Arminians is, that the di- 
vine decree infringes on the creature's liberty. In answer t« 
this objection, we may observe some things to shew what is 
the true notion of liberty, and the absurdity of their notion of 
liberty. Their notion of liberty is, that there is a sovereign- 
ty in the will, and that the will determines itself, so that its 
determination to choose or refuse this or that, is primarily 
within itself ; which description of liberty implies a selfcon- 
tradiction. For it supposes the will, in its first act, choosing 
or refusing lobe determined by itself; which implies that 
there is an antecedent act of the will to that first act, deter- 
mining that act. For, if the will determines its own first act, 
then there must be an act of the will before that first act, (for 
that determining is acting) which is a contradiction. There 
can be no fallacy in this ; for we know that if the will deter- 
mines its own act, it does not determine it without acting. 
Therefore, here is this contradiction, \iz. that there is an act 
of the will before the first act. There is an act of the will de- 
termining what it shall choose^ before the first act of choice ; 
which is as much as to say, that there is an act of volition be- 
fore the first act of volition. For the will's determining what 
it will choose, is choosing. The will's determining what it 
will will, is willing. So that according to this notion of liber- 
ty, the will must choose before it chooses, in order to deter- 


snine what it will choose. If the will determines itself, it is 
certain that one act must determine another. If the will de- 
termines its own choice, then it must determine by a forego- 
ing act what it will choose. If the will determines its own 
act, then an antecedent act determines the consequent ; for 
that determining is acting. The will cannot determine with- 
out acting. Therefore I inquire what determines that first 
act of the will, viz. its determination of its own act ? It must 
be answered, according to their scheme, that it is the will by 
a foregoing act. Here, again, we have the same contradic- 
tion, viz. that the first act of the will is determined by an act 
that is before that first act. If the will determines itself, or 
determines its own choice, the meaning of it must be, if there 
be any meaning belonging to it, that the will determines how- 
it will choose ; and that it chooses, according to that, its own 
determination how to choose, or is directed in choosing by 
that its own determination. But then I would inquire, wheth- 
er that first determination, that directs the choice, be not it- 
self an act or a volition ; and if so, I would inquire what de- 
termines that act. Is it another determination still prior to 
that in the order of nature ? Then I would inquire, what de- 
termines the first act or determination of all ? If the will, in 
its acts of willing or choosing, determines or directs itself how 
to choose, then there is something done by the will prior to 
its act of choosing that is determined, viz. its determining or 
directing itself how to choose. This act determining or di- 
recting, must be something besides cr distinct from the 
choice determined or directed, and must be prior in order of 
nature to it. Here are two acts of the will, one the cause of 
the other, viz. the act of the will directing and determining, 
and the act or choice directed or determined. Now, I inquire, 
what determines that first act of the will determining or di- 
recting, to determine and direct as it does ? If it be said, the 
will determines itself in that ; then that supposes there is 
another act of the will prior to that, directing and determining 
that act, which is contrary to the supposition. And if it was 
not, still the question would recur, what determines that first 
determining act of the will ? If the will determines itself, one 


of these three things must be meant, viz. l.That that very 
same act of the will determines itself. But this is as absurd 
as to say that something makes itself ; and it supposes it to 
be before it is. For the act of determining is as much prior 
to the thing determined, as the act making is before the thing 
made. Or, 2. The meaning must be, that the will determines 
its own act, by some other act that is prior to it in order of 
nature ; which implies that the will acts before its first act. 
Or, 3. The meaning must be, that the faculty, considered at 
the same time as perfectly without act, determines its own 
consequent act ; which is to talk without a meaning, and is a 
great absurdity. To suppose that the faculty, remaining at 
the same time perfectly without act, can determine any thing, 
is a plain contradiction ; for determining is acting. And be- 
sides, if the will does determine itself, that power of deter- 
mining itself does not argue any freedom, unless it be by an. 
act of the will, or unless that determination be itself an act of 
choice. For what freedom or liberty is there in the will's 
determining itself, without an act of choice in determining, 
whereby it may choose which way it will determine itself ? 
So that those that suppose the will has a power of selfdeter- 
mination, must suppose that that very determination is an act 
of the will, or an act of choice, or else it does not at all help 
them out in what they would, viz. the liberty of the will. But 
if that very determination how to act, be itself an act of 
choice, then the question returns, what determines this act of 

Also, the foreknowledge of God contradicts their notion 
of liberty as much, and in every respect in the same manner 
as a decree. For they do not pretend that decree contra- 
dicts liberty any otherwise, than as it infers that it is before- 
hand certain that the thing will come to pass, and that it is 
impossible but that it should be, as the decree makes an in- 
dissoluble connexion beforehand between the subject and 
predicate of the proposition, that such a thing shall be. A 
decree infers no other necessity than that. And God's fore- 
knowledge does infer the same to all intents and purposes. 
For if from all eternity God foreknew that such a thing would 


be, then the event was infallibly certain beforehand, and that 
proposition was true from all eternity, that such a thing 
would be ; and therefore there was an indissoluble connex- 
ion beforehand between the subject and predicate of that 
proposition. If the proposition was true beforehand, the sub- 
ject and predicate of it were connected beforehand. And 
therefore it follows from hence, that it is utterly impossible 
that it should not prove true, and that, for this reason, that 
it is utterly impossible that a thing should be true, and not 
true, at the same time. 

§ 23. The same kind of infallible certainty, that the 
thing will come to pass, or impossibility but that it should 
come to pass, that they object against, must necessarily be 
inferred another way, whether wc hold the thing to be any- 
way decreed or not. For it has been shown before, and I 
suppose none will deny, that God from all eternity decrees 
his own actions. Therefore he from all eternity decrees ev- 
ery punishment that he ever has inflicted, or will inflict. So 
that it is impossible, by their own reasoning, but that the 
punishment should come to pass. And if it be impossible 
but that the punishment should come to pass, then it is equal- 
ly impossible but that the sin should come to pass. For if 
it be possible that the sin should not come to pass, and yet 
impossible but that the punishment should come to pass, then 
it is impossible* but that God should punish that sin which 
may never be. 

§ 24. For God certainly to know that a thing will be, 
that possibly may be, and possibly may not be, implies a con- 
tradiction. If possibly it may be otherwise, then how can 
God know certainly that it will be ? If it possibly may be 
otherwise, then he knows it possibly may be otherwise ; and 
that it is inconsistent with his certainly knowing that it will 
not be otherwise. If God certainly knows it will be, and yet 
it may possibly be otherwise, then it may possibly happen to 
be otherwise than God certainly knows it will be. If so, then 
it may possibly happen that God may be mistaken in his 


judgment, when he certainly knows ; for it is supposed that 
it is possible that it should be otherwise than he judges. For 
that it should be otherwise than fie judges, and that he should 
be mistaken, are the same thing. How unfair therefore is it 
in those that hold the foreknowledge of God, to insist upon 
this objection from human liberty, against the decrees, when 
their scheme is attended with the same difficulty, exactly in 
the same manner ! 

§ 25. Their other objection is, that God's decrees make 
God the author of sin. I answer, that there is no more ne- 
cessity of supposing God the author of sin, on this scheme, 
than on the other. For if we suppose, according to my doc- 
trine, that God has determined, from all eternity, the number 
and persons of those that shall perform the condition of the 
covenant of grace ; in order to support this doctrine, there is 
no need of maintaining any more concerning God's decree- 
ing sin, than this, viz. that God has decreed that he will per- 
mit all the sin that ever comes to pass, and that upon his 
permitting it, it will certainly come to pass. And they hold 
the same thing ; for they hold that God does determine be- 
forehand to permit all the sin that does come to pass ; and 
that he certainly knows that if he does permit it, it will come 
to pass. I say, they in their scheme allow both these ; they 
allow that God docs permit all the sin to come to pass, that 
ever docs come to pass ; and those that allow the foreknowl- 
edge of God, do also allow the other thing, viz. that he knows 
concerning all the sin that ever does really come to pass, that 
it will come to pass upon his permitting it. So that if this 
be making God the author of sin, they make him so in the 
very same way that they charge us with doing it. 

§ 26. One objection of their's against God's decreeing 
or ordering, in any sense, that sin should come to pass, is, 
that .man cannot do this without making himself sinful and in 
some measure, guilty of the sin, and that therefore God can- 
not. To this I answer, that the same objection lies against 
their <. v,n scheme two ways : 1. Because thev own that God 


does permit sin, and that he determines to permit it before- 
hand, and that he knows, with respect to all sin that ever is 
committed, that upon his permitting it, it will come to pass ; 
and we hold no other. 2. Their objection is, that what is a 
sin in men, is a sin in God ; and therefore, in any sense to de- 
cree sin, would be a sin. But if this objection be good, it is 
as strong against God's permission of sin, which they allow ; 
for it would be a sin in men to permit sin. We ought not to 
permit or suffer it where we have opportunity to hinder it ; 
and we cannot permit it without making ourselves in some 
measure guilty. Yet they allow that God does permit sin ; 
and that his permitting it does not make him guilty of it. 
Why must the argument from men to God be stronger in 
the other case than in this ? 

§ 27. They say, that we ought to begin in religion, with 
the perfections of God, and make these a rule to interpret 
scripture. Ans. 1. If this be the best rule, I ask, why is it 
not as good a rule to argue from these perfections of God, 
his omniscience, infinite happiness, infinite wisdom and pow- 
er, as his other attributes that they argue from ? If it be not 
as good a rule to argue from these as those, it must be be- 
cause they are not so certain, or because it is not so certain 
that he is possessed of these perfections. But this they will 
not maintain ; for his moral perfections are proved no other- 
wise than by arguing from his natural perfections ; and there- 
fore the latter must be equally certain with the former. 
What we prove another thing by, must at least be as certain 
as it makes the thing proved by it. If an absolute and uni- 
versal decree does infer a seeming inconsistence with some 
of God's moral perfections, they must confess the contrary 
to have a seeming inconsistence with the natural perfections 
of God. 

Again, 2dly. They lay it down for a rule to embrace no 
doctrine which they by their own reason cannot reconcile 
with the moral perfections of God. But I would shew the 
unreasonableness of this rule. For, 1. If this be a good rule, 
then it always was so. Let us then see what will follow. We 


shall then, 2dly, have reason to conclude every thing to be 
really inconsistent with God's moral perfections, that we can- 
not reconcile with his moral perfections ; for if we have not 
reason to conclude that it is inconsistent, then we have no 
reason to conclude that it is not true. But if this be true that 
we have reason to conclude every thing is inconsistent with 
God's moral perfections which we cannot reconcile with those 
perfections, then David had reason to conclude that some things 
that he saw take place, in fact were inconsistent with God's 
mora' perfections, for he could not reconcile them with those 
perfections, Psalm lxxiii. And Job had cause to come to the 
same conclusion concerning some events in his day. 3. If it 
be a good rule that Ave must conclude that to be inconsistent 
with the divine perfections, that we cannot reconcile with, or, 
which is the same thing, that we cannot see how it is consist- 
ent with those perfections, then it must be because we have 
reason to conclude that it cannot happen that our reason can- 
not see how it can be, and then it will follow that we must re- 
ject the doctrine of the Trinity, the incarnation of the Son of 
God, &c. 

The scripture itself supp'oses that there are some things 
in the scripture that men may not be able to reconcile with 
God's moral perfections. See Rom. ix. 19. "Why doth 
he yet find fault ? For who hath resisted his will ?" And 
the apostle does not answer the objection, by shewing us how 
to reconcile it with the moral perfections of God, but by rep- 
resenting the arrogancy of quarrelling with revealed doctrines 
under such a pretence, and not considering the infinite dis- 
tance between God and us. " Nay, but who art thou, O man, 
that repliest against God ?" And God answered Job after 
the same manner. God rebuked him for darkening counsel 
by words without knowledge, and answered him, only by de- 
claring and manifesting to him the infinite distance between 
God and him ; so letting him know, that it hecame him 
humbly to submit to God, and acknowledge his justice even 
in those things that were difficult to his reason ; and that 
without solving his difficulties any other way than by making 
him sensible of the weakness of his own understanding. 


§ 28. If there be no election, then it is not God that 
makes men to differ, expressly contrary to scripture. No 
man ought to praise God for that happiness that he has above 
other men, or for that distinction that is between him and 
other men, that he is holy and that he is saved ; when they 
are not holv and not saved. The saints in heaven, when they 
look on the devils in hell, have no occasion to praise God on 
account of the difference between them. Some of the ill 
consequences of the Arminian doctrines are, that it robs God 
of the greater part of the glory of his grace, and takes away a 
principal motive to love and praise him, and exalts man to 
God's room, and ascribes the glory to self, that belongs to 
God alone. Rom. xi. 7. « The election hath obtained, and 
the rest were blinded." That by the election here is not 
meant the Gentiles, but the elect part of the Jews, is most 
apparent by the context. Such Arminians who allow, that 
some only are elected, and not all that are saved, but that 
none are reprobated, overthrow hereby their own main objec- 
tion against reprobation, viz. that God offers salvation to all, 
and encourages them to seek it, which say they, would be 
inconsistent with God's truth, if he had absolutely determin- 
ed not to save them ; for they will not deny that those that 
are elected whilst ungodly, are warned of God to beware of 
eternal damnation, and to avoid such and such things, lest 
they should be damned. But for God to warn men to be- 
ware of damnation, though he has absolutely determined that 
they shall not be damned, is exactly parallel with his exhort- 
ing men to seek salvation, though he has actually determin- 
ed that they shall not be saved. 

§ 29. That election is not from a foresight of werks, or 
conditional, as depending on the condition of man's will, is 
evident by 2 Tim. i. 9. « Who hath saved us, and called us 
with an holy Galling, not according to our works, but accord- 
ing to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in 
Christ Jesus before the world began." Philip, ii. 13. « For 
it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of his 
own good pleasure." Rom. ix. 15, 16. "I will have mercy 
on whom I will have mercy, and will have compassion od 
Vol. V. 2 Z 


whom I will have compassion. So then, it is not of him that 
Willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth 
mercy." Men's labors and endeavors themselves are from 
God. 1 Cor. xv. 10. " But by the grace of God, I am what 
I am ; and his grace which was bestowed upon me, was not 
in vain ; but I labored more abundantly than they all. Yet 
not I, but the grace of God which was with me." 

§ 30. God decrees all things, and even all sins. Acts ii. 
23. " Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and 
foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands 
have crucified and slain ;" iv. 28. " For to do whatsoever 
thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done." If 
the thing meant, be only that Cnrist's sufferings should 
come to pass by some means or other,; I answer, they could 
not come to pass but by sin. For contempt and disgrace was 
one thing he was to suffer. Even the free actions of men 
are subject to God's disposal. Prov. xxi. 1. "The king's 
heart is in the hand of the Lord ; be turneth it as the rivers 
of water, whithersoever it pleaselh him." See Jer. Hi. 3. 
« For through the anger of the Lord it came to pass in 
Jerusalem and Judah, till he had cast them out from 
his presence, that Zedckiah rebelled against the king of Bab- 
ylon." The not complying with the terms of the covenant 
of grace is decreed, 1 Pet. ii. 8. " A stone of stumbling and 
a rock of offence to them that stumble at the word, being dis- 
obedient, whereunto also they were appointed." What man 
determines, never comes to pass, unless God determines it, 
Lam. iii. 37. " Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, 
and the Lord commandeth it not i" By commanding is here 
meant willing ; and God is elsewhere said to speak, and it was 
done ; to command, and it stood fast. God determines the 
limits of men's lives. This is exceeding evident. Job vii. 1. 
" Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth ? Are 
not his days also like the days of an hireling ?" Days of an 
hireling signify an appointed, certain, limited time ; as Isa. 
xvi. 14, and Isa. xxi. 16. If the limits of men's lives are de- 
termined, men's free actions must be determined,, and even 


their sins ; for their lives often depend on such acts. See 
also Job xiv. 5. 

§31. If God does not know all things, then his knowl- 
edge may increase, he may gain, and may grow wiser as he 
grows older. He may discover new things, and may draw 
consequences from them. And he may be mistaken : If he 
does not know, he may guess wrong : If he does not know, 
he has no infallible judgment ; for an infallible judgment is 
knowledge. And if he may be mistaken, he may order mat- 
ters wrong ; he may be frustrated ; his measures may be 
broken. For, doubtless, in things that are uncertain, he or- 
ders things according to what appears most probable, or else 
he fails in prudence. But in so ordering things, his meas- 
ures may be broken. And then the greater part of the great 
events, viz. events among rational creatures, would be uncer- 
tain to him. For the greater part of them depend on men's 
free actions. That he does foreknow, is evident by his pre- 
dicting and foretelling events, and even the sins of men, as 
Judas's sin. If he did not foreknow, he might change his 
will as he altered his views. Now, it is especially with res- 
pect to God's will and purposes, that he is said in scripture 
not to be changeable. Having thus proved the foreknowl- 
edge of God, and the greater part of Arminians not denying 
it, I shall hereafter take it for granted, and shall argue against 
those only that allow it. If he did not foreknow and might be 
disappointed, he might repent. 

§ 32. They say, as God's power extends only to all 
things possible, so God's knowledge only extends to all things 

Ans. Things impossible, or contradictions, are not things ; 
but events that come to pass, are things. God's power does 
extend to all things, otherwise it would not be infinite. So 
neither is the knowledge of God infinite, unless God knows all 
things. To suppose that God cannot do things impossible, does 
not suppose that God's power can be increased. But to sup- 
pose that God docs not know men's free actions does sun- 


pose that God's knowledge may be increased. To suppose 
that God's decrees are conditional, in the sense of the Armin» 
ians, or that they depend, as they suppose, on a foresight of 
something that shall come to pass in time, is to suppose that 
something that first begins to be in time, is the cause of 
something that has been from all eternity, which is absurd ; 
for nothing can be a cause of that existence, which is before 
the existence of that cause. What an absurdity is it, to sup- 
pose that that existence which is an effect, is effected by a 
cause, when that cause that effects it, is not, or has no being ? 
If it be answered, that it is not the actual existence of the 
thing, that is the reason or cause of the decree, but the fore- 
sight of the existence ; and the foresight of the existence 
may be at the same time with the decree, and before it, in 
the order of nature, though the existence itself is not ; and 
that it is not properly the actual existence of the thing fore- 
seen, that is the cause of the decree, but the existence of it 
in the divine foreknowledge. I reply, that this does not help 
the difficulty at all, but only puts it a step farther off ; for 
Still, by their scheme, the foreknowledge depends on the fu- 
ture actual existence ; so that the actual existence is the 
cause of the divine foreknowledge, which is infinite ages be- 
fore it. And it is a great absurdity to suppose this effect to 
flow from this cause, before the existence of the cause. And 
whatever is said, the absurdity will occur, unless we suppose 
that the divine decree is the ground of the futurition of the 
event, and also the ground of the foreknowledge of it. Then 
the cause is before the effect ; but otherwise the effect is be- 
fore the cause. 

§ 33. If God absolutely determined that Christ's death 
should have success in gathering a church to him, it will fol- 
low that there was a number absolutely elected, or that God 
had determined some should surely be saved. If God deter- 
mined that some should surely be saved, that implies that he 
had determined that he would see to it, that some should per- 
form the conditions of salvation and be saved ; or, which is 
the same thing, that he would cause that they should be 
surely saved. But this cannot be, without fixing on the per? 


sons beforehand. For the cause is before the effect. There 
is no such thing as God's resolving absolutely beforehand 
that he would save some, and yet not determining who they 
should be, before they were actually saved : Or that he should 
see to it, that there should be in a number the requisites of 
salvation, and yet not determine who, till they actually have 
the requisites of salvation. But God had absolutely determin- 
ed that some should be saved, yea a great number, after 
Christ's death ; and had determined it beforehand. Because 
he had absolutely promised it ; Isa. xlix. 6, and liii. 10. See 
in Psal. lxxii. and other places in the Psalms, and Tit. ii. 14. 
God, having absolutely purposed this before Christ's death, 
must either have then determined the persons, or resolved that 
he would hereafter determine the persons ; at least, if he saw 
there was need of it, and saw that they did not come in of 
themselves. But this latter supposition, if we allow it, over- 
throws the Arminian scheme. It shows, that such a prede- 
termination, or absolute election, is not inconsistent with 
God's perfections, or the nature of the gospel constitution, or 
God's government of the world, and his promise of reward to 
the believing and obedient, and the design of gospel offers and 
commands, as the Arminians suppose. If God has absolute- 
ly determined to save some certain persons, then, doubtless, 
he has in like manner determined concerning all that are to 
be saved. God's promising, supposes- not only that the thing 
is future, but that God will do it. If it be left to chance, or 
man's contingent will, and the event happen right, God is nev- 
er the truer. He performs not his promise ; he takes no ef- 
fectual care about it ; it is not he that promised, that per- 
forms. That thing, or, rather nothing, called fortune, orders 
all. ...Concerning the absurdity of supposing that it was not ab- 
solutely determined beforehand, what success there should be 
of Christ's death ; see PolhiWs S/iec. Theolog. in Christo, p. 
165... .171. 

It is pretended, that the antecedent certainty of any sin's 
oeing committed, seeing that it is attended with necessity, 
takes away all liberty, and makes warnings and exhorl i 
to avoid sin, a mere illusion. To this I would bring 


stance of Peter. Christ told him, that he should surely deny 
him thrice that night, before the cock should crow twice. 
And yet, after that, Christ exhorted all his disciples to watch 
and pray, that they might not fall into temptation ; and di- 
rects, ihat he who had no sword, should sell his garment and 
buy one. 

§ 34. How evident is it, that God sets up that to be sought 
after as a reward of virtue, and the fruit of our endeavors, 
•which yet he has determined shall never come to pass ? As, 
1 Sam. xiii. 13. " And Samuel said unto Saul, Thou hast 
done foolishly ; thou hast not kept the commandment of the 
Lord thy God, which he commanded thee. For now would 
the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever." 
It is evident that God had long before decreed, that the king- 
dom of Israel should be established in the tribe of Judah.... 
Luke xxii. 22. " The son cf man goeth as it was determin- 
ed [Matth. xxvi. 24, and Mark xiv. 21, as it is written of him] 
but woe unto that man by whom the son of man is betrayed." 
As it nvas determined : As this passage is not liable to the am- 
biguities which some have apprehended in Acts ii. 23, and iv. 
28, (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 those things are in the language of scripture said 
to be determined or decreed, (or exactly bounded and mark- 
ed out by God, as the word up^u most naturally signifies) 
'which he sees will in fact happen in consequence of his voli- 
tions, without any necessitating agency, as well as those 
events of which he is properly the author ; and, as Beza ex- 
presses it, " Qui sequitur dewn emendate sane loquitur, we 
need not fear, falling into any impropriety of speech, when we 
use the language which God has taught." Doddridge in loc. 

§ 35. As to the decrees of election, see Psal. Ixv. 4. « Bless- 
ed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach 
unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts : We shall be sat- 
isfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy tem- 
pU." Isa. :;!i. .-. " Thou whom I have taken from the ends 
of the earth, and cr.Hcd thee from the chief men thereof; and 



said unto thee, Thou art my servant ; I have chosen tlicc, 
and not cast thee away." Matth. xx. 16. « So the last shall 
be first, and the first last : For many be called, but few chos- 
en." Chap. xxii. 14. " For many are called, but few arc chos- 
en." Chap. xxiv. 24. " For there shall arise false Christs and 
false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders ; in sa 
much that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very 
elect." John vi. 37.. ..46. " All that the Father giveth me, 
shall come to me ; and him that cometh to me, I will in no 
wise cast out," &c. Chap. x. 3, 4, and verse 1 1, and 14... .17. 
v. 26. ...30. " To him the porter openeth, and the sheep hear 
his voice ; and he calleth his own sheep by name, and lead- 
eth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he 
goeth before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know 
his voice. I am the good Shepherd ; and know my sheep, 
and am known of mine. Therefore doth my Father love me ; 
because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. But 
ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto 
you," Sec Chap. xvii. 6. ...20. " I have manifested thv name 
unto the men thou gavest me out of the world : Thine they 
were, and thou gavest thsm me ; and they have kept thy word, 
&c. Neither pray I for these alone ; but for them also which 
shall believe on me through their word." Acts xviii. 10. 
"For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee, to hurt 
thee : For I have much people in this city." As to reproba- 
tion, see Matth. xi. 20. ...27. " Then began he to upbraid the 
cities wherein most of his mighty works were clone, because 
they repented not, &c. Even so, Father, for so it seemed 
good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my 
Father ; and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father ; neith- 
er knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to 
whomsoever the Son will reveal him." John vi. 44. ...46. 
" No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent 
me draw him : And I will raise him up at the last clay, &c. 
Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of 
God, he hath seen the Father." Chap. viii. 47. « He that is 
©f God, heareth God's words : Ye therefore hear them not, 
because ye are not of God." Chap. x. 26. " But ye believe 


not, because you are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.' 1 
Chap. xvii. 9....13. " I pray for them: I pray not for the 
world, but for them which thou hast given me ; for they are 
thine," Sec. 1 Thes. v. 9. « For God hath not appointed us 
to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." 
1 Pet. ii. 8. " And a stone of stumbling-, and a rock of of- 
fence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobe- 
dient : Whereunto also they were appointed." Jude i. 4. 
« For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were be- 
fore of old ordained to this condemnation, turning the grace 
of God into lasciviousness." i John iv. 6. « We are of God. 
He that knoweth God, heareth us ; he that is not of God, 
heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the 
spirit of of error." Rev iii. 8. " I know thy works : Behold, 
I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it : 
For thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and 
hast not denied my name." Chap. xx. 12, 15. « And I saw 
the dead, small and great, stand before God ; and the books 
were opened : And another book was opened, which is the 
book of life : And the dead were judged out of those things 
which were written in the books, according to their works. 
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life, was 
cast into the lake of fire." John xii. 37....41. " But though 
he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believ- 
ed not on him. Because that Esaias said, he hath blinded 
their eyes, and hardened their heart, that they should not see 
with their eyes, &c. These things said Esaias, when he saw 
his glory, and spake of him." Rom. ix. 6, 7, 8. 11.... 14, 16.... 
19. v. 21. ...24. v. 27, 29, 33. "Not as though the word of 
God hath taken none effect For they are not all Israel, which 
are of Israel : Neither because they are the seed of Abraham, 
are they all children : But, in Isaac shall thy seed be called. 
That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are 
not the children of God ; but the children of the promise are 
counted for the seed. For the children, being not yet born, 
neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of 
God, according to election might stand, not of works, but of 
him that calleth. it was said, « The elder shall serve the 


younger, Sec. What shall we say then ? Is there unright- 
eousness with God ? God forbid. So then, it is not of him 
that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth 
mercy, &c. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet 
find fault ? For who hath resisted his will ? Hath not the pot- 
ter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel 
unto honor, and another to dishonor ? Sec. Even us whom he 
hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles. 
Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of 
the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall 
be saved : And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of 
Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been 
made like unto Gomorrha. As it is written, Behold, I lay in 
Sion a stumbling stone, and a rock of offence : And whosoev- 
er believeth on him shall not be ashamed." And chap. xi. 
1,...6. v. 7....11. v. 15,17, 19. ...23. v. 32, 36. " I say then, 
Hath God cast away his people ? God forbid. For I also 
am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Ben- 
jamin, &c. Even so then at this present time also there is a 
remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, 
then is it no more of works : Otherwise grace is no more 
grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace : Oth- 
erwise, work is no more work. What then ? Israel hath not 
obtained that which he seeketh for ; but the election hath 
©btained it, and the rest were blinded. God hath given them 
the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears 
that they should not hear, unto this day. Let their table be 
made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling block, and a recom- 
pence unto them, &c. And if some of the branches be brok- 
en off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among 
them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the 
©live tree ; thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, 
that I might be grafted in, £cc. And they also, if they abide 
not in unbelief, shall be grafted in : For God is able to graft 
them in again. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, 
mat he might have mercy upon all. For of him, and through 
him, and to him, are all things : To whom be glory for ever. 

Vol. V. 3 A 


§ 36. All that is intended when we say that God decrees 
all that comes to pass, is, that all events are subject to the dis- 
posals of providence, or that God orders all things in his prov- 
idence ; and that he intended from eternity to order all things 
in providence, and intended to order them as he does. Elec- 
tion does not signify only something common to professing 
Christians, Matth. xx. 16. " Many are called, but few are 
chosen." Matth. xxiv. 31. " He shall send forth his angels, 
and gather together his elect." 

§ 37. God's foreknowledge appears from this, that God 
has foretold that there should be some good men, as the Ar- 
minians themselves allow. Stebbing, in his Treatise concern- 
ing the Operations of the Holy Spirit, p. 237, second edition, 
says as follows : " So long as a man may be certain that those 
things will come to pass which God hath foretold, he mav be 
certain, that God's grace will prevail in multitudes of men be- 
fore the end of all things. For, by divers predictions in holy 
writ we are assured, that when Christ shall come to judgment, 
there will be some who shall be changed, and put on immor- 

§38. The scriptures, in teaching us this doctrine, are 
guilty of no hard imposition on our understanding of a doc- 
trine contrary to reason. If they had taught the contrary 
doctrine, it would have been much more contrary to reason, 
and a . much greater temptation to persons of diligent and 
thorough consideration, to doubt of the divinity of the scrip- 

§39. Concerning the decreeing of sin, see Actsiii. 17, 18, 
with Actsxiii. 27. " And now, brethren, I wot that through 
ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things 
which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his proph- 
ets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled."... u For 
they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they 
knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which arr 


read every Sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemn* 
Ing him. 

§ 40. It is objected, that this is a speculative point. So 
might they say, Jesus's being the Messiah, is a speculative 

§41. If God's inviting or commanding a person to do a 
thing, when he, in his decree, has ordained that it shall be 
otherwise, argues insincerity in the command or invitation, 
the insincerity must be in this, viz. that he commands a thing 
to be done, when his end in commanding is not, that the thing 
may be done ; which cannot be his end ; because he knows 
certainly, at the time that he commands it, that it will not 
be. But it is certain, that God's commanding a thing to be 
done, which he certainly knows at the time will not be done, 
is no evidence of insincerity in God in commanding. For 
thus God commanded Pharaoh to let the people go : And yet 
he knew he would not obey, as he says at the same time that 
he orders the command to be given him, 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 to the Lord our God : And I am sure that the 
king of Egypt will not let you go ; no not by a mighty hand." 
See also chap. iv. 21, 22, 23, and chap. vii. 1....7 ; see also 
chap. ix. 16, compared with Rom. ix. 17. 

§ 42. It is impossible for an infinitely wise and good being 
to do otherwise, than to choose Ayhat he sees on the whole to 
be best. And certainly reason requires us to suppose, that of 
all possible events with respect to sin, and the conversion and 
salvation of particular persons, it is better that one of those 
possible and opposite events should come to pass than anoth- 
er ; and therefore, an infinitely wise and good being must / 
choose accordingly. What God permits, he decrees to per- 
mit. If it is no blemish to God to permit sin, then it is no 


blemish to him to purpose or intend to permit it. And if he 
be omniscient, and does designedly permit that sin which ac- 
tually comes to pass, then he designedly permits that sin, 
knowing, if he permits it, it will actually come to pass. And 
this is an effectual permission, and all that we plead for. 
What, then, do our adversaries quarrel with us for ? And why 
do they pretend that we charge God with being the author of 
sin ? There is a way of drawing consequences from scrip- 
ture, that begs the question. As the Arminians say, there 
are many more texts plainly against election, than seem to be 
for it, viz. those texts that represent, that general offers of 
salvation are made, as though it was left to men's choice, 
whether they will be saved or no. But that is begging the 
question. For the question very much consists in these 
things, whether an absolute decree be inconsistent with man's 
liberty, and so with a general offer of salvation, £cc. 

§43. Concerning the Anminian notion of election, that 
when the apostles speak of election, they only mean that by 
which the professing Christians in those days were distin- 
guished from others, as the nation of Israel of old was ; this 
is unreasonable, according to their own principles. For if 
they- were elected, and that was the reason why they so far 
embraced the gospel, as to become Christians rather than oth- 
ers, then, on Arminian principles, no thanks were due to them 
for embracing the gospel ; neither were others, who continu- 
ed openly to reject the gospel, to blame ; and it was in vain 
to use any means to persuade any to join with the Christian 
church ; nor were any to blame for not doing it, or to be 
praised for doing it, Sec. Besides, their principles render vain 
all endeavors to spread the gospel. For the gospel will cer- 
tainly be spread to all nations that are elected ; and all such 
shall have the offers of the gospel, whether they take any care 
of the matter or no. 

§44. Dr. Whitby, to make out his scheme, makes the 
.vord election signify two entirely different things ; one. elev- 


tion to a common faith of Christianity ; another, a conditional 
election to salvation. But every one must be sensible of the 
unreasonableness of such shifting and varying, and turning in- 
to all shapes, to evade the force of scripture. 

§ 45 It is evident the apostle, in Rom. ix. has not only- 
respect to God's sovereignty in the election and pretention of 
nations, because he illustrates his meaning by the instance of 
a particular person, viz. Pharaoh. The exercise of the sov- 
ereignty that he speaks of, appears by the express words of 
the apostle about vessels of mercy and vessels of wrath, ves- 
sels of honor and vessels of dishonor. But .the vessels of 
mercy, he speaks of as prepared to glory. They, it is plain, 
are those that shall be saved, and the vessels of wrath are 
those that perish. He speaks of those that shall be saved, v. 
27. « A remnant shall be saved." What is there that God 
does decree according to the scheme of the Arminians so as to 
make it in any measure consistent with itself ? He does not 
decree any of the great events of the world of mankind, 
(which are the principal events, and those to which all others 
are subordinated) because these depend on men's free will. 
He does not absolutely decree any events wherein the wel- 
fare of men is concerned ; for if he does, then these things, 
according to their scheme, cannot be the subject of prayer. 
For according to them, it is absurd to seek or pray for things, 
which we do not know but that God has absolutely decreed 
and fixed before. We do not know but that he has deter- 
mined absolutely and unfrustrably from eternity, that they 
shall not be ; and then, by their scheme, we cannot pray in 
faith for them. See Whitby, p. 177, 8cc. And if God does 
not decree and order those events beforehand, then what be- 
comes of the providence of God ; and what room is there for 
prayer, if there be no providence ? Prayer is shut out this 
way also. According to them, we cannot reasonably pray for 
the accomplishment of things that are already fixed, before our 
prayers ; for then our prayers alter nothing, and what, say 
they, signifies it for us to pray ? 


Dr. Whitby insists upon it, that we cannot pray in Faith for 
the salvation of others, if we do not know that Christ died in- 
tentionally for their salvation. 

§ 46. To Dr. Whitby's observation, that the apostle 
speaks of churches, as though they were all elect, I answer, 
he speaks from a judgment of charity, as Dr. Whitby him- 
self observes, p. 460. God foreknows the elect, as God is 
said to know those that are his own sheep from strangers ; as 
Christ is said not to know the workers of iniquity, that is, he 
owns them not. In the same sense, God is said to know the 
elect from all eternity ; that is, he knew them as a man 
knows his own things. He acknowledged them from eternity- 
He owns them as his children. Reprobates he did not know ; 
they were strangers to God from all eternity. If God ever 
determined, in the general, that some of mankind should cer- 
tainly be saved, and did not leave it altogether undetermined 
whether ever so much as one soul of all mankind shouklbe- 
lieve in Christ ; it must be that he determined that some par- 
ticular persons should certainly believe in him. For it is cer- 
tain that if he has left it undetermined concerning this and 
that, and the other person, whether ever he should believe or 
not, and so of every particular person in the world ; then 
there is no necessity at all, that this or that, or any particular 
person in the world, should ever be saved by Christ, for the 
matter of any determination of God's. So that, though God 
sent his Son into the world, yet the matter was left altogether 
undetermined by God, whether ever any person should be 
saved by him, and there was all this ado about Christ's birth, 
death, resurrection, ascension, and sitting at God's right hand, 
when it was not as yet determined whether he should ever 
save one soul, or have any mediatorial kingdom at all. 

§ 47. It is most absurd, to call such a conditional election 
as they talk of, by the name of election, seeing there is a ne- 
cessary connexion between faith in Jesus Christ and eternal 
life. Those that believe in Christ, must lie saved, according 
to God's inviolable constitution of things. What nonsense is 


it, therefore, to talk of choosing such to life from all eternity 
out of the rest of mankind ? A predestination of such to life 
is altogether useless and needless. By faith in one that has 
satisfied for sin, the soul necessarily becomes free from sin. 
By faith in one that has bought eternal life for them, they 
have, of unavoidable consequence, a right to eternal life. 
Now, what sense is it to say, that God from all eternity, of 
his free grace, chose out those that he foresaw would have no 
guilt of sin, that they should not be punished for their guilt, 
as others were, when it is a contradiction to suppose that they 
can be punished for their guilt when they have none ? For 
who can lay any thing to their charge, when it is Christ that 
has died ? And what do they mean by an election of men to 
that which is, in its own nature, impossible that it should not 
be, whether they are elected to it or no ; or by God's choos- 
ing them that had a right to eternal life, that they should pos- 
sess it ? What sense is it to say that a creditor chooses out 
those among his debtors to be free from debt, that owe him 
nothing ? But if they say that election is only God's deter- 
mination, in the general, that all that believe shall be saved, 
in what sense can this be called election ? They are not per- 
sons that are here chosen, but mankind is divided into two 
sorts, the one believing, and the other unbelieving, and God 
chooses the believing sort. It 19 not election of persons, but 
of qualifications. God does from all eternity choose to be- 
stow eternal life upon those that have a right to it, rather than 
upon those who have a right to damnation. Is this all the e- 
lection we have an account of in God's word ? Such a thing 
as election may well be allowed ; for that there is such a 
thing as sovereign love is certain ; that is, love, not for any 
excellency,but merely God's good pleasure. For whether it is 
proper to say that God from all eternity loved the elect or no, 
it is proper to say that God loved men after the fall, while 
sinners and enemies ; for God so loved the world, that he 
gave his only begotten Son to die. This was not for any 
goodness or excellency, but merely God'?, good pleasure ; for 
he would not love the fallen anj 


§ 48. Christ is often spoken of in scripture as being, by 
way of eminency, the Elect or Chosen of God. Isa. xlii. 1. 
« Behold ray Servant whom I uphold, mine Elect in whom 
ray soul delighteth." Luke xxiii. 35. " If he be the Christ, 
the Chosen of God." 1 Pet. ii. 4. " A living stone, chosen 
of God, and precious." Psal. lxxxix. 3. " I have made a cov- 
enant with my Chosen :" v. 19. "I have exalted one chosen 
out of the people." Hence those persons in the Old Testa- 
ment, that were the most remarkable types of Christ, were 
the subjects of a very remarkable election of God, by which 
they were designed to some peculiar honor of the prophetical, 
priestly, or kingly office. So Moses was called God's chosen, 
in that wherein he was eminently a type of Christ, viz. as a 
prophet and ruler, and mediator for his people ; Psal. cvi. 23. 
« Had not Moses, his chosen, stood before him in the breach." 
So Aaron was constituted high priest by a remarkable elec- 
tion of God, as in Numb. xvi. 5. and xvii. 5. Deut. xxi. 5. 
So David the king was the subject of a remarkable election ; 
Psal. lxxviii. 67. ...72. « Moreover, he refused the tabernacle 
of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephi aim, but chose the 
tribe of Judah, the mount Sion, which he loved ; and he built 
his sanctuary like high palaces ; like the earth which he hath 
established for ever. He chose David also his servant, and 
took him from the sheepfolds, from following the ewes great 
with young ; he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and 
Israel his inheritance." 1 Sam. xvi. 7.... 10. " The Lord 
bath not chosen this, neither hath the Lord chosen this ; the 
Lord hath not chosen these." Christ is the chosen of God, 
both as to his divine and human nature. As to his divine na- 
ture, he was chosen of God, though not to any addition to his 
essential glory or real happiness, which is infinite, yet to great 
declarative glory. As he is man, he is chosen of God to the 
highest degree of real glory and happiness of all creatures. 
As to both, he is chosen of God to the office and glory of the 
mediator between God and men, and the head of all the elect 
creation. His election, as it respects his divine nature, was 
for his worthiness and excellency and infinite amiableness in 
the sight of God, and perfect fitness for that which God chose 


Mm to, and his worthiness was the ground of his election. 
But his election, as it respects his human nature, was free 
and sovereign, not being for any worthiness, but his election 
was the foundation of his worthiness. His election, as he is 
God, is a manifestation of God's infinite wisdom. The wis- 
dom of any being is discovered by the wise choice he makes, 
so the infinite wisdom of God is manifest in the wisdom of 
his choice when he chose his eternal Son, gne so fit, upon all 
accounts, for the office of a mediator, when he only was fit, 
and when he was perfectly and infinitely fit ; and yet his fit- 
ness was so difficult to be discerned, that none but one of in- 
finite wisdom could discover it. His election, as he was man, 
was -a manifestation of God's sovereignty and grace. God 
had determined to exalt one of the creatures so high, that he 
should be one person with God, and should have communion 
with God, and should have glory in all respects answerable ; 
and so should be the head of all other elect creatures, that 
they might be united to God and glorified in him. And his 
sovereignty appears in the election of the man Jesus, various 
ways. It appears in choosing the species of creatures of 
which he should be, viz. the race of mankind, and not the an- 
gels, the superior species. God's sovereignty also appears 
in choosing this creature of the seed of fallen creatures that 
were become enemies and rebels, abominable, miserable crea- 
tures. It appears in choosing that he should be of such a 
branch of mankind, in selecting the posterity of David, a 
mean person originally, and the youngest of the family. And 
as he was the seed of the woman, so his sovereignty appears 
in his being the seed of such particular women ; as of Leah, 
the uncomely wife of Jacob, whom her husband had not 
chosen ; and Tamar, a Canaanitess, and a harlot ; and Ra- 
hab a harlot ; and Ruth a Moabitess ; and of Bathsheba, one 
that had committed adultery, and as he was the seed of many 
a mean person. And his sovereignty appears in the choice 
of that individual female of whom Christ was born.. 

It was owing to this election of God, that the man Jesus 
was not one of the corrupt race of mankind, so that his free- 
dom from sin and damnation is owing to the free, sovereign. 

Vol. V. 3 B 


electing love of God in him, as well as in the rest of elecc 
men. All holiness, all obedience and good works, and per- 
severance in him, was owing to the electing love of God, as 
well as in his elect members. And so his freedom from e- 
ternal damnation was owing to the free, electing love of God 
another way, viz. as it was owing to God's electing love to 
him and his members, but to him in the first place, that he 
did not fail in that great and difficult work that he undertook ; 
that he did not fail under his extreme sufferings, and so eter- 
nally continue under them. For if he had failed ; if his 
courage, resolution and love had been conquered by his suf- 
ferings, he never could have been delivered from them ; for 
then he would have failed in his obedience to God, and his 
love to God failing, and being overcome by sufferings, these 
sufferings would have failed of the nature of an acceptable 
sacrifice to God, and the infinite value of his sufferings would 
have failed, and so must be made up in infinite duration, to a- 
tone for his own deficiency. But God having chosen Christ, 
he could not fail in this work, and so was delivered from his 
sufferings, from the eternity of them, by the electing love of 
God. Justification and glorification were fruits of God's 
foreknowledge and predestination in him, as well as in his e- 
lect members. 

So that the man Christ Jesus has the eternal, electing 
love of God to him, to contemplate and admire, and to delight 
and rejoice his heart, as all his elect members have. He has 
it before him as others have, eternally to praise God for his 
free and sovereign election of him, and to ascribe the praise of 
his freedom from eternal damnation, (which he, with his elect 
members, beholds, and has had a sense of, far beyond all the 
rest, and so has more cause of joy and praise for his deliver- 
ance from it) and the praise of the glory he possesses, to that 
election. This election is not for Christ's works or worthi- 
ness, for all his works and worthiness arc the fruits of it. 
God had power over this seed of the woman, to make it either 
a vessel to honor or dishonor, as he had ovor the rest. 

Christ is, by way of cminency, called The Elect of 
God. For though other elect men are by election distin- 


g.uished from the greater part of mankind, yet they, in then' 
election, have that which is common to thousands and mil- 
lions ; and though the elect angels are distinguished by elec- 
tion from the angels that fell, yet they are chosen among 
myriads of others ; but this man, by his election, is vastly 
distinguished from all other creatures in heaven or earth ; 
and Christ, in his election, is the head of election, and the 
pattern of all other election. Christ is the head of all elect 
creatures ; and both angels and men are chosen in him in 
some sense, i. e. chosen to be in him. All elect men are said 
to be chosen in Christ, Eph. 1. 4. Election contains two 
things, viz. foreknowledge and predestination, which are dis- 
tinguished in the 8th chapter of Romans. The one is choos- 
ing persons to be God's, which is a foreknowing of them ; 
and the other, a destining them to be conformed to the im- 
age of his Son, both in holiness and blessedness. The elect 
are chosen in him, with respect to those two, in senses some- 
what diverse. With respect to foreknowledge or foreknow- 
ing, we are chosen in him as God chose us, to be actually his 
in this way, viz. by being in Christ, or being members of his 
Son. This is the way that God determined we should actu- 
ally become his. God chose Christ, and gave his elect peo- 
ple to him ; and so, looking on them as his, owned them 
for his own. But by predestination, which is consequent on 
his foreknowledge, we are elected in Christ, as we are elect- 
ed in his election. For God having in foreknowledge given 
us to Christ, he thenceforward beheld us as members and 
parts of him ; and so ordaining the head to glory, lie therein 
ordained the members to glory. In destining Christ to eter- 
nal life, he destined all parts of Christ to it also. So that we 
are appointed to eternal life in Christ, being in Christ, his 
members from eternity. In his being appointed to life, we 
are appointed to life. So Christ's election is the foundation 
of ours, as much as his justification and glorification are the 
foundation of ours. By election in scripture is sometimes 
meant this latter part, viz. destination to conformity to Christ 
in life and glory, as 2 Thess. ii. 13. « God from the begin- 
aing hath chosen you to salvation." And it seems to be 


spoken of in this sense chiefly, in Eph. i. 3, 4, 5. " Who 
hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places 
in Christ, according as he hath chosen us in him before the 
foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without 
blame before him in love ; having predestinated us to the a- 
doption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to 
the good pleasure of his will." 

§49. 2 Thess. ii. 13. « But we are bound to give thanks 
alway to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because 
God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through 
sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." Concern- 
ing this scripture I observe the following things : 1. The 
word translated chosen is a word that signifies to choose or 
pick out from many others. 2. That this choosing is given 
as a reason why those differ from others that believe not the 
truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness, as an instance of 
the distinguishing grace of God ; and therefore the apostle 
mentions their being chosen, their election as the ground of 
their sanctification by the Spirit and belief of the truth. 3. 
The apostle speaks of their being chosen to salvation, as a 
ground of their perseverance, or the reason why they never 
shall fall away, as others spoken of before, whereby they fail- 
ed of salvation. See the preceding verses. Compare Heb. 
Vi. 9. 4. They are spoken of as thus chosen from the be- 

That place, Matth. xx. 21. ...23. " Grant that these my 
two sons may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on 
thy left, in thy kingdom ;....it shall be given to them for 
whom it is prepared of my father," affords an invincible ar- 
gument for particular, personal predestination. 

It is an evidence that the apostle, in chap. ix. of Romans, 
has not respect solely to an election and dereliction of nations 
or public societies, that one instance which he produces to 
illustrate and confirm what he says, is the dereliction of a par- 
ticular person, even Pharaoh, Rom. ix. 17. So it is an in- 
stance of Cod's mercy to a particular person, even Moses. 
When he says to Moses, « I will have mercv on whom T 


will have mercy, and will have compassion on whom I will 
have compassion," Sec. the words cited were used by God on 
occasion of, and with relation to his mercy to, a particular per- 
son, even Moses ; (see Exod. xxxiii. 19.) And the language 
in that verse and the next, is suited to particular persons ; as, 
verse 16, and 18, and verses 22, 23. And the apostle shews 
plainly, verses 27, 29, that it is not an election of nations or 
public societies, but a distinction of some particular persons 
from others of the same society ; as it was a distinction of 
particular persons, in preserving some, when others were des- 
troyed by Nebuchadnezzar's armies ; and in returning some 
from captivity, and leaving others. This was not a showing 
of mercy to one public society in distinction from another. 
So in chap. x. 4, 5, where the apostle plainly continues to 
speak of the same election, it was not by a national election, 
or election of any public society, that God distinguished the 
seven thousand that he had reserved, who had not bowed the 
knee to Baal. 

John vi. 37. " All that the Father hath given me shall 
come to me. And this is the Father's will which sent me, 
that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but 
should raise it up again at the last day."...." What is this be- 
ing given to Christ to be raised up again to everlasting life, 
but the election of particular persons to salvation ? And since 
it is the Father's will, that of all that he has given to Christ, 
he should lose nothing ; this election must be so absolute as 
to insure their salvation." Green's Friendly Conferences. 

It is plainly and abundantly taught in scripture, that elec- 
tion is not of works: Rom. ix. 11. " That the purpose of 
God according to election might stand, not of works, but of 
him that calleth." Verse 11. "Neither of them having 
done either good or evil." And Rom. xi. 5, 6. " Even so at 
this present time also, there is a remnant according to the 
election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no more of works : 
Otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, 
then it is no more grace : Otherwise work is no more work." 
2 Tim. i. 9. " Who hath saved us, and called us with an ho- 
ly calling, not according to our works, but according to his own 


purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before 
the work) began." 

How invincible a proof of the Caivinistical doctrine of 
election is that place in Rom. xi. 5. " Even so then at this 
present time also, there is a remnant according to the elec- 
tion of grace." Dr. Doddridge observes upon it, that some 
explain this of having chosen grace, i. e. the gospel. But 
that turn is very unnatural, and neither suits the phrase, nor 
the connexion with the former clause, or with the next verse, 
where the apostle comments on his own words. 

§ 50. If God does not some way in his providence, and so 
in his predeterminations, order what the volitions of men shall 
be, he would be as dependent in governing the world, as a 
skilful mariner is in governing his ship, in passing over a 
turbulent, tempestuous ocean, where he meets constantly, 
and through the whole voyage, with things that agitate the 
ship, have great influence on the motions of it, and are so 
cross and grievous to him, that he is obliged to accommodate 
himself in the best manner that he can. He meets with cross 
winds, violent tempests, strong currents, and great opposition 
from enemies ; none of which things he has the disposal of, 
but is forced to suffer. He only guides the ship, and, by his 
skill, turns that hither and thither, and steers it in such a man- 
ner as to avoid dangers, as well as the case will allow. 

§51. As to that objection against the election which the 
apostle speaks of in his epistles, as an election by which 
such should be distinguished as should certainly be saved at 
last, viz. that many of those whom the apostle calls elect, 
chosen in Christ, he. actually turned apostates : What Dr. 
Doddridge observes in his note on Eph. i. 4, may be a suffi- 
cient answer. " The apostle speaks of whole societies in gen- 
eral as consisting of saints and believers, because this was the 
predominant character ; and he had reason, in the judgment 
of charity, to believe the greater part were such ; (compare 
Phil. i. 7.) Nor did he always judge it necessary to make 
exceptions in reference to a few hypocrites who had crept in 


^mong them, any more than Christ judged it so, to speak of 
Judas as excluded, when he mentions the twelve thrones of 
judgment on which the apostles should sit." (Matth. xix. 28.) 

§ 52. Many have a notion concerning some things in re- 
ligion, and, in particular, concerning predestination, that if 
they be the truth, yet it is not best that they should be known. 
But many reasons may be offered against this notion. 

§ 53. What the devil did to afflict Job, was the exercise 
and fruit of his devilish disposition, and his acts therein were 
devilish. And yet it is most apparent, that those acts and 
effects of the devil towards Job, were appointed by infinite 
wisdom for holy ends ; but not accomplished by God any oth- 
erwise than by permission. 

§ 54. There were many absolute promises of old, that sal- 
vation should actually be accomplished, and that it should be 
of great extent, or extending to great multitudes of mankind ; 
as, that « the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's 
head." « In thee, and in thy seed, shall all the families of the 
earth be blessed." Psalm xxii. 30. " A seed shall serve him, 
und it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation." Isa. 
Hii. 10. " He shall see his seed." Psalm ii. 6. " Ask of 
me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance," 
ike. Psalm ex. « Sit thou at my right hand, till I make 
thine enemies thy footstool." « Thy people shall be willing 
in the day of thy power ;" and innumerable others. And if 
there were absolute promises of this, then there were absolute 
purposes of it ; for that which is sincerely, absolutely prom- 
ised, is with an absolute purpose of fulfilling the promise* 
But how can it be devised, that there should be an absolute, 
determinate, infallible, unchangeable purpose, that Christ 
should actually save vast multitudes of mankind ; and yet it 
be not absolutely purposed that he should save any one single 
person, but that with regard to every individual soul, this was 
left undetermined by God, to be determined by man's con- 
tingent will, which might determine for salvation, or against 


it, there being nothing to render it impossible concerning 
any one, that his will would not finally determine against it ? 
Observe, these prophecies are not merely predictions, but 
are of the nature of promises, and are often so called :.... 
« Which he hath promised by the mouth of all his holy 
prophets since the world began," &c. God takes care to ful- 
fil his own promises ; but, according to this scheme, it is not 
God that fulfils these promises ; but men, left to themselves, 
to their contingent wills, fulfil them. Man's will, which God 
does not determine, determines itself in exclusion of God. 

All the promises of God are yea and amen, and God him- 
self makes them so to be ; he takes care of that matter. 

§ 55. Concerning that grand objection, that this doctrine 
supposes partiality in God, and is very dishonorable to him, 
being quite contrary to God's extensive and universal benev- 
olence to his creatures ; it may be shewn that the Arminian 
notions and principles in this matter, lead directly to Deism ; 
and that on these principles, it is utterly impossible to answer 
Tindal's objections against revealed religion, especially in 
his 14th chapter. Besides, unjustifiable partiality is not im- 
putable to a sovereign distributing his favors, though ever so 
unequally, unless it be done unwisely, and so as to infringe 
the common good. 

§ 56. God has regard to conditions in his decrees, as he 
has regard to a wise order and connexion of things. Such is 
his wisdom in his decrees, and all his acts and operations, that 
if it were not for wise connexion that is regarded, many 
things would not be decreed. One part of the wise system 
of events would not have been decreed, unless the other parts 
had been decreed, &c. 

§ 57. God in the decree of election is justly to be con- 
sidered as decreeing the creature's eternal happiness, ante- 
cedently to any foresight of good works, in § sense wherein 
he docs not in reprobation decree the creature's eternal mise- 
ry, antecedently to any foresight of sin ; because the being of 


sih is supposed in the first place in order to the decree of 
reprobation, which is, that God will glorify his vindictive jus- 
tice ; and the very notion of revenging justice, simply con- 
sidered, supposes a fault to be revenged. But faith and good 
works are not supposed in the first place in order to the de- 
cree of election. The first things in order in this decree are, 
that God will communicate his happiness, and glorify his 
grace ; (for these two seem to be coordinate.) But in nei- 
ther of these are faith and good works supposed. For when 
God decrees, and seeks to communicate his own happiness 
in the creature's happiness, the notion of this, simply consid- 
ered, supposes or implies nothing of faith or good works ; 
Dor does the notion of grace, in itself, suppose any such thing. 
It does not necessarily follow from the very nature of grace, 
or God's communicativeness of his own happiness, that there 
must be faith and good works. This is only a certain way of 
the appointment of God's wisdom, wherein he will bring men 
lo partake of his grace. But yet God is far from having de- 
eveed damnation from a foresight of evil works, in the sense 
of the Arminians, as if God in this decree did properly de- 
pend on the creature's sinful act, as an event, the coming to 
pass of which primarily depends on the creature's determina- 
tion ; so that the creature's determination in this decree may 
properly be looked upon as antecedent to God's determina- 
tion, and on which his determination is consequent and de- 

§ 58. What divines intend by prior and posterior in the 
affair of God's decrees, is not that one is before another in 
the order of time, for all are from eternity ; but that we must 
conceive the view or consideration of one decree to be before 
another, inasmuch as God decrees one thing out of respect 
to another decree that he has made ; so that one decree 
must be conceived of as in some sort to be the ground of an- 
other, or that God decrees one because of another ; or that 
he would not have decreed one, had he not decreed that oth- 
er. Now there are two ways in which divine decrees may be 
said to be in this sense prior one to another. 1 . When one 

Vol. V. 3 C 


thing decreed is the end of another, this must in some res- 
pect be conceived of as prior to that other. The good to be 
obtained is in some respect prior, in the consideration of him 
who decrees and disposes, to the means of obtaining it. 2. 
When one thing decreed is the ground on which the dispos- 
er goes, in seeking such an end by another thing decreed, as 
being the foundation of the capableness or fitness that there is 
in that other thing decreed, to obtain such an end. Thus 
the sinfulness of the reprobate is the ground on which God 
goes in determining to glorify his justice in the punishment 
of his sinfulness ; because his sinfulness is the foundation of 
the possibility of obtaining that end by such means. His hav- 
ing sin is the foundation of both the fitness and possibility of 
justice being glorified in the punishment of his sin, and there- 
fore the consideration of the being of sin in the subject, must 
in some respect be prior in the mind of the disposer, to the 
determination to glorify his justice in the punishment of sin. 
For the disposer must first consider the capableness and apt- 
ness of such means for such an end, before he determines 
them to such an end. 

Thus God must be conceived of, as first considering Ado- 
nibezek's cruelty in cutting off the thumbs and great toes of 
threescore and ten kings, as that which was to be before he 
decreed to glorify his justice in punishing that cruelty by 
the cutting off his thumbs and great toes. For God, in this 
last decree, has respect to the fitness and aptness of his 
thumbs and great toes being cut off to glorify his justice. 
But this aptness depends en the nature of that sin that was 
punished. Therefore the disposer, in fixing on those means 
for this end, must be conceived of as having that sin in view. 
Not only must God be conceived of as having some end in 
consideration, before he determines the means in order to that 
end, but he must also be conceived of as having a considera- 
tion of the capableness or aptness of the means to obtain the 
end before he fixes on the means. Both these, in different 
respects, may be said to be prior to the means decreed to 
such an end in the mind of the disposer. Both, in different 
respects, are the ground or reason of the appointment of thr 


means. The end is the ground or reason of the appoint- 
ment of the means ; and also the capacity and fitness of the 
means to the end, is the ground or reason of this appointment 
to such an end. So both the sin of the reprobate, and also 
the glory of divine justice, may properly be said to be before 
the decree of damning the reprobate. The decree of damna- 
tion may properly be said, in different respects, to be because 
of both these ; and that God would not have decreed the 
damnation of the sinner, had it not been for the respect he 
had both to the one and the other. Boih may properly be 
considered as the ground of the decree of damnation. The 
■view of the sinfulness of the reprobate must be in some res- 
pect prior in the decree, to God's decree to glorify his jus- 
tice in punishing their sinfulness. Because sinfulness is neces- 
sarily supposed as already existing in the decree of punishing 
sinfulness, and the decree of damnation being posterior to the 
consideration of the sin of men in this latter respect, clears 
God of any injustice in such a decree. That which stands 
in the place of the ultimate end in a decree, i. e. that which 
is a mere end, and not a means to any thing further or high- 
er, viz. the shining forth of God's glory, and the communica- 
tion of his goodness, must indeed be considered as prior, in 
the consideration of the Supreme Disposer, to every thing 
excepting the mere possibility of it. But this must in some 
respects be conceived of as prior to that, because possibility 
is necessarily supposed in his decree. But if we descend 
lower than the highest end ; if we come down to other 
events decreed, that be not mere ends, but means to obtain 
that end, then we must necessarily bring in more things, as 
in some respect prior, in the same manner as mere possi- 
bility is in this highest decree. Because more things must 
necessarily be supposed or considered as existing in the de- 
cree, in order that those things which are decreed may reach 
the end for which they are decreed. More things must be 
supposed in order to a possibility of these things taking place 
as subordinate to their end ; and therefore they stand in the 
same place, in these lower decrees, as absolute possibility 
does in the decree of the highest end. The vindictive jus- 


tice of God is not to be considered as a mere or ultimate end, 
but as a means to that end. Indeed, God's glorifying his 
justice, or rather his glorifying his holiness and greatness, 
has the place of a mere and ultimate end. But his glorify- 
ing his justice in punishing sin, (or in exercising vindictive 
justice, which is the same) is not to be considered as a mere 
end, but a certain way or means of obtaining an end. Vin- 
dictive justice is not to be considered as a certain, distinct at- 
tribute to be glorified, but as a certain way and means for the 
glorifying an attribute. Every distinct way of God's glorify- 
ing or exercising an attribute, might as well be called a dis- 
tinct attribute as this. It is but giving a distinct name to it, 
and so we might multiply attributes without end. The con- 
sidering of the glorifying of vindictive justice as a mere end, 
has led to great misrepresentations, and undue and unhappy 
expressions about the decree of reprobation. Hence the glo- 
rifying of God's vindictive justice on such particular persons, 
has been considered as altogether prior in the decree to their 
sinfulness, yea to their very beings. Whereas it being only 
a means to an end, those things that are necessarily presup- 
posed, in order to the fitness and possibility of this means of 
obtaining the end, must be conceived of as prior to it. 

Hence God's decree of the eternal damnation of the rep- 
robate is not to be conceived of as prior to the fall, yea, and 
to the very being of the persons, as the decree of the eternal 
glory of the elect is. For God's glorifying his love, and com- 
municating his goodness, stands in the place of a mere or ul- 
timate end, and therefore is prior in the mind of the eternal 
disposer to the very being of the subject, and to every thing 
but mere possibility. The goodness of God gives the being 
as well as the happiness of the creature, and does not presup- 
pose it. Indeed, the glorifying of God's mercy, as it pre- 
supposes the subject to be miserable, and the glorifying his 
grace, as it presupposes the subject to be sinful, unworthy 
and illdeserving, are not to be conceived of as ultimate ends, 
but only as certain ways and means for the glorifying the 
exceeding abundance and overflowing fulness of God's good- 
ness and love ; therefore these decrees arc not to be consid- 


ered as prior to the decree of the being and permission of 
the fall of the subject. And the decree of election, as it im- 
plies a decree of glorifying God's mercy and grace, considers 
men as being cursed and fallen ; because the very notion of 
such a decree supposes sin and misery. Hence we may 
learn, how much in the decree of predestination is to be con- 
sidered as prior to the creation and fall of man, and how 
much as posterior ; viz. that God's decree to glorify his love 
and communicate his goodness, and to glorify his greatness 
and holiness, is to be considered as prior to creation and the 
fall of man. And because the glory of God's love, and the 
communication of his goodness necessarily imply the happi- 
ness of the creature, and give both their being and happiness ; 
hence the design to communicate and glorify his goodness 
and love eternally to a certain number, is to be considered as 
prior, in both those mentioned respects, to their being and 
fall. For such a design, in the notion of it, presupposes nei- 
ther. But nothing in the decree of reprobation is to be look- 
ed upon as antecedent in one of those respects to man's being 
and fall ; but only that general decree that God will glorify 
his justice, or rather his holiness and greatness, which sup- 
poses neither their being nor sinfulness. But whatsoever 
there is in this decree of evil to particular subjects, it is to be 
considered as consequent on the decree of their creation, and 
permission of their fall. And indeed, although all that is in 
the decree of election, all that respects good to the subjects 9 
be not posterior to the being and fall of men, yet both the de- 
cree of election and rejection or reprobation,' as so styled, 
must be considered as consequent on the decrees concerning 
the creation and fall. For both these decrees have respect 
to that distinction or discrimination that is afterwards actually 
made amongst men in pursuance of these decrees. Hence 
effectual calling, being ihe proper execution of election, is 
sometimes in scripture called election ; and the rejection of 
men in time is called reprobation. Therefore the decrees of 
election and reprobation must be looked upon as beginning 
there, where the actual distinction begins, because distinction 
is implied in the notion of those decrees. And therefore. 


whatsoever is prior to this actual distinction, the foresight of 
it, and decree concerning it, or that state that was common, 
or wherein they were undistinguished, the foresight of that, 
or decree concerning it, must be considered, in some respect, 
as prior to the decree concerning the distinction. Because 
all that is before is supposed or looked upon as already put in 
the decree. For that is the decree, viz. to make such a dis- 
tinction between those that were hefore in such a common 
state. And this is agreeable to the scripture representations 
of those decrees, John xv. 19. « Ye are not of the world, but 
I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth 
you." See also Ezek. xvi. 1....8. 

The decrees of God must be conceived of in the same or- 
der, and as antecedent to, and consequent on one another, in 
the same manner, as God's acts in the execution of those de- 
crees. If this will not hold, with regard to those things that 
are the effects of those acts, yet certainly it will hold with res- 
pect to the acts themselves. They depend on one another, 
and are grounded on one another, in the same manner as the 
decrees that these are the execution of, and in no other. For, 
on the one hand, the decrees of God are no other than his 
eternal doing what is done, acted or executed by him in time. 
On the one hand, God's acts themselves, in executing, can be 
conceived of no otherwise, than as decrees for a present effect. 
They arc acts of Gods will. God brings things to pass only 
by acts of his will. He speaks, and it is done. His will says, 
let it be, and it is. And this act of his will that now is, can- 
not be looked upon as really different from that act of will that 
was in him before, and from eternity, in decreeing that this* 
thing should be at this time. It differs only relatively. Here 
is no new act of the will in God, but only the same acts of 
God's will, which before, because the time was not come, res- 
pected future time ; and so were called decrees. But now 
the time being come, they respect present time, and so are 
not called by us decrees, but acts executing decrees. Yet 
they are evidently the same acts in God. Therefore those 
acts, in executing, must certainly be conceived of in the same 
order, and with the same dependence, as the decrees them- 


selves. It may be in some measure illustrated by tbis....The 
decree of God or the will of God decreeing events, may be 
represented as a straight line of infinite length, that runs 
through all past eternity, and terminates in the event. The 
last point in the line, is the act of God's will in bringing the 
event to pass, and does not at all differ from all the other 
points throughout the infinite length of the line, in any other 
respect but this, that this last point is next to the event. This 
line may be represented as in motion, but yet always kept 
parallel to itself. The hither end of the line, by its motion, 
describes events in the order in which they come to pass ; or 
at least represents God's acts in bringing the events to pass, 
in their order and mutual dependence, antecedence and con- 
sequence. By the motion of all the other points of the line, 
before the event or end of the line, in the whole infinite length 
of it, are represented the decrees in their order ; which, be- 
cause the line in all its motions is kept parallel to itself, is ex- 
actly the same with the order of the motions of the last point. 
For the motion of every point of the whole line, is in all res- 
pects, just like the motion of that last point wherein the line 
terminates in the event ; and the different parts of the mo- 
tion of every point, are in every respect precisely in the same 
order. And the maxim, that what is first in intention, is last 
in execution, does not in the least concern this matter. For, 
by last in execution, is meant only last in order of time, with- 
out any respect to the priority or posteriority that we are 
speaking of ; and it does not at all hinder, but that in God's 
acts, in executing his decrees, one act is the ground or reason 
of another act, in the same manner precisely as the decree 
that related to it was the ground or reason of the other de- 
cree. The absolute independence of God, no more argues 
against some of God's decrees being grounded on decrees of 
some other things that should first come to pass, than it does 
against some of God's acts in time, being grounded on some 
other antecedent acts of his. It is just the same with God's 
acts in executing, as has been said already of his decreeing. 
In one respect, the end that is afterwards to be accomplished, 
is the ground of God's acting ; in another respect, something 


that is already accomplished, is the ground of his acting, as k 
is the ground of the fitnesss or capableness of the act to obtain 
the end. There is nothing but the ultimate end of all things, 
viz. God's glory, and the communication of his goodness, that 
is prior to all first acts in creating the world, in one respect 
and mere possibility in another. But, with respect to after 
acts, other ends are prior in one respect, and other preceding 
acts are prior in another, just as I have shewn it to be with 
respect to God's decrees. Now, this being established, it may 
help more clearly to illustrate, and fully to evince, what we 
have insisted on concerning the order of the decrees, and that 
God's decrees of some things that are accomplished first in 
order of time, are also prior in the order, so as to be the prop- 
er ground and reason of other decrees. For, let us see how 
it is in God's acts in executing his decrees. Will any deny, 
that God's act in rewarding righteousness, is grounded on a 
foregoing act of his in giving righteousness ? And that he re- 
wards righteousness in such a person, because he hath given 
righteousness to such a person ; and that because this latter 
act necessarily supposes the former act foregoing ? So, in like 
manner, God's decree, in determining to reward righteous- 
ness, is grounded on an antecedent decree to give righteous- 
ness, because the former decree necessarily supposes the lat- 
ter decree, and implies it in the very notion of it. So, who 
will deny, but that God's act in punishing sin, is grounded on 
what God hath antecedently done in permitting sin, or suffer- 
ing it to be, because the former necessarily supposes the lat- 
ter, and therefore that the actual permission of sin is prior, in 
the order of nature, to the punishment of it ? So that whatev- 
er foregoing act of God is in any respect a ground and reason 
of another succeeding act, so far is both the act, and decree of 
the act, prior to both that other act and decree. 

It may be objected to this, that if so, the decree of bestow- 
ing salvation on an elect soul, is founded on the decree of bes- 
towing faith on him ; for God actually bestows salvation ia 
some respect, because he has bestowed faith ; and this would 
be to make the decree of election succedaneous to the decree 
of giving faith, as well as that of reprobation consequent on 


the decree of permitting sin. To this I answer, that both 
God's act, and also his decree of bestowing salvation on such 
a fallen creature, is in some respects, grounded on God's act 
and decree of giving faith, but in no wise as the decree or 
act of eternal punishing is grounded on sin, because punish- 
ment necessarily presupposes sin, so that it could not be 
without it. But the decreeing arid giving the happiness of 
the elect, is not so founded on faith. The case is very differ- 
ent. For with respect to eternal punishment, it may be said 
that God would not, yea, could not, have decreed or executed 
it, had he not decreed and permitted sin ; but it cannot be 
said, either that God could not, or would not, have decreed 
or bestowed the eternal happiness of the elect, unless he had 
decreed and given faith. Indeed, the salvation of an elect: 
soul is, in this respect, grounded on the decree of giving faith 
as God's decree of bestowing happiness on the elect in this 
particular way, as a fallen creature, and by the righteousness 
of Christ made his own, by being heartily received and closed 
with, is grounded on the decree of bestowing faith in Christ, 
because it presupposes it, as the act that answers to this de- 
cree does. But the decree of bestowing happiness in gener- 
al, which we conceive of as antecedent to this act, presup- 
poses no such thing ; nor does just so much without any 
more in execution presuppose faith, or indeed the righteous- 
ness of Christ, or any act or suffering of a mediator, or even 
the fall of man. And the decree of God's communicating 
his goodness to such a subject, does not so much as presup- 
pose the being of the subject, because it gives being. But 
there is no decree of evil to such a suhject which can be con- 
ceive'! of as antecedent to a ciec rtc o' punishment. For the 
first decree of evil or suffering, implies that in it. For there 
is no evil decreed for any other end, but the glory of God's 
justice. Therefore the decree of the permission of sin is 
prior to all other things in the decree of reprobation. Due 
distinctions seem not to have been observed, in asserting that 
till flie decrees of God are unconditional ; which has occasion- 
ed difficulties in controversies about the decrees. There are 
no conditional decrees in this sense, viz. that decrees should 
Vol. V. 3D > 


depend on things as conditions of them, which in this decree, 
that depends on them as conditions, must be considered, like 
themselves, as yet undecreed. But yet decrees may, in 
some sort, be conditions of decrees ; so that it may be said, 
that God would not have decreed some things, had he not de- 
creed others. 

§ 59. The objection to the divine decrees will be, that 
according to this doctrine, God may do evil, that good may 
come of it. 

Ans. I do not argue that God may commit evil, that 
good may come of it ; but that he may will that evil should 
come to pass, and permit that it may come to pass, that good 
may come of it. It is in itself absolutely evil, for any being 
to commit evil that good may come of it ; but it would be 
no evil, but good, even in a creature, to will that evil should 
come to pass, if he had wisdom sufficient to see certainly that 
good would come of it, or that more good would come to pass 
in that way than in any other. And the only reason why it 
would not be lawful for a creature to permit evil to come to 
pass, and that it would not be wise, or good and virtuous in 
him so to do, is, that he has net perfect wisdom and sufficien- 
cy, so as to render it fit that such an affair should be trusted 
with him. In so doing he goes beyond his line; he goes 
out of his province ; he meddles with things too high for 
him. It is every one's duty to do things fit for him in his 
sphere, and commensurate to his power. God never intrust- 
ed this providence in the hands of creatures of finite under- 
standings, nor is it proper that he should. 

If a prince were of perfect and allcornprehensive wisdom 
and foresight, and he should see that an act of treason would 
be for the great advancement of the welfare of his kingdom, 
it might be wise and virtuous in him to will that such act 
of treason should come to pass ; yea, it would be foolish and 
wrong if he did not ; and it would be prudent and wise in 
him not to restrain the traitor, but to let him alone to go on 
in the way he chose. And yet he might hale the treason at 
the same time, and he might properly also give forth laws at 


the same time, forbidding it upon pain of death, and might 
hold these laws in force against this traitor. 

The Arminians themselves allow that God permits sin, 
and that if he permits it, it will come to pass. So that the 
only difficulty about the act of the will that is in it, is that Gcd 
should will evil to be, that good may come of it. But it is 
demonstrably true, that if God sees that good will come of it, 
and more good than otherwise, so that when the whole series 
of events is viewed by God, and all things balanced, the sum 
total of good with the evil is more than without it, all being 
subtracted that needs be subtracted, and added that is to be 
added ; if the sum total of good thus considered, be greatest, 
greater than the sum in any other case, then it will follow 
that God, if he be a wise and holy being, must will it. 

For if this sum total that has evil in it, when what the evil 
subtracts is subtracted, has yet the greatest good in it, then 
it is the best sum total, better than the other sum total that 
has no evil in it. But if, all things considered, it be really the 
best, how can it be otherwise than that it should be chosen by 
an infinitely wise and good being, whose holiness and good- 
ness consists in always choosing what is best ? Which does 
it argue most, wisdom or folly, a good disposition or an evil 
one, when two things are set before a being, the one better 
and the other worse, to choose the ; worse, and refuse the 
better ? 

§ 60. There is no inconsistency or contrariety between 
the decretive and preceptive will of God. It is very consistent to 
suppose that God may hate the thing itself, and yet will that 
it should come to pass. Yea, I do not fear to assert that the 
thing itself may be contrary to God's will, and yet that it 
may be agreeable to his will that it should come to pass, be- 
cause his will, in the one case, has not the same object with 
his will in the other case. To suppose God to have contrary 
wills towards the same object, is a contradiction ; but it is 
not so, to suppose him to have contrary wills about different 
objects. The thing itself, and that the thing should come to 
pass, are different, as is evident ; because it is possible that 


the one may be good and the other may be evil. The thing 
itself may be evil, and yet it may be a good thing that it 
should come to pass. It may be a good thing that an evU 
thing should come to pass ; and oftentimes it most certainly 
and undeniably is so, and proves so. 

§ 61. Objectors to the doctrine of election may say, God 
cannot always preserve men from sinning, unless he destroy 
lhe„ir liberty. But will they deny that an omnipotent, an in- 
imitely wise God, could possibly invent and set before men 
such strong motives to obedience, and keep them before them 
in such a manner as should influence them to continue in 
their obedience, as the elect angels have done, without de- 
stroying their liberty ? God Avill order it so that the saints 
and angels in heaven never will sin, and does it therefore fol- 
low that their liberty is destroyed, and that they are not free, 
but forced in their actions ? Does it follow that they are turn- 
ed into machines and blocks, as the Arminians say the Cal- 
vinistic doctrines turn men ? 

§ 62. To conclude this discourse ; I wish the reader to 
consider the unreasonableness of rejecting plain revelations, 
because they are puzzling to our reason. There is no great- 
er difficulty attending this doctrine than the contrary, nor so 
great. So that though the doctrine of the decrees be myste- 
rious, and attended with difficulties, yet the opposite doctrine 
is in itself more mysterious, and attended with greater diffi- 
culties, and with contradictions to reason more evident, to 
one who thoroughly considers things ; so that, even if the 
scripture had made no revelation of it, we should have had 
reason to believe it. But since the scripture is so abundant 
in declaring it, the unreasonableness of rejecting it appears 
the more glaring. 




§ 1. IT is manifest that the scripture supposes, that if 
ever men are turned from sin, God must undertake it, and 
he must be the doer of it ; that it is his doing that must de- 
termine the matter ; that all that others can do, -will avail 
nothing, without his agency. This is manifest by such texts 
as these, Jer. xxxi. 18, 19. « Turn thou me, and I shall be 
turned ; Thou art the Lord my God. Surely after that I 
was turned, I repented ; and after that I was instructed, I 
smote upon my thigh," &c. Lam. v. 21. "Turn thou us 
unto thee, O Lord, and we shall be turned." 

§ 2. According to Dr. Whitby's notion of the assistance 
of the Spirit, the Spirit of God does nothing in the hearts or 
minds of men beyond the power of the devil ; nothing but 
what the devil can do ; and nothing shewing any greater 
power in any respect, than the devil shews and exercises in 
his temptations. For he supposes that all that the Spirit of 
God does, is to bring moral motives and inducements to mind, 
and set them before the understanding, S:c. It is possible 
that God may infuse grace, in some instance-:, into the minds 
of such persons as are striving to obtain it in the other way, 
though they may not observe it, and may not know that it it. 
not obtained by gradual acquisition. But if a man has indeed 
sought it only in that way, and with as much dependence on 
himself, and with as much neglect of God in his endeavors 
and prayers, as such a doctrine naturally lead3 to, it is not 
very likely that he should obtain saving grace by the effica- 
cious, mighty power of God. It is most likely that God 


should bestow this gift in a way of earnest attention to divine 
truth, and the use of the means of grace, with reflection on 
one's own sinfulness, and in a way of being more and more 
convinced of sinfulness, and total corruption and need of tho 
divine power to restore the heart, to infuse goodness, and of 
becoming more and more sensible of one's own impotence, 
and helplessness and inability to obtain goodness by his own 
strength. And if a man has obtained no other virtue, than 
what seems to have been wholly in that gradual and insensi- 
ble way that might be expected from use and custom, in the 
exercise of his own strength, he has reason to think, how- 
ever bright his attainments may seem to be, that he has no 
saving virtue. 

§ 3. Great part of the gospel is denied by those who deny 
pure efficacious grace. They deny that wherein actual salvation 
and the application of redemption mainly consists ; and how 
unlikely arc such to be successful in their endeavors after ac^ 
tual salvation ? 

§ 4. TurnbuU's explanation of Philip, ii. 12. 13. " Work 
out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God 
that workelh in you both to will and to do of his own good 
pleasure," is this, (Christian /i/ii/oso/i/iy, p. 96, 97.) " Give all 
diligence to work out your salvation ; for it is God the Creator 
of all things, who, by giving you, of his good pleasure, the 
power of willing and doing, with a sense of right and wrong, 
and reason to guide and direct you, hath visibly made it your 
end so to do. Your frame shews, that to prepare yourselves 
lor great moral happiness, arising from a well cultivated and 
improved mind, suitably placed, is your end appointed to you 
by your Creator. Consider, therefore, that by neglecting 
ibis your duly, this your interest, you contemn and oppose 
the good ivill of God towards you, and his design in creating 

If we look through all the examples wc have of 
conversion in scripture, the conversion of the Apostle Paul, 


and of the Corinthians, (" Such were some of you, hut ye are 
■washed," Sec.) and all others that the apostles write to, how 
far were they from this gradual way of conversion, hy con- 
tracted habits, and hy such culture as Turnbull speaks of I 
Turnbnll, in his Christian Philosophy, p. 470, seems to think, 
that the sudden conversions that were in the apostles' days, 
were instances of their miraculous power, as in these words, 
" They appealed to the works they wrought, to the samples 
they gave of their power to foretel future events ; their pow- 
er to cure instantaneously all diseases of the body ; their 
power to cure, in the same extraordinary manner, all diseases 
of the mind, or to convert bad into good dispositions ; their 
power to bestow gifts and blessings of all sorts, bodily and 
spiritual." See again to the like purpose, p. 472. 

Now I would inquire, whether those who thus had the 
diseases of their minds cured, and their bad converted into 
good dispostions, had any virtue ; or whether those good dis- 
positions of their's were virtues, or any thing praiseworthy ; 
and whether, when they were thus converted, they became 
good men, and the heirs of salvation ? As Turnbull himself 
allows, all that are not good men, were called the children of 
the devil in scripture ; and he asserts that nothing is virtue, 
but what is obtained by our own culture ; that no habit is vir- 
tuous, but a contracted one, one that is owing to ourselves, 
our own diligence, Sec. and also holds, that none are good men 
but the virtuous ; none others are the heirs of future happi- 

§ 5. What God wrought for the Apostle Paul and other 
primitive Christians, was intended for a pattern to all future 
ages, for their instruction and excitement ; Eph. ii. 7. 1 Tim. 
i. 16. It is natural to expect, that the first fruits of the 
church specially recorded in history, and in that book which 
is the steady rule of the church in all things pertaining to sal- 
vation, should be a pattern to after ages in those things, those 
privileges, which equally concern all. Or if it be said, that 
as soon as men take up a strong resolution, they are accepted 


and looked upon by God as penitents and converts ; it may be 
inquired, is there a good man without good habits, or princi- 
ples ol* virtue and goodness in his heart ? 

§6. Turnbull speaks of good men as born again; i. c 
changed by culture ; Christian Philosophy, p. 282. Is there a 
good man without such principles as love to God and men, or 
charity, humility, See ? How comes that resolution to be so 
good, if no principle of virtue be exercised in it? 

If it be said, Paul was a good man before he was converted, 
it may be answered, he did not believe in Christ, and there- 
fore was in a state of condemnation. Besides, he speaks of 
himself as being then a wicked man. 

§ 7. Concerning the supposition advanced by Bishop 
Butler, and by Turnbull in his Christian Philosophy, that all 
that God does, even miracles themselves, are wrought ac- 
cording to general laws, such as are called the laws of nature, 
though unknown to us ; and the supposition of Turnbull, 
that all may be done by angels acting by general laws, I ob- 
serve, this seems to be unreasonable. If angels effect these 
works, acting only by general laws, then they must do them 
without any immediate, special interposition at all, even with- 
out the smallest intimation of the divine mind, what to do, or 
upon what occasion God would have any thing to be done. 
And what will this doctrine bring inspiration to, which is one 
kind of miracle ? According to this, all significations of the 
divine mind, even to the prophets and apostles, must be ac- 
cording to general laws, without any special interposition at 
all of the divine agency. 

§ 8. Acts xii. 23. God was so angry with Herod for not 
giving him the $;lory of his eloquence, that the angel of the 
Lord smote him immediately, and he died a miserable death ; 
he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost. But if it be 
very sinful for a man to take to himself the glory of such a 
qnalifica'ion as eloquence, how much more a man's taking to 
himself the glory of divine grace, God's own image, and that 


Which is infinitely God's most excellent, precious and glori- 
ous gift, and man's highest honor, excellency and happiness, 
whereby he is partaker of the divine nature, and becomes a 
godlike creature ? If God was so jealous for the glory of so 
small a gift, how much more for so high an endowment, this 
being that alone, of all other things, by which man becomes 
like God ? If man takes the glory of it to himself he there- 
by will be in the greatest danger of taking the glo-y to him- 
self that is due to God, and of setting up himself as standing 
in competition with God, as vying with the Most High, and 
making himself a god, and not a man. If not giving God the 
glory of that which is least honorable, provokes God's jeal- 
ousy ; much more must not giving God the glory of that 
which is infinitely the most honorable. It is allowed, the a- 
postle insists upon it, that the primitive Christians should be 
sensible that the glory of their gifts belonged to God, and that 
they made not themselves to differ. But how small a matter 
is this, if they make themselves to differ in that, which the 
apostle says is so much more excellent than all gifts ? 

§ 9. How much more careful has God shewn himself, that 
men should not be proud of their virtue, than of any other 
gift ? See Deut. ix, 4. Luke xviii. 9, and innumerable other 
places. And the apostle plainly teaches us to ascribe to God 
the glory, not only of our redemption, but of our wisdom, 
righteousness and sanctification ; and that no flesh should 
glory in themselves in these things, 1 Cor. i. 29, 30, 31. 
Again, the apostle plainly directs, that all that glory in their 
virtue, should glory in the Lord, 2 Cor. x. 17. It is glorying 
in virtue and virtuous deeds he is there speaking of; and it is 
plain, that the apostle uses the expression of glorying in the 
Lord, in such a sense, as to imply ascribing the glory of our 
virtue to God. 

§ 10. The doctrine of men's being the determining causes 
of their own virtue, teaches them, not to do so much, as even 
the proud Pharisee did, who thanked God for making him to 
differ from other men in virtue, Luke xviii. 

Vol. V. 3 E 


See Gen. xli. 15, 16. Jobxi. 12. Dan. ii. 25, &c 2 Cor 
iii. 5, 6. 2 Cor. iv. 7. 2 Cor. x. 17. 

Proverbs xx. 12. " The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, 
the Lord hath made, even both of them ;" compared with 
many parallel places that speak about God's giving eyes to 
see, and ears to hear, and hearts to understand, &c. 

§ 11. The Aiminian doctrine, and the doctrine of our new 
philosophers, concerning habits of virtue being only by cus- 
tom, discipline, and gradual culture, joined with the other 
doctrine, that the obtaining of these habits in those that have 
time for it, is in every man's power, according to their doc- 
trine of the freedom of will, tends exceedingly to cherish pre- 
sumption in sinners, while in health and vigor, and tends to 
their utter despair, in sensible approaches of death by sick- 
ness or old age. 

§ 12. Observe that the question with some is, whether the 
Spirit of God does any thing at all in these days, since the 
scriptures have been completed. With those that allow that 
he does any thing, the question cannot be, whether his influ- 
ence be immediate ; for, if he does any thing at all, his influ- 
ence must be immediate. Nor can the question be, whether 
b.is influence, with regard to what he intends to do, be effica- 

The questions relating to efficacious grace, controverted 
between us and the Arminians, are two: 1. Whether the 
grace of God, in giving us saving virtue, be determining and 
decisive. 2. Whether saving virtue be decisively given 
by a supernatural and sovereign operation of the Spirit of 
God ; or, whether it be only by such a divine influence or as- 
sistance, as is imparted in the course of common providence, 
either according to established laws of nature, or established 
laws of God's universal providence towards mankind ; i. e. 
either, 1. Assistance which is given in all natural actions, 
wherein men do merely exercise and improve the principles 
of nature and laws of nature, and come to such attainments as 
are connected with such exercises by the mere laws of nature. 
For there is an assistance in all such natural actions ; because 


it is by a divine influence that the laws of nature are upheld ; 
and a constant concurrence of divine power is necessary in 
order to our living, moving, or having a being. This we 
may call a natural assistance. Or, 2. That assistance, which, 
though it be something besides the upholding of the laws 
of nature, (which take place in all affairs of life) is yet, by a di- 
vine, universal constitution in this particular affair of religion, 
so connected with those voluntary exercises which result from 
this mere natural assistance, that by this constitution it in- 
discriminately extends to all mankind, and is certainly con- 
nected with such exercises and improvements, as those just 
mentioned, by a certain, established, known rule, as much as 
any of the laws of nature. This kind of assistance, though 
many Arminians call it a supernatural assistance, differs little 
or nothing from that natural assistance that is established by 
a law of nature. The law so established, is only a particular 
law of nature ; as some of the laws of nature are more gen- 
eral, others more particular : But this establishment, which 
they suppose to be by divine promise, differs nothing at all 
from many other particular laws of nature, except only in this 
circumstance, of the established constitutions, being revealed 
in the word of God, while others are left to be discovered on- 
ly by experience. 

The Calvinists suppose otherwise ; they suppose that di- 
vine influence and operation, by which saving virtue is obtain- 
ed, is entirely different from, and above common assistance, 
or that which is given in a course of ordinary providence, ac- 
cording to universally established laws of nature. They sup- 
pose a principal of saving virtue is immediately imparted and 
implanted by that operation, which is sovereign and effica- 
cious in this respect, that its effect proceeds not from any es- 
tablished laws of nature. I mention this as an entirely different 
question from the other, viz. AVhether the grace of God, by 
which we obtain saving virtue, is determining or decisive. 
For that it may be, if it be given wholly in a course of nature, 
or by such an operation as is limited and regulated perfectly 
according to established, invariable laws. For none will dis- 
pute that many things are brought to pass by God in this man- 


ner, that are decisively ordered by him, and are brought to 
pass by his determining providence. 

The controversy, as it relates to efficacious grace, in this 
sense, includes in it these four questions. 

1. Whether saving virtue differs from common virtue, or 
such virtue as those have that are not in a state of salvation, 
in nature and kind, or only in degree and circumstances ? 

2. Whether a holy disposition of heart, as an internal, gov- 
erning principle of life and practice, be immediately implant- 
ed or infused in the soul, or only be contracted by repeated 
acts, and obtained by human culture and improvement ? 

S. Whether conversion, or the change of a person from 
being a vicious or wicked man, to a truly virtuous character, 
be instantaneous or gradual ? 

4. Whether the divine assistance or influence, by which 
men obtain true and saving virtue, be sovereign and arbitrary, 
or, whether God, in giving this assistance and its effects, lim- 
its himself to certain exact and stated rules, revealed in his 
word, and established by his promises ? 

§ 13. Eph. i. 19, 20. " What is the exceeding greatness of 
his power to usward, according to the working of his mighty 
power," or the effectual working, as the word signifies.... 
These words, according to the effectual working of his paver, 
we shall find applied to conversion, to growth in grace, and to 
raising us up at last. You have them applied to conversion, 
Eph. iii. 7. " Whereof I was made a minister, according to 
the gift of the grace of God, given to me, by the effectual work- 
ing of his power. "....So likewise to growth in grace, Eph. iv. 
10. " The whole body increaseth with the increase of God, 
by the effectual working in the measure of every part.".. ..And 
to the resurrection to glory at the last day, Philip, iii. 21. 
" He will change our vile bodies, according to the effectual 
working of his mighty power, whereby he is able to subdue all 
things to himself." 

And that the power of God in conversion, or in giving 
faith and the spiritual blessings that attend it, is here meant, 
may be argued from the apos'.ie's change of phrase, that 


whereas in the foregoing verse, he spoke of the riches of the 
glory of Christ's inheritance in the saints, he does not go on 
to say, " and what is the exceeding greatness of his power 
towards them," (i. e. the saints) which surely would have 
been most natural, if he still had respect only to the power of 
God in bestowing the inheritance of future glory. But, in- 
stead of that, we see he changes the phrase ; " and what 
is the exceeding greatness of his power to icsward ivho be- 
lieve ;" plainly intimating some kind of change of the subject. 
or a respect to the subject of salvation with regard to some- 
thing diverse ; that whereas before he spoke of saints in their 
future state only, now he speaks of something that the saints, 
we that dwell in this world that believe, are the subjects of. 
And as the apostle includes himself, so it is the more likely 
he should have the mighty power of God in conversion in 
his thought i his conversion having been so visible and re- 
markable an instance of God's marvellous power. 

Again, the apostle, in praying that they " knowing the ex- 
ceeding greatness of God's power," 8cc. prays for such a 
knowledge and conviction of the power of God to bring them 
to life and glory, which was a most special remedy against 
such doubts as the church in the then present state was most 
exposed to, viz. that of their being preserved to glory and 
salvation through all their trials, persecutions, and the great 
opposition that was made by the enemies of Christ and their 
souls. Therefore, after mentioning the glory of their inher- 
itance, he, for their comfort and establishment, mentions the 
power of God to bring them to the possession of this inherit- 
ance, as the apostle Peter does, 1 Peter i. 4, 5. " To an in- 
heritance incorruptible... .who are kept by the power of God 
through faith unto salvation." He speaks to their hearts, for 
here was their difficulty and temptation to doubting. But if 
the keeping them in faith shewed such great power, much 
more did the first bringing them from heathenism and the 
power of sin, darkness, and spiritual death and ruin, into a 
state of faith and salvation, quickening them when dead in 
trespasses and sins ; as it is a greater instance of divine pow- 
er to raise the dead, than to maintain life that is exposed to 


danger ; a greater work to reconcile us being enemies, than 
to keep us friends being reconciled. It was natural for the 
apostle to put them in mind of the power of God manifested 
in their conversion, as he would strengthen their faith in his 
power to raise them at the last day, and glorify them to eter- 
nity. Dr. Goodwin says, he finds most of the Greek fath- 
ers ran this way in interpreting the place. He mentions 
Theophylact and Chrysostom,and cites these words of Chrys- 
ostom : " The apostle's scope is to demonstrate by what 
already was manifested in them, viz. the power of God in 
working faith, and to raise up their hearts to believe what 
was not manifested, viz. the raising of them from death to 
life. It being (saith he) a far more wonderful work to per- 
suade a soul to believe in Christ, than to raise up a dead man, 
a far more admirable work of the two." Besides, what the 
apostle says in the continuation of his discourse, explains his 
meaning, and puts the matter of his intending to include the 
power of God manifested in their conversion, out of all doubt, 
as, in the very next sentence, " and you hath he quickened, 
who were dead in trespasses and sins ;" and every word that 
follows, to the end of the second chapter, confirms the same 
thing. I shall mention a few of them : Verse 2. " Wherein 
in time past ye walked. ...according to the prince of the pow- 
er of the air, the spirit that now worketh effectually in the 
children of disobedience." This shews the exceeding great- 
ness of power in their being delivered from such a state, 
wherein they were held by the great power of so strong an 
enemy. Verses 5 and 6. " Even when we were dead in sins, 
hath quickened us together in Christ, and hath raised us up 
together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in 
Christ Jesus." These things tend to shew how the power 
of God in their conversion, and the happy, honorable, and 
glorious change of their state by it, was according to the 
power that wrought in Christ when he was quickened, raised 
up, and made to sit in heavenly places, as chap. i. 19, 20, 21. 
Now, to back this with a parallel place, as here in this place 
the apostle speaks of the greatness of God's power in work- 
ing faiihj and parallels it with the power that raised upChrJisr 


from the dead ; so we find lie says the very same thing in 
Colossians ii. 12, 13. " Ye are buried with him in bap- 
tism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the 
faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the 
dead." In that text in Ephesians the apostle speaks of faith, 
the fiower that works in us that believe. So in this text in 
Colossians, ye are risen through faith. Again, 2dly, in Ephe- 
sians, together with what there follows, chap. ii. he compar- 
eth believing to a rising from the dead. So here in Colos- 
sians, ye are risen with him through faith. Thirdly, as in E- 
phesians the apostle speaks of the work of God in giving 
faith, as parallel with his work in raising Christ, so he does 
here in Colossians : " Ye are risen with him, through the 
faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him, from the 
dead." Fourthly, as we in Ephesians are said to believe, ac- 
cording to the efficacious working of God, the word evtpyax is 
also used here in Colossians. It is called faith of the opera- 
tion, or effectual working of God, and as there God is said to 
be the author, the same that raised up Christ, and to work 
faith in them ; so here it is the faith of the operation of God 
who raised Christ from the dead, so that, every way, one 
place is parallel with the other. 

Some pretend, that in that expression, through the faith of 
the operation of God, there is no respect to God's operation 
as the efficient cause of faith, but only to the operation of 
God that raised Christ as the object of faith, which believes 
that power and operation as it was manifested in raising 
Christ, and which is believed to be sufficient to raise us up 
also. But that the apostle means the operation of God in 
giving faith, appears by verse 1 1, which introduces these 
words, where the apostle says, " In whom ye are circumcised 
with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the 
body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ." 
This phrase, made without hands, in scripture, always denotes 
God's immediate power, above the course of nature, and 
above second causes. Thus, when he speaks of heaven, 2 
Cor. v. 1, he calls it " an house not made with hands," and 
to Ileb. ix, 1 1, the human nature of Christ, which was fram- 

424 E 1 1 1CACIOUS GRACE. 

ed by so wonderful and supernatural a power of the Holy 
Ghost, is said to be a " tabernacle made without hands." 

Note. The foregoing remarks concerning the texts in 
Eph. i. 19, 20, and in Coloss. ii. 11, 12, 13, are taken chiefly 
from Dr. Goodwins's works, vol. 1, p. 298, 8cc. 

§ 14. It is a doctrine mightily in vogue, that God has 
promised his saving grace to men's sincere endeavors in 
praying for it, and using proper means to obtain it ; and so 
that it is not God's mere will that determines the matter, 
whether we shall have saving grace or not ; but that the 
matter is left with us, to be determined by the sincerity of 
our endeavors. 

But there is vast confusion in all talk of this kind, for want 
of its being well explained what is meant by sincerity of en- 
deavor, and through men's deceiving themselves by using 
words without a meaning. I think the scripture knows of 
but one sort of sincerity in religion, and that is a truly pious 
or holy sincerity. The Bible suggests no notion of any other 
sort of sincere obedience, or any other sincerity of endeavors, 
or any doings whatsoever in religion, than doing from love to 
God and true love to our duty. As to those that endeavor 
and take pains, (let them do ever so much) that yet do noth- 
ing freely, or from any true love to, or delight in God, or 
free inclination to virtue, but wholly for byends, and from sin- 
ister and mercenary views, as being driven and forced against 
their inclination, or induced by regard to things foreign ; I say, 
respecting such as these, I find nothing in scripture that 
should lead us to call them honest and sincere in their en- 
deavors. I doubt not but that the scripture promises super- 
natural, truly divine and saving blessings, to such a sincerity 
of endeavor as arises from true love to our duty. But then, 
as I apprehend, this is only to promise more saving grace to 
him that seeks it in the exercise of saving grace, agreeably 
to that repeated saying of our Saviour, ' k to him that hath 
shall be given, and he shall have more abundance." Persons, 
in seeking grace with this sincerity, ask in faith ; they seek 
these blessings in the exercise of a saving faith, the great 


condition of the covenant of grace. And I suppope, promises 
are made to no sincerity, but Avhat implies this. And who- 
ever supposes that divine promises are made to any other 
sincerity than this, I imagine he never will be able to make 
out his scheme, and that for two reasons : 

1. On such a supposition, the promises must be suppos- 
ed to be made to an undetermined condition. And, 

2. Even on the supposition that the promises are made 
to some other sincerity than a truly pious sincerity, the sov- 
ereign grace and will of God must determine the existence 
of the condition of the promises ; and so the whole must still 
depend on God's determining grace. 

I. On the supposition that the promises of saving grace 
are made to some other sincerity of endeavor than that which 
implies true and saving piety of heart, they must be made to 
an undetermined condition, and so be in effect no promises at 

If there be any thing else worthy to be called sincerity in 
endeavors after holiness, but a free, pious inclination, or true 
regard and love to holiness, nothing better can be mentioned 
than this, viz. endeavors after holiness, from a real willing- 
ness of heart to put forth those endeavors for the agent's own 
sake, yet for s.uch ends as prudence and selflove would pro- 
pose ; such as his own eternal interest, salvation from ever- 
lasting misery, 8cc. 

So that by sincerity here, is not meant any holy freedom 
or virtuous disposition or desire ; but it signifies no more 
than reality of disposition and will to endeavor for some end, 
only provided the end be subservient to selfpreservation. But 
the thing that truly in this case denominates the endeavor 
sincere, is the reality of the will or disposition of heart to en- 
deavor,, and not the goodness of the will or disposition. Now 
if this be the sincerity of endeavor which is meant, when men 
talk of its being the condition of peremptory and decisive 
promises of saving grace, then it never has (as I know of) yet 
been told, and I suppose, never will. or can be told, what the 
condition of the promise. is. 

Vol. V. 3 F 


The thing that needs to be determined, in order to knctf 
this condition, is, how great a decree of this sort of sincerity, 
or real willingness of heart to endeavor, a man must have, to 
be entitled to the promise. For there can be no question, 
but that multitudes that live in gross wickedness, and are 
jnen of a very debauched, flagitious behavior, have some de- 
gree of it ; and there are none, even of those that are the 
most strict and painful in their endeavor, but have it in a very 
imperfect degree, and, in many things, fail of this sincerity of 
endeavor. For it must be kept in mind, that the sincerity 
of heart v : e are speaking of, attending religious duties, is only 
a reality of willingness to use endeavors. And every man 
•whatsoever, that uses any endeavor at all for his salvation, or 
ever performs any religious duty, to the end that he may g» 
to heaven and not to hell, has this sincerity. For whatever 
men do voluntarily for this end, they do from a real willing- 
ness and disposition of heart to do it ; for if they were not 
willing to do it, they would not do it. There surely are no 
voluntary actions performed without men's being willing to 
perform them. And is there any man that will assert that 
God has absolutely or peremptorily promised his saving grace 
to any man that ever stirs hand or foot, or thinks one thought 
in order to his salvation ? 

And on the other hand, as to those that go farthest is. 
their endeavors, still they fail, in numberless instances, of ex- 
ercising this kind of sincerity, consisting in reality of will. 
For such are guilty of innumerable sins ; and every man 
that commits sin, by so doing, instead of being sincerely 
willing to do his duty, sincerely wills the contrary. For se 
far as any actions of his are his sin, so far his will is in what 
he does. No action is imputed to us any farther than it is 
voluntary, ar.d involves the real disposition of the heart. The 
man, in this painful endeavor, fails continually of his duty, or 
(which is the same thing) of perfect obedience. And so far 
as he does so, he fails of sincerity of endeavor. No man is 
any farther defective in his obedience, than as he is defective 
in sincerity ; for there the defect lies, viz. in his will, and 
th« disposition of his heart. If men were perfect in these. 


that would be the same thing as to be perfect in obedience, or 
complete in holiness. Nothing, either of omission or com- 
mission, is sin, any farther than it includes the real disposition 
and will ; and therefore, no men are any farther sinful, than 
as they are sincere in sinning ; and so far as they are sincere 
in sinning, so far they are deficient of sincerely endeavoring 
their duty. Now, therefore, where are the bounds to which 
men must come in order to be entitled to the promise ? Some 
have a faint sincerity of endeavor, who none do suppose are 
entitled to the promise. And those that have, most sincerity, 
of endeavor, do greatly fail of that degree of sincerity that 
they ought to have, or fall short of that which God requires. 
And there are infinite degrees between these two classes. 
And if every degree of strength of endeavor is not sufficient, 
and yet some certain degree of it, greatly short of that which 
God requires, is sufficient, then let it be determined what tha* 
degree is. 

Some have determined thus, that if men sincerely en- 
deavor to do what they can, God has promised to help them 
to do more, Sec. But this question remains to be resolved, 
whether the condition of the promise be, that he shall sin- 
cerely endeavor to do what he can, constantly, or only some- 
times. For there is no man that sincerely endeavors to do 
his duty to the utmost constantly, with this sort of sincerity 
consisting in reality of will so to do. If he did, he would 
perfectly do his duty at all times. For, as was observed be- 
fore, nothing else is required but the will ; and men never 
fail of their duty, or commit sin, but when their real will is to 

But if the condition of the promise, be sincerely doing 
what they can sometimes, then it should be declared how oft- 
en, or how great a part of the time of man's life, he must ex- 
ercise this sincerity. It is manifest that men fail of their du- 
ty every day, yea continually ; and therefore, that there is a 
continual defect of sincerity of endeavor in the practice of 

If it should be said that the condition of the promise of 
paving grace is, that, take one time with another, and one du'« 


fy with another, the sincerity of their will should be chiefly 
in favor of their duty ; or, in other wbrds, that they should be 
sincere in endeavors to do more than half their duty, though 
they sincerely neglect the rest ; I would inquire, where they 
find such promises as these in the Bible ? Besides, I think 
it can be demonstrated, that there is not a man on earth, that 
ever comes up half way to what the law of God requires of 
him ; and consequently, that there is in all more want of sin- 
cerity, than any actual possession of it. But whether it be so 
or no, how does it appear, that if men are sincere in endeav- 
ors with respect to more than half their duty, God has prom- 
ised them saving mercy and grace, though, through a defect 
of their sincerity, the rest be neglected ? 

But if we suppose the sincerity to which divine promises 
are made, implies a trtie freedom of the heart in religious 
endeavors and performances, consisting in love to God and 
holiness, inclining our hearts to our duty for its own sake, 
here is something determinate and precise ; as a title to the 
benefit promised, does not depend on any particular degree of 
sincerity to be found out by difficult and unsearchable rules of 
mathematical calculation, but on the nature of it ; this sincer- 
ity being a thing of ah entirely distinct nature and kind from 
any thing that is to be found in those men who have no inter- 
est in the promises. If men know they have this sincerity, 
they may know the promises are theirs, though they may 
be sensible they have very much of a contrary principle in 
their hearts, the operations of which are as real as of this. 
This is the only sincerity in religion that the scripture makes 
any account of. According to the word of God, then, and 
then only, is there a sincere, universal obedience, when per- 
sons love all God's commands, and Ioyc all those things 
wherein holiness consists, and endeavor after obedience to ev- 
ery divine precept, from love and of free choice. Otherwise, 
in scripture account, there is nothing but sincere disobedi- 
ence and rebellion, without any sincerity oFthe contrary. For 
their disobedience is of free choice, from sincere love to sin, 
And delight in wickedness. Bui their rcfiaining from Rome 


sins, and performing some external duties, is without the least 
degree of free choice or sincere love. 

If here it should be said, that men who have no piety of 
heart in a saving degree, yet may have some degree of love 
to virtue ; and it should be insisted that mankind are born 
with a moral sense, which implies a natural approbation of, 
and love to virtue ; and therefore, men that have not the prin- 
ciple of love to God and virtue established to that degree as 
to be truly pious men, and entitled to heaven, yet may have 
such degrees of them as to engage them, with a degree of in- 
genuous sincerity and free inclination, to seek after farther 
degrees of virtue, and so with a sincerity above that which 
has been mentioned, viz. a real willingness to use endeavors 
from fear and selfinterest....It may be replied, If this be allow- 
ed, it will not at all help the matter. For still the same ques- 
tion returns, viz- what degree of this sincerity is it that con- 
stitutes the precise condition of the promise ? It is supposed 
that all mankind have this moral sense ; but yet it is not sup- 
posed that all mankind are entitled to the promises of saving 
mercy. Therefore the promises depend, as above noticed, on 
the degree of sincerity, under the same difficulties, and with 
the same intricacies, and all the forementioned unfixedness 
and uncertainty. And other things concerning this sincerity, 
besides the degree of it, are undetermined, viz. how constant 
this degree of sincerity of endeavor must be ; how long it 
must be continued ; and how early it must be begun. 

Thus, it appears that, on the supposition of God's having 
made any promises of saving grace to the sincere endeavors 
of ungodly men, it will follow, that such promises are made 
to an undetermined condition. 

But a supposed promise to an undetermined condition, is 
truly no promise at all. It is absurd to talk of positive deter- 
minate promises made to something not determined, or to a 
condition that is not fixed in the promise. If the condition be 
not decided, there is nothing decisive in the affair. 

If the master of a family should give forth such a pretend- 
ed promise as this to his servants, " 1 promise, that if any of 
you will do something, though I tell you not what, that I will 


surely give him an inheritance among my children :" Would 
this be truly any promise at ai! ? 

I proceed now to observe, 
II. On the supposition, that the promises of saving grace 
are made to some other sincerity of endeavor, than that which 
implies truly pious sincerity, the sovereign grace and will of 
God must determine the existence of the condition of the 
promises ; and so the whole must still depend on God's deter- 
mining grace ; and that, of whatever kind this sincerity, short 
of truly pious and saving sincerity, is supposed to be ; wheth- 
er it consists only in a reality of will, arising from foreign 
motives, for a certain degree of endeavors or use of means ; 
or whether it be a certain sincerity or reality of willingness to 
use endeavors, arising from a natural love of virtue. For all 
suppose the sincerity, to which the promises are made, to be 
that in which some are distinguished from others ; none sup- 
posing that all mankind, without exception, have this sinceri- 
ty which is the condition of the promises. Therefore, this 
sincerity must be a distinguishing attainment. And how is 
it that some attain to it, and not others ? It must be in one of 
these two ways ; either by the sovereign gift of God's will, or 
by their endeavors. To say the former, is to give up the 
point, and to own that the sovereign grace and will of God de- 
termines the existence of the condition of the promises. But 
if it be said, that this distinguishing sincerity cf endeavor is 
obtained by men's own endeavor, then I ask, what sort of en- 
deavor is it attained by ? Sincere endeavor, or insincere ? None 
will be so absurd, as to say, that this great condition of saving 
promises is attained to by insincere endeavors. For what 
tendency, either natural or moral, can the exercise of insin- 
cerity have, to produce, or attain to sincerity ? But if it be 
said, that distinguishing sincerity of endeavor is attained to 
by distinguishing sincere endeavor, this is to run round in a 
j idiculous circle ; and still the difficulty remains, and the 
question returns, how the distinguishing sincerity that first 
of all took place in the affair came to have existence, otherwise 
than by the determining grace of God ? 


And if it be said, that there is no need of supposing any 
such thing as any previous, habitual sincerity, or any such sin- 
cerity going before, as shall be an established principle, but 
that it is sufficient that the free will does sincerely determine 
itself to endeavor after holiness. ..I answer, whether we sup- 
pose the sincerity that first entitles to the promises, to be a 
settled habit, or established principle or not, it does not in the 
least remove the difficulty, as long as it is something, in which 
some men are distinguished from others, that precedes the 
distinguishing endeavor which entitles to the promises, and 
is the source and spring of those endeavors. This first, dis- 
tinguishing sincerity, which is the spring of the whole affair, 
must have existence by some means or other ; and it must 
proceed either from some previous, sincere endeavor of the 
man's own, which is a contradiction ; or from God, which is 
the point required ; or it must be the effect of chance, in 
other words, of nothing. 

If we suppose that distinguishing sincerity of endeavor 
by which some men are interested in the promises of saving 
grace, and not others, to be some certain decree of love to 
virtue, or any thing else in the disposition or exercise of the 
heart ; yet it must be owned, that all men either are alike by 
nature, as to love to virtue, or they are not. If they are not, 
but some have naturally a greater love to virtue than oth- 
ers, and this determines some, rather than others, to the 
requisite sincerity of endeavor after saving grace ; then 
God determines the affair by his sovereign will ; for he, 
and not men themselves, determines all distinguishing quali- 
fications or advantages that men are born with. Or if there 
be no difference naturally, but one man is born with the same 
love to virtue as another ; then, how do some men first attain 
to more of this love to virtue than others, and so possess that 
distinguishing sincerity of endeavor which consists in it ? 
To say it arises from a previous, distinguishing sincerity ofen- 
deavor, attempt, desire, or will, is a contradiction. Therefore, 
it must proceed from the determining grace of God ; which 
being allowed, the great pqint in dispute is allowed. 


§ ! 3. Epbesians ii. " By grace are ye saved, through 
fahh ; and that not of yourselves : It is the gift of God." Mr. 
Beach observes, f l this text does not mean that their faith is 
so God's gift, as not to he of themselves, as is most evident 
to any who reads the original." This is certainly a great mis- 
take. What I suppose he means, is, that the relative thai, be- 
ing of the neuter gender, and the word w»r»j of the feminine, 
they do not agree together. But if he would translate the 
Greek relative that thing, viz. the thing last spoken of, all the 
difficulty vanishes. Vid. Beza in Loc. Such scriptures as 
these, 1 Cor. xv. 10. « Not I, but the grace of God that was 
with me ;" Gal. ii. 20. « Not I, but Christ liveth in me ;" 
prove efficacious grace. The virtuous actions of men that 
are rewardable, are not left to men's indifference, without di- 
vine ordering and efficacy, so as to be possible to fail. They 
are often in the scripture the matter of God's promises. How 
often does God promise reformations ? How often does God 
promise that grt;at revival of religion in the latter days ? Dr. 
Whitby seems to deny any physical influence at all of tlie 
Spirit of God on the will ; and allows an influence by moral 
suasion and moral causes only, p. 344. This is to deny that 
the Spirit of God does any thing at all, except inspiring the 
prophets, and giving the means of grace, with God's ordina- 
tion of this in his providence. If God do any thing physical- 
ly, what he does must be efficacious and irresistible. 

Such an assistance Dr. Whitby maintains, and, concerning 
it, says the following things.. ..p. 221, 222. 

1st, " Then I say it must be granted, that in raising an 
idea in my brain by the Holy Spirit, and the impression 
made upon it there, the action is truly physical. 2d, That in 
those actions I am wholly passive ; that is, I myself do noth- 
ing formally to produce those ideas ; but the good Spirit, 
without my operation, doth produce them in me. 3d, That 
these operations must be irresistible in their production, be- 
cause they are immediately produced in us without our knowl- 
edge of them, and without our will, and so without those fac- 
ulties bv which we are enabled to act." 


Though it should be allowed that God assists man with a 
physical assistance, and yet by an obliged and promised assist- 
ance only ; then God does not do, or effect or give the thing 
assisted to, any more than if he operated and assisted men on- 
ly according to the established laws of nature ; and men may 
as properly be said to do it of themselves, and of their own 
power. The doing of the thing, is in the same manner in their 
power. The assistance by which God assists a drunkard tha5 
goes to the tavern, and there drinks excessively, or by which 
he assists an adulterer or pirate in their actions, is,'thathe up- 
holds the laws of nature, the laws of the nature of the human 
soul,whereby it is able to perform such and such acts in such 
order and dependence ; and the laws of the union of soul and 
body ; and moves the body in such a stated manner in conse- 
quence of such acts of the soul, and upholds the laws of mo- 
tion, and causes that there shall be such and such effects in 
corporeal things, and also of men's minds in consequence of 
such motions. All the difference is, that the assistance which 
he grants in the duties of religion, is according to a newer es- 
tablishment than the other, according to a method established a 
little later : and also, that the method of assistance, in the one 
case, is written and revealed by way of promise or covenant, 
and hot in the other. 

But if it be said, that though God has promised assistance, 
yet he has not promised the exact degree, as, not: airland- 
ing his promise, he has left himself at liberty to assist some, 
much more than others, in consequence of the very same en- 
deavor....! answer, that this will prove a giving up of their 
whole scheme, and will infallibly bring in the Calvinistical no- 
tion of sovereign and arbitrary grace ; whereby some, with 
the very same sincerity of endeavor, with the same degree of 
endeavor, and the same use of means, nay, although all things 
are exactly equal in both cases, both as to their persons and 
behavior ; yet one has that success by sovereign grace and 
God's arbitrary pleasure, that is denied another. If God has 
left himself no liberty of sovereign grace in giving success to 
man's endeavors, but his consequent assistance be always tied 
to such endeavors precisely, then man's success is just as 

Vol. V. $ G 


much in bis own power, and is in the same way the fruit oi 
his own doings, as the effect and fulfilment of his endeavors 
to commit adultery or murder; and indeed much more. For 
his success in those endeavors, is not tied to such endeavors, 
but may be providentially disappointed. Although particular 
motions follow such and such acts of will, in such a state of 
body, exactly according to certain laws of nature ; yet a man's 
success in such wickedness, is not at all tied to his endeavors 
by any divine establishment, as the Arminians suppose suc- 
cess is to man's endeavors after conversion. 

For the Spirit of God, by assisting in the alleged manner, 
becomes not the efficient cause of those things, as the scrip- 
tures do certainly represent him. If God be not the proper 
bestower, author, and efficient cause of virtue, then the great- 
est benefits flow not from him ; are not owing to his good- 
ness ; nor have we him to thank for them. 

« Christ upbraids the cities wherein most of his mighty 
works were done, that they were worse than Sodom, Sec and 
the Jews of that generation, that they were worse than the 
men of Nineveh ; and the Pharisees, that the Publicans and 
harlots went into the kingdom of God before them. But why 
did he do this, if the only reason was, that the one was brought 
to repent by effectual grace, and the other not ?" (See Whit- 
by, p. 169, 170, 171.) I answer, the unbelief and impenitence 
of those cities, of that generation, and of those Pharisees, 
when, on the contrary, the Publicans and Nineveh repented, 
and the men of Sodom would have repented, was an argument 
that they were worse, more perverse and hardhearted than 
they. Because, though repentance is owing to special, effica- 
cious assistance, yet, in his ordinary methods of proceeding 
with men, God is wont much more rarely to bestow it on 
those that are more perverse, hardhearted, and rooted in evil, 
than others. So much the more as their hearts are harden- 
ed, so much the less likely are they to be brought to repent- 
ance. And though there be oftentimes exceptions of partic- 
ular persons, yet it still holds good as a general rule ; and es- 
pecially with regard to societies, nations, cities and ranks of 
men : So that Christ might well, from the fact that he men- 


tions, draw an argument of the greater perverseness and 
stubbornness of those societies and ranks of men that he 
spoke of. 

§ 16. A command and a manifestation of will are not the 
same thing. A command does not always imply a true desire 
that the thing commanded should be done. So much at least 
is manifest by the instance of Abraham commanded to offer 
up Isaac. That command was not such an effect of the di- 
vine will, as the commands to believe and repent, Sec. 

§ 17. Either the stronger the habitual inclination to good 
is, the more virtuous ; and the stronger the disposition to evil, 
the more vicious ; or, if it be otherwise, then indifference or 
want of inclination, is essential to both virtue and vice. 

§ 18. Dr. Whitby's inconsistence appears in that one while, 
when he is disputing against the decree of election, he main- 
tains that the epistles, where the apostle speaks to the elect, 
are not written to the converted only ; because then it suits 
his turn that the persons addressed should not be converted. 
But afterwards, when disputing against efficacious grace, he 
maintains that where the apostle says, " God worketh in you 
both to will and to do,"&c. Philip, ii. 13, he speaks only to 
them that are converted, p. 288. Again, when it suits the 
Doctor's turn, when writing about perseverance, then all 
-whom the apostles write to are true saints. As particularly 
those the apostle Peter writes to, that had precious fait/i, 
p. 399. And theGalatians addressed in Paul's epistle, p. 401, 

§ 19. When the Psalmist prays, " Make me to go in the 
way of thy statutes ;" is it indeed his meaning, that God 
would give him the general grace which he gives to all, and 
which is sufficient for all if they will but improve it ? And is 
this all ? 


§20. Arminians argue that God has obliged himself to 
bestow a holy and saving disposition, on certain conditions, 
and that what is given in regeneration, is given cither for nat- 
ural men's asking, or for the diligent improvement of com- 
mon grace ; because, otherwise, it would not be our fault that 
we are without it, nor our virtue that we have it. But if this 
reasoning is just, the holy qualities obtained by the regener- 
ate, are only the fruits of virtue, not virtues themselves. All 
the virtue lies in asking, and in the diligent improvement of 
common grace. 

§ 21. Prov. xxi. 1. « The heart of the king is in the hand 
of the Lord, as the rivers of water ; he turneth it whitherso- 
ever he will." This shews that the Arminian notion of liber- 
ty of will, is inconsistent with the scripture notion of God's 
providence and government of the world. See also Jer. xxxi. 
IS. « Turn me, and I shall be turned." Matth. vii. 18. "A 
gcod tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt 
tree bring forth good fruit." Let us understand this how we 
will, it destroys the Arminian notion of liberty, and virtue and 
vice. I'uv, if it means only a great difficulty ; then so much 
the less liberty, and therefore so much the less virtue or vice. 
And the preceding verse would be false, which says, " every 
good tree bringeih forth good fruit," Sec. Rom. viii. 6, 7, 8, 
9. '« For to be carnally minded is death ; but to be spiritu- 
ally minded is life and peace : Because the carnal mind is en- 
mity against God ; for it is not subject to the law of God, 
neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh can- 
ROt please God. But we are not in the fiesn, but in the Spir- 
it, if so be that the Sphit of God dwell in you. Now, if any 
}nan have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." The 
design of! the apostle in this place, overthrows Arminian no- 
tions of liberty, virtue and vice. It appears from scripture, 
that Cor! gives such assistance to virtue and virtuous acts, as 
to be properly a determining assistance, so as to determine 
the effect ; which i:> inconsistent with the Arminian notion of 
liberty- The scripture shews that Cod's influence in the case 
is such, thai he is the cause of the effect : } Le causes it to b# : 


Which shews that his influence determines the matter, 
whether it shall be or not. Otherwise innumerable expres- 
sions of scripture are exceedingly improper, and altogether 
without a meaning. 

§ 22. Dr. Whitby's notion of the assistance of the Spirit, 
is of the same sort with inspiration. Whereas that which I 
suppose is the true notion, is entirely different. Consequent- 
ly their notion is much more enthusiastical, docs much bet- 
ter agree with, and much more expose to pernicious enthusi- 
asm, than ours. Hence we find that the grossest enthusiasts, 
such as Quakers and others, are generally Arminians in the 
doctrines of free will, Sec. 

§ 23. Scripture expressions are every where contrary to 
the Arminian scheme, according to all use of language in the 
world in these days. But then they have their refuge here. 
They say, the ancient figures of speech are exceedingly di- 
verse from ours ; and that we in this distant age cannot judge 
at all of the true sense of expression used so long ago, but by 
a skill in antiquity, and being versed in ancient history, and 
critically skilled in the ancient languages ; not considering, 
that the scriptures were written for us in these ages on whom 
the ends of the world are come ; yea, were designed chiefly 
for the latter age of the world, in which they shall have then- 
chief, and comparatively, almost all their effect. They were 
written for God's people in those ages, of whom at least 
ninetynine in an hundred must be supposed incapable of such 
knowledge, by their circumstances and education ; and nine 
hundred and ninetynine in a thousand of God's people, that 
hitherto have been saved by the scriptures. It is easy, by 
certain methods of interpretation, to refine and criticise any 
book to a sense most foreign to the mind of the author. 

§ 24. If God be truly unwilling that there should be am 
moral evil in the world, why does not he cause less moral evil 
to exist than really does ? If it be answered, as is usual to 
«such kind of objections, that though God is unwilling there 


should be moral evil, yet he will not infringe on man's liber- 
ty, or destroy his moral agency to prevent it ; then I ask, if 
this be all, why does God cause so much less to exist at some 
certain times ; on the contrary, causes virtue gloriously to 
prevail ? Other times are spoken of and promised, wherein 
it shall prevail yet vastly more. And this is spoken of as of 
God's effecting, and is abundantly so spoken of and promised, 
as what God would do, and none should hinder, &c. 

The Arminian principles, denying the efficacious, deter- 
mining grace of God, as the cause of men's virtue and piety> 
are wholly inconsistent with the promises and prophecies of 
the future flourishing of religion and virtue in the world, and 
never can be made consistent therewith. This flourishing of 
religion is spoken of as what God will effect ; and is made 
the matter of his abundant promise ; is spoken of as his glo- 
rious work, the work of his almighty power ; what he will 
effect, and none shall hinder ; what he will effect against all 
opposition, removing and overcoming the wickedness of 
men, 8tc. 

§ 25. Dr. Stebbing says, page 104. " So much grace 
as is necessary to lead us to that obedience which is indispen- 
sably required in order to salvation, God will give to every 
one, who humbly and devoutly prays to him for it ; for this 
is the condition, and the only condition prescribed by our 
Saviour, Luke ii. 9.... 13. « And I say unto you, ask, and it shall 
be given you ; seek, and ye shall find ; knock, and it shall 
be opened unto you. For every one that asketh, receiveth ; 
and he that seeketh, findeth ; and to him that knocketh, it 
shall be opened. If then, ye, being evil, know how to give 
good gifts unto your children ; how much more shall your 
heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him ? 
....where the promise of the Spirit is made." Here humility 
and devotion are mentioned as the condition of that obedi- 
ence which is indispensably required in order to salvation. 
By that obedience which is required in order to salvation 
must be meant, cither, 1. That sort of virtue and obe- 
dience that is requisite, or. 2. Perseverance in it. If he 


means that sort of virtue which is requisite in order to salva- 
tion ; then I would ask, what sort of humility and devotion is 
that, to which God has promised the grace which is necessa- 
ry to their obtaining that virtue which is the condition of sal- 
vation ? Must it not be real, sincere humility and devotion ? 
Surely if God has promised so great a gift to any humility 
and devotion, it must be to that which is sincere and upright. 
Because that which is not sincere, is nothing ; it is hypocrit- 
ical ; a mere shew of that which is really wanting. And it 
would be very unreasonable to suppose that God promises 
such infinite rewards to hypocrisy, which he has often de- 
clared to be abominable to him, and which only provokes 
him the more. But if it be true, sincere, upright humility 
and devotion, it is unreasonable to suppose that God makes 
this the condition of that grace which is necessary to his ob- 
taining that kind of virtue which is requisite to salvation. 
Because he, who has this humility and devoticr,, has that kind 
of virtue already. The Scripture every where speaks of up- 
rightness and sincerity of heart, as that virtue that is saving 
He ihat sincerely asks for grace to obey, has that slnceritv 
and uprightness of heart that is exercised in sincere obedi- 
ence ; for he that sincerely asks this, is sincerely willing to 
obey, or sincerely desirous of obeying. Or, 2. If the Doctor, 
by that obedience that is indispensably required in order to 
salvation, means perseverance in sincere virtue, and this be 
promised to devoutly and sincerely asking.it ; then herebv 
must be meant, either devoutly and sincerely asking it once, 
or final perseverance in this sincere asking, or a certain lim- 
ited continuance in that asking. If a final perseverance in ask- 
ing be the condition of grace to lead us to persevere, saving 
virtue is, as said before, the condition of itself. For perse- 
vering sincerity is the condition of obtaining persevering sin- 
cerity. If it be only once asking, or asking a limited numbci 
of times, or a limited continuance in asking, this is cont 
the Arminian doctrine about perseverance. For it supposes 
a person in this life, on a past condition, to be already, before 

the end of the day of his probation, so confil edienct 

that it is impossible for him to fall tw 


§ 26. One danger of these Arminian notions is, that they 
strongly tend to prevent conviction of sin. 

§ 27. The vast pretences of Arminians to an accurate 
and clear view of the scope and design of the sacred penmen, 
and a critical knowledge of the original, will prove forever 
vain and insufficient to help them against such clear evidence 
as the scripture exhibits concerning efficacious grace. I de- 
sire it may be shewn, if it can be, that ever any terms, that 
are fuller and stronger, are used more frequently, or in great- 
er variety, to signify God's being the author, efficient and be- 
stower of any kind of benefit, than as to the bestowment of true 
virtue or goodness of heart ; whether concerning the deliver- 
ance out of Egypt, or the manna that was rained down from 
heaven, or the bestowment of the blessings of Canaan, or 
saving Noah and his family in the ark ; or the raising any 
from the dead, or Christ's giving health to the sick, or sight 
to the blind, or bread to the hungry in the wilderness, or any 
thing else whatsoever ; or the giving being to mankind in 
their creation ; the giving reason to them, with their other 
natuial faculties: the giving them life and breath ; the giv- 
ing them the beautiful form of their bodies ; the giving them 
Jife at the general resurrection ; the giving them their glory 
and happiness in heaven ; the giving prophets, and the word 
of God by the prophets and others ; the giving the means of 
grace and salvation ; the giving Christ, and providing means 
of salvation in him. Yea, I know of no one thing in scripture 
wherein such significant, strong expressions are used, in so 
great variety, or one half so often, as the bestowment of this 
benefit of true goodness and piety of heart. But after all, we 
must be faced down in it with vast confidence, that the scrip- 
tures do not imply any more than only exhibiting means of 
instruction, leaving the determining and proper causing of 
the effect wholly with man, as the only proper, efficient and 
determining cause ; and that the current of scripture is all 
against us ; and that it is because we do not understand lan- 
guage, and are bigots and fools for imagining any such thing 
as that the scriptures say any thing of that nature, and be- 


cause the divines on our side do not understand Greek, and 
do not lay the scripture before them, nor mind the scope of 
scripture, nor consider the connexion, &c. 8cc. Perhaps it 
will be said, that every one of those scriptures, which are 
brought to prove efficacious grace, may have another inter- 
pretation, found out by careful and critical examination. But, 
alas ! Is that the way of the Most High's instructing man- 
kind, to use such a multitude of expressions, indifferent lan- 
guages, and various different ages, all which, in their natural 
and most common acceptation, in all languages, nationsand ages, 
must undoubtedly be understood in a particular sense ; yea, 
the whole thread and current of all that God says, according 
to the use of speech among mankind, tends to lead to such an 
understanding, and so unavoidably leads his people in all ages 
into such an understanding ; but yet, that he means no such 
thing ; intending only that the true meaning should not be 
found out, but by the means of acute criticism, which might 
possibly hit upon the strange, unusual, and surprising mean- 
ing ? 

§ 28. Instead of persons' being the determining and effi- 
cient causes of their own virtue and piety, after all the moral 
means God uses with man, let us suppose some third person 
between God and the subject of this gift of virtue, to be in 
the very same manner the sovereignly determining cause 
and efficient of virtue ; that he had power to bestow it on us, 
or cause us to be the subjects of it, just in the same manner 
as the Arminians suppose we ourselves have power to be the 
•auses of our being the subjects of virtue ; and that it de- 
pended on this third person's free will, just in the same man- 
ner as now they suppose our having virtue depends on our 
own free will ; and that God used moral means with that 
third person to bestow virtue on us- just in the same manner 
that he uses moral means to persuade us to cause virtue in 
ourselves, and the moral means had the like tendency to ope- 
rate on his will as on ours ; but finally, it was left entirely to 
his free will to be the sole determining cause whether we 
should have virtue, without any such influence on his wiil as 

Vol. V. 3 H 


in :hc least :o ensure his sovereignty, and arbitrary disposal, 
and perfectly free selfdetermination ; and it should be left 
contingent, whether he would bestow it or not ; and, in these 
circumstances, this third person should h?ppen to determine 
in our favor, and bestow virtue : Now I ask, would it be 
proper to ascribe the matter so wholly to God, in such strong; 
terms, and in such a great variety ; to ascribe it so entirely 
to him as his gift ; to pray to him beforehand for it 5 to give 
him thanks, to give him all the glory, &c. ? On the contra- 
ry, would not this determining cause, whose arbitrary, selfde- 
termined, selfpossessed, sovereign will, decides the matter, 
be properly looked upon as the main cause, vastly the most 
proper cause, the truest author and bestowcr of the benefit I 
Would not he be, as it were, all in the cause ? Would not 
the glory properly belong to him, on whose pleasure the de- 
termination of the matter properly depended ? 

§ 29. By regeneration, being new creatures, raised from 
death in sin, in the New Testament, is not meant merely per- 
sons' being brought into the state and privileges of professing 
Christians, according to Dr. Taylor. When Christ says unto 
Nicodemus, John iii. 3. " Verily, verily, I say unto thee, 
except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of 
God ;" he does not mean merely, that unless a man be 
brought to a participation of the new state and privileges of 
the Christian church, he cannot enter on the possession and 
privileges of the Christian church ; for that would be non- 
sense, and only to say, unless a man be born again, he cannot 
be born again ; or, unless a man enter into the new state of 
things, as erected by the Messiah, he cannot enter on the new 
state of th : ngs as erected by the Messiah. Nor can he mean, 
that unless a man be a professing Christian, he cannot see 
the future and eternal privileges of the kingdom of heaven, 
for he supposes many heathens will see the kingdom of God 
in that sense. 

And how unreasonable would it be to suppose that Christ 
Mould teach this doctrine of the necessity of being instated ia 


his new modelled church, as such a great* important and 
main doctrine of his ! 

Taylor, to make out his scheme, is forced to suppose, 
that by being born of God is meant two things in the New 
Testament, (see p. 127, of his Key, and on Original Sin, p. 
1 14, &c.) So he is forced to suppose, that by the kingdom 
of God is meant two things, (p. 125, marginal note, and other 
places) and so he supposes two senses of our being of the 
truth, our being of, or in Got!, and knowing God, (see p. 127, 
marginal note.) He is forced to suppose that many of the 
expressions, signifying antecedent blessings, are to be taken 
in a double sense, (see p. 133, No. 243, Sec.) Sec how evi- 
dently being born of God signifies something else than a be- 
ing brought into the state of professing Christians, 1 John ii. 
29. " If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every 
one that doth righteousness is born of him." Chap. iii. 
" Whatsoever is born of God, doth not commit sin ; for his 
seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born 
of God." Chap. iv. S. "Every one that leveth, is born of 
God, and knoweth God." Chap. v. 4. " Whatsoever is 
born of God, overcometb the world." Verse 18. » We 
know that whosoever is born of God, sinneth not ; but he 
that is begotten of God, keepeth himself ; and that wicked 
one toucheth him not." 

So it is exceeding apparent, that knowing God, and being 
of God, and in God, having this hope in him, Stc. mean some- 
thing beside our Christian profession, and principles, and 
privileges. 1 John ii. 3, Sec. " Hereby do we know that we 
know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoso keepeth 
his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected. Here- 
by know we that we are in him." Chap. iii. " Every one 
that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as he is 
pure." Chap. iii. 14. " We knew that we have passed from 
death unto life, because we love the brethren." Chap. iv. 12. 
" If we love one another, God dwelleth in us." Taylor sup- 
poses that this same apostle, by being born of God, means 
being received to the privileges of professing Christians., 


John i. 12. (p. 49.) 1 John v. 1, Sc v. 18. (p. 48.) 1 John iii. 

§ 30. Why does the apostle say, concerning apostates, 
« they were not of us : If they had been of us, they would 
no doubt have continued with us ; but they went out, that 
they might be made manifest that they were not all of us ;" 
if it be, as Dr. Taylor supposes, that professing Christians 
are indeed of the society of Christians to all intents and pur- 
poses, have all their privileges, are truly the children of God, 
members of Christ, of the household of God, saints, believers 
that have obtained like precious faith, are all one body, have 
one spirit, one faith, one inheritance, have their hearts pu- 
rified and sanctified, are all the children of light, are all of 
the househould of God, fellow citizens with the saints, have 
all fellowship with Christ, &c. ? 

§31. It is true, the nation of the Jews are in the Old 
Testament said to be elected, called, created, made, formed, 
redeemed, delivered, saved, bought, purchased, begotten. 
But particular Jews are no where so spoken of, at least with 
reference to the same thing, viz. their national redemption, 
when they were brought out of Egypt, Sec. 

David, in the book of Psalms, though he is so abundant 
there in giving thanks to God for his mercies, and is also so 
frequent in praising God for God's redeeming his people out 
of Egypt, and the salvation God wrought for the nation and 
church of Israel at that time ; yet he never once blesses God 
(having respect to that salvation) that God had chosen him 
and redeemed him, bought him, regenerated him ; never 
(having reference to that affair) speaks in the language of 
the apostle," He loved me, und gave himself for me ;" though 
he often speaks of the blessedness of those men God had 
chose, and caused to come nigh unto him, agreeably to the 
language of the New Testament, and often blesses God for 
redeeming and saving him in particular ; but never, in any 
of these things, has he respect to those national privileges, 
nor indeed any other of the penmen of the Psalms ; which is 


very strange, if the privilege of being bought, made, created, 
Sec. as applied to the nation of the Jews, be that which the 
apostle in the New Testament applies to himself in particu- 
lar, and which this and the other apostles applied to many 
other particular persons. 

§ 32 That professing Christians are said to be sanctified, 
washed, 8cc does not argue, that all professing Christians arc 
so in fact. For Taylor himself says, " it should be carefully 
observed, that it is very common in the sacred writings, to 
express not only our Christian privileges, but also the duty 
to which they oblige, in the present or preterperfect tense ; 
or to speak of that as done, which only ought to be done, and 
which, in fact, may possibly never be done : As in Matth. v. 
13. " Ye are the salt of the earth," that is, ye ought to be. 
Rom. ii. 4. « The goodness of God leadeth thee to repent- 
ance ;" that is, ought to lead thee : Chap. vi. 2. Chap. viii. 
9. Col. iii. 3. 1 Pet. i. 6. " Wherein ye greatly rejoice ;" 
i. e. ought to rejoice. 2 Cor. iii. 18. "We all with open 
face (enjoying the means of) beholding, as in a glass, the glo- 
ry of the Lord, are (ought to be, enjoy the means of being* 
changed into the same image from glory to glory." 1 Cor. 
v. " Ye are unleavened," i. e. obliged by the Christian pro- 
fession to be. Heb. xiii. 14. " We seek, (i. e. we ought to 
seek, or, according to our profession, we seek) a city to come." 
1 John ii. 12.... 15. iii. 9. v. 4.... 18, and in other places. See. 
Taylor's Key, p. 139. No. 244, and p. 144. No. 246. This 
overthrows all his supposed proofs, that those which he calls 
antecedent blessings, do really belong to all professing Christ- 

§ 33. The case was quite ot!;cnvise in the Christian 
church with regard to election, redemption, creation, &c. from 
what it was with, the Jews. With the Jews, election, their 
redemption out of Egypt, their creation, was a national thing ; 
it began with them as a nation, and descended, as it were, from 
the nation, to particular persons. Particular persons were 
first of the nation and church of the Jews ; so, by that means. 


hail an interest in their election, redemption, Sec. that Guu 
wrought of old. The being of the nation and church of Israel, 
was the ground of a participation in these privileges.* But 

it is evident, it is contrariwise in Christians. With regard 
to them, the election, redemption, creation, regeneration, &c. 
are personal things. They begin with particular. persons, 
and ascend to public societies. Men are first redeemed, 
bought, created, regenerated, and by that means become mem- 
bers of the Christian church ; and this is the ground of their 
membership. Paul's regeneration, and Christ's loving him, 
and giving himself for him, was the foundation of his being 
of the Christian church, that holy nation, peculiar people, &c. 
whereas, David's being one of the nation of Israel, is the prop- 
er ground of his participation in Israel's redemption out of 
Egypt, and of that birth and formation of the people that were 
at that time. It is apparent the case was thus. It cannot be 
otherwise. It is evident that the new creation, regeneration, 
calling, and justification, are personal things, because they are 
by personal influences ; influences of God's spirit on particu- 
lar persons, and personal qualifications. 

Their regeneration was a personal thing, and therefore, it 
is not called simply an entering into the new creation, or ob- 
taining a part in the new world or new Jerusalem, Sec. but a 
putting off the old man, and putting On the new man. They 
•are first raised from the dead, and by that means come to be- 
long to the church of Christ. They are first lively or living 
stones, and by that means come to belong to the spiritual 
house, and the holy temple ; by being lively stones, they come 
to be parts of the living temple, and capable of it. So that 
their being alive, is prior to their belonging to the Christian 
church. The Christian calling, is represented as being the 
ground of their belonging to the church. They are called 
into the church, called into the fellowship of Jesus Christ. 

* It is much to be doubted whether our author is correct in the material dis- 
tinction he here makes between the Jewish and Christian dispensations. The 
reader will consider whether privileges andblessings werenot pergonal as much 
'mucrthe one as the other. 


Their Spiritual baptism or washing, is prior to their being in 
the church. They are by one spirit baptised into one body. 
They put on Christ, and so become interested in Christ, and 
sharers with those that had a part in him. By such a person- 
al work of the Spirit of God, they were first made meet to be 
partakers with the saints in light, before they were partakers. 

§ 34. It will follow from Taylor's scheme, that Simon the 
sorcerer had an interest in all the antecedent blessings. Yet 
the apostle tells him he was at that time in the gall of bitter- 
ness, and bond of iniquity. If he was really justified, washed, 
cleansed, sanctified ; how was he at that time in the bond oi 
iniquity ? Justification, forgiveness, &c. is a release from 
the bond of iniquity. If the heart be purified by faith, it does 
not remain in the gall of bitterness. 

§ 35. Saving grace differs from common grace, in nature 
and kind. To suppose only a gradual difference, would not 
only be to suppose, that some in a state of damnation are, 
within an infinitely little as good as some in a state of salva- 
tion, (which greatly disagrees with the Arminian notion of 
men's being saved by their own virtue and goodness) but this, 
taken with the Arminian notion of men's falling from grace, 
will naturally lead us to determine, that many that are once 
in a state of salvation, may be in such a state, and out of it, 
scores of times in a very short space. For though a person 
is in a state of salvation, he may be but just in it, and may be 
infinitely near the limits between a state of salvation and dam- 
nation ; and as the habits of grace are, acccording to that 
scheme, only contracted and raised by consideration and ex- 
ercise, and the exertion of the strength of the mind, and are 
lost when a man falls from grace by the intermission or ces- 
sation of these, and by contrary acts and exercises ; and as the 
habits and principles of virtue are raised and sunk, brought 
into being and abolished by those things, and both the degree 
of them and the being of them wholly depend on them; the 
consequence will naturally be, that when a man is first raised 
to that degree of a virtuous disposition; as to be in a state oi" 


salvation, and the degree of virtue is almost infinitely near the 
dividing line, it will naturally be liable to be a little raised or 
sunk every hour, according as the thoughts and exercises of 
the mind are ; as the mercury in the thermometer or barom- 
eter is never perfectly at rest, but is always rising or subsid- 
ing, according to the weight of the atmosphere, or the degree 
of heat. 

§ 36. The dispute about grace's being resistible or irre- 
sistible, is perfect nonsense. For the effect of grace is upon 
the will ; so that it is nonsense, except it be proper to say 
that a man with his will can resist his own will, or except it 
be possible for him to desire to resist his own will ; that is, 
except it be possible for a man to will a thing and not will it 
at the same time, and so far as he does will it. Or if you 
speak of enlightening grace, and say this grace is upon the 
understanding ; it is nothing but the same nonsense in other 
words. For then the sense runs thus, that a man, after he 
has seen so plainly that a thing is best for him that he wills it, 
yet he can at the same time nill it. If you say he can will 
any thing he pleases, this is most certainly true ; for who can 
deny, that a man can will any thing he doth already will I 
That a man can will any thing that he pleases, is just as cer- 
tain, as what is, is. Wherefore it is nonsense to say, that af- 
ter a man has seen so plainly a thing to be so much best for 
him that he wills it, he could have not willed it if he had pleas- 
ed ; that is to say, if he had not willed it, he could have not 
willed it. It is certain, that a man never doth any thing but 
what he can do. But to say, after a man has willed a thing;, 
that he could have not willed it if he had pleased, is to sup- 
pose two wills in a man ; the one to will which goes first ; 
the oilier to please or choose to will. And so with the same 
reason we may say, there is another will to please ; to please 
to will ; and so on to a thousand. Wherefore, to say that 
the man could have willed otherwise if he had pleased, is just 
all one as to say, that if lie had willed otherwise, then we 
mitrbt be we he could will ...the. wise. 


§ 37. Those that deny infusion of grace by the Holy Spir- 
it, must, of necessity, deny the Spirit to do any thing at all. 
By the Spirit's infusing, let be meant what it will, those who 
say there is no infusion, contradict themselves. For they say 
the Spirit doth something in the soul ; that is, he causeth 
some motion, or affection, or apprehension to arise in the soul, 
that, at the same time, would not be there without him. Now, 
God's Spirit doeth what he doeth ; he doth as much as he 
doth ; or he causeth in the soul as much as he causeth, 
let that be how little soever. So much as is purely the ef- 
fect of his immediate motion, that is the effect of his imme- 
diate motion, let that be what it will ; and so much is infus- 
ed, how little soever that be. This is selfevident. For sup- 
pose the Spirit of God only to assist the natural powers, then 
there is something done betwixt them. Men's own powers 
do something, and God's Spirit doth something ; only they 
work together. Now, that part that the Spirit doth, how little 
soever it be, is infused. So that they that deny infused hab- 
its, own that part of the habit is infused. For they say, the 
Holy Spirit assists the man in acquiring the habit*; so that it 
is acquired rather sooner than it would be otherwise So that 
part oi* the habit is owing to the Spirit ; some of the strength 
of the habit was infused, and another part is owing to the nat- 
ural powers of the man. Or if you say not so, but that it is 
all owing to the natural power assisted ; how do you mean as- 
sisted ? To act more lively and vigorously than otherwise ? 
Then th^t liveliness and vigorousness must be infused ; which 
is a habit, and therefore an infused habit. It is grace, and 
therefore infused grace. Grace consists very much in a prin- 
ciple that causes vigorousness and activity in action. This is 
infusion, even in the sense of the opposite party. So that, if 
any operation of he Holy Spirit at all is allowed, the dispute 
is only, How much is infused ? The one says, a great deal, 
the other says, bin little. 

§ 38. 1st. The main thing meant by the word efficacious, 
is this, it being decisive This seems to be the main question. 
2d. Its being immediate and arbitrary in that sense, as not to 

Vol. V. 3 I 


be limited to the laws of nature. 3d. That the principles of 
grace are supernatural in that sense, that they are entirely 
different from all that is in the heart before conversion. 4th. 
That they are infused, and not contracted by custom and exer- 
cise. 5th. That the change is instantaneous, and not gradual. 
These four last heads may be subdivisions of a second gen- 
eral head : So that the divisions may be thus : 1st. The main 
thing meant, is, that it is decisive ; 2d, That it is immediate 
and supernatural. The four last of the heads mentioned 
above, may be subdivisions of this last. 

So that there are two things relating to the doctrine of ef- 
ficacious grace, wherein lies the main difference between the 
Calvinists and Arminians as to this doctrine. Firsts That the 
grace of God is determining and decisive as to the conver- 
sion of a sinner, or a man's becoming a good man, and having 
those virtuous qualifications that entitle to an interest in Christ 
and his salvation. Secondly, That the power and grace and 
operation of the Holy Spirit, in, or towards, the conversion of 
a sinner, is immediate : That the habit of true virtue or holi- 
ness is immediately implanted or infused ; that the operation 
goes so far, that a man has habitual holiness given him in- 
stantly, wholly by the operation of the Spirit of God, and not 
gradually by assistance concurring with our endeavors, so as 
gradually to advance virtue into a prevailing habit. And be- 
side these, Thirdly, It is held by many, of late, that there is no 
immediate interposition of God ; but that all is done by gen- 
eral laws. 

The former is that which is of greatest importance or con- 
sequence in the controversy with Arminians, (though the oth- 
ers are also very important) and this, only, is what I shall con- 
sider in this place ; perhaps the others may be considered, 
God willing, in some other discourse. 

§ 39. Concerning what the Arminians say, that these are 
speculative points ; all devotion greatly depends on a sense 
and acknowledgment of our dependence on God. But this 
is one of the very chief things belonging to our dependence 
on God : How much stress do the Scriptures lay on our de- 


pendence on God ! All assistance of the Spirit of God what- 
soever, that is by any present influence or effect of the Spirit ; 
any thing at all that a person that is converted from sin to 
God, is the subject of, through any immediate influence of 
the Spirit of God upon him, or any thing done by the Spirit, 
since the completing and confirming the Canon of the Scrip- 
tures, must be done by a physical operation, either on the soul 
or body. 

The Holy Spirit of God does something to promote virtue 
in men's hearts, and to make them good, beyond what the 
angels can do. But the angels can present motives ; can ex- 
cite ideas of the words of promises and threatenings, Sec. and 
can persuade in this way by moral means ; as is evident, be- 
cause the devils in this way promote vice. , 

§ 40. There is no objection made to God's producing any 
effects, or causing any events, by any immediate interposition, 
producing effects arbitrarily, or by the immediate efforts of 
his will, but what lies equally against his ordering it so, that 
any effects should be produced by the immediate interposi- 
tion of men's will, to produce effects otherwise than the es.- 
tablished laws of nature would have produced without men's 
arbitrary interposition. 

I beg the reader's attention to the following quotations..., 
" That otherwise, the world cannot be the object of inquiry 
and science, and far less of imitation by arts : Since imitation 
necessarily presupposes a certain, determinate object, or fix^- 
ed, ascertainable relations and connexions of things ; and that, 
upon the contrary supposition, the world must be absolutely 
unintelligible. Nature, in order to be understood by us, must 
always speak the same language to us. It must therefore 
stedfastly observe the same general laws in its operations, or 
work uniformly, and according to stated, invariable methods 
and rules. Those terms, order, beauty, general good, Sec. 
plainly include, in their meaning, analogy ; and constancy, 
uniformity amidst variety ; or, in other words, the regular 
observance of general, settled laws, in the make and econo- 
my, production, and operations or effects; of any object to 


■which they arc ascribed. Wherever order, fixed connexion.,, 
or general laws and unity of design take place, there is cer- 
tainty in the nature of such objects, and so knowledge may 
be acquired. But where these do not obtain, there can be 
nothing but unconnected, independent parts. All must be 
disorder and confusion ; and consequently, such a loose, dis- 
jointed heap of things, must be an inexplicable chaos. In one 
word, science, prudence, government, imitation and art, nec- 
essarily suppose the prevalence of general laws throughout 
all the objects in nature to which they reach. No being can 
know itself, project or pursue any scheme, or lay down any 
maxims for its conduct, but so far as its own constitution is 
certain, and the connexion of things relative to it are fixed and 
constant. For so far only are things ascertainable ; and there- 
fore, so far only can rules be drawn from them." Turnbiill's 
Mov. Phil. Part I. Introd. 

" The exercise of all moral powers, dispositions and af- 
fections of mind, as necessarily presuppose an established or- 
der of nature, or general laws settled by the author of nature 
with respect to them, as the exercise of our bodily senses 
abovit qualities and effects of corporeal beings do with regard 
to them. We could 'neither acquire knowledge of any kind, 
contract habits, or attain to any moral perfection whatsoever, 
unless the author of our nature had appointed and fixed cer- 
tain laws relating to our moral powers, and their exercises 
and acquisitions." Ibid. p. 13, 14. Yet this Turnbull stren- 
uously holds a seifdetermining power in the will of man. Such 
like arguments, if they are valid against any interposition at 
all, will prevail against all interposition of God or man, and 
against the interposition of God ever to bring the world to an 
end, or amend it ; and prove that all shall be according to 
general laws. And they might as well argue, that the mak- 
ing of the world too was by general laws. If it be said, that 
it is of great importance and absolute necessity, that God 
should at last interpose and rectify the course of nature....! 
.;, v.cr, this is yielding the point, that, in cases of great im- 
portance, it is reasonable to suppose there may be an intcrpo. 
itipn that may be arbitrary, and not by general laws. 

efficacious Grace. 45s 

§ 41. It is not necessary that men should be able, by the 
connexions of things, to know all future events ; nor was this 
ever in the Creator's designs. If it had been so, he could 
have enabled them to know the future volitions of men, and 
those events that depend upon them, which are by far the 
most important. 

§ 42. The nature of virtue being a positive thing, can 
proceed from nothing, but God's immediate influence, and 
must take its rise from creation or infusion by God. For it 
must be either from that, or from our own choice and pro- 
duction, either at once or gradually, by diligent culture. But 
it cannot begin, or take its rise from the latter, viz. cur 
choice, or voluntary diligence. For if there exist nothing 
at all of the nature of virtue before, it cannot come from cul- 
tivation i for by the supposition there is nothing of the na- 
ture of virtue to cultivate, it cannot be by repeated and multi- 
plied acts of virtuous choice, till it becomes an habit. For 
there can be no one virtuous choice, unless God immediately 
gives it. The first virtuous choice, or a disposition to it, must 
be immediately given, or it must proceed from a preceding 
choice. If the first virtuous act of will or choice be from a 
preceding act of will or choice, that preceding act of choice 
must be a virtuous act of choice, which is contrary to the 
supposition. For then there would be a preceding act of 
choice before the first virtuous act of choice. And if it be said 
the first virtuous act of choice is from a preceding act of will 
■which is not virtuous, this is absurd. For an act of will not: 
virtuous, cannot produce another act of will of a nature entire- 
ly above itself, having something positive in it which the 
cause has nothing of, and more excellent than it is ; any 
more than motion can produce thought or understanding ; ov 
the collision of two bodies can produce thought ; or stone* 
and lead can produce a spirit ; or nothing can produce some- 

§ 43. As to man's inability to convert himself.. ..In them 
that are totally corrupt, there can be no tendency towards 


their making their hearts better, till they begin to repent of 
the badness of their hearts. For if they do not repent, they 
still approve of it ; and that tends to maintain their badness, 
and confirm it. But they cannot begin sincerely to repent of 
the badness of their hearts, till their hearts begin to be better, 
for repentance consists in a change of the mind and heart. 
So that it is not men's repentance that first gives rise i ir 
having a better heart ; and therefore it cannot be any tenden- 
cy in them to make their hearts better, that gives rise to it. 
The heart can have no tendency to make i f self better, till it 
begins to have a better tendency ; for therein consists its 
badness, viz. its having no good tendency or inclination. And 
to begin to have a good tendency, or, which is the same 
thing, a tendency and inclination to be better, is the same 
thing as to begin already to be better. And therefore the 
heart's inclination to be good, cannot be the thing that first 
gives rise to its being made good. For its inclination to bt? 
better, is the same tiling with its becoming better. 

§44. Iftherebeany immediate influence or action of 
the Spirit of God at all on any created beings, in any part of 
the universe, since the days of the apostles, it is physical. 
If it be in exciting ideas of motives, or in any respect assist- 
ing or promoting any effect, still it is physical ; and every 
■whit as much so, as if we suppose the temper and nature of 
the heart is immediately changed. And it is as near akin, 
to a miracle. If the latter be miraculous, so is the former, 

§ 45. "Whoever supposed that the term irresistible was 
properly used with respect to that power by which an infant 
is brought into being ; meaning, irresistible by the infant ? 
Or whoever speaks of a man's waking out of a sound sleep 
irresistibly, meaning, that he cannot resist awaking ? Or 
who says, that Adam was formed out of the dust of the earth 
irresistibly ? See what I have said of the use of such terms as 
irresistible, imfrustrable, &c. in my Inquiry about Liberty. 


§ 46. The opponents of efficacious grace and physical 
operation, may be challenged to show that it is possible that 
any creature should become righteous without a physical op- 
eration, either a being created with the habit of righteousness, 
or its being immediately infused. See what I have written 
in my book of Original Sin, in those sections wherein I vindi- 
cate the doctrine of original righteousness, and argue, that if 
Adam was not created righteous, no way can be invented how 
he could ever become righteous. 

§ 47. As to that, Matthew vii. 7, « Seek and ye shall 
find ;" it is explained by such places as that, Deut. iv. 29. 
« But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou 
shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all 
thy soul." And by Deut. xxx. 2.... 6. « If thou shalt return 
unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice with all thy 
heart and with all thy soul ; the Lord thy God will circum- 
cise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord 
thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul ;" which is 
very parallel with that, " to him that hath shall be given." 

§ 48. The Scripture teacheth that holiness, both in prin- 
ciple and fruit, is from God. « It is God who worketh in 
you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure." And Prov. 
xvi. 1. " The preparation of the heart in man, and the an- 
swer of the tongue is from the Lord." Comparing this with 
other parts of the book of Proverbs, evinces that it is a mora! 
preparation, and the answer of the tongue in moral regards., 
that is meant. 

§ 49. Reason shows that the first existence r>f a principle 
of virtue cannot be from man himself, nor in any created be- 
ing whatsoever ; but must be immediately given from God ; 
or that otherwise it never can be obtained, whatever this 
principle be, whether love to God, or love to men. It must 
either be from God, or be an habit contracted by repeated 
acts. But it is most absurd to suppose that the first existence 
of the principle of holy action, should be preceded by a course 


of holy actions. Because there can be no holy action with' 
out a principle, of holy inclination. There can be no act 
done from love, that shall be the cause of first introducing 
the very existence of love. 

§ 50. God is said to give true virtue and piety of heart to 
vnan ; to work it in him, to create it, to form it, and with re- 
gard to it we are said to be his workmanship. Yea, that 
there may be no room to understand it in some improper 
sense, it is often declared as the peculiar character of God, 
that he assumes it as his character to be the author and giver 
of true virtue, in his being called the Sanctifier ; he that 
sanctificth us. " I am he that sanctifieth you." This is 
spoken of as the great prerogative of God, Levit. xx. S, and 
other parallel places. He declares expressly that this effect 
shall be connected with his act, or with what he shall do in 
order to it. " I will sprinkje clean water, and you shall be 
clean." Vv hat God does is often spoken of as thoroughly 
effectual ; the effect is infallibly consequent. « Turn us, 
and we shall be turned." Jesus Christ has the great charac- 
ter of a Saviour on this account, that " he save3 his people 
from their sins." See Rom. xi. 26, 27. " And so all Israel 
shall be saved ; as it is written, there shall come out of Zion 
a deliverer, and shall tarn away ungodliness from Jacob. For 
this is rav covenant unto them, when I shall take away their 
sins." God says, " I will put my law into their hearts ; I 
will write my law in their inward parts, and they shall not 
depart away from me ; I will take away the heart of stone, 
and give them an heart of flesh ; I will give them an heart 
to know me ; I will circumcise their hearts to love me ; oh, 
that there were such an heart in them 1" And it is spoken 
of as his work, to give, to cause, to create such a heart, to 
put it in them. God is said to incline their hearts, not only 
to give statutes, but to incline their hearts to his statutes. 

Moses speaks of the great moral means that God had 
used with the children of Israel to enlighten them, and con- 
vince and persuade them ; but of their being yet unper- 
suaded and unconverted, and gives this as a reason, that Go.l 


had not given them an heart to perceive, as Deut. xxix. 4. 
" Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and 
eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day." The scripture 
plainly makes a distinction between exhibiting light, or means 
of instruction and persuasion, and giving eyes to see, circum- 
cising the heart, &c. 

§ 51. Why should Christ teach us to pray in the Lord's 
prayer, " Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," if it 
is not God's work to bring that effect to pass, and it is left to 
man's free will, and cannot be otherwise, because otherwise 
it is no virtue, and none of their obedience, or doing of God's 
will ; and God does what he can oftentimes consistently with 
man's liberty, and those that enjoy the means he uses, do 
generally neglect and refuse to do his will ? He does so 
much, that he can well say, what could 1 have done more ? 
And yet almost all are at the greatest distance from doing 
his will. See Colos, i. 9, 10. 

§52. If it be as the Arminians suppose, that all men's 
virtue is of the determination of their own free will, indepen- 
dent on any prior determining, deciding, and disposing of the 
event ; that it is no part of the ordering of God, whether 
there be many virtuous or few in the world, whether there 
shall be much virtue or little, or where it shall be, in what 
nation, country, or when, or in what generation or age : or 
whether there shall be any at all : Then none of these 
things belong to God's disposal, and therefore, sorely it does 
not belong to him to promise them. For it does not belong 
to him to promise in an affair, concerning which he has not 
the disposal. 

And how can God promise, as he oftentimes does in his 
word, glorious times, when righteousness shall generally pre- 
vail, and his will shall generally be done ; and yet that it is 
not an effect which belongs to him to determine ; it is not 
left to his determination, but to the sovereign, arbitrary de- 
termination of others, independently on any determination 
of him ; and therefore surely they ought to be the prora- 

Vol. V. 3 K 


isers ? For him to promise, who ha3 it not in his hands to 
dispose and determine, is a great absurdity ; and yet God 
oftentimes in promising, speaks of himself as the sovereign 
disposer of the matter, using such expressions as abundantly 
imply it. Isaiah lx. 22. « I the Lord do hasten it in its 
lime." Surely this is the language of a promiser, and not 
merely a predictor. God promises Abraham, that " all the 
families of the earth shall be blessed in him." God swears, 
" every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess." And it 
is said to be given to Christ, that every nation, &c. should 
serve and obey him, Dan. vii. After what manner they shall 
serve and obey him, is abundantly declared in other prophe- 
cies, as in Isaiah xi. and innumerable others. These are 
spoken of in the next chapter, as the excellent things that 
God does. 

§ 53. If God is not the disposing author of virtue, then 
he is not the giver of it. The very notion of a giver implies 
a disposing cause of the possession of the benefit. 1 John iv. 
4. " Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them, 
(i. e. have overcome your spiritual enemies) because greater 
is he that is in you, than he that is in the world ;" that is, 
plainly, he is stronger, and his strength overcomes. But 
how can this be a reason, if God does not put forth any over- 
coming, effectual strength in the case, but leaves it to free 
will to get the victory, to determine the point in the conflict ? 

§ 54. There are no sort of benefits that are so much the 
subject of the promises of scripture, as this sort, the bestow- 
ment of virtue, or benefits which imply it. How often is the 
faith of the Gentiles, or their coming into the Christian 
Church promised to Christ in the Old Testament, Isaiah xlix. 
6, and many other places ; and he has promised it to his 
church, chap. xlix. 18. ...21, and innumerable other places. 
See Rom. xv. 12. 13. "What a promise have we, Isaiah lx. 21, 
<■<■ Thy people also shall be all righteous, they shall inherit 
the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my 
hand, that I may be glorified,".. ..compared with the next 


chapter, 3d verse, " That they may be called the trees of 
righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be 
glorified." See also verse 8th of the same chapter. Like- 
wise chap. lx. 17, 18. « I will make thy officers peace, and 
thy exactors righteousness ; violence shall no more be heard 
in trjy land, wasting nor destruction within thy border, but 
thou shalt call thy walls salvation, and thy gates praise." 
Here it is promised that the rulers shall be righteous ; and 
then, in the 21st verse following, it is promised that the peo- 
ple shall be so. The change of men to be of a peaceable dis T 
position is promised, as in places innumerable, so in Isaiah 
xi. 6....11. " The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and 
the leopard shall lie down with the kid," Sec. Isaiah lv. 
5. " Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest 
not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee, 
because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel, 
for he hath glorified thee." Jer. iii. 15. "And I will give 
you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you 
with knowledge and understanding." This implies a prom- 
ise that there should be such pastors in being, and that they 
should be faithful to feed the people with knowledge and un- 
derstanding. Jer. x. 23. " The way of man is not in him- 
self." Stebbing owns, that on Arminian principles, conver- 
sion depending on the determination of free will, it is possi- 
ble, in its own nature, that none should ever be converted, (p. 
235.) Then all the promises of virtue, of the revival of re- 
ligion, Sec. are nothing. Jer. xxxi. 18. » Turn thou me, 
and I shall be turned,"... .compared with Jer. xvii. 14. « Heal 
me, O Lord, and I shall healed ; save me, and I shall be 
saved, for thou art my praise." Which shews the force 
and meaning of such a phraseology to be, that God alone can 
be the doer of it ; and that if he undertakes it, it will be ef- 
fectually done. Jer. xxxi. 32.. ..35. "Not according to the 
covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day that I 
look them by the hand to bring them out of the land of E- 
gypt, (which my covenant they brake, although I was an hus- 
band unto them, saith the Lord :) But this shall be the cov- 
enant that I will make with the house of Israel, after those 


days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, 
and write it in their hearts, and I will be their God, and they 
shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every 
man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know 
the Lord ; for they shall all know me, from the least of them, 
unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord ; for I will forgive 
their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." The 
prophet elsewhere tells what is connected with knowing God, 
viz. doing judgment and justice, and shewing mercy, Sec- 
Chap, xxii. 16, Jer. xxxii. 39, 4C. " And I will give them 
one heart and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for 
the good of them and their children after them ; and I will 
make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn 
away from them to do them good. But I will put my fear in 
their hearts, and they shall not depart from me." Jer. xxxiii. 
2. " Thus saith the Lord, the maker thereof, the maker that 
formed it." Verse 8. " And I will cleanse them from all 
their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me." Ezek. 
xi. 18. ...20. » And they shall come thither, and they shall 
take away all the detestable things thereof, and all the abom- 
ination thereof from thence. And I will give them one 
heart, and I will put a new spirit within you ; and I will 
take the stony heart out of their flesh, and I will give them 
an heart of flesh ; that they may walk in my statutes, and 
keep mine ordinances, and do them ; and they shall be my 
people, and I will he their God." 

Zech. xii. 10, to the end. " And I will pour upon the 
house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the 
spirit of grace and of supplications ; and they shall look upon 
me whom they have pierced," Sec. 

So in the next chapter at the beginning, " I will cut off 
the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall be no 
more remembered ;" and also, " I will cause the prophets, 
and also the unclean spirits to pass out of the land." 

Mai. iii. 3. 4. " And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier 
of silver ; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge 
them as gold and biiver, that they may offer unto the Lord an 
offering in righteousness. 'J hen *-. iiaii the offering of Judah 


and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of 
old, and as in the former years." 

§ 55. We are told, Job. xxviii. 28, that " the fear of the 
Lord is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding." 
The same is also abundantly declared in other places. But 
it is equally declared, that God is the author and giver of wis- 
dom, and that he is the author wholly and only ; which is de- 
nied of other things. It is also abundantly declared in this 
28th chapter of Job, that it cannot be obtained of any creature 
by any means ; and it is implied in the end of the chapter, that 
it is God that gives wisdom, as is asserted, P/ov. ii. 6. « For 
the Lord giveth wisdom ; out of his mouth cometh knowledge 
and understanding." It is the promise of God the Father, 
Psalm ex. 2. " Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy 
power." Psalm cxix. 35. " Make me to go in the way of 
thy commandments." Verse 36. « Incline my heart unto 
£hy testimonies." 

§ 56. We are directed earnestly to pray and cry unto God 
for wisdom, and the fear of the Lord ; for this reason, that it is 
he that giveth wisdom. Prov. ii. at the beginning : Compare 
Job. xxviii. with Prov. xxi. 1 . " The king's heart is in the 
hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water ; he turneth it whith- 
ersoever he will." Here it is represented that the will of God 
determines the wills of men, and that when God pleases to in- 
terpose, he even directs them according to his pleasure, with- 
out failure in any instance. This shews that God has not left 
men's hearts so in their own hands, as to be determined by 
themselves alone, independently on any antecedent determi- 

Prov. xxviii. 26. " He that trusteth in his own heart is p 
fool." Aman is to be commended for making a wise improve- 
ment of his outward possessions, for his own comfort ; vet 

this is the gift of God. Eccles. ii. 24 26. " There is 

nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, 
and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labor. 
This also I saw that it was from the hand of God. 


John i. 12, 13. " As many as received him, to them gave 
he power to become the sons of God ; which were born, not 
of the will of man, but of God." Thus also we read, Luke 
iii. 8. k ' God is able of these stones to raise up children un- 
to Abraham." John iii. 3. " Except a man be born again, 
he cannot see the kingdom of God." Verse 5. " Except 
a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into 
the kingdom of God." « That which is born of the flesh is 
flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Verse 8. 
« The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the 
sound thereof, but canst not teil whence it cometh, and whith- 
er it goeth ; so is every one that is born of the Spirit." Jam. 
i. 18. " Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, 
that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures." 

What Christ meant by being born again, we may learn by 
the abundant use of the like phrase by the same disciple 
that wrote this gospel, in his first epistle, who doubtless learn- 
ed his language from his master ; and particularly from those 
savings of his concerning the new birth, which he took more 
special notice of, and which left the deepest impressions on 
his mind, which we may suppose are those he records, when 
he writes the history of his life. Matth. iv. 19. " I will 
make you fishers of men." So Mark i. 16, 20, together with 
Luke v. " From henceforth thou shalt catch men." Com- 
pared with the foregoing story of Christ's giving them so 
great a draught of fishes, which was wholly his doing, and as- 
cribed to him. Matth. vi. 10. " Thy kingdom come ; thy 

will be done." Matth. xi. 25 27. « At that time Jesus 

answered and said, 1 thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven 
and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and 
prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Fa- 
ther, for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are deliv- 
ered unto me of my Father; and no man knoweth the Son, 
but the Father ; neither knoweth any man the Father, save 
the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." So 
Luke x. 21, 22. John vi. 37. " All that the Father giveth 
me, shall come unto me." Verse 44. " No man can come 
unto me, except the Father which hath sent me, draw him." 

Efficacious grace. m 

John x. 16. " Other sheep I have which are not of this 
fold ; them also I must bring ; and there shall be one fold 

and one shepherd." Verse 26 29. " But ye believe not, 

because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you ; my 
sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me ; 
and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, 
neither shall any pluck them out of my hands. My Father 
which gave them me," 8tc. 

Acts xv. 3, 4. "Declaring the conversion of the Gen- 
tiles, and they declared all things that God had done with 
them." Verse 9. « And put no difference between us and 
them, purifying their hearts by faith." Therefore it is not 
probable, that the heart is first purified, to fit it for faith. John 
xiv. 12. " Greater works than these shall he do, that the Fa- 
ther may be glorified in the Son." The meaning of it is con- 
firmed from John xii. 23, 24, 28.. ..32, and John xvii. 1, 2, 3. 
Isa. xlix. 3, 5, and xxvi. 15, and Isa. xvi. 14. Isa. xvii. 3, 4, 
5, and 16, 17, and 22, 21, (especially Isa. Iv. 4, 5.) Jer. xxx. 
19. Rom. ix. 16. « It is not of him that willeth, nor of him 
that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy." By such an 
expression in the apostle's phraseology, from time to time, is 
meant the use of endeavors, whereby they seek the benefit 
they would obtain. So what he here says, is agreeable to 
what he says in chap. xi. 4, 5, 6, 7, where he particularly 
shows, that it is God that preserves the remnant, and that it is 
of the election of his grace and free kindness, and not of their 
works ; but in such a way of freedom, as is utterly inconsistent 
with its being of their works. And in verse 7, that it is not 
determined by their seeking, but by God's election. The 
apostle here, as Dr. Taylor says, has respect to bodies of men, 
to the posterity of Esau and Jacob, Sec. Yet this he applies 
to a distinction made in those days of the gospel, and that dis- 
tinction made between those that were in the Christian church, 
and those that were not, and particularly some of the Jews 
that were in the Christian church, and others of the same na- 
tion that were not ; which is made by some believing and 
accepting Christ, and others rejecting him ; by that faith 
which they professed to exercise with all their hearts; that 


faitli which was a mercy and virtue, and the want of which 
was a fault ; as appears by the objection the apostle supposes, 
verse J 9. "Why doth he yet find fault?" The want of 
which faith argued hardness of heart, verse 18, exposed them, 
to wrath and destruction, as a punishment of sin, verse 22, 
and exposes persons to be like the inhabitants of Sodom and 
Gomorrah, verse 29. 

Rom. xi. 4, 5, 6, 7. But what saith the answer of God unto 
•him ? " I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who 
have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. E ven so at 
this present time, there is a remnant according to the elec- 
tion of grace. And if by grace, then it is no more of works ; 
otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then 
it is no more grace ; otherwise work is no more work." 
2 Tim. ii. 9. Eph. ii. 9. Tit. iii. 5. « What then ? Israel 
hath not obtained that which he seeketh for ; but the election 
hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded." Rom. xi. 17, 18. 
" If some of the branches are broken off, and thou, being a 
wild olive tree, wert grafted in amongst them, and with them 
partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree ; boast not 
against the branches." 

Rom. xi. 25, 26, 27. « Blindness in part is happened to 
Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in ; and so 
all Israel shall be saved. As it is written, There shall come 
out o /lion the deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness 
from Jacob. For this is rrly covenant unto them, when I shall 
take away their sins." Together with verses 35, 06. « Who 
hath first given unto him, and it shall be recompensed to him 
again ? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all 
things, to whom be glory for ever and ever." 

§ 57. That expression, Rom. i. 7, and 1 Cor. i.2,and else- 
where, called to be sai>its, implies, that God makes the distinc- 
tion. Compare this with what Christ says, John x. 27. "My 
-sheep hear my voice." Verse 16. "Other sheep have I 
which are not of this fold ; them also must I bring ; and they 
shall hear my voice ; and t'aeie shall be one fold and one shep- 
herd.': 1 Cor.i. 26, 27, 28, to the end ; « For ye see your call- 


ing, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, 
not many mighty, not many noble, are called : But God hath 
chosen the foolish things of, &c. That no flesh should glory 
in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus," Sec. 
Rom. xi. latter end. Heb. xiii. 20, 21. 1 Cor. ill. 5, 6, 7, 8, 
9. « Who then is Paul, or who is Apollos, but ministers by 
whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man. I 
have planted, and Apollos watered ; but God gave the in» 
crease. So neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he 
that watereth ; but God that giveth the increase. ...We are la- 
borers together with God ; ye are God's husbandry ; ye are 
God's building." According to the Arminian scheme, it 
ought to have been ; I have planted, and Apollos watered, and 
God hath planted and watered more especially. For we have 
done it only as his servants. But you yourselves have given 
the increase ; the fruit has been left to your free will : Agree- 
ably to what the Arminians from time to time insist on, in 
what they say upon the parable of the vineyard which God 
planted in a fruitful hill, &c. and looked that it should bring 
forth grapes, and says, what could I have done more unto my 
vineyard ? 

1 Cor. iii. 3. "Ye are manifestly declared to be the epis- 
tle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink, but 
with the Spirit of the living God ; not on tables of stone, 
but on the fleshly tables of the heart." They were the epis- 
tle of Christ, as the effect of the Spirit of God in their hearts 
held forth the light of truth ; of gospel truth with its evi- 
dence to the world ; as the church i- compared to a candle- 
stick, and called the pillar and ground of the truth. This is 
agreeable to those scriptures in the Old Testament, that 
speak of writing God's law in their hearts, &c. Add to this, 
Chap. iv. 6. « For God, who commanded the light to shine 
out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of 
the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus 
Christ " 2 Cor. v. 14.... 18. « If one died tor all, then were 
all dead ; that they which live, should noi henceforth live un- 
to themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose 
again. Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new crea- 

Vol. V. 3 L 


ture : Old things are passed away : Behold, all things are be- 
come new ; and all things are of God." 

2 Cor. viii. 16, 17.- " Thanks be to God, who put the 
same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you. For in- 
deed he accepted the exhortation. But being more forward, 
of his own accord he went unto you." So the next chapter 
speaks of the Corinthians' forwardness and readiness in their 
bounty to the poor saints, not as of necessity, but with freedom 
and cheerfulness, according to the purpose of their own hearts 
or wills ; but yet speaks of their charity as just cause of much 
thanksgiving, to God ; and speaks expressly of thanksgiving 
to him for such a subjection of them to the gospel, and liber- 
al distribution to them. 

Gal. i. 15, 16. « But when it pleased God, who separat- 
ed me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace^ 
to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the 
Gentiles," compared with 2 Cor. iv. 6, 7, and the account 
which he gives himself of his conversion, Acts xxvi. 16. ...18. 

Gal. ii. 19, 20. " I through the law am dead to the law, 
that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ ; nev- 
ertheless I live ; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." 

Gal. v. 22, 23, 8cc. " The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, 
peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, 

§ 58. The apostle, in Eph. i. 18... .20, speaks of some ex- 
ceeding great work of power, by which they th&t believe are 
distinguished. But a bodily resurrection is no such distin- 
guishing work of power. See the words : « The eyes of 
your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know 
•what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glo- 
ry of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding 
greatness of his power to us ward who believe, according to 
the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ 
Jesus, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his 
own right hand in heavenly places." The apostle repeats 
the same thing in substance again in chapter iii. 14, and fol- 
lowing verses, and tells us what sort of knowledge he desired, 


gmd so earnestly prayed that they might receive, and what is 
the fioiver that he speaks of : "That they may be able to 
comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth and length, 
and depth and height ; and to know the love of Christ which 
passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the full- 
ness of God." And tells by what means God would dwell in 
their hearts by faith, 8cc verses 16, 17. And he tells us in 
verse 20, what is the power of God he speaks of. See Rom. 
xv. 13. 1 Pet. i. SV. ..5, and 2 Thess. i. 11, 12. See also what 
the apostle speaks of as an effect of God's glorious power, 
Col.i. 11. 

Eph.i. 18. ...20, is to be taken in connexion with the words 
which follow in the beginning of the next chapter ; which is 
a continuation of the same discourse, where the apostle abun- 
dantly explains himself. In those words, there is an explana- 
tion of what had before been more figuratively represented. 
He here observes, that those that believe, are the subjects of 
a like exceeding greatness of power that Christ was, when he 
was raised from the dead, and set at God's own right hand in 
heavenly places. And then in the prosecution of this dis- 
course he shows how, viz. in our being raised from the deadj 
being dead ourselves in trespasses and sins, and raised as 
Christ was, and made to sit together with him in heavenly 
places ; and this he speaks of, not only as the fruit of the ex- 
ceeding greatness of his power, but of the riches of his mer- 
cy, and exceeding riches of his grace ; by grace in opposition 
to works ; that it is by faith which is the gift of God. The 
apostle repeats it over and over, that it is by grace, and then 
explains how ; not of works ; and that our faith itself, by 
which it is, is not of ourselves, but is God's gift ; and that we 
are wholly God's workmanship ; and that all is owing to 
God's foreordaining that we should walk in good works. I 
know not what the apostle could have said more. See Eph. 
ii. 1....10. 

§ 59. In Eph. iii. it is spoken of as a glorious mystery of 
God's will, contrived of old, and determined from the founda- 
tion of the world, and his eternal purpose, &c. that God would 


bring in the Gentiles as fellow heirs, and of the same body 
and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel. Which 
confirms the promises of the Old Testament ; shews that 
they were not foretold only as foreseen, but Predetermined, 
as what God would bring to pass. This is also spoken of 
elsewhere, as the fruit of God's eternal purpose, his election, 
Sec. as our adversaries acknowledge. 

§60. Sincerity itself is spoken of as coming from God. 
Phil. i. 10. " That ye may approve the things that are excel- 
lent ; that ye may be sincere and without offence in the day 
of Christ." And elsewhere God is represented as « creating 
a clean heart, renewing a right spirit, giving an heart of flesh," 
&c. The apostle « gives thanks for the faith and love of the 
Colossians, their being delivered from the power of darkness, 
8cc. and prays that they may be filled with the knowledge of 
his will in all wisdom and might, agreeable to their knowl- 
edge, being fruitful in every good work ; and for their perse- 
verance, and that they might be made meet for the reward of 
the saints." Col i. 3, 4, 9. ...13. This argues all to flow from 
God as the giver. Their first faith, and their love that their 
faith was attended with, and' their knowledge and spiritual 
wisdom and prudence, and walking worthy of the Lord, and 
universal obedience, and doing every good work, and increas- 
ing in grace, and being strengthened in it, and their persever- 
ance and cheerfulness in their obedience, and being made 
meet for their reward, all are from God. They are from God 
as the determining cause ; else, why does the apostle pray 
that God would bestow or effect these things, if they be not 
at his determination whether they shall have them or not ? 
He speaks of God's glorious power as manifested in the be- 
stowment of these things. 

Col. ii. 13. « And you being dead in your sins and the 
uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together 
with him." 

Col. lii. 10. " Have put on the new man, which is renew- 
ed in knowledge after the in age of him that created him.*' 


See how many things the apostle gives thanks to God For 
in the Thessalonians, and prays for them. 2 Thess. i. 3, 4, 
11, 12, and ii. 17, 18, and iii. 3, 4, 5. 1 Thess. i. verse 2, to 
the end, and chap. ii. verses 13, 14, and chap. iii. 9, 10, 12, 
13, chap. v. 23, 24. 1 Thess. iii. 12. « The Lord make you 
to increase and abound in love," Sec. 1 Thess. iv. 10. " But 
as touching brotherly love, ye need not that I should write 
unto you ; for ye yourselves are taught of God to love o;;e 
another. And indeed ye do it towards all the brethren." 
1 Thess. v. 23, 24. " And the very God of peace sanctify 
you wholly ; and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul and 
body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord 
Jesus Christ. Faithful' is he that hath called you, who also 
will do it." 

2 Thess. i. 3, 4. " We are bound to thank God always 
for you, because your faith groweth exceedingly, and the 
charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundtth ; 
so that we glory in you, for your faith and patience in all 
your persecutions and tribulations." 

The apostle thanks God for his own prayers, and for oth- 
ers ; 2 Tim. i. '3. If they are from God, then doubtless also 
our prayers for ourselves, our very prayers for the Spirit, are 
from him. 

The prophet ascribes persons' prayers to their having the 
spirit of grace and supplication. True acceptable prayer is 
spoken of, Rom. viii. as being the language of the Spirit ; 
not that I suppose that the very words are indited, but the 
disposition is given. 2 Tim. i. 7. " God hath not given us 
the spirit of fear, but of power and of love, and of a sound 

2 Tim. ii. 9. " Who hath saved us 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." 

Hcb. xiii. 20, 21. " Now the Cod of peace, who brought 
again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of 
the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting cove- 
nant, make you perfect in every good work, and to do his 


wiii, working- in yen that which is well pleasing- in hir 
sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and 
ever, Amen." See Eph. i. 19, 20, and 1 Cor. i. fetter end. 
Heb. xiii 2. "Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith," 
compared with Philip, i. 5. James i. 5. ...8. " If any man 
lack wisdom, let him ask it of God, that givclh to all liber- 
ally and upbraicleth not, and it shall be given him. But 1c': 
him ask in faith, nothing wavering ; for ho that v, avereth. is 
like a wave of the sea, driven of the wind and tossed. For 
let not that man think he shall obtain any thing of the Lord. 
A doublemindcd man is unbtable in all his ways/' So that, 
in order to a man's having any reason to expect to be heard, 
he must first have faith, and a sincere, single heart. And 
what that is which the apostle calls wisdom, mav be learnt 
from chap. iii. 17, i8. " The wisdom that is from above is 
first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, 
full of mercy and good fruits, without partiafuy, and without 
hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace 
of them that make peace." In chap. i. 5, &c. above cited, 
God is spoken of as the giver of this wisdom ; and in the fol- 
lowing part of the chapter, he is spoken of as the giver of 
this and every benefit of that kind ; every thing that contains 
any thing of the nature of light or wisdom, or moral good ; 
and this is represented as the fruit of his mere will and pleas- 
ure. Verses 16, IT, 18. "• Do not err, my beloved brethren. 
Every good gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, and 
cometh down from the Fattier of lights, with whom is no va- 
riableness nor shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he 
us by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first 
fruits of his creatures." Sec John i. 13, and iii. 8. 

The scope of the apostle, and connexion of his discourse, 
plainly shew that the apostic means to assert that all moral 
good is ftom God. In the preceding verses, he was warning- 
those he wrote to, not to lay their sins, or pride, or lusts to the 
charge of God, and on that occasion he would have them be sen- 
sible that every good gift is from God, and no evil ; that God 
is the Father of lights and only of light ; and that no dark- 
ness is from him, because there is no darkness inhim ; no 

Efficacious grace. en 

change from light to darkness ; no, not the least shadow, 
What he says is plainly parallel to what the Apostle John 
says, when he would bignify God's perfect holiness without 
any sin ; 1 John i. 5, 6. " This, then, is the message which 
we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is 
light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we 
have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and 
do not the truth." But if all moral good is from God, com- 
cth down from him, and is his gift ; then the very firs'; good 
determination of the will, and every good improvement of as^ 
sistance, is so. 

1 Pet. i. 2... 5. " Elect according to the foreknowledge 
of God, through sanetification of the Spirit unto obedience. 
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
who, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again 
unto a lively hope," (or a living hope, i. e, from the dead ; to 
be begotten from the dead, in the phrase of the New Testa- 
ment, is the same as to be raised from the dead. See Coloss. 
i. 13, Rev. i. 5 ) " by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the 
dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, reserved 
in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through 
faith unto salvation." See Eph. i. 18. ...20, and ii. at the be- 

Philip, ii. IS. "It is God that worketh in you bom to 
will and to do of his good pleasure." The plain meaning of 
this text is, that it is God by his operation and efficiency who 
gives the will, and also enables us to put that will jri execu- 
tion ; or that he by his efficiency gives both the will and the 
deed. And this will remain the plain meaning of this text, 
after this sort of gentlemen have worked upon it a thousand 
years longer, if any of them shall remain on eartn so long. 
It will be the indisputable meaning of it, notwithstanding 
their criticisms on the word vspymi & c - I question whether any 
word can be found, in all the Greek language, more expres- 
sive and significant of an effectual operation. Wherever the 
words effectual and effectually are used in our translation of 
the Bible, this is the word used in the original. See the Eng- 
lish Concordance. 


§ 61. By the disposing or determining cause of a benefit 
I mean, a cause that disposes, orders or determines, whether 
we shall be actually possessed of the benefit or not ; and the 
same cause may be said to be an efficacious or effectual cause. 
That cause only can be said to be an efficacious cause, whose 
efficiency determines, reaches, and produces the effect. 

A being may be the determiner and disposer of an event, 
and not properly an efficient or efficacious cause. Because, 
though he determines the futurity of the event, yet there is 
no positive efficiency or power of the cause that reaches and 
produces the effect ; but merely a withholding or withdraw- 
ing of efficiency or power. 

Concerning the giver's being a disposer or determiner, 
let us consider that objection, that when a man gives to a beg- 
gar, he does but offer, and leaves it with the determination of 
the beggar's will, whether he will be possessed of the thing of- 
fered. In answer to this I observe, that in the instance before 
us, the very thing given is the fruit of the bounty of the giver. 
The thing given is virtue, and this consists in the determination 
of the inclination, and will. Therefore the determination of the 
will is the gift of God ; otherwise virtue is not his gift, and 
it is an inconsistence to pray to God to give it to us. Why 
should we pray to God to give us such a determination of 
will, when that proceeds not from him but ourselves ? 

§ 62. Every thing in the Christian scheme argues, that 
man's title to, and fitness for heaven, depends on some great 
divine influence, at once causing a vast change, and not any 
such gradual change as is supposed to be brought to pass by 
men themselves in the exercise of their own power. The 
exceeding diversity of the states of men in another world, ar- 
gues it. 

§ 63. Arminians make a great ado about the phrase ir- 
resistible grace. But the grand point of controversy really is, 
what is it that determines, disposes, and decides the matter, 
whether there shall be saving virtue in the heart or not ; and 


much more properly, whether the grace of God in the affair 
he determining grace, than whelher it be irresistible. 

Our case is indeed extremely unhappy, if we have such a 
book to be our grand and only rule, our light and directory, that 
is so exceeding perplexed, dark, paradoxical and hidden every- 
where in the manner of expression, as the scriptures must be, 
to make them consistent with Arminian opinions, by whatev- 
er means this has come to pass, whether through the distance 
of ages, diversity of customs, or by any other cause. It is to 
be considered that this is given for the rule of all ages ; and 
not only of the most learned, and accurate, and penetrating 
critics, and men of vast inquiry and skill in antiquity, but for 
all sorts of persons, of every age and nation, learned and un- 
learned. If this be true, how unequal and unfit is the provi- 
sion that is made ! How improper to answer the end design- 
ed ! If men will take subterfuge in pretences of a vast alter- 
ation of phrase, through diversity of ages and nations, what 
may not men hide themselves from under such a pretence ! 
No words will hold and secure them. It is not in the nature 
of words to do it. At this rate, language in its nature has n» 
sufficiency to communicate ideas. 

§ 64. In efficacious grace we are not merely passive* 
nor yet does God do some, and we do the rest. But God 
does all, and we do all. God produces all, and we act all. 
For that is what he produces, viz. our own acts. God is the 
only proper author and fountain ; we only are the proper act- 
ors. We are, in different respects, wholly passive, and 
wholly active. 

In the scriptures the same things are represented as from 
God and from us. God is said to convert, and men are said 
to convert and turn. God makes a new heart, and we are 
commanded to make us a new heart. God circumcises the 
heart, and we arc commanded to circumcise our own hearts; 
not merely because we must use the means in order to the 
effect, but the effect itself is our act and our duty. These 
tilings are agreeable to that text, « God worketh in you both 
to will and to do." 

Vol. V. 3M 


§ 65. Christ says, that no other than those whom « the 
Father draws, will come to him ;" and Slebbing suppose* 
none but those whom the Father draws in this sense, viz. by 
first giving them a teachable spirit, &c. But this was false 
in fact in the Apostle Paul and others ; at least he did not 
give it in answer to prayer, as their scheme supposes, and 
must suppose ; else efficacious grace is established, and the 
liberty of the will, in their sense of it, is overthrown. 

§ 66. When Christ says, John x. « Other sheep have I 
which are not of this fold ;" it is unreasonable to suppose he 
meant all in the world, that were then of a teachable disposi- 
tion. Many of them would be dead before the gospel could 
be spread among the Gentiles ; and many of the Gentiles 
were doubtless brought in, that at that time were not of a 
teachable disposition. And unless God's decrees and effica- 
cious grace made a difference, it is unreasonable to suppose 
any other, than that multitudes, in countries where the apos- 
tles never preached, were as teachable as in those countries 
where they did go, and so they never were brought in ac- 
cording to the words of Christ, " Those whom the Father 
hath given me, shall come unto me." Christ speaks of the 
Father's giving them as a thing past, John x. 29. » My Fath- 
er which gave them me." 

When Christ speaks of men's being drawn to him, he does 
not mean any preparation of dispositiou antecedent to their 
having the gospel, but a being converted to Christ by faith in 

the gospel, revealing Christ crucified, as appears by John xii. 

32. " And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men 
unto me." Acts xv. 9. "Purifying their hearts by faith." 

Therefore we are not to suppose God first purifies the heart 

with the most excellent virtues, to fit it for faith. 

The apostle says, " without faith it is impossible to please 

God." Therefore it is not possible that per