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mean themselves; thev are pure metaphysical sounds, without any ideas whatsoever in their minds to answer them; inasmuch as it has been demonstrated, that there cannot be any notion in the mind consistent with these expressions, as they pretend to explain them; because their explanations destroy themselves. No such notions as imply self-contradiction, and self-abolition, and this a great many ways, can subsist in the mind; as there can be no idea of a whole which is less than any of its parts, or of solid extension without dimensions, or of an effect which is before its cause.—Arminians improve these terms, as terms of art, and in their metaphysical meaning, to advance and establish those things which are contrary to common sense, in a high degree. Thus, instead of the plain, vulgar notion of liberty, which all mankind, in every part of the face of the earth, and in all ages, have; consisting in opportunity to do as one pleases; they have introduced a new, strange liberty, consisting in indifference, contingence, and self-determination; by which they involve themselves and others in great obscurity, and manifold gross inconsistence. So, instead of placing 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 metaphysical confusion, into many principles about moral agency, blame, praise, reward and punishment, which are, as has been shown, exceeding contrary to the common sense of mankind; and perhaps to their «wj sense, which governs them in commcn life. CONCLUSION.
Whether the things which have been alleged, are liable to any tolerable answer in the way of calm, intelligible and strict reasoning, I must leave others to judge; but [ am seasible they are liable to one sort of answer. It is not unlikely that some, who value themselves on the supposed rational and generous principles of the modern, fashionable divinity, will have their indignation and disdain raised at the sight of this discourse, and on perceiving what things are pretended to be proved in it. And if they think it worthy of being read, or of so much notice as to say much about it, they may probably renew the usual exclamations, with additional vehemence and contempt, about the fate of the heathen, Hobbes' necessity, and making men mere machines; accumulating the terrible epithets of fatal, unfrustrahle, inevitable, irresistible, &c, and it may be, with the addition of horrid and blasphemous; and perhaps much skill may be used to set forth things, which have been said, in 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.* Or difficulties may be started and insisted on, which do not belong to the controversy; because, let them be more or less real, and hard to be resolved, they are not what are owing to any thing distinguishing of this scheme from that of the Arminians, and would not be removed nor diminished by renouncing the former, and adhering to the latter. Or some particular things may be picked out, which they may think will sound harshest in the ears of the generality; and these may be glossed and descanted on, with tart and contemptuous words; and from thence, the whole treated with triumph and insult.
It is easy to see, how the decision of most of the points in controversy, between Calvinists and Arminians, depends on the determination of this grand article concerning thefreedom of the Will, requisite to moral agency ; and that by clearing and establishing the Calvinistic doctrine in this point, the chief arguments are obviated, by which Arminian doctrines in general are supported, and the contrary doctrines demonstratively confirmed. Hereby it becomes manifest, that God's moral government over mankind, his treating them as moral agents, making them the objects of his commands, counsels, calls, warnings, expostulations, promises, threatenings, rewards and punishments, is not inconsistent with a determining disposal of all events, of every kind, throughout the
» 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, that some may nave maintained; and, if so, what doctrine of necessity it is that he means.—Whether I am worthy of the name of a philosopher, or not, would be a question little to the present purpose, tf any, and ever so many, should deny it, 1 should not think it worth the while to enter into a dispute on that question. Though at the same time I might expect some better answer should be given to the arguments brought for the truth of the doctrine I main tain; and I might further reasonably desire, that it might be considered, whether it does 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 contemptibleness cf the person that argues, and the incoacluiiveness of the arguments he offers.
universe, in his providence; either by positive efficiency, or permission. Indeed, 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 does as much ascertain the futurity of the event, as any other necessity. But, as has been demonstrated, such a necessity is not at all repugnant to moral agency, and a reasonable use of commands, calls, rewards, punishments, &c. Yea, not only are objections of this kind against the doctrine of an universal determining Providence, 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 the Sovereign Creator and Disposer of the world has ordered this necessity, by ordering his own conduct, eit..er in designedly acting or forbearing to act. For, as the being of the world is from God, so trie circumstances 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 interpositions, after the world was created, and the consequence of these interpositions; also every instance of his forbearing to interpose, and the sure consequences of this forbearance, must all be determined according to his pleasure. And therefore every event, which is the consequence of any thing' •whatsoever, or that is connected with any foregoing thing or circumstance, either positive or negative, as the ground or reason of its existence, must be ordered of God; either by a designed efficiency and interposition, or a designed forbearing to operate or interpose. But, as has been proved, all events whatsoever are necessarily connected with something foregoing, either positive or negative, which is the ground of 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 original in the series; i. e. something which is connected with nothing preceding that, but God's own immediate conduct, either his acting or forbearing to act. From whence it follows, that as God designedly orders his own conduct, and its connected consequences, it must necessarily be, that he designedly orders all things.
The things which have been said, obviate some of the chief objections of Arminians against the Calvinistic doctrine of the total depravity and corruption of man's nature, whereby his heart is wholly under the power of sin, and he is utterly unable, without the interposition of sovereign grace, savingly to love God, believe in Christ, or do any thing that is truly good and acceptable in God's sight. For the main objection against this doctrine is, that it is inconsistent with the freedom of man's Will, consisting in indifference and self-determining power; because it supposes man to be under a necessity of sinning, and that God requires things of him in order to his avoiding eternal damnation, which he is unable to do; and that this doctrine is wholly inconsistent with the sincerity of counsels, invitations, &c. Now, this doctrine supposes no other necessity of sinning, than a moral necessity; which, as has been shown, 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 shown 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
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self-determination, for the sake of which, this doctrine of original sin is cast out; and that no such freedom is necessary, in order to the nature of sin, and a just desert of punishment.
The things which have been observed, do also take off the main objections of Arminians against the doctrine of efficacious grace; and at the same time prove the grace of God in a sinner's conversion (if there be any grace or divine influence in the affair) to be efficacious, yea, and irresistible too, if by irresistible is meant that which is attended with a moral necessity, which it is impossible should ever be violated by any resistance. Yhe main objection of Arminians aga'nst this doctrine is, that it is inconsistent with their self-determining freedom of Will; and that it is repugnant to the nature of virtue, that it should be wrought in the heart by the determining efficacy and power of another, instead of its being owing to a self-moving power; that in that case, the good which is wrought, would not be our virtue, but rather God's virtue; because it is not the person in whom it is wrought, that is the determining author of it, but God that wrought it in him. But the things, which are the foundation of these objections, have been considered; and it has been demonstrated that the liberty of moral agents does not consist in self-determining power, and that there is no need of any such liberty in order to the nature of virtue, nor does it at all hinder but that the state or act of the Will may be the virtue of the subject, though it be not from self-determination, but the determination of an extrinsic cause; even so as to cause the event to be morally necessary to the subject of it. And as it has been proved, that nothing in the state or acts of the Will of man is contingent; but that, on the contrary, every event of this kind is necessary, by a moral necessity; and as it has also been now demonstrated, that the doctrine of an universal determining Providence, follows from that doctrine of necessity wl ich was proved before; and so that God does decisively, in his Providence, order all the volitions of moral agents, either by positive influence or permission; and it being allowed, on all hands, that what God does in the affair of man's virtuous volitions, whether it be more or less, is by some positive influence, and not by mere permission, as in the affair of a sinful volition; if we put these things together, it will follow, that God's 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, holiness and conversion to sinners, by an influence which determines the effect, in such a manner, that the effect will infallibly follow by a moral necessity; which is what Calvinists mean by efficacious and irresistible grace.;
The things which have been said, do likewise answer the chief objections against the doctrine of God's universal and absolute decree, and afford infallible proof of this doctrine; and of the doctrine of absolute, eternal, personal eleC" tion in particular. The main objections against these doctrines are, that they infer a necessity of the volitions of moral agents, and of the future, moral state and acts of men, and so are not consistent with those eternal rewards and punishments, which are connected with conversion and impenitence; nor can be made to agree with the reasonableness and sincerity of the precepts, calls, counsels, warnings and expostulations of the word of God: or with the various methods and means of grace, which God uses with sinners, to bring them to repentance; and the whole of that moral government, which God exercises towards mankind; and that they infer an inconsistence between the secret and revealed Will of God, and make God the author of sin. But all these things have been obviated in the preceding discourse. And the certain truth of these Joctrines, concerning God's eternal purposes, will follow from what was just now observed concerning God's universal Providence; how it infallibly follows from what has been proved, that God orders all events; and the volitions of moral agents amongst others by such a decisive disposal, that the events are infallibly connected with his disposal. For if God disposes all events, so that the infallible existence of the events is decided by his Providence, then he, doubtless, thus orders and decides things knowingly and on design. God does not do what he does, nor order what he orders, accidentally 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 as it has been shown that nothing is new to God in any respect, but all things are perfectly and equally in his view from eternity; hence it will follow, that his designs or purposes are not things formed anew, founded on any new views or appearances, but are all eternal purposes. And as it has been now shown, how the doctrine of determining, efficacious grace certainly follows from things proved in the foregoing discourse; hence will necessarily follow the doctrine of .particular, eternal, absolute election. For if men are made true saints, no otherwise than as God makes them so, and distinguishes them from others, by an efficacious power and influence of his, that decides and fixes the event; and God thus makes some saints, and not others, on design or purpose, and (as has been now observed) no designs of God are new; it follows, that God thus distinguished from others, all that ever become true saints, by his eternal design or decree. I might also show how God's certain foreknowledge must suppose an absolute decree, and how such a decree can be proved to a demonstration from it; but, that this discourse may not be lengthened out too much, that must be omitted for the present.
From these things it will inevitably follow, that however Christ in some sense may be said to die for all, and to redeem all visible Christians, yea, the whole world by his death; yet there must be something particular in the design jf his death, with respect to such as he intended should actually be saved thereby. As appears by what has been now shown, 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 ci 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 ot 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 Joctrine are established. The main prejudices of Arminians against this doctrine seem to be these. They suppose such a necessary, infallible perseverance to be repugnant to the freedom of the Will; that it must be owing to man's own self-determining power, that he first becomes 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 steadfast in faitk