« PreviousContinue »
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, buc' a Ground of Existence by positive Infuence. The Notion of exciting, is exerting Infuence to cause the Effect to arite or come forth into Existence.
2. Mr. Chubb himself, p. 317, speaks of Motives as the Ground and Reason of Action BY INFLUENCE, and BY PREVAILING INFLUENCE. Now, what can be meant by a Cause, but someching that is the Ground and Reason of a Thing by its Influence, an Influence that is prevalent and so effe&tual?
3. This Author not only speaks of Motives as the Ground and Reason of Action, by prevailing
Influence ; but expresy of their Influence as prevail· ing FOR THE PRODUCTION of an Action,
in the same Page : which makes the Inconfistency still more palpable and notorious. The Production of an Effect is certainly the Causing of an Effect ; and productive Influence is causal Influence, 'if any Thing is; and that which has this Influence prevalently, so as thereby to become the Ground of another Thing, is a Cause of that Thing, if there be any such Thing as a Cause. This Influence, Mr. Chubb says, Motives have to produce an Action ; and yet he says, 'tis absurd and a Contradiction, to say they are Causes.
4. In the same Page, He once and again speaks of Motives as disposing the Agent to Action, by their Influence. His Words are these : “ As Mo“ tive, which takes place in the Understanding, “ and is the Product of Intelligence, is NECES
66 SARY to Action, that is, to the EXERTION “ of the active Faculty, because that Faculty " would not be exerted, without some PRE66 VIOUS REASON to DISPOSE the Mind to “ Action ; fo from hence it plainly appears, that " when a Man is faid to be disposed to one Aétion “ rather than another, this properly signifies the « PREVAILING INFLUENCE that one Mo" tive has upon a Man FOR THE PRODUC« TION of an Action, or for the being at Rest, ¢ before all other Motives, for the Production of 66 the contrary. For as Motive is the Ground us and Reason of any Action, so the Motive that " prevails, DISPOSES the Agent to the Perform“ ance of that Action."
Now, if Motives dispose the Mind to Action, then they cause the Mind to be disposed ; and to cause the Mind to be disposed, is to cause it to be willing; and to cause it to be willing, is to cause it to will; and that is the same Thing as to be the Cause of an Act of the Will. And yet this fame Mr. Chubb holds it to be abfurd, to suppose Mo. tive to be a Cause of the Act of the Will.
And if we compare these Things together, we have here again a whole Heap of Inconsistences. Motives are the previous Ground and Reason of the Acts of the Will; yea, the necessary Ground and Reason of their Exertion, without which they will not be exerted, and cannot in the Nature of Things take Place ; and they do excite these Acts of the Will, and do this by a prevailing Influence ; yea, an Influence which prevails for the Production of the A&t of the Will, and for the disposing of the Mind to it; And yet 'tis absurd, to suppose Motive to be a Cause of an Act of the Will, or that a Principle of Will is moved or caused to be exerted by it, or that it has
any Caufality in the Production of it, or any Caufality to be the Cause of tbe Exertion of the Will.
• A due Consideration of these Things which Mr. Chubb has advanced, the strange Inconsistences which the Notion of Liberty consisting in the Will's Power of Self-determination void of all Necessity, 'united with that Dictate of common Sense, that there can be no Volition without a Motive, drove him into, may be sufficient to convince us, that it is utterly impossible ever to make that Notion of Liberty consistent with the InfuAuence of Motives in Volition. And as it is in a manner self-evident, that there can be no Act of Will, Choice or Preference of the Mind, without some Motive or Inducement, something in the Mind's View, which it aims at, feeks, inclines to, and goes after ; fo 'tis most manifeft, there is no such Liberty in the Universe as Arminians insist on ; nor any such Thing possible, or conceivable.
of the Volitions of moral Agents.
THAT the Acts of the Wills of moral Agents
1 are not contingent Events, in that Sense, as to be without all Necessity, appears by God's certain Foreknowledge of such Events.
In handling this Argument, I would in the first Place prove, that God has a certain Foreknowledge of the voluntary Acts of moral Agents; and secondly, shew the Consequence, or how it follows from hence, that the Volitions of moral Agents
are not contingent, so as to be without Necessity of Connection and Consequence.
FIRST, I am to prove, that God has an abso. lute and certain Foreknowledge of the free Actions of moral Agents.
One would think, it should be wholly needless to enter on such an Argument with any that profess themselves Christians : But so it is ; God's certain Foreknowledge of the free Acts of moral Agents, is denied by some that pretend to believe the Scriptures to be the Word of God; and especially of late. I therefore shall consider the Evidence of such a Prescience in the Most High, as fully as the designed Limits of this Effay 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 Predition of such Events. Here I would in the first Place lay down these two Things as Axioms.
(1.) If God don't foreknow, He can't foretell such Events; that is, He can't peremptorily and certainly foretell them. If God has no more than an uncertain Guess concerning Events of this Kind, then He can declare no more than an uncertain Guess. Positively to foretell, is to profess to foreknow, or to declare positive Foreknowledge.
(2.) If God don't certainly foreknow the future Volitions of moral Agents, then neither can He certainly foreknow those Events which are consequent and dependent on these Volitions. The Existence of the one depending on the Existence of the other, the Knowledge of the Existence of the
one depends on the Knowledge of the Existence of the other; and the one can't be more certain than the other.
Therefore, how many, how great, and how extensive foever the Consequences of the Volitions of moral Agents may be ; tho' they should extend to an Alteration of the State of Things thro' the Universe, and should be continued in a Series of successive Events to all Eternity, and should in the Progress of Things branch forth into an infinite Number of Series, each of them going on in an endless Line or Chain of Events ; God must be as ignorant of all these Consequences, as He is of the Volition whence they first take their Rise : All these Events, and the whole State of Things depending on them, how important, extensive and vaft soever, must be hid from him.
In an endlanber of series branch ry, and more!
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. — Pharaob's moral Conduct, in refusing to obey God's Command, in letting his People go, was foretold. God says to Moses, Exod. lii. 19. I am sure, that the King of Egypt will not let you go. Here God profefies not only to guess at, but to know Pharaoh's future Disobedience. In Chap. vii. 4. God says, But Pharaoh shall not bearken unto you; that I may lay mine Hand upon Egypt, &c. And Chap. ix. 30, Mofés says to Pharaoh, As for thee, and thy Servants, I KNOW that ye will not fear the Lord. See also Chap. xi. 9. --The moral Conduct of Jofiah, by