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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 suppole 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 otherwise, if its Cause had made it or ordered it otherwise. But this don't agree to its having no Cause or Orderer at all. That must be necessary as to the Soul, which is dependent on no free Act of the Soul : But that which is without a Cause, is dependent on no free Act of the Soul : because, by the Supposition, it is dependent on Nothing, and is connected with Nothing. In such a Case, the Soul is necessarily subjected to what Accident brings to pass, from Time to Time, as much as the Earth, that is inactive, is necessarily subjected to what falls upon it. But this don't consist with the Arminian Notion of Liberty, which is the Will's Power of determining itself in its own Acts, and being wholly active in it, without Passiveness, and without being subject to Necesity. – Thus, Contingence belongs to the Arminian Notion of Liberty, and yet is inconsiste ent with it,
I would here observe, that the Author of the Essay on the Freedom of Will, in God and the Cream ture, Page 76, 77. says as follows, “ The Word 56 Chance always means something done without
Design, Chance and Design stand in direct
56,77. bays fomethinsitand i Oppon
“ Opposition to each other : and Chance can ne$ ver be properly applied to the Acts of the Will, " which is the Spring of all Design, and which
designs to chuse whatsoever it doth chuse, whe
ther there be any superiour Fitness in the Thing “ which it chuses, or no; and it designs to de« termine 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 certainly it is not always the Effeet of Design; and the Acts of the Will themselves must sometimes comes to pass when they don't Spring from Design; and consequently come to pass by Chance, according to his own Definition of Chance. And if the Will dehigns to chuse wbatsoever it does cbuse, 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 determining that ; and fo on in infinitum. The very first Design must be the Effect of foregoing Design, or else it must be by Chance, in his Notion of it.
Here another Alternative may be proposed, re. lating to the Connection of the Acts of the Will with something foregoing that is their Cause, not much unlike to the other; which is this : Either human Liberty is such that it may well stand with Volitions being necessarily connected with the Views of the Understanding, and so is consistent with Necessity; or it is inconsistent with, and contrary to such a Connection and Neceflity. The former is directly subversive of the Arminian Notion of Liberty, consisting in Freedom from all Neceffity. And if the latter be chosen, and it be said, that Liberty is inconsistent with any such
neceffary Connection of Volition with foregoing Views of the Understanding, it consisting in Free dom from any such Necessity of the Will as that would imply, then the Liberty of the Soul consists (in Part at least) in the Freedom from Restraint, Limitation and Government, in 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 its acting, the more Liberty. Now let it be considered what this brings the noble Principle of human Liberty to, particularly, when it is possessed and enjoyed in its Perfection, viz. a full and perfect Freedom and Liableness to act altogether at Random, without the least Connection with, or Restraint or Government by, any Dictate of Reason, or any Thing whatsoever apprehended, considered or viewed by the Understanding; as being inconsistent with the full and perfect Sovereignty of the Will over its own Determinations. --The Notion Mankind have con, ceived of Liberty, is some Dignity or Privilege, something worth claiming. But what Dignity or Privilege is there, in being given up to such a wild Contingence as this, to be perfectly and constantly liable to act unintelligently and unreasonably, and as much without the Guidance of Understanding, as if we had none, or were as deftitute of Perception as the Smoke that is driven by the Wind !
Wherein is inquired, whether any such
Liberty of Will as Arminians bold, be necesary to MORAL AGENCY, Virtue and Vice, PRAISE, and DISPRAISE, &C.
SECTION 1 GOD's moral Excellency necessary, yet vir
tuous and praise-worthy.
TJAVING considered the first Thing that was
U 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 requisite to moral Agency, Virtue and Vice, Praise and Blame, Reward and Punishment, &c.
I shall I shall begin with some Consideration of the Virtue and Agency of the Supreme moral Agent, and Fountain of all Agency and Virtue.
Dr. Whitby, in his Discourse on the five Points, p. 14. says, “ If all human actions are necessary, ic Virtue and Vice must be empty Names; we " being capable of Nothing that is blame-wor" thy, or deferveth Praise ; For who can blame “ a Person for doing only what he could not help, “ or judge that he deserveth Praise only for what “ he could not avoid ?” To the like Purpofe he speaks in Places innumerable ; especially in his Discourse on the Freedom of the Will; constantly maintaining, that a Freedom not only from Coaction, but Necesity, is absolutely requisite, in order to Actions being either worthy of Blame, or deserving of Praise. And to this agrees, as is well known, the current Doctrine of Arminian Writers, who in general hold, that there is no 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 always used 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 infinitely greater Brightness and Amiableness than in any Creature ; the most perfect Pattern of Virtue, and the Fountain from whom all others Virtue is but as Beams from the Sun; and who has been supposed to be, on the Account of his Vir