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tions, and those Things which are required of 'em in Order to their Acceptance with God; and their arguing against the Necessity of Men's Volitions, taken from the Reasonableness of God's Commands, 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 fay, all these Arguments and Objections must fall to the Ground, and be justly esteem'd vain and frivolous, as coming from them; being maintain'd in an Inconsistenc e with themselves, and in like Manner leavened against their own Doctrine, as against the Doctrine of the Calvinists.
Whether 'UN suppose the Volitions of moral Agents to be connected with any Thing antecedent, or not, yet they must be necessary in such a sense as to overthrow Arminian Liberty.
EVERY Act of the Will has a cause, or it has not. If it has a cause, then, according to what has already been demonstrated, it is not contingent, but necessary; the Effect being necessarily dependent and consequent on its Cause, i and that, let the cause be what it will. If the cause is the Will itself, by antecedent Acts chusing and determining; still the determined and caused Act must be a necessary Effect. The Act that is the determined Effect of the foregoing Act which is its cause, can't prevent the Efficiency of its Cause but must be wholly subject to its Determination and Command, as much at
N 4 the the Motions of the Hands and Feet. The con- sequent commanded Acts of the Will are as patfive and as necessary, with Respect to the antecedent determining Acts, as the Parts of the Body are 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 necessary; they are all subject to, and decisively fixed by the foregoing Act, which is their Cause: Yea, even the determining Act itself; for that must be determined and fixed by another Act, preceding that, if it be a free and voluntary Act, and so must be necessary. So that by this all the free acts of the Will are necessary, and can't be free unless they are necessary: Because they can't be free, according to the Ar mini an 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 fay, Necessity is utterly inconsistent with Liberty. So that, by their Scheme, the Acts of the Will can't be free unless they are necessary, and yet cannot be free if they be necessary.
But if the other Part of the Dilemma be taken, and it be affirm'd 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 absolute Contingence, and this should be allowed to be possible; still it will not serve their Turn. For if the Volition comes 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 Casse, 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 11 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 Necessity. — Thus, Contingence belongs to the Arminian Notion of Liberty, and yet is inconsistent with it,
I would here observe, that the Author of the EJsay on the Freedom of Will, in God and the Creature, Page 76, 77. fays as follows, " The Word "Chance always means something done without *' Design. Chance and Design stand in direct
"Oppo** 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 causes, 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 fays, then certainly it is not always the Effect 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 designs to chuse whatsoever it does chuse, and designs to determine itself, as he fays, 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 so 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 Neceffity or it is inconsistent with, and con-, trary to such a Connection and Neceffity. 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 faid^ that Liberty is inconsisten,t with any such,
necessary Connection of Volition with foregoing Views of the Understanding, it consisting in Freedom 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 Dictates of Reason, or any Thing whatsoever apprehended, considered or viewed by the Understanding; as being inconsistent with the full and perfect Sovereignty of the Will over its own De- , terminations. The Notion Mankind have conceived 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 persectly and constantly liable to act unintelligently and unreasonably, and as much without the Guidance of Understanding, as if we had none, or were as destitute of Perception as the Smoke that is driven by the Wind!