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or some voluntary Exertion or Effort of ours to the contrary : For we don't 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 endeavour the contrary, or try to prevent or remove their Existence : But such Opposition of ours always either consists in, or implies Opposition of our Wills.
'Tis manifest that all such like Words and Phrases, as vulgarly used, are used and accepted in this Manner. A Thing is said to be necessary, when we can't 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 liave it brought to pafs, and endeavour it; or at least may be supposed to defire and seek it; but all our Desires and Endeavours are, or would be vain. And that is said to be irresistible, which overcomes all our Opposition, Resistance, and Endeavour to the contrary. And we are to be said Unable to do a Thing, when our supposable Desires and Endeavours 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 fix'd and settled; so that the Idea of a Relation to a supposed Will, Desire and Endeavour 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 separated as long
as we live. And if we use the Words, as Terms of Art, in another Sense, yet, unless we are exceeding circumspect and wary, we shall insensibly slide into the vulgar Use of them, and so apply the Words in a yery inconsistent Manner: this habitual Connection of Ideas will deceive and confound us in our Reasonings and Discourses, wherein we pretend to use these Terms in that Manner, as Terms of Art.
4. It follows from what has been observed, that when these Terms necesary, impossible, irresistible, unable, &c. are used in Cases wherein no Opposition, or insufficient Will or Endeavour, is supposed, or can be supposed, but the very Nature of the supposed Case itlelf excludes, and denies any such Opposition, Will or Endeavour; these Terms are then not used in their proper Signification, but quite beside their Usein common Speech. The Reason is manifeft; namely that in such cases we can't use the Words with Reference to a supposable Opposition, Will or Endeavour. And therefore if any Man uses these Terms in such cases, he either uses them nonfensically, 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 chuse Virtue rather than Vice, during the Time that he prefers Virtue to Vice; and that it is a Thing impossible 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 these 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 Relistance ; whereas, here, the very Supposition excludes and denies any
such Thing: for the Case supposed is that of being willing, and chusing:
5. It appears from what has been said, that these Terms necesary, imposible, &c. are often used by Philosophers and Metaphysicians in a Sense quite diverse from their common Use and original Signi. fication: For they apply them to many Cases in which no Opposition is supposed or supposable.
Thus they use them with Respect to God's Exiftence before the Creation of the World, when there was no other Being but He: so with regard to many of the Dispositions and Acts of the divine Being, 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 and Men; wherein all Opposition of the Will is shut out and denied, in the very Supposition of the Case.
Metaphysical or Philofophical Necessity is nothing different from their Certainty. I speak not now of the Certainty of Knowledge, but the Certain. ty 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 Philosophical Necessity, namely, That by which a Thing cannot but be, or whereby it cannot be otherwise, fails of being a proper Explanation of it, on two Accounts : First, the Words Can, or Cannot,
need Explanation as much as the Word Necessity; . and the former may as well be explained by the
latter, as the latter by the former. Thus, if any one asked us what we mean, when we say, a Thing cannot but be, we might explain ourselves by say.
ing, we 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-mention'd great Incon venience : The Words cannot, or unable, are properly relative, and have Relation to Power exerted, or that may be exerted, in order to the Thing spoken of; to which, as I have now observed, the Word Neceshty, as used by Philosophers, has no Reference.
Philosophical Necessity is really Nothing else than the full and fix'd Connection between the Things signified by the Subject and Predicate of a Propofition, which affirms Something to be true. When there is such a Connection, then the Thing affirmed in the Proposition is necessary, in a Philosophical Sense; whether any Opposition, or contrary Effort be supposed, 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 Connection, 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 Necesity, in the following Discourse, when I endeavour to prove that Necesity is not inconsistent with Liberty,
The Subject and Predicate of a Proposition, which affirms Existence of Something, may have a full, fix'd, and certain Connection several Ways..
(1.) They may have a full and perfect Connection in and of themselves; because it may imply a Con- . tradiction, 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 Existence of Being in general, or to say there was absolute and universal Nothing; and is as it were the Sum of all Contradictions; 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 Center 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 Themselves : The Subject and Predicate of the Proposition which affirms them, are perfectly connected of themse’ves.
(2.) The Connection of the Subject and Predicate of a Proposition, which affirms the Existence of Something, may be fix'd 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 aftirins present and past Existence of it, may by this Means be made certain, and necessarily and unalterably true ; the past Event has fixʼd and decided the Matter, as to its Existence, and has made it impossible but that Existence should be truly predicated of it. Thus the Existence of whatever is already come to pass, is now become necessary ; 'tis become impossible it should be otherwise than true, that such a Thing has been.
(3.) The Subject and Predicate of a Proposition which affirms Something to be, may have 2 real and certain Connection consequentially; and