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that go about to make a Separation, seem to them to do great Violence even to Nature itself.
IV. Another Reason why it appears difficult to reconcile it with Reason, that Men should be blamed for that which is necessary with a moral Necessity (which as was observed before is a Species of philosophical Necessity) is, that for want of due Consideration, Men inwardly entertain that Ap. prehension, that this Necessity may be against Men's Wills and sincere Endeavours. They go away with that Notion, that Men may truly will and wish and strive that it may be otherwise ; but that invincible Necessity stands in the Way. And many think thus concerning themselves : some that are wicked Men think they with that they were good, that they loved God and Holiness ; but yet don't
find that their Wishes produce the Effect. — The · Reasons why Men think thus, are as follows. (1.)
They find what may be called an indirect Willingness to have a better Will, in the Manner before observed. For it is impossible, and a Contradiction to suppose the Will to be directly and properly against itself. And they don't consider, that this indirect Willingness is entirely a different Thing from properly willing the Thing that is the Duty and Virtue required; and that there is no Virtue in that Sort of Willingness which they have. They don't consider, that the Volitions which a wicked Man may have that he loved God, are no Acts of the Will at all against the moral Evil of not loving God, but only fome disagreeable Consequences. But the making the requisite Distinction requires more Care of Reflection and Thought than most Men are used to. And Men thro' à Prejudice in their own Favour, are disposed to think well of their own Desires and Dispositions, and to account: them good and virtuous, tho' their Respect to Vir.
tue be only indire&t and remote, and ’tis nothing at all that is virtuous that truly excites or terminates their Inclinations. (2.) Another Thing that insensibly leads and beguiles Men into a Supposition that this inoral Necessity or Impossibility is, or may be against Men's Wills, and true Endeavours, is the Derivation and Formation of the Terms themselves, that are often used to express it, which is such as feems directly to point to, and hold this forth. Such Words, for Instance, as unable, unavoidable, impossible, irresistible ; which carry a plain Reference to a supposable Power exerted, Endeavours used, Resistance made, in Opposition to the Necessity : And the Persons that hear them, not considering nor suspecting but that they are used in their proper Sense : That Sense being therefore understood, there does naturally, and as it were necessarily arise in their Minds a Supposition that it may be so indeed, that true Desires and Endeavours may take Place, but that invincible Necessity stands in the Way, and renders 'em vain and to no Effect.
V. Another Thing which makes Persons more ready to suppose it to be contrary to Reason, that Men should be exposed to the Punishments threaten'd to Sin, for doing those Things which are morally necessary, or not doing those Things morally impossible, is, that Imagination strengthens the Argument, and adds greatly to the Power and Influence of the seeming Reasons against it, from the Greatness of that Punishment. To allow that they may be justly exposed to a small Punishment, would not be so difficult. Whereas, if there were any good Reason in the Case, if it were truly a Dictate of Reason that such Necessity was inconsistent with Faultiness, or just Punishment, the Demonstration would be equally certain with re
fpect spect to a small Punishment, or any Punishment at all, as a very great one : But it is not equally easy to the Imagination. They that argue againft the Justice of damning Men for those Things that are thus necessary, seem to make their Argument the stronger, by setting forth the Greatness of the Punishment in strong Expressions ; — That a Man should be cast into eternal Burnings, that be bould be
h e thermowelt. made to fry in Hell to all Eternity, for those Things which He had no Power to avoid, and was under a fatal, unfrustrables invincible Neceffty of doing.-
. It is agreeable to common Sense, and the na- .
tural Notions of Mankind, to suppose inoral Necessity to be consistent with Praise and Blame, Reward and Punishment.
IT HETHER the Reasons that have been
given, why it appears difficult to some Persons to reconcile with common Sense the praising or blaming, rewarding or punishing those Things which are morally necessary, are thought satisfactory, or not; yet iť most evidently appears by the following Things, that if this Matter be rightly understood, setting aside all Delusion arising from the Impropriety and Ambiguity of Terms, this is not at all inconsistent with the natural Apprehensions of Mankind, and that Sense of Things which is found every where in the common People, who are furthest from having their Thoughts perverted from their natural Channel, by metaphysical and philosophical Subtilties; but on the contrary, altogether agreeable to, and the
very Voice and Dictate of this natural and vulgar Sense.
I. This will appear if we consider what the vulgar Notion of Blame-worthiness is. The Idea which the common People through all Ages and Nations have of Faultiness, I suppose to be plainly this; A Person's being or doing wrong, with his own Will and Pleasure; containing these two Things; 1. His doing wrong, when be does as be pleases. 2. His Plea, fure's being wrong. Or in other Words, perhaps more intelligibly expressing their Notion ; A PerSon's having his Heart wrong, and doing wrong from his Heart. And this is the Sum total of the Matter.
The common People don't ascend up in their Reflections and Abstractions, to the metaphysical Sources, Relations and Dependences of Things, in order to form their Notion of Faultiness or Blame-worthiness. They don't wait till they have decided by their Refinings, what first determines the Will, whether it be determined by something extrinsic, or intrinsic; whether Volition determines Volition, or whether the Understanding determines the Will; whether there be any such Thing as Metaphysicians mean by Contingence (if they have any Meaning ;) whether there be a Sort of a strange unaccountable Sovereignty in the Will, in the Exercise of which, by its own sovereign Acts, it brings to pass all its own sovereign Acts. They don't take any Part of their Notion of Fault or Blame from the Resolution of any such Questions. If this were the case, there are Multitudes that, yea the far greater Part of Mankind, nine Hundred and ninety-nine out of a Thousand, would live and die without having any such Notion as that of Fault ever entering into their Heads,
or without so much as once having any Conception that any Body was to be either blamed or commended for any Thing. To be sure, it would be a long Time before Men came to have such Notions. Whereas 'tis manifeft, they are some of the first Notions that appear in Children; who discover as soon as they can think, or speak, or act at all as rational Creatures, a Sense of Desert, And certainly, in forming their Notion of it, they make no Use of Metaphysicks. All the Ground they go upon consists in these two Things ; Experience, and a natural Sensation of a certain Fitness or Agreeableness which there is in uniting such moral Evil as is above described, viz. a being or · doing wrong with the Will, and Resentment in Others, and Pain inflicted on the Person in whom this moral Evil is. Which natural Sensation or Sense is what we caļl by the Name of Conscience.
'Tis true, the common People and Children, in their Notion of a faulty Act or Deed of any Person, do suppose that it is the Person's own AEt and Deed. But this is all that belongs to what they understand by a Thing's being a Person's own Deed or Aetion; even that it is something done by him of Choice. That some Exercise or Motion should begin of itself don't belong to their Notion of an Astion, or Doing. If so, it would belong to their Notion of it, that it is something which is the Cause of its own Beginning: And that is as much as to say, that it is before it begins to be. Nor is their Notion of an Astion fome Motion or Exercise that begins accidentally, without any Cause or Reason; for chat is contrary to one of the prime Dictates of common Sense, namely, that every Thing that begins to be, has some Çause or Reason why it is.