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mination, which they suppose essential to Virtue, that God should be the Bestower, or (which is the same Thing) the determining, disposing Author of Virtue. Not the former ; for natural Infuence and Tendency supposes Causality and Connection ; and that supposes Necessity of Event, which is inconsistent with Arminian Liberty. A Tendency of Means, by biassing the Heart in Favour of Virtue, or by bringing the Will under the Influence and Power of Motives in its Determinations, are both inconsistent with Arminian Liberty of Will, consisting in Indifference, and sovereign Self-determination, as has been largely demonstrated.
But for the more full Removal of this Prejudice against that Doctrine of Necessity which has been maintain'd, as though it tended to encourage a total Neglect of all Endeavours as vain; the following Things may be considered.
The Question is not, Whether Men may not thus improve this Doctrine : (We know that many true and wholesome Doctrines are abused :) But, Whether the Doctrine gives any just Occasion for such an Improvement; or whether, on the Sup. position of the Truth of the Doctrine, such a Use of it would not be unreasonable? If any shall affirm, that it would not, but that the very Nature of the Doctrine is such as gives just Occasion for it, it must be on this Supposition; namely, That such an invariable Necessity of all Things already settled, must render the Interposition of all Means, Endeavours, Conclusions or Actions of ours, in order to the obtaining any future End whatsoever, perfectly insignificant; because they can't in the least alter or vary the Course and Series of Things, in any Event or Circumstance;
all being already fixed unalterably by Necessity : And that therefore 'tis Folly, for Men to use any Means for any End; but their Wisdom, to fave themselves the Trouble of Endeavours, and take their Ease. No Person can draw such an Inference from this Doctrine, and come to such a Conclusion, without contradicting himself, and going counter to the very Principles he pretends to act upon: For he comes to a Conclusion, and takes a Course, in order to an End, even bis Ease, or the saving himself from Trouble ; he seeks something future, and uses Means in order to a future Thing, even in his drawing up that Conclusion, that he will seek nothing, and use no Means in order to any Thing future ; he seeks his future Ease, and the Benefit and Comfort of Indolence. If prior Neceflity that determines all Things, makes vain all Actions or Conclusions of ours, in order to any Thing future; then it makes vain all Conclusions and Conduct of ours, in order to our future Ease : The Measure of our Ease, with the Time, Manner and every Circumstance of it, is already fix'd, by all-determining Necessity, as much as any Thing else. If he says within himself, “ What “ future Happiness or Misery I shall have, is al“ ready in Effect determined by the necessary “ Course and Connection of Things; therefore I u will save myself the Trouble of Labour and “ Diligence, which can't add to my determin'd “ Degree of Happiness, or diminish my Misery; « but will take my Ease, and will enjoy the Com“ fort of Sloth and Negligence." Such a Man contradicts himself: He says, the Measure of his future Happiness and Misery is already fix'd, and he won't try to diminish the one, nor add to the other: But yet in his very Conclusion, he contradicts this; for he takes up this Conclusion, to add tp bis future Happiness, by the Ease and Comfort of his Negligence ; and to diminish his future Trouble and Misery, by saving himself the Trouble of using Means and taking Pains.
Therefore Persons can't reasonably make this Improvement of the Doctrine of Neceflity, that they will go into a voluntary Negligence of Means for their own Happiness. For the Principles they must go upon, in order to this, are inconsistent with their making any Improvement at all of the Doctrine : For to make some Improvement of it, is to be influenced by it, to come to some voluntary Conclusion, in Regard to their own Conduct, with some View or Aim: But this, as has been shewn, is inconsistent with the Principles they pretend to act upon. In short, the Principles are such as cannot be acted upon at all, or in any Respect, consistently. And therefore in every Pretence of acting upon them, or making any Improvement at all of them, there is a Self-contradiction.
As to that Objection against the Doctrine which I have endeavoured to prove, that it makes Men no more than mere Machines ; I would say, that notwithstanding this Doctrine, Man is entirely, perfectly and unspeakably different from a mere Machine, in that he has Reason and Understanding, and has a Faculty of Will, and so is capable of Volition and Choice; and in that, his Will is guided by the Dictates or Views of his Underftanding; and in that his external Actions and Behaviour, and in many Respects also his Thoughts, and the Exercises of his Mind, are subject to his Will; so that he has Liberty to act according to his Choice, and do what he pleases; and by Means of these Things, is capable of moral Habits and moral Acts, such Inclinations and Actions as ac
cording cording to the common Sense of Mankind, are worthy of Praise, Efteem, Love and Reward; or on the contrary, of Disesteem, Detestation, Indignation and Punishment.
In these Things is all the Difference from mere Machines, as to Liberty and Agency, that would be any Perfection, Dignity or Privilege, in any Respect : All the Difference that can be desired, and all that can be conceived of; and indeed all that the Pretensions of the Arminians themselves come to, as they are forced often to explain themselves. (Tho' their Explications overthrow and abolish the Things asserted, and pretended to be explained) For they are forced to explain a selfdetermining Power of Will, by a Power in the Soul, to determine as it chuses or wills; which comes to no more than this, that a Man has a Power of chusing, and in many Instances, can do as he chuses. Which is quite a different Thing from that contradiction, his having Power of chusing his first Act of Choice in the Case.
Or if their Scheme makes any other Difference than this, between Men and Machines, it is for the worse : It is so far from supposing Men to have a Dignity and Privilege above Machines, that it makes the Manner of their being determined still more unhappy. Whereas Machines are guided by an understanding Cause, by the skilful Hand of the Workman or Owner; the Will of Man is left to the Guidance of nothing, but abfolute blind Contingence.
countrys which has been maintain'd, that it agrees with the Stoical Doctrine of Fate, and the Opinions of Mr. Hobbes.
DU HEN Calvinists oppose the Arminian NoV tion of the Freedom of Will, and Contingence of Volition, and insist that there are no Acts of the Will, nor any other Events whatsoever, but what are attended with some kind of Necessity; their Opposers cry out of them, as agreeing with the ancient Stoicks in their Doctrine of Fate, and with Mr. Hobbes in his Opinion of Necesity.
It would not be worth while to take Notice of so impertinent an Objection, had it not been urg'd by some of the chief Arminian Writers. - There were many important Truths maintain’d by the ancient Greek and Roman Philosophers, and especially the Stoicks, that are never the worse for being held by them. The Stoick Philosophers, by the generalAgrce. ment of Christian Divines, and even Arminian Divines, were the greatest, wisest, and most virtuous of all the Heathen Philosophers, and in their Doctrine and Practice came the nearest to Christianity of any of their Sects. How frequently are the Sayings of these Philosophers, in many of the Writings and Sermons, even of Arminian Divines, produced, not as Arguments of the Falseness of the Doctrines which they delivered, but as a Confirmation of some of the greatest Truths of the Christian Religion, relating to the Unity and Per