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SECTION XIII.

Concerning that Objection against the Reasoning,

by which the Calvinistic Doctrine is supported,

that it is Metaphysical and Abstruse. TT has often been objected against the Defen

ders of Calvinistic Principles, that in their Reasonings, they run into nice Scholastic Distinctions, and abstruse metaphysical Subtilties, and set these in Opposition to common Senfe. And 'tis possible, that after the former Manner it may be alleged against the Reasoning by which I have endeavoured to confute the Arminian Scheme of Liberty and moral Agency, that it is very abItracted and metaphysical. — Concerning this, I would observe the following Things,

1. If that be made an Objection against the foregoing Reasoning, that it is metaphysical, or may properly be reduced to the Science of Metaphysicks, it is a very impertinent Objection; whether it be fo or no, is not worthy of any Dispute or Controversy. If the Reasoning be good, 'tis as frivolous to inquire what Science it is properly reduc'd to, as what Language it is delivered in: And for a Man to go about to confute the Arguments of his Opponent, by telling him, his Arguments are Metaphysical, would be as weak as to tell him, his Arguments could not be subftantial, because they were written in French or Latin. The Question is not, Whether what is faid be Metaphysicks, Physicks, Logick, or Mathematicks, Latin, French, English, or Mobawk ? But, Whether the Reasoning be good, and the Arguments truly conclusive ? The foregoing Arguments are

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no more metaphysical, than those which we use against the Papists, to disprove their Doctrine of Transubstantiation; alleging, it is inconsistent with the Notion of corporeal Identity, that it should be in ten Thousand Places at the same Time. 'Tis by metaphysical Arguments only we are able to prove, that the rational Soul is not corporeal, that Lead or Sand can't think, that Thoughts are not square or round, or don't weigh a Pound. The Arguments by which we prove the Being of God, if handled closely and distinctly, so as to shew their clear and demonstrative Evidence, must be metaphysically treated, 'Tis by Metaphyficks only, that we can demonftrate, that God is not limited to a Place, or is not mutable ; that he is not ignorant, or forgetful; that it is impossible for him to lie, or be unjust ; and that there is one God only, and not Hundreds or Thousands. And indeed we have no strict Demonstration of any Thing, excepting mathematical Truths, but by Metaphysicks. We can have no Proof, that is properly demonstrative, of any one Proposition, relating to the Being and Nature of God, his Creation of the World, the Dependence of all Things on him, the Nature of Bodies or Spirits, the Nature of our own Souls, or any of the great Truths of Morality and natural Religion, but what is metaphysical. I am willing, my Arguments lhould be brought to the Test of the strictest and juftest Reason, and that a clear, distinct and determinate Meaning of the Terms I use, should be insisted on; but let not the Whole be rejected, as if all were confused, by fixing on it the Epithet Metaphysical.

II. If the Reasoning which has been made use of, be in fome Sense Metaphysical, it will not fol

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low, low, that therefore it must needs be abstruse, unintelligible, and a-kin to the Jargon of the Schools, I humbly conceive, the foregoing Reasoning, at least as to those Things which are most material belonging to it, depends on no abftrufe Definitions or Distinctions, or Terms without a Meaning, or of very ambiguous and undetermined Signification, or any Points of such Abstraction and Subtilty, as tends to involve the attentive Understanding in Clouds and Darkness. There is no high Degree of Refinement and abstruse Speculaçion, in determining, that a Thing is not before it is, and so can't be the Cause of itself; or that che first Act of free Choice, has not another Act of free Choice going before that, to excite or direct it; or in determining, that no Choice is made, while the Mind remains in a State of absolute Indifference; that Preference and Equilibrium never co-exist; and that therefore no Choice is made in a State of Liberty, consisting in Indifference : And that so far as the Will is determined by Motives, exhibited and operating previous to the Act of the Will, so far it is not determined by the Act of the Will itself; that nothing can begin to be, which before was not, without a Cause, or fonie antecedent Ground or Reason, why it then begins to be ; that Effects depend on their Causes, and are connected with them; that Virtue is not the worse, nor Sin the better, for the Strength of Inclination, with which it is practised, and the Difficulty which thence arises of doing otherwise ; that when it is already infallibly known, that a Thing will be, it is not a Thing contingent whether it will ever be or no; or that it can be truly said, notwithstanding, that it is not necessary it {hould be, but it either may be, or may not be. And the like might be observed of many other

Things which belong to the foregoing Rea

foning.

If any shall still stand to it, that the foregoing Reasoning is nothing but metaphysical Sophiftry; and that it must be so, that the seeming Force of the Arguments all depends on some Fallacy and Wile that is hid in the Obscurity, which always attends a great Degree of metaphysical Abstraction and Refinement; and shall be ready to fay, * Here is indeed something that tends to con“ found the Mind, but not to satisfy it : For who " can ever be truly satisfied in it, that Men are “ fitly blamed or commended, punished or re“ warded for those Volitions which are not from “ themselves, and of whose Existence they are “ not the Causes. Men may refine, as much as

they please, and advance their abstract Noti

ons, and make out a Thousand seeming Contradictions, to puzzle our Understandings; yet “ there can be no Satisfaction in such Doctrine as " this : The natural Sense of the Mind of Man “ will always refift it.” * I humbly conceive, that

such

* A certain noted Author of the present Age says, The Ar. guments for Necefiry are nothing but Quibbling, or Logomachy, afing Words without a Meaning, or Begging the Question.I don't know what kind of Neceflity any Authors he may have Reference to, are Advocates for ; or whether they have managed their Arguments well, or ill. As to the Arguments I have made use of, if they are Quibbles, they may be thewn to be so: such Knots are capable of being untied, and the Trick and Cheat may be detected and plainly laid open. If this be fairly done, with Respect to the Grounds and Reasons I have relied upon, I shall have just Occasion for the future to be filent, if not to be ashamed of my Argumentations. I am willing, my Proofs should be thoroughly examined ; and if there be nothing but Begging the question, or mere Logomachy, or Dispute of Words, lep it be made manifeft, and shewn how the seeming Strength

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fuch an Objector, if he has Capacity and Hu. mility and Calmness of Spirit, fufficient impartially and thoroughly to examine himself, will find that he knows not really what he would be at; and that indeed his Difficulty is nothing but a mere Prejudice, from an inadvertent customary Use of Words, in a Meaning that is not clearly under

stood,

of the Argument depends on my using Words without a Mean, ing, or arises from the Ambiguity of Terms, or my making use of Words in an indeterminate and unsteady Manner; and that the Weight of my Reasons rest mainly on such a Foundation : And then, I fall either be ready to retract what I have urged, and thank the Man that has dore the kind Part, or thall be juftly exposed for my Obstinacy.

The fame Author is abundant in appealing, in this Affair, from what he calls Logomachy and Sophijiry, to Experience. A Person can experience only what passes in his own Mind. But yet, as we may well suppose, that all Men have the same human Faculties ; fo a Man may well argue from his own Experience to that of others, in Things that thew the Nature of thofe Faculties, and the Manner of their Operation. But then one has as good Right to allege his Experience, as another. As to my own Experience, I find, that in innumerable Things I can do as I will ; that the Motions of my Body, in many ReSpects, instantaneously follow the Acts of my Will concerning thofe Motions ;, and that my Will has some Command of my Thoughts ; and that the Acts of my Will, are my own, i. e. that they are Acts of my Will, the Volitións of my own Mind; or in other words, that what I will, I will. Which, I prefume, is the Sum of what others experience in this Affair. But as to finding by Experience, that my Will is originally determind by itself; or that my Will first chusing what Voli. tion there shall be, the chosen Volition accordingly follows; and that this is the first Rise of the Determination of my Will in any Affair ; or that any Volition arises in my Mind contin. gently; I declare, I know nothing in myself, by Experience, of this Nature; and nothing that ever I experienced, carries the least Appearance or Shadow of any such Thing, or gives me any more Reason to suppose or suspect any such Thing, than to suppose that my Volitions existed twenty Years before they existed. 'Tis true, I find myself posfets d' of my Volti. ons before I can see the effectual Power of any Cause to pio. duce them (for the Power and Efficacy of the Cause is not seen

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