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of the Word, 'any Thing of the Cause or Original of that Choice ; or at all considering how the Person came to have such a Volition; whether it was caused by some external Motive, or internal habitual Bias; whether it was determin'd by some internal antecedent Volition, or whether it happen’d without a Cause ; whether it was necessarily connected with something foregoing, or not con nected, Let the Person come by his Volition or Choice how he will, yet, if he is able, and there is Nothing in the Way to hinder his pursuing and executing his Will, the Man is fully and perfectly free, according to the primary and common Notion of Freedom
What has been said may be sufficient to fhew what is ineant by Liberty, according to the common Notions of Mankind, and in the usual and primary Acceptation of the Word : But the Word, as used by Arminians, Pelagians and others, who oppose the Calvinists, has an entirely different Sig. nification. — These several Things belong to their Notion of Liberty. . 1. That it consists in a Selfdetermining Power in the Will, or a certain Sovereignty the Will has over itself, and its own Acts, whereby it determines its own Volitions ; so as not to be dependent in its Determinations, on any Cause without itself, nor determined by any Thing prior to its own Acts. 2. Indifference belongs to Liberty in their Notion of it, or that the Mind, previous to the Act of Volitian be, in equilibrio. 3. Contingence is another Thing that belongs and is essential to it; not in the common Acceptation of the Word, as that has been already explain'd, but as opposed to all Necesity, or any fixed and certain Connection with some previous Ground or Reason of its Existence. They suppose the Essence of Liberty so much to confift in these Things, that unless the Will of Man be
free free in this Sense, he has no real Freedom, how much foever he may be at Liberty to act according to his Will,
A moral Agent is a Being that is capable of those Actions that have a moral Quality, and which can properly be denominated good or evil in a moral Sense, virtuous or vicious, commen. dable or faulty. To moral Agency belongs a morol Faculty, or Sense of moral Good and Evil, or of such a Thing as Desert or Worthiness of Praise or Blame, Reward or Punishment; and a Capacity which an Agent has of being influenced in his Actions by nioral Inducements or Motives, exhibited to the View of Understanding and Reafon, to engage to a Conduct agreeable to the mo. ral Faculty.
The Sun is very excellent and beneficial in its. Action and Influence on the Earth, in warming it, and causing it to bring forth its Fruits ; but it is not a moral Agent: Its Action, though good, is not virtuous or meritorious. Fire that breaks out in a City, and consumes great Part of it, is very mischievous in its Operation ; but is not a moral Agent: what it does is not faulty or sin.' ful, or deserving of any Punishment. The brute Creatures are not moral Agents : the Actions of some of them are very profitable and pleasant ; others are very hurtful: yet, seeing they have no moral Faculty, or Sense of Desert, and don't act from Choice guided by Understanding, or with a Capacity of reasoning and reflecting, but only from Instinct, and are not capable of being inAuenced by moral Inducements, their Actions are not properly sinful or virtuous; nor are they properly the Subjects of any such moral Treat
Others are very of Sense of
standing, or with
ment for what they do, as moral Agents are for their Faults or good Deeds.
Here it may be noted, that there is a circumftantial Difference between the moral Agency of a Ruler and a Subje£t. I call it circumstantial, because it lies only in the Difference of moral Inducements they are capable of being influenced by, arising from the Difference of Circumstances. A Ruler acting in that Capacity only, is not capable of being influenced by a moral Law, and its Sanctions of Threatenings and Promises, Rewards and Punishments, as the Subjeet is; though both may be influenced by a Knowledge of moral Good and Evil. And therefore the moral Agency of the Supreme Being, who acts only in the Capacity of a Ruler towards his Creatures, and never as a Subje&t, differs in that Respect from the moral Agency of created intelligent Beings. God's Actions, and particularly thote which he exerts as a moral Governour, have moral Qualifications, are morally good in the highest Degree. They are most perfectly holy and righteous ; and we must conceive of Him as influenced in the highest Degree, by that which, above all others, is properly a moral Inducement ; viz. the moral Good which He sees in such and such Things : And therefore He is, in the most proper Sense, a moral Agent, the Source of all moral Ability and Agency, the Fountain and Rule of all Virtue and moral Good; though by Reason of his being Supreme over all, 'tis not possible He should be under the Influence of Law or Command, Promises or Threatenings, Rewards or Punishments, Counfels or Warnings. The essential Qualities of a moral Agent are in God, in the greatest possible Perfection ; such as Understanding, to perceive the Difference between moral Good and Evil; a Capacity of discerning that moral Worthiness and
Demerit, by which some Things are Praise-wor-
is or can be any such Sort of FreeDOM OF Will, as that wherein Ara minians place the Essence of the Liberty of all moral Agents; and whether any such Thing ever was or can be conceived of.
Shewing the manifest Inconhstence of the Armi
nian Notion of Liberty of Will, consisting in the Will's self-determining Power.
T JAving taken Notice of those Things which
I may be necessary to be observed, concerning the Meaning of the principal Terms and Phrases made use of in Controversies concerning human Liberty, and particularly observed what Liberty is, according to the common Language, and general Apprehension of Mankind, and what it is as understood and maintained by Arminians ; I proceed to consider the Arminian Notion of the Freedom of the Will, and the supposed Necessity of it in Order to moral Agency, or in order to any