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One's being capable of Virtue or Vice, and properly the Subject of Command or Counsel, Praise or Blame, Promises or Threatenings, Rewards or Punishments; or whether that which has been described, as the Thing meant by Liberty in common Speech, be not sufficient, and the only Liberty, which makes, or can make any One a moral Agent, and so properly the Subject of these Things. In this part, I shall consider whether any such Thing be possible or conceivable, as that Freedom of Will which Arminians insist on; and shall inquire whether any such Sort of Liberty be necessary to moral Agency, &c. in the next Part..
And First of all, I shall consider the Notion of a Self-determining Power in the Will: wherein, according to the Arminians, does most effentially consist the Will's Freedom; and shall particular, ly inquire, whether it be not plainly absurd, and a manifest Inconsistence, to suppose that the Will itself determines all the free Aets of the Will. i
Here I shall not insist on the great Impropriety. of such Phrases, and Ways of speaking, as the Will's determining itself ; because Actions are to be ascribed to Agents, and not properly to the Powers of Agents ; which improper Way of speaking leads to many Mistakes, and much Confusion, as Mr. Locke observes. But I shall suppose that the Arminians, when they speak of the Will's determining itself, do by the Will mean the Soul willing. I shall take it for granted, that when they speak of the Will, as the Determiner, they mean the Soul in the Exercise of a Power of Willing, or acting voluntarily. I shall suppose this to be their Meaning, because nothing else can be meant, without the grosseft and plainest Absurdity. In all Cases, when we speak of the Powers or Principles
of of Aeting, as doing such Things, we mean that the Agents which have these Powers of acting, do them, in the Exercise of those Powers. So when we say, Valour fights couragiously, we mean the Man who is under the Influence of Valour fights couragiously. When we say, Love seeks the Object loved, we mean, the Person loving seeks that Object. When we fay, the Understanding discerns, we mean the Soul in the Exercise of that Faculty. So when it is said, the Will decides or determines, the Meaning must be, that the Person in the Exercise of a Power of Willing and Chufing, or the Soul acting voluntarily, determines.
Therefore, if the Will determines all its own free Acts, the Soul determines all the free Acts of the Will in the Exercise of a Power of Willing and Chufing; or, which is the same Thing, it determines them of Choice; it determines its own Acts by chusing its own Acts. If the Will determines the Will, then Choice orders and determines the Choice: and Acts of Choice are subject to the Decision, and follow the Conduct of other Acts of Choice. And therefore if the Will determines all its own free Acts, then every free Act of Choice is determined by a preceding Act of Choice, chusing that Act. And if that preceding Act of the Will or Choice be also a free Act, then by these Principles, in this Act too, the Will is Self-determined: that is, this, in like Manner, is an Act that the Soul voluntarily chuses; or which is the same Thing, it is an Act determined still by a preceding Act of the Will, chusing that. And the like may again be observed of the last mentioned Act. · Which brings us directly to a Contradiction : for it fupposes an Act of the Will preceding the first Act in the whole Train, directing and determining the reft; or a
free free Act of the Will, before the first free Act of the Will. Or else we must come at last to an Act of the Will, determining the consequent Acts, wherein the Will is not self-determined, and so is not a free Act, in this Notion of Freedom : But if the first Act in the Train, determining and fixing the rest, be not free, none of them all can be free; as is manifest at first View, but shall be demonftrated presently.
If the Will, which we find governs the Mem. bers of the Body, and determines and commands their Motions and Actions, does also govern itself, and determine its own Motions and Acts, ir doubtless determines them the same Way, even by antecedent Volitions. The Will determines which Way the Hands and Feet shall move, by an Act of Volition or Choice : and there is no other Way of the Will's determining, directing or commanding any Thing at all. Whatsoever the Will commands, it commands by an Act of the Will. And if it has itself under its command, and determines itself in its own Acts, it doubtlefs does it the same Way that it determines other Things which are under its Command. So that if the Freedom of the Will consists in this, that it has itself and its own Acts under its Command and Direction, and its own Volitions are determined by itself, it will follow, that every free Volition arises from another antecedent Volition, directing and commanding that : And if that direčting Volition be also free, in that also the Will, is determined; that is to say, that directing Volition is determined by another going before that; and so on, 'till we come to the first Volition in the whole Series : And if that first Volition be free, and the Will self-determined in it, then that is determined by another Volition, preceding that. Which is a
from anosince that: And the Will is of
Contradiction ; because by the Supposition, it can have none before it, to direct or determine it, being the first in the Train. But if that first Volition is not determined by any preceding Act of the Will, then that Act is not determined by the Will, and so is not free, in the Arminian Notion of Freedom, which consists in the Will's Self-determination. And if that first Act of the Will, which determines and fixes the subsequent Acts, be not free, none of the following Acts, which are determined by it, can be free. - If we suppose there are five Acts in the Train, the fifth and last determined by the fourth, and the fourth by the third, the third by the second, and the second by the first; If the first is not determined by the Will, and so not free, then none of them are truly determined by the Will : that is, that each of them is as it is, and not otherwise, is not first owing to the Will, but to the Determination of the first in the Series, which is not dependent on the Will, and is that which the Will has no Hand in the Determination of. And this being that which decides what the rest shall be, and determines their Existence; therefore the first Deterinination of their Existence is not from the Will. The Case is just the same, if instead of a Chain of five Acts of the Will, we should suppose a Succession of Ten, or an Hundred, or ten Thousand. If the first Act be not free, being determined by something out of the Will, and this determines the next to be agreeable to itself, and that the next, and so on; They are none of them free, but all originally depend on, and are determined by fome Cause out of the Will: and so all Freedom in the Case is excluded, and no Act of the Will can be free, according to this Notion of Freedom. If we should suppose a long Chain, of ten Thoufand Links, fo connected, that if the first Link
moves, it will move the next, and that the next; and so on till the whole Chain is determined to Motion, and in the Direction of its Motion, by the Motion of the first Link ; and that is moved by soinething else: In this case, though all the Links, but one, are moved by other Parts of the same Chain; yet it appears that neither the Motion of any One, nor the Direction of its Motion, is from any Self-moving or Self-determining Power in the Chain, any more than if every Link were imme. diately moved by something that did not belong to the Chain.----If the Will be not free in the first Act, which causes the next, then neither is it free in the next; which is caused by that first Act : for tho' indeed the Will caused it, yet it did not cause it freely; because the preceding Act, by which it was caused, was not free. And again, if the Will be not free in the second Act, so neither can it be in the third, which is caused by that ; because, in like Manner, that third was determined by an Act of the Will that was not free. And so we may go on to the next Act, and from that to the next, and how long soever the Succession of Acts is, it is all one; if the first on which the whole Chain depends, and which determines all the rest, be not a free Act, the Will is not free in causing or determining any one of those Acts ; because the Act by which it determines them all, is not a free Act, and therefore the Will is no more free in determining them, than if it did not cause them at all. – Thus, this Arminian Notion of Liberty of the Will, consisting in the Will's Self-Determination, is repugnant to itself, and shuts itself wholly out of the World.