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If any should imagine, there is something in the Sort of Event that renders it possible for it to come into Existence without a Cause ; and should {ay, that the free Acts of the Will are Existences of an exceeding different Nature from other Things; by Reason of which they may come into Existence without any previous Ground or Reason of it, tho' other Things cannot; If they make this Objection in good Earnest, it would be an Evidence of their strangely forgetting themselves : For they would be giving an Account of some Ground of the Existence of a Thing, when at the same Time they would maintain there is no Ground of its Existence. Therefore I would observe, that the particular Nature of Existence, be it ever so diverse from others, can lay no Foundation for that Thing's coming into Existence without a Cause; because to suppose this, would be to suppose the particular Nature of Existence to be a Thing prior to the Existence ; and so a Thing which makes Way for Existence, with such a Circumstance, namely without a Cause or Reason of Existence. But that which in any Respect makes Way for a Thing's coming into Being, or for any Manner or Circumstance of its first Existence, must be prior to the Existence. The distinguish'd Nature of the Effect, which is something belonging to the Effect, can't have Influence backward, to act before it is. The peculiar Nature of that Thing called Volition, can do Nothing, can have no Influence, while it is not. And afterwards it is too late for its Influence : for then the Thing has made sure of Existence already, without its Help.

So that it is indeed as repugnant to Reason, to suppose that an Act of the Will should come into Existence without a Cause, as to suppose the hu


man Soul, or an Angel, or the Globe of the Earth, or the whole Universe, Thould come into Existence without a Cause. And if once we allow, that such a Sort of Effect as a Volition may come to pass without a Cause, how do we know but that many other Sorts of Effects may do so too? 'Tis not the particular Kind of Effect that makes the Absurdity of supposing it has Being without a Cause, but something which is common to all Things that ever begin to be, viz. that they are not Self-existent, or necessary in the Nature of Things.


Whether Volition can arise without a Cause,

through the Activity of the Nature of the Soul.

T H E Author of the Esay on the Freedom of the

1 Will in God and the Creatures, in Answer to that Objection against his Doctrine of a Self-determining Power in the Will, (P. 68, 69.) That nothing is, or comes to pass, without a sufficient Reason why it is, and why it is in this Manner rather than another, allows that it is thus in corporeal Things, which are properly and philosophically Speaking poljive Beings ; but denies that it is thus in Spirits, which are Beings of an active Nature, who have the Spring of Action within themselves, and can determine themfelves. By which it is plainly supposed, that such an Event as an Act of the Will, may come to pass in a Spirit, without a sufficient Reason why it comes to pass, or why it is after this Manner, rather than another ; by Reason of the Activity of the Nature of a Spirit. But certainly this Au.


thor, in this Matter, must be very unwary and inadvertent. For,

1. The Objection or Difficulty proposed by this Author, seems to be forgotten in his Answer or Solution. The very Difficulty, as he himself proposes it, is this ; How an Event can come to pass without a sufficient Reason why it is, or why it is in this Manner rather than another? Instead of folying this Difficulty, or answering this Question with Regard to Volition, as he proposes, he forgets himself, and answers another Question quite diverse, and wholly inconsistent with this, viz. What is a sufficient Reason why it is, and why it is in this Manner rather than another? And he assign's the Active Being's own Determination as the Cause, and a Cause sufficient for the Effect; and leaves all the Difficulty unresolved, and the Question unanswered, which yet returns, even, How the Soul's own Determination, which he speaks of, came to exist, and to be what it was without a Cause? The Activity of the Soul may enable it to be the Cause of Effects; but it don't at all enable or help it to be the Subject of Effects which have no Cause; which is the Thing this Author sup. poses concerning Acts of the Will. Activity of Nature will no inore enable a Being to produce Effects, and determine the Manner of their Exiftence, within itself, without a Cause, than out of itself, in some other Being. But if an active Being should, through its Activity, produce and determine an Effect in some external Object, how absurd would it be to say, that the Effect was produced without a Cause !


2. The Question is not so much, How a Spirit endowed with Activity comes to act, as why ic exerts such an Act, and not another; or why it

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acts with such a particular Determination ? If Activity of Nature be the Cause why a Spirit (the Soul of Man for Instance) acts, and don't lie still, yet that alone is not the Cause why its Action is thus and thus limited, directed and determined. Active Nature is a general Thing ; 'tis an Ability or Tendency of Nature to Action, generally taken; which may be a Cause why the Soul acts as Occafion or Reason is given; but this alone can't be a sufficient Cause why the Soul exerts such a particular Act, at such a Time, rather than others, In order to this, there must be something besides a general Tendency to Action; there must also be a particular Tendency to that individual Action.If it should be asked, why the Soul of Man uses its Activity in such a Manner as it does; and it should be answered, that the Soul uses its Activity thus, rather than otherwise, because it has Activity; would such an Answer satisfy a rational Man? Would it not rather be looked upon as a very impertinent one ?

3. An active Being can bring no Effects to pass by his Activity, but what are consequent upon his acting : He produces nothing by his Activity, any other Way than by the Exercise of his Activity, and so Nothing but the Fruits of its Exercise : He brings Nothing to pass by a dormant Activity. But the Exercise of his Activity is Action; and so his Action or Exercise of his Activity, must be prior to the Effects of his Activity. If an active Being produces an Effect in another Being, about which his Activity is conversant, the Effect being the Fruit of his Activity, his Activity must be first exercised or exerted, and the Effect of it must follow. So it must be, with equal Reason, if the active Being is his own Object, and his Activity is conversant about Him

self, self, to produce and determine fome Effect in himself ; still the Exercise of his Activity must go before the Effect, which he brings to pass and determines by it. And therefore his Activity can't be the Cause of the Determination of the first Action, or Exercise of Activity itself, whence the Effects of Activity arise ; for that would imply a Contradiction ; It would be to say, the first Exercise of Activity is before the first Exercise of Activity, and is the Cause of it,

4. That the Soul, though an active Substance, can't diversify its own Acts, but by first acting; or be a determining Cause of different Acts, or any different Effects, sometimes of one Kind, and sometimes of another, any other Way than in Consequence of its own diverse Acts, is manifest by this ; That if so, then the same Cause, the same causal Power, Force or Influence, without Variation in any Respect, would produce different Effects at different Times. For the same Subftance of the Soul before it acts, and the same active Nature of the Soul before it is exerted (i. e. before in the Order of Nature) would be the Cause of different Effects, viz. different Volitions at different Times. But the Substance of the Soul before it acts, and its active Nature before it is exerted, are the same without Variation. For 'tis some Act that makes the first Variation in the Cause, as to any causal Exertion, Force or Influence. But if it be fo, that the Soul has no different Causality, or diverse caufal Force or. Influence, in producing these diverse Effects; then 'tis evident, that the Soul has no Influence, no Hand in the Diversity of the Effect; and that the Difference of the Effect can't be owing to any Thing in the Soul; or which is the same Thing, the Soul don't determine the Diversity of the Effect; which is contrary to the

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