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ways be so among a Nurnber of Objects in View, one will prevail in the Eye, or in Idea beyond others. When we have our Eyes open in the clear Sun-shine, many Objects strike the Eye at once, and innumerable Images may be at once painted in it by the Rays of Light; but the Attention of the Mind is not equal to several of them at once ; or if it be, it don't continue so for any Time. And so it is with Respect to the Ideas of the Mind in general: Several Ideas are not in equal Strength in the Mind's View and Notice at once ; or at least, don't remain so for any sensible Continuance. There is nothing in the World more constantly varying, than the Ideas of the Mind : They don't remain precisely in the same Ştate for the least perceivable Space of Time: as is evident by this, That all perceivable Time is judged and perceived by the Mind only by the Succession or the succesfive Changes of its own Ideas. Therefore while the Views or Perceptions of the Mind remain precisely in the same State, there is no perceivable Space or Length of Time, because no sensible Succession at all.
· As the Acts of the Will, in each Step of the fore-mentioned Procedure, don't come to pass without a particular Cause, every Act is owing to a prevailing Inducement; so the Accident, as I have called it, or that which happens in the unsearchable Course of Things, to which the Mind yields itself, and by which it is guided, is not any Thing that comes to pass without a Cause; and the Mind in determining to be guided by it, is not determined by something that has no Cause ; any more than if it determined to be guided by a Lot, or the casting of a Die. For tho' the Die's falling in such a Manner be accidental to him that casts it, yet none will suppose that there is no
Cause Cause why it falls as it does. The involuntary Changes in the Succession of our Ideas, tho' the Cause may not be observed, have as much a Cause, as the changeable Motions of the Motes that float in the Air, or the continual, infinitely various, successive Changes of the Uneveneffes on the Sur: face of the Water.
There are two Things especially, which are probably the Occasions of Confusion in the Minds of them who insist upon it, that the Will acts in a proper Indifference, and without being moved by any Inducement, in its Determinations in such Cases as have been mentioned.
1. They seem to mistake the point in Question, or at least not to keep it distinctly in View. The Question they dispute about, is, Whether the Mind be indifferent about the Objekts presented, one of which is to be taken, touch’d, pointed to, &c. as two Eggs, two Cakes, which appear equally good. Whereas the Question to be considered, is, Whether the Person be indifferent with Respect to his own Actions; whether he don't, on some Consideration or other, prefer one Act with Respect to these Objects before another. The Mind in its Determination and Choice, in these Cases, is not most immediately and directly conversant about the ObjeEts presented; but the Aets to be done concerning these objects. The Objects may appear equal, and the Mind may never properly make any Choice between them : But the next Act of the Will being about the external Actions to be performed, Taking, Touching, &c. these may not appear equal, and one Action may properly be chosen before another. In each Step of the Mind's Progress, the Determination is not about the Objects, unless indirectly and improperly, but about the Actions, which it chuses for
other Reasons than any Preference of the Objects, and for Reasons not taken at all from the Objects.
There is no Necessity of supposing, that the Mind does ever at all properly chuse one of the Objects before another ; either before it has taken, or afterwards. Indeed the Man chuses to take or touch one rather than another, but not because he chuses the Thing taken, or touch'd; bụt from foreign Considerations. The Case may be fo, that of two Things offered, a Man may, for certain Reasons, chuse and prefer the taking of that which he undervalues, and chuse to neglect to take that which his Mind prefers. In such a Case, chusing the Thing taken, and chusing to take, are diverse : and so they are in a Case where the Things prefented are equal in the Mind's Esteem, and neither of them preferred. All that Fact and Experience makes evident, is, that the Mind chuses one Action rather than another. And therefore the Arguments which they bring, in order to be to their Purpose, ought to be to prove that thọ Mind chuses the Action in perfect Indifference, with Respect to that Astion; and not to prove that the Mind chuses the Action in perfect Indifference with Respect to the ObjeEt ; which is very possible, and yet the Will not act at all without prevalent Inducement, and proper Preponderation.
2. Another Reason of Confusion and Difficulty in this Matter, seems to be, not distinguishing between a general Indifference, or an Indifference with Respect to what is to be done in a more diftant and general View of it, and a particular Indifference, or an Indifference with Respect to the next immediate Act, view'd with its particular and present Circumstances. A Man may be perfectly indifferent with Respect to his own Actions,
in the former Respect; and yet not in the latter. Thus, in the foregoing Instance of touching one of-the Squares of a Chess-board; when 'cis first proposed that I should touch one of them, I may be perfectly indifferent which I touch; because as yet I view the Matter remotely and generally, being but in the first Step of the Mind's Progress in the Affair. But yet, when I am actually come to the last Step, and the very next Thing to be determined is, which is to be touch'd, having already determined that I will touch that which happens to be most in my Eye or Mind, and my Mind being now fix'd on a particular one, the Act of touching that, considered thus immediately, and in these particular present Circumstances, is not what my Mind is absolutely indifferent about.
· SECTION VII. Concerning the Notion of Liberty of Will cone
fisting in Indifference.
W H AT has been said in the foregoing Sec
tion, has a Tendency in fome Measure to eyince the Absurdity of the Opinion of such as place Liberty in Indifference, or in that Equilibriuin whereby the Will is without all antecedent Determination or Bias, and left hitherto free from any prepossessing Inclination to one side or the other; that fo the Determination of the Will to either Side may be entirely from itself, and that it may be owing only to its own Power, and that Sovereignty which it has over itself, that it goes this Way rather than that *
. Dr. Whitby, and some other Arminians, make a Distinc, tion of different kinds of Freedom; one of God, and per
But in as much as this has been of such long standing, and has been so generally received, and so much insisted on by Pelagians, Semi-Pelagians, Fesuits, Socinians, Arminians, and others, it may deserve a more full Consideration. And therefore I shall now proceed to a more particular and tho. rough Inquiry into this Notion.
Now left some should suppose that I don't understand those that place Liberty in Indifference, or should charge me with noisrepresenting their Opinion, I would signify, that I am sensible, there are fome, who when they talk of the Liberty of the Will as consisting in Indifference, express themselves as tho they would not be understood of the Indifference of the Inclination or Tendency of the Will, but of, I know not what, Indifference of the Soul's Power of Willing; or that the Will, with Respect to its Power or Ability to chuse, is indifferent, can go either Way indifferently, either
fe& Spirits above; another of Persons in a State of Trial. The former Dr. Whitby allows to consist with Neceflity ; the latter he holds to be without Neceflity : And this latter he supposes to be requisite to our being the Subjects of Praise or Dispraise, Rewards or Punishments, Precepts and Prohibitions, Promises and Threats, Exhortations and Dehortations, and a Covenant-Treaty. And to this Freedom he sopposes Indiffe. rence to be requisite. In his Discourse on the five Points, P. 299. 300, he says; . It is a Freedom (speaking of a Freedom not « only from Co-action, but from Necessity) requisite, as we “ conceive, to render us capable of Trial or Probation, and to “ render our Actions worthy of Praise or Dispraise, and our « Persons of Rewards or Punishments.” And in the next Page, Speaking of the same Matter, He says, “ Excellent to this « Purpose, are the Words of Mr. Thorndike : We say not, that “ Indifference is requisite to all Freedom, but to the Freedom of Man « alone in this State of Travail and Proficience : the Ground of “ 'which is God's Tender of a Treaty, and Conditions of Peace and “ Reconcilement to fallen Man, together quith those Precepts and “ Prohibitions, those Promises and Threats, those Exhortations and “ Debortations, it is enforced witb."