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ind obedience woulc* not be his virtue, or at all praiseworthy and rewardable, nor could his perseverance be properly the matter of divine commands, counsels and promises, nor his. apostasy be properly threatened, and men warned against it. Whereas we find all these things in Scripture: there we find steadfastness and perseverance in true Christianity, represented as the virtue of the saints, spoken of as praiseworthy in them, and glorious rewards promised to it; and also find that God makes it the subject of his commands, counsels and promises; and the contrary, of threatenings and warnings. But the foundation of these objections has been removed, in its being shown that moral necessity and infallible certainty of events is not inconsistent with these things; and that as to freedom of Will, lying in the power of the Will to determine itself, there neither is any such thing, nor any need of it, in order to virtue, reward, commands, counsels, &c. *

And as the doctrines of efficacious grace and absolute election do certainly follow from things which have been proved in the preceding discourse; so some of the main foundations of the doctrine of perseverance, are thereby established. If the beginning of true faith and holiness, and a man's becoming a true saint at first, does not depend on the self-determining power of the Will, but on the determining, efficacious grace of God; it may well be argued, that it is so also with respect to men's being continued saints, or persevering in faith and holiness. The conversion of a sinner being not owing to a man's Si-lf-determination, but to God's determination and eternal election, which is absolute and depending on the sovereign Will of God, and not on the free Will of man; as is evident frora what has been said; and it being very evident from the Scriptures, that the eternal election which there is of saints to faith and holiness, is also an election of them to eternal salvation. Hence their appointment to salvation must also be absolute, and not depending on their contingent, self-determining Will. From all which it follows, that it is absolutely fixed in God's decree, that all true saints shall persevere to actual eternal salvation.

But I must leRve all these things to the consideration of the fair and impartial reader; and when he has maturely weighed them, I would propose it to his consideration, whether many of the first reformers, and .others that succeeded them, whom God in their day made the chief pillars of his church, and greatest instruments of theii deliverance from error and darkness, and of the support of the cause of piety among them, have not been injured in the contempt with which they have been treated by many late writers, for their teaching and maintaining such doctrines as are commonly called Calvinistic. Indeed, some of these new writers, at the same time that they have represented the doctrines of these ancient and eminent divines as in the highest degree ridiculous, and contrary to common sense, in an ostentation of a very generous charity, have allowed that they were honest, well-meaning men; yea, it may be, some of them, as though it were in great condescension and compassion to them, have allowed that they did pretty well for the day in which they lived, and considering the great disadvantages they labored under; when at the same time, their manner of speaking has naturally and plainly suggested to the minds of their readers, that they were persons, who, through the lowness of their genius, and greatness of the bigotry with which their minds were shackled and thoughts confined, living in the gloomy caves of superstition, fondly embraced, and demurely and zealously taught the most absurd, silly, and monstrous opin ions, worthy of the greatest contempt of gentlemen possessed of that noble and generous freedom of thought, which happily prevails in this age of light and inquiry. When, indeed, such is the case, that we might, if so disposed, speak as big words as they, and on far better grounds. And really all the Arminians on earth might be challenged, without arrogance or vanity, to make these principles of theirs, wherein they mainly differ from their fathers, whom they so much despise, consistent with common sense; yea, and perhaps to produce any doctrine ever embraced by the blindest bigot of the church of Rome, or the most ignorant Mussulman or extravagant enthusiast, that might be reduced to more demonstrable inconsistencies, and repugnancies to common sense, and to themselves; though their inconsistencies indeed may not lie so deep, or be so artfully veiled by a deceitful ambiguity of words, and an indeterminate signification of phrases. I will not deny, that these gentlemen, many of them, are men of great abilities, and have been helped to higher attainments in philosophy, than those ancient divines, and have done great service to the church of God in some respects; but I humbly conceive that their differing from their fathers with such magisterial assurance, in these points in divinity, must be owing to some other cause than superior wisdom.

It may also be worthy of consideration, whether the great alteration, which has been made in the state of things in cur nation, and some other parts of the Protestant world, in this and the past age, by the exploding so generally Calvinistic doctrines, that is so often spoken of as worthy to be greatly rejoiced in by the friends of truth, learning and virtue, as an instance of the great increase of light in the Christian church; I say, it may be worthy to be considered, whether this be indeed a happy change, owing to any such cause as an increase of true know ledge and understanding in things of religion; or whether there is not reason to fear, that it may be owing to some worse cause.

And I desire it may be considered, whether the boldness of some writers may not be worthy to be 1 effected on, who have not scrupled to say, that if these and those things are true (which yet appear to be the demonstrable dictates of reason, as well as the certain dictates of the mouth of the Most High) then God is unjust and cruel, and guilty of manifest deceit and double dealing, and the like. Yea, some have gone so far, as confidently to assert, that if any book which pretends to be Scripture, teaches such doctrines, that alone is sufficient warrant for mankind to reject it, as what cannot be the word of God.— Some, who have not gone so far, have said, that if the Scripture seems to teach any such doctrines, so contrary to reason, we are obliged to find out some other interpretation of those texts, where such doctrines seem to be exhibited. Others express themselves yet more modestly: they express a tenderness and religious fear, lest they should receive and teach any thing lhat should seem to reflect on God's moral character, or be a disparagement to his methods of administration, in his moral government; and therefore express themselves as not daring to embrace some doctrines, though they seem to be delivered in Scripture, accord ing to the more obvious and natural construction of the words. But indeed it would show a truer modesty and humility, if they would more entirely rely on God's wisdom and discerning, who knows infinitely better than we, what is agreeable to his own perfections, and never intended to leave these matters to the decision of the wisdom and discerning of men; but by his own unerring instruction, to determine for us what the truth is; knowing how little our judgment is to be depended on, and how extremely prone vain and blind men are to err in such matters.

The truth of the case is, that if the Scripture plainly taught the opposite doctrines, to those that are so much stumbled at, viz., the Arminian doctrine of free Will, and others depending thereon, it would bt. the greatest of all difficulties that attend the Scriptures, incomparably greater than its containing any, even the most mysterious of those doctrines of the first reformers, which our late free-thinkers have so superciliously exploded.—Indeed, it is a glorious argument of the divinity of the holy Scriptures, that they teach such doctrines, which in one age and another, through the blindness of men's minds, and strong prejudices of their hearts, are rejected, as most absurd and unreasonable, by the wise and great men of the world; which yet, when they are most carefully and strictly examined, appear to be exactly agreeable to the most demonstrable, certain and natural dictates of reason. By such things it appears, that the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and God does as is said in 1 Cor. i. 19,20: "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; I will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise 1 Where is the scribe 1 Where is the disputer of this world 1 Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" And as it used to be in time past, so it is probable it will be in time to come, as it is there written, in verses 27, 28, 29: "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world, to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world, to confound the things that are mighty; and base things of the world, the things which are despised, hath God chosen: yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are; that no flesh should glory in his presence." Amen.


On The Essays On The Principles Of Morality And Natural Religion, In A Letter To A Minister Of The Church Of Scotland.

Reverend Sir:

The intimations you have given me of the use which has, by some, been made of what I have written on the Freedom of the Will, &c, to vindicate what is said on the subject of liberty and necessity, by the author of the Essays on the Principles of Morality and Natural Religion, has occasioned my reading t^s author's essay on that subject, with particular care and attention. And I think it must be evident to every one, that has read both his Essay and my Inquiry, that our schemes are exceeding reverse from each other. The wide difference appears particularly in the following things.

This author supposes, that such a necessity takes place with respect to all men's actions, as is inconsistent with lib*rty,* and plainly denies that men have any liberty in acting. Thus in p. 168, after he had been speaking of the necessity of our determinations, as connected with motives, he concludes with saying, " In short, if motives are not under our power or direction, which is

confessedly the fact, we can at bottom have No Liberty." Whereas, I

have abundantly expressed it as my mind, that man, in his moral actions, has true liberty; and that the moral necessity, which universally takes place, is not in the least inconsistent with any thing that is properly called liberty, and with the utmost liberty that can be desired, or that can possibly exist or be conceived of.f

I find that some are apt to think, that in that kind of moral necessity of men's volitions, which I suppose to be universal, at least some degree of liberty is denied; that though it be true I allow a sort of liberty, yet those who maintain a self-determining power in the Will, and a liberty of contingence and indifference, hold a higher sort of freedom than I do; but I think this is certainly a great mistake.

Liberty, as I have explained it, in p. 17, and other places, is the power, opportunity, or advantage, that any one has to do as he pleases, or conducting in any respect, according to his pleasure; without considering how his pleasure comes to be as it is. It is demonstrable, and, I think, has been demonstrated, that no necessity of men's volitions that I maintain, is inconsistent with this liberty; and I think it is impossible for any one to rise higher in his conceptions of liberty than this: if any imagine they desire higher, and that they conceive of a higher and greater liberty than this, they are deceived, and delude themselves with confused ambiguous words, instead of ideas. If any one should here say, "Yes, I conceive of a freedom above and beyond the liberty a man has of conducting in any respect as he pleases, viz., a liberty of choosing as he pleases." Such a one, if he reflected, would either blush or laugh at his own instance. For, is not choosing as he pleases, conducting, in some respect, according to his pleasure, and still without determining how he came by that pleasure 1 If he

* P. 160, 161,164, 165, and many other places.

t Inquiry, p. 17—20. 100, 101. 151—156,163,167, 177,178-18%

says, " Yes, I came by that pleasure by my own choioe." If he be a man of common sense, by this time he will see his own absurdity; for he must needs see that his notion or conception, even of this liberty, does not contain any

{'udgment or conception, how he comes by that choice, which first determines lis pleasure, or which originally fixed his own will respecting the affair. Or if any shall say, "That a man exercises liberty in this, even in determining his own choice, but not as he pleases, or not in consequence of any choice, preference, or inclination of his own, but by a determination arising contingently out of a state of absolute indifference;" this is not rising higher in his conception of liberty; as such a determination of the Will would not be a voluntary determination of it. Surely he that places liberty in a power of doing something not according to his own choice, or from his choice, has not a higher notion of it, than he that places it in doing as he pleases, or acting from his own election. If there were a power in the mind to determine itself, but not by its choice or according to its pleasure, what advantage would it give 1 And what liberty, worth contending for, would be exercised in it? Therefore no Arminian, Pelagian, or Epicurean, can rise higher in his conceptions of liberty, than the notion of it which I have explained: which notion is apparently, perfectly consistent with the whole of that necessity of men's actions, which I suppose takes place. And I scruple not to say, it is beyond all their wits to invent a higher notion, or form a higher imagination of liberty; let them talk of sovereignty of the Will, selfdetermining power, self-motion, self-direction, arbitrary decision, liberty ad utrumvis, power of choosing differently in given cases, &c. &c, as long as they will. It is apparent that these men, in their strenuous affirmation and dispute about these things, aim at they know not what, fighting for something they have no conception of, substituting a number of confused, unmeaning words, instead of things, and instead of thoughts. They may be challenged clearly to explain what they would have: they never can answer the challenge.

The author of the Essays, through his whole Essay on Liberty and Necessity, goes on the supposition, that, in order to the being of real liberty, a man must have a freedom that is opposed to moral necessity; and yet he supposes, p. 175, that "such a liberty must signify a power in the mind of acting without and against motives, a power of acting without any view, purpose or design, and even of acting in contradiction to our own desires and aversions, and to all our principles of action; and is an absurdity altogether inconsistent with a rational nature. Now, who ever imagined such a liberty as this, a higher sort or degree of freedom, than a liberty of following one's own views and purposes, and acting agreeable to his own inclinations and passions 1 Who will ever reasonably suppose that liberty, which is an absurdity altogether inconsistent with a rational nature, to be a kind of liberty above that which is consistent with the nature of a rational, intelligent, designing agent?

The author of the Essays seems to suppose such a necessity to take place, as is inconsistent with some supposable power of arbitrary choice ;* or that there is some liberty conceivable, whereby men's own actions might be more properly in their power,f and by which events might be more dependent on ourselves ;| contrary to what I suppose to be evident in my Inquiry.^ What way can be imagined, of our actions being more in our power, from ourselves, or dependent on ourselves, than their being from our power to fulfil our own choice, to act from our own inclination, pursue our own views, and execute our own designs 1 Certainly, to be able to act thus, is as properly having our actions in our power,

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