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sition of the truth of the doctrine, such a use of it would not be unreasonable? If any shall affirm, that it would not, but that the very nature of the doctrine is such as gives just occasion for it, it must be on this supposition; namely, that such an invariable necessity of all things already settled, must render the interposition of all Means, Endeavours, Conclusions or Actions of ours, in order to the obtaining any future end whatsoever, perfectly insignificant; because they cannot in the least alter or vary the course and series of things, in any event or circumstance; all being already fixed unalterably by necessity and that therefore it is folly for men to use any Means for any end; but their wisdom to save themselves the trouble of Endeavours, and take their ease. No person can draw such an inference from this doctrine, and come to such a conclusion without contradicting himself, and going counter to the very principles he pretends to act upon: for he comes to a conclusion, and takes a course in order to an end, even his ease, or saving himself from trouble; he seeks something future, and uses Means in order to a future thing, even in his drawing up that conclusion, that he will seek nothing and use no Means in order to any thing in future; he seeks his future ease, and the benefit and comfort of indolence. If prior necessity that determines all things, makes vain all actions or conclusions of ours in order to any thing future ; then it makes vain all conclusions and conduct of ours in order to our future ease. The measure of our ease, with the time, manner, and every circumstance of it, is already fixed by all-determining necessity as much as any thing else. If he says within himself, "What future happiness or misery I shall have, is already in effect determined by the necessary course and connection of things; therefore I will save myself the trouble of labour and diligence, which cannot add to my determined degree of happiness, or diminish my misery; but will take my ease, and will enjoy the comfort of sloth and negligence." Such a man contradicts himself: he says, the measure of his future happiness and misery is already fixed, and he will not try to diminish the one nor add to the other: but yet, in his very conclusion, he contradicts this; for he takes up this conclusion, to add to his future happiness, by the ease and comfort of his negligence; and to diminish his future trouble and misery, by saving himself the trouble of using Means and taking Pains.
Therefore persons cannot reasonably make this improvement of the doctrine of necessity, that they will go into a voluntary negligence of Means for their own happiness.For the principles they must go upon, in order to this, are inconsistent with their making any improvement at all of the doctrine for to make some improvement of it is to be influ
enced by it, to come to some voluntary conclusion, in regard to their own conduct, with some view or aim: but this, as has been shown, is inconsistent with the principles they pretend to act upon. In short, the principles are such as cannot be acted upon at all, or in any respect, consistently. And, therefore, in every pretence of acting upon them, or making any improvement at all of them, there is a self-contradic
As to that Objection against the doctrine, which I have endeavoured to prove, that it makes men no more than mere Machines; I would say, that notwithstanding this doctrine, Man is entirely, perfectly, and unspeakably different from a mere Machine, in that he has reason and understanding, with a faculty of will, and so is capable of volition and choice; in that his will is guided by the dictates or views of his understanding; and in that his external actions and behaviour, and in many respects also his thoughts, and the exercises of his mind, are subject to his will; so that he has liberty to act according to his choice, and do what he pleases; and by Means of these things, is capable of moral habits and moral acts, such inclinations and actions as, according to the common sense of mankind, are worthy of praise, esteem, love and reward; or on the contrary, of disesteem, detestation, indignation and punishment.
In these things is all the difference from mere Machines, as to liberty and agency, that would be any perfection, dignity or privilege in any respect: all the difference that can be desired, and all that can be conceived of; and indeed all that the pretensions of the Arminians themselves come to, as they are forced often to explain themselves; though their explications overthrow and abolish the things asserted, and pretended to be explained. For they are forced to explain a self-determining power of will by a power in the soul to determine as it chooses or wills; which comes to no more than this, that a man has a power of choosing, and in many instances, can do as he chooses. Which is quite a different thing from that contradiction, his having power of choosing his first act of choice in the case.
Or, if their scheme make any other difference than this between Men and Machines, it is for the worse: it is so far from supposing Men to have a dignity and privilege above Machines, that it makes the manner of their being determined still more unhappy. Whereas, Machines are guided by an intelligent cause, by the skilful hand of the workman or owner; the will of Man is left to the guidance of nothing but absolute blind contingence!
Concerning that Objection against the Doctrine which has been maintained, that it agrees with the Stoical Doctrine of Fate, and the opinions of Mr. HOBBES.
When Calvinists oppose the Arminian notion of the freedom of will and contingence of volition, and insist that there are no acts of the will, nor any other events whatsoever, but what are attended with some kind of necessity; their opposers exclaim against them, as agreeing with the ancient Stoicks in their doctrine of Fate, and with Mr. HOBBES in his opinion of Necessity.
It would not be worth while to take notice of so impertinent an Objection had it not been urged by some of the chief Arminian writers.-There were many important truths maintained by the ancient Greek and Roman philosophers, and especially the Stoicks, that are never the worse for being held by them. The Stoic philosophers, by the general agreement of Christian divines, and even Arminian divines, were the greatest, wisest, and most virtuous of all the heathen philosophers; and, in their doctrine and practice, came the nearest to Christianity of any of their sects. How frequently are the sayings of these philosophers, in many of the writings and sermons, even of Arminian divines produced, not as arguments for the falseness of the doctrines which they delivered, but as a confirmation of some of the greatest truths of the Christian Religion, relating to the Unity and Perfections of the Godhead, a future state, the duty and happiness of mankind, &c. and how the light of nature and reason, in the wisest and best of the Heathen, harmonized with, and confirms the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
And it is very remarkable, concerning Dr. WHITBY, that although he alledges the agreement of the Stoicks with us, wherein he supposes they maintained the like doctrine, as an argument against the truth of ours; yet this very Dr. WHITBY alledges the agreement of the Stoicks with the Arminians, wherein he supposes they taught the same doctrine with them, as an argument for the truth of their doctrine.* So that, when the Stoicks agree with them, it is a confirmation of their doctrine, and a confutation of ours, as shewing that our opinions are contrary to the natural sense and common
* Whitby on the Five Points, Edit. 3. p. 325, 326, 327.
reason of mankind: nevertheless, when the Stoicks agree with us, it argues no such thing in our favour; but, on the contrary, is a great argument against us, and shews our doctrine to be heathenish!
It is observed by some Calvinistic writers, that the Arminians symbolize with the Stoicks, in some of those doctrines wherein they are opposed by the Calvinists; particularly in their denying an original, innate, total corruption and depravity of heart; and in what they held of man's ability to make himself truly virtuous and conformed to God; and in some other doctrines.
It may be further observed, that certainly it is no better Objection against our doctrine, that it agrees, in some respects, with the doctrine of the ancient Stoic philosophers; than it is against theirs, wherein they differ from us, that it agrees in some respects with the opinion of the very worst of the heathen philosophers, the followers of EPICURUS, that father of atheism and licentiousness, and with the doctrine of the Sadducees and Jesuits.
I am not much concerned to know precisely what the ancient Stoic philosophers held concerning Fate, in order to determine what is truth; as though it were a sure way to be in the right, to take good heed to differ from them. It seems that they differed among themselves; and probably the doctrine of Fate, as maintained by most of them, was, in some respects, erroneous. But whatever their doctrine was, if any of them held such a Fate, as is repugnant to any liberty, consisting in our doing as we please, I utterly deny such a Fate. If they held any such Fate as is not consistent with the common and universal notions that mankind have of liberty, activity, moral agency, virtue and vice; I disclaim any such thing, and think I have demonstrated, that the scheme I maintain is no such scheme. If the Stoicks, by Fate, meant any thing of such a nature, as can be supposed to stand in the way of advantage and of benefit in use of means and endeavours, or would make it less worth while for men to desire, and seek after any thing wherein their virtue and happiness consists; I hold no doctrine that is clogged with any such inconvenience, any more than any other scheme whatsoever; and by no means so much as the Arminian scheme of contingence; as has been shewn. If they held any such doctrine of universal fatality, as is inconsistent with any kind of liberty, that is or can be any perfection, dignity, privilege or benefit, or any thing desirable, in any respect, for any intelligent creature, or indeed with any liberty that is possible or conceivable; I embrace no such doctrine. If they held any such doctrine of Fate, as is inconsistent with the world being in all things subject to the disposal of an intelligent, wise
agent, that presides-not as the soul of the world, but-as the Sovereign Lord of the Universe, governing all things by proper will, choice and design, in the exercise of the most perfect liberty conceivable, without subjection to any constraint, or being properly under the power or influence of any thing before, above or without himself; I wholly renounce any such doctrine.
As to Mr. HOBBES maintaining the same doctrine concerning necessity, I confess it happens I never read Mr. HOBBES. Let his opinion be what it will, we need not reject all truth which is demonstrated by clear evidence, merely because it was once held by some bad man. This great truth, "that Jesus is the Son of God," was not spoiled because it was once and again proclaimed with a loud voice by the devil. If truth is so defiled, because it is spoken by the mouth, or written by the pen of some ill minded, mischievous man, that it must never be received, we shall never know, when we hold any of the most precious and evident truths by a sure tenure. And if Mr. HOBBES has made a bad use of this truth, that is to be lamented but the truth is not to be thought worthy of rejection on that account. It is common for the corrupt hearts of evil men to abuse the best things to vile purposes.
I might also take notice of its having been observed, that the Arminians agree with Mr. HOBBES* in many more things than the Calvinists. As, in what he is said to hold concerning original sin, in denying the necessity of supernatural illumination, in denying infused grace, in denying the doctrine of justification by faith alone; and other things.
Concerning the Necessity of the Divine Will.
Some may possibly object against what has been supposed of the absurdity and inconsistence of a self-determining power in the will, and the impossibility of its being otherwise than that the will should be determined in every case by some motive, and by a motive which (as it stands in the view of the understanding) is of superior strength to any appearing on the other side; that if these things are true, it will follow that not only the will of created minds, but the will of God Himself is necessary in all its determinations. Concerning which, the Author of the Essay on the Freedom of Will in God and in the Creature, (pag. 85, 86.) says: "What strange doctrine is this, contrary to all our ideas of the dominion of God? does
*Dr. GILL, in his Answer to Dr. WHITBY, Vol. III. p. 183, &c, VOL. II. 29