We have no other way properly and truly to demonstrate the moral perfections of God, but the way that Mr. CHUBв proves them, (p. 262, 261-263, of his Tracts,) viz. that God must, necessarily, perfectly know, what is most worthy and valuable in itself, which, in the nature of things, is best and fittest to be done. And, as this is most eligible in itself, he, being omniscient, must see it to be so; and being both omniscient and self-sufficient, cannot have any temptation to reject it; and so must necessarily will that which is best. And thus, by this necessity of the determination of God's will to what is good and best, we demonstrably establish God's moral char


Corol. From what has been observed, it appears, that most of the arguments from scripture which Arminians make use of to support their scheme, are no other than begging the question. For in these they determine in the first place, that without such a freedom of will as they hold, men cannot be proper moral agents, nor the subjects of command, counsel, persuasion, invitation, promises, threatenings, expostulations, rewards and punishments; and that without such freedom it is to no purpose for men to take any care, or use any diligence, endeavours or means, in order to their avoiding sin, or becoming holy, escaping punishment, or obtaining happiness and having supposed these things, which are grand things in question in the debate, then they heap up scriptures, containing commands, counsels, calls, warnings, persuasions, expostulations, promises and threatenings; as doubtless they may find enough such; (the bible being confessedly full of them, from the beginning to the end) and then they glory, how full the scripture is on their side, how many more texts there are that evidently favour their scheme, than such as seem to favour the contrary. But let them first make manifest the things in question, which they suppose and take for granted, and shew them to be consistent with themselves; and produce clear evidence of their truth; and they have gained their point, as all will confess, without bringing one scripture. For none denies, that there are commands, counsels, promises, threatenings, &c. in the bible. But unless they do these things, their multiplying such texts of scripture is insignificant and vain.

It may further be observed, that such scriptures as they bring, are really against them, and not for them. As it has been demonstrated, that it is their scheme, and not ours, is inconsistent with the use of motives and persuasives, or any moral means whatsoever, to induce men to the practice of virtue, or abstaining from wickedness. Their principles, and not ours, are repugnant to moral agency, and inconsistent with moral government, with law or precept, with the nature of virtue or

vice, reward or punishment, and with every thing whatsoever of a moral nature, either on the part of the moral governor, or in the state, actions or conduct of the subject.


Of a supposed Tendency of these Principles to Atheism and Licentiousness.

If any object against what has been maintained, that it tends to Atheism; I know not on what grounds such an objection can be raised, unless it be, that some Atheists have held a doctrine of necessity which they suppose to be like this. But if it be so, I am persuaded the Arminians would not look upon it just that their notion of freedom and contingence should be charged with a tendency to all the errors that ever any embraced, who have held such opinions. The Stoick philosophers, whom the Calvinists are charged with agreeing with, were no Atheists, but the greatest Theists, and nearest akin to Christians in their opinions concerning the unity and the perfections of the Godhead, of all the heathen philosophers. And Epicurus, that chief father of Atheism, maintained no such doctrine of necessity, but was the greatest maintainer of contingence.

The doctrine of necessity, which supposes a necessary connection of all events, on some antecedent ground and reason of their existence, is the only medium we have to prove the being of God. And the contrary doctrine of contingence, even as maintained by Arminians (which certainly implies or infers, that events may come into existence, or begin to be, without dependence on any thing foregoing, as their cause, ground or reason) takes away all proof of the being of God; which proof is summarily expressed by the apostle, in Rom. i. 20. And this is a tendency to Atheism with a witness. So that, indeed, it is the doctrine of Arminians, and not of the Calvinists, that is justly charged with a tendency to Atheism; it being built on a foundation that is the utter subversion of every demonstrative argument for the proof of a Deity; as has been shewn, Part II. Sect. III.

And whereas it has often been said, that the Calvinistic doctrine of necessity saps the foundations of all religion and virtue, and tends to the greatest licentiousness of practice : this objection is built on the pretence, that our doctrine renders vain all means and endeavours, in order to be virtuous and religious. Which pretence has been already particularly considered in the fifth Section of this Part; where it has been demonstrated, that this doctrine has no such tendency; but

that such a tendency is truly to be charged on the contrary doctrine inasmuch as the notion of contingence which their doctrine implies in its certain consequences, overthrows all connection in every degree, between endeavour and event, means and end.

And besides, if many other things, which have been observed to belong to the Arminian doctrine, or to be plain consequences of it, be considered, there will appear just reason to suppose, that it is that which must rather tend to licentiousness. Their doctrine excuses all evil inclinations, which men find to be natural; because, in such inclinations, they are not self-determined, as such inclinations are not owing to any choice or determination of their own wills. Which leads men wholly to justify themselves in all their wicked actions, so far as natural inclination has had a hand in determining their wills to the commission of them. Yea, these notions, which suppose moral necessity and inability to be inconsistent with blame or moral obligation, will directly lead men to justify the vilest acts and practices, from the strength of their wicked inclinations of all sorts; strong inclinations inducing a moral necessity; yea, to excuse every degree of evil inclination, so far as this has evidently prevailed, and been the thing which has determined their wills: because, so far as antecedent inclination determined the will, so far the will was without liberty of indifference and self-determination. Which, at last, will come to this, that men will justify themselves in all the wickedness they commit. It has been observed already, that this scheme of things exceedingly diminishes the guilt of sin, and the difference between the greatest and smallest offences;* and if it be pursued in its real consequences, it leaves room for no such thing as either virtue or vice, blame or praise, in the world. †And again, how naturally does this notion of the sovereign self-determining power of the will, in all things virtuous or vicious, and whatsoever deserves either reward or punishment, tend to encourage men to put off the work of religion and virtue, and turning from sin to God; since they have a sovereign power to determine themselves, just when they please; or if not, they are wholly excusable in going on in sin, because of their inability to do any other.

If it should be said, that the tendency of this doctrine of necessity to licentiousness appears, by the improvement many at this day actually make of it, to justify themselves in their dissolute courses; I will not deny that some men do unreasonably abuse this doctrine, as they do many other things

Part III. Sect. VI.

† Part III. Sect. VI. Ibid. Sect. VII. Part IV. Sect. I. Part III. Sect. III. Corol. 1. after the first head.



which are true and excellent in their own nature; but I deny, that this proves the doctrine itself has any tendency to licentiousness. I think the tendency of doctrines, by what now appears in the world, and in our nation in particular, may much more justly be argued from the general effect which has been seen to attend the prevailing of the principles of Arminians, and the contrary principles; as both have had their turn of general prevalence in our nation. If it be indeed, as is pretended, that Calvinistic doctrines undermine the very foundation of all religion and morality, and enervate and disannul all rational motives to holy and virtuous practice; and that the contrary doctrines give the inducements to virtue and goodness their proper force, and exhibit religion in a rational light, tending to recommend it to the reason of mankind, and enforce it in a manner that is agreeable to their natural notions of things: I say, if it be thus, it is remarkable, that virtue and religious practice should prevail most, when the former doctrines, so inconsistent with it, prevailed almost universally: and that ever since the latter doctrines, so happily agreeing with it, and of so proper and excellent a tendency to promote it, have been gradually prevailing, vice, profaneness, luxury and wickedness of all sorts, and contempt of all religion, and of every kind of seriousness and strictness of conversation, should proportionably prevail; and that these things thould thus accompany one another, and rise and prevail one with another, now for a whole age together! It is remarkable, that this happy remedy (discovered by the free enquiries, and superior sense and wisdom of this age) against the pernicious effects of Calvinism, so inconsistent with religion, and tending so much to banish all virtue from the earth, should, on so long a trial, be attended with no good effect; but that the consequence should be the reverse of amendment; that in proportion as the remedy takes place, and is thoroughly applied, so the disease should prevail; and the very same dismal effect take place, to the highest degree, which Calvinistic doctrines are supposed to have so great a tendency to; even the banishing of religion and virtue, and the prevailing of unbounded licentiousness of manners! If these things are truly so, they are very remarkable, and matter of very curious speculation,



Concerning that Objection against the Reasoning, by which the Calvinistic doctrine is supposed, that it is metaphysical and


It has often been objected against the defenders of Calvinistic principles, that in their reasonings they run into nice scholastic distinctions, and abstruse metaphysical subtilties, and set these in opposition to common sense. And it is possible, that after the former manner, it may be alledged against the Reasoning by which I have endeavoured to confute the Arminian scheme of liberty and moral agency, that it is very abstracted and metaphysical. Concerning this, I would observe the following things:

1. If that be made an objection against the foregoing reasoning, that it is metaphysical, or may properly be reduced to the science of metaphysics, it is a very impertinent objection; whether it be so or no, is not worthy of any dispute or controversy. If the reasoning be good, it is as frivolous to enquire what science it is properly reduced to, as what language it is delivered in and for a man to go about to confute the arguments of his opponent, by telling him, his arguments are metaphysical, would be as weak as to tell him, his arguments could not be substantial, because they were written in French or Latin. The question is not, whether what is said be metaphysics, physics, logic, or mathematics, Latin, French, English, or Mohawk? But whether the Reasoning be good, and the arguments truly conclusive? The foregoing arguments are no more metaphysical, than those which we use against the Papists, to disprove their doctrine of transubstantiation; alledging it is inconsistent with the notion of corporeal identity, that it should be in ten thousand places at the same time. It is by metaphysical arguments only we are able to prove, that the rational soul is not corporeal, that lead or sand cannot think; that thoughts are not square or round, or do not weigh a pound. The arguments by which we prove the being of God, if handled closely and distinctly, so as to shew their clear and demonstrative evidence, must be metaphysically treated. It is by metaphysics only that we can demonstrate, that God is not limited to a place, or is not mutable; that he is not ignorant, or forgetful; that it is impossible for him to lie, or be unjust; and that there is one God only, and not hundreds or thousands. And, indeed, we have no strict demonstration of any thing, excepting mathematical truths, but by metaphysics. We can have no proof that is properly demonstrative of any one

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