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of all necessity, united with that dictate of common sense, that there can be no volition without a Motive, drove him into, may be sufficient to convince us, that it is utterly impossible ever to make that notion of liberty consistent with the influ. ence of Motives in volition. And as it is in a manner selferi. dent, that there can be no act of Will, choice, or preference of the mind, without some Motive or inducement, something in the mind's view, which it aims at, seeks, inclinos to, and goes after; so it is most manifest, there is no such' liberty in the universe as Arminians insist on; nor any such thing possible, or conceivable.
The Evidence of GOD's certain Foreknowledge of
the Volitions of moral Agents.
THAT the acts of the Wills of moral agents are not con tingent events, in that sense, as to be without alli necessity, appears by God's certain foreknowledge of such events.
In handling this argument, I would in the first place prove, that God has a certain foreknowledge of the voluntary acts of moral agents'; and secondly, shew the consequence, or how it follows from hence, that the volitions of moral agents are not contingent, so as to be without necessity of connexion and consequence.
First, I am to prove, that God has'an'absolute and certain foreknowledge of the free actions of moral agents:
One would think, it should be wholly needless to enter on such an argument with any that profess-themselves Christa ians : But so it is ; God's certain foreknowledge of the free acts of moral agents, is denied by some that pretend to believe the scriptures to be the word of God'; and especially of late. I therefore, shall consider the evidence of such a prescience in the Most High, as fully as the designed limits of this essay
will admit of; supposing myself herein to have to do with such as own the truth of the Bible.
ARG. I. My first argument shall be taken from God's prediction of such events. Here I would, in the first place, lay down these two things as axioms.
(1.) If God does not foreknow, he cannot foretell such events ; that is, be cannot peremptorily and certainly foretellthem. If God has' no more than an uncertain guess concerna ing events of this kind, then he can decláre no more than-ari uncertain guess. Positively to foretell, is to profess-to fore know, or to declare positive foreknowledge.
(2.) If God does not certainly foreknow the future volitions of moral agents, then neither can he certainly foreknow those events which are consequent and dependent on these volitions The existence of the one depending on the existence of the other'; the knowledge of the existence of the one depends on the knowledge of the existence of the other; and the one cannot be more certain than the other.
Therefore, how many, how great, and how extensive soever the consequences of the volitions of moral agents may be; though they should extend to an alteration of the state of things through the universe, and should be continued in a se ries of successive events to all eternity, and should in the próx gress of things branch forth into an infinite number of series, each of them going on in an endless line or chain of events ; God must be as ignorant of all these consequences, as he is of the volitions whence they first take their rise : All these events, and the whole state of things depending on them, how important; extensive' and vast soever, must be hid from him.'
These positions being such as, I suppose, none will deny, I Now proceed to observe the following things.
1. Men's moral conduct and qualities, their virtues and vices, their wickedness and good practice, things rewardable and punishable, have often Been foretold by God. Pharaoh's moral conduct; in refusing to obey God's command, in letting his people go, was foretold. God says to Moses; Exod. iii. 19. “I am sure, that the king of Egypt will not let you go."
ee also hy servant. P. ix. 30, hat I may 2.
Here God professes not only to guess at, but to know Pharaoh's future disobedience. In chap. vii. 4, God says, but Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you ; that I may lay mine hand upon Egyht, &c. And chap. ix. 30, Moses says to Pharaoh, as for thee, and thy servants I know that ye will not fear the Lord. See also chap. xi. 9.... The moral conduct of Josial, by name, in his zealously exerting himself in opposition to idolatry, in particular acts of his, was foretold above three hun. .' dred years before he was born and the prophecy sealed by a miracle, and renewed and confirmed by the words of a second prophet, as what surely would not fail, 1 Kings xiii. 1....6, 32, This prophecy was also in effect a prediction of the moral conduct of the people, in upholding their schismatical and idolatrous worship until that time, and the idolatry of those priests of the high places, which it is foretold Josiah should offer upon that altar of Bethel....Micaiah foretold the foolish and sinful conduct of Ahab, in refusing to hearken to the word of the Lord by him, and choosing rather to hearken to the false prophets, in going to Ramoth Gilead to his ruin, 1 Kings xxi. 20....22. The moral conduct of Hazael was foretold, in that cruelty he should be guilty of; on which Hazael says, What is thy servant a dog, that he should do this thing! The prophet speaks of the event as what he knew, and not what he conjectured, 2 Kings viii. 12. I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel: Thou wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child. The moral conduct of Cyrus is foretold, long before he had a being, in his mercy to God's people, and regard to the true God, in turning the captivity of the Jews, and promoting the building of the Temple, Isaiah xliv. 28. xlv. 13. Compare 2 Chron. xxxvi. 22, 23, and Ezra j. 1....4. How many instances of the moral conduct of the Kings of the North and South, particular instances of the wick, ed behavior of the Kings of Syria and Egypt, are foretold in the with chapter of Daniel ? Their corruption, violence, rob. bery, treachery and lies. And particularly, how much is foretold of the horrid wickedness of Antiochus Epiphanes, called there a vile person, instead of Epiphanes, or illustrious. In that chapter, and also in chap. viii. verses 9,
14, 23, to the end, are foretold his flattery, deceit and lies, his having his heart set to do mischief, and set against the holy covenant, his destroying and treading under foot the holy people, in a marvellous manner, his having indignation against the holy cove enant, setting his heart against it, and conspiring against it, his polluting the sanctuary of strength, treading it under foot, tak ing away the daily sacirifice, and placing the abomination that maketh desolate ; his great pride, magnifying himself against God, and uttering marvellous blasphemies against him, until God in indignation should destroy him. Withal, the moral conduct of the Jews, on occasion of his persecution, is predicted. It is foretold, that he should corrupt many by fiatteries, chap. xi. 32....34. But that others should behave with a glorious constancy and fortitude in opposition to him, ver. 32. And that some good men should fall and repent, ver. 35. Christ foretold Peter's sin, in denying his Lord, with its circumstances, in a peremptory manner. And so that great sin of Judas, in betraying his master, and its dreadful and eternal punishment in hell, was foretold in the like positive manner, Matth. xxvi. 21....25, and parallal places in the other Evangelists. .
2. Many events have been foretold by God, which were consequent and dependent on the moral conduct of particular persons, and were accomplished, either by their virtuous or vicious actions..... Thus, the children of Israel's going down into Egypt to dwell there, was foretold to Abraham, Gen. xv. which was brought about by the wickedness of Joseph's brethren in selling him, and the wickedness of Joseph's mistress, and his own signal virtue in resisting her temptation. The accomplishment of the thing prefigured in Joseph's dream, depended on the same moral conduct. Jotham's parable and prophecy, Judges ix. 15....20, was accomplished by the wick. ed conduct of Abimelech, and the men of Shechem. The prophecies against the house of Eli, 1 Sam. chap. ii. and iii. were accomplished by the wickedness of Doeg the Edomite, in accusing the priests ; and the great impiety, and extreme cruelty of Saul in destroying the priests at Nob, 1 Sam. xxii. Nathan's prophecy against David, 2 Sam. xii. 11, 12, was fulfilled by the horrible wickedness of Absalom, in rebelling against his father, seeking his life and lying with his concus bines in the sight of the sun. The prophecy against Solomon, 1 Kings xi. 11...13, was fulfilled by Jeroboam's rebellion and usurpation, which are spoken of as his wickedness, 2 Chron. xiü. 5, 6, .compare verse 18. The prophecy against Jeroboam's family, 1 Kings xiv. was fulfilled by the conspiracy; treason, and cruel murders of Baashạ. 1 Kings xv. 27, &c. The predictions of the prophet Jehu against the house of Baasha, 1 Kings xvi. at the beginning, were fulfilled by the treason and parricide of Zimri, 1 Kings xvi. 9, 13, 20.
3. How often has God foretold the future móral conduct of nations and people, of numbers, bodies, and successions of men: With God's judicial proceedings, and many other events consequent and dependent on their virtues and vices; which could not be foreknown, if the volitions of men, wherein they acted as moral agents, had not been foreseen? The futúre cruelty of the Egyptians in oppressing Israel, and God's judging and punishing them for it, was foretold long before it came to pass, Gen. xv. 13, 14. The continuance of the iniquity of the Amorites, and the increase of it until it should be full, and they ripe for destruction, was foretold above four hundred years beforehand, Gen. xv. 16. Acts vii. 6, 7. The prophecies of the destruction of Jerusalem, and the land of Judah, were absolute ; 2 Kings xx. 17...19 ,chap. xxii. 15, to the end. It was foretold in Hezekiah's time, and was abundantly insisted on in the book of the prophet Isaiah, who wrote nothing after Hezekial's days. It was foretold in Josiah's time, in the beginning of a great reformation, 2 Kings xxji. And it is manifest by innumerable things in the predictions of the prophets, relating to this event, its time, its circumstances, its continuance and end ; the return from the captivity, the restoration of the temple, city and land, and many circumstances and consequences of that ; I say, these shew plainly, that the prohecies of this great event were absolute. And yet this event was connected with, and dependent .on two things in men's moral conduct; First, the injurious rapine and violence of the king of Babylon and his people, as the efficient cause ; which God often speaks of as what he