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And, therefore, I observe, III. It is so far from being true (whatever may be pretended) that the proof of the doctrine which has been main. tained, depends on certain abstruse, unintelligible, metaphys. ical terms and notions; and that the Arminian scheme, without needing such clouds and darkness for its defence, is supported by the plain dietates of common sense ; that the very reverse is most certainly true, and that to a great degree. It is fact, that they, and not we have confounded things with metaphysical, uninteligible notions and phrases ; and have drawn them from the light of plain trựlh, into the gross darkness of abstruse, metaphysical propositions, and words without a meaning. Their pretended demonstrations depend very much on such unintelligible, metaphysical phrases, as, selfdetermitation, and sovereignty of the Will ; and the metaphysical sense they put on such terms, as necessity, contingency, action, agency, &c. quite diverse from their meaning as used in common speech ; and which, as they use them, are without any consistent meaning,or any manner of distinct, consistent ideas; as far from it as any of the abstruse terms and perplexed phrases of the peripatetic philosophers or the most unintelligible jargon of the schools, or the cant of the wildest fanatics. Yea, we may be bold to say, these metaphysical terms, on which they build so inuch, are what they use without knowing what they mean themselves; they are pure metaphysical sounds, without any ideas whatsoever in their minds to answer them ; inasmuch as it has been demonstrated, that there cannot be any notion in the mind consistent with these expres. sions, as they pretend to explain them ; because their explanations destroy themselves. No such notions as imply selfcontradiction, and selfabolition, and this a great many ways, can subsist in the mind; as there can be no idea of a whole which is less than any of its parts, or of solid extension without dimensions, or of an effect which is before its cause....Arminians improve these terms, as terms of art, and in their met. aphysical meaning, to advance and establish those things which are contrary to common sense, in a high degree. Thus, instead of the plain, vulgar notion of liberty, which all man
VOL. V. ' '2 R
kind, in every part of the face of the earth, and in all ages, have ; consisting in opportunity to do as one pleases; they have introduced a new, strange liberty, consisting in indifference, contingence, and selfdetermination ; by which they involve themselves and others in great obscurity, and manifold gross inconsistence. So, instead of placing virtue and vice, as common sense places them very much, in fixed bias and inclination, and greater virtue and vice in stronger and more established inclination ; these, through their refinings and abstruse notions, suppose a liberty consisting in indifference, to be essential to all virtue and vice. So they have reasoned themselves, not by metaphysical distinctions, but metaphysical confusion, into many principles about moral agency, blame, praise, reward and punishment, which are, as has been shewn, exceeding contrary to the common sense of mankind; and perhaps to their own sense, which governs them in common
WHETHER the things which have been alleged, are liaBle to any tolerable answer in the way of calm, intelligible and strict reasoning, I must leave others to judge ; but I am sensible they are liable to one sort of answer. It is not unlikely, that some, who value themselves on the supposed rational and generous principles of the modern, fashionable divinity, will have their indignation and disdain raised at the sight of this discourse, and on perceiving what things are pretended to be proved in it. And if they think it worthy of being read, or of so much notice as to say much about it, they may probably renew the usual exclamations, with additional vehemence and contempt, about the fate of the heathen, Hob. bes' necessity, and making men mere machines ; accumulating the terrible epithets of fatal, unfrustrable, inevitable, irresistible, &c. and it may be, with the addition of horrid and blasphe. mous; and perhaps much skill may be used to set forth things, which have been said, in colors which shaļl be shocking to the imaginations, and moving to the passions of those, who have either too little capacity, or too much confidence of the opinions they have imbibed, and contempt of the contrary, to try the matter by any serious and circumspect examination.*
* A writer, of the present age, whom I have several times had occasion to mention, speaks once and again of those who hold the doctrine of necessity, as scarcely worthy of the name of philosophers.... I do not know, whether he has Țespect to any particular notion of necessity, that some may have maintained ; and, if so, what doctrine of necessity it is that he means.... Whether I am wor. thy of the name of a philosopher, or not, would be a question little to the present purpose. If any, and ever so many, should deny it, I should not think it worth the while to enter into a dispute on that question : Though at the same time I might expect, some better answer should be given to the arguments brought for the truth of the doctrine I maintain ; and I might further reasonably desire, that it might be considered, whether it does not become those, who are truly worthy of the name of philosophers, to be sensible, that there is a difference between argument and contempt ; yea, and a difference between the contemptibleoess of the person shat argues, and the inconclusiveness of the arguments he offers.
Or difficulties may be started and insisted on, which do not belong to the controversy ; because, let them be more or less real, and hard to be resolved, they are not what are owing to any thing distinguishing of this scheme from that of the Ar. minians, and would not be removed nor diminished by renouncing the former, and adhering to the latter. Or some particular things may be picked out, which they may think will sound harshest in the ears of the generality; and these · may be glossed and descanted on, with tart and contemptuous words; and from thence, the whole treated with triumph and insult.
It is easy to see, how the decision of most of the points in controversy, between Calvinists and Arminians, depends on the determination of this grand article concerning the freedoń of the Will, requisite to moral agency; and that by clearing and establishing the Calvinistic doctrine in this point, the chief ar. guments are obviated, by which Arminian doctrines in gener. al are supported, and the contrary doctrines demonstratively confirmed. Hereby it becomes manifest, that God's moral government over mankind, his treating them as moral agents, making them the objects of his commands, counsels, calls, warnings, expostulations, promises, threatenings, rewards and punishments, is not inconsistent with a determining disposal of all events, of every kind, throughout the universe, in his providence ; either by positive efficiency, or permission. Indeed, such an universal, determining Providence infers some kind of necessity of all events, such a necessity as implies an infallible, previous fixedness of the futurity of the event; but no other necessity of moral events, or volitions of intelligent agents, is needful in order to this, than moral necessity; which
does as much ascertain the futurity of the event, as any other necessity. But, as has been demonstrated, such a necessity is not at all repugnant to moral agency, and a reasonable use of commands, calls, rewards, punishments, &c. Yea, not only are objections of this kind against the doctrine of an uni. versal determining Providence, removed by what has been said, but the truth of such a doctrine is demonstrated.
As it has been demonstrated, that the futurity of all future events is established by previous necessity, either natural or moral; so it is manifest that that the Sovereign Creator and Disposer of the world has ordered this necessity, by ordering his own conduct, either in designedly acting or forbearing to àct. For, as the being of the world is from God, so the circumstances in which it had its being at first, both negative and positive, must be ordered by him, in one of these ways; and all the necessary consequences of these circumstances, must be ordered by him. And God's active and positive interpositions, after the world was created, and the consequences of these interpositions; also every instance of his forbearing to interpose, and the sure consequences of this forbearance, must all be determined according to his pleasure. And therefore every event, which is the consequence of any thing whatsoever, or that is connected with any foregoing thing or circumstance, either positive or negative, as the ground or reason of its existence, must be ordered of God; either by a designed efficiency and interposition, or a designed forbearing to operate or interpose. But, as has been proved, all events whatsoever are necessarily connected with something foregoing, either positive or negative, which is the ground of their existence : It follows, therefore, that the whole series of events is thus connected with something in the state of things, either positive or negative, which is original in the series ; i. e. something which is connected with nothing preceding that, but God's own immediate conduct, either his acting or forbearing to act. From whence it follows, that as God designedly orders his own conduct, and its connected consequences, it must necessarily be, that he designedly orders all things.