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his own actions, opposite to that necessity which truly attends them ; and which in truth does not agree with real fact,* is not agreeable to strict, philosophic truth,t is contradictory to the truth of things, and which truth contradicts, not tallying with the real plan ; || and that therefore such feelings are deceitful,l are in reality of the delusive kind! ** He speaks of them as a wise delusion,tt as nice, artificial feelings, merely that conscience may have a commanding power ;tt meaning plainly, that these feelings are a cunning artifice of the Author of Nature, to make men believe they are free, when they are not.SS He supposes that, by these feelings, the moral world has a disguised appearance.ll! And other things of this kind he says. He supposes that all selfapprobation, and all remorse of conscience, all commendation or condemnation of ourselves or others, all sense of desert, and all that is connected with this way of thinking, all the ideas which at present are suggested by the words ought, should, arise from this delusion, and would entirely vanish withoutit. 11
All which is very contrary to what I have abundantly insisted on and endeavored to demonstrate in my Inquiry, where I have largely shewn that it is agreeable to the natural sense of mankind, that the moral necessity or certainty that attends men's actions, is consistent with praise and blame, reward and punishment ;*and that it is agreeable to our natural notions, that moral evil, with its desert of dislike and abhorrence, and all its other illdeservings, consists in a certain deformity in the nature of the dispositions and acts of the heart, and not in the evil of something else, diverse from these, supposed to be their cause or occasion.**
I might well ask here, whether any one is to be found in the world of mankind, who is conscious to a sense or feeling, naturally and deeply rooted in his mind, that in order to a
man's performing any action that is praise or blameworthy, he must exercise a liberty that implies and signifies a power of acting without any motive, view, design, desire or principle of action ? For such a liberty, this author supposes that must be which is opposed to moral necessity, as I have already observed once and again. Supposing a man should actually do good, independent of desire, aim, inducement, principle or end, is it a dictate of invincible, natural sense, that his act is more meritorious or praiseworthy, than if he had performed it for some good end, and had been governed in it by good principles and motives ? And so I might ask on the contrary, with respect to evil actions.*
The author of the Essays supposes that the liberty without necessity, which we have a natural feeling of, implies contin, gence ; and speaking of this contingence, he sometimes calls it by the name of chance. And it is evident that his notion of it, or rather what he says about it, implies things happening loosely, fortuitously, by accident, and without a cause.t Now I conceive the slightest reflection may be sufficient to satisfy any one that such a contingence of men's actions, according to our natural sense, is so far from being essential to the morality or merit of those actions, that it would destroy it; and that, on the contrary, the dependence of our actions on such causes as inward inclinations, incitements and ends, is essen, tial to the being of it. Natural sense teaches men, when they see any thing done by others of a good or evil tendency, to inquire what their intention was; what principles and views they were moved by, in order to judge how far they are to be justified or condemned ; and not to determine, that in order to their being approved or blamed at all, the action must be performed altogether fortuitously, proceeding from noihing, arising from no cause. Concerning this matter, I have fully expressed my mind in the Inquiry.
If the liberty which we have a natural sense of as necessa. Jy to desert, consists in the mind's selfdetermination, without
* See this matter illustrated in my Inquiry, Part IV. Sect. 4. + P. 156...! 259, 177, 178, 181, 183.... 185.
being determined by previous inclination or motive, then indifference is essential to it, yea, absolute indifference, as is observed in my Inquiry. But men naturally have no notion of any such liberty as this, as essential to the morality or demerit of their actions ; but, on the contrary, such a liberty, if it were possible, would be inconsistent with our natural notions of desert, as is largely shewn in the Inquiry. If it be agreeable to natural sense, that men must be indifferent in determining their own actions, then, according to the same, the more they are determined by inclination, either good or bad, the less they have of desert : The more good actions are performed from good dispositions, the less praiseworthy; and the more evil deeds are from evil dispositions, the less culpable ; and in general, the more men's actions are from their hearts, the less they are to be commended or condemned ; which all must know is very contrary to natural sense.
Moral necessity is owing to the power and government of the inclination of the heart, either habitual or occasional, excited by motive ; but according to natural and common sense, the more a man does any thing with full inclination of heart, the more is it to be charged to his account for his condemnaa tion if it be an ill action, and the more to be ascribed to him for his praise, if it be good.
If the mind were determined to evil actions by contingence, from a state of indifference, then either there would be no fault in them, or else the fault would be in being so perfectly indifferent, that the mind was equally liable to a bad or good determination. And if this indifference be liberty, then the very essence of the blame or fault would lie in the liberty itself, or the wickedness would, primarily and sumnmarily, lie in being a free agent. If there were no fault in being indifferent, then there would be no fault in the determination's being agreeable to such a state of indifference ; that is, there could no fault be reasonably found with this, viz, that opposite determinations actually happen to take place indifferently, sometimes good and sometimes bad, as contingence governs and decides. And if it be a fault to be indifferent to good and evil, then such indifference is no indif
ference to good and evil, but is a determination to evil, or to a fault; and such an indifferent disposition would be an evil, faulty disposition, tendency or determination of mind. So inconsistent are these notions of liberty, as essential to praise or blame.
The author of the Essays supposes men's natural, delusive sense of a liberty of contingence, to be in truth, the foundation of all the labor, care and industry of mankind ;* and that if men's practical ideas had been formed on the plan of universal necessity, the ignava ratio, the inactive doctrine of the Stoics, would have followed; and that there would have been NO ROOM for forethought about futurity, or any sort of industry and care it plainly implying, that in this case men would see and know that all their industry and care signified, nothing was in vain and to no purpose, or of no benefit ; events being fixed in an irrefragable chain, and not at all depending on their care and endeavor ; as he explains himself, particularly in the instance of men's use of means to prolong life ;f not only very contrary to what I largely maintain in my Inquiry, but also very inconsistently with his own scheme, in what he supposes of the ends for which God has so deeply implanted this deceitful feeling in man's nature ; in which he manifestly supposes men's care and industry not to be
in vain and of no benefit, but of great use, yea, of absolute · necessity, in order to the obtaining the most important
ends and necessary purposes of human life, and to fulfil the ends of action to the best advantage, as he largely declares. Now, how shall these things be reconciled ? That if men had a clear view of real truth, they would see that there was no room for their care and industry, because they would see it to be in vain, and of no benefit; and yet that God, by having a clear view of real truth, sees that their being excited to care and industry, will be of excellent use to mankind, and greatly for the benefit of the world, yea, absolutely necessary in order to it; and that therefore the great wisdom and goodness of God to men appears, in artfully contriving to put them on care and industry for their good, which good could not be obtained without them; and yet both these things are maintained at once, and in the same sentences and words by this author. The very reason he gives, why God has put this deceitful feeling into men, contradicts and destroys itself. That God in his great goodness to men gave them such a deceitful feeling; because it was very useful and necessary for them, and greatly for their benefit, or excites them to care and industry for their own good, which care and industry is useful and necessary to that end; and yet the very thing that this great benefit of care and industry is given as a reason for, is God's deceiving men in this very point; in making them think their care and industry to be of great benefit to them, when indeed it is of none at all ; and if they saw the real truth, they would see all their endeavors to be wholly useless, that there was no room for them, and that the event does not at all depend upon them.*
P. 184, 185.
P. 188....192, and in
* P. 184. ^ P. 189. many other places.
And besides, what this author says, plainly implies (as appears by what has been already observed) that it is necessary men should be deceived, by being made to believe that future events are contingent, and their own future actions free, with such a freedom, as signifies that their actions are not the fruit of their own desires or designs, but altogether contingent, fortuitous, and without a cause. But how should a notion of liberty, consisting in accident or loose chance, encourage care and industry? I should think it would rather entirely discourage every thing of this nature. For surely, if our actions do not depend on our desires and designs, then they do not depend on our endeavors, flowing from our desires and designs. This author himself seems to suppose, that if men had, indeed, such a liberty of contingence, it would render all endeavors to determine or move men's futurè volitions vain; he says, that in this case to exhort, to instruct, to promise, or to threaten, would be to no purpose. Why? Because, (as he himself gives the reason) then our