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any selfmoving power in the chain, as if the motion of one link followed that of another in the order of time.
2. If any should say, that the determining act is not before the determined act, either in order of time, or of nature, nor is distinct from it; but that the exertion of the act is the détermination of the act; that for the soul to exert a particular volition, is for it to cause and determine that act of volition ; I would on this observe, that the thing in question seems to be forgotten or kept out of sight, in darkness and unintelligibleness of speech; unless such an objector would mean to contradict himself. The very act of volition itself is doubtless a determination of mind ; i. e. it is the mind's drawing up a conclusion, or coming to a choice between two things or more, proposed to it. But determining among external objects of choice, is not the same with determining the act of choice itself, among various possible acts of choice.
The question is, what influences, directs, or determines the mind or Will to come to such a conclusion or choice as it does ? Or what is the cause, ground or reason, why it concludes thus, and not otherwise ? Now it must be answered, according to the Arminian notion of freedom, that the Will influences, orders and determines itself thus to act. And if it does, I say, it must be by some antecedent act. To say, it is caused, influenced and determined by something, and yet not determined by any thing antecedent, either in order of time or of nature, is a contradiction. For that is what is meant by a thing's being prior in the order of nature, that it is some way the cause or reason of the thing, with respect to which it is said to be prior.
If the particular act or exertion of Will, which comes in. to existence, be any thing properly determined at all, then it has some cause of its existing, and of its existing in such a particular determinate manner, and pot another ; some cause, whose influence decides the matter ; which cause is distinct from the effect, and prior to it. But to say, that the Will or mind orders, influences and determines itself to exert such an act as it does, by the very exertion itselê, is to make the exertion both cause and effect; or the exerting such an act, to be a cause of the exertion of such an act. For
the question is, What is the cause and reason of the soul's ex, erting such an act ? To which the answer is, the soul ex. erts such an act, and that is the cause of it. And so, by this, the exertion must be prior in the order of nature to itself, and distinct from itself.
3. If the meaning be, that the soul's exertion of such a particular act of Will, is a thing that comes to pass of itself, without any cause ; and that there is absolutely no ground or reason of the soul's being determined to exert such a voli, tion, and make such a choice rather than another, I say, if this be the meaning of Arminians, when they contend so ear, nestly for the Will's determining its own acts, and for liberty of Will consisting in selfdetermining power ; they do nothing but confound themselves and others with words without meaning. In the question, What determines the Will ? And in their answer, that the Will determines itself, and in all the dispute about it, it seems to be taken for granted, that something determines the Will; and the controversy on this head is not, whether any thing at all determines it, or wheth, er its determination has any cause or foundation at all ; but where the foundation of it is, whether in the Will itself, or somewhere else. But if the thing intended be what is above. mentioned, then all comes to this, that nothing at all deter, mines the Will ; volition having absolutely no cause or foun: dation of its existence, either within or without. There is a great noise made about selfdetermining power, aş the source of all free acts of the Will ; but when the matter comes to be explained, the meaning is, that no power at all is the source of these acts, neither selfdetermining power, nor any other, but they arise from nothing ; no cause, no power, no influence being at all concerned in the matter.
However, this very thing, even that the free acts of the Will are events which come to pass without a cause, is cer, tainly implied in the Arminian notion of liberty of Will; though it be very inconsistent with many other things in their scheme, and repugnant to some things implied in their notion of liberty. Their opinion implies, that the particu lar determination of volition is without any cause ; because they hold the free acts of the Will to be contingent events; and contingence is essential to freedom in their potion of it. But certainly, those things which have a prior ground and reason of their particular existence, a cause whịch antecedently determines them to be, and determines them to be just as they are, do not happen contingently. If something foregoing, by a causal influence and connexion, determines and fixes precisely their coming to pass, and the manner of it, then it does not remain a contingent thing whether they shall como to pass or no. : but as to all things that begin to be, they are not selfexistent, and therefore must have some foundation of their existence without themselves. That whatsoever begins to be, which before was not, must have a Cause why it then begins to exist, seems to be the first dictate of the common and natural sense which God hath implanted in the minds of all mankind, and the main foundation of all our reasonings about the existence of things, past, present, or to come. . And this dictate of common sense equally respects substances and modes, or things and the manner and circumstances of things. Thus, if we see a body which has hither. to been at rest, start out of a state of rest, and begin to move, we do as naturally and necessarily suppose there is some Cause or reason of this new mode of existence, as of the existence of a body itself which had hitherto not existed. And so if a body, which had hitherto moved in a certain direction, should suddenly change the direction of its motion; or if it should put off its old figure, and take a new one ; or change its color : The beginning of these new modes is a new Event, and the mind of mankind necessarily supposes that there is some Cause or reason of them.
And because it is a question, in many respects, very important in this controversy about the freedom of Will, whether the free acts of the Will are events which come to pass without a cause, I shall be particular in examining this point in the two following sections,
Whether any Event whatsoever, and Volition in
particular, can come to pass without a Cause of its existence,
BEFORE I enter on any argument on this subject, I would explain how I would be understood, when I use the word Cause in this discourse : Since, for want of a better word, I shall have occasion to use it in a sense which is more extensive, than that in which it is sometimes used. The word is often used in so restrained a sense as to signify only that which has a positive efficiency or influence to produce a thing, or bring it to pass. But there are many things which have no such positive productive influence ; which yet are Causes in that respect, that they have truly the nature of a ground or reason why some things are, rather than others; or why they are as they are, rather than otherwise. Thus the absence of the sun in the night, is not the Cause of the falling of the dew at that time, in the same manner as its
beams are the Cause of the ascending of the vapors in the day time; and its withdrawment in the winter, is not in the same manner the Cause of the freezing of the waters, as its approach in the spring is the Cause of their thawing. But yet the withdrawment or absence of the sun is an antecedent, with which these effects in the night and winter are connected, and on which they depend ; and is one thing that belongs to the ground and reason why they come to pass at that time, rather than at other times ; though the absence of the sun is nothing positive, nor has any positive influence.
It may be further observed, that when I speak of connex. ion of Causes and Effects, I have respect to moral Causes, as well as those that are called natural in distinction from them. Moral Causes may be Causes in as proper a sense, as any causes whatsoever; inay have as real an influence, and may as truly be the ground and reason of an Event's coming to pass.
Therefore I sometimes use the word Cause, in this inqui. ry, to signify any antecedent, either natural or moral, positive or negative, on which an Event, either a thing, or the manner and circumstance of a thing, so depends, that it is the ground and reason, either in whole, or in part, why it is, rather than not; or why it is as it is, rather than otherwise ; or, in other words, any antecedent with which a consequent Event is so connected, that it truly belongs to the reason why the proposition which affirms that Event, is true ; whether it has any positive influence or not. And in an agreeableness to this, I sometimes use the word effect for the consequence of another thing, which is perhaps rather an occasion than a Cause, most properly speaking.
I am the more careful thus to explain my meaning, that I · may cut off occasion, from any that might seek occasion to
cavil and object against some things which I may say concerning the dependence of all things which come to pass, on some Cause, and their connexion with their Cause.
Having thus explained what I mean by Cause, I assert that nothing ever comes to pass without a Cause. What is selfexistent must be from eternity, and must be unchangeable;
If this grand principle of common sense be taken away, all arguing from effects to Causes ceaseth, and so all knowledge of any existence, besides what we have by the most direct and immediate intuition. Particularly all our proof of the being of God ceases : We argue His being from our own being, and the being of other things, which we are sensible once were not, but have begun to be ; and from the being of the world, with all its constituent parts, and the manner of their existence; all which we see plainly are not necessary in their own nature, and so not selfexistent, and therefore must have a Cause. But if things, not in themselves necessary, may begin to be without a Cause, all this arguing is vain. · Indeed, I will not affirm, that there is in the nature of things no foundation for the knowledge of the Being of God without any evidence of it from His works. I do suppose there is a great absurdity in the nature of things simply considered, in supposing that there should be no God, or in denying Be