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exclude all capacity of either Virtue or Vice. And if Habits and Dispositions themselves be not virtuous nor vicious, nei. ther can the exercise of these Dispositions be so: for the exercise of Bias is not the exercise of free self-determining will, and so there is no exercise of liberty in it. Consequently, no man is virtuous or vicious, either in being well or ill disposed, nor in acting from a good or bad Disposition. And whether this Bias or Disposition be habitual or not, if it exists but a moment before the act of will which is the effect of it, it alters not the case as to the necessity of the effect. Or, if there be no previous Disposition at all, either habitual or occasional, that determines the act, then it is not choice that determines it; it is, therefore, a contingence that happens to the man, arising from nothing in him; and is necessary, as to any inclination or Choice of his ; and therefore cannot make him either the better or worse, any more than a tree is better than other trees, because it oftener happens to be lighted upon by a nightingale: or a rock more vicious than other rocks, because rattlesnakes have happened oftener to crawl over it. So that there is no Virtue nor Vice in good or bad Dispositions, either fixed or transient; nor any Virtue or Vice in acting from any good or bad previous Inclination ; nor yet any virtue or vice in acting wholly without any previous Inclination. Where then shall we find room for Virtue or Vice ?
Arminian Notions of moral Agency inconsistent with all Influ
ence of Motive and Inducement, in either virtuous or vicious Actions,
As Arminian notions of that liberty which is essential to virtue or vice, are inconsistent with common sense in their being inconsistent with all virtuous or vicious habits and dispositions ; so they are no less inconsistent with all influence of Motives in moral actions.-Such influence equally against those notions of liberty, whether there be, previous to the act of choice, a preponderancy of the inclination, or a preponderancy of those circumstances which have a tendency to move the inclination. And indeed it comes to just the same thing : to say, the circumstances of the mind are such as tend to sway and turn its inclination one way, is the same thing as to say, the inclination of the mind, as under such circumstances, tends
Or if any think it most proper to say, that Motives do alter the inclination, and give a new bias to the mind, it will not alter the case as to the present argument. For if Motives operate by giving the mind an inclination, then they operate by destroying the mind's indifference, and laying it under a bias. But to do this, is to destroy the Arminian freedom : it is not to leave the will to its own self-determination, but to bring it into subjection to the power of something extrinsic, which operates upon it, sways and determines it, previous to its own determination, So that what is done from Motive, cannot be either virtuous or vicious. Besides, if the acts of the will are excited by Motives, those Motives are the causes of those acts of the will; which makes the acts of the will necessary; as effects necessarily follow the efficiency of the cause. And if the influence and power of the Motive causes the volition, then the influence of the Motive determines volition, and volition does not determine itself; and so is not free in the sense of Arminians (as has been largely shewn already), and consequently can be neither virtuous nor vicious.
The supposition which has already been taken notice of as an insufficient evasion in other cases, would be, in like manner, impertinently alledged in this case ; namely, the supposition that liberty consists in a power of suspending action for the present, in order to deliberation. If it should be said, Though it be true, that the will is under a necessity of finally following the strongest Motive ; yet it may, for the present, forbear to act upon the Motive presented, till there has been opportunity thoroughly to consider it, and compare its real weight with the merit of other Motives. I answer as follows:
Here again it must be remembered, that if determining thus to suspend and consider be the act of the will, wherein alonc liberty is exercised, then in this all virtue and vice must consist ; and the acts that follow this consideration, and are the effects of it, being necessary, are no more virtuous or vicious than some good or bad events, which happen when they are fast asleep, and are the consequences of what they did when they were awake. Therefore, I would here observe two things : 1. To
suppose that all virtue and vice, in every case, consists in determining, whether to take time for consideration or not, is not agreeable to common sense. For, according to such a supposition, the most horrid crimes, adultery, murder, sodomy, blasphemy, &c. do not at all consist in the horrid nature of the things themselves, but only in the neglect of thorough consideration before they were perpetrated, which brings their viciousness to a small matter, and makes all crimes equal. If
it be said, that neglect of consideration, when such heinous evils are proposed to choice, is worse than in other cases : 1 answer, this is inconsistent, as it supposes the very thing to be, which, at the same time, is supposed not to be ; it
all moral evil, all viciousness and heinousness, does not consist merely in the want of consideration. It supposes some crimes in themselves, in their own nature, to be more heinous than others, antecedent to consideration or inconsideration, which lays the person under a previous obligation to consider in some cases more than others.
2. If it were so, that all virtue and vice, in every case, consisted only in the act of the will whereby it determines whether to consider or no, it would not alter the case in the least as to the present argument. For still in this act of the will on this determination, it is induced by some Motive, and necessarily follows the strongest Motive; and so is necessarily, even in that act wherein alone it is either virtuous or vicious.
One thing more I would observe concerning the inconsistence of Arminian notions of moral agency with the influence of Motives.--I suppose none will deny, that it is possible for such powerful Motives to be set before the mind, exhibited in so strong a light, and under such advantageous circumstances, as to be invincible ; and such as the mind cannot but yield to. In this case, Arminians will doubtless say, liberty is destroyed. And if so, then if Motives are exhibited with half so much power, they hinder liberty in proportion to their strength, and go halfway towards destroying it. If a thousand degrees of Motive abolish all liberty, then five hundred take it half away. If one degree of the influence of Motive does not at all infringe or diminish liberty, then no more do two degrees ; for nothing doubled, is still nothing. And if two degrees do not diminish the will's liberty, no more do four, eight, sixteen, or six thousand. For nothing however multiplied comes to but nothing. If there be nothing in the nature of motive or moral suasion, that is at all opposite to liberty, then the greatest degree of it cannot hurt liberty. But if there be somewhat, in the nature of the thing, against liberty, then the least degree of it hurts in some degree; and consequently diminishes virtue. If invincible Motives to that action which is good, take away all the freedom of the act, and so all the virtue of it ; then the more forcible the Motives are, so much the worse, so much the less virtue ; and the weaker the Motives are, the better for the cause of virtue; and none is best of all.
Now let it be considered, whether these things are agreeable to common sense. If it should be allowed, that there are some instances wherein the soul chooses without any Motive, what virtue can there be in such a choice? I am sure there is no prudence or wisdom in it. Such a choice is made for no
good end ; being made for no end at all. If it were for any end, the view of the end would be the Motive exciting to the act; and if the act be for no good end, and so from no good aim, then there is no good intention in it; and, therefore, according to all our natural notions of virtue, no more virtue in it than in the motion of the smoke, which is driven to and fro by the wind, without any aim or end in the thing moved, and which knows not whither, nor wherefore, it is moved.
Corol. I. By these things it appears that the argument against the Calvinists, taken from the use of counsels, exhortations, invitations, expostulations, &c. so much insisted on by Arminiuns, is truly against themselves. For these things can operate no other way to any good effect, than as in them is exhibited Motive and Inducement, tending to excite and determine the acts of the will.* But it follows, on their prin
* The true reason why counsels, exhortations, &c. commonly called motives, are consistent with the doctrine of necessity held by Calvinists, may be here noticed, in addition to some hints before given. In order to this, we must guard against ambiguity in the word “motive,' which at one time is intended for the object exhibited, abstractedly considered ; at another, the object concretively, as it stands in the view of the inind. The opposers of that necessity for which our author pleads, must, in order to make even a show of consistency, understand the word.motive' in the first of these acceptations. And if so, it is nothing marvellous that they should maintain the existence of a power in the human mind which can, on the one hand, successfully oppose the strongest possible motive; and on the other, be determined by a weaker, and even sometimes by the weakest motive. For how often is the inost insignificant bawble preferred to infinite excellence ! But consistent Calvinists do not understand the term in any such manner, but rather as an effect compounded of the state of the mind and the real object. And, seeing the object in itself considered, is not changed by mental perception, the difference of the effect, or change of mental view, must arise from the mind itself. Hence one motive, in the Arminian sense, may produce, in the other acceptation of the term, a thousand different motives, according to the different mental states to which the object is presented.
Therefore counsels, exhortations, invitations, &c. are most rationally employed by Calvinists; for that which determines the human will to action, is the motive as it is perc ived, or that which results from an application of the object to the mind. According to them, without an object presented there can be no motive, any more than there can be a motive without a mind to which it is presented. Without evangelical truth, and an evangelical mind or disposition, there can be no evangelical determining motive. Consequently, if the mind be at all roused from ignorance and apathy, determining motives must be produced in it by a representation of objects, by counsels, exhortations, invitations, expostulations, &c. These will succeed or fail of success, morally, according to the state of the mind. But as the agent is free from co-action, constraint, and compulsion, in the act of choosing, the true inference is—not that such use of the means is unsuitable or inconsistent, but—that here is clearly implied the great necessity, the rationality, and the perfect consistency of prayer to the Goul of grace, for success on the use of means. Paul may plant, and Apollos may water, but God giveth the increase. To influence the mind without moral motives, is the prerogative of God All hearts are in his hand to form them as he pleases. If the tree be good by sovereign influence, or a new birth, the fruit of love to God and hatred to sin, holy fear, unfeigned faith, humble hope, &c. will follow, according to the objects presented.-A crop will not follow without the union of two things, seed and soil If both be good, the crop will be good, but not otherwise. That motive which determines the will, cannot arise from any other cause than the object and the disposition united. And then only can the determining motive be good, when it results from a good
ciples, that the acts of will excited by such causes, cannot be virtuous; because, so far as they are from these, they are not from the will's self-determining power. Hence it will follow, that it is not worth while to offer any arguments to persuade men to any virtuous volition or voluntary action; it is in vain to set before them the wisdom and amiableness of ways of virtue, or the odiousness and folly of ways of vice.This notion of liberty and moral agency frustrates all endeavours to draw men to virtue by instruction or persuasion, precept or example : for though these things may induce them io what is materially virtuous, yet at the same time they take away the form of Virtue, because they destroy Liberty: as they by their own power put the will out of its equilibrium, determine and turn the scale, and take the work of self-determining power out of its hands. And the clearer the instructions given, the more powerful the arguments used, and the more moving the persuasions or examples, the more likely they are to frustrate their own design; because they have so much the greater tendency to put the will out of its balance, to hinder its freedom of self-determination ; and so to exclude the very form of virtue, and the essence of whatsoever is praiseworthy.
So it clearly follows from these principles, that God has no hand in any man's virtue, nor does at all promote it, either by a physical or moral influence; that none of the moral me. thods he uses with men to promote virtue in the world have any tendency to the attainment of that end ; that all the instructions he has given men from the beginning of the world to this day, by prophets or apostles, or by bis Son Jesus Christ; that all his counsels, invitations, promises, threatenings, warnings and expostulations; that all means he has used with men in ordinances, or providences; yea, all influences of his Spirit, ordinary and extraordinary, have had no tendency at all to excite any one virtuous act of the mind, or to promote any thing morally good and commendable in any respect.--For there is no way that these or any other means can promote virtue, but one of these three. Either (1.) By a physical operation on the heart. But all effects that are wrought in men in this way, have no virtue in them, by the concurring voice of all Arminians.Or, (2.) Morally, by exhibiting Motives to the understanding, to excite good acts in the will. But it has been demonstrated, that volitions excited by Motives, are necessary, and not excited by a self-moving power; and therefore, by their principles, there is no Virtue in them. Or, (3.) By merely giving
object applied to a good disposition, or state of mind. These thirgs duly considered, will sufficiently prove why Calvinists use counsels, exhortations, invitations, &c.-W.