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ing evil açts! It must, by Dr. Whitby's principles, still be the view of the Understanding concerning the greatest good and evil. If this view of the Understanding be that alone which doth move the Will to choose or refuse, as the Doctor asserts, then every act of choice or refusal, from a man's first existence, is moved and determined by this view; and this view of the Understanding exciting and governing the act, must be before the act. And therefore the Will is necessarily determined, in every one of its acts, from a man's first existence, by a cause beside the Will, and a cause that does not proceed from, or depend on any act of the Will at all. Which at once utterly abolishes the Doctor's whole scheme of Liberty of Will; and he, at one stroke, has cut the sinews of all his arguments from the goodness, righteousness, faithfulness and sincerity of God, in his commands, promises, threatenings, calls, invitations, and expostulations; which he makes use of, under the heads of reprobation, election, universal redemption, sufficient and effectual grace, and the freedom of the Will of man; and has made vain all his exclamations against the doctrine of the Calvinists, as charging God with manifest unrighteousness, unfaithfulness, hıypocrisy, fallaciousness, and cruelty.
Dr. Samuel Clark, in his Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God,* to evade the argument to prove the necessity of volition, from its necessary Connection with the last dictate of the Understanding, supposes the latter not to be diverse from the Act of the Will itself. But if it be so, it will not alter the case as to the necessity of the Act. If the dictate of the Understanding be the very same with the determination of the Will, as Dr. CLARK supposes, then this determination is no fruit or effect of choice; and if so, no liberty of choice has any hand in it: it is necessary; that is, choice cannot prevent it. If the last dictate of the Understanding be the same with the determination of volition itself, then the existence of that determination must be necessary as to volition; in as much as volition can have no opportunity to determine whether it shall exist or no, it having existence already before volition has opportunity to determine any thing. It is itself the very rise and existence of volition. But a thing, after it exists, has no opportunity to determine as to its own existence; it is too late for that.
If liberty consists in that which Arminians suppose, vis, in the Will determining its own acts, having free opportunity and being without all necessity ; this is the same as to say, that liberty consists in the soul having power and opportunity to have what determinations of the Will it pleases. And if the determinations of the Will, and the last dictates of the Un.
Edit. V!. p. 93.
derstanding, be the same thing, then Liberty consists in the mind having power and opportunity to choose its own dictates of Understanding. But this is absurd; for it is to make the determination of choice prior to the dictate of Understanding, and the ground of it; which cannot consist with the dictate of the Understanding being the determination of choice itself.
Here is no alternative, but to recur to the old absurdity of one determination before another, and the cause of it; and another before, determining that; and so on in infinitum. If the last dictate of the Understanding be the determination of the Will itself, and the soul be free with regard to that dictate, in the Arminian notion of freedom; then the soul, before that dictate of its Understanding exists, voluntarily and according to its own choice determines, in every case, "what that dictate of the Understanding shall be; otherwise that dictate, as to the Will, is necessary; and the acts determined by it must also be necessary.
So that here is a determination of the mind prior to that dictate of the Understanding, an act of choice going before it, choosing and determining what that dictate of the Understanding shall be: and this preceding act of choice, being a free act of Will, must also be the same with another last dictate of the Understanding: And if the mind also be free in that dictate of Understanding, that must be determined still by another; and so on for ever.
Besides, if the dictate of the Understanding, and determination of the Will be the same, this confounds the Understanding and Will, and makes them the same. Whether they be the same or no, I will not now dispute ; but only would observe, that if it be so, and the Arminian notion of liberty consists in a self-determining power in the Understanding, free of all necessity ; being independent, undetermined by any thing prior to its own acts and determinations; and the more the Understanding is thus independent, and sovereign over its own determinations, the more free: then the freedom of the soul, as a moral agent, must consist in the independence of the Understanding on any evidence or appearance of things, or any thing whatsoever that stands forth to the view of the mind, prior to the Understanding's determination. And what a liberty is this ! consisting in an ability, freedom and easiness of judging, either according to evidence, or against it; having a sovereign command over itself at all times, to judge, either agreeably or disagreeably to what is plainly exhibited to its own view. Certainly, it is no liberty that renders persons the proper subjects of persuasive reasoning, arguments, expostu. lations, and such like moral means and inducements. The use of which with mankind is a main argument of the Arminians, to defend their notion of liberty without all necessity,
For according to this, the more free men are, the less they are under the government of such means, less subject to the power of evidence and reason, and more independent on their influence, in their determinations.
And whether the Understanding and Will are the same or no, as Dr. Clark seems to suppose, yet in order to maintain the Arminian notion of liberty without necessity, the free Will is not determined by the Understanding, nor necessarily connected with the Understanding; and the further from such Connection, the greater the freedom. And when the liberty is full and complete, the determinations of the Will have no Connection at all with the dictates of the Understanding. And if so, in vain are all the applications to the Understanding, in order to induce to any free virtuous act; and so in vain are all instructions, counsels, invitations, expostulations, and all arguments and persuasives whatsoever: for these are but applications to the Understanding, and a clear and lively exhibition of the objects of choice to the mind's view. But if, after all, the Will must be self-determined, and independent on the Understanding, to what purpose are things thus represented to the Understanding, in order to determine the choice?
Volition necessarily connected with the Influence of Motives ;
with particular Observations on the great Inconsistence of Mr. Chubb's Assertions and Reasonings, about the Free dom of the Will.
That every act of the will has some cause, and consequently (by what has been already proved) has a necessary connection with its cause, and so is necessary by a necessity of connection and consequence, is evident by this, that every act of the will whatsoever is excited by some motive : which is manifest, because, if the mind, in willing after the manner it does, is excited by no motive or inducement, then it has no end which it proposes to itself, or pursues in so doing ; it aims at nothing, and seeks nothing. And if it seeks nothing, then it does not go after any thing, or exert any inclination or preference towards any thing. Which brings the matter to a contradiction ; because for the mind to will something, and for it to go after something by an act of preference and inclination, are the same ing.
But if every act of the will is excited by a Motive, then that Motive is the cause of the act. If the acts of the will are excited by Motives, then Motives are the causes of their
being excited; or, which is the same thing, the cause of their existence. And if so, the existence of the acts of the will is properly the effect of their Motives. Motives do nothing, as Motives or inducements, but by their influence; and so much as is done by their influence is the effect of them. For that is the notion of an effect, something that is brought to pass by the influence of something else.
And if volitions are properly the effects of their Motives, then they are necessarily connected with their Motives. Every effect and event being, as was proved before, necessarily connected with that which is the proper ground and reason of its existence. Thus it is manifest, that volition is necessary, and is · not from any self-determining power in the will : the volition, which is caused by previous Motive and inducement, is not caused by the will exercising a sovereign power over itself, to determine, cause and excite volitions in itself. This is not consistent with the will acting in a state of indifference and equil brium, to determine itself to a preference ; for the way in which Motives operate is by biassing the will, and giving it a certain inclination or preponderaton one way.
Here it may be proper to observe, that Mr. CHUBB, in his Collection of Tracts on various Subjects, has advanced a scheme of liberty, which is greatly divided against itself, and thoroughly subversive of itself; and that many ways.
I. He is abundant in asserting, that the will, in all its acts, is influenced by motive and excitement ; and that this is the previous ground and reason of all its acts, and that it is never otherwise in any instance. He says, (p. 262.) “ No action can take place without some Motive to excite it.” And (p. 263.) “ Volition cannot take place without some PREVIOUS reason or Motive to induce it.” And (p. 310.) Action would not take place without some reason or motive to induce it ; it being absurd to suppose, that the active faculty would be exerted without some PREVIOUS reason to dispose the mind to action.” So (also p. 257.) And he speaks of these things, as what we may be absolutely certain of, and which are the foundation, the only foundation we have of certainty respecting God's moral perfections. (p. 252—255, 261–264.)
And yet, at the same time, by his scheme, the influence of Motives upon us to excite to action, and to be actually a ground of volition, is consequent on the volition or choice of the mind. For he very greatly insists upon it, that in all free actions, before the mind is the subject of those volitions, which Motives excite, it chooses to be so. It chooses, whether it will comply with the Motive, which presents itself in view, or not; and when various Motives are presented, it chooses which it will yield to, and which it will reject. (p. 256.)
Every man has power to act, or to refrain from acting agreeably with, or con
trary to, any motive that presents.” (p. 257.) “ Every man is at liberty to act, or refrain from acting agreeably with, or contrary to, what each of these Motives, considered singly, would excite him to.--Man has power, and is as much at liberty to reject the Motive, that does prevail, as he has power, and is at liberty to reject those Motives that do not.” (And so p. 310, 311.) “ In order to constitute a moral agent, it is necessary, that he should have power to act, or to refrain from acting, upon such moral Motives, as he pleases.” And to the like purpose in many other places. According to these things, the will acts first, and chooses or refuses to comply with the Mo. tive, that is presented, before it falls under its prevailing influence : and it is first determined by the mind's pleasure or choice, what Motives it will be induced by, before it is induced by them.
Now, how can these things hang together? How can the mind first act, and by its act of volition and choice determine, what motives shall be the ground and reason of its volition and choice? For this supposes, the choice is already made, before the Motive has its effect; and that the volition is already exerted, before the Motive prevails, so as actually to be the ground of the volition; and make the prevailing of the Motive the consequence of the volition, of which yet it is the ground. If the mind has already chosen to comply with a Motive, and to yield to its excitement, the excitement comes in too late, and is needless afterwards. If the mind has already chosen to yield to a Motive which invites to a thing, that implies, and in fact is a choosing of the thing invited to ; and the very act of choice is before the influence of the Motive which induces, and is the ground of the choice ; the son is before-hand with the father that begets him : the choice is supposed to be the ground of that influence of the Motive, which very influence is supposed to be the ground of the choice. And so vice versa, the choice is supposed to be the consequence of the influence of the Motive, which influence of the Motive is the consequence of that
And besides, if the will acts first towards the Motive before it falls under its influence, and the prevailing of the Motive upon it to induce it to act and choose, be the fruit and consequence of its act and choice, then how is the Motive “ a Previous ground and reason of the act and choice, so that in the nature of the things, volition cannot take place without some PREVIOUS reason and Motive to induce it ;" and that this act is consequent upon, and follows the motive ? Which things Mr. Chubs often asserts, as of certain and undoubted truth. So that the very same Motive is both previous and conscquent, both before and after, both the ground and fruit of the very same thing!