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to follow ; he himself herein plainly supposes, that, with regard to the mind's preference of one Motive before another-it is not the Motive that disposes the will, but—the will disposes itself to follow the Motive.
IV. Mr. Chubs supposes necessity to be utterly inconsistent with agency; and that to suppose a being to be an agent in that which is necessary, is a plain contradiction, p. 311, and throughout his discourses on the subject of Liberty, he supposes, that necessity cannot consist with agency or freedom; and that to suppose otherwise, is to make Liberty and Necessity, Action and Passion, the same thing. And so he seems to suppose, that there is no action, strictly speaking, but volition, and that as to the effects of volition in body or mind, in themselves considered, being necessary, they are said to be free, only as they are the effects of an act that is not necessary.
And yet, according to him, volition itself is the effect of volition ; yea, every act of free volition ; and therefore every act of free volition must, by what has now been observed from him, be necessary. That every act of free volition is itself the effect of volition, is abundantly supposed by him. In p. 341, he says, “If a man is such a creature as I have proved him to be, that is, if he has in him a power of Liberty of doing either good or evil, and either of these is the subject of his own free choice, so that he might, IF HE HAD PLEASED, have chosen and done the contrary.”
Here he supposes, all that is good or evil in man is the effect of his choice; and so that his good or evil choice itself is the effect of his pleasure or choice, in these words," he might if he had PLEASED, have chosen the contrary.” So in p. 356, “ Though it be highly reasonable, that a man should always choose the greater good,--yet he may, if he PLEASE, CHOOSE otherwise." Which is the same thing as if he had said, he may if he chooses, choose otherwise. And then he goes on," that is, he may, if he pleases, choose what is good for himself,” &c. And again in the same page, “ The will is not confined by the understanding to any particular sort of good, whether greater or less; but it is at liberty to choose what kind of good it pleases.”—If there be any meaning in the last words, it must be this, that the will is at liberty to choose what kind of good it chooses to choose ; supposing the act of choice itself determined by an antecedent choice. The Liberty Mr. CHubb speaks of, is not only a man's power to move his body, agreeably to an antecedent act of choice, but to use, or exert the faculties of his soul. Thus, (p. 379,) speaking of the faculties of the mind, he says, “ Man has power and is at liberty to neglect these faculties, to use them aright, or to abuse them, as he pleases.” And that he supposes an act of choice, or
exercise of pleasure, properly distinct from, and antecedent to, those acts thus chosen, directing, commanding and producing the chosen acts, and even the acts of choice themselves, is very plain in page 283. “He can command his actions; and herein consists his Liberty ; he can give or deny himself that pleasure, as he pleases. And p. 377.-If the actions of men-are not the produce of a free choice, or election, but spring from a necessity of nature, he cannot in reason be the object of reward or punishment on their account. Whereas, if action in man, whether good or evil, is the produce of will or free choice; so that a man in either case had it in his power, and was at liberty to have cHOSEN the contrary, he is the proper object of reward or punishment, according as he chooses to behave himself.” Here, in these last words, he speaks of Liberty of CHOOSING, according as he CHOOSES.
So that the behaviour which he speaks of as subject to his choice, is his choosing itself, as well as his external conduct consequent upon it. And therefore it is evident, he means not only external actions, but the acts of choice themselves, when he speaks of all free actions, as the PRODUCE of free choice. And this is abundantly evident in what he says elsewhere, (p. 372, 373).
Now these things imply a twofold great inconsistence.
1. To suppose, as Mr. CHUBB plainly does, that every free act of choice is commanded by, and is the produce of free choice, is to suppose the first free act of choice belonging to the case, yea, the first free act of choice that ever man exerted, to be the produce of an antecedent act of choice. But I hope I need not labour at all to convince my readers, that it is an absurdity to say, the very first act is the produce of another act that went before it.
2. If it were both possible and real, as Mr. Chubb insists, that every free act of choice were the produce or the effect of a free act of choice; yet even then, according to his principles, no one act of choice would be free, but every one necessary; because, every act of choice being the effect of a foregoing act, every act would be necessarily connected with that foregoing cause.
For Mr. Chubb himself says, (p. 389.) " When the self-moving power is exerted, it becomes the necessary cause of its effects."-So that his notion of a free act that is rewardable or punishable, is a heap of contradictions. It is a free act, and yet, by his own notion of freedom, is necessary; and therefore by him it is a contradiction, to suppose it to be free. According to him, every free act is the produce of a free act ; so that there must be an infinite number of free acts in succession, without any beginning, in an agent that has a beginning. And therefore here is an infinite number of free acts, every one of them free; and yet not any one of them
free, but every act in the whole infinite chain a necessary effect. All the acts are rewardable or punishable, and yet the agent cannot, in reason, be the object of reward or punishment, on account of any one of these actions. He is active in them all, and passive in none; yet active in none, but passive in all, &c.
V. Mr. CHubb most strenuously denies, that Motives are causes of the acts of the will; or that the moving principle in man is moved, or caused to be exerted by Motives. His words, (p. 388 and 389,) are, “ If the moving principle in man is MOVED, or CAUSED TO BE EXERTED, by something external to man, which all Motives are, then it would not be a self-moving principle, seeing it would be moved by a principle external to itself." And to say, that a self-moving principle is moved, or CAUSED TO BE EXERTED, by a cause external to itself, is absurd and a contradiction, &c."-And in the next page, it is particularly and largely insisted, that Motives are causes in no case, that “they are merely passive in the production of action, and have no causality in the production of it, -no causality, to be the cause of the exertion of the will.
Now I desire it may be considered, how this can possibly consist with what he says in other places. Let it be noted here,
1. Mr. CHUBB abundantly speaks of Motives as excitements of the acts of the will; and says, that Motives do excite volition, and induce it, and that they are necessary to this end ; that in the reason and nature of things, volition cannot take place without motives to excite it. But now, if Motives excite the will, they move it; and yet he says it is absurd to say, the will is moved by Motives. And again, if language is of any significancy at all, if Motives excite volition, then they are the cause of its being excited : and to cause volition to be excited, is to cause it to be put forth or exerted. Yea, Mr. CHUBB says himself, (p. 317.) Motive is necessary to the exertion of the active faculty. To excite, is positively to do something ; and certainly that which does something, is the cause of the thing done by it. To create, is to cause to be created ; to make, is to cause to be made; to kill, is to cause to be killed ; to quicken, is to cause to be quickened ; and to excite, is to cause to be excited. To excite, is to be a cause in the most proper sense, not merely a negative occasion, but a ground of existence by positive influence. The notion of exciting, is exerting influence to cause the effect to arise or come forth into existence.
2. Mr. Chubb himself, (p. 317.) speaks of Motives as the ground and reason of action BY INFLUENCE, and BY PREVAILING
Now, what can be meant by a cause, but some
thing that is the ground and reason of a thing by its influence, an influence that is prevalent and effectual ?
3. This author not only speaks of Motives as the ground and reason of action, by prevailing influence ; but expressly of their influence as prevailing FOR THE PRODUCTION of an action, (p. 317.) which makes the inconsistency still more palpable and notorious. The production of an effect is certainly the causing of an effect; and productive influence is causal influence, if any thing is ; and that which has this influence prevalently, so as thereby to become the ground of another thing, is a cause of that thing, if there be any such thing as a cause. This influence, Mr. CHubb says, Motives have to produce an action ; and yet he says, it is absurd and a contradiction, to say they are causes.
4. In the same page, he once and again speaks of Motives as disposing the Agent to action by their influence. His words are these : “ As Motive, which takes place in the understanding, and is the product of intelligence, is NECESSARY to action, that is, to the EXERTION of the active faculty, because that faculty would not be exerted without some preVIOUS REASON to DISPOSE the mind to action ; so from hence it plainly appears, that when a man is said to be disposed to one action rather than another, this properly signifies the PREVAILING INFLUENCE that one Motive has upon a man FOR THE PRODUCTION of an action, or for the being at rest, before all other Motives, for the production of the contrary. For as Motive is the ground and reason of any action, so the Motive that prevails, disposes the agent to the performance of that action."
Now, if Motives dispose the mind to action, then they cause the mind to be disposed ; and to cause the mind to be disposed is to cause it to be willing; and to cause it to be willing is to cause it to will ; and that is the same thing as to be the cause of an act of the will. And yet this same Mr. CHubb holds it to be absurd, to suppose Motive to be a cause of the act of the will.
And if we compare these things together, we have here again a whole heap of inconsistences. Motives are the previous ground and reason of the acts of the will; yea, the necessary ground and reason of their exertion, without which they will not be exerted, and cannot, in the nature of things, take place ; and they do excite these acts of the will, and do this by a prevailing influence ; yea, an influence which prevails for the production of the act of the will, and for the disposing of the mind to it: and yet it is absurd to suppose Motive to be a cause of an act of the will, or that a principle of will is moved or caused to be exerted by it, or that it has any causality in the production of it, or any causality to be the cause of the erertion of the will.
A due consideration of these things which Mr. Chubb has advanced, the strange inconsistences which his notion of Liberty—consisting in the will's power of self-determination void of all necessity, united with that dictate of common sense, that there can be no volition without a motive-drove him into, may be sufficient to convince us, that it is utterly impossible ever to make that notion of Liberty consistent with the influence of Motives in volition. And as it is in a manner self-evident, that there can be no act of will, or preference of the mind, without some motive or inducement, something in the mind's view which it aims at, and goes after ; so it is most manifest, that there is no such Liberty in the universe as Arminians insist on; nor any such thing possible, or conceivable.
The Evidence of God's certain Foreknowledge of the Volitions
of moral Agents.
That the acts of the wills of moral Agents are not contingent events, in such a sense as to be without all necessity, appears by God's certain Foreknowledge of such events.
In handling this argument, I would in the first place prove, that God has a certain Foreknowledge of the voluntary acts of moral Agents; and secondly, shew the consequence, or how it follows from hence, that the Volitions of moral Agents are not contingent, so as to be without necessity of connection and consequence.
First, I am to prove that God has an absolute and certain Foreknowledge of the free actions of moral Agents.
One would think it wholly needless to enter on such an argument with any that profess themselves Christians : but so it is: God's certain Foreknowledge of the free acts of moral Agents is denied by some that pretend to believe the Scriptures to be the Word of God: and especially of late. I there. fore shall consider the evidence of such a prescience in the Most High, as fully as the designed limits of this essay will admit; supposing myself herein to have to do with such as own the truth of the Bible.
Arg. I. My first argument shall be taken from God's prediction of such events. Here I would, in the first place, lay down these two things as axioms.
1. If God does not foreknow, He cannot foretell such events; that is, He cannot peremptorily and certainly foretell them. If God has no more than an uncertain guess concern