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tives to the understanding, to excite good acts in the Will. But it has been demonstrated, that volitions, which are excited by motives, are necessary, and not excited by a selfmoving power; and therefore, by their principles, there is no virtue in them. Or, (3.) By merely giving the Will an opportunity to determine itself concerning the objects proposed, either to choose or reject, by its own uncaused, unmoved, uninfluenced selfdetermination. And if this be all, then all those means do no more to promote virtue than vice : For they do nothing but give the Will opportunity to determine itself either way, either to good or bad, without laying it under any bias to either: And so there is really as much of an opportunity given to determine in favor of evil, as of good. Thus that horrid blasphemous consequence will certainly follow from the Arminian doctrine, which they charge on others; namely, that God acts an inconsistent part in using so many counsels, warnings, invitations, intreaties, &c. with sinners, to induce them to forsake sin, and turn to the ways of virtue ; and that all are insincere and fallacious. It will follow, from their doctrine, that God does these things when he knows, at the same time that they have no manner of tendency to promote the effect he seems to aim at ; yea, knows that if they have any influence, this very influence will be inconsistent with such an effect, and will prevent it. But what an imputation of insincerity would this fix on Him, who is infinitely holy and true !....So that their's is the doctrine, which, if pursued in its consequences, does horribly reflect on the Most High, and fix on Him the charge of hypocrisy; and not the doctrine of the Calvinists ; according to their frequent, and vehement exclamations and invectives. Corol. 2. From what has been observed in this section, it again appears, that Arminian principles and notions, when fairly examined and pursued in their demonstrable consequences, do evidently shut all virtue out of the world, and make it impossible that there should ever be any such thing, in any case; or that any such thing should ever be conceived of. For, by these principles, the very notion of virtue or vice implies absurdity and contradiction.....For it is absurd in itself, and conVoI. V. 2 D
trary to common sense, to suppose a virtuous act of mind without any good intention or aim ; and, by their principles, it is absurd to suppose a virtuous act with a good intention or aim ; for to act for an end, is to act from a metive. So that if we rely on these principles, there can be no virtuous act with a good design and end; and it is selfevident, there can be none without : Consequently there can be no virtuous act at all. Corol. 3. It is manifest, that Arminian notions of moral agency, and the being of a faculty of Will, cannot consist together; and that if there be any such thing as either a virtuous or vicious act it cannot be an act of the Will ; no Will can be at all concerned in it. For that act which is performed without inclination, without motive, without end, must be performed without any concern of the Will. To suppose an act of the Will without these, implies a contradiction. If the soul in its act has no motive or end; then, in that act (as was observed before) it seeks nothing, goes after nothing, exerts no inclination to any thing ; and this implies, that in that act it desires nothing, and chooses nothing ; so that there is no act of choice in the case : And that is as much as to say, there is no act of Will in the case. Which very effectually shuts all vicious and virtuous acts out of the universe; in as much as, according to this, there can be no vicious or virtuous act wherein the Will is concerned ; and according to the plainest dictates of reason, and the light of nature, and also the principles of Arminians themselves, there can be no virtuous or vicious act wherein the Will is not concerned. And therefore there is no room for any virtuous or vicious acts at all. Corol. 4. If none of the moral actions of intelligent beings are influenced by either previous inclination or motive, another strange thing will follow ; and this is, that God not only cannot foreknow any of the future moral actions of his creatures, but he can make no conjecture, can give no probable guess concerning them. For all conjecture in things of this nature, must depend on some discerning or apprehension of these two things, firevious dishosition and motive, which, as has been observed, Arminian notions of moral agency, in their real consequence, altogether exclude.
Wherein the chief grounds of the reasonings of Arminians, in support and defence of the forementioned notions of Liberty, moral Agency, &c. and against the opposite doctrine, are considered.
The Essence of the Virtue and Vice of Dispositions of the Heart, and Acts of the Will, lies not in their Cause, but their Nature.
ONE main foundation of the reasons which are brought to establish the forementioned notions of liberty, virtue, vice, &c. is a supposition, that the virtuousness of the dispositions, or acts of the Will, consists, not in the nature of these dispositions or acts, but wholly in the origin or cause of them : So that if the disposition of the mind, or act of the Will, be ever so good, yet if the cause of the disposition or act be not our virtue, there is nothing virtuous or praiseworthy in it; and, on the contrary, if the Will, in its inclination or acts, be ever so bad, yet, unless it arises from something that is our vice or sault, there is nothing vicious or blameworthy in it. Hence their grand objestion and pretended demonstration, or selfevidence, against any virtue and commendableness, or vice and blameworthiness, of those habits or acts of the Will, which are not from some virtuous or vicious determination of the Will itself. Now if this matter be well considered, it will appear to be altogether a mistake, yea;a gross absurdity; and that it is most
certain, that if there be any such things as a virtuous or vicious disposition, or volition of mind, the virtuousness or viciousness of them consists, not in the origin or cause of these things, but in the nature of them. If the essence of virtuousness or commendableness, and of viciousness or fault, does not lie in the nature of the dispositions or acts of mind, which are said to be our virtue or our fault, but in their cause, then it is certain it lies no where at all. Thus for instance, if the vice of a vicious act of Will lies not in the nature of the act, but the cause ; so that its being of a bad nature will not make it at all our fault, unless it arises from some faulty determination of our's, as its cause, or something in us that is our fault : Then, for the same reason neither can the viciousness of that cause lie in the nature of the thing itself, but in its cause : That evil determination of our's is not our fault, merely because it is of a bad nature, unless it arises from some cause in us that is our fault. And when we are come to this higher cause, still the reason of the thing holds good; though this cause be of a bad nature, yet we are not at all to blame on that account, unless it arises from something faulty in us. Nor yet can blameworthiness lie in the nature of this cause, but in the cause of that. And thus we must drive faultiness back from step to step, from a lower cause to a higher, in infinitum : And that is thoroughly to banish it from the world, and to allow it no possibility of existence any where in the universality of things. On these principles, vice, or moral evil, cannot consist in any thing that is an effect ; because fault does not consist in the nature of things, but in their cause ; as well as because effects are necessary, being unavoidably connected with their cause : Therefore the cause only is to blame. And so it follows, that faultiness can lie only in that cause, which is a cause only, and no effect of anything. Nor yet can it lie in this; for then it must lie in the nature of the thing itself; not in its being from any determination of our's, nor any thing faulty in us which is the cause, nor indeed from any cause at all ; for, by the supposition, it is no effect, and has no cause. And thus, he that will maintain, it is not the nature of habits or acts of
Will that make them virtuous or faulty, but the cause, must immediately run himself out of his own assertion; and in maintaining it, will insensibly contradict and deny it. This is certain, that if effects are vicious and faulty, not from their nature, or from any thing inherent in them, but because they are from a bad cause, it must be on account of the badness of the cause and so on account of the nature of the cause: A bad effect in the Will must be bad, because the cause is bad, or of an evil nature or has badness as a quality inherent in it : And a good effect in the Will must be good, by reason of the goodness of the cause, or its being of a good kind and nature. And if this be what is meant, the very supposition of fault and praise lying not in the nature of the thing, but the cause, contradicts itself, and does at least resolve the essence of virtue and vice into the nature of things, and supposses it originally to consist in that.....And if a caviller has a mind to run from the absurdity, by saying, “’No, the fault of
the thing, which is the cause, lies not in this, that the cause itself is of an evil mature, but that the cause is evil in that
sense, that it is from another bad cause :” Still the absurdity will follow him; for, if so, then the cause before charged is at once acquitted, and all the blame must be laid to the higher cause, and must consist in that’s being evil or of an evil nature. So now, we are come again to lay the blame of the thing blameworthy, to the nature of the thing, and not to the cause. And if any is so foolish as to go higher still, and ascend from step to step, till he is come to that, which is the first cause concerned in the whole affair, and will say, all the blame lies in that ; then, at last, he must be forced to own, that the faultiness of the thing, which he supposes alone blameworthy, lies wholly in the nature of the thing, and not in the original or cause of it; for the supposition is that it has no original, it is determined by no act of our's, is caused by nothing faulty in us, being absolutely without any cause. And so the race is at an end, but the evader is taken in his flight. It is agreeable to the natural notions of mankind, that moral evil, with its desert of dislike and abhorrence, and all its other ill deservings, consists in a certain deformity in the na