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that, in which they are commonly used in the controversy between Arminians and Calvinists. And it being, as was said before, a dictate of the universal sense of mankind, evident to us as soon as we begin to think, that the necessity signified by these terms, in the sense in which we first learn them, does excuse persons and free them from all fault or blame ; hence our idea of excusableness or faultiness is tied to these terms and pbrases by a strong habit, which is begun in childhood, as soon as we begin to speak, and grows up with us, and is strengthened by constant use and custom, the connexion growing stronger and stronger. The habitual connexion, which is in men's minds between blamelessness and those forementioned terms, must, cannot, unable, necessary, imfossible, unavoidable, &c. becomes very strong; becausc, as soon as ever men begin to use reason and speech, they have occasion to excuse themselves, from the natural necessity signified by these terms, in numerous instances....I can't do it....I could not help it....And all mankind have constant and daily occasion to use such phrases in this sense, to excuse themselves and others, in almost all the concerns of life, with respect to disappointments, and things that happen, which concern and affect ourselves and others, that are hurtful, or disagreeable to us or them, or things desirable, that we or others fail of. That a being accustomed to an union of different ideas, from early childhood, makes the habitual connexion exceeding strong, as though such connexion were owing to nature, is manifest in innumerable instances. It is altogether by such an habitual-connexion of ideas, that men judge of the bigness or distance of the objects of sight, from their appearance. Thus it is owing to such a connexion early established, and growing up with a person, that he judges a mountain, which he sees at ten miles distance, to be bigger than his nose, or further off than the end of it. Having been used so long to join a considerable distance and magnitude with such an appearance, men imagine it is by a dictate of natural sense : Whereas, it would be quite otherwise with one that had his eyes newly opened, who had been born blind; he would have the same visible appearance, but natural sense would dictate. no such thing, concerning the magnitude or distance of what appeared. III. When then, after they have been so habituated to connect ideas of innocency or blannelessness with such terms, that the union seems to be the effect of mere nature, come to hear the same terms used, and learn to use them themselves in: the forcmentioned new and metaphysical sense, to signify quite: another sort of necessity, which has no such kind of relation, to a contrary supposable Will and endeavor; the notion of plain and manifest blamelessness, by this means, is, by a strong prejudice, insensibly and unwarily transferred to a case to which it by no means belongs; the change of the use of the terms, to a signification which is very diverse, not being taken notice of, or adverted to. And there are several reas. ons, why it is not. 1. The terms, as used by philosophers, are not very distinct and clear in their meaning; few use them in a fixed, determined sense. On the contrary, their meaning is very vague and confused. Which is what commonly happens to the words used to signify things intellectual and moral, and to express what Mr. Locke calls mict modes. If men had a clear and distinct understanding of what is intended by these metaphysical terms, they would be able more easily to compare them with their original and common sense ; and so would not be so casily led into delusion by words of this sort. 2. The change of the signification of the terms is the more insensible, because the things signified, though indeed very different, yet do in some generals agree. In necessity, that which is vulgarly so called, there is a strong connexion between the thing said to be necessary, and something antecedent to it, in the order of nature ; so there is also in philosophical necessity. And though in both kinds ef necessity, the conrexion cannot be called by that name, with relation to an opposite Will or endeavor, to which it is sufferior ; which is the case in vulgar necessity; yet in both, the connexion is frior to Will and endeavor, and so, in some respect, sufferior. In both kinds of necessity, there is a foundation for some cer.
itainty of the proposition, that affirms the event. The terms used being the same, and the things signified agreeing in Athese and some other general circumstances, and the expressions, as used by philosophers being not well defined, and so of obscure and loose signification; hence persons are not aware of the great difference; and the notions of innocence or faultiness, which were so strongly associated with them, and were strictly united in their minds, ever since they can remember, remain united with them still, as if the union were altogether natural and necessary ; and they that go about to make a separation, seem to them to do great violence even to mature itself. IV. Another reason why it appears difficult to reconcile it with reason, that men should be blamed for that which is necessary with a moral necessity (which, as was observed before, is a species of philosophical necessity) is, that for want of due consideration, men inwardly entertain that apprehension, that this necessity may be against men's Wills and sincere endeavors. They go away with that notion, that men may truly will, and wish, and strive, that it may be otherwise, but that invincible necessity stands in the way. And many think thus concerning themselves : Some, that are wicked men, think they wish, that they were good, that they loved God and holiness; but yet do not find that their wishes produce the effect....The reasons why men think thus, are as sollow : (1) They find what may be called an indirect willingness to have a better Will, in the manner before observed. For it is impossible, and a contradiction to suppose the Will to be directly and properly against itself. And they do not consider, that this indirect willingness is entirely a different thing from properly willing the thing that is the duty and virtue required; and that there is no virtue in that sort of willingness which they have. They do not consider, that the volitions, which a wicked man Ray have that he loved God, are no acts of the Will at all against the moral evil of not lowing God; but only some disagreeable consequences. But the making the requisite distinction requires more care of reflection and thought, than most men are used to. And men, through a prejudice in their own favor, are disposed to think well of their own desires and dispositions, and to account them good and virtuous, though their respect to virtue be only indirect and remote, and it is nothing at all that is virtuous that truly excites or terminates their inclinations. (2) Another thing, that insensibly leads and beguiles men into a supposition that this moral necessity or impossibility is, or may be against men's Wills and true endeavors, is the derivation and formation of the terms themselves, that are often used to express it, which is such as seems directly to point to, and holds this forth. Such words, for instance, as unable, unavoidable, impossible, irresistible ; which carry a plain reference to a supposable power exerted, endeavors used, resistance made, in opposition to the necessity; and the persons that hear them, not considering nor suspecting but that they are used in their proper sense; that sense being therefore understood, there does naturally, and as it were necessarily, arise in their minds a supposition, that it may be so indeed, that true desires and endeavors may take place, but that invincible necessity stands in the way, and renders them vain and to no effect. V. Another thing, which makes persons more ready to suppose it to be contrary to reason, that men should be exposed to the punishments threatened to sin, for doing those things which are morally necessary, or not doing those things morally impossible, is, that imagination strengthens the argument, and adds greatly to the power and influence of the seeming reasons against it, from the greatness of that punishment. To allow that they may be justly exposed to a small punishment, would not be so difficult. Whereas, if there were any good reason in the case, if it were truly a dictate of reason, that such necessity was inconsistent with faultiness, or just punishment, the demonstration would be equally certain with respect to a small punishment, or any punishment at all, as a very great one; but it is not equally easy to the imagination. They that argue against the justice of damning men for those things that are thus necessary, seem to make their argument the stronger, by setting forth the greatness of the punishment in strong expressions....That a man should be cast into eternal burnings, that he should be made to fry in hell to all etermity for those things which he had no flower to avoid, and was under a ..fatal, unfrustrable, invincible necessity of doing.
It is agreeable to Common Sense, and the Natural Notions of Mankind, to suppose moral Mecessity to be consistent with Praise and Blame, Reward and Punishment.
WHETHER the reasons that have been given, why it appears difficult to some persons, to reconcile with common sense the praising or blaming, rewarding or punishing, those things which are morally necessary, are thought satisfactory or not; yet it most evidently appears, by the following things, that if this matter be rightly understood, setting aside all delusion arising from the impropriety and ambiguity of terms, this is not at all inconsistent with the natural apprehensions of mankind, and that sense of things which is found every where in the common people; who are furthest from having their thoughts perverted from their natural channel, by metaphysical and philosophical subtilties; but, on the contrary, altogether agreeable to, and the very voice and dictate of, this hatural and vulgar sense.
I. This will appear, if we consider what the vulgar notion of blameworthiness is. The idea which the common people, through all ages and nations, have of faultiness, I suppose to be plainly this; a person's being or doing wrong, with his own will and pleasure; containing these two things: 1. His doing wrong when he does as he pleases. 2. His pleasure's being wrong. Or, in other words, perhaps more intelligibl