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ty for the soul in its willing to act according to its own choice ? Yea, this very thing the same author seems to allow, and suppose again and again, in the use he makes of sayings of the Fathers, whom he quotes as his vouchers. Thus he cites the words of Origen, which he produces as a testimony on his side ; * " The soul acts by HER OWN Choice, and it is free for her to incline to whatever part HE WILL.” And those words of Justin MARTYR; "The doctrine of the Christians is this, that nothing is done or suffered according to fate, but that every man doth good or evil ACCORDING TO HIS OWN FREE CHOICE." And from EUSEBIUS, these words ; † “ If fate be established, philosophy and piety are overthrown.--All these things depending upon the necessity introduced by the stars, and not upon meditation and exercise PROCEEDING FROM OUR OWN FREE CHOICE." And again, the words of MACCARIUS; || “God to preserve the liberty of man's will, suffered their bodies to die, that it might be in thEIR CHOICE to turn to good or evil.”—“They who are acted by the Holy Spirit, are not held under any necessity, but have liberty to turn themselves, and do what they will in this life.

Thus, the doctor in effect comes into that very notion of liberty, which the Calvinists have ; which he at the same time condemns, as agreeing with the opinion of Mr. Hobbes, namely, " The soul acting by its own choice, men doing good or evil according to their own free choice, their being in that exercise which proceeds from their own free choice, having it in their choice to turn to good or evil, and doing what they will." So that if men exercise this liberty in the acts of the will themselves, it must be in exerting acts of will according to their own free choice; or, exerting acts of will that proceed from their choice. And if it be so, then let every one judge whether this does not suppose a free choice going before the free act of will, or whether an act of choice does not go before that act of the will which proceeds from it. And if it be thus with all free acts of the will, then let every one judge, whether it will not follow that there is a free choice going before the first free act of the will exerted in the case! And finally, let every one judge whether in the scheme of these writers there be any possibility of avoiding these absurdities.

If liberty consists, as Dr. Whitby himself says, in a man's doing what he will; and a man exercises this liberty, not only in external actions, but in the acts of the will themselves; then so far as liberty is exercised in the latter, it consists in willing what he wills: and if any say so, one of these two things must be meant, either, 1. That a man has power to will,


* Ibid. p. 312. † Ibid. p. 360. Ibid. 363. || In his Book on the five Points, Second Edit. p. 369, 370,

as he does will ; because what he wills, he wills; and therefore power to will what he has power to will. If this be their meaning, then all this mighty controversy about freedom of the will and self-determining power, comes wholly to nothing; all that is contended for being no more than this, that the mind of man does what it does, and is the subject of what it is the subject, or that what is, is ; wherein none has any controversy with them. Or, 2. The meaning must be, that a man has power to will as he chooses to will: that is, he has power by one act of choice, to choose another; by an antecedent act of will to choose a consequent act; and therein to execute his own choice. And if this be their meaning, it is nothing but shuffling with those they dispute with, and baffling their own

For still the question returns, wherein lies man's liberty in that antecedent act of will which chose the consequent act. The answer according to the same principles must be, that his liberty in this also lies in his willing as he would, or as he chose, or agreeable to another act of choice preceding that. And so the question returns in infinitum, and the like answer must be made in infinitum : in order to support their opinion, there must be no beginning, but free acts of will must have been chosen by foregoing free acts of will in the soul of every man, without beginning.



Concerning the Will determining in Things which are perfectly

indifferent, in the liew of the Mind. A great argument for self-determining power, is the supposed experience we universally have of an ability to determine our Wills, in cases wherein no prevailing motive is presented : the Will, as is supposed, has its choice to make between two or more things, that are perfectly equal in the view of the mind; and the Will is apparently altogether indifferent; and yet we find no difficulty in coming to a choice ; the Will can instantly determine itself to one, by a sovereign power which it has over itself, without being moved by any preponderating inducement,

Thus the fore-mentioned author of an Essay on the Freedom of the Will, f.c. (p. 25, 26, 27.) supposes, " That there are many instances, wherein the Will is determined neither by present uneasiness, nor by the greatest apparent good, nor by the last dictate of the understanding, nor by any thing else, but merely by itself, as a sovereign self-determining power of the soul; and that the soul does not will this or that action, in some cases, by any other influence but because it will. Thus

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says he, I can turn my face to the South, or the North ; I can point with my finger upward or downward. And thus, in some cases, the Will determines itself in a very sovereign manner, because it will, without a reason borrowed from the understanding: and hereby it discovers its own perfect power of choice, rising from within itseit, and free from all influence or restraint of any kind.” And (p. 66, 70, 73, 74.) this author very expressly supposes the Will in many cases to be determined by no motive at all, and acts altogether without motive, or ground of preference.—Here I would observe,

1. The very supposition which is here made, directly contradicts and overthrows itself. For the thing supposed, wherein this grand argument consists, is, that among several things the Will actually chooses one before another, at the same time that it is perfectly indifferent; which is the very same thing as to say, the mind has a preference, at the same time that it has no preference. What is meant cannot be, that the mind is indifferent before it comes to have a choice, or until it has a preference; for certainly this author did not imagine he had a controversy with any person in supposing this. Besides, it appears in fact, that the thing which he supposes, isnot that the Will chooses one thing before another, concerning which it is indifferent before it chooses, but that the will is indifferent when it chooses ; and that it being otherwise than indifferent is not until afterwards, in consequence of its choice; that the chosen thing appearing preferable, and more agreeable than another, arises from its choice already made. His words are (p. 30.) “ Where the objects which are proposed, appear equally fit or good, the Will is left without a guide or director; and therefore must take its own choice, by its own determination; it being properly a self-determining power. And in such cases the will does as it were make a good to itself by its own choice, i. e. creates its own pleasure or delight in this self-chosen good. Even as a man by seizing upon a spot of unoccupied land, in an uninhabited country, makes it his own possession and property, and as such rejoices in it. Where things were indifferent before, the will finds nothing to make them more agreeable, considered merely in them. selves, but the pleasure it feels arising from its own choice, and its perseverance therein. We love many things which we

. have chosen, and purely because we chose them.

This is as much as to say, that we first begin to prefer many things, purely because we have preferred and chosen them before. ---These things must needs be spoken inconsiderately by this author. Choice or preference cannot be before itself in the same instance, either in the order of time or nature: It cannot be the foundation of itself, or the consequence of itself. The very act of choosing one thing rather than another, is preferring that thing, and that is setting a higher value on that thing. But that the mind sets a higher value on one thing than another, is not, in the first place, the fruit of its setting a higher value on that thing.

This author says, (p. 36.) “ The will may be perfectly indifferent, and yet the will may determine itself to choose one or the other.” And again, in the same page, “I am entirely indifferent to either ; and yet my Will 'may determine itself to choose." And again, " Which I shall choose must be determined by the mere act of my

will." If the choice is determined by a mere act of Will, then the choice is determined by a mere act of choice. And concerning this matter, viz. That the act of the Will itself is determined by an act of choice, this writer is express. (p. 72.) Speaking of the case, where there is no superior fitness in objects presented, he has these words : “ There it must act by its own choice, and determine itself as it PLEASES.' Where it is supposed that the very determination, which is the ground and spring of the Will's act, is an act of choice and pleasure, wherein one act is more agreeable than another; and this preference and superior pleasure is the ground of all it does in the case. And if so, the mind is not indifferent when it determines itself, but had rather determine itself one way than another. And therefore the Will does not act at all in indifference ; not so much as in the first step it takes. If it be possible for the understanding to act in indifference, yet surely the Will never does; because the Will beginning to act is the very same thing as it beginning to choose or prefer. And if in the very first act of the Will, the mind prefers something, then the idea of that ihing preferred, does at that time preponderate, or prevail in the mind : or, which is the same thing, the idea of it has a prevailing influence on the Will. So that this wholy destroys the thing supposed, viz. That the mind can by a sovereign power choose one of two or more things, which in the view of the mind are, in every respect, perfectly equal, one of which does not at all preponderate, nor has any prevailing influence on the mind above another.

So that this author, in his grand argument for the ability of the Will to choose one of two or more things, concerning which it is perfectly indifferent, does at the same time, in effect, deny the thing he supposes, even that the Will, in choosing, is subject to no prevailing influence of the view of the thing chosen. And indeed it is impossible to offer this argument without overthrowing it; the thing supposed in it being that which denies itself. To suppose the Will to act at all in a state of perfect indifference, is to assert that the mind chooses without choosing. To say that when it is indifferent, it can do as it pleases, is to say that it can follow its pleasure,

when it has no pleasure to follow. And therefore if there be any difficulty in the instances of two cakes, or two eggs, &c. which are exactly alike, one as good as another; concerning which this author supposes the mind in fact has a choice, and 60 in effect supposes that it has a preference; it as much concerned himself to solve the difficulty, as it does those whom he opposes. For if these instances prove any thing to his purpose, they prove that a man chooses without choice. And yet this is not to his purpose; because if this is what he asserts, his own words are as much against him, and does as much contradict him, as the words of those he disputes against can do.

2. There is no great difficulty in shewing, in sach instances as are alledged, not only that it must needs be so, that the mind must be influenced in its choice by something that has a preponderating influence upon it, but also how it is so. A little attention to our own experience, and a distinct consi. deration of the acts of our own minds, in such cases, will be sufficient to clear up the matter.

Thus, supposing I have a chess-board before me; and because I am required by a superior, or desired by a friend, or on some other consideration, I am deterinined to touch some one of the spots or squares on the board with my finger. Not being limited or directed, in the first proposal, to any one in particular; and there being nothing in the squares, in themselves considered, that recommends any one of all the sixtyfour, more than another; in this case, my mind determines to give itself up to what is vulgarly called accident,* by determining to touch that square which happens to be most in view, which my eye is especially upon at that moment, or which happens to be then most in my mind, or which I shall be directed to by some other such like accident. Here are several steps of the mind proceeding (though all may be done, as it were, in a moment) the first step is its general determination that it will touch one of the squares. The next step is another general determination to give itself up to accident, in some certain way; as to touch that which shall be most in the eye or mind at that time, or to some other such like accident. The third and last step is a particular determination to touch a certain individual spot, even that square, which by that sort of accident the mind has pitched upon, has actually offered itself beyond others. Now it is apparent that in none of these several steps does the mind proceed in absolute indif

* I have elsewhere observed, what that is which is vulgarly called accideut; that is nothing akin to the Arminian metaphysical notion of contingence, or something not conneeted with any thing foregoing; but that it is something that comes to pass in the course of things, unforeseen by men, and not owing to their design. VOL. 1.


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