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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 Freedom 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 thing.
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 equilibrium, 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.) 6. Volition cannot take place without some PREV100s 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 contrary 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 Motive, 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 exertcd, 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. CHUBB often asserts, as of certain and undoubted truth. So that the very same Motive is both previous and consequent, both before and after, both the ground and fruit of the very same thing!
II. Agreeable to the forementioned inconsistent notion of the will first acting towards the Motive, choosing whether it will comply with it, in order to it becoming a ground of the will's acting, before any act of volition can take place, Mr. Chubb frequently calls Motives and excitements to the action of the will, “the passive ground or reason of that action." Which is a remarkable phrase ; than which I presume there is none more unintelligible, and void of distinct and consistent meaning, in all the writings of Duns Scotus, or THOMAS AQUINAS. When he represents the Motive volition as passive, he must mean-passive in that affair, or passive with respect to that action, which he speaks of; otherwise it is nothing to the design of his argument: he must mean, (if that can be called a meaning) that the Motive to volition is first acted upon or towards by the volition, choosing to yield to it, making it a ground of action, or determining to fetch its influence from thence; and so to make it a previous ground of its own excitation and existence. Which is the same absurdity, as if one should say, that the soul of man, previous to its existence chose by what cause it would come into existence, and acted upon its cause, to fetch influence thence to bring it into being; and so its cause was a passive ground of its existence !
Mr. CHubb very plainly supposes Motive or excitement to be the ground of the being of volition. He speaks of it as the ground or reason of the exertion of an act of the will, (p. 391, and 392.) and expressly says, that “ volition cannot TAKE PLACE without some previous ground or Motive to induce it," (p. 363.) And he speaks of the act as “ From the Motive, and
FROM FROM THE INFLUENCE of the Motive,” (p. 352)" and from the influence that the Motive has on the man, for the PRODUCTION of an action,” (p. 317.) Certainly there is no need of multiplying words about this ; it is easily judged, whether Motive can be the ground of volition taking place, so that the very production of it is from the influence of the Motive, and yet the Motive, before it becomes the ground of the volition, is passive, or acted upon by the volition. But this I will say, that a man who insists so much on clearness of meaning in others, and is so much in blaming their confusion and inconsistence, ought if he was able, to have explained his meaning in this phrase of “passive ground of action,” so as to shew it not to be confused and inconsistent.
If any should suppose, that Mr. Chube when he speaks of Motive as a "passive ground of action," does not mean passive with regard to that volition which it is the ground of, but some other antecedent volition (though his purpose and argument, and whole discourse, will by no means allow of such a supposition) yet it would not help the matter in the least. For, (1.) If we suppose an act, by which the soul chooses to yield to the VOL. II.
invitation of a Motive to another volition; both these supposed volitions are in effect the very same. A volition to yield to the force of a Motive inviting to choose something, comes to just the same thing as choosing the thing, which the Motive invites to, as I observed before. So that here can be no room to help the matter, by a distinction of two volitions. (2.) If the Motive be passive, not with respect to the same volition, to which the Motive excites, but to olie truly distinct and prior; yet, by Mr. CHUBB, that prior volition cannot take place without a Motive or excitement, as a previous ground of its existence. For he insists, that "it is absurd to suppose any volition should take place without some previous Motive to induce it.” So that at last it comes to just the same absurdity : for if every volition must have a previous Motive, then the very first in the whole series must be excited by a previous Motive ; and yet the Motive to that first volition is passive; but cannot be passive with regard to another antecedent volition, because, by the supposition, it is the very first: therefore if it be passive with respect to any volition, it must be so with regard to that very volition of which it is the ground, and that is excited by it.
III. Though Mr. CHUBB asserts, as above, that every volition has some Motive, and that " in the nature of the thing, no volition can take place without some Motive to induce it;" yet he asserts, that volition does not always follow the strongest Motive; or, in other words, is not governed by any superior strength of the Motive that is followed, beyond Motives to the contrary, previous to the volition itself. His own words, (p. 258.) are as follow : “ Though with regard to physical causes, that which is strongest always prevails, yet it is otherwise with regard to moral causes. Of these, sometimes the stronger, sometimes the weaker, prevails. And the ground of this difference is evident, namely, that what we call moral causes, strictly speaking, are no causes at all, but barely passive reasons of, or excitements to the action, or to the refraining from acting; which excitements we have power, or are at liberty to comply with or reject, as I have shewed above." And so throughout the paragraph, he, in a variety of phrases, insists, that the will is not always determined by the strongest Motive, unless by strongest we preposterously mean actually prevailing in the event; which is not in the Motive, but in the will; but that the will is not always determined by the Motive, which is strongest by any strength previous to the volition itself. And he elsewhere abundantly asserts, that the will is determined by no superior strength or advantage, that Motives have, from any constitution or state of things, or any circumstances whatsoever, previous to the actual determination of the will. And indeed his whole dis