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ceed freely from them, tho' their wills are influenc'd and determin'd by the grace of God to them? And, on the other hand, why may not the actions of wicked men, forbidden by the law of God, proceed freely from them, tho' their wills are influenc'd and determin'd to them thro' the corruption of their nature. This writer " further obferves, "That if this be the cafe of lapfed man, his fin cannot proceed freely from him, and fo cannot reasonably be forbidden; and that thofe laws are certainly unjuft, which prohibit that under a penalty, which a man cannot poffibly fhun, or require that which cannot poffibly be done :" or, as he elsewhere expreffes it," to make laws for lapfed man, impoffible to be perform'd by him, is unfuitable to the divine Wisdom, to punish him for not doing what he could not do; or performing what he could not avoid, is unfuitable to the divine Justice; and to excite them to their duties by motives, which he knows cannot work upon them, is unfuitable to the fincerity of God." I answer, That when God first made and gave laws to man, he was in a capacity to obey them; they were not impoffible to be perform'd by him, he was not then in his Japfed eftate; and therefore it was not un

n Whitby, p. 356. Ed. 2. 347.
Whitby, p. 315. Ed.`2. 307.

· fuitable

fuitable to the divine Wifdom to make and give out the laws he did; nor is it now unfuitable to it to continue them, which is neceffary to fupport his own authority, tho' man has loft his power to obey. Man's prefent impoffibility to fulfill the law of God, does not arife from the nature of that law, nor from his original constitution, but from that vitiofity and corruption which he has contracted by fin: wherefore, it is not unfuitable to divine Juftice to punish for that which man cannot do, or cannot avoid, any more than it is unjuft in a creditor to demand his juft debts, and punish for the fame, tho' the debtor is not in a capacity to pay. Nor is it unfuitable to the fincerity of God, nor in vain, that he makes ufe of motives, as promises and threatnings, to excite men to duty, which he knows cannot work upon them without his powerful grace; fince by these he more fully points out the duty of man, admonishes him of it, expreffes more largely the vile nature and dreadful confequences of fin, leaves the impenitent inexcufable, and, by the power of his grace accompanying thefe means, brings his own people effectually to himself.

X. Another argument to prove freedom from neceffity, is thus formed: "If wicked

P Whitby, P. 357. Ed. 2. 348.


men be not neceffitated to do the evil that they do, or to neglect the good they do neglect, then have they freedom from neceffity, in both these cases; and if they be thus neceffitated, then neither their fins of omiffion or commiffion could deferve that name." It is elsewhere faid, "That the notion concerning the confiftence of liberty with neceffity, and a determination to one, is deftructive of the nature of vice and vertue :" and if this be true", "then vice and vertue must be empty names." I reply; As to the first of these, the definition of fin is not to be taken from the power of man, or from what he can or cannot do, but from the law of God; for fin is a tranfgreffion of the law, and that action which is voluntarily committed against the law of God, is blame-worthy, and deferves the name of fin or vice, and fo punishable; tho' the will may be influenc'd and determin'd to it by the corruption of nature: for fin is no lefs finful, because man has fo corrupted his way, and implicated himself in finning, that he cannot do otherwise. The devils can do nothing else but fin; and yet, furely, their actions deserve the name of vice. As to the actions of good men, performed under the influences of the grace of

↑ Whitby, p. 322. Ed. 2. 314.

* Whitby, p. 15.


God, 'tis certain, that they are called 'vertues in fcripture, and are truly and properly fo; 'tis ftrange, that the grace of God, which influences, determines, and enables men to perform an action better, should destroy the goodness of it, and take away both its name and nature. The good actions of the holy Angels may be called vertues, tho' their wills are influenc'd and determin'd by the grace of God to these, and these only.

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XI. It is affirmed, "That there is a plain agreement betwixt the doctrine of Mr. Hobbs and of us concerning this matter, as to the great concernments of religion." Be it fo; if it be truth we agree in, it is never the worfe for being held and maintain'd by a man, otherwife, of corrupt principles. Truth is truth, let it drop from what mouth or pen foever; nay, if deli ver'd by the devil himself, it ought to be affented to as fuch: but, perhaps, upon an examination of this matter, it will not ap pear, that there is fuch a plain agreement between our fentiments and thofe of this gentleman. For,

1. The queftion between Mr. Hobbs and Bishop Bramball, as drawn up by the latter, and allow'd by the former, was plainly

f Philip. iv. 8. 2 Pet. i. 3, 5.
• Whitby, p. 359. Ed. 2. 350.



this", "Whether all agents and all events, natural, civil, moral, (for we speak not now of the converfion of a finner, that concerns not this question) be pre-determin'd extrinfically and inevitably, without their own concurrence in the determination; fo as all actions and events, which either are or fhall be, cannot but be, nor can be otherwife, after any other manner, or in any other place, time, number, measure, order, nor to any other end than they are: and all this in respect of the fupream cause, or a concourfe of extrinfical caufes determining them to one." So that the converfion of a finner did not concern the question between them; whereas this is the main thing between us and the Arminians, whether the converfion of a finner is to be afcrib'd to the efficacy of the grace of God, or to the power of man's free will.

2. The difpute between Mr. Hobbs and his antagonist, was not about the power of the will, or of man to do this or that thing, but about the natural liberty of his will. Mr. Hobbs allows", That " man is free to do what he will," but denies that "he is free to will;" and therefore declares, that whatever is alledg'd to prove that a man hath liberty to do what he will, is imper

"The queftions concerning liberty, neceffity, and chance, clearly stated and debated, p 3, 34. Ed. 1655.

w ibid. p. 4.

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