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Why am I, dear Sir, called on to shew" what ability men possess to repent and have a holy will, before such a will is produced in them by divine grace; and of what use it is to call on them to have such a will?" Will not and do not are not synonymous with me. I ask if a man does every thing that he has ability to do? Is not he while inactive possessed of all the faculties for action? Has not he the nervous arm, the intellectual head, and the same powers in ev ery respect, as when they are in action? Is it proper to say that he sannot talk, merely because he is silent? This certainly would not be agreeable to the usage of language, and would convey an incorrect idea. Now apply this to the self-determining power of man. Although it never does move him to good; although men never do choose good of their own accord; still they might, if the sole con troul of their will is with themselves; and hence the propriety of calling on them to choose good, and their blame in not choosing it. But if men cannot move without being caused to move by God; if they cannot will without being made to will; if they cannot have a will different from the one which they are thus made to have, 29 Hopkinsians virtually teach; please to shew the propriety in calling on them to have one different; and likewise in blaming them for having such as they do. And please also to shew how they can bare any other will, unless they have a self-determining power.
"Natural power means whatever is requisite to an exercise of the will, but the exercise itself." And whose, I ask, is the exercise itself? Man's, is it not? Here then we find man's will wholly of himself, natural power, exercise and all. Here is the whole that is requisite to the will, included in man-the natural power to will, and the exercise of that power. This, it seems, is all that is requi site to an exercise of the will. God's agency, then, to cause the exercise, is not requisite. With this I agree. But, dear Sir, is it "sound speech" to talk of all that is requisite to the exercise of the will, besides the exercise itself? Is the exercise itself requisite to itself? Must a man have the exercise before he exercises? He certainly must have all that is requisite to enable him to have one, before he has it. It is absurdity indeed to talk of a thing itself being requisite to its own existence. It is saying that it must exist before it can exist.
Producing a thing is causing its existence. I produce this communication whether caused or uncaused by God to produce it, is another question The ground, even though acted upon by the power of God, is properly said to produce or bring forth whatever grows out of it. Man produces werds, actions-yea, volitions. By talking or writing he produces words; by ex ercising his corporeal powers, he produces actions; and by exercising faculties to will, he produces volition. As to producing exercises of volition, If any thing more is meant by it than that he exercises his faculties by which volition is produced, I disclaim the idea. But exercising is causing exercises, agreeable to the proper use of language. Exercise is but the name of the action of exercising To exercise is the verb, and exercise is the correspon dent noun. To will is the verb, and will, or volition, is the correspondent Яoun. To write is the verb, and writing is the correspondent noun. To write is not the writing itself. To will is not the will itself. To exercise is not the exercise itself. To write, to will, and to exercise, are the doing of things; and the writing, will and exercise, are the things done. To say that a man writes wills, or does any thing else, and yet to say that he does not produce writing, will, &c. is a contradiction It is saying that he does a thing, and yet that that thing is not done. So then man produces his ⚫xercises of volition, if he exercises volition. Thus God causes his voluntary exercises, if he exercises volition-in other words, if he wills. And he does Indeed act before he has an exercise, inasmuch as action must be posterior to acting. For example, I write before my writing exists. With regard to
a period when God had no choice, why is there any greater difficulty in this case, than in that of his thinking, or knowing, or planning, or acting in any respect, either morally, intellectually or physically Does not God cause his own physical actions? And would it be any easier to find a period when he had not yet begun to act physically, but had from eternity been dormant up to that time, than it would be to find a period when he had not yet willed? But if every physical act must necessarily have a beginning, and yet we are lost in infinity in looking for the commencement of the physical acts of God, why should we attempt to scan his acts of volition, and say that he does not cause them, because we cannot grasp eternity? If, however, the Divine will is a succession of voluntary exercises, then it has beginnings innumerable, and the difficulty arising from its having no beginning, is at once removed. Query: Does not this succession of volition look very much like the ab. surdity of choosing to choose?
Strictly speaking, God always had a will; and so did he always have thought. But then, when this is conceded, it should likewise be remembered that he always willed and thought. It is the order of nature that acts precede their effects. Thought is the result of thinking, choice is the result of shoosing. If choice follows choosing, then choosing precedes or goes be fore choice. Now traverse past eternity, and it will be seen that choosing was always before choice, and always caused it.
Men choose. This includes the whole-making or causing choice or exercises of choice, &c. &c. In reply to the question, What makes them cause their choice as they do, I remark, "It is that ground or reason in" their "nature, whatever it may be, which determines" them "to choose in view of motives." Tell me what the ground or reason of God's causing such ohoice, that is, choosing as he does, is, and I will tell what man's is. Nor does the circumstance that men are not God. affect the case. No Godlike power, no power at all, is requisite to the existence of this ground or reason. It exists, it seems, in itself. Hence it may exist as well in man as in God, But how is this? Is there then a ground or reason which determines God to choose? What is the difference between determining him to choose, and causing him to choose? But why may not motives be that ground or reason? Is it not perfectly reasonable to suppose that good motives or objects are sufficient to induce God to act according to them? Must there then be a neces sary something devoid of motive, to determine God to choose good? But why may it not be motive as well as anything else? Motive always existed with God; and he might as well be induced to act in a certain way by motive, as by an undefinable motiveless something, and the rationality of the thing would be altogether in favour of motive And why may not motive be the determinator of man's choice? Indeed, what need is there of Divine efficiency to produce choice in man, if it can exist in God without such efficiency Choice is of the same nature in every being The same And the natu. kind of faculties are exercised in choosing; all do the same. ral consequence of the existence of a being possessed of the power of choos, ing, is, that he chooses What further then is necessary to his choosing, than
that he be in existence to choose?
"A distinction where there is no difference." And is there indeed no difference between choosing and choice?-between making the choice and the choice itself?-between a verb and a noun?-between doing and done? -between the exercise by which a thing is made, and the thing itself— between causing and the effect? If there is a difference, choosing is not choice. Nor is this inconsistent with the assertion, that choosing is making choice, for making choice is not the choice itself any more than making any thing else, a house, for instance, is the house itself. Nor does activity be long to the choice or the house Are we not conscious of activity in makinganything, even choice, as well as any thing material? I care not how closely choosing and choice are allied; but to say they are the same, is confounding language, and destroying its use Hence, if we are conscious of choosing, we are conscious of a spontaneous moving of our spirit, making, causing, or producing choice.
"How could the actions of men be foreknown by God. if men possess self-determining power?" Because God is omniscient-boundless in his capacity of knowing; and can, therefore, see how men will act when they act
according to that self-determining power. He knows what is in man; he knows its nature; and hence he knows as well what he will produce, as we know what those things will produce with the nature of which we are aequainted. This is the main link in the chain of causes which he sees; and events on this ground, are no more certain, than they would be, were they not foreknown; and they are only certain, because self-determining man will make them so; not self-determining man will make them so because they are certain. There is, therefore, no more of a moral necessity for their taking place thus and so, than there would be, were they not foreknown.Thus it seems that neither their being foreknown nor certain, impose any moral necessity on man to do them; but that he imposes the necessity of their being foreknown and certain.
I cannot yet perceive how it is making men like God, to say, that they have a self-determining principle, unless he has one too. Though both may have the ground or reason of their choice within themselves, yet as it would be in men different from what it would be in God, this hardly seems to be making them alike.
Blame or praise is attached to the will in no other sense than this: It is the mark by which to decide whether the one who wills is blame-worthy or praise-worthy; as murder shows its author to be a murderer. It is not the murder or the will, however, that is to blame, but the murderer and the one who wills. Nor are they to blame, nor would they be so considered, were it understood that they were not the authors of what are now termed, their evil, murderous wills; nor then would the will be as now, a criterion by which to decide blame or praise. I then ask again, If volition in God exist of itself, how is he an object of praise for the same?
The sailors with Paul could not leave the ship, and saints could not all away to perdition, if Omnipotence determined they should not, and caused them to have a will to the contrary. It is, I believe, a settled point, that men cannot with their natural powers do differently from what they have a will to do, while they have that will. What is called natural power, is therefore no power at all, save when in unison with the will But why talk of natural power to have a different will? Is man with this natural power, and without a self-determining power to make it act, able to produce a will in himself different from the one which God determines he shall have? Pray define this natural power, which can of itself, without the faculty of selfdetermination, produce volition, in opposition to the power of God, or indeed at all.
I do not say that that which God produces in man is morally good, but good in its nature; that it is of a good tendency or effect, and would be morally good, were it produced by man himself; for instance, relieving the distressed, &c. But, as God can confer gratuitous good without involving injustice, he can manifest his approbation towards such goodness; yet not his disapprobation towards evil thus produced, inasmuch as he cannot justly inflict gratuitous punishment.
By saints' being left to themselves, I mean their not being inclined to good by God. Now how are they praise worthy for goodness, if they do not voluntarily do that which is good in its nature, when not caused to be thus voluntary by God?
Existence and choice are under very different circumstances. Existence involves no action. God can, therefore, have existed, without having caused his existence. But volition does involve action in the one who wills; and God must, therefore, take an active part in his own. The cases are, therefore, by no means parallel; besides, if God does not cause his own choice, it is improper to say he chooses, for this is the same as saying he causes his choice. It should be expressed by saying, he has a choice. Moreover, as will involves moral considerations, it is improper to put it on the same ground with existence, which involves none. If men are conscious of willing, they are conscious of causing what is denominated volition. If volition is a voluntary exercise, then are they conscious of causing a voluntary exercise, or, in other words, an exercise of will.
Men, though possessed of a self-determining power, will sin, because they inherit a fallen nature. This is, therefore, no absurdity at all.
With regard to the "scores" of passages of scripture which my system
obliges me to understand in a sense different from that which they simply Dear on their face, without regard to their connexion, or to the great chain of scripture doctrines, and the eternal principles of justice I have to observe, that it is not the way to arrive at the true doctrines of the bible, to quote "scores" of detached passages of scripture, as Calvinist has done It is the precise method which Universalists and other errorists adopt; and, doubt. casly, they would be pleased, did their favourite passages stand thus isolated n the bible, without any counteracting passages to qualify them; for then would they seem to favour their doctrine. And though the passages which Calvinist quotes, seem, when thus detached, to favour his peculiar idea of the Divine efficiency; yet, when we consider that the bible, in other passagas, represents man as doing the same which in those passages is seemingly attributed to God; when we reflect that it calls on men to do that which they cannot do, unless the will is under their guidance; when we consider that it blanes them for evil volition, just as if they were its sole authors; and when, m addition to this, we take into view the liability of men, Calvinists as well as others, to err in opinion; when we take all these things into considera. tion, we cannot believe, that that system is taught in the bible, which contains the following monstrous results:
1. That God is not the author of his own choice, for which he is nevertheless praise-worthy.
2. That he causes men to choose evil, and then punishes them because they do choose it.
3. That men have natural power to have a will different from the one which the Supreme is determined they shall have; which natural power, whatever it may be, is at the very time made by God to bring forth a different will; and has, notwithstanding its ability to have a will contrary to that which God causes it to have, no self determining power to set it in motion, and would by choosing of itself, be involved in the absurdity of choosing to choose, or of acting in causing its exercises of volition, without any choice, which neither man nor God ever did-ever can do! This is the natural power to will, of which we hear so much. These are some of the absurdities attending the Hopkinsian view of Divine efficiency. INQUIRER.
EXTRACTS FROM AN EXPOSTULATORY ADDRESS, To the Methodists in Ireland, and a Vindication of the same, by John Walker, late Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin. [ontinued from page 404.]
But, methinks, I hear the cry of prejudice again-" you are a Calvinst, and a Calvinist is an Antinomian, and every thing that is bad;-in principle, at least—if not in practice." I am aware that it is the great labour of your teachers, to instil this prejudice into your minds. But, brethren, if even a Calvinist say what is true, is truth to be rejected because it comes from a Calvinist? Examine what I have written, upon its own intrinsic merits, by the unerring rule of God's word-independent of the enquiry, what the writer is.
"But we call you a Calvinist, because your views of scripture are the same with Calvin's."--I do not know that. In some points, I believe they are; in some, I believe they are not.
"But you evade the point. We call you a Calvinist, because you hold the shocking doctrines of "election and the final perseverance of the saints." Brethren, I wish not to evade this point; but I wish to clear the ground: and when charges of error are brought against me, I think it desirable that they should be stated definitely, and not in vague and ambiguous terms. I do hold these doctrines,
which you call shocking; and I am sure Calvin was not the first who held them, nor the only one of his time. If I mistake not, they were among the doctrines maintained by all the reformers, against the Popish Church: but, what is infinitely more important, they are doctrines as clearly revealed, as any others in scripture.
Yet I do not wonder that they excite such indignant clamour; and are so decried by many, who make a high religious profession. While all the truths of God are offensive to that carnal mind, which is enmity against Hm; those which assert his sovereignty and declare the salvation of a sinner to be the act of his mere grace,-" Having merey on whom he will have mercy," and setting aside all those distinctions between man and man, which we naturally expect to be grounds of God's discriminating favour-those truths are peculiarly hostile to the pride and atheism of our natural hearts, and have ever been the objects of the peculiar resentment of the world. It appears that those hated views were what stirred up the murderous princi ple in CAIN: and that the same, after a lapse of four thousand years, were what sometimes converted the admiration, with which the Jews regarded our Lord, into the utmost violence of persecuting rage (see Luke iv. 22-29.) The same opposition to these hum bling views, has made some professors, of the present day, hardily avow-that they would sooner go to hell, t han be saved in a way of such mere mercy: and has made others boldly deny the mercy of God even in sending his Son into the world to save sinners; asserting that if the Divine Being had not appointed this way of salvation, be would have been bound in justice to provide some other. But "the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low, and the LORD alone shall be exalted." Isa. ii. 17. It is an awful wo, which is denounced against him that “ strtveth with his Maker.” (Isa. xlv. 9.) and I am persuaded that all, who are saved, must be saved from that proud rebelliousness of heart, and be subdued to a thankful acquiescence in the revealed way of salvation-glad to be saved by mere mercy-and convinced that, if it were not mere mercy, they could not be saved at all.
The sentiment against which I protest, (protest at least in the latitude in which it is commonly put forward) seems to me to originate-partly in a natural insensibility to the importance of divine truths, and partly in a prejudice occasioned by the manner, ia If the which religious controversy has been too often handled. scriptures contain a divine revelation, the matters which they reveal cannot be unimportant; and if they be important, the discussion of them must be desirable, for the purpose of ascertaining the real import of the revelation, and of vindicating its truths against every opposing error.
Accordingly we find, in all ages of the church, that the professors who manifest the grossest indifference to the revealed truths of God,