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: ter is as far from being in a moral view
perfect, as that of any of his creatures ? The same writer affirms, that the doctrine of philosophical necessity is a modern difcovery, not older than Hobbes, or, perhaps he might mean, than Spinofa. Strange, that a thing, in which all mankind are so much interested; and of which every man, who thinks, is a competent judge, and has occasion to think and speak, every day of his life; should not have been found out till about two hundred years ago, and should still, in spite of all that can be said for, it, although as certain as that two and two are four, be disbelieved by all mankind, a few individuals excepted.--I shall only add, that, if the Deity be, as this author affirms, the cause of all the evil, as well as of all the good, actions of his creatures, resentment and gratitude towards our fellow men are as unreasonable as towards the knife that wounds, or the salve that heals us; and that to repent of the evil I am conscious of having committed would be not only absurd but impious, because it would imply a dissatisfaction with the will D d 2
of Him, who was the almighty cause of that evil, and was pleased to make me his instrument in doing it..
258. I deny not, that the opposite doctrine of liberty may be thought to involve in it some difficulties which our limited understanding cannot disentangle, particularly with respect to the Divine Prescience and Decrees. But in most things we find difficulties which we cannot solve; nor can any man, without extreme presumption, affirm, that he distinctly knows, in what manner the Divine Prescience exerts itself, or how the freedom of man's will may be affected by the decrees of God. Such knowledge is too wonderful for us : but of our own free agency we are competent judges, because it is a matter of fact and experience; and because all our moral and religious notions; that is, all our most important knowledge, may be said to be ei
ther founded on it, or intimately connectsed with it.
259. As Omnipotence can do whatever is possible, fo Omniscience must know whatever can be known. Every thing, which
God has determined to bring certainly to pass, he must foresee as certain : and can it be thought impossible, that he should foresee, not as certain but as contingent, that which he has determined to be contingent and not certain ? Or will it be said, that it is not possible for the Almighty to decree contingencies, as well as certainties ; to leave it in my power in certain cases to act according to the free determination of my own mind ? Our bodily strength, and our freedom of choice in regard to good and evil, are matters of great moment to us; but the latter can no more interfere with the purposes of divine providence, than the former can retard or accelerate the motion of the earth. It would not be very difficult for a prudent man, who should have the entire command of a few children, to make them in certain cases promote his views, without laying any restraint on their will. Infinitely more easy must it be, for the almighty and omniscient Governor of the universe, so to over-rule all the actions of his moral creatures, as to make them.
promote, promote, even while they are acting freely, his own wise and good purposes.
Further Remarks on the Will *.
260, JT was said, that the power of be
ginning motion, exerted of choice by a rational and intelligent being, may be called Volition or Will. The word will has other significations, but I wish at prefent to use it in this sense. I call it a power of beginning motion; meaning by the term motion every change in the human mind or body which is usually denominated action.— When we will to do a thing, we believe that thing to be in our power; and when we will we always will fomething, (and this something may be termed the object of volition); even as when we
remember we always remember something, · which may be called the object of remem
* See Dr Reid's Essays on the active powers of man.
brance, 6 me"
brance. Things therefore done voluntarily
261. Will and Defire are not the same.
thirsty and abstain from drink on account · of health; and we may will what, we have an averfion to, as when, on the same account, we force ourselves to swallow a nauseous medicine. Let us also distinguish between will and command; although, in common language, what a man commands is often called his will. We will to do some action of our own; we command an action to be done by another. Desires and Commands are also, in popular language, confounded: but here too we must distinguilh.“ O if such a thing were given