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with wis ence which prevails for the production of the act of the Will, and for the disposing
of the mind to it; and yet it is absurd to suppose Motive to be a cause of an act of the e ads of Will, or that a principle of Will is moved or caused to be exerted by it, or that it that there has any causality in the productim of it, or any causality to be the cause of the tion is exertion of the Will.
A due consideration of these things which Mr. Chubb has advanced, the Monta strange inconsistencies which the notion of liberty, consisting in the Will's power voltes of self-determination void of all necessity, united with that dictate of common escote sense, that there can be no volition without a Motive, drove him into, may be . p. 31 sufocient to convince us, that it is utterly impossible ever to make that notion of ostre liberty consistent with the influence of Motives in volition. And as it is in a e of the manner self-evident, that there can be no act of Will, choice, or preference of cause the mind, without some Motive or inducement, something in the mind's view, vice which it aims at, seeks, inclines to, and goes after; so it is most manisest; there he me is no such liberty in the universe as Arminians insist on; nor any such thing posPanut, sible, or conceivable.
acter. The Evidence of God's certain Foreknowledge of the Volitions of moral Agents.
That the acts of the Wills of moral agents are not contingent events, in that w the sense, as to be without all necessity, appears by God's certain foreknowledge of
In handling this argument, I would in the first place prove, that God has a certain foreknowledge of the voluntary acts of moral agents; and secondly, show the consequence, or how it follows from hence, that the volitions of moral
agents are not contingent, so as to be without necessity of connection and conthe
, I am to prove, that God has an absolute and certain foreknowledge of the free actions of moral agents. One would think, it should be wholly needless to enter on such an argument
that profess themselves Christians : but so it is ; God's certain foreknowledge of the free acts of moral agents, is denied by some that pretend to believe the Scriptures to be the word of God; and especially of late. I therefore shall consider the evidence of such a prescience in the Most High, as fully as the designed linits of this essay will admit of ; supposing myself herein to have to do with such as own the truth of the Bible.
ARG. I. My first argument shall be taken from God's prediction of such events. Here I would, in the first place, lay down these two things as axioms.
(1.) If God does not foreknow, he cannot foretell such events; that is, he cannot peremptorily and certainly foretell them. If God has no more than an
guess concerning events of this kind, then he can declare no more than an uncertain guess. Positively to foretell, is to profess to foreknow, or to declare positive foreknowledge.
(2.) If God does not certainly foreknow the future volitions of moral agents, then neither can he certainly foreknow those events which are consequent and dependent on these volitions. The existence of the one depending on the exist
of the other; the knowledge of the existence of the one depends on the
knowledge of the existence of the other; and the one cannot be more certain than the other.
Therefore, how many, how great and how extensive soever the consequences of the volitions of moral agents may be ; though they should extend to an alteration of the state of things through the universe, and should be continued in a series of successive events to all eternity, and should in the progress of things branch forth into an infinite number of series, each of them going on in an endless line or chain of events ; God must be as ignorant of all these consequences, as he is of the volitions whence they take their rise: all these events, and the whole state of things depending on them, how important, extensive and vast soever, must be hid from him.
These positions being such as, I suppose, none will deny, I now proceed to observe the following things.
1. Men's moral conduct and qualities, their virtues and vices, their wickedness and good practice, things rewardable and punishable, have often been foretold by God. Pharaoh's moral conduct, in refusing to obey God's command, in letting his people go, was foretold. God says to Moses, Exod. iii. 19, “I am sure, that the king of Egypt will not let you go.” Here God professes'not only to guess at, but to know Pharaoh's future disobedience. In chap. vii. 4, God says, but Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you ; that I may lay mine hand upon Egypt, &c. And chap. ix. 30, Moses says to Pharaoh, as for thee, and thy servants
, I KNOW that ye will not fear the Lord. See also chap. xi. 9. The moral conduct of Josiah, by name, in his zealously exerting himself in opposition to idolatry, in particular acts of his, was foretold above three hundred years before he was born and the prophecy sealed by a miracle, and renewed and confirmed by the words of a second prophet, as what surely would not fail, 1 Kings xii. 146, 32. This prophecy was also in effect a prediction of the moral conduct of the people, in upholding their schismatical and idolatrous worship until that time, and the idolatry of those priests of the high places, which it is foretold Josiah should offer upon that altar of Bethel.-Micaiah foretold the foolish and sinful conduct of Ahab, in refusing to hearken to the word of the Lord by him, and choosing rather to hearken to the false prophets, in going to Ramoth Gilead to his ruin, 1 Kings xxi. 20—22. The moral conduct of Hazael was foretold, in that cruelty he should be guilty of ; on which Hazael says, What, is thy servant a dog, that he should do this thing! The prophet speaks of the event as what he knew, and not what he conjectured, 2 Kings viii. 12. I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel : Thou wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child. The moral conduct of Cyrus is foretold, long before he had a being, in his mercy to God's people, and regard to the true God, in turning the captivity of the Jews, and promoting the building of the Temple, Isaiah xliv. 28, xlv. 13. Compare 2 Chron. xxxvi. 22, 23, and Ezra i. 1-4. How many instances of the inoral conduct of the Kings of the North and South, particular instances of the wicked behavior of the Kings of Syria and Egypt, are foretold in the with chapter of Daniel ? Their corruption, violence, robbery, treachery and lies. And particularly, how much is foretold of the horrid wickedness of Antiochus Epiphanes, called there a rile person, instead of Epiphanes, or illustrious. In that chapter, and also in chap. viii. verses 9, 14, 23, to the end, are foretold his flattery, deceit and lies, his having his heart set to do mischief, and set against the holy covenant, his destroying and treading under foot the holy people, in a marvellous manner, his having indignation against the holy covenant, setting his heart against it, and conspiring against it, his polluting the sanctuary of strength, treading it under foot, taking away the daily sacrifice, and placing
the abomination that maketh desolate ; his great pride, magnifying himself against God, and uttering marvellous blasphemies against him, until God in indignation should destroy him. Withal, the moral conduct of the Jews, on occasion of his persecution, is predicted. It is foretold, that he should corrupt many by flatteries, chap. xi. 32-34. But that others should behave with a glorious constancy and fortitude in opposition to him, ver. 32. And that some good men should fall and repent, ver. 35. Christ foretold Peter's sin, in denying his Lord, with its circumstances, in a peremptory manner. And so that great sin of Judas, in betraying his master, and its dreadful and eternal punishment in hell, was foretold in the like positive manner, Matth. xxvi. 21–25, and parallel places in the other Evangelists.
2. Many events have been foretold by God, which were consequent and dependent on the moral conduct of particular persons, and were accomplished, either by their virtuous or vicious actions.—Thus, the children of Israel's going down into Egypt to dwell there, was foretold to Abraham, Gen. xv., which was brought about by the wickedness of Joseph's brethren in selling him, and the wickedness of Joseph's mistress, and his own signal virtue in resisting her temptation. The accomplishment of the thing prefigured in Joseph's dream, depended on the same moral conduct. Jotham's parable and prophecy, Judges ix. 15—20, was accomplished by the wicked conduct of Abimelech, and the men of Shechem. The prophecies against the house of Eli, 1 Sam. chap. ii. and in., were accomplished by the wickedness of Doeg the Edomite, in accusing the priests; and
the great impiety, and extreme cruelty of Saul in destroying the priests at Nob, to any
1 Sam. xxii. Nathan's prophecy against David, 2 Sam. xii. 11, 12, was fulfilled by the horrible wickedness of Absalom, in rebelling against his father, seeking his life and lying with his concubines in the sight of the sun. The prophecy against Solomon, 1 Kings xi. 11–13, was fulfilled by Jeroboam's rebellion and usurpation, which are spoken of as his wickedness, 2 Chron. xi. 5, 6, compare Ferse 18. The prophecy against Jeroboam's family, 1 Kings xiv., was fulfilled by the conspiracy, treason, and cruel murders of Baasha, 1 Kings xv. 27, &c. The predictions of the prophet Jehu against the house of Baasha, 1 Kings xvi. at the beginning, were fulfilled by the treason and parricide of Zimri, 1 Kings xvi. 9, 13, 20.
3. How often has God foretold the future moral conduct of nations and people, of numbers, bodies, and successions of men; with God's judicial proceedings, and many
other events consequent and dependent on their virtues and vices; which could not be foreknown, if the volitions of men, wherein they acted as moral agents, had not been foreseen? The future cruelty of the Egyptians in oppressing Israel, and God's judging and punishing them for it, was foretold long before it came to pass, Gen. xv. 13, 14. The continuance of the iniquity of the
Amorites, and the increase of it until it should be full, and they ripe for destrucį tion, was foretold above four hundred years beforehand, Gen. xv. 16, Acts vii. ular
6,7. The prophecies of the destruction of Jerusalem, and the land of Judah, were absolute, 2 Kings xx. 17-19, chap. xxii. 15 to the end. It was foretold in Hezekiah’s time, and was abundantly insisted on in the book of the prophet Isaiah
, who wrote nothing after Hezekiah's days. It was foretold in Josiah's time, in the beginning of a great reformation, 2 Kings xxii. And it is manifest
by innumerable things in the predictions of the prophets, relating to this event, nd
its time, its circumstances, its continuance and end; the return from the captivity, the restoration of the temple, city and land, and many circumstances and consequences of that ; I say, these show plainly, that the prophecies of this great event were absolute. And yet this event was connected with, and dependent or
two things in men's moral conduct : First, the injurious rapine and violence of the king of Babylon and his people, as the efficient cause, which God often speaks of as what he highly resented, and would severely punish ; and 2dly, the final obstinacy of the Jews. That great event is often spoken of as suspended on this, Jer. iv. 1, and v. 1, vii. 1—7, xi. 1–6, xvii. 24 to the end, xxv. 147, xxvi. 148, 13, and xxxviii. 17, 18. Therefore this destruction and captivity could not be foreknown, unless such a moral conduct of the Chaldeans and Jews had been foreknown. And then it was foretold, that the people should be finally obstinate, to the destruction and utter desolation of the city and land, Isa. vi. 9-11, Jer. i. 18, 19, vii. 27-29, Ezek. ij. 7, and xxiv. 13, 14.
The final obstinacy of those Jews who were left in the land of Israel, in their idolatry and rejection of the true God was foretold, by God, and the prediction confirmed with an oath, Jer. xliv. 26, 27. And God tells the people, Isa. xlviii
. 3, 4-8, that he had predicted those things which should be consequent on their treachery and obstinacy, because he knew they would be obstinate, and that he had declared these things beforehand for their conviction of his being the only true God, &c.
The destruction of Babylon, with many of the circumstances of it, was foretold, as the judgment of God for the exceeding pride and haughtiness of the heads of that monarchy, Nebuchadnezzar and his successors, and their wickedly destroying other nations, and particularly for their exalting themselves against the true God and his poeple, before any of these monarchs had a being ; Isa. chap. xiii. xiv. xlvii , compare Hab. ii. 5 to the end, and Jer. chap. i. and li
. That Babylon's destruction was to be a recompense, according to the works of their oun hunds, appears by Jer. xxv. 14. The immorality which the people of Babylon, and particularly her princes and great men, were guilty of, that very night that the city was destroyed, their revelling and drunkenness at Belshazzar's idolatrous feasts, was foretold, Jer. li. 39, 57.
The return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity is often very particularly foretold with many circumstances, and the promises of it are very peremptory, Jer. xxxi. 35-40, and xxxü. 6--15, 41-44, and xxxü. 24-26. And the very time of their return was prefixed, Jer. xxv. 11–12, and xxix. 10–11, 2 Chron. xxxvi. 21, Ezek. iv. 6, and Dan. ix. 2. And yet the prophecies represent their return as consequent on their repentance. And their repentance itself is very expressly and particularly foretold, Jer. xxix. 12, 13, 14, xxxi. 8, 9, 18– 31, 1. 4, 5, Ezek. vi. 8, 9, 10, vii. 16, xiv. 22, 23, and xx. 43, 44.
It was foretold under the Old Testament, that the Messiah should suffer greatly through the malice and cruelty of men ; as is largely and fully set forth, Psal. xxii., applied to Christ in the New Testament, Matth. xxvii. 35, 43, Luke xxiii. 34, John xix. 24, Heb. ii. 12. And likewise in Psal. lxix., which, it is also evident by the New Testament, is spoken of Christ; John ii. 17, xv. 25, &c. and Rom. xv. 3, Matth. xxvi. 34, 48, Mark xv. 23, John xix. 29. The same thing is also foretold, Isa. liii. and 1. 6, and Mic. v. 1. This cruelty of men was their sin, and what they acted as moral agents. It was foretold, that there should be an union of Heathen and Jewish rulers against Christ, Psal. ii. 1, 2, compared with Acts iv. 25-28. It was foretold, that the Jews should generally reject and despise the Messiah, Isa. xlix. 5, 6, 7, and liii. 1--3, Psal. xxii. 6, 7, and lxix. 4, 8, 19, 20. And it was foretold, that the body of that nation should be rejected in the Messiah’s days, from being God's people, for their obstinacy in sin ; Isa. xlix. 4-7, and viïi. 14, 15, 16, compared with Ron. ix. 33, and Isa. Ixv. at the beginning, compared with Rom. x. 20, 21. It was foretold, that Christ should be rejected by the chief priests and rulers
among the Jews, Psal. cxviii. 22, compared with Matth. xxi. 42, Acts iv. 11, 1 Pet. q. 4, 7.
Christ himself foretold his being delivered into the hands of the elders, chief priests and scribes, and his being cruelly treated by them, and condemned to death; and that be, by them, should be delivered to the Gentiles; and that he should be mocked and scourged and crucified, (Matth. xvi. 21, and xx. 17– 19, Luke ix. 22, John viii. 28,) and that the people should be concerned in, and consenting to his death, (Luke xx. 13-18,) especially the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Luke xii. 33–35. He foretold, that the disciples should all be offended because of him that night that he was betrayed, and should forsake him, Matth. xxvi. 31, John xvi. 32. He foretold, that he should be rejected of that generation, even the body of the people, and that they should continue obstinate, to their ruin, Matth. xii. 45, xxi. 33–42, and xxii. 1-7, Luke xiv. 16, 21, 24, xvii. 25, xix. 14, 27,41-44, xx. 13-18.
As it was foretold in both Old Testament and New, that the Jews should reject the Messiah, so it was foretold that the Gentiles should receive Him, and so be admitted to the privileges of God's people; in places too many to be now particularly mentioned. It was foretold in the Old Testament, that the Jews should envy the Gentiles on this account, Deut. xxxii. 21, compared with Rom. X. 19. Christ himself often foretold, that the Gentiles would embrace the true religion, and become his followers and people, Matth. viii
. 10, 11, 12, xxi
. 41-43, and xxii. 8-10, Luke xiii 28, xiv. 16—24, and xx. 16, John X. 16. He also foretold the Jews' envy of the Gentiles on this occasion, Matth. xx. 12—16, Luke xv. 26 to the end. He foretold, that they should continue in this opposition and envy, and should manifest it in cruel persecutions of his followers, to their utter destruction, Matth. xxi. 33–42, xxii. 6, and xxii. 34 -39, Luke xi. 49–51. The Jews obstinacy is also foretold, Acts xxii. 18. Christ often foretold the great persecutions his followers should meet with, both from Jews and Gentiles; Matth. X. 16—18, 21, 22, 34-36, and xxiv. 9, Mark xiii. 9, Luke x. 3, xii. 11, 49–53, and xxi. 12, 16, 17, John xv. 18 ~21, and xvi. 1-4. He foretold the martyrdom of particular persons, Matth. IX. 23. John xiii. 36, and xxi. 18, 19, 22. He foretold the great success of the Gospel in the city of Samaria, as near approaching ; which afterwards was fulfilled by the preaching of Philip, John iv. 35–38. He foretold the rising of many deceivers after his departure, Matth. xxiv. 4, 5, 11, and the apostasy of many of his professed followers, Matth. xxiv. 10–12.
The persecutions, which the Apostle Paul was to meet with in the world, were foretold, Acts ix. 16, xx. 23, and xxi. 11. The apostle says to the Christian Ephesians, Acts xx. 29, 30, I know that after my departure shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock ; also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. The apostle says, He knew this ; but he did not know it, if God did not know the future actions of moral agents.
4. Unless God foreknows the future actions of moral agents, all the prophecies we have in Scripture concerning the great Antichristian apostasy; the rise, reign, wicked qualities, and deeds of the man of sin, and his instruments and adherents ; the extent and long continuance of his dominion, his influence on the minds of princes and others, to corrupt them, and draw them away to idolatry, and other foul vices ; his great and cruel persecutions; the behavior of the saints under these great temptations, &c. &c. I say, unless the volitions of moral agents are foreseen, all these prophecies are uttered without knowing the things foretold.
The predictions relating to this great apostasy are all of a moral nature, relat-