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put in a state of probation, or under a practical law. When you begin at Sin, you can never ascend higher than Free Will; and when you begin at God, you can never descend lower than Free Will : Thus, (i.) God; –(ii.) His Will to make free-willing accountable creatures ;-(ii.) His putting his will in execution by the actual Creation of such creatures ;-(iv.) Legislation on God's part :-(v.) Voluntary, unnecessitated Obedience, on the part of those who make a good use of their free will :-And (vi.) Voluntary, uvnecessitated Disobedience, on the part of those who make a bad use of it. Hence it is evident, that, by substituting Necessity for Free Will, and Absolute Decrees for Righteous Legislation, Mr. Toplady breaks the golden chain, which our gracious Creator made, and helps Manes, Augustine, Calvin, Hobbes, Voltaire, Hume, Dr. Hartley, and Dr. Priestley, to hammer out the ironclay chain, by which they hang sin upon God himself. -(5.) If all our sins, with all their circumstances and aggravations, are only a part of “ the whole preconcerted scheme,” which “ divine wisdom and power's absolutely and irresistibly “ carry into actual execution by the subservient mediation of second causes, which were created for that end ;" who can rationally blame sinners for answering the end for which they were absolutely created ? Who can refuse to exculpate and pity the reprobates, whom all-impelling omuipotence carries into sin, and into hell, as irresistibly as a floating cork is carried towards the shore by tossing billows which necessarily impel one another? And who will not be astonished at the erroneous notions, which the consistent Fatalists have of their God? A God this, who necessitates, yea, impels men to sin by his will—his decree-his necessitation—and his pro. vidence : Then gravely weeps and bleeds over them for sinning :-And after having necessitated and impelled the non-elect to disbelieve and despise his blood, will set up a judgment-seat to damn them for “ neces. sarily carrying his preconcerted scheme into actual execution," as " second causes which were created for that end!"
“Oh! but they do it voluntarily as well as neces. surily, and therefore they are accountable and judicable." -This Calvinian salvo makes a bad matter worse. For if all their sins are necessarily brought about by God's all-impelling decree, their willing and bad choice are brought about by the same preconcerted, irresistible means; one of the ends of God's necessitation, with respect to the reprobate, being to make them sin with abundantly greater freedom and choice, than if they were not necessitated and impelled by God's predestinating, efficaciuus, irresistible decree. This Mr. Toplady indirectly asserts in the following argument :
Page 15. “ 'They [man's actions--man's sins] may be, at one and the same time, free and necessary too, When Mr. Wesley is very hungry and tired, he is neces sarily, and yet freely, disposed to food or rest. His will is concerned in sitting down to dinner, or in conrting repose, when necessity im pels to either.Necessarily biassed as he is to those mediums of recruit, he has recourse to them, as freely, (that is as voluutarily, and with as much appetite, choice, desire, and relish,) as if necessity were quite out of the case; nay, and with abundantly greater freedom and choice, than if he was not so necessitated and impelled.”
Is not this as much as to say, “ As necessitation, the daughter of God's decree, impels Mr. Wesley to eat, by giving him an appetite to food : So it formerly impelled Adam, and now it impels all the reprobates to sin, by giving them an appetite to wickedness : And, necessarily biassed as they are to adultery, robbery, and other crimes, they commit them as freely, i. e., with as much appetite and choice, as if necessity were quite out of the case : Nay, and with abundantly greater freedom and choice, than if they were not so necessitated and impelled ?”—Is vot this reviving one of the most impious tenets of the Manichees ?- Is it not confounding the Lamb of God with the old dragon, and coupling the celestial Dove with the infernal serpent ?
If you ask, “Where is the flaw of Mr. Toplady's argumentative illustration?" I answer, It has two capital de
fects:(1.) That God's will, his decree, and his providence, impel Mr. Wesley to eat when he is hungry, is very true; because eating in such a case is, in general, Mr. Wesley's duty; and reminding him of his want of nourishment, by the sensation which we call hunger, is a peculiar favour, worthy of the Parent of good to bestow. But the question is, Whether God's will, decree, and providence, impelled Adam to choose the forbidden fruit rather than any other, and excited David to go to Uriah's wife, rather than to his own wives ? How illogical, how detestable is this conclusion! God necessitates and impels us to do our duiy; and therefore, he necessitates and impels us to do wickedness But, (2.) The greatest absurdity belonging to Mr. Toplady's illustration is, his pretending to overthrow the doctrine of Free Will by urging the hunger, which God gives to Mr. Wesley, in order to necessitate and impel him to eat, according to the decree of Calvinian necessitation, which is absolutely irresistible. Mr. T. says, (page 13,) “ We call that necessary, which cannot be otherwise than it is.” Now Mr. Wesley's eating when he is hungry, is by no means Calvinistically necessary: For he has an hundred times reversed the decree of his hunger by fasting ; and if he were put to the sad alternative of the woman who was to starve, or to kill and eat her own child, he hoth could and would go full against the necessitation of his hunger, and never eat more. Mr. Toplady's illustration, therefore, far from proving, that God's necessitation irresistibly impels us to commit sin, indirectly demonstrates, that God's necessitation does not so much as absolutely impel us to do those things which the very laws of our constitution and nature themselves bind upon us, by the strong necessity of self-preservation. For some people have so far resisted the urgent calls of nature and appetite, as not only to make themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake, but even literally to starve themselves to death.
I once saw a man, who played the most amazing tricks with a pack of cards. His skill consisted in so artfully shuffling them, and imperceptibly substituting
one for another, that when you thought you had fairly secured the king of hearts, you found yourself possessed only of the knave of clubs. The defenders of the doctrine of necessity are not less skilful. I shall shew, in another tract, with what subtilty Mr. T. uses “per. mission” for efficacy, no “salvation due,” for eternal torments ensured ;_"not enriching," for absolute reprobation ;-and“ passing by," for absolutely appointing to remediless sin, and everlasting burnings. Let us now consider the grand, logical substitution, which deceives that gentleman, and by which he misleads the adinirers of his scheme.
Page 14. “I acquiesce in the old distinction of necessity (a distinction adopted by Luther and others) into a necessity of compulsion, and a necessity of infallible certainty.--We say of the earth, for instance, that it circuits the sun by compulsory necessity. The necessity of infallible certainty is of a very different kind, and only renders the event inevitably future, without any compulsory force on the will of the agent.”-1f Mr. T. had said, “ The necessity of true Prophecy considers an event as certainly future, but puts uo Calvinian, irresistible bias on the will of the agent;" I would have sub. scribed to his distinction. Butinstead of the words truly certain, or certainly future, which would have perfectly explained, what may improperly be called necessity of true prophecy, and what should be called certain futurity : Instead of those words, I say, he artfully substitutes, first,“ infallibly certain," and then “inevitably future.” The phrase infallibly certain may be admitted to pass, if you understand by it that which does not fail to happen : But if you take it in a rigid sense, and mean by it, that which cunnot absolutely fail to happen, you get a step out of the way, and you may easily go on shuffling your logical cards, till you have imposed Fatalism npon the simple, by making them believe, that certainly future, infallibly future, and inevitably future, are three phrases of the same import; whereas the difference between the first and last phrase is as great, as the difference between Mr. Wesley's scriptural doc
trine of Free Will, and Mr. T.'s Manichean doctrine of Absolute Necessity.
It is the property of error to be inconsistent. Accordingly we find that Mr. T., after having told us, (p. 14,) that the “necessity of infallible certainty," which renders the event inevitably future, lays “no compulsory force on the will of the agent,” tells us, in the very same page, that his Calvinian necessity is “ such an indissoluble concatenation of secondary causes-[created for that end]—and of effects, as has a native tendency to secure the certainty of events, [i. e., of all volitions, murders, adulteries, and incests,] sicut unda impellitur unda ;" as one wave impels another, or as the first link of a chain, which you pull, draws the second-the second, the third-and so on. Now if all our volitions are pushed forward by God through the means of his absolute Will--his irresistible Decree-his efficacious Creation-and his all-conquering Necessitation, which is nothing but an adamantine chain of second causes created by Providence in order to produce absolutely all the effects which are produced, and to make them impel each other, “ as one wave in pels another;" we desire to know, how our volitions can be thus irresistibly impelled upon us “ without any compulsory force on our will.” I do not see how Mr. T. can get over this contradiction, otherwise than by saying, that, although God's necessitation is irresistibly impulsory, yet it is not at all compulsory; although it absolutely impels us to will, yet it does not in the least compel us to be williog. But would so frivolous, so absurd a distinction as this, wipe off the foul blot which the scheme of Necessity fixes on the Father of lights, when it represents Him as the First Cause, and the grand contriver of all our sinful volitions ?
Mr. T., p. 133, 134, among other pieces of Manicheism, gives us the following account of that strange religion : “ There are two independent Gods, or infi. nite Principles: viz.-light, and darkness. The first is the author of all good; and the second, of all evil. The evil God made sin.-The good God and the bad God