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PAR cessity does not exclude Deliberation, Choice,

1. Preference, and acting from certain Princiw ples, and to certain Ends: because all this is

matter of undoubted Experience, acknowledged by all, and what every man may, every moment, be conscious of. And from hence it follows, that Necessity; alone and of itself, is in no sort an Account of the Constitution of Nature, and how Things came to be and to continue as they are; but only an Account of this Circumstance, relating to their Origin and Continuance, that they could not have been otherwise, than they are and have been. The Assertion that every thing is by Necessity of Nature, is not an Answer to the Question ; Whether the World came into Being as it is, by an intelligent Agent forming it thus, or not: But to quite another Question ; Whether it came into Being as it is, in that Way and Manner which we call necessarily, or in that Way and Manner which we call freely. For suppose farther, that one who was a Fatalist, and one who kept to his natural Sense of things, and believed himself a free Agent, were disputing together, and vindicating their respective Opinions; and they should happen to instance in a House ; They would agree, that it was built by an Architect. Their Difference concerning Necessity and Freedom, would occafion no Difference of Judgment concerning this; but only concerning another }

Matter ; 육

Matter;

whether the Architect built it necef- CHAP. sarily or freely. Suppose then they should VI. proceed to enquire concerning the Constitution of Nature: In a lax way of speaking, One of them might say, it was by Necessity; and the Other, by Freedom: But if they had any Meaning to their Words, as the latter must mean a free Agent, so the former must at length be reduced to mean an Agent, whether he would say one or more, acting by Necessity : for abstract Notions can do nothing. Indeed we ascribe to God a necessary Existence, uncaused by any Agent. For we find within Ourselves the Idea of Infinity, i.e. Immensity and Eternity, impossible, even in Imagination, to be removed out of Being. We seem to discern intuitively, that there must, and cannot but be somewhat, external to ourselves, answering this Idea, or the Archetype of it. And from hence (for This abstraet, as much as any other, implies a Concrete) we conclude, that there is and cannot but be, an infinite, an immense eternal Being existing, prior to all Design contributing to his Existence, and exclusive of it. And from the Scantiness of Language, a manner of speaking has been introduced; that Necessity is the Foundation, the Reason, the Account of the Existence of God. But it is not alledged, nor can it be at all intended, that every thing exists as it does, by this kind

of

PAR T of Necessity; a Necessity antecedent in Na

1. ture to Design: it cannot, I say, be meant n that every thing exists as it does, by this kind

of Necessity, upon several Accounts; and particularly because it is admitted, that Design, in the Actions of Men, contributes to many Alterations in Nature. For if any deny this, I shall not pretend to reason with them.

From these things it follows ; First, That when a Fatalist asserts, that every thing is by Necessity, he must mean, by an Agent acting necessarily; he must I say mean this, for I am very sensible, he would not chuse to mean it : And Secondly, That the Necessity, by which such an Agent is supposed to Act, does not exclude Intelligence and Design. So that, were the System of Fatality admitted ; it would just as much account for the Formation of the World, as for the Structure of an House, and no more. Necessity as much requires and supposes a neceffary Agent, as Freedom requires and supposes a free Agent, to be the Former of the World. And the Appearances of Dehgn and of final Causes in the Constitution of Nature, as really prove this acting Agent, to be an intelligent Defigner, or to act from Choice ; upon the Scheme of Necessity, supposed possible, as upon That of Freedom.

It appearing thus, that the Notion of Ne-CHAP. ceffity does not destroy the Proof, that there VI. is an intelligent Author of Nature and natu-m ral Governor of the World; the present Question, which the Analogy before mentioned a fuggests, and which, I think it will answer, is this: Whether the Opinion of Necessity, supposed consistent with Possibility, with the Constitution of the World, and the natural Government which we experience exercised over it; destroys all reasonable Ground of Belief, that we are in a State of Religion : or whether That Opinion be reconcileable with Religion ; with the System, and the Proof of it.

Suppose then a Fatalist to educate any one, from his Youth up, in his own Principles ; that the Child should reason upon them, and conclude, that since he cannot possibly behave otherwise than he does, he is not a Subject of Blame or Commendation, nor can deserve to be rewarded or punished : Imagine him to eradicate the very Perceptions of Blame and Commendation out of his Mind, by means of this System; to form his Temper, and Character, and Behaviour to it; and from it to judge of the Treatment he was to expect, say, from reasonable Men, upon his * p. 154

PART coming abroad into the World : as the Fata

I. list judges from this System, what he is to exmupect from the Author of Nature, and with

regard to a future State. I cannot forbear
stopping here to ask, whether any one of
common Sense would think fit, that a Child
should be put upon these Speculations, and be
left to apply them to Practice. And a Man
has little Pretence to Reason, who is not sen-
sible, that we are all Children in Speculations
of this Kind. However, the Child would
doubtless be highly delighted to find himself
freed from the Restraints of Fear and Shame,
with which his Play-fellows were fettered and
embarrassed ; and highly conceited in his su-
perior Knowledge, so far beyond his Years.
But Conceit and Vanity would be the least
bad Part of the Influence, which these Prin-
ciples must have, when thus reasoned and
acted upon, during the Course of his Educa-
tion. He must either be allowed to go on and
be the Plague of all about him, and himself
too, even to his own Destruction : or else
Correction must be continually made use of,
to supply the Want of those natural Percep-
tions of Blame and Commendation, which
we have supposed to be removed; and to give
him a practical Impression, of what he had
reasoned himself out of the Belief of, that
he was in Fact an accountable Child, and to
be punished for doing what he was forbid. It

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