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ourselves, are the most important. As religion is the great business, for which we are created, and on which our happiness depends; and as religion consists in an intercourse between ourselves and our Maker, and so has its foundation in God's nature and ours, and in the relation that God and we stand in to each other; therefore a true knowledge of both must be needful, in order to true religion. But the knowledge of ourselves consists chiefly in right apprehensions concerning those two chief faculties of our nature, the understanding and will. Both are very important; yet the science of the latter must be confessed to be of greatest moment; inasmuch as all virtue and religion have their seat more immediately in the will, consisting more especially in right acts and habits of this faculty. And the grand question about the freedom of the will, is the main point that belongs to the science of the will. Therefore, I say, the importance of this subject greatly demands the attention of Christians, and especially of divines. But as to my manner of handling the subject, I will be far from presuming to say, that it is such as demands the attention of the reader to what I have written. I am ready to own that in this matter I depend on the reader's courtesy. But only thus far I may have some colour for putting in a claim ; that if the reader be disposed to pass his censure on what I have written, I may be fully and
I patiently heard, and well attended to, before I am condemned. However, this is what I would humbly ask of my readers; together with the prayers of all sincere lovers of truth, that I may have much of that Spirit which Christ promised his disciples, which guides into all truth: and that the blessed and powerful influences of this Spirit would make truth victorious in the world.
Sect. IV.--Of the Distinction of Natural and Moral Neces-
WHEREIN IT IS CONSIDERED, WHETHER THERE IS OR CAN
BE ANY SUCH SORT OF FREEDOM OF WILL AS THAT
WHEREIN ARMINIANS PLACE THE ESSENCE OF THE
LIBERTY OF ALL MORAL AGENTS; AND WHETHER ANY
SUCH THING EVER WAS OR CAN BE CONCEIVED OF.
Sect. I.--Shewing the manifest Inconsistence of the Armin-
ian Notion of Liberty of Will consisting in the Will's self-
Sect. II.-Several supposed ways of evading the foregoing
Sect. III.—Whether any Event whatsoever, and Volition in
particular, can come to pass without a Cause of its Ex-
Sect. IV.-Whether Volition can arise without a Cause,
through the Activity of the Nature of the Soul ...... 68
What Treatment this Discourse may probably meet with
from some Persons ...
Consequences concerning several Calvinistic Doctrines; such
as a universal, decisive Providence
The total Depravity and Corruption of Man's Nature .. 417
A universal and absolute Decree; and absolute, eternal, per-
Perseverance of Saints
Concerning the Treatment which Calvinistic Writers and
Divines have met with
The unhappiness of the Change lately in many Protestant
The Boldness of some Writers
The excellent Wisdom appearing in the holy Scriptures 428
If it be the prerogative of philosophical writings to command a more grave attention, and to challenge a higher rank in literature than is accorded to works of imagination, it is also their fate more often to fall into oblivion; or even if remembered and preserved, to be superseded, and to forfeit the honours they once and long enjoyed as canons of science. The reason of this difference is obvious; for in the one class of compositions, an end is proposed which may be attained in a thousand ways, and in the pursuit of which genius ensures its own success. But in the other class, where the discovery of truth is the single object, success depends not merely upon zeal and ability, but upon the good fortune also which may lead the inquirer upon the one only track amid innumerable devious paths.
The mass of ancient literature that has reached modern times, consists in great part of those products of mind, the immortality of which has not at all resulted from their value as vehicles of truth : yet are they still perused with delight—are handed down as inestimable treasures from age to age — pass in the course of civilisation from clime to clime — and (go