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of those laws; and deny, that the Divine Being immediately, and prior to the operation of the laws of nature, put them all in motion? Might he not as well ask, If an immediate influence could be exercised in setting the material system in motion, of what use are all the laws of nature, by which it is kept in motion ? Whatever laws attend the movements of the material system, the first creation of it is allowed to have been by an immediate exertion of divine power. God said, Let there be light, and there was light; and why should not the second creation be the same ? I say the second creation ; for the change upon the sinner's heart is represented as nothing less in the divine word ; and the very manner of its being effected, is expressed in language which evidently alludes to the first creation-God, who commanded the light to shine out of larkness, hath shined into our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ. Not only scripture, but reason itself, teaches the necessity for such an immediate divine interposition in the changing of a sinner's heart. If a piece of machinery (suppose the whole material system,) were once in a state of disorder, the mere exercise of those laws by which it was ordained to move, would never bring it into order again ; but, on the contrary, would drive it on farther and farther to everalsting confusion.

As to election, Dr. Priestley cannot consistently maintain bis scheme of Necessity without admitting it. If, as he abundantly maintains, God is the author of every good disposition in the human heart ;* and if, as he also in the same section maintains, God, in all that he does, pursues one plan, or system, previously concerted; it must follow, that wherever good dispositions are produced, and men are finally saved, it is altogether in consequence of the appointment of God; which, as to the present argument, is the same thing as the Calvinistic doctrine of election.

So plain a consequence is this from Dr. Priestley's Necessarian principles, that he himself, when writing bịs Treatise on that subject, could not forbear to draw it. “Our Saviour,” he says, “ seems to have considered the rejection of the gospel by those

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who boasted of their wisdom,* and the reception of it by the more despised part of mankind, as being the consequence of the express appointment of God: At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent and hast revealed them unto babes ; even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in thy sight.To the same purpose, in the next page but one, he observes, that God is considered as “the sovereign disposer, both of gospel privileges here, and future happiness hereafter, as appears in such passages as 2 Thess. ii. 13. God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.

If there be any difference between that election which is involved in Dr. Priestley's own scheme, and that of the Calvinists, it must consist, not in the original appointment, or in the certainty of the event, but in the intermediate causes or reasons which induced the Deity to fix things in the manner that he has done : and it is doubtful whether even this can be admitted. It is true, Dr. Priestley, by his exclamations against unconditional election, would seem to maintain, that, where God hath appointed a sipner to obtain salvation, it is on account of his foreseen virtue: and he may plead, that such an election is favorable to virtue, as making it the ground, or procuring cause of eternal felicity; while an election that is altogether unconditional, must be directly the reverse. But let it be considered, in the first place, Whether such a view of election as this does not clash with the whole tenor of scripture, which teaches us that we are saved and called with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to the divine purpose and grace given us in Christ Jesus before the world began-Not of works, lest any man should boast. At this time also there is a reinnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no more of works ; otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace; otherwise work is no more

* Query, Were not these the rational religionists of that age?

+ Doctrine of Necessity, pp. 140— 142..
† Considerations on Difference in Religious Opinivus, o III.

work. * Secondly, Let it be considered, Whether such an election will consist with Dr. Priestley's own scheme of Necessity. This scheme supposes, that all virtue, as well as every thing else, is necessary. Now, whence arose the necessity of it? It was not self-originated, nor accidental: it must have been established by the Deity. And then it will follow, that, if God elect any man on account of his foreseen virtue, he must have elected him on account of that which he had determined to give him: but this, as to the origin of things, amounts to the same thing as unconditional election.

As to men's taking liberty to sin, from the consideration of their being among the number of the elect; that, as we have seen already, is what no man can do with safety or consistency; seeing he can have no evidence on that subject, but what must arise from a contrary spirit and conduct. But suppose it were otherwise, an objection of this sort would come with an ill grace from Dr. Priestley, who encourages all mankind not to fear, since God has made them all for unlimited ultimate happiness, and (whatever be their conduct in the present life) to ultimate unlimited happiness they will all doubtless come.

Upon the whole, let those who are inured to close thinking, judge whether Dr. Priestley's own views of Philosophical Necessity do not include the leading principles of Calvinism? But, should he insist upon the contrary, then let it be considered, whether he must not contradict himself, and maintain a system which, by his own confession, is less friendly to piety and humility than that which he opposes. “ The essential difference,” he says, “ between the two schemes is this : the Necessarian believes his own dispositions and actions are the necessary and sole means of his present and future happiness ; so that, in the most proper sense of the words, it depends entirely on himself, whether he be virtuous or vicious, happy or miserable. The Calvinist maintains, on the other hand, that so long as a man is unregenerate, all his thoughts, words, and actions are necessarily sinful, and in the act of regeneration he is altogether passive."* We have seen already, that on the scheme of Dr. Priestley, as well as that of the Calvinists, men, in the first turning of the bias of their hearts, must be passive. But allow it to be otherwise ; allow what the Doctor elsewhere teaches, that “a change of disposition is the effect, and not the cause of a change of conduct ;'){ and that it depends entirely on ourselves, whether we will thus change our conduct, and, by these means, our dispositions, and so be happy for ever: all this, if others of his observations be just, instead of promoting piety and virtue, will have a contrary tendency. In the same performance, Dr. Priestley acknowledges, that “those who, from a principle of religion, ascribe more to God and less to man than other persons, are men of the greatest elevation of piety.”I But, if so, it will follow, that the essential difference between the necessarianism of Socinians and that of Calvinists, (seeing it consists in this, that the one makes it depend entirely upon a man's self, whether he be virtuous or vicious, happy or miserable; and the other, upon God ;) is in favour of the latter. Those who con- . sider men as depending entirely upon God for virtue and happiness, ascribe more to God, and less to man than the other, and so, according to Dr. Priestley, are “men of the greatest elevation of piety.” They on the other hand, who suppose men to be dependent entirely upon themselves for these things, must, consequently, have less of piety, and more of “heathen stoicism ;" which, as the same writer, in the same treatise, observes, "allows men to pray for external things, but admonishes them, that, as for virtue, it is our own, and must arise from within ourselves, if we have it at all.”'s

* See also those scriptures which represent election as the cause of faith and holiness ; particularly Ephes. i. 3, 4. John. vi. 37. Rom. viii. 22. 30. Acts xiii. 48. 1 Pet. i. 1. Rom. ix. 15, 16. But, if it be the cause it cannot be the effect of them.

+ Doctrine of Necessity, pp. 128, 129.

But let us come to facts. If, as Dr. Priestley says, there be “something in our system, which, if carried to its just consequences, would lead us to the most abandoned wickedness ;” it might be expected, one should think, that a loose, dissipated, and abandoned life would be a more general thing among the Calvinists than

. † Ibid p. 156.

Ibid p. 107.

* Doctrine of Necessity, p. 152--154.

Ibid p. 67.

among their opponents. This seems to be a consequence of which he feels the force, and therefore discovers an inclination to make it good. In answer to the question, “Why those persons who hold these opinions are not abandoned to all wickedness, when they evidently lay them under so little restraint ?” he answers, " This is often the case of those who pursue these principles to their just and fatal consequences;” adding, “ for it is easy to prove, that the Antinomian is the only consistent absolute predestinarian."* That there are persons who profess the doctrine of absolute predestination, and who, from that consideration, may indulge themselves in the greatest enormities, is admitted. Dr. Priestley, however, allows, that these are “only such persons whose minds are previously depraved;" that is, wicked men, who turn the grace of God into lasciviousness. Nor are such examples “ often” to be seen among us ; and, where they are, it is commonly in such people who make no serious pretence to personal religion, but who have just so much of predestination in their heads, as to suppose that all things will be as they are appointed to be, and therefore that it is in vain to strive,-just so much as to look at the end, and overlook the means ; which is as wide of Calvinism, as it is of Socinianism. This may be the absolute predestination which Dr. Priestley means ; namely, a predestination to eternal life, let our conduct be ever so impure ; and a predestination to eternal death, let it be ever so holy: and, if so, it is granted that the Antinomian is the only consistent believer in it: but then it might, with equal truth, be added, that he is the only person who believes in it at all. The Calvinistic doctrine of predestination supposes, that holiness of heart and life are as much the object of divine appointment as future happiness, and that this connexion can never be broken. 'To prove that the Antinomian is the only consistent believer in such a predestination as this, may not be so easy a task as barely to assert it. I cannot imagine it would be very easy, especially for Dr. Priestley ; seeing he acknowledges, that “the idea of every thing being predestinated from all eternity is no objection to prayer, because all means are appointed as well

# Considerations on Difference of Opinion, ø III.

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