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sued, by Edward Search, Esq. Much curious matter, and many ingenious illustrations of the subject, may be found in the second volume of this last work. The author's real name was not E. Search, but Ab. Tucker, who died at his seat in Surrey in 1775.
The doctrine of Necessity regards the origin of human actions, and the specific mode of the divine government; anà seems to be the immediate result of the materiality of man, for mechanism is the undoubted consequence of materialism.*
Whatever is done by a cause or power that is írresistible, is by necessity, in which sense this term is opposed to freedom. Man is therefore a necessary agent, if all his actions be so determined by the causes preceding each action, that not one past action could possibly not have come to pass, or have been otherwise than it hath been; and not one future action can possibly not come to pass, or be otherwise than it shall be. But man is a free agent, if he be able at any time, in the circumstances in which he is placed, to do different things; or in other words, if he be not unavoidably determined in every point of time by the circumstances he is in, and the causes he is under, to do that one thing he does, and not possibly to do any other thing.
*Hence all Materialists are of course Necessitarians; but it does not follow, vice versa, that all Necessitarians are, or must be, Materialists.
This abstruse subject has occasioned much controversy, and has been debated by writers of the first eminence, from Hobbes and Clarke, to Priestley and Gregory. To state all their arguments on both sides, would take up too much room; and, indeed, such a statement cannot reasonably be expected in a work of this nature, the question being less of a theological, than of a philosophical and metaphysical nature. Suffice it, therefore, only to say, that the Anti-necessitarians suppose that the doctrine of Necessity charges God as the author of sin;—that it takes away the freedom of the will: renders man unaccountable to his Maker;-makes sin to be no evil, and morality or virtue to be no good;—and, that it precludes the use of means, and is of the most gloomy tendency. : The Necessitarians on the other hand, deny these to be legitimate consequences of their doctrine, which they declare to be the most consistent mode of explaining the divine government; and they observe, that the Deity acts no more immorally in decreeing vicious actions, than in permitting all those irregularities which he could so easily have prevented. : All necessity, say they, doth not take away freedom. The actions of a man may be at one and the same time both free and necessary. Thus, it was infallibly certain, that Judas would betray Christ, yet he did it voluntarily; Jesus Christ, necessarily became man, and died, yet he acted freely. A good man doth naturally and necessarily love his children, yet voluntarily. They insist that necessity doth not render actions less morally good; for, “ if necessary virtue be neither moral nor praise worthy, it will follow, that God himself is not a moral being, because he is a necessary.one; and the obedience of Christ cannot be good, because it was necessary." Farther, say they, necessity does not preclude the use of means; for means are no less appointed than the end. It was ordained that Christ should be delivered up to death; but he could not have been betrayed without a betrayer, for crucified without crucifiers. And that it is not a gloomy doctrine they allege, because nothing can be more consolatory than to believe, that all things are under the direction of an Allwise Being; that his kingdom ruleth over all, and that he doeth all things well. It is also observed, that to deny necessity is to deny the foreknowledge of God, and to wrest the sceptre from the hand of the Creator, and to place that capricious and undefinable principle, the self determining power of man, upon the throne of the universe. Besides, say they, the scripture places the doctrine beyond all doubt, and they quote in their favour Job xxiii. 13, 14. Job xxxiv. 29. Prov. xvi. 4. Isa. xlv. 7. St. Matth. X. 29, 30. St. Luke xxiv, 26. St. John vi. 37. Acts xiï. 48. &c.
The principal writers on the side of Necessity are, Hobbes, Collins, Leibnitz, Hume, Hutcheson, Kaimes, Hartley, Edwards, Priestley, Crombie, Toplady, 'T.and W. Belsham, and perhaps Locke.* Of these, Hartley, Hume, and Priestley, are perhaps the most profound reasoners, and Lord Kaimes, the most perspicuous writer, on the subject.
On the other side are, Clarke, King, Law, Reid, Butler, Price, Bryant, Wollaston, Beattie, Horseley, Gregory, Butterworth, &c.
This doctrine of Necessity is nearly connected with that of Predestination, which, of late years, has assumed a form very different from that which it formerly possessed; for, instead of being consi
* Several others have taken part with the advocates for Necessity, as Mr. Forsyth, in his Principles of Moral Science, Judge Cooper, &c. “The time seems to have arrived," says the latter of these gentlemen, “when the separate existence of the human soul, the freedom of the will, and the eternal duration of future punishment, like the doctrines of the Trinity, and Transubstantiation, may be regarded as no longer entitled to public discussion."- Appendix, No. 2. to Memoirs of Dr. Priesiley, vol. 1. p. 335.
Interest reipublicæ ut denique sit finis litiumg is a maxim of technical law; the same will equally apply to philosophy and religion ; and what shorter way than this can be de. vised of settling sonie of the most knotty and perplexing controversies? VOL. II.