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were the more immediate Care of these Heroes while living: But the same Considerations which produced the first Species of Fate, in a little time, extended it to Particulars. And this is the civil or ASTROLOGIC Fate. Hitherto, Free-will was only curbed, or rendered useless. To annihilate it quite, needed all the Power of Philosophy. So true is the Observation, that without Philosophy Man can hardly become either thoroughly absurd or miserable.
The Sophift, in his profound Inquiries into human Nature, and on what it is We do, when we judge, deliberate, and resolve, came at length to this Thort Conclusion, That the Mind is no more than a Machine, and that its Operations are determined in the same Manner that a Ballance is inclined by its Weights. This absolute Necessity of Man's Actions is the third Species of Fate, called the PHILOSOPHIC.
From this, to the last, that is to say, the Necessity of God's, was an easy
Step. For when, from the very Nature of Mind and Will, the Philofopher had demonstrated the Absurdity of Freedom in Man, the fame Conclusion would hold as to all other Beings whatsoever. And this is the ATHEISTIC Fate.
These, Sir, were the glorious Effects of Pride: which our incomparable Friend, with so good Reason, esteems the Source of all our Misery and Impiety. The Pride of accounting for the Ways of Providence begot the two first Species; and the Pride of comprehending the Esences of Things, the two latter.
Ab! misera mens bominum, quo te FATA fæpisime trahunt ! In the Name of Paul, if one might be allowed to ask, What mall deliver us from the Body of this Fate? which hangs about the Soul like that Punishment of the ancient Tyrant, who bound dead Bodies to the living. I answer, the Religion of Jesus: which hath instructed us as clearly in
the Nature of Man, as in the Nature of God; in the Subject, as well as in the Object, of Worship. A Worship founded, as Reason and Conscience tell us it ought, on these two great Principles, the FREEDOM and the WEAKNESS of Man. The first, making our Approach to God a REASONABLE SERVICE; the latter, God's Approach to us a CoveNANT OF GRACE. And this, Sir, is that glorious Gospel, which you are not ashamed to adore, as able to put to Silence the Ignorance of foolish Men.
And, in fact, the fashionable Reafoner is now gone over to the Cause of Liberty; but still true to his overweening Pride, is gone over—in the other Extreme, Let the Fatalift talk what he pleases of the Mind's being a Ballance; if its Operations be mechanical, I am sure it is more like a Pendulum, which, when well leaded, is incessantly swinging from one side to the other. For the vain Reasoner is now as much disposed to deny the Weakness of the
Mind, as before to deny its Freedom. Hence it is, we see the Christian Doctrine of Grace despised and laughed at; and the Means instituted by its Founder for obtaining it, as impiously as sophistically, explained away. Yet without human Freedom Religion in general is a Farce; and but on the Truth of human Weakness, the Religion of Jesus, a Falsehood.
With regard then to Free-will, what need we more than the Declaration of Religion? The simple-minded Man naturally supposes it; the good Man feels it; the thinking Man understands it; and nothing but vain Philosophy holds out both against Nature and Grace: Not fo openly indeed as formerly; but still as obstinately. The ablest Advocates of Necesty now inveloping it in Systems; and insinuating it in all the artful Detours of what they call a sufficient Reason.
None have gone farther, or with more Success, into this Contrivance than the famous Leibnitz; who with
great Parts and Application of Mind, had an immoderate Ambition of becoming Founder of a Sect. He first attempted to raise a Name, like the Heroes of old, by the Invasion of another's Property: But being detected and repulfed, he turned himself to Invention; and framed an Hypothesis in direct Opposition to that Theory which he before seemed willing to have made
This Hypothefis, founded in a refined Fatalism, he chose to deliver by Hints only, and in piece-meal ; which, at the same time that it gave his Scheme an Air of Depth and MyAtery, kept its Absurdities from being observed. So that it soon made its Fortune amongst the German Wits; who were not out of their way when they took the same deep and cloudy Road with their Master. It was no Wonder then, that this should raise a Jealousy in the Advocates of Religion, and make the warmer fort of them (not the best at a charitable Distinction, tho' great