REPLY TO THE PRINCIPAL ARGUMENTS BY WHICH THE CALVINISTS AND THE FATALISTS SUPPORT THE DOCTRINE OF ABSOLUTE NECESSITY:
BEING REMARKS ON THE REV. MR. TOPLADY'S "SCHEME OF CHRISTIAN AND PHILOSOPHICAL NECESSITY."
By John Fletcher"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit." Col. 2: 8
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MR. VOLTAIRE at the head of the Deists abroad; President Edwards and Mr. Toplady at the head of the Calvinists in Americand G a reat Britain; and Dr. Hartley, seconded by Dr. Priestley and Mr. Hume, at the head of many ingenious philosophers, have of late years joined their literary forces to bind man with what Mr. Toplady calls "ineluctabilis ordo rerum," or "the extensive series of adamantine links," which form the chain of "absolute necessity." An invisible chain this, by which, if their scheme be true, God and nature inevitably biupon us nd all our thoughts and actions; so that no good man can absolutely think or do worseno wicked man can at any time think or do better than he does, each exactly filling up the measure of unavoidable virtue or vice which God, as the first cause, or the predestinating and necessitating author of all things, has allotted to him from all eternity.Mr. Toplady triumphs in seeing the rapid progress which this doctrine makes, by the help of the above-mentioned authors, who shine with distinguished lustre in the learned world. "Mr. Wesley," says he, "laments that necessity is 'the scheme which is now adopted by not a few of the most sensible men in the nation.' I agree with him as to the fact: but I cannot deplore it as a calamity.
The progress which that doctrine has of late years made, and is still making in the kingdom, I consider as a most happy and promising symptom," &c.
I flatter myself that I shall by and by show, upon theological principles, the mischievous absurdity of that spreading doctrine, in an Answer to Mr. Toplady's Vindication of the Decrees. But as he has lately published a book entitled, "The scheme of Christian and Philosophical Necessity, asserted in opposition to Mr. J. Wesley's Tract on that Subject;" and as he has advanced in that book some arguments taken from philosophy and Scripture, I shall now take notice of them. To defend truth effectually, error must be entirely demohed. lis Therefore, without any farther apology, I present the lovers of truth with the following refutation of the grand error which supports the Calvinian and Voltarian gospels.