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in twenty-four dialogues ; these, with a dialogue, composed, as it has been thought, by Nicole, and annexed to the last volume of “ Les Provinciales,” which were published under the fictitious name of Montalte, unfold the nature of the controversy, in which the able and animated polemics of that period

involved, with sufficient detail and amplitude. It would be uncandid and unjust to withhold all praise and adiniration from the laborious efforts of many of those great men, who, with the best intentions, have endeavoured to remove the

remove the veil which is thrown over these profound and difficult subjects; of their success it may be proper to speak less confidently.

If, to the numerous and acute metaphysicians, to whom we have alluded, be added the names of Thomas Aquinas, Bradwardine, Baxter, Bayle, Hobbes, Bramhall, Crousaz, Placette, Leibnitz, Jurieu, Bossuet, Locke, Collins, Clarke, Butler, Jonathan Edwards, Reid, &c. men of comprehensive intellect, deep penetration, superior powers of reasoning, and unwearied diligence; if men, gifted as these,

have been found unequal to the task of clearing away the difficulties, and dispelling the shades which encumber and darken the subject of human liberty and divine influence, a lesson of modesty and humility, at least, is bequeathed to those who may be tempted to resolve the questions with little distrust of their own sufficiency. The lively agency of a passionate curiosity has frequently stimulated its subject to enter upon high and arduous undertakings, and to pursue them with a vigour and steadiness not surpassed in cases where the lust of ambition, or the avidity of gain, have awakened and impelled the exertions of others. The magical power of the imagination readily swells a favourite object beyond its true dimensions, and confers a dignity and importance upon it, which a chastised reason, measuring by a more correct standard, reduces and disallows; nor can the mind, when importuned by a restless inquisitiveness, be easily restrained from expatiating in regions where there is neither ра nor guide; where effort is eluded by tenuity, and progress mocked by circuition.

It seems to have been the opinion of Mr. Hey, that the only substantial difference which subsists between moderate Calvinists and Arminians, is in the doctrine of final perseverance; whether, for instance, the influences of the Holy Spirit are ever finally withdrawn from any of those persons to whom they have been once communicated. If this be so, it is greatly to be regretted, that so much time and labour should have been mis. employed, and so much improper feeling excited and cherished, upon a curious and doubtful speculation; and one which, to a fair and upright mind, cannot be of much practical importance. But the questions how, and in what manner, the human will is determined, whether grace be irresistible, as well as indefectible, have been agitated with still greater copiousness and assiduity. It may admit of considerable doubt, whether we, standing in the capacity of accountable beings, are greatly concerned in inquiries of this kind. The Holy Scriptures address men as moral agents and responsible creatures, who possess dispositions, and perform actions, deserving praise or blame, punishment or reward; and we are accustomed to treat each other as if we were thus constituted. To engage in a laborious perquisition after the mode in which our volitions are produced, is of much the same consequence to us, as how the perceptions of the mind are excited, whether through the medium of an external world, or by the immediate agency of the Deity; we must, under the

; admission of either hypothesis, conduct ourselves as if matter were in contact with us, and human actions were spontaneous.

We are subjects under the government of God, and have received those laws and statutes from our supreme Legislator, by which we are now to be ruled, and finally judged. The matter of our duty lies with sufficient clearness before us, for all useful and practical purposes; but it is surely no important part of it to ascertain how, and in what manner, the Divine Providence conducts the affairs, and superintends the actions and thoughts of men, so as to accomplish his wise and holy purposes. That it highly concerns us

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to be found in the exercise of obedience to the revealed will of God, is unquestionable; but to inquire how the free agency of moral beings is compatible with their absolute dependance upon the Creator; whether there be a self-determining power in the mind by which its elections are effected, or the soul must be always influenced by extrinsic causes in its volitions; whether, in short, there be any medium interposed between the Creator and his creatures, are matters with which our moral improvement and happiness have little connexion. What the force of prejudice, the seduction of sophistry, or a subtle and disingenuous casuistry, may induce a man to

is of little moment, while we see the same person form his purposes, and manage his commerce with his fellow-creatures, as if neither he, nor they, entertained any doubt that a man could bind himself by his promises, and be truly and properly responsible for his engagements. If, then, those who acknowledge the natural government of the world to be under the immediate influence and control of the Deity, never permit me

say,

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