The Names which the Scripture expresseth that by, which we call Free-Will.
THe next thing in our method that will be explicating of the Doctrine, is to take notice of, What names the Scripture useth to express this thing by, that we call Free-will; for free-will is not a Scripture name, but Ecclesialsical, yet the sence of it is in the Scripture; for 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, is often used in the Scripture, to will, and that in such things wherein freedome is necessarily supposed, Luk. 22. 9. Where wilt thou, that we prepare a place? Joh. 9. 27. Wherefore would ye hear it again, will ye also be his Disciple? Act 7. 28, wilt thou kill me also, &c. and in many other places, hence 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is used for the free-will of a man, 1 Cor. 7. 37, and indeed it is disputed, whether to do a thing voluntariè, and liberè, voluntarily and freely be not all one, and so libertas, and voluntas, only voluntas denoteth the power and liberty, the qualification of it in its working. Jansenius is most consident, that in Austin's constant dispute with the Pelagians, liberum arbitrium, is no more then voluntas, and that to do a thing freely, is no more then to do it voluntarily; this he maintaineth against the Jesuites, and withall wonders at a late Writer of their own (whom he na∣meth not) which writeth, that the word servum arbitrium, was not heard in the Church of God for fifteen hundred yeares, It is Bellarmine that saith so, but our Divines had detected this falshood long before Jansenius. Howsoever Austin may use the word, yet the Scripture expresseth that which we call the will by, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. A second word to express liberty is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, liberty, yet this is not so much applied to the liberty of the will, as to the liberty of a man, as here in the Text, the sonne shall make you free, your persons not your wils; but because there is an universal bondage in all the powers of the soul to sinne, blindness in the mind, contumacy in the will; (for Quid est libertas sine gratiâ, nisi contumacia.) What is liberty in the will without grace, but contumacy against God, and a wilfull delight in evil wayes, Inordinacy in the affections: therefore the person is said to be made free, not but that the will is principally included in this, only the will is not all that is made free, 2 Cor 3. 17, where the spirit of the Lord is, thereby is liberty; It's from the Spirit of God we obtain liberty from sinne, and also from servile slavish feares. The Jesuites would have this liberty nothing to the purpose in the controversie de libero arbirio, for (say they) this is a spiritual mistical liberty, libertas à peccate, and they are treating of libertas naturae, which they make to consist in an indifferency to good or evil, but by their favour this is a proper liberty, and it is this that the Pelagians did most controvert about, and still the proper dis∣pute between the orthodox and their adversaries is in this particular, Whether there be any liberty or freedome in a mans will without grace to shake off the demi∣nion of sinne, so that they keep most properly to the state of the question, who are diligent in the opening of the nature of this liberty. Another word which the Scripture useth to express this free-will by, is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, 1 Pet. 5. 2, Phil. 1. 4, and this is very proper and full, when we do a thing not by constraint, or by a natural necessity, then we do it freely, therein we shew our liberty, so that liberty doth oppose coaction and natural necessity; It is im∣possible Page 308 the will should in its immediate elicite acts be compelled, for then it should be voluntas and noluntas, at the same time; then velle would be nolle, which is an high contradiction: Therefore liberty doth necessarly oppose constraint, but 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, doth also oppose a natural necessity (I say) a natural necessity (for there are other necessities that liberty doth consist with, yea and the more necessary the more free, as in time is to be shewed.) Thus though the stone hath an inclination to descend downwards, yet because the stones motion is from a natural necessary principle, therefore it is not free: Beasts likewise though, they exceed the inanimate creatures, yet they do not agere〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, voluntarily. They do act spontaneously, but not voluntary, because a natural principle of sence doth determine them. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 indeed, Heb. 10. 26, is translated wilfully, If we sinne wilfully after we have known the truth; but there it signifieth an high degree of the obstinacy of the will, and a confirma∣tion in evil against great light and knowledge; but commonly it signifieth doing a thing, so as not to be constrained to it. Platonical Philosophers call free-will 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, too proud a word to be given to a creature; and there∣fore the ancient Greek Fathers being many of them Platonists, did greatly obscure the glory of grace by receiving Platonical words, of which this is one: Indeed they gave to God 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, but yet 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, is too much for a crea∣ture, which hath a necessity of subordination to God, and dependency on him. The Stoicks they express free-will by 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, that which is in our own power. The Aristotelians express it by 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, which is the Scripture expression like∣wise; Though the Scripture and Aristotelians differ as much as light and dark∣ness about the nature of liberty, As the Ancients by following Platonical Phi∣losophy: so the Neotericks (especially the Jesuites by following Aristotle,) have greatly prejudiced the Doctrine of free-grace, setting up free-will in the room thereof. There is one expression more, and the Scripture hath it but once, which is the most emphatical in describing of this liberty, and that is 1 Cor. 7. 37. Having power over a mans own will,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, for liberty lieth in some kinds of some dominion to have our own will; hence in liberty we may conceive something Negative and something Positive; Negative, and that is not to be compelled, not to be constrained, not to be inslaved: Positive, and that is to have some power and dominion over the actions of our will, as the Apostle instanceth in him, who had decreed to keep his virgin from marriage, This man is said to have power over his own will. By these Scripture words we may come to understand in a great measure, what liberty and freedome of will is.