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ASTOR LENOX AND TILSEK FOUNDATIONS 19:3

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COPY-RIGHT.

District of Vermont, to wit:

********

BE IT REMEMBERED, that on the twentieth day

of October, in the Forty-fifth of the lude. SEAL. pendence of the United States of America, ******** NICHOLAS BAYLIES, Esq. of the said District, hath deposited in this office, the title of a Book, the right whereof he claims as proprietor, in the words following, to wil :

An Essay, concerning the free agency of man, or the powers and Faculties of the Human Mind, the Decrees of God, Moral Obligation, Natural Law, and Morality.

In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled “ An Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the Authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned ;" and also to the Act, entitled “ An Act supplementary to the Act, entitled, “ An Act, for the encouragement of learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the Authors and proprietors of such Copies, during the times therein mentioned, and extending the benefits thereof to the Arts of designing, engraving and etching, historical and other prints.”

JESSE GOVE, Clerk of the District of Vermont.

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PREFACE.

To reconcile the decrees of God with the free agency of man, is a subject which has received the attention of metaphysi. cians in different ages of the world: sometimes they have denied the decrees, or explained them as "conditional; and sometimes they have denied free agency, or explained it, so as to be no agency at all.-.The author of this Essay, has attempted to prove that man is a free agent, free in willing, as well as in doing what he wills; and that this freedom is consistent with the absolute, and eternal decrees of God respecting him. But in order to do this, the author has been obliged to take a different view of man from what has been ta. ken, and one, which he believes, is more agreeable to nature : he considers, that the human mind has two powers, called the Understanding and the Will; the understanding is the passive power of the mind, including all the affections, the exercises of which are effects produced by the operations of objects, and the quality of these exercises depends on the nature of the mind, and the nature of the objects that affect the mind. The will is the active pow

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To prove

er of the mind, and its exercises are not effects ; but the mind always wills with liberty or freedom. The author defines liberty or freedom in willing to be “the mind beginning regulating, continuing, and ending its volition without any thing to act on the mind so as therein to produce, or prevent volition.” that the mind has this liberty in willing, the author has adopted none of the absurd notions of arminians, or fatalists, and has called in question the reasoning of those, who hold that volitions are effects produced by motives, or by some other cause.He has also taken a concise view of original sin, natural depravity, foreknowledge, decrees, election, and regeneration as treated of in the scriptures, and has shewn, that these doctrines are not opposed to the liberty of the mind in willing.

From the observations made on various subjects, it appears that God is not the Author of our

The writer has attempted to prove, that moral obligation is imposed on the virtuous mind by its choice in objects; and that the understanding of the depraved mind cannot comply with the precepts of the Bible, that require virtuous exercises of the affections before regeneration ; but his will can obey all the precepts, that are promulgated to govern it. The author in

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sists that the mind is as dependent on God for right affections, and the exercises of them, as the Calvinists contend, and at the same time God does not govern the will by force, nor produce any of its voli. tions. If the author has rightly described the powers and faculties of the mind, the reader will know it; for as a very ingenious writer

says,

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“ when the powers of the human mind shall be delineated truly and according to nature, those whose vision is not distorted by prejudice will recognise their own features in the picture.” The author had it first in contemplation of publishing Burlamaqui's principles of Natural Law, with additional chapters on the powers and faculties of the mind, which may be considered the reason why so many pages of his writings are incorporated into this work, without credit being given where they are copied; but the reader will notice, that whatever is borrowed, is credited in the table of contents. The author has made such alterations in what he has borrowed, as he thought would best answer bis purpose to establish the principles of human liberty, for wbich he contends.

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