Chance is but a mere name, and really nothing in itself; a conception of our minds, and only a compendious way of speaking, whereby we would express that such effects as are commonly attributed to chance were verily produced by their true and proper causes, but without their design to produce them.
It is strictly and philosophically true in nature and reason, that there is no such thing as chance or accident; it being evident that these words do not signify anything really existing, anything that is truly an agent or the cause of any event; but they signify merely mens ignorance of the real and immediate cause.
Time and chance happeneth to them all. Eccl.ix. 11. The meaning is, that the success of these outward things is not always carried by desert, but by chance in regard to us, though by Providence in regard of God.
Some utterly proscribe the name of chance, as a word of impious and profane signification; and indeed if taken by us in that sense in which it was used by the heathen, so as to make anything casual in respect to God himself, their exception ought justly to be admitted.
To say a thing is chance or casualty, as it relates to second causes, is not profaneness, but a great truth; as signifying no more than that there are some events beside the knowledge, purpose, expectation, and power of second causes.