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which should befal the people of Israel, according to their civil behaviour and conduct. That people were under the inimediate government of God; he was their
political king and head. Moses, from him, gave a system of laws to them, as a body politic; according to their obedience, to which laws, they and their seed were to live and dwell in, and enjoy all the temporal blessings of the land of Canaan, as appears from ver. 16, 20. but if they disobey'd, they were to expect cursing and death, captivity and the sword, and not prolong their days in the land they were going to possess; as is evident from ver. 17, 18. Therefore Mofes advises them to chuse life, that is, to behave according to those laws given them as a commonwealth ; that so they, under the happy government they were, might comfortably live, and they and their posterity enjoy all the blessings of a civil life in the land of promise. What comes nearest to such a case, and may serve to illustrate it, is, as if a person should represent the wholesome constitution and laws of Great-Britain, preserved under the government of his majesty king George, with all the consequent blessings and happiness thereof, and also the sad and miserable condition it would be in under a popish Pretender; and then observe, that it would be most desireable, adviseable, and eligible, peaceably to con
tinue under the government of the
than to receive the yoke of the other. To chuse the one, is to chuse liberty and property, blessing and life, and every thing that is valuable, in a civil sense; to chuse the ocher, is to chuse slavery and arbitrary power, cursing and death, and every thing that is miserable and destructive. Now it is allowed, that man has a power of willing and nilling, chusing and refusing, acting or not acting, in things of a civil nature : Therefore these words can be of no service, nor ought they to have a place or concern in the controversy about the power and liberty of the will in things spiritual.
NUMB. VI. Deut. xxxii. 29. O that they were wise, that they understood
this ; that they would consider their latter end.
HESE words are made use of to con
tradict 'the doctrines of absolute election, particular redemption and unfrustrable grace in conversion ; ’ris incimated', that on supposition of these doctrines, they would represent the God of fincerity and truth as full of guile and hypocrisy, when he earnestly wishes and desires the - welfare of men, and that they had spiritual wisdom; and yet
r Whitby, p. 181, 222, 223.
he himself has decreed to leave them without a Saviour, and without means of being fpiricually wise ; which is all one as though he had passionately wished they had been of the number of his elect, when he himself, by an absolute decree from all eternity, had excluded them out of that number. In answer to which, let it be observ’d,
I. That ic ought to be proved, that God does passionately with the spiritual and eternal welfare of all mankind, or desires that every individual of human nature might have fpiritual wisdom to know his spiritual estate, and consider his latter end ; since it is evident that he does not afford to every son of Adam the means of being spiritually wise; and it is certain, that these words do not express such an universal wish ; for they only regard a part of mankind, either the people of Israel, or the adversaries of Israel, as will be seen hereafter ; and therefore being spoken only of fome, and not of every individual of men, cannot milicare against the election and redemption of some only.
II. It ought to be proved, that God wishes or desires the spiritual welfare of, or spiritual wisdom for any, but those whom
he has chover. I mi se V30'I
III. It ought to be contider'd, whether