« PreviousContinue »
men, it only implies, that such wisdom in them would be well pleasing to him. Befides, such a mode of speaking may be used, either by way of complaint of ignorance, or as expressing pity for it, or as upbraiding with it, and that in order either to bring to a sense of it, and encourage to apply to him for wisdom, who gives it liberally, or to leave inexcusable. But,
V. The words are not deliver'd in the form of a wish, but are an hypothetical propofition. The Hebrew word 15, signifies if', and the whole verse should be render'd thus ; If they were wilė, they would understand this; they would consider their latter end: And supposing them to be understood in a spiritual sense, the meaning is; had they been wise to do good, as they are to do evil, they would have understood the things that belong to their spiritual peace and welfare, and would have seriously consider'd the last issue and end of all things, and themselves; but they are not wise in things divine and spiritual, and therefore have no understanding of
• The three Targums of Onkelos, Jonathan and Jerusalem, render it by 12x, if ; as do alfo R. Sol. Jarchi, R Aben Ezra, and R. Levi Ben Gersom, in loc. So Nolaius in Concord. partic. Ebr. Chald. P 503. translates the words, si saperent, intelligerent ifta ; fo the Arabic and Syriac versions. The Septuagint seems to have read xh for 5 Gnce they render them ex epeyvnd av ouviera, they were not wife to understand, so the Samaritan version.
them ; por do they conīder the end o! their finful actions, nor the end of their days, how short it is, how nigh at han, nor that awful judgment that will be after death, nor their final doom, or whe ther they shall go to heaven or bell. Thr,
VI. After all, the words are to be t
?! stood of things temporal, and 110' 07! winge concerns the spiritual and eternal vilices ryt any. Instances of God's goodneti t'; !:26 people of Israel, are at large teritorijpen, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. Fler tila, se many Ens againft God, and
a thousand, i. e. one Gentile a thousand If raelites; and two put ten thousand to flight, except their rock bad fold them, and the Lord bad shut them up? ver. 30. They would also have consider'd their own end, or what must befal them in length of time ; that as God had, cut off and destroy'd his people Israel for their fins, so they might expect the same destruction for iniquities of a like kind. Now since this is the plain and obvious sense of the words, they cannot be used with any propriety in the controversy about the doctrines of distinguishing grace.
NUMB. VII. Pfal. Ixxxi. 13, 14. O that my people had hearkened unto me, and
Israel had walked in my ways: I should foon have subdued their enemies, and turned my
hand against their adversaries.
HIS passage is produced by the Reo monstrants, to prove
the resistibility of the grace of God in conversion ", in favour of the defectibility of the saints, and by a late writer, as irreconcileable with God's decrees of election and reprobation, and the doctrine of particular redemption,
* In Coll. Hag. Art. iii, iv. p. 216, 219. Art. v. p. 15. Ed. Bert. o Whitby, p. 77, 181,222.
and as proving that men have a sufficiency of ability to do what God wishes they would do. But let it be consider'd,
I. That admitting the words contain a wish and defire of God for the spiritual welfare and conversion of men, such a wish can only be ascribed to him in a figurative fense, as has been observed under the preceding number. Wishing cannot be attributed to God in such sense as it is to man, who often wishes for that which is not in his power to perform, and therefore desires it to be done by another ; which cannot be faid of God, without impeaching his omnips
When God is said to wish for ard defire, as we will suppose here, the concesfion and obedience of men, it only in any that these would be gratefil 1:; fing to him; and not that enhali, power of man co caseros obey the commands Ga. determining wil sice dual of massa obey his como: him ; for ren verted and cler fuppofe it as please, des as guishing 23 ing, and
with only declares what God approves of, and not what he determines shall be.
II. The wish for the spiritual welfare of the persons here mention'd, supposing it to be one, is only for the people of Israel, God's professing people, and whom he calls my people, and not all mankind, or every individual son of Adam ; as it ought to have been, could it be thought to milicate against the election, redemption, and effectual vocation of some particular persons only ; and besides, it will be difficult to prove that these persons spoken of, noiwithstanding all their perverseness, rebellion and misconduct, were not chosen of God, redeemed by Christ, and savingly wrought upon by the power of divine grace, and finally saved.
III. The words, if duly examined, will appear not to contain any wish at all, but an hypothesis or suppofition, being to be read thus ; If my people had hearken'd unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways, I should, &c. R. Sol. Jarchi interprets 15 by max, and R. Aben Ezra by 159x, and the Septuagint by éı ; all which fignify if ; so the Syriac, Arabic, Ethiopic, Vulgar Latin, Vatablus, Junius and Tremellius, read the words; therefore, as the Contra Remons In Coll. Hag. Art. iii, iv. p. 232.