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tinue under the government of the one, than to receive the yoke of the other. To chuse the one, is to chufe liberty and property, bleffing and life, and every thing that is valuable, in a civil fenfe; to chufe the other, is to chufe flavery and arbitrary power, curfing and death, and every thing that is miferable and deftructive. Now it is allowed, that man has a power of willing and nilling, chufing and refufing, acting or not acting, in things of a civil nature: Therefore these words can be of no fervice, nor ought they to have a place or concern in the controverfy about the power and liberty of the will in things fpiritual.

NUMB. VI. Deut. xxxii. 29.

O that they were wife,

that they understood this; that they would confider their latter end.


HESE words are made ufe of to con

tradict the doctrines of abfolute election, particular redemption and unfruftrable grace in converfion; 'tis intimated', that on fuppofition of thefe doctrines, they would reprefent the God of fincerity and truth as full of guile and hypocrify,

Whitby, p. 181, 222, 223.


when he earnestly wishes and defires the welfare of men, and that they had spiritual wisdom; and yet he himself has decreed to leave them without a Saviour, and without means of being fpiritually wife; which is all one as though he had paffionately 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 obferv'd,

I. That it ought to be proved, that God does paffionately with the fpiritual and eternal welfare of all mankind, or defires that every individual of human nature might have spiritual wifdom to know his spiritual eftate, and confider his latter end; fince it is evident that he does not afford to every fon of Adam the means of being fpiritually wife; and it is certain, that these words do not exprefs fuch an univerfal wish; for they only regard a part of mankind, either the people of Ifrael, or the adverfaries of Ifrael, as will be feen hereafter; and therefore being spoken only of fome, and not of every individual of men, cannot militate against the election and redemption of fome only.

II. It ought to be proved, that God wishes or defires the fpiritual welfare of, or fpiritual wisdom for any, but those whom


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the fpiritual welfare of tuch, and puntual wildom for fuch, 2, in the event, are not eternally faved.

III. It ought to be conüder'd, whether these words regard the fpiritual welfare of any, or contain in them a wifh for wisdom and understanding in fpiritual things; or rather, whether they do not only regard things temporal, and the knowledge of them, as will quickly be made to appear.

IV. Suppofing the words to coralsam fo for wisdom and understanding i things; fuch a wat God, not property, bun

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men, it only implies, that fuch wisdom in them would be well pleafing to him. Befides, fuch a mode of speaking may be used, either by way of complaint of ignorance, or as expreffing pity for it, or as upbraiding with it, and that in order either to bring to a fense of it, and encourage to apply to him for wisdom, who gives it liberally, or to leave inexcufable. But,

V. The words are not deliver'd in the form of a wish, but are an hypothetical propofition. The Hebrew word 15, fignifies if, and the whole verse should be render'd thus; If they were wife, they would understand this; they would confider their latter end: And fuppofing them to be understood in a spiritual fense, the meaning is; had they been wife to do good, as they are to do evil, they would have understood the things that belong to their fpiritual peace and welfare, and would have feriously confider'd the laft iffue and end of all things, and themselves; but they are not wife in things divine and fpiritual, and therefore have no understanding of

The three Targums of Onkelos, Jonathan and Jerufalem, render it by 17, if; as do alfo R. Sol. Jarchi, R. Aben Ezra, and R. Levi Ben Gerfom, in loc. So Nolaius in Concord. partic. Ebr. Chald. p 503. tranflates the words, si faperent, intelligerent ifta; fo the Arabic and Syriac verfions. The Septuagint feems to have read for 1, fince they render them ἐκ ἐφρύνησαν συνιέναι, they were not wife to underland, fo the Samaritan verfion.



them; nor do they confider the end of their finful actions, nor the end of their days, how short it is, how nigh at hand, nor that awful judgment that will follow after death, nor their final doom, or wh ther they fhall go to heaven or hell. The,

VI. After all, the words are to be under ftood of things temporal, and no of wher concerns the fpiritual and eternal welfare of any. Inftances of God's goodne to the people of Ifrael, are at large reciter is ver 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. After that, ther many Ene againft God, and great ingratuss to him, are mention'd in ver. 15, 16, 198 which drew God's releumer and and w tion agamit them, exprefet i treg of man ever wigments, de 29 20,21 22, 23 12 11 vici le veter oned on them, but that de

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Tr, Cur band is bign, and the Lord
come all' Ais, ver. 27, for he kuere that
were a nation coid of cand; neither was
here any underglanding in them, ver. 28.
for if they had been wij?, they could have
understood this, that the deftruction of the
people of Ifrael was of God, and r
diera; for otherwile", how flow d

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