« PreviousContinue »
when he earnestly wishes and desires the - welfare of men, and that they had fpiritual wisdom ; and yet
he himself has decreed cơ leave them without a Saviour, and without means of being fpiritually wise 3 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 it ought to be proved, that God does passionately with the spiritual and eternal welfare of all mankind, or defires that every individual of human nature might have fpiritual wisdom to know his spiritual estate, and consider his latter end ; since it is evident chat he does not afford to every fon of Adam the means of being spiritually wise ; and it is certain, that these words do not express such an univerfal 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 some, and not of every individual of men, cannot militare againit 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 chosen to eternal life, whom Christ has redeem'd by his blood, and to whom the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of themselves and Christ is given ; or, in other words, that God wishes and desires the spiricual welfare of fuch, and spiritual wisdom for such, who, in the event, are not eternally saved.
III. It ought to be consider'd, whether these words regard the spiritual welfare of any, or contain in them a wish for wisdom and understanding in spiritual things ; or racher, whether they do not only regard things temporal, and the knowledge of them, as will quickly be made to appear.
IV. Supposing the words to contain a wish for wisdom and understanding in spiritual things ; such a with must be ascribed to God, noc properly, but by an anthropopachy, or after the manner of men; wishes and velleities are improperly, or, in a figurative way, attributed to God; nor do they suppose any imperfection in him, or sufficiency in his creatures ; nor do such necessarily imply that it is his will co give that wisdom he wishes for ; nor do they lay him under obligation even to afford che ineans of spiritual wisdom; but as a man wishes for that which is grateful and agreeable to him, so when God wishes for spiritual wisdom in 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 exprefsing 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 chus; 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 128, 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. translates the words, si faperent, intelligerent ifta; so the Arabic and Syriac verlions. The Septuagint seems to have read x for 15, Gince they render them i'r e peøvnd av ouviera, they were not wife to understand, fo the Samaritan version.
them; nor c
thousand, i. e. one Gentile a thousand If raelites; and two put ten thousand to fight, except their rock bad fold them, and the Lord bad fout them up? ver. 30. They would also have confider'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 diftinguishing grace.
NUMB. VII. Pfal. Ixxxi. 13, 14. O that my people had hearkened unto me, and 'Ifrael had walked in my ways: I Mould foon bave subdued their enemies, and turn
hand against their adversaries.
HIS passage is produced by the Re
monstrants, to prove the resistibility of the grace of God in conversions, 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. y Whitby, p. 77, 181,222.