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fecutions of wicked men, to which the faints are often fubject, shall not reft, always continue and abide, upon the lot, not the back, as Dr. Whitby cites the words, of the righteous, meaning either their persons or their goods, left the righteous, who are made fo by the righteousness of Chrift, put forth their hands unto iniquity, h. e. left, through the oppreffions of wicked men, the inftigation of Satan and their own hearts, they should be moved to that which would difhonour God, bring a reproach on his ways, and wound their own fouls; all which they may do, and yet not cease to be faints, true believers, truly good men; as the inftances of David, Peter, and others, fully make appear. The righteous may put forth their hands unto iniquity, and fall into great fins, and yet not totally fall away, or fo fall as to be loft and perish; total apoflacy is not intended by putting forth their hands unto iniquity.

III. 'Tis ftranger ftill, that the care of God to prevent the righteous putting forth their hands unto iniquity, fhould be improved into an argument against their perfeverance, and in favour of their apoftacy. It will be readily allow'd, that what God is thus careful to prevent, even fuppofe a total apoftacy was meant, might poffibly befal the righteous, fhould they be left to

them

THE

NUMB. IX. Pfal. cxlv. 9.

The Lord is good to all; and bis tender mercies are over all his works.

TH

HE doctrines of election and reprobation, and of particular redemption, are represented as contrary to the general mercy and goodness of God expressed in this passage: With a view to these doctrines 'tis afk'd by one writer, "Why is it faid, that bis tender mercies are over all bis works, if they are so restrained from his most noble creatures? and it is obferved by another, "That it should not be faid, His tender mercies are over all his works; but his cruelties are over all his works". To which I reply,

C

I. That the faid doctrines do not reftrain the tender mercies of God in a providential way, of which this text only fpeaks, as will be shewn hereafter, from any of his creatures; no, not even from the non-elect, or those who have no fhare in the fpecial grace and favour of God, and who are not eventually faved; though these should not be reckon'd God's most noble creatures; for fure

b Whitby, p. 159.

f Curcellaei Relig. Chrift. Instit. 1. 6. c.6. §. 8. p. 370. Whitby, p. 1592 177.

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ed by God upon any of his creatures; but of his providential goodness, which extends to them all, even to the brutal world, to all irrational as well as rational creatures, as appears from ver. 15, 16. compared with Pfal. cxlvii. 8, 9. who have no concern in election and redemption; fo that if these words should be fo understood, as to relate to the bleffings of fpiritual and eternal falvation, they would prove too much, more than our opponents defire; namely, that thefe bleffings are provided for, and extend unto irrational creatures, yea, even to all the works of God, of every kind and fort. Therefore,

IV. The faid doctrines are not at all repugnant to thefe univerfal expreffions of God's goodnefs and mercy, fince the nonelect, or fuch who have no faving benefit by the death of Chrift, have a share in the providential goodness and tender mercies of God; who makes his fun to rife on the evil and on the good, and fendeth rain on the juft and on the unjust, and is kind to the unthankful and to the evil: Nay, oftentimes the worft of men have the greatest share of the good things of this world; their eyes ftand out with fatness, and they have more than heart could wish; their temporal mercies are oftentimes larger than those that the dear

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