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3. These are the most improper instances that could have been pitched upon, fince they were a peculiar people to the Lord, whom he had chofen to be a special people to himself above all people upon the face of the earth".
II. These paffionate wishes also, suppofing the doctrine of particular redemption, are faid to reprefent God as full of guile, deceit, infincerity, diffimulation and hypocrify; to which I answer,
1. The doctrine of particular redemption is the doctrine of the fcriptures. Chrift died not for all men, but for fome only; who are called his people, his fheep, his church; unless all men can be thought to be the people, fheep, and church of Chrift.
2. The blafphemous charge of guile, deceit, infincerity, diffimulation and hypocrify ought to be removed from God, who cannot lye, deceive, diffemble, or deny himfelf; who is a God of truth, and without iniquity; juft and right is he. Nor,
3. Does fuch a paflionate wish for the good of thefe people, whom God had fo great a regard for, as to redeem from Egyptian bondage, imply any thing of this nature, fuppofing the doctrine of particular redemption: For, as has been obferved in
Deut. vii. 6.
a Whitby, p. 179, 181.
answer to the former question, it ought to be proved, that God has ever ufed fuch expreffions of defire for the falvation of all mankind, and particularly of fuch who are not faved; in which number none will chufe to put the people of Ifrael, especially fince 'tis said ', that all Ifrael fhall be saved. And,
4. After all, these words do not exprefs God's defire of their eternal falvation, but only of their temporal good and welfare, and that of their pofterity; for their eternal falvation was not to be ovained by works of righteouie done by com, by their fear of worn tot uw
ent grace for converfion, and to militate against the neceffity of the unfruftrable operation of his grace in that work.
1. Admitting that the faving work of converfion is here wifh'd for; fuch a wifh does not neceffarily fuppofe that fufficient grace for that work either was or would be given; and if the thing wifhed for was effected, it does not follow from hence, that this was not performed by the unfruftrable operation of God's grace.
2. Allowing that this grace, an heart to fear the Lord, and all that is requifite to it was given to the Ifraelites, it ought not to be concluded from hence, that all men have the fame, or that God wishes the fame to all men.
3. We are not to imagine that fuch velleities and wishes are ftrictly and properly in God; who here fpeaks, as R. Aben Ezra "
-by an Anthropopa כלשון בני אדם obferves
thy, after the manner of men; fuch defires are afcribed to him in the fame way as human paffions and affections are; as anger, grief, repentance, and the like: Nor do fuch wishes and defires declare either what God does or will do ; but what he approves of, and is grateful to him, as are an heart to fear him, and a conftant and univerfal obedience to his commandments.
d In loc.
4. The words are fo render'd by fome. that they exprefs no with or defire in but rather what was to be defired by the raelites themselves; fo the Arabic verion, it should be wished for by them, that fuch an beart would continue in them; that is, fuch an heart as they profeffed to have in ver. 27. when they faid to Mofes, Go thou near, and bear all that the Lord our God fhall fay; and Speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God hall peak unto thee; and we will bear it, and do it. The Lord takes norice of this declaration in ver. 28. I have beard, Lys to de voice of the words of this perpa, the sh well faid all that they base win; and ta adds, according to 2
tinuance of faich an tam to best fhould be very defrable to them
fore they should apply to him for it, and not 'prefume, as they feemed to do, to hearken to his commandments, and obey them in their own ftrength, and without the affiftance of his grace. Or,
5. These words may be confidered as an upbraiding of these people with the want of an heart to fear the Lord, and with wanc of ability to keep all his commandments, and that always, notwithstanding the vain boasts and empty refolutions they had just now made. In the fame manner are we to confider other pathetic expreffions of the like nature; fuch as Deut. xxxii. 28, 29. Pfal. lxxxi. 11, 12, 13.
NU MB. IV. Deut. viii. 2.
And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee, thefe forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldst keep his commandments or no.
T is faid, that it is evident from this
and other paffages of fcripture, that the Rate of man in this world, is a state of trial or probation. It will be proper therefore to make the following enquiries:
f Whitby, p. 305, 314.