The

CAUSE OF GOD AND TRUTH.

Part 1

Section 9—Psalm 145:9.

The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works


The 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, it is asked by one writer,[1] "Why is it said, that his tender mercies are over all his works, if they are so restrained from his most noble creatures?" And it is observed by another,[2] "That it should not be said, his tender mercies are over all his works: but his cruelties are over all his works." To which I reply,

I. That the said doctrines do not restrain the tender mercies of God in a providential way, of which this text only speaks, as will be shown hereafter, from any of his creatures; no, not even from the non-elect, or those who have no share in the special grace and favor of God, and who are not eventually saved; though these should not be reckoned God's most noble creatures:[3] for surely they are not more noble than the elect of God, or those who are saved with an everlasting salvation; or more noble than the angels, who stand, and never left their first estate in which they were created. Admitting also that these doctrines carried in them ideas of cruelty, and want of compassion in God to those who are rejected by him, and excluded from redemption by Christ; yet it should not be concluded from hence, that the cruelties of God are over all his works; since, according to the known tenor of these doctrines, some of God's creatures are chosen by him to eternal life, redeemed by the blood of Christ, and shall be certainly and eternally saved.

II. The said doctrines are not expressive of cruelty in God to mankind, nor inconsistent with his goodness and mercy; nor do they represent God less good, or less merciful, than the doctrines of conditional election and universal redemption do; nay, they represent him more merciful than these do, since they ascertain the salvation of some, whereas these leave the salvation of every man. precarious and uncertain, if not impossible, depending upon the mutable will of the creature.

III. These words are to be understood not of special mercies, or saving benefits, bestowed 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 verses 15, 16, compared with Psalm 147:8, 9, who have no concern in election and redemption; so that if these words should be so understood, as to relate to the blessings of spiritual and eternal salvation, they would prove too much, more than our opponents desire; namely, that these blessing are provided for, and extend unto irrational creatures, yea, even to all the works of God, of every kind and sort. Therefore,

IV. The said doctrines are not at all repugnant to these universal expressions of God's goodness and mercy; since the non-elect, or such who have no saving benefit by the death of Christ, have a share in the providential goodness and tender mercies of God; who makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust, and is kind to the unthankful and to the evil: nay, oftentimes the worst of men have the greatest share of the good things of this World; their eyes stand out with fatness, and they have more than heart could wish: their temporal mercies are oftentimes larger than those, that the dear children of God enjoy; and therefore are not what they have in common with the brutes that perish;[4] God takes more care of them than of oxen, or the fowls of the air, in a providential way; though they despise the riches of his goodness and forbearance, and long-suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth them to repentance; but after their hardness and impenitent heart, treasure up unto themselves wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.


ENDNOTES:

[1] Whitby, p. 159; ed. 2, 155.

[2] Curcellae Relig. Christ. Inst. 1. 6, e. 6, sect. 8, p. 370.

[3] Whitby, p. 159, 177; ed. 2. 155, 173.

[4] Vid. Whitby, p. 159; ed. 2. 155.


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