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ERM.of these Gifts of God, namely because VII. they are not moral Gifts or Graces to rv'X/ particular Persons, but parts of the general Scheme and t)esign of Providence in the Government of the World through successive Ages. Of the lame kind, is that promise of God to David, Ps. lxxxix. 21. / have found David my Servant, with my
Holy oyl have I anointed him; my
mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my Covenant Jkall stand fa ft with
him; If bis children forsake my
Law, and walk not in my judgments; 'Then will I vift their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes: Nevertheless my loving kindness will I not utterly, take from him, nor suffer my Truth to fail; my covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips; Once have I J worn by my Holiness, that I will not lye unto David. These Promises, were unalterable Prophecies, of a Messiah to arise out of the Seed of David; As had in like manner before been promised to Adam and the Patriarchs, to Abraham; to .saac, and to Jacob. And therefore 'tis a weak thing in the
modern modern Jews, to alledge that their &'wserm< have prevented the coming of the Messiah j VI1which was one of the original great Constitutions of Providence, and a Promise of God not to be repented of.
Lastly, God is unchangeable likewise in his Threatnings; that is to fay, in such Threatnings, as are not merely personal; For of Those I shall have occasion to speak presently: But in his general Threatnings, as well as in his Promises, God is, absolutely unchangeable. The Reason is, because, as his Love to Virtue and G codness is unalterable, so his Hatred to Vice is irreconcibleable; and also because these Threatnings are often Prophetick parts of the general Scheme of Providence. Thus in the case of Saul; though, upon his repenting in some measure, the Prophet consented to honour him for the present before the Elders of his people j yet in the matter of the Kingdom as to the Time to come, the Threatning of God, being more a Prophecy of the great Counsels of Providence, than a personal Threatning to Him, could not be reversed: 1 Sam. xv. 28. The Lord has rent
Serm./& Kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a Neighbour of thinev that is better than Thou; And also the Strength of -srael will not lie, nor repent; for he is not a man, that be should repent. In like manner, the Dispersion and Captivity of the Jewisb Nation for some Ages before and after the Coming of the Messiah; at the fame time that it was a just Punishment for their particular Sins, being morever in general one of the great Events or Dispenfations of Pro-* vidence in the whole Oeconomy or Government of Mankind upon Earth; is always spoken of by the Prophets, as a Judgment which God would indeed put an end to upon the Repentance of tha Nation, but the Sentence and Execution •whereof he would not reverse, Jer. iv. 27. Thus hath the Lord said, the whole Land
shall be desolate: / have purposed it,
and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it. And Ezek. xxiv. 14. 1 the Lord have spoken it, it shall come to pass, and I will do it; I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent. And therefore very remarkable is the
Answer that was given to good KingSerm.
you, / will bring evil upon this place,
and upon the inhabitants thereof; But
to the King himself thus /hall ye fay;
Because thine Heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thy self before the Lor3, behold therefore I will gather Thee unto
thy Fathers in peace, and thine eyes
shall not fee all the Evil that 1 will bring upon this place. And the Account given of this matter in the following chapter, is no less remarkable: ch. xxiii. 25, and ch. xxiv. 4. Like him was there no King before bint, that turned to the Lord with all
his Heart, neither after him arose there
any like him; Notwithstanding, the Lord turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his Anger was kindled against fudah, because of all the provocation that Manafseh had provoked him withal,— , and for the innocent blood that be jhed, which the Lord would not pardon.
Serm. Against all that has been hitherto faid, concerning the unchangeableness of
^"^^God, there is One very obvious, and great Objection; drawn from those Texts of Scripture, which seem to speak of God in a very different manner from those already cited, and to represent him on the contrary as very frequently repenting and changing his Purpose. Thus 'tis recorded, Gen. vi. 5. that when God saw that the wickedness of man was great in
the Earth, it repented the Lord that
be had made man on the Earth; and it grieved him at his Heart; and 1 Sam. xv. 35, that the Lord repented, that be had made Saul King over -srael; and Num. xiv. 30, 34, concerning a whole generation of the people of Israel, Doubtless (faith he) ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I Jware to make you dwell therein, and ye shall know my breach of promise, or ( as it is better rendered in the margin ) Te shall know the altering os my Purpose: And J er. xxvi. 13. Amend your
ways and your doings, and the Lori
will repent of the evil that he hath pronounced again/I ycu: And 'Jonah iii. 19.