John Gill, The Cause Of God And Truth

“And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.”—Deuteronomy 8:2

It is said,[1] that it is evident from this and other passages of Scripture, that the state of man in this world, is a state of trial or probation. It will be proper therefore to make the following inquiries:

I. What this state of probation is, or what is meant by it.

1. This state of trial is not of men’s graces, as faith, patience, etc., by afflictive dispensations of Providence; for men in general are not in such a state, since all men have not grace to be tried; nor is the state of every man an afflicted one in this life: this is a state peculiar to the people of God, and to them only when converted: for before conversion they have no graces to be tried; and with some of them, this state is very short, and so far from being the state of man whilst in this world; and yet, as will be seen hereafter, the proof of the state of probation pretty much depends on passages of Scripture which relate to the exercise of the graces of the saints by afflictions, temptations, etc.

2. This state of trial, if I understand it right, is of man’s obedience and…

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“O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!”—Deuteronomy 5:29.

I. These vehement desires of God for the good of these people, are said to be irreconcilable with his decrees of election and reprobation; and supposing those decrees, they are represented to be hypocritical: to which may be replied:

1. For God passionately to wish good things, even salvation itself, for some, and not for all, is no ways contrary, but perfectly agreeable to the doctrine of election. If any thing is said to the purpose, as militating against that doctrine, it ought to be said and proved, that God has vehemently desired the salvation of all mankind; of which these words can be no proof, since they only regard the people of Israel, who were the fewest of all people. As for those scriptures which represent God as willing all men to be saved, and not willing that any should perish, they will be considered in their proper places.

2. It might seem repugnant to these decrees, and to imply hypocrisy and guile, could any instance be produced of God’s passionately wishing the salvation of such whom the Scriptures represent as rejected of him, given up to…

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“And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.”—Genesis 6:3.

It will be necessary, in order to understand the sense of this text, to inquire,

I. Who is meant by the Spirit of God; and whether the Holy Ghost, the third Person in the Trinity, is designed or not.

1. Some of the Jewish writers[1] think, that the soul of man is intended; which is called not only the spirit of man, but also the Spirit of God; as in those words of Job, All the while my breath is in me, and the Spirit of God is in my nostrils.[2] Some of them[3] derive the word translated strive, which signifies the scabbard of a sword, and say, what the scabbard is to the sword, that the body is to the soul; and give this as the sense of the words; “My Spirit, or the soul which I have put into man, shall not always abide in him as a sword in its scabbard; I will unsheath it, I will draw it out; he shall not live always, seeing he is flesh, corrupt, given up to carnal lusts; yet his days, or term of life, which I will now shorten, shall be one hundred and twenty years.” Another of them[4] delivers the sense of the words to this purpose; “My Spirit, which I have breathed into man, shall not be any more in contention with the body; for it does not delight in nor receive profit from the desires of the body; for the body is drawn after beastly desires, and that because it is flesh, and its desires are plunged and fixed in the propagation of the flesh; however, I will prolong their days one hundred and twenty years; and if they return by repentance, very well; but if not, I will destroy them from the world. The Targum paraphrases the words thus, “This wicked generation shall not be established before me for ever.”

2. Others, as Sol Jarchi, understand it of God himself, thus saying, within himself, “My Spirit, which is within me, shall not always be, as it were, in a tumult, or contention about man, whether I shall spare him, or destroy him, as it has been a long time, but it shall be no longer so; I will let man know that I am not fluctuating between mercy and judgment, but am at a point, being determined to punish him, since he is wholly given up to carnal pleasures, when I have spared him an hundred and twenty years more.” This sense of the words much obtains among learned men.[5] And if either of these senses be…

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“If thou dost well, shalt thou not be accepted?”—Genesis 4:7

I. It will be proper to inquire, whether a wicked, an unregenerate man, as was Cain, can perform good works. To which may be answered,

1. Adam had a power to do every good work the law required; which men, since the fall, have not. Men indeed, in an unregenerate state, might do many things which they do not; such as reading the Scriptures, attending on public worship, etc. No doubt but the persons in the parable, who were invited to the dinner, could have gone to it, had they had a will, as well as the one did to his farm, and the other to his merchandise. Men have an equal power, had they an heart, a will, an inclination, to go to a place of divine worship, as to a tavern, or alehouse; but it is easy to observe, that persons oftentimes have it…

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Part 1: The Contents

16 Sep 2021, by

In the year 1735, the First Part of this work was published, in which are considered the several passages of Scripture made use of by Dr. Whitby and others in favour of the Universal Scheme, and against the Calvinistical Scheme, in which their arguments and objections are answered, and the several passages set in a just and proper light. These, and what are contained in the following part in favour of the Particular Scheme, are extracted from Sermons delivered in a Wednesday evening’s lecture.

Examination of

1. Genesis 4:7
2. Genesis 6:3
3. Deuteronomy 5:29
4. Deuteronomy 8:2
5. Deuteronomy 30:19…

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The Preface

16 Sep 2021, by

The Cause of God and Truth

In Four Parts

With a Vindication of Part IV

From the Cavils, Calumnies and Defamations of Mr. Henry Heywood, &c.

By John Gill, D.D.

London, 1838

It should be known by the reader, that the following work was undertaken and begun about the year 1733 or 1734, at which time Dr. Whitby’s Discourse on the Five Points was reprinting, judged to be a masterpiece on the subject in the English tongue, and accounted an unanswerable one; and it was almost in the mouth of every one, as an objection to the Calvinists.

Why do not ye answer Dr. Whitby? Induced hereby, I determined to…

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