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Cause of God and Truth The

Cause of God and Truth The

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Published by: itisme_angela on Nov 02, 2010
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11/05/2011

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O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets,
and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often
would I have gathered thy children together
, even as a
hen gathereth her chicken under her wings
, and ye would
not
!

Nothing is more common in the mouths and writings of the
Arminians than this Scripture, which they are ready to produce on
every occasion against the doctrines of election and reprobation,
particular redemption, and the irresistible power of God in
conversion, and in favor of sufficient grace, and of the free-will
and power of man, though to very little purpose, as will appear
when the following things are observed.
1. That by Jerusalem we are not to understand the city, nor all the
inhabitants; but the rulers and governors of it, both civil and
ecclesiastical, especially the great Sanhedrim, which was held in
it, to whom best belong descriptive characters of killing the
prophets and stoning such as were sent to them by God, and who
are manifestly distinguished from their children; it being usual to
call such who were the heads of the people, either in a civil or
ecclesiastical sense, fathers, Acts 7:2, and 22:1, and such who
were subjects and disciples, children, 19:44, Matthew 12:27,
Isaiah 8:16, 18. Besides, our Lord’s discourse, throughout the
whole context, is directed to the scribes and Pharisees, the
ecclesiastical guides of the people, and to whom the civil
governors paid a special regard. Hence it is manifest, that they
are not the same persons whom Christ would have gathered, who

would not. It is not said, how often would I have gathered you,
and you would not, as Dr. Whitby more than once inadvertently
cites the text; nor, he would have gathered Jerusalem, and she
would not, as the same author transcribes it in another place; nor,
he would have gathered them, thy children, and they would not, in
which form it is also sometimes expressed by him; but I would
have gathered thy children, and ye would not, which observation
alone is sufficient to destroy the argument founded on this
passage in favor of free-will.
2. That the gathering here spoken of does not design a gathering
of the Jews to Christ internally, by the Spirit and grace of God; but
a gathering of them to him internally, by and under the ministry of
the word, to hear him preach; so as that they might be brought to
a conviction of and an assent unto him, as the Messiah; which,
though it might have fallen short of saving faith in him, would have
been sufficient to have preserved them from temporal ruin,
threatened to their city and temple in the following verse—Behold,
your house is left unto you desolate: which preservation is
signified by the hen gathering her chickens under her wings, and
shows that the text has no concern with the controversy about the
manner of the operation of God’s is grace in conversion; for all
those whom Christ would gather in this sense were gathered,
notwithstanding all the opposition made by the rulers of the
people.
3. That the will of Christ to gather these persons is not to be
understood of his divine will, or of his will as God; for who hath
resisted his will? This cannot be hindered nor made void; he hath
done whatsoever he pleased, but of his human will, or of his will
as man; which though not contrary to the divine will but
subordinate to it, yet not always the same with it, nor always

fulfilled. He speaks here as a man and minister of the
circumcision, and expresses a human affection for the inhabitants
of Jerusalem, and a human wish or will for their temporal good,
instances of which human affection and will may be observed in
Mark 10:21, Luke 19:41, and 22:42. Besides, this will of gathering
the Jews to him was in him, and expressed by him at certain
several times, by intervals, and therefore he says, How often
would I have gathered, etc. Whereas the divine will is one
continued invariable and unchangeable will, is alway the same,
and never begins or ceases to be and to which such an
expression as this is inapplicable; and therefore this passage of
Scripture does not contradict the absolute and sovereign will of
God in the distinguishing acts of it, respecting election and
reprobation.
4. That the persons whom Christ would have gathered are not
represented as being unwilling to be gathered; but their rulers
were not willing that they should. The opposition and resistance to
the will of Christ. were not made by the people, but by their
governors. The common people seemed inclined to attend the
ministry of Christ, as appears from the vast crowds which, at
different times and places, followed him; but the chief priests and
rulers did all they could to hinder the collection of them to him;
and their belief in him as the Messiah, by traducing his character,
miracles, and doctrines, and by passing an act that whosoever
confessed him should be put out of the synagogue; so that the
obvious meaning of the text is the same with that of verse 13,
where our Lord says, Wo unto you, scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites; for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for
ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are
entering to go in; and consequently is no proof of men’s resisting
the operations of the Spirit and grace of God, but of obstructions

and discouragements thrown in the way of attendance on the
external ministry of the word.
5. That in order to set aside and overthrow the doctrines of
election, reprobation, and particular redemption, it should be
proved that Christ, as God, would have gathered, not Jerusalem
and the inhabitants thereof only, but all mankind, even such as
are not eventually saved, and that in a spiritual saving way and
manner to himself, of which there is not the least intimation in this
text; and order to establish the resistibility of God’s grace, by the
perverse will of man, so as to become of no effect, it should be
proved that Christ would have savingly converted these persons,
and they would not be converted; and that he bestowed the same
grace upon them he does bestow on others who are converted;
whereas the sum of this passage lies in these few words, that
Christ, as man, out of a compassionate regard for the people of
the Jews, to whom he was sent, would have gathered them
together under his ministry, and have instructed them in the
knowledge f himself as the Messiah; which, if they had only
notionally received, would have secured them as chickens under
the hen from impending judgments which afterwards fell upon
them; but their governors, and not they, would not, that is, would
not suffer them to be collected together in such a manner, and
hindered all they could, their giving any credit to him as the
Messiah; though had it been said and they would not, it would
only have been a most sad instance of the perverseness of the
will of man, which often opposes his temporal as well as his
spiritual good.

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