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John Brown of Haddington (1722-1787) on God’s Goodness: General and Special

August 25, 2009

John Brown:

Q. How is the goodness of God usually distinguished?
A. Into his absolute and relative goodness.

Q. Wherein do them differ?
A . His absolute goodness is an essential property in himself, is the fountain; but his relative goodness is that kindness which flows out from that flows out from that fountain upon his creatures.

Q. How is God’s relative goodness distinguished?
A. Into his common goodness, which Be exercises towards all his creatures good and bad, and his special goodness, which he exercises towards his elect only, Ps. cxlv.

Q. What are some branches of God’s common goodness?
A. The exercise of his long-suffering patience towards sinful men, his giving them the offers of salvation and space to repent of their sin, with corn, wine, oil, fruitful seasons, and other temporal blessings, Rom. ii. 4.

Q What are the branch of God’s special goodness?
A. Saving gram, and eternal glory, Psal. xxiv. 11.

Q What are the properties of God’s special goodness?
A. It is unspeakably great, sweet, satisfying, seasonable, unchangeable, and everlasting, Psal. xxxi. 19.

Q Where is this goodness laid up for the elect?
A. In Christ, in whom all fullness dwells, Col. i 29.

John Brown, An Essay Towards an Easy, Plain, Practical, and Extensive Explication of the Assembly’s Shorter Catechism (New York: Robert Carter, 1846), 39.

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