Obj. 1. But the children of many pious persons perish. Ans. The promise is conditional: for God declares in the 18th chapter of Ez., that he will be merciful to the children of the godly if they persevere in the obedience of their fathers, and that he will punish them if they turn away from it. If anyone should ask, Why does God not convert all the children of the godly, since they cannot follow the holy example of their fathers without his mercy, we reply, that he will not bind or restrict his mercy to any single individuals included among the posterity of the righteous; but will reserve his election free to himself, that as he converts and saves some from the posterity of the wicked, so he will leave some of the Posterity of the righteous in their natural corruption and misery which all deserve by nature, and this he does, that he may show that his own mercy is free, as well in choosing the posterity of the godly as the posterity of the wicked. Again: God does not convert all the posterity of the godly, because he has not bound himself to bestow mercy on all, or the same benefits on all the posterity of the godly. He, therefore, makes good this promise when he bestows temporal blessings upon the wicked descendants of the godly. Lastly: God does not convert all the children of the godly, because he promises this happiness to those who diligently keep his commandments, or to those who are truly godly. But inasmuch as the love of God and the obedience which is in the most holy, are imperfect in this life, the reward which is promised to them is also imperfect, and joined with the cross and chastisements, among which the wickedness and unhappiness of their posterity is not the least, as may be seen in David, Solomon and Josiah.

Obj. 2. Those who keep the commandments of God, obtain mercy. Therefore, we merit something from God by our obedience. Ans. The contrary follows. God says, I will shew mercy unto them. Therefore, it is not according to merit; for that which is done out of mercy is not of merit; and contrariwise. The argument is, therefore, false, in assigning that for a cause, which is none.

Obj. 3. This promise and threatening belongs to the whole Decalogue; why is it, therefore, annexed to this commandment? Ans. It is joined to the second commandment, not that it belongs to it alone, but that we may know that the first and second commandments are the foundation of all the others; and that God might declare that he is especially displeased with those who corrupt his worship, and that he will punish this kind of sin both in them and their posterity, and, on the other hand, that he will also bless the posterity of them, who keep his religion pure and undefiled.