To the Goodness of God is also referred His Grace, Mercy, and Patience. In this way, the Goodness of God is denominated variously according to the reckoning of its diverse Objects and Effects. Of course, when one pursues with Love an Object not at all worthy of Love and thus extends undeserved Favor toward that, that Love and Goodness is wont to be called Grace. When that same Goodness is turned toward an Object miserable, and afflicted and struggling with ills, it is called Mercy. When it has for its object one that has justly merited punishment, but whose punishment is deferred, and who in the meantime is still being loaded with benefits, the same Goodness is distinguished with the name of Patience.
And so the Goodness of God toward Creatures, to the exclusion of their worthiness, is called the Grace of God; from this God is called חַנּוּן/gracious, Exodus 34:6. That is conceived of, either attributively or with regard to the internal act in God, which is in operation toward the creature, and toward which the creature is objectively situated: or effectively with regard to effects, which He produces outside of Himself in creatures; in which sense the Grace of God is in the creature, which is subjectively situated toward that. In the former sense, which is chiefly regarded here, the Grace of God is called Grace gratis dans, giving freely; and it is that unmerited Favor whereby He pursues the creature, by no means worthy of itself, indeed, having merited all things contrary, Ephesians 2:8: by this Grace from eternity He chose us unto salvation, Romans 11:5, 6; by this same Grace in time He lavishes upon us saving benefits of every sort in Christ, Romans 3:24; Ephesians 1:7, 8. In the latter sense, it is called Grace gratis data, given freely, through which benefits and gifts are observed as flowing from the favor of God, 2 Peter 3:18; etc.
With the Papists incorrectly adding Grace making Men Acceptable; see Bellarmine, de Gratia et libero Arbitrio, book I, chapter II, Controversiis, tome 4, columns 519, 520; for this is not able to be distinguished from the Grace of God already mentioned: but, as the Love of divine Benevolence and Beneficence procures for us the Love of Complacency; so Grace alone gratis dans, giving freely, according to the merit of Christ renders us acceptable to God, and makes His saving benefits to redound to us through Grace gratis datam, given freely: while in vain in the Pelagian manner is Grace, rendering man Acceptable to God, acknowledged in the natural man, because it makes for the exclusion of Grace gratis Dantem, Giving freely, whereby man himself thus makes himself worthy: compare MARESIUS, Systemate Theologico, common place II, § 50, note c, common place XI, § 49, note c.
The Grace of God, taken in a general way for divine Favor, is also able to be attributed to Adam in the State of Integrity; but commonly is referred to the Sinner, who through the Fall became less Worthy of the Grace of God; and it is also opposed to Nature and Natural Beneficence, which two things the Pelagians erroneously confound: compare below on Chapter XV, § 26, Chapter XXIII, § 7.