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1 TIMOTHY ii. 4.
Who will have all Men to be saved,
IN verfe firft, the apoftle directs "prayers and thanksgivings to be made for all men ;"-which he declares to "be good and acceptable in the fight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be faved." Had falvation been provided for only a part of the human race, prayer and thanksgivings could have been confiftently made only for a part. Those for whom no provifion was made, would be in like ftate with persons who have com. mitted the fin unto death, for whom St. John intimates prayer is not to be offered up. "There is a fin unto death; I do not fay that he fhall pray for it." But fuch is naturally the state of none of the children of Adam. Divine goodness is extended to all, and falvation offered to them; thereføre is prayer and praise to be offered up for all
Ir is now proposed, briefly to confider the divine goodness expreffed in the text-Who will have all men to be faved-then fome abufes of the revelation which is made of this goodness to mankind.
I. WE are to confider the divine goodness here expreffed-Who will have all men to be faved.
THE falvation intended, is that of the foul. This comprehends deliverance from merited fuf ferings, and the bestowment of happiness which is
the contraft of it.
THE provifion which is made for the comfort and happiness of mankind in this life, evinces ftrange goodness in God. When we confider what man was made of God, and what he hath made himself, the divine benevolence here difplayed, is wonderful! Strange that man was not destroyed, and blotted out from among God's works!
SOME suppose this to have been our first parents idea of the threatening in cafe of disobedience, and expected by them, when they attempted to hide themselves from the divine presence, after their fall.*
HAD man then been destroyed, the race would have been extinct. But he was fpared; fuffered long to continue and rear a family, from which the myriads of human kind have defcended. Though exiled Eden, and doomed to labor and forrow, he was ftill at the head of this lower creation, and creatures below him generally fubfervient to his comfortable fubfiftence. The ground was indeed curfed for his fake and fatiguing culti
* Genefis iii. 8.
vation rendered neceffary; but fill it yielded the neceffaries, and many of the comforts of life; though not the fweets of its primitive ftate.
THESE effufions of divine goodness were proba. bly the wonder of angels, though fo little noticed by men, the ungrateful objects of them.
BUT these were inconfiderable, compared with the strange provifion made for their eternal fal
THAT God bears good will to mankind, notwithstanding their apoftafy, and is defirous of their falvation, is from many confiderations apparent. It is the spirit of the text, and the general language of the fcriptures, as will be fhewn in the fequel.
THAT God is willing that all should be faved, appears from the fufficiency of the provifion which is made for the falvation of finners; the frequent declarations that it is defigned for all; the offers which are made indifcriminately to all; and the fuitableness of the provision to the circumftances of all.
1. FROM the sufficiency of the provision which is made for the falvation of finners. This is adequate to the falvation of the whole race. Chrift, being a divine person, made an infinite atonement. In him there is a fulness of merit. Was the num. ber of finners ten times greater than that of our whole race, there would be no need of another Savior, or of Chrift's dying again for their redemption. In him "dwells the whole fulness of the Godhead bodily." The reafon all are not faved,
is not a deficiency of merit in the Redeemer, or any limitation of his fatisfaction. Sinners "are not ftraitened in him, but in their own bowels."
2. THAT God is willing all should be faved appears from the frequent declarations of fcripture, that Chrift died for all-" Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be teftified in due time-We fee Jefus who was made a little lower than the angels, that he, by the grace of God, fhould tafte death for every man. The love of Chrift conftraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they who live fhould not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him who died for them, and rofe again.
3. THE fame appears in the offers made to all. When after his refurrection Chrift fent forth his apoftles to effect his gracious purposes, both his orders and promises were indefinite" Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized fhall be faved, but he that believeth not shall be damned."
HAD falvation been provided for only a part of mankind, and the Savior been unwilling the refidue fhould be faved, he would not have given charge to his minifters to tender falvation to allto every creature, and declared that whoever came up to the specified conditions, fhould be faved.
NOTHING falfe or infincere can be predicated of God our Savior. His words are truth. His offers and proposals are fair and open. That which appears the most obvious meaning of them is their
meaning. And furely the offers of falvation appear to be made to all who hear the found of the gofpel; and they are invited and urged to accept them. They were fo by Chrift. "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jefus food and cried, faying, If any man thirft, let him come unto me and drink." And they were fo by his apostles when fent into all the earth to spread the gospel among the nations, and call them to come to Chrift for life.
4. THE fame thing appears from the suitableness of the provifion which is made for the falvation of finners, to the circumstances of all men.
MAN needed an atonement, and he needed affiftance, and both are provided in Chrift. Of the former we have spoken, and there is no need to add. Man's weakness is fuch that he is unable of himself to conquer either fpiritual enemies without, or his own corruptions within. Through Christ needed aid is offered to him; he is invited to the throne of grace, and affured that he shall not seek in vain, but "obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Afk, and it fhall be given you; feek and ye fhall find-If ye being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more fhall your heavenly Father give his holy Spirit to them that ask him?" Though mankind have rebelled against God, he is more ready to hear their cries, and give his fpirit to fanctify and fave them, than the most affectionate earthly parent to fhew kindness to his child.
* John vii. 37.