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No wonder that they do not understand it, and that their explanations are so different; when, according to their limited plan of salvation, it is totally inexplicable. But if they had only admitted the truth of unlimited salvation, they would have understood it easily enough, and all would have explained it alike. The different opinions of so many great men on this one text. proves the truth of what I have before said, that the limited doctrine of salvation has been the cause of most of the controversy about religion. And they never can agree till they come to understand and believe in the key text-to believe in what God has said, that "all the nations and families of the earth should be blessed."It is not at all unaccountable that they differ so much among themselves, when they disbelieve the declaration of God himself. And thus they will disagree, and continue divided, and subdivided into a variety of sects and parties, till they throw away their antichristian religion, and begin to build on the true foundation-the unconditional promises of Jehovah, first made to Adam, and afterwards to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and confirmed, or preached to be the truth, by the prophets, Jesus Christ, and his apostles, according to the next text following on this subject, viz:
"That Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners." Which is called "a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation." (1 Tim. i. 15.) And again, "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." "All shall be taught of God, all shall know him from the least unto the greatest." "For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Je
sus, who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." 1 Tim. ii. 3, 6.
How absurd it is, to believe that after Christ has come to save sinners, and gave himself a ransom for all, that millions will remain under the power of sin and Satan, and perish everlastingly! What is the meaning of ransom, but to redeem, to save, redeeming those in captivity, and pardoning offenders?
If God will have all men to be saved," there is no power that can resist his will! "He worketh all things after the counsel of his own will, and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth. And none can stay his hand, or say unto him, what doest thou? And his counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure." (Isa. xlvi. 10. Dan. iv. 35. Eph. i. 11.) Then what power can prevent the salvation of all men? And again,
"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the saviour of all men, especially them that believe.” "These things command and teach." 1 Tim. iv. 9—11.
"He is the saviour of all men, especially of those that believe." Which is the same as saying, he is not only the Saviour of believers, but `also of unbelievers. If he is the Saviour of believers only, why is it said, especially of those that believe? These are distinguished from all men of whom he is the Saviour. Is it not strange that those who believe God will save all men, and who trust in him as their Saviour, should suffer reproach? But as it was in the time of St. Paul, so it is now. You cannot offend many peo
ple more, particularly some zealous professors of religion, than to tell them that you believe that Christ will finally overcome all evil, destroy the devil, and save all. When, if we judge by their fruits, and their own doctrine is true, they will, as sure as they are living, go to hell. For there is not one of a thousand, that has that religion which they believe a man must have in order to be saved. Wo to them, if the doctrine they oppose be not true. It is strange, that when, according to their own faith, they are in the way to be lost, they should be offended at being told that they will be saved-that the devil will not always have power over them. They say it is a pleasing doctrine to the devil. Be that as it may, it does not appear to be so to his followers. But how foolish it is to say, it is a pleasing doctrine to the devil. Would it be pleasing to a wicked, tyrannical king, to be informed that all his subjects should be taken from him, that he should not have one left-that his kingdom should become totally destroyed, and he himself should become humbled, and have to submit to a superior power. Is there a king now on earth, or has there ever been one, that would be pleased with such news? No, not one. Or which must be most pleasing to his satanic majesty, that doctrine which gives him millions of millions, or that which gives him not one? A child may see by this simile how foolish and absurd it is to affirm, as hundreds do, that the doctrine which teaches that there shall be an end to all sin and misery, that the devil, and all his works, shall be destroyed, is pleasing to him. It is hardly possible to make a more inconsistent and foolish speech
than this; and yet there are many, who are con sidered to be sensible men, who make this as sertion, and also from the pulpit. And I think we have plain proof, that, instead of his being pleased, he is very much displeased with this doctrine, by the manner which many who appear to possess his spirit, rage against it. For certainly this is not a good spirit, for a good spirit teaches forbearance, pity, tenderness, meckness, and mildness, even towards those who are in ever so great an error, and will not hurt any one for his religion or opinion. But enough of this. I return to the plain declaration and prophecies of an end of all evil, sin, and misery, and universal holiness and happiness. The next text is a plain declaration that so it shall be.
"Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet.For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him." Heb. ii. 8.
The universal subjection here spoken of, is that which has not yet taken place; and since all alike are to be brought into subjection, the text evidently implies the happiness of all.
"But now we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the sufferings of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God, should taste death for every man." "Forasmuch then as the children are par takers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might DESTROY him that had the power of death, THAT IS THE DEVIL. And deliver them, who through fear of death were all their life time subject to bondage." Verses 9, 14, 15.
How true is this last sentence, respecting many limitarians.
"If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." John ii. 1.
On this text it has been, I think, well observed by a writer, that John does not say, that he has a hope if the elect, or the good, regenerate, pious people, should sin, they will have an advocate; but if ANY MAN sin, we have an advocate with the Father." What is the duty of an advocate? Is it not to do all in his power to benefit the cause of his client, and to procure a verdict in his favour? And further, an advocate would be far from doing his duty who should neglect to clear his client, were it in his power.
On the authority of the apostle John, we declare that Jesus Christ is the advocate for sinners, without the exception of one. And we ask, will Jesus Christ, whom the scriptures declare to be the Saviour, and to be one who is mighty to save, who has power all-sufficient, leave his client to be a prey to his enemy? No, certainly not!His blood cleanseth from all sin; he is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. He bare the sins of his clients, and with whom he endured the cross, and despising the shame, has purged them from all sin, and has declared that the verdict to be pronounced, "is life everlasting."
"And he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only," (not only for believers,) "but for the sins of the whole world." 1 John ii. 1. "And we have seen and do testify, that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." John iv. 14.
Thus it has been repeatedly asserted that Christ came to save the world, that he is the Saviour of the world. And every time this is.