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whole earth shall he be called. All the ends of the world shall remember, and turn unto the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God. All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord, and shall glorify thy name. All kings shall fall down before him; all nations shall serve him: men shall be blessed in him, all nations shall call him blessed."*
These passages, with many others, express blessings which cannot be understood universally, as P. himself must acknowledge. Now I ask, would not these furnish a contender for the universal and final salvation of all mankind with as good an argument as that which P. uses against us? Might he not say, "The subject in question can require no figures? Surely the great God could not intend to impose upon his poor ignorant creatures. He could receive no honour from such an imposition. It would be no glory to you, sir, to ensnare a fly or a gnat. We are infinitely more below Deity than a fly or a gnat is inferior to us. He cannot then be honoured by deceiving us. And we may say, with reverence, that his justice, and all his moral perfections require that he
* Psalm lxv. 2. Isai. xl. 5. lxvi. 23. Joel ii. 28. Isai. liv. 5. Psalm xxii. 27. John xii. 32. Luke iii. 6. Psalm lxxxvi. 9. lxxii, 11, 17.
should be explicit in teaching ignorant men on subjects of such importance as this." (40.)*
II. The time in which the New Testament was written, render such a sense of the indefinite terms there used very possible, and very probable.-The Jews, it is well known, were at that time very tenacious of exclusive privileges. Their prejudices taught them to expect a Messiah whose blessings should be confined to their own peculiar nation. The generality of even those who believed were exceedingly jeal
* P. speaks of reverence; and I have no doubt but that in general he feels it: but-surely in this place he must have forgot himself. Surely a greater degree of sobriety would have be. come a creature so ignorant and insignificant as he describes himself, than to determine what kind of language God shall use in conveying his mind to men. There is no doubt but God's word in all its parts is sufficiently explicit. Every thing that relates to the warrant and rule of a sinner's application for salvation espe cially, is plain and easy. The way-faring man, though a fool, shall not err. And if some truths, which do not affect either his right to apply to the Saviour, or his hope of success on application, should be expressed in figurative language, I hope such a mode of expression will not be found to reflect upon the moral character of God.
I wish especially, P. had written with more sobriety in what he says of God's “deceiving and ensnaring us.” What deception is there in the case? Do we suppose it possible for a poor sinner, encouraged by the invitations of the gospel, to apply to Christ, and there meet with a repulse? no such thing. To what purpose then is it asked, "How can any man believe the promises of God, if he be not assured that God is in earnest, and means to fulfil them?" (49.)
ous, and found it hard work to relinquish their peculiar notions, and be reduced to a level with the Gentiles. It seems highly proper, therefore, that the Holy Ghost should in some sort cut off their vain pretensions; and this he did, not only by directing the apostles to the use of indefinite language, but by putting words into the mouth of Caiaphas, their own highpriest. He bore witness for God, though he meant no such thing, how that Jesus "should die for that nation; and not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad."*
III. The scope and connexion of several of the passages produced, countenance such an interpretation.
1 Tim. ii. 6. “ He gave himself a ransom for all, &c." This is a passage on which considerable stress is laid. The whole passage reads as follows, "I exhort therefore that first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 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. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due
* John xi. 51, 52.
time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle-a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity."
I allow it to be the revealed will of God, that every man who hears, or has opportunity to hear the gospel, should return to him by Jesus Christ; and whosoever so returns shall surely be saved. But I apprehend, let us understand by the will of God in this place what we may, we can never make it applicable to all men universally. By the truth which God. will have all men to come to the knowledge of, is plainly intended that of the one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, which is here opposed to the notion of many gods, and many mediators among the heathens. But in no sense can it be said to be God's will that all men universally should come to the knowledge of the latter branch of this truth, unless it be his will that millions of the human race should believe in him of whom they have never heard.
I should think the latter part of verse 6, 7, determines the meaning. The phrase to be testified in DUE TIME, doubtless refers to the gospel being preached amongst all nations, though not to all the individuals of any one nation, before the end of the world. Hence it follows, whereunto I am ordained a preacher a teacher of the GENTILES in faith and verity. "God does not now, as if the apostle had said, confine his church as heretofore, amongst the Jews. Your prayers, hopes, and endeavours, must now extend over all the world. God will set up his
kingdom in all the kingdoms of the earth. Seek the welfare and eternal salvation of men therefore without distinction of rank or nation. There is not a country under heaven but what is given to the Messiah for his inheritance, and he shall possess it in due time. In due time the gospel shall be testified throughout all the world; for the ushering in of which glorious tidings, I am appointed a herald, an apostle, a teacher of the GENTILES in faith and verity."*
I have seen nothing at present sufficient to convince me, but that this is the meaning of 1 John ii. 2. "He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." John, the writer of the epistle, was a Jew, an apostle of the circumcision in connexion with Peter and James. (Gal. ii. 9.) The episties of Peter and James were each directed to the Jews; (1 Pet. i. 1. 2 Pet. iii. 1. Jam. i. 1.) and Dr. Whitby acknowledges, concerning this epistle, that it "being written by an apostle of the circumcision, it is not doubted but it was writ
*He gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time Whether the ransom of Christ extends farther than the testimony of the gospel, or not, is a question which I do not pretend to determine; be that however as it may, neither supposition will suit the scheme of P. If it does not, his point is given up. If it does, if it includes the whole heathen world, it is to be hoped they are somewhat the better for it, not only in this world but in that to come. But if so, either they must go to heaven without regeneration, or regeneration in those cases is not by faith.