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to confer, and whether, upon the whole, it would be a blessing; and, as he was not under any necessity to create man, being also infinitely benevolent, he could not have conferred an existence that he knew would end in the worst possible consequences to his creatures. GOD THE FATHER OF MEN.
2. God is the Father of all men. "Have we not all one Father? Hath not one God created us?" Mal. ii. 10. A kind Father will not punish his children but for their good. God is evidently called the Father of all men in the Scriptures, and this is not an unmeaning name; he has the disposition and principles of a Father. He loves with a Father's love; he watches with a Father's care; he reproves with a Father's tenderness; he punishes with a Father's design. God is the Father of all men; and, therefore, he cannot make mankind endlessly miserable.
GOD THE LORD, OR OWNER OF MEN.
3. All men, of right, belong to God. "Behold, all souls are mine," saith the Lord "As the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine." Ezek. xviii. 4. God will not give up what belongeth to him, to the dominion of sin and Satan forever. All men are God's by creation; he made them all. They are his by preservation; he sustains them all. They were his at first, and they always have remained in his care. "The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein." That God, who says to men, If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel," can never abandon his own creatures. He will ever exercise a gracious care over them, as will be more fully seen in the following reasons.
ALL MEN COMMITTED TO CHRIST'S CARE.
4. God hath given all things to Christ, as the moral
Ruler of the world. "Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." Psalms ii. 8.
The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.” John iii. 35. "All things," here, means all intelligent beings. So say the best commen
5. God gave all beings to Christ that he might save them. "Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him." John xvii. 2. This plainly evinces, that it was God's design, in giving Christ dominion over all flesh, that they should all enjoy eternal life.
6. It is certain that Christ will save all that the
Father hath given him. "All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in nowise cast out." John vi. 37. These three propositions are irrefragable evidence of the final happiness of all men. 1st. God hath given all things to Christ. 2d. All that God hath given him shall come to him; and, 3d. him that cometh he will in nowise cast out. All are given; all shall come; and none shall be cast out. What is the unavoidable conclusion?
THE WILL OF GOD.
7. It is THE WILL of God that all men shall be saved. "Who will have all men to be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth." 1 Tim. ii. 4. By "all men," in this passage, is undoubtedly to be understood all the human race. Salvation comes through the belief of the truth. God wills that all men should come to the knowledge of the truth, and be saved thereby.
8. God inspires the hearts of the good to pray for the salvation of all men, and say, as Jesus said, Thy will be done." Matt. vi. 10. Adam Clarke says, "Because he wills the salvation of all men, therefore he wills that all men should be prayed for;" as in
1 Tim. ii. 1. "I exhort, therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men." Would God inspire the hearts of his saints to pray for the salvation of all mankind, if he knew they would not all be saved?
9. Jesus came to do the will of God. "My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." John iv. 34. "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God." Heb. x. 9. The will of God is, that all men shall be saved. This is his will, by way of distinction and preeminence. Jesus came to do this will. He came as the Saviour, as the Saviour of all men. He came as the good Shepherd, to seek and save that which was lost. He came to save all men, not only those who lived on the earth while he was here, but all who lived before, and all who have since lived, and all who shall live. Jesus gave himself a ransom for all; he tasted death for every man; and unto him, at last, every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess him Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Such is the way in which Jesus does the will of God.
10. The will of God cannot be resisted. "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?" Dan. iv. 35. Who can resist a being of Almighty power? What God wills to take place, must take place. He wills the salvation of all men because it is right. God of purity cannot desire endless sin and rebellion. If he wills the salvation of all men, he wills all the means by which it shall be accomplished; it must therefore take place.
11. God has no other will besides the will to save all men. "He is in one mind, and who can turn him." Job. xxiii. 13.
THE NATURE OF GOD.
12. God is love, and love worketh no ill. love." 1 John iv. 8. "Love worketh no ill." Rom.
xiii. 10. This is a very forcible argument. God's nature is the very essence of benevolence, and benevolence cannot be the origin of endless evil. If love worketh no ill, God can work no ill; and, therefore, God cannot be the author of endless evil.
13. God loves all mankind. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son." John iii. 16; and, as Jesus died for all men, so God loves all men. This argument adds great force to the last. 14. God loves even his enemies. For he requires men to love their enemies, which he could not do if he hated his. (Matt. v. 44.) And Jesus declared, "for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil." Luke vi. 35. This is but an amplification of the preceding argument. If God loves his enemies, he certainly loves all men; for no one doubts that he loves his friends. And can God cause those to be endlessly miserable whom he loves?
THE WISDOM OF GOD.
15. God is wise; and it cannot be a dictate of wisdom to create beings, and then make their existence a curse by entailing endless suffering to it. God foresaw all the consequences of our creation when he made He knew fully what the result would be to each individual. Is it possible, that infinite goodness could breathe life into unoffending dust, when it was clearly foreseen that endless evil would ensue? It was not possible. God must have created only to bless. "Love worketh no ill."
16. The wisdom of God is "full of mercy," and "without partiality." James iii. 17. "Full of mercy," says Adam Clarke, i. e. "ready to pass by a transgression, and to grant forgiveness to those who offend; and PERFORMING EVERY POSSIBLE ACT OF KINDNESS." Surely, a God of infinite power and skill, who performs every possible act of kindness," will save his fallen creatures from their sins. "Without partiality," i. e. without making a difference. God
is no respecter of persons. and he will perform every " to all men.
He is kind to all men ; possible act of kindness"
THE PLEASURE OF GOD.
17. The pleasure of God is in favor of the salvation of all men; and, therefore, neither death, sin, nor pain, can be the ultimate object of God in reference to man. "As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked." Ezek. xxxiii. 11. Death, and sin, and pain, may exist for a time; but if God have no pleasure in them of themselves, they are not the end at which he aims, but the means by which he accomplishes that end. The end in which God rests as his pleasure, design, or purpose, must be essentially benevolent, because he is essentially a benevolent God. Neither death, nor sin, nor pain, can be his ultimate plan or pleasure; they are the means by which his holy and righteous designs are carried into effect.
18. God created all men expressly for his pleasure, and, therefore, not for ultimate death. "Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." Rev. iv. 11. Adam Clarke has a fine remark on this passage. He says, "He made all things for his pleasure; and through the same motive he preserves. Hence, it is most evident, that he hateth nothing that he has made; and could have made no intelligent creature with the design to make it eternally miserable. It is strange, that a contrary supposition has ever entered into the heart of man; and it is high time that the benevolent nature of the Supreme God, should be fully vindicated from aspersions of this kind."
19. The pleasure of God shall prosper in the hand of Christ. The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand." Isaiah liii. 10. Clarke says, on Isaiah liii. 10, that the pleasure of God is, "to have all men saved, and brought to the knowledge of the truth." Compare this with the 20th section.