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2. That God desires that all may escape misery and enjoy happiness in a future state, clearly appears from his providing a Saviour for all. He sent his Son to seek and save them that are lost. He gave him to be a ransom for all and to be a propitiation for the sins of the whole world. He caused him to iaste death for every man.

He so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. His providing such a glorious and divine Saviour for all mankind, was the strongest expression of his benevolence towards them that he could exhibit. It was not only morally, but naturally impossible for him to give a higher testimony of his sincere and ardent desire to save the whole fallen and guilty race of Adam. And so it was viewed by the heavenly hosts, who appeared and announced the advent of Christ. They said in their song of praise on that joyful occasion, “ Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” God's love in sending his Son to suffer and die for the sins of the world, could arise from no other source than his sincere and ardent desire to save them from eternal death, and raise them to eternal life. Hence says the apostle, “ When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die :- But God commendeth his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for

God saw no moral excellence in mankind to excite his complacency towards them. It was therefore entirely owing to his mere self moving goodness, that he sent his Son to redeem them from sin and death, and raise them to life and happiness.

3. It appears from the invitations which God makes to sinners in the gospel, that he desires all should be saved. These invitations are universal, and extend to all sinners of every age, character and condition, who are capable of understanding them. The evangelical prophet cries, “ Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." Our Saviour invited all, without exception, to come to him for life.

66 Come unto me,

that labor and are heavy laden; and I will give you rest.” And in the great and last day of the feast, “ Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink." Christ commanded his apostles and their successors in the ministry, to make the same offers of salvation to all, without exception. “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature: he that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damned.” And the gospel closes with this general invitation to sinners. “ The Spirit and the

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bride say come; and let him that heareth say come; and let him that is athirst come; and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." These universal invitations to sinners, to come and partake of all the blessings which God has provided for them by the sufferings and death of Christ, afford a strong and

a undeniable evidence that God really desires the salvation of every individual sinner. Neither bis wisdom, nor goodness, nor veracity, would allow him to make such universal offers of salvation, unless he really desired that all should accept of pardoning mercy. If he did not desire, simply considered, that any should be saved, but only such as eventually will be saved, it seems that he could not, with any propriety or sincerity, make the offer of salvation to all, without any limitation, or exception.

4. It farther appears that God sincerely desires the salvation of all men, from his commanding all to embrace the gospel and live. He never commands any thing but what is agreeable to him, in its own nature. If it were not agreeable to him, in its own nature, that sinners should repent, believe, and love the gospel, he would not command them to do it. He never commands men to sin, because that is in its own nature disagreeable to him; and he never commands them to die, or to destroy themselves, because that is in its own nature disagreeable to him. But he does repeatedly and solemnly command them to repent, believe and live. He says, “ Turn yourselves and live ye.He also says, “ Repent and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.” Our Lord called upon all to whom he preached the gospel, to repent and believe. And the apostle says, “God now commandeth all men every where to repent.” Yea, God not only commands, but tenderly and solemnly exhorts sinners universally, to turn from sin and escape the wrath to come. “ Turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways, for why will ye die, O house of Israel?All the warnings, admonitions and exhortations, as well as commands, which God has given to sinners in the Bible, are so many proofs of his sincere and ardent desires that they should seek and secure the salvation of their souls. They flow from his benevolent heart, and manifest how greatly he feels interested in their eternal welfare. Besides,

5. The patience and forbearance of God towards sinners, is a very clear and convincing evidence that he greatly desires that they should be saved rather than destroyed. If God took any pleasure in the death of the wicked, he would not delay so long to punish them. Though he has prepared his instruments of death, and could with infinite ease let loose his hands upon them and crush them in a moment, yet he endures them with much long suffering, not willing that they should perish, but

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VOL. VI.

come to repentance and be saved. He waits to be gracious not only upon a few of the least guilty, but upon the most guilty and obstinate sinners. He waited a long time to be gracious to Manasseh and Saul of Tarsus while they were spreading misery and destruction all around them, and exerting all their false zeal in opposing his cause and kingdom. Nor is this all. He not only waits upon sinners to turn and live, but uses the most powerful and best adapted means to prevent their ruining themselves; which shows that his patience flows from a tender and benevolent regard for their final salvation. He treats them just as he would treat them, if he were sincerely and deeply concerned for their future and eternal happiness. His whole conduct towards them is a lively and striking manifestation of his unwillingness that they should be lost, and of his ardent desire that they should be saved. There appears no truth in the Bible more clearly revealed, nor more strongly confirmed, than God's benevolent and sincere desire that all men should come to the knowledge of the truth, escape the wrath which is to come, and lay hold of eternal life. He has provided salvation for them. He has freely and universally offered salvation to them, and commanded them to accept it. What more could he have done, that he has not done, by way of means, to make them believe and feel that he sincerely desires their salvation?

IMPROVEMENT.

1. If God be so far from being willing that any of mankind should be lost, that he sincerely desires that all should be saved, then he always did and always will feel as much benevolence towards those who are lost, as towards those who are saved. There can be no doubt whether God did not feel as much benevolence towards Lucifer before he rebelled, as towards Gabriel. We have reason to suppose that he was every way equal to Gabriel. His intellectual powers were equal. His capacity for knowledge, holiness, happiness and usefulness were equal. He was as great, as good and valuable a being as Gabriel; and God felt as much benevolence and complacency towards him, as towards Gabriel, before he became an enemy and rebel. Though then, indeed, he was no longer an object of the divine complacency, yet he still remained an object of divine benevolence. God saw all the good he had lost, and all the misery he would endure through interminable ages, in which he never did and never will take any pleasure. He had no pleasure in his death, before he died, nor since he died; and therefore feels as truly benevolent towards him as ever he did. And as God feels as benevolent towards the disobedient, as towards the obe

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dient angels, so he feels as benevolent towards those that will be finally lost, as towards those that will be finally saved. He will feel as much benevolence towards the finally miserable in another world, as he felt in this. We have seen that he feels benevolent towards the vilest sinners in this world; and they will be as proper objects of his benevolence after they leave this world, as they were before. And no reason can be seen why he should not feel the same benevolence towards them while he is punishing them, as while he was fitting them for punishment. The righteous and benevolent judge feels as benevolent towards the criminal whom he condemns, after he has condemned him, as he did before. And shall not the righteous and benevolent Judge of all the earth feel as benevolent towards those whom he has consigned to endless misery, after his condemnation of them as before? And an irresistible conviction of his benevolence towards them, will give a pecu

a liar weight and emphasis to their final condemnation.

2. If God is so far from being willing that any of mankind should be lost, that he sincerely desires that all should be saved, then it is easy to see how his love of benevolence towards them should be entirely consistent with his hatred of them. This appears to many a great paradox. They cannot reconcile his declarations of love to them, with his declarations of displeasure towards them. But it is plain that a being of perfect benevolence must desire the good of sinners more than any other being; and for the same reason he must hate their sinful and odious characters more than any other being. Though Satan has no benevolence to sinners, yet he does not hate them so much as God does. The more God desires the good of sinners, the more he hates their totally corrupt hearts and selfish conduct. He knows that they are enemies to him and to all righteousness; that their hearts are as malignant as serpents ; that the poison of asps is under their lips; that for the sake of indulging their present selfish feelings, they would sacrifice their own eternal good and the eternal good of their fellow men; and, if possible, dethrone their Creator. Such is their perfectly sinful and hateful character. But God is of purer eyes than to behold a character so deformed and depraved. The more holy he is, the more he must hate sin. The more benevolent he is, the more he must hate selfishness. The more he loves the happiness of sinners, the more he must hate them for destroying it. The more he loves the good of their fellow men, the more he must hate them for opposing it. And the more he loves his own great and amiable character, the more he must hate his malignant and mortal enemies. The same benevolence in God which disposes him to desire their everlast

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ing good, disposes them to hate him with a perfect hatred. So that his hatred of them is not only consistent with his benevolence towards them, but necessarily flows from it.

3. If God's benevolence to sinners is consistent with his hating them, then it is consistent with his punishing them for

As his benevolence disposes him to hate sinners, so it must dispose him to punish them. If he can hate them while he exercises benevolence towards them, then he can punish them while he exercises benevolence towards them. And if his benevolence disposes him to hate them for their sinful and odious characters in this world, it must equally dispose him to hate them for the same sinful, odious characters in the world to

And so long as his benevolence disposes him to hate them, it cannot fail to dispose him to punish them; for punishment is the proper expression of hatred. The benevolence of a parent disposes him to hate the disobedience and obstinacy of his child, and to punish him for it. So the benevolence of the Deity disposes him to hate the disobedience and obstinacy of sinners, and to punish them for it. As the benevolence of the Deity disposes him to hate impenitent sinners for ever, so it disposes him to punish them for ever, to express his hatred of them. Pure benevolence not only may, but must dispose

. God to feel and conduct in this manner towards impenitent sinners. Though the finally impenitent will be the objects of his benevolence for ever, yet they will always be the objects of his displacency, disapprobation and abhorrence; and therefore he must be disposed to express his displacency, disapprobation and abhorrence of them, punishing them for ever, according to their desert. And this he expressly threatens to do. “ If I

" whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment, I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and reward them that hate me."

4. If God is so far from being willing that any of mankind should be lost, that he sincerely desires that all should be saved, then he will do as much to save all, as he can do, consistently with his benevolence. His benevolence is entirely disinterested; and disposes him to seek the highest good of the universe supremely, and forbids him to do any thing for any particular person or object, which is inconsistent with his promoting his supreme and ultimate object. But his pure benevolence towards every one of mankind disposes him to do as much to save every one of them as it is morally possible for him to do, without neglecting or obstructing his supreme and ultimate design. He saw it to be consistent with his universal benevolence to provide a Saviour for all men. He sees it to be consistent to offer salvation to all. He sees it to be consistent to wait upon

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