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our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.' Heb. xii. 5. 6. 10.
As it has now been demonstrated, that Jehovah loves all-desires the happiness of all—and that he will accomplish all his desires; all will of course be saved.
III. Will not the Angels of Darkness become Angels of Light?
• O Lucifer! son of the morning, how art thou fallen! Isaiah.
If we are not required to abhor the infernal host, though identified with evil itself—and yet Jehovah, who is goodness itself, is to be loved with the whole heart-if God is love if he will not inflict anguish for ever, because he is the Oreator, because he is God, and not man-if he has no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, but desires that the wicked should turn from his ways and live—if the Almighty will accomplish all his desires-if the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth shall vanish away, yet at length be renewed in celestial bloom ...... who would not hope, that those angels of night, those morning suns, those mighty constellations, thougla now fallen from their spheres, shorn of their beams, and wandering as malignant fires; will one day be retracted to their orbs, relume the world, and shine for ever and ever, as the glorious stars of heaven?
THE PRAYER OF FAITH.
• I exhort, therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men : For kings, and 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 for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. I will therefore, that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting i Tím. ii. 148.
THE connexion of this passage is rather disordered by the punctuation. The first verse, ending with all men, might have closed with a period. After the word authority, in the second verse, there should have been no stop longer than a comma.
I. Paul exhorts to pray in Faith for the Salvation of every Individual of the human race.
The reader will please to observe, that to pray in faith, is to pray, believing that our requests will be granted. This proposition will be established in the course of the investigation.
1. The apostle exhorts us to pray for the salvation of every individual.
First. This is evident from the preceding chapter; from which he infers the obligation. For the foregoing chapter contains the beginning of the apostle Paul's charge; of which the following is the amount: that since the law is fulfilled by charity out of a pure heart, and faith unfeigned, he would have no doctrine promulgated, inconsistent with this. And, as the most impressive illustration of the spirit of this injunction, and lest any should conjecture, that universal charity is not equally the law which the Deity proposes to himself; he dwells with strong emotion, on the boundless riches of grace, displayed in his own wonderful conversion. For
• This,' he exclaims, is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.'
Secondly. That no individual is to be excluded from the saving benefit of this intercession, is apparent, from the universal terms which are employed. Prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, for all men for all that are in authority
God our Saviour will have all men to be saved -a ransom for all. What can be more comprehensive! But we have shown, at the beginning of this work, that to confine the word all to a part, in this instance, is in defiance of the analogy of the whole New Testament.
Thirdly. The connexion not only renders it evident, that all are included, but proves that mere • temporal salvation, or the promulgation of the mere letter of the gospel, formed no part of this petition.
For it is evident that kings, and all that are in authority, are by no means all that are mentioned in the first, and the subsequent verses of the text. The apostle will have us pray for kings, and all who are in authority, that we may live in peace, honesty, and godliness : this is one object; but not the only object of prayer, even for these. For God our Saviour will have us pray for all men, because he will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of truth. It is evident, also, that the reason here adduced, extends, not merely to rulers, but to all persons, of every description. That the apostles, and the primitive christians, had no reason to expect quiet and peaceable lives, from any thing short of the real conversion of kings, and all that were in authority; the history of their times, and the martyrdom of Paul himself, sufficiently testify. Of course, the primitive christian prayed for the everlasting happiness of all invested with civil power. And, indeed, this is no more than every clergy man does at the present day. If Paul, therefore, commands us to pray for the eternal salvation of all kings, in other words, the whole brood of tyrants, is it possible, that he should not enjoin a similar petition, for all their subjects, groaning under the scourge of despotism ?-God our Saviour will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. But this, we are continually told from the pulpit, means, for the most part, but mere temporal salvation, and the distinguished privilege of hearing the preachers of
such good tidings ; and that for these blessings, (though, perhaps nine times in ten,' they only aggravate the load of infinite wo,) Paul entreats us to pray without ceasing. In what part of the Word of Truth, we desire to know, is God called the mere temporal Saviour of a single individual ? * The kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.' • If ye know the truth, the truth shall make you free.' Where do we learn, that the salvation of God, and the knowledge of the truth,' are, in many cases, but the treacherous prosperity of a moment, and the promulgation of the damning, powerless, or perverted letter of the gospel? If this doctrine is true, then has the God of compassion exhorted his servants, to pray for the damnation of a great part of their brethren.* . For there is one God, and one Mediator be. tween God and men, the man Christ Jesus ; who gave
himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. As we have already protested against the prostitution of the compassions of God, the power of the one Mediator, and the efficacy of his ransom, to the purposes of condemnation; we forbear further expostulation on that subject. But « what was to be testified in due time?' That some were to be saved ? Did Timothy, who is termed Paul's own son in the faith, require to be informed of this ? Or did the apostle mean only to say, • It shall be testified in due time, that the gospel, to many, is apparently preached in vain'? This had been abundantly testified already. Nothing, therefore, could be the subject of this testimony,
* God has exhorted his servants, by bis apostle, to pray for all. If some are to be eternally damned, we are therefore to pray only for their temporal prosperity. But this prosperity is said to aggravate the endless torments of hell. To pray for it, is consequently to pray for damnation.