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but that unlimited redemption, of which he proceeds to declare. 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. As if he had said, “You are fully sensible, that the good news of salvation, must sooner or later be announced, in erery region of the earth, without discrimination : but when I declare to you further, that not a single inhabitant, of any of those regions, will finally be excluded, from those immortal joys, which the gospel proclaims; I am afraid (so novel are these liberal views to the Israelites) that my words should seem to you as idle tales.'
Fourthly. The prayer which our Lord taught his disciples is also universal. • Thy will be done in earth as it is heaven. The will of God can never be done in earth as it is in heaven, till every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess, (and confess the truth,) • In the Lord have I righteousness and strength.'
2. Paul exhorts us, not only to pray, but to pray in faith, for every individual.
It will be suitable to collect a few Scriptures, illustrating the nature, the efficacy, and the obligation, of the prayer of faith.'
• And Jesus answered, and said unto them, Have faith in God.' Mark xi. 22.- If ye abide in me, and my words in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.' We know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Rom. viii. 26.-Without faith,it is impossible to please God.' Heb. xi. 6.—All things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. Mark xi.
6 Ask, and it shall be given you.' Matt. viii. 27.—But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering,' (or nothing doubting.] James i. 6.
As the clergy, of every denomination, pray for the eternal salvation, not only of all their own parishoners, but of all mankind, we would hope, in charity, (for charity hopeth all things, that they all pray in faith.* Feign would we hope, that they ask, believing, not merely that they shall receive-if the will of God. For this is to waver—this is to doubt whether they shall receive or not. Doubtless, there can be no doubt, that such doubting, is to pray in doubt.
• I will, therefore,' continues the apostle, that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.' The following is therefore his conclusion from all that he had before said : Since it is the will of God, that everlasting salvation should be conferred on every son and daughter of the human family, without a single exception-and he has said, Ask, and ye shall receive ;' I declare it (as the apostle of the Gentiles) to be my will, that our prayers be at once universal and effectual—that we should pray, lifting up holy hands, and therefore in faith, without wrath, doubting, or mental reservation-not as if at a loss ......whether it be the will of God to do his own will.... but believing that we receive those things for which we ask.'
II. Whatever we ask in Faith, we shall receive,
* Take as a specimen, a daily petition of a certain pious, faithful, and firm (we do not say consistent) disciple of Caivin; now deceased. Pour out thy Spirit upon all flesh ! Fil! the whole earth with thy goodness! And may all be bound together, in the same bundle of eternal life !!!
• What things soever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall receive them.' • But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.' The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain : and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.* And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.' James v. 16-18.
At length, by concentrating the beams of divine truth, it is manifest in open day, that St. Paul, who repeatedly affirms in his Epistles, that he received his doctrine, not of man, but of God-commands us to pray for the endless felicity of every member of the human family ; that he enjoins us to pray for this in faith ; and lastly, that whatever we ask of God in faith, will sooner or later be granted.
III. Our Saviour's Prayer on the Cross, was in fact, universal.
We intreat the reader's patience, for a few moments, while we establish a few propositions ; important, not merely in their bearing upon the present article, but as connected with the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, a crime constituting a principal objection to the eventual forgiveness of all men.
* We would not insinuate, that the passions, or prayers of men, have power to shut for ever the doors of salvation. We are to pray for the salvation of all men, because God will have all men to be saved. Prayer is not intended to influence but to express the will of God.
First. The Jewish chieftains, at the time of our Saviour's ministry, were the greatest of infidels and sinners.
St. Peter, speaking of those who killed the Prince of Life,' makes the following observation: 6 And now, brethren, I wot througli ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.' Acts iii. 17.• Have any of the rulers, or of the Pharisees, believed on him ?' John vii. 48.- If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin : but now they have no cloak for their sin.'
John xv. 22.-Wo unto thee,Chorazin, wo unto thee, Bethsaida : for if the mighty works which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be cast down to hell.' Matt. xi. 21-23.-" Then said Jesus unto the Scribes and Pharisees, I gò my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins. Ye serpents ! ye generation of vipers! how can ye escape the damnation of hell!' John viii. 21. Matt. xxiii. 33.
Secondly. These men were guilty of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost; that is, of a spiteful ascription of the miraculous works of God, to the power of devils.
•Wherefore, I say unto you, [Scribes and Pharisees,] All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men : but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. Because they said he hath an unclean spirit.' Matt. xii. 31. Mark iii. 30.
Allowing it to have been impossible, that the Scribes and Pharisees should commit the sin against the Holy Spirit, was not the warning of our Saviour superfluous ? If he did not charge them with its actual commission, his words plainly imply, that they were on the brink of this precipice. That the greatest part, not only of the Scribes and Pharisees, but of the other leaders, rulers, and elders, were in the same, or nearly the same danger, is manifest, from their perpetually combining to oppose the gospel. Nothing, therefore, could be wanting to complete their condemnation, and fill up the measure of their blasphemy, but this : that they should also, in malice, ascribe to the powers of hell, those vastly more copious effusions of the Holy Spirit, which were afterwards exhibited to their view. That they actually did so, is a real fact.
For they did not attribute to God, the miracles wrought at the crucifixion of his Son, when darkness overspread the land, the earth was rent, the dead arose—the wonders wrought at his tomb, wben the angel descended, whose countenance was like lightning, and for fear of whom the keepers did quake, and became as dead men, and the Prince of Life arose. Nor did they impute to him the gifts of tongues and miracles, on the day of Pentecost, an era so memorable, that till this time, the Holy Spirit, whose works they had imputed to the infernal powers, is said not to bave been given. Had they ascribed these works to divine agency, they would not have listened to Gamaliel, when he counselled them to desist from persecution, lest they should be found even to fight against God; nor would they, subsequently, have renewed their persecutions, even unto death. Since then, they did not impute these