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that in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." Gen. xxii: 16-18. Paul on commenting on this says "When God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself." Heb. vi: 14. He also says, "God willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel confirmed it by an oath." Heb. vi: 17. Such being the nature of an oath, there can be no question respecting the fulfilment of the promise to Abraham.
We enquire therefore, 1. how many does it embrace? The answer is all nations. Not some of all nations, but ALL nations. This universality is indicated by the figures "stars in the heavens," and "sands upon the sea shore." Peter's method of alluding to it, proves it universal-'Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers saying, In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.' There can be no question then respecting the universality of the promise to Abrahain
1. That Christ
2. What was promised? should possess the gate of his enemy? Gate was anciently used to signify a very strong place; it was where the people sat to execute justice. Hence the figure, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." To possess the gate of an enemy therefore, is to have that enemy in complete subjection to our power. Such a pas session will Christ finally have-his enemies will be made his foot-stool-they will be subjected-they will be reconciled. 2. In thy seed shall all nations be blessed. What can this blessing be? Not any temporal advantage connected
with the Gospel on earth, for not a fourth part of the world know any thing concerning it. Then it must be the blessing of life and glory beyond the grave.--Hence Christ is called the "salvation of God to the ends of the earth," and the 'Saviour of the world., For the faithful fulfilment of his promise, we have the oath of Jehovah. Have you the oath of God in favour of endless misery? If not partialism must fall.
3. God's will. "Who will have all men to be saved and come unto a klowledge of the truth." 1 Tim. ii: 4, see also Eph. i: 9, 10. To realize the full force of this language, let us consider that "God works all things after the counsel of his own will, that he does his pleasure in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth." In making man, in giving him powers, laws and privileges, he was guided by this will, which is in accordance with the eternal interests of all men. Now such being the case, how could God, consistently with his will, so situate man as to expose him to endless death? This would not be according to the counsel of his own will, for he wills the salvation of all.Hence God cannot have exposed us to endless misery.
This idea is strengthened by the fact, that the truth is consonant to the salvation of all. "Who will have all men to be saved, and come unto a knowledge of the truth." Now if the truth were not consonant to the salvation all; or if it were true, that a part are to be saved, and a part lost, then all could come to knowledge of the truth, but only a part would be saved.Hence God willing the salvation of all, and doing all things according to the counsel of his own
will, has ordained universal savation; and therefore, that is immutable and everlasting truth.This all can know, and be saved.
4. God's decree. "I will declare the decree ** Ask of me and I will give thee, the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession," Here is what the infinite Jehovah has decreed; not offered, net provided, but decreed though Jesus Christ.The heathen and the uttermost parts of the earth decreed to salvation! A more expressive term could not be used.
Where is Calvinism in the light of this testimony? Where too is Methodism, which denies the existence of such a decree? They both vanish, and among the thousand errors, that have cxisted only in the disordered imaginations of men. This testimony of David coincides with what Paul says in Heb. 1. 2. "Whom he hath appointed heir of all things." This word appointed is the same as decreed. Thus we read;-He appointed other seventy-I will appoint to you the kingdom, as my Father hath appointed a kingdom to me. According then to the scriptural use of the word appointed, it shows the positive certainty of Christ being heir of all things. Something more must be intended than that means are provided for this, that all can be saved, that there is grace sufficient for all. His being appointed, shows that all the perfections of the Father and Son are pledged for the execution of the work; and that the decree of Heaven has gone forth, declaring that Jesus shall be heir of all.
I am, &c.,
OTIS A. SKINNER.
EASTON MD. May 24, 1835.
To Rev. Otis A. Skinner:
DEAR SIR: I have just read your fifteenth letter, and find nothing in it, that requires either a careful or a critical reply. That part of it which relates to my fifteenth communication, needs no investigation. The new proofs as you suppose them to be, of the final salvation of all men, require some notice, not because they contain any real proof, but because the unthinking reader, mightsuppose them to be of some importance, were I to pass them by, in total silence.
Your new proofs are taken from the promise, bath, will, and decree of God. All these things may appear very plausible to some persons; however, I shall attend to them in order.
1. The promises of God. The promises of the Most High, which are made to the human race, may be variously classified. They relate to time and eternity, to the body and to the soul, and they are conditional and unconditional in their nature, and with respect to their accomplishment. Some of the promises of temporal good are absolutely unconditional: as the promise of summer and winter, seed-time and harvest, the fertilizing showers of rain, and all the vegetable productions of the earth, for the use of man: all these things are given, in a certain sense, irrespective of any condition on the part of man. But, the promise of full barns and store-houses, great wealth and affluence, &c. are conditional, and depend, in a great measure, upon our diligence and unwearied perseverance in the pursuits of industry and domestic economy. "If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land."
"The hand of the diligent maketh rich." Some of the promises of spiritual good are absolutely unconditional, as they are fulfilled without any previous condition on the part of man whatever. Of this class are the promise of a Saviour coming into the world to be an expiatory sacrifice for all sin-the promise of the Holy Spirit to convince the world of sin-the promise of the means 'of grace, and the establishment of gospel ordinances in the Christian church-the promise of a great diffusion of divine knowledge over the face of the earth. While all these general promises may be regarded as emanating unconditionally from the unbounded goodness and benevolence of God, it is equally certain, that a great number of the promises of spiritual good are conditional, depending on something which must be performed by the creature; for instance, the promises of the pardon of sin, and the purification of the heart by the Spirit of God, are suspended upon the condition of repentance, towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, which must be performed by the creature through divine aid, otherwise the promises never will be fulfilled. The promise of eternal life is suspended upon the condition, that we accept of the overtures of divine mercy, as propounded in the gospel, and manifest this acceptance by faithfully discharging the duties we owe to God, to our neighbour, and to ourselves. The threatening of eternal misery, is suspended upon the condition, that we reject the gospel of Christ, and live in the violation of the laws of God; on all such, the horror and wrath of the Almighty shall be poured out without mixture, and without end, as to its duration. That the promises of God, in relation to individual happi