Summary: This Sermon is #17 from Rev. Andrew Lee’s SERMONS published in 1803 by Isaiah Thomas, Jr. at Lisbon, Connecticut.
The entire book Andrew’s Lee’s Sermons is available free at Project Gutenberg as e-Text #15031.
God willing that all Men should be saved.
1 Timothy ii. 4.
"Who will have all Men to be saved,----." IN verse first, the apostle directs "prayers and thanksgivings to be made for all men;"--which he declares to "be good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; _who will have all men to be saved_." Had salvation been provided for only a part of the human race, prayer and thanksgivings could have been, consistently made only for a part. Those for whom no provision was made, would be in like state with persons who have committed the sin unto death, for whom St. John intimates prayer is not to be offered up. "There is a sin unto death; I do not say that he shall pray for it." But such is naturally the state of none of the children of Adam. Divine goodness is extended to all, and salvation offered to them; therefore is prayer and praise to be offered up for all men.
IT is now proposed, _briefly to consider the divine goodness expressed in the text--Who will have all men to be saved--then some abuses of the revelation which is made of this goodness to mankind_.
I. WE _are to consider the divine goodness here expressed--Who will have all men to be saved_.
THE salvation intended, is that of the soul. This comprehends deliverance from merited sufferings, and the bestowment of happiness which is the contrast of it.
THE provision which is made for the comfort and happiness of mankind in this life, evinces strange goodness in God. When we consider what man was made of God, and what he hath made himself, the divine benevolence here displayed, is wonderful! Strange that man was not destroyed and blotted out from among God’s works!
SOME suppose this to have been our first parents idea of the threatening in case of disobedience, and expressed by them, when they attempted to hide themselves from the divine presence, after their fall. *
* Genesis iii. 9.
HAD man then been destroyed, the race would have been extinct. But he was spared; suffered long to continue and rear a family, from which the myriads of human kind have descended. Though exiled Eden, and doomed to labor and sorrow, he was still at the head of this lower creation, and creatures below him generally subservient to his comfortable subsistence. The ground was indeed cursed for his sake and fatiguing cultivation rendered necessary; but still it yielded the necessaries, and many of the comforts of life; though not the sweets of its primitive state.
THESE effusions of divine goodness were probably the wonder of angels, though so little noticed by men, the ungrateful objects of them.
BUT these were inconsiderable, compared with the strange provision made for their eternal salvation.
THAT God bears good will to mankind, not--withstanding their apostasy, and is desirous of their salvation, is from many considerationsapparent. It is the spirit of the text, and the general language of the scriptures, as will be shewn in the sequel.
THAT God is willing that all should be saved, appears from the sufficiency of the provision which is made for the salvation of sinners; the frequent declarations that it is designed for all; the offers which are made indiscriminately to all; and the suitableness of the provision to the circumstances of all.
1. FROM the sufficiency of the provision which is made for the salvation of sinners, This is adequate to the salvation of the whole race. Christ, being a divine person, made an infinite atonement. In him there is a fulness of merit. Was the number of sinners ten times greater than that of our whole race, there would be no need of another Savior, or of Christ’s dying again for their redemption. In him "dwells the whole fulness of the Godhead bodily." The reason all are not saved, is not a deficiency of merit in the Redeemer, or any limitation of his satisfaction. Sinners "are not straitened in him, but in their own bowels."
2. THAT God is willing all should be saved appears from the frequent declarations of scripture, that Christ died for all--Who gave himself a ransom _for all_, to be testified in due time--We see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels, that he, by the grace of God, should taste death _for every man_. The love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one _died for all_, then were all dead; and that he _died for all_, that they who live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him who died for them, and rose again.
3. THE same appears in the offers made _to all_. When after his resurrection Christ sent forth his apostles to effect his gracious purposes, both his orders and promises were indefinite--"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."