« السابقةمتابعة »
uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." Like unto this is the following in the 22d Psalm. “ All the ends of the world shall remember, and turn unto the Lord ; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdoin is the Lord's ; and he is the governor among nations." This word kindreds, is used by St. Peter in the 3d of Acts. “ Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with the fathers, saying unto Abraham, and in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.”. According to this divine declaration, all the kindreds of the earth are the children, and if children, then heirs of the testimony of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with the fathers. In prospect of these great and glorious things of the kingdom of God, the prophet David says, in the 64th psalm; “All men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doings.” In the 720 psalın we find the following ; “He shall bave dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth -men shall be blessed in him, all nations shall call him blessed-all kings shall fall down before him; all nations shall serve him." Psalm 86th,“ All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee O Lord ; and shall glorify thy name, for thou art great and doest wondrous things; thou art God alone.” In bearing such testimony as the foregoing, David was a man “after God's own heart.” In addition to what has been quoted from the prophet Isaiah, the following may be mentioned ; Chapter 52d, “ Break forth into joy, sing together ye waste places of JerusaJem ; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations ; of our God.” 'Chap. 53—"All we, like sheep, have gone astray: we have turned every one to bis own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all-He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied ; by his knowledge shall my rigtbeous servant justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities." Chapter 49th, 6 And he said, it is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to
thee for a ligbt to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the ends of the earth.” Time would fail us to recite all this kind of testimony from the prophets who spake of the coming of the Just One, and of the glory that should follow. We find in the New Testament many arguments and declarations corresponding with the promises of God and the sayings of the prophets on this glorious subject of universal grace. Jesus said, “God sent not bis Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved.” The beloved disciple says; “ We have seen and do testify, that the Father sent the Son to be the saviour of the world.” Again be says that “ Jesus Christ the righteous is the propitiation for the sios of the whole world.” St. Paul bestows much arguinent to show that “where sin abounded, grace hath inuch more abounded ; and that as by the offence of one, judginent came upon all men unto condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” He exhorts Timothy to pray and give thanks for all men, because God will have all men to be saved, and as a reason for this he says, that the one Mediator gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
Having presented the hearer with this very limited sketch of the divine testimony in favour of the
Fighteous : Again b
los of the
universal goodness of God to mankind, a humble desire is felt that we may now look with enlightened eyes and candid minds, to see how this doctrine agrees with the works and ways of God which are visible.
Can we see in all the works of God, any instance where the Creator has discovered any want of goodness to the creature which he has made ? Is there any thing that we can point out in his universal providence that is a proof of a design to harm the works of his hands ? Every animal, ev, ery fish, every bird, every reptile and every insect speaks forth the goodness of its Creator. Is there a nation on the earth who are so treated by the divine Being, that they can say to the world, we have never received a favour from our Creator? Is there an individual ainong men who will stand forth and protest against all the doings of God, and say, I have received nothing but evil from the hand that formed me ? Is there a son or a daughter of sorrow in the hearing of this humble voice, who will assure us that “their light afflictions, which are but for a moment,” will not “work for us an exceeding and eternal weight of glory ;" and that God is not good unto all, and that his tender mercies are not over all his works?
Much has been said in the christian church, and much has been maintained by the prejudices of the ignorant against the universal goodness of God, and in favor of a partial system of salvation ; but after all, the great question is, bas God furnished those who limit his favor, with sufficient proof that they are right in so doing? In his sun-shine and in his rain does the Father of our spirits inform us, that he has elected a few only of his rational offspring to be heirs of his grace, and that the remainder are doomed to everlasting wo? No! the blessed rays ofthe sun wbich makesourday, and warms the earth, the rain from heaven, which water our fields and our orchards and our gardens, preach the doctrine of universal impartial goodness ; And so do all the elements in the infinite variety of their productions. The water we drink, the air we breathe, the food we receive, the raiment we wear, the strength of our bodies, the abilities of our minds, our health, the sweets of friendship, the beauties our eyes behold, the charms of music, the flavour of fruits, in short every subject of thought agrees in declaring the impartial goodness of God.
The enemies of this doctrine, would persuade us to believe that it tends to licentiousness, and removes all restraint necessary to prevent the grossest iminorality. But have they ever attempted to show that the universal promise of grace in the seed of Abraham, ever tended to make that friend of God, who believed it licentious ? Will they undertake to show that the united testimony of all God's holy prophets since the world began, who bave spoken of the restitution of all things, has made the believers of the faithful word perverse and sinful ? Can you my friends, see any thing licentious in the sun-shine or in the rain, of which all are made to share in rich abundance ? Is the vital air licentious because it is free grace to every living being ? Are the cooling spring and limpid streams lascivious in their impartial favor? In all these things God preaches every day, and his auditors rejoice in his mercy.
Having noticed the universality of this promised grace of the gospel covenent, it may be proper to inquire something concerning what is promised. « A feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees; of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.” This is surely a description, of a most sumptuous feast. Here are no indications of poverty and want. This feast too is made for all people! I cast my eyes around, I rejoice, my heart gwells with joy. This feast is inade for you all! Can it be possible that this God of universal mercy should have any enemies ? Yes, men are enemies to God by wicked works; yet for these very enemies he has made this feast of fat things. But of what does this feast consist ? Answer, it is conposed of the fruit of the spirit which is " love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." This is the river, “ the streams whereof make glad the city of our God.”
What is richer, what is sweeter; what is more nourishing than love? Love to God and love to . man is life, it is peace, it is joy, it is long-suffering, it is gentleness, it is goodness; it believeth all things, it hopeth all things, it endureth all things ; it is meekness, it is temperance, it is the fulfilling of the law, it is everlasting righteousness. This is the milk and honey, of spiritual Canaan. This is the feast of which we read in the 9th of Proverbs ; « Wisdom hath built her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars; she hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine ; she hath also furnished her table; she hath sent forth her maidens; she crieth upon the high places of the city, whoso is simple, let hiin turn in hither; as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, come eat of my bread and drink of the wine which I have mingled, forsake the foolish and live : and go in the way of understanding.” By the Prophet Isaiah we are invited to this feast in the following language : “ 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. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread ? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat