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John Howe on God willing the salvation of all men (Eze 18:32, 1Tim 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9, John 3:16 etc)

September 8, 2007

God wills the salvation of all men:

[The Gospel] …also represents God to you as reconcilable through a Mediator. In that gospel “peace is preached to you, by Jesus Christ That gospel lets you see God in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, that sin may not be imputed to them That gospel proclaims glory to God in the highest peace on earth, good-will towards men. So did the voices of angels sum up the glad tidings of the gospel, when that Prince of peace was born into the world. It tells you “God desires not the death of sinners but that they may turn and live;” that he would “have all men be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth: “that he is “long suffering towards them, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” that he “so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes on him should not perish, but have everlasting life” The rest of the world cannot but collect, from darker intimations, God’s favourable propensions towards them. He spares them, is patient towards them, that herein, “his goodness might lead them to repentance.” He sustains them,, lets them dwell in a world which they might understand was of his making, and whereof he is absolute Lord. “They live move and have their being in him, that they might seek after him, and by feeling find him out.” He doth them “good, gives them rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling their hearts with food and gladness.” He lets “his sun shine on them,” whose far extended beams shew forth his kindness and: benignity to men, even “to the utmost ends of the earth. For there is no speech or language whither his line and circle reaches not.” But those are but dull and glimmering beams in comparison of those that shine from the Sun of righteousness through the gospel-revelation, and in respect of that divine glory which appears in the face of Jesus Christ. How clearly doth the light of this gospel-day reveal God’s design of reducing sinners, and reconciling them to himself by a Redeemer! How canst thou but say, sinner, thou hast a day of it? and clear day-light shewing thee what the good and acceptable will of God towards thee is? Thou art not left to guess only, thou mayst be reconciled and find mercy, and to grope and feel thy way in the dark, unless it be a darkness of thy own making. And whereas a sinner, a disloyal rebellious creature, that hath affronted the majesty of heaven, and engaged against himself the wrath and justice of his Maker, and is unable to make him any recompense, can have no reason to hope God will shew him mercy, and be reconciled to him for his own sake, or for any thing he can do to oblige or induce him to it; the same gospel shews you plainly, it is for the Redeemer’s sake, and what he hath done and suffered to procure it.

John Howe, “The Redeemers Tears Wept Over Lost Souls.” in Works, (Hunt edition, 1822), 4:24.

Credit to Tony

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