July 12, 2015

Nathaniel Appleton (1693–1784) on God’s Preceptive Will and His Willingness to Save All Men

Moreover, it may be considered as the Preceptive Will of God. He wills, that is, he commands, that all Men should be saved; and this he does, as he commands, those Things universally that accompany Salvation, yea and in which Salvation does very much consist.—The Preceptive Will of God is universal; what he says to one, he says to all who come within hearing of it. And now God may be said to will the Salvation of all Men, as truly & as really as he wills they should keep his Commandments. As he wills that all Men should obey him, so he wills that they should all be saved; because there is an inseparable Connection between Obedience and Salvation, and the one implies the other. Thus we are told, Act. 17.30. That God commands all Men every where to repent. Well, just so he wills that all Men every where should be saved: For that Repentance which he wills, is unto Salvation: Nay true Repentance is Salvation; Salvation begun in the Soul: And it seems by the Apostle as if Repentance and Salvation were synonymous or convertible Terms, in the forementioned 2 Pet. 3.9. Not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to Repentance. Where perishing and Repentance are put in Opposition, plainly signifying that Repentance is the same with Salvation, which is the contrary or opposite to perishing. So again, it is the Will of God that all Men should honour the Son even as they honour the Father, Joh. 5.23. Well, this is as much as to will the Salvation of all Men: For this is Life eternal, to know and honour the true God and Jesus Christ whom he sent, Joh. 17.3. Again, who is there but what will acknowledge that God wills Men to forsake their Sins, turn to him, and lead holy Lives? For this is the Will of God, even your Sanctification. And if he wills that all Men should flee from Sin and follow Holiness, he wills that all Men should be saved, for Holiness and Freedom from Sin, is that in which a great Part of our Happiness consists. Finally here, since the Grace of God which has appeared unto all Men, bringing Salvation, teaches us to deny all Ungodliness, and worldly Lusts, and to live soberly, and righteously, and godly in this present World, (Tit. 2.11, 12.) it must be allowed to be the Will of God that we should all thus live; and this is to will the Salvation of all: For it is in this Way that the Grace of God brings Salvation unto us.

Now therefore, if there be any Persons who doubt whether God is really willing that all Men should be saved, let them consider whether God be really willing that all should repent, that all should believe, that all should forsake their Sins, and obey the Gospel; and consider whether all such do not contradict and oppose the Will of God, who do not repent of their Sins, and live as the Gospel teaches them.

And now, would it not be very shocking to you, for any to say, that God was not willing that all Men should repent, that he was not willing they should all turn from their Sins, and was not willing they should all obey his Commands? Why, it is really as shocking for any to say, that God is not willing that all should be saved: Because Repentance, and Faith, and Obedience, and Salvation, are so interwoven together, that the one necessarily implies the other.

Similarly, John Frame said:
If God desires people to repent of sin, then certainly he desires them to be saved, for salvation is the fruit of such repentance.


Write@titude said...


Just wanted to say "Thank You" for the collection of quotes you've gathered here. I can't imagine the time it takes, and you probably think it is fruitless, but it is not. My heart leaps with almost every post.



Tony Byrne said...

Thanks for the encouraging words, Scott. It is tempting to think the work is fruitless at times, but I know there are a few people benefiting from the quotes and sources.


Suzanne Thompson said...

I have struggled with limited atonement for a long time, and the fact that some say that God doesn't want all men to be saved. Thank you for these posts.

Tony Byrne said...

Thanks, Suzanne. May God continue to bless your research into these subjects. If you have any questions you would like to ask, I recently created a section on my blog for general comments and questions.

Grace to you,