The second paragraph in the “proposed Declaratory statement “ is as follows:
That the doctrine of the Divine decrees, including the doctrine of Election to Eternal Life, is held in connection, and harmony with the truth that ‘God will have all men to be saved,’ and has provided a salvation sufficient for all, adapted to all and offered to all with the grace of His Spirit in the Gospel; and also with the responsibility of every man for his dealing with the free and unrestricted offer of Eternal Life.

It seems a strange thing to tell us “that the doctrine of the Divine decrees, including the doctrine of Election to Eternal Life, is held in connection and harmony with” a certain passage of Scripture [1 Tim. 2:4]. One would have supposed that if they retained, in the Confession, the doctrine referred to, that of itself sufficed to show that they regarded it as in harmony with all Scripture. And if they quoted any particular passage of Scripture, they ought surely to have given it entire. If it said, in the passage referred to, that “God will have all men to be saved,” it is added, “and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” As He wills the one, so He wills the other. But not only have they broken off a fragment of the passage, and given this as if it were all, but they offer no exposition of that which they have given. The statements therefore, in its second article, declares nothing except that while its authors can maim, they do not expound, Scripture - a rather unseemly exhibition for the representatives of a Church to make.

What can be the design for which only a fragment of this text is quoted? Is it in order to insinuate, what the authors dare not openly affirm, that the same love, expressed in Election, bears on all without exception? Of course it must in this case, be the same love to which they refer, because it is a love that wills the salvation of its objects. If so, how can they account for its Election to Eternal Life, of some - an Election infallibly resulting in Eternal Life - while the same love, willing the salvation of others, allows them to perish in their sins? This is a question to which we challenge an answer. But do they thereby intend to say, that God has so revealed His character, through the cross, that all who hear the Gospel are encouraged to come to Him? If so, this part of the Declaratory Statement was very unnecessary, for there is no one holding the doctrine of the Confession who can be disposed to dispute this - yea, anyone who subscribes the Confession is bound to avow this as his belief.

But why is the second part of the Scripture passage omitted? Why do they refrain from referring to God's willing all men “to come to the knowledge of the truth”? Would the quoting of these words have interfered with the purpose for which they quoted those which precede? If that was the reason, I refrain from characterising the conduct of those who are responsible for the suppression I know that it is only by fragmentary quotations from Scripture, and by one-sided views of truth, the doctrine which they are anxious to append to the Confession, can possibly be supported. An instance of this mode of upholding it is surely before us here. According to the passage of Scripture referred to, God wills the salvation of no one without at the same time willing that he should “come to the knowledge of the truth”. It is only through the fulfilment of the latter volition, the former can take effect. But to take this into account would seem to limit the saving-regard of God to those who actually come to the knowledge of the truth; and to avoid this, the latter clause of the passage is ignored.

Looking at this passage, in connection with the context, there can be no great difficulty in determining its meaning. In the first two verses of the chapter, the Apostle is urging Christians to pray “for all men,” and specially “for kings and for all that are in authority.” In order to persuade them to gather all classes of men into their regards, he declares that this would be “acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth”. This is followed by the two grand statements- ”there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” In relation to the “one God” through the “one Mediator” who is “the man Christ Jesus”, all outward distinctions of classes of men are blotted out. There is no longer “Jew or Gentile, Barbarian, Scythian, Bond nor Free”. There is no limiting peculiarity of nations, rank, character, sex, or age. Men as men, sinners as sinners -are equally addressed by God, within the area on which the light of the Gospel shines; and out of all classes and nations God will gather a people to Himself. And as all classes-are represented by those for whom Christ gave Himself a ransom, He is to be preached to all without exception. It is the catholicity of the gospel dispensation that is here declared-that dispensation under which Paul himself “an Hebrew of the Hebrews, was ordained a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.” A passage, then, in which the catholicity of the dispensation of the gospel of grace is declared, is that which is quoted as in harmony with the doctrine of election. Why was this deemed necessary? What interest could such a Declaratory statement serve? How awkward are the movements of a lapsing Church, which, till it parts with the timidity natural to it in its new position, attempts to keep hold of two things which are quite inconsistent. If United Presbyterian divines are determined to cherish their bantling, they must shelter it elsewhere, than under the wing, either of the confession, or of Scripture.

To the declaration that God “has provided a salvation sufficient for all adapted to all, and offered to all” no intelligent subscriber of the Confession will object if its terms are understood according to the meaning which he was accustomed to attach to them with the exception of the mis-statement, that salvation is offered to all. Salvation is only offered to all to whom the Gospel comes. As a matter of fact, the Gospel call is not universal. The sovereignty of God appears in the distribution of the Gospel, as surely in His purpose “according to Election.” And if they did not venture to say that salvation was provided for all, what was the object of the authors of the Declaratory Statement in declaring that what was provided as sufficient, suitable, and free? If salvation is according to infinite grace, by Almighty power, through blood divinely precious its sufficiency must be infinite; if adapted to one sinner it must be to all and that it is offered to all, who hear the Gospel is as clearly declared in the Confession as it can be in any Declaratory Statement which can be written. If, however, something was required, in supplement of the Confession's teaching on the subject of the free offer of the Gospel, does not “The Practical use of Saving Knowledge” furnish this in the most satisfactory manner?

But there is an addition to the statement as to the offer, which abundantly requires explanation. What is meant by its being affirmed that salvation is offered to all by God “with the grace of His Spirit”? The Spirit's grace is evidently regarded as distinct from the salvation which God provided, and which He offers in the gospel. How then is it offered or given? Is it as something apart from the salvation which is in Christ? If so, how can that salvation be sufficient and suitable? Is not all salvation embodied in Christ Jesus? Is not the offer of salvation just the offer of Christ? Is this offer or gift of the grace of the Spirit apart from that offer of Christ? Is the Holy Ghost in His grace offered to us, except as this is involved in the offer of Christ? Yes, say the authors of the Declaratory Statement. But can this consist with the doctrine of the Confession or with the teaching of Scripture? Is this a statement brought in under the shadow of what goes before in order covertly to introduce the semi-Pelagian doctrine of “a gracious ability” granted by the grace of the Holy Spirit to all who hear the Gospel? Is this the old idea, that if God does not furnish men with power to believe, they are not guilty because of their unbelief? And has the United Presbyterian Church fallen down to this?

It is quite natural for men to shrink from all experience of a crisis in which they would feel themselves dependent on the grace of the Holy Spirit, who “worketh where, and when, and how He pleaseth;” but surely it is not a Church's work to be laying a plank on which they may pass it by. And yet this is what is done here. Salvation is offered “with the grace of the Holy Spirit!” Then, having the offer, one has the grace of the Holy Spirit having the offer, he hath power to receive the salvation which that offer presents. This is what is said if there is any meaning in the words at all.

If they had referred to the Holy Ghost as the Spirit of Christ; if they had referred to Messiah Jesus as having the fullness of the Spirit; if they taught that because of this He can execute ‘His commission as sent “to seek and to save that which was lost,” and fulfil His promise of drawing all men unto Him, they would have stood on firm Scripture ground. If besides, they had referred to the anointing of the Holy Ghost as rendering excuseless the sinner who does not believe, because the provision presented to him in Christ meets His impotence to come to Him; and if, moreover they had said, that for the power to believe, as well as for the salvation which faith embraces, sinners may look to Him who said, “Turn you at my reproof; behold I will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you” - then they would have legitimately represented the suitableness, and sufficiency, and grace of the salvation which is of God in Christ. As it is. they have only helped men to relieve their proud hearts of all that is offensive to them in a conscious dependence for entrance, by regeneration through faith, into the kingdom of God on the grace of Him who will have mercy on whom He will. This cannot be evaded according to the truth, and any attempt to help men to do so can only originate in deceit, and can only lead down to death.”