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How many people will be saved? How many people will be left? The answers to these questions often constitute an objection to the goodness of God.Why doesn’t God save everyone? Warfield’s essay on the subject addresses these issues relating to the doctrine of salvation. It also includes a biblical study of election and reprobation, and comprehensively addresses an important theological objection to Christianity.

B. B. Warfield held a very optimistic view of the number of the saved on the last day. “The dicta probantia, relied upon for the establishment of this dogma of the fewness of the saved, are, as will have been observed from the instances cited, ordinarily these four: Mat. 7:14f; Luke 13:23f; Mat. 20:16; 22:14.” But “a scrutiny of these passages will make it sufficiently apparent that they do not form an adequate basis for the tremendous conclusion which has been founded on them.”

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In a sermon on 2 Tim 4:13 entitled “Paul – His Cloak and His Books,” C.H. Spurgeon commented,

“We will LOOK AT HIS BOOKS. We do not know what the books were about, and we can only form some guess as to what the parchments were. Paul had a few books which were left, perhaps wrapped up in the cloak, and Timothy was to be careful to bring them. Even an apostle must read. Some of our very ultra Calvinistic brethren think that a minister who reads books and studies his sermon must be a very deplorable specimen of a preacher. A man who comes up into the pulpit, professes to take his text on the spot, and talks any quantity of nonsense, is the idol of many. If he will speak without premeditation, or pretend to do so, and never produce what they call a dish of dead men’s brains—oh! that is the preacher. How rebuked are they by the apostle! He is inspired, and yet he wants books! He has been preaching at least for thirty years, and yet he wants books! He had seen the Lord, and yet he wants books! He had had a wider experience than most men, and yet he wants books! He had been caught up into the third heaven, and had heard things which it was unlawful for a man to utter, yet he wants books! He had written the major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books! The apostle says to Timothy and so he says to every preacher, “Give thyself unto reading.” The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own. Brethren, what is true of ministers is true of all our people. You need to read. Renounce as much as you will all light literature, but study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritanic writers, and expositions of the Bible. We are quite persuaded that the very best way for you to be spending your leisure, is to be either reading or praying. You may get much instruction from books which afterwards you may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service. Paul cries, “Bring the books”—join in the cry.”[1]

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