But here a question arises: How is the special atonement to be harmonised with the general invitations of the gospel propounded-to mankind indefinitely? Both these have abundant evidence in Scripture: and sometimes a difficulty has been felt where none should exist. It would be tedious to enumerate all the disputes which have been carried on, sometimes on the one side, and. sometimes on the other. Thus it has been made a question, whether God offers the eternal life, or the salvation procureed by Christ to all men indiscriminately, or only to those who are the objects of special love? And then a further difficulty is started on the ground that an atonement specially provided for some cannot be propounded indefinitely to all.
These are merely exercises of human reasoning on themes which, from the nature of the case, the finite mind must rather accept as facts than presume exhaustively to explore. The sufficiency of the atonement for all nations and all men must be affirmed, and therefore no one can have any doubt as to the possibility of its being extended to them if they have been awakened to a sense of need, and if they penitently wish to share in it. It is as infinite in value as is its divine author.
That the offer of salvation is to be made to all men is the conclusion to which every one must come who duly considers that Christ so preached. Though He knew all those that were His, all that were given Him by the Father, He yet invited sinners indiscriminately (John 7:37), nay, complained of their reluctance and refusal when they set at nothing His proposals of love (Matt. 23:37, John 5:40). A special atonement and invitations sincerely made on the ground of it to mankind indefinitely are quite compatible. They will be found to meet at some point though their junction be beyond our present line of vision. And our Lord and His apostles, by their mode of preaching, give us an example how to proceed. They brought motives and expostulations to bear on men as if no hard question were in the way.
Atonement, According to Christ and His Apostles, by Smeaton, Sovereigh Grace Publishers, page 181