December 21, 2014

Anthony Burgess (d.1664) on the General and Peculiar Love of God

"Fifthly, Although we cannot conclude grace by outward mercies, yet thus way doth give many a man outward prosperity and wealth, for his diligence, industry, upright and honest dealing in the world. Thus Solomon saith, The hand of the diligent maketh rich, and truth and justice in our way is blessed by God to increase. Thus Austin [Augustine] attributed all the temporal greatness that the state of Rome came to, unto the justice of the common-wealth, but this comes only from a general Love of God, not from that peculiar love which belongs to his people: it doth not come from the same fountain that mercy and pardon comes; Therefore it's a fruit of providence, not of election: it argueth upright dealing, but not an heart made pure and upright to God: what then though thou sayest, God hath blessed my diligence, my honest dealing? yet thou canst not say, this is the fruit of my conversion and regeneration, being turned unto God."
Anthony Burgess, Spiritual Refinings: In Two Parts. Delivered in CLXI. Sermons. The Second Edition. (London: Printed by J. Streater, for T.U. and are to be sold by Tho: Johnson, at the Golden-Key in St. Pauls Church-Yard, 1658), 1:183. 

Note: On page 115, Burgess also speaks of a "common love love of God," as distinguished from "such a love which is vouchsafed unto his own people in a peculiar manner." In several places in this work he also refers to God's "common grace" (14, 38-39, 62), and that these "common gifts and graces are sometimes bestowed upon reprobates," such as Judas (203).

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Thomas Shelton (1601-c.1650), Richard Sibbes (1577-1635), and John Robotham (fl.1654) on the Beams of God's Love

"61. Efficacy of God's Love

The Sun casts light and heat upon all the world in his general course: but his beams being concentrate in a burning glass, it sets fire upon the object. So God in the creation looked upon all his works with a general love, but the beams of his love to his elect, shining through Christ enflames their hearts." 
Thomas Shelton, A Centurie of Similies (London: Printed by John Dawson, 1640), 38-39.

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"But besides this, when Christ saith "my love," he shows, that as his love goes and plants and seats itself in the church, so it is united to that, and is not scattered to other objects. There are beams of God's general love scattered in the whole world; but this love, this exceeding love, is only fastened upon the church."
Richard Sibbes, "Bowels Opened: Sermon VII," in The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes, 7 vols. (Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1862), 2:76-77.

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"Christ loves all his creatures with a general love, and lets the beams of his goodness scatter out to them, because there is some beams of his excellency in every creature; but his Spouse is his beloved in a more peculiar and eminent way then any other: and though the beams of his general love, are scattered out to all his creatures, yet his especial love is united and fixed only upon his Church. See this more largely opened in Chap. 1. 9. Christ cannot but love what he sees of himself in us, he loves his own Image."
John Robotham, An Exposition on the Whole Book of Solomons Song, Commonly Called the Canticles (London: Printed by M.S. and are to be sold by George Eversden, at the golden Ball in Aldersgate street: and An: Williamson at the Queens Arms in Pauls-Church Yard: And L: Chapman at the Crowne in Popes-head-Alley, 1652), 550-551.
"The general love of Christ is scattered and branched out to all creatures in the world; but his special, his exceeding great and rich love is fastened only upon his Church." Ibid., 172.
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December 20, 2014

John Robinson (c.1575-1625) on God's Hate and General Love

"For first, it is true, that God hateth nothing that he hath made [Wis. 11:24], so far as it is his work: but as sin, coming in, hath destroyed the work of God, though not in respect of the nature, or being, yet of the integrity, and holy being of the creature; so God, through his unchangeable holiness, hating sin, doth, also, most fervently hate and abhor from the sinful creature, in whom it reigneth, in respect of it, as the Scriptures do expressly and plentifully teach, Mal. ii. 3; Psa. v. 5, 6; Prov. xvi. 5; Tit. i. 16. And God loving himself and his own holiness in the first place and most, and the creature and his good, but in the second place, the love of the creature must give way to the love of himself, and so he, necessarily, hate the obstinate sinner. And this it is most needful for all men firmly to believe, and continually to bear in mind, that they may always bewail their sins, and nourish in themselves the hatred of that which God so hateth, and for it, the creature; and for which he punisheth it with most horrible curses, and punishments for ever.

And yet, even in the very execution of his most fearful vengeance upon the reprobate, men and angels, he retaineth the general love of a Creator; and out of it, preserveth the being of the creature, which in itself, and in respect of the universal is better than not to be, though not so in the sense of the person: and also moderateth the extremity of that torment, which he both could, and might in justice, inflict."
John Robinson, "On Religious Communion, Private and Public," in The Works of John Robinson, 3 vols. (London: John Snow, 35, Paternoster Row, 1851), 3:253-254. Also in John Robinson, Of Religious Communion, Private, & Publique (Printed Anno, 1614), 112.
"But the Scriptures teach us a further thing, than these ungrateful persons will acknowledge; which is, that besides, and above the offer common to both, God gives the increase, 1 Cor. iii. 7, to some, without which, all preaching is nothing: even by opening of the heart to attend unto it, as he did the heart of Lydia. Acts. xvi. 14. And as persons receive the Word of God into their hearts by his opening them first, so in that his gracious work in them, he makes them which were before alike, in spiritual consideration, to become unlike, and better than others; and so more beloved than others for the godly qualities, as they call them, which he hath wrought in them. Neither doth the Lord hate only the works of wicked men, as they say; but also the workers of iniquity, Psa. v. 5, 6: not with a passion of the mind, as hatred is in man, but with a holy will to punish the violation of his righteous law. And though with a general love of the Creator to the creature, he always, after a sort, loves the persons of men, as being his generation, yet he loves, as is meet, the honour of his holiness, more than the happiness of his creature, having violated and profained it without repentance."
John Robinson, "Defense of the Doctrine Propounded by the Synod of Dort," in The Works of John Robinson (London: John Snow, 35, Paternoster Row, 1851), 1:388-389.

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December 17, 2014

John Diodati (1576-1649) on Deuteronomy 33:3 and God's Common Love

"V. 3. Yea he loved] The Ital. Though thou loved: viz. O Lord, though thou through common love, causest all men to feel some effects of thy goodness, yet thou bearest thy People a special affection, whom thou hast sanctified, and taken as proper to thy self, to have them under thy care and protection."
John Diodati, Pious and Learned Annotations Upon the Holy Bible: Plainly Expounding the Most Difficult Places Thereof, 2nd Edition (London: Printed by Miles Flesher, for Nicholas Fussell, 1648), 131.

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December 16, 2014

Benjamin Keach (1640-1704) on Abusing Offers of Love and Preparation for Death

"And that I might enforce this word upon you, let me lay before you a few Motives and awakening Considerations.

First, Consider what a great favour and mercy it is that God hath let you and I live so long. Others are long ago cut down and sent to the grave; he hath not [willed that] it may be given [to] many half of those days which thou hast had: Look upon this as a mercy indeed, considering thy life was forfeited before thou wert born.

Sirs we came into the World with the Sentence of death upon us; and if Jehovah had cut us down in our sins many years ago, it would have been but a piece of Justice. And what is the end of God in sparing of us, but that we might be fitted for the place whither we are going. Oh how unwilling is God to strike the fatal blow, to cut men down before they are prepared for death. He is not willing they should perish, and that is the reason of his patience, longsuffering, and forbearance, sinners lay it to heart.

Secondly, Consider what dreadful provocations you and I have given him to take us away, and command death in his name to arrest us. Have we not grieved, burdened, yea even wearied him with our iniquities? Nay, have we not pierced him? May he not cry out, as  being pressed as a Cart is pressed that is full of sheaves, Amos 2.13. Is it not a sad and most lamentable thing, thus to deal with a loving and gracious God?

Thirdly, How often hath the Lord called you, and yet you have rebelled? Hath not he stretched out his hand all the day long, and yet you have not hearkened; but have rejected his counsel and cast his word and reproofs behind you; yea, and often resisted his Holy Spirit in the common motions and workings thereof? Have you not many of you refused his Grace, Son, and divers sweet and precious Calls and Offers of Love. And certain I am, you have had many of these in this place. Nay, how many warnings have you had of the near approach of death? Nay, awakening summons to prepare for the grave, as you would answer it before the dreadful Judge of Heaven and Earth; by my dear Brother that is fallen asleep [John Norcot]; whom we shall hear no more? Oh what pains did he take with some of you, that so you might be ready? Have not you and I notwithstanding all this hearkened to a base deceitful heart, and enticing and tempting Devil? Have you stouted it out against all Pains and Endeavours used for Spiritual awakenings, and are you yet alive? Then consider how much this calls upon you to be ready to die. Will any dare, that are sensible of the worth of their Immortal Souls, neglect this concern any longer?

4. Consider, That the abuse of Mercy and Goodness will greatly aggravate thy misery in the day of wrath: Oh remember what it is to sin against Light, Love, and Patience. Shall the goodness of God, that should lead to repentance, encourage and harden thee in thy iniquity? How dost thou think to escape the Judgement of God? Or despisest thou, as saith the Apostle, the riches of his goodness, forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance; but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds, Rom. 2:4-6. Sentence is past against a sinner, but because it is not speedily executed, therefore the hearts of men are fully set within them to do wickedly, Eccl. 8.11. Christ knocks at the door and yet sinners will not hear. Christ may speak of sinners as God speaks of Israel of old, My people will have none of me, Psal. 81. 11. Oh what have you to answer for abused mercy and favour! What will you do hearafter, when Christ, who waits upon you now to save you, will then turn his face from you in the day of your calamity, and plead against you to condemn you? see Prov. 1. 28."
Benjamin Keach, A Summons to the Grave. Or, The Necessity of a Timely Preparation for Death (London: Printed for Ben. Harris at the Stationers Arms in Sweethings Rents, near the Royal Exchange, 1676), 23-27.

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December 15, 2014

James Rawson (d.1673) on God's Love and Hate in Romans 9

"Sir, for the resolving of your question, and satisfying of the scruple, I must tell you, first, that God is said to have hated Esau before he was born, or that he had done either good or evil; that is called hatred, comparatively, in respect of that love he showed unto Jacob; he may be said to hate him because he loved him less than he did Jacob: Thus Leah was said to be hated by Jacob, comparatively with the love showed to Rachel, because she was less beloved than Rachel: so he that serves two masters, will hate the one, and love the other, (i.e.) will love him less than the other: And thus God loves the reprobates less than he does the elect; but it cannot be concluded, that the Lord doth absolutely hate any creature of his own making, for they were all good, yea very good: and Wisd. 11.24. thou lovest all things that are, and abhorrest nothing that thou hast made. Tis true God hates sin, because he made it not, and this hatred hath an influx upon the sinner, as he is a sinner, because God made him not so: But God hates not a non-elected person, or a reprobate, as he is a reprobate, neither does he condemn him, or decree to condemn him, for his negative reprobation, which is God's act, but for his sin, which is man's act."
James Rawson, Gerizim, Election, and Ebal, Reprobation. Or, the Absolute Good Pleasure of Gods Most Holy Will to All the Sons of Adam Specificated, viz. to Vessels of Mercy in their Eternal Election, and to Vessels of Wrath in their Eternal Reprobation (London: Printed by John Owsley, for Henry Shephard, and are to be sold at his shop under St. Swithins Church in Canning street near London-Stone, 1658), 170.

Note: I only post this to show that Rawson, a high Calvinist, believed God, in a sense, loves the reprobate, not that I entirely agree with his interpretation of the love/hate contrast in Romans 9. I prefer to see the contrast in terms of a love of election vs. a hatred of preterition, which may or may not be compatible with Rawson's view. Also, I think he should have said, "God hates not a non-elected person, or reprobate, as he is God's creature," instead of saying, "...as he is a reprobate." That seems to be Rawson's point anyway, as he references the Book of Wisdom, and distinguishes between God's love for a person as His creature and God's hate for that same person as he is a sinner. I think he was using the term "reprobate" in this context in the sense of one merely passed over (and therefore "loved-less") in God's decree, or for the non-elect as such, not in the sense of a person existing in a state of sinful rebellion.

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James Rawson was a high predestinarian and eventually a nonconformist. He may have also been a presbyterian.

December 10, 2014

Samuel Willard (1640-1707) on God's Good Will in the Gospel Offer

"And what greater discovery of good will could there be?

3. In the free offers that he maketh of it to men. He hath not only made way for it, by the Obedience of his Son, who paid the price for our Redemption, but published it in the Gospel, and tendered it to all that come within the sound of that Proclamation: And there are two things that set forth his readiness to apply this forgiveness to Sinners.

1. That he maketh offer of, and invites Sinners to accept it. He hath ordered that man be told that he hath forgiveness, and that they be bidden to come for it. He doth not wait till miserable Sinners cry to him for it; which yet would be a rich favour, if so they might find it at his hands, but because they sought it not, nor ever would have done so, he sends them an Embassy about it, Isa. 65:1, 2. 2 Cor. 5:20. And would he do so, did he not delight in pardoning?

2. That he offereth it freely. And if he did not do so, the Sinner must forever go without it, for he had nothing to purchase it with. The Gospel Invitations come as freely as can be supposed, Isa. 55:1. Rev. 22:17. If it be here objected; you teach that there are Gospel Conditions on which it is only to be had; how then can it be said to be free? it may readily be replied; there are no other Conditions required in the Gospel, but what among men are required in order to receiving and being invested with the freest gift that can be: there is nothing but acceptance of this gift, and acknowledgment of the kindness of the bestower; faith is the hand that receiveth it, whereas unbelief puts it away; and is it not meet that he who would have the benefit of a gift, do accept of it? or doth such acceptance derogate from the grace of the Giver? and what is our Obedience, but our thankfulness to God for so unspeakable a gift? and shall any say the gift was not free, because I was thankful for it? the Sinner was worthy of death, and deserved no pardon, and yet he may have it for receiving, and is not God willing
3. In the urgent entreaties he useth with men to accept of this forgiveness. He not only offers it, but pleads and is very urgent and importunate with them, as if it were a kindness done him to take it of him, as well as to them in their having it; he useth all sorts of arguments to persuade them by; he tells them what need they stand in of it, that their eternal welfare depend upon it, that they are condemned and going to Execution, and must need perish, if they be not pardoned, and therefore how much they will stand in their own light, and be guilty of their own blood if they refuse it, Ezek. 33:11. He acquaints them how much it cost his own Son to purchase it, else they had been hopeless; and hence how great an affront it will be to all that kindness of his, to despise it: It will be to trample on that precious blood, and to make their escape desperate, Heb. 2:3. He urgeth on them the consideration of the vanity of all other objects, and course[?] from saving them from the Wrath to come, and that these refuges of lies will leave them naked and exposed to God's Indignation: he telleth them how acceptable it will be to him, if they take hold of this offer, and make their peace with him, and how much his grace will be illustrated thereby: he puts them in mind how gracious and merciful he is, Jer. 3:13. Obviates all the discouragements that Satan and a misgiving heart offer to throw in the way to make them despair of obtaining pardon: and he doth all this with greatest urgency, beseeching them to be reconciled, 2 Cor. 5:10."
Samuel Willard, The Truly Blessed Man (Boston in N.E.: Printed by B. Green, and J. Allen, for Michael Perry, 1700), 254-257.

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December 7, 2014

Richard Baxter (1615-1691) Answers the Double Payment Question

"Cont. 28. Is it not unjust to punish him that Christ died for, even one sin twice? 
Ans. No, Unless it were the same person that suffered, or the very same punishment that was due (and all that was due) were expected again; and unless it were against our mediators will. But all is contrary in this case. 1. The Law bound no one to suffer but the offender. 2. Therefore Christ suffering was not the same punishment which the Law did threaten, but it was Satisfaction instead of it; which is the Tantundem, not the idem quod debitum suit, but redditio æquivalentis alias indebiti, as the Schoolmen call it. For noxa caput sequitur; the Law threateneth not a surety, but only the sinner, and ubi alius solvit, simul aliud solvitur. 3. And Christ himself never satisfied with any other intent; and therefore it is according to his will, that they that tread under foot the blood of the Covenant wherewith they were Sanctified, as an unholy thing, and do despite to the Spirit of Grace, should suffer the far sorer punishment, Heb. 10. Yea it is Christ himself that will have it so, and that doth so judge, them, and inflict this punishment for the contempt of grace.

And it is his will that his own members be punished by correction, notwithstanding his sufferings: As many as he loveth he doth rebuke and chasten: And Christ doth not wrong himself: The end of his suffering never was to execute the redeemed from all suffering, nor to make believers lawless."

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Thomas Larkham (1602-1669) on God Begging and Yearning Over Lost Mankind

"Learn then we may hence, that there is no want of mercy in God: sooner can the Sea want water, and Hell want fire, and torments for ungodly men; than God can want mercy. If ye be not all saved (O ye sinners) it is not out of any defect in God: His bowels yearn over lost mankind: Ye are self-murderers; if ye come not all to Heaven. He persuades you, entreats you, begs you and complains of you; that ye will not come to him, that ye might have life. And what would ye have more? I say again, if any of you be damned, tis not God, but yourselves that cause it. See what God hath done to others: men saved already next the devils, have been greatest objects of pity that could be, because vile sinners and enemies to God in their mind by wicked works; bloody Manasseth, persecuting Saul, abominable Mary Magdalen, and the Thief upon the Cross, even dropping into the jaws of Hell. And for Saul who I named but just now, when he was breathing out threatenings and slaughters against the disciples of the Lord: Even then was God breathing out his mercies upon him. These are glorious suns that shine in the crown of our merciful God. He hath mercy of all sorts, for all conditions: and nothing displeaseth him more, then when men take up narrow thoughts of his infinite bowels."
Thomas Larkham, "The Mercy of God," in The Attributes of God Unfolded, and Applied. Divided into Three Parts (London: Printed for Francis Egelsfield, and are to be sold at the Mary-gold in Pauls Church-yard, 1656), 1:133.

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Other men within the Augustinian tradition who use the metaphor of God begging are the following:

Augustine (Early Church Father), Hugh Latimer (Early English Reformer), Isaac Ambrose (Puritan), Daniel Burgess (Puritan), Jeremiah Burroughs (Westminster divine), Richard Baxter (Puritan), Joseph Caryl (Westminster divine), Thomas Case (Puritan), Stephen Charnock (Puritan), John Collinges (Puritan), John Flavel (Puritan), Theophilus Gale (Puritan), William Gearing (Puritan), Andrew Gray (Puritan), William Gurnall (Puritan), Robert Harris (Westminster divine), Thomas Manton (Puritan), John Murcot (Puritan), George Newton (Puritan), Anthony Palmer (Puritan), Edward Reynolds (Westminster divine), John Richardson (Puritan), Samuel Rutherford (Westminster divine), John Shower (Puritan), Richard Sibbes (Puritan), Sydrach Simpson (Westminster divine), William Strong (Westminster divine), George Swinnock (Puritan), John Trapp (Puritan), Ralph Venning (Puritan), Nathaniel Vincent (Puritan), Thomas Watson (Puritan), Samuel Willard, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Solomon Stoddard, Samuel Davies, Ralph Erskine, Charles Spurgeon, Thomas Chalmers, Walter Chantry, Erroll Hulse, John MacArthur and Fred Zaspel.