December 18, 2007

Bates on God's General and Special Love

"2. The next general consideration is this; the glory of God is that which will bear a proportion to that love of God which he hath to his people. It shall be a noble expression of that love, and suitable to it. Now to make you a little to understand the force of this: God hath a general love to his creatures, and a special love to his children, to those who are his friends and favourites.

1.) There is a general love that God bears to mankind in this lower world, as they have the title of his creatures: that love hath declared itself in making this world so pleasant an habitation for man as he is in his natural state. Now pray consider with yourselves; God hath made a thousand things in this world, which are not absolutely necessary for the support of our lives, but for the refreshment, and comfort, and pleasure of them; and this is from his general love to mankind. How many stars are there that adorn the firmament in the night? which are a most pleasant spectacle, but are not so absolutely necessary for lights. And how many things are there which are for pleasure and delight, which are not necessary for the support of life.

2.) God hath a peculiar love to his children, and that love he hath designed to glorify in heaven: therefore you shall find, Eph. 1. 6. the great work of redemption, both as to the accomplishment of it, and the actual bestowing the fruits thereof upon us; the great end of it is said to be to the praise of the glory of the grace of God; the glory of his love; that love which warmed his breast from eternity with thoughts of compassion towards man; this love he will glorify in heaven; and he hath prepared such glory and joy for them, that they shall know he will love them like a God in an infinite and inconceivable manner. Do but a little ascend in your thoughts thus; 'Hath God made a beautiful world, so full of comforts and refreshment; hath he made this, and given it to rebellious contumacious sinners, those that live in open defiance of his laws and government? What then hath he prepared for those that love and serve him, in the kingdom above?'"

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