August 26, 2009

John Cotton (1584–1652) on God's Love for Mankind

Since we do not have Cotton's original Treatise dealing with predestination, we must rely on Twisse's copy in his examination of this Treatise. He records Cotton's words thusly:
And amongst them of our selves, onely this let me adde; because, verum & bonum convertuntur, every divine truth is rich in profitable use: I have been confirmed in this truth, by the holy usefulness thereof to all sorts.

1 To the Elect it maintaineth and cherisheth the freeness and largeness of the riches of the grace of God to them, whose salvation he carrieth along in all the wayes of it, not according to their works, but according to his purpose and grace given them in Christ before the world was; under whom also are spread the everlasting armes of Gods almightie power and eternal love to guide and preserve them to his heavenly kingdome; which grace to us is so much the more magnified, when wee behold the severitie, and yet equitie, of his justice towards the world of mankind; who though he love them as his creatures, yet he dealeth with them according to their workes, which in the end windeth up in their woeful and just destruction.
William Twisse, A Treatise of Mr. Cottons (London: Printed by J. D. for Andrew Crook, and are to be sold at his shop at the Signe of the Green Dragon in Pauls Church-yard, 1646), 135.

This "love" for "the world of mankind" as "his creatures," according to Cotton, clearly includes those individuals who are finally and justly destroyed.


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