April 18, 2013

Bartholomew Ashwood (1622–ca. 1680) on God's Benevolent Love

"Secondly, Another excellent Disposition in Christ, is his Love, not only his Philanthropy, or good Will he bears to all men, and the Desire he hath of their Salvation, Ezek. 33.11. But his αγαπη his special Love, from αγαν valde & παυομας acquiesco, such an ardent Affection hath the heart of Christ, for a person adhering to him, that it greatly acquiesces in, and is fully contented with him, Eph. 2. 4. Such is the Sweetness of Christ's Nature, that it is full of Love, God is Love, 1 John 4. 16. And as the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you, Joh. 15. 9. Now this Love of Christ to his people, is, 
First, A supreme Love, the chiefest Love, he hath a love of Benevolence to all, Mark 10. 21. He beheld the young man and loved him; but the Love he bears his own, is transcedent, and exceeds the Love of men and Angels, Joh. 15. 13."
Bartholomew Ashwood, The Best Treasure, Or, The Way to be Truly Rich (London: Printed for William Marshal, 1681), 139.

Observe the connection Ashwood makes between God's benevolent love for all men and "the desire he has of their salvation." This is standard Puritan theology. He does not separate them, as if God loves all men but does not desire their salvation, as some softer (non-Hoeksemian) forms of hyper-Calvinism today maintain. It is also standard among the Puritans to connect God's revealed desire for the salvation of all men with Ezek. 33:11, just as Ashwood does. See the "Ezek. 18:23; 33:11" label below for the documentation.

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