January 8, 2015

Thomas Cole (c.1627–1697) on Presuming on the General Love of God

"4. Since neither of the three ways above-mentioned do take, some, wearied with these Disputes, (and I must tell you, rational Disputes about things superrational, will sooner perplex the minds of men, than satisfy them); I say, some, finding no security in the forementioned ways of Justification, that the Reason of Man suggests to him, they cast them all off; and knowing no better, they fly to the general Love and Goodness of God towards his Creature Man, think to come in for a share of that to relieve them in their extremity; and now they think they have hit it, are in a right way of Salvation, having cast themselves upon the general Goodness and Mercy of God.—I grant God is kind unto the unthankful, and to the evil, Luke 6. 35. his Benignity, or the riches of his Goodness, should much affect us, Rom. 2. 4. There is such a thing as χρησότυς?, and φιλανθρωπία in God, i.e. Kindness, Love or Pity towards man. Tit. 3. 4.  φιλανθρωπία, signifies a proper peculiar love in God to Mankind, more than all the Works of his Hands; yet this Love to man is but a general Love, and must not be mistaken for special Grace; 'tis the Sun that rises on the evil, and on the good; the Rain that falls on the just, and on the unjust, Mat. 5. 45. It doth not argue any special interest thou hast in God more than others; you cannot from thence infer, that you shall be saved, unless all men be saved; for that Love you lay claim to, belongs to all men as well as you. Yet Sinners, to keep off all Terrors of Conscience as well as they can, will sooth themselves up with hopes from God's general Kindness and Love to Man; God is merciful and gracious, and they doubt not but all will go well with them at last, though no satisfaction be made for their Sins; they don't think of that, but look upon God as if he were all Mercy, they quite forget his Justice; when that comes into remembrance, then presently they sink again, they see their Plea will not hold; and die at last, either under a judicial hardness, or in horrible tormenting Despair. These are the false ways of Salvation, which for a time Sinners may fancy to themselves; but there being nothing of true saving Faith in all this, they are at last miserably disappointed, and die in their Sins, which will be sure to sink them into Hell."
Thomas Cole, The Incomprehensibleness of Imputed Righteousness, for Justification, by Human Reason, Til Enlightened by the Spirit of God (London: Printed for Tho. Cockerill, at the Three Legs in the Poultrey, over-against the Stocks-Market, 1692), 14–17.


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