February 25, 2019

Edward Elton (c.1569–1624) on God’s Special and Common Love

Now then to make use & profit of this, first this ground of truth serves to discover, that such persons as are out of Christ, they cannot possibly partake in God’s special love, nor in any token or fruit of that love of God. God may and does love them with his general and common love, as he loves all his creatures, as they be his creatures and workmanship of his hands, but undoubtedly he loves them not with his special love, and so long as they remain out of Christ, they cannot possibly partake in that love of God which he does communicate to his children, and what good thing so ever they enjoy, it is no token or fruit of God’s special love to them. Admit they have health, and wealth, and abundance of the good things of this life, yea admit they have grace in their souls, as the common gifts and graces of the Spirit they have wit, learning, and knowledge, and that of heavenly things, yea they have power to abstain from some gross sins, and such like, yet none of these things are tokens and fruits of God’s special love to  them.
Edward Elton, The Triumph of a True Christian Described: Or, An Explication of the Eight[h] Chapter of the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Romans (London: Printed by Richard Field for Robert Mylburne, 1623), 887. Elton also deals with the topic of God’s love for the elect prior to their conversion, even though in their unregenerate state they are children of wrath, even as the rest. See pp. 659–660.


Church of England clergyman, Bachelor in Divinity, and Preacher of God's Word at Saint Marie Magdalen Bermondsey near London. Elton was an eminent Puritan, and was installed (in the pastorate of Saint Marie Magdalens Bermondsey) in 1605. He was a strict Calvinist on the atonement, which is evident in several places in the above cited work. His other works include: An Exposition of the Epistle of St Paule to the Colossians (1615/1620/1637); An Exposition of the Ten Commandments of God (1623); A Plaine and Easie Exposition Upon the Lords Prayer in Questions and Answers (1624/1647); A Form of Catechising: Set Down by Questions and Answers (1629); The Complaint of a Sanctifyed Sinner Answered: Or, An Explanation of the Seventh Chapter of the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Romans (1653); The Great Mystery of Godliness Opened. Being an Exposition Upon the Whole Ninth Chapter of the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Romans (1653); Three Excellent and Pious Treatises; viz. 1. The Complaint of of a Sanctified Sinner. 2. The Triumph of a True Christian. 3. The Great Mystery of Godliness Opened (1653).

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