1) I have loved you,] A speech spoken with affection, specially by valuing his love, and disdaining to have it so neglected of those upon whom he had bestowed it. Some thing it is a speech of imperfect, broken off, and interrupted with grief, when he would have added more. The supply may be, I have loved you always, but you acknowledge it not, neither answered me with love again, but for this repaid me with sins.

Love given1 to God, signifies not a passion nor affection, for there is no such thing in God. Ira Dei non perturbatio animiejus, sed judicium quo irrogatur pæna peccato, August. of the anger of God, De civitate Dei, lib. 15. Cap. 25. So of this, it is no passion,2 but his free election to bestow, yea, an actual giving to them the adoption of sins and eternal life. For God is said to be angry, when he does that a which commonly men do when they are angry, and to love, when he does that which men do when they love. Now this cannot be understood of his general love, of which all are partakers, men and angels, blessing, preserving, sustaining them: for then it were not great matter that he affirms here to his. But of a special love, that is, his choosing of them to be sons, and to bestow on them eternal life. I have loved you, that is, I have chosen you to be my people, and I will be your God, to be my children, and I will be your Father, and to give you the inheritance of sons, than which can be greater? Richard Stock, A Learned and Very Useful Commentary Upon the Whole Prophesie of Malachy (Printed by T.H. and R.H. for Daniel Frere and William Wells, and are to be sold at their shops in Little Britaine, 1641), 15. [Some spelling modernized; some reformatting; italics original; footnotes mine; and underlining mine.]

2) Now we come to speak of the love of God, and the question is:3

Quest. What is the love of God?

Answ. The answer is, it is a communicable attribute, whereby, God loves himself, his Son, and his Spirit, and then his creatures, freely, but not equally: to explain these points, we give love to God as other attributes, not as qualities, not as accidents, not as any thing coming from God, that was not in him before, because there is nothing in God, that is not in God. Love is given to God, as void of all imperfection, or error. It is a that the learned have, that whatsoever attribute given to God, must be free from all imperfection, and error, before we can attributed it to him, and, therefore, love as it is an attribute given to God, must be purged from all imperfection.4 There are three things in Love. First, a good will, that one bears to another. Secondly, a good work. Thirdly, a delighting in that which is loved. These things are in God, none has a better will than God, none does more good than God, and there is none that delights more in his beloved, than God himself. Again, we say it is a communicable attribute, not that love is in God, as it is in man, but because there is something in man, that is like this love of God, man being made a partaker of the godly nature, that is, they have this in the quality, that God has in substance, and, therefore, we call it a communicable attribute. In the next place, we say it is that whereby he loves himself, his Son, and his Spirit. It is for his own glory that he loves himself, as it appears, in that the Scripture says, that God is a jealous God, jealous of his worship and service: if he be jealous, there is a kind of love of himself [which] goes with it: 2. Commandment. So he loves himself, and he loves also his Son, therefore he is called his “beloved Son,” Matt., 3:7. So he loves the Spirit as proceeding from himself, and being properly the love whereby the divine nature loves itself. So he loves creatures, as angels, and men, and other creatures: that he loves, this appears by many testimonies of Scripture, Angels and men are called the children of God. Angels, Job 1:6, “Upon a time the children of God came,” &c. So “Adam is called the son of God,” Luke 3. Last: Next he loves his creatures freely, the cause why he loves them is in himself, not in them. He loves some with a special love, and some with a general, freely that appears by the Scriptures, John 3:16, ‘God so loved the world,” 1 John 1:3, “Herein is the love of God made manifest, that he has given his Son,” 1 John 4:19, “God loved us first”; if first then freely, and no love in us, procured his love. Again, he loves them not equally, for he loves men more than other creatures: Tit. 3:9, “The love he bears to me is manifest.” Yet further, he loves some men more than others, Exod. 19:5, “you shall be my peculiar people”; as if he should say, ‘though all the nations be mine in general, yet you shall be my chief treasure. Tit. 2:14, “a peculiar treasure”; these are treasures that men lock up. He loves those that are elected, and those that are called. Those that are elected, he loved them when they were enemies, Eph. 1:4, “He loved them before the foundation of the world.” But he loves them better whom he has called, than those he has not called: Prov. 8:17, “I love them that love me,” those whom he has endued with his Spirit, Psal. 146:8, “the Lord loves the righteous,” &c. to conclude this with that of Saint Augustine,5 ‘God loves all that he has made, he loves specially men, and angels, and among men, he loves those especially, that are the members of his Son, and most of all, he loves his Son,’ &c., and so we have made manifest this description. Richard Stock, A Stock of Divine Knowledge. Being a Lively Description of the Divine Nature. Or, the Divine Essence, Attributes, and Trinity Particularly Explained and Profitably Applied. The First showing Us What God is: The Second, what We Ought to be (London: Printed by T.H. for Philip Nevil, and are to be sold at his Shop in Ivie Lane, at the Signe of the Gun, 1641), 158-160. [Some spelling modernized; some reformatting; italics original; footnotes mine; and underlining mine.]


1When Stock uses the term “given” in these contexts, he means attributed to or predicated to.

2Medieval and many of the Reformed theologians tended to stress God’s emotional impassibility beyond the bounds of Scripture’s own description of God’s emotions and psychology. I would say that these men being driven more by a philosophy of God, than Scripture itself. As an introduction to a better and more sensitive approach, see: Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1989), 1:428-29.

3Stock’s sentence structure is awkward and at times tortuous, with an excessive use of the semi-colon. I have shortened and simplified some of his sentence structure.

4While the theological content of what Stock says here is true as far as it goes, there is a danger of an implied or tacit rationalism, in that the theologian is in the position of predetermining how a divine “attribute” or its biblical expression, is to be interpreted in Scripture. In other words, the creature rules on what is and is not theologically possible for the Creator. The doctrine of divine impassibility has been an abused doctrine in the history of the church.

5Original: Austine; an alternative name for Augustine

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