The affections which Scripture attributes to God, are 1. Love, which is an act of the Divine Will, moving itself both to the most excellent good in itself, and to that excelling in the reasonable creature, approving it, delighting in it, and doing good to it. John 6:16, 35, Rom. 5:8. In which definitions two things are to be noted.

The primary object of God’s love is himself, for he takes great pleasure in himself. The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost love one another mutually. Matth. 3:7, and 17:5. John 3:33, 35. and 5:20. and 10:17. and 17:24. The secondary object of God’s love is the reasonable creature Angels and men. For though he approve of the goodness of other things, yet he has chosen that especially, to prosecute with his chiefest love: for these reasons.

1. For the excellency and beauty of the reasonable creature, when it is adorned with its due holiness.
2. Because between this only and God, there can be a mutual reciprocation of love, since it only has a sense, and acknowledgment of God’s goodness.
3. Because God bestows Eternity on that which he loves; but the other creatures besides the rational perish.

God’s love to Christ is the foundation of his love to us, Matth. 3:17. Ephes 1:6.
God loves all creatures with a general love. Matth. 5:44-45. as they are the work of his hands; but he doth delight in some especially, whom he has chosen in his Son, John 3:16. Ephes. 1:6. Psal. 106:4.

God loves his Elect before they love him; his love is actual and real in the purpose of it to them in Eternity. There are four expressions in Scripture to prove this:

1. He loves his people before they have the life of grace, Ephes. 4:5. 1 John 4:19. Rom. 5:8.
2. Before they have the life of nature, Rom. 9:11.
3. Before the exhibition of Christ, John 3:16.
4. Before the foundation of the world was laid,. Ephes 1:3. 2 Tim 1:9. Therefore God loves the elect more than the Reprobate, and our love is not the motive of his love.

Object. How could God love them when they are workers of iniquity, Hab. 1:13. Psal. 5:3,4. He loved their persons, but hated their works and ways. God loved Christ’s person, yet was angry at him when the guilt of our sins was upon him.

He loves his people, 1. Before conversion, Amore benevolentia, with a love of good-will and of pity, which is properly showed to one in misery, Ezek. 16:5.
2. After Conversion, with a love. 1. Of sympathy, Isa. 63:9. Heb 4:15. and 5:2. 2. Of Complacency and delight, Psal. 16:10, 11. that Psalm is a prophecy of Christ, see Ephes. 2:5. This love of his delight is discovered four ways:
1. By his valuing of his people, Since thou wast precious in my sight thou wast honourable.
2. By his commendation of his Church and people, as often, as often shown in the Canticles.
3. By his frequent visits; Luke 1:68. Rev. 3:20.
4. By revealing his counsels to them. John 15:15.

2. The effect or manner of God’s love is, that God makes the person happy whom he loves. For he doth amply reward that joy and delight which he takes in the holiness and obedience of the Elect, while he pours plentifully upon them all gifts, both grace and glory.

This love of God to the elect is:

1. Free, Hosea 15:5. he was moved with nothing but his own goodness, Ezek 16:8.
2. Sure and firm, and unchangeable, Rom. 5:8, 10. 1 John 4:10. John 13:1. and 31.
3. Infinite and Eternal, which shall never alter, John 3:16. It is without cessation, Psal. 27:10. Diminution Cant. 8:7. interruption, Rom. 8:35. to the end, or alteration, every created thing is immutable.

3. Effectual, as is declared both by his temporal and eternal blessings, 1 John 3:1. Dei amore est bonum velle.
4. Sincere, It is a love without any mixture, love, and nothing but love.
This is the motive which persuades Gods to communicate himself, and act for his people Isa. 63:9. Rev 3:19, and hath no motive but itself, Deut. 6:6,7,8. 1 John 4:3. God hath no need of us, or our love, nor doth not advantage himself by loving us, Job 22:2.

5. Great and ardent, John 3:16. and 15:13. Rom. 5:6,7. God bestows pledges of his love and favor upon them whom he has chosen, and sometimes he sheds the sense of his love abroad in their hearts, transforms us into his own image, Cant. 4:9. and 6:5. See Zech 3:17.

Edward Leigh, A System or Body of Divinity, (Printed by William Lee, at the Sign of the Turk’s-head in Fleet-street over against Fetter-lane, 1654), 167-168.

This entry was posted on Friday, August 31st, 2007 at 8:14 am and is filed under God is Love: Electing and Non-Electing Love. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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