Tim. But when the Apostle says, “Christ died for us while we were yet sinners: has his death brought this life to pass, that we are now not sinners?

Sil.  After we believe that Christ died for us, and are regenerate by his Spirit, we have sin still, but we are not any longer to be called sinners; because that now our sins by forgiveness is blotted out, and that which remains still in our nature reigns not, and the denomination of a person or thing, is ever from that, which is more excellent and worthy. But here the Apostle means by sinners, such as be under the guilt and dominion of sin, as all are before faith.

Tim. What could God see in us then to move him to love us?

Sil. First, he saw in his own creation, which he loved with a general love, as he does all the works of his hands. Secondly, he say in us much misery through sin, and this made him love us with a pitiful love. Thirdly, he loved his elect being yet sinners, in that he purposed in himself to call and justify them in due time. And now lastly, having grafted his elect in his Son by faith, and justifies them, he loves them actually, having set his own image in them.

Tim. You hold that there are several degrees of God’s love, even towards his elect?

Sil. There be so, for he cannot love his elect with that degree and kind of love when they are sinners, as he does after they are now in his Son justified and sanctified: for now sin which bred hatred and enmity, is defaced and case out by remission; and holiness which God loves, imprinted in them, and brought in by renovation.

Thomas Wilson, A Commentary on the Most Divine Epistle of St. Paul To the Romans, 3rd ed., (London: Printed by E. Cotes in Aldersgate-Steet, 1653), 144. [Some spelling modernized; italics original; square bracketed inserts original; and underlining mine.]

[WILSON, THOMAS (1563-1622), divine, born in the county of Durham in 15113, matriculated from Queen’s College, Oxford, on 17 Nov. 1581, aged 18, graduated B.A. on 7 Feb. 1583-4, and was licensed M.A. on 7 July 1586 (clark, Indexes, ii. 102, iii. 119). He was elected chaplain of the college, apparently before he was ordained, on 24 April 1585. In July 1586 he was appointed rector of St. George the Martyr at Canterbury through the influence of Henry Robinson (1553P-1016) [q. v.], provost of Queen’s College and afterwards bishop of Carlisle, to whom Wilson also owed his college education (cf. the epistle dedicatory to the Christian Dictionarie). He remained at Canterbury for the rest of his life, preaching three or four sermons every week, and winning the affections of the puritan section of his people, although more than once complained of by others to Archbishop Abbot for nonconformity. He was acting as chaplain to Thomas, second lord Wotton, in 1611.

Wilson died at Canterbury in January’ 1621-2, and was buried in his own churchyard, outside the chancel, on the 25th. A funeral sermon was preached (London, 1622,! 4to) by William Swift of St. Andrew’s, Canterbury, great-grandfather of Dean Swift. His portrait, engraved by Cross, prefixed to the ‘ Commentarie,’ shows him to be a lean, sharp-visaged man; he was married and left a large family.

Wilson’s chief work was his “Christian Dictionarie” (London, 1612, 4to),one of the earliest attempts made at a concordance of the Bible in English. Its usefulness was soon recognised, and it ran through many editions. The fourth was much enlarged by John Bagwell (n.d., London); the fifth appeared in 1647; the sixth (1655, fol.) was still further augmented by Andrew Symson. Over his “Commentarie” on Romans, a work written in the form of a dialogue between Timotheus and Silas, Wilson spent seven years. It was reprinted in 1627 (fol.), and reached a third edition in 1653 (4to). In 1611 he published in octavo a volume containing (a) “Jacob’s Ladder; or, a short Treatise laying forth the severall Degrees of Gods Eternall Purpose,” (A) “A Dialogue about Jvstification by Faith,” (c) “A Receit against Heresie,” and two sermons. Besides some further sermons and other works apparently lost, he wrote “Saints by Calling; or, Called to be Saints,” London, 1620, 4to.

[Brook’s Lives of the Puritans, ii. 282; Granger’s Biogr. Hist. i. 369; Hasted’s Kent. iii. 471; Chalmers’s Biogr. Diet.; Registers of St. George the Martyr, Canterbury, ed. Cowper, 1891. pp. iii. vii, 19, 20, 21. 23, 182; information from the Provost of Queen’s College, Oxford.] C. F. S. Dictionary of National Biography, 62:136.]

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