First, I commend you to his special favour and affection. The good-will of God is such a lump of sugar as will sweeten the bitterest cup; it hath a virtue in it which will turn the smallest liquor into cordial water. The little bird in her small down nest sings pleasantly, when the great birds in their large thorny nests have but harsh voices. The saint in the soft bed of God’s special love sleeps comfortably, when the wicked in their high places, great preferments, for want of this are in little ease. His general love is like the ordinary beams of the sun, which convey light and heat for the refreshment of all the world. So the Lord is good to all; his mercy is over all his works; but his special love is like the beams of the sun united in a glass, which, passing by others, fires the object only. God’s love to his new creatures in Christ is burning love; he hath choice good, and good-will too, for his chosen ones: ‘Let me se the good of his chosen. Look upon me and be merciful to me, as thou art to them that fear thy name.’ It is said of Socrates, he prized the king’s countenance above his coin.

George Swinnock, “The Pastor’s Farewell,” in The Works of George Swinnock (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1992), 4:81-81. [Some spelling modernized, underlining mine.]

[Credit to Tony for the find.]

1) Look abroad in the world, and thou mayest see others refused when thou art chosen, others passed by when thou art called, others polluted when thou art sanctified, others put off with common gifts when thou hast special grace, others fed with the scraps of ordinary bounty, when thou hast the finest of the flour, even the fruits of saving mercy. As Elkanah gave to Peninnah, and to all her sons and daughters, portions, ‘But to Hannah he gave a worthy portion, because he loved her;’ so God giveth others outward portions, some of the good things of this life; but to thee, O Christian, he giveth a Benjamin’s mess,-his image, his Spirit, his Son, himself,–a worthy portion, a goodly heritage, because he loveth thee.

Others have a little meat, and drink, and wages, but thou hast the inheritance; others, like Jehoshaphat’s younger sons, have some cities, some small matters given them; but thou, like the firstborn, hast the kingdom, the crown of glory; others feed on bare elements, thou hast the sacrament ; others stand without doors, and thou art admitted into the presence chamber; others must fry eternally in hell flames, and thou must enjoy fulness of joy for evermore. O give thanks unto the Lord for he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever; to him that chose thee before the foundation of the world, for his mercy endureth for ever; to him that called thee by the word of his grace, for his mercy endureth for ever; to him that gave his only Son to die for thy sins, for his mercy endureth for ever; to him that entered into a covenant of grace with thee, for his mercy endureth for ever; to him that hath provided for thee an exceeding and eternal weight of glory, for his mercy endureth for ever. ‘ O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good and his mercy endureth for ever. George Swinnock, “The Christian Man’s Calling,” in The Works of George Swinnock (Edinburgh: James Nicol, 1868), 1:213-214.

2) Unsanctified persons at best act from themselves, and therefore for themselves. As the kite, they may spread their wings and soar aloft, as if they touched heaven, when at the highest their eyes are upon their prey upon earth. Lucullus told his guests, when he had feasted them liberally, and they had admired his bounty in their costly entertainment, Something, my friends, is for your sakes, but the greatest part is for Lucullus’s own sake. An unconverted person may do something, some small matter for the sake of religion, from common gifts of illumination, &c., but the most that he doth is for his own sake, for that credit or profit which he expecteth thereby. If anything be enjoined which thwarteth his interest, he will reply with Ajax, when commanded to spare Ulysses, In other things I will obey the gods, but not in this. George Swinnock, “The Christian Man’s Calling,”in The Works of George Swinnock (Edinburgh: James Nicol, 1868), 3:94.

Read the rest of this entry »


George Swinnock on John 3:16 and God’s Love to Sinners

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism   in John 3:16


Hast thou never beheld a condemned prisoner dissolved into tears, upon the unexpected and unmerited receipt of a pardon, who all the time before was as hard as a flint? The hammer of the law may break the icy heart of man with terrors and horror, and yet it may remain ice still, unchanged; but when the fire of love kindly thaws its ice, it is changed and dissolved into water it is no longer ice, but of another nature. Where the sun is most predominant, there are the sweetest spices, the richest mines, and the costliest jewels. Do thou therefore meditate much on the love of God and Christ to thy unworthy soul: think what love is it that still spares thee, notwithstanding all thy God-daring and soul damning provocations, and that when others, probably better than thyself, are every day and night sent to that place, where God hath large interest for his long patience. What love is it, not only to forbear thee, but also to do thee good! Thou his enemy art hungry, he feeds thee; thou art thirsty, he gives thee drink. If a man find his enemy, will he let him go? 1 Sam. xxiv. 19. But lo, God finds thee every moment. As all thy sins are within the reach of his eye, so thou thyself art continually within the reach of his arm ; he can as easily turn thee into hell, as tell thee of hell: and yet he lets thee go, and more than that, does thee good. Thou spends every hour upon the stock of mercy. God is at great charge and much cost in continuing meat and drink, and health and strength, and time which thou dost ravel out, and wanton away unprofitably.

What love was that in the Father which sent his own Son to die, that thou might live! Well might the beloved disciple say, God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him might not perish, but have everlasting life, John iii. 16. In this the bowels of divine love are naked, as in an anatomy : in other things the love of God is as the beams of the sun scattered, which are warm and comfortable; but in this it is as the beams of the sun united in a burning glass, hot, fiery, burning love. God so loved the world, so dearly, so entirely, so incomparably, so infinitely: it is a sic without a sicut, as one observes a pattern which can never be paralleled. In this God commended his love towards us, in that when we were sinners Christ died for us, Rom. v. 8. When God sent his Son into the world, he did, as it were, say to him, My dear Son, thou Son of my chief love and choicest delight, go to the wicked, unworthy world, commend me to them, and tell them, that in thee I have sent them such a love-token, such an unquestionable testimony of my favor and good-will towards them, that hereafter they shall never have the least color of reason to suspect my love, or to say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Mal. i. 2.

What love was that in the Son of God, which moved him to be come the Son of man, that thou might become the son of God! What love was that which made him so willingly undergo the scorns, and flouts, and derisions of wretched men, the rage, and malice, and assaults of ravenous devils, the wrath and fury of a righteous God; such pangs and tortures in his body as no mouth can express, such sorrows and horror in his soul as no mind can conceive; and all that thou might escape such misery, and obtain everlasting mercy! Greater love than this hath no man, that a man lay down his life for his friend, John xv. 13. The passion of Christ was the greatest evidence of his affection. The laying down of life did abundantly proclaim his love. His love before was like wine in a cask, hardly seen; but oh how did it sparkle and cast its color in the glass of his sufferings! This diamond, before hid in the shell, doth shine radiantly in the ring of his death. If his tears did so much speak his love to Lazarus, that the Jews who saw him weeping, cried out, Lo, how he loved him! surely his heart-blood doth far more demonstrate his love to his members. They that beheld him bleeding in the garden, had far more reason to say, Look, lo how he loved his!

Read the rest of this entry »


12. He is thus patient towards men, who did not wait at all on angels. The angels were more noble creatures, and able to hare done him more and better service than man; yet, when they sinned, he did not wait a moment for their repentance; but he stretches out his hand all the day long to man. He that would not wait upon disloyal courtiers, waits upon rebellious beggars. Consider the causes of it.

The moving cause is his own gracious nature. Men forbear punishing malefactors, sometimes because they are related to them, sometimes from hope of advantage by them, sometimes because they are afraid of them; but God forbears none upon any such grounds. His goodness is the only string that ties his hand from striking ; ‘Yea, many years did thou forbear them, for thou art a gracious and a merciful God,’ Neh. ix. 30, 31.

The final cause is manifold.

1. That he might exalt his great name. It is light straw that upon the least spark takes fire. The discretion of a man defers his anger, and it is his glory to pass by infirmities; mean and low spirits are most peevish and passionate; sickly and weak persons are observed to be the most impatient. God makes his power known, when he endures with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction. He intends the advancement of his praise in the lengthening of his patience: ‘For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger; for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off,’ Isa, xlviii, 9.

2. That sinners might amend, He is patient, that men might not perish, ‘The Lord is not slack, as some men count slackness, but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.’ He defers their execution, that they might sue out their pardon. The Lord waits, not that he might be blessed in himself, but that he may be gracious to sinners.

3, That impenitent sinners might be left without excuse. I sinners that are turned out of the womb into hell, will justify God, surely those upon whom he waited twenty, or thirty, or forty, or fifty years for their conversion, will condemn themselves. If all forbearing mercy may well be silent. Oh, how little will they have to say for themselves upon whom grace waited so many years, knocking hard at the door of their hearts for acceptance, and they refused to open to it, or bid it come in. How justly will they suffer long in the other world, to whom God was so long-suffering to no purpose in this world, Rom. iv. 2.

Read the rest of this entry »


Name Index [S-T]

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism   in


Samson, W.G. (1819-1896)

W.G. Samson on the Invalid Use of the Negative Inference

Sarcerius, Erasmus (1501-1559)

Erasmus Sarcerius on the Death of Christ

Erasmus Sarcerius on God’s Will for the Salvation of All Men

Erasmus Sarcerius on the Gospel

Erasmus Sarcerius on Conditional Predestination

Saurin, James (1677-1730)

James Saurin on the Death of Christ

James Saurin on God’s Will for the Salvation of Sinners

James Saurin on the Longsuffering of God

James Saurin on John 3:16

James Saurin on Supralapsarianism

Schaff, Philip (1819-1893)

Philip Schaff on John Henry Heidegger on Amyraldianism: Disapproved Of, But Not Heresy

Schreiner, Thomas R.

Thomas R. Schrener on 2 Peter 3:9

Sclater, William (1575-1627)

William Sclater on the General Love of God

William Sclater on Common Grace

William Sclater on Romans 2:4-5

William Sclater on Reprobation

William Sclater on the Sufficiency and Efficiency of Christ’s Death

William Sclater on Zanchi on ‘Each Man is Bound to Believe he has been Elected’

Scott, Thomas (1747-1821)

Thomas Scott: Pre-20th Century Historiography on Calvin on the Extent of the Atonement

Scudder, Henry (d. 1652)

Henry Scudder (Westminster Divine) on the Death of Christ

Sedgwick, Obadiah (1600?-1658)

Obadiah Sedgwick on the Foedus Hypotheticum

Shedd, William, G.T. (1820-1894)

William Shedd on the Death of Christ

William Shedd on God’s Desire and Compassion for the Salvation of All Men

William Shedd on God’s Universal and Special Love

William Shedd on the Free Offer of the Gospel

William Shedd on John 3:16

William Shedd on 1 John 2:2

William Shedd on Work of the Trinity in the Salvation of Man

William Shedd on the Removal of Legal Obstacles

William Shedd on Double Jeopardy and Double Payment

The Double Payment Dilemma Legitimately Applied, by way of Jonathan Edwards and W.G.T. Shedd

William Shedd on Quantitative Equivalency Versus Qualitative Equivalency in the Death of Christ

William Shedd on the Distinction Between Atonement and Redemption

Archibald Alexander on the Distinction Between Moral and Natural Inability

Shepard, Thomas (1605-1649)

Thomas Shepard on Common Grace (Informal Comment)

Thomas Shepard on the Free Offer of the Gospel and the Lord’s Desire for the Salvation of Men

Shultz, Gary

Gary Shultz on 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

Gary Shultz on 2 Corinthians 5:18-21

Gary Shultz on 1 Timothy 2:3-6

Sibbes, Richard (1577-1635)

Richard Sibbes on the Death of Christ

Richard Sibbes on General Love

Silversides, David

David Silversides on Matthew 23:37: An Effective Refutation of Hypercalvinist Exegesis

Simeon, Charles, (1759-1836)

Charles Simeon on John 1:29

Charles Simeon on John 3:16

Charles Simeon on John 3:17

Charles Simeon on 1 Timothy 2:3-4

Charles Simeon on 1 Timothy 2:5-6

Charles Simeon on 2 Peter 3:9

Skinner, Thomas H. (1791-1871)

Thomas H. Skinner on Calvin on the Extent of the Atonement

Smalley, John (1734-1820)

John Smalley on the Satisfaction of Christ in Relation to the Free Offer

John Smalley Eternal Salvation on No Account a Matter of Just Debt

John Smalley on the All-Sufficient Satisfaction of Christ

John Smalley on 1 Timothy 2:4

Smith, Henry B. (1815-1877)

Henry B. Smith on the Extent of the Atonement

Henry B. Smith on the Will of God

Henry B. Smith on the Well-Meant Offer and God’s Desire for the Salvation of All Men

Henry B. Smith on 1 Timothy 2:4 (With Reference to Hebrews 2:9)

Henry B. Smith on Divine Permission of Sin

Henry B. Smith on the Work of the Trinity in the Work of Redemption

Henry B. Smith on the Distinction Between Atonement and Redemption

Spear, Samuel (1812-1891)

Samuel Spear on Pecuniary and Penal Satisfaction

Spencer, Ichabod (1798-1854)

Ichabod Spencer on Ezekiel 33:11 (Part 1)

Ichabod Spencer on Ezekiel 33:11 (Part 2)

Ichabod Spencer (1798-1854) on God’s Willingness to Save All Men With Reference to 2 Peter 3:9, Ezekiel 33:11, and Matthew 23:37

Spring, Gardiner (1785-1873)

Gardiner Spring on Election, Unlimited Atonement and the Free Offer

Gardiner Spring on the Well-Meant Offer in Relation to the Death of Christ

Gardiner Spring on the Distinction Between Moral and Natural Inability

Sproul, R.C. (1939-)

R.C. Sproul on the Death of Christ and Common Grace: Passing Comment

R.C. Sproul on the Revised Sufficiency-Efficiency Formula

Spurgeon, Charles H. (1834-1892)

Charles Spurgeon on Matthew 23:37

Charles Spurgeon on 1 Timothy 2:4

Stam, Clarence

Clarence Stam on the Covenant of Works

Stephens, Nathaniel (1606?-1678)

Nathaniel Stephens on the Death of Christ

Stock, Richard (1569-1626)

Richard Stock on God’s Goodness

Richard Stock on General Love

Richard Stock on Divine Hatred

Stoughton, John (1593?-1639)

John Stoughton on the Wrath of God

Strong, Augustus H. (1836-1921)

Augustus H. Strong on Calvin on the Extent of the Atonement

Struthers, J.P. (1851-1915)

Alexander F. Mitchell (1822-1899) and J. P. Struthers on Hypothetical Universalism and the Westminster Confession

Styles, William J.

William J. Styles on Christ Suffering So Much for So Much Sin

de Superville, Daniel (1657-1728)

Daniel de Superville on 2 Peter 3:9

Swinnock, George (1627-1673)

George Swinnock on General and Special Love

George Swinnock on Common Grace

George Swinnock on the Longsuffering of God

George Swinnock on John 3:16

Symington, William (1764-1831)

William Symington: Christ Did Not Suffer So Much For So Much Sin

William Symington: “Exact Equivalency” Voids the Sincere Offer of the Gospel

Symson, Archibald (1564-1628)

Archibald Symson on 2 Peter 2:1

Taffin, Jean (1529–1602)

Jean Taffin: The Offer of the Gospel: What it is, and What it is Not

Jean Taffin on Providence and Permission

Taylor, Thomas (1576-1633)

Thomas Taylor on Common Grace (Informal References)

Tennant, Dominic Bnonn

Dominic Bnonn Tennant on the Atonement: Federal Headship and Forensic Imputation

Testard, Paul (1594-1650)

Paul Testard affirms the classic Lombardian distinctions

Moses Amyraut and Paul Testard and the Synod of Alancon on ‘Conditional Will,’ ‘Conditional Decree,’ and ‘Conditional Predestination’

Thomas, G. Michael

G. Michael Thomas on Calvin and Heshusius

Thomas, Owen (1812-1891)

Owen Thomas on Andrew Fuller (1754-1815) on the Distinction Between Moral and Natural Inability

Owen Thomas on Calvin on the Extent of the Atonement

Thornwell, James Henley (1812-1862)

James Henly Thornwell on God’s General Love and Matthew 5:44-55

Thysius, Antonius (1565-1640)

Synopsis Purioris Theologiae (1625) on God’s Providence With Regard to Sin and Divine Permission

Todd, Henry John (1763-1845)

Henry John Todd on Calvin on the Atonement

Tossanus, Daniel (1541-1602)

Daniel Tossanus on the Gracious Call of the Gospel

Daniel Tossanus on Ezekiel 18:23 and 32

Daniel Tossanus on John 3:16

Traill, Robert (1642-1716)

Robert Traill on Common and Special Grace

Trapp, John (1601-1669)

John Trapp on God’s General Love: By Way of his Comment on Acts 14:17

John Trapp on Matthew 23:37

John Trapp on John 3:16

John Trapp on Romans 2:4

John Trapp on 2 Peter 2:1

Trelcatius, Lucas (1573-1607)

Lukas Trelcatius on the Gracious Call and General Love to all Men

Troughton, William (1614?-1677?)

William Troughton on the Revised Sufficient-Efficient Formula

Trueman, Carl

Carl Trueman on John Owen’s Double-Payment Dilemma

Carl R. Trueman on Amyraldianism

Truman, Joseph (1631-1671)

Joseph Truman on the Death of Christ

Joseph Truman on God’s Will for the Salvation of all Men

Joseph Truman on the Love of God: General and Special

Joseph Truman on General and Special Grace; With Reference to Paradox of God’s Will for the Salvation of All Men and Special Election

Joseph Truman (1631-1671) on the Distinction Between Moral and Natural Inability; With Reference to Twisse

Joseph Truman on Ezekiel 18:31-32

Joseph Truman on Luke 19:21 by way of His Discussion of Jesus’ Prayer in John 17

Joseph Truman on John 3:16 and John 12:47

Joseph Truman on God’s Permissive Decree and the Salvation of Men

Joseph Truman on the Removal of Legal Obstacles

Joseph Truman on Christ Suffering the Tantundem, not the Idem of the Law’s Punishment

Turretin, Francis (1623-1687)

Francis Turretin on the Will of God: Its Two-Fold aspect

Francis Turretin on God Desiring and Wishing that All Men be Saved

Francis Turretin on General Love

Francis Turretin on Common and Special Grace

Francis Turretin: the Reprobate not denied all of God’s favour

Francis Turretin on the Mercy of God

Francis Turretin on the Common Call

Francis Turretin’s Critique of Supralapsarianism

Francis Turretin on Divine Concurrence

Francis Turretin on God’s Providence Over Sin

Francis Turretin on the Revised Sufficient-Efficient formula

Turretine, John Alphonso (1671-1737)

John Alphonso Turretine on Supralapsarianism

Twisse, William (1578–1646)

William Twisse: The Forgotton Hypothetical Universalist

William Twisse on the Distinction Between Moral and Natural Inability

William Twisse on Bucer on Conditional Predestination

William Twisse on Zanchi on Conditional Election

Tyler, Bennet (1783-1858)

Bennet Tyler on the Distinction Between Atonement and Redemption, By Way of Two Secondary Sources

Tyndale, William (1494–1536)

William Tyndale on the Death of Christ

William Tyndale on 1 Timothy 2:4