William Bradford Institute
for Study of the
Early Settlement of America

The Greatness of God's Love to His Elect

by Thomas Goodwin

"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even
when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye
are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly
places in Christ Jesus."Ephesians 2:4-6.

The Apostle in the former verses having given a full and exact description of
man's misery by nature and in the state of nature, both by reason of sin and the
wrath of God that is due thereunto, begins here to set out the greatness of that
love and that mercy in God which is the cause and the fountain of our salvation.
And he sets it out, as I shewed you the last discourse, when I ran over the
series of all these three verses, in the most taking and most advantageous way,
and in the greatest truth. I shall not repeat what I then delivered.

I came to the exposition of the words, and what I shall now say will be some
little addition, as I go along, to what then was said.
But God.Besides what I said of this particle but in the last discourse, I only
add this, indeed as the main thing, that it serveth to usher in, not only a
great turn, the greatest turn that ever was,it doth not only usher in the
notice of a remedy to misery, that there is balm in Gilead that may be had,
because that God is merciful, and that is his nature, and that therefore he may
be merciful to us, and so that there is hope concerning this thing,but it
ushers in and gives the intimation of a forelaid intention in God, of a
contrivement and design beforehand taken up and set upon, whereby God had
beforehand preceded all the mischief and all the danger that was like to arise
from the misery and sin which the elect were fallen into. He had laid such a
design as all this misery and sinfulness that the elect ones had fallen into
should be so far from undoing them, that it shall but serve to set out that love
the more; and so the words that follow do evidently shew. 'But God, for the love
wherewith he loved us;' he hath loved us and chosen us out of love from
everlasting, and hath shewed it in this, by triumphing over all that misery,
that even 'while we were dead in sins and trespasses, he hath quickened us,' &c.
And it is a love not only which mercy and pity stirs up, after he had seen us
thus miserable; but it is a love that having been so great, and so long borne to
us, and first pitched on us, that it stirred up mercy and bowels to us in this
misery; for so, if you mark it, the words run: 'God,' saith he, 'who is rich in
mercy,'there is his nature'for his great love wherewith he loved us.' And not
only so, but this love being seated in a nature infinitely rich in grace and
mercy, had conspired with mercy, and contrived the depth of misery, to extend
that riches. On them so great a love had set itself, even to this end, as in the
7th verse, 'that in ages to come he might shew forth the exceeding riches of his
grace, in kindness and love to us.' And thus also in Titus 3, that but even now
mentioned ushers in, upon the like occasion, the like reserve or design
beforehand laid, to glorify love and goodness. But when the kindness of God and
love to man appeared; namely, when that love, taken up by him long before this
sinfulness he spake of in the verses before, hath lain hid as it were in
ambushment, letting you march on in sinful ways under Satan's banners; that in
the end appears and precedes all that misery, and rescues you out of it. There
is, I say, a kind of ambushment, if I may so express it, a waylaying of all that
sin and misery the elect fell into.

And how many such buts of mercy, lying in wait to deliver and save us out of
great and strong evils, did we meet with in our lives? And this but here, of
this great salvation, is the great seal and ratification, or Ante signamus, of
all the rest. To this purpose you may observe that oftentimes in the New
Testament, when mention is made of God's ordaining us unto salvation, this
phrase is used, he did it 'from the beginning.' So it is in 2 Thess. 2:13:
'God,' saith he, 'hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation;' that is, he
had beforehand, even from the beginning, set his love upon you, so that all that
sinful estate you have since run into should be no prejudice nor damage to you.
And it comes in here, as if that a company of men, whom a king or a prince
loveth, or children whom a father's heart is set upon, are permitted and let
alone to run into the highest rebellion, to do as evil as they could, as the
phrase is, Jer. 3:5, so that by the law they are dead men, men undone, men of
death and condemnation, there is no hope for them: butbut that the king, as he
is merciful in his nature, and so apt to pardon any, so besides he hath had his
heart set upon it, and it is but his design, to shew his princely grace the more
in pardoning them and advancing them to higher dignities upon it.

But God.And God cometh in also here, besides what I mentioned in the last
discourse, to shew that all salvation is from him, he is the sole author and
founder of it; as in Rom. 9:16, 'It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that
runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy:' so here, 'But God, that is rich in

I came in the next place, for the opening of the words, to shew you the
difference between mercy, and love, and grace; for you have all those three in
these three first verses. Love is a desire to communicate good unto us, simply
considered as we are creatures; but mercy respecteth us as we are fallen into
sin and misery, as we are dead in sins and trespasses. And then that of grace,
as I shall open in its due place, adds but this, a freeness unto both. Love and
mercy freely bestowed, that is called grace in either.

Also, for explication's sake, I shewed you why the Apostle doth not content
himself to name mercy only, or love only, as the cause of our salvation, but
that he addeth love to mercy. I gave you two reasons for it, in a word. If he
had named mercy only, that respecting misery, it might be thought that that
would but relieve us out of misery. But because he mentioneth not only a
deliverance out of the misery we lay in by nature, which mercy doth, but the
highest advancement besides, to sit together with Christ in heavenly places;
therefore he mentioneth love. It comes in likewise, in the second place, to
intend and make mercy the greater; for when mercy cometh out of love, and not
simply out of a virtue of mercy, if a father be of a merciful disposition, he
will pity any one out of a virtue of mercy in him, but he will pity his son out
of love.

Then again, for the further explication and understanding of this, I told you,
that of the two, the main and the primary cause is love; for so, if you observe
it, the text implies. 'God, being rich in mercy,' saith he, 'for his great
love:' it is resolved into love. To explain this

In the first place, you may observe here, that God's being merciful is mentioned
but as his nature and disposition, which may be wrought upon; but love comes in,
as having passed an act of his will, set upon us. For, my brethren, had God had
never so much mercy in his nature, never so much goodness and lovingness as he
hath, yet if it had not been a full act of love, through his will pitched upon
us, we had never been the better. Our salvation doth not only depend upon mercy,
but upon love; and not only upon the love of his nature, but upon an act of
love, a love set upon us with his will and heart. It is not an indefinite
disposition of mercy in him, as it is said of the kings of Israel that they were
merciful kings; but that which our salvation depends uponthrough upon that
alsois this, that an act of love hath determined this, mercy, engaged this

I shewed you likewise that it is rather an act of love than of mercy. That first
act of election is indeed to shew mercy, but not so properly out of mercy.
Then, thirdly, love is said to be the cause for this reason also, because that
love is it which directs mercy to the persons; love singles out the persons, and
so they become vessels of mercy.

The next thing I explained and observed in the last discourse was, the
circumstance of time here. He doth not say, God that doth love us, as he that
began to love us when he first called us, or loveth us now he hath called us;
but, God that hath loved us. I gave you a like scripture for it, in Jer. 31:3,
'I loved thee with an everlasting love;' which, I told you, hath two things
principally in it, and both are intended here in this 'hath loved us,' which is
a love before conversion, and causeth conversion. 1. For the time 'for the
beginning of it, it is a love from everlasting; and, 2. It is a love continued
all the while, from everlasting, even till the time of one's calling.

The last thing I came to in the last discourse is this, us; 'hath loved us.' He
hath not only put forth an act or purpose of love at random, indefinitely, that
he would love some of us, or that he would love mankind, but us determinatively.
As it was not merely the natural disposition of love and mercy in God that was
the cause of our salvation, but an act of his will put forth; so is it not an
act of mere velleity, or an indefinite act, that he would save some, but it is
us; he resolved upon the persons whom he would save, he resolved upon them
distinctly and nakedly: loved them distinctly, by name; and nakedly, that is,
loved their persons, without the consideration of any qualification whatsoever.

And so now I have done the explanation of these words in a plain and brief
manner. I reserved two things to be handled, which I shall now despatch. The one
is, the greatness of this love; and the other is, the riches of this mercy.
I made observations from the words thus explained in the last discourse. There
is only one observation which I shall at this time handle, and that is this:
Obs. That the foundation of our salvation is an act of love, it is out of love;
'for the love,' saith he, 'wherewith he loved us.' I shewed it in the last
discourse, in distinction from mercy; that it was rather an act of love (the
original act) than of mercy, which I will not now prosecute. My brethren,
election is an act of love. I mention this because it is fundamental to what
shall afterwards follow. The Apostle in the former chapter had expressed
election to be an act of God's will; 'being predestinated according to the
counsel of his will,' saith he, ver. 11. And he calls it also an act of God's
good pleasure; 'according to his good pleasure that he purposed in himself;' so
ver. 5, 9. But to take their hearts the more, when he comes to make application
to them of the misery they lay in, he terms it now an act of love. To make it an
act of his will and good pleasure was but a more general thing; for by his will
he worketh all things, his will is pitched upon everything; and that it is an
act of his good pleasure, imports rather the sovereignty and majesty of God, out
of which he did it, and aiming at himself therein: but love is a condescending
virtue. When a king will speak as a king, he saith it is his pleasure, and he
makes it an act of his will; but when he calls it love, his majesty comes down
then. Love doth import not so much the sovereignty of God in it, though it was
joined with an act of sovereignty, aiming at his own glory; but it imports
especially a respecting us in it; for amare is to communicate good things for
the sake of him we love rather than our own. Now I find that election is
especially expressed unto us by love, indeed the one is put for the other
usually in the Scripture, both in the Old Testament and in the New.

Take the Old Testament. When he would say he had chosen Jacob and refused Esau,
how doth he express it? 'Jacob have I loved,' saith he. So in Rom. 9:13; it is
quoted out of Mal. 1:2. And afterwards, when he cometh to speak of the choice of
the people of Israel and of their fathers, both Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in
Deut. 10:14, 15, how doth he express it? 'Behold,' saith he, 'the heaven and the
heaven of heavens is the Lord's; the earth also, with all that therein is.' He
had choice enough: 'Only,' saith he, 'the Lord had a delight in thy fathers, to
love them; and he chose their seed after them.' That is, as the Septuagint there
hath it, 'He chose to love them.' Mark it, he expresseth his choice, and sets it
out by those sweet words, love, yea, and a delight to love them; a love unto
their persons, and a delight in that love. So you shall find that love and
choice go together; as Ps. 47:4, and Ps. 78:68: He chose the tribe of Judah, the
inhabitants of Mount Sion, which he loved. And thus in the New Testament also,
when our Lord and Saviour Christ, who was elected by his Father as he was
Mediator, as we are, as you have it in 1 Peter 1:20, where it is said that he
was 'foreordained before the foundation of the world;' how doth Christ himself
express it? In John 17:24, speaking of the glory given him, (therefore he speaks
of predestination,) he saith, 'Thou lovedst me before the foundation of the
world;' that is, thou gavest me this glory by a choice, by an election; and you
see he expresseth it by love. And, Rom. 11:28, they are beloved according to
election. You shall therefore not only find election called the counsel of God,
and the purpose of God, and the will of God; but grace joined to it, purpose and
grace both put together. So in 2 Tim. 1:9, 'He hath saved us, and called us,
according to his own purpose and grace, before the world began.' And you have a
more express place for it in Rom. 11:5, where it is called the 'election of
grace,' or love, for grace there is taken for free love; the soul, the spirit of
election lies in that act; and therefore we are said to be chosen in Christ,
which is all one and to say we are loved in Christ; for to love is to choose.
And so now I have despatched that observation, which is previous to what I am to
deliver afterwards.

Now I come to those two things which I said I reserved in the last discourse to
be now handled; for there is nothing remaining to be spoken to in this ver. 4,
but, first, to shew you the greatness of this love; and, secondly, the riches of
this mercy: two of the greatest subjects, if one would handle them as
subjects,that is, in the whole compass of all that might be said of them,that
the whole book of God affords. Now where is it that I must begin? The truth is,
riches of mercy offers itself first in the words; but we must give the
prerogative to the greatness of love, because, as you heard before, it is the
foundation of mercy. 'Riches of mercy' are brought in here as subserving his
love, commanded and disposed of by his love; for the reason why God lays forth
riches of mercy to these and these persons, is because he loveth them. So then
that stock, or that treasury of love, which the will of God was pleased to set
apart first for his elect and children, and lay up in his own heart, this is
that which I am first to speak unto; you see it is in the text. And let me say
this of it: we can never search enough into this; we may pry too much into the
wisdom and counsels of God, to seek a reason of his doings, but we can never pry
enough into the love of God. It is a sea of honey, as one calls it, and if in
wading into it, we be swallowed up of it and drowned therein, it is no matter.
And let me likewise profess this about it, that of all subjects else, it is of
that nature as cannot be set out by discourse or in a rational way. It is part
of the meaning, I think, of that of the Apostle in Eph. 3:19, where he calleth
it a love that passeth knowledge; that is, the human way of knowledge by way of
reason and discourse, whereby we infer and gather one thing out of another in a
rational way, and so come to the knowledge of them. But it is more fully the
meaning of that in Rom. 5:5, 'The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by
the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.' He doth not say, the love of God which
he hath told us of, and spoken so great things of in the Scriptures,and indeed
you shall upon search find the Scripture to speak little of it,but he saith,
'the love of God which is shed abroad in our hearts.' So as he doth not speak of
a love which a man's understanding, by collecting one thing out of another, or
by laying one thing to another,as reason, yea, spiritual reason, in other
things useth to proceed,and so may argue to be great: but the way to apprehend
it is, by its being shed abroad, and the report and taste of it the Holy Ghost
makes. As the seat of God's love is his own heart, his will, so the receptacle
thereof is not so much the understanding as the heart of a Christian.
The conscience of a man is the proper receptacle of Christ's blood, when it
sprinkleth it from evil works; but the heart of a man is the seat of God's love,
to be shed abroad there. And to this purpose be addeth, 'by the Holy Ghost,' as
being solely and immediately his work; for he in one moment can speak more to
the poorest man, of the lowest and meanest understanding, of the greatness of
God's love than all that the Scripture says of it, or than all that all the
divines iii the world out of Scripture can say of it. The truth is, all
discourses of God's love are in themselves dull and flat, compared with what
representations and impressions thereof the Holy Ghost makes. As, take an
excellent song, when the notes are written on paper, what a dull thing is it
compared to what the music itself is? My brethren, so is it here. Therefore
still you shall meet with such expressions as these in the Scripture: Come, see,
and taste how good the Lord is: and, if ye have tasted how good the Lord is,
&c.; for the greatness of God's love is only known that way.

Now to shape out a little the subject I am to speak unto; for it is a great
point, and would swell into many sermons if I should speak all that which in a
discoursive way may be said of it. Neither do I purpose now to say all that may
affect your hearts and take you with this love. No, the thing that I must keep
to is this, to speak of that love borne to us before calling, before quickening,
as it is the cause of our salvation; I say, of the greatness of it in that
respect, which is proper to what the text here saith, and confine myself merely
to such things as are held forth within the compass of these three verses.
The first whereof is this: It is great in respect of the subject and source of
it. It is God that loveth us, and it is called 'his love.' For if you mark it,
there is that little particle in the text, 'but God,' saith he; he puts an
emphasis upon that; and likewise, 'his love,' saith he, 'wherewith he loved us.
Secondly, The greatness of it may be set forth by what may be taken from the
persons mentioned here upon whom this love is pitchedus; and that either simply
considered in our persons nakedly; or else, secondly, in the condition that we
were in, that we were dead in sins and trespasses: 'even,' saith he, 'when we
were dead in sins and trespasses;' that though he did not make choice first of
us when we were dead in sins and trespasses, yet he ordered in his decrees that
that should be our condition, to shew forth the more love. The Apostle puts an
emphasis upon it, both upon us, not others, and upon us in that condition, dead
in sins and trespasses.

Thirdly, From what those words will afford, 'the love wherewith he loved us,'
which to me holds forth these three things: Here is first an act of love: 'loved
us.' Here is the time, and that is the time past: 'hath loved us.' And here is,
thirdly, an intimation of a special kind of love: 'his love wherewith he loved
us.' He contents not himself to say, 'for his love,' or, 'for that he loved us.'
but you see he doubles it, 'for his love wherewith he loved us.'

Fourthly, and the greatest of all shewn before calling, is in giving Christ. The
Scripture runs most upon that, and indeed instanceth in almost nothing else, for
that is enough. But you will say, this is not in the text. Yes, it runs all
along, through every verse mentioned. For he saith, we are quickened with
Christ, and in Christ, who therefore out of that love was given unto death for
us, as chap. 1:19. And we are raised up together with him, and we sit together
in heavenly places in him.

Lastly, Here are the fruits of this love, which, you see, are quickening,
raising up with Christ, sitting together in heavenly places in him.
And these, I say, are the particulars which I shall confine myself unto, as
those which the text suggesteth.

Let us begin first with the subject, and rise, and original of this love.He
loved. 'But God, for his great love wherewith he loved us.' My brethren, all
that I say of this is but this, that if God will fall in love, and is pleased
and delighted to set his love on creatures, how great must that love be! And
whomsoever's lot it falls to, they shall have enough of it. God that is infinite
hath an infinite love in his heart to bestow, and whoever it be that his will is
pleased to cast that love upon, of whom it will be said, 'he hath loved us,' it
must be a great, yea, an infinite love. The fountain of love in God being, as
was said, his goodness; for it is in all rational creatures, that which makes
them love is a goodness of disposition in them; the fountain of love, as was
said, is goodness, and so far as any are good, so far are they apt and prone to
love others; and according to the proportion of the goodness, so will the love
be also, and accordingly the greatness of love in any.

Now God, he is so good, as he only is said to be good. 'There is none good but
God,' Matt. 19:17; that is, with such a transcendency of goodness; and therefore
answerably thereunto, God is said to be love, so 1 John 4:8. As none is good, so
there is none that loves but hethat is, in comparison of him. The goodness and
kindness in God, yea, and all the goodness that is in him, (as ver. 7,) moved
him to love somebody besides himself, that he might communicate his goodness to
them. And so his will resolved to love such and such persons, for he would not
communicate his goodness to those whom he did not love; rational, wise men will
be sure to love those whom they do communicate much to, and so did God. He also
resolving to communicate all his goodness to some, resolves also to love them
first, and his love shall be proportionable to his intent of the communication
of his goodness, and that to the greatness of that goodness in him. He meant to
communicate his goodness to the creature to the utmost; for if he will do it, he
will do it as God, or he will not do it at all, he will shew himself to be the
chiefest good; why then he will love them to the utmost, and love them like the
great God too.

There is this difference between God's loving and ours: we must see a goodness
in the creature that we love, to draw out love from us; but all the love that is
in him, he had it in his own power to set it where he would, Exod. 33:19, 'I
will be gracious unto whom I will be gracious.' We can but love so far as our
love is drawn out; our will doth not intend love to the height, unless it runs
out in some natural way; but so can God say, I will have such and such, and I
will bear such and so great an affection to them. And when he doth so, his will
shall not only cause him to communicate all his goodness to them, but cause him
also to do it with the highest love, with rejoicing over them, with delighting
to love. So you have the phrase in that place of Deut. 10:15. Men may, and do,
do good to others, beyond the extent of their love, for other ends. A man's will
may cause him to communicate good to others beyond what the proportion of love
is in his heart. But it is not so in God: as is his goodness, so is his love;
therefore God is good to Israel, and he loveth Israel; it is all one, as in Ps.

In one word, then, will you go and take the source and the original of love in
God, the genealogy of it, and so by that the proportion of it?

First, His goodness putteth him upon communicating himself, and then he loveth
those proportionably unto whom he communicateth himself; and so he sets himself
to love, singles out the persons. This you have in ver. 7, 'In his kindness
towards us.' Tit. 3:4, 5, when he shews the causes of our salvation, as he doth
here, he begins first with the same word used in ver. 7, a goodness, a
sweetness, a pleasantness of nature in God, an heroical disposition of being
good unto others, from whence ariseth a philanthropeia, a love to mankind;
which, though there it be expressed indefinitely, yet as here and elsewhere, he
pitcheth upon particular persons. Or, to give perhaps a more clear place for it,
Exod. 33:19; when God there would express his heart to Moses, and intimate to
him that he loved him, and how dearly he valued him,and therefore this Moses
his choice is mentioned as an instance of the grace of election, in Rom. 9,what
saith God to him? 'I will make all my goodness pass before thee.' So he begins
to him; his scope was to shew what love he did bear unto Moses, by the effect of
it, and that proportioned to its original in God, and he would have his heart
taken with it; how doth he begin? I have, saith be, all goodness in me, and I
mean to communicate it unto thee. And what follows? 'I will be gracious unto
whom I will be gracious.' He pitcheth upon persons, as in Moses' instance
appears, and love upon those persons. And those, saith he, whom thus I resolve
to be gracious unto, they shall have all this goodness; I have cast out of my
goodness, my love and grace on thee, and therefore 'I will cause all my goodness
to pass before thee.'

He that hath my love, he hath all my goodness; and the source of all is that his
goodness, and the manifestation of it. Now as love thus ariseth from goodness,
and the desire of communicating of it; so mercy ariseth from love: for what
follows? 'I will be merciful unto whom I will be merciful.' First he says, 'I
will be gracious to whom I will be gracious.' There it is taken for favour and
acceptation freely; and if they be fallen into misery, 'I will be merciful,' my
mercy shall do as great wonders as my love. In Eph. 3:18, he prays that they
'may be able to comprehend what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and
height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.' And what
follows? 'And be filled with all the fulness of God.' Why? For whoever God hath
pitched this love upon, all the fulness that is in God is coming upon that soul;
for it is the love of the great God, it is a love proportionable to his
goodness; they have and shall have all his goodness, all his fulness.

To cause us therefore to set a value on this: of all dispositions, good nature,
as we call it, and love, in whomsoever it is, is the best, and God himself
values it most as in himself; he takes more unkindly the despising of his love
than he doth the slighting of his wisdom. And love, in whomsoever it is, is the
most predominant of all dispositions; whatsoever is good and whatsoever is
excellent in any, love hath the command of it; and so it hath in God. All his
goodness, the whole train of it must pass before Moses, because God had loved
him, and resolved to be gracious to him. So that now, look how great the great
God is, so great his love must needs be; for, as I may so speak with reverence,
it commandeth all in this great God. In John 10:29, saith Christ, My sheep, no
man shall pluck them out of my hand; for, saith he, it is the will of my Father
that gave them me that they shall be saved; and he is greater than all. He hath
set such a love upon them that all the greatness in this great God is interested
in it. It hath commanded and set on work all in God; it hath set on work all the
persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, to bear several offices in our salvation.
It hath set on work all attributes, mercy, justice, power, wisdom, wrath itself
to fall upon our Lord and Saviour Christ, his only Son. Why? Because love is the
most predominant, wherever it is it commandeth all; and that which commandeth
all that is in God, must needs be great. In other dispositions, he shews forth
but one or two attributes: if he throw men into hell, he shews his justice and
the power of his wrath; but where he loveth, he draweth forth all.

The poets themselves said, that amor Deum gubernat, that love governed God. And,
as Nazianzen well speaks, this love of God, this dulcis tyrannus, this sweet
tyrant,did overcome him when he was upon the cross. There were no cords could
have held him to the whipping-post but those of love; no nails have fastened him
to the cross but those of love. And henceto confirm this notion more to you,
that love is the predominant thing that commandeth allyou shall find that God
is every attribute of his; he is his own wisdom, his own justice, his own power,
&c. Yet you have him peculiarly called love. It is not said anywhere of God,
that I know of, that he is wisdom, or justice, or power, &c. Christ indeed is
called the wisdom and power of God, that is, manifestatively, as he is Mediator.
It is true, indeed, all God's attributes are himself; but yet love in a more
peculiar manner carries the title of him. 'God is love,' saith he, in 1 John
4:8; and he saith it again, ver. 16.

Let us expound the words a little, because we are now upon them. 'Beloved,'
saith he, ver. 7, 'love is of God.' He is the fountain of it, and if the
fountain will love, if he that is love itself will love, how great will that
love be! We use to argue thus, that God is therefore the highest good because
whatsoever is good in any creature is eminently found in him. Truly thus doth
the Apostle argue. Love, saith he, is of God. All the love that is in all
creatures, in all angels and men, that is in the heart of Christ himself, it is
all of God, he is the fountain of it; therefore whosoever hath his love, his
love from whom all love is, it must needs be a great and an infinite love. As
the Apostle saith, ye need not be written to, to love one another, ye are taught
of God so to do. It is nature in you, so it is nature in God.

Now what follows in the next words? 'Love is of God, and every one that loveth
is born of God, and knoweth God; he that loveth not, knoweth not God.' It is
such a phrase as this: if you be ignorant of what is the greatest excellency of
any one, you do not know him; the man is thus and thus, this is his character,
and his chiefest character, if you do not know that, you do not know the man. So
saith he of God, 'God is love,' and there is no man that doth know him, but he
finds so much love in him towards him, that he must needs love others; and he
that doth not love, knows him not, for love is his genius. And as to love one
another is the great commandment that Jesus Christ gave us; so for God to love
us is the greatest and most eminent disposition in the great God. Will you have
a definition of God? Why, saith the Apostle, 'God is love.' and he contents not
himself to have said it once, but he saith it again, ver. 16. Now then, great
must needs that love be which is his love. Mark that emphasis: 'for his great
love wherewith he loved us.'

It is great also in this, respect, as in God,for still I am arguing from its
being in him as he is the subject of it, because there is no other origin of
his love, besides that of his goodness mentioned, but his love; his own love and
goodness is a source to itself. All love in us is of God, but all love in
himself must needs be much more of himself; this argues it great, wherever he
pitcheth it. For if he loved us for anything in us, it is too narrow: for the
truth is, so he loves all creatures; so far as there is any goodness in them, so
far he loves them; but that he should love his saints thus, it would be too
narrow, too scanty a love. He loved Adam but thus, plainly; it was but a
providential love wherewith he loved Adam, take him in that first estate. God
saw all that was in the creatures to be good, and he loved them; so he saw that
which was in Adam to be good, and that was the cause he loved him. But when love
in the great God is the predominant thing, that which commandeth all in God,
when this shall be a fountain to itself, then it will overflow, it knoweth no
bounds, nothing is so diffusive. It is a saying of Bernard, and it is an
exceeding good one: 'That God,' saith he, 'loveth his children, he hath it not
elsewhere, from anything out of himself; but it is himself from whence that love
riseth, his own love is the spring of his own love, and so is the measure of the
extent of it, and that knows no measure. And therefore he must needs love
strongly, saith he, when he is not said so much to have love, as that he is
love. And therefore this love, which is the fountain of love itself, how great
must it be!'

Again, the end of his love is but to shew love; it is the great end of it, and
so large as his end is, so large must his love be, and his desire to love.
Appetitus finis est infinitus;What a man loveth for an end, he loveth
infinitely. That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his
grace,' saith ver. 7, that is, of his free love; there is his end. As he hath no
reason why he loveth but because he willeth, so he hath no higher end to love
but because he will love, and because he doth love, and because he will shew
love. If so great a love will make itself its end, how unsatisfied will that
love be! And so much for the subject of it.

I will only add this. Do but only take a scantling of it by the love that is in
the Mediator, Jesus Christ, who is God-man. 'That ye may know,' saith the
Apostle, 'the breadth and length, the depth and height of the love of Christ,
which passeth knowledge.' What need I stand to set out that love to you? It drew
him from heaven to the womb, and from the womb to the cross; and it kept him
upon the cross when any great spirit in the world would have been provoked to
have come down; it was his love that held him there. But now that love that was
in the heart of the man Christ Jesus, and as he was Mediator, is less than God's
love. 'My Father,' saith heand he speaks as Mediator'is greater than I,' and
so also is his Father's love greater than his, And yet if there were infinite
worlds made of creatures loving they would not have so much love in them as was
in the heart of that man Christ Jesus. 'All love is of God,' so John saith; and
the truth is, all the love that Christ had was of God; he spake to his heart to
love us. 'Thine they were,' saith he, 'and thou gavest them me.' And therefore
he loved them. Great therefore must this love be, because it is the love of God;
it is 'his love.'

I should also add under this head, that is it is great in itself, because it is
the love of the great God, so therefore it is greatly endeared to us. For love,
be it never so small, is always heightened by the greatness of the person that
loves us. The greatness of the person doth not heighten mercy, it shews a
nobleness in him indeed, as for a king to be merciful; but for a king to love,
this is a heightening, and endearing of it to us, for majestas and amor do
seldom convenire,majesty and love seldom meet,because it is a coming down, a
debasing of majesty. But I shall not speak much to this head, because I am not
to speak things that may endear the love of God to you, but as it is the cause
of salvation. Only I will give you that scripture in a word: Ps. 113:6, 'He
humbleth himself, to behold the things that are in heaven and in earth.' Why is
God said to humble himself in this? Is it a stooping and condescending in God to
take all things into his omniscient knowledge, and to guide and govern the
world? Truly he were not God, if he should not do it; if any creature should
escape, any motion of a fly should escape the knowledge of the great God, he
were not God; yet he calls it a humbling, a condescending. O my brethren, what
is it then for him to condescend to love!

The second thing in the text here by which the greatness of this love is set out
to us is the persons whom he loveth; 'us,' saith he. And this setteth out the
greatness of his love to us, by way of endearment, which therefore I shall more
briefly pass over. He loveth us, not others; that is clearly the Apostle's
scope. 'We were by nature children of wrath, as well as others; but God, who is
rich in mercy, loved us,' not others; and out of that love he hath quickened
us.' Others are not quickened; the whole world lies in wickedness, but we know
we are of God; and a few are quickened, it was because he loved us; a special
love, that argues greatness too.

To set out the greatness of it in this respect, and to endear it to you:
In the first place, the great God, when he meant to love, he did not go and say,
I will love somebody, or I will love indefinitely; no, but he pitched upon the
persons. That way of the Arminians doth exceedingly detract from the love of
God, viz., to make him a lover of mankind, and that that is the thing out of the
consideration whereof he give his Son; and that he loves them in common, and
loves them indefinitely; and if they believe so, God will then shew love to
them. God might delight himself in heaven, though men had never been saved; he
might there have upbraided them with their unthankfulness. No, God goes another
way, he directly sets up the very persons whom he meant to love, and he lays
forth all the contrivances of his love, having them distinctly in his eye; as a
father that lays out portions for every one of his children by name, legally and
distinctly, hath them in his eye; so doth God. 'I will have mercy on whom I will
have mercy.' That same on whom implies that it is not indefinite. I will only
give you that observation, upon comparing two places that are both known, and I
will bring them both together by paralleling of them. Saith Christ, in John
13:18, 'I know whom I have chosen.' The parallel place directly to it is in 2
Tim. 2:19, 'God knoweth who are his;' that is, distinctly knoweth them, he had
them in his eye, viewed them, and under the viewing of the persons, on them he
would bestow all, did lay the whole plot, all the contrivements of that
salvation he intended. Which he did to endear his love the more, having the
persons to whom in his eye; he did not do it indefinitely, that he would love
mankind, and love some in an indefinite way. Dare any man say, that he did not
know the man Christ Jesus, and pitch particularly upon that man that was in the
womb of the virgin? Did he only say, I will have a mediator somewhere out of
mankind, fall as it will? No, he did ordain that man; so Acts 17:31. And he was
foreordained. saith 1 Peter 1:20; that very man that is now in heaven, that
individual nature, and no other. And so he did do with the members likewise: for
there is the same reason of both.

But then, secondly, as his love is thus set out to us, that it was not
indefinitely pitched, but as having all the persons in his eye and having them
all in view; so by this also, that he hath not pitched it upon everybody. This
is distinct from the former; for an indefinite is not knowing whom he pitched it
upon. Now as he knew whom he pitched upon, so he hath pitched but upon some, not
on every one. He might have pitched upon all, but the text saith otherwise; us,
not others. So then here is another thing that sets forth this love, it is a
special love, and that greateneth it also. My brethren, if God would love, it
was fit he should be free. It is a strange thing that you will not allow God
that which kings and princes have the prerogative of, and you will allow it
them. They will have favourites whom they will love, and will not love others;
and yet men will not allow God that liberty, but he must either love all
mankind, or he must be cruel and unjust.

The specialness of his love greateneth it, endeareth it to us. You shall find
almost all along the Bible, that when God would express his love, he doth it
with a specialty to his own elect, which he illustrates by the contrary done to
others. In 1 Thess. 5:9, he is not content to say, he hath 'appointed us to
obtain salvation,' but he illustrateth it by its contrary; he 'hath not
appointed us unto wrath, but to obtain salvation.' Not to wrath, for it might
have been our lot, for he hath appointed others to it. In Isa. 41:9, 'Thou art
my servant, I have chosen thee.' And he doth not content himself to say so only,
for if he had said no more, it implies only that he had taken them out of the
heap of others that lay before him; but he adds, 'I have chosen thee, and not
cast thee away;' that is, I have not dealt with thee as I have done with others.
And you shall find frequently in the Scripture, when he mentioneth his choice of
some persons, he holdeth up likewise on purpose his refusing of others. When he
speaks of Jacob, and would express his love and set it out to himward, he saith,
'Jacob have I loved;' that might have been enough for Jacob, but he sets it out
with a foil, 'Esau have I hated.' And in Ps. 78:67, when he speaks of an
election out of the tribes, he contents not himself to say he chose Judah, but
he puts in the rejection, the preterition at least, of Joseph. 'He refused the
tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim; but chose the tribe of
Judah, the mount Sion which he loved.' So among the disciples; how doth Christ
set out his love to them? John 6:70, 'Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of
you is a devil?' and, chap. 13:18, 'I speak not of you all; I know whom I have
chosen;' and, chap. 15:19, 'I have chosen you out of the world;' and, chap.
17:9, 'I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me,' &c.
I will give you but one eminent place, which indeed concerns us in these times.
In 2 Thess. 2:11, speaking of the times of Popery, and the apostasy thereunto,
he saith, 'God shall send among them strong delusion, that they should believe
that lie,' that great lie of Popery; and among other things why he mentions
this, what use doth he improve this to, his hardening the Popish and apostate
world that would not receive the truth in the love thereof 'That they all might
be damned,' ver. 12. But that, in ver. 13, to set out his love to his elect:
'But we are bound always to give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved of the
Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation,' though he
hath done, and will do thus with others. The thing I quote it for is this, that
he setteth off, enhanceth the greatness of God's love to them, in regard of the
specialness of it, that he hath not dealt with them, as with others: thanks be
given to God always for you.

Now this concerns us, for we live in the times of Popery; the Christian world
began to warp towards it then, and we and our forefathers have lived in the
height and ruff of it. Now what saith Rev. 13:8? it is a parallel place, 'All
that dwell upon the earth shall worship the beast, whose names are not written
in the book of life of the Lamb.' You see the reason why many men now are set
against Popery, and embrace the truth in the love thereof, and are savingly kept
from believing that great lie; and that these parts of Europe fell off from
Antichrist. It is because God hath here multitudes of men 'whose names are
written in the book of life of the Lamb.'

Now that God doth thus set his love upon some and not on others, of purpose to
set off his love and make it greater, I will give you a place for it: Deut.
10:14, 'Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord's thy God, the
earth also, with all that is therein. Only the Lord had a delight in thy
fathers, to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all
people, as it is this day.' If I would choose, saith God, I have choice enough,
I have the heaven of heavens, I could have filled all those with creatures; and
there were angels that fell, I might have chosen those, and fixed them as stars,
never to have fallen; but I let multitudes of them tumble down to hell. And I
had all the earth also, and all the nations thereof, before me; but, to shew my
love in a special manner, I have chosen you above all the people of the world.
So that, I say, the greatness of his love is set off by the specialness of it,
Therefore he doth call the people of God upon all such occasions to consider,
the one with the other, that their love of God maybe greatened also. Rom. 11:22,
'Behold, to them severity, to thee goodness.' He would have them to eye both at
once; why hath he shewn severity to others? That his goodness to thee might the
more appear. He calls them to behold it; behold, saith he, to them severity, and
to thee goodness; the one setteth off the other.

And I might shew you that God hath shewn his special love, not only in choosing
you out of all the rest of mankind, and angels, and the like, whom he refused
and threw down to hell, but out of all creatures possible, or which he could
have made. Believe it, brethren, there came up before him, in his idea, infinite
millions of worlds; all that his power could make were as makeable as we were,
and he chose us out of all that he could make, and not only out of all that he
did make, or did decree to make.

And let me say this: the greatness of his love, in respect of the specialty of
it, is mightily enhanced to us, the elect, in the latter ages of the world, in
this respect, that God had all the great heroes of all ages that are past before
him, the great worthies of the world, all the wise, gallant, brave men in Rome
and Greece, and in all nations, in all the ages before,he might have filled up
thy room in heaven with some of those; there were men enough amongst them that
might have had places in heaven, and thou mightest have been let alone. No, all
these could not win away his love from thee that livest in this age; he passed
over all them, suffered them to walk in their own ways; they are perished, they
are gone; and, as the phrase is in 1 Pet. 1:5, he hath reserved heaven for thee.
The love of God to thee, I say, is not only magnified by those out of whom he
hath chosen thee in this age, but in all ages past; and when all mankind shall
meet together, it will infinitely greaten the love of God to that remnant whom
he hath chosen out of all the rest of the world. It is special love that makes
his love great love.

Obs.I will give you this observation, which I find in the Scripture. He calls
his church his love; so Cant. 5:2. And he himself terms himself by the name of
the lover; so Rom. 8:37, and Rev. 1:5. It is his title, and became his style.
The church is his love, so as he hath no love but the church, it is not
scattered to other objects; therefore, Rom. 11, they are said to be 'beloved
according to election,' even as they are said to be 'called according to his
purpose.' It is by way of distinction, noting out a specialty of love that
accompanies election.

And then, if you add to this, in the third place, the fewness of those upon whom
this love is pitched, it doth exceedingly greaten it; for the fewer that all the
love of the great God is pitched upon, the greater the love is. And this, in the
coherence, though not in express words, we find in the text; for the rest, whom
these 'us' were called out of, were the world, the world lying in wickedness:
'among whom we had our conversation, according to the course of this world.'
When God hath betaken himself to a few, to love them, oh, how will he love them!
He will be sure to lose none of those, because they are so few. When a great
rich man shall have but one heir, or a few in his will, to divide his goods
amongst; so when God, that is rich in mercy, and hath great love, shall have but
a few to enjoy it, how will his heart be intended more in love! Isa. 10:2 2,
'Though Israel be as the sand of the sea,'he speaks of election,'yet but a
remnant shall be saved.'

And yet let me add this, in the fourth place, that he loveth every one whom he
hath chosen as if he loved none else; lest any of his children should be jealous
of it, he doth so dexterously manage his love that every one may say, None is
loved as I am. As he said, I am the greatest of sinners; so may every one of his
children say, I am the greatest of beloved ones. So loving is God to those he
chooseth, that all sort of natures speak this of him, be they of what condition

There is also this to be added to this head, the condition wherein we were when
we were called, even when we were 'dead in sins and trespasses.' But I will
reserve that till it comes in order in the text.

And so much now for that second head here in the text, which doth illustrate the
greatness of the love of God,us, and not others.

I come now to the third, which contains divers particulars in these words, for
his great love wherewith he loved us. There is

1. Acts of love mentioned. There is
2. The time when he loved us, viz., before calling. And then
3. There is a special kind of love; 'his love wherewith he loved us.'

To begin with the first

There are two great acts of love which God hath shewn to us. The one was that
from everlasting; the other, when he gave Jesus Christ. I will not speak of the
latter now, because it comes in afterwards at ver. 5. But let us take in that
act of love in God which here certainly the Apostle hath a more special recourse
to, that is, his electing love, which is eminently the love which this same
hath loved us referreth to, and which is the foundation of all the rest, and let
me in a word or two shew you the greatness of this.

First, Let me say this of it, that take it as it was an act in God, it can never
be expressed what it was nor how great it was. And therefore God himself, as I
may so speak with reverence, is fain to manifest that love which he took up in
his own heart, by degrees and by effects. The Scripture itself doth not know how
to give you the greatness of that love which God did pitch upon us from
everlasting, but it is still fain to do it by the effects. In 1 John 4:9, when
he had said before that God is love, and therefore he hath thus greatly loved
us, he is fain to fall upon speaking of the effects of this love: 'In this was
manifested,' saith he, 'the love of God towards us, because that God sent his
only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.' And, ver. 10,
'Herein is love,'it is manifested in this, 'not that we loved God, but that he
loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.' And after he
had spoken of his love, what saith he? Ver. 12, 'No man hath seen God at any
time;' the meaning whereof, I think, is clearly this, as if he had said, I am
fain to tell you this love of God which I am discoursing of, merely as it is
manifested in the effects; for if you would have me speak of it is it is in the
fountain, it is not to be expressed, for no man hath seen God at any time; he is
not able to know what love is in the heart of God but at the second-hand. It may
be illustrated by the gift of his Son, by making of us happy and glorious in
heaven, by his communication of himself to us there; but what, and how great it
is, can never be expressed. And I will give you the reason why I interpret it
thus, because in Exod. 33:19, &c., when God hath spoken of his love to Moses,
and said, 'I will be gracious to those to whom I will be gracious;' he adds, 'No
man can see God, and live;' for you cannot see into this love, as it is in him.
And let me likewise say this second thing of it: That that love which God did
first take up, in the first act of it, it was as great as all acts transient for
ever can express or utter to eternity; it is great love therefore. I say, all
the ways and acts That God doth to eternity are but mere expressions of that
love which he at first took up. Christ and heaven, and whatever else God shews
you of love and mercy in this world, or in the world to come, they all lay in
the womb of that first act, of that love he took up, 'wherewith he loved us.'
God was not drawn on to love us, as a man is, who first begins to love one, and
to set his heart upon him, and then his heart being engaged, he is drawn on
beyond what he thought, and is enticed to do thus and thus beyond what he first
intended. No, God is not as man herein, but as 'known unto God are all his
works, from the beginning of the world,' so is all his love that he meant to
bestow. And he took up love enough at first, as he should be expressing of all
sort of ways that he hath taken to do it, unto eternity. For there is no new
thing to God; if there should be any one thought or degree of love rise up in
his heart afterwards, which was not there at first, there should be some new
thing in God. And the reason is clear by this too, that he doth love out of his
own love, therefore his love at the very first dash, when he first begin to love
us, was as perfect as it will be when we are in heaven. When Adam fell, God was
not then drawn out to give his Son; no, we are not so to conceive it, God had
all before him from everlasting.

And this, I say, is easily manifested; for the first act of his love was the
womb of his giving Christ; 'God so loved the world that he gave his Son.'
Therefore the Scripture makes all the grace that ever we shall have to be given
us at the very first, when God first loved us, 2 Tim. 1:9, 'According to the
grace of God, which was given us before the world began.' And in Rom. 11:29,
speaking of election, as he had done all along the chapter before, he saith,
'the gifts of God are without repentance.' He gave all in the first act, when he
first chose us, and never repenteth of it. Election, I say, is expressed to us
by all that God means to bestow upon us actually to eternity, for ever and ever,
which he 'hath prepared for them that love him,' so the phrase is, 1 Cor. 2:9.
And, ver. 12, 'We have received the Spirit of God, that we may know the things
which are freely given us of God;' that is, given us when he first set his heart
upon us. My brethren, when God first began to love you, he gave you all that he
ever meant to give you in the lump, and eternity of time is that in which he is
retailing of it out. 'I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious.' And then
all the goodness that he means to communicate to them unto whom he is thus
gracious, is a-passing before them even unto eternity. First, the giving of his
Son, he came first in the train; and then the giving of his Spirit; and then
grace and glory: and whatever variation of glory there is that is to come, it is
all but the passing on of the train, it is all but the communicating of that
goodness of his which he did ordain the first time he thought on thee to love

There is an emphatical word in the text, this word pollhn agaphn, great love,as
your great critics observe, and so the Septuagint constantly useth it,which
doth not signify that God loves us often, or that his love is reiterated, but
that he loves us with one entire love. The Arminians would make the love of God
incomplete, and never complete till one comes to die; but it is not a matter of
that nature, it is not as sanctification, that admits degrees in us, but it is
of the nature of those things that consist in indivisibili. I will give you that
place for it, Ps. 138:8, 'The Lord,' saith he, 'will perfect that which
concerneth me.' What God did intend to David from everlasting at once, he is
perfecting of it in him. There is, saith he, a great deal of mercy yet to come,
God hath not half done with me, he will perfect that which concerns me, and he
is perfecting of it to everlasting; for so it follows: 'Thy mercy, O Lord,
endureth for ever.' God hath set up, as I may so speak, an idea in his own
heart, what a brave creature he will make thee, and how he will love thee, and
all that ever he doth or will do, it is but a perfecting of that idea, and of
that love wherewith he loved thee from everlasting. The mercies of God are said
to be many, you read often of them in the plural; but his love is said to be but
one, because he loved us with one entire act, even from eternity.
Yes, he took up so much love at the first, that his wisdom and all in him is set
on work to study and contrive ways how to commend that love.

And therefore that word in Tit. 3:4, which we translate 'kindness,' as it
signifies benignitatem, so it signifies an heroical study, as it were, in God,
all sort of ways to deserve well of mankind. It was so great that he knew not
how to express it enough; for do but consider a little with yourselves. He began
to love Adam upon the terms of a providential love, but that was not good
enough, he must have those of mankind he loves to heaven. He was not content
with direct ways of loving, that is, to love them in their head Jesus Christ,
as he loveth the angels, and so no more ado,but to shew the more love, lets
them fall into sin, become enemies to him, and then sends his Son. And, my
brethren, the truth is, this cost Jesus Christ dear, merely that God might shew
forth the more love; for we might not have been sinners; and though sinners, yet
we might have been saved without any satisfaction. But it was a digression of
love, as I may truly call it, it was an excursion of love, that as man being
sinful sought out many inventions, so God being loving, he sought out a world of
inventions for to shew his love. Now, do but think with yourselves, that the
very first thought of love that God hid towards you, the very first glance of
love he took up, should be so much, as that all sorts of ways that his wisdom
can invent, and that in an eternity of time too, should be little enough to
express and retail that love which thus in the lump he took up. My brethren,
this must certainly be a great love.

And I will add but this to it: that his love was so greedy, mark what I say
unto theewhen he first began to love thee, that the next and main thing that he
thought of, that he had in his eye, as I may speak, in order and degree, though
all was but one act, was that happiness he meant to give thee in heaven. He doth
as it were overleap, so greedy was his love, all the means between; they come
in, as I may say, in a second thought. If, I say, they do allow an intention of
the end before the means, if God intended the end before the means, he intended
that happiness which thou shalt have first. Therefore observe what the Scripture
speaks; though it saith that God ordained us to believe, and ordained us unto
sanctification, yet ordinarily it expresseth it thushe hath ordained us unto
life. And the place is emphatical, 2 Thess. 2:13, 'God hath from the beginning
ordained you to salvation;' mark, he joins you and salvation together, and then
comes in the means, 'through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the
truth.' But, I say, his eye was so intent upon thy good, that look what is thy
chiefest good. what he means to make thee in heaven, that he pitcheth first
upon. And so much now for that act.

Let us next consider the time. 'He loved us;'this carries us to the time past.
So that if you ask me when this love did begin, the truth is, if I may so speak
with reverence, he loved thee ever since he hath been God. Jer. 31:3, 'I have
loved thee with an everlasting love;' and unto everlasting there can be nothing
added. God is from everlasting, and his love is from everlasting. He may be said
to have loved thee ever since he loved himself, or ever since he loved his Son
in whom he chose thee. As he was God from the beginning, and as Christ was the
Word of life from the beginning, John 1:1; so he hath ordained thee unto
salvation from the beginning, 2 Thess. 2:13. And the school-men do rightly say
in this, that the liberty of God's will doth not lie as man's doth, that it was
a while suspended, no, not for a moment. There was never an actual suspension,
for then there were an imperfection; only there was libertas potentialis, he
might have cast it otherwise; but there never was any time in which there was in
his heart a vacuity of love to thee, or unto any one whom he loveth. How
infinitely doth this endear the love of God to thee, and make it great! If one
have loved you from his infancy, that no sooner he began to have a thought of
love, or to love himself, but he loved you, and pitched his heart upon you, how
great will you account his love! John makes a great matter of it, 1 John 4:10:
Herein is love, speaking of the love of God, that we loved not God, but he loved
us first. We did not begin, but he began; and when did he begin? Even from
eternity, when he loved himself, and loved his Son.

And as he hath loved you from eternity, that is the first thing considerable in
it, so let me add, in the second place, which this hath loved doth also
evidently import,comparing it with ver. 7, 'that in ages to come,' and here
'hath,' that is, from everlasting to everlasting,he hath continued to love his
children with a reiterated love. That act of love which he hath first pitched,
he hath every moment renewed actually in his own mind. He doth but think over
and over again thoughts of love to thee, amongst the rest of his elect, unto
eternity. Saith the Psalmist, and it is Christ that speaks that psalm, who knew
the love of his Father, and knew his heart, Ps. 40:5, 'How many are thy thoughts
towards us, O God!' Many indeed, for they have been from everlasting, therefore
they cannot be numbered. And not only that first act, that first thought he had,
but the whole lump of that love is still renewed every moment, and shall be unto
eternity. I could give you a multitude of places. He is therefore said to have
us in his eye, and to write us upon the palms of his hands, &c.

And, lastly, it is to everlasting, which though it be not in this verse, yet we
meet with it in ver. 7, 'that in ages to come.' As he loved us from everlasting,
from the beginning, as it is in that 2 Thess. 2:13, so he loveth us unto the
end, John 13:1.


Promoting a Greater Understanding of the Discovery of the Americas