Thursday, May 03, 2007

Thomas Goodwin - God is Love

I was very pleased to find that the Works of Thomas Goodwin are now all online. Here is an excerpt.

Our God being love, even love itself, 1 John 4:16, 'And we have known and believed the love God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.' Our God loving, where he sets his love, with an infinite love as himself is, which love of all things else in him he loves to shew the utmost of, and of all works, works of love have the most delight in them, therefore mercy is called his delight, his darling: Micah 7:18, 'Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.' Our God being thus love, and mercy his delight, he would gladly shew how well he could love creatures, he was most glad of the greatest opportunity to shew it; therefore he resolves upon this course, to reconcile enemies, whatsoever it should cost. And the more they should cost him, the gladder should they [he] be. The making of a thousand new friends could not have expressed so much love as the reconciling one enemy. To love and delight in friends, who had never wronged him, was too narrow, shallow, and slight a way. He had heights, depths, breadth of love: Ephesians 3:18, 'May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height.' Which heights and depth of love he would make known, and which nothing but the depths of our misery could have drawn out.

And that this is the reason, see Rom. 5: 8, 10, ' But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.' Ver. 10, 'For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.' God commends his love towards us, that whilst we were yet enemies, he gave his Son for us, not to be born only, but to die. Both our being sinners, and his giving his Son, commends or sets out his love; and that he might commend it, he pitcheth on this course. And that this love should be pitched upon men, not the angels that fell, it yet further commends his love. There were but two sorts of sinners whose sins could be taken away; and of the twain, who would not have thought but the fallen angels should have been propounded first, and have passed more easily? They were fairer and better creatures than we; and if he regarded service, one of them was able to do him more than a thousand of us. When he had bought us, he must be at a great deal of more trouble to preserve and tend us, than we were able ever to requite-in service and attendance upon him. He must allow us much of our time to sleep, and eat, and to be idle in; to refresh our bodies, and tend us as you would tend a child; rock us asleep every night, and make our beds in sickness; Psalm 41:3, 'The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness;' and feed us himself in due season. Whereas the angels, they could stand in his presence day and night, and not be weary. And, besides, the nature of the angels had been a fitter match a great deal for his Son. They are spirits, and so. in a nearer assimilation to him. Who ever thought he should close to match so low as with us? All this makes for us still the more love, for it was the more free. And the more unlikely it is that he could 'love such as we, the more his love is commended. The less we could do for him or for 'ourselves, the more it would appear he did for us. He is honoured more in our dependence than our service. He hath regard to the lowness of his spouse and handmaids, and lets the mighty go, principalities and powers; he loves still to prefer the younger, and make the elder serve them, Romans 9. The angels are ministering spirits for their good. Among men he culls out still the poor, the foolish, not many wise or noble; and he makes as unlikely a. choice amongst his creatures.