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Amandus Polanus (1561-1610) on the General Love of God and Divine Attributes

August 29, 2007

Polanus :


1)

4. Moreover, the will of God, is either the goodness of God, or the justice of God.

The goodness of God, is his will, by which, he himself is by all means good, being both in himself and without, the author of all good things.

In himself he is good, by his essence, and chiefly.

In his essence, because he is good, not by participation of God from another, but naturally, and of himself, and that from eternity: neither is he so, by accidental goodness, but it is his own very goodness.

Chiefly, because he only is the chief good, that is to be desired of all.

Without himself, he is the author of all goodness, both in making so many good creatures, and also by doing good to the creatures that he hath made.

This goodness of God, by which he is the author of all good things without himself, is either general or special.

General is that, which generally extends itself to all creatures, not only towards them, which have continued in that goodness in which they were created, but also towards those which have fallen from their first goodness, as toward the evil angels, and wicked men.

The special goodness of God is that, by which God wills well to the elect angels, and his chosen among men. Psalm 73:1.

Moreover, the goodness of God, is the fountain of the grace, love, mercy patience and clemency of God.

The grace of God, is God’s most gentle goodwill, and his fatherly favour and will, by which he fatherly embraces us unworthy of it, and no man deserving it. Genes. 6:8, Luke 1:30, Tit. 2:11.

And this grace is truly and rightly termed grace, that makes us accepted before God.

But it is not poured into us.

Neither is it a quality inherent un us, but remains only in God’s himself.

It is distinguished from the gifts, which from God and bestowed upon vs Rom. 5:15, which are called graces freely given.

The love of God, is the most gracious will of God, by which he delights himself takes pleasure in that, wich he approves.

And this love of God, is both towards himself, and also towards the creatures.

The love of God towards himself, is that wherewith the persons of the Godhead love mutually, and each one the other. John 3:35.

The love of God towards the creatures, is either general or special.

The general love of God, is that with he embraces altogether all things which he has made, and does good unto them, and preserves and sustains them.

For though he hate sin, yet he loves the nature which he has created.

The special love of God is that, which he doth peculiarly prosecute the elect only.

And this is either towards Christ as in respect of his human nature, or towards the elect in Christ.

The love of God towards Christ as in respect of the human nature is that, by which he has appointed him, to be the head of the elect.

And this love is the foundation of his love towards the elect.

The love of God towards the elect in Christ is both towards the holy Angels, and also towards men that shall be saved. Ephes. 1:6, John 3:16.

The mercy of God, is his most favourable good will, ready to succour such, as are in misery. The general mercy of God, is that by which God, as God, is not only prest [pressed?] to succour all his creatures, & specially men both just and unjust, being in any misery, but does indeed help & relieve them, though not all unto eternal life, yet unto some salvation, or as we may say, temporary deliverance, Luke 6:36.

The special mercy of God is that, by which God, as a most bountiful and free Lord, has mercy upon whom he will. I mean of these, whom he has predestinated to eternal life, whom he also calls, justifies, and glorifies. Rom. 9:18. He has mercy on whom he will, and whom he will he hardens.

The patience of God, is his most gracious will, by which he long suffers men’s sins, and defers the punishment thereof. And this is called the long sufferance of God, Rom. 2:4. and 3:26. and 9:22. 1 Pet. 3:20. 2 Pet. 3:15.

The clemency of God, is his most favourable will, by which also even in wrath he remembers his mercy, and spares us, though we have deserved otherwise.

Amandus Polanus, The Substance of Christian Religion, (London: Arn. Hatfield, 1600), 16-19.

2)

Arg. 5. He that has mercy on all, & loves all things that are, and hates nothing of that he has made, doubtless his will is not the cause &c. but those things are true of God: ergo: Wis. 11:24&c.

Asw. There is an homonymy in the words to have mercy, to love, to hate: For the proposition is meant a special love and mercy, by which God as a most free Lord has mercy on whom he will Rom. 9:18. and an especial love which peculiarly he extends to his elect, enriching them wit all the benefits thereof, in which he loved Jacob Mal. 1:2; Ro. 9:13. and a special hate by which God (having chosen to salvation whom he would) passed over whom he would, such as he used toward Esau Mat. 1:3; Rom. 9:13.

But the assumption and place out of the book of wisdom, God’s general mercy extends to all creatures that are in any miseries, and therein to all men as well as unjust as just, wherein he is prone to succor them and does indeed preserving and nourishing all things even the very ravens hat are Psal. 147:9. that is that croke.

The old translation has “that call on him,” but that is not so in the Hebrew: that is his own. So likewise his general love &c, so God hates nothing of that he has made so far forth as he made it.

Amandus Polanus, A Treastise of Amandus Polanus Concerning God’s Eternal Predestination (Printed by John Legat, Printer to the University of Cambridge, 1599), 177-178.  [C.f. Polanus on the Providence of God.]

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