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Richard Sibbes on General Love

August 31, 2007

The point is clear. I will not answer all the objections might be brought, only encounter with some of the main ones, which are brought by the papists against this truth. Saint Paul’s meaning, therefore, is not that he loved me with that love wherewith he loved all mankind. The apostle means a more special love, ‘He loved me so as he gave himself for me;’ that is, with a more special love than he bears to all mankind. This is a point that tends to God’s honour and man’s comfort ; for God hath the more praise and thanks from his elect, and those that are redeemed by the peculiarness of it, which the more it is, the more they acknowledge themselves bound unto God and Christ. These are they that are elected, these are they for whom the Scriptures are, for whom the world stands and Christ came, Ps. cxvi. 1. They love God and single him out, and the more they do so, God doth single them out to delight in. Peculiarity enhanceth and raiseth favours to higher degrees than otherwise. The fewer that are taken out of the world from the refuse of mankind, the more their hearts are inflamed to love God again. God, as the psalmist says, hath not dealt so with every nation, Ps. cxlvii. 20. When will a man be most thankful to God and give him glory, but when he can say, Thou hast not dealt so with the rest of the world ; what is in me more than in the rest of mankind ? I differ nothing from them but in thy peculiar love. Hereupon comes the heart to be knit in love unto Christ again.

Sibbes, “Salvation Applied,” in Works, 5:389.

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