... for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?—Canticles 1.7.

[God's Love Always Effectual, by Samuel Rutherfurd.]
God's Love Always Effectual.

Excerpted from

Christ Dying, & Drawing Sinners to Himself,
By Samuel Rutherford

Use 2. We are hence taught to acknowledge no Love to be in God, which is not effectual in doing Good to the Creature; there is no Lip-love, no raw Well-wishing to the Creature, which God doth not make good. We know but three Sorts of Love that God has to the Creature, all the Three are like the fruitful Womb; there is no Miscarrying, no Barrenness in the Womb of divine Love.

1. He loves all that he has made, so far, as to give them a Being, to conserve them in Being as long as he pleaseth: He had a Desire to have Sun, Moon, Stars, Earth, Heaven, Sea, Clouds, Air; he created them out of the Womb of Love, and out of Goodness, and keeps them in Being; he can hate nothing that he made: Now, according to Arminians, he wished a Being to many Things in their Seed and Causes, as he wished the Earth to be more fruitful before the Fall than now it is; so that, against God's Will, and his Good-will to the Creatures, he comes short of that natural antecedent Love, that he beareth to Creatures: He could {550} have wished Death never to be, nor Sickness, nor old Age, (say Arminians) nor Barrenness of the Earth, nor Corruption. Nay, but though these have Causes, by Rule of Justice, in the Sins of Men, yet we have no Cause to say, God falls short of his Love, and wished and desired such and such a Good to the Creature, but Things miscarried in his Hand; his Love was like a Mother that conceiveth with many Children, but they die in the Womb; so God willed and loved the Being of many Things, but they could not be; the Love of God was like the miscarrying Womb that parts with the dead Child: We cannot acknowledge any such Love in God.

2. There is a second Love and Mercy in God, by which he loves all Men and Angels, yea, even his Enemies; makes the Sun to shine on the unjust Man, as well as the just, and causeth Dew and Rain to fall on the Orchard and Fields of the bloody and deceitful Man, whom the Lord abhors; as Christ teacheth us, Matt. 5.43-48. Nor doth God miscarry in his Love; he desires the eternal Being of damned Angels and Men; he sends the Gospel to many Reprobates, and invites them to Repentance, and, with Longanimity and Forbearance, suffereth Pieces of forward Dust to fill the Measure of their Iniquity; yet does not the Lord's general Love fall short of what he willeth to them.

3. There is a Love of special Election to Glory; far less can God come short in the End of this Love: For, (1.) The Work of Redemption prospereth in the Hands of Christ, even to the Satisfaction of his Soul; Saving of Sinners, (all Glory to the Lamb) is a thriving Work and successful in Christ's Hands, Isa. 53.10,11, He shall see of the Travail of his Soul, and be satisfied. (2.) Christ cannot shoot at the Rovers and miss his Mark: I should desire no more, but to be once in Christ's Chariot paved with Love, Cant. 3. Were I once assured I am within the Circle and Compass of that Love of Election, I should not be afraid that the Chariot can be broken or turned off its Wheels; Christ's Chariot can go through the Red-Sea, though not dried up: He shoots Arrows of Love, and cannot miss; he rides through Hell and the {551} Grave, and makes the Dead his living Captives and Prisoners. (3.) This Love is natively of itself active; Hezekiah saith in his Song, Isa 38.17, Behold, for Peace I had Bitterness, but thou hast in Love to my Soul (delivered) me from the Pit of Corruption; but in Hebrew it is, Thou hast loved my Soul out of the Pit of Corruption, because thou hast cast all my Sins behind thy Back: He speaketh of God's Love, as if it were a living Man, with Flesh and Bones, Arms, Hands, and Feet, went down to the Pit, and lifted up Hezekiah's Soul out of the Pit; so has the Love of Christ loved us out of Hell, or loved Hell away to Hell, and loved Death down to the Grave, and loved Sin away, and loved us out of the Arms of the Devil: Christ's Love is a pursuing and a conquering Thing. I shall never believe that this Love of Redemption stands so many Hundred Miles aloof on the Shore, and the Bank of the River and Lake of Fire and Brimstone, and cries afar off, and wisheth all Mankind may come to Land & Shore, and casteth to them, being so many hundred Miles from them, Words of Milk, Wine and Honey, out of the Gospel, and crieth that Christ loveth all and every one to Salvation; and if Wishes could make Men happy, Christ earnestly wishes and desires, if all Men were alike well-minded to their own Salvation, that all and every one might be saved, that there were not a Hell, but he will not put the Tip of his little Finger in their Heart to bow and incline their Will; and Christ crieth to the whole World, perishing in Sin, I have shed my Blood for you all, and wish you much Happiness; but if ye will not come to me to believe, I purpose not to pass over the Line of Arminian Decency or Jesuitical Congruity, nor can I come to you to draw your Hearts, by way of efficacious Determination; if ye will do for your selves and your own Salvation, the greatest Part of the Work, which is to apply Redemption, by your own Free-will (though I know you cannot be Masters, of your selves, of one good Thought, and are dead in Sins) as I have done the other lesser Part, purchased Salvation for you, or made you all reconcilable and savable, 'tis well; otherwise, {552} I love the Salvation of you and every one, but I will not procure it, but leave that to your Free-will; choose Fire or Water, Heaven or Hell, as the Counsels of your own Heart shall lead you; and I have done with you: Oh such a Love as this could never save me! If the young Heir had Wisdom, he should pray that the wise Tutor lay not the Falling or the Standing of the House on his green Head, and raw, glassie, and weather-cock Free-will; we shall cast down our Crowns at the Feet of Him that sitteth on the Throne, because he has redeemed us out of all Nations, Tongues, and Languages, and left these Nations to perish in their own wicked Way: Sure, in Heaven I shall have no Arminian Thoughts, as now I have, through Corruption of Nature; I shall not then divide the Song of free Redemption between the Lamb and Free-will, and give the largest share to Free-will: My Soul, enter not into their Counsels or Secrets, who thus black Christ, and shame that fair, spotless and excellent Grace of God.