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The Love of God PDF Print E-mail
Written by Benjamin Lloyd   

The Primitive Baptist—July 1847

1 John, 4th chapter, 16th verse: And we have known and Believed the love that God hath to us. God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

Dear Brethren Editors, the following communication was written (with much difficulty) at the request of an interesting young man and intimate friend, (who has for a long time been a sufferer of great affliction.)

I trust it may not he altogether uninteresting to the readers of your valuable paper.

The subject of the love of God furnishes the heavenly host with the highest and most exalted strains of adoration to his name, and to us is the most important theme the human heart can dwell upon;. for this is the great cause that produces the happiness we are capable of enjoying here, and embrace all the bliss of that high and holy slate, which we look for­ward to in a different mode of existence. And although the mind may be made susceptible of its fruition, yet it never will be able to unfold its excellencies.

We would then inquire how a knowledge of this love which God has for us is made manifest? The context says, God is love; and we justly conclude that God’s purposes of love and mercy towards his children are immutable. And a revelation of this is made through Christ the Son of God, through whom God can and does for­give sins. Because ye are sons, he has sent forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father; and, I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee. Then instead of the death and sufferings of Christ being the cause that pro­duces the love of God to the sinner, or the cause of salvation, it is a manifestation of that love in the purpose of God. Hence the scripture says, God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish but have eternal life So, then that immutable love brought to view in the text, is made manifest by the Saviour; which also is the effect of that love God ever bore to his children. Here then is deep unfathomable love, centering upon its subjects chosen in Christ before the earth’s foundations were laid; ere man was formed and ere he fell, this love lay beautiful in the womb of eternity, embracing all its objects. From this love and purpose of mercy has proceeded not only the gracious promise of salvation through the Savior, but the Holy Spirit also, which taketh of the things of the Father, and showeth them to the lost and helpless sinner, and communicates to such sinner the efficacy of the atonement made by Christ as the result of that love. And manifests beauti­fully the unity of the trinity by applying the atonement to all those who are embraced in God’s purpose of love and mercy, and whose sins were borne by the Savior on the tree of the cross.

We propose next to show by what pro­cess we are brought to a knowledge of this love. For every effect there must be a cause to produce it. Then the first cause that induces the sinner to seek God is the principle of life communicated to the heart by the divine spirit. You hath he quick­ened who were dead in trespasses and sins, and by this touch of life the enmity of the heart is slain; that enmity against God which never could have been overcome, only by a sense of God’s love to us. And from this incentive in the heart the sinner is induced to seek the favor of that God, whose goodness and mercy have overcome all his hatred for God. And under the teachings of the divine spirit, we are per­mitted to exhaust all our own resources for life and salvation, in our attempts to obtain divine favor by our own works. And when we are brought to see our entire dependence upon God, and are made willing to cast ourselves alone on his mercy, then the Spirit reveals to us a Saviour who takes away all our sins:

The guilt of twice ten thousand sins,
One moment takes away;
And grace when first the work begins,
Secures the crowning day.

Hence the scripture says, my people shall be willing in the day of my power. And when the love of God is revealed in the inner heart, and be made free from the law of sin and death, that love thus re­vealed to him inspires in his heart love to God. We love him because he first loved us. With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Now this love in the heart never could have existed until inspired there by the love of God be­ing revealed to us. Some suppose this method pre-supposes the idea, that the sinner is coerced contrary to his own will; but not so, it is the silken cords of God’s love that draw him after holiness. Draw me and I will run after thee. And every heaven-born soul can witness, that after-life was quickened all his wish and prayer was to find the Saviour and obtain his pardon­ing mercy; and he would have given a thousand worlds for one moment’s scriptural assurance that his peace was made with God, consequently there was no necessity that he should be coerced by an arbitrary power to seek after that object he desired above all others, and having been taught that there was salvation in no other. And now having known and believed the love that God hath to us, and being brought in­to union with God, we love him, his ordi­nances, and his house; and delight to walk in his statutes, and dwell on the delightful _ theme of salvation by grace; also, we love his cause and his people, which is an evidence of our gracious state. By this we know we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. And it is often the case, that the young Christian is difficulted in his mind, because he loves some people more than others. The rea­son we love Christians is, because they bear the image of the Saviour and walk in his footsteps; consequently the more meek and the closer the brother or the sister walks in the statutes of him we love, the more we love them. And now then, he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him, for God is love.

From hence the holiest duties flow,
Of saints above and saints below.

Ye are created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that you should walk in them. Faith and re­pentance precede good works, and good works follow as the legitimate result of faith in God; and we are not thus created -in Christ Jesus unto good works to make us heirs of heaven, but we are thereby pre­pared for these good works, ordained for us to observe and brought into a state that will make us fit subjects for heaven, before -prepared for us, and for which we were redeemed. It is the constant prayer of the -heaven-born soul to know and to do the will of God, and as he that loveth dwelleth in God and God in him, the whole Chris­tian life converges to holiness Ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end, ever lasting life. Then the motive of the soul that is born of God, leads him to love and serve God; and how could it he possible that we could dwell in God and God in us, if we had any love for sin? Also, it is written, how can we that are dead to sin live any longer therein? Know ye not that ye are the temples of the Holy Ghost? Then he that loveth dwelleth in God, and God in him.

Love is the golden chain that binds
The happy souls above;
And he’s an heir of heaven that finds
His bosom glow with love.

Perfect love casteth out fear, and the child of God serves him from the principle of love, and ascribes all the honor of his salvation to sovereign grace and the mercy of God alone.

The countless multitude on high,
Who tune their song to Jesus’ name;
All merit of their own deny,
And Jesus worth alone proclaim.

What I have written, I have written; would it were better. With the highest considerations of Christian regard and es­teem for all the dear saints, I remain their brother and servant, &c.


Wetumpka, Ala., April 24, 1847.

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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.