As quoted in The Beauties of Erskine, by Samuel McMillan, Christian Focus Publications, p.496
Great things are done for the redeemed this year also. Only before I proceed to particulars, I would have you remember, that redemption in this situation of it, or considered in its revelation or exhibition, is a thing common to all the hearers of the gospel. Here we are to abstract from the secret decrees of election and reprobation, and to make open proclamation of redeeming grace and love in Christ to every creature under heaven; we are to tell every man and woman sprung of Adam, this good news, ‘That God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them;’ that ‘the promise is unto you, and to your seed, and to all that afar off, and to as many as the Lord our God shall call’ by the sound of the gospel.
God in Christ, A God of Love, a sermon on 1 John 4:16, in The Whole Works of the late Rev. Ebenezer Erskine, vol. 1, pp. 280-281. This quote was compiled by Rev. Sherman Isbell.
First, I say, let us view the love of a God of love, in the different kinds of it.
1, Then, He has a love of benevolence, or good-will, which He bears towards men, particularly towards the whole visible church. The lifting up of the brazen serpent in the camp of Israel, that whosoever looked to it might be healed, was a clear evidence of his good-will unto the whole camp; so the manifestation of Christ in the nature of man, and the revelation of Him in the gospel, is an evidence of the good-will He bears unto the salvation of all, John 3:15-16. He declares it on his word, that He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” [1 Tim. 2:4]; and lest his word should not be believed, He has confirmed it with his oath, Ezek. 33:11, “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.”
2, He has a love, not only of benevolence, but of beneficence; He not only wishes you well, but does well unto you. O Sirs! many a good turn has He done you, particularly you who are members of the visible church; He gives you line upon line, precept upon precept; He makes you to hear the joyful sound, the voice of the turtle; many a minister has He sent you; many an offer of Christ, and of life through Him, has He made to you; many a time has He knocked at thy door, by word, by conscience, and the motions and whispers of his Spirit; so that He may say to us, as He did of his vineyard, Isa. 5:4, “What could have been done more for them, that I have not done?” And because of your obstinacy in unbelief and sin, He may challenge you as he did Israel, and say, Micah 6:3, “O my people, what have I done unto thee, and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me. Was I ever a barren wilderness, or a land of darkness?” Thus, I say, God’s love of benevolence and beneficence is, in some respects, extended unto all.
3, There is a love of complacency, or delight and satisfaction, which is peculiar only to believers; who because of the excellency of his loving-kindness, do put your trust under the shadow of his wings. O believer, the Lord loves thee, a God of love loves thee, not only with a love of benevolence and beneficence, as He does others, in some respects, but He loves thee with a complacential love, as so to take pleasure in thee; “The Lord takes pleasure in his people; He will beautify the meek with salvation.” He loves thee with a love of estimation; He puts such an high value and estimate upon thee, that thou art precious in the sight of the Lord, thou art his treasure, and his peculiar treasure; “The Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.” He loves thee with a love of union; He desires thy company, and to hear thy voice, and to see thy countenance: Song 2:14, “O my dove that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.”
The Westminster Assembly’s Shorter Catechism Explained by Way of Question and Answer, the materials for this book were compiled by several ministers, and it was finally revised by James Fisher, Ebenezer Erskine and Ralph Erskine. This quote was compiled by Andrew Myers.
Question 30.40: What improvement ought both saints and sinners to make of the doctrine of union with Christ?
Answer: Saints ought to evidence that Christ is in them, by endeavouring that his image shine forth in their conversation, studying to “walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing,” Col 1:10; and Sinners ought to seek after this happy relation to Christ, while he is yet standing at their door and knocking, Rev 3:20; and while the gates of the city of refuge are not yet closed, Zech 9:12.
As quoted by Malcom Watts
“Faith, which is the echo of the Gospel offer and call, must needs receive an offered Christ and salvation, with particular application to the soul itself. For a person to rest in a general persuasion that Christ is offered to the Church, or offered to the elect, or a persuasion of God’s ability and readiness to save all that come to Christ, is still but a general faith, and what devils, reprobates and hypocrites may have.”