The Existence and Attributes of God by Charnock

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JM

Puritan Board Doctor
Good theology sparks devotion. The last week or so I've been reading a few pages a day from Charnock's work for my daily meditations, he is very quotable and offers much wisdom for the pilgrim.

Below are some of the quotes I posted on my blog.

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page 84, "But we must not lay all upon Satan; the corruption of our own hearts ministers matter so such sparks. It is not said Satan hath suggested to the fool, but “the fool hath said in his heart,” there is no God."

page 86, "The world is a sacred temple; man is introduced to contemplate it, and behold with praise the glory of God in the pieces of his art."

page 86, "View God in your own experiences of him. There is a taste and sight of his goodness, though no sight of his essence. (Psalm XXXIV. 98) By the taste of his goodness you may know the reality of the fountain, whence it springs and from whence it flows; this surpasseth the greatest capacity of a mere natural understanding. Experience of the sweetness of the ways of Christianity is a mighty preservative against atheism. Many a man knows not to prove honey to be sweet by his reason, but by his sense; and if all the reason in the world be brought against it, he will not be reasoned out of what he tastes."

page 87, "He that denies his being, is an atheist to his essence: he that denies his worship, is an atheist to his honor."

page 92, "The testimony of works is louder and clearer than that of words; and the frame of men’s hearts must be measured rather by what they do then by what they say."

page 92, "Those that have neither God in their thoughts, nor in their tongues, nor in their works, cannot properly be said to acknowledge him. Where the honor of God is not practically owned in the lives of men, the being of God is not sensibly acknowledged in the hearts of men. The principle must be of the same kind with the actions; if the actions be atheistical, the principle of them can be no better."

page 93, "In sins of omission we own not God, in neglecting to perform what he enjoins; in sins of commission we set up some lust in the place of God, and pay to that the homage which is due to our Maker. In both we disown him; in the one by not doing what he commands, in the other by doing what he forbids. We deny his sovereignty when we violate his laws; we disgrace his holiness when we cast our filth before his face; we disparage his wisdom when we set up another rule as the guide of our actions than that law he hath fixed; we slight his sufficiency when we prefer a satisfaction in sin before a happiness in him alone; and his goodness, when we judge it not strong enough to attract us to him. Every sin invades the rights of God, and strips him of one or other of his perfections. It is such a vilifying of God as if he were not God; as if he were not the supreme Creator and Benefactor of the world; as if we had not our being from him; as if the air we breathed in, the food we lived by, were our own by right of supremacy, not of donation. For a subject to slight his sovereign, is to slight his royalty; or a servant his master, is to deny his superiority."

page 96, “Sin endeavors to subject the blessed God to the humor and lust of every person in the world.”

page 98, “The spirit of adoption makes men act toward God as a father, a spirit of bondage only eyes him as a judge. Those that look upon their superiors as tyrannical, will not be much concerned in their welfare; and would be more glad to have their nails pared, than be under perpetual fear of them. Many men regard not the Infinite Goodness in the service of him, but consider him as cruel, tyrannical, injurious to their liberty.”

page 99, “The refusing instruction and casting his Word behind the back is part of atheism.”

page 100, “The law of God is accounted a strange thing; a thing of a different climate, and a far country from the heart of man; wherewith the mind of man had no desire to have any; or they regarded it as a sordid thing: what God accounts great and valuable, they account mean and despicable. Men may show a civility to a stranger, but scarce contract an intimacy: there can be no amicable agreement between the holy will of God and the heart of a depraved creature: one is holy, the other unholy; one is universally good, the other stark naught. The purity of the Divine rule renders it nauseous to the impurity of the carnal heart. Water and fire may as well friendly kiss each other and live together without quarrelling and hissing, as the holy will of God and the unregenerate heart of a fallen creature.”

page 102, “Owls have eyes to perceive that there is a sun, but by reason of the weakness of their sight have no pleasure to look upon a beam of it: so neither can a man by nature love, or delight in the will of God, because of his natural corruption. That law that riseth up in men for conviction and instruction, they keep down under the power of corruption; making their souls not the sanctuary, but the prison of truth (Rom. i. 18). They will keep it down in their hearts, if they cannot keep it out of their heads, and will not endeavor to know and taste the spirit of it.”

page 103, “The devil’s children will follow the steps of their father, and endeavor to bruise the heal of divine truth, that would endeavor to break the head of the corrupt lust.”

page 105, “Truth may be admitted one day and the next day rejected; as Austin saith of a wicked man, he loves the truth shining, but he hates the truth reproving. This is not to make God, but our own humor, our rule and measure.”

page 106, “As men love to be without a holy God in the world, so they love to be without a holy law, the transcript and image of God’s holiness in their hearts; and without holy men, the lights kindled by the Father of lights.”

page 107, “Gracious speeches, instead of bettering many men, distemper them, as sometimes sweet perfumes affect a weak head with aches.”

page 119, “The intention makes not a good action if so, when men kill the best servants of God with a design to do God service, as our Saviour foretells, (John xvi. 2) the action would not be murder; yet who can call it otherwise, since God is wronged in the persons of his servants? Since most of the worship of the world, which men’s corrupt natures incline them to, is false and different from the revealed will of God, it is a practical acknowledgment of the devil, as the governor, by acknowledging and practising those doctrines, which have not the stamp of divine revelation upon them, but were minted by Satan to depress the honor of God in the world. It doth concern men, then, to take good heed, that in their acts of worship they have a divine rule; otherwise it is an owning the devil as the rule: for there is no medium; whatsoever is not from God, is from Satan. But to bring this closer to us, and consider that which is more common among us: men that are in natural condition, and wedded to their lusts, are under the paternal government of Satan (John viii. 44) : “Ye are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do.” If we divide sin into spiritual and carnal, which division comprehends all, the devil’s authority is owned in both; in spiritual, we conform to his example, because those he commits; in carnal, we obey his will, because those he directs: he acts the one, and sets us a copy; he tempts to the other, and gives us a kind of a precept. Thus man by nature being a willing servant of sin, is more desirous to be bound in the devil’s iron chain, than in God’s silken cords. What greater atheism can there be, than to use God as if he were inferior to the devil? to take the part of his greatest enemy, who drew all others into the faction against him? to pleasure Satan by offending God, and gratify our adversary with the injury of our Creator? For a subject to take arms against his prince with the deadliest enemy both himself and prince hath in the whole world, adds a greater blackness to the rebellion.”
 

JM

Puritan Board Doctor
Page 127, “The law of God is the rule of that order he would have observed in the world; he that makes another law his rule, thrusts out the order of the Creator, and establishes the disorder of the creature.”

Page 129, “That deplorable person under the sensible stroke of God’s sovereign justice, would oppose his nay to God’s will (Luke xvi. 30): ‘And he said, Nay, father Abraham, but if one went to them from the dead they will repent.’ He would presume to prescribe more effectual means than Moses and the prophets, to inform men of the danger they incurred by their sensuality. “

Page 129-30, “When our friends have been struck with a rod, against our sentiments and wishes, have not our hearts been apt to swell in complaints against God, as though he disregarded the goodness of such a person, did not see with our eyes, and measure him by our esteem of him? as if he should have asked our counsel, before he had resolved, and managed himself according to our will, rather than his own. If he be patient to the wicked, we are apt to tax his holiness, and accuse him as an enemy to his own law. If he inflict severity upon the righteous, we are ready to suspect his goodness, and charge him to be an enemy to his affectionate creature. If he spare the Nimrods of the world, we are ready to ask, ‘Where is the God of judgment?’ If he afflict the pillars of the earth, we are ready to question, where is the God of mercy? It is impossible, since the depraved nature of man, and the various interests and passions in the world, that infinite power and wisdom can act righteously for the good of the universe, but he will shake some corrupt interest or other upon earth; so various are the inclinations of men, and such a weather-**** judgment hath every man in himself, that he divine method he applauds this day, upon a change of his interest, he will cavil at the next.”

Page 131, “We cast out our mire and dirt against God when he acts cross to our wishes, and flatter him when the wind of his providence joins itself to the tide of our interest. Men set a high price upon themselves, and are angry God values them not at the same rate, as if their judgment concerning themselves were more piercing then his.”

Page 131, “This is the epidemical disease of human nature; they think they deserve caresses instead of rods, and upon crosses are more ready to tear out the heart of God, than reflect humbly upon their own hearts.”

Same page, “Instead of silently submitting to his will and adoring his wisdom, we declaim against him, as an unwise and unjust governor: we would invert his order, make him the steward and ourselves the proprietors of what we are and have: we deny ourselves to be sinners, and our mercies to be forfeited.”
 
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