Tag Archives: Stephen Charnock

“The presence of God in the pressures of His people” by Stephen Charnock

“The omnipresence of God is a comfort in sharp afflictions. Good men have a comfort in this presence in their nasty prisons, oppressing tribunals; in the overflowing waters or scorching flames, He is still with them, (Isa. 43:2).

And many times, by His presence, He keeps the bush from consuming, when it seems to be all in a flame. In afflictions, God shows Himself most present when friends are most absent: ‘When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord shall take me up,’ (Ps. 27:10).

Then God will stoop and gather me into His protection; Heb. ‘shall gather me,’ alluding to those tribes that were to bring up the rear in the Israelites’ march, to take care that none were left behind, and exposed to famine or wild beasts, by reason of some disease that disenabled them to keep pace with their brethren.

He that is the sanctuary of His people in all calamities is more present with them to support them, than their adversaries can be present with them, to afflict them: ‘A present help in the time of trouble,’ (Ps. 46:2).

He is present with all things for this end; though His presence be a necessary presence, in regard of the immensity of His nature, yet the end of this presence, in regard that it is for the good of His people, is a voluntary presence.

It is for the good of man He is present in the lower world, and principally for the good of His people, for whose sake He keeps up the world: (2 Chron. 16:9), ‘His eyes run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards Him.’

If he doth not deliver good men from afflictions, He will be so present as to manage them in them, as that His glory shall issue from them, and their grace be brightened by them.

What a man was Paul, when he was lodged in a prison, or dragged to the courts of judicature; when he was torn with rods, or laden with chains! Then did he show the greatest miracles, made the judge tremble upon the bench, and break the heart, though not the prison, of the jailor,—so powerful is the presence of God in the pressures of His people.

This presence outweighs all other comforts, and is more valuable to a Christian than barns of corn or cellars of wine can be to a covetous man, (Ps. 4:7). It was this presence was David’s cordial in the mutinying of his soldiers, (1 Sam. 30:6).

What a comfort is this in exile, or a forced desertion of our habitations! Good men may be banished from their country, but never from the presence of their Protector; ye cannot say of any corner of the earth, or of any dungeon in a prison, God is not here.

If you were cast out of your country a thousand miles off, you are not out of God’s precinct. His arm is there to cherish the good, as well as to drag out the wicked.

It is the same God, the same presence in every country, as well as the same sun, moon, and stars.”

–Stephen Charnock, “A Discourse Upon God’s Omnipresence,” in The Existence and Attributes of God, in The Works of Stephen Charnock, Vol. 1 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1681/2010), 1: 451–452.

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“This is life eternal” by Stephen Charnock

“We may behold God in Christ as a tender and condescending Father.

To conclude; let us behold His justice, to humble ourselves under it.

Let us behold His pardoning grace, to have recourse to it under pressures of guilt.

Let us sweeten our affections by the sight of His compassions, and have confidence to call upon Him as a Father in our necessities.

Any discovery of God in Christ is an encouragement to a forlorn creature. His perfections smile upon man. Nothing of God looks terrible in Christ to a believer.

The sun is risen, shadows are vanished, God walks upon the battlements of love, justice hath left its sting in a Saviour’s side, the law is disarmed, weapons out of His hand, His bosom open, His bowels yearn, His heart pants, sweetness and love is in all His carriage.

And this is life eternal, to know God believingly in the glories of His mercy and justice in Jesus Christ.”

–Stephen Charnock, “A Discourse on the Knowledge of God in Christ,” The Works of Stephen Charnock, Volume 4 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1865/2010), 4: 163.

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“He paid the debt in His suffering, and pleads the payment in His glory” by Stephen Charnock

“The right apprehensions of the promises concerning the Messiah in the Old Testament, what He was to be, what He was to do, cannot let you be ignorant of Him in the New.

How forgiveness of sin is to be attained? The only remedy is proposed in Christ, and Christ as a sacrifice.

It is not Christ risen, or ascended, or exalted; not Christ only as the Son of God, or the head of angels; not Christ as the creator of the world, or by whom all things consist; but Christ as answering the terms of the first covenant, as disarming justice: and this He did as a sacrifice.

By this He bore the curse, by this He broke down the partition wall, by this He joined apostate man and an offended God.

This is that true faith pitcheth on, daily revolves, and daily applies to. This is the first object of the soul, Christ made sin, Christ bearing the punishment, Christ substituted in the room of the offender.

His resurrection and ascension come in afterward to ascertain the comfort. But as His being a sacrifice is the foundation of His being an advocate, a prince, a Saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins, so it is the foundation of peace in ourselves.

This is that which pacifies God, and only what pacifies God can pacify conscience. This death as a sacrifice purchased our comfort, because it purchased the comforter.

Suffering was to precede His glory. Besides, our comfort lies in His being an advocate.

But how is He an advocate? With His blood in His hands.

It is by His blood He speaks in heaven, and by His blood faith speaks to God. He paid the debt in His suffering, and pleads the payment in His glory.”

–Stephen Charnock, “A Discourse Of Christ Our Passover,” The Works of Stephen Charnock, Volume 4 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1865/2010), 4: 535, 536.

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“He cannot give a greater Son to us” by Stephen Charnock

“In God’s giving Christ to be our Redeemer, He gave the highest gift that it was possible for divine goodness to bestow. As there is not a greater God than Himself to be conceived, so there is not a greater gift for this great God to present to His creatures.

And though He could create millions of worlds for us, He cannot give a greater Son to us.

When God intended in redemption the manifestation of his highest goodness, it could not be without the donation of the choicest gift.

As when He would ensure our comfort He swears ‘by Himself,’ because He cannot ‘swear by a greater,’ (Heb. 6:13), so when He would ensure our happiness He gives as His Son, because He cannot give a greater, being equal with Himself.

Had the Father given Himself in person, He had given one first in order, but not greater in essence and glorious perfections.

The wounds of an Almighty God for us are a greater testimony of goodness than if we had all the other riches of heaven and earth.”

–Stephen Charnock, “A Discourse on the Goodness of God,” The Existence and Attributes of God, The Works of Stephen Charnock, Vol. 2 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1681/2010), 2: 324-325.

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“Whatsoever God is, He is infinitely so” by Stephen Charnock

“All the perfections of God are infinitely elevated above the excellencies of the creatures, above whatsoever can be conceived by the clearest and most piercing understanding.

The nature of God, as a Spirit, is infinitely superior to whatsoever we can conceive perfect in the notion of a created spirit.

Whatsoever God is, He is infinitely so.

He is infinite wisdom, infinite goodness, infinite knowledge, infinite power, infinite spirit, infinitely distant from the weakness of creatures, infinitely mounted above the excellencies of creatures.

As easy to be known that He is, as impossible to be comprehended what He is.

Conceive of Him as excellent, without any imperfection, as a Spirit without parts, as great without quantity, as perfect without quality, as everywhere without place, as powerful without members, as understanding without ignorance, as wise without reasoning, as light without darkness.

Conceive of Him as infinitely more excelling the beauty of all creatures, than the light in the sun pure and unviolated exceeds the splendour of the sun dispersed and divided through a cloudy and misty air.

And when you have risen to the highest, conceive Him yet infinitely above all you can conceive of spirit, and acknowledge the infirmity of your own minds.

And whatsoever conception comes into your minds, say, ‘This is not God. God is more than this.’

If I could conceive Him, He were not God, for God is incomprehensibly above whatsoever I can say, whatsoever I can think and conceive of Him.”

–Stephen Charnock, “A Discourse Upon God’s Being a Spirit,” The Works of Stephen Charnock, Vol. 1 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1681/2010), 1: 279.

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“We come to a God sitting upon a throne of grace” by Stephen Charnock

“Little comfort can be sucked from a ‘perhaps.’

But when we come to seek covenant mercies, God’s faithfulness to His covenant puts mercy past a ‘perhaps.’

We come to a God sitting upon a throne of grace, upon Mount Zion, not upon Mount Sinai.

We come to a God that desires our presence, more than we desire His assistance.”

–Stephen Charnock, “Delight in Prayer,” The Works of Stephen Charnock, Vol. 5 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1681/2010), 5: 376.

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“All our thoughts ought to be ravished with God” by Stephen Charnock

“Spiritual worship is performed with a unitedness of heart. The heart is not only now and then with God, but ‘united to fear’ or worship ‘His name,’ (Psalm 86:11).

A spiritual duty must have the engagement of the Spirit, and the thoughts tied up to the spiritual object. The union of all the parts of the heart together with the body is the life of the body, and the moral union of our hearts is the life of any duty.

A heart quickly flitting from God makes not God his treasure; he slights the worship, and therein affronts the object of worship.

All our thoughts ought to be ravished with God, bound up in Him as in a bundle of life.

But when we start from Him to gaze after every feather, and run after every bubble, we disown a full and affecting excellency, and a satisfying sweetness in Him.”

–Stephen Charnock, “On Spiritual Worship,” in The Existence and Attributes of God, in The Works of Stephen Charnock, Vol. 1 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1681/2010), 1: 301.

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